Minor NSFW warning for this chapter again! Also a late thanks to Kitty for the Ko-fi~
The flight Ding-ge booked back to Shanghai was at eleven in the morning, so everyone was woken up by Ding-ge’s phone call the next day at nine.
Jian Rong felt as if weights were attached to his eyes, and he kept them closed even while he was brushing his teeth.
After he finished brushing, he dozed off for a few more minutes upright. He only bent over and rinsed his mouth once he couldn’t stand the burn of the toothpaste anymore.
The moment he lifted his head, he saw Lu Boyuan leaning next to the wall nearby, looking at him with an amused expression on his face.
Jian Rong gripped his toothbrush, which he had just cleaned. “I’ll be ready in a second.”
“Mn, I’ll go pack our suitcases.”
After Lu Boyuan said that, he shifted closer and leaned down to give Jian Rong a kiss.
Although they would usually also exchange secret kisses back at the base, this was still his first time receiving one immediately upon waking up. Jian Rong remained frozen, holding his toothpaste, as part of his grumpiness from being woken up dissipated.
Lu Boyuan seemed to recall something on his way out. He glanced back and said, “Xiao Bai entered our room briefly last night.”
Jian Rong bent down to wash his face and couldn’t care less. “When?”
“When you were hugging my neck.”
After Lu Boyuan left the bathroom, he didn’t get very far before he heard the muffled sound of a small object dropping onto the floor, followed closely by a pattering of frantic footsteps.
Jian Rong stood in the bathroom doorway, his chin dripping with water. “When I was… hugging your neck… and doing what?”
Lu Boyuan said, “When I was kissing you.”
Jian Rong: “…”
By the time Jian Rong was done washing his face, Lu Boyuan had already finished packing his suitcase for him. Since they had only stayed for two nights, they didn’t bring a lot of stuff, so it was very easy to tidy up.
Ding-ge was worried about missing their flight, and he urged them to hurry up numerous times in the group chat, making their phones ring constantly.
Jian Rong stole both suitcases from Lu Boyuan. As he opened the door and started to leave, he couldn’t help but turn his head and ask, “Since he drank so much last night… is there a possibility that he got blackout drunk?”
Lu Boyuan held back a smile. “Maybe.”
They went downstairs and handed the room keys to an employee to check out. The instant Jian Rong got into the car after Lu Boyuan, he saw Xiao Bai slumped in his seat, looking haggard.
At the noise, Xiao Bai’s eyes shot towards them.
Then he proceeded to purse his lips and blink as his gaze continuously wavered between the two of them. As if he had remembered something, he wore a curious and cautious expression. For quite a while, he started to speak but ended up hesitating over and over, and his butt kept shifting restlessly in his seat.
“Of course I didn’t get blackout drunk I’ve even started to fearfully but eagerly replay my memories from last night in my head” was written all over his face.
Just as Jian Rong was contemplating whether or not he should help Xiao Bai lose his memories, Lu Boyuan looked back and grabbed onto Jian Rong’s wrist before he tugged him to his seat.
The car headed towards the airport. Jian Rong was no longer sleepy, and his eyelids drooped as he stared at the scenery outside the window.
“Once we get to the airport, put on your masks and stuff.” Ding-ge broke the silence. “A few interviewers reached out to me, and I couldn’t refuse because they’re all the official type of interview. But I made sure to schedule them next week for you guys, so you can rest well and have some fun for a few days first… of course, don’t overdo it.”
Yuan Qian replied with a ‘got it.’
Ding-ge glanced behind him. When he spotted Xiao Bai full of energy, he lifted an eyebrow in surprise. “Does your head still hurt?”
Xiao Bai forced himself to play it cool. “No, it’s not like I drank that much last night.”
“Give me a break, you were drunk like a dead pig. And you kept insisting on sleeping in the same room as Jian Rong too.” Ding-ge said, “Only Pine looks after you.”
Xiao Bai: “…”
There was clearly a headrest separating them, but he could still sense a sinister gaze radiating from behind him.
