Qi Chuan was a man who was both complex and contradictory.
Qi Han felt that he was indifferent, because since returning home and meeting his lover again, there was no extra emotion on his face, and even guilt seemed to be superficial only.
Chen Xing felt that he was ruthless. That sentence of ‘being a star for a fool’ was stuck in his heart like a blunt knife and couldn’t be removed for years.
However, only Fu Ge, who had been through the same experience, knew that he had just broken down too many times, like a bottle that had been broken into pieces and reassembled. Every piece was barely held together by poor quality glue, so every trace of emotion was restrained, as if the slightest surge would break him again.
No one knew how much pain was hidden under his peaceful and indifferent appearance, and no one knew how he relied on Chen Xing to survive the ten years of life worse than death.
A few years later, after completely losing Chen Xing, what could he rely on to survive every day?
After being hurt too many times, his heart and soul became numb. How could one expect such a person to have strong and vivid feelings?
Being able to live day by day was already the result of struggling hard.
As Fu Ge said, maybe he himself didn’t remember how he came to be like this over the years.
When he was a child, Qi Chuan played the piano very well. Later, when he went to the countryside, he always hid at home and played with a small electronic piano. The little Chen Xing was his only audience.
The boy was shy to say anything about his dreams that were too noble and elegant, but he had fantasised countless times in the dead of night: will I be able to sit in the Golden Hall in the future and play the piano?
Later, his hands were broken, and he didn’t dare to think about it anymore.
When he was at the university, Qi Chuan liked photography, but this kind of liking was limited to reading about it in books and on the Internet. He went to every lecture of the photography club, but never touched the camera. His classmates thought he couldn’t afford it, but in fact he just didn’t dare.
Even the first lens in his life was bought for Chen Xing.
He saved up for two months to buy the best one. When he handed it to his little boyfriend, he said, ”It’s rare to have a dream, don’t let it go.”
Because he knew that his dream would never come true, he wanted to do his best to protect his lover’s dream.
Life was precarious; even his life and death were in someone else’s hands. He didn’t dare to pursue anything he liked, he had no qualifications for that, let alone courage.
The only time Qi Chuan had lived for himself in these nearly thirty years was when he was with Chen Xing. But he couldn’t protect the little fool, and in just three months, he bullied him into jumping into the moat to be done with it.
How could he dare to fight for anything?
He could only open himself up and allow those close to him to take anything from him without having to give anything back.
The day he was completely emptied would be the day of true liberation.
He was already dying when he was dragged out from under the dog’s teeth, but his senses were still sharp and he knew that Wang Yating was capable of anything, so he had to break clean with Chen Xing before he collapsed.
It was the only way to keep the little fool safe.
He knew Chen Xing too well.
He knew how to crush Chen Xing in the shortest possible time, he knew how to dig himself out of Chen Xing’s heart with a single sentence.
That sentence was like an invisible knife, and as he lay in a pool of blood, looking desperately at the sky, he stuck this knife with his own hands, word by word, into Chen Xing’s heart, spilling the blood and cutting the flesh.
Chen Xing was in heartbreaking pain, and Qi Chuan was also exhausted at that moment.
After that, Wang Yating let him go and surrendered herself to the police.
Before she left, she personally bandaged Qi Chuan’s wounds, looked at the boy in front of her who was completely destroyed by her, and burst into tears.
“From beginning to end, you were the most innocent one.”
The desperate woman sat on the ground, recalling her own child that was gone, ”I know I shouldn’t treat a child like this, but I couldn’t get over that hurdle. So consider yourself unlucky in this life. In the next life, I will wait for you to pay back all the debts owed to you.”
Qi Chuan ignored her, half-closing his eyes and coughing up blood. At that moment, he only felt extremely ridiculous. It turned out that in Wang Yating’s eyes, more than ten years of his struggle were easily covered by the word ”unlucky”.
“Let me go…” He dragged his broken leg and crawled away a little bit, ”In the next life, I don’t want to see you…”
The revenge that had lasted for more than ten years finally stopped that day, but Qi Chuan didn’t feel relieved at all, because he had nothing left.
“Grandpa took him abroad and left this sad place,” Fu Ge said. ”In the first year, Qi Chuan was busy treating his traumas and quitting drug addiction. In the second year, his body recovered a bit, and he began to see a psychologist frequently. But no matter how many doctors he saw, they couldn’t cure him, so he simply learned psychology himself.”
