It was only when Gu Wei woke up that he discovered he and Jiang Xun had trended together, yet again, in the middle of the night. Their ship's content creators were out in full force, flooding Weibo with new material.
What exactly is the relationship between Gu Wei and Jiang Xun?
Is Jiang Xun into Gu Wei?
Was Gu Wei the 'little sweetheart' Jiang Xun once mentioned on Weibo?
In just one night, all these questions and more had become hotly debated topics on Weibo. When someone typed Gu Wei's name into the search bar, the autofill no longer supplied Jiang Enyuan's name. Instead, it attached Jiang Xun's.
The ambitious 'FoodForXunWei' detectives were basking in the joy of personally digging up some sweet, sweet fuel for their ship.
@Pork Is Getting More And More Expensive: Do you guys remember when Gu Wei ran into Jiang Xun in northern Europe on an earlier installment of 'Wandering With You'? Some people thought Jiang Xun was just a passerby, and after he was identified in the episode trailer, people began to accuse Gu Wei of trying to leech off his fame. Back then, Jiang Xun gave the trailer a like. Remember? Doesn't that make anyone else feel like Jiang Xun has been protecting Gu Wei ever since then?
@Good Luck Sign: [RaisesHand.jpg] I found some sweet content too. In the first installment of 'Escape Without a Trace', the guests all went to eat dinner after recording. Jiang Xun spent the whole time shelling crabs for Gu Wei. He barely ate anything himself. And look very very very carefully at time stamp 2:15:00. Jiang Xun feeds Gu Wei a mouthful of crab with his own chopsticks. Gu Wei bit down on Jiang Xun's chopsticks! Ahhhhh, and the look in his eyes was so soft and so cute, my heart can't handle this. It really can't. Why is my adorable little didi so cute? My mom literally came into my room to ask why I'm bawling.
@Century Egg: Jiang Xun has liked a bunch of things lately that have to do with Gu Wei. And! Do you guys remember, a while back, some guy from another team dissed Jiang Xun and even trash talked Gu Wei at the same time. Jiang Xun roasted him so hard in return, and that guy even got the stuffing beat out of him by that famous rookie sunny from TMW. Didn't sunny say something about Jiang Xun and Gu Wei being her 'most precious boys'? Does anyone else get the feeling that sunny might be one of us?
@Traveling Losers Club I Love You: Ah, I really invested my feels in a good ship. I won't ever stop shipping this, it's just too sweet. They're giving us so much content. Will we get even more in the future?
@User2938449: I discovered a little something too, I'm not sure if it counts as content. But has anyone else noticed that Jiang Ying has been… really quiet these days? He hasn't started any fights with Gu Wei. I almost can't even see him and Gu Wei as rivals anymore.
@Blue-Bird: Now that you mention it, remember when people tried to start shipping Gu Wei and Jiang Ying? I laughed so hard at how aggressively they denied it! Maybe Jiang Ying knew he would get in trouble if he stole his brother's boyfriend… ahhh, that would be too sweet!
@KikiandChuchu: Everyone remember to keep a low profile and only discuss this in our supertopic. Let's not talk about this anywhere else. Gu Wei and Jiang Xun are both really busy with work, so let's make sure we don't disturb them. But I just have to say… can we 'FoodForXunWei' shippers get our hopes up for some bells in the near future?
@Little Hedgehog's Sunny Doll: Do I spy a little girl rushing them to get hitched?
Gu Wei, who had opened up the supertopic bright and early in the morning, was speechless.
Someone had edited together a video of footage from the first two installments of Escape Without a Trace and uploaded it to Bilibili and Weibo. The video framed the footage of Gu Wei and Jiang Xun as a depiction of two lovers from the ancient past who found each other in the modern world several lifetimes later. It was actually pretty well made. Since the two stars of the clip were more than attractive enough to pull off modern as well as period clothing, there was just no way the edit could be bad.
The video had already been shared over ten thousand times. It had racked up thousands of comments as well, and many passersby suddenly got the appeal of Gu Wei's face after watching that short film.
@Idol Chasing Alt: I used to look down on my roommate who chased idols all day, but I totally get it now. Gu Wei is just so good-looking! Those peach-petal eyes of his are gorgeous. And what's with Jiang Xun? Why is an esports player this hot?!
@Hamster 888: I'm a fan now, I can't help it. They're way too good-looking! I'll be looking forward to Gu Wei's upcoming drama.
@User929312314: Can you guys all grow a brain? Gu Wei's face is the only thing he has going for him. His singing sucks, his dance choreography is plagiarized, and he's only ever done variety shows. He just holds T.ATW back, there's no reason to be his fan.