Whenever Xiao Bai thought about the scene he had witnessed last night, he felt very stunned. Even though their work environment was full of guys, this really was his first time encountering something like this. To top it off, the couple consisted of his own teammates…
Strangely enough, despite the huge shock he had received, he didn’t feel disgusted in the slightest. Instead, he had a sort of “no wonder” enlightened feeling.
Someone extended a bottle of yogurt in front of him, from the brand that he typically preferred drinking the most.
Xiao Bai turned his head. “Where’d you get that?”
Pine didn’t look at him. He only said, “I bought it from a convenience store before we got in the car.”
Xiao Bai stared at Pine’s jawline for a few seconds. Restraining the urge to ask him what he thought about this discovery, he lowered his head and bit down on the straw to take a sip of the yogurt.
Pine: “Take it.”
“No.” Xiao Bai swallowed the yogurt. “I ate a little too much at breakfast, so I’m only gonna drink one mouthful. You can have the rest.”
Ding-ge suddenly recalled something, and he twisted his head around again. “Even though this question is a bit unnecessary… Xiao Lu, are you still not going to stream tomorrow for your birthday?”
Originally, Jian Rong had his chin propped up on his hand as he stared at the city outside. Upon hearing that, he raised his head and looked over, startled.
Lu Boyuan was currently leaning back in his chair, catching up on sleep, and he didn’t bother opening his eyes. “I’m not.”
Ding-ge murmured an “okay.”
The second Ding-ge faced forward again, there was a tug on Lu Boyuan’s shirt.
After Jian Rong repeatedly confirmed tomorrow’s date, he said blankly, “Tomorrow’s April 29.”
Lu Boyuan: “Mn?”
Jian Rong was bewildered. “Isn’t your birthday… May 8?”
Lu Boyuan lifted his eyebrow. “Where’d you get that from.”
Lu Boyuan nodded and said, “It’s wrong.”
Lu Boyuan never streamed for his birthday. In the past, Jian Rong never really paid much attention to things like birthday merch events either, so if he wanted to know the date of Lu Boyuan’s birthday, the only way he could think of to find it was by searching online.
He hadn’t expected it to be wrong.
Jian Rong’s plans were completely ruined. Despite being utterly calm last night during an interview viewed by over a hundred million people, at that moment, he looked somewhat helpless.
Seeing Jian Rong’s expression, Lu Boyuan reached out and patted his head. He hid a smile as he comforted, “I don’t celebrate this kind of thing.”
It was true that Lu Boyuan didn’t celebrate it, but Ding-ge would still buy a cake for him every year. On the birthdays when they didn’t have any practice matches, Lu Boyuan would also invite everyone out for a meal.
But Jian Rong wasn’t consoled. Once he found out that Lu Boyuan’s birthday was the next day, he buried his head and remained glued to his phone, which vibrated constantly with WeChat messages. It was only when they got on the plane and the announcement told the passengers to turn off their phones that Jian Rong finally switched his phone to airplane mode and slid it into his pocket.
Nobody had rested well the night before, so they napped on the plane and continued to sleep after returning to the base.
Lu Boyuan wasn’t particularly tired. He unpacked his suitcase and changed into some casualwear before he went to knock on his boyfriend’s door.
When nobody responded after two knocks, Lu Boyuan thought that Jian Rong had gone to sleep.
“Xiao Rong went out,” the auntie informed him when she spotted this scene on her way to the balcony to dry clothes.
Lu Boyuan raised a brow. “When?”
“He left as soon as you guys came back. I told him to change out of his clothes so I could wash it for him, but he refused.” The auntie chuckled. “He said he had plans with a friend and was in a rush.”
Lu Boyuan nodded. “Okay, I see.”
After finishing such a big competition and with so few days off, nobody was willing to touch a computer again.
Lu Boyuan sent Jian Rong a text before he dug out their Switch, which was almost covered in dust at this point, from a drawer in the living room. He connected it to the TV and started playing a single-player game.
Lu Boyuan only received a response once all their other teammates were awake and sitting on the couch in high spirits, playing on their phones or chatting with each other.
[R: Where’d you go?]
[R-ong: Meeting up with a friend.]
[R-ong: My phone died earlier…]
Right as Lu Boyuan was typing his reply, he was interrupted by Yuan Qian. He lifted his head. “Mn.”
