It was time for everyone's midday break.
Old Wo was in the middle of taking a sip of hot water from his thermos when he spotted Shen Qiao passing by the door with a girl at his side. He suddenly froze—
His sensitive alpha's sense of smell told him that the girl was an omega.
He accidentally tilted his thermos a little too far, scalding himself with a bit of water. He yelped and set his thermos aside, then quickly looked out the door once more. His eyes were practically glittering, filled up with one flashing word:
Everyone at the HQ knew that Shen Qiao was allergic to omega pheromones, and yet what was Old Wo seeing with his own two eyes? Shen Qiao had brought an omega girl into the HQ!
Old Wo's first reaction was to see if Lu Zhe was around. But after scanning the training room, he remembered that Lu Zhe had been spending most of his time with the coach and manager as of late. Lu Zhe would either be in the coach's conference room or the manager's office.
After watching Shen Qiao and the girl move down the hall, Old Wo picked up his thermos and made his way back over to Er-Hua's desk. He rapped his knuckles against the desk and said, "Guess what I just saw."
Er-Hua pulled one side of his headphones off his ear. He heard that gossipy tone in Old Wo's voice and shot him a dirty look. "If you want to tell me, tell me. If you don't, forget it."
Old Wo didn't even hesitate. He instantly spilled the beans. "I just saw Wolf Cub bringing an omega into the HQ. They went into the meeting room next door."
"An omega?" Qian Bao tossed a cookie into her mouth. Her eyes lit up with interest.
Zheng Zhizhuo had just been facing off against Zhao Yue in a 1v1. They happened to finish at exactly that moment, so Zheng Zhizhuo tugged off his headset and asked, "What omega?"
Qian Bao grinned and turned to tell him, "Old Wo says your Wolfy-ge brought an omega back here. Dunno if it's true or not."
Er-Hua stroked his chin. "Probably just an ordinary friend, right? Or maybe a relative?"
Before anyone could answer, Shen Qiao reentered the training room. The atmosphere suddenly seemed to get a little chillier. Everyone who had heard Old Wo's gossip set their sights on Shen Qiao.
But Shen Qiao was completely oblivious. He minded his own business, moving to his desk to fetch a few packs of snacks from his drawers before going to the fridge to grab some drinks.
Zheng Zhizhuo watched him for a moment, then took the initiative to ask, "Wolfy-ge, I have some little pastries here. Do you want them?"
Shen Qiao instantly looked over. He didn't know what Lu Qianshuang liked to eat, so he didn't turn down Zheng Zhizhuo's kind offer. He nodded and said, "Thanks."
Old Wo was too much of a gossip to let this go, but he was afraid Shen Qiao wouldn't tell him anything if he asked. So he frantically signaled Qian Bao with his pheromones. Qian Bao shot him a scathing glare, warning him to calm down before she turned back to Shen Qiao.
Very casually, she asked, "Wolf Cub, why are you suddenly looking for snacks? Do we have guests at the HQ?"
Shen Qiao hummed absently, in a vaguely affirmative way. But he didn't say anything else.
Old Wo couldn't hold back any longer. "Who is it? I think I saw a very attractive figure passing by."
Shen Qiao lifted his brows. He organized the snacks in his desk a bit, then straightened up and faced Old Wo. He seriously stated, "That's my little sister."
Realization dawned upon everyone else in the room.
Old Wo was surprised for a moment before he rubbed his hands together, looking a bit excited. "Aiya, so it's our Daddy Wolf's little sister! Then we're all family here. May I have the honor of getting to know her?"
He thought back and recalled the scent of the suppressants the omega had been wearing. The scent had been sweet, almost like roses. Usually, an omega's suppressants had a similar scent to the omega's pheromones. Old Wo found himself thinking that scent was quite lovely.
Qian Bao also chimed in, "Oh? I just love adorable little sisters."
Shen Qiao was silent.
For some reason, he suddenly found himself thinking that bringing Lu Qianshuang into the HQ was like bringing her into a den of wolves. Suddenly, from the bottom of his heart, he felt like he needed to apologize to Lu Zhe.
Zheng Zhizhuo, at least, was very polite and well-behaved. He asked, "Will she be bored over there by herself? If she's interested in games, she can come over and play with us."
They didn't have a practice game scheduled for that day, anyway, and they were done with group training. The rest of the day was allocated to personal training, and it was rare to have a teammate's family member visit the HQ, so it seemed like it would be no problem for them all to play together.
Shen Qiao took in Zheng Zhizhuo's suggestion. He hesitated for a few seconds, but ultimately answered, "I'll ask."
"Huh? Is it really okay? But I'm afraid my brother will see me and scold me for disrupting your training…"
When Lu Qianshuang received Shen Qiao's invitation, her eyes filled up with obvious surprise. Shen Qiao could tell from her expression that she was actually pretty interested in seeing their training room, so he just nodded and said, "It's fine. You won't bother us, so don't worry about him."
A big grin instantly leapt to Lu Qianshuang's lips. She excitedly followed Shen Qiao into the training room, still careful to keep a distance between them.
After a while, she remembered something and said, "By the way, Qiaoqiao-gege. I didn't think I would be able to come in before, so I originally planned on asking my brother to pass along a gift to you. It's been so long since we last saw each other. I'm not sure if you'll like it, but I hope you won't hate it."
Shen Qiao turned and saw that she was holding out a pair of wrist guards. The corners of his lips quirked with a smile. "Lu Zhe probably needs these more."
