After coming to an agreement with Yu Yang, Qi Zui tidied his dorm room inside and out, even installing a new set of curtains.
He Xiaoxu was still struggling to restrain his anger, and stood at the doorway of Qi Zui’s room, muttering: “What are you doing? What, are you not planning to come back? What are you tidying up your things for?”
“Not sure when I’ll be back.” Qi Zui purposely put the box of condoms in a very eye-catching place, “I’m tidying now so that when I’m gone, Yu Yang can sleep here instead.”
He Xiaoxu was confused: “What happened to his room? I didn’t touch his AC, I swear!”
“AC…” Qi Zui gave a quick laugh, “His room is fine. I just told him to sleep here instead.”
He Xiaoxu thought about it a bit more, unimpressed: “Will you die if you go one day without bullying Yu Yang? If he comes back to your room and your bed every night, is he still going to be able to sleep?”
“How does that count as bullying? He’ll sleep when he’s sleepy.” Qi Zui put away a few of his freshly-laundered pyjamas, “I’m worried that he’ll miss me when he goes back to the dorms every night, so I’m giving him some things to do to distract him.”
He Xiaoxu paused in surprise, completely out of words: “Okay…you win, you’re the best when it comes to being good to your wife.”
Qi Zui looked down at the pile of underwear in one of the drawers. After hesitating for a second, he did not end up moving it to a more visible spot.
Qi Zui put all his underwear in a small drawer.
Would be best to not put it out in the open…if Yu Yang missed him too much one day, or if he was not in a good mood, then Qi Zui would make him look for things in his room and let him come across this drawer on purpose.
Qi Zui could already imagine how embarrassed Yu Yang would be.
He Xiaoxu was done with it all, “You’re so cringey…”
“It’s how I like it.” Qi Zui was done organizing and sat back on the bed, “I’m leaving soon. Keep an eye on things for me.”
He Xiaoxu did not understand: “An eye on what?”
“On Yu Yang.” Qi Zui said nonchalantly, “He might not tell me if certain things come up, so you have to let me know.”
“I know.” He Xiaoxu was so done, “Don’t say it like you’re leaving behind a dying wish or something, can you? You’re just going to do a small surgery, it’s not as if you’ve gotten some terminal illness.”
Qi Zui smirked: “Dying wish? You wish…”
“Once the contracts are signed, no need to make an official announcement right away. It’s not a big deal anyway, so we can deal with it later.” Qi Zui massaged his wrist, pausing and adding, “He…”
Qi Zui could not help but laugh.
All in all, he was still the most worried about Yu Yang.
“Nevermind, it’s fine.” Qi Zui wheeled his suitcase out to start packing, “Just take care of him, that’s all.”
Three days later, Qi Zui left early in the morning with his suitcase.
The flight was scheduled in the morning, so Qi Zui left really early. By the time Yu Yang woke up around noon, Qi Zui was already on the plane.
Yu Yang ate and trained as usual; he did not seem any different from how he normally was.
In the practice match in the afternoon, Yu Yang even did better than normal; on a shootoff with a powerhouse Swedish team, Yu Yang took out two members on his own, ending the match in only thirty minutes. Their takeout arrived just in time after a quick debrief.
Everyone thanked each other for their hard work. While the others went downstairs to pick up the takeout and start on dinner, Yu Yang took the food upstairs as usual, eating while training at the computer.
He Xiaoxu had been keeping an eye on Yu Yang all day, and finally relaxed again, seeing that he was acting the same as usual.
He Xiaoxu remembered that Qi Zui had nagged Yu Yang a few times before about not eating while looking at the computer, so he walked over to try to convince him to focus on dinner.
Yu Yang shovelled food into his mouth while shaking his head, brushing him off: “It’s fine.”
He Xiaoxu gave him a smile: “Qi Zui told me to take good care of you before he left. If you end up getting some minor stomach issues from this, he’ll hold me responsible.”
Yu Yang paused in his actions, then slowed in his eating.
He Xiaoxu took the opportunity to add quickly, “Qi Zui also said to make sure you drink enough water…he said, if you keep forgetting to drink water, then I will have to hide your cup so that you can only use his to drink.”
