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The way home

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Have you ever dreamed of a different world?

Have you ever wondered how different things would be if just one simple thing was changed?

If something in the past was changed?

Pat couldn’t help but wonder. It was all his family’s fault. His father’s fault. He still couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that everything he and Pran had gone through was because of his father’s reckless actions. Pat let out a frustrated sigh, resting his head on the back of the bus’s seat. They had done it. They had run away together, not knowing what to do. But the desperate pain Pat had heard in his boyfriend’s voice made him make the decision.

“I can’t take it anymore”

Pat had known. He had known that Pran had been falling apart. He had known his boyfriend had finally had enough of everything. Of the hiding, the fear.

The look of disappointment in their parent’s eyes.

Pran had been quiet the entire trip, just looking out the window with a sad stare. Why was everything so complicated for them? What kind of thing had they done in their past lives to deserve this? Pat turned his head to look at Pran, thinking of what to say or what to do to make him feel at least a bit better.

But somehow he knew that no matter what he said, there wasn’t much he could do.

“I’m sorry for what Papa did”, what else could he say? After all, what his father had done to Pran’s mother had been a shitty thing. Pat could logically understand now why the hate and the fights. Pat could only hope that Pran didn’t get to hate him too because of it.

Pran smiled at him tiredly, “Enough already”, his eyes watery and red because of how much he had cried on the roof, letting himself go in Pat’s arms, “It isn’t your fault”.

Upon hearing that, something inside Pat finally relaxed. Pran didn’t hate him, he didn’t blame him for what his father had done.

“Do you think your mom will ever forgive my dad?” Pat asked, even though he knew the answer to that question. But he still wanted to believe, or at least dream for a little while.

 Pran just looked at him with sad eyes. He knew the answer too, “If you were her, would you?”

I don’t know.

He didn’t know. He had never been in that kind of situation before. He had good and loyal friends, who loved him no matter what. Who, even though could be a bit too impulsive, had supported him when he had needed them. Pat imagined the situation with Korn. What if Korn had taken something precious to him, ruining his future? Would he be as resentful as Pran’s mom?

I don’t think so.

He would have been hurt. That’s for sure. But Pat wasn’t a vengeful person. It would have taken some time, but he would have forgiven Korn at some point in his life.

What if Pran was the one to betray you?

Immediately, his heart constricted and he almost couldn’t breathe properly.

No.

Pat could get it somehow now. His dad and Pran’s mom had been really close to each other. They had cared about each other. Just like Pran and Pat cared about each other.

Pat let out another sigh, as he rested his head against the back of the seat once more. There was no way she was going to forgive Pat’s father any time soon.

“We can’t change what’s happened,” Pran said defeated, “We can just live with it”.

Pat mockingly smirked, “If you want to, go ahead”, Pat was just so tired, he just wanted to forget everything. Turn off his brain for a while and not think about anything at all, “I will not live with it”.

Pran stared at him, “What are you going to do then?”.

Disappear for a while. Just, pretend I’m somebody else for some time.

“Run away to a place…” Pat looked at his boyfriend, “where there is only us”

That’s all he needed now. A place with happy memories. A place where they weren’t Pat and Pran, long-time enemies. A place where they could be Pat and Pran.

Just Pat and Pran.

Pran looked like he was about to burst into tears once again, “Do you think they will allow that?”

No way in hell.

“Our parents won’t”, Pat said, thinking about the beautiful beach where they had gone last year. The beach where Pat had done everything to get Pran to talk to him. He hadn’t allowed him to run away from him anymore. The beach where everything had started to change for them. The beach where they had felt accepted and taken care of, “But some people might”.

Pran smiled painfully. Pat hated to see that look in his boyfriend’s eyes. All he had ever wanted was for Pran to be happy. To not feel pressured by his family anymore. To be free to decide what he wanted to do with his life. To be free to be with whoever he wanted to be.

To not regret being with Pat.

Pran looked ahead of him again, letting out a tired sigh. Pat would give his left kidney to make him feel a bit better. He just didn’t know what to do. Then he felt Pran’s hand on his, squeezing hard, his thumb caressing his knuckles. Pat allowed himself to draw some of his boyfriend’s strength for a moment. Pulling his head to rest on his shoulder, Pat patted Pran’s hair, resting his cheek on the top of his head. Pran smelled like home to him, familiar, calming, and steady.

“Just get some sleep”, he needed Pran to get some rest. It had been a freaking long day, for both of them, and they deserved some peace. At least for the time being.

