Don’t be scared.


Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3

         Gu Fei looked at Jiang Cheng. After saying “it was you” while pointing at him, Jiang Cheng had been staring directly at him without shifting his gaze.

         Sometimes Gu Fei felt that aside from possessing the unique qualities and skills of an overachiever, Jiang Cheng also possessed a special logic that other overachievers don’t have. He could completely turn the narrative around, so that upon further reflection you might even agree with him, as though there wasn’t anything wrong with the reasoning.

         Gu Fei had experienced this special skill first hand when they got their tattoos last time, but last time he did not explain himself, and now Jiang Cheng was demonstrating his superpower again.

         Frankly, that question Gu Fei asked back then no longer had any significance at this point in their relationship. Whatever answer it led to, whatever the question meant, none of that mattered anymore. 

         True, back then he would rather Jiang Cheng was only after a romantic fling. Go on dates with me. It could be a new endeavour, could be a whim, or it could be a respite from loneliness, whatever.

         But Jiang Cheng didn’t answer, he seemed unable to completely and precisely separate the two concepts. And so Gu Fei chose to dive in head first. 

         I will like you until you don’t need me to like you anymore.

         I can do that, as long as the one you want is ‘me’, and not someone else. 

         Which was why when Jiang Cheng pointed at him and accused him with his own words, Gu Fei felt a little surprised, a little angry, to the point where he felt like laughing. But at the same time he also couldn’t find any fault with Jiang Cheng’s logic.

         That’s right. The one who is willing to stop when you wish to stop, is me.

         Gu Fei felt like he had to say something in this moment, but he didn’t dare open his mouth easily.

         Jiang Cheng had supernatural logic, was sensitive and impulsive, and the scariest of all, he could tell that Jiang Cheng was insecure. The way Jiang Cheng strived to hold on tight and feared for loss, Gu Fei could often sense that about him.

         Gu Fei, every word you say right now will become evidence for Jiang Cheng to keep in his heart.

         Better proceed with caution.

         It’s not that long-distance isn’t an option. However, the environment at a top tier university, compared to the environment at the Steel Works, will cause two people in completely different situations over a long period of time to gradually lose their commonality, and their relationship will gradually fade away.

         Perhaps even before then, we will argue and probe endlessly from exactly this kind of difference, and at last worn out, return to our own respective worlds.

         Of course, it’s also possible that miracles do happen, and we walk together until the end.

         Some things can’t simply be resolved like a test question, where each problem only has one correct answer. Whatever the process is like, all you have to do is find the path that will lead you to the right answer. The overachievers know how to find shortcuts, while the slackers have to circle a little further, but they all get there in the end, because there is only one right answer. Anything besides that is considered the wrong answer.

         Whereas their situation right now has infinite possibilities and infinite endings, all of which counts as answers. It can be one two three, or it can be four five six, but no one can say for sure which answer is right, and which is wrong.

         Gu Fei looked at Jiang Cheng. Perhaps he was overly pessimistic and careful. Perhaps he wanted too much to protect Jiang Cheng from any potential pain. Jiang Cheng was the opposite. He was optimistic, hot-headed, direct, and sensitive. Jiang Cheng belonged solidly in the camp of “what does this little bit of pain matter in the midst of wind and rain”. [1]

         No matter how many times Gu Fei pondered over these thoughts in his mind, he could not say them to Jiang Cheng. Not a single word of it.

         He had no way of leaving. He did not even dare to dwell too much on the word ‘leaving’, let alone try to figure a way out of here. As for Jiang Cheng, he had no reason to stay here.

         It was a stalemate that could not be solved, at least for now. If they didn’t get to where they needed to be before some miracle happened, it was bound to be a deadend.

         “I didn’t,” Gu Fei looked at Jiang Cheng. “Do you overachievers only pick the things you want to remember to keep in your head? So unreasonable.”

         “Quit trying to change the subject.” Jiang Cheng smirked. “Gu Fei, sometimes I feel like it’s truly offensive to call you a slacker. The way your mind turns and reacts so quickly, it’s definitely at an overachiever level.”

         “Aside from that one question, did I say anything else?” Gu Fei was still looking at him.

         “What else?” Jiang Cheng narrowed his eyes, a look of disdain on his face. “I don’t remember anything else, only that you were worried about getting a tattoo, worried about having my mark still on your body after we split up.”

         “You wanna bet that I’ll smack you?” Gu Fei asked.

         “I’ll believe it when you do.” Jiang Cheng answered.

         Gu Fei didn’t say anything. He stared at Jiang Cheng for a few seconds, then suddenly lifted his elbow and aimed it at Jiang Cheng’s face.

