Thank you to Anon for the Ko-fi!
In the end, Jian Rong even laid flat on the ground to look underneath his bed, but he still couldn’t find those stockings.
He sat on the wooden floorboards and started to think back. The first thing that came to his mind was the image of Lu Boyuan’s hand holding his stocking.
Jian Rong slapped himself on the forehead before continuing to search back through his memories. Lu Boyuan had set the stocking down on the couch, and Jian Rong had picked it up to put it on… no, he hadn’t worn it, he had stuffed it into the pockets of the jacket.
The pockets of Lu Boyuan’s jacket.
Jian Rong slapped himself again on the forehead.
Dammit—he had inspected the jacket so many times earlier, even the collar and the cuffs, but the only thing he forgot to check was the pockets.
He had been too careless when stuffing the stockings inside, and he had stuffed a stocking in each pocket. The hosiery was already thin in the first place, and with the little flaps of cloth on top of the pockets covering them up, the stockings weren’t visible at all.
Jian Rong took out his phone, intending to send Lu Boyuan a text.
“Captain, my stockings are still in your jacket pockets.”
Jian Rong’s fingertips paused.
How come that sounded so weird??
And also… if he sent that text, wouldn’t he have to go back to Lu Boyuan’s room again?
Just now, after Jian Rong had been exposed, Lu Boyuan hadn’t asked any questions.
He hadn’t asked why Jian Rong wanted to work part-time at an internet cafe at such a young age, nor had he asked why Jian Rong never said anything despite recognizing Lu Boyuan.
Lu Boyuan had only silently ruffled Jian Rong’s hair. A long while later, he finally said a “happy eighteenth birthday.”
A few years had passed since that time, and Lu Boyuan was no longer the same cold-faced, taciturn youth from the internet cafe doorway back then. He still didn’t talk much, but his every word and action was diffused with a warmth that belonged solely to Lu Boyuan.
His heart, which had finally managed to calm down, started to go crazy again. Jian Rong stood up from the ground and deleted the text he had written, deciding that he would go and get the stockings back tomorrow.
[R-ong: I can just leave the clothes here, too lazy to go downstairs now]
[Ding-ge: That’s fine but… you won’t toss out that outfit, right?]
Jian Rong: “…”
No wonder he wanted the clothes back this late at night; he was afraid that Jian Rong would throw them out.
[R-ong: Not in the habit of tossing out clothes.]
That evening, Jian Rong had a particularly strange dream.
He dreamed that he was hosting a meet and greet with his water friends. The first program of the meet and greet was a large-scale father and son recognition ceremony, which became a group fight after a while—it was him versus a hundred others, and he beat up those dumbasses, who always called him a dwarf king in the barrage, until they begged for forgiveness. An observer called the police, and Jian Rong went to the police station to fill out a form. The police officer pointed at the form and asked him why he filled out his gender as male when he was clearly female—only then did Jian Rong realize that he was wearing the sailor outfit and that the rabbit ears were still freaking on his head.
Then Lu Boyuan arrived at the police station to fetch him. After exiting the police station, Jian Rong took off his stockings and stuffed them inside Lu Boyuan’s pockets, saying that they were a gift of gratitude for bailing him out.
There were too many elements in this dream, and Jian Rong’s first instinct upon waking up was to raise his head and see what the hell he was wearing. When he saw his pajamas, he let out a sigh of relief and laid back down again.
He definitely wouldn’t be able to sleep anymore after that. Jian Rong closed his eyes and lazed around in his bed for five more minutes. He recalled the happiness he felt from beating up the water friends in his dream earlier before he flipped over and got up to wash.
In the practice room, Xiao Bai sat in front of the computer, one leg propped up over the other. As he gamed, he said, “The early bird gets the worm. While they’re all sleeping, I’ll secretly train by myself, and the difference in our strength levels will instantly appear during the competition. If I keep this up long-term, it won’t be long before my endorsement fee will surpass my ge’s, wah—”
Before he could finish dragging out the “wah,” the door to the practice room was pushed open. Xiao Bai turned his head, mouth open, and saw Jian Rong enter with a blue bird’s nest on his head.
Xiao Bai usually put his webcam on the left, facing right, because he felt like he was amazingly handsome from that angle.
As a result, the water friends saw Jian Rong sit down in the chair next to Xiao Bai’s, eyelids drooping, a scowl on his face. The marks that had been pressed into the side of his face from sleeping hadn’t even disappeared yet. He bent over and powered on the computer without sparing Xiao Bai a single glance from beginning to end.
Xiao Bai looked at the dark circles underneath Jian Rong’s eyes. “…are you awake or are you sleepwalking?”
“I’m awake.” Jian Rong replied emotionlessly, “But you’re indeed sleepwalking.”
The water friends burst out laughing, and Xiao Bai had to think for quite a while before he realized that Jian Rong was mocking what he said before.
