On the day that they finally defeated the principal, the Gifted students spent quite a bit of time in what was about to become their old classroom.
When the next week would start, it would probably have been emptied, making it seem like all that they had known for months had been a dream.
But, fortunately or not, they would always remember. There was no erasing their memories this time. Until the day they died, they would remember.
After a while, probably way too late, they all went home. Pang especially seemed sad. He wouldn’t get to be in their class once the new week started. He would go back to the 8 th classroom while all the other members except Ohm would go back to the 1 st .
Their dorm would be converted in something else, erasing all the memories they had made there. For Wave, they were mostly negative, so he didn’t mind it that much.
Wave didn’t want to see his aunt and uncle. Not tonight. So he had asked Pang if he could sleep over.
In itself, that demand seemed unbelievable after all the history between them. They had made each other suffer, Pang unknowingly and Wave with the intent of it.
He regretted it. He had always regretted them, his awful actions and words, right after they had happened. It didn’t make any of them better, though.
But now, they were close, actually close, Pang and him.
It had started happening before Pang’s memory had been erased, but had carried on stronger after he had found that note that had started the Gifted students’ quest to defeat the principal.
They could be considered friends now, best friends, almost. Wave had never known that before.
While Pang and him were dramatically different, they also completed each other in a wonderful way. It used to annoy Wave, the way Pang just saw right through him. Now, it comforted him, in a way he could barely comprehend.
They had arrived at Pang’s after the sun had set, his parents showering them with worries before feeding them incredibly well. Once the night was already well spent, they went up to his room.
They sat on the end of Pang’s bed, staring at their own thighs for a while. This was a day they would remember forever. Even now, they already knew it. What they had accomplished would be in the newspaper the next day, and what they had kept secret for months would finally be known by the whole country.
That thought was both terrifying and beautiful. The principal couldn’t shut them up now. They would never be silenced.
“You must be sad that our class is closing forever,” Pang finally uttered.
Wave gazed at the side of his face. He looked older, just like the rest of the class that evening. Wave felt older, too.
“Admit it, you liked feeling special,” Pang explained.
It hadn’t been said with malicious intent. Pang was right. Wave nodded slightly. If he had been the principal’s favorite, if he had come out on top, he wouldn’t have wanted to destroy any of this.
This whole quest had started from his insecurity, but Pang’s values had actually become his.
Now, he didn’t even feel the need to be the best anymore.
“You must be sad to be going back in classroom 8 while everyone is going back to classroom 1,” he simply replied.
“Well, we could still all be friends and hang out at lunch break...” Pang said.
“Friends...” Wave whispered.
It was certainly what they were, Pang and him. Friends. They had spent enough time together, had shared parts of themselves, had started liking each other… all of that meant they were friends.
No matter how much Wave wanted more.
He had never really scratched the surface of it, but Wave had realized a little while ago that he liked Pang. As more than a friend.
It was more than admiration, though he did feel that too: he admired Pang’s idealism, courage and fearlessness. But he liked Pang’s smiles, the way he made Wave feel included, how much Pang took care of him.
“Yeah, it’s crazy, uh?” Pang smiled. “I never thought I would call you that, but I’m glad to do it today. I still remember the day we made that deal to take down the principal, and now it actually happened.”
Wave nodded, a small grin showing on the corner of his face. He felt the same. It would take a while to process all that they had lived in the past few months.
“It’s all over now,” he stated. It felt like he was just realizing it for the first time. He felt like crying.
“I’m gonna miss you guys,” Pang responded.
Wave felt himself pause. The first part of this sentence made his heart jump out of his chest. He was going to miss Pang like crazy, now that they wouldn’t spend most of their days together.
Maybe Pang would even go back to his old best friend and forget about Wave entirely. That thought was unbearable. But to know that, at this very moment, Pang didn’t want to let go… that was enough.
The second part of the sentence, though, made Wave a little bitter. Of course, it was already good enough that he was included in it, but it was the reminder that he wasn’t Pang’s only friend.
Pang was his, though. But he had Ohm and Namtarn, that he probably liked more than Wave.
“Hm,” he nodded, getting up.
His mind was a mess. Somehow, the adventure from the past few months hadn’t stressed him out as much as being in the same closed room with Pang, having nothing better to do than to confess.
Before, they had so much going that the thought of confessing his feelings hadn’t even crossed his mind. Now, though… it’s all he could think of saying.
“Where are you going?” Pang wondered, eyebrows furrowed.
Wave stayed silent, stood in the middle of his room as Pang got up and walked closer to him. It was exactly what Wave didn’t need. It played with his self control.
“Are we gonna stay friends, even now that it’s all over?” Wave heard himself ask. He didn’t like how small, almost childish his voice sounded.
“I already told you that it’s the plan,” Pang answered.
“But I don’t think you like me very much, though,” Wave uttered. “I think maybe we just got close because of our mission.”
Pang chuckled and searched for eye contact with him, which Wave couldn’t maintain. “You know how much you annoyed me in the beginning. You were such an asshole. Truly horrible.”
Wave closed his eyes, ashamed. “I’m sorry.”
“Apologies accepted. Now, though, you’re a whole other person. You’ve changed for the better, Wave.”
Wave finally dared to meet his gaze. “How?”
