Ohm had been only fourteen when he had entered the world of BL. Back at that time, he had not known what he was signing for. His only wish had been to become an actor and he had been willing to do whatever it took to accomplish this wish. It hadn't been all that hard to land his first role, with his looks and the youth reflected in his face. It usually went like that when it came to BL, he would later learn. They scouted boys not for their talent, but for their pretty faces and how much they could handle skin-ship with other boys. It hadn't been too hard to land a role, but it had been hard to navigate the world once inside of it.
Ohm soon learnt that he wasn't only being paid to play his role on a drama, but for much more. As a BL actor, you were expected to act a certain way even behind cameras. You were not only expected to be an actor, but a director as well. A director for your own made-up love story. Put a smile on, always make sure to summon fondness when you look at your co-star, give as much PDA as you possibly can. If you did this, no matter how shitty the storyline of the drama was, it would still sell and your position in this world would remain. It was like being on a play, one that didn't end after the curtains fell. One where the most important part to the play was not the play itself but everything that followed. Ohm knew how to play his part in this play. He was a great actor, after all. Which is why he can't comprehend when was that he had started falling for his own tricks and believing his own lies.
If he was honest, he knows it was his fault. Ohm clearly remembers the day the line had started blurring between him and his new co-star, Nanon. Oh, Nanon. He had taken Ohm by surprise and like a violent wave, it had brought him down to his knees and now he felt like he was sinking in tumultuous waters.
The thing that made Nanon different from his past co-stars was that they had already been close from the start, There had never been any falsity to the fondness that he felt for him. They had chosen each other and although at the beginning Ohm had doubted their chemistry, he soon realized that they had everything to become the next big ship. Ohm had been ecstatic as they acted their parts on Bad Buddy. He felt that he had finally found his ideal partner, the person that would accompany him for a long time in this journey.
Ohm that had worked in the industry for too long, had realized the importance of finding your ideal partner. Everyone around him in the company had found theirs, but it seemed that none of his pairings had been successful. It wasn't that they had no chemistry, but something was always lacking. No one would stay for too long before moving on to the next project. And the ship would cease to exist.
At the beginning, Ohm hadn't worried too much about it, but as time passed and he watched his colleagues find their perfect match, he had started longing for one. There wasn't anything romantic about it, don't get him wrong. It was more about stability, both emotional and well... monetary. If only he had a partner, then that would give him more work and increase his fame. But more than that, it would give him a shoulder to lean on, someone who he could talk to when life as a celebrity got too exhausting. Ohm had never been a person of too many friends, and he longed for that emotional support. For that reason, he had eagerly accepted his role as Pat in Bad Buddy after he had heard who his partner would be. Nanon Kirdpan, one of the very few persons he actually considered a friend and trusted.
He had thought that Nanon would be the perfect candidate for his "ideal partner" for three reasons. First, they were already friends, which meant they already knew enough of each other and felt comfortable with each other. Ohm was sure that there wouldn't be any awkwardness during workshop and shooting and that Nanon would listen to his advice without taking offense if it ever came to it. Second, Nanon was a great actor. Ohm had already seen him act and had acted alongside him in Blacklist the series. He trusted his friend in putting everything to his role. Lastly, Nanon was very handsome. Although he did not fit the usual stereotypes for a bottom in a BL show, he was very handsome and would add a new look to the genre. Ohm truly thought they looked good together. After considering all of this, he had accepted his role. Back then, he had not thought that it would be a risky decision and that the friendship that existed between them would be put in jeopardy due to it.
But now, as he sits down on the floor and contemplates the past six months, he can't help but wonder if he had made the right choice back then. Ohm closes his eyes and tries recalling the day everything started going awry.
