The room is cozy. The yellow light of the lamp filling the room as Xiao Zhan snuggles into the sofa, the blanket hugging his body, a pillow supporting his back. Advertisements play on the tv before the race broadcast finally reappears.
Xiao Zhan had been anxious the whole week leading up to the race. It is not that he isn’t sure about his husband’s abilities, his husband is Wang Yibo after all. If anyone can attempt the impossible, it is him. It is just his own worry. He has seen his races before of course, been to some of them even. It is scary, to say the least. To watch the way his husband speeds through the tracks.
Xiao Zhan always tries to play down his panic lest his husband picks it up and puts all his focus on him. But Yibo is aware of every single twitch of his muscles now and it is difficult to hide it.
Last night had been cuddles and reassurances. He had tried not to fret too much, just enjoy the love Yibo bestowed upon him.
“It will be okay Zhan-ge” Yibo had whispered into the crook of his neck, careful of the baby bump. His fingers had drummed into the skin on his stomach as he had laid the barest brush of his lips against his skin, trailing down to the bump.
He had laid his head gently, kissing as he had said, “Cheer for me, little Suo-er and Yue-er. You’re a-die will need you two”
The answer had been two kicks, one followed by the other. Xiao Zhan had winced but his heart had swelled, “Aiyah Yibo, you and the little ones, what am I going do with you three?”
Yibo’s eyes had gleamed with such an intense love that Xiao Zhan had been unable to say anything else but a whisper, “I love you”
And without any hesitation, the words had echoed in the apartment, “I love you, Zhan-ge”
Wang Yibo had been reluctant to leave his side since the pregnancy test had come out positive. And now six months into the pregnancy, the reluctance has only increased ten folds. He isn’t allowed to walk for long on his own without someone near to help him. He had always known that Yibo will be that anxious husband always staying near him.
Bu their profession didn’t allow them to stay together that often. Xiao Zhan’s absence from the industry is long enough and keeping Yibo away as well will do them nothing good. So, he had made Xiao Zhan let Xuan Lu, his manager stay with him, Xuan Lu had gone outside to buy all the snacks Yibo had messaged her to buy and give to Xiao Zhan.
Getting his attention back to the race, Xiao Zhan preens as the camera shows Yibo on his bike, the practice laps already finished. Yibo’s name gleaming among the others in the rankings.
It is the final lap now and Xiao Zhan is as nervous as Yibo must be. He watches with rapt attention, almost at the edge of the sofa, his hands intervened, his mouth whispering prayers.
Another turn comes and the bell rings. Xiao Zhan’s attention is averted just for a second as his eyes shift to the door.
“Wang Yibo crashes—”
Xiao Zhan’s head whips back to the tv. His heart stops in his chest, breathing frantically as he sees his husband’s bike crashing to the ground, his body tumbling along with the bike. Xiao Zhan stands up, eyes not leaving the tv but his mind unable to process any image. Yibo is hurt, Yibo hurt, he is hurt.
Xiao Zhan can’t see Yibo standing back up, trying to make his bike start again, trying his best to get back to the race. He doesn’t see his angry stomp as he walks across the track and to his team. All that plays in his head is him on the ground, tumbling and hurt.
Someone is knocking on the door yelling for him to open the door. Xiao Zhan moves as fast as he can, his stomach protesting, his abdomen screaming at him to slow down. But he grabs the car keys dangling near the door and yanks the door open, meeting the frantic face of Xuan Lu.
“Xiao Zhan? What happened? Hey, where are you going?” She yells behind him as Xiao Zhan without any acknowledgment brushes past her. He hears a door closing, footsteps, and then a hand on his bicep pulling him back.
“Xiao Zhan enough!” Xuan Lu yells and Xiao Zhan stops, the key in his hand dropping to the ground with a loud clink. His eyes are moist with tears, some escaping down to his cheeks.
“Yibo, he got hurt. I need to go” He croaks out, voice barely above a whisper. Xuan Lu’s eyes go wide as the situation finally makes sense to her. Nodding at him, Xuan Lu rests her hand on his shoulder, “I will drive you there Zhan Zhan. Just take a deep breath and walk slowly” Her voice is gentle as she coaxes him to take slow and steady steps even when his mind is going crazy with worry. He wants to be with Yibo, right now!
The trip through the elevator and into the car is agonizingly long which does nothing to calm the panic that grips Xiao Zhan’s heart.
Xuan Lu wastes no time in driving to the circuit, glancing at him every now and then. Her eyes lingering at his hand caressing his stomach. It had become a habit of him whenever he is anxious.
The drive is only 20 minutes but it feels like a lifetime long. The moment the car stops, Xiao Zhan opens the door, hurrying out of his seat. The movement causes a sudden pain in his abdomen, pulling him back into the seat.
Xuan Lu cries from the other side, rushing to him, “Let me help. Now careful” She guides him to his feet and Xiao Zhan resists the urge to just run inside. Entering the circuit is easy and Xiao Zhan finally breathes a sigh of relief as he spots the Yamaha’s tent among the others.
Yibo, please be okay, please
The crash had been unexpected. A mistake or deliberately done, he had no proof of that. He had been angry and frustrated as his bike had refused to start again. But then his mind had gone to his only comfort, the image of his husband smiling at him.
No, Xiao Zhan had seen his race. They had been in contact up to before his manager had to take his phone away. He had seen him crash, had seen him get hurt. The worry that had crept up his heart then was unlike others. He had run to his tent.
The team had been waiting for him to come back, had been ready to console him but what they had not expected was this.
Wang Yibo had only had one name on his lips as he had rushed back to his team, even when his ankle had been throbbing, his back aching. They could all see the evident limp on his right leg. But his voice had been stern and eyes filled with concern, “Call Xiao Zhan”
“The number you have dialed is not answering—” Wang Yibo groans, almost throwing his phone to the floor. He had been calling Xiao Zhan for 10 minutes now, ignoring the crowd that had surrounded the tent. The crowd is loud and only working to aggravate the irritation he felt. He really just wants to confront the cause of this mess but he holds back until he knows Xiao Zhan is okay that somehow, he is unaware of this whole thing.
While he had been calling Xiao Zhan, his manager had been dialing Xuan Lu’s number but had got no response from her. Yibo runs a hand through his hair. He knows Xiao Zhan; knows how he will worry himself sick. And especially in his condition, and stress can be dangerous to his health.
Please be okay, Zhan-ge, please. Keep your baba safe for me, yue-er and suo-er, Yibo prays.
Yibo is ready to run back home even when his teammates keep telling him to get a check-up done. It is then when his heart picks up, his body moving on its own. His senses are hyperaware and Yibo knows that he is here. His husband, his Xiao Zhan.
The crowd around them bursts into harsh whispers and loud screams, cameras flashing. The crowd parts and a familiar figure runs through them, “Yibo” The voice calls and Yibo meets his husband halfway, hugging him carefully. Xiao Zhan’s arms are tight and warm against his neck.
Yibo motions for the guards to close the tent up and with one single nod, they bring the cover down, finally giving the two some privacy. Yibo turns his full attention to the man shivering in his arms, constant tears trailing down his neck.
“Shh, I’m okay Zhan-ge” He caresses his back, rubbing soothing circles on the skin.
“Yi—Yib—” Xiao Zhan hiccups, showing no signs of relaxing. Yibo wants to pick him up and make him sit on a chair but he knows his strength is not enough and he does not want to risk anything happening to Xiao Zhan. So, Yibo breaks the hug and his heart breaks to see Xiao Zhan’s tear-stained face, the way he whimpers as Yibo makes gently guides him to the chair.
He is on his knees immediately, crouching in front of Xiao Zhan, he takes his hand in his, “Zhan-ge, breathe with me” he says, bringing his and Xiao Zhan’s head to his chest.
“Inhale” he inhales, his face encouraging Xiao Zhan to follow him. Xiao Zhan does.
“Exhale” He repeats the exercise four times before he sees the visible effects of it. Xiao Zhan’s shoulders slump, his whole body sagging in the chair. “Yibo” He whispers, his voice raspy and so full of sadness that Yibo feels it himself.
“Zhan-ge, I’m sorry” He mumbles, resting his head on Xiao Zhan’s bulging stomach, “A-die is sorry for worrying you. Thank you for keeping him safe, my little panthers” He kisses the skin once, relishing the way Xiao Zhan’s fingers scratches his scalp.
“Are you okay, Yibo? I was so worried and I rushed here as fast as I could and I saw you fall and I lost my mind there!” Xiao Zhan says harsh and angry, angry at himself. Tears once again falling down his rosy cheeks.
Yibo waits for him to let it out. He can’t even think how he would have felt if their roles had been reversed. He shudders for him letting the thought cross his mind.
“I’m okay, Zhan-ge. See? All fit to go” Yibo tells him after Xiao Zhan falls silent, only his sniffles filling the air around them. He pats his chest to make his point but his attempt is wasted as he winces.
Xiao Zhan squeezes his hand, almost in a crushing grip, and says nothing but lowers his head. A few tears slipping down to their intervened hands, “Zhan-ge, look at me?” He wipes the tears as softly as he can.
“I called you so many times. Do you know how scared I was?” he breathes out, his tone chiding but still gentle.
Xiao Zhan looks away, guilty, “I rushed out without thinking. I think I left my phone in the apartment”
“Hey, it’s okay. We were both worried” Xiao Zhan looks up, a small pout on his lips.
“Don’t ever scare me like that again”
“Never” Yibo promises immediately. Xiao Zhan pulls Yibo to stand, “You should sit down”
With a nod, Yibo drags another chair from the side and takes a seat next to him. Xiao Zhan pats his hand on Yibo’s chest, moving to his arms, his back, his head to make sure his husband is okay and real. And then, he relaxes, slumping his head on Yibo’s shoulder “What happened there?”
Yibo sighs, “I don’t know Zhan-ge. The other team’s bike skidded into mine and I lost control. He fell down too but went back into the track. My bike didn’t start at all. The engines went down” He is angry even thinking about it, he had been close, so close to victory but it had slipped away from him again.
Xiao Zhan’s hand in an anchor that keeps him sane, “You think it was foul play?”
He shakes his head, not knowing what to say, “I think it was, mistakes happen. But then I saw him high fiving his teammate and Zhan-ge, I—” He trails, not wanting to let the tears of frustration spill.
“Hm, it looks like he was celebrating this” Xiao Zhan’s voice is sharp like a knife, his eyebrow twitching with anger.
Before Yibo can say anything to calm his husband down again, the tent opens. Yibo relaxes when he sees Yin Zheng walking in. But his face is apologetic and Yibo already knows what he is going to say.
“They want me outside, don’t they?” Yin Zheng nods.
“I will go with you,” Xiao Zhan says before Yibo can even stand up.
“I will handle them, Zhan-ge. You should rest” he tries to say but one look at Xiao Zhan’s face and he knows he won’t be able to change his mind, “Okay, but be careful”
Xiao Zhan stands up and they walk, hand in hand outside the tent where the reporters, audience, and the other teams wait for them.
They walk in just as the racer who had caused this mess yells, “—all his fault really, making me lose my time”
Yibo sighs, ignoring him and pulling Xiao Zhan away to the other side where his own teams stand. But as if the stars have a personal vendetta against him today, the racer turns to them, scoffing, “Oh, look if this isn’t Wang Yibo, finally showing his face”
Yibo doesn’t give him the satisfaction of a reaction and manages to guide Xiao Zhan away who is glaring daggers at that man, “He is not worth your time, ge. Let’s go”
But then as if wanting to dig his own grave, the man yells again, clearly trying to provoke him. If only he knew what awaited him once he makes the mistake of talking bad about Yibo.
“Yes, go and hide like the coward you are. Only good for idol business. Don’t try to venture too much, you are clearly not fit enough” This time, Yibo doesn’t pull Xiao Zhan back. He lets him turn, his anger palpable and cold.
“Excuse me?” Xiao Zhan grits out, his face calm, calm like a calm before a storm. The man halts visibly under the daggering gaze of his husband.
Yibo only watches, fond and oddly excited. Not wanting to pull a seething Xiao Zhan away. He lets him unleash his anger, letting him reign over the people who dared to say it was his mistake.
An angry Xiao Zhan is bad news. But an angry and heavily pregnant Xiao Zhan is a force to be reckoned with and Yibo watches him from behind, watches him absolutely wrecking that man with his mere words.
Oh, he loves him so fucking much.
That night after accompanying each other to the hospital for a check-up, they had snuggled together, finally content and happy. The morning’s memories already a distant itch.
“You didn’t have to defend me you know” Yibo had said into the crook of his neck.
Xiao Zhan had laughed and held him close, “Nobody hurts my husband and gets away with it” He had said. Yibo had kissed him then, languid and sloppy and full of love. Xiao Zhan had kissed him back and felt Yibo smiling against his lips, “I love you so fucking much, Zhan-ge”
"I love you too, my husband"