The chopsticks in Yu Yang’s hands stopped in their movement. Yu Yang picked up the takeout soup that was part of the meal set and took a sip.
He Xiaoxu grinned, satisfied: “Seems like bringing up Qi Zui works best…”
Yu Yang’s ears went a few shades redder. He did not respond.
He Xiaoxu sat down, sighing, “Isn’t it a good thing that Qi Zui told me to keep an eye on you? He doesn’t participate in training now, which is basically the same as not being at the base. Even if he isn’t here, aren’t you doing…”
Yu Yang swallowed a mouthful of rice, sipping at the soup again, and said suddenly, “Not the same.”
He Xiaoxu paused, “How is it not the same?”
Yu Yang ate another mouthful of food, no longer responding.
If Qi Zui was not here, then to Yu Yang, the entire base was empty.
But this was too cringey to say aloud, even to Qi Zui. So Yu Yang did not tell He Xiaoxu either.
He Xiaoxu, a lowly single man, could not possibly understand what Yu Yang was going through. He thought he was being thoughtful, and wanted Yu Yang to have his energy back, but ended up continuing to touch every nerve possible, laughing: “Yeah, it would be different, there is one less person just wandering around around here…Ai, I’m actually more worried about him.”
Yu Yang looked down. He felt the same.
If it wasn’t for the World Championship Invitationals being so soon, Yu Yang would go with Qi Zui no matter what he said.
“Qi Zui doesn’t seem to get along with the US.” He Xiaoxu was still prattling on, “You weren’t part of the team back then so you don’t know, but one time, Qi Zui led the team to the US for a match, and woah…it was like Qi Zui got possessed or something.”
Yu Yang looked up immediately: “Was that last year?”
“Yeah.” He Xiaoxu sighed, “From the moment we left the country, he started acting weird…okay, I get it, the tournament at the time was pretty important, and it wasn’t an easy match, but his state back then…Honestly, we know that he was there for a tournament, but it looked like he was there to conquer the land or something, he was straight up murderous…”
Yu Yang drew out a tissue, wiping at his lips, listening quietly.
“The day we landed, we went and checked in at the hotel that the organizers booked. We came across some players from some of the other teams, and Qi Zui had some falling out with a Brazilian player…there are players that take jokes too far, or just like to taunt and insult others whenever they see players from another team. But usually there is a language barrier, so everyone just lets it go since no one understands, anyway. But it can’t be helped that Qi Zui knows like eight languages, and understood however gibberish they said…” He Xiaoxu said exasperatedly, shuddering, “Who knows what kind of explosive he ate that day, but he retorted right there in the guy’s own language, and it was even more insulting than what the idiot said in the first place, what a comeback…You know how he is. With those taunting skills of his, he almost made the dumbass throw punches.”
“What a cursed day.” He Xiaoxu tsked, “Qi Zui is pretty good tempered usually, but it was just that one day where he was pissed off the whole time. So scary…”
Yu Yang held a cigarette between his lips, not saying anything for a moment.
“So I actually suspect that he has some kind of prejudice against that country.” He Xiaoxu scratched at his arm, “If he gets like that again, and insults whoever is in his way like last time…Wow, then we wouldn’t even know if he got beaten up and died, hahahahahaha, isn’t that funny?”
Yu Yang picked up his takeout bag and said coolly, “I’ll leave you to it. I’m going to go take a smoke.”
He Xiaoxu looked at Yu Yang, confused. He thought back to what he just said without much of a conscience, still thinking that he was pretty funny just now.
Once Yu Yang finished his cigarette, he came back and started practising his shooting on a custom match.
In between practice rounds, Yu Yang sent a few messages to Qi Zui.
Yu Yang knew that Qi Zui wasn’t there to read them right now, but he still wanted to send them.
At least Qi Zui would be able to see them once he landed and had signal again.
Yu Yang glanced at his phone every now and then, sending off another message whenever he had a moment. He looked at the screen full of unread messages, thinking…when Qi Zui contacted him again, if he wanted to video call, he’d get on the call right away.
Any kind of video call, while doing anything, would do.
Yu Yang sent a few more messages to Qi Zui. The evening practice match was about to start, and Yu Yang’s phone was about to run out of battery, so he quickly plugged it to the charger, putting it aside.