As he felt Pran’s body starting to relax next to him, Pat’s brain refused to let him rest. All he could see was his father’s face after Pran’s mom had confronted him. He hadn’t seen guilt in his eyes, just some prideful shame. His father didn’t regret at all his doings, believing his actions had been justified. His father didn’t regret the fact that he had been pressuring Pat to be something he was not. He had hated Pran all his childhood just because his father had said so. And as a kid, hungry and desperate for his father’s approval he had done it, no questions asked.

Maybe if things hadn’t been the way they were, Pran and he would have had more time together, loving and caring for each other.

A tear escaped his control and fell on his cheek. It was useless to think about how things could have been. It was all just a naïve dream, that was never coming true.

Of that, Pat was sure.

--------------------------------**-------------------------------

It had been such good days. Pran knew that running away was just a temporary and immature solution to their problems, but he couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to just live there with Pat for the rest of their lives. Not having to think about expectations, of letting his mom down, just for loving who he loved.

It was a bitch, the whole situation. Because after everything that went down, he still loved his mother and wanted to do everything he could to make her proud and happy.

And he knew he wasn’t the only one thinking that way.

“Do you think they are looking for us?”, Pran had asked their first night there. The weight of his boyfriend’s head on his stomach had been warm and calming. He couldn’t get his mother’s face out of his mind. Pran had always been a model son, never complained about anything or any decision his parents had made for him. He had never rebelled against them because he had wanted to make them proud.

But sometimes being yourself wasn’t enough. Pran had had to change and twist himself into something that he wasn’t. He had had to force himself to hate Pat when all he had wanted was to run to his arms and never leave again.

“Can we not talk about this?”, Pran had known Pat had just wanted to get lost and to not think about what was waiting for them at home, “I’m not ready to face it yet”.

Pran had looked up to the ceiling, trying to hold back his tears. He had known that Pat had felt guilty and it didn’t matter how many times Pran had denied it, the thought hadn’t left his boyfriend’s head.

“It’s not your fault Pat” Pran had told him once again.

Pat had stood up from where he had been laying, with a frustrated sigh, “I know”.

“I don’t think you do”

“What do you want from me Pran?”, Pat had said, frustration pouring out of his tone, “I know there is nothing I could do. I know I hadn’t even been born when that happened. I know that!”

“Then why are you so agitated? What’s bothering you?”

Pat had threaded his fingers through his hair, “The fact that all this happened because of my dad makes me feel… undeserving”.

Pran had frowned, “Underserving of what?”

Pat had looked at him with haunted eyes, “Undeserving of you”, he had finally whispered, letting a tear run down his face, “I know what you’ve been through. I know how much all of this has hurt you”, Pat had lifted a hand to his eyes, trying to cover the fact that he was crying, silent sobs coming out of him.

Pran had swallowed hard, trying to hold back the tears. Pat had been a steady rock for him ever since their parents had figured out they were together. Pran had been allowed to be weak with him because Pat had been the strong one.

But apparently, his silly boyfriend needed to be weak too.

Pran had moved to where Pat was sitting on the edge of the bed and had hugged him from behind, pressing his front to his back, not letting even air come between them.

“What makes you think you have had it easier?”, Pran had asked, “I wasn’t the only one having a hard time”.

They had stood there, just giving each other comfort. It could have been minutes or even hours, but neither of them wanted to break the hug.

”Do you know what’s worse?”, Pat had finally broken the silence.

“Mmm?”

Pat had taken a minute before answering, “It’s the fact that I still want to make him feel proud of me”, his voice had cracked at the end of the sentence, “What kind of person does that make me?”

Pran had moved to Pat’s front, kneeling down between his legs to cradle his face. He had reached his face with his hands, thumbing away the tears that had been falling from Pat’s eyes.

“It makes you Pat. You love your dad, and you want him to be proud of you. You’re not a bad person for wanting that Pat. You’re just human”.

“But he hurt you, and your mom…”

“And my mom has hurt you over the years as well. We are not in the wrong here, Pat. They are”.

It was such a dichotomy… his feelings. Pran was mad at his mom, but at the same time, he didn’t want to hurt her. And he knew that him running away like that, would hurt her the most.

But for the moment, he wanted to pretend.

Pretend his family didn’t actually hate Pat.

Pretend that he was allowed to love Pat.

Pretend that his world wasn’t crumbling down every minute.

“Let’s forget about everything for now. We have the sun, the breeze, the sea, you and me. Let’s pretend that’s enough”.

