WITHDRAWAL

Chapter 1

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Qiao Luo's parents were dancers, the sort that had won national medals and trophies. His maternal grandfather was a calligrapher, the sort who could sell one scroll for a few hundred thousand yuan. His aunt on his father's side was an author, the sort who wrote critically acclaimed literary masterpieces.

So Qiao Luo's innate talent for performing arts was very likely hereditary. Ever since he was little, he had been renowned among kids his age for his singing and dancing.

Papa Qiao was an extremely gentlemanly and romantic man. The atmosphere in the Qiao family had always been warm and harmonious, and they were on very good terms with their neighbor as well.

Their neighbor was a solitary old man, last name Fu. He'd lived alone for a long, long time. It seemed he didn't have any sort of family.

As a result, Qiao Luo's parents would always invite the old man over for New Year's and other major holidays, so as not to let him be lonely.

Qiao Luo and Grandpa Fu were extremely close. His parents were sometimes very busy, after all. They would occasionally have to go overseas to perform. Qiao Luo would spend that time playing with Grandpa Fu. He would sing and dance, filling both his and Grandpa Fu's days with joy.

When he was three and a half years old, Qiao Luo started to attend kindergarten. Since he loved singing and dancing, his parents enrolled him at a private kindergarten that placed a strong emphasis on performing arts.

Dancing was like second nature to Qiao Luo. Before he could even stand upright without wobbling, his dad had started teaching him to bend and stretch.

Naturally, Qiao Luo was praised by his teacher each and every day.

And after getting home, Qiao Luo would run over to report his good behavior to Grandpa Fu.

"Luoluo was praised by his teacher again!" he would boast.

One day, after school, Qiao Luo was picked up from school by his family's housekeeper. He skipped over to the neighbor's house before even setting foot inside his own.

"Grandpa Fu!" he called out. "Luoluo is home from school!"

But as soon as he burst through the door that day, Qiao Luo saw a tall and confident little gege standing there.

Grandpa Fu smiled and pulled Qiao Luo over to make the introductions: "This is my grandson. Luoluo should call him 'gege'."

The little, three-year-old Qiao Luo blinked his eyes several times, then obediently greeted, "Hello, gege. My name is Qiao Luo. What's your name?"

The seven-year-old Fu Shizhou looked at the pale, pudgy little boy who resembled a squishy dango. The little boy wasn't the slightest bit shy in front of strangers, but Fu Shizhou's expression was somewhat cold. He'd just arrived at a new place, and he begrudgingly reported his name after a beat:

"Fu Shizhou."

The little dumpling scooted forward from Grandpa Fu's side. He stood in front of Fu Shizhou and reached out with one soft little hand, tugging on Fu Shizhou's shirt sleeve.

"Zhouzhou-gege."

Fu Shizhou studied the little sprout for a while. At first, he didn't want to acknowledge the boy at all. But those big, cute, and innocent eyes were a force to be reckoned with. Fu Shizhou ultimately answered, "Mm."

Grandpa Fu was afraid Little Qiao Luo would be saddened by that icy attitude. "Luoluo, come here. Gege has only just arrived. He doesn't know the place very well yet."

Qiao Luo earnestly peered at Grandpa Fu, then earnestly peered back at Fu Shizhou. His little hands reached into his little panda backpack and took out a lollipop. He lifted it up in both hands, as though presenting a priceless treasure, and offered it to Fu Shizhou.

"Zhouzhou-gege, this candy is for you. Then you'll know Luoluo very well."

Qiao Luo was only three years old, about the size of a pea. Fu Shizhou, on the other hand, was already growing fast. He was notably tall for his age. Naturally, Qiao Luo couldn't possibly reach the hand that Fu Shizhou had clasped around the strap of his own backpack.

He felt aggrieved and pitifully tried to win Fu Shizhou's favor: "Candy… it's for you. It tastes really, really good."

Fu Shizhou pressed his tongue to his own teeth and considered it for a moment before finally leaning down to take the lollipop and pop it into his mouth.

But what he took wasn't just a lollipop at all.

Along with that lollipop, he accepted a human-shaped pendant into his life.

 

Fu Shizhou was already an elementary school student, but he wasn't familiar with the roads since he'd just moved to the area. And, although he seemed mature for his age, he was only a child. Grandpa Fu planned on taking Fu Shizhou to school himself.

Papa Qiao was already planning to lend a hand, but Qiao Luo beat all the adults and extended an invitation to Fu Shizhou first:

"Zhouzhou-gege can walk to school with Luoluo."

He was wearing his little panda backpack, and his face was soft and tender. His big, dewy eyes were fixed on Fu Shizhou, expectantly waiting for an answer.

However, Fu Shizhou bluntly said, "You're in kindergarten. I'm in elementary school. We can't walk together."

Qiao Luo felt like he'd been hit. He let out a soft, "Oh."

Then, with a very, very, very aggrieved look in his eyes, he turned to face Papa Qiao. "Papa, I want to go to elementary school too."

No one would have anticipated that Qiao Luo would be so clingy with this cold and standoffish little gege who he'd known for only a week.

Qiao Luo's parents and Grandpa Fu were beside themselves with delight and amusement. They patted Qiao Luo's little head and explained to him that he wasn't yet old enough for elementary school.

But Qiao Luo's family dropped him off and picked him up at school by car, anyway. It was no problem for them to take Fu Shizhou as well.

Qiao Luo and Fu Shizhou sat together in the back seat. Qiao Luo's little hands and feet all wandered over into his neighbor's personal space as he earnestly declared, "Zhouzhou-gege, wait for me. I'll grow a little bigger. Then I'll go to elementary school with you."

They fell into an easy routine of dropping Fu Shizhou off at elementary school first, and of picking Qiao Luo up at kindergarten first.

Qiao 'Human-Shaped Pendant' Luo waved his pale and tender little paws every day, calling out, "Zhouzhou-gege, see you later!"

Or, "Zhouzhou-gege, Luoluo is over here!"

Sometimes, Fu Shizhou's classes would run long for some reason or another. Qiao Luo would wait impatiently until he spotted Fu Shizhou at the gates of the elementary school. Then Qiao Luo would take off like a cannonball, sprinting forward and flinging himself into Fu Shizhou's arms, whining, "Luoluo waited so long. Zhouzhou-gege, give me a hug~"

Fu Shizhou would look at him with indifference and flatly refuse: "You're already a big kid. You can't ask for a hug whenever you want."

Fine. No hug, then.

Qiao Luo would take Fu Shizhou's hand instead, while reciting in a singsong tone, "Hold hands tight, hold hands tight, don't let Luoluo out of your sight!"

Fu Shizhou said nothing.

He was being picked up and dropped off at school every day by this little thing's parents, and he knew that was a debt he had to repay. He had no choice but to turn his hand over and take hold of that much smaller hand, tugging the little dango along without looking away from the road ahead of them.

"Hurry up. I have homework to do."

Every day, when they walked from the school gates to the side of the road, Qiao Luo would strut around with his head held high. Practically everyone at that school knew Fu Shizhou was his gege.

There was nothing that made him feel more proud.

 

Author's Notes:

orz I started a new one… new story, same dream. I hope to receive lots of bookmarks. (≧▽≦)

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Chapter 1

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