Jiang Xun sat next to Gu Wei and watched him chat with his bandmates on WeChat. The guys in the group all affected cool and aloof personas, each one more distant and mysterious than the next, but that was just in public. In their private group chat, they all seemed pretty… funny.
These were the true forms of the idols that dazzled all their fans. Even the one sitting next to Jiang Xun, fighting back a laugh as he texted, was showing his true colors.
After Gu Wei's brief message of admission, the chat went silent for five whole minutes.
And after those five minutes—
[stone]: I was wondering why Jiang Ying suddenly started channeling God Xun.
[stone]: Fuck, why didn't I think of this earlier? Gu Wei is Jiang Ying's nemesis. When I first saw that juicy bit of drama, I even thought it tasted a little familiar. And it tasted a little sweet.
[The Sun At Dawn]: I felt bad for Jiang Ying for a second, but this drama is truly delicious.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: I never thought Gu Wei would be able to enjoy the taste of his own drama one day.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Can I laugh?
[The Sun At Dawn]: The committee hereby grants you permission to laugh.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: LMAO LOLOLOLOLOLOL
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: HappyBlossom.jpg
"What did Jiang Ying post?" Jiang Xun asked after seeing the others chat about it for a while. "Let me have a look?"
Gu Wei opened the link to Jiang Ying's thread again and gave his cell phone to Jiang Xun, letting Jiang Xun see the inner turmoil his little brother had spilled to the internet.
Jiang Xun read silently for a moment.
"He's really got quite an active imagination," Jiang Xun said, in the end.
And Jiang Ying was really keeping himself busy. While he posted on Weibo, he continued to reply to other users on his forum thread.
[Stationery Box]: Obviously this is a bit tragic, but I think it's still… lolololol.
[Tianguang Yunying] replying to [Stationery Box]: Kinda rude, bro.
[Sunflower]: Nice story. Good job making it up.
[Tianguang Yunying] replying to [Sunflower]: This is called real life. If you think you can make something like this up, go ahead and let me have a look.
[Mooncakecakecake]: Let's give the OP some sympathy here.
[Tianguang Yunying] replying to [Mooncakecakecake]: Thanks for that.
[Mooncakecakecake] replying to [Tianguang Yunying]: No problem. Thank you OP for providing us with such delicious fucking food.
[Sunny Doll]: I'll light a candle for you, OP.
[Tianguang Yunying] replying to [Netizen65564564]: Ge? How did you find me here???
With that little episode concluded, the night came to an end. Gu Wei still had to get back to work the next morning, so he and Jiang Xun quickly washed up and went to bed. Gu Wei tightly gripped the corner of the blankets in his sleep, unconsciously shifting closer and closer to Jiang Xun.
It was already late autumn, and the temperature in the room wasn't high. Gu Wei stubbornly wriggled his arms out from under the blankets while he slept. Jiang Xun watched him for a moment and, in the end, decided to reach over and get Gu Wei tucked in properly again.
The kiddo was extremely well-behaved when he slept, but when Jiang Xun thought about how this 'good behavior' was due to the medicine Gu Wei had to take, he couldn't help but feel a pang in his chest.
Gu Wei had said, in high school, he suffered some mood problems.
Although Jiang Xun didn't know much about mood disorders, he could tell Gu Wei's way of dealing with it back then—practically by ignoring it entirely—wasn't the right choice. But that was a choice that had ultimately led to Gu Wei and Jiang Xun meeting each other.
Jiang Xun decided to ask Gu Wei about it again one day. Since Gu Wei was already asleep, Jiang Xun reached for his phone but didn't make a call, instead pulling up his chat log with his mother.
[100K Volts]: Mom, are you still up?
[Song Jingxi]: Yes, I'm looking for someone to help get Jiang Ying off the trending topics list.
[Song Jingxi]: What was going on with that hashtag about Gu Wei earlier? We can't allow our family's Little Gu be bullied like that.
[100K Volts]: I know, I took care of it.
[100K Volts]: I wanted to ask, when you and Uncle Gu talked, how did you get on the subject of this engagement?
[Song Jingxi]: You've finally learned to care about other people?
[100K Volts]: Of course, so if there's anything else you know about Gu Wei, tell me quickly.