         He really had to hand it to Jiang Cheng’s reflex. As soon as he started to lift his arm, Jiang Cheng was already leaning back to dodge it.

         Though Gu Fei was never planning on hitting his face. He leaned forward as Jiang Cheng leaned back, and pressed his forearm down against Jiang Cheng’s throat. With his neck trapped, he was forced to fall back onto the bed with Gu Fei on top of him.

         “Fuck.” Jiang Cheng glared.

         “You must not know me very well at all.” Gu Fei kept his arm against Jiang Cheng’s throat, and pinned one of Jiang Cheng’s hands down with his leg. When Jiang Cheng tried to lift his other hand, Gu Fei immediately caught it in his grasp. “How can I bear to strike your face.”

         “Tsk tsk tsk.” The corner of Jiang Cheng’s mouth twitched.

         “I will keep liking you until you no longer need me to.” Gu Fei said as he bore down. “I said that, didn’t I?”

         “You did.” Jiang Cheng answered.

         “Then why did you say you don’t remember.” Gu Fei asked.

         “Well I was fucking mad,” Jiang Cheng said. “I don’t remember anything when I’m mad. What, you got a problem with that? If you do, then keep it to yourself.”

         Gu Fei opened his mouth, but nothing came out.

         “That’s how unreasonable I am, if that’s unacceptable then keep that to yourself too.” Jiang Cheng frowned, and was quiet for a while, then looked at Gu Fei again. “At first I thought that line of yours was sweet talk, it sounded oh-so-charming when I first heard it, but it doesn’t stand up to further analysis.”

         “Hmm?” Gu Fei took away his arm that was holding down Jiang Cheng’s neck, and leaned down to kiss him.

         “In fact, what you meant was, if I wanted to break up with you, you would just agree, right?” Jiang Cheng said as he looked at Gu Fei. “I have the initiative.”

         Gu Fei didn’t answer, just leaned down and kissed him again.

         “On the surface it looks like I hold the choice, but in fact, you sir, are not the passive one at all.” Jiang Cheng side-eyed him. “You’re able to just come and leave without a care huh.”

         Gu Fei sighed, “If one day you really don’t want to be with me anymore, there’s no point for me to keep pestering and harassing you.”

         “That might be the case theoretically……” Jiang Cheng lifted his head and chomped down on Gu Fei’s chin.

         “Hey!” Gu Fei was startled, and didn’t dare move. Jiang Cheng had taken a large and hard bite, such that Gu Fei suspected whether he had somehow gotten a chin job while sleepwalking at some point, for it to be so easily, precisely, and viciously targeted like that.

         It was more than 10 seconds later when Jiang Cheng finally let go. He dropped his head back onto the pillow and said, “Gu Fei, I wanna talk to you about something.”

         “Mmn.” Gu Fei nodded.

         “Maybe my thoughts on this aren’t as fully considered as yours. I only want to go one step at a time, dealing with whatever problems as they arise. A person’s gotta have something to look forward to, whether it’s about relationships or about life, you gotta first have a direction, to guide the things you do.” Jiang Cheng said. “At least that’s the way I am.”

         “Mhm.” Gu Fei nodded again.

         “When I set out to do something, I don’t like to preemptively label it as ‘impossible’ right off the bat, you know what I mean?” Jiang Cheng continued.

         “I do.” Gu Fei looked at him.

         “I don’t have anything more to say, only that you promise me one thing.” He looked fixedly at Gu Fei.

         “Go ahead.” Gu Fei gazed back at him.

         “Don’t just let me go.” Jiang Cheng said. “Don’t just walk away without a care as soon as I say forget it. Pester me for a little while longer, will you? What if I change my mind and turn around, but you’re not there anymore?”

         Gu Fei suddenly felt a twinge in his nose. He sucked in a breath and forcefully suppressed the unsettling emotions. He didn’t want to shed tears in front of Jiang Cheng.

         “Alright,” He nodded. “But you also have to promise me.”

         “What?” Jiang Cheng asked.

         “I don’t like people having to sacrifice for me, to give something up because of me,” Gu Fei felt that this was probably the most direct he could be to Jiang Cheng. “I don’t need it. You walk whatever path you need to, do not stop, do you understand? Pity, giving up, all of that makes me feel pressured. It tires me out.”

         “Understood.” Jiang Cheng pinched Gu Fei’s chin. “I am very resolute in my goals.”

         Gu Fei smiled.

         “Do you think you’re very light?” Jiang Cheng said.

         “Hm?” Gu Fei was confused.

