The two idiots fell into bed together, still kissing. The sounds of their heavy breathing fell upon each other's ears.
Lu Zhe was pressed back against the sheets by Shen Qiao. When they parted, he gazed up at Shen Qiao, who hovered just a short distance away. A wide smile spread across Lu Zhe's lips.
"Are you trying to take advantage of me while I'm injured, Qiaoqiao-didi?" he teased.
Shen Qiao had one hand planted against the sheets by Lu Zhe's head. His fingers curled, creasing the fabric. His gaze drifted to the side, and his throat bobbed as he swallowed.
After a moment, he answered in a slightly strained voice, "…I'm not. And don't call it such a gross thing."
"Oh, sure," Lu Zhe murmured good-naturedly. His gaze flickered down. He could clearly feel that Shen Qiao was doing his very best to control himself, but Lu Zhe wanted nothing more than to throw some oil on the fire. "Qiaoqiao."
His voice was soft, and he intentionally adopted a slightly low and suggestive tone. He pushed himself up with his uninjured arm, lifting his upper body and nipping at Shen Qiao's Adam's apple.
"You really don't want to?" he whispered.
As that question fell, the scent of mint spread out through the entire room. It bore down on the person pressed to the sheets, as though that scent alone could subdue Lu Zhe and make him behave.
Lu Zhe kissed Shen Qiao's throat again. A slight smile played across his lips. Shen Qiao's pheromones were spilling over, and Lu Zhe was clearly the one pinned down right now. But Lu Zhe unleashed his pheromones as well, letting them meet Shen Qiao's in an equally powerful wave, not backing down in the slightest.
After receiving those two kisses, Shen Qiao really couldn't bear it any longer. He lifted a hand and pressed Lu Zhe back against the bed, shifting his gaze down to Lu Zhe's injured arm.
"You wanna lose that arm?" he rasped. His voice was nearly hoarse beyond recognition.
Lu Zhe's fingers twitched. A thoughtful look filled his eyes. When Shen Qiao took in that expression, he could tell that something was up. He cupped Lu Zhe's chin suddenly, lowering his head until his forehead nearly brushed Lu Zhe's. His own erratic breathing spilled across Lu Zhe's face.
Shen Qiao slowly parted his lips and murmured, in a voice thick with his repressed desires, "Be good."
"Sure," Lu Zhe answered without hesitation.
Without pausing, he blinked up at Shen Qiao and suggested, "I'll be good, that's fine. So, how about… you take the lead?"
Shen Qiao blinked back.
Then he huffed a laugh, breathing out an almost disdainful scoff through his nose. He turned and suddenly bit down on Lu Zhe's shoulder, with no small amount of force. It was a hard enough bite to make Lu Zhe stiffen up all over.
Shen Qiao relaxed his jaw then, tracing Lu Zhe's pheromones back to their source. He nosed at the glands at the nape of Lu Zhe's neck and softly threatened, "You really want to tempt me right now? The pain of having your glands bitten is a hundred times worse than the bite I just gave you. Do you really want to try me?"
Lu Zhe fell silent.
He suddenly remembered that he'd once seen Shen Qiao fighting back when they were in school. Shen Qiao had sustained a pretty large wound on his back during that fight, with lots of splintered wood breaking his skin. When he went to the hospital to get it treated, he hadn't even frowned.
Later on, when he was marked by Lu Zhen, Shen Qiao had cried. His tears had flowed freely.
When Lu Zhe thought of that, the nape of his neck suddenly felt cold.
Lu Zhe spent a few seconds mentally preparing himself. He was just about to say, Go ahead. But that was when Shen Qiao spoke up again, suddenly adding—
"If you really want me to try it, why don't we go all the way? You don't have to play anytime soon, anyway. So let's have our Captain Lu bear with it for a while."
Lu Zhe remained silent.
Now it wasn't just the nape of his neck that was cold. The chill had spread down his entire backside.
After a few more seconds of silence, Lu Zhe realized that Shen Qiao's intentions towards him were no weaker than his own intentions towards Shen Qiao. And so, the ever-flexible Captain Lu said, "This sort of thing… should still be left up to a fair competition, I think. Isn't that right?"
Before Shen Qiao got a chance to react, Lu Zhe launched a surprise attack. He bucked his hips and even used his injured arm to lift Shen Qiao up. In one swift motion, he flipped them over and pinned Shen Qiao to the bed.
With Shen Qiao's stunned gaze on him, Lu Zhe crinkled the corners of his eyes with a smile and kissed him again. His voice was full of mirth and barely constrained laughter as he asked, "Who is it that you asked to 'bear with it' just now?"
Shen Qiao lifted his brows. He hadn't expected Lu Zhe would try such a sudden move with his injured arm, and now—
He understood Lu Zhe, and Lu Zhe understood him. They knew, just from observing each other's expressions, what the other would do. Lu Zhe suddenly sucked in a sharp breath and bowed his head to Shen Qiao's shoulder.
"Arm hurts," Lu Zhe mumbled. "A lot."
Shen Qiao had been prepared to fight back, but now his brows furrowed. He froze up completely, taking Lu Zhe's words at face value. He didn't dare move a muscle. "What happened?"
Lu Zhe was still trying to hold back laughter. He kept up his act and continued, "Ai, just stay still. I'll be fine after a while."
Shen Qiao thought Lu Zhe was trying to put on a brave face. He was already thinking about whether or not he should take Lu Zhe back to the hospital for another checkup. He even started wondering if Lu Zhe had somehow hurt his arm again in the past few days.
