Happy birthday.

Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3

  “Bring the slingshot too.” Jiang Cheng said.

  “Alright.” Gu Fei answered.

  After hanging up, Jiang Cheng leaned back against the lamp post and let out a soft breath. He was in a good mood.

  These last few days was an experience like none other for him, standing outside Gu Fei’s building now, he still felt like he hadn’t quite recovered from it.

  Not only because this was the first birthday he would spend together with Gu Fei, but also for the things he did in preparation for this birthday that he never thought he would do.

  The thing called Perler Beads was known as a puzzle for children, but Jiang Cheng felt like no child could have the patience to finish an entire picture, nor would any child’s hands be steady enough that they could place each grain of ‘bean’ into the mold so precisely.

  Of course, it also had to do with the fact that he never really did any crafts growing up. Anything he did with his hands in elementary school was ready-made, all he had to do was go by the images, snip snip, paste paste, and it was done.

  Regardless, as he was placing the beads one by one into the mold with a tweezer, he felt like his hand was growing out of someone else’s body; every time he set one down, he’d knock over the two next to it. The shopkeeper told him that because he picked a smaller design with simple colours, it would be very quick to make, even beginners can do it in a couple of hours.

  Couple of hours my ass!

  He shook and tremored his way through the first try, which took him almost two hours on its own. To cap it off, he overapplied the heat at the end and melted all the beads into one flat pancake.

  The second one also took him more than an hour, at least three times throughout the process he wanted to sweep it all to the ground, beads and all.

  On the third try, since he had a little more experience, he was able to get through it much faster, but it was only after the heat stage that he realized he missed an eye on one of the chibi figures.

  “We cannot possibly fathom contestant Jiang Cheng’s emotion at this very moment, but he must be feeling anxious and resigned.” He stared at the blind little figure. “The distance between professions is truly a world apart, to a contestant who’s never attempted such a meticulous challenge…… He’s capable of hitting two objects less than a centimeter apart separately, yet he…… ah fuck it I give up.”

  That’s what he said, but the gift still needed to be made. Their birthdays were on the horizon, and he must get this done. There were other preparations he had to do after this.

  And so he took two hours, and spent all of the patience he had accumulated in his entire 18 years of life on this little flat surface filled with beads.

  At last, he completed a ‘bean patty’ with the right colours and all the necessary facial features.

  The only imperfection was when he applied the heat at the end, he was so excited and satisfied with his masterpiece that he grabbed the hot iron with his bare hand, and burned two blisters on his right thumb and forefinger.

  He stuck his hand in cold water to cool down for a bit, wrapped two bandaids on his fingers, then pushed through and installed the final piece, the key ring.

  He put the gift in a tin box with a transparent black lid that he found after going through three different gift shops. Because he didn’t have a suitable sponge material as insulation, he got a bunch of kraft wrapping paper, wrinkled it, and pressed it into the box, then put the keychain inside. After closing the lid, he sat back and admired it for a good while, then took more than a dozen photos from different angles before finally declaring the job done.

  Next, he should be heading out the door to do something embarrassing.

  There was no way he would go to that shady little shop around the corner. In the last three days he ‘passed by’ its front door eight times. He couldn’t see what exactly they sold in there, but based on his non-nearsighted overachiever vision, he could see that other than the standard condoms and ‘stairway to heaven’ drugs, there were also quite a few product packagings that made one’s mind wander in all sorts of lewd directions.

  Even if he planned to do something on this birthday…… But to a young man whose entire knowledge base came from dirty little videos, he did not need such high-end tools.

  Therefore with his overachiever wisdom, he decided to go to an open shelf drugstore. Condoms… lube… after he spent 18 years of patience on the Perler beads, he proceeded to give away 18 years worth of his face in the drugstore.

  When he placed the items on the counter he felt an utmost gratitude, for the cashier’s stoic expression as though she couldn’t read, and for her putting his purchases in a white non-see-through bag.