"Do you ever feel like, a part of your character is stuck living inside of you? As if Pat was still living in the deepest parts of your soul?" Nanon had suddenly blurted out as they cuddled together on the bed, a marvel movie playing on the TV screen. It was quite common for them to cuddle. Even before they had become Pat and Pran, they had been Ohm and Nanon. And Ohm and Nanon loved cuddling. There was something so innocent and warm about cuddling your close friends. It had always given a sense of comfort to Ohm. Although Nanon had not been all that compliant at the start, he soon had realized that he couldn't say no to his friend.
"Not really. But then again, I don't do method acting like you do. My roles don't live inside of me, Nanon, they live through me. Once their story ends so their link with me." Ohm had responded nonchalantly, without even sparing the other a glance. The silence that had followed had been what made him turn to look at his friend and say, "Why? Do you still feel like Pran?"
Nanon had shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly before responding solemnly, "You know I struggle with this, Ohm. When I was Pang, it took me a long time before I could shed him off. Pran hasn't given me as much trouble, but sometimes I still feel him within me."
Ohm nodded his head and returned his focus to the television screen. He couldn't say he related to the way his friend felt. To Ohm, roles were only roles. He could get lost in them momentarily as he acted them in front of the camera, but the moment they screamed "CUT!" the veil would fall from his eyes and he would be back at being just himself, just Ohm. He had never allowed himself to get too lost in character, therefore he had never experienced what his friend did.
This didn't mean that he didn't understand what his friend was going through. He had seen how hard it had been for Nanon to shed his previous roles, and how much distress it had put him through. Ohm sometimes feared that after playing so many roles, Nanon would inevitably lose his own identity. This was something that had given Ohm many sleepless nights, wondering and wondering...
If his friend took the personality of a different person every time he chose a new role, then who was his friend in the end?
He couldn't help wondering what it felt to see everything from his friend's point of view, what it felt to be stuck in character even after the story ended.
He tried to focus but his thoughts kept wandering. Unable to handle it anymore, he decided to ask what was plaguing his mind, "What do you feel when you are Pran?"
Apparently Ohm had been lost in his thoughts for longer than he thought because when he spoke, his friend flinched. Nanon looked at him in stunned silence for a moment, before bringing himself to respond, "I wouldn't know how to explain it. It's as if a part of me is Pran and a part of me is myself, Nanon. Sometimes I see things that I myself wouldn't like but find myself attracted to them because of him. It's really confusing sometimes."
Ohm snorted for a moment, before blurting out, "Do you ever see me and find me attractive because Pran does?" He was expecting to make his friend laugh, or at least smile, but his friend only responded with awkward silence. Ohm furrowed an eyebrow and stared at Nanon's eyes for a moment, encouraging him to elaborate, but his friend kept his mouth shut which gave him the answer he was looking for.
"Y-you do?!" Ohm felt shocked at this admission, but something about it made his heart pound faster too.
"I-I wouldn't necessarily say I feel attracted to you. It's more like..." Nanon stuttered for a moment, feeling flustered all of a sudden as he tried to put words to the way he felt. He knew that Ohm wouldn't make fun of him, and that the way he was reacting was only due to shock more than anything. "Sometimes I miss you, but I don't think I am really missing you because I like... see you every day," Nanon takes a moment to roll his eyes, before continuing, "I think I miss Pat."
Ohm had seen it coming, but something about the confession made his heart itch. "Can you elaborate on that?" For some reason, Ohm had decided to prod. He didn't know why his heart felt itchy. He wasn't hurt at the fact that his friend had told him that it wasn't him who he missed, but his fictional role and yet, he felt restless. It was as if a mosquito had bit into his heart, and now he just wanted to scratch at the sting. If he was honest, he didn't know why he suddenly felt curious about Nanon's predicament. All he knew is that he wanted to keep digging, keep scratching at the itch.
Nanon was about to open his mouth to explain himself when he closed it again and contemplated. Half a minute went by of anxious anticipation coming from Ohm, before Nanon finally continued with caution, "Promise me you won't judge me if I tell you."