When it came to Lu Zhe's injury, Shen Qiao was even more worried than Manager Zhou. Upon hearing Lu Zhe's words now, Shen Qiao instantly gave in to his demands and settled down. "Let me get up. I'll take you to the hospital, you stay still."
Lu Zhe slowly answered, "Mm… no need for a hospital. Just let me hold you for a while."
Shen Qiao fell silent.
He finally caught on to Lu Zhe's game and seethed through gritted teeth, "Lu! Zhe!"
Lu Zhe could tell that Shen Qiao's anger was rising. He cleared his throat and tipped his head up, sweetly kissing Shen Qiao's chin. "Hey, hey, don't be mad. I'm just teasing you. I know you dote on me—"
After a brief pause, he lowered his voice again and asked, "Want me to lend you a hand?"
Shen Qiao stared at him. He took a deep breath and held it for a few seconds, but ultimately couldn't hold back. He was so irritated that he had to laugh. He shifted his legs and bumped his knees against Lu Zhe's. "Exactly who's going to be lending whom a hand? Captain Lu, don't try to pretty up your words."
Lu Zhe was completely shameless. He instantly changed his tune. "Qiaoqiao, you lend me a hand."
Shen Qiao took in the sight of Lu Zhe's extremely sultry expression. He couldn't help but sigh by how stupid he'd just been, how easily deceived.
He was the stupid one, really.
Lu Zhe was so lewd and shameless. There was no tactic he wouldn't use to get his way, was there?
The more Shen Qiao thought about it, the angrier he got. He ultimately stated, "No. It's time for Captain Lu to practice using his other hand."
Lu Zhe laughed so hard that his shoulders started to tremble slightly, but he still wouldn't let Shen Qiao up. Whenever Shen Qiao tried to move, Lu Zhe would whine about his arm hurting again. Ultimately, through his shamelessness, he managed to keep Shen Qiao with him that night.
The next few teams DG faced weren't very strong.
But they still couldn't take those matches lightly, for fear of crashing and burning.
Their fans stayed on the edges of their seats. They would often see DG take the stage, only to lose the first round. Then DG would pull themselves back up in the second round, and win the tiebreaker in the third.
There were only a few words that could describe the feeling of following their games—heart-pounding exhilaration.
Fortunately, the fans and the players both had some time to get used to the tension before the final match arrived.
The match against BLX.
On that day…
Shen Qiao dropped by the convenience store near DG's headquarters to pick up some cigarettes. On his way back to the HQ, he saw a familiar figure wandering around, occasionally looking down at a cell phone.
Shen Qiao took a few steps forward and tentatively called out, "…Lu Qianshuang?"
He stopped a distance away from her.
Because of what had happened previously, Shen Qiao was now hesitant to get too close to any omega. Fortunately, Lu Qianshuang was using suppressants. There was no trace of her omega pheromones in the air.
Lu Qianshuang froze for a moment. She looked up with genuine shock in her eyes. Just as she was about to take the initiative to approach him, she seemed to remember something that made her stop short and take a half-step back.
"Qiaoqiao-gege!" she exclaimed. "I… I heard about your allergies from my brother. Should I back up some more?"
Shen Qiao's smile diminished. He shook his head and asked, "Are you looking for Lu Zhe?"
Lu Qianshuang nodded. "Yeah, but I don't need to go inside. I'll just wait for him to come out."
After thinking for a moment, she smiled at Shen Qiao again. "I've watched the livestreams of your games. You're way too good! I bought a ticket for your next game so I can show up as the most passionate fan of you and DG!"
Shen Qiao didn't really know how to react to the praise being heaped on him. He looked around, then ultimately suggested, "It's better if I take you inside, probably. Lu Zhe was just meeting with our manager. I think he'll be busy for a while."
Lu Qianshuang thought back and mused, "That's why he didn't answer when I called him a few times…"
After saying that, she was overcome by a look of hesitation.
She deliberated for a few seconds before asking, "I really won't disturb your training?"
"It's fine," Shen Qiao answered simply, before turning to lead the way inside. However, after walking just a short distance, he turned around and saw that Lu Qianshuang was trailing so far behind him that she was practically about to get lost. Feeling a little helpless, Shen Qiao stopped and reassured her, "You don't need to stay so far away. You're using suppressants, so I'll be fine."
With that reminder from Shen Qiao, Lu Qianshuang immediately took out a bottle of something that looked like mosquito repellent from her purse. She sprayed at least a dozen pumps in her face while holding her breath, until she was practically choking on the scent.
"Okay," she said. "Better safe than sorry. If anything happens, my brother will totally strangle me to death."
Shen Qiao nearly laughed at her exaggerated words. He cleared his throat and softly said, "He wouldn't go that far."
Lu Qianshuang earnestly shook her head. "You don't understand, my brother is super ruthless. Otherwise, why would all his fans call him Dog Lu? It's because his gentle exterior is all a ruse. At his core, he's still a dog."
Shen Qiao blinked.
Was that it? It did seem to check out.
Lu Qianshuang saw the skepticism on his face. She paused for a moment, then heaved a sigh and added, "Oh, of course he treats you differently. I understand. You're his future wife, after all. He has to be more careful with you."
Shen Qiao blinked again.
He felt like a flood of question marks was erupting from the top of his head.
What was the matter with this little girl?
Who was supposed to be the wife?
Shen Qiao pinched the bridge of his nose. After a few seconds, he looked up with a complex expression and asked, "That last part… is that what he said to you?"
Shen Qiao: How can such a brazen person exist??? What nonsense is he pumping into his little sister's head all day???