  In the days before his birthday, he only saw Gu Fei a couple of times. They had a meal together, chatted for a while, and once Gu Fei left, he started to work on his preparations again.

  Sometimes he wondered if he was being a little neurotic. It was only a birthday, the way he was acting one would think he was plotting to blow up the earth.

  While waiting for Gu Fei to come downstairs, he mentally went over again what he was going to do, and after confirming that there was nothing amiss, he took out a cigarette and lit it.

  Gu Fei came down pretty quickly. Jiang Cheng just about made out a figure appearing in the corridor, when Gu Fei was already in front of him. He lifted a hand and took away the cigarette in Jiang Cheng’s mouth, and leaned in to kiss him, “Happy birthday Cheng-ge.”

  There was nobody around at this hour, almost all the lights had gone out upstairs, but Jiang Cheng felt like he didn’t give a damn at this moment even if someone happened to pass by. He reached out and wrapped his arms tightly around Gu Fei, and planted a loud smack on his cheek, “Happy birthday.”

  “Are you taking me to celebrate now?” Gu Fei smiled and asked.

  “Mhm,” Jiang Cheng released him and beckoned. “Let’s go.”

  “Where to?” Gu Fei asked.

  “A place.” Jiang Cheng said, then glanced at him. “Uh, Gu Miao’s already asleep right?”

  “She’s long asleep.” A smile quirked at the corner of Gu Fei’s mouth. “I’ll stay over at your place tonight.”

  “Sure.” Jiang Cheng nodded.

  They both acted serious, as natural as though they were only talking about spending some time at Jiang Cheng’s place as usual, when in reality…… Jiang Cheng used his peripheral vision to sweep over Gu Fei, this guy was probably thinking the same thing he was.

  Indecorous to the extreme!

  “Is that for me?” Jiang Cheng saw the paper bag Gu Fei was holding in his hand, it looked heavy.

  “Yes,” Gu Fei smiled. “I’ll give it to you later.”

  “Are you only going to give it to me after I give you your gift?” Jiang Cheng asked.

  “Uh huh, I gotta trade.” Gu Fei said.

  “Sure thing,” Jiang Cheng laughed. “Cheng-ge’s gonna take you to get your gift right now, then we’ll go back to my place for cake.”

  “You bought a cake too?” Gu Fei asked.

  “Mhm, I was planning on going to make one myself, but I’m not very familiar with these parts and didn’t find a DIY place, so I just bought a small one.” Jiang Cheng said. “Why, did you also buy one?”

  “I…… made one, it’s in the fridge at the store.” Gu Fei said.

  “Where did you go to make one?” Jiang Cheng arched a brow.

  “There’s a bakery workshop on the street behind Wang Er’s Meat Pie,” Gu Fei said, then sighed. “I used to take Er-Miao there to play, but she threw a tantrum and smashed their weight. I had to pay them 50 yuan, a whole finished cake is only 20 yuan.”

  Hearing that made Jiang Cheng feel a little pang in his heart, but he also wanted to laugh.

  “I……” He tried holding it in for a while, then turned to look at Gu Fei. “Really want to laugh, do you mind?”

  “…… I don’t mind, go ahead.” Gu Fei said.

  Jiang Cheng burst out laughing at the ground. Gu Fei followed beside him and giggled along stupidly for a while, before realizing the road they were on didn’t lead back to Jiang Cheng’s apartment.

  “Where are we going?” Gu Fei asked. “Are you lost?”

  “Nah,” Jiang Cheng pointed up ahead. “Go straight. I circled this area a bunch of times over the last couple days until I finally found a place like this: flat, no trash, and mostly deserted.”

  Gu Fei looked in the direction he was pointing.

  After the steel factories shut down, there were a lot of empty lots and abandoned buildings around here. But going this way, to their left was the market, and to the right was a factory-affiliated kindergarten, there really weren’t any flat deserted lots.

  Jiang Cheng led him forward with confidence, in the process of which they turned once to the right, twice to the left, and after they came back to the road they were on before, continued to walk forward.