@Coconut Crab: @User929312314, sisters, sisters, are any of my sisters here? Well, then I'll be the one to start telling you how wrong you are. I don't chase stars for their faces, but is that all you notice? Hmmm? And has T.ATW said anything bad about Gu Wei? Who told you to run your bleeping mouth? Run along and go do your homework.
The fan who'd drawn the chibified Gu Wei that Gu Wei used as an avatar had fallen into the pit of 'FoodForXunWei' overnight. She drew a matching chibi avatar for Jiang Xun as well, and the two icons now sat happily at the top of the ship's supertopic.
"You're up?" Gu Wei's manager greeted when she called him early in the morning.
"I'm up," Gu Wei said, a little belatedly. His reaction time in the mornings was always a little slow. "I'm heading to the set soon. Like the Moon is about to wrap up."
"Good. Don't pay attention to what's happening online. Just focus on your work," Manager Zhao said. "This drama is extremely important for your career. Our team will do everything in our power to promote the show after it airs, but the most critical thing will still be what people think of your performance."
"I know. I'll do my best."
Like the Moon was almost finished. Gu Wei was eager to know whether his hard work over the past three months would pay off.
"You've been in a pretty good condition lately," Manager Zhao muttered on the other side of the line, almost as though talking to herself. "A few candid shots of you on your way to work were spread around overseas. That got you quite a few new fans."
Those photos had been published by various foreign news outlets that praised him as 'a clean and refreshing youth' and 'a boy whose smile you want to protect'. Gu Wei had indeed pulled in a lot of foreign hedgehogs from those photos.
Manager Zhao did have to admit that Gu Wei was doing well in all regards as of late. He had been born with a beautiful face, but recently he had been presenting the perfect expressions to any camera that caught a shot of him. But Manager Zhao refused to admit that this had anything to do with Jiang Xun. It just couldn't be denied that Gu Wei, for some unnamed reason, was doing good work.
"A few directors have been in touch with me. They want you to consider their period dramas," Manager Zhao continued. "There are two offers for xianxia drama adaptations, one for a historical tragedy, and there's a movie offer too. I read the script for the movie, and it's truly quite good. I'm leaning towards the movie for you. It's only a supporting role, but you would be on the big screen."
"Zhao-jie, you can take care of it. I just want to focus on shooting my current drama," Gu Wei said.
Manager Zhao bit her tongue and didn't mention that there was no way she could treat this decision lightly. One wrong step and she could aggravate any one of those overprotective people from the Jiang family.
"That's right," she added, "about what's going on with Jiang Enyuan. Don't look at it, don't address it. Just completely ignore it all."
The first arrogant PR note from Jiang Enyuan's company had been received horribly by the public. The next day, they were forced to release a second notice. One which actually sounded halfway civilized. The second note basically reaffirmed that Jiang Enyuan had nothing to do with Gu Wei, even if they may have been friends in the past. It wished Gu Wei a bright future and other such nonsense, but didn't include any hint of an apology.
Gu Wei knew perfectly well that Jiang Enyuan wouldn't apologize for this. With the dance choreography scandal still unresolved, many netizens would simply take this as another one of their petty feuds. Jiang Enyuan could afford to stay silent.
After the second installment of Escape Without a Trace aired, the relationship between Gu Wei and Jiang Xun remained one of the most hotly discussed topics online. Many media outlets wanted to hear directly from Gu Wei and Jiang Xun about what they thought of the matter, but Gu Wei's agency turned down all requests for interviews, saying Gu Wei had to focus on his drama.
One particularly bold media outlet dared to reach out to Jiang Xun, and Jiang Xun agreed to a phone interview. But after being asked about the rumors, he only said one thing:
"It's exactly what it looks like."
The interviewer was thoroughly baffled. When a transcript of the interview was posted, passersby were also thoroughly baffled. The shippers, on the other hand, were gleefully celebrating their asses off.
After nearly two more weeks, Like the Moon finally wrapped. All the eagerly waiting interviewers finally managed to get in front of Gu Wei to ask him some questions.
Interviewer A asked, "Can you tell us if you've been in touch with Jiang Xun lately?"
"Please restrict yourselves to questions about the TV drama," Mu Yue said.
"We've been in touch," Gu Wei said.
Interviewer B asked, "Rumor has it you went to Jiang Xun's training club before you started filming this drama. Is that true?
"Please restrict yourselves to questions about the TV drama," Mu Yue repeated.
"It's true, I went. Mostly just to research this role. Jiang Xun helped me a lot."