“We’re going out to have fun tonight, dinner and then a bar. Do you wanna come?” Yuan Qian said with a grin, “My girlfriend’s coming, along with a few of her friends, and I also invited Da Niu and the rest… you could bring your partner along too?”
When he said that, Xiao Bai froze briefly in the middle of playing his mobile game.
His partner… his partner had been here this whole freaking time.
Yuan Qian continued, “Oh right, should we ask Jian Rong if he wants to come? Is he gonna be too young? Speaking of which, how come he isn’t back yet.”
Xiao Bai: “Eighteen is still too young? Ge, were you already eighteen when you first went to a bar?”
Yuan Qian said truthfully, “No. Then let me give him a call and ask…”
Pine interjected, “No need for that.”
He held up his phone and shook it. On the screen was a Weibo post that had just popped up in his feed. “He’s in Ningbo.”
Lu Boyuan answered Jian Rong with an “okay” before he went to search for the Weibo post Pine was talking about.
[StarTV Shiliu: Soft is badass [too happy] [group photo] thank you champion for treating me to dessert.]
The location of the Weibo post was unexpectedly Ningbo.
In the photo, the person Lu Boyuan had waited the entire afternoon for was sitting right across from Shiliu. He was even still wearing their team uniform and Lu Boyuan’s merch hat. Various desserts were displayed on the table like glittering jewels; there were hearts and stars on one of the cakes, and everything looked very sweet.
There were over two hundred comments underneath the Weibo post. Shiliu had replied to the first few.
[I miss the days when you two used to duo Q together. Back then, I felt so happy every day watching your streams.]
[StarTV Shiliu replied: I also miss it a lot, haha]
[When will we be able to see you two game together!!]
[StarTV Shiliu replied: I just asked Xiao Rong, he said that we’ll do it as soon as he’s free once he’s back!]
[And here I thought that Soft wouldn’t contact you anymore after going pro.]
[StarTV Shiliu replied: Impossible! We chat regularly with each other, don’t make up rumors.]
“Right after coming back from the finals, he went straight to Ningbo without sleeping or changing out of his team uniform?!” Yuan Qian was amazed. He joked, “They must have a pretty tight relationship then.”
Xiao Bai’s heart skipped a beat, and he quickly shot a look at his ge. “Eh, it’s so-so, aren’t they just ordinary friends.”
Yuan Qian shook his head. “There’s definitely more to it than that. When I got back to the base, I was so tired that I didn’t even have the energy to respond to my wife’s texts, and I fell asleep right away.”
Xiao Bai: “…”
Lu Boyuan put down his phone before he leaned back against the sofa and picked up the controllers to continue playing his game.
Xiao Bai watched as his ge calmly slammed the boss against the ground and ruthlessly pummeled it. He silently shifted a bit closer to Pine.
Yuan Qian: “Then Captain…”
“I won’t be going.” Lu Boyuan said mildly, “You guys have fun.”
Everyone else departed; only Lu Boyuan was left in the base.
Lu Boyuan finished two more missions before he got bored and turned off the TV. There were many notifications on his phone, all from news articles regarding their team, and Lu Boyuan scrolled through them casually on his way back to his room. After he got back, he directly locked his phone screen and tossed it onto his bed.
He took out his tablet from a drawer and continued watching the livestream replays that he didn’t get to finish before.
What Shiliu said was correct: he had indeed helped Jian Rong out a lot during his initial streaming days. Clips of Jian Rong duo queuing with Shiliu appeared every so often among Jian Rong’s livestream replays, and Shiliu had also advertised for Jian Rong in his own stream. Jian Rong’s personality was a bit more reserved back then compared to now, and he would rub his nose before thanking Shiliu.
Lu Boyuan watched the videos silently. Whenever he occasionally heard them scream with excitement from wiping the opposing team, his eyebrows would furrow ever so slightly before swiftly returning to normal.
It was only once a low battery warning popped up on the tablet that Lu Boyuan pulled himself out of those videos. He glanced up and saw that it was already almost midnight.
At some unknown point in time, his phone had been put on silent mode, and the screen was filled with messages. Lu Boyuan checked them all, but none were from Jian Rong.
