Gu Wei had absolutely no trouble falling asleep that night. He'd dozed off while Jiang Xun was still talking to him.
He hadn't taken any medicine, and he didn't wake up in the middle of the night. He couldn't remember the last time he had slept so well. He dreamt of last night's concert. The sea of lights in the crowd illuminated his dreams.
Then, his dream progressed. The big bully Jiang Xun made an appearance.
No matter how he had cried out, no matter how he had squirmed, Jiang Xun had refused to let go of him. Jiang Xun just repeated some nonsense about paying for old mistakes, only releasing Gu Wei after Gu Wei's eyes had grown red with tears.
Eventually, Gu Wei began to stir. He started to feel restless. There was still a residual ache in the place where he'd been bullied last night. That soreness seemed only to grow more intense as he slowly came to. He felt a little perplexed, and a little confused. Hadn't he paid all his debts last night? What was it now?
He opened his eyes, still feeling sluggish, and gradually realized these sensations didn't come from his dream.
The light of early dawn was trickling in through the window. Jiang Xun had already pinned Gu Wei to the bed, capturing both his hands to keep him from moving around. He seemed determined to give a repeat performance of everything they'd done last night.
Gu Wei could hardly make a sound.
This was just too much!
"Jiang Xun, I'm sleepy…" Gu Wei was still a little disoriented, and he couldn't rest easy with Jiang Xun messing with him all over again. "Haven't you had enough? What time is it…"
"You're finally awake?" Jiang Xun asked, hovering over him. "Good. It's more interesting this way."
"Didn't I… already pay my debt?" Gu Wei protested. "I want to go back to sleep."
Last night, at the end of everything, he had been bullied to the point of tears. Jiang Xun had reassured him that he'd paid for the past now, and there would be no more bullying in the future.
"You wanna know why?" Jiang Xun asked, perceptively guessing Gu Wei's thoughts.
"Mhm." Gu Wei's voice was still hazy with the lingering remnants of sleep.
Jiang Xun lifted a hand and lightly wiped at Gu Wei's dewy eyes. "Have you heard this saying?"
"'You can never trust what a man says in bed.'"
Gu Wei was silent.
"Furthermore…" Jiang Xun stilled for a moment, letting Gu Wei get his bearings. "Congratulations, Little Weilai. We have a new score to settle."
"Did I kick you in my sleep?" Gu Wei asked, suddenly feeling more alert and alarmed.
"Then… did I bite you yesterday? Does it hurt?" Gu Wei suddenly remembered the taste of blood that had bloomed across his tongue last night. He just hadn't had the presence of mind to worry about it back then.
"You did. I almost forgot about that. Let's add that to your debt too." There was a pikachu-patterned band-aid wrapped around Jiang Xun's middle finger. "Come on, let's continue counting up what you owe together."
"There's more? I can't think of anything," Gu Wei said, resigned.
"Do you remember what I asked you yesterday?" Jiang Xun prompted.
"I like you," Gu Wei said.
Gu Wei hesitated for a moment. He seemed to remember something else. Right before falling asleep, he'd heard Jiang Xun ask if he was satisfied.
"Speak," Jiang Xun urged.
"…and I'm satisfied."
Jiang Xun smiled. "Really?"
"Really," Gu Wei grumbled, feeling a little aggrieved. "How could I say I'm unsatisfied?"
He wouldn't dare.
"Understood," Jiang Xun said. Then, affecting a casual and innocent attitude, he continued, "Then let's go along with Little Weilai's version of events. Let's say I'm just being unreasonable. I'll settle the score myself, and you can do as you please."
Gu Wei didn't know how he was supposed to do as he pleased when Jiang Xun intended to settle some score with him. When Jiang Xun's hand covered his mouth, Gu Wei instinctively wanted to bite him again. Then, remembering the wound on Jiang Xun's finger, he smothered that instinct.
By the time Jiang Xun was satisfied, Gu Wei was drained of all his energy again. He trembled at the slightest touch.
Jiang Xun sat up and let Gu Wei lean against him. He grabbed his phone and pulled up the call log, starting to recount the phone call that had led to this hefty addition to Gu Wei's debt.
"Break the engagement?" Gu Wei was shocked. "I never said anything about breaking the engagement."
"You didn't?" Jiang Xun asked skeptically.
"I… well, I did," Gu Wei admitted, once he'd dug through his memories. "But… the last time I told my dad to call off the engagement was five months ago."