Interviewer C asked, "Can you give us a straight answer about what your relationship to Jiang Xun is?"
"That's…" Gu Wei paused for a second. "Well, it's exactly what it looks like, I guess."
Interviewer C was startled. "What… does it look like?"
The whole point of getting an interview with Gu Wei was to get a deeper look, under the surface, of what everyone already knew.
"Okay, time's up," Mu Yue interjected. "Gu Wei still has some more work to do, thank you all for understanding."
Gu Wei did not, in fact, have some more work to do. He had the rest of the day off, so he bundled himself up in a hat, sunglasses, and face mask and climbed into a car in the underground garage of his hotel.
A successful escape.
"You lost a lot of weight," Jiang Xun said as he drove, with a disapproving frown. "Didn't I tell you to eat more?"
When Gu Wei threw himself into his work, he kept himself busy all day and night. He did remember what Jiang Xun had said to him about eating more, but he had forgotten to actually follow that advice.
"We'll stop by the club," Jiang Xun added after a moment. "Then I'll take you home tonight."
"Home?" Gu Wei suddenly tensed up in the passenger seat.
"My place," Jiang Xun said. He could tell Gu Wei was nervous. "It's rare for you to have some time off. I can't make you squeeze into a little dorm with me every time. Do you have any work you need to do tonight?"
"I just need to do a little stream," Gu Wei said. "My manager said I've been neglecting my fans in order to focus on filming my drama, so I need to stream for an hour to chat with them a bit."
In order to reach TMW's club, they had to pass through the city center of H City. Gu Wei happened to look up just in time to catch sight of himself plastered all over the city's most prominently featured electronic billboard. An ad for his upcoming drama, centered around him, was playing.
Gu Wei stared.
Mu Yue had been right. His little hedgehogs did seem to have a very high budget these days.
"Are you working tomorrow?"
"I have to get back to the T.ATW dorms," Gu Wei said. "We have a show to record, and it's getting close to the new year, so we'll have more events and performances to record then."
Gu Wei had started ticking off the jobs he had coming up on his fingers when he heard Jiang Xun sigh. He looked over and asked, "What's wrong?"
"I feel a little conflicted," Jiang Xun said. He parked in the garage of TMW's club building and reached over to help Gu Wei unbuckle his seatbelt. "I want you to become more and more popular, but I don't want you to be too busy or too tired."
"Then, why don't I…" Gu Wei was starting to feel bad about being so busy too. "Why don't I sing you a song? I can guarantee I won't go off-key."
"Nope, don't want to hear it," Jiang Xun refused right away. "It would be better if you thought of a more adult way to make it up to me."
Gu Wei fell silent.
Then, in a voice that trembled slightly, he whispered, "But I have a livestream tonight…"
"What are you thinking? It won't affect your stream." Jiang Xun reached out and pulled Gu Wei into his arms.
Gu Wei was abruptly swept out of the passenger seat and pulled over to Jiang Xun's side. He leaned against Jiang Xun's shoulder, his breathing and his vision both becoming a little rough and hazy.
Then, without any warning, Jiang Xun's lips brushed Gu Wei's throat. They hadn't seen each other in over half a month, and Jiang Xun's kiss couldn't be described as gentle. Gu Wei pushed lightly at his shoulders in a weak protest, only to have Jiang Xun catch his hands and pin them to his sides.
Jiang Xun nipped at Gu Wei's neck, then chased the soft bite with a harder, firmer kiss. There wasn't a lot of space to move around inside the car; Gu Wei couldn't have struggled free even if he'd tried. He felt his whole body melting into Jiang Xun's touch, and he could only clutch weakly at Jiang Xun's sleeves. He was starting to think the air conditioning in the car had been turned up too high.
"Jiang Xun, you…"
"Hm? What about me?" Jiang Xun murmured. His lips continued to brush Gu Wei's throat, relentless.
Gu Wei was rendered speechless.
Jiang Xun lifted a hand and pressed a thumb to the reddened spot he had just kissed. "Go ahead, tell me. What about me?"
Gu Wei grit his teeth, then brought his lips close to Jiang Xun's ear. He seemed both like he was about to tell a secret, and like he was about to tattle on someone.
"I think you're… pressing, um, against me."
Jiang Xun hummed as he stared at the love bite on Gu Wei's throat. He released Gu Wei's hands and asked, "Who was it who once asked me about my 'size'?"
Gu Wei swiftly jerked his head around to look at the steering wheel, and to adamantly not look at Jiang Xun.
"…dunno. No idea. Who?"