He let out a heavy exhale before he plugged the tablet in to charge.
Then, he heard someone knock on his door.
It was very light, and there were only two raps, as if the person knocking was afraid that Lu Boyuan was asleep. Silence ensued after, but judging from the shadow underneath the door, they hadn’t left yet.
Recalling the video Xiao Bai had sent in the group chat of him disco dancing just a few minutes ago, Lu Boyuan threw aside his phone and got off the bed to open the door.
Jian Rong stood outside, still wearing his team uniform. He was holding his hat in his hand, and since his hair had been flattened almost the entire day, it was as messy as if he had gotten into a fight with Zhuang Yibai.
Upon seeing Lu Boyuan, Jian Rong’s eyes lit up.
“I thought you might’ve gone to sleep.”
“Almost.” Lu Boyuan glanced at his hair. “How’d you get back? Weren’t there no seats available for the high-speed rail?”
“I took a taxi. I couldn’t get a seat on the bullet train on my way there either, a lot of people are off for the Labor Day holiday…” Jian Rong paused. “How’d you know I went out of town?”
A few seconds later, he added, “…how’d you know the high-speed rail was fully booked?”
Because at first, Lu Boyuan was planning to go find him in Ningbo, but then he had discovered that there weren’t even any second class seats available thanks to the Labor Day holiday.
“I saw Shiliu’s Weibo post.” Lu Boyuan only answered one of the questions. “What’d you go to Ningbo for?”
Jian Rong abruptly remembered something important. He checked his phone; it was a few minutes past midnight.
Jian Rong handed Lu Boyuan the bag in his hand.
Lu Boyuan had been too preoccupied staring at his hair, so he only realized now that Jian Rong was also holding a few other things.
A certain luxury brand logo was printed on the bag. Lu Boyuan took it and said, “…in order to buy this?”
“Sort of. Shiliu was traveling abroad recently, so I asked him to buy it for me.” Jian Rong explained, “I was originally thinking that he could bring it to Shanghai and give it to me when he visits in a few days… but I got the date wrong.”
That was why he had immediately left as soon as he got back to the base. Since he couldn’t get a bullet train ticket, he had no choice but to take a taxi both ways. After arriving in Ningbo, he had also hurriedly treated Shiliu to afternoon tea to express his gratitude.
Lu Boyuan’s Adam’s apple bobbed. “Why didn’t you tell me, I could’ve driven you over.”
Jian Rong laughed. “Aren’t you supposed to keep it a secret when you’re giving someone a gift?”
Lu Boyuan gave a low “en.” “How long did it take to drive there?”
“A little more than three hours.” Jian Rong said, “The driver said that it doesn’t usually take that long, but because of the Labor Day holiday, there were a lot of cars on the highway.”
Yesterday, Jian Rong had just finished playing in a four-game match under high pressure, and he had also gotten into a spiteful drinking competition with Xiao Bai. Today, he was so sleepy that he couldn’t even open his eyes when he was brushing his teeth, but he had still traveled for a round trip of nearly seven hours to go get Lu Boyuan his gift…
Lu Boyuan drew in a deep breath, almost imperceptibly, and looked unwaveringly at Jian Rong.
Jian Rong let out a sigh of relief and felt much more relaxed, since he hadn’t missed his boyfriend’s birthday.
He leaned against the door frame and said, “Open it and see if you like it or not, I’ve… never really given anyone a gift before.”
Lu Boyuan asked, “You haven’t given anything to Shiliu before?”
Jian Rong didn’t know why he was suddenly bringing up Shiliu, and he was caught off guard. “I have, but they were stream gifts… does that count?”
Though Lu Boyuan was aware that he was being quite petty, the corners of his mouth still curled up.
He smiled and didn’t open the bag. “What if I say I don’t like it.”
Jian Rong’s face instantly fell into a scowl, transforming his eyes into monolids. “Then return it to me…”
Lu Boyuan chuckled as he lowered his head and leaned towards him. Jian Rong’s words disappeared between their lips.
Jian Rong’s first reaction was that they were outside his room, and he placed a hand on Lu Boyuan’s shoulder before he suddenly remembered that everyone else was at the bar.