Days went by in such happiness, Pran couldn’t even believe it. They had done everything they could to keep themselves busy, in order to not think about the cloud thundering above their heads.

Talking to Junior’s mom had made him think about his own mom again. What was she doing? Was she mad?

Of course, she’s mad.

Was she eating well? Was she worried about him?

Questions filled his head, to the point where he had thought of calling her, just to check on her. Pat had caught him before he could do it, pointing out that if he wanted to go back he should have told him. Pran didn’t know what to do. His heart was divided between two types of home. And he couldn’t decide.

What was waiting for them if they went back, anyways? There was no way in hell their parents would allow them to be together.

So Pran had tried to make up with his boyfriend, allowing himself to pretend for a little longer.

---------------------------------------**-------------------------------------

“Tell me… why do you like me?”

It had been Pat’s idea to compete with the questions, but now he was put into the spotlight. Why did he like Pran? That was a really good question. After all, it had taken him time to figure that out. They had been through so much together… There wasn’t a part of his life where Pran wasn’t there somehow.

“Because you’re a lot to handle”, Pat finally said laughing.

“Now you’re picking at me”, Pran said offended.

“You ARE a lot. You’re picky when it comes to eating, sleeping or even peeing”, Pran was everything Pat wasn’t. After all, they complemented each other so well because they were different, “Together, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve experienced wonderful times too. We had awful times too. We’ve looked out for each other our whole lives. We’ve been concerned about each other a lot. We’ve been thinking about each other a lot”.

Pat stopped for a moment and looked at his boyfriend. Pran seemed like he wanted to cry again, “And we’ve been happier… a lot”, Pat finished, “How could I ever not like you?”

“Damn…”, Pran smiled, “What a crown-worthy answer. If other people heard that they’d be squealing”.

“Aren’t you squealing?”, Pat asked mockingly.

“I’m fine”, Pran pouted.

“Then… here comes the last question”, Pat collected all his courage, “Can I kiss you?”.

Ever since that kiss on the roof, he had wanted nothing more than to properly kiss his boyfriend, letting him know just how much he loved and adored him.

“Isn’t it my turn?”, Pran answered.

“I know”, Pat said exasperated, “I just wanted to ask you that”.

“No”, Pran answered and Pat’s heart dropped to his stomach, “It’s my turn”. Pran took his hand to the back of Pat’s nape, pulling him closer to his face. Pat breath stopped, as he waited for his boyfriend to make the move. His heart started beating faster and faster, waiting for the moment when their lips would encounter.

Pran just looked into his eyes, a smile tugging on his lips. They say eyes are the windows to someone’s soul, and he could see everything Pran was feeling in his eyes. When they finally kissed, it was slow, a contradiction of the turmoil of things he was feeling at that moment. He wanted to ravish Pran lips with his own. But they kept it slow, letting themselves soak in their feelings. They separated for a moment, Pat’s lips still chasing his boyfriend’s, not wanting the intimate moment to end.

They were heavily breathing while looking into each other’s eyes. Pat could see it in Pran’s eyes, the same thing his heart was screaming at the moment.

This isn’t enough. I want more.

Kissing wasn’t enough anymore. He needed Pran close, as close as he could get. They kissed again, desperately this time, fast-paced, all teeth and lips, not caring about the lack of finesse.

------------------------------**-----------------------------

The only thing Pat grabbed besides Pran’s hand after their kiss on the shore had been their beer cans. He had released him long enough to throw them in a bin and unlock the door to their bedroom. The second they were in their room; Pat’s mouth had sought out Pran’s. This decision could potentially break them both afterward, yet they wanted the memory. They would pick up the pieces later.

That night, they would take enough of each other to serve them a lifetime.

Pran lifted his arms as Pat tugged his shirt off. Their mouths barely parted as they undressed each other and the second they were naked, Pat maneuvered them to the bed and turned on the lamp on the nightstand. He kept there, above Pran, just drinking his features away.

“Can I ask you something Pran?” Pat finally said.

Pran cupped his cheek and looked into his eyes, “Anything”. And it was true, he would do anything for Pat.

“Can you make love to me?”

Pran’s eyes widen with surprise. Somehow he had always imagined their first time with Pat being on top. But looking at his boyfriend’s eyes now, he could see the need to be taken care of, to let himself go and just… feel.