But sadly, the other end of the charger was, in fact, not plugged to the wall.
When He Xiaoxu sat down next to Yu Yang earlier, he really made himself at home by plugging in his own laptop into the wall.
New York City, America.
For someone as tall and long-legged as Qi Zui, even in first class, a long flight would not be comfortable. After landing, he took a taxi to the hotel, all the while calling the hospital for an in-person checkup in two days.
Qi Zui checked into the hotel and laid down on the large, hotel suite bed, massaging at his sore neck.
Qi Zui picked up his phone, reading Yu Yang’s messages one by one.
The corners of Qi Zui’s lips curved up as he replied to each and every one of Yu Yang’s messages.
He went for a shower and came out to look at his phone—Yu Yang had not sent him a reply.
Qi Zui calculated the time difference…It was around one am back home, and Yu Yang definitely would not have slept by now.
Qi Zui was not sure if Yu Yang was in the middle of a practice match and did not disturb him further. He took his suitcase out to unpack; once he was done and looked at his phone, he found that Yu Yang had still not given him a reply.
Qi Zui gave him a call instead—the phone had been turned off.
Qi Zui squeezed the phone in his hand, muttering: “How inconsiderate…”
Qi Zui threw his phone to the side.
In Shanghai, at the base, Yu Yang opened another custom match after finishing a practice match, logging onto the Asia servers.
It was almost the end of the month now. Yu Yang had played a lot of practice matches this month, while also playing competition matches here and there, all taking away from his total streaming time; these days, he had been taking every opportunity to scrounge together the stream time quota.
Players had personal training time after the end of practice matches, so Yu Yang was on solo queues.
Yu Yang had the webcam on; the fans noticed that he had been straight-faced and unsmiling the whole time and kept asking in the chat if he was feeling unwell; was he not in a good mood?
Yu Yang had the mic off since the beginning.
He was thinking about Qi Zui.
The story that He Xiaoxu told him over dinner still echoed in his heart.
Things had happened already, and Yu Yang was not a sappy person, so he would not get sad over things that were already history. But Yu Yang did not know what it was—there just seemed to be a heavy weight on his heart.
When Yu Yang first started dating Qi Zui, he thought to himself every day that there was no way Qi Zui could treat him better than he already did.
During the Goblet of Fire, on the first day they started dating, Qi Zui called Yu Yang over without anyone else knowing and gave him special treatment, mentoring him one on one.
At the time, Yu Yang thought that that was the best he had ever been treated.
The Goblet of Fire was a closed-off, boarding style training and competition, so the base doors were closed off from the outside. But as a coach, Qi Zui was able to come in and out of the base as he wanted; one time, he went back to HOG for something and brought fresh pastries and juice for Yu Yang when he came back.
Once again, Yu Yang thought that that was the best he could possibly be treated.
Yu Yang had had a hard life, and was never spoiled by anyone, so any time Qi Zui was warm to him, it made Yu Yang feel like there could be nothing better.
Even later, when he was somehow broken up with in a daze, before he figured out what actually happened and heard Qi Zui himself say on stream that he was single, Yu Yang still believed it with his whole heart.
That even then, out of everyone in Yu Yang’s life, Qi Zui was the one who treated him the best.
Yu Yang even accepted the fact that Qi Zui, in the middle of their misunderstanding, had acted cool and heartless towards him, and even still felt thankful to Qi Zui.
But it was when he heard of how Qi Zui let his emotions go while in America that Yu Yang suddenly could not stand it anymore.
How could Qi Zui be so good to him?
How could someone as good as Qi Zui treat him so, so well?
Yu Yang sniped and killed someone in the building across from him, letting out a breath.
Yu Yang reloaded while crouching on the ground.
Something seemed to have been going on in Yu Yang’s stream chat that made the comments explode.
Yu Yang frowned slightly, switching out to look at the chat—
In the overlapping waves of white text comments, a Supreme VIP text effect still lingered on Yu Yang’s streaming home page.
Drunk: [Your phone got turned off? Why don’t you turn it back on, handsome? Didn’t we agree on a video call before bed? Did you forget?]