Chapter 3 — Definitely Safe
What kind of wack logic? Can you even use 0% compatibility in this way?
“Help with what?” There is some tiredness to Xiao Yan’s voice as he pushes the door open, eyes half closed. Leaning against the doorframe, he startles when he sees Luo Zhiyu, then understands once he sees the measuring tape in Luo Zhiyu’s hands. He nods at Luo Zhiyu, “What did I say? Here we are, seeing each other all the time.”
The Second Year Excellent Student Representative that he had just seen that morning now leans lopsidedly in front of him with the school uniform thrown across his back, looking like he just woke up.
Luo Zhiyu: “…..”
“Don’t fight, don’t fight, there’s no one else available right now.” Fan Yue does not have many special skills other than peacemaking. “Just deal with it for now, you two.”
“Nevermind, I’ll just measure myself.” Luo Zhiyu is about to turn around and walk away, but someone holds down the other end of the measuring tape.
“Get back here.” Xiao Yan tugs the measuring tape towards himself, “I’ll measure for you. This is the job of the Student Association, I won’t bring in any personal feelings.”
Xiao Yan: “Don’t get mad.”
Jing Ximing is still waiting for lunch at the dorms, so Luo Zhiyu wants to go back as soon as possible. Xiao Yan has already said that it has nothing to do with personal feelings — even though Luo Zhiyu explodes with the slightest provocation, he is not someone who makes a big fuss out of nothing.
“We’re all high school students here, if there’s hard feelings we can talk it out. Please don’t start fighting, you too.” Fan Yue reminds them again.
The five Students’ Association alpha boys go into the inner room with their instant noodle cups, leaving just the two of them in the room.
“Luo Zhiyu, are you starting military training tomorrow?” Xian Yan indicates for him to raise his arm, wrapping the measuring tape around his waist through the school uniform. “Did you get enough rest after presenting the other day?”
Luo Zhiyu hums grumpily as a response. He was predicted to present as an omega at birth, so to him, presenting feels nothing different from getting a cold: other than getting a fever and a trip to the hospital for the formality, he has not yet experienced many changes in his body due to presenting.
His waist is a little sensitive, ticklish if touched. When Xiao Yan takes his waist measurement, he keeps his lips tightly closed, refusing to talk.
This is the first time that the two are this close to each other and have not started fighting.
“Do you want to take the school uniform off?” Xiao Yan asks him.
“Ah?” Luo Zhiyu blanks.
“It’s more accurate that way.” Xiao Yan enters a number into the laptop, “If the measurement is taken with the uniform there might be room for error, so it might not fit properly in the end.”
Since Xiao Yan is doing legitimate work, Luo Zhiyu is very cooperative, unzipping his school uniform and taking off the jacket. He casually folds the first year school uniform into a square, placing it neatly onto the desk beside them, ending up in the standard-issue First Metropolitan fall sweatshirt.
There is a rectangle metal plate under the collar of the school uniform jacket, written with Luo Zhiyu’s name and class number. Xiao Yan rests his gaze on the “Class 3” momentarily — he was in First Year, Class 3 last year, so he has a set of the exact same uniform other than the student name.
“Hurry up,” Luo Zhiyu presses, “I have things to do after.”
Xiao Yan responds with a hum, prompting him to lift his arm again. Luo Zhiyu does as told and the measuring tape circles around him once, meeting the ends in front of him. Xiao Yan tightens the measuring tape, both hands pausing at Luo Zhiyu’s chest: “Student Luo Zhiyu, you don’t need to hold your breath, just stay as you are normally.”
“Oh…” Luo Zhiyu had been holding his breath for a while, chest just starting to rise and fall again.
Xiao Yan’s school uniform sleeves had bunched up a little due to his movements. Luo Zhiyu can see a small scar on his right wrist as he lowers his hand, faint in colour, like a barely-there peach blossom petal. It is from when he first met Xiao Yan when he was three years old and had pounced and bit him.
