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A Little Reassurance

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"-- look at that, Cloud Whisperer's down and victory goes to Happy!" Huang Shaotian practically howled, clutching the mic stand excitedly in both hands. The camera panned over the faces of the winning team, then the losers, letting Huang Shaotian continue chattering, "Look at that expression on Tang Rou's face, she's not known as the fiercest female in Glory for nothing, she just put her team on her back and carried them in that team fight, oh, look, look, Steamed Bun Invasion's trying to pick up their Summoner, Lou Ji seems to be fighting back-- And there's Tyranny, taking their defeat stoically, lining up to shake hands. What a game that was and--!"

 

"Back to the analyst's desk, we have Yu Wenzhou waiting to give us his breakdown of the match," the host smoothly interrupted, knowing not to let Huang Shaotian rattle on too long after the match. While Huang Shaotian's rapid reactions and excellent understanding of the game made him a perfect shoutcaster, he was also enough of a gossip that letting him linger on the reactions of the players would titillate the audience and take their attention off the actual gameplay.

 

"Thank you," Yu Wenzhou said politely. He folded his hands on the table, only for a flash of blinding white to wink across the camera. The camera man quickly refocused on Yu Wenzhou's hand where a truly impressively-sized diamond shone from a simple gold ring. Besides him, Chu Yunxiu gasped, both hands flying up to her mouth.

 

"Wenzhou!" She said, grabbing his hand and pulling it upwards. "Are you -- is that -- Are you and Shaotian finally getting married?!"

 

"Hey hey!" Huang Shaotian shouted in frustration from his own booth. "Don't let her spoil the surprise! Captain! Why are you wearing the ring already, we were supposed to announce it only after play-offs --" Unfortunately for him, only the live audience and the teams coming down from the podium could hear him. On the broadcast, Yu Wenzhou merely smiled and tugged his hand away from Chu Yunxiu.

 

On the stage, Ye Xiu paused for a half-second at Huang Shaotian's words, then started to descend the steps with an impassive face.

 

Nobody noticed Su Mucheng reaching out to take Ye Xiu's hand in her own.

 

----

 

Lord Grim: Want to PK?

Troubling Rain: You! Why do you have to invite me now?! I'm going to choose wedding outfits with Yu Wenzhou, I can't miss that to PK! When I get back we'll PK! PK PK PK PK PK!

Lord Grim: I'll be busy later.

Lord Grim: Don't worry. I'll find someone else.

Lord Grim: Guan Rongfei's come up with a new form for Myriad Manifestations and I want to test it against a good Blade Master.

Lord Grim: Liu Xiaobie should be free.

Troubling Rain: What?! No no no no!

Troubling Rain: If you want to test it against a good Blade Master, call Lu Hanwen! Lu Hanwen! He's the best Blade Master, not that tiny shrub!!!! Lu Hanwen!

Lord Grim: You just want Blue Rain to have an advantage over Steamed Bun Invasion when they face Happy.

Troubling Rain: Of course I do! He's more of a pest than you are! Shoutcasting him is worse than shoutcasting you!

Lord Grim: You've never shoutcased for me.

Troubling Rain: I have in my nightmares! You and he are both nightmares!

Troubling Rain: Hey!

Troubling Rain: Say something!

Troubling Rain: Are you really talking to that tiny shrub?!

Troubling Rain: @LordGrim @LordGrim @LordGrim

Lord Grim: Aren't you supposed to be picking out clothes?

Troubling Rain: We can do it later! PK PK PK PK PK! Now!

Lord Grim: Still so noisy.

Lord Grim: Room waitingforyou password forever.

 

----

 

One glance at the Caller ID was enough for Ye Xiu to know he didn't want to pick up. He'd seen the messages on QQ, he'd received the in-game alerts and he'd read the texts on his phone.

 

"You'll have to pick up eventually," Su Mucheng said, leaning over his shoulder to look at the vibrating phone.

 

"He's busy planning a wedding. I ignore him for long enough, he'll stop calling," Ye Xiu said casually as his fingers flew over the keys. Yu Wenzhou wasn't like Huang Shaotian; eventually, he would run out of steam and abandon his quest for Ye Xiu's attention.

 

"If you apologize to him, he'll stop calling," Su Mucheng said, her reasonable tone making Ye Xiu's shoulders hunch up together.

 

"I don't need to apologize. Shaotian'll be his for the rest of their lives. He can spare Shaotian for a few hours." After all, Yu Wenzhou was a tactician. Losing a battle to win a war was a traditional trade.

 

Instead of replying with words, Su Mucheng swiped her mouse out widely to the side, sending a stream of shots firing from her gun. A person more poetic than Ye Xiu might have thought the rattle of the bullets sounded like laughter.

 

----

 

"Can I trust you to not disrupt the wedding somehow?" Yu Wenzhou asked, his calm eyes fixed on Ye Xiu's face. The smoky blue-grey looked like the storm clouds that came before rain, heavy with mistrust.

 

"You really need to ask me that?" Ye Xiu lifted a cigarette to his mouth to give his hands something to do besides ball up into fists. The smoke from the cigarette drifted upwards, clouding his face.

 

"I know you still have feelings for Shaotian."

 

Ye Xiu waited but there was nothing more to the sentence than that. Yu Wenzhou let it hang in the air, bait that Ye Xiu couldn't help but bite at.

 

"And we both know you're better for him." A shrug, Ye Xiu unwilling to say anything more than that. "And you're the closest thing to a friend that I have."


(Su Mucheng wasn't a friend. She was family.)

 

"I was wondering if you'd forgotten that." There was no accusation in Yu Wenzhou's voice, just his typical calm. All the same, Ye Xiu cupped his hands to push the smoke more strongly around his face, hiding behind its obscuring smog.

 

"No. I was just testing a theory."

 

Yu Wenzhou's eyebrows arched slightly. "Which is?"

 

That Ye Xiu could still get Huang Shaotian's attention no matter what? That Huang Shaotian would ignore even his own wedding for Glory? That his best friend would always be a threat to his happiness?

 

Ye Xiu pinched the cigarette out, the corners of his mouth twitching slightly. "You figure it out, Wenzhou. You've got the rest of your life to do so."

Conceding isn't the same as losing and both of them knew it.