Qi Chuan seemed to have become accustomed to self-help a long time ago, because no one had ever extended a helping hand to him in the first half of his life.
With life barely going, Grandpa also needed his care, and there was still a little fool in the country, maybe waiting for him, or maybe not waiting.
Qi Chuan didn’t ask for much and he didn’t wish for much.
He just wanted, more or less, to clean himself up as a human being.
“So is he coming out of it now?” Qi Han asked.
Fu Ge was silent for a moment, then shook his head, ”No one can help him, and he doesn’t care if he is happy or sad.”
Qi Chuan’s personality was inherently indifferent; even when he was with Fu Ge, Grandpa and Ah Jue, he was not very lively, not to mention when he was alone.
Alone, he was in a daze most of the time except for work.
“He has almost no fun activities except to accompany us. He works like a machine. When he is tired, he will drift off and recharge for a while. It is like he’s deliberately avoiding things that are relaxing and happy.”
There was another sentence Fu Ge didn’t say; he always felt that Qi Chuan was punishing himself in this way.
Because he knew how much damage he had caused to Chen Xing, he spent those years being unhappy for him.
“Did he never come back?” Qi Han asked in disbelief, ”Chen Xing kept thinking of him.”
Fu Ge didn’t know either. Qi Chuan only gave him very little description of this part. ”I think he came back, he should have come back.”
So what if you close off your feelings? So what if you don’t ask for forgiveness and don’t want to disturb? People lose control.
And Qi Chuan did secretly return to the country once.
It was the third year after he left; his body barely recovered, and from the outside one couldn’t see that he was different from ordinary people.
Hiding it from his grandfather, he bought a ticket to return home, and rushed to the address given to him by the private investigator as soon as he got off the plane.
At that time, Chen Xing and Qi Han were drinking in celebration, surrounded by men and women who threw their arms around them.
The simple child of the past had grown into a dazzling adult, attracting people like a star, and those people hugged him and kissed his face, feeding him a drink… and Chen Xing sat dashingly in the ambiguous light, blinking his dim eyes and smiling in a suave manner.
At that moment, Qi Chuan knew that he would never have a chance again.
The most frightening thing when you are young is to meet someone who is too stunning, and if you do, you have to cherish this person, because once the damage is done, there is no way to undo it.
The possibility of a reunion only exists in fiction.
In fact, when Qi Chuan said that sentence, he knew that he was out of the game forever. But he just couldn’t give up, he still held onto the hope of that one-in-a-million chance.
But obviously God had never favoured him.
“Five years… of loving and not being able to do anything but to watch from the shadows.” Qi Han could understand this feeling all too well. ”He is really cruel to himself.”
Fu Ge sniffled: ”What else could he be if not cruel? He didn’t plan to leave too much time for himself from the beginning.”
Qi Han raised his eyes: ”What do you mean? Didn’t he recover from his injuries? Or did it leave sequelae?”
“The sequelae… he refuses to cooperate with the treatment, always works hard and overspends his body. How long can he last if he continues like this?”
Fu Ge always had a feeling that under his calm and gentle appearance, Qi Chuan seemed to be looking forward to his death, as if it was his rightful chance to be relieved.
So when Fu Ge said he wanted to take revenge, Qi Chuan agreed without even thinking about it. It wasn’t that he wanted to use Chen Xing to help his younger brother take revenge, but that he used his younger brother’s revenge to see Chen Xing for the last time.
“Grandpa can’t make him stay any longer, and I can’t make him stay even more. He was walking for too long and he is very tired. We have no right to influence his decision,” Fu Ge said. ”Although it is despicable to say this, I must admit that I have my own selfish thoughts.” He buried his face in the nook of Qi Han’s shoulder, his voice very small. ”This time, maybe only Chen Xing can make him stay.”
The phone had been hung up a long time ago, and Chen Xing didn’t hear the rest.
He took off a roll of gauze, hurriedly wrapped it around the wound in his palm, and went out holding the key.
Qi Han had left him a driver downstairs. Brother Han was always considerate in this regard. Chen Xing staggered to the side of the car. His hands were too slippery and everything in front of his eyes was too foggy. He grabbed the handle three times but couldn’t open it and finally lost control and punched the car door.
“It’s so fucking…”
He slumped in front of the car door, not knowing whether to cry or laugh, his left hand clutching his hair. The white powder of the hallucinogens mixed with his blood into a dirty mass. Blue veins on his forehead bulged violently, blood vessels dilating in his red eyes.