Pran nodded and got up to a sitting position, urging Pat to lie down. But instead of laying him on his back, he urged him to lie down on his front, and then Pran was hovering over him, his warm body blanketing his. He kissed Pat for a long time before lifting up just enough so that he could kiss the back of his neck. As impatient as Pran’s body was for more, he loved every second of what he was doing to Pat. He was worshiping Pat as he placed unhurried, gentle kisses all along his shoulders, collarbone, and neck.

Then his lips were trailing down Pat’s spine and he saw the goosebumps rise on his flesh as he grazed his nails over his back as he worked his way lower. He kept kissing and kissing, every single piece of exposed skin until he reached Pat’s butt. He split his cheeks open as he licked his lips, dropping to his knees behind him.

“What are you doing?”, Pat breathed.

He gasped when he felt Pran’s tongue tentatively flick over his hole. It was a first for both of them and they didn’t have an idea of what to expect. After the first soft caress, another one followed, then another. And it wasn’t just the tip of Pran’s tongue that was exploring Pat. His whole tongue, lips, teeth, all worked together to put Pat in an agonizingly blissful haze of pleasure.

Pat felt fingers drifting over his shaft and balls, and then Pran fisted him as he continued to play with his hole. Pat gripped the bedding in between his fingers as the coil of need inside him started to grow. Then he felt Pran’s tongue probing more forcefully, making him cry out at the sensation. A hand clamped down on his hips to hold him still.

“Fuck”, Pat growled as his boyfriend continued, “More”.

Pran pulled his tongue free, making Pat desperate for something. He was struggling to catch his breath, as Pran lay down on top of him, his front to his back, and searched out his mouth. The second they kissed, fireworks exploded behind his eyes. He could feel Pran’s erection nudging his ass. Pran levered off of Pat and started massaging his hole with his fingers. At the same time, Pat heard the sound of foil being ripped and he wasn’t surprised when he felt lube drip onto his opening.

“You always this prepared?” Pat said between heavy breaths.

“I started being prepared since that day Korn interrupted us”.

Pat felt his boyfriend's cock in his entrance, covered with a condom, and even in his tired state, he wanted him.

“Ready?”, Pran asked.

Pat couldn’t find the words to tell Pran how ready he felt. How much he was feeling. He just nodded and waited for the moment they would be one. It took little effort for Pran’s crown to push past Pat’s inner muscles since he had done such a throughout job of relaxing it with his ministrations. He began moving with shallows thrusts that helped him work his way deeper into Pat’s body. Pran dropped down on Pat’s back and kissed his ear, his neck, his jaw.

“I need you so much, Pat”.

“I’m always yours… just yours”.

The kiss deepened, desperation and need pouring out of it, matching the frenetic pace Pran set as he pounded into Pat’s body. Pran remained hunched over him and sought out his hands and linked his fingers together as he humped into Pat.

Pran’s breath was hot against his neck and every grunt drove him insane. He shifted his hips slamming urgently, signaling the end, hitting Pat’s gland. Pat couldn’t think, couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything but feel. And then he was flying as he came. Pran shouted his name as he thrust one last time and then his weight held him to the bed as he let himself go.

They lay there, catching their breaths, and then Pat heard it.

“I love you Pat”.

And Pat wanted to cry. Because he knew in his heart that it wasn’t enough.

They couldn’t change anything with love.

“I love you too…”, Pat whispered.

------------------------------**--------------------------------

It was barely morning when Pran finally woke up. His arm was embracing Pat’s waist, pulling them as close as they could physically be. His boyfriend’s scent flooded his nose, as well as the warmth on his skin. He felt content, calmed, and at peace. He smiled thinking about the night before, and couldn’t help but kiss his shoulder, the back of his neck, breathing him in, trying to imprint himself in Pat.

“Mmm…”, Pat murmured, waking up as well, “I think we’ve had enough, youngster”.

Pran rested his head in his hand, looking down at his boyfriend’s sleeping form, “Hey…”, he called to him, “Was I good?”

After all, it had been his first time and wanted to know if Pat had enjoyed it as much as he did. He could only hope he hadn’t hurt him that much.

Pat turned around and let out a sleepy Yes while smiling.

“How much do I get, out of ten?”, Pran insisted.

“Dear god…”, Pat sighed. He pulled up one finger.

Excuse me?

And after a moment, he formed a zero with his other hand: a ten.

Pran laid back on the bed, a smug smile on his face.

“Are you happy now?”, Pat asked.

Yes. I can’t wait to do it again.

But, would it even be another time?

---------------------------**----------------------------

“Thank you”, Pat told Pran in the afternoon.

