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Spring comes, flowers bloom, I’m in love.

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Chapter 1

 

Wang Yibo met Cho Seungyoun when he enrolled the Hanlim Junior High School in Korea and then became best friends – literally inseparable. Yibo moved to Korea along with his parents due to their job. Later, Yibo and Seungyoun even attended the Hanlim Senior High School together, and introduced themselves ridiculously as twins. The times they spent together made them open comfortably against each other – there was no secret between them.

            Yibo was a quite and cold boy, but he was also straightforward and savage. He didn’t like chitchat and people asking him questions; he would just pretend not to hear it. He didn’t like being on the spot, center of attention, mostly trouble, but that didn’t make him hesitate to fight back when it was needed.

            Seungyoun was the opposite of Yibo. He was loud, aggressive and cheerful boy. He was the act-first-type kind of guy that led him a lot into troubles. But deep inside, he was a sweet and warm guy.

            Yibo’s parents worked for Seungyoun’s parents – Seungyoun’s parents had mega culinary business both in China and Korea. He was just finished his first year high school when Seungyoun’s parents decided to give Yibo’s parents the Chinese branches to take care of and that made Yibo had to move to China.

            Seungyoun got furious and asked his father to let him enrolled high school in China. At first, his parents didn’t allow him. But after so much pleading, finally they allowed him in condition that Seungyoung must not be involved in any troubles or else they would send him back to Korea.

            Yibo and Seungyoun took the Science-and-Engineering Department and managed to be in the same class, the second class, and shared the same dorm, along with two other boys Wu Jiacheng and Guo Zifan from Liberal Art Department. Then Yibo learned that the Science and Engineering Department had three classes for second year and third year.

            On their first day, Li Wenhan, the class representative of Science and Engineering Department from the first class second grade, took them for a tour. It turned out that Wenhan was also the coach assistant in the basketball club they were joining in.

            Yibo also learned that the Students Councils supervised the students’ activities. They would decide how badly the rule breaking before reporting this to the teachers Discipline Court to take further penalties.

            Yibo had his first days fun. Although he spent his four years teenagers phases in Korea, but China was always his home and it was really nice to be home. He sometimes blurted in Chinese-Korean when talking and that made the others students easily remembered him.

            In the dormitory building, there was the dorm canteen on the first floor that served food for breakfast and dinner, while the academic building canteen provided the lunch. The menu was various from Asian, Western, Europe, and Yibo loved all of them.

            The library building was separated from the academic building; they were next to each other. The library was very huge, consisted of four floors, internet café, private discussion rooms, public area with single desks and audio visual rooms.

            The dormitory building and the academic building were not literally far, they were connected by a pathway with pines tress on its left and right and in between those buildings, there was a park with benches and fountain, surrounded by bushes and flowers. The academic building separated the boys and girls dormitory buildings but they can have breakfast and dinner wherever they want and visit each other as long as they roam the first floor only.

            The dormitory had six floors; each grade occupied two floors. There are three lines elevator, located far from each other that would take those grades to their own floors and to avoid crowds.

            It was autum when Yibo entered the school. It was beautiful with the yellow, red and brown leaves of the maple and apricot trees. Not to mention some giants ancient ginko trees at the main entrance that welcame the students with its glorious yellow color. When Yibo walked along the pathway from the dormitory building to the academic building, he felt like he was walking along The Fragrant Hill Park.  The gentle autumn breeze would tickle his cheeks with its warm temperature and clean air.

            In this weather, Yibo and Seungyoun couldn’t say no to their skateboard. They would slide on it along the pathway back and forth. Sometimes when there weren’t so many students along the pathway, they would do some attractions and battles.

            When they didn’t have basketball club, Yibo and Seungyoun would play skateboard at the field or learn some new technics. This activity attracted some students, especially girls, and they would sit and watch Yibo and Seungyoun.

            Just in a month, Yibo and Seungyoun have become popular among girls and boys. Not because of their skill in skateboard and basketball, but also their handsome and gorgeous appearance – they called Yibo the cool and Seungyoun the sweet. Some girls even thought that Yibo and Seungyoun were actually boyfriends.

            This actually was an irony. Seungyoun’s sweet and cheerful attitude always welcome the girls warmly if they wanted to join their table at meal times, but Yibo’s cold and fierce attitude made them hesitated. Even if they managed to join their table, it was always Seungyoun who talked while Yibo would eat silently and ignored them.

            “So, are you guys boyfriends?” a girl asked them.

            Seungyoun involuntary laughed. “Do you think?”

            The girl nodded shyly, and then her friends also nodded.

            Seungyoun looked at Yibo goofily, but Yibo looked back at him lazily.

            “What makes you guys think that?” Seungyoun grinned.

            “Because you both are so close and literally always together.”

            “And you guys are so good together.”

            “Yes. Your interactions are so cute…”

            Yibo rolled his eyes and got up.

            “Eh, Yibo, where are you going?” Seungyoun looked up at him.

            Yibo didn’t reply. He just walked away without saying anything.

            Seungyoun chuckled. “Sorry, girls. Looks like Yibo don’t like this conversation. See you later, girls!” Seungyoun got up and waved at them sweetly before catching Yibo up out of the canteen.

            Their warm and cold attitude turned out attracts more girls and their lockers started to fill with letters, either love letters or support letters for their relationship.

            “I got more letters than you,” Seungyoun nudged Yibo.

            “Like I care,” Yibo replied while shoving his love letters into Seugyoun’s locker.

            “Aiishh… what the hell…” Seungyoun muttered.

            “Take them. You can take them all,” Yibo said.

            “Aren’t you gonna read and reply them?” Seungyoun collected and tidied the letters.

            Yibo inhaled deeply. “You read, then reply them for me.”

            “You’re not afraid of me saying weird things about you?”

            “You dare?”

            “Why not?”

            Yibo rolled his eyes and closed his locker. “Whatever.”

            Seungyoun shoved the letters into his bag and closed his locker.

            Yibo dropped his skateboard as soon as he was outside the building and slid across the pathway with Seungyoun close behind to the outdoor basketball field.

            It was a sunny afternoon that the basketball club decided to have practice at the outdoor field. Some girls knew this and they decided to watch Yibo and Seungyoun playing. Back then in Korea, Yibo and Seungyoun had joined the basketball club and they had been in some tournaments. Their capacity was unquestionable but considering they were newbies, they needed to build up their chemistry with other players. So the coach made them play a lot in different teams.

            Yibo played slow and easy. He didn’t want to push his skill in the team because he didn’t know them, and Wenhan was the captain for today’s team.

            “Don’t be nervous,” Wenhan said as they doing the warm-up. “Eventhough they looked tough, but they are willing to cooperate as long as you are also willing.”

            “Mmn.”

            “Today, you’ll take the power forward and I’m gonna be the point guard,” Wenhan said again. “Watch where I pass the ball and see if you can analyze the character of each player.”

            “Mmn.”

            Yibo looked at the team opponent where Seungyoun will be playing. Looked like they put Seungyoun as the small forward. It meant that they were going to face each other a lot.

            The girls who watched them cheered excitedly – shouted Yibo’s and Seungyoun’s names, especially when Seungyoun scored. Obviously this made Seungyoun more excited and happily gave them some shows, made them screamed louder, which Yibo found very stupid. Yibo himself couldn’t stand the shouts – he cringed every time they shouted his name. But eventhough Yibo gave them cold shoulder, the girls still screamed his name – the colder he was, the louder they screamed.

            “It was obvious that the colder a guy, the girls liked him more,” Seungyoun said when they were in the locker room. The practice was over and they were changing.

            “You were a total dork,” Yibo replied.

            “Hey, they liked me!” Seungyoun patted his chest proudly.

            “Whatever,” Yibo mumbled.

            “But I played cool!” Seungyoun claimed and sat on the bench.

            “You just wanted to impress those girls,” Yibo said.

            “Who didn’t?”

            “Hmmph!” Yibo frowned.

            “Hey, Yibo!” came Wenhan’s voice. “You were really good out there!”

            “Thank’s.” Yibo closed his locker and slung his bag around his torso.

            “You too, Seungyoun!” Wenhan gestured Seungyoun.

            “Aaayy… thank’s Li-hyung!” Seungyoun grinned.

            “What? Why with the hyung honorific?” Wenhan grinned back.

            “Because here, you are the coach assistant,” Seungyoun replied.

            “No, no…!” Wenhan shook his head. “Just call Wenhan. Hyung sounds awkward!”

            Seungyoung chuckled and nodded. “Okay!”

            “Like I said, eventhough they are tough, but they are willing to teach you how to play in the team,” Wenhan said again, looked at Yibo.

            “Mmn.”

            “By the way, you’re going to the dorm?” Wenhan asked again.

            “Yeah, looks like it,” Seungyoun replied. “Why?”

            “Oh, nothing…” Wenhan replied hesitantly. “See you in the canteen then.”

            Seungyoun nodded. “Sure!”

            When they entered the dormitory building, it was almost dinner time. After a short discussion, they decided to just buy take-outs so they can have it in their dorm while doing homework.

Seungyoun roamed the counter. “I want that curry, but I also want that bokkeumbap…”

            Yibo curved his lips. “Buy me that sweet beef and corriander,” he said finally after taking his time deciding. “I need to go to the bathroom.”

            “Okay.”

            Yibo pushed the bathroom door and stepped into the cubicle. He was washing his hands when three of third-grade-boys coming in. One of them, with a loosed tie, looked at him with a smug in his face.

            Yibo averted his eyes, focusing on his hands and not intended to make a mess. But the smug boy walked towards him and stood behind him.

            Yibo raised his face and looked at him through the mirror. And the first thing Yibo noticed was his dominating eyes, pierced right into his soul.

            “Wang Yibo…” the guy smirked.

            “And you are…?” Yibo asked him.

            Suddenly the guy put his chest against Yibo’s back and had his lips next to Yibo’s ear, made him gapped.

            Yibo involuntary pushed him back but his two friends immediately caught his hands and shoved him, chest flushed against the bathroom wall.

            Yibo fought back. The smug guy grasped the hair at the back of Yibo’s head and tugged it.

            “You are indeed handsome…” he whispered low, “But that doesn’t mean you can show it up.”

            Yibo shook his head, tried to let go.

            The smug guy grasped tighter, made Yibo cringed from the pain. “Right. Don’t act handsome, dog.” And then he let Yibo’s hair go.

            The two other guys also let his hands go.

            Yibo turned around in annoyance, rubbed gently the back of his head.

            The smug guy smirked. “I’ll be watching you, Wang-dog!”

            Yibo let the breath he was holding, still cringing. His eyes stared at the bathroom door in annoyance before bursting out. He roamed the canteen to find him but he was already gone. He walked towards Seungyoun who was sitting by the table with the take-outs.

            “Did you see three guys walked out of the bathroom before me?” Yibo asked while taking his seat across Seungyoun.

            Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows. “No. Why?”

            Yibo told Seungyoun what just happened in the bathroom.

            “What the fuck…” Seungyoun gave an irritated look.

            “I don’t think I know him,” Yibo said. “And I don’t think I did something that offended him. It was the first time I saw him.”

            “Do you remember what he’s looked like?” Seungyoun roamed the canteen.

            “Mmn. But he’s not here,” Yibo said while following Seungyoun roaming the canteen.

            Seungyoun nodded. “Too bad. But when you see him, let me know. I’ll kick his ass!”

            Yibo shook his head. “No need.”

            “What? He’s messing with us!”

            “Me.”

            “Anyone messes with you, then he messes with me!”

            “Tch!”

            “Yibo!”

            “Stay out of trouble.”

            Seungyoun cursed in Korean that made Yibo rolled his eyes.

            Yibo didn’t understand what had made that guy corner him in the bathroom. Maybe that guy hit the wrong person who happened to have the same name. Yibo shrugged it off and thought that it was just a mistake. “Come on!” he said, grabbed the take out and walked away.

 

***

 

            Yibo didn’t see that asshole during the day. Well, the school area was so big and he could be anywhere.

            Yibo didn’t see him in the canteen either. Canteen was the only place at school where the students from all departments meet each other at the same time and when Yibo couldn’t spot him, he was confused.

            “Are you sure he is a student here?” Seungyoun raised his eyebrows.

            “Mmn.” Yibo pushed his lunch tray that was already empty and gulped down his fruity-tea slowly.

            “Maybe he’s having his lunch somewhere else,” Seungyoun said again. He was also done with his lunch.

            Yibo nodded.

            “Hey!” Wenhan came and joined them. He took the seat across Yibo and put his lunch tray. “I can see that you guys had no problem getting lunch,” he said, gesturing the food.

            “Well, the line was actually long but the service was really fast,” Seungyoun said.

            “I didn’t see you last night at the canteen dorm,” Wenhan looked at Yibo and started to eat.

            Seungyoun stared at Yibo, cueing about the attack.

            “We had dinner in the dorm,” Yibo replied shortly, ignored Seungyoun look.

            “Oh…” Wenhan nodded.

            “We had homeworks…” Seungyoun added, played along with Yibo.

            “Next time you got homework, we can do it together,” Wenhan said again.

            Yibo looked at him and nodded.

            “We usually have this small study group and we consult each other the homework, or subjects we don’t understand…”

            “Sounds cool,” Seungyoun said.

            “It is. You can join us. We have this study group every night after dinner at the public area, or the lounge at the forth floor.”

            Seungyoun nodded.

            “But only at the forth floor, remember that!”

            “Oh, why?” Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows.

            “Second floor is for the first year, forth floor is for the second year and fifth floor is for the third year,” Wenhan replied.

            YIbo nodded. He has heard about this rule between grades that they couldn’t just roam other year’s floor.  

            “Oh, yeah…,” Wenhan said again. “What are you guys doing this afternoon after school?”

            “We don’t know yet, why? You got somewhere fun to go?” Seungyoun asked.

            “Not really. It’s just, no club after school.” Wenhan shrugged.

            Yibo silently drank. His mind wondered to that asshole – could he be a third grade? Wenhan said that third grade liked privacy. Maybe they had their private place even for lunch and dinner.    

            Again, Yibo came to the conclusion that maybe that asshole picked the wrong guy with the same name.

            Yibo got up when the bell rang and walked away, let Seungyoun walked with Wenhan behind him because their classes were next to each other.

            Yibo finally saw that asshole on the way to the dormitory building in the afternoon after school. He was sitting on the bench by the fountain, while the other boys were standing around him.

            Yibo slid faster with his skateboard, hoping that they would miss him. But before he could pass them, one of them blocked him and he had just to abruptly stop, caught the skateboard after he stomped it hard.

            “Oooiii…!” Seungyoun spontaneously stomped the back of his skateboard and stepped down, shouted in surprise when he saw the boy suddenly blocking Yibo’s way.

            “That’s him,” Yibo whispered to Seungyoun.

            Seungyoun’s eye twitched when he realized what Yibo meant.

            “Oi, dog!” said a voice from behind.

            “You let them call you dog, stupid!” Seungyoun whispered in annoyance.

            “Let them. What’s wrong with dog. Dog is cute.” Yibo grinned.

            Yibo slowly turned around, Seungyoun followed.

            The smug guy smiled in annoyance. “I thought you had learnt your lesson, dog!”

            Yibo didn’t reply.

            “We don’t walk on four legs!” Seungyoun said back.

            “Shut up!” Yibo mumbled softly.

            The smug guy looked at Seungyoun in annoyance. He gestured his two boys to hold him.

            Seungyoun made a move, let his skateboard fell onto the ground. But those two boys were faster and they managed to drop him down on his knees, made him curse in Korean.

            The smug guy came towards Seungyoun and patted his cheek hard. “Learn to keep out from other’s business!”

            Yibo looked at the smug guy coldly. “What do you want?”

            The smug guy smiled and gestured another boy behind him to hand him the books he was holding.

            “I still haven’t gottent any compensation from the shit you did at the canteen,” he said.

            Yibo tilted his head in confusion. “What did I do?”

            The smug guy laughed mockingly. “What did you do?”

            Yibo stared at him lazily, let him laugh as he wanted.

            The guy suddenly gripped Yibo’s face with his free hand, between his thumb and pointer.

            Yibo gripped back his wrist spontaneously with his free hand.

            “I hate this smug face of yours,” he said in low tone.

            Yibo gritted his teeth, tried to let go the claw because his jaw was starting to get hurt.

            “Oi, asshole!” Seungyoun shouted. “You should see your own fucking ugly face!”

            The smug guy ignored Seungyoun’s words. He let go Yibo’s face and smacked the books against Yibo’s chest. “What do you say if you do me some favors, let’s see if I’m happy with it, then I might let you go.”

            Yibo took the books and opened the pages, let the skateboard fell onto the pavement. It was homework-books. “I’m not your slave!” He shot him a look.

            “Oh…?” the smug boy snatched Yibo’s bag and when Yibo fought back, the other boy behind him moved to hold his hand.

The smug guy smiled and gave it to the boy behind him. “Open it.”

            The boy opened it and the smug guy pulled out a book. With a sneaky chuckle, he slowly tore the book page by page.

            “NO!” Yibo and Seungyoun shouted in unison.

            The smug guy laughed, still tearing the pages.

            Yibo nudged hard the boy holding him with his elbow, made him lost his grip on him and Yibo used his chance to land his fist on his face.

            The smug boy gestured the two guys holding Seungyoun to beat him.

            Seungyoun tried to fight back but he was already pushed down, with his cheek flushed against the hard pavement.

            “BYUNG-SHIINN…!!!” Seungyoun shouted loud.

            “Stop, stop, I’ll do it!” Yibo shouted in a sudden.

            “Yibo, no!” Seungyoun shouted, groaned when he was pinned harder.

            The smug guy let the book fell onto the ground and calmly brushed his hands off. “You should have said that earlier. Dog!” He grabbed Yibo’s bag and threw it by his feet. “You have one night!”

            The smug guy gestured his friends to let Seungyoun go.  

            “Asshole…!” Seungyoun shouted. He abruptly got up and took steps forward to launch his fist, but stopped when Yibo called his name.

            The smug guy laughed as he turned around and walked away.

            “You stupid!” Seungyoun shouted at Yibo. “You shouldn’t give up that easily!”

            Yibo looked at Seungyoun in annoyance. “Look at your face!”

            “This is just small scratch!” Seungyoun pouted, brush his cheek gently. Red scratches appeared on his white pale cheek.

            “What am I gonna say to your dad if he saw this?” Yibo shoved the books into his bag and got up while grabbing his skateboard.

            “He won’t see this!” Seungyoun was furious. “And now you had his homework!”

            “Don’t worry, I got a plan.”

            “Aarrgghhh…!!!” Seungyoun stomped on his skateboard and slid away while cursing in Korean, leaving Yibo behind.

 

***

 

            From the book, Yibo knew his name – Xiao Zhan, third grade from the first class of Liberal Art Department. He was sitting by his desk, done with his homework.

“Why did you have his book?” Jiacheng asked again.

            “That asshole—,” Seungyoun opened his mouth.

            “I found it at the corridor,” Yibo replied, shot a shut-up-look at Seungyoun.

            Seungyoun glared and plopped himself on the bed while covering his face with the pillow, got annoyed.

            “How are you gonna give him the book?” Guo Zifan suddenly butted in.

            “I don’t know.”

            “Well… uumm… If I may… just avoid him. He’s nothing but trouble...” said Zifan hesitantly.

            Seungyoun abruptly sat up and looked down from his bed at Zifan who was below him. “You are definitely right, my friend!”

            “So you know…” Zifan said.

            “I don’t just happen to know him. I WANTED to smack that ugly face if only my stupid friend hadn’t held me!” Seungyoun said furiously, eyes glaring at Yibo.

            Both Zifan and Jiacheng looked at Yibo, but Yibo simply shrugged off.

            “Xiao Zhan was always surrounded by his boys,” said Zifan.

            “I can see that,” Seungyoun nodded.

            “The guy with short hair is Peng Chuyue. He’s like Xiao Zhan’s best friend,” said Jiacheng.

            It must be the guy who held him, Yibo thought.

            “The other short hair guy, who has thinner face, is Gu Jiacheng,” Zifan added.

            Yibo looked at Seungyoun. It was one of the boys who pinned Seungyoun down.

“The one who has long hair similar to Xiao Zhan is Zhao Lei,” Zifan said again.

            So the other boy who pinned Seungyoun down was Zhao Lei.

            “The one with cute and baby face is Xia Zhiguang,” said Jiacheng.

            Yibo remembered that face. He was the one standing behind Xiao Zhan, holding his books.

            “So, who is this asshole actually?” Seungyoun climbed down and sat on Jiacheng’s bed.

            Jiacheng looked at him, grined in confusion. “Well… there’s nothing I can tell about Xiao Zhan, except he’s smart, handsome…”

            “Popular among girls…” Zifan added.

            Jiacheng nodded. “Good at art.”

            “Yep. His paintings are always amazing!”

            “His locker is always full with love letters…”

            “Stop, stop!” Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows. “Where is the asshole part?”

            “Now,” Jiacheng looked at Seungyoun seriously. “He will pick a fight if he doesn’t like that person.”

            “Yep, until that person crawls and kisses his feet,” Zuofan added.

            Seungyoun tilted his head. “If he doesn’t like that person…?” Then he looked at Yibo.

            “What?” Yibo was taken aback, pretended doing his homework.

            “Yes,” Zifan said.

            “If he started to pick a fight with you, then there must be something about you that he doesn’t like,” Jiacheng added.

            Yibo supported his cheek by his elbow and stared at Xiao Zhan’s book. Then there must be something about him that Xiao Zhan didn’t like. But what?

           

            The next morning, Yibo noticed Xiao Zhan waiting for him at the main entrance with his boys.

            Yibo handed him the books and when Xiao Zhan looked at his done homework, he smiled.

            “Not bad, dog!” Xiao Zhan smacked Yibo by the cheek with the book, made Seungyoun glared.

            Yibo look at him coldly.

            “Aaaww… what a protective boyfriend…” Xiao Zhan teased him, stole a glance at Seungyoun.

            “Watch your mouth,” Yibo replied.

            Xiao Zhan chuckled. “Caring for each other… you really make me wanna puke…”

            “You should let me punch him…” Seungyoun said when Xiao Zhan turned around and walked away.

            “Don’t waste your energy,” Yibo said. “He’ll get what he deserves.”

            “Hey… you guys okay?” suddenly a voice came from behind.

            “Oh… Wenhan…!” Seungyoun said.

            “I saw you guys talk to him,” Wenhan pointed at the direction Xiao Zhan went away. “Did he give you guys trouble?”

            “That stupid asshole!” Seungyoun started, “He bullied Yibo, asked him to do his homework!”

            Wenhan looked at Yibo. “Did he?”

            “No.”

            “Yibo!” Seungyoun said annoyingly.

            “Really?” Wenhan looked at him tentatively.

            “Mmn.” Yibo then turned away and walked to his class.

            “Yibo!” Seungyoun ran after him. “Why don’t you tell Wenhan what happened.”

            “Why should I?” Yibo sat on his chair after putting his skateboard at the back of the class.

            Seungyoun put his skateboard next to Yibo’s. “He’s the class representative. He might be able to help you.”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. “Help me how?”

            “Sue him. Report his abusive behavior to the Discipline Committee?” Seungyoun tossed his bag and gave him a questioning look.

            Yibo didn’t say anything. Actually, he didn’t care about that smug Xiao Zhan. He could pick a fight any time and Yibo would be happy to oblige.

            At morning PE, the teacher gave the girls to play basketball while the boys watching them.

            Yibo found this really boring. Why should they watch the girls instead of playing in versus? He turned to look at Seungyoun who excitedly cheering up for those girls.

            Yibo roamed his eyes here and there, and suddenly caught a pair of dominating eyes watching him intensely.

            “She’s cute…” Seungyoun mumbled while gesturing a girl with long hair.

            “Mmn.” Yibo tilted his head and stared back into those eyes.

            “Look!” Seungyoun nudged Yibo’s upper arm.

            “Mmn.”

            “Oi!” Seungyoung nudged him harder.

            “Okay, she’s cute…” Yibo mumbled lazily, involuntary averted his gaze to look at the girl.

            “Stupid…” Seungyoun mumbled back.

            Yibo ignored him. He turned his gaze to find those eyes again, but they were gone. Why did Xiao Zhan look at him like that?

            Seungyoun cheered her a lot and made her blush.

            “Your hormone showing,” Yibo muttered.

            “Shut up!” Seungyoun protested.

            After PE, all the students got back to the class and got change with formal uniform. Yibo knitted his eyebrows in confusion when he noticed that his shirt was gone. He could only find his blazer and pants. He remembered very well that he folded it and put in on the chair before PE.

            “You’re not changing?” Seungyoun asked while taking of his shirt, made the girls closed their eyes.

            “My uniform is gone.”

            Seungyoun froze. “Gone? What do you mean by gone.”

            “Gone.” Yibo repeated. He abruptly turned around to check on his skateboard and his eye twitched in annoyance when he found out that his skateboard was also missing.

            Seungyoun gapped. “That fucking asshole…”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He was both speechless and annoyed that he didn’t know what to do. He sat silently after wearing the blazer on top of his PE shirt.

            “You don’t want to confront him?” Seungyoun asked in annoyance.

            No reply.

“Fine. Then I will.”

            “Seungyoun!” Yibo looked at him. “Sit.”

            “Yibo…”

            “…”

            “Don’t tell me that I didn’t help you.”

            Yibo didn’t say anything. Deep down he agreed with Seungyoun that this must be Xiao Zhan’s doing but he didn’t want to get Seungyoun into trouble. He might wanna confront him later, alone.

            But things went out of hand. During lunch break, Xiao Zhan and his boys came to Yibo’s table and tossed his already-torn shirt on the table.

            “I got fifty for the homework. Are you messing up with me, dog?” Xiao Zhan came towards him.

            Seungyoun immediately stood up to face him but his boys blocked him.

            Yibo got up and faced him, chin up. “Oh, I must be very stupid, then.”

            Xiao Zhan grabbed the collar of Yibo’s blazer. “You’re gonna crawl on your hands and feet, dog!”

            “Oi!” Seungyoun involuntary moved but the boys held him and pinned him; Chuyue and Jiacheng held his hand while Zhao Lei pinned his head against the table. Some students that were near them started to pull away to avoid getting involved.

            Yibo looked at him calmly. “You better watch out, or this dog will bite you hard.”

            “What do you think you’re doing?” suddenly a boy came between Yibo and Xiao Zhan, looked at Xiao Zhan calmly.

            “Teaching a dog to behave,” Xiao Zhan said without taking his eyes off of Yibo’s.

            The boy let out a breath and patted his shoulder. “Let go.”

            Xiao Zhan let go his grip and patted Yibo’s cheek. “We’re not done yet, dog!”

            Yibo smacked his hand. “I’m waiting.”

            Xiao Zhan turned around, gestured his boys to let Seungyoun go and then walked out of the canteen.

            “You,” said the boy to Yibo, “Come with me to the Discipline Committee!”

            Yibo grabbed his shirt while cueing Seungyoun to wait him in the classroom; he noticed that Wenhan was also there, standing behind the boy just now.

Yibo entered the Discipline Committee room and noticed there was another boy already waiting.

            The first boy gestured Yibo to sit while he was standing beside the second boy, folded his hands on his chest.

            “First, let me introduce myself,” said the first boy, “I’m Zhou Yixuan, the President of the Student Councils, also the President of Discipline Committee.”

            Yibo nodded.

            “I’m attending the First Liberal Art third year. This is my vice-president, Kim Sungjoo, attending the Second Liberal Art second year,” Yixuan pointed at the boy sitting behind him.

            Sungjoo smiled and waved.

            Yibo nodded again. Then Yixuan and Xiao Zhan were in the same class. Suddenly Yibo remembered how Yixuan talked to Xiao Zhan in the canteen. He looked at Yixuan and Sungjoo attentively; both Yixuan and Sungjoo were really nice and warm.

            “Do you know why you are here?” Yixuan asked.

            “No.”

            “First, your uniform,” Yixuan gestured the PE shirt Yibo was wearing under the blzer.

            “But you noticed what happened to my shirt,” Yibo replied while showing him his ripped shirt.

            Sungjoo widened his eyes and took Yibo’s ripped shirt, chuckled nervously. “Whooaaa… what the hell…!”

            “I did. The next question is, what happened to your shirt?” Yixuan asked again.

            Yibo opened his mouth but then he realized that he didn’t know what to say. He didn’t have any evidence that Xiao Zhan did that eventough he was the one who tossed it onto the table.

            “Well…?” Yixuan tilted his head, waiting for any answer.

            “My shirt was being ripped,” Yibo finally answered.

            “And, who did that?”

            “I don’t know.”

            Yixuan nodded. “Since you don’t know, I can’t take this as a crime.”

            Yibo didn’t reply. Deep inside he knew this – he had witnesses in junior high school how bullying worked.

            Sungjoo gave him back the shirt and patted Yixuan’s shoulder. “May I have a moment with him?”

            Yixuan didn’t say anything, but he pulled away and sat at afar.

            Sungjoo dragged a chair and sat in front of Yibo.

            “Just ignore him,” Sungjoo said, gesturing Yixuan. “Not every rule is written clearly black and white,” he started, making Yibo put all his attention at him. “Some rules are simply formed because of traditions and habits. For example, this thin line between the first, second and third year. Third year is undeniable exclusive and they demand priorities.”

            Yibo stole a glance at Yixuan who was cringing.

            “Don’t argue. You know it’s right!” Sungjoo pointed at Yixuan, then looked at Yibo. “Eventhough Xuan-ge is the president of The Student Councils who has to be neutral in anything, but in the other hand, he had to respect that tradition.”

            “Xiao Zhan occupies the top of hierarchy – I’m not gonna tell you the reasons why, you just have to find it by yourself – and there’s nothing you can do except avoiding him,” Sungjoo added.

            “I did nothing. He came to me first,”Yibo tried to defend himself.

            “I know. You don’t need to do particular thing to make him hate you. He just hates and there’s nothing you can do,” Sungjoo replied.

            Yibo tilted his head. This shit sounded annoying and that asshole needed someone to teach him the lesson about tolerance.

            Yixuan got up. “That’s enough,” he said to Sungjoo. “I know that Xiao Zhan did this but if you can’t find any evidence, I can’t mark this as a crime.”

            Yibo curved his lips. Seemed like this asshole was smart enough to leave no evidence. If he wanted to play dirty, then Yibo would play along.

            “No need,” Yibo finally said.

            “I hope you understand how the things work here,” Sungjoo said again.

            “I do. Thank you.”

            “Stay away from trouble,” Sungjoo said again when Yibo was walking out of the room.

            Yibo only nodded. There was no way he would just stay still when it was the trouble itself who came to him.