Lu Qianshuang suddenly realized that was true. "Oh, that's right. But it's fine, I bought two sets. You can both use them."
It was only then that Shen Qiao reached out and accepted the gift. "Thank you."
"Qiaoqiao-gege, there's no need to be so polite. Now I feel like a fan giving a gift to an idol." Lu Qianshuang looked a little embarrassed. She tugged at the strap of the small purse at her side.
While they chatted, Shen Qiao led Lu Qianshuang into the training room. Instantly, Lu Qianshuang shifted her attention to the room. She let out a soft 'wow' before politely greeting everyone else—
"Gege, jiejie, hello~"
After Lu Zhe finished discussing the team's training plan with Coach Fang, he was dragged off by Manager Zhou to talk about the team's upcoming offline events. By the time he finished all that and made his way back to the training room, more than two hours had gone by.
As he made his way down the long corridor, he took out his cell phone to switch it off silent mode. It was then that he noticed he had a bunch of missed calls from Lu Qianshuang.
He unlocked the phone and called back. Even from a distance, he could already hear the sounds of chatter coming from the training room.
With his phone pressed to his ear, Lu Zhe stepped inside the training room. The dial tone was still sounding out next to him when he froze at what he saw.
Lu Qianshuang had looked over at her phone the second she heard it ringing. She was just about to grab it and answer it when the ringtone suddenly fell silent.
"Lu Qianshuang," Lu Zhe called out. "What are you doing here?"
Lu Qianshuang instantly bolted up to her feet. She'd grown up with Lu Zhe, so she instinctively knew to be worried about that tone of voice. She couldn't be bratty now even if she wanted to.
Even the chatter in the room came to a halt.
Old Wo curiously asked, "Oh? Captain Lu, you also know Little Wolfy's little sister?"
Er-Hua cleared his throat from next to Old Wo. He harshly whispered, "Hey, idiot. Listen to what he called her. She's called Lu, isn't she?"
Old Wo was baffled. "…wait, no, hang on. Whose sister is this, exactly?"
At that moment, Lu Qianshuang cutely stuck out her tongue and timidly called out, "Ge."
Lu Zhe's expression was mild. He looked around at the people in the room, then said to his sister, "Alright, get out here."
Shen Qiao, who was standing right next to Lu Qianshuang, could see that Lu Zhe's expression was a little fierce. He thought back to what he'd promised Lu Qianshuang earlier, and couldn't help but speak out in her defense.
"I brought her in here," he said. "Don't be mean to her."
Hearing that, Lu Qianshuang instantly gave him a grateful look, then nodded her agreement like a little chicken pecking at rice.
Lu Zhe was silent.
He looked a little helpless, but said to Shen Qiao, "Understood."
After that, he looked back at Lu Qianshuang and used his gaze to call her over.
Lu Qianshuang didn't dare fight with him in such a public place. She meekly bowed her head and scurried over, but Shen Qiao also followed close behind.
Lu Zhe blinked.
Seeing that puzzled look on Lu Zhe's face, Shen Qiao lazily explained, "I just promised I would take her to dinner somewhere nearby."
Lu Zhe didn't dare take his temper out on Shen Qiao. He could only glance at Lu Qianshuang again, with a cold, shallow smile on his lips.
Lu Qianshuang very, very carefully inched behind Shen Qiao.
Shen Qiao took in Lu Zhe's expression, feeling a bit amused. He leveled a calm look at him and asked, "What? I'm her big brother too. Can't I look after her?"
Lu Zhe held his breath for a few seconds, then nodded. "Of course you can."
Inside the training room—
Old Wo spent a long while glued to the door, trying to eavesdrop on what was going on outside.
Zhao Yue had previously thought that this gossip only involved Shen Qiao, so he wasn't too invested. But after realizing that girl was actually Lu Zhe's sister, he felt a pang of regret over not taking the chance to get to know his idol's family member.
He was now curious enough to ask, "How's it going, Wo-ge? Is that really Captain Lu's little sister?"
Old Wo shook his head. "It doesn't matter whose sister it is, they're all close enough to be family. But I still feel like I just heard some sort of strange family drama."
After thinking for a moment, he continued, "It's like when a kid does something wrong and the husband wants to give the kid a beating, but the wife won't let him—"
"Wait," Qian Bao interrupted. "You've got it backwards. Usually in dramas like that, isn't it the mom who wants to beat the kid up?"
Old Wo got straight to the heart of the matter. "Do you really think Captain Lu is the bottom?"
"Yeah, that makes sense," Qian Bao said.
"How could that be possible?!" Zhao Yue blurted out.
Zheng Zhizhuo looked around and saw that he was falling out of the conversation. For his idol's sake, he felt like he had to speak up.
"No, wait… isn't everyone here a WolfDog shipper?"
His teammates all shook their heads.
"Not me. I'm on Team 2Dog. They're both tops, whichever is fine. They're both alphas, after all. They let their abilities speak for themselves."
"I think ZheQiao is way better, and you can tell just by looking at them that our Captain Lu is the top."
"What's wrong with 'LuShen'? I like that sort of name."
Zheng Zhizhuo was speechless.
On their team, everyone had a different stance on the same ship?
But that wasn't important. The name of the ship was secondary. The most important thing was—
"Wolfy-ge is the top, he's so alpha! He's insanely alpha! You guys just don't understand his appeal!" Zheng Zhizhuo argued, his fannish side bursting out of him.
Old Wo and Qian Bao shook their heads, giving him a pitying look.
"Little friend, we might not understand Shen Qiao's charm."
"We all know our captain is a dog."