At that moment, they were the only ones in the base.
Lu Boyuan bit down on his lower lip, not too harshly or gently, causing Jian Rong’s fingers to tremble. The hand he had pressed against Lu Boyuan’s chest abruptly moved upwards, and he hooked his arm around Lu Boyuan’s neck.
When he woke up yesterday morning, he had scolded himself for being a disappointment—he had finally managed to get some alone time with Lu Boyuan, and they didn’t even have any matches to worry about, so how the hell did he end up just falling asleep.
Then he made a trip to Ningbo, wasting another day. Jian Rong had regretted it the entire drive over, and he wanted to chat with Lu Boyuan to alleviate his agitation, but his phone had coincidentally run out of battery.
A day’s worth of irritation finally settled down now.
Lu Boyuan wasn’t very happy that entire day either, so his kisses were a little fierce. Jian Rong was moved from the doorway to the wall inside the room, and they temporarily dropped the things they were holding onto the ground. Lu Boyuan’s hand slipped underneath his shirt, causing Jian Rong’s waist to go weak as he subconsciously grabbed onto Lu Boyuan’s arm.
After his lips were released, Jian Rong leaned against the wall, panting slightly.
Lu Boyuan was originally intending to sleep for a while, so only a dim bedside lamp was turned on. Jian Rong’s eyes were the brightest things in the entire room.
Lu Boyuan reached up to stroke Jian Rong’s hair before he said, “How come you don’t taste like cake.”
Jian Rong frowned, confused. “What?”
“Didn’t you go eat dessert?”
“I didn’t eat anything.” Jian Rong was a little giddy from all the kissing, and he said quietly, “Shiliu didn’t either. He ended up taking it to go for his girlfriend.”
Lu Boyuan let out an “en” before he kissed the mole on the tip of Jian Rong’s nose.
Jian Rong unexpectedly heard a bit of satisfaction in his “en.”
With the mention of this topic, Jian Rong recalled that he had been running around outside the entire day. “I’m gonna go take a shower first.”
“Okay.” Now that Jian Rong was at Lu Boyuan’s side, that hint of restlessness and unease from before vanished, and his voice sounded a little lazy. “Shower in my room?”
Jian Rong’s heartbeat accelerated significantly with that question.
“I’ll find some of my clothes for you to wear.” Lu Boyuan said, “It’ll be very large, and more comfortable than your pajamas.”
Jian Rong barely felt conflicted inside at all.
Holding Lu Boyuan’s clothes, he had just pushed open the bathroom door when he heard Lu Boyuan ask him, very naturally, “Can we go together?”
Even though it was about to be summer, the water in the shower was still somewhat hot.
They kissed in the shower cubicle; the ceramic tile in the bathroom was colder than the wall in Lu Boyuan’s bedroom. Jian Rong’s head felt feverish, but his back was chilly, stimulating him to the point that he couldn’t really remember how to kiss back.
Lu Boyuan didn’t force him to continue with the kisses. Pressed against Jian Rong, he sunk his fingers into Jian Rong’s hair and lowly asked him if he wanted to wash this part too.
At the beginning, Jian Rong thought that it was just going to be the same as before.
It was only when Lu Boyuan dragged him onto the bed to kiss him after they came out of the bathroom that he realized… it seemed to be a little different.
They were reacting more intensely than they had any other time, and the sound of their breathing intertwined ambiguously in the room.
Jian Rong’s mind was already empty, his world narrowed down to Lu Boyuan. Amidst the faint glow of the lamp, he could distinctly feel Lu Boyuan’s breaths, body temperature, and hands.
Lu Boyuan stopped, propping himself up on two hands next to the pillow, and looked at Jian Rong.
His shoulders were very broad, and there were light bite marks left by Jian Rong on his lips. His dark and heavy gaze pierced downwards, filled with possessiveness.
“Jian Rong.” Lu Boyuan’s voice was low and husky. “If you don’t put your legs down right now, then you can just leave them there the entire night.”
Lu Boyuan had trapped him too far in the corner. In order to make space for Lu Boyuan, Jian Rong had unconsciously wrapped his right leg around Lu Boyuan’s waist.
Jian Rong didn’t move.