The Alpha’s pheromones were suffocating for the driver in the car. He got out of the car in a panic to check the Alpha’s condition, but after helping the man up, he saw Chen Xing raise his eyes blankly, tears streaming down his face.
Before that, the driver had never thought that this prodigal son could look desperate like this.
“Sir, are you… going to the hospital or where?” The driver asked cautiously.
Chen Xing was in a daze for several seconds before reporting the destination. He looked at the stars outside the window and thought: If only there was really a time-travelling magic, how great it would be.
He wanted to go back in time and snatch Qi Dabao away.
The rain became heavier and heaving, crackling overhead, and the wet wind slashed his face like a sharp knife.
Chen Xing’s eyes were blank as he stared at the tunnel ahead like a walking dead.
In the blink of an eye, the tunnel opened its bloody mouth and swallowed him into it.
A lot of pictures flashed in front of his dim eyes—
The seven-year-old Qi Dabao chased and beaten by thugs in his own home; the teenage Qi Chuan locked up at home and sprayed with pepper spray; the university student Qi Chuan often awakened by a nightmare in the middle of the night; and Qi Chuan who was drugged and left to be torn apart by the dogs on the other end of the phone that cold and windy night…
They were obviously so close at the time, but he couldn’t save him.
Until he got out of the car and walked to the door of the house, those pictures were still tumbling and rolling through Chen Xing’s head. He took more than a dozen deep breaths before he dared to open the door and enter.
It looked like such a small door on the outside, but he didn’t expect that the space inside was huge, fully furnished and decorated very warmly.
When he raised his foot to step in, there was noise in his ears, chaotic and deafening. Chen Xing didn’t care, walking straight into the innermost room.
After the small corridor, he reached the living room and looked up at the big screen in the middle.
With just one glance, he froze on the spot.
Like an unbalanced buoy, his heart sank to the bottom of the sea.
What was being played was a video of them when they were children. The only one, recorded by the nanny, had a total of seven minutes and forty seconds, and it was put on the loop, starting again as soon as it ended.
It was so natural as if the process had been repeated a thousand times.
And Qi Chuan was sitting on the cold floor in front of the screen, wearing a thin robe, holding a cigarette in his right hand resting on his bent leg and a nearly finished beer in his left hand.
He took the last sip from the can and squeezed it flat, and took a new can from the floor.
It was raining heavily, the temperature was no more than ten degrees, the cold floor, cold beer, cigarette butts filling the ashtray, and the love of his life who would never return to him… This seemed to be his only happiness in five years, but anyone who watched this scene couldn’t see any enjoyment at all. Qi Chuan was simply abusing himself.
With a click, the beer can was opened, and Chen Xing’s heart trembled as he subconsciously sucked in a breath of cool air.
At the same time, the man who was sitting paralysed in the living room paused, moved sluggishly and turned his head to check the source of the sound.
The moment their eyes met, their breathing stagnated.
Qi Chuan saw the blood on Chen Xing’s hands, and Chen Xing saw the scars on Qi Chuan’s legs.
The scars were hideous and messy, as if a big ragdoll had been ripped apart and sewn back together, spreading all the way over his legs to the hem of the bathrobe.
Chen Xing didn’t dare to think about how many of them were hidden by the bathrobe. He only knew that he had just let Qi Chuan drag his legs out of his apartment like that.
Without warning, he raised his hand and slapped himself fiercely, so hard that the slapping sound drowned the sound of the video, splitting the corner of his mouth.
Startled, Qi Chuan was about to run over. He started moving, but he had been sitting for a long time and had no strength to get up. He fell face first before he could even take a step.
So wretched, so embarrassed…
Chen Xing closed his eyes in pain, and two lines of tears suddenly slipped down from the corners of his eyes.
A man who used to be so proud and gentle, with the one-in-a-thousand 3S level pheromones, now even his normal actions were restricted.
Qi Chuan was obviously used to this. He slowly propped up his body holding onto the sofa, and waited for his legs to regain strength before straightening up.
He looked at Chen Xing and instantly understood.
“Did… Xiao Ge tell you?” He asked.
Chen Xing couldn’t speak, his tears rolling down like rain.
Qi Chuan lowered his eyes and was silent for a long time, then passed by him, walked to the outer room and said, ”I’m going to get the medical kit.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, his wrist was clenched forcefully, and Chen Xing pulled him back and slammed him on the sofa, ”Fuck your medical kit! Fuck your uncle! Do you want me to die? You want me to die, don’t you?!”