Since then, the two became enemies. Every time Xiao Yan saw him, he would definitely provoke him, but every time, the one to actually start throwing punches was definitely Luo Zhiyu.
Memories from when he was three are too far away; Luo Zhiyu could not have expected that the scar would stay for this long. No wonder Xiao Yan has held a grudge for this long.
Xiao Yan removes the measuring tape, noticing his gaze and lowering his head to look at the scar on his wrist too: “You remember?”
“Do your job.” Luo Zhiyu gets snappy, “You’re so nosy, asking this and that.”
“Okay okay.” Luo Zhiyu is easily provoked as expected. Xiao Yan lets it go, “Turn around.”
Luo Zhiyu turns around, facing away from Xiao Yan. The slightly cool measuring tape is held against his neck, pressing lightly on his skin.
The collar measurement is not yet done, but Xiao Yan’s hands stop: “Should I close my eyes?”
There is a scent blocker on the scent gland behind Luo Zhiyu’s neck, cleanly covering up the light, sweet scent of honey peaches from before. Supposedly disliking how the white scent blocker is boring, he has a doodle of a panda head on top.
“Why would you close your eyes? How are you going to measure with your eyes closed.” Luo Zhiyu complains. “Is my panda head ugly?”
Xiao Yan does not know how to explain. Luo Zhiyu’s parents are often not home due to work, and his older brother and sister are both alphas, with Luo Zhiyu the only omega. Newly presented and haven’t yet gone to the high school gender-tailored health classes1, Luo Zhiyu does not seem to know that an alpha staring at an omega’s neck is extremely rude.
“Can you go faster,” Luo Zhiyu gets impatient. If they continue to dilly dally, the cafeteria is going to run out of food.
0%, Xiao Yan recites in his head, the measuring tape in his hands circling around Luo Zhiyu’s neck, tightening slightly, leaving a finger’s width between the tape and the scent gland at Luo Zhiyu’s nape. He then loosens the measuring tape and turns to record down the numbers.
“Go on,” Xiao Yan sits in front of the computer to send out the data, waving a hand to kick him out.
Luo Zhiyu has already rushed away, holding his school uniform against his chest.
Fan Yue walks in holding his instant noodles and discovers there is only Xiao Yan left in the room.
“That fast?” Fan Yue gives him two thumbs up, “0%, definitely safe as expected.”
Luo Zhiyu’s dorm is on the first floor, a two-person room with a little balcony. Jing Ximing is just giving himself a suppressant shot on the arm as Luo Zhiyu pushes the door open.
The air conditioner is set to a very low temperature. Luo Zhiyu hands the food container to Jing Ximing then lays down, content, onto his own bed.
“It’s so nice being an omega.” Jing Ximing clutches the food container, “My heat comes during the start of term and I don’t even have to go to military training.”
“It really is nice.” Luo Zhiyu agrees completely, “Only we have two people dorm rooms, everyone else has four people per room.”
In today’s society, omegas only make up a small and valuable 15.7% of the total population; naturally, omegas get better treatment than alphas and betas at school. Two people very satisfied with their status hold up their food containers, picking some food with their chopsticks to stuff into their mouths, chewing a few times. Their smiles slowly fade.
Luo Zhiyu: “……”
Luo Zhiyu: “It tastes so bad.”
Jing Ximing: “You are correct.”
Jing Ximing: “It’s over for us, these are the best dishes at First Metropolitan? These?”
Luo Zhiyu is also at a loss. He rushed across half the school campus as if there was an emergency and this is what he gets?
“Hold on.” Luo Zhiyu opens Wechat and pulls out the conversation with the Second Year Excellent Student Representative.
[Not Zhiliao]: Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: You ran off too quickly. Give me your dorm number.
[Not Zhiliao]: Building 3, 101.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Okay, got it.
[Not Zhiliao]: Get your ass back here, did I say you could leave.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: ???
[Not Zhiliao]: [Photo attached] Stewed banana and strawberries, mango and shrimp stir fry, smoked cheese and cucumber? Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Heh.