He was thankful. Pran had put up with such much since they had arrived at the beach. Pat wasn’t blind. He knew. He knew Pran was suffering in silence, missing his mom and trying to quiet down the guilty feeling he had inside. All to make Pat happy.

And Pat loved him for that.

But it’s time to wake up from this beautiful dream.

“For what?”, Pran asked smiling.

God, Pat loved his smile. Those beautiful dimples proved to him how happy Pran was feeling. Pat would do anything to protect those dimples on his boyfriend’s face.

“For trying to make a silly guy like me happy…”

It’s enough Pran.

Taking Pran’s hand into his own, Pat let out the only words he didn’t want to say, “I know that… sooner or later… we’ll need to go back”, tears began to flow out of Pran’s eyes, even though he was still smiling, “I know it too well. But I just want to stay as long as we can”.

We have to go back to reality. I have Pa to take care of… you have to become an interior designer like you wanted to. You have to keep performing with your beautiful voice… you can’t do that here.

“Be with you… for at least one more day…”.

It’s all I ask now.

“What are you talking about?”, Pran asked, serious this time. His eyes let Pat know that he knew what he was talking about, “Get dressed… the bar is opening soon”.

“Nobody works on their honeymoon”, Pat didn’t want to spend their last night working, “You never leave me… you fight alongside me…”

You’re the best part of my life.

“That makes me feel very happy”, Pat watched as a tear came down from his boyfriend’s eye, “I will let Uncle Yod know that we quit”.

“And then what, Pat?”, Pran whispered, “What is going to happen?”.

We won’t be able to see each other again.

Pat cupped Pran’s cheek, trying to stay strong for him once again, “Then… we will be friends again… maybe not even that”, tears streamed down Pran’s face more violently, “We won’t know each other again. We’ll go back, and make our parent’s proud. We’ll grow professionally and emotionally. We’ll graduate and become independent…”, Pat tipped Pran’s chin up and looked into his eyes, “If you’re willing to wait for me… if this means as much to you as it does to me… I’ll go back to find you. I don’t know how much it’ll take, but I promise you Pran...”, Pat took a trembling breath, “I’ll come back to you. And we’ll be each other’s home again”.

They were both a mess by the time Pat finished talking, “The future seems hard Pran, but can you be strong for me? Can you wait for me?”, Pran was afraid he wasn’t worth it. He was afraid Pran would find someone better. Someone his mother approved.

Pran launched himself forward, into Pat’s arms, “Let’s make a bet”.

Pat smiled, “Yeah?”

“If one of us breaks this promise, loses”, Pran hid his face in the crook of Pat’s neck.

Pat pulled him back, so he could watch his face. Lifting a fist to Pran he said, “Deal?”.

Pran imitated his actions and said, “Deal”.

----------------------------------**--------------------------------

Standing in front of each other’s houses, Pat and Pran looked at each other, knowing it would be the last time they saw each other for a long time.

Pran was trembling, trying to hold back the urge to run to Pat and fold himself into his arms. But he couldn’t do that. It was time to go back.

“Have you ever pictured what it’d be like if our families weren’t enemies?”, Pat had asked that first time on the beach.

If our families weren’t enemies…they’d be cool if we’re friends… They wouldn’t have to ask me how well you did in school.

I’d be able to enter your house without having to climb through the window.

My mother would welcome you with Madam Dissaya’s seafood sauce.

Yes. Your mom’s food smells so damn great. Do you know that?

You must try her Tom Yum Soup. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to go home again.

I’d be accepted as your boyfriend. I’d be able to ask for your hand in marriage.

What are you talking about? I’d be the one asking for your hand.

We would have family reunions, I’m sure my mom would love to meet Pa… she always wanted a girl to share some interests with.

We would go to the beach every summer, listen to the waves hit the shore as everyone share their time together.

Have you ever dreamed of a different world?

Of a different universe?

Pat and Pran dreamed about it every single day.

“Do you think other Pran’s and Pat’s, of other universes, are happy?”, Pran had asked once.

“I like to think they are…”.

“Let’s go home”, Pat said, tears pouring out of his eyes.

Home is where you are, Pat.

“Good luck, buddy”, it physically hurt Pran to say the word. But it was better than to call him enemy or anything else.

We’ll see each other again… Just hang on. We'll be able to be together again.

The way home was long and painful for Pat and Pran… but hope is the last thing someone loses.

One last look at each other. Pran drank Pat's features. 

"No more pretending...", they both whispered.

Next time they saw each other, they wouldn't have to pretend anymore.