            Seungyoun was about to shower him with questions when the bell rang. “You need to tell me the complete story,” he whispered while looking at the teacher who was walking into the classroom.

            Yibo finally told him when they were walking to the basketball practice while carrying their skateboard. He found his skateboard by the mainboard at the hallway, already broke in two.

            Wenhan came to him immediately to check him and was surprised to see what happened to Yibo’s skateboard.

            “This is a crime,” Wenhan said.

            “I told him so!” Seungyoun said in annoyance while shoving his bag into the locker.

            Yibo didn’t reply. He took out his basketball shirt and changed. “I didn’t see him with my own eyes,” he said finally.

            “You don’t need to see it with your own eyes!” Seungyoun protested. He sat down on the bench and changed his shoes.

            Yibo followed him; sat on the bench and changed his shoes.

            “No, Yibo’s right. We need evidence,” Wenhan said.

            Yibo got up and grabbed his tumbler.

            “Yibo…” Wenhan said, grabbed his upper arm to have his attention.

            Yibo raised his eyebrows and looked at him in confusion.

            “I’ll think of something to get him,” Wenhan added.

            Yibo took a moment before finally said, “Don’t bother.” And then he walked out of the boy’s locker room.

 

***

 

            Yibo walked to the academic building alone because Seungyoun had gone with Jiacheng and Zifan earlier. Because he couldn’t afford the new uniform-shirt yet, today he got Discipline Committee’s approval to wear sweater-uniform. From the distance, he saw Xiao Zhan sat on the bench with Chuyue and Zhao Lei by the mainboard next to building entry.

            “Dog!” Xiao Zhan called him when Yibo was close enough.

            Yibo ignored him and kept on walking until his feet stepped inside the main hallway. He was just sighed in relieved that Xiao Zhan didn’t call him any more when someone grasped his both wrist and pushed him into the men’s toilet.

            Yibo struggled to free himself and stopped when he saw Xiao Zhan in the toilet. He had his eyes on Yibo fiercely, gesturing the two boys to let go.

            Yibo fixed his uniform, stared back at Xiao Zhan.

            Xiao Zhan walked towards him slowly, not even stopped when their faces were inches apart.

Yibo involuntary swallowed hard when Xiao Zhan’s dominating eyes locked his, took steps backward nervously.

Xiao Zhan smirked when Yibo’s ass touched the sink.

            Yibo gasped heavily and abruptly grasped tightly both Xiao Zhan hands when they sneaked into his pocket pants. “Mind your hands.”

            But Xiao Zhan didn’t stop. He brought his hands deeper into the pockets, looking for something.

            Yibo started to get hot but he tried to look cool. He grasped tighter, tried to pull out Xiao Zhan’s hands out of his pockets. Xiao Zhan’s dominating eyes started to make him uncomfortable and weak at the same time.

            Xiao Zhan indeed pulled out his hands but only to shove them again into Yibo’s back-pockets, roamed inside while cupping his cheek-ass and squeezed them gently.

            And that was the first time Yibo felt his heart skipping a beat real hard. He abruptly pushed Xiao Zhan hard, glared at him.

            Xiao Zhan chuckled and raised his hand to show him some money that was stuck between his fingers.

            Yibo moved forward, tried to snatch the money but Xiao Zhan was faster, pushed him back against the sink. He was ready with his fist when Xiao Zhan put his pointer against Yibo’s chest with a smug face.

“I don’t think you want to see the Discipline Committee again today…” he said in a low tone.

            Yibo stopped, eye twitched.

            Xiao Zhan smirked. “Thank’s for the treat today, dog!” Xiao Zhan waved the money and walked out of the bathroom.

            Yibo tried to catch his breath. He rested his ass against the sink and had one hand against his chest.

            What was that? What was that for? A loud thump for being cupped on the ass? By that asshole?

            Fuck!

            Without much thinking, Yibo washed his face and tidied himself before storming out of the bathroom.

 

            Yibo stayed in the class during lunch break, with Seungyoun accompanied him. They were leaning against the window frame while looking down below, munching hotdogs Seungyoun bought for them both.

            “I left the money at the dorm,” Yibo said.

            Seungyoun gave him a lazy look. “I bet that asshole took it. Am I right?”

            Yibo didn’t answer. He shoved the last piece of the hotdog, handed Seungyoun the mineral water after he took some gulps.

            “Yibo, this started to get out of control. You should tell the Discipline Committee about this.” Seungyoun looked at him in worry, took the bottle and had some gulps.

            Yibo looked at him seriously, wiped his mouth with the tissue and tossed it along the hotdog wrapper into the trash bin. “That guy played dirty but smart. We can’t just tell the Discipline Committee without evidences.”

            “Then leave it to me. I’ll take care of him,” Seungyoun said.

            “No. Your dad had said that if you kept making troubles, he would send you back to Korea!”

            “He wasn’t serious!”

            “What if he was? What if he really sent you back?”

            Seungyoun didn’t reply. He drank the water to the last drop and tossed it into the trash bin.

            Yibo folded his arms on his chest, and then suddenly he remembered his heartbeat. “Oi! Have you ever felt your heart skips a beat?”

            Seungyoun looked at him seriously, and then a smile slowly appeared, made Yibo frowned.

            “Yeah, why…?” Seungyoun chuckled giddily.

            Yibo curved his lips in annoyance.

            “Did you felt it lately?”

            “Mmn.”

            “Wow! Yibo is falling in love!”

            “Stop that bullshit!”

            Seungyoun finally stopped teasing when he realized that Yibo was in serious mode.

            “Does it always mean that you’re falling in love?” Yibo asked again.

            “Not really…” Seungyoun replied. “Usually, it happens when you are in the situation where it’s your first time.”

            Yibo threw his gaze below. But it wasn’t the first time he had in touch with other boys. But yes, it was his first time being grasped by his ass.

            “Who did it?” Seungyoun snapped him.

            “Huh?”

            “Who caused that heartbeat?”

            Yibo looked at Seungyoun seriously. “Would you find it weird if I said that it was a boy?”

            It took a moment before finally Seungyoun realized. “So your heartbeat came from a boy?”

            “Mmn.”

            “Me?”

            “Fuck you!”

            Seungyoun laughed. “You know, Yibo,” Seungyoun grinned, “I always thought that you simply avoided girls to keep yourself away from troubles. Turns out that you actually like boys.”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows in confusion. He didn’t like girls. But it didn’t mean that he liked boys though.          

            “Do you find someone sexy physically?” Seungyoun asked.

            Yibo shook his head.

            Seungyoun curved his lips. “So maybe your preference isn’t about boys or girls physically.”

            Yibo nodded. He agreed on this. Great attitude and characters didn’t come from gender. It came from a good heart regardless the gender.

Yibo threw his gaze again below at the students who was walking here and there. Some of them simply sat on the soft grass and chatted happily. People said that high school phases were the most wonderful phases in our life. The phases where we can shine, make friends, fall in love, get into troubles and start to take that small step for your future.

            “Seungyoun…” Yibo called him.

            “What…?”

            “I want you to promise me…”

            Seungyoun didn’t answer. He just looked at Yibo, as serious as Yibo looked at him.

            “Whatever happens, don’t fight Xiao Zhan. I promised your dad to keep you away from trouble. And now, promise me that you will keep yourself from trouble so your dad won’t send you back to Korea.”

            Seungyoun curved his lips and then grinned. “Okay. Besides, if my dad sends me to Korea, I wouldn’t be able to witness your first kiss, with either a boy or a girl…”

            “Asshole…” Yibo muttered.

            “Yibo…!” someone called him.

            Yibo turned his head and saw Wenhan walking towards him.

            “Wenhan…!” Seungyoun called back.

            “I looked for you at the canteen but you weren’t there,” Wenhan said.

            “Oh…” Yibo replied shortly.

            “You were looking for Yibo?” Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows and looked at Yibo.

            Wenhan nodded and smiled, handed him a paper bag.

            Yibo’s eye twitched. “What?”

            “For you…”

            Yibo looked at Seungyoun who grinned awkwardly. “Yibo-ya… Wenhan gave you something. Why don’t you just take it?”

            But Yibo didn’t move. He just looked at Wenhan in confusion.

            Wenhan chuckled. “Okay, okay… don’t be that suspicious!” And then he pulled out folded white material from the paper bag and unfolded it.

            The white-shirt uniform.

            Yibo widened his eyes as if asking ‘how’, involuntary unfolded his arms.

            “Whoooaa…!” Seungyoun abruptly took the shirt. “Wenhan, you got a new shirt for Yibo…!”

            Wenhan looked at Seungyoun, and then at Yibo. “Having a new uniform isn’t easy, but luckily the Discipline Committee was willing to help.” Wenhan put the paper bag on the floor.

            Yibo bowed his head. “Thank’s. But you don’t really have to do this. We’re changing uniform next week tho.”

            The autum was nearly over and the temperature was getting colder. When the winter came, the students would change their shirt-blazer uniform into shirt-sweater uniform.

            “I know. But you’re gonna need it sooner or later.” Wenhan grinned sheepishly. “I’m glad I can do something.”

            “Mmn.” Yibo was about to say something when suddenly a familiar pair of fierce eyes stared at him over Wenhan’s shoulder through the window.

            “Bye, then…” Wenhan said, snapped Yibo to look back at him.

            “Thank’s, Wenhan…!” Seungyoun replied.

            Yibo then looked outside the window to find those eyes again, but they were gone.

            “Wenhan likes you…” Seungyoun grinned teasingly, nudged Yibo.

            Yibo turned to look at him. “Jerk.” And then Yibo snatched the shirt.

            “Wenhan likes you…” Seungyoun teased him again.

            Yibo rolled his eyes, grabbed the paper bag and shoved the shirt inside.

            “Wenhan likes you…” Seungyoun chuckled, followed Yibo to his seat.

            “Yeah, yeah…”

 

***

 

            Yibo involuntary roamed his eyes around the grass field at the main entrance on the next day. They walked to the academic building because Yibo hasn’t bought a new skateboard yet but they promised to look for a new one this weekend.

            “That asshole isn’t here,” said Seungyoun.

            Ah… So Seungyoun also looked for him.

            Yibo nodded. “Mmn.”

            “But he could be anywhere,” Seungyoun said again. “Don’t forget our plan, okay?”

            Yibo didn’t reply. When they were in the dorm earlier, Seungyoun took Yibo’s money and shoved it into his bag. “Remember, when that asshole came, I will run so you have to deal with him alone. But that’s the only way to save your money.”

            And Yibo seriously found that idea stupid. Why should bother to plan something?

            “He wasn’t even there…” Yibo said when they reached the class.

            “I was just trying to save your money…” Seungyoun said while giving back Yibo’s money.

            Yibo took the money and shoved it into his pocket pants.

            The bell rang and the students ran to the field. Seungyoun took their uniforms and put them along the girls’ uniform hoping Xiao Zhan wouldn’t find them.

            Today would be the last time they had PE at the outdoor field. They did the medley relay. Yibo and Seungyoun refused to be in the same team but both took the last person of the relay.

            Yibo’s team was a few second ahead, but the stick fell down accidentally when the second person handed the third person, and that made Seungyoun’s team won.

            Seungyoun jumped and shook his ass stupidly while grabbing Yibo, and Yibo had to pull away with so much efforts. But Seungyoun didn’t give up. He put his arm around his shoulder and ruffled his hair, shouted, “Choooo Seungyooouuuunnn…!!!”

            The girls laughed at their stupid actions but that only made Seungyoun act even sillier.

            Yibo was be able to entangle himself finally and kicked his ass. “Dork!”

            Seungyoun laughed and kicked him back.

            Yibo rolled his eyes and walked out of the field, froze when he noticed a figured was looking at him from afar with a piercing look and Yibo couldn’t look awat.

            Seungyoun came to him, smacked his back, still with his laugh.

            Yibo was snapped back and turned to look at Seungyoun.

            Seungyoun dragged him to sit on the ground, and when Yibo looked back at the figure, he was already gone.

           

***

 

            Finally weekend come. After making some notes at the Students Affairs, Yibo and Seungyoun got permission to go out of the school area. Actually, with the winter they were having, it was almost impossible for Yibo to use it. But Seungyoun insisted that it would be better to buy it now.

            They were intended to visit only skateboards shops, but after roaming the city, they thought it would be a pity if they went back to the dorm this early. So in the end, they went here and there, bought these and those, watched movies and got back to the dorm just a few minutes before the curfew.

            Sunday morning, Yibo noticed that the snow hasn’t fallen yet eventhough the weather was already cold. So he decided played his skateboard with Seungyoun after breakfast near the dormitory building. He bought a Monster Energy skateboard, black dope design with a big M in the middle of the board and word Monster above the letter M. It was black and simple, just like he always liked.

            Yibo slid fast behind Seungyoun, moved zigzag and jumped, doing an Ollie.

            Seungyoun didn’t want to loose. He swung his feet against the pavement and did the Ollie. “Wooooooo…!” he shouted excitedly, then landed perfectly. “I jumped higher that you!”

            Yibo stomped on the edge of his skateboard and caught it. “You’re just lucky!”

            “Hey, let me try yours,” Seungyoun said while taking Yibo’s board.

            Yibo handed the board and took Seungyoun’s, slid behind him.

            “The wheels are so smooth…!” Seungyoun shouted.

            Yibo was intended to answer but the sound of the wheels of their skateboards would make it wasted. He then made a U-turn and slid into the dorm field, jumped off of Seungyoun’s skateboard. He slumped against the pavement and pulled out a tumbler from his backpack, drank it eagerly. After moved around that much, he didn’t feel that cold. With a long breath, he let himself fall backward, lied flat on his back.

            Yibo was enjoying the shapes of the white clouds when he realized he was being watched. He slowly roamed his surrounding and stopped when he caught a figure in the dormitory building.

            It was Xiao Zhan – standing by the window on the sixth floor, looking at him.

            Yibo propped on both his elbows, looking back at him. He involuntary pouted in annoyance when he recalled this asshole’s attitudes towards him. Why would he bully him and get him into troubles if he found something he disliked about him? Wouldn’t it be better if he just reprimanded him?

            Yibo tilted his head. The more he looked at Xiao Zhan, the more he couldn’t take his eyes off of him. He realized that Xiao Zhan was standing really far but he could imagine how he would look at him with those eyes.

            Yibo didn’t understand his own thinking. Xiao Zhan was a total asshole and he hated him for that. But somehow, he always liked it when Xiao Zhan looked at him intensely. Deep down, he liked the feeling of being captivated and dominated.                                                  

            Yibo shook his head and smacked his own cheek. What the hell was wrong with him? Did he just imagine being dominated by that asshole? That worst asshole who always picked a fight with him!

            Yibo turned his head to look at that figure again, but he was gone. It was always like that – when Yibo averted his eyes, Xiao Zhan would vanish.

            Yibo lied back again and closed his eyes, involuntary napped while waiting Seungyoun.

           

***

 

            Yibo stood behind the counter, looked at the food in confusion.

            Seungyoun has already put his food on his tray.

            Yibo took a peek and decided to just have the same menu with him.

            Seungyoun walked to an empty table while Yibo was still filling his tumbler with free-refill green tea.

            Yibo was walking to the table when suddenly Xiao Zhan blocked his way; his boys were behind him as usual. He stared at Xiao Zhan coldly.

            Xiao Zhan smirked, “How sweet of you, Wang-dog!” Suddenly he took Yibo’s tray and then walked away, laughing.

            Yibo gritted his teeth; involuntary opened the lid of his tumbler and spilled the warm green tea onto Xiao Zhan’s head.

            Seeing this, Chuyue spontaneously grabbed Yibo’s wrist and landed a punch on his face, made Yibo wobbled. The tumbler fell onto the floor with a loud clang.

            Xiao Zhan’s jaw tightened, slowly turned around.

            Yibo wiped the blood on his lips, smirked. He straightened up his body and was ready to fight when he heard loud bump; Seungyoun was fighting with Zhao Lei and Jiacheng.

            It was all too late to stop this now.

            Xiao Zhan threw the tray annoyingly and launched himself at Yibo.

            Yibo was about to punch him when Chuyue smacked his back with another tray, followed by Xiao Zhan’s hard punch against his face, made him slumped onto the floor.

            “Do you need a referee for this fight?” suddenly a loud voice butted in. It was Yixuan, with Sungjoo behind him.

            “That asshole punched Yibo!” Seungyoun shouted. He stood behind Xiao Zhan, managed to stop fighting with Zhao Lei and Jiacheng. He was a mess with swollen lips and spikey hair.

            Yixuan looked at Xiao Zhan, demanding an answer.

            Yibo got up and looked at Xiao Zhan angrily, gently rubbed his swollen cheek.

            “Do you think I should do nothing when he spilled the water on me?” Xiao Zhan replied calmly. His eyes never left Yibo.

            “And why did you spill water on him?” Sungjoo asked Yibo, stood up next to him.

            “Because he snatched my lunch tray,” Yibo replied.

            “Did I?” Xiao Zhan snickered.

            Yibo was about to answer when he realized that Xiao Zhan did take the tray but he didn’t use violence nor threatened him with any weapon. Logically Yibo was the one who started the fight by spilling the water.

            “He did!” Seungyoun shouted.

            Yibo looked at Seungyoun silently. This was bad. Eventhough Xiao Zhan was the bad guy, but all the faults now were on him.

            “How?” Yixuan asked Seungyoun.

            “He just took it from Yibo!” Seungyoun replied in annoyance.

            “Simply took it?” Yixuan asked again.

            Yibo shot a look at Seungyoun, signaling him to shut up, but seemed like Seungyoun didn’t get it.

            “He took it…” Sungyoun walked towards Yixuan, and then replayed the scene. “Like this.”

            Yibo brushed back his hair, cursed silently.

            Yixuan nodded and turned to look at Yibo. “You,” then to Seungyoun, “And you. Discipline Committee. Now.”

           

            “I thought I have told you,” Sungjoo looked at Yibo in disbelieved.

            Yibo nodded.

            “But it was him who picked the fight!” Seungyoun said in annoyance.

            “But you fought back not in a smart way,” Sungjoo replied.

            Seungyoun started to grumble in Korean and once in a while Sungjoo cut him also in Korean, made Yibo and Yixuan watch them like idiots. Yibo actually understood what they were saying but chose to comment nothing.

            “Can you give me a minute to find a translator?” Yixuan butted in, made Sungjoo and Seungyoun stop.

            “The point is we’re not guilty!” Seungyoun pouted, folded his arms against his chest.

            “Guilty or not, but technically you started the fight,” Yixuan said. “And that made you have one point of collision.”

            “You should be careful, because if you got three points even before the semester ended, we will send you to the Discipline Court,” Sungjoo added.

            “I understand,” Yibo nodded. “I’m sorry.”

            “This is ridiculous…” Seungyoun muttered in annoyance.

            Yibo bowed and then dragged Seungyoun out of the Discipline Committee to the basketball practice.

            “That asshole is definitely smart,” said Seungyoun. He was done changing and waiting for Yibo.

            “Hey, you guys okay?” Wenhan came into the locker room.

            Yibo nodded. “Mmn.” He got up and was ready.

            “We’re fine…” Seungyoun answered lazily.

            Wenhan looked at Yibo tentatively. “You got cut,” he said gesturing Yibo’s lips and then his cheek. “You need some ice?”

            Yibo shook his head. “I’m fine.”

            “Try to avoid him next time, Yibo…” Wenhan said worriedly.

            Yibo didn’t reply.

            “It was always him who picks on Yibo!” Seungyoun got up and walked out of the locker room.

            Yibo was about to follow Seungyoun when Wenhan stopped him.

            “Promise me to never go near him again,” Wenhan said seriously.

            Yibo looked at Wenhan in confusion, but nodded anyway. Eventhough he didn’t go near that asshole, but it was him who came to him, every time!

            Practice at basketball club was still running and sprinting. This time Yibo and Seungyoun were at the top and second list the fastest.

            “Do you think we would be in the same team?” Seungyoun asked while collecting the balls and put them into a giant container. The practice was over and the second year got their schedule to clear up the gym.

            “But I don’t wanna be in the same team with you,” Yibo said, threw a ball at him.

            Seungyoun caught it. “Why?” And tossed it into the container.

            Yibo grabbed another ball. “I don’t know. I want to try to battle.”

            Seungyoun grinned. “Sounds cool.”

            Yibo collected the balls faster and threw them one by one at Seungyoun who caught it also faster.

            “I’m hungry,” Seungyoun said when they were out of the building.

            “Yeah, me too,” Yibo said, then remembered that they didn’t even have the lunch because of the fight.

            Done with basketball club, they went to the canteen to have early dinner and maybe bought some snack for later.

            Yibo shoved his empty plates and pulled out his books to check on his homework – luckily he only got only one.

            “Then you have to help with mine,” Seungyoun said.

            “Tch!” Yibo snorted.

            Suddenly a group of boys joined their table, cramped Yibo and Seungyoun in the middle. Yibo involuntary lifted his face to look at their face and immediately tightened his jaw when he realized that it was Xiao Zhan, sat right next to him.

            “Asshole…” Seungyoun mumbled, then glared at the boys.

            Xiao Zhan handed him some books. “I want them done by tomorrow. No mistake.”
            Yibo looked at the books and then at his face. “I don’t think I owe you anything.”

            “How naïve you are! Luckily I only want you to do my homework as the compensation for spilling the drink,” Xiao Zhan said calmly.

            “Are you so stupid to have Yibo do your homework, asshole?” Seungyoun barked annoyingly.

            Xiao Zhan looked sharply at Seungyoun. “Do you think your boyfriend is that stupid to have you talk for him?”

            Seungyoun was about to talk back when Yibo cut him.

            “What makes you think I’d do it?” Yibo asked.

            “Because you don’t want the Discipline Committee add another faults on you…” Xiao Zhan said. He got up and squeezed Yibo’s shoulder hard. “Right, dog?” he whispered while chuckling lightly, walked away.

            Yibo looked at the Seungyoun annoyingly.

            Seungyoun stared back, also in annoyance. “Why do you have to look at me like that?”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He collected the books and shoved them into his bag.

            “I so want to punch that ugly face!” Seungyoun shouted, made the other students at the canteen stared in surprise at him.

            Reaching his dorm, Yibo tossed his bag and hit the shower.  If that asshole thought that Yibo was afraid of the Discipline Committee, then he was so damn wrong!

 

***

 

Yibo grabbed his bag and being the last one out of the dorm, he locked the door. He didn’t understand what was it about him that made Xiao Zhan hate him so much.

Yibo didn’t see Xiao Zhan. Instead, he spotted Chuyue at the Fountain Park. He walked towards him and handed the books.

            Chuyue took a fast look at the pages. “You didn’t do the homework.”

            Yibo shrugged. “Why should I?”

            Chuyue closed the book. “You got balls.”

            Yibo snickered.

            “Don’t be so cocky!” Chuyue said while walking away.

            Yibo shoved his hands into his pockets and walked to the academic building. Even though he tried to look calm, but inside he was alarmed on what would happen today. And he challenged that.

            Yibo spotted Chuyue after lunch break, walking into his directioin and thought this was it. Chuyue made his way between the students and blocked Yibo’s way.

            Yibo now was face to face with Chuyue, Seungyoun was beside him.

            “What—“ Seungyoun said, but Chuyue pointed his finger at his face, cut him off.

            Seungyoun glared but closed his mouth.

            Chuyue now looked at Yibo, moved his pointer from Seungyoun’s face to Yibo’s chest, pushed him to walk backwards.

            “Yibo—“ Seungyoun said again, but Chuyue immediately turned around and gave him a look.

            “Xiao Zhan-dage only wants to talk to him. You are excluded,” Chuyue said.

            Yibo gestured Seungyoun to go to the class and then stared at Chuyue. “I’ll go.”

            Chuyue walked ahead and Yibo followed him taking the stairs to the rooftop.

            Xiao Zhan was standing in the middle of the rooftop, folded arms and irritated look. There was also Gu Jiacheng behind him.

            Chuyue stopped and gestured Yibo to keep walking closer to Xiao Zhan.

            Yibo locked his gaze with Xiao Zhan. That guy looked so irritated that Yibo could see the tensed muscle along his jaw. Without warning, Xiao Zhan fist landed on his already swollen cheek.

            Yibo was startled, staggered but didn’t slump. He groaned deep in his throat from the stung.

            “Dog…” Xiao Zhan moved closer, again with another punch, but Yibo managed to hold it. He hit Xiao Zhan back, right on his cheek.

            Chuyue and Jiacheng came to hold Yibo.

            Xiao Zhan brushed his jaw slowly.

            Yibo struggled to break free but Chuyue and Jiacheng held his hands tight. He finally stopped trying.

            Xiao Zhan walked closer until their faces were inches apart. From this close, Yibo could smell his sharp and masculine smell of musk and cedar wood. His black eyes locked his eyes sharply, and Yibo felt the sudden realization that he liked being dominated by those eyes. Gently he cupped Yibo’s nape and squeezed it with his left hand, gently at first and got tighter increasingly.

            Yibo suddenly felt the hair on his nape stands, followed by the goosebumps all over his body.

            Wow… this was new feeling – the throb and the nervousness at the same time!

            Yibo struggled again, tried to let go Xiao Zhan’s hand of off his nape. But Xiao Zhan squeezed it harder while dragging Yibo’s chin rested on his shoulder. Yibo slowly felt the hurt from his nape crept down, turned into nausea. Without any warning, Xiao Zhan sent some punches with his right hand against the pit of Yibo’s stomach.

            Yibo choked, slumped onto the ground on both his hands and knees when Xiao Zhan let him go. He tried to breath but he couldn’t get rid of the nausea which made him finally throw up – unloading all his lunch.

            Xiao Zhan got down on his knee beside him and grabbed Yibo’s hair and tugged his head up. “When I told you to do something, do it properly. Dog!”

            Yibo clenched shut his eyes from the blinded sunlight and coughed hard when Xiao Zhan let go of his hair, spitted out whatever that was left in his stomach. Then he heard the door to the rooftop being opened in a loud bang.

            “Yibo!”

            Yibo heard Seungyoun’s voice and frictions of footsteps walking away. Then he felt Seungyoung’s hand on his back.

            “Yibo?” Seungyoun called him again.

            “Yibo…?”

            Yibo heard another voice, but he couldn’t register the owner. He was too dizzy.

            “Can you get up?” Seungyoun asked.

            Yibo slowly lifted his face and wiped his mouth.

            “Here…”

            Yibo turned around and between his half-opened eyelids, he realized that it was Wenhan handing him some tissue.

            Yibo took it and wiped his mouth. Even now when he could sit properly, the nausea still didn’t leave and he couldn’t even say anything.

            “We should take him to the Care Unit,” Wenhan said.

            “Okay, I’ll carry him,” Seungyoun said.

             Slumped against Seungyoun’s back, Yibo was being taken to the Care Unit.

            “You can go, I’ll take care of him,” Wenhan said to Seungyoun.

            Seungyoun was hesitated.

“Don’t avoid classes,” Wenhan said.

            Seungyoun finally nodded and ran back to the class.

            Yibo curled weakly, buried his face into the pillow while rubbing the pit of his stomach softly.

            “Try this,” Wenhan gave him eucalyptus oil. “It will make your nausea gone.”

            Yibo took it and applied in on his stomach.

            “What have you done?” Wenhan said while having a seat on a chair next to the bed.

            Yibo didn’t reply. He handed him the eucalyptus oil and tried to sit up, rested his back against the headboard.

            “Why did he bully you?” Wenhan asked again.

            Yibo shook his head.

            “Seungyoun looked for me in panic,” Wenhan suddenly said. “He said Xiao Zhan took you. I said to him that Xiao Zhan might just want to talk but Seungyoun was furious. He said that you might be in danger and I needed to help you.”

            Yibo didn’t say anything.

            “Feeling better?” Wenhan asked.

            Yibo nodded.

            “You want something sweet to drink?”

            Another nod.

            “You wait here.”

            Wenhan went to make a glass of warm tea with honey and let Yibo drink it slowly to the last drop.

Seungyoun came to pick Yibo at the Care Unit at the end of fifth session, and with Wenhan notes that he was sick, Yibo was allowed to go back to the dorm, skipped his sixth and seventh session.

Seungyoun grabbed Yibo’s hand, only to put it around his shoulder to support Yibo.

Even though the nausea was gone, he didn’t refuse Seungyoun’s support. He was walking down the stairs when he felt like someone was watching his back intensely. He silently turned his head and spotted Xiao Zhan was looking at him between the pillars.

Xiao Zhan’s eyes went straight to his soul, made him shiver. He tried to avert his eyes, but he couldn’t. Not until Xiao Zhan walked away.

“Wenhan was really worry about you,” Seungyoun said when they were in their room.

Yibo climbed up to his bed and curled, ignoring Seungyoun.

“He really likes you, you know that?” Seungyoun climbed up to Yibo’s bed and cramped him.

Yibo kicked him to get down but Seungyoun kicked him back.

“You hear me?” Seungyoun kicked him again.

Yibo, refused to reply, took the pillow to cover his face and suddenly Xiao Zhan’s dominating eyes appeared, made him shiver. He hated himself right now. He hated how he liked and hated Xiao Zhan at the same time.

“Oi, you okay?” Seungyoun asked.

“Fuck off…” Yibo muttered.

“Bastard!”

 

***

 

            Yibo and Seungyoun were walking to their class when they met Wenhan.

            “Good morning, …!” Seungyoun greeted cheerfully.

            “Good morning,” Yibo greeted shortly.

            “Good morning…” Wenhan replied, and then looked at Yibo. “How are you feeling today?”

            “Eh, Yibo… you talk with Wenhan, okay? I have something to do!” Seungyoun grinned and patted his back before running away.

            Yibo looked at him in annoyance before turning to look at Wenhan. “I’m okay.”

            “Come on, I’ll walk you to class…”  

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows in confusion. Why should Wenhan say those lines? Their classes were next to each other, so technically they would just walk together.

            “You and Seungyoun are pretty close,” Wenhan said.

            Yibo nodded, shoved his hands into the pocket pants. “We went to the same junior high school.”

            “Aah… no wonder.”

            “Mmn. His dad has business here.”

            “The same as Sungjoo. His dad works here, in the Korean embassy, and that made him practically lived here.”

            “Mmn.”

            “And judging from your skill, you must have joined basketball before.”

            “Mmn. In the junior high school.”

            “Also with Seungyoun?”

            Yibo nodded.

            “Well, we’re here…” Wenhan said.

            “Mmn.”

            “See you at club.”

            “Mmn.” Yibo nodded and walked into the classroom where he caught Seungyoun smiling from his seat, teasing him.

            “I don’t mind if he wants to talk,” Yibo said tossing his bag onto the table and sat down. “I just wish I didn’t have to answer all the questions. Feels like I’m in a job interview.”