  Gu Fei held back and kept quiet as he followed along for almost half an hour. He was pretty sure that Jiang Cheng was lost, but this guy’s way of being lost was also a little peculiar. Every time he took a turn out, he could always keep turning until he was back on the main road, then continue on. 

  At last, when they came to the totally empty but still smelly market, Jiang Cheng finally stopped. He stuck his hands into the back pocket of his pants, then froze for about 10 seconds before asking, “Isn’t this the fucking food market?”

  “Mhm,” Gu Fei nodded. “If you didn’t make all those random turns we would’ve gotten here ten minutes ago.”

  “Hey what the,” Jiang Cheng looked around, and turned around on the spot a few times. “Fuck?”

  “You’re lost, aren’t you?” Gu Fei asked.

  “Ah,” Jiang Cheng looked at him. “All because you jinxed me.”

  “So it’s my fault?” Gu Fei held back his laughter.

  “What else can it be?” Jiang Cheng glared at him, then after a few seconds of glaring started fretting as well. “Ah fuck I really forgot how I got there, your present is still hidden there! Fuck me a compass……”

  “What kind of place is it?” Gu Fei sighed. “Describe it to me.”

  Jiang Cheng gave him a brief summary with his brows still furrowed. It was a large sandy lot, with some broken down exercise equipment and a half torn down concrete children’s slide……

  Jiang Cheng might be bad at directions, but fortunately he was observant. Gu Fei knew exactly where he was talking about, it wasn’t far, but they were indeed going the wrong way. The Steel Works of old had two kindergartens, one was right up ahead, while the other was taken down since there was no one left in the factories, that was the place Jiang Cheng had found.

  “Come on, I got it,” Gu Fei put an arm around his shoulder. “Better let me lead the way next time we’re going anywhere, hm?”

  “Shut up and walk.” Jiang Cheng said.

  “Though it’s impressive that you even managed to find that place,” Gu Fei said. “It’s been a few years since I’ve last been there.”

  “To be honest,” Jiang Cheng sighed. “I just came from there before I went to your place. I’m pretty impressed with myself really, my skill at getting lost is probably also overachiever tier.”

  Gu Fei laughed without a word.

  After walking for more than ten minutes, the buildings on either side started getting more sparse, then eventually even the streetlights had disappeared. There was only the reflected light of the moon around them.

  “Close your eyes.” Jiang Cheng said suddenly.

  “Hm?” Gu Fei hesitated for a moment, then closed his eyes.

  “Come.” Jiang Cheng took his hand and led him forward.

  Gu Fei followed along for about 100 meters, when Jiang Cheng stopped and said, “Where’s the sling-shot? Don’t open your eyes.”

  With his eyes still closed, Gu Fei took Jiang Cheng’s sling-shot from the paper bag. Jiang Cheng took it and let go of his hand, his voice moved a little ways away, “Alright, open your eyes now.”

  Gu Fei opened his eyes.

  It took him a second to adjust, but when he saw the colourful blobs of light in front of him, he first blinked, then rubbed his eyes, and finally clearly made out the overlapping glows.

  “This is……” Gu Fei stared at the two rows of luminous blobs on the ground more than 10 meters away, that extended out and curved in on itself in a figure 8.

  Each of the glowing blobs was in a rectangular shape, they were in turns red, yellow, blue, and green.

  “Slacker, if I don’t say, you probably can’t tell that this is the symbol for infinity.” Beside him, Jiang Cheng pulled back on the sling-shot and took aim. “Follow the light, go get your present.”

  Jiang Cheng let go of the sling band with a pop, and up ahead, a yellow glowing blob toppled over.

  Next, the two rows of colourful lights started toppling over one by one like a simultaneous wave, and slowly connected as they extended forward.

  Even though Gu Fei could already tell how these lights were going to change, when it really appeared in front of his eyes, he was still entranced.

  The light spots glimmered as they moved forward, from a point to a line. In that moment, the sight moved him to his core.

  In the dark of night, in the slightly cool breeze, the person beside him had painted him a vibrant picture.