Grabbing the collar of his shirt and lifting him up violently, Chen Xing lunged at him and suddenly slumped against him as if losing all his strength, nose to nose, forehead to forehead. He choked and cried, his tears slipping into Qi Chuan’s mouth, burning like pepper spray.
“Brother… brother! It… it hurts to death…”
He clutched the sofa and cried, sobbing, like a mud bodhisattva about to melt, begging for help: ”Save me… help me… I can’t stand it anymore… it hurts too much…”
Qi Chuan’s heart seemed to be pressed into the bed of nails, pierced and torn. Chen Xing cried and hugged him, his voice vicious and pitiful like a scream of a small beast.
“How could she do that… how dared she do that to you! I want to kill her, I must kill her! I won’t even spare her ghost! How could she… why should she… I hate her to death…”
This Alpha, scarred and bruised, was the star Chen Xing had been waiting for for many years, the only brother who didn’t treat him like a fool, his only playmate in his darkest childhood, his lover who had hurt him three times but with whom he was still unwilling to part…
Chen Xing couldn’t even remember how much he loved Qi Chuan, because when he thought of that face, that name and those secrets, it hurt to the point where his chest cavity trembled and a knife seemed to be twisted in his heart.
“I cherish you so much… I love you so much… but she ruined you like this… Why didn’t you tell me… You obviously had so many opportunities to tell me… why didn’t you just tell me…”
Qi Chuan sighed and pressed him tightly to the nook of his shoulder, ”Because if I told you, you would be like this. Your life is very good now, I don’t want you to be wronged, nor do I want you to suffer.”
“Very good, my ass! You’re so fucking self-righteous!”
Chen Xing was angry, full of hatred and in pain, and his whole body was about to be torn apart by these emotions. He clenched Qi Chuan’s collar and raised his fist viciously, but before his fist landed, his tears fell first.
Qi Chuan didn’t want to dodge at all, he just looked helplessly at the fool who was so mad with him, and raised his hand to wipe away the tears from the corners of his eyes.
“Silly or not, hitting someone with tears in your eyes, who do you expect to be afraid of you?”
As soon as these words came out, Chen Xing’s tears became even more raging, as if the dam was broken. He couldn’t stand Qi Chuan coaxing him in such a tone.
“Hmm… what’s the matter?”
Chen Xing closed his eyes and rubbed against the tip of his nose, choking and panting: ”Call me, call me, you know what I want to hear, please already…”
Frowning helplessly for a while, Qi Chuan finally turned his head and kissed his ear, and the word he whispered was full of gentleness and affection: ”Kid.”
Another inch of the nook of his shoulder was wet, and Chen Xing trembled as he answered: ”Ugh…”
Qi Chuan called him, and murmured like he had done countless times when he was coaxing Chen Xing to sleep as a child: ”Okay, don’t cry anymore, I don’t hurt anymore, it’s all over, you don’t need to hurt either.”
Chen Xing shook his head and closed his eyes to touch the scars on his chest. He didn’t dare to open his eyes to see. ”Does it hurt when I press like this? Does it get numb?”
“It doesn’t hurt, press more, I’ll tell you if it gets numb.”
Qi Chuan always indulged him, loving and cherishing him naturally. He had done that in those three months in the past and still did it now, five years later.
Chen Xing slowly untied his robe in the dark, the tip of his nose pressed against Qi Chuan’s face, sliding inch by inch, until he was kissing the scars.
Qi Chuan didn’t stop him, and let him do whatever he wanted, to kiss him from the collarbones to the deep wound on his thigh. Chen Xing trembled and sobbed, and then his kisses returned the same way.
His lips felt hot, but his heart was extremely fragile. Chen Xing blinked his swollen eyes and looked at him.
“Aren’t you going to kiss me?”
He thought, I already miss you so much that I’m going crazy.
Qi Chuan chuckled at Chen Xing’s disappointed eyes and suddenly pressed him down. The moment their lips and tongues met, their teeth knocked painfully but neither of them wanted to stop.
They waited for this kiss for too long, too long, so long that they were ready to end their lives in a corner unknown to anyone.
Their mouths full of blood mixed with tears tore at each other inseparably, both their lifeline and their cure.
When Qi Chuan finally let him go, both of Chen Xing’s lips were bitten through, bleeding when he licked them.
It hurt, but it was very satisfying.
He still didn’t want to get up, so he just moved a little to the side to prevent himself from pressing on Qi Chuan again. The two huddled on the sofa, holding hands and innocently saying mindless affectionate words.