Song Jingxi sent over a few images of medical forms with information about Gu Wei's diagnosis and prescriptions. She also sent Jiang Xun a voice message: "Have a look for yourself. When I agreed to the engagement, it was because I thought Gu Wei was a good kid who could make you care for him. That way you could have something else to focus on, instead of dedicating your whole life to your games. Mild depression isn't a big issue. It won't stop him from liking you, and it shouldn't stop you from loving him."
[100K Volts]: I know. I'll take good care of him.
Song Jingxi had sent him Gu Wei's medical records, including results from various tests as well as images from a brain scan and an EKG. The doctor had prescribed Sertraline, and the official diagnosis was mild depression. Jiang Xun forwarded all the pictures to Chu Yi, who worked in the field of psychology as an associate professor at A University.
Chu Yi called him right away.
Jiang Xun carefully made sure Gu Wei was still tucked in properly before he slipped outside to take the call.
"Is this your little friend?" Chu Yi asked. "How have you guys been doing?"
"Yeah," Jiang Xun answered, addressing the first question. "What are your thoughts on this diagnosis?"
"His SCL-90-R indicates mild depression, and his SAS indicates mild anxiety. Difficulty sleeping, frequently waking in the middle of the night. No notable abnormalities in his brain scan. It's good they ran these tests when they did. With his medication, if there are no major distressing incidents in his life, he shouldn't develop any severe problems. He should be managing well by now."
Chu Yi gave Jiang Xun a simplified rundown of his analysis.
"The interesting thing is," he continued, "what it says here about a fear of sharp objects."
"A fear of sharp objects?" Jiang Xun echoed. He thought back to the information on Gu Wei's past scandals that Jiang Ying had sent him. Instantly, he remembered the attacks the internet had launched against Gu Wei after a certain installment of Wandering With You, in which Gu Wei had harshly tossed aside an embroidery hoop and needle. At that time, Gu Wei's face had been pale as he quickly fled the room.
Now, it was becoming apparent that Gu Wei didn't act that way out of a lack of manners or an excess of arrogance, as claimed by his anti-fans. It had been fear.
"Let me meet your little friend soon," Chu Yi said. "There should be a reason for that."
Jiang Xun thanked him and slipped back into the hotel room. When he climbed into bed, he reached out and pulled Gu Wei into his arms.
When Gu Wei woke early in the next morning, he found himself wrapped up in Jiang Xun's embrace. Jiang Xun's soothing scent was all around him, and he felt instantly relaxed and at ease. So Gu Wei decided to soak in the comfort and relax for a while longer.
"Pretending to be asleep?" Jiang Xun whispered, his voice sounding out right next to Gu Wei's ear. "If you don't want to go to work, Weiwei, what do you want to do?"
Gu Wei did have to be back on set for Like the Moon that afternoon, so Jiang Xun had had no choice but to wake him.
Yesterday, Chu Yi had mentioned that clinical depression could often manifest as a sort of sluggishness in the mornings and a kind of listlessness in the evenings. Jiang Xun had indeed noticed something like that when Gu Wei stayed with him at TMW's dorms. Compared to the usual Gu Wei, the Gu Wei in the mornings did seem a little less responsive and talkative.
Gu Wei mumbled incoherently under his breath. He didn't really want to open his eyes, but he knew he had to get up. Before he could push himself up, he felt Jiang Xun pull him into his arms again. Jiang Xun lifted Gu Wei, helping him sit.
"Does your neck still hurt?" Jiang Xun asked.
Gu Wei tried to shake his head. "Doesn't…"
Jiang Xun picked up Gu Wei's white sweater and moved to help him put it on.
"I can put it on myself," Gu Wei protested. His voice was small and quiet, but a little more spirited now.
"Sit still," Jiang Xun said. "I want to put it on for you."
Very quickly, Gu Wei realized that letting someone else dress him wasn't as nice and relaxing as it may have sounded. While Jiang Xun helped him get into his clothes, he also pinched here or massaged there as he pleased. He wasn't holding back this 'want' of his at all.
Gu Wei was pinched so much that he wanted to squirm, but Jiang Xun noticed his discomfort and quickly finished dressing him.
"Feeling better?" Jiang Xun asked.
After being teased by Jiang Xun so early in the morning, Gu Wei did find that the sense of dreariness he usually felt when he woke up was completely gone.