  The glimmering lights slowly blurred together and filled up his vision, all he could see was the luminous glows all around him.

  He didn’t walk forward. Jiang Cheng didn’t move either. The two of them just stood there in the dark night, watching the glowing colours, until the lines stopped in front of them, and the infinity symbol was quietly laid out at their feet.

  “Huh?” Jiang Cheng spoke up.

  “Ah?” The sound of his voice pulled Gu Fei back to reality. “Cheng-ge, you really……”

  “That’s not right!” Jiang Cheng tsked. “It’s not done!”

  “What’s not done?” Gu Fei blinked.

  “The show…… Ah fuck, let me go see, you stand here and wait.” Jiang Cheng started running ahead, turning to point at him as he did so. “Stand there and watch!”

  “Oh.” Gu Fei answered and stayed where he was.

  Jiang Cheng ran to the other end and bent over to look. He reached out and righted one of the fallen over green light blobs, then pushed it over again with force. As the light topped over, a small spark erupted from its side, then started growing into a flare.

  Jiang Cheng took a step back. After the spark fizzled, it sounded like something went off beside it with a small bang, and a circle of small flames started lighting up.

  “CAN YOU HEAR IT——” Jiang Cheng yelled from the other side.

  “HEAR WHAT?” Gu Fei yelled back.

  “BIRTHDAY SONG! CAN’T YOU HEAR IT!” Jiang Cheng continued to yell.

  Gu Fei started walking forward, after a few steps he could hear a quiet tinkle sound as it drifted to him in the night wind. He took a minute and finally recognized it as the happy birthday song.

  Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you~

  He also finally saw that it was an automatic birthday firecracker on the ground at the other side, that sparked when ignited, and would start playing the birthday song as the candlelight danced.

  Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you.

  “CAN YOU HEAR IT!” Yelled Jiang Cheng.

  “I hear it!” Gu Fei grinned and bobbed his head up and down.

  “Come here!” Jiang Cheng beckoned.

  Gu Fei walked toward him, as he walked he whistled along with the amusing melody from the candles that sounded very much like the chirping of crickets.

  Happy birthday Cheng-ge.

  May you always be this happy.

  Happy birthday Cheng-ge.

  May you always smile like a ray of sunshine.

  Happy birthday Cheng-ge.

  May you be free of regrets when you think back on these days. 

  Happy birthday.

  “This is for you.” Jiang Cheng crouched down and pointed at a small box next to the candles. “I made it, see if you like it…… if not then keep it to yourself.”

  Gu Fei crouched down as well and picked up the box on the ground. He could see at a glance through the glass on the lid the contents inside, it was two little kissing figures.

  “I like it,” He chuckled, opened the lid, and saw a very delicate looking keychain inside. “How did you make it?”

  “Perler beads.” Jiang Cheng took the keychain out and placed it in Gu Fei’s hands. “Have you ever tried?”

  “What’s wrong with your hand?” Gu Fei grabbed his fingers.

  “Got two blisters from a burn,” Jiang Cheng tsked. “Shit, you have no idea how annoying these little things are to make, and they call it children’s cognitive development toys, what kind of child plays with a hot iron!”

  Gu Fei started laughing. He held Jiang Cheng’s fingers to his lips and gave it a kiss, “Thank you.”

  “Know how to use it?” Jiang Cheng asked.

  “Of course,” Gu Fei took his own keys out of his pocket and attached it to the keychain. “Just so happens that I don’t have a keychain.”

  “So where’s my present?” Jiang Cheng looked at him.

  “So this present……” Gu Fei set the paper bag down in front of him. “Is also handmade, but it’s not as delicate as yours. Mine’s got more of a primal vibe.”

  Jiang Cheng could feel his heart beating a little too hard, his hands were shaking even more diligently than when he was working with the Perler beads. When he reached into the bag for his gift, he almost couldn’t hold on to the thing.

  “Shit, why is it so heavy?” He was surprised. “What is it?”