“Well, you used to think you were better than everyone, especially me. But you’ve worked with all of us Gifted students to stop the principal from committing injustice against ordinary students, those very same ones you felt superior to.”
Wave nodded. He was right.
“You’ve become somewhat selfless, fun to be around, while keeping the brilliant mind you’ve always had. Also, you never tried to have friends, especially not with me, but you’re asking me if I see you as a friend because it matters to you. And I like the new you very much.”
If Wave allowed himself to cry in front of others, he’d be sobbing. Hearing that Pang liked him, saw good in him… it was enough to make him happy for a long while.
His body seemed to have moved without his consent, hugging Pang with all the remaining strength he had. He immediately realized that it was a mistake.
Pang’s body, larger and slightly taller than his, just felt… spectacular. Wave had dreamed about them touching many times before, but it couldn’t compare to the real thing. With Pang in his arms, chest flush against his, arms tightening instinctively around Wave… it felt almost as if they were real. As if it wasn’t a one-sided crush.
Once Wave realized what he was doing, he pushed Pang away. It was no use pretending they were anything more than friends. Pang’s friendship was already a lot to offer, and Wave was grateful.
His face felt warm. He was probably betraying his feelings by showcasing them on his face.
He was still pushing Pang away with one hand on his chest, trying to look away, but Pang wasn’t having any of it.
“What’s going on?” He questioned. “You’re acting weird.”
“It’s nothing,” he whispered.
“Well, it doesn’t seem to be if you hug me. I’d never have imagined you hugging anyone,” he teased, a small smile on his face. “Come on, what’s up with you?”
Wave wanted to run away, but Pang had a strong hold on his wrist, pulling him towards him.
“You know it already,” Wave found the courage to say.
Maybe… maybe it was better to end the friendship now, after the biggest win they had ever known.
It was probably better than letting the friendship fade with time, once Pang would realize that the only thing tying them together had been their mission to expose the principal.
Pang’s brows were furrowed, and he looked extremely confused. “I don’t know anything. You know I’ve always had difficulty reading you.”
It was true. Pang could know anyone’s motivations and life goals with a few seconds of observation, but he’d never been able to figure Wave out.
“You’re gonna reject me anyways,” Wave declared, the words living his mouth before he could think.
Pang’s hold on his wrist was gone, just like that. There was no going back now. Pang was a good person, he wouldn’t judge him, Wave knew that.
But something was telling him that their friendship was over, and Wave didn’t think he could stand it.
“Why would I reject you?”
Wave hands gathered their last bit of strength to come up to his face, caressing the sides of it softly.
It was like heaven, that position. So intimate and beautiful. Wave wanted to feel Pang’s warm skin against his fingers forever.
“Because you’re special to me, Pang. Not in a friendly way.”
He closed his eyes saying that. No matter how terrified he was of having ruined the best thing in his life, it felt good saying it. A huge weight was finally lifted off his shoulders.
Minutes passed in silence, his hands still on Pang’s face, both boys standing to face each other. When he felt Pang’s hand on his, he dared to open his eyes.
Pang was smiling. Why was he smiling, caressing his fingers in that soft way?
“You’re so special to me too, Wave.”
Wave just stared at him, mouth slightly agape, cheeks feeling warm. “I don’t think… we’re talking about the same thing.”
Pang smirked, coming closer to him and leaving a small peck on his lips. Wave’s legs were about to cave under him.
“Is that what you were talking about?”
Wave nodded slowly, still pretty much dumbfounded. His hands had slipped from Pang’s face to his shoulders, which he was now gripping quite hard.
“Listen, I don’t know what this is, really,” Pang explained. “I never thought about boys in that way...” Wave hadn’t either. “But we just… work, you know?”
He was stroking the side of his face softly.
“Everything has been so nerve-wracking. It was a tornado of emotions every day while we tried to beat the principal. We barely had time to evaluate ourselves, or what was going on in our hearts. If we did, we’d have realized we were scared shitless.”
Wave smiled. They had been teenagers trying to uncover a governmental conspiracy, of course they had been scared.
They were so terrified they had learned to ignore it, though they had lived in anxiety and stress for months. And now, it was finally time to relax.
“And we all had each other, so it made it livable,” Pang went on. “But, a while ago, I realized it was you who helped me the most. You and I… we became one, didn’t we?”
Wave felt his eyes get wet. He was right. While all the Gifted students had been an amazing, Pang and Wave had been more than that.
They had become sort of a synthesis of each other, knowing exactly what the other was thinking or how he would react. That had been incredibly helpful, and had ultimately made them succeed.
“And, I guess… I never want it to stop, what’s going on between us,” he concluded.
“Pang,” Wave felt himself whisper, hands tightening around the boy’s shoulders and bringing them closer once again. “I wanna be special with you, forever.”
Pang grinned from ear to ear, in that gorgeous way of his. Softly, he kissed him again, still chaste.
Wave hands pulled him closer, kissing him deeper. He couldn’t resist it anymore, just knowing that Pang felt the same way was surreal, but made it impossible to want to do anything else but kiss.
Though the night had started melancholic because their goal for the last few months had finally been achieved, it ended on a euphoric note.
All good things come to an end; Wave would miss the Gifted students’ adventure forever.
But, as one page had been turned, another was appearing. One that was full of love and possibilities.