Jiang Xun had probably… wanted to lift his spirits.
Was there something Gu Wei could do for Jiang Xun in return?
"Ge," Gu Wei called out, curving the corners of his lips into a small smile.
Jiang Xun looked over. "Hm?"
Gu Wei sat up straighter, scooted closer to Jiang Xun, and gently brushed his lips over Jiang Xun's cheek.
It was a chaste kiss without any ulterior motives to it. The idea to do it had simply popped into Gu Wei's head, and he had moved and acted on it without any further thought.
Without waiting for Jiang Xun to react, Gu Wei grabbed the jacket by the bed and leapt to his feet, fleeing the room and leaving Jiang Xun sitting on the bed before Jiang Xun could come back to his senses.
"Weiwei!" Jiang Xun called out, fuming. "Are you trying to make it impossible for me to leave this room?!"
After a moment, he added, "Get back here, I need to teach you a lesson!"
It was morning, and after being teased by his little friend, Jiang Xun had to look down at himself and realize it would probably be a while before he could depart.
Gu Wei's flight was earlier than Jiang Xun's. He arrived at the airport first and ran into Jiang Ying in the waiting lounge.
Gu Wei didn't know what to say.
After a night apart, his nemesis seemed to have accepted reality.
"Come sit over here," Jiang Ying greeted, waving Gu Wei over.
Gu Wei had no problem with that. He shuffled over and closed his eyes after taking a seat, planning on resting for a while. But then he felt Jiang Ying scooting closer.
Gu Wei peeked at him.
"I've been thinking," Jiang Ying said. "Maybe I'm stupid. I actually thought, a while ago, that you and my brother used the same cologne."
Gu Wei felt a little guilty, and he felt a lot of regret.
"How did the two of you meet?" Jiang Ying asked curiously. "I didn't know anything about it."
"That was…" Gu Wei thought back and realized it was a pretty funny story. "We had a little misunderstanding when we added each other on WeChat."
It was because of that misunderstanding that neither of them got a chance to talk about calling off the engagement, which eventually led to more recent developments in their relationship.
Just then, Gu Wei glanced over and saw Jiang Ying messaging someone on his phone.
"What are you doing?" Gu Wei asked. When he took in the sight of Jiang Ying's screen, he saw a very familiar cactus.
Gu Wei was a little scared of cacti, so he averted his eyes and asked, "You changed your avatar?"
He remembered Jiang Ying's avatar had been a crab.
"No," Jiang Ying said. "Shhh, this is my alt."
"You even have an alt on WeChat?" Gu Wei was surprised, and maybe a little impressed.
"I suck at this one game I play, so I'm getting a substitute to train up my account for me," Jiang Ying said. "Obviously I have to use an alt for that. My big brother is a gaming god. If he found out his little brother was using a substitute to farm and grind levels, I wouldn't just lose face, I would lose my whole face. Plus, I'm famous. For this kind of thing, it's just better to use an alt."
"What's your WeChat name?" Gu Wei asked, with a strange sense of foreboding creeping over him.
"'The Past is Forever Gone'," Jiang Ying answered proudly. "And the signature is this poem about the Yangtze River. Avatar is a cactus. Age is nine years old. Seems like an elementary school student, but doesn't seem like one at the same time. Brilliantly confusing, right?"
Gu Wei stared at him.
"Did you ever…" Gu Wei thought back and tried to remember the name of the service Chi Yunkai had tried to get him to sell. "Did you ever reach out to Big Watermelon Farms?"
"Yeah, I checked them out and gave them my WeChat info, but I didn't add them in the end because I found out they were a new shop. So I bailed on that." Jiang Ying stopped there and looked up at Gu Wei. "Wait, how do you know that?"
Gu Wei fell silent again.
So the 'old-fashioned little kid' from back then… was him.
The 'little kid' didn't add him on WeChat. But Jiang Xun did.
And just like that, they'd gotten wrapped up in a chicken-and-duck conversation that led them to getting to know each other.
Jiang Ying looked over at Gu Wei again. "What are you smiling about?"
The assistant Mu Yue came and knocked on the lounge door just then. Gu Wei had to go before he had a chance to answer Jiang Ying, so he sent him a sticker on WeChat later—
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: HappyBlossom.jpg
It was really just too beautiful for words.