            Seungyoun laughed. “It’s normal. He wants to know about you.”

            “Then he can ask anybody.”

            “Who?”

            “You.”

            Seungyoun’s eye twitched. “He wants to have a conversation with you!”

            “I don’t want conversations.”

            Seungyoun gapped. He knew well Yibo’s attitude tho. “Then what? You’d rather him drag and kiss you instead?”

            Yibo shot him an irritated look.

            “Oi, Yibo-ya…?” Seungyoun stretched forward himself, gestured Yibo to get closer.

            Yibo stretched forward himself and had their faces close to each other.

            “Seriously asking, do you like him?” Seungyoun asked in a low tone. “Even a bit?”

            Yibo shook his head.

            Seungyoun involuntary widened his eyes. “Why?”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. “No like is no like. Should I have reasons for that?” And then Yibo pulled away.

            Seungyoun looked at him in confusion. “But he’s handsome, smart, great basketball skill, also… has power in this school and most of all, he cares about you.”

            “Then what?”

            “Then what, what?”

            “Those should make me like him? You care about me too. Should I like you?”

            Seungyoun tilted his head, tried to say something. “Ah… stupid…” He finally gave up talking.

 

            Yibo was so ready to kick Seungyoun if he tried to cue him and Wenhan during basketball practice, and luckily he didn’t. But still, Seungyoun was so lively during practice. Yibo really had to double-check him because he acted so sweet and attentive to everybody.

            “ Yibo, I can’t walk with you,” Seungyoun said when practice over.

            “Oh…” Yibo raised his eyebrows. “Since when did you ask my permission?”

            Seungyoun grinned and gestured someone behind him.

            Yibo tilted his head and took a look over his shoulder – a girl, and then he grinned. So the reason behind his lively attitude during practice was to get her attention. This dork! “Don’t mess up with her.”

            “What mess up?” Seungyoun chuckled while smacking Yibo’s upper arm, and then walked away.

            Yibo grabbed his bag, slung it around his torso and walked away.

            “Yibo, wait!”

            Yibo turned around and saw Wenhan half-running towards him.

            “You walked alone? Where is Seungyoun?” Wenhan asked.

            “He’s with a girl,” Yibo replied.

            “You want me… to… walk you?” Wenhan asked hesitantly.

            Yibo involuntary shook his head. “No need. I’m not a kid.”

            “You sure?”

            “Mmn.”

            “Okay, then. Be careful.”

            “Mmn.” Yibo then walked away. This started to get awkward.

            Yibo was walking along the pathway to the dormitory building when suddenly he heard thunder blaring. He looked up at the sky as the rain started to pour. Rain in the winter?

            Yibo walked faster when the rain started to pour. He climbed down the stairs that led to the Fountain Park and only took a few steps when suddenly he saw a figure standing in front of him.

            Xiao Zhan. He was standing in the rain with hands in his pockets jacket. His hair and uniform-shirt was soaked but he didn’t seem to care.

            Yibo averted his gaze and continued walking. He purposely walked into his direction, refused to show him his discomfort. He didn’t flinch even an inch when their shoulder brushed against each other hard.

            Yibo was so ready to receive a punch, so when he felt a grip around his wrist, he didn’t budge, even when Xiao Zhan grasped the collar of Yibo’s jacket with his right hand.

            Yibo wasn’t ready for the attack from Xiao Zhan’s eyes on him. He struggled, put his hands against Xiao Zhan’s chest and tried to push him away but Xiao Zhan’s grasp on his jacket was so tight. Yibo didn’t lose hope. He stomped on Xiao Zhan’s foot a few times before kicking his legs.

            Xiao Zhan lost his grasp on Yibo’s wrist because the water made it slippery and Yibo used this chance to push him once again and ran to the dorm, as fast as he could, jumped over plants and bushes, zigzag between trees, sliped a few times because of the pools of water – anything to leave Xiao Zhan behind.

            Yibo thought he was winning until he felt a tug on his bag that made him fell down. He abruptly got up and a punch suddenly landed on his left cheek.

            Yibo, again, slumped on the pool of water on his ass. His eyes looked at Xiao Zhan who was towering him. In irritation, he got up, let go of his bag and tossed it onto the ice, before his jacket.

            Xiao Zhan did the same before taking his steps closer and gave him a punch. But Yibo was faster – he caught his fist and gave him a knee against his stomach.

            Xiao Zhan groaned a bit. Rubbing his stomach, he smirked and launched himself at Yibo – one hand grabbed the front of his shirt and one hand punched his stomach.

            Yibo had his hands covering his stomach, at the same time lifting his knee up to aim Xiao Zhan stomach again.

            Xiao Zhan blocked his knee with his free hand and Yibo abruptly grasped the collar of his uniform shirt and tugged him away.

            Technically speaking, this was actually an equal fight. But the rain made them looked stupid because it was slippery and also the pools of water made them stood unstably. Both Yibo and Xiao Zhan couldn’t reach each other’s vital areas.

            Yibo swallowed hard. His energy started to drain. After the running practice at the basketball club, he felt his feet started to weaken. Not to mention the cold weather that was starting to sting into his bone with its coldness and freeze him to death. He grasped Xiao Zhan’s collar tightly, looked at his eyes annoyingly.

            The water dropped down along Xiao Zhan’s delicate face, to his neck and his now exposed chest. His eyes looked at him fiercely through those long and wet bangs, and the way he panted, letting out warm breath between those half-opened wet swollen lips.

            And Yibo felt that again; the throbbing in his heart, followed by the excitement and the nervousness.

            Fuck! This wasn’t right.

            Yibo clenched shut his eyes, refused to see the visual. He groaned deep and pushed Xiao Zhan as hard as he could, but Xiao Zhan pushed him back and that made them fall onto the muddy ground.

            Yibo choked from the hard bump and involuntary opened his eyes, only to gasp when he saw Xiao Zhan’s face was so close, only one breath away. His panic rose on realization that Xiao Zhan’s body was on top of him, and he abruptly moved his hands randomly on Xiao Zhan’s torso – tried to find anything to grasp to push him away.

            Being on top, made Xiao Zhan easily punched Yibo’s face and then caught his wrist, pinned him down.

            Yibo groaned in frustration, both from the hurt on his face and the anger. He used all his energy, trying to lift his pinned hands. There was no way he would give up to this asshole.

            Xiao Zhan pinned harder, with now both his feet were on each side of Yibo’s body, locked him.

            Yibo finally stopped struggling, shot him an angry look. “What do you want?”

            But Xiao Zhan didn’t say anything. He just stared down at Yibo, panting.

            Yibo swallowed hard and involuntary licked his lips, couldn’t deny that he loved this position right now – being pinned down hard. Never thought that he was such a submissive pervert who actually loved being dominated by Xiao Zhan. And suddenly the world was slowing down. Xiao Zhan’s delicate face moved like a slow motion; his blinks, his twitch on the eye, his breathing, his parted lips and the drops of water that were dripping down his curved nose.

            Wait, what?

            Fuck!

            The sanity came like a flood into his brain. With all his willpower, he pushed Xiao Zhan away and got up abruptly, panting heavily. Without taking another glance at Xiao Zhan, he hurriedly grabbed his bag and jacket, and ran to the dormitory, leaving Xiao Zhan smirking in the rain.

            Zifan and Jiacheng were in shock to see Yibo. His shirt was wet and also dirty. Not to mention red-crimson wounds on his lips, his swelled cheek and red marks around the wrists from the tight grip.

            “Y-yib-bo…?” Jiaceng looked at him in horror.

            “Yibo, you okay?” Zifan hurriedly helped Yibo with his bag.

            “Mmn.” Yibo didn’t realize that he was shaking from the cold until he took off his shoes. “Just put it there,” he said with gritted teeth, gestured Zifan to put his bag at the entry because they were dripping wet. “Where is Seungyoun?”

            “He’s not home yet…” Jiacheng said.

            Good, Yibo thought. He didn’t want to face Seungyoun right now.

Yibo hurriedly walked into the bathroom, taking his clothes off and stepped into the cubicle. He turned on the hot shower and slumped on the floor tiles weakly, let the drops warm him up and clear his mind.

What the hell had just happened?

           

***

 

            “You… fell…” Seungyoun said when they had breakfast at the dorm canteen.

            Yibo nodded. He blew some air into the porridge before scoop it and shoved it into his mouth carefully not to touch the wounds. After the long hot shower, Yibo unloaded his bag. The freezing-state-after made him wear two long-sleeve shirts beneath a thick sweater and socks before crawling onto his bed and covered himself with the blanket, pretending to be sleeping when Seungyoun came back after dinner in excitement because the first now has already fallen right after the rain. He didn’t bother to have dinner.

            “And your face bumped onto the ground?” Seungyoun asked again.

            Yibo nodded again.

            Seungyoun swallowed the food and look at Yibo in annoyance. “Do you think I’d believe that?”

            Yibo shrugged.

            “Screw you, Yibo!” Seungyoun blurted angrily. “You had a fight with him.”

            Yibo knew that Seungyoun only want a confirmation since he knew well what exactly had happened, more or less.

            “Did the Discipline Committee get you?”

            “It was outside the school,” Yibo finally answered. He didn’t make it clear that he fought though.

            “What? How?”

            Yibo didn’t answer. He just couldn’t tell Seungyoun that Xiao Zhan pinned him hard and he loved it. What a pervert he was! Besides, he felt the pain on his face every time he talked.

            His messy face made Wenhan gapped when he saw him and before he could ask anything, Yibo walked away and left him to Seungyoun.  

            His messy face also caught the teacher’s attention. She asked Yibo to go to the Care Unit but Yibo convinced her that he was fine. She didn’t bother to force Yibo and started with the lesson. She was explaining when the classroom speaker beeped and the headmaster voice was heard, asking her to come to his office. She asked the students to solve some questionings from the book before excusing herself.

            Yibo did it fast. Twirling the pen with his fingers, he leaned back and threw his gaze outside the window; some school workers were clearing up the field from the snow that starting to get thick. Then he spotted Xiao Zhan walking across the field with Chuyue. Once in a while, he would ruffle his hair to get rid of the snow while talking. Yibo gasped when he saw Xiao Zhan smiling.

            The asshole Xiao Zhan was smiling cheerfully while Chuyue talking.

            Yibo was snapped when Seungyoun tapped his hand on Yibo’s desk. “What?”

            “Let me see your book…” Seungyoun grinned, gestured him the book.

            Yibo smacked his hand. “No.”

            “Oh, come on…”

            “No.” Yibo snatched his book.

            Seungyoun stared at him and then looked down at the field. “You were watching him?”

            “No.”

            “You were watching him!”

            Yibo rolled his eyes and kicked Seungyoun’s chair.

“Bastard!” Seungyoun mouthed Yibo and continued writing.

            Yibo looked down again. Xiao Zhan was even paler in the snow. His hair was jet-black contrast with skin. His cheeks were red from the cold and once in a while he huffed and blew to warm himself up.

            Yibo frowned silently. How a handsome guy could be so annoying?

            Thinking about Xiao Zhan, Yibo realized that Xiao Zhan’s class was actually far from his. Their academic building was in U shape and their departments were across each other, separated by the park. For Xiao Zhan to come to his department actually took some efforts.

            Why would he intentionally come here just to mess with him?

            Yibo brushed his hair back and folded his arms on his chest, still watching him, when suddenly Xiao Zhan looked up and caught his eyes.

            Yibo spontaneously averted his gaze, sat properly with both hands on his desk and pulled away himself further from the window. He wasn’t going to let Xiao Zhan acknowledge that he had been watching him.

            Luckily, the teacher came in so he could get back his focus on the lesson and get rid of that asshole.

            The pain made Yibo lost his appetite and so at the lunch break, he stayed in the class. Actually, that was most of the students did because the field was full of snow and it was freezing outside. Feeling like a mess, he put his head down on the table, using his hands as the pillow and plugged in the earphone. Soft drums played and he closed his eyes.

            Suddenly he felt a gently pat on his shoulder and when he looked up, it was Wenhan.

            “Hey…” He smiled and sat on Seungyoun’s seat.

            Yibo turned off the song and plugged out the earphone. “Mmn.”

            Wenhan put a box of sandwiches and a bottle of mineral water in front of him. “You okay?”

            Yibo looked at the food in confusion and nodded.

            Wenhan looked at him tentatively. “That hurts?” he gestured Yibo’s wound.

            Yibo took a deep breath and leaned back. “Not really.”

            Wenhan nodded. “I got you sandwich. You need to eat something.”

            “Thank’s.”

            “I can report that to the Discipline Committee, if you like…”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He must be not the only one with swelled cheek and cut lips and if Wenhan wanted to report this to the Discipline Committee, this would be a two-sides fight. No point in reporting. Besides, boys fought. Who didn’t? “Report what?”

            “That you got hit?”

            “By who?”

            “We both know who.”

            “Any evidence?”

            “Don’t you have any?”

            Yibo sighed and brushed back his hair. “No need reporting then.”

            “Why do you seem to protect him?” Wenhan asked sharply.

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. “What do you mean?”

            “Everybody knows what he did to you, yet you didn’t wanna report him.”

            No reply.

            “What is between you and him?”

            What… is between him… and Xiao Zhan? Nothing. Why Wenhan asked such question?

            “Did he threat you on something?”

            “No.”

            “Did he promise you something?”

            “No.”

            “Did you owe him?”

            “No.” Yibo looked at Wenhan offended. What the hell with all those questions?

            Wenhan was about to say something when Seungyoun walked in and greeted him in a stupid way.

            “Weenhaaaaaaannn…!!!” Seungyoun shouted in one breath as soon as he saw him.

            The other students shouted back at Seungyoun for making ruckus but Seungyoun proudly smiled.

            “Hey, you brought Yibo lunch!” Seungyoun claimed and sat on the desk behind Yibo, put his hands around Yibo’s shoulder.

            “Yeah…” Wenhan nodded coldy, and then got up. “I’m going then. Take care, Yibo.” He waved a little at Seungyoun and walked out of the class.

            “You’re not gonna eat that?” Seungyoun asked after a moment of silence.

            Yibo didn’t answer. He threw his gaze outside.

            Seungyoun jumped off of the table and sat on his seat, facing Yibo. “Did he ask you stupid questions?”

            Yibo rolled his eyes, made Seungyoun chuckle.

            “Thought so!” Seungyoun opened the box, smiled and closed it again. “He was looking for you at the canteen. Asking me if you’re okay.”

            “You can eat that,” Yibo said while pushing the lunch at Seungyoun.

            “Oh, no! He specially bought this for you!” Seungyoun teased Yibo.

            Yibo shot a look, made Seungyoun laughed. “Then throw it away.”

            “Yibo so meeeaaannn…” Seungyoun whined and then grabbed the lunch.

            “Accompany me to the library after school?” Yibo asked in a sudden.

            Seungyoun curved his lips, thinking. “Okay. We can watch that new skateboard technics again.”

            Yibo shook his head. “No. I need to look for some books this time.”

            “Fine, whatever…”

           

            “So, what books are you looking for?” Seungyoun whispered. He followed Yibo’s gaze at the Ancient Chinesse shelves.

            “Bamboo Annals,” Yibo replied.     

            “What…?” Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows. “What the hell is that?”

            Yibo tilted his head and roamed all the books on the shelf. “It’s a chronicle of ancient China.”

            “And why would you want to read that?”

            “For the elective course.”

            “Elective course is at the end of the year.”

            “So what?”

            “You gotta be kidding me…”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He knew that end of the year was long enough but they would have Lunar New Year holiday for three weeks on February and they would be sent home, and during that holiday, Yibo wanted to have just fun.  Besides, this ancient Chinese wasn’t an easy task because there was so much to talk about from the Xia Dynasty around 2070 BC until the reign of the King of Qin Ying Zheng in 214 BC.

            Yibo grabbed some books needed. He turned around to find Seungyoun but he wasn’t there. He knitted his eyebrows, peeking at the public desks and snorted when he spotted him talking to a girl – it was the girl at the basketball club. He then continued his searching peacefully without any disturbance.

            An hour later, the librarian announced that it was closing time and Yibo took the books to the counter to have her note them. He took a glance at Seungyoun who was already walking out of the library with the girl.

            “Yibo…” Seungyoun tapped his shoulder when he was at the locker to get his bag.

            “Mmn?”

            “Can I ask you a favor?”

            Yibo looked at him in disbelieved. “Since when you are so polite?”

            “Come on, man!” Seungyoun grinned sheepishly.

            “What?”

            “Can we walk Chen Yu to the girls’ dorm?”

            Yibo slung the bag, raised his eyebrows. “What?”

            “Because she’s too shy to walk just the two of us!”

            Yibo walked away and noticed that she was indeed alone. “Where are her friends?”

            “They went ahead her.”

            Yibo curved his lips. Ah, this was so boring! Being the third wheel between your best friend and his crush.

            “Come on…!” Seungyoun dragged Yibo, didn’t bother to wait for his answer.

            Yibo walked lazily behind them along the pathway to the girls’ dorm, hands stuck inside his pockets jacket. This was the millennium era but why this kind of girl was still existed? Shouldn’t she be happy because she could have time alone with Seungyoun without her friends eavesdropping and disturbing them?

            Reaching the girls’ dorm, Seungyoun forced Yibo to have dinner with them. It was even more troublesome because Chen Yu’s friends noticed Yibo and they didn’t wanna loose their chance to have dinner with him.

            Yibo took all his efforts to refuse them politely, also with a glare at Seungyoun, gesturing him to save his ass.

            “Girls…!” Seungyoun said finally. “Yibo has a lot of homework to do. He can’t have dinner with us tonight.”

            Yibo grinned sheepishly.

            “How about next time, Wang-laoshi?”

            “Yeah… maybe at the weekend?”

            Yibo smiled flatly. “Let’s see.”

            “Bye, Wang-laoshi…!”

            “Can I have your number?”

            “Don’t forget this weekend!”

            Yibo hurriedly walked out of the canteen. Geezzee… girls could be scary sometimes, Yibo thought. They would attack you in unison, grabbed you in a sudden and pleaded – Yibo shivered.

            Ah, it was already dark but the snow covering the school made the view beautiful; all white in the dark. Yibo inhaled deeply while hugging himself tighter, felt the cold breeze filling his lungs. He snorted; that stupid Seungyoun really gave up to his hormones when he fell in love. But that was normal though. Boys with hormones were powerful.

            Yibo crossed the Fountain Park. The snow around it reflected the blue light and made the fountain glowed. He took a peek at the water that now has turned to ice. He was tapping his fingers on the ice when suddenly something choked his neck – someone was strangling him from behind.

            Yibo tried to fight back, but the man’s strong hands around his neck and shoulder made him hard to move,  and the man easily dragged Yibo into the maple trees.

            Yibo thought the man was giving up when he felt his hands loosened. He turned around and was about to fight back when suddenly was pushed hard until his back hit a tree.

            The man grabbed the collar of Yibo’s jacket and brought his face inches away from Yibo’s. That was when Yibo noticed a pair of dominating eyes piercing into his soul.

            Xiao Zhan?

            The masculine smell of musk and cedar wood sneaked into his brain sharply and lingered toxically.

            Xiao Zhan.

            Yibo swallowed hard and felt the shiver creeping up his body. He put his hands against his chest, tried to push him away. But Xiao Zhan was faster – leaned in and put his lips on Yibo’s.

            Yibo gasped. It took a moment before he finally realized that Xiao Zhan was kissing him. He pushed him, but Xiao Zhan grasped his collar tightly and was kissing him hard. His sanity was slowly fainting when Xiao Zhan opened his mouth and bit his lips eagerly while putting his weight against Yibo’s to stop him from struggling so hard.

            Yibo slowly stopped struggling as the throb in his heart was getting louder and intense. He couldn’t resist Xiao Zhan’s dominance and hot breath as he panted against Yibo’s lips, made his feet weak. Yibo’s rejection against his chest also slowly turned into tight grasp as he kissed him back.

Fuck it, Yibo thought. He knew he might be turning crazy but he couldn’t resist the feeling to bite back those lips.

He kissed Yibo passionately and Yibo couldn’t help kissing him back. It was too much for a first kiss but Yibo didn’t care – he gave back as much as he received, savoring the taste of the first kiss.

The kiss stopped and Xiao Zhan pulled away slowly. Yibo could see how bright those eyes were and he didn’t mind drowning in them. A satisfied smirk appeared in Xiao Zhan’s face and with a gently pat on his cheek as a goodbye, he walked away into the darkness, leaving Yibo alone, panting and in haze.

Yibo has already curled on his bed when Seungyoun got back. He heard him talking with Jiacheng and Zifan but he wasn’t intended to join them. He let out a long breath and closed his eyes, feeling feverish from the ghost of Xiao Zhan lips against his.

Why did Xiao Zhan kiss him? He thought he hated him. What kind of hate was that?

Yibo climbed down his bed slowly in the next morning, scratched his head as he yawned. “Morning…” he mumbled at Seungyoun when he noticed him stepping out of the bathroom.

            “Mor—“ Seungyoun stopped when he saw Yibo. He grasped his upper arm and looked at him in concerned.

            Yibo looked back at him in confusion. “What?”

            “Did you fight again?” Seungyoun asked seriously.

            “Fight with who?” Yibo widened his eyes.

            “Do you really need to ask?”

            Yibo raised one of his eyebrows, didn’t understand.

            “That…” Seungyoun pointed at his wounded lips. “Did you meet him last night and fight?”

            Yibo softly brushed the wound and gulped. “Ah, this…”

            “That!” Seungyoun confirmed.

            Yibo pushed Seungyoun away and walked into the bathroom. “I fell.”

            “Don’t kidding me, bastard!” Seungyoun asked in a high tone, woke Jiacheng and Zifan up.

            “Why is it everytime I let you walk alone and then you fell?” Seungyoun followed Yibo to the bathroom.

            Yibo brushed his teeth slowly, shivered silently when he accidentally touched the wound – pain and pleasure creeping up.  

            “Oi!” Seungyoun kicked his ass.

            “Fuck off!” Yibo muttered while shoving Seungyoun out of the bathroom and washed his face.

 

***

 

            Yibo stole a glance at Seungyoun who was sulking, chewing slowly his lunch, once a while eyed him an irritated look.

            Seungyoun turned to look at Yibo, twitched his eyes. “That asshole keeps looking at you!”

            “So?”

            “Did you do something that pissed him off yesterday?”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows. “No. Why?”

            Seungyoun shoved his food into his mouth furiously and chewed it fast. “Because that asshole seems like so ready to kill you.”

            “How should I know?” Yibo replied shortly. He silently stole a glance at Xiao Zhan, only to avert his eyes seconds later because Xiao Zhan was indeed looking at him – so ready to kill him. Or maybe eat him.

            “Or, maybe he’s thinking of another way to mess with you!”

            Yibo took a deep breath. He stacked their empty plates on the tray and drank his water. “Can you just stop assuming things?”

            Seungyoun turned around to face Yibo. “Something happened between him and you…”  He then gave Yibo a judgemental look, “and yet you refuse to tell me. You even protected him.”

            Yibo was taken aback. “Something… like what?”

            “I don’t know! I’m hoping you’d tell me!”

            Yibo didn’t reply, He let his eyes wander around the canteen.

            “What about that night?”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. “I told you. I fell.”

            “Then tell me, right into my eyes, that you really fell!”

            Yibo turned around and looked at Seungyoun in the eye seriously. “I fell.”

            There was a moment of silence – just both of them looked into each other’s eyes before finally Yibo opened his mouth, “Happy?”

            Seungyoun snorted. “You are such a good liar, Yibo.”

            Yibo didn’t reply. Seungyoun really knew him.

            “Fine! You’re not a kid anymore. Just do what you like!” Seungyoun said again.

            “Just focus on your girl!” Yibo replied.

            “I will. And when I’m officially dating her, I’m done with you!”

            Yibo chuckled sarcastically, gained a smack on the head from Seungyoun. He gulped down his water before getting up and followed Seungyoun out of the canteen.

            Actually, Yibo was curious as well because that day he felt Xiao Zhan’s eyes on him intensely different. Not the same intenseness he used to feel, but the kind of intenseness as if he wanted to devour him. He wouldn’t have really cared actually if the kiss didn’t happen because now he started to think that Xiao Zhan might like him. And he wouldn’t deny that he started to like him too. And hated him.

            Ah, that stupid asshole! This crazy crush teenager stuff was messing with his mind and he hated this restlessness.

            Yibo slung his bag around his torso and walked to basketball practice.

            “Oi!” Seungyoun called Yibo.

            Yibo turned to see him.

            “I got an idea for my elective course,” Seugyoun said.

            Yibo raised his eyebrows.

            “Modeling.”

            Yibo didn’t reply, but his flat expression just made Seungyoun frowned.

            “What’s with that expression?” Seungyoun confronted Yibo.  

             “Nothing’s with my expression.”

            “Your expression was annoying.”

            “My face is annoying. Thank you.”

            “I’m aware!” claimed Seungyoung.

            They walked into the boys’ locker room and saw Wenhan there.

            “Wenhan…!” claimed Seungyoun.

            “Hey…” Wenhan replied shortly, immediately averted his gaze when he saw Yibo.

            “What’s wrong with him?” Sengyoun whispered, nudging Yibo’s upper arm.

            “Huh?” Yibo turned around to look at Wenhan but he was already out of the lockers room. “What’s with him?”

            “Didn’t you see his expression?”

            “No. Why should I?”

            “Maaann… you’re so ignorance sometimes…” Seungyoun frowned. “Or stupidly dense.”

            “Why would I check on him?” Yibo looked at Seungyoun in confusion.

            Seungyoun opened his mouth to say something but unfortunately he couldn’t find proper words to describe Wenhan’s expression. So he finally waved his hand hopelessly and walked out of the lockers room.

            The coach divided them into four groups and they practiced passing, and Yibo was in the same group with Wenhan. During that practice, Wenhan seemed to avoid talking to him and actually not that Yibo care though, but he found that Seungyoun was right. Wenhan kept his distance with him and also averted his eyes a lot every time Yibo looked at him.

            “Did I do something wrong?” Yibo said when they were in the dorm. He climbed onto his bed and lied flat.

            Seungyoun stared at him from the bed across. “Looks like you did many wrong things accidentally.”

            Yibo took a peek at the bed below him. “Where are Jiacheng and Zifan?”

            “They said they were having a study group,” Seungyoun replied. He grabbed the pillow and put it against the wall before he leaned back and played with his phone. “It’s been three days.”

            “What three days?”

            “Looks like that asshole stops harassing you,” Seungyoun said without taking off his eyes of the phone.

            Yibo didn’t reply. Honestly, for the last three days, Yibo felt like Xiao Zhan was everywhere, with his eyes on him intensely that made his heart skipped a beat. Once in a while he caught him staring between the trees or pillars.

            Seungyoun groaned in disappointment; looked like he was loosing.

            Yibo turned to curl on his side, with his back facing the wall, just when his phone buzzed. He stretched up his hand to find his phone by the pillow and noticed a message.

            Yibo froze when he clicked it – it was a photo of him laughing while walking after basketball practice this afternoon. The sun was already at the west and showering him with his orange ray of light, making his hair looked soft brunette in the white of December snow. His eyes lit brightly with a big smile on his face – he looked like a photo model for a teen sport magazine!

            Yibo checked on the sender but it was an unknown number.

            Was it Xiao Zhan? And now he knew his phone number? What the fuck!

            Yibo turned off his phone and sneaked it under his pillow. He slowly turned to the other side to avoid Seungyoun’s eyes. Eventhough he was still playing with his phone seriously, Yibo didn’t want to risk being caught. He didn’t want  to answer questions.

           

            “Yibo…” Seungyoun called him hesitantly when they were walking into the corridor the next morning.

            “Mmn…?” Yibo replied casually.

            “Why is everybody looking at you?” Seungyoun asked in confusion.

            “How should I know?” Yibo replied. He was about to turn into the main hallway when Seungyoun grabbed his wrist.

            Yibo abruptly stopped and looked at where Seungyoun pointed.

            There. On the school main board at the hallway, displayed the photo of him that was sent to his phone at the night before. In A5 print paper. High-resolution. With words ‘Orange Sunset’ on the right bottom corner.

            Yibo froze.

            “What the hell…” Seungyoun muttered.

            Yibo swallowed hard.

            “You looked like a professional model!”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows and looked at him. “Huh?”

            “You looked so damn handsome, Yibo!”

            “Bullshit…” Yibo mumbled, was about to rip the photo when Seungyoun held him.

            “Are you crazy?” Seungyoun asked.

            “Are YOU crazy?” Yibo repeated.

            “But you looked good. What’s wrong with it?”

            Yibo rolled his eyes and gave up when Seungyoun pushed him away from the board to the classroom.

            It must be Xiao Zhan. The feeling of being stalked now made sense. But why? Why did he have to do that?

            Yibo took his phone out of his pocket pants and took a look at the photo again. Xiao Zhan must have used a high-definition long-lens camera to catch this quality photo from afar. And how come he didn’t notice it?

            Yibo frowned when he saw another copy on the board at the canteen. Girls were whispering while looking at him, and even Jiacheng and Zifan joined his table.

            “Yibo, you are really the topic of the day!” Zifan said.

            “Of course he deserves tho!” Seungyoun claimed, smacked Yibo’s back.

            “Did you take a photoshot?” Jiacheng asked.

            “No.” Yibo let out a sigh. This attention really made him suffocated.

            “I made up my mind!” Seungyoun said.

            “What?”

            “I wanna make you into my object analyze on my modeling elective course!” Seungyoun smiled widely.

            “Fuck off…” Yibo mumbled. He ate slowly and ignored whatever Seungyoung chatted with Jiacheng and Zifan. He lifted his gaze and roamed the people in the canteen silently.

            And his eyes landed on a pair of bright eyes looking at him.

            Yibo gulped down, averted his eyes. He remembered Yixuan said that third year had their private place for having lunch. But why did he see Xiao Zhan often in the canteen lately. Didn’t he have his private place?

            “Seriously…” Seungyoun said. He put his pointer under Yibo’s chin and lifted his face proudly. “Don’t you think his side profile is so damn hot?”

            “Ayy!” Yibo pulled away his face from Seungyoun’s pointer and his eyes involuntary landed on Xiao Zhan again.

            Xiao Zhan knitted his eyebrows and his eye twitched. His look turned sharp and didn’t seem like what he was watching right now.

            Yibo looked down at his food immediately. But the feeling of Xiao Zhan’s eyes on him felt so intense that he lifted his eyes and looked at him again.

            Xiao Zhan was still looking at him in irriation.

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. What? Did he do something wrong?

            Xiao Zhan tilted his head and shot him a silent glare.