  “So delicate,” Gu Fei said. “Weren’t you pretty strong when you were scoring those 3-pointers?”

  “Geez,” Jiang Cheng laughed and took out the content of the paper bag, it was a flat box shaped like a pizza box. He opened it and blanked out for about 10 seconds, then stared at it for a long time before looking up. “A maze?”

  “Mhm,” Gu Fei nodded. He pulled out a quail egg sized glistening silver ball from his pocket and placed it inside, it made a small jingling sound. “This is me.”

  “What about me?” Jiang Cheng asked.

  “There.” Gu Fei pointed at one corner of the maze.

  It was a maze composed of welded together metal pieces. Its base was a square-foot sized metal board, and on it were tunnels shaped out of long and short slats of welded metal.

  Jiang Cheng never would have imagined that Gu Fei had this hidden talent as he looked at this heavy maze in his hands. Behind the rough and grungy was a keen attention to detail. Every turn and every connecting point had been treated until they were smooth and polished, it must’ve been meticulously sanded and buffed after completion.

  The little steel ‘Gu Fei’ ball was mobile, but the little steel ‘Jiang Cheng’ ball was fixed somehow to the exit of the maze. When the little ‘Gu Fei’ ball gets to the exit, it would run into the little ‘Jiang Cheng’ ball.

  “What the shit, Gu Fei.” Jiang Cheng looked at him. “You know how to do this?”

  “Mhm,” Gu Fei smiled. “I’ve been thinking a long time about what to give you, and finally thought why not make something myself. Where we are, it’s really easy to find materials and tools like these……”

  “Thank you.” Jiang Cheng braced a hand on Gu Fei’s knee and leaned in to kiss him.

  Gu Fei responded without the slightest hesitation.

  Even though Jiang Cheng should really close his eyes at this time and enjoy the brief moment of quiet, he couldn’t bring himself to. The luminous rainbow lights still played at the corner of his eyes, and immediately before him was Gu Fei’s face, lined with the glowing lights, and his shaded lashes…… Jiang Cheng tried to pull his eyes apart, but it was clearly impossible at this distance, so he gave up and stared cross-eyed at Gu Fei.

  “Were those bricks?” Gu Fei asked when they were walking back together.

  “Mhm.” Jiang Cheng nodded as he played with the maze. The little steel balls were hollow on the inside, he didn’t know what it was made of, but it let out a very pleasant jingling sound as it rolled. “You know how they’re building houses behind the steel factories there, I went and bought some from them.”

“And covered them with phosphorescent powder?” Gu Fei asked while smiling, and reached out a hand behind his back to guide him.

  “Mhm,” Jiang Cheng followed him with his head down. “Bought those premade ones. I was planning to buy it online, but was afraid it wouldn’t get here in time. I looked for days before I found a shop that sells this stuff. What do you think, looked good huh?”

  “Looked great, it was really creative.” Gu Fei said.

  “How many paths does the maze have?” Jiang Cheng asked.

  “One.” Gu Fei answered. “It should be pretty easy for you, overachiever.”

  “Yep,” Jiang Cheng held up the maze in front of Gu Fei’s eyes, tilted it slightly, and the ‘Gu Fei’ ball rolled around two corners and collided with the ‘Jiang Cheng’ ball with a “clink”. “Muah!”

  Gu Fei couldn’t stop laughing, “Ay, at first I picked a more advanced maze, but I didn’t have enough space for it.”

  “I like this one.” Jiang Cheng said.

  It was already past 2 am when they got back to the apartment. Jiang Cheng glanced at his phone, usually around this time he would already be asleep, but he didn’t feel at all tired today. He was bright-eyed and bursting with energy.

  As soon as they went inside and set down their things, he lunged and threw his arms around Gu Fei, then pushed him into the bedroom in between a storm of kisses and touches.

  “Cheng-ge,” Gu Fei asked with a smile after being shoved onto the bed. “What kind of ideas do you have?”