Even though he had never specifically attempted to research this sort of thing… he had encountered many types of people online before. For the sake of popularity, some streamers liked to shamelessly tease the water friends, and there were also a lot of drawings and fanfiction related to this in the supertopic. So, more or less, he understood what Lu Boyuan was implying when he said that.
Jian Rong stared at him quietly for a while before he tilted his head to the side and nipped Lu Boyuan’s Adam’s apple. With a flushed face, he put on a calm expression. “I’m young and my legs are strong, so they won’t get sore even if I leave them there.”
Lu Boyuan, who was five years older than him, lifted an eyebrow and went silent for a few seconds. Then, he immediately pinched Jian Rong’s chin and blocked his mouth again.
Jian Rong had always considered himself to be a relatively unbothered person. Hardly anything ever affected him.
On top of that, he himself wanted to become more and more intimate with Lu Boyuan, until they were as close as they could possibly be—
But only a few minutes later.
He slumped on the bed with his entire face buried in the pillow, his mind full of—
This is the freaking world champion’s fin… gers…
Maybe I can’t do this.
Jian Rong was truly unable to endure Lu Boyuan doing this, and he couldn’t help but let out a fleeting whimper. Feeling embarrassed, he restrained himself for a few more seconds. In the end, he couldn’t hold back any longer and said into the pillow, “Hold on… just do it already.”
“Endure it a little,” Lu Boyuan said softly, “or else it’ll hurt.”
Jian Rong’s whole body was red. “…I’m not afraid of pain…… I’m really… not freaking afraid…”
After an indeterminate amount of time, Jian Rong finally let out a sigh of relief. He gripped the pillow, feeling weak from head to toe, unable to move. But when he heard the sound of a package being torn open, he slowly turned his head.
It took Jian Rong a few seconds to recognize the object in Lu Boyuan’s hand. He said, shocked, “When… did you buy that?”
“Not too long ago.” Lu Boyuan smiled. “I bought it just to have it, I didn’t think about when to use it.”
Jian Rong: “Do you think I believe that?”
Lu Boyuan’s smile deepened before he grabbed Jian Rong’s legs and effortlessly hauled him over.
Jian Rong felt like it was really a huge disadvantage being skinny.
What kind of man was he if he could easily and casually be picked up by someone else??
In the middle, Lu Boyuan had turned on the air conditioning, but they were both still sweating a little.
They didn’t do it for very long before Jian Rong lost all his strength.
Lu Boyuan was evidently still full of energy. Jian Rong laid on the bed, his legs sprawled carelessly to the side. When they were bent, it was possible to see his knees trembling ever so slightly.
Out of the reddened corner of Jian Rong’s eye, he saw Lu Boyuan bend over and pick up the box containing his gift from below the bed.
Lu Boyuan had opened the box earlier when he was getting clothes for Jian Rong; there was a belt inside.
Lu Boyuan asked, “How much was it?”
Jian Rong’s voice was hoarse. “…tens of thousands.”
“I wanted to buy something even more expensive.” Jian Rong swallowed. “But we weren’t done with the tournament yet, so I didn’t have the prize money, and my savings from before were put into a fixed term account… I ran out of money.”
Lu Boyuan laughed.
He took out the belt and half-knelt on the bed. “Give me another gift?”
“Try on the belt for me.”
Jian Rong furrowed his brows and didn’t understand why this could be considered a gift. He said, “Then wait until I’m wearing clothes…”
Before he could finish, Lu Boyuan lifted up one of his hands and wrapped the belt around his arm, buckling it in. The black belt stood in stark contrast to Jian Rong’s fair skin.
Jian Rong’s head went blank for a moment, and he started breathing even harder.
Lu Boyuan placed his arm back down on the bed before he laced his own fingers through Jian Rong’s and tightened them.
He said, “I was originally going to tie both hands together.”
Jian Rong did his best to calm his heart rate. He licked his lips. “…what’s up with you?”
“Don’t know.” Lu Boyuan lowered his head and kissed him before he said raspily, “I seem to be a little jealous.”
Jian Rong was startled, but before he could react, Lu Boyuan grabbed onto his legs again and dragged him once more back into the chaotic waves.