Five months ago, Gu Wei had thought the engagement sounded a bit sketchy and unreliable. And five months ago, Gu Wei had thought himself undeserving of love. So he had called Gu Cai, demanding that the engagement be called off.
Gu Wei had once wondered about it. He'd thought it was a bit strange that word of their broken engagement never seemed to reach Jiang Xun. But after the two of them spent some more time together, Gu Wei thoroughly forgot all about his own demands to break things off.
Hadn't this news been delayed too long?!
Gu Wei leaned against Jiang Xun. His body was exhausted, but his mind was gradually becoming clearer and clearer. He suddenly remembered—
Gu Cai working on a screenplay equaled Gu Cai cutting off all communications with the outside world, which in turn equaled Gu Cai withdrawing from society. So it wasn't strange at all that he'd waited five months to call off the engagement.
But his timing was the absolute worst!
This useless dad with no sense of timing really knew how to cause a world of trouble for his son.
They had just done… that, only to have Jiang Xun hear that Gu Wei wanted to break their engagement because he was 'dissatisfied'. Well, then it was no wonder Jiang Xun was angry. It was no wonder he had a score to settle.
"I… was wrong," Gu Wei said, trying to apologize.
"You don't need to apologize," Jiang Xun said. "If you aren't satisfied, you can tell me. Little Weilai makes my heart ache when he cries. I was starting to think you didn't like it."
"That was…" Gu Wei's protest fizzled out on his tongue.
"No, I get it," Jiang Xun said, leaving no room for argument. "You're right to be dissatisfied."
"You…! You obviously know… I didn't say anything like that!" Gu Wei protested. He felt like he had to rouse his fighting spirit and defend himself some more.
"Think about your next words before you speak. I'm still angry," Jiang Xun teased. "We're already engaged, and we've gone public, and we've already done this sort of thing together. Think about it. Breaking off our engagement now… isn't that a very serious thing?"
Gu Wei thought about it for a moment, then tentatively answered, "It does… seem pretty serious?"
He could clearly feel that something was wrong here, but Jiang Xun did seem to have a point.
If Jiang Xun was angry, Gu Wei would have to find a way to placate him. Gu Wei suddenly thought back to last night, when Jiang Xun had soothed him and murmured countless reassurances in his ear after doing things that made him feel flushed and electric.
Gu Wei was pretty sure he could say some nice things too. He could soothe Jiang Xun.
"Ge," Gu Wei murmured. His voice was soft and sweet, carrying a cutely petulant whine.
"Hm?" A small, victorious grin flashed across Jiang Xun's face.
"I think I've… started to ship us," Gu Wei said. He still remembered what Jiang Xun had said when they agreed to start out as each other's fan. "FFXW is real."
Jiang Xun lifted a hand and pinched Gu Wei's cheek.
"You're too late," he said.
"Why?" Gu Wei didn't understand. Hearing Jiang Xun say that, he started to feel a little nervous again.
"I've already become your toxic stan," Jiang Xun declared.
Gu Wei fell silent.
Well, he didn't have to go that far.
"Then…" Gu Wei found himself at a loss for words. "What should I do?"
"Think about it," Jiang Xun deadpanned. "If you can't think of anything, forget about getting out of bed today."
Gu Wei genuinely, earnestly believed Jiang Xun was angry. He was desperate to make things right.
"I like you?" he tried.
"I know," Jiang Xun said curtly, still keeping up the act of being in a bad mood. "I like you too."
"I love you?" Gu Wei corrected. Once, he hadn't understood what 'love' was supposed to feel like. But now even he could say a word like 'love' and mean it from the bottom of his heart.
"Of course I love you too, Little Weilai," Jiang Xun said. "But that doesn't relieve my anger, does it?"
Gu Wei had no other choice. He grit his teeth and, after five minutes, came to a difficult decision: "Then… why don't you… sleep with me one more time?"
As he spoke, memories of Jiang Xun's 'bullying' rose to the forefront of his mind. Gu Wei's eyes reddened again.
In Jiang Xun's eyes, it seemed Gu Wei was on the verge of having been bullied too much. Gu Wei was still wrapped up in their blankets, leaning heavily against Jiang Xun. Even as he trembled with the aftershocks of what they had just done, he continued tugging at the hem of Jiang Xun's shirt, trying to dispel his anger.
"We'll settle the score next time," Jiang Xun said. His little idol was too cute and too well-behaved. Jiang Xun didn't have the heart to bully him anymