——Xu: I think we need to talk about this in person, hurry up and come to school.
——Road Leading East: Ah? But I don’t want to.
——Xu: Dear, are you not attending Professor Chen’s class this afternoon!?
——Road Leading East: Oh, right. Then I’ll leave right now; I still need you to help look over my plans.
——Xu: Ok, come on over. I’ll be at the fish grill by the north entrance.
Lin Xiangdong grabbed his backpack and took out everything he wouldn’t need at school today. Then, he tore a sheet of paper from his notebook to leave Yan Yixi a note. Afraid he’d wake the sleeping man, his footsteps were light as a feather as he left.
By the time Lin Xiangdong arrived at school, their favorite grilled fish was already served. Sitting beside the dish was even a considerately filled cup of water.
“What’s going on? What do you mean by ‘infiltrate the fortress’?” Lin Xiangdong barely had the time to sit down before Yin Xu impatiently asked.
The boy gave a brief explanation.
“Haa, if we’d known earlier, we wouldn’t need to bother with any sort of plan. Just attack directly, no?” Yin Xu said with an expression of amazement.
The little one – with Yin Xu’s help – had long made plans for pursuing Doctor Yan. Only, cohabitation was supposed to come after officially getting together. But given this situation, those plans needed revising.
“Ah?” Confusion was written across the little one’s face. “Attack what?”
“Like what I did,” Yin Xu paused, then promptly refuted himself.
“No, that won’t work. We’re not the same type, so my methods won’t suit you.”
Lin Xiangdong thought back to Yin Xu and his boyfriend’s experience of first driving together then falling in love1. His ears promptly turned red.
“Would– would that really work?” The little one stuttered.
“No no no,” Yin Xu frantically waved his hands. “This method doesn’t suit you!! Dear, whatever you’re thinking, stop thinking. Haa, curse my stupid mouth.”
“Then what should I do? Xuxu, help me revise my plans, won’t you?” Lin Xiangdong said in distress.
Yin Xu wasn’t actually in a position to give advice. His sole experience was just that once with that one boyfriend. Even the previous plan was something the two spent forever discussing before writing it down. With the current situation, it seemed they would be spending even more time planning it out again.
After lunch, the two went to class together.
The little one’s attention rarely strayed during class, but today his notes were unthinkingly filled with Yan Yixi’s name. Yin Xu happened to see, then sighed and said, “You guys really are fated, even your names match2!”
Yixi, Xiangdong. From east to west3.
“Or rather, east and west are complete opposites. The future doesn’t look good?” Yin Xu spoke again.
Lin Xiangdong did respond. He first marked the directions of east and west in his notebook, then sternly patted Yin Xu’s shoulder to make him watch.
Yin Xu didn’t understand, his face full of confusion.
Lin Xiangdong extended the ends of the two arrows. They slowly met, forming a double sided arrow.
“East and west aren’t opposites. They start from the same spot, representing that though their bodies may not be together, their hearts always will.”
When Yan Yixi woke up, it was already five in the afternoon. He took a shower and headed to the refrigerator to prepare dinner. Only after entering the kitchen did he remember that there should be one more person now. The little one was really too quiet.
After seeing the note stuck to the fridge, Yan Yixi realized it wasn’t that the little one was quiet – he wasn’t home.
I went to school. I have something to do tonight, so I might be a little late. Right, I added Gege on WeChat using your number, can you accept my friend request? Also, also! After adding me back, can you tell me your passcode? Otherwise I might be stuck outside if you leave before I come back. QAQ
The crying emoji at the end was drawn somewhat clumsily, probably something the little one had looked up in the moment. Yan Yixi could almost see the little one’s embarrassment while drawing this expression to act cute4.
Yan Yixi took down the note and tossed it into the trash. He hesitated, rethinking his actions; would the little one be sad if he saw? In the end, he picked it up again and tossed it into the trash can in his own room.
Yan Yixi picked up his phone from where it was charging by his bed. Opening WeChat, he found that there was a friend request, with a verification message of “Gege, this is Lin Xiangdong.” Yan Yixi inevitably thought of all the previous verification messages he’d received; every single one was the auto-generated “This is Road Leading East.”
He stared at it for a while before finally hitting “accept” and sending his room’s passcode to the boy. Afterwards, Yan Yixi put his phone down and went back to the kitchen, making himself a bowl of tomato noodle soup.
Despite not typically having the time to, Yan Yixi could, in fact, cook. When he lived by himself, he typically only cooked some simple noodle recipes. As long as he was full, it was enough.
After he finished cleaning up, his phone had gained another ten-something unread WeChat messages. Clicking on them, he found that only one was from the little boy: a simple “Got it, thanks Gege!” The rest were from his good friend Tang Qi. From the looks of it, he was trying to invite Yan Yixi out for drinks.
Tang Qi was like a possessive boyfriend. He knew when most of Yan Yixi’s shifts were and would often call him to go out for drinks. Yet, more often than not, this young master would drink for no more than an hour before taking some new sub to find a room, leaving Yan Yixi drinking juice by himself.
In the past, there was a time when little subs would often ask Yan Yixi to drink with them, making fun of how childish he seemed, coming to a bar to drink juice. But they were soon scared off by Doctor Yan’s cold expression. After all, once Doctor Yan’s eyes hardened, as if he was staring down a corpse in the morgue, it really made one’s skin crawl.
——West: Not going
——Tang: Why not? You’d let your brother go to the bar all cold and lonely?
——West: Looking after the little one, you can go and find your fateful encounter though
——Tang: Little one???? The one that asked for your number last time??? You took him home????
Doctor Yan didn’t know how to respond.
“You got this, dear Dongdong!”
Lin Xiangdong waved goodbye to his friend who’d spent the night attached to their significant other and feeding him dog food5. Despite that depressing feeling that came from eating dog food, Yin Xu’s boyfriend had given the little one plenty of love advice, which may as well have made up for the jealousy he’d endured.
Sitting on the bus, Lin Xingdong opened WeChat and stared once again at the message Yan Yixi had sent. He didn’t know if Yan Yixi would be home, should he send a message?
But he squashed that idea as soon as he thought of it. Yin Xu’s boyfriend had said that one “needs to increase contact, but not go overboard.” Since Doctor Yan had already sent the passcode, the little boy didn’t need to ask if he was home.
Lin Xiangdong opened the door and came face to face with Yan Yixi who’d just gotten water from the kitchen.
“Gege, I– I’m home.” Lin Xiangdong immediately said.
“En.” Yan Yixi replied. Seeing the boy looking for the single-use slippers he’d worn that morning, Yan Yixi continued.
“You can wear the pink ones in that cabinet.”
They weren’t pink on purpose; Yan Yixi had bought them from the market after dinner. Of the winter slippers, only pink was left.
Lin Xiangdong gave the rabbit-eared, pink slippers before him a complicated expression.
“For, for me?”
Yan Yixi made a noise of assent, then said purposefully, “Don’t like them? If you don’t like them then…”
“I like them!” The little one said loudly. How could he not? Doctor Yan had bought these himself. To further express his “like,” the little boy immediately changed into those slippers. The little bunny ears bounced along with his steps. It really was quite cute.
“That’s good then.” Yan Yixi raised his cup to his lips to cover his slowly forming smile.
Pink might not have been on purpose, but… those rabbit ears definitely were.
The “personally bought by Yan Yixi” buff seemed to work, as Lin Xiangdong suddenly felt that pink wasn’t so bad. If he walked a little more, even the bunny ears seemed somewhat cute?
Haa, it was just an old man’s evil sense of humor.
Yan Yixi was already seated and flipping through the TV channels by the time Lin Xiangdong looked up, pulling on his backpack strap while trying to think of a way to naturally stay and watch TV with Doctor Yan.
This time, it was barely nine o’clock and Yan Yixi had spent the afternoon sleeping. He simply wanted to find something to watch and kill time. Seeing the little one standing there with a complicated expression, Yan Yixi thought the little one still wasn’t over the slippers.
“Why don’t you go and put your backpack down. Aren’t you tired?” He asked as a way of making up.
“Oh.” Lin Xiangdong thought this was a roundabout way of chasing him back to his room. He raised his foot and sullenly walked toward the guest room.
“Go take a shower. If you don’t want to sleep, then you can come out and watch some TV.” A voice suddenly sounded from behind.
The little one who was sorrowfully dragging his feet just a moment ago suddenly sprang into action, answering with a “got it!” and rushed into his room. Not a minute later, he rushed out again with a change of clothes and charged into the bathroom.
Hearing the hectic scene behind him, Yan Yixi laughed lightly.
The little rascal.
The two sat side by side, watching some boring variety show. Yan Yixi thought that the kid would enjoy this brainless,lighthearted joking, yet every time he glanced over, the little one was frowning, directing a look of contempt towards the screen. He was probably holding back his dislike out of respect for Yan Yixi.
Yan Yixi almost laughed again. Was this little rascal here to help him develop a sense of humor? How could he be this funny?
“Just change it if you don’t like it.” He handed the remote over. The little one opened his mouth to protest, but Yan Yixi predicted his next words and spoke again.
“I don’t like it either. I only put it on because I thought you would.”
Lin Xiangdong shut his mouth again, wet his lips, then grinned. He accepted the remote.
“Then… then what do you like?” He said with his heart in his throat.
Why was he stuttering again?!
“Anything’s fine. Pick whatever you want.” Yan Yixi said indifferently.
Lin Xiangdong finally started to use the remote. At this time of day, there really weren’t any interesting shows. After flipping through everything, the little one finally settled for a movie.
Luckily, the movie had just started. It was a classic Hong Kong film, something akin to Young and Dangerous.
“You like this?” Yan Yixi asked skeptically.
“En.” The little one was a little embarrassed.
“I think he’s really cool.”
“How so?” Yan Yixi asked curiously.
“Even though he’s not related to his friends and lover by blood, he’ll do anything for them; it’s just… very courageous.” Lin Xiangdong pulled a pillow into his lap.
“It’s just, they have a strong sense of justice. Even though their actions are sometimes influenced by their emotions, friends that stick together through thick and thin are precious.”
“Same with love… ” The little one added quietly.
“But blind loyalty is useless, and little one, your thinking is wrong. Your life is your own, don’t ever give it up for others.” Yan Yixi said, speaking as the responsible adult.
“Oh.” The little one sat pulled his knees up, setting the pillow between his knees and his chin.
Yan Yixi wasn’t very familiar with the little one, but could practically read his mind. That “oh” made it clear that he disagreed with Yan Yixi’s point of view.
Never mind. Kids would be kids; he’d understand when he grew up. People inevitably come to love themselves the most.
Yan Yixi’s curiosity drove him to thoughtfully watch the movie. Halfway through, he went to get water, but found that the little one had fallen asleep curled up.
Yan Yixi gently put his cup down, then tilted his head and studied the little one’s sleeping form.
His eyelashes were long and curved, his skin white and tender. Tsk tsk tsk, this little one had so much collagen that half the female population would be envious. The little one’s lips were neither too full or too thin; they looked soft and tender. Even from the perspective of someone of the same sex, they looked very kissable.
But from the perspective of someone older…
“Come one, get up. Sleep in your room.” Yan Yixi patted the boy’s arm.
“Un.” The little one blearily opened his eyes.
“Gege?” His voice had unconsciously become very soft, likely because he’d just woken up.
Much like in Lin Xiangdong’s dreams, Yan Yixi stood before him.
Yan Yixi’s expression subtly changed.
“Go on, go to sleep. I have work tomorrow; you’ll need to take care of breakfast yourself.” Seeing that the little one was awake now, he picked up his cup and headed for the kitchen.
Lin Xiangdong yawned, rubbed his eyes, and obediently hummed in assent.
Still rubbing his eyes, the little one turned back to look at his Gege.
first driving together then falling in love: a play on words, usually it’s a phrase that means to marry first and love later. However, they used the term “drive,” referring to the fact that they have slept together (as opposed to being married)
names match: Dong in LXD means east and Xi in YYX means west.
from east to west: the characters for Xiangdong are not actually ‘towards the west,’ but it’s written here like that; play on words since it sounds the same.
act cute: to sell meng
dog food: PDA aka public displays of affection