[Not Zhiliao]: You think you can get away with just “heh”? What the heck did you recommend to me?
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: I really didn’t think you would go and try it. Wipes sweat.jpg
[Luo Zhiyu]: You’re dead meat. I’m not letting this go.
“What happened?” From where Jing Ximing is looking, Luo Zhiyu’s smile is getting gradually more and more grotesque.
“Just arguing with a stupid jerk.” Luo Zhiyu puts down his phone and gives up on the horrifying concoctions in the food containers.
Xiao Yan doesn’t reply again from his end, but Luo Zhiyu doesn’t need to think too hard to know that this person is definitely revelling in his pain. Fortunately, he and Jing Ximing have a full supply of snacks in the dorm so that they don’t have to actually starve.
Jing Ximing has not had much energy these days, laying down to rest right after eating. Luo Zhiyu opens his drawing board bag, moving slowly and quietly, setting up his drawing board and settling down in front of it for a whole afternoon.
In the evening, Luo Zhiyu’s phone screen lights up briefly.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Come out and pick up your takeout.
[Luo Zhiyu]: ? I didn’t order takeout.
But he stands up nonetheless, hands wiping at the paint that he accidentally got onto his face, grabbing his keys and going out the door. Outside Building 3 dormitory, Xiao Yan stands beside a wall, backlit by sunlight and many bags in his hands.
“Take your uniform.” Xiao Yan gives Luo Zhiyu one of the bags, “We second-year students are busy with schoolwork, no one has the time to deliver this to you.”
Luo Zhiyu says his thanks with zero expression and turns away right away to leave, but is stopped by Xiao Yan’s extended arm.
“This is for you.” Xiao Yan hands him another bag with takeout containers full of food, “The cafeteria thing is my bad.”
Luo Zhiyu takes the bag, half trusting, half suspicious. He’s hooked by the smell of food and against his principles, does not curse Xiao Yan out.
“We’ve been at it for this many years, I’m tired too.” Luo Zhiyu gives himself an excuse to let the grudge go, “How about this, a truce. We are normal schoolmates from now on.”
Xiao Yan probably didn’t expect him to look past things and blanks out a little. Seemingly a little regretfully, he smiles and turns away: “We’ll see.”
There is still another huge, transparent plastic bag in his hands, filled with an entire watermelon and many cans of pop.
“I hope you die stuffing your face.” Luo Zhiyu hmmphs at Xiao Yan’s back. Fine, no truce then. They are in the same school now, he doesn’t think Xiao Yan can even do anything new.
It was not until afternoon on the next day that he finally realized what Xiao Yan’s big bag of things are for.
In the scorching sun, first-year students attending military training stand in neat squads, yelling out their chants loud and clear. The bell from the classroom buildings sounds from not far away; Luo Zhiyu helplessly watches a familiar figure walk over from one side of the sports field, coming to a halt in front of the First Year, Class 3 squad.
Luo Zhiyu: “……”
Xiao Yan holds the bag from yesterday and sits cross-legged on the grass, chin propped up in his hand, and just stares at him, unmoving.
“What the fuck are you looking at?” Luo Zhiyu curses silently by moving his lips.
“First row in the middle, five more minutes of standing at attention.” The instructor sees the movement right away.
Luo Zhiyu: “……” Damn, how bored is this person to come here just to provoke him.
It is still hot in the beginning of fall and the military training uniform has little ventilation — Luo Zhiyu’s forehead is covered in sweat, overheated and thirsty, and he is not even allowed to move. He bites at the tip of his tongue in an attempt to take his mind off the heat and thirstiness.
Xiao Yan leisurely takes out a cold can of pop from the bag, shaking it in front of Luo Zhiyu, lips curving at the corner. Long, slender fingers take hold of the tab at the top of the pop can, pulling it open with a tss.
Bubbles from the orange soda happily jump out into the air. Luo Zhiyu thinks he is probably not too far from going crazy.