            Yibo involuntary let out a breath and licked his bottom lip. What?

            Yibo slowly averted his eyes from Xiao Zhan and looked at his food again. Ah, that asshole made his appetite gone. He shoved his lunch tray slowly.

            “I held him like this,” suddenly Seungyoun said, grabbed Yibo’s wrist and raised it high. “And finally the teacher saw us!”

            Yibo looked at Seungyoun clueless while Jiacheng and Zifan were listening in excitement. Turned out that Seungyoun was telling them about the skateboard competition when they were in junior high school.

            “Then at the festival, the teacher gave us the chance to show some skills on the stage…” Seungyoun said again.

            Yibo turned his face, ignoring Seungyoun who was blabbering about their skateboard stuff. He brought his eyes to Xiao Zhan again who was still looking at him sharply. With confusion, he curved his lips and his eyes landed on Seungyoun’s hand that was gripping his wrist, and then slowly looked at Xiao Zhan again, and at his wrist again, and at Seungyoun, and then at Xiao Zhan again.

            Xiao Zhan glared at him because Seungyoun was gripping his wrist?

            Yibo tugged his hand and brought it on the table in front of him before checking on Xiao Zhan again.

            And Xiao Zhan was smirking happily.

            With a disbelieved snort, Yibo averted his gaze before finally got up and walked out of the canteen in annoyance.

            That fucking bastard! He glared at him just because Seungyoun was gripping his wrist? Just because he kissed him once then he owned him?

            Yibo sat down on his chair quietly and then plugged the earphone into his ear.

            “Oi!” Seungyoun hit his desk, made Yibo jumped and turned off his phone.

            “What?” Yibo asked him, plugging out the earphone.

            “What is wrong with you?” Seungyoun claimed.

            “Nothing.”

            “You left me angrily!”

            “Huh?”

            Seungyoun shot him a disbelieve look. “You left me angrily,” Seungyoun repeated his words.

            “I didn’t.”

            “You did.”

            “No.”

            “Fuck yes!”

            YIbo let out a sigh. “No. I wasn’t angry at anyone.”

            Seungyoun looked at him seriously.

            “Not angry, okay?”

            “Yibo?”

            Yibo lifted his face and looked at Seungyoun.

            “You okay?”

            “Mmn.”

            “Sure?”

            “Mmn.”

            Seungyoun nodded. “Fine…” he replied.

            Yibo stared at Seungyoun’s back as he walking out of the classroom.

 

***

 

Yibo walked out of the classroom when Seungyoun caught him.

“I need to grab some books before the club,” Seungyoun said to Yibo who nodded and followed him to the locker.

Seungyoun opened his locker and froze – his locker was full of slush. “What the fuck…?” he gapped and then groaned annoyingly, made all the students around him stop walking and take a look.

            Yibo touched the slush and smelled it. “Chocolate milkshake,” he said shortly.

            “But how?” Seungyoun touched the locker-door and took a close look furiously. “How did the hell the slush get in?”

            Yibo looked at his messy books. Was it Xiao Zhan? But why Seungyoun now?

            “That asshole!” Seungyoun shouted angrily.

            Yibo took his books and checked on them. “It was only the cover.” He emptied the locker and put all the books on the floor, checking them one by one.

            Seungyoun grumpily did what Yibo was doing.

            “What are you guys doing?” a voice came.

            Yibo looked up and it was Sungjoo.

            “Ah… hyung!” Seungyoun claimed while getting up, and then furiously explained in Korean.

            “What now…?” a voice came, again.

            Yibo looked around and it was Wenhan this time.

            “That asshole…” Seungyoun said. “He picked me this time.”

            Wenhan sighed and squatted down beside Yibo. “I told you not to get close to him,” he said softly while helping checking on Seungyoun’s books.

            Yibo didn’t reply.

            “Can’t the Discipline Committee do something?” Seungyoun asked at Sungjoo.

            “I’ve told you, you need evidence,” Sungjoo replied, looked at Seungyoun seriously.

            “How?” Wenhan got up. “That guy was too smart.”

            “Set a trap?” Seungyoun asked.

            Sungjoo tilted his head, thinking. “Let me talk about this with Xuan-ge.”

            “He better has a solution,” Wenhan said sarcastically.

            “Let me accompany you to the dorm,” Yibo finally said while carrying Sengyoun’s books.

            “Take your time,” Wenhan said.

            “See you at the club!” Seungyoun shared the books with Yibo and walked away.

            Yibo walked behind Seungyoun who was pouting, silently spotted a figure staring at him from afar. With an irritated look, Yibo stared back at him, confronting.

            Xiao Zhan looked at him coldly but didn’t challenge him either.

            Yibo gritted his teeth and averted his eyes. If he didn’t like him, then come to him. Why should pick on Seungyoun?

            “He’s third year. We can’t change that,” Wenhan said on their way after basketball club. He was walking with Yibo while Seungyoun was ahead of them.

            Yibo forced a smile when Wenhan smiled at him.

            “I’m worried about you,” Wenhan said.

            “Why?” Yibo asked involuntary.

            “It’s normal to worry about a friend, right?” Wenhan asked back nervously.

            “Riiggghtt…!” Seungyoun caught up.

            “But I’m not a kid,” Yibo said, mostly to Seungyoun.

            Seungyoun turned around and walked besides Yibo, his hand around his shoulder. “Friends take care of each other. Simple.”

            Yibo looked at him but Seungyoun shot a look, gestured him to shut up.

            “Yes, friends take care each other,” Wenhan added.

            Yibo said nothing. He stole a glance at Seungyoun who was grinning sheepishly.

            “Hey, New Year’s coming,” Seungyoun said. “You got any plan, Wenhan?”

            Wenhan shook his head. “Not really. We only got one day off and that would be too troublesome to plan anything.”

            “But we got to see fireworks tho?” Seungyoun asked again.

            “Yeah, there would be fireworks…” Wenhan replied.

            “Cool. Let’s watch it, Yibo!” Seungyuon turned to see Yibo.

            “Mmn.”

            “You can go to the Beijing Square to watch it. Or, you can just go to the rooftop and you can see the fireworks from there,” Wenhan said.

            “Oh…? Watching the fireworks from the rooftop sounds cool.” Seungyoun plopped himself on the couch at the public area when they reached the dormitory building.

            Wenhan took his seat across Seungyoun. “It is.”

            Yibo put his bag. “I’m going to the canteen to buy some drinks. You want some?” he asked Seungyoun and Wenhan.

            “Pepsi,” Seungyoun replied shortly while Wenhan shook his head, gesturing Yibo his mineral water.

            Yibo walked into the canteen and went straight to the drinks counter. “Excuse-me, I want fruity-tea and Pepsi.”

            “Xiao Zhan-ge is waiting,” suddenly a voice came.

            Yibo turned around and saw Gu Jiacheng standing next to him.

            Gu Jiacheng shot him a look when he didn’t react.

            Yibo took the fruity-tea and Pepsi the waiter handed him.

            “I don’t want to force you,” Gu Jiacheng said again, blocking his way.

            Yibo looked up at him. “Where?”

            “Outside.”

            Yibo was hesitant at first but then he thought this might be the chance to ask him why he harassed Seungyoun. “Wait.”

            Yibo came towards Seungyoun and handed him the Pepsi. “You go ahead to the room. I have something to do.” And without waiting for Seungyoun’s answer, Yibo walked out of the dormitory building with Gu Jiacheng.

            They went to the field at the back of the dormitory building and Yibo spotted Xiao Zhan standing alone who gestured Jiacheng to leave them alone as soon as Yibo was near him.

            Xiao Zhan looked at him casually, leaning backward against the building wall with his hands inside his pocket pants. Even in the dimmed light of park-bulbs, Yibo could see how gorgeous he was and he felt like he was loosing his breath.

            Finally, they were standing face to face and having a decent conversation.

            “What do you want?” Yibo asked straightforward.

            Xiao Zhan bowed his head and looked at his shoes, smirking. “Sometimes I don’t know what I should do to you.”

            “Isn’t that supposed to be my line?” Yibo asked.

            “Oh…?” Xiao Zhan looked up at him. “How so?”

            “Why did you pick on Seungyoun?”

            “Seungyoun… your Korean boyfriend?”

            “He’s not my boyfriend.”

            Xiao Zhan smiled wickedly and walked towards Yibo. “Really?”

            Yibo looked at Xiao Zhan. Anticipating from being too close, he took steps backwards.

            “And what exactly have I done to him?” Xiao Zhan stopped walking.

            Yibo also stopped walking. “Should I remind you?”

            “Actually no, because I don’t care what happened to him. But since you think it was me who did it, now I’m curious.”

            “You threw chocolate-milkshake slushy into his locker.”

            “And what makes you think it was me?”

            “Who else?”

            “Could be anybody.”

            “Don’t play stupid.”

            Xiao Zhan’s eyes suddenly turned sharp and annoyed. “I didn’t do it.”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He could only look at Xiao Zhan, speechless.

            Xiao Zhan pulled out his hands out of his pocket and folded them on his chest. “Sometimes I wanna punch you,” he said, while giving Yibo his fist. “But sometimes, I wanna kiss you.”

            Yibo choked a breath. “You’re talking bullshit.”

“I really wanted to kiss you when I saw you at the canteen, but after hearing your accusation on me, that I harassed your Korean boyfriend, I am really insulted and I think I wanna punch you right now. ”

            “Tch! He’s not my boyfriend. And stop wasting my time.”

            Xiao Zhan snickered.

            “Stop acting like you own me.”

            Xiao Zhan laughed mockingly.

            “Don’t think just because you are my first kiss and then I belong to you,” Yibo said in annoyance.

            Xiao Zhan suddenly stopped laughing. He tilted his head and looked at Yibo in disbelieved.

            “This is pointless,” Yibo said, shaking his head and turned around. He was about to walk away when Xiao Zhan grabbed him by the wrist.

            “Wait.”

            Yibo abruptly tugged free his hand and looked at Xiao Zhan.

            “Wait,” Xiao Zhan repeated.

            “What?”

            “What did you say?”

            Yibo was taken aback. “What?”

            “Those lines.”

            “Which lines?”

            Xiao Zhan took steps closer and grasped both Yibo’s wrists.

            Yibo choked a breath and tried to let go.

            “Say it.”

            “Say what?” Yibo’s voice suddenly turned husky as his heart was starting to beat faster from Xiao Zhan’s intoxicating smell. He gritted his teeth and struggled to let go.

            Xiao Zhan tightened his grip. “Say it, then I’ll let go,” he said in a low and serious tone.

            Yibo stopped struggling. “Say what?”

            “That I’m your first kiss?”

            Yibo’s eye twitched.

            “Is that true?”

            Yibo swallowed hard. “What do you care?”

            Xiao Zhan locked his gaze, demanding an answer.

            Yibo turned his head, avoiding Xiao Zhan’s eyes. He wouldn’t escape if he got drowned in them.

            “Say it.”

            “Fine,” Yibo finally replied, without looking into Xiao Zhan’s eyes. “You are my first kiss.”

            Xiao Zhan didn’t answer.

            “That is my first kiss.”

            “…”

            “Now let go.”

            Xiao Zhan slowly let go, but still had his eyes on Yibo.

            Yibo swallowed hard, tried to catch his breath. “If you really hate me, you can do whatever you want. Just stop getting everybody else involved. Let Seungyoun go.”

            Xiao Zhan tilted his head and looked at Yibo in insult. “I didn’t do it.”

            “Whatever.”

            “I don’t care about anybody else.”

            Yibo turned around and was about to walk when Xiao Zhan grabbed the back collar of his jacket. Involuntary, he turned around and gave Xiao Zhan a punch on his cheek.

            Xiao Zhan groaned low, rubbing softly his cheek.

            “Don’t touch me,” Yibo said.

            Xiao Zhan snickered, and then laughed. “I bet I can change your mind once I get to touch you.”

            Yibo suddenly felt shiver imagining Xiao Zhan touching him. He knew that Xiao Zhan was right. He wouldn’t escape once he got to touch him – Xiao Zhan was too much for him to handle. “Stay away from me.”

            Xiao Zhan laughed.

            Yibo turned around and walked away, choked a breath when he heard Xiao Zhan saying, “I’ll definitely make you mine.”

Chapter Text

Yibo watched buds of snow hit the ground silently. He folded his arms on his chest as his mind wandered to the time he and Xiao Zhan had a fight under the rain.

He could still remember every move they made against each other, and most of it, he remembered how he had been feeling when Xiao Zhan had pinned him down.

            A desperate groan escape his lips when Yibo realized that he liked Xiao Zhan.  What the fuck…

            “Oi, Yibo…!”

            Yibo turned around and saw Yixuan by the gym board.

            “Basketball club?” Yixuan asked him and walked towards him.

            Yibo nodded.

            “I had volleyball…” Yixuan replied.

            “Oh…”

            “So, where’s your Korean friend? Seungyoun?”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows. It was kinda funny how people address them as an item that it would be weird to see just one of them. “He was ahead.” Seungyoun now was taking his effort to get closer to that Chen Yu girl and Yibo was happy to support him.

            Yixuan nodded. “The snow is beautiful, isn’t it…?”

            “Mmn.”

            Yixuan shoved his hands into his blazer pockets and turned at Yibo. “You and Xiao Zhan good?”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. “What do you mean?”

            “Seems like he stopped harassing you now.”

            “Oh…” Yibo nodded.

            “I was in the same class with him on the first year and we were good friends,” Yixuan said, leaning his body backward against the wall, next to Yibo. “He was a smart kid. I remembered how teachers praised him all the time. He was also cheerful and friendly. He didn’t hesitate to help the others and was active in charity. He was good in art especially drawing and painting.”

            Yibo lowered his head, listening.

            “Everything happened at the end of the year. We were sent home and Xiao Zhan went back to Chonqing. We spent our time with family and didn’t get in touch with the others, so we didn’t really know what had happened. Until that first day of the second grade I got to meet Xiao Zhan, and he changed completely.”

            “He became quite and we barely saw him smiling. He was harsh and easily picked a fight. Nobody exactly knew what had happened during his break. But he was still smart eventhough the manner has gone.”

            Yibo bit his bottom lip and remembered their fight in the canteen. Xiao Zhan didn’t talk back at Yixuan when he asked him to let go and that meant Xiao Zhan still considered their friendship back then.

            “I tried to talk to him to find out but he pulled away. No, he pushed me away. He started to make friends with Gu Jiacheng and Pheng Chuyue, and sometimes picked juniors to make a mess.”

            Yibo lifted his face and turned to look at Yixuan in concerned.

            Yixuan looked back and chuckled. “Actually, I believe that deep down, Xiao Zhan is still the Xiao Zhan I knew, the nice and good boy.”

            Yibo nodded, wasn’t sure why he did that though.  

            “In fact, I was curious a lot about you…” Yixuan smiled.

            “Why?”

            “Because you are the first junior whom he picked a fight constantly.”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows in confusion, grinned. “Is that good?”

            Yixuan straightened up his body and turned to face Yibo. “I don’t know what you mean by good. But I can see that he’s stuck with you.”

            Yibo also straightened up his body and grasped the strap of his bag, looked at Yixuan.

            “Like… he keeps thinking a way to mess up with you…” Yixuan trailed off.

            Yibo lowered his gaze and locked his eyes with the snow.

            “I heard he took photography for elective course.”

            Yibo abruptly looked at Yixuan again. “Photography?”

            Yixuan smiled widely and nodded. He threw his gaze at the gym board where Yibo’s photo was still displayed. “Yep. His shot is amazing, isn’t it?”

            Yibo widened his eyes. “You mean…”

            “I guess he found a nice object.”

            Yibo was totally speechless. Who would have thought that Yixuan actually knew a lot about Xiao Zhan. 

            “I think I’ll be seeing many of his amazing shots from now on on the school board,” Yixuan said again, laughing.

            “That’s…” Yibo shook his head, trying to say something.

            “Hey…” Yixuan cut Yibo, made Yibo looked at him. “Try to see him from different perspectives, okay?”

            “You know what,” Yixuan added when Yibo didn’t reply, “People is like flowers. Flowers cannot live forever and so people can’t be happy forever either. Therefore, the ultimate thing is to grasp the moment. Grasp the moment and love quickly! Enjoy your happiness! It’s that simple!”

            Yibo froze to the words, blinked so many times while processing the words. Did Yixuan just tell him to love quickly? To love Xiao Zhan quickly?

            Yixuan turned around and looked at the rain. “I think it’s not gonna stop anytime soon.”

            “Xuan-ge…?” Yibo called him.

            Yixuan turned his head and looked at him. “What?”

            “Are those the reasons why you seemed protective about him?” Yibo asked hesitantly.

            “Yes and no.”

            “Okay.”

            “There was really no evidence. And I think that there must be something that made him do what he’s doing now. This is not his nature.”

            “Xuan-ge!” suddenly a voice called him.

            Yibo turned to see Wenhan came towards them.

            “Hey…!” Yixuan greeted him.

            “Eh… where is Seungyoun?” Wenhan asked Yibo.

            “He was ahead,” Yibo replied shortly.

            “How’s practice?” Yixuan asked Wenhan.

            “Good. Xuan-ge still coming to club. That’s awesome…” Wenhan gave him a thumb up.

            “Just checking on first year. A competition is coming,” Yixuan replied.

            Yibo took a deep breath. Try to see him from different perspectives. Of all students, why Xiao Zhan had to pick him?

            Yibo then felt his phone buzzing. It was a message – another photo of him; standing in front of the gym building with hands folded on his chest, looking at the snow.

            Yibo involuntary lifted his face and roamed his surrounding attentively, hoping he would find any sign of Xiao Zhan, and when he couldn’t, he took a look at his phone again. He was so dreamy in that photo, as if he was missing the one he loved and thinking about him. The buds of snow made him looked so soft. Also the high-resolution made his expression so clearly seen, ethereal, like a character came out of a manhwa.

            Yibo felt his heart starting to throb – in a good way. He shoved his phone into his bag, walked towards the gym board to take down his old photo and rolled it carefully before stepping into the snow and walked to the dorm.

 

            As expected, Yibo found the photo of him displayed on the mainboard at the hallway, replaced the Orange Sunset. The words below were ‘Thinking of You’.

            Seungyoun whistled in amazed and smacked hard Yibo’s back. “Do you realize that you have a stalker? A very talented stalker?”

            Yibo brought up his hand to the photo.

            “Oi!” Seungyoun abruptly stopped him. “What are you doing?”

            “Keeping it?”

            Seungyoun chuckled goofily. “You want to keep it?”

            “Mmn.”

            “For real?”

            “Mmn.”

            Seungyoun’s chuckle turned to laughter. “Maaann… what changed your mind?”

            “Just like what you said, I looked handsome.”

            Seungyoun abruptly stopped laughing.

            Yibo shrugged his shoulder and took the photo down. He rolled it carefully and walked into the classroom.

            “Yibo-ya…” Seungyoun turned around to face him. “You really don’t know who did it?”

            Yibo shook his head. He took his seat and took out his book from his bag.

            “At least you have a hunch?”

            “No.”

            “You don’t want to find out?”

            “No.”

            “Why?”

            “Why should I?”

            Seungyoun tilted his head, tried to find words but then he shook it. “Nervermind…”

            Yibo opened his book and was ready for the lesson.

 

            “So, your stalker put your photo at four locations,” said Seungyoun. “The mainboard, second grade board, library board and gym board.”

            “And?” Yibo shoved the French fries into his mouth, looking at Seungyoun who was walking beside him.

            Seungyoun gulped his coke. “Don’t you find it weird?”

            “Weird how?”

            “Because this feels like a promotion. A campaign. Feels like you’re taking part for an election and this boy is promoting you for the students to acknowledge you.”

            “This boy? You’re sure it’s a boy?”

            “You think it’s a girl?”

            “I didn’t say anything.”

            “You never say anything!”

            Yibo shrugged and drank his fruity-tea to the last drop before throwing it into the trash bin.

            Seungyoun chewed fast his French fries. “However, I can feel that he’s not trying to harm you.”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows. “You sure?”

            “Well, he’s… promoting… spreading… your handsome look. What’s the harm?” Seungyoun grinned.

            “So, no harm?”

            “Unless Chen Yu starts to like you…”

            Yibo cringed. “Bullshit.”

            Seungyoun chuckled. His face suddenly turned red.

            “Hormones…” Yibo muttered.

            “Aarrgghh…” Seungyoun scratched his head, smiled shyly, took a seat on the bench when they reached the Fountain Park after tossing his trash into the trash bin. “She’s so cute!”

            Yibo nodded, took his seat next to Seungyon. “I can see that.”

            “And she’s so nice…”

            “Mmn.”

            “She handles her emotion so well…”

            “Mmn.”

            “And her smile…”

            “…”

            “The way she looks at me…”

            “…”

            “Eventhough she looked shy, but she’s actually a confident girl!”

            “And you kissed her.”

            Seungyoun stopped talking and looked at Yibo in disbelieved. “How did you know?”

            Yibo looked back at Seungyoun before bursting a laugh.

            “Bastard!”

            Yibo brushed back his hair and looked at Seungyoun, trying to suppress his laugh.

            Seungyoun shot a poker face, but later he also laughed.

            “Hormones…” Yibo said when his laugh stopped.

            “Oh, man…! That kiss…” Seungyoun let out a breath.

            “Wow, no!” Yibo raised his hand. “No detail.”

            “Seriously, Yibo…” Seungyoun said playfully, “Not that I rush you, but high school definitely worth the first kiss.”

            Yibo nodded, holding back a smile.

            “Seriously.”

            “Okay. I’ll think about it,” Yibo replied, still holding back his smile.

            Seungyoun tilted his head and suddenly his eyes grew wide. “Bastard!” he exclaimed while giving Yibo a hard slap on his upper arm.

            “Ouch! What’s that for?” Yibo cringed.

            “You did it!” Seungyoun glared.

            “Did what?”

            “Fuck you, Yibo! You had your first kiss!”

            “What?”

            “Yibo!”

            Yibo opened his mouth but nothing came out. He only looked at Seungyoun goofily.

            “Yiibboooo…!!!” Seungyoun shouted in annoyance, followed by incoherent words in Korean.

            Yibo winced shut his eyes. “You’re too loud!”

            “Who?”

            “No one.”

            “Fuck you!”

            Yibo rolled his eyes.

            “Whom did you kiss?”

            “I said no one.”

            Seungyoun stared at Yibo seriously, thinking. “Wasn’t it that day when you got wound on your lips?”

            “When?”

            “You got wound on your lips because someone kissed you. Not because you fell, dumbass!” Seungyoun got furious.

            “Whatever.”

            “Yibo…?” Seungyoun called him after a moment of silence.

            “Mmn?”

            “Is it that hard to share your story?”

            Yibo curved his lips. Was it?

            Seungyoun leaned back and threw his head back.

            “It’s a he,” Yibo finally said.

            Seungyoun brought his head to look at Yibo. “So you kissed a boy.”

            “Mmn.”

            “No wonder you got that wound.” Seungyoun chuckled. “You guys must have played hard.”

            “Aaayyy…” Yibo frowned. “Why do you always get into detail?”

            Seungyoun laughed. “And I can tell that you liked it.”

            “Fuck you…” Yibo muttered.

            “Fuck YOU…!” Seungyoun put his hand around Yibo’s shoulder, brought his face closer. “Who is it? The same guy who made your heart skipped a beat?”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows.

“Who was he? Wenhan?”

“Fuck, no!”

“Aaiisshhh… Then, who?”

Yibo bit his bottom lip and sighed. “Xiao Zhan.”

“The fuck…” Seungyoun abruptly pulled away and looked at Yibo in horror.

“It was Xiao Zhan,” Yibo repeated.

“H-ho… I mean…h-h… HOOOWW…?” Seungyoun gapped.

“It just happened.”

            “BUT HOOOWWWW…?” Seungyoun shouted furiously, made Yibo wince his eyes.

            “Like I said, it happened. That’s it. No detail.”

            Yibo turned to look at Seungyoun who was unable to find any words due to his shock.

            “You owe me an explanation, asshole…” Seungyoun finally said, looked at Yibo in confusion.

            Yibo tilted his head. “Later?”

            “Oh, my fucked up books from the slushies weren’t enough for you to explain this shit?”

            Yibo chuckled nervously.

            Seungyoun got up. “Start now!”

            Yibo also got up and started walking. “No detail.”

            “Depends…” Seungyoun followed him.

 

***

 

            “Now that makes sense why that asshole keeps looking at you,” Seungyoun said.

They were walking from the canteen and decided to hang out for a bit at the inside park between the liberal art and science and engineering building since the snow wasn’t that thick and the view was beautiful.

            Yibo found a bench and sat. “Huh?”

            Seungyoun gestured the liberal art building while sitting next to Yibo.

            Yibo roamed the building and spotted Xiao Zhan at the third floor by the window. Looked like Xiao Zhan was in his class because Yibo could see easels behind him.

            “I bet he’s the one who snapped your photos…” Seungyoun said again.

            “He’s taking photography for the elective course,” Yibo replied.

            “And you even knew this. Apparently!”

            Yibo grinned.

            “You got me an idea.”

            “Mmn…?”

            “I’m gonna asked Chen Yu to be my object modeling. And no offense, Yibo, but I think I wanna take Chen Yu to see the fireworks.”

            Yibo snorted. “Whatever.”

            “Yeah… might have more reasons to be with her.” Seungyoun grinned.

            Yibo snickered.

            “Are you guys an item or what?” Seungyoun asked after a moment of silence.

            “No.”

            “No?”
            YIbo shook his head. “No.”

            “Did I miss something here?” Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows in confusion.

            Yibo curved his lips, throwing his gaze at the students around the field, then at Xiao Zhan who was still looking at him. Tilting his head, he bit his bottom lip from the feeling of Xiao Zhan’s lips on him and wondered when he would be able to kiss him again. “We just kissed.”

            Seungyoun looked at Yibo, then at Xiao Zhan before frowning. “Are you guys eye-fucking in front of my naked eyes?”

            Yibo smacked Seungyoun on the chest, glared.

            “Yibo-ya…” Seungyoun said slowly. “Do you really like him?”

            “Mmn.”

            “And what about him?”

            “Maybe.”

            “Don’t you think that he’s just using you, or having a bet on you with his friends…? Or… simply his strategy to break you down…?” Seungyoun asked hesitantly.

            Yibo nodded and then lifted his gaze at Xiao Zhan again. “Maybe.”

            “Aaiisshh, maaaannn…” Seungyoun scratched his head. “Hormones…!”

            Yibo grinned sheepishly, followed by Seungyoun.

            “Well, this is high school, man…” Seungyoun said. “Just enjoy the hormones. Fall in love and get messy…!”

            Yibo nodded. “Mmn.”

            “And get a heartbreak…” Seungyoun laughed.

            Yibo snorted. “You get the hearbreak!”

            “And what about Wenhan?”

            “What about him?”

            “He likes you.”

            “So?”

            Seungyoun laughed again. “Then he gets the heartbreak!”

 

            It was the last session when there was a knock on Yibo’s classroom door. Yixuan stepped in and bowed to the teacher.

            “Excuse-me, laoshi, but I need to have Wang Yibo to go to the Discipline Committee right now,” Yixuan said.

            The teacher nodded and looked at Yibo, also all the students in the class. Especially Seungyoun who glared at him.

            “You might want to take your books. I’m afraid it would take long,” Yixuan said again.

            Yibo raised his eyebrows and looked at Seungyoun. This looked bad, he thought.

            Yibo followed Yixuan and realized later that they weren’t going to the Discipline Committee, instead to the locker. From afar, Yibo saw Sungjoo and two girls standing next to his locker.

            “I need you to open your locker,” said Yixuan.

            Yibo nodded and input the key password to his locker.

            Yixuan stretched forward his hands and grabbed some books from the locker. “Mind telling me what are these?”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows and grabbed the books, widened his eyes in horror as he opened the pages.

            They were porn books.

            “Explain this in the Discipline Committee,” Sungjoo said, patted his back while leading him to the Discipline Committee room.

            As soon as they reached the Committee Discipline room, Yibo took his seat in silence. There was no way Xiao Zhan would do this, but he couldn’t think of anyone else.

Yixuan sat across Yibo. “Taking porn to school is really a major violation of the school rules, and actually I was hoping that it was only a rumor when someone told me that you brought porn to school.”

Yibo didn’t reply. He didn’t want to reply.

            “This is Cheng Xiao from third year and this is Zuer from second year, and they are also the member of the Discipline Committee for the female section,” Yixuan added.

            “Care to explain?” Cheng Xiao asked.

            Yibo sighed before shaking his head. “No.”

            “So you’re admitting?” Sungjoo looked at him.

            “Mmn.” Denying would be pointless. He didn’t have any evidence. Besides, if Xiao Zhan was behind all this, he wanted to settle this personally.

            “Admitting this, you’ll get penalty,” Sungjoo said again.

             “What is it?” Yibo asked.

            Yixuan gestured Zuer to explain.

            “You have one week school service and also, you got double points for your collision. From what I heard, you already have one point collision from fighting in the canteen, and that makes total three points collisions,” Zuer explained.

            “Double points?” Yibo widened his eyes.

            “Do you still remember what I said that day?” Sungjoo asked. “Three points collision before the semester ends, we’ll send you to the Discipline Court.”

            Yibo brushed back his hair in annoyance.

            “Listen,” Yixuan said. “I believe that someone did it to get you, and I know you’re actually aware who’s behind all this. You just don’t want to tell us.”

            “No, I don’t know,” Yibo replied shortly. Not that he wanted to protect Xiao Zhan, but he really didn’t know. It couldn’t be him.

            “Eventhough I’m the President of Student Council, but this time it isn’t my decision alone.” Then Yixuan pointed at Cheng Xiao and Zuer.

            “Yixuan has convinced me that you might be tricked,” Cheng Xiao said. “He has a faith in you and for two years working with him in the Student Council, he always has good point of views. I really want to believe him but I cannot neglect this as a collision.”

            Cheng Xiao looked at Yixuan, then at Sungjoo, finally at Zuer.

            “So, Wang Yibo,” Zuer continued. “We condemn you with two weeks of school service and one point collision.”

            Yibo nodded.

            “As for the school service,” Sungjoo added, “You’re going to serve in the dormitory canteen from 5am to 7am at breakfast time, in the library after school from 15.30 to 18.00 and last shift at the dormitory canteen for dinner from 18:30 to 21:00, for fourteen days including weekend.”

            Yibo gasped in disbelieve. “That much?”

            “That much…” Yixuan nodded.

            Fuck that asshole! Yibo cursed silently.

            “And you start tomorrow,” Cheng Xiao said.

            “But I have basketball,” Yibo said. “Besides, tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.”