“How am I sleepwalking? Thirty percent predestined by fate, seventy percent gained from working late, stake it all to become great!”
Jian Rong opened the game and asked without even looking back, “How much is the difference between your endorsement fee and Captain’s?”
“My ge’s is just,” Xiao Bai coughed lightly, “higher than mine by two… two or three or four times, maybe.”
The water friends laughed even more uproariously. Although Xiao Bai was only a support, his net worth was already considered quite high among the professional players. To double or triple or quadruple his base…
Jian Rong sneered. “Mn, good luck to you.”
After being ridiculed first thing in the morning, Xiao Bai gulped down half of his iced soy milk out of anger. Finally, he slammed the soy milk down heavily on the table before he turned his head.
The water friends all thought that they were about to witness the scene of TTC’s veteran member and newcomer not getting along for the very first time when—
“Wanna duo queue? Baby.”
[Hahaha dumb baby~]
[You even freaking endured that??]
[You’re really capable of doing anything in order to climb, huh.]
Xiao Bai thought, Or else what, if you have the skill then why don’t you come and argue with him ah?
“My baby ADC isn’t awake yet, and I ended up being screwed over in my last game, so I don’t want to solo queue anymore.” Xiao Bai batted his eyes at Jian Rong. “Wanna queue?”
“Don’t call me baby, it’s really gross.” Jian Rong said, “Invite me.”
Xiao Bai quickly sent out a party invite. Then he asked on behalf of the water friends in the barrage, “Are you not going to stream?”
“No.” Jian Rong joined the party. “I’m not giving them the chance to ruin my mood this early in the morning.”
Most likely because they had just resumed practice, everyone got up early today, besides their captain.
After Pine came, Xiao Bai went to duo queue with him, while Jian Rong went to queue with Yuan Qian. It wasn’t going very well, as they had run into actors1 for two games in a row already.
Just as Jian Rong was finishing up his mini essay flaming the actors and was reporting his teammates, the door to the practice room opened again.
Jian Rong shot a look over his shoulder and instantly froze.
Lu Boyuan wore a tired expression, and his eyes had become monolids because he had just woken up. For once, he was wearing a jacket today—the jacket that Jian Rong had returned to him last night.
Jian Rong stared at the unobtrusive lumps in his pockets and felt his scalp prickle slightly.
“Xiao Rong?” Yuan Qian called his name and prompted, “Pick your roles.”
“…oh.” Jian Rong turned his head back around in a panic and chose his roles. In his mind, he came up with thousands of different ways to get his stockings back.
Lu Boyuan didn’t notice Jian Rong’s gaze.
Yesterday, when the auntie was cleaning his room, she hadn’t closed the window completely. He hadn’t noticed, since the curtains were drawn, so he had ended up being blown by the wind the entire night. From the moment he woke up today, his head felt a bit heavy, and his throat was uncomfortable as well, which wasn’t a good sign.
As Lu Boyuan walked over to his seat, Xiao Bai suddenly looked back and called out to him. “Ge, Ding-ge told me to give the lighter back to you.”
Lu Boyuan entered the livestream frame, and for a moment, the barrage in the stream was full of “ahhh.”
Lu Boyuan paused, and his eyebrows furrowed slightly. “He’s got nothing better to do?”
“He said that he checked the price of the lighter and decided not to confiscate it in the end. As long as you don’t smoke, it’s fine…” Xiao Bai said, “Ge, what’s wrong with your voice?”
“Nothing.” Lu Boyuan took the lighter and slipped it into his pocket.
Then, his fingertips brushed against something soft and velvety.
For a second, Lu Boyuan couldn’t remember what he had stuffed into the jacket pocket, so he just pulled the item out.
The tens of thousands of people in Xiao Bai’s stream watched with wide eyes as their God Lu tugged out a familiar girly stocking from his pocket.
Xiao Bai was stunned.
Pine also lifted an eyebrow.
On the other hand, Lu Boyuan didn’t really have any extra feelings. He stared at the stocking and only thought about it briefly before he more or less understood what had happened.
Jian Rong had encountered the actor from the previous game again. From the get-go, the other person said that he was going to play properly this round, and he asked his teammates to give him a chance. Jian Rong preselected Teemo to scare him, and he had just sent out a “dumbasses don’t deserve chances” when he suddenly sensed someone walk over from behind him.
Before he could look behind him, a pair of stockings was placed onto his desk.
“You left your stockings in my jacket.” Lu Boyuan’s slightly raspy voice floated over from atop his head.
Click. Jian Rong locked in Teemo.
Jian Rong: “………”
Yuan Qian’s loud voice resounded through the base. “Fuck! You really locked in Teemo ah!!! We’ll be fined if we throw the game, do you know that!!!”
“…I’ll withdraw.” Jian Rong exited the game, pulled open the desk drawer, and stuffed the stockings inside before he forced himself to look up and explain, “I forgot last night.”