As the voice in his ear gradually faded away, Qi Chuan turned his head and saw Chen Xing close his eyes, rest on his arm and slowly fall asleep.
That’s it, he thought, one step at a time.
Had he pushed the kid away again this time, the little fool might have been so angry that he would’ve just swallowed a bottle of hallucinogenic drugs.
Chen Xing didn’t sleep for a long time. He couldn’t rest until he was sure of what was going on, and he only slept for two hours in the end.
When he opened his eyes again, the room was dim, and Qi Chuan was sitting on the sofa and cutting his toenails.
“Don’t move.” Qi Chuan pressed his ankle and said, ”There are only two left to be cut. Did I hurt you?”
“No.” Chen Xing, half-awake, yawned and said, ”Why did you think of doing this?”
“I saw they were a bit long and cut them, otherwise they would chafe.”
Chen Xing didn’t say anything, let him continue, closed his eyes and moved his arms and legs, and found that the injury on his hand was dealt with, his face was clean, and his body was also clean and fresh, as if he just took a shower.
When he thought of this, his nose was sour again. He was so big, how could Qi Chuan carry him?…
“What’s the matter? You’re trembling again.” Qi Chuan was afraid he would cry.
Chen Xing choked a sob, ”Don’t carry me in the future, I can clean myself up. Be careful with your legs.”
Qi Chuan wanted to laugh a little. ”I just can’t sit for too long, it doesn’t affect my normal life. I can carry you no problem.”
Chen Xing didn’t believe it. As soon as Qi Chuan finished, he touched his arms and wrists, and asked in a low voice, ”The piano… can you still play it?”
Qi Chuan said expressionlessly. ”Can’t anymore.”
“What about archery? I remember that there was a very hard bow in the club before, and only you could pull it.”
Qi Chuan smiled, ”I guess it won’t work either. I’m not as good as I used to be. I’m a weak Alpha now, Xiao Chen, do you dislike me?”
“Dislike my ass! I’m looking for a husband, not a migrant worker. What do I need a bull for?”
The man next to him stifled a laugh. When Qi Chuan said that he was not serious, Chen Xing curled his mouth and muttered, ”It’s not that it doesn’t affect normal life. You can’t sit for too long and I can’t sit on your lap when having sex. You used to like to fuck me like that the most.”
“You…” Qi Chuan’s face became a little red; he recalled their flirting in the past and said in his ear: ”Nonsense, as long as it is you, there is no pose I don’t like.”
“That’s me, I’m awesome, I’m flexible, you’re proud of me, right?” Chen Xing hugged him and stretched out his feet to warm them against him. After warming up for a while, he hugged him again, endlessly.
Qi Chuan laughed at him, ”Why do you need so many activities to take a nap? Didn’t you say you were tired a long time ago?”
Chen Xing took a shallow breath, ”Brother, let’s… make a decision. I can’t toss in the future. I’m tired.”
Qi Chuan raised his hand and rubbed the back of his head, his eyes moist, ”From childhood to adulthood, weren’t you always in charge of everything?”
“Then I will be in charge from now on?”
“Yes, you will.”
“Good.” Chen Xing smiled for the first time tonight, ”Then you will follow me from now on, and we’ll live together, steady and solid. I promise you will live your life to the fullest and never suffer again.”
Fuck everyone and their mom, he will kill anyone who tries to steal his man again.
Qi Chuan tilted his head and looked at him, at such a familiar face, so real but so unreal; he brushed his fingers over it, inch by inch tracing it. Until now, he couldn’t believe that Chen Xing had really returned to him.
“Kid, in fact, there is still a secret in this room that I didn’t tell you about.”
Chen Xing raised his eyes lazily: ”A golden house to hide your lover? Okay, then call him out and I will help President Qi appraise the conditions.”
“You don’t have a filter on your mouth.” Qi Chuan smiled and squeezed him, took the remote control at the head of the sofa and pressed the button.
Suddenly, the cold and bright light spilled on his nose and cheeks. Chen Xing raised his eyes in a daze and saw the sky.
In the darkness above his head, a huge star suddenly lit up, shining bright and majestic.
Qi Chuan lowered his head and kissed him, his lips brushing against his eyelashes. ”Chen Xing is not a fool. Your star has been secretly following you for many years.”
Translator’s note: Well, that’s it. Thanks to my dearest milui for her support that helped me not to feel absolutely lonely.