            “Well, then your service at the library will take longer,” Sungjoo said. “And more, you can watch fireworks after your night service at the canteen.”

            Yibo didn’t reply. Irritantly, he bowed his head when Yixuan gestured him to leave and walked out of the room, spotted Seungyoun waited for him at the hallway.

            “What now?” Seungyoun asked impatiently.

            “Porn in my locker,” Yibo replied shortly, walked furiously.

            “What…? What porn?” Seungyoun asked in confusion, tried to catch up.

            Yibo stopped and glared. “Porn is porn. Naked girls... posing sexy… showing pussy?”

            “Whooaaaa…” Seungyoun also glared. “You have porn?”

            “Fuck you!” Yibo continued walking, leaving Seungyoun.

            “Hey, hey…!” Seungyoun caught up. “You mean someone put it in your locker?”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He walked down the stairs to the field and stopped abruptly when he saw Wenhan walking towards him.

            “I heard the Discipline Committee took you again,” Wenhan said.

            Yibo didn’t reply.

            “What happened?” Wenhan asked.

            Seungyoun opened his mouth but then closed it again. Instead, he nudged Yibo, gestured him to explain.

            Yibo sighed. “Nothing.”

            Seungyoun gapped to Yibo’s reply and involuntary looked at Wenhan hopelessly.

            “Am I that unreliable for you to share your problem with me?” Wenhan tilted his head, looked at Yibo offended.

            “Eerrr… Yibo,” Seungyoun patted Yibo’s shoulder. “I think I saw Chen Yu. Talk to you later, okay?”

            Yibo watched Seungyoun walked away and then looked at Wenhan. “I just don’t want to get you involved.”

            “Why don’t you let me decide?”

            “It’s my decision to not share my problem.”

            “And it’s my decision to help you.”

            “Then you can ask Seungyoun instead. Maybe he’s willing to tell.”

            Wenhan walked closer, eyes locked with Yibo’s. “Because it’s you whom I want to hear from.”

            Yibo swallowed hard. From this close, Yibo could see the tense around Wenhan’s jaw, showing him how serious he was.  “Listen, I thank you for your willing to help, but please, just stay away. Don’t get involved.”

            “That was supposed to be my line,” Wenhan said in a low tone. “Yibo…”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He coldly looked back at Wenhan.

            “Stay away from him. I’ve told you many times, don’t get too close. He’s nothing but trouble.”

            Yibo winced his eyes. “He, who?”

            Wenhan raised his eyebrows. “We both know who he is.”

            Yibo didn’t reply, but he demanded an answer.

            “Xiao Zhan…” Wenhan finally said it.

            “…”

            “Stay away from Xiao Zhan!” Wenhan said sharply.

            “Why does he need to stay away from me?” came a voice from behind.

            Yibo didn’t need to turn around to know that it was Xiao Zhan. He would recognize it anywhere.

            Wenhan shot a look at Xiao Zhan who looked back at him sharply with a twitch on his eye, standing next to Yibo. “Because you are trouble,” Wenhan replied irritantly.

            Yibo sighed and then walked away, leaving the two boys glaring at each other and really didn’t care what would going to happen between them.

            Yibo was already on the field at the dormitory building when he felt a grasp around his wrist. He turned around and saw Xiao Zhan.

            Xiao Zhan didn’t say anything. He casually dragged Yibo as he pleased.

            Eventhough Yibo was pissed right now, but Xiao Zhan’s grip didn’t fail to send goosebump all over his body – and he hated that.

            “What happened?” Xiao Zhan asked when they were already at the side of the field.

            “You’re asking me?” Yibo shot him an irritated look. Looking at Xiao Zhan’s eyes was actually a big mistake, because those dominating eyes would just made his heart throb and steal his breath away.

            Xiao Zhan didn’t reply but his look demanded answer.

            Yibo curved his lips. So Xiao Zhan really didn’t know. “Someone put some porn in my locker.”

            “Who?”

            “You?”

            “Why me?”

            “Because you’re an asshole? One time you kissed me. One time you threw my photos everywhere. And this time you put porn in my locker?” Yibo said annoyingly.

            “Your assumption insulted me, Wang Yibo!” Xiao Zhan said coldly. “Don’t you have faith in me?”

            “Faith on what?” Yibo snorted. “Have you ever showed me your good intention? You even got my number from somebody else. Did you even care to ask me instead? Then you are the one who doesn’t have faith in me.” Yibo shook his head and weakly leaned against the light pole, brushed his hair back.

            “It wasn’t me,” Xiao Zhan said low.

            Yibo didn’t reply. Deep down he was aware that it couldn’t be Xiao Zhan, but he couldn’t think of anybody else.

            Xiao Zhan walked closer until they were inches apart. He had his eyes bored into Yibo’s intensely.

            “What?” Yibo whispered, wasn’t aware of his trembling voice.

            Xiao Zhan tilted his head. “Do you like him?”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. “Who?”

            “Wenhan.”

            “No.”

            A smirk appeared on Xiao Zhan’s face, made Yibo’s heart fluttered.

            Yibo’s eyes landed on Xiao Zhan’s lips and a sudden feeling of wanting to kiss those lips again sneaked into his mind. He swallowed hard when Xiao Zhan licked his own lips. He might have lost himself if he didn’t notice Seungyoun over Xiao Zhan’s shoulder who was waving hastily and signaling him basketball.

            “I got basketball club,” Yibo said abruptly while pushing Xiao Zhan away.

            Xiao Zhan quickly grabbed his hand and held it. “I’m gonna find the bad guy for you.”

            Yibo shivered from the touch but he let it and nodded.

            “Have faith in me from now on,” Xiao Zhan said again.

            “Mmn.”

 

***

 

            Yibo’s schedule became real hectic. He was already at the dormitory canteen at 5am preparing breakfast for the students, already in his uniform. He stacked the trays, organized the spoon and forks, paper cups, paper plates and bowls. He didn’t get in charge in the kitchen because he knew nothing about cooking and the chef kicked him out.

            Students started to come at six o’clock and Yibo was in charge in drinks counter. They only served mineral water and hot tea for breakfast so it was easy for Yibo to handle.

            “Laoban, I want orange juice!”

            Yibo looked up and frowned – it was Seungyoun. He handed him a cup of hot tea.

            “You serve everybody breakfast, what about you?” Seungyoun leaned forward against the counter, took the tea and blew some air softly.

            Yibo raised up a bowl of soup. “I’m eating while serving.”

            “Cool…”

            “You got my bag?”

            “Yep!” Seungyoun gestured Yibo’s bag that was on the table he shared with Jiacheng and Zifan.

            Yibo looked at his watch. “Fifteen minutes left.”

            “Sure. I’ll wait for you.”

            Seungyoun got back to his table.

            Yibo finished up his soup and tossed the paper-bowl into the trash bag. 

            “Good morning…”

            Yibo looked up – it was Wenhan. “Good morning.”

            Wenhan smiled a little. “You sure work hard.”

            “Just have to live with it.”

            “You okay?”

            “Mmn.”
            Wenhan nodded.

            “What can I get you?”

            “Hot tea, please.”

            Yibo poured the tea into the paper cup and handed Wenhan.

            “Thank’s.”

            “No problem.”

            Wenhan cupped the paper cup and looked at Yibo hesitantly.

            “Anything else?”

            Wenhan opened his mouth, but then closed it again. “No. Thank’s.”

            Yibo nodded. Suddenly he remembered that day when he left Wenhan and Xiao Zhan at the field, what could the possibly talk about?

 

            “So, you’re going to the library,” Seungyoun said, shoved his books into his bag, looked up at Yibo.

            “Mmn.” Yibo slung his bag around his torso. “You?”

            “I got a study group with Chen Yu and then watched the fireworks from the girls’ dormitory rooftop,” Seungyoun replied, got up and slung his bag.

            “Study group my ass…” Yibo muttered sarcastically.

            “Oh, come on...!” Seungyoun frowned, walked out of the class. “You said no detail.”

            Yibo walked behind Seungyoun and spotted Chen Yu was already waiting at the hall. “She’s here.”

            “Bye, Yibo. See you at dinner!” Seungyoun patted Yibo’s back.

            Yibo walked to his locker and grabbed some books. He could use his chance at the library to do his homework and do his research about ancient Chinese.

            The librarian was happy to see Yibo. Well, she was literally happy to see everybody lounging at the library eventhough they didn’t come for reading. She gave Yibo a trolley of returned books and asked him to organize them into the shelves according to their classification.

            Yibo pushed the trolley to the first shelves and started organizing. Once in a while he found interesting books that might support his research about ancient Chinese and noted them for him to borrow.

            Yibo now was at the last shelf and saw a book about Emperors of China. He was about to reach the book when suddenly someone stood behind him flushed against his back and grabbed the book.

            Yibo turned around and saw Xiao Zhan.

            “Emperors of China…” Xiao Zhan said.

            Yibo snatched the book casually and opened the page, took a fast look at the index. He put the books into the trolley and crossed the line to the right side.

            Xiao Zhan followed him closed.

            “What are you doing?” Yibo asked while shoving the books into the shelf.

            Xiao Zhan grabbed some books and shoved them into the shelf. “Helping.”

            Yibo took a look at the books Xiao Zhan shoved into the shelf. “Are you even putting them in the right section?”

            “You can check.”

            Yibo pushed the trolley to the next shelf.

            “I noticed that they gave you one point collision but fourteen days school service,” Xiao Zhan said.

            “Mmn.”

            “How nice Yixuan.”

            “It wasn’t actually his decision alone.”

            “It’s weird because Cheng Xiao and Zuer knew.”

            Ah, so Xiao Zhan knew.

            “The culprit must be a third year.”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows. “Oh?”

            “To be able to drag Cheng Xiao and Zuer?”

            Yibo actually didn’t understand the whole things with Discipline Committee and The Discipline Court. All he knew that The Discipline Committee was the first level of surveillance on collisions consisted students from The Student Council, while The Discipline Court was higher level of major collisions consisted of the headmasters and senior teachers.

            Xiao Zhan grabbed some books and put them into the shelf. “Didn’t you get curious on how the culprit knew your key-code?”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He was actually aware of that so he changed the key-code in the next morning.

            “Once he hacked your key-code, he would do it again,” Xiao Zhan said, shoving another books.

            “He hacked Seungyoun’s key-code, remember?” Yibo said. “But that’s it. Nothing more.”

            “You sure it was the same person?”

            Yibo shrugged. “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

            Xiao Zhan nodded.

            Done organizing, Yibo helped the librarian to write down some books borrowed by the students, and when he got nothing to do, he did his homework.

            Xiao Zhan sat by an empty desk across Yibo and read.

            Once in a while, Yibo stole a glance at him and thought that Xiao Zhan was actually a nice companion. Then he remembered what Yixuan said to him at the gym.

            “Why Bamboo Annals?” Xiao Zhan asked him when they were on the way to the dormitory building.

            “I don’t know. The title caught my attention,” Yibo replied.

            “It was kinda hard because some of the original text may have been lost during the Song dynasty.”

            “Mmn.”

            “So you know.”

            “Mmn.” Yibo brushed back his hair and took a deep breath. The night winter breeze tickled his face – cold but fresh. It would be nice to take a hot shower and then curled under the sheet while listening to the songs, but he had night service. He had to hold on for a little longer.

            “Hey…” Xiao Zhan grasped his hand when they arrived at the dormitory building, gesturing Yibo to stop walking.

            Yibo gasped from the touch and turned to look at him. “What?”

            “Watch fireworks with me?” Xiao Zhan asked.

            Yibo grinned. “You’rea asking a date?”

            “Is anything wrong with that?”

            “No.”

            “So, will you?”

            “Mmn.”

            Xiao Zhan smirked. “Cool, I’ll pick you up after your night service.”

            Yibo nodded and got into the building after waving a little. He got behind the counter, took his blazer and tie off and rolled the sleeves of his shirt before wearing the apron.

 

            The celebration of the New Year wasn’t as glorious as the Lunar New Year, but still some international tourism spots held events and put fireworks. Beijing as the capital of China of course put the fireworks to spoil the international tourists.

            Most of the students were on the dormitory rooftop and had their own spots. But Yibo and Xiao Zhan chose their spot that was quite warm and dry at the garden behind their academic building. They sat on a blanket and had snacks with them.

            “Still one hour left,” Xiao Zhan checked his watch.

            “Mmn.”

            Xiao Zhan grabbed some potato chips and started to munch.

            Yibo looked at the sky and tightened his jacket.

            “Cold?” Xiao Zhan asked.

            “Not really.”

            “We should have brought another blanket to cover us.”

            Yibo grinned. “What?”

            “Well…” Xiao Zhan crunched the potato chip, “We can snuggle together under the blanket.”

            Yibo forced a smile. “Seriously?”

            Xiao Zhan smiled playfully. “That would be romantic, right?”

            “I never thought that you were a romantic person.”

            “I’m romantic when it comes to you.”

            “I’m flattered,” Yibo mumbled.

            Xiao Zhan then put the potato chips and lied flat on his back. He looked up at Yibo and patted the space beside him. “Lie with me?”

            Yibo chuckled and scooted closer to lie next to Xiao Zhan, head touched Xiao Zhan’s. “So many stars,” Yibo muttered. His eyes roamed the night sky excitedly.

            “Do you know that winter is the best moment to stargaze?” Xiao Zhan said.

            “No. Why?”

            “Because at winter, the night air turns coldest and the wind bites most sharply, and the night sky is at its brightest, clearest and most beautiful.”

            “I didn’t know,” Yibo muttered.

            “The cold air doesn’t hold as much as moisture that makes the sky transparent and we can see what lies beyond. At the end of the year, around December and January, the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere looks out to the edge of the galaxy and we can see the stars that spread along the Milky Way.”

            Yibo silently smiled. Xiao Zhan was romantic indeed, he thought. He then remembered what Yixuan said that Xiao Zhan was smart.

            Xiao Zhan raised his hand and pointed at some stars. “Orion. Can you see it?”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows in confusion. “I can see stars tho.”

            Xiao Zhan chuckled and moved his pointer. “Three bright stars. Mintaka. Alnilam. Alnitak. They form a belt-like pattern, known as Orion’s Belt.”

            “I think I saw it,” Yibo said while tilting his head to have a better angle of the Orion’s Belt.

            Xiao Zhan chuckled and moved his pointer to another stars. “Taurus.”

            Yibo tilted again his head.

            “That is Aldebaran, the brightest star in the Taurus constellation.”

            “Taurus is also a zodiac, right?”

            Xiao Zhan nodded. “Another zodiac-name constellation,” he said, pointed at the stars to the northwest of the Orion. “Gemini.”

            Yibo nodded. “What’s your zodiac?”

            “Libra. Yours?”

            “Leo.”

            “Fire.”

            Yibo turned to see Xiao Zhan. “Eh?”

            Xiao Zhan turned his head at Yibo and locked their gaze. “Your element.

            “Oh. What about you?” Yibo swallowed hard from the intense gaze.

            “Mine is air,” Xiao Zhan replied softly.

            Yibo grinned. “And?”

            Xiao Zhan propped on his elbow and leaned down at Yibo, smirking. “What a compatible pairing.”

            “What…” Yibo whispered into Xiao Zhan’s lips that ware getting closer, finally sighed when he felt Xiao Zhan’s lips on his. He put his arms around Xiao Zhan’s neck, clung onto him.

            “Air and fire has a dynamic relationship,” Xiao Zhan whispered back, “because fire needs air in order to keep burning,” he added while scooting closer and had his body leaned against Yibo comfortably before deepening the kiss, arms around Yibo’s waist.

            From the distance, the sound of fireworks blared onto the night sky, followed by shouts of amazement from the students.

            But Yibo didn’t care. His own fireworks were even brighter and hotter, bursted inside of him.

 

***

 

            Servicing in the library now was starting to get… fun, if he had to choose a word to describe, because Xiao Zhan accompanied him. It was first indeed weird because they used to hate each other and literally fight, but now they seemed comfortable being around each other.

            Xiao Zhan waited at the main hallway and they walked to library together while Seungyoun dashed to his girlfriend.

            “You got two trolleys,” said the librarian.

            “Okay,” Yibo replied. He pushed first trolley and started to organize the books.

            “How’s your research progress?” Xiao Zhan asked.

            “Good,” Yibo replied. “I’m digging about Xia dynasty now. It was said that the text began with it.”

            “Xia dynasty?”

            “Mmn.” Yibo shoved the books into the shelf and pushed the trolley to the last shelf at the back of the library.

            “Not the Yellow Emperor?”

            “Some texts report that.”

            “I’ve told you, some scripts are missing.”

            “Mmn.” Yibo shoved the books and suddenly his eyes caught an interesting book. He pulled it out and read it. The book told about the history about the Song dynasty and Yibo thought that this could support his material.

            He was so immersed into the book and didn’t realize that Xiao Zhan was now standing behind him with his chest press again Yibo’s back, until he blew some air onto his nape.

            Yibo gasped and involuntary pulled away, but Xiao Zhan hands were already around his waist, holding him.

            “What are you doing?” Yibo whispered, trying to let go.

            “Ssshhh…” Xiao Zhan pressed his lips against Yibo’s ear, sending goosebump all over his body. “You don’t want to make that old lady see this way.”

            Yibo swallowed hard and tried to breathe. Xiao Zhan’s lips were so hot on his ear. “Why here of all places?”

            Xiao Zhan chuckled softly, brushed his lips along the curve of his neck. “Ah… so you wouldn’t mind doing it somewhere else…” he whispered low.

            Yibo put the book into the shelf and tried to entangle himself with one hand. He brought his other hand to his mouth and bit it, to prevent him from moaning because he was starting to feel really good.

            Xiao Zhan landed a soft and light kiss on Yibo’s nape before letting him go.

            Yibo abruptly turned around to face him and glared. “Are you fucking out of your mind?”

            Xiao Zhan smirked proudly. “You liked it.”

            “Fuck you,” Yibo muttered softly, pushed the trolley to the left section.

            “No, I fuck you instead.”

            Yibo gripped the trolley handle tightly as the image of Xiao Zhan fucking him sneaked into his mind and made him shiver – no doubt that he was gonna like it. He swallowed hard, let out the breath he involuntary held while throwing his gaze away, only to freeze in a second later when he spotted Wenhan watching him from afar – watching them.

            With a smug on his face, Xiao Zhan smiled happily while pushing the trolley to the next shelf.

            “You saw him,” Yibo followed him.

            “Who?” Xiao Zhan grabbed the books and shoved them into the shelf calmly.

            “You saw Wenhan.”

            “I did. So what?”

            “You did that on purpose.”

            “It’s natural to let people know what belongs to you, no?”

            “Great,” Yibo replied sarcastically.

            “What? Do you mind?”

            Yibo licked his lips, hesitated. “No.”

            Xiao Zhan raised his eyebrows in amusement. “You don’t mind me doing that? Or you don’t mind being mine?”

            Yibo took a deep breath and looked at him. “Both.”

            A proud smirk appeared on Xiao Zhan’s face as he leaned against the shelf and folded his arms on his chest, looking at Yibo intensely. “Then don’t flirt with him.”

            “I don’t.”

            “Good.”

            Yibo shook his head in disbelieved and pushed the now empty trolley to get the second one.

 

***

 

            Yibo took a quick shower at the gym after the basketball practice. He usually had shower in his dorm but since he had the night shift at the canteen, he just had to shower at the gym.

            “Wenhan is kinda quite lately,” Seungyoun said. Since Yibo showered at the gym, he also took his shower there.

            “Mmn.”

            “And he seemed to keep some distance with you.”

            “Mmn.”

            “Did… Xiao Zhan do something to him?”

            “Not really.”

            “Not really?”

            Yibo stepped out of the cubicle with towel around his waist. He grabbed his clothes and dressed fast.

            Seungyoun came out minutes later. “What do you mean not really?”

            Yibo shoved his basketball clothes and the wet towel into a laundry bag. “He saw us kissing.”

            Seungyoun groaned loud in frustration. “No kidding!”

            “Not exactly kissing,” Yibo said again. He slung his bag and grabbed the laundry bag.

            Seungyoun dressed fast and caught Yibo up out of the locker room. “No kidding!”

            “Mmn.”

            “No wonder he stays away.”

            Yibo walked to the dormitory building alone while Seungyoun walked Chen Yu to her dorm. He still had more than thirty minutes before he started his shift and he used this to lie down and nap.  

            Yibo didn’t see Seungyoun at the canteen – he might have dinner at the girls’ dorm, but he did see Xiao Zhan. He had dinner with his boys at the public area. Eventhough the boys chatted excitedly, Yibo could see that Xiao Zhan didn’t talk that much. He just commented some and smiled, once in a while threw his gaze at Yibo.

            Yibo looked at his watch. The counters would be closed in ten minutes. The canteen was starting to get empty because the students were going back to their dorms. He wasn’t sure if Seungyoun has gone back to the dorm.

            Yibo waved at the employees and walked out of the canteen to the second grade elevator. He was waiting for the door to open when suddenly someone strangled him from behind and smothered his mouth with a napkin. He slumped into darkness even before got the chance to fight back.

            Yibo stirred to the coldness and gasped when another coldness splashed him. All his muscles were stiff and his bones were stung from the frozen weather. He tried to open his eyes but all he could see was darkness. He tried to move but he felt like he was paralyzed, unable to move even a single finger. It took a moment to finally realize that not only he froze from the cold, he was blindfolded, tied to his back, duct tape against his mouth, was wet and curled on the floor.

            Someone has made him unconscious and dragged him here.

            But who?

            Yibo tried to move his body but suddenly a kick landed on his stomach, made him choked. He hasn’t even breathed properly yet another kick followed. Then another kick.

            He curled deeper, to cover his stomach with his feet but then a punch landed on his face, followed by a pressure against his head and made his cheek pressed against the wet floor.

            “I wanna see how good you are, that Xiao Zhan had his head over heels for you,” said a voice.

            Yibo groaned low from the sting on his face and cursed on this pussy for not picking a fair fight face to face. So someone also had his eyes on Xiao Zhan and was furious because Xiao Zhan liked him instead.

            “Actually, it might be amazing to be the first to pop that cherry-ass on you.”

            Yibo jolted when he felt a hand squeeze his cheek-ass.

            “Ravishing your virgin ass.”

            Yibo groaned and tried to get that hand off of his cheek-ass.

            The boy then patted his cheek hard. “But don’t worry, you’re not my type.”

            Yibo threw his face away from his hand, choked when suddenly the boy kicked him so many times here and there, and then a punch.

            “So, let’s make this clear. Stay away from Xiao Zhan means you’re saving your cherry-ass.” Then a punch on his face. “I’m not hesitated to ram your virgin ass if you were still seen lovey-dovey with him.”

            Yibo snorted silently. It wasn’t like that they held hands and flirted around the school.

            “You’re done?” came another voice.

            Ah, so there were two of them.

            The boy patted once again Yibo’s cheek before getting up and gave him some other kicks.

            Yibo’s mind was started to get blank from the pain and vaguely he heard the frictions of the door being locked before he succumbed into another darkness.

           

            A loud bang awakened him, and it took him a moment to realize what has happened to him.

            “Yibo…?”

            It was Seungyoun.

            Yibo tried to move but it was too painful and cold. He felt like freezing.

            “Yibo…?” And then loud bangs.

            Yibo didn’t know how to give him clue that he was inside. He tried to groan but he was too freezing to let his voice out.  

            The bangs stopped and Yibo thought that Seungyoun might give up. But another louder bangs were heard followed by cold breeze against his skin. Then he felt a grasp.

            “Yibo…?”

            Seungyoun’s voice was hovering above him. His hands were untying the blindfold and soon Yibo could see his angry face. “Who did this?”

            Yibo tried to sit up but he failed. His body was too painfull and freezing he barely could say a word.

            Seungyoun then untied his hands and helped him to sit. “Who did this?” Yibo could hear anger boiled in his tone.

            Yibo took effort to shake his head and Seungyoun acknowledged his situation. “Let’s get out of here first.”

            Yibo tried to get up with Seungyon’s help, groaned from the pain as he started to walk. It felt like hours to finally reach their room. Jiacheng and Zifan were sleeping so they had to tone down. Yibo turned on the hot shower, took his time releasing the pain and let the hot water heat him up.

 

            Yibo was serving some students when Seungyoun burst into the canteen irritantly, interrupted the line.

            “Are you fucking out of your mind?” Seungyoun glared, made the students who were in the line looked at him in confusion.

            “What?” Yibo replied calmly, gestured Seungyoun to move away and served the line the drinks.

            “You got bruises all over your body and yet you work?” Seungyoun snapped, didn’t care what kind of look they gave him.

            Yibo didn’t reply. He served the drinks until the last person and then looked at Seungyoun who was patiently waiting for his explanation. “I don’t want to let him win.”

            Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows. “You really like Xiao Zhan a lot, huh?”

            “It’s not about Xiao Zhan,” Yibo looked at Seungyoun seriously. “It’s about my pride. I hate someone threating me for any reasons.”

            Seungyoun didn’t reply.

            “And most of all, I hate his dirty way.”

            “You’re challenging him.”

            “I am.”

            “Is it worthed?”

            “Mmn.”

            “Maann… I’m really worried about you right now.”

            “The worst is I’d just lose my virgin ass to him. It’s not like he’s gonna kill me.”

            Seungyoun choked to Yibo words and then cringed. “The fuck…”

            Yibo shrugged.

            “Fuck! Yibo, you…” Seungyoun gapped.

            “I’m worried about you instead.”

            “Why?”

            “I’m sure that the one who locked me up is the same guy who put the porn in my locker, and also the same guy who threw slushies into your locker.” Yibo curved his lips seriously.

            “You think so?”

            “So maybe this isn’t about Xiao Zhan alone. Maybe it’s about him not liking us.”

            “Make sense. Do you think we have to tell Xuan-ge?”

            “I—“

            “No,” Seungyoun cut him. “We definitely have to tell him. This is overlimit!”

            “No. This is personal.”

            “Yibo…”

            “Seungyoun, you gotta watch out yourself too.”

            Seungyoun paused for a moment before nodding and then frowned. “Fuck this shit.”

            Yibo smirked a little and then handed Seungyoun the hot tea. “Come on, get in the line for breakfast.”

            Seungyoun grabbed the tea. “You too.”

            “Mmn.”

 

            Yibo still came to the club eventhough he wasn’t sure if he would be able to practice. Seungyoun made excuse to the coach that Yibo felt sick and so he let Yibo just sit and watch the practice.

            Yibo played with his cellphone, imagining that those guys roaming his privacy made him irritated.

            “Hey…” came Wenhan voice. He sat next to Yibo, panting. “How are you?”

            “Fine.”

            “Seungyoun said you’re not feeling well.”

            “Mmn.”           

            “What happened?”

            “Exhausted, probably.”

            “You sure?”

            “Mmn.”

            Wenhan fanned himself using his own hand. “I don’t know, Yibo. Sometimes you hide so many things.”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows. “Like what?”

            “Especially when it comes to Xiao Zhan.”

            Yibo didn’t reply.

            “He causes so much trouble for you.”

            “…”

            “But I can see that you can handle it pretty well.”

            “…”

            Wenhan sighed. “I’m not here to judge. I’m here to tell you that nothing comes for free. There’s always a price for everything.”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows, but nodded eventually.

            “Take care, okay?”

            “Mmn.”

            Yibo watched Wenhan’s back as he walked away. He was a nice guy, Yibo thought and was sure that he was boyfriend material who would pay full attention to the one he loved. It was just that Yibo had his eyes on Xiao Zhan, not him.

            Yibo spotted Xiao Zhan standing by the board when he was walking out of the gym.

            Seungyoun nudged and patted his back. “See you at dinner.” And then he walked away.

            Yibo came towards Xiao Zhan and noticed that he was really tensed. “S’up?”

            Xiao Zhan didn’t say anything. He only gestured Yibo to walk with him and Yibo did.

            It was a quite walk. Both of them stay silent, only shoulders bumped against each other as they walk, and then a grasp around Yibo wrist when Xiao Zhan dragged him to sit on the bench.

            Yibo sat slowly and closed his eyes as he threw his head backward, tried to catch some air.

            “That hurt?” Xiao Zhan finally asked.

            Yibo brought his head down and looked at Xiao Zhan.

            “Do you have any idea who did that?”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. Where did Xiao Zhan know about the locked-up? “Who did what?”

            “Don’t play dumb with me.” Xiao Zhan’s tone was sharp.

            “Then explain who did what.”

            Xiao Zhan stretched forward his hand, only to grab the hem of Yibo’s shirt  between his unzipped jacket and yanked it, caught Yibo’s hand with the other hand when Yibo was about to smack his hand.    

            Yibo noticed the tightened on Xiao Zhan’s jaw and his eye twitched in annoyance when he saw the bruises.

            “That must hurt a lot,” Xiao Zhan said in a low tone. He let go of Yibo’s shirt but not the grip on his hand. Instead, he laced their fingers together and again they fell into the silence.

            Yibo looked at their hands and smiled a little – he really liked the visual. His wide palm and thick fingers were so contrast with Xiao Zhan’s small palm and thin fingers. Judging from his hand, Xiao Zhan wasn’t the typical who fight a lot. Painting was really suitable.

            “Who told you?” Yibo finally opened his mouth.

            “You don’t need to know. How did Seungyoun find you?”

            “Should I answer that you don’t need to know?” Yibo looked at him lazily.

            Xiao Zhan shot a look at him, eyes narrowed.

            Yibo curved his lips – he definitely could not joke with an angry Xiao Zhan. “He said he got a message from my number asking for help because I was being locked-up in the storage room at the dorm rooftop.”

            Xiao Zhan took his time before answering. “So the guy took your phone.”

            “They. Took my phone and used it to send message.”

            “They?” Xiao Zhan turned to look at him.

            “At least I heard two persons talking.”

            “Two…” Xiao Zhan trailed off.

            “Mmn.”

            “And how did you get your phone?”

            “Not me. It was Seungyoun. He thought it was a set-up and wanted to make sure, so he called me but got rejected. He started to get panic when I didn’t come after midnight, so he called again while walking to the rooftop and there he found my phone and my bag.”

            “Smart…” Xiao Zhan said. “He didn’t have any intention to hurt you actually. And what were they talking about?”

            Yibo sighed. He slightly brushed his thumb against the back of Xiao Zhan’s palm. “They weren’t exactly talking.”

            “But?”

            Yibo tilted his head. Not sure how to talk this.

            “What did they want?”

            “He. Wanted me to stay away from you.”

            “He?”

            Yibo nodded.

            Xiao Zhan curved his lips. His face was so serious and seemed like thinking hard. After a moment of silence, he finally let out a long breath and turned to look at Yibo, smiling. “Come on, I’ll walk you to the canteen.”