  “Wicked ideas,” Jiang Cheng nuzzled the area between his neck and shoulder. “Obscene ideas…… A lot of them, violent waves of……”

  “What a coincidence,” Gu Fei reached a hand into his shirt and gently caressed his back. “Mine are also wicked and obscene, and the waves just as violent.”

  “Gu Fei,” Jiang Cheng bit his neck gently, then tugged away his collar and licked the teeth-mark tattoo on his collarbone. “I figure, I gotta do something a little different with you, for my own peace of mind. Otherwise I’d get jealous.”

  “Then let’s……” Gu Fei’s hand slid down to Jiang Cheng’s leg. “Do something.”

  “Mhm,” Jiang Cheng chuckled, then struggled for a while before opening his mouth again. “It’s just, I never did ask you…… So about this, did you want to…… like that, or…… or like…… that?”

  “Like what and what?” Gu Fei started laughing.

  “Like…… don’t you fucking laugh.” Jiang Cheng pinched Gu Fei on the waist and propped himself up to look him in the eyes. “Do you want to fuck me?”

  What the fuck!

  Contestant Jiang Cheng!

  Contestant Jiang Cheng has cultivated his face into a new tier of thickness!

  That he can so easily say out loud!

  Such a shameless sentence as that!

  Immediately after he said those words, Jiang Cheng felt like a fire had raged from the soles of his feet all the way to the top of his scalp, his whole body was burning from his own shamelessness. Fortunately his room was only lit by a single dim yellow bulb, and he was facing away from it, Gu Fei probably couldn’t see the colour on his face.

  Gu Fei was visibly stunned for several seconds, then when he snapped out of it, he quirked the corner of his mouth and said, “Were you looking forward to fucking me?”

  “Uh huh.” Jiang Cheng answered, then quickly added. “I mean, it doesn’t really matter to me, whatever…… whatever you want is, uh, fine.”

  “Really?” Gu Fei rested his head on an arm and looked at him, his finger traced a line across Jiang Cheng’s abdomen over his shirt. “If you want, I really can let you……”

  The words were like a ball of fire, going straight for Jiang Cheng’s cheeks. His breath hitched, and he gasped for several seconds before speaking again, “I’m just afraid of hurting you, just……”

  He reached back and felt around underneath his pillow, and pulled out a piece of paper, “After all, we’ve been taught since we were little to respect the elderly and cherish the young, so I uh, I did some research.”

  “What?” Gu Fei was stunned.

  Gu Fei’s reaction made Jiang Cheng a little indignant, like he was some kind of thirsty old pervert, “What don’t you understand slacker boy, I fucking went online and did research on how exactly to do it so it won’t hurt as much!”

  After his initial pause, Gu Fei froze for another few seconds, then turned his head away and started laughing. He laughed so hard it was getting a little out of control, “Please don’t be like this Cheng-ge, if you’re like this now I’m gonna make myself soft from laughing.”

  “Fuck off,” Jiang Cheng took Gu Fei’s chin between his fingers and pulled his head back to face himself. “Fine, if you don’t wanna look at it then don’t, just do it however you want.”

  “Can we please not act like such mutually courteous spouses?” Gu Fei put away his smile and looked Jiang Cheng in the eyes. “You want to cherish the young, while I’m here ready to respect the elderly.”

  Jiang Cheng stared back at him without a word.

  “Want it?” Gu Fei lifted an arm and hooked it around Jiang Cheng’s neck.

  Jiang Cheng stilled for two seconds, and with one movement pulled off his own shirt and pressed down on Gu Fei, then grabbed his waistband and yanked it down.

Some Stats

  • Raw character count: ?
  • TL word count: 4610
  • TL time: 5:03:56
  • Edit time: 1:01:35
  • Curse words: 12x fucks, 3x shits, 1x ass

TL’s Notes:

Ahem, uh. Sorry but that’s where the chapter cuts off hahaha… I’m going by the uncensored version, but don’t expect explicit car since I can only translate what the author wrote, the next chapter I would rate at an ‘M’ on the AO3 scale, so make of that what you will ;;_;;