         “Even if you only weigh 25 kg, have you considered how much a knee weighs when it’s pressed against a human hand?” Jiang Cheng said. “I can calculate it for you.”

         Gu Fei laughed and moved away the leg that kept Jiang Cheng’s hand pinned down this whole time.

         “I want revenge.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “Sure,” Gu Fei said. “How? Pin my hand down for 5 minutes with your 25 kg leg?”

         “Do you for a whole class period,” Jiang Cheng yanked on Gu Fei’s shoulder and rolled himself on top of him. “With all 1.8 m of little Chengcheng.”

         “……Do you have a ruler so I can measure if little Chengcheng really is 1.8 m?” Gu Fei started laughing.

         “Your uh, you know, has it recovered yet?” Jiang Cheng leaned in close to Gu Fei’s ear and asked quietly.

         “What?” Gu Fei asked while laughing.

         “Thy ass.” Jiang Cheng tsked audibly. “What are you fucking pretending for.”

         “Ah,” Gu Fei laughed even harder. “It’s recovered. Would mister like to use it?”

         “Fucking hell,” Jiang Cheng straddled him and slapped his arm. “I’ve realized that you really are itching to be screwed.”

         “Hurry up and screw me,” Gu Fei thrusted his hips, trailed his finger tip down Jiang Cheng’s abdomen and tugged on his waistband. “Do you want me to pass on some experience to you?”

         “My ability to learn,” Jiang Cheng grabbed his wrists and locked them above his head. “Has always been very good.”

         When in a romantic relationship, a lot of things can be resolved with a tumble between the sheets.

         In fact, Jiang Cheng felt like their chat today hadn’t actually resolved any real problem. The answer he was after……what kind of answer he was actually after, he no longer remembered. As for what kind of explanation Gu Fei gave him, he suddenly didn’t care so much anymore.

         Even though what he said and what Gu Fei said were actually contradictory on some level. 

         However, they also gave each other their promise, even though the other person’s request went against their original intention.

         Perhaps all he needed was to let it out this once, to show a bit of temper, psychologically and physiologically. I have some thoughts I need you to know. I have some desires I need you to shoulder.

         Of course, Jiang Cheng knew that some things had no solution at this moment, but at least they were together.

         When Jiang Cheng walked out of the bathroom, Gu Fei was lying on his stomach playing with his phone. He walked over and grabbed Gu Fei’s butt, “How come you’re facing down again? Does it……hurt?”

         “No,” Gu Fei turned his head. “Can you please use the observation skills on par with your overachiever status for a second, most of the time I play with my phone I’m lying face down.”

         “Ah, really?” Jiang Cheng thought for a second, then flopped down next to him and said quietly, “You don’t need to spare my feelings if it’s uncomfortable, I can only improve if I know what’s lacking.”

         Gu Fei didn’t answer. He tossed his phone aside and dissolved into laughter on the pillow.

         “Shit,” Jiang Cheng got off the bed and sat down in front of his desk. “My ego is fucking bruised.”

         “Cheng-ge,” Gu Fei shifted to the edge of the bed and stroked Jiang Cheng’s leg. “I have something honest to tell you.”

         “Go ahead.” Jiang Cheng opened a textbook.

         “It feels good, really.” Gu Fei said. “Cheng-ge is 2.8 m today.”

         Jiang Cheng cocked his head and shot a sidelong look at him, “I’m telling you. With this attitude, if it was anyone else I’d have beaten them to death already. It’s only because it’s you that I tolerate this.”

         “It’s the same with me,” Gu Fei said. “I can never get mad when it comes to you, I’m just afraid of you getting mad.”

         “What’s there to be afraid of. Sure I get mad, but when I’m over it I’m over it. I have a bad temper anyways. It’ll be a miracle if I don’t get mad.” Jiang Cheng spun the pen in his hand and bowed his head as he started to work on test questions. “And it’s not like I had to throw a fit, I’m just……scared.”

         “I know,” Gu Fei sat up and rubbed Jiang Cheng’s back. “I know.”

         “Do you know, Gu Fei,” Jiang Cheng said as he continued writing, his voice was a little low. “I don’t have a home anymore. It’s just me on my own, here, with a rented apartment. There’s nothing under my feet.”

         Gu Fei looked at him.

         “If I lean back, and you’re behind me, I feel reassured.” Jiang Cheng’s pen scribbled nonstop on the page. “It’s not that I don’t want to face reality, it’s just that when I think of you not being by my side anymore, I really will be just, stepping on thin air.”

         Gu Fei didn’t say anything. He got up and straddled the chair, squeezing behind Jiang Cheng, and wrapped his arms around his waist.