Lu Boyuan let out an “en” before he picked up his water cup from his own desk and walked out of the practice room.
Leaving the game meant he had to wait five minutes before he could queue again. While he was waiting, Jian Rong took a sip of water. Then, at the end of his patience, he turned his head and asked Xiao Bai, who was next to him, “What are you looking at? Will your points rise if you look at me a few more times??”
Xiao Bai was bursting with questions that he both wanted to ask but didn’t dare to ask. As a result, he simply tilted his monitor towards Jian Rong so that he could see the stream’s barrage—
[Have things become rated R???]
[Wasn’t God Lu wearing the same jacket that the little dumbass wore yesterday in his stream?]
[Fucking hell, he earns so much money off of us, then he goes and wears some other man’s clothes. Little dumbass I’m really freaking looking down on you.]
[Stockings, left in the jacket? How did it get left there?? Is it what I’m imagining???]
[You all are sick, stop with the YY okay? My husband lent that jacket yesterday out of the kindness of his heart, it’s obvious that Soft stuffed the stockings into the pockets after taking them off.]
[Who would stuff stockings into jacket pockets? Soft definitely did it on purpose, vomit]
[Exactly, my dumbass son is actually quite scheming, Dad can be at ease now.]
“………” Jian Rong retracted his gaze without saying a single word.
Xiao Bai thought that Jian Rong had restrained himself. He had just raised an eyebrow in surprise when he saw Jian Rong skillfully pull up the streaming platform, start a stream, and turn on his mic.
“Don’t spout BS in someone else’s stream.” Jian Rong said, “Come and lane against your dad.”
Knowing that he had caught a cold, Lu Boyuan took medicine for three days straight.
But he was likely to feel sleepy after taking it, and he was unable to concentrate or focus during their practice matches. After he felt like he was improving, he stopped taking the medicine.
All the way up until the spring season competition schedule resumed—on the day that they were playing against Fighting Tiger, Lu Boyuan developed a low fever.
On the bus taking them to the arena, Ding-ge walked over to Lu Boyuan’s seat, holding bread and medicine. “Eat something to fill your stomach, and then take the medicine.”
“No.” Lu Boyuan refused hoarsely.
Maybe it was because of the fever, but Lu Boyuan hadn’t taken off his hat even after getting on the bus. His entire body was slumped leisurely against the window, and he emitted a “do not disturb unless necessary” aura from head to toe.
The bus was about to start driving. Ding-ge clicked his tongue before he stuffed the bread and medicine into Jian Rong’s hands, since he was sitting next to Lu Boyuan. “You coax him to eat some.”
Ding-ge sat back down in his original seat. Jian Rong held the two items, feeling somewhat at a loss… how to coax Lu Boyuan?
Halfway to the stadium, Lu Boyuan was about to close his eyes and rest when the medicine and bread were extended in front of him once again.
The brim of his hat was tugged very low, and he lifted his head to look at Jian Rong only after he saw those two items.
Jian Rong: “How about you just take one pill?”
Lu Boyuan waited quietly for a few seconds before he asked lazily, a hint of exhaustion in his voice, “This is how you coax someone?”
Jian Rong pondered a bit before he opened the medicine box. “I’ll help squeeze one out for you.”
Seeing that he was actually about to squeeze out a pill, Lu Boyuan laughed in spite of himself and reached out to stop Jian Rong.
Because of his fever, Lu Boyuan’s body temperature was a bit high, and Jian Rong felt like the back of his hand had been momentarily scalded.
“Really, I’m not going to take it.” When Jian Rong continued to stubbornly hold onto the medicine pills, Lu Boyuan paused briefly. “How about this. You keep the medicine… and I’ll eat it after we’re done playing. That should work, right?”
“…you don’t feel uncomfortable?”
“I don’t.” Lu Boyuan’s voice was mild. “Once we’re finished, you can give it to me then?”
Ding-ge was sitting in the row right in front of them, and when he heard Jian Rong’s hesitant “okay,” he closed his eyes and clicked his tongue.
Just who the hell was coaxing who here.
- Mentioned this before but it was a while ago, so just another note since actors do come up frequently later – actors are especially prevalent in the higher tiers of China’s servers. They’re like trolls but worse since usually they’re paid to win/trade/throw games to boost elo (basically “acting” for someone else’s benefit) ^
Wei: The secondhand embarrassment for JR I can’t asdfha I’m dying but also can’t stop laughing ahaha
Also, here’s some great fanart for ICDI! Thanks to teal96ko and Yuuki for sharing some of these in the comments, and others are linked from the author’s Weibo. (The captions are just people fangirling and don’t have any relation to the story lol)
1. https://www.ice99.com/cartoon/2763171.html: “Stupid son don’t be mad, God Lu is here to feed you candy.” – translated by Shen in the last chapter!
3. https://m.weibo.cn/status/4544476980447464 This is the scene where JR is imagining holding a fan meeting where he’ll beat up his water friends