It's not that Nanon didn't trust Ohm or thought that he would make fun of him or use his weakness against him later on. He fully trusted him. He just wanted to gather a bit more of time to prepare what he was going to say. Nanon had always been careful with his words and with what he revealed of himself. He didn't want to say too much.
"Of course! I promise! I would never judge you for anything, Nanon. You are my best friend." Ohm had taken both of his hands and moved to sit in front of him, a heartwarming smile plastered on his face.
"Okay..." Nanon didn't know why he felt breathless suddenly, but his heart felt as if it was about to burst. It was almost as if he was about to confess to a crush, as if he was about to give a speech in front of an audience back during his elementary days.
Taking a deep breath, he started spilling words, "You know I've always seen you as my friend, my best friend. You and Chimon are everything to me, Ohm. You are the only real friends I've had, and I would do anything for the two of you."
"I know, and trust me, Chimon and I share the same sentiment." Ohm rushed to assure his friend, tightening the grip on his hands. He didn't understand where his friend was going with this, but he wanted him to know that he would meet him right there. No matter what, Ohm would always be there for his friend.
"But sometimes, just sometimes, I fantasize about more, you know. It's as if my inner Pran misses your inner Pat and then before I know it, I am holding myself from doing something out of line." Nanon felt as if a weight had been lifted from his chest. These were thoughts that he had been ashamed of revealing, thoughts that had left him drained.
Nanon was someone who often got lost in his thoughts. He was an overthinker by nature and perhaps that was the reason why he had been having an identity crisis. He often wondered who he was. If his thoughts reflected those of his roles, then what thoughts were really his?
Just like with his previous roles, a part of Pran had taken lodging inside his heart. Pran had been slightly different from his previous roles, however. He didn't feel depressed as he did when he had been Pang. In the contrary, people said that he smiled more after becoming Pran and it was true, he felt happier now. Pran had brought a different sort of trouble. His feelings for Ohm had morphed into those of Pran and he absolutely hated it. It wouldn't bother him this much if they weren't best friends. But since Ohm had been his best friend for years, it made him feel conflicted and guilty.
It had even changed the way he behaved around Ohm and he had grown afraid that the latter would notice it. And if he did notice it, how would he react? But now that he was confessing all of these emotions, he realized that his friend would be understanding and wouldn't judge him.
Grabbing all the courage that he could, he decided to go all the way. "I've had all sort of different scenarios in my head. I've thought about hugging you, kissing you and even further than that, I've thought about doing dirty things with you!" He confessed fully scandalized. "It's so frustrating! This is not the way I should feel about you, and trust me, I don't have feelings for you. My Pran just happens to have feelings for your Pat!"
He had finalized his confession by hiding his face within his hands and screaming to the void. Although it felt liberating to let his feelings out, he couldn't help the shame that crept through him.
Ohm didn't know what he was expected to say in this situation. His ears were ringing and his mind was blank. The itch in his heart had not been sedated. Instead, it had grown stronger and now he just wanted to rip his heart out and scratch it himself.
After a moment in stunned silence, Ohm let out a sigh and looked at his friend who was still hiding his face behind his palms. Regardless of how he felt about the situation, he just wanted to soothe the distress in his friend's face.
"It's alright, Nanon. Don't cry." Ohm started patting his friend's shoulder in a comforting motion, before grabbing his friend's hands in an attempt to pry them from his face. "Look at me," Ohm requested of him, and once his friend did, he gave his friend a reassuring smile, "It's okay! Smile for me, na?"
Nanon didn't smile at first, but after a few more attempts, Ohm managed to get a tiny smile. Upon seeing the almost non-existent smile in his friend's face, Ohm brought him into his arms, "It's alright, Nanon. You don't have to feel ashamed of the way you feel. I told you I would never judge you, and I was being real when I said that."
"What if I ate my own boogers?" Nanon muttered into his friend's shirt, feeling his nose run as he cried.
"Except that." Ohm snorted before he grabbed his friend from his biceps and brought him out of his embrace. "Look at you! Your nose is all runny now! Let's clean it"