            Yibo got up and entangled their hands. “What were you thinking?”

            “Just collecting some clues and put them in the right places…”

            “So you have a suspect.”

            “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

            Yibo frowned. He nodded at Xiao Zhan when they were at the canteen and took his shift.

            Later at dinnertime, he spotted Xiao Zhan talking with Seungyoun while having dinner, just the two of them.

 

***

 

            It was past mid-day when Yibo stepped out of the gym building. Seungyoun has already gone with Chen Yu to have a date since it was Saturday. Yibo had his free five hours to nap and maybe play mobile games, or watch a streaming movie before his night service at the canteen. He was walking down the stairs when Wenhan called him. He handed a bottle of isotonic drink.

            “Thank’s,” Yibo replied, took it.

            “I notice that Seungyoun was busy with Chen Yu,” Wenhan said, walking beside Yibo.

            “Mmn.” Yibo opened the lid and drank it.

            “Where is he now?”

            “He’s going out with her to the city.”

            “Aahh… on a date!”

            Yibo nodded.

            Wenhan chuckled. “They are starting to decorate the school with red ornaments,” he said pointing at red lampions along the pathway. “Lunar New Year is coming.”

            “Mmn.”

            “It was beautiful during the New Year. Read ornament above the white snow.”

            “Mmn.”

            “Are you going to Luoyang?”

            “Mmn. You?”

            “Hangzhou. I heard you’re taking ancient Chinese for your elective course?”

            “Mmn.” How come everybody knew his elective course?

            “That was… something…”

            “Mmm.” Yibo understood Wenhan reaction. There was a time when Yibo thought about giving up because the material was scattered here and there, and it was a fucking long essay to resume. But then he thought that once he picked on something, he just have to finish it.

            “It started in BC when people haven’t cared yet to restore any copies to proof their existence.”

            “Yeah. I have to work hard on that.” Well, who would have guessed that Wenhan was also familiar with this ancient Chinese?

            “Eh, speaking of Henan, there were sites there that can describe the Xia dynasty choronologically.”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows, this conversation started to get interesting. “Really?”

            “Actually, there was a debate about these sites. It remains unclear if these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture form the same period,” Wenhan started talking.

            Yibo didn’t expect that he would actually listen to Wenhan. But since the subject was what he needed and Wenhan willingly discussed about this, he gladly listened attentively until they reached the dormitory building and had lunch together.

            “My suggestion is, try to find another ancient Chinese from the Spring and Autumn period in the Chinese Iron Age,” Wenhan said as they took the tray and picked the lunch. “Try to read Hundred Schools of Thought. This is actually a philosophy.”

            “Hundreds Shcools of Thought?”

            “Yep. This Spring and Autumn Period was also the rich period where influential intellectual movements as Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism and Mohism were founded.”

            Yibo nodded and followed Wenhan to a table and sat.

            “Besides, the Hundreds Schools of Thought had an enourmous influence on Chinese culture,” Wenhan added.

            Yibo frowned. “How could you know a lot?”

            Wenhan chuckled. “Because I took ancient Chinese.”

            “Ah, no wonder.”

            Wenhan nodded, started to eat.

            “What are you taking now?” Yibo also started to eat.

“I’m taking History of World War II.”

            “Wow!” Yibo raised his eyebrows.

            “Actually I’m interested in China’s contribution in this war.”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. “I didn’t know that much.”

            Wenhan chuckled again. “Well, if you’re interested, I can give my resume when it’s done.”

            Yibo grinned sheepishly. “No need.”

             Wenhan chuckled. “Oookaayy…”

            Yibo didn’t realize that talking with Wenhan was fun actually. He was a smart boy and didn’t hesitate to spill out his thinking.

            “So, what are you gonna do until your night service?” Wenhan asked, done with his lunch.

            “I think I’m just gonna nap for a while.” Yibo stacked his tray with Wenhan’s.

            “Good. Take some rest before the hectic.”

            “Mmn.” Yibo drank his mineral water and got up. “Thank’s for the talk.”

            Wenhan nodded. “Anytime.”

            Yibo walked out of the canteen and wait for the elevator. He stepped in and when the door was about to close, a hand sneaked in between the doors.

            It was Xiao Zhan.

            Yibo looked at him in confusion when Xiao Zhan stepped in. “Don’t you think you’re taking the wrong elevator?”

            “Last time I checked, this is really the elevator to second grade dorm.”

            Yibo involuntary bit his bottom lip. “How could you be so shameless to go to the second grade dorm?”

            Xiao Zhan smirked. “Why don’t I? It’s normal to visit your boyfriend, right?”

            Yibo snorted. “Your boyfriend?”

The elevator stopped and the door opened. Yibo walked out and snickered a little when he noticed that Xiao Zhan was following him to his dorm.

Yibo was unlocking the door when Xiao Zhan put his chest against Yibo’s back and whispered, “Yep. My boyfriend.”

            Yibo’s heart skipped a beat. He swung opened the door while chuckling nervously.

            Xiao Zhan stepped in and locked the door.

            “Luckily Jiacheng and Zifan are having softball today,” Yibo said while tossing his bag onto the desk and rest his butt against it, arms folded on his chest.

            “Of course I checked on that before,” Xiao Zhan said with a smug on his face, walking towards Yibo.

            Yibo watched Xiao Zhan walking towards him, smile shyly when Xiao Zhan cupped his butt and made him sit on the desk while had himself between Yibo’s thighs, hands on Xiao Zhan’s chest. “What are you doing?”

            Xiao Zhan didn’t reply. He wrapped Yibo in his arms and kissed him eagerly.

            Yibo’s eyes fluttered closed while having his arms around Xiao Zhan’s waist, kissed him back.

            “Miss you…” Xiao Zhan whispered into the kiss, cupped Yibo’s nape to deepen the kiss. “I don’t like seeing you with him.”

            Yibo tried to breathe. “Him?”

            Xiao Zhan’s eye twitched. “Wenhan. What were you talking about so excitedly?”

            Yibo mischievously smiled. “Jealous?”

            Xiao Zhan’s bit Yibo’s lip. “You know I am.”

            Yibo winced but slowly whimpered.

            Kissing Xiao Zhan in private sent different experience. With walls around them, it felt so everwhelmed and nothing could hold them from exploring each other. Eventhough his heart beat so fast and his body felt hot, but he felt so relaxed at the same time. All his senses were wide awake and became very sensitive to every single Xiao Zhan’s touch and voice.

            Yibo loved every little thing Xiao Zhan did; the light brush of his fingers on his earlobe as he sucked his lips, the gentle squeeze on his waist as he licked his curve neck to his jaw, the cupped on his cheek-ass as he brought their bodies flushed against each other.

            And Yibo couldn’t hold back a soft whimper as he breathed against Xiao Zhan’s ear. “Zhan-ge…”

            Xiao Zhan chuckled against his neck. “What did you call me?”

            Yibo’s eyes snapped opened and silently buried his face in the crook of Xiao Zhan’s neck.

            “Call me that again…” Xiao Zhan whispered teasingly.

            Yibo sighed. “You’re the worst.”

            “Say it, Yibo…” Xiao Zhan intentionally blew some air into Yibo’s ear.

            Yibo hissed from the tickle, slowly pulled away and looked at Xiao Zhan, smirking. “Zhan-ge.”

            Xiao Zhan smirked back, whispering. “Brat!”

            Yibo snorted. “Pervert.”

            Xiao Zhan turned to look at the beds. “Which one is yours?”

            Yibo grinned and pointed at the upper bed.

            A twitch on Xiao Zhan’s eye. “You gotta be kidding me…” he said annoyingly.

            Yibo shrugged.

            “Next time, we’re gonna use my room.”

            “For what?”

            “Fuck you.”

            Yibo snickered. “So hurry, Zhan-ge.”

            Xiao Zhan leaned in for another kiss. “I like you calling me Zhan-ge,” he whispered into the kiss.

            “Zhan-ge...”

 

***

 

            Today was Yibo’s last service and that made Seungyoun very happy.

            “Even though you gave me more time with Chen Yu, but it was so boring to be lovey dovey all the time,” Seungyoun said.

            Yibo grinned sheepishly and then drank the soda slowly as they walked along the hallway to the classroom after having their lunch break.

            Seungyoun’s phone buzzed and he checked it out. A smile appeared when he read the message. “Remember the guy at the skateboard, Wen-Dage?”  

            “Mmn.”

            “He invited us to a skateboard competition this week.”

            “Wow.”

            “Right? It’s for welcoming the spring.”

            Seungyoun read the message again, frowned later.

            “What?” Yibo said as they walked into the classroom.

            “It’s a huge competition.”

            “Really?”

            “Yep. Under fifteen, newbie, open and skate father.”

            Yibo sat and leaned back. “You want to join?”

            “I don’t know. You?”

            Yibo hissed and sighed. “I don’t know. Thinking about going home, I just wanna be safe until then.”

            Seungyoun nodded. “But he personally messaged me. How about we come and watch?”

            “Yeah, that’s fine.”

            “Cool.”

 

            The person who has sent Seungyoun message was the owner of the skateboard shop where Yibo had bought his new one. Seungyoun called him Wen-Dage.

            “Cheung Yeeennn…!” Wen-Dage shouted Seungyoun’s Chinese name when he saw them walking into the event-organizer pit. “Yibo!”

            “Weeeeennn-Dageeee…!” Seungyoun shouted back.

            Yibo bowed. “Dage.”

            “How’s your board?” Wen-Dage asked Yibo.

            Yibo lifted his board. “Cool. Very smooth.”

            “Good, good!” Wen-Dage nodded.

            “So, how was the competition?” Seungyoun asked.

            “We’ve done with the under-fifteen and newbie, and we’re having a break now. Have you seen the arena?” Wen-Dage asked.

            Seungyoun shook his head. “Nope.”

            “Well, let’s go there…” Wen-Dage gestured Seungyoun and Yibo to follow him.

            The arena was quite big with many optacles and Yibo almost regretted not to join. He took a walk here and there, admiring the design and suddenly his eyes caught a familiar face wearing the same tag with Wen-Dage. He nudged Seungyoun and whispered, “Isn’t that Pheng Chuyue?”

            Seungyou lifted his face and nodded after a moment of thinking. “Yeah. What is he doing here?”

            Chuyue, with papers in his hand, was seen talking to some people and ordering them this and that.

            “Does he even play skateboard?” Yibo mumbled.

            “Eh, Dage,” Seungyoun nudged Wen-Dage, “Who’s that? I thought I saw him somewhere?”

            Wen-Dage followed Seungyoun direction. “Ah, isn’t he your friend?”

            “Friend?” Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows and looked at Yibo.

            “Yep,” Wen-Dage nodded. “He came here a week after your visit. He said that he was interested in playing skateboard and he asked some advices about the board for beginners.”

            “And he bought any?”

            “He bought one, for beginner. He said he saw you guys a lot playing skateboard at the school and also said that you showed him some tricks.”

            Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows. “Something is fishy here,” he whispered at Yibo.

            “Mmn.”

            “He was the one who came up with the idea of this competition,” Wen-Dage added.

            “Oh…?”

            “Yep. One week later he came again with the proposal of this competition and he presented me the whole concept.” Wen-Dage pointed at the arena. “You see that? He arranged all the optacles and collected the official-crew. He organized everything. He also reminded me to tell you about this competition.”

            “Laoshi,” someone called Wen-Dage, “I need to talk for a minute!”

            Wen-Dage nodded and then excused himself.

            “So, he was the one who asked Dage to tell me…” Seungyoun looked at him suspiciously.

            “Why would he do that?” Yibo also looked at him tentatively.

            “To make us come here?”

            “Okay, we’re here. Now what?” Yibo curved his lips, thinking. “We gotta get back. The sooner the better.”

            “What?” Seungyoun exclaimed annoyingly. “We just got here!”

            “I don’t feel good about this,” Yibo mumbled.

            “Well, at least let me watch the open-class, and we’ll get back. I promise!” Seungyoun raised his two fingers.

            Yibo didn’t reply. Did Xiao Zhan know that Chuyue played skateboard and was even organizing a skateboard competition?

            The next class was finally began – the open-class, the class with the most participants, mostly skilled and professional. That was why this class was the main event which Seungyoun has been waiting.

          They sat at the official’s stage and got the best visual. The open-class was really amazing to watch. The participants provided the best techniques and skills, and Yibo and Seungyoun just had to shout and clap amusingly.

          And when Yibo looked at his watch, it was one hour left to their curfew.

          “Fuck,” Yibo muttered and nudged Seungyoun, showing him his watch.

          Seungyoun jumped in surprise. Wen-Dage was sitting at the judge’s table because he was the main judge and Yibo and Seugyoun couldn’t just interrupt his job.

          “I’ll text him later,” Seungyoun said.

          Yibo and Seungyoun were walking to the bus stop when Yibo noticed that some people have been following them.

          “Do you realize that someone is following us?” Yibo asked Seungyoun in low tone.

          “Huh?” Seungyoun knitted his eyebrows.

          Yibo took a glance over his shoulder. “More than two. Three or four.”

          “Now what?”

          Yibo took a moment to think before opening his mouth. “Run.”

          Yibo and Seungyoun ran, and as expected those guys followed. They ran as fast as they could, didn’t care where the road led, as long as they could lose them. The passersby squealed and moved aside when they ran through with hands waving here and there randomly cueing them to get out of the way. Once in a while, Yibo looked over his shoulder and noticed that those guys were getting closer.

          This was bad, Yibo thought. He was starting to feel suffocated, as well as Seungyoun whose run was getting slower. He grabbed Seungyoun’s wrist and dragged him into an alley to hide. But before he could find any spot for them to hide, he lost Seungyoun’s hand, followed by a bump. He turned and spotted that Seungyoun was no longer beside him.

          Yibo abruptly stopped and turned around, gasped when he saw those guys were beating up Seungyoun.

          “Oi…!” Yibo shouted and ran towards them.

          One of them stopped beating Seungyoun and launched himself at Yibo.

          Yibo was ready with his fists, but with their size difference, the guy easily knocked Yibo down onto the ground.

          Yibo heard Seungyoun groaned loudly and cursed in Korean, trying to cover himself. He hugged himself to cover his stomach from the kicks while stealing glances at Seungyoun.

          “Seunyoun…!” Yibo involuntary shouted his name when he saw that Seungyoun was spitting blood – three guys beating him up heartless.

          “Yibo, ruuunnn…!” Seungyoun shouted.

          “Fuck…!” Yibo tried to get up.

          The guy grabbed the back of Yibo’s collar and punched his stomach a few times.

          Yibo blocked his stomach with his hands but another guy came and kicked the back of his feet. He fell down on his feet and another kick on his back made him slump on both his hands.

          Yibo lifted his gaze and noticed that Seungyoun was lying flat on his stomach with eyes closed and blood covering his face but the two guys didn’t stop kicking him. Fear crept up his body, made him shout his lungs out. “SEEUUNGGYOOUUNNN…!!!” He abruptly walked towards Seugyoun on his knees and hands. But even before Yibo managed to get Seungyoun, a kick was landed on his back and made him sprawl on his stomach – and then another kicks, after another kicks, made him curled to protect himself.

          Seungyoun opened his eyes – half lidded, reached out his hand to Yibo before slowly his eyes fluttered closed and froze. 

          The intense kicks against his stomach, chest and back made him hard to breathe. He so wanted to get to Seungyoun, but he couldn’t even help himself right now. The mix from the pain and the fear for Seungyoun made him groaned loudly.

          Yibo swallowed hard as his body started to get numb and limp. The voice around him now was more like a muffle in the distance.

           “Stop, stop!” Yibo heard a voice and the kicks stopped. “He doesn’t move any more! Are you trying to kill him? And what about him?”

          Yibo tried hard to open his eyes. He needed to see what was happening.

          “Don’t worry, they’re not dead…”

          “Oi, Chuyue, what to do now?”

          Chuyue? Yibo tried to open his eyes but the painful stung made him clenched shut his eyes.

          “Just let them.”

          And then Yibo felt someone grasped his hair and lifted his head.

          “Messing with me! Peng Chuyue! I’ve warned you, dog!”

          Yibo tried once again to open his eyes, but a hard tug against the pavement made him lost his consciousness.

Chapter Text

            “Seeeuungyoouunnn…!!!” Yibo shouted loud and snapped opened his eyes. He was panting and felt his throat was so dry.

            “Yibo…?” a voice called him.

            Yibo turned to see. It was Xiao Zhan.

            “Are you okay?” Xiao Zhan grasped his hand.

            Yibo roamed the room. Judging from the all-white decoration around him, he must be in a hospital. And then he remembered Seungyoun.

            Yibo abruptly lifted his body, only to get slumped back again as the shot of pain around his torso attacked.

            “You can’t move yet,” Xiao Zhan helped him to lie.

            “Seungyoun…” Yibo whispered.

            “He’s okay.”

            “I need to see Seungyoun.”

            “You cannot. Not now.”

            “But I wanna see him.”

            “He’s okay.”

            Yibo gently pulled away from Xiao Zhan, threw his gaze anywhere except Xiao Zhan’s eyes.           

            Xiao Zhan tilted his head in annoyance “What now?” Xiao Zhan puckered his lips.

            Yibo didn’t know if he should talk about what had happened but one thing for sure, he didn’t want to see Xiao Zhan right now. “I want to be alone,” he whispered.

            Xiao Zhan didn’t reply.

            “Leave me alone.”

            Without saying a word, Xiao Zhan stood up and walked out of the cubicle, leaving Yibo cried silently. He didn’t know what he was feeling right now; hated at himself, both liked and hated at Xiao Zhan, felt sorry for Seungyoun, angry with Chuyue, all mixed up and bulged in his heart. He just wanted to scream out loud until his voice ran out.

            Yibo abrutply wiped his tears when the curtain slid opened and Yixuan and Sunjoo came in. Yixuan sat on his right while Sungjoo stood on his left.

            “You okay?” Sungjoo asked.

            Yibo nodded.

            “What happened?” Yixuan asked.

            “What time is it now?” Yibo muttered.

            “Almost midnight,” Yixuan replied.

            “Where am I?” Yibo asked again.

            “Beijing Jishuitan Hospital. You’re in the ER,” Sungjoo replied this time.

            “And Seungyoun?” Yibo looked at Yixuan.

            Yixuan sighed and looked at Sungjoo.

            “What?” Yibo threw his gaze at Sungjoo who cued back at Yixuan.

            “What had happened actually?” Yixuan asked again.

            Yibo propped on his elbows, tried to sit. Yixuan and Sungjoo hurriedly helped him.

            “Water,” Yibo pointed at the bottle on the bedside next to Sungjoo who obediently handed him.

            Yibo drank slowly. His throat felt so sore from the shouts and the groans. “Some people beated us up,” he finally said.

            “Do you recognize them?” Yixuan asked.

            Yibo looked down at the bottle, didn’t know what to answer.

            “Yibo?” Yixuan called him. “Was it Xiao Zhan?”

            Yibo choked to that name. “No.”

            “Then who?”

            “I’m not sure because I didn’t see clearly,” Yibo said. Not until he settled everything with Xiao Zhan, he wouldn’t say a name.

            Yixuan nodded and patted his leg.

            “Seungyoun?” Yibo looked up at Yixuan and then at Sungjoo.

            Sungjoo took a deep breath. “He’s actually fine. As in breathing, and heart beating. But… he… got broken ribs and nose… and it might take long to recover.”

            Yibo nodded, relieved somehow. “When can I see him?”

            “He’s being treated right now. Let’s just wait,” Yixuan said.

Yibo nodded again. “His parents?”

“We’ve called them and they are on his way here.”

“Let me know when they’re here,” Yibo said.

“Sure.”

“We also called your parents,” Sungjoo added.

“My parents?” Yibo raised his eyebrows. What should he tell them? How this could turn so fucking complicated?

“Yibo…?” Yixuan called him, “You might wanna talk to him?”

It took a moment for Yibo to realize that Yixuan was talking about Xiao Zhan.

“He’s waiting, and was really worried about you,” Yixuan said again.

“If you don’t mind delivering my message,” Yibo looked at Yixuan.

“Sure.”

“Tell him to wait for me at the dorm. Here isn’t a right place to talk,” Yibo said.

Yixuan nodded and smiled a little. “Talk properly, okay?”

“Xuan-ge want to stay here?” Sungjoo asked.

“I guess so,” Yixuan replied.

“Then I’ll just with Seungyoun in case he needs anything. Besides, someone has to check if his parents were here,” Sungjoo said.

Yixuan nodded. “Sure.”

Sungjoo waved a little and walked out of the cubicle.

“Well, let me talk to Xiao Zhan,” Yixuan got up. “I’ll be a minute.”

Yibo nodded. He was well awared that Xiao Zhan was out of this mess but he just couldn’t face him right now while his anger was still bulged up. Eventhough he felt sore everywhere, but it wouldn’t stop him from punching him when things were out of hand.

The first who came was Yibo’s parents. Yibo insisted that it was him who wanted to watch the competition and forgot the curfew.

“Mom, Dad, please… talk to his parents not to send him back to Korea,” Yibo pleaded.

“Yibo, Seungyun is their son. It’s their decision. Not ours,” Yibo’s mom said.

            “Is he really that bad?” Yibo looked at his mom.

            “I don’t know. The doctor wanted to discuss this only with his parents.”

            “That would only mean that Seungyoun’s wound is really bad,” Yibo’s dad added. “Lucky, you only got bruises and wounds, although they are severe but the doctor allowed you to go home.”

Yibo looked at his dad. “Please, Dad, talk to his dad… I’m really sorry…”

“Yibo,” his dad called him in a sharp tone. “Let his father decide.”

A few minutes later Sungjoo sneaked his head into the cubicle and told him that Seungyoun parents arrived. With Yixuan help, Yibo came to meet them outside the ER.

“I’m really sorry,” Yibo said while bending his body, his voice trembled. “I am… sorry…”

“Yibo…” Seungyoun’s mom grabbed him and straightened him up. “Look at you, you’re so…” she couldn’t continue her words. Her hands shakingly hovered above Yibo’s swollen cheeks and cut lips.

“Sir, I’m sorry. This is all my fault.” Yibo looked at Seungyoun’s dad.

Seungyoung’s dad looked at him, and then at his parents who was standing behind him.

“I’ve talk to the doctor, Seungyoun had to bed-rest because of the broken ribs, and his broken nose need a surgery,” Seungyoun’s dad said.

Yibo looked at both parents hopelessly.

Seungyoun’s dad put his hand on Yibo’s shoulder. “I know this isn’t your fault but Seungyoun’s condition needs him to be back with us. Besides, the Lunar New Year holiday is coming. Seungyoun only takes his holiday earlier.”

Slowly, Yibo felt the hotness at the corner of his eyes, so he gritted his teeth to stop the tears from falling. “I want to see him.”

Seungyoun’s dad nodded and took Yibo.

Seungyoun was… fine, in the outside, except for some bruises like Yibo’s.

“Doctor gave him some pain relief because if he’s awake, it would be hurt so much for him even for breathing,” Seungyoun’s dad said.

Yibo let a breath, looked at Seungyyoun in concerned.

“They will use an artificial rib-cage around his torso to support him as we take him back to Seoul, to prevent worse condition that might occurr, and also to reduce the pain as he moves,” Seungyoun’s dad added.

“When can I talk to him?” Yibo asked. He really wanted to talk to Seungyoun before he left.

“I don’t know. He might not be able to talk that much, it will cause so much pain.”

Yibo nodded, swallowed hard.

“I’ll tell him to text you as soon as he wokes up.”

Yibo nodded again.

 

The sun was starting to rise. Yixuan and Sungjoo have already gotten back to the school, leaving Yibo with his mom in the cafetaria while his dad assisted Seungyoun’s dad in preparing their way back to Seoul.

Yibo looked at his hot tea blankly.

“You can just go back with us to Luoyang,” his mom said. “You can take early holiday like Seungyoun.”

Yibo didn’t reply. He thought that the doctor might have given him the pain-relieved drug earlier because he didn’t feel pain that much. It was right that the Lunar holiday was coming – in two weeks. But he was hoping to finish his elective course before going home.

 “Yibo!” came his dad’s voice. “Seungyoun is ready to go home, if you want to see him.”

Yibo abruptly got up and followed his dad to the intensive care.

Seungyoun was already wrapped with artificial rib-cage but he was still unconscious; he would remain unconscious until he reached Seoul for his own safety. The medical staff put him into an ambulance that would take him to the airport where Seungyoun’s dad’s private jet was waiting.

“Call him everyday,” Seungyoun’s mom hugged Yibo. “He would be very bored alone in the house.”

Yibo nodded. “I will. And I will make sure that he won’t delay his elective course.”

“Good boy.”

The siren rang loudly and the ambulance pulled away from the lobby, leaving Yibo with emptiness.

“What are you going to do now?” Yibo’s dad looked down at him.

“I want to go back to the school,” Yibo replied.

“Are you sure?”

“Mmn.”

            “Fine. Besides, I need to have a talk with the headmaster.”

            Reaching the school, Yibo went straight to the dorm. He climbed onto his bed and curled, eyes locked on the bed where Seungyoun used to sleep before he himself succumbed in a deep sleep.

 

***

 

            Yibo woked up early on Wednesday morning and had breakfast alone after refusing Jiacheng and Zifan who offered him their companion after three days of self-healing in his dorm. All the students looked at him in curiosity, wanted know what the real story was. Classmates gave him condolence about Seungyoun and also support.

            After Yibo got back to the school, he was called to the headmaster office and talked about what had happened. His parents were also there. Yibo told them the chronology, except the Chuyue part that he wished to settle this thing privately with Xiao Zhan. The school board was intended to ask for the police help if Yibo wanted to bring an action against those people but Yibo refused. The school board didn’t push Yibo but this incident had made them put stricter rules regarding going out of school area.

 

It was lunch break and Yibo sat alone in the classroom. He looked at his new phone his parents gave him because his previous one was broken. He had texted Seungyoun last night but he hasn’t replied yet. Maybe Seungyoun was still under the painkiller effect and wasn’t be able to acknowledge clearly his situation.

Yibo sighed and lifted up his face, just in time Wenhan walked into the classroom and sat on Seungyoun’s seat while putting a lunch box on his desk.

Wenhan smiled. “How are you doing?”

“Good.”

Wenhan tilted his head left and right, inspecting Yibo’s face. “You looked awful tho.” And then he chuckled.

Yibo smiled a little. “Mmn.”

“How’s Seungyoun? I heard he was sent back to Seoul…”

Yibo nodded. “He needs intensive treatment.”

“Normally, it takes about six weeks for broken ribs to heal on their own.”

Yibo looked at Wenhan seriously.

“Even after those six weeks, you still need to consult the doctor if it was okay to play basketball in that amount of time. And skateboard too.”

Yibo nodded.

“Since Seugyoun’s not here, you can look for me if you need anything.”

Yibo nodded again. “Thank’s,”

Wenhan smiled. “You’re welcome. All I can do right now is to support you.”

Yibo looked down at his phone again. “Don’t.”

“Why?”

“No matter how hard it is, please stay away from me.”

Wenhan suddenly chuckled. “I remember telling you to stay away from Xiao Zhan, and now it’s you who’s telling me to stay away from you. Funny, isn’t it?”

Yibo looked at Wenhan.

“Yibo…” Wenhan sighed and got up. “I’ve stayed here longer than you. I can take care of myself.”

Yibo grinned sheepishly.

“Now that you’re with Xiao Zhan,” Wenhan said again, “You should take care of yourself more.”

Yibo curved his lips and nodded.

Wenhan smiled and waved a little before walking out of the classroom.

 

Yibo walked slowly out of the class. Now that Seungyoun wasn’t with him anymore, he was kinda clueless what to do. He walked down the stairs, stopped when he spotted Xiao Zhan waiting.

“Can we talk now?” Xiao Zhan asked when Yibo was close enough. Eventhough his tone was calm, but it was also demanding.

Yibo didn’t answer and Xiao Zhan simply considered it as a yes, so he walked with him.

“What happened that day?” Xiao Zhan asked again.

Yibo took a deep breath and threw his gaze to the distance. “We were beaten up.”

“Who did it?”

Yibo didn’t know how to answer this. Part of him wanted to just confrontated Peng Chuyue without Xiao Zhan knowing, and the other part of him wanted to ask Xiao Zhan if he knew about this.

“Yibo…” Xiao Zhan blocked Yibo’s way, looked at him annoyingly. “Who did it?”

Yibo looked back at Xiao Zhan in irritation. He curved his lips in frustration and shoved him away to keep walking.

“Yibo!” Xiao Zhan grabbed Yibo’s wrist.

Yibo stopped walking but didn’t turn around. He let his hand hung in Xiao Zhan’s grip, felt his heart clenched from the warmth of touch.

            Impatiently, Xiao Zhan dragged him to a quiet place at the back yard of the academic building.

            “Talk…” Xiao Zhan put him against the wall, hands on each side of Yibo’s head.

            Yibo looked at him in the eye, licked his lips as he got to see Xiao Zhan’s dark and dominated eyes in this closed gap. Slowly his eyes darted to his lips – the lips that he always wanted to kiss. Finally Yibo’s eyes fell on Xiao Zhan’s shoulder and chest, and how he liked being hugged against them.

            Yibo gritted his teeth and lower his head, slowly closed his eyes as he put the top of his head against Xiao Zhan’s chest.

            “Oi…?” Xiao Zhan sounded confused.

            “It was Chuyue…” Yibo finally said.

            “What?” Xiao Zhan sounded surprise.

            Yibo lifted his head and looked at Xiao Zhan. “It was him who locked me up that day, and it was also him who beated me and Seungyoun,” Yibo said bitterly.

            Xiao Zhan narrowed his eyes. “Are you sure?”

            “I’m sure. And I don’t care if you don’t believe me.” He pushed Xiao Zhan away.

            But Xiao Zhan held him, pushed him back against the wall.

            “I know it’s hard to believe and I don’t wish you to believe me,” Yibo said again. “But the fact Seungyoun got hurt really got my nerve.”

            “…”

            “Tell him that I’m gonna find him and make him pay for what he has done to Seungyoun,” Yibo said.

            “So you have decided… without me?”

            “This is my problem… me and Seungyoun.”

            “And your problem is mine, remember?”

            Yibo sneered. “How considerate of you!”

            Xiao Zhan’s eye twitched. “Do you have any idea how worry I am? How furious I was when I saw you at the hospital?”

            “Oh… I’m sorry for bothering you then. You shouldn’t have come to see me.”

            Xiao Zhan tilted his head. “Are you pushing me away?”

            “…”

            “Are you pushing me away, Wang Yibo?” Xiao Zhan’s tone was lower but sharper.