         The room became very quiet. Gu Fei leaned his head on Jiang Cheng’s back. He could hear the scratching of the pen against paper, could hear the steady sound of Jiang Cheng’s breathing, and if he pressed in even closer, he could hear Jiang Cheng’s heartbeat.

         It was a very pleasant feeling.

         “I’m here.” Gu Fei said quietly.

         “Hm?” Jiang Cheng replied, his pen still moving.

         Gu Fei often felt very impressed with this ability of his. On several occasions when Jiang Cheng was working on an English essay, he wrote a huge block of text while keeping up a conversation, and apparently made no mistakes either.

         “I’m right here, behind you. I’m not going anywhere.” Gu Fei said. “Don’t be scared.”

         “Mhm.” Jiang Cheng smiled.

         Gu Fei closed his eyes.

         Let’s leave it at that. Be like Jiang Cheng, and not dwell on certain things for now. If you don’t want to be reminded of it, then I won’t remind you. If you don’t think it’s important, then I won’t keep thinking about it…… Such a precious memory, such a precious experience. Perhaps it’s the only time we get to run freely in our whole lives.

         Whenever you want to look back, I’m right here. Whenever you’re missing home, I’m right here. Whenever you need me, I’m right here. I’ll be standing here for as long as I can.

         The summer break at Fourth High finally came to an end. The returning students cursed and grumbled their dissatisfactions as they went back to school, but no one was absent. Everyone seemed to be in pretty good spirits.

         On one hand they complained about the shortness of the break, and on the other hand found it lonely not seeing all their classmates every day.

         After the cram school started, it was time to make merriment out of pain.

         Nope, there was definitely more merriment around. 

         Jiang Cheng looked around at the other students, not one of them was listening to the lecture. The teacher was up at the lectern talking to himself, while the students below chatted excitedly about what they were up to over the break, not even bothering to control their volume.

         “Yell! Yell a little louder! I can’t hear it clearly from where I’m standing!” Lao-Lu waved his pointer stick around. “I’m talking about you! You, right there! Don’t look around, you’re the most beautiful one here! Pick up a mirror and check out that saggy laziness on your own face, and you think it’s beautiful! Oh you’re so beautiful! Come on! Readyyyy, sing!”

         “Didn’t you hear him,” Jiang Cheng was slumped over his desk taking notes, and glanced at Gu Fei, who had been looking at him the whole time. “Get a mirror and start singing, you’re so beautiful……” [2]

         “You’re the flower bud in the chilling winter, you’re the beauty that disturbed the water of spring,” Gu Fei chuckled and started singing quietly. “You’re the blessing akin to an angel, you’re my most favoured imperial……

         “GU FEI!” Lao-Lu slammed on the lectern.

         Gu Fei turned to look at Lao-Lu.

         “Come on up, I have a mirror here.” Lao-Lu beckoned at him. “Come look in it and sing a few lines for me!”

         “……It wasn’t me.” Gu Fei leaned back in his chair and sighed.

         Jiang Cheng was certain that there was no way Lao-Lu heard Gu Fei’s singing. Gu Fei kept his voice very quiet, Zhou Jing probably didn’t even hear him. But with Lao-Lu’s roar, his heart still jumped to his throat and trembled for a good while.

         “It wasn’t you?” Lao-Lu slammed on the lectern again. “If you weren’t singing, then get out of here!”

         “So should I sing, or shouldn’t I.” Gu Fei stood up in resignation and sauntered out of the classroom. In the corridor outside, he leaned over the railing and looked down on the field.

         Lao-Lu continued shouting for another two minutes before resuming class.

         Jiang Cheng listened to the lecture as he tested just how wide his peripheral vision was, and how clearly he could see out of the corner of his eyes. The conclusion was, if he counted the power-up from the fact that “he liked that handsome guy outside way too much”, his peripheral vision was shockingly powerful.

         He listened to class and took notes. At the same time, he could see the back of Gu Fei’s figure very clearly.

         Black t-shirt, grey athletic shorts; a most ordinary outfit of a high school student. Yet Jiang Cheng could still see his tall and slender figure, his toned waist, his long and straight legs……

         “JIANG CHENG!” Lao-Lu roared. “Get up here and translate this sentence!”

         Jiang Cheng could sense that out in the corridor, Gu Fei turned to look inside the classroom. He drew back his wandering thoughts, stood up, and walked to the front of the room.

         After looking over the question, he picked up a piece of chalk and out of habit, snapped it on the lectern before getting ready to write on the board. At this, Lao-Lu roared again, “WHAT KIND OF CRAPPY HABIT IS THIS! SO WASTEFUL!”

