Qiao Luo actually had zero interest in college.
His grades were average, his study habits were bad, and his attitude towards learning was pretty negative. It didn't matter if it was college, grade school, or kindergarten. If it was school, he wasn't interested.
But if it was Fu Shizhou's college, then that changed things.
When they drove past the cafeteria, Qiao Luo tugged on Fu Shizhou's sleeve. "Is the cafeteria food good?"
"It's fine," Fu Shizhou said.
When they passed some classrooms, Qiao Luo tugged on Fu Shizhou's sleeve again. "Do you still have tests in college?"
"We do," Fu Shizhou said.
When they passed the basketball courts, Qiao Luo practically leaned clear across Fu Shizhou in the driver's seat to get a better look. "You guys have gym class too?"
"Yeah," Fu Shizhou said.
And when they passed a little copse of trees, Qiao Luo started tugging on Fu Shizhou's sleeve nonstop. He was unexpectedly excited now. "You can date when you get to college!"
…what was this little brat trying to say?
Fu Shizhou only reacted a moment later. He spun the steering wheel to turn towards the dormitories, glancing over at Qiao Luo in the process. "What, you want to find a girlfriend? I'm warning you, Qiao Luo. If you've got the guts to date early, just try it."
All of his earlier answers had been so curt. Why was he suddenly getting serious now?
Qiao Luo was a little scared. He froze for a second before he said, "What are you getting so fierce for…"
Fu Shizhou was like a stern homeroom teacher. "Your grades are mediocre, and you have time to think about dating? You may think it's fresh and exciting now, but you'll regret it later."
He parked the car. After finishing his little lecture, he immediately said, "We're here. Get out."
Qiao Luo was still a little frozen with alarm after being scolded for something he hadn't even done. He subconsciously obeyed, starting to climb out of the car, only to be strangled half to death by his seatbelt.
Fu Shizhou furrowed his brow. He'd already opened the door on his side and started climbing out. His expression was extremely unsightly, but he settled back in the car and reached over to unbuckle Qiao Luo's seatbelt for him. "Why are you so alarmed? Is there really a girl you like? I'm telling you, that's not a real 'like'. Little brats like you don't know anything."
Qiao Luo could have sworn on his life that his Zhouzhou-gege had never, ever given anyone such a long-winded lecture before. Even when he lectured Qiao Luo in the past, Fu Shizhou would typically only say something like, "Qiao Luo, behave."
And Qiao Luo would behave.
Qiao Luo shivered faintly as he weakly protested, "I'm not thinking about dating. You just scared me out of my wits for no reason…"
Fu Shizhou paused for a second. His expression darkened again, but his tone of voice was a little calmer and kinder as he said, "No one's trying to scare you. Get out of the car, I'll take you to eat."
Qiao Luo eagerly scooted out of the car and followed Fu Shizhou along. But after a while, he was still worried. He mulled it over for a long moment, then tugged on Fu Shizhou's sleeve again. "You look down on me, don't you? My grades are bad, so you think you lose face when you're with me."
The more Qiao Luo thought about it, the more convinced he became that he'd hit the nail on the head. Bitterly, he continued, "Don't look down on me, okay? Besides my grades, I'm pretty good in every way."
His worries were mounting. He did his best to sell his own strengths: "Didn't you say I was good-looking? I'm a good dancer, too. I got a gold medal at our school's performing arts competition. You just weren't there to see it."
Fu Shizhou's expression was still dark, and he walked very briskly. He only stopped after a while to wait for Qiao Luo to catch up, turning to grab Qiao Luo's hand once he was close enough. "Walk faster. What are you dragging your feet for?"
Then he added, still in that lecture-y tone, "And no one's looking down on you. Every day, you just waste time thinking about that sort of nonsense."
Academics may have been Qiao Luo's worst suit, but the best thing about him was how quickly he recovered from a sulk.
As soon as Fu Shizhou said he didn't look down on him, Qiao Luo perked up like he'd been resurrected from the dead. He zoomed up and grabbed onto Fu Shizhou's arm. "I want to eat fried chicken, burgers, and ice cream."
Fu Shizhou knew he'd gone a little over the top just now. He felt like he needed to make it up to Qiao Luo by spoiling him a little. "Sure. KFC or McDonald's?"
"Fried chicken from KFC, burgers and fries from McDonald's, and the new ice cream on the menu—I want to try that too," Qiao Luo recited.
Give an inch. He'll take a mile.
Fu Shizhou took a deep breath. He felt another headache coming on, and he could sense that the little brat was going to become unreasonable again. He nipped the problem in the bud and said, "I'll order takeout. Shut up."
But shutting up was absolutely impossible for some people.
Qiao Luo only quieted down during the time it took to walk from the dorm building doors to Fu Shizhou's dorm room doors.
As soon as Fu Shizhou fished out his keys and opened the door, Qiao Luo immediately started babbling again: "This is a college dorm? Which bed is yours?"
Fu Shizhou set down Qiao Luo's luggage, then pointed to his own bed. "That one. I'll get you some fresh bedding later."
"This is your roommate's bed? With pink sheets? Hahaha."
Then: "This is the bathroom? It's so small."
And then: "Zhouzhou-gege, can I get in bed?"
Fu Shizhou ignored him for the time being. After turning on the air conditioning, he turned to help Qiao Luo put away his things.
Since Qiao Luo had spent a night at home, he'd probably had ample time to pack clean clothes. But Fu Shizhou would still have to clear some room in the closet for him.
Qiao Luo had taken a seat at Fu Shizhou's desk. As soon as he spun around and saw that Fu Shizhou was about to open his suitcase, he leapt over in one wide stride and exclaimed, "No! You can't open it!"
That suitcase was stuffed full of the little surprises he'd prepared for Fu Shizhou. He obviously couldn't let Fu Shizhou open it now.
The zipper of the leather suitcase was already halfway open. Qiao Luo's sudden, feral leap nearly pushed Fu Shizhou off balance. Instinctively, Fu Shizhou opened his arms and shielded Qiao Luo's head and waist, steadying him as he braced himself to maintain his balance.
Wearily, he asked, "What are you getting so worked up about?"
Qiao Luo greedily rubbed his head against Fu Shizhou's chest and wrapped his arms around his neck, refusing to move away. "Takeout time, takeout time. I'm starving."
Fu Shizhou took a deep breath and suppressed the urge to belt out another lecture. As nicely as possible, he said, "Get off first."
Qiao Luo absolutely didn't want to do that. He whined, "I'm so hungry. I'm so hungry that I'm dizzy. I'm seeing stars. I don't have any strength in my limbs. I can't move!"'
He dropped his head to Fu Shizhou's chest, practically playing dead. "Aiya! I'm about to pass out."
Fu Shizhou was silent.
Well, fuck. His human-shaped pendant had found its way back to his neck.
Fu Shizhou had no choice but to get up while holding Qiao Luo with an arm around the waist and another supporting his head, the way one would hold a small child. He patted the back of Qiao Luo's head and said, "Quit the moe act. Get down, and I'll order you some takeout."
Qiao Luo kept his face stubbornly buried against Fu Shizhou's chest. "I passed out, I passed out, I already passed out. I can't hear you, can't hear you, can't hear you."
"Alright, stay passed out," Fu Shizhou said. "I'll unpack your luggage. We can eat once you're conscious again."
Qiao Luo instantly cut his fainting act short. He scrambled out of Fu Shizhou's arms and leapt onto his own suitcase again, hurriedly zipping it shut and reapplying the combination lock.