            Yibo swallowed hard. It wasn’t Xiao Zhan whom he was pusing away. It was himself. Because he coulnd’t stand the guilty for what had happened to Seungyoun.

            Yibo started to breathe shallowly as he felt the hotness at the corner of his eyes.  He was aware that the tears might leak at anytime so he turned away his face from Xiao Zhan, looking anywhere except him.

            But Xiao Zhan’s gentle palms cup his face and brought it back to face him and slowly leaned in.

            “Are you pushing me away?” Xiao Zhan whispered.

            Yibo involuntary put his hands on Xiao Zhan’s chest and tried to push him. “Yes. Yes.”

            Xiao Zhan caught his hands and snickered. “Really…?”

            Yibo tugged their hands. “Yes. I hate you.”

            But Xiao Zhan grasped them tighter. “Hmm…?”

            Yibo looked up at him. “I hate you. I hate you so much!”

            Suddenly Xiao Zhan put his weight against Yibo and kissed his lips full and eagerly.

            Yibo gasped and before he could think of anything else, his lips move on their own and kissed Xiao Zhan back.

            How could he hate Xiao Zhan? He never hated him. He liked him. He liked Xiao Zhan so much that he didn’t care what would happen to him. He would take all the risks just to be with Xiao Zhan. He didn’t care if he had to go to hell and back.

            But Seungyoun didn’t deserve this. Seungyoun got all the shit for the mess he made with Xiao Zhan. It wasn’t even fair. If Chuyue got problems with him, then let’s deal and fight like men. Don’t be a pussy and targeted Seungyoun.

            Xiao Zhan pulled away slowly, gave a light peck on Yibo’s lips and brushed their lips lightly. “Still hate me?”

            Yibo swallowed hard. “I hate myself.”

            “Hmm…?” Xiao Zhan pecked again his lips.

            Yibo breathed into the peck. “I hate myself for liking you, and hurting Seungyoun.”

            Xiao Zhan cupped Yibo’s face and brushed his thumbs against Yibo’s wet cheek. “Such a cute cry-baby,” he teased, chuckled when Yibo glared. “What are you going to do now?”

            Yibo leaned into the touch and looked at Xiao Zhan’s eye seriously. “I wanna fight man to man with him.”

            Xiao Zhan looked at him, thinking, before finally nodded. “Okay. Give me some time. After Lunar holiday.”

            “What?”

            “After Lunar holiday you’ll get your payback, I promise.”

 

***

 

            Yibo finally got Seungyoun replied him three days later when he was just done with his lunch. Turned out that he changed his number and got Yibo’s number from his dad. Ever since he was alone, Yibo had lunch in the classroom.

            I hate taking painkillers, it makes me feel stupid.

            Yibo grinned. But it will make you less painfull.

            I can deal with the pain, Bro! Do you think I’m that weak?

            But your dad said the opposite, Yibo wrote.

            Oh, so now you’re on his side? Thank you very much, asshole!

            Yibo frowned. You’re sick but you’re as rude as always.

            I’m proud of what I am, mate!

            Yibo sighed. He wanted to ask Seungyoun if he knew that it was Chuyue’s doing. His tumbs moved lightly above the keypad; he coulnd’t find the right words to ask. How’s your elective course? Instead, he asked.

            -meh emoji- Do you really have to bring that up now?

            Yibo rolled his eyes. Final exam is next month.

            Stop. Don’t even try to talk about that.

            Seungyoun!

            Okay, at least give me time to breath properly!

            You can breathe while reading…

            Wang Yibo! –glare emoji-

            Yibo grinned sheepishly. Fine. Whatever makes you comfortable!

            Cool. I’ll tell Xiao Zhan to tell you that he loves you!

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. Why Xiao Zhan?

            Because I can’t tell you I love you. My love is for Chen Yu… -heart emoji-

            Yeah, yeah…

            I bet you have free time to mess with him now that I’m gone. Has he knocked you up?

            Yibo’s eye twitched. The fuck…?

- laugh emoji – Just wondering if you took the bottom or the top. But I bet all my whole year pocket money that you take the bottom.

Yibo actually grinned to this sentence. Do you wish to die?

Aaawww… I am right, aren’t I?

Fuck you!

No, HE fucks you!

Yibo rolled his eyes.

            I miss Chen Yu.

            Tell her, not me!

            I wanted to! But I forgot her number…

            You don’t have it in your cell?

            Nope. Tell her my new number, okay?

            Mmn.

            At least I can say I miss you, Yibo!

            Yibo gave him a punch emoji. No. That’s disgusting!

            Seungyoun gave him a laugh emoji.

            Hey, lunch break is over. Gotta go! Yibo wrote when he heard the bell rang.

            Yep. Text to you later.

            Yibo shut down his phone and shoved it into his pocket pants.

 

            “Chen Yu…” Yibo called Chen Yu after basketball practice.

            Chen Yu turned around and smiled. “Wang-laoshi, what’s up?”

            Yibo handed her a paper. “Seungyoun changed his number and he forgot yours. So, text him.”

            Chen Yu took the paper and smiled. “I will.”

            “Cool.”

            “Is he… better?” Chen Yu asked.

            “Well, at least he can breath properly now. You better ask him.”

            Chen Yu nodded. “Thank’s, Wang-laoshi.”

            Yibo nodded.

            “Seungyoun will have his final examination, right?” suddenly Wenhan came from behind.

            Yibo turned to look at him and nodded. “He will.”

            “He really needs to study hard on his own.”

            Yibo nodded again, started to walk when Wenhan did.

            “Then—,” Wenhan didn’t continue when he spotted Xiao Zhan coming after them. He smiled a little at Yibo and then walked away without even looking at Xiao Zhan.

            “He hates me,” Xiao Zhan said, and then walked with Yibo.

            “He doesn’t…” Yibo replied.

            “How do you know?”

            “Because I know…”

            Xiao Zhan knitted his eyebrows, turned to look at Yibo annoyingly. “Oh, so now you know him?”

            Yibo also knitted his eyebrows and looked at Xiao Zhan in confusion. “Are you jelaous, again?”

            “Tch! I can never be not jealous when it comes to him!” Xiao Zhan replied. His eyebrows twitched as he looked at the direction where Wenhan went away.

            “You’re annoyingly possessive…” Yibo mumbled.

            “Don’t care, as long as I can keep you.”

            Yibo frowned.

            Xiao Zhan smirked. “Hey, what do you say if we had dinner in my room?”

            Yibo smiled mischievously. “Sounds suspicious.”

            “Well, since my roomates are all gone dating, and we’ll be having the room to ourselves…”

            Yibo frowns. Okay, that was tempting; to have the room to themselves and have Xiao Zhan all over him.

            “What do you say?” Xiao Zhan suddenly whispered into his ear, made Yibo jump.

            Yibo turned to look at Xiao Zhan who was smiling wickedly, and then smirked. “Okay, Zhan-ge.”

            Xiao Zhan smirked, bit his bottom lip. “Wang Yibo…”

            Yibo turned away to hide his nervousness yet his excitement, walked a little faster into the dormitory building and got in line to buy dinner.

            The gossip about Yibo and Xiao Zhan dating actually began to spread when people saw them a lot in the library during Yibo’s school service. Liberal Art students started to take the rumor seriously when Yibo’s photos circulated; they knew that Xiao Zhan took photography for elective course.

            Seeing two guys dating actually wasn’t a rare thing. This became interesting because it was Xiao Zhan. All the students knew well how Xiao Zhan’s attitude at his first and second year, not to mention how the relationship started for him and Yibo. And now seeing them together got in the line for dinner, the students simply couldn’t ignore them.

            But both Yibo and Xiao Zhan seemed don’t care. They were serious in their own world talking.

            “I don’t like spicy food,” Yibo said when Xiao Zhan suggested sauté mushroom and bell-pepper.

            “Oh…” Xiao Zhan curved his lips, his eyes roamed the food in the counter.

            “I’ll just take noodle-rice,” Yibo said, and then asked the waiter to wrap him one with chicken broth.

            “I’ll take that too, with tom yam sauce,” Xiao Zhan said while giving the waiter the money.

            Yibo raised his eyebrows, held back a smile.

            “What?” Xiao Zhan stole a glance at him from the corner of his eyes. “Boyfriend treat, is that weird?”

            Yibo rolled his eyes and walked away with the take-outs. “I said nothing tho.”

            “Tch! Your eyes said it!”

            Yibo ignored Xiao Zhan and walked to the third grade elevator. “You sure it’s okay for me to visit third year area?” he asked, remembered how Wenhan said that third year area was private.

            “You’re coming with me,” Xiao Zhan said smugly. “Who dares to say no?”

            “What a privilegy…” Yibo muttered while stepping into the elevator.

            Xiao Zhan smirked. “Be thankful for being my boyfriend.”

            “Thank you, Zhan-ge,” Yibo said sarcastically.

            Xiao Zhan grinned, gestured Yibo to be the first to walk out when the door opened.

            “Where’s your room?” Yibo looked to his left and right to check on the number on the doors.

            “This,” Xiao Zhan said while gesturing a door.

            Yibo followed him into the room. It was dimmed but clear enough for Yibo to notice that there were four beds; two on the right and two on the left, with four desk next to each bed and four armoires. Third year dorms were really huge. “Where is the light?” he asked.

            “No need…” Xiao Zhan said while grabbing the take-outs from Yibo’s hand and put them on a desk along with their bags before shoving Yibo against the wall and ravished his lips.

            Yibo was happy to welcome Xiao Zhan’s hot and wet kiss, didn’t even resist when Xiao Zhan pulled him without breaking the kiss until they fell onto the bed with Xiao Zhan on top of him.

            Yibo involuntary whimpered when Xiao Zhan brought his fingers beneath his shirt and teased the bare skin around his waist while peppering light kisses along his neck, made him breathed out ‘Zhan-ge’.

            Xiao Zhan chuckled teasingly. “Someone’s eager…”

            “Ah, fuck…” Yibo mumbled, tried to catch his breath.

            “Well, why don’t we just have our dinner first and enjoy our companion…” Xiao Zhan said, untangled himself from Yibo after gave him a peck on his lips. “The night is still young, isn’t it?”

            Yibo didn’t reply. He propped himself by the elbow, panting, and when he was calm enough, he got up and joined Xiao Zhan who was unpacking their dinner by his desk. “Can we just turn on the light?”

            Xiao Zhan curved his lips, thinking. “Fine,” he said finally. He turned on the light and suddenly chuckled.

            “What?” Yibo turned to see him and froze when he realized that one of Xiao Zhan’s roommates was there all along, lying on his own bed with comforter covering him to his shoulder.

            “I know you hate the lights on when sleeping, but me and my boyfriend here are trying to have dinner,” Xiao Zhan said to his roommate giddily.

            His roommate sighed and tugged away his blanket that was covering him.

            Yibo got even more shocked. It was Peng Chuyue.

            Chuyue looked at Yibo irritated, but his gaze turned soft when he looked at Xiao Zhan. “It’s okay. It’s my fault tho. I said earlier that I wanted to go out.”

            Xiao Zhan looked at him, forced a smile. “Exactly. I thought you were going out.”      

            Yibo looked at him sharply, anger boiled inside of him. He fisted both his hands to keep him from punching that asshole.

            Xiao Zhan came towards Yibo, only to wrap his hands around his waist and cupped his cheek-ass gently, whispered against his lips, “You’re so sexy with that look.”

            Yibo hissed and shot a look at Xiao Zhan who was smirking excitedly.

            “Why don’t we just crash in your room?” Xiao Zhan asked Yibo playfully.

            “You don’t have to!” Chuyue said in a sudden. “I’ll just spend the night at Zhao Lei’s dorm.”

            Yibo looked at him over Xiao Zhan’s shoulder and his eye twitched as Chuyue passed them by.

            “Say hi to Zhao Lei for me,” Xiao Zhan said when Chuyue put on his sneakers.

            “You know he was there all along,” Yibo said irritated when Chuyue was already out of the dorm.

            Xiao Zhan untangled himself. He took his take out and sat by his desk after dragging a chair for Yibo to sit. “So what?”

            Yibo sat on the chair, looked at him seriously. “What are you implying?”

            Xiao Zhan shoved the food into his mouth. “Helping you to get a payback.”

            Yibo curved his lips in annoyance, grabbed his dinner. “How come we made out in front of his naked eyes would help me paying back?”

            Xiao Zhan sneered. “Eat your dinner.”

            Yibo ate his dinner quietly. He really didn’t expect that Xiao Zhan shared the same room with Chuyue. He cursed on his stupidity for not reading the names of the occupants on the door before coming in.

            “My relationship with Chuyue was complicated and I don’t know how to explain this to you,” Xiao Zhan suddenly said.

            Yibo chewed slowly and looked at Xiao Zhan. “What do you mean complicated?”

            Xiao Zhan didn’t answer. Instead, he put down his half-done dinner and just stopped eating. “You’ll find out later.”

            “Why not now?”

            “Because I don’t have all the answers now.” Xiao Zhan calmly got his drink.

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows and put down his dinner, took the drink Xiao Zhan offered.

            Xiao Zhan smiled, and then got up.

 Yibo’s gaze followed Xiao Zhan who lounged himself on the bed. His heart clenched when Xiao Zhan gave him a smile – a very handsome and inviting smile.

A wave of Xiao Zhan’s hand, and Yibo launched himself at him.

 

***

 

            The next morning, Yibo woke up in a haze. He breathed slowly. Eyes locked on the celling above, he felt really content. A shy smile appeared on his face as he recalled what happened the night before in Xiao Zhan’s dorm; they made out intensely that led to give each other handjob.

            Yibo shivered to the feeling and decided to just wake up, hissed when he realized that he was hard.

            Stupid Zhan-ge, Yibo cursed, and jumped into the cubicle to have a cold shower.

            Yibo let the board down and dived his foot against the pavement. The skateboard slid smoothly as he maneuvered between students who were walking to the academic building. Reaching the Lunar New Year, the ice has gotten rare so Yibo could use his skateboard. He jumped off of the board when he saw Xiao Zhan at the main entrance; leaning against the pillar with hands inside his pocket pants, eyes on Yibo.

            “Hey…” Yibo smiled.

            Xiao Zhan smirked.

            “What?” Yibo frowned.

            Xiao Zhan inhaled deeply. “I can’t get your sexy voice out of my head.”

            Yibo’s eye twitched. “Pervert.” And then he walked into the building. “Why are you waiting for me here?”

            “Don’t like it?”

            “Rare of you.”

            “That’s what boyfriends do, right?”

            “It’s not what YOU do.”

            “After having you last night, I think I couldn’t stay away from you. You got me whipped,” Xiao Zhan said playfully.

            Yibo cringed. “What the fuck…”

            Xiao Zhan chuckled. “Well, see you at lunch,” he said when Yibo reached his classroom.

            Yibo involuntary shivered, what the hell was wrong with Xiao Zhan acting so sweet? He was about to put his bag when he noticed a paper folded on his desk.

            Rooftop. Lunch.

            Yibo crunched the paper and tossed it into the trash bin.

            It was Chuyue. He knew this was going to happen – sooner or later.

 

            Yibo walked to the rooftop while once in a while took glances to find out if Xiao Zhan was around. He climbed the stairs and pushed the door open to the view of Chuyue already sitting.

            Chuyue glanced at him in hate, got up as Yibo walked closer. “You got balls to come.”

            “I’m not a pussy, strangled people and blindfolded them.” Yibo smirked as Chuyue curved his lips. “Or maybe hire jocks to beat us up.”

            Chuyue suddenly laughed. “So brave of you, Wang-dog!”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows.

“You knew it was me, yet you didn’t retreat from Xiao Zhan’s side.”

“Should I?”

Chuyued scoffed. “Xiao Zhan doesn’t deserve kid like you.”

Yibo snickered. “And do you think Xiao Zhan deserves a pussy like you?”

Chuyue shot a serious expression. His jaw tightened. “Xiao Zhan loves me.”

“Oh…? Should I believe that?”

“Because his mom promised my mom!” Chuyued suddenly shouted. He looked at Yibo in anger. “Because of you, Xiao Zhan turned his back on me! He’s supposed to love me!”

Yibo tilted his head. He remembered Xiao Zhan told him that his relationship with Chuyue was complicated. “What kind of relationship you have?”

“Xiao Zhan is my everything. His mom promised my mom that Xiao Zhan would take care of me. Only me!” Chuyued shouted again, histerically.

Yibo narrowed his eyes, inspecting Chuyue. Was he sick or something? What has Xiao Zhan done to him? What has his mom promised them?

            Chuyue gritted his teeth and before Yibo could register what was going on, he found himself slumped onto the ground and his jaw stung.

            Yibo wiped his bloody mouth and turned to look up at Chuyue who was launching himself at him. He abruptly raised his hands to protect his face as shower of punches landed on him.

            Chuyue let out his anger on Yibo, punched him like a madman while groaning histercally.

            Yibo tried to pull away by bringing his knee up to his chest and kicked Chuyue by his stomach, made him thrown backwards. Panting, he got up abruptly without taking his eyes off of Chuyue who was staring back at him.

            “You should have known from the first, that Xiao Zhan only uses you for fun,” Chuyued said, laughing amusingly. “A cutie virgin. A submissive bottom.”

            Yibo’s eye twitched.

            Chuyue laughed histerically again. “Just wait until he popped your virgin cherry, and then he would just leave you like garbage!”

            Yibo swallowed hard, looked at him in confusion.

            “Xiao Zhan never loves you, dog!”

            Yibo lost for words. He turned on his heel and walked away as Chuyue’s laughter slowly became inaudible.

Yibo climbed down the stairs in a rush and burst into the bathroom, didn’t care the look from the students who saw him in horror. He stood in front of the sink and looked at his reflection; bruises covered his face.

Yibo leaned against the sink, head hung low. He was aware that he didn’t know Xiao Zhan that much, but he never thought that he would have complicated past.

Yibo hated complicated things.

But he liked Xiao Zhan. So much.

And Xiao Zhan… did he like him too? As much as he liked him?

Yibo sighed and turned on the faucet. He scooped the water with both hands and took it to his face, wiped gently his bruises and cuts. Another scoop to the top of his head and brought his hands to brush his nape.

Suddenly his phone rang.

Yibo pulled it out of his pocket pants and his heart clenced from the name; Zhan-ge. He put the phone on the counter sink and let it ring, coldly looked at the name.

The ring stopped. It seemed like Xiao Zhan gave up.

Yibo grabbed the phone and walked to his class, felt the relieved when he noticed that there was no Xiao Zhan waiting for him.

Yibo and Xiao Zhan really needed to talk. It would be better if Xiao Zhan settled his relationship with Chuyue first, and also to find out about what Chuyue said.

Whatever the answer would be, Yibo had to deal with it.

And so, ater the class ended, Yibo roamed the Liberal Art building to find Xiao Zhan. He could just called him back and tell him that they needed to talk but for some reasons, Yibo felt like he wanted to know what were the Liberal Art classes like.

“Yibo?”

Yibo turned around and saw Yixuan, who frowned at his bruises. Yibo grinned and bowed his head. “Yixuan-ge.”

Yixuan sighed, but grinned back. “What are you doing here? Looking for Xiao Zhan?”

“Mmn.”

Yixuan seemed hesitated. “He… went that way…” he pointed at the hallway.

“Thank’s.” Yibo bowed and turned around.

“Yibo!”

Yibo stopped and turned around.

“Be careful…” Yixuan smiled.

Yibo tilted his head in confusion but then nodded. He continued walking along the hallway that ended up to the toilet and a janitor room.

Should he just wait here?

But it was a boys’ toilet after all. What was wrong with getiing into a boys’ toilet when he was one indeed?

Yibo put his hand against the door and was about to shove it when he heard two boys arguing. He abruptly stopped and after listening attentively, he noticed that one of them was Xiao Zhan.

Yibo slowly retreated, roamed his surrounding to find where they were exactly, knitted his eyebrows in confusion when he realized that they were at the emergency exit.

Yibo shoved the door carefully to not let out any noise and sneaked his head out; Xiao Zhan and Chuyue were talking at the end of the stairs. Arguing, to be exact.

“I’ve told you not to touch Yibo!” Xiao Zhan said angrily. His face was tensed and his eyes flared up.

“I can see that he’s the most important for you,” Chuyue said weakly. “You don’t care about me anymore.”

“You and him are different, Chuyue!”

“I don’t care. It’s me or him!”

“Chuyue!”

“Choose! Me or him?!”

Xiao Zhan swallowed hard, brushed his hair in frustration.

Chuyued grabbed the collar of Xiao Zhan’s blazer. “Me or him, Xiao Zhan!”

Xiao Zhan looked into Chuyue’s eyes seriously. “Wang Yibo. I choose him.”

Chuyue chuckled weakly, hands of Xiao Zhan’s collar. “You chose him.”

“I love him, Chuyue. I’m falling so hard.”

Hearing those words passed Xiao Zhan’s lips made Yibo felt warm. He leaned back against the wall and smiled.

“What about me? You don’t love me?” Chuyue asked.

“You’re family, Chuyue. How could I not love you?”

“I don’t want to be your family!” Chuyue said histerically. “I want to be your lover!”

Yibo choked to the words. Chuyue and Xiao Zhan were family?

“Chuyue!” Xiao Zhan shouted.

“Listen, Xiao Zhan, if I could never have you, then that kid would never have you either,” Chuyued said in frustration.

Suddenly Xiao Zhan pushed Chuyue against the wall and put his fist against his chest. “I warn you, Chuyue, if you ever lay your hand on him, you’re dealing with me.”

Chuyue gritted his teeth and stared back at Xiao Zhan.

“Don’t joke with me!” Xiao Zhan patted his cheek.

Chuyue grabbed Xiao Zhan’s wrist and pushed him away.

Yibo abruptly walked out of the emergency exit and ran along the hallway to the park and slumped against a bench. Throwing his head back, he tried to breathe. Minutes later, he spotted Chuyue walked out of the Liberal Art building; anger was clearly seen on his face.

So Chuyue and Xiao Zhan were actually family? What kind of family that allowed Chuyue to think that he could be Xiao Zhan’s lover?

Listening to Chuyue and Xiao Zhan’s conversation, Yibo wasn’t sure anymore about the payback. Chuyue was clearly sick. A payback wouldn’t make everything better. Xiao Zhan really needed to deal with him seriously.

Then no need to tell Seungyoun that it was Chuyue who beat them up. Well, unless he asked. At least Seungyoun didn’t have to deal with Chuyue for the next six weeks.

Yibo got up and walked out of the academic building. The thought of being alone in the dorm made him walk to the library building instead. Besides, his elective course couldn’t wait any longer. He needed to finish it at the end of this month because he wanted to focus on final exam next month.

Yibo roamed the ancient Chinese shelves and when he found what he was looking for, he sat by a desk and started taking notes.

“Does it hurt?”

Yibo tore his eyes off of the book and looked in confusion at the person who was sitting in front of him. Xiao Zhan.

“You were so serious. I’ve been sitting here for a while,” Xiao Zhan gave him a playful annoyance.

“Oh… really?” Yibo then smiled. “Sorry.”

Xiao Zhan propped on his elbow. “No need. Your serious face was so sexy just now.”

Yibo rolled his eyes, but then smiled again as he recalled what Xiao Zhan said earlier at the emergency exit – wider smile this time.

“What are you doing?” Xiao Zhan asked, took a peak on the book.

“Collecting materials for my elective course,” Yibo lifted the book for Xiao Zhan to see.

“The Bamboo Annals?”

Yibo shook his head. “Hundreds Schools of Thought.”

Xiao Zhan knitted his eyebrows. “Changed subject?”

Yibo continued writing. “Wenhan suggested me that.”

“And you gladly obliged?”

“Zhan-ge, please stop.” Yibo lifted his face and looked at Xiao Zhan.

“I hate that guy.”

“I don’t.”

“Because he hates me.”

“He doesn’t.”

“And because he likes you.”

“But I don’t.”

Xiao Zhan knitted his eyebrows and looked at Yibo amusingly.

“I like you,” Yibo said, smirking.

Xiao Zhan smiled playfully.

“I like you a lot, Zhan-ge.”

“Stop.”

“Why?”

“Because I might launch at you here and now, and then kiss you.”

Yibo frowned. “This is library.”

“And do you think I give a damn?”

Yibo grinned.

“Don’t try me, Wang Yibo!”

“I like you so much, Zhan-ge.” And then Yibo lifted the book to cover his smiling face.

“I’m so gonna ravish you,” Xiao Zhan mumbled. “You just wait!”

“Mmn…” Yibo replied between his soft chuckles.

 

***

 

            Yibo waved at Seungyoun on the monitor and closed all the applications before turning the laptop off.  A few days ago Seungyoun called Yibo if he could attend certain class online and when he asked Wenhan, he gladly helped.

            “Yibo, are you done?” came Wenhan’s voice as he walked into the classroom.

            “Mmn.” Yibo handed Wenhan the laptop.

            “Did everything work out?” Wenhan asked as they walked.

            “Good. Seungyon could hear the teacher’s voice clearly.”

            “That’s good. I hope he would be ready when the exam comes.”

            “Mmn.”

            “We’re having a competiton after the exam,” Wenhan said. “I’m hoping you could join the team.”

            “Oh, really?”

            “Yep. Too bad Seungyoun can’t join.”

            “Don’t tell him.” Yibo grinned sheepishly.

            “Why?”

            “Because he would stubbornly join the practice.”

            Wenhan chuckled. “That’s so like him.”

            “Mmn.”

            “Okay, I’m heading to the Student Affairs. See you at club,” Wenhan waved.

            Yibo nodded and headed to his locker to get his basketball shirt, froze when he smelt blood. Could be that Chuyue put something inside?

Yibo input the code and slowly opened it, hissed silently when he saw what was inside; head of a dead chicken revoked by force from its body and its blood smeared inside his locker.

Yibo abruptly closed his locker and hoped that no one saw it. He stared at it seriously, thought about the person he needed to tell. Yixuan? Xiao Zhan?

Or maybe no one.

Chuyue was definitely sick, and now he couldn’t get his basketball shirt. Yibo’s eyes darted at Seungyoun’s locker next to him and suddenly the idea to wear his shirt popped in his head. His eyes gazed again at his locker and decided to clean it up after the club so no one would see.

Yibo dived his board to the dormitory to get Seungyoun’s shirt and dived again to the club.

Wenhan looked at him in confusion when he noticed the ‘Seungyoun’ name at the back of the shirt that Yibo was wearing. “What now?”

Yibo scratched the back of his head, thinking. “Couldn’t find mine.”

Wenhan walked away without saying a word but Yibo was aware that Wenhan knew something. Even though Wenhan had tried to cover for him when the coach asked, but Yibo still got his punishment for being indiscipline with his own belongings.

As Wenhan told earlier that the club was having a competition after the exam, the coach was starting to pick the team. As expected, Wenhan was the captain and second year mostly got the bench, but the coach said that things might change if they worked hard.

“Let’s work hard!” Wenhan said as they left the building.

“Mmn.” Yibo nodded.

“I hope you can join the main team.”

“Me too.”

Yibo dived his board to the academic building as soon as Wenhan out of sight.

The academic building was kinda quiet eventhough Yibo knew that some students might still be around, either for extracuriculaire or any other affairs. He leaned his board against the lockers and slowly opened his.

Yibo cringed as the smell of blood attacked, even getting worse that before. Fucking sick, Yibo cursed. He looked hopelessly at his basketball shirt and books.  

“Are you intended to keep this to yourself?” came a voice behind him.

Yibo jumped in surprised and groaned in relieved when he saw that it was Xiao Zhan. “Fuck…”

Xiao Zhan folded his arms on his chest and looked at him in annoyance. “Did it even cross your mind to tell me this?”

Yibo cleared his throat. “This…”

“Yes. This.”

Yibo didn’t reply. He pulled out a plastic glove and a plastic bag from his backpack.

Xiao Zhan grabbed the plastic bag and held it for Yibo.

Yibo put all the stuff into the plastic bag, and then he wiped all the blood with a wet-sterilized tissue.

Xiao Zhan helped him collect the used-tissue and threw them into the trash bin.

Finally, Yibo spray antiseptic into the locker.

They both worked in silence. No one had the initiative to talk – at least for Yibo. He really didn’t know if he needed to speak up his suspicion on Chuyue.

Yibo closed the locker and changed the passcode.

“It’s useless,” Xiao Zhan finally said. “He would just hack the new passcode easily.”

“Why?” Yibo looked at Xiao Zhan.

“Because he’s a freak,” Xiao Zhan said coldly.

“Who’s he?” Yibo narrowed his eyes.

Xiao Zhan shot a look. “We both know who.”

Yibo grabbed the plastic bag but Xiao Zhan held him.

“Let me,” Xiao Zhan said, “You just bring your board.”

Yibo nodded and carry the board.

It was nearly sunset when they got out of the academic building. Yibo walked silently besides Xiao Zhan, shoulder bumped against his a few times, sent him warmth.

The lanterns around the school were starting to lit. Wenhan was right. The red ornaments were really beautiful. The wind rang the windchimes and gave the feeling of longing for home.

“Are your parents gonna pick you up?” Xiao Zhan asked.

“No. I’ll take the train,” Yibo replied. “You?”

“By plane.”

“Oh.” Yibo nodded.

“Yibo.”

Yibo stopped and looked at Xiao Zhan who stopped walking.

Xiao Zhan put his free hand around Yibo’s waist and leaned in. “Be a good boy during holiday, okay?” And then Xiao Zhan smirked.

Yibo raised his eyebrows in annoyance. “Are you my parents?”

“I’m gonna miss you.” Xiao Zhan leaned in and kissed him.

Yibo scoffed softly. “Really?’

“Shut up and let me kiss you,” Xiao Zhan grumbled playfully.

 

***

 

            Yibo’s family actually consisted of only him and his parents but his parents had sisters and brothers, and so Yibo had cousins, nephews and nieces, and that made the Lunar New Year dinner noisy and lively.

            Yibo’s favorite was Luoyang Water Banquet. It’s a traditional Chinese cuisine consisted of twenty-four dishes. The eight cold dishes are first served, followed by sixteen hot dishes which are held in blue-and-white porcelain plates of different size.

            Of the twenty-four dishes, the peony banquet is the main course of the feast. The classical dish is made by steaming white carrot, needle mushroom, black mushroom, white bamboo shoots and egg yolk cake is specially-made soup. The egg yolk cake is sliced into thin layers shaped like peony flowers. That is why it is called ‘peony banquet’.

            Yibo ate as much as his stomach could reserve. He never complained about food, but food at New Year was always the best and sometimes, certain dishes were only served during this time. Thus, he could only eat those dishes once in a year.