         Jiang Cheng sighed, put the chalk back in the box, and picked out a fresh one. This time he didn’t snap it before writing on the blackboard.

         “And this isn’t wasteful?” Lao-Lu said.

         “Mr. Lu, should I answer this or not?” Jiang Cheng looked to him.

         “You go ahead,” Lao-Lu waved his hand. “I’m just taking this chance to educate you a little.”

         “……Oh.” Jiang Cheng continued writing.

         After he finished answering the question and went back to his seat, Jiang Cheng could see through the window that Gu Fei had already turned around, and was now leaning back against the railing. When their eyes met, Gu Fei quirked a smile, and Jiang Cheng narrowed his eyes slightly. Everyone in the class was still looking at him, so he didn’t dare show any overt communication with Gu Fei.

         Though it only took the slightest upward curve of Gu Fei’s lips for Jiang Cheng to fill in at least two gigabytes of material in his mind.

         For some reason, even though they clearly went through a disagreement, and even though nothing of substance came out of that disagreement, he still felt much lighter.

         Cram school was no doubt boring to Gu Fei, but to Jiang Cheng it was an extremely busy time.

         Aside from the review material from Fourth High, Pan Zhi would send him a zip file every couple of days containing the review and study material of various subjects from the teachers at his old school.

         Gu Fei figured Jiang Cheng was some kind of god. From cram school to the official start of class, he reviewed double the study materials every day, and still found the time to roll around between the sheets.

         “Are you secretly on a drug or something?” Gu Fei stood at the window with a cigarette in his mouth, and said as he looked outside.

         He had snuck away after tucking Gu Miao into bed earlier, and had originally planned on keeping Jiang Cheng company while he studied. He planned to pretend to flip through some books so Jiang Cheng could feel a little more reassured, but they ended up going at it as soon as he came through the door.

         And now, other than a lingering desire for more, all thoughts of putting up a serious studying facade had disappeared in action.

         “Fuck off,” Jiang Cheng dried his hair as he sat down to do some reading. “You say that as if you don’t feel the need.”

         “No, I mean,” Gu Fei chuckled as he straddled the chair behind Jiang Cheng. The weather was very hot at this point, but Jiang Cheng liked it when he sat like this. “I’m just marveling at all this energy you have.”

         “There are two kinds of rest, active rest and passive rest……” Jiang Cheng flipped open a textbook.

         “Mhm, so what we did counts as active rest, right?” Gu Fei said.

         “Right.” Jiang Cheng smiled.

         “Can I snooze for a bit?” Gu Fei hugged him.

         “Snooze away,” Jiang Cheng stroked his hand. “I’ll wake you in half an hour.”

         “Alright,” Gu Fei closed his eyes. “Did Lao-Xu call you to his office today to cheer you on again?”

         “No,” Jiang Cheng put his pen down. “I forgot to tell you, you know how there’s supposed to be some kind of award ceremony at the end of Sports Day?”

         “What,” Gu Fei looked up and frowned. “Don’t tell me he’s looking to get you for the show?”

         “He said senior year students have to come up with two performances in all, one from the boys and one from the girls.” Jiang Cheng said.

         “What does he want you for?” Gu Fei asked.

         “To play a song,” Jiang Cheng said. “Lao-Xu said you……can play the guitar?”

         “Lots of people know how to play the guitar, even Jiuri plays.” Gu Fei suddenly felt a little irritated. He knew now what Lao-Xu was thinking. Lao-Xu wanted the two of them to collaborate on a performance together. Knowing that Gu Fei would refuse, Lao-Xu went to Jiang Cheng first.

         “I’m saying,” Jiang Cheng turned his head. “Didn’t you say that you don’t play the guitar?”

         “I……said that?” Gu Fei asked.

         “You did.” Jiang Cheng nodded.

         “Probably ‘cause we didn’t know each other very well at the time.” Gu Fei pressed his face against Jiang Cheng’s back and nuzzled.

         “Alright, then Lao-Xu’s suggestion……what are your thoughts?” Jiang Cheng asked.

         “I’m not participating.” Gu Fei answered.


Footnotes

[1] A line from an (yet another) old song called Sailor. It’s basically about how the narrator as a sailor will brave through the wind and rain, tears and hurt, all for the realization of a childhood dream.
[2] Beautiful – Wang Leehom.

Some Stats

  • Raw character count: 5929
  • TL word count: 4218
  • TL time: 4:28:53
  • Edit time: 1:01:12
  • Curse words: 6x fucks, 1x shit, 1x ass

TL’s Notes:
“I will like you until you don’t need me to like you anymore.” -> Ch. 55 OTL

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