            Eventhough Yibo had three weeks holiday, but his parents didn’t. There were lots of feasts and banquets during New Year so instead of spending their times with Yibo, they had to work.

            Yibo had called Seungyoun who happened to have the same problems with him; home alone, and the holiday made him bored to death.

            “I would have gone there if I’m not in this shit,” Seungyoun said in annoyance. “I can go feasting Lunar with you and watch some spectacles.”

            Yibo sighed. “I can go there. But then what?”

            “You could help me doing some favor.”

            “Like what?”

            “Get me things.”

            “Asshole.”

            “At least you can go around the city, buy these and those, eat and snack, watch this and that…” Seungyoun grumbled.

            “Not really, I’m finishing my elective course.”

            Yibo could hear Seungyoun gasping. “You took books on holiday?”

            Yibo grinned. “Why? Three weeks.”

            “Yibo… no books on holiday!”

            “Mmn.”

            “You’re so annoying…”

            “Mmn.”

            “Aarrghh… get lost!”

            Yibo rolled his eyes when Seungyoun hung up. He tossed the phone onto his bed and walked out of his room, donwstair.

            Yibo roamed his living room, frowned when he realized that his house was too big for himself. Why should their parents build such a big house if they were barely at home?

            Yibo plopped himself on the couch and turned on the TV. Most of the channel reported the Lunar New Year Celebration. He changed the channel a few times until a channel about trip and adventure caught his attention.

            “Need companion?” a low and husky voice suddenly tickled his ear.

            Yibo jumped and his eyes widened in shock. “Zhan-ge!” He patted his chest gently and tried to catch his breath.

            Xiao Zhan smirked happily and took a seat next to him.

            Yibo looked at him in disbelieved. “You… here?”

            Xiao Zhan nodded. “I’m here.”

            “How?”

            “By plane.”

            “I mean why.”

            Xiao Zhan smiled slyly, slowly pushed Yibo down and hovered above him. “I miss you.”

            Yibo smiled, his eye twitched.

            “Brat,” Xiao Zhan whispered against his lips.

            Yibo chuckled softly when Xiao Zhan finally kissed him, long and languidly – longing.

            “Happy New Year,” Xiao Zhan whispered.

            “Happy New Year, Zhan-ge.”

            Xiao Zhan sighed and climbed down, pulled Yibo along to let him sit properly. “What were you watching?” he threw his gaze at the TV.

            “Nothing interesting tho,” Yibo relplied.

            “Let’s go outside then. Any interesting events in Louyang?”

            Yibo curved his lips, thinking. “Sure,” he finally replied. “Come on.”

            “So, where are we going?” Xiao Zhan asked when they were in the car. In the backseat to be exact. Yibo had his driver took them.

            “Guanlin Temple.”

            Xiao Zhan nodded in exctiment. “The temple where Guan Yu’s head was buried.”

            “Mmn.”

            “It was really an ancient story.”

            “You came here, what about your family?” Yibo couldn’t help the curiosity because Lunar celebration should be celebrate with the family. Usually.

            “What about them?”

            Yibo curved his lips. “It’s only the sixth day, but you went out. Didn’t your family mind?”

            “We’ve had enough. Besides, I really miss you.”

            Yibo grinned. “Cheesy.”

            “Brat…”

            “So, how long are you gonna stay here?”

            “I don’t know.”

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. “What do you mean you don’t know? At least you bring something if you wanna stay a little bit longer.”

            Xiao Zhan smirked and laced his fingers with Yibo’s. “How long do you want me to stay?”

            Yibo rolled his eyes but glady squeezed back his fingers against Xiao Zhan’s. He accidentaly looked at the rear view mirror and noticed his driver’s lips were moving, holding back a smile. He lifted his chin, stared intensely until the driver caught his eyes and Yibo glared. The driver grinned sheepishly and Yibo tore his gaze from the mirror.

            They finally reached the Guanlin Temple. Just like the normally temple, there were halls, tablets, small stone lions and cypress. The only thing that made this temple one and only was the Tomb of Guan Yu. On its main gate are a series of reliefs telling the well-known stories of Guan Yu.

            “I never know you like ancient Chinese,” Xiao Zhan said while roaming the reliefs of Guan Yu.

            “Well, I like those Three Kingdom Stories in any versioin.” Yibo grabbed Xiao Zhan hand and took him to the field to watch a lion performance.

            After the lion performance, they roamed the field outside the temple to look for some souvernirs. By lunch, they buy cold dishes and continued to the next temple.

            “Here,” Yibo gave Xiao Zhan a souvernir when they were in the car.

            “What is this?” Xiao Zhan opened the wrapper and pulled out a key-chain blade-miniature.

            “It’s guando,” Yibo said. “The Green Dragon Crescent Blade. Guan Yu’s famous weapon.”

            “Eventhgouh I don’t know the story that well, but thank’s.”

            “Mmn.” Yibo nodded.

            Xiao Zhan shoved the souvenir into his bag. “Remind me to buy you something at The White Horse Temple.”

            “You want to buy me souvenir from my hometown?” Yibo scoffed.

            Xiao Zhan laughed.

            “Stupid.”

            Yibo silently smiled. He would never have thought that someone would visit him in new year, took a look around the city, had random talks about small stuff, got to know each other preference – this was definitely a date.

            “White Horse Temple’s architecture is quite simple,” Xiao Zhans said. He grabbed Yibo’s hand and walked through the main gate.

            “Mmn. This is the first Buddhist temple in China.”

            “Did you walk around a lot?”

            “Not really. I spent my junior high school in Seoul.”

            “With Seungyoun?”

            “Mmn.”

            “But you seem know well your hometown.”

            Yibo snorted. “Who doesn’t?”

            Xiao Zhan laughed.

            Yibo led Xiao Zhan to the indoor field and bough some peony-shaped snacks.

            “Which one do you like the most? China? Korea?” Xiao Zhan asked. He shoved a peony mochhi into his mouth and muched it excitedly.

            “Is that even a question?”

            Xiao Zhan grinned.

            Yibo led him to another counter that sold fruit based drinks and they bought orange and apricot juice.

            “I was jealous at first at Seungyoun,” Xiao Zhan suddenly said when they were walking out of the temple.

            Yibo grinned in confusion. “Why?”

            “I though he was your boyfriend.”

            Yibo couldn’t help smiling.

            “But then after knowing that he’s your bestfriend, I got even more jealous.”

            “What the fuck…” Yibo muttered.

            Xiao Zhan shot him an irritated look. “He’s just a bestfriend, yet he’s with you wherever you go.”

            “Are you idiot?”

            Xiao Zhan shrugged. “Coulnd’t help it.”

            Yibo stepped into the car and told the driver to get back home.

            “Here, I bought you something,” Xiao Zhan took something out from his bag.

            Yibo shook his head but a happy smile appeared in his face. He opened the wrapper and saw a red rope necklace with a red stone pendant.

            “Lucky charm. And a reminder that I love you.”

            Yibo involuntary cringed. “Zhan-ge, you’re creepy. What’s gotten into you?”

            “Tch!” Xiao Zhan snatched the necklace and tried to wear it on Yibo.

            “Oi!” Yibo grabbed Xiao Zhan’s wrist and glared, gesturing the driver.

            Xiao Zhan smirked. “Let him,” he mouthed.

            “Pervert.” And then Yibo snatched back the necklace. “I’m wearing it. It’s not about the necklace.”

            “So what was it all about?”

            “Your words.” Yibo put the necklace around his neck. “Your words are freaking creepy.”

            Xiao Zhan smirked. “Do you like me talking creepy?”

            “Please, no.”

            Xiao Zhan laughed and silently sneaked his arm between Yibo’s back and the backseat, lingered around Yibo’s waist. 

            The rest of the trip was… lively. And naughty. The driver really needed to hold back his smile seeing those two boys talking annoyingly.

            It was already dark when they reached home and Yibo just found out that Xiao Zhan actually brought his spare clothes when he saw a travel bag in his room.

            “Your maid took it for me,” Xiao Zhan said.

            “No wonder I didn’t see it. You can have your bath first,” Yibo said while pointing at a door, “That’s the bathroom. I’ll be a minute.” And then he walked out of the room, to the kitchen.

            Yibo roamed the fridge and the counter to find something to snack. When he walked into his room, Xiao Zhan was done. He grabbed his towel and hit the shower.

            “So, he didn’t find it weird seeing you dating a boy?” Xiao Zhan asked when they were lounging on a rug in his room.

            Yibo leaned against his bed, next to Xiao Zhan, shoulder to shoulder. “He’s quite open-minded.”

            “And your parents?”

            “They are too. They support me openly.”

            Xiao Zhan nodded and smiled. “That’s good.”

            “Yours?”

            “My parents are open-minded too. They don’t mind me dating boys.”

            Yibo nodded.

            “It’s good for us, right?”

            “Mmn.”

            “But… Chuyue’s parents… are not,” Xiao Zhan trailed off.

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows. He then remembered Xiao Zhan and Chuyue’s conversation at the emergency exit. “Are you and Chuyue really family?”

 Xiao Zhan took his time before answering. “Not family, but I consider him as one. Chuyue’s father and mine are best friends since high school, and that make our mothers best friends too. I didn’t know he enrolls the same high school until I saw him.”

“It was Chuyue who acknowledge me first. During the first year, we weren’t that close. During the first year break, he and his parents came to Chonqing. Turned out that his parents were freaked out after finding out that Chuyue was gay, and their visit was to ask for help from my parents.”

“You mean, his parents didn’t accept him for being gay?” Yibo asked.

Xiao Zhan nodded.

“What kind of help were they hoping?” Yibo knitted his eyebrows, confused on the ‘help’ thing.

Xiao Zhan shrugged. “I don’t know. His mom cried so much and I pitied him, for some reasons. I pitied him for not being accepted by his own parents. I pitied him for not being able to stand for himself. I pitied him because his father saw him as a failure, and if Chuyue chose to stick with his sexual preference, his father would cut their ties.”

Yibo formed his lips into a thin line. Suddenly he pitied Chuyue too.

            “His mom was scared, for many things, and so my mom promised her that I would take care of him during his study here.”

            Ah, that promise, Yibo thought.

            “My father agreed that I would protect him and if things went well, Chuyue could keep his gay in the closet and no bullying, his father would let him continue his university here.”

            “But then Chuyue misinterpreted the promise,” Yibo added.

            Xiao Zhan curved his lips. “I don’t think misinterpret is the right word. Chuyue simply became possessive on me.”

            “Oh…?”

            “He was so sweet at first and I really considered him as little brother,” Xiao Zhan continued. He opened the lid of his mineral water and drank it. “I really took my time for him, protected him. But then things got out of control.”

            “Out of control how?” Yibo took a potato chip and tore the wrapping. He grabbed some and offered Xiao Zhan.

            Xiao Zhan took the potato chips and crunched them while talking. “He became so spoiled. If he disliked someone, he would ask me to beat him up and if I refused, he would threaten to kill himself.”

            Yibo frowned. “He’s sick.”

            “I realized that. But since I didn’t know to handle him, I always ended up doing what he wanted.” Xiao Zhan smiled weakly.

            “You’re really the worst.” Yibo shot him an irritated look, and then hit him with a pillow-couch.

            Xiao Zhan ducked. He put the potato chips only to grab the pillow and hugged it. “I know. But I had no choice that time. Later, I found out how to avoid beating up people and kept him sane at the same time.”

            “How?”

            “To retreat myself from society,” Xiao Zhan said bitterly, looking at Yibo. “He was happy to see me stay beside him all the time and that made his mood content.”

            “You were under his control without you realizing it,” Yibo said. “How could you be so kind, Zhan-ge?”

            “It was for his parent.”

            “I don’t know if you’re an idiot or an angel,” Yibo said sarcastically.

            Xiao Zhan laughed. “Brat!” And then hit Yibo with the pillow.

            Yibo laughed dryly as he remembered his conversation with Yixuan back then about Xiao Zhan’s change of attitude. “Did you tell your parents?”

            “I did. At New Year.”

            “Oh…? What did you tell them?”

“I didn’t talk into details. It was just a slight of introduction that Chuyue was actually a different person from we’d thought. That he was being possessive and it became harder for me to take care of him.”

“And what did they say?”

“My father didn’t say much. Just a slight of worried expression and told me that he would talk about this with his parents. And mother only said ‘do what I could do and let go if things were out of my reach’.”

            “She’s so wise.”

            “Yep.”

Xiao Zhan sighed. “And then, Chuyue started to choose friends for me and I don’t mind that. I could just make friends with anybody.”

            “You mean like Gu Jiacheng and Zhao Lei?”

            “Yeah and then Xia Zhiguang. Soon people acknowledged me as bastard.”

            Yibo scoffed. “You deserve that!”

            Xiao Zhan frowned and brushed back his hair.

Yibo bit his bottom lip. “Do you think, he loses himself because of the rejection from his parents?”

            “Could be. It was also the inner fight that stressed him up. He had to suppress real hard his feeling for another boy tho…”

            Yibo nodded.

            “Just like the way how I felt for you…”

            Yibo turned to look at Xiao Zhan, eyeing seriously.

“It was Chuyue who acknowledged you first.”

            Yibo raised his eyebrows. “What?”

            “He said ‘Xiao Zhan-ge, there’s a new kid, second year. He’s handsome but he likes to show up!’” Xiao Zhan chuckled.

            Yibo rolled his eyes to the words ‘like to show up’.

            “And then I saw you, with Seungyoun, playing skateboard…” he trailed off. “You were so… free. Full of energy. So alive.”

            Yibo curved his lips, felt so funny recalling the first days he and Seungyoun enrolled here.

            “And I felt in love with you…” Xiao Zhan added.

            Yibo bit his bottom lip from the sudden warmth that was creeping up his body. “And then you got jealous.”

            Xiao Zhan nodded. “And then I got jelous.”

            “Stupid.”

            “And Chuyue sensed this.” Suddenly Xiao Zhan’s tone turned bitter.

            “And he asked you to beat me?” Yibo asked.

            Xiao Zhan shook his head. “No. He said that he would kill himself if I dare to fall in love with you, which I had, obviously.”

            “…”

            “The more I ignored you, the more I fell deeper. He confronted me but I didn’t admit it. I told him that I didn’t love you. He challenged me that if I didn’t love you, I should have no problem beating you up.”

            “And so you did.”

            “Because—“

            “Because you promised his mom,” Yibo cut Xiao Zhan.

            Xiao Zhan nodded.

            Yibo snorted irritantly. “Jerk!”

            Xiao Zhan shot an apologetically look. “I coulnd’t hit you and love you at the same time. So I gave him pressure that if he kept asking me to beat you, I would leave him.”

            “But…” Xiao Zhan continued, “Turned out that he himself beat you up.”

            “I knew that.”

            “His strategy now is to make you leave me because I definitely won’t.”

            “But it didn’t work.”

            Xiao Zhan knitted his eyebrows and looked at Yibo amusingly. “Didn’t work?”

            “It didn’t. And it won’t.” Yibo smirked back.

            Xiao put the pillow away and turned around to face Yibo. “Actually, it crossed my mind to leave you because I didn’t wanna see you hurt.”

            “Oh…?”

             “But you were so hot that I just couldn’t help myself…” Xiao Zhan said softly, slowly leaning in and brushed his lips against Yibo’s.

            Yibo swallowed hard, parted his lips slightly to catch Xiao Zhan’s lips.

“Damn it, Yibo…” Xiao Zhan hissed softly, “You don’t have any idea the struggle I had, fell for you yet I had to beat you up.”

            “But you did good beating me up,” Yibo whispered back into Xiao Zhan’s lips.

            “It took all my power not to lauch at you, and kiss you every time my hands caught you…” Xiao Zhan whispered, put his arms around Yibo’s waist and pulled him closer.

            Yibo choked a breath from the heartbeat, boldly leaned up and took the initiative to kiss Xiao Zhan; put his arms around his neck while bringing him down. Xiao Zhan’s lips and hands were all over him, made him felt hot and dizzy. But he didn’t want him to stop. Every touch and kiss were never enough; the needier Yibo, the greedier Xiao Zhan. The chant of ‘Zhan-ge’ led to the ‘I want you’, the kiss on the skin led to thrust. The whimper and moan of pleasure filled up the room, made the air thick from slow and deep sex.

            The night was young, and Yibo complied with anything Xiao Zhan wanted even if it took a whole night.

 

***

 

            The students got back to school two weeks before final exam, including Seungyou. During that pre-exam, all the students had to give their elective course, complette their assignements, attend the remedial for unsufficient marks and any club activities were suspended until the end of the semester.

Eventhough he was able to go outside and did his regular acitivities, but Seungyoun wasn’t allowed yet to play skateboard and basketball. Luckily there was Chen Yu who could distract his boredom and took him to study together.

Seungyoun got pissed off when he knew that Yibo managed to get into the main team for the basketball competition in summer.

            “Listen, Wenhan, I can do it,” Seungyoun tried so hard to convince Wenhan. “I’m okay now.” Seungyoun walked backwards in front of Wenhan.

            “I know you can join the practice, but I’m not sure about the competition. The practice would be intense,” Wenhan said, trying to avoid him.

            “Aaarrggghhh…! Fuck that asshole who made my ribs broken!” Seungyoun groaned in annoyance.

            “That asshole is dead,” Yibo said sarcastically. He finally decided not to tell Seungyoun that it was Chuyue.

            “Yeah, I really wish that he was dead with severe broken bones!” Seungyoun muttered.

            “Idiot.”

            Seungyoun finally walked properly next to Wenhan. “At least let me take the bench.”

            “Just practice, Seungyoun. Practice and practice,”’ Wenhan said. “Besides, exam is just a couple more days and there will be no practice until next semester.”

            “Focus on your date and then your exam,” Yibo added from behind, made Wenhan turned around and chuckled.

            “He’s right,” Wenhan replied. “You got a date tomorrow, right?”

            Seungyoun raised his eyebrows in confusin. “How come everybody knows I have a date?”

            Yibo shrugged.

            “It’s your big mouth!” Wenhan replied, took the stairs to dormitory building and got into the canteen.

            Seungyoun followed. “What did I say?”

            Yibo odered for a simple hot pot and took his seat, ignoring the on and off pleading from Seungyoun at Wenhan to get a spot on the team. 

 

***

 

            Closing to spring, the weather was changeable. The temperature rise and fell frequently and sharply with a big difference between day time and night time. The climate was still cold and windy.

            Yibo tightened his jacket as he walked out of the library. Xiao Zhan came from behind and put his arm around Yibo’s waist while slinging his bag over his shoulder with his other hand.

            “Don’t do this at school,” Yibo muttered.

            “Why? Everbody knows we’re dating.”

            Yibo sighed.

            “All done, except my swimming,” Xiao Zhan said again.

            Yibo nodded. All students have to pass the swimming-skill test before graduation. “Then you’ll graduate.”

            Xiao Zhan chuckled. “Someone is moping.”

            Yibo frowned. “I’m not moping.”

            “Oh…?”

            “I was just saying that you’ll be out of this school soon.”

            “And you mope.”

            Yibo rolled his eyes.

            “Oh, come on, just mop. I like you moping,” Xiao Zhan teased Yibo.

            “Ge!”

            “I like you too, Yibo.”

            Yibo threw his face away and silently smiled.

            Xiao Zhan let go off his hand of Yibo’s waist when he felt his phone buzzing. He knitted his eyebrows when he read the caller-id. “Chuyue,” he said to Yibo.

            Yibo stopped walking and gave Xiao Zhan time to answer.

“Chuyue?” Xiao Zhan said to the phone, turning on the speaker.

            No answer.

            Xiao Zhan knitted his eyebrows. “Chuyue?”

            Xiao Zhan’s high tone made Yibo looked at him tentatively.

            “Chuyue is that you?” Xiao Zhan asked again when got no reply, and then he looked at Yibo in confusion. “Chuyue answer me, what is going on?”

            Slowly came Chuyue’s voice, humming.

            “Chuyue?” Xiao Zhan asked again.

            “I know Xiao Zhan-ge is the kindest person in this world,” Chuyue finally said. His tone was slow and calm. “I believe that no one loves me like Xiao Zhan-ge.”

            Xiao Zhan’s face became tensed and looked at Yibo seriously. “That’s’ right.”

            “So I won’t believe that Xiao Zhan-ge is dating Yibo. It wasn’t Xiao Zhan-ge who’s dating him.”

            Yibo suddenly got tensed.

            Xiao Zhan widened his eyes, gesturing Yibo that something must be happening to Chuyue. “Chuyue, where are you?”

            “I’m waiting for my Xiao Zhan-ge…” Chuyue replied.

            Yibo roamed the surrounding, widened his eyes when he noticed that Chuyue was at the edge of the rooftop of dormitory building. He nudged Xiao Zhan’s arm and pointed at the rooftop.

            Xiao Zhan gasped. “Chuyue, what are you doing in the rooftop?”

            Chuyue laughed. “I was looking for my Xiao Zhan-ge. He barely spent his time with me lately.”

            “Chuyue, wait for me,” Xiao Zhan said seriously. “You sit down and wait for me.”      

            “Xiao Zhan-ge is coming for me?” Chuyue asked.

            “I’m coming, I’m coming!” Xiao Zhan hung up and half-ran to the rooftop.

            Yibo followed closed, but stopped at the door when they reached the rooftop, let Xiao Zhan walked closer towards Chuyue.

            “What’s wrong?” Xiao Zhan asked gently, sat next to Chuyue at the edge.

            Chuyued didn’t reply. Instead, he looked at Yibo and shot a look. “What is he doing here?”

            Xiao Zhan grabbed Chuyue’s wrist, gently brought him away from the edge. “Why don’t you tell me what happened? Come here…”

            Chuyue let Xiao Zhan dragged him away but he didn’t take off his eyes of Yibo. “What is he doing here?”

            “He told me that you were here,” Xiao Zhan said.

            Chuyued tugged his hand from Xiao Zhan’s grip. “Why do you have to take him here?”

            Yibo understood that Chuyue didn’t like his presence, and maybe Chuyue wanted to be alone with Xiao Zhan, but Yibo didn’t allow that; Chuyue might do something dangerous in this situation. The fact that Xiao Zhan didn’t even gesture him to leave also made him sure that Xiao Zhan wanted him to be there. He lifted his chin up and looked back at Chuyue coldly.

            “Why were you looking for me?” Xiao Zhan asked. From his tone, it was obvious that Xiao Zhan was trying to calm Chuyue down.

            Chuyue looked at Xiao Zhan coldly. “You really are trying to get rid of me…”

            “What? No…” Xiao Zhan replied.

            “Then why did you bring him here?”

            “Yib—“

            “I don’t want him here.”

            “Chuyue…”

            “If he stays, then I’ll go,” Chuyue said, suddenly turned around and walked to the edge.

            Yibo gasped, and looked at Xiao Zhan who was abruptly grabbed his wrist and dragged him back.

            “Chuyue!”

            “Xiao Zhan, let go! What’s the point of keeping me if you won’t be with me!” Chuyue shouted, trying to let go.

            Yibo gritted his teeth – this was complicated. There won’t be any use talking now. They had to drag Chuyue from the rooftop and kept him in a safe place, then talk.

            Yibo was only taking a few steps when Chuyue pointed at him. “Stop! Don’t come near me!”

            So Yibo stopped.

            Chuyue looked at Xiao Zhan. “Do you love him?”

            Xiao Zhan nodded. “Yes. I love him.”

            Chuyue tilted his head. “Do you love me?”

            Xiao Zhan nodded again. “I do.”

            Chuyue chuckled. “Then who do you love the most?”

            Xiao Zhan gapped.

            Chuyued laughed in frustration. “You are a bad liar, Xiao Zhan!”

            Xiao Zhan looked at Yibo in frustration.

            Yibo’s eye twitched and walked closer.

            Chuyue noticed Yibo. “Stop! I said don’t come near me!” He shouted in anger.

            Yibo stopped abruptly, looked at Xiao Zhan.

            Chuyue suddenly smirked. “That’s right. Xiao Zhan, you love him, but you also love me. And since you can’t choose, you can’t have us both, not one of us…”

            Xiao Zhan looked at him in confusion.

            Yibo knitted his eyebrows and suddenly widened his eyes when he realized what Chuyue meant. “Fuck,” he cursed while walking towards Chuyue who was wrapping his arms around Xioa Zhan.

            Chuyue laughed histerically, dragged Xiao Zhan to the edge while looking at Yibo amusingly. “If I can’t have Xiao Zhan, neither can you, dog!”

            Xiao Zhan realized what was going on, struggled to let go. “Chuyue, what are you doing?”

            “Chuyue, stop!” Yibo shouted in panic seeing Chuyue was getting closer to the edge with Xiao Zhan in his hands. He tried to find right moment to launch himself at Chuyue and drag them both.

            Chuyue laughed louder. “At least I can die with him!”

            Xiao Zhan suddenly landed his fist on Chuyue face, made him wobble and lost his grip around Xiao Zhan’s hands. Xiao Zhan grabbed the collar of his uniform and shouted at his face. “Get a grip!”

            Chuyue launched a punch at Xiao Zhan’s face, made him stepped back.

            Yibo grabbed Chuyue by his waist from behind and dragged him away from the edge, but Chuyue struggled with all his power to let go and Yibo’s smaller posture troubled him a lot.

            Xiao Zhan grabbed Chuyue hands and helped Yibo dragged him away.

            Chuyue arched his back, made Yibo slumped onto the ground and lost his grip. He then tugged hard his hands, only to grabbed Xiao Zhan’s wrists and dragged him back to the edge.

            “Chuyue, look at me! Stop this!” Xiao Zhan shouted.

            Chuyue hit Xiao Zhan’s face and when Xiao Zhan lost his balance, Chuyue strangled him and dragged him, laughed histerically. “We’re going together, Xiao Zhan…”

            “Fuuccckkk…!!!” Xiao Zhan cursed, tried to untangle Chuyue hands from his neck, got choked once in a while.

            Yibo threw himself on the ground and grabbed Xiao Zhan’s foot.

            Xiao Zhan lost balance and fell on the ground, the strangle around his neck loosened.

            Chuyue wobbled backwards unstably.

            Realizing what was going to happen, Yibo widened his eyes in horror. He abruptly got up to grab Chuyue’s hand. “No.”

            It was merely a breath away; Chuyue’s foot stumbled, crossed the edge of the rooftop and then he flew down freely onto the field below.

            A crack.

            Yibo rushed to the edge and looked down; Chuyue lying on the field with blood gushing out of his cracked head, making a pool.

            Xiao Zhan followed, looked down at Chuyue in horror.

            Seconds later, screams were heard and Yibo and Xiao Zhan ran down the building like crazy.

 

***

 

            Yibo and Xiao Zhan looked from afar when the police removed the police-line from the place where Chuyue fell. It’s been a week since Chuyue’s death and the school mourned him – bad or good, Chuyue had been enrolled there. It was also a bad timing around the exam.

            Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo had been taken to the police station for their statements. With two days and a night of interogation and collecting evidence, Yibo and Xiao Zhan were temporary released and forbid to leave the school until further investigation on Chuyue’s mental issue.

            Yibo’s parents were furious at first. His dad scolded him in irritation on ‘I was just here a month ago and now I have to get my ass back here?’ And Yibo could only look at him hopelessly but he promised to tell them the whole story as he got back home when the semester ended, including his relationship with Xiao Zhan. They didn’t meet when Xiao Zhan came to Luoyang on New Year to visit him.

            Xiao Zhan pleaded forgiveness so many times to Chuyue’s parents for not being able to protect him – Chuyue even died in his own hand. After a long and private talk between Chuyue’s parents, Xiao Zhan and his parents, Chuyue’s parents withdrew the case and considered this as an accident.

            Everybody was actually curious about Chuyue, but both Yibo and Xiao Zhan avoided the topic. Even Yibo sealed his lips when Yixuan asked him.

            But Yibo did tell Seungyoun after the exam.

            “I didn’t know how to tell you back then, that it was Chuyue who beaten you up,” Yibo said in the dorm after they took dinner, looked at Seungyoun across his bed while leaning backwards against the wall.  Yibo took Jiacheng and Zifan absence’s to talk about this.

            “That fucking asshole!” Seungyoun groaned in annoyance. He lied flat on his bed, stacked his hands with the pillow under his head.

            “That fucking ashhole is dead now,” Yibo said. “With severe broken bones just like what you wished for.”

            There was a moment before Seungyoun said again.”Sounds creepy, but I think it’s better this way.”

            “You think?”

            “Yep. If he were alive, he wouldn’t be able to love. He would going even crazier and might harm another people worse than before.”

            “Mmn.”

            Seungyon tilted his head and looked at Yibo in confusion. “I don’t know if I had to feel sorry or happy…”

            Yibo grinned sheepishly. “Me too.”

            Seungyoun lied on his back, used his hands as the pillow. “Well, at least you and Xiao Zhan are now good.”

            “Mmn.”

            “I just came here, now I have to say goodbye to Chen Yu again.” Seungyoun grumbled. 

It was only a few days left for them before going back home again for semester break.

            “Well, I can always stay at your house and be able to visit Chen Yu anytime,” Seungyoun said again.

            “No fucking way!” Yibo frowned.

            Seungyoun sat up and looked at Yibo. “Why?”

            “Because I might not be at home during the break.”

            “Huh…? Where are you going?”

            “Chonqing.”

            It took a moment for Seungyoun to realize that it was Xiao Zhan’s hometown. “Traitoorrr…!!!” Seunyoung shouted annoyingly.

            Yibo grinned. “Just take Chen Yu to Seoul. Take her to have a proper holiday.”

            A smile appeared on Seungyoun’s face. “I love that idea, Yibo!”

            Yibo snorted and pulled the blanket to his shoulder, ignoring Seungyoun’s babble about his plan to take Chen Yu to Seoul.

 

***

 

            Yibo slung the backpack against his back and looked at Xiao Zhan who was walking towards him.

            “The train is here?” Xiao Zhan asked.

            “Mmn.”

            “Okay. Have a safe trip home.”

            “Mmn. You don’t have to come with me to the station tho.”

            Xiao Zhan grinned, shoved his hands into this pocket pants. “Spoiling my boyfriend.”

            Yibo frowned. “You’re the worst.”

            Xiao Zhan smirked, and winked.

            Yibo’s eye twitched and shook his head. “I’m going, Zhan-ge.”

            Xiao Zhan nodded. “I’ll be waiting in Chonqing.”

            “Mmn.” Yibo waved and walked into the check-up gate.

            It would be a four hour trip by train to Luoyang and usually Yibo found this really boring. But now, he had Xiao Zhan who would text him and accompany him until he reached Luoyang.

            Wish for love. Yearn for romantic love. Expecting spring breeze.

Spring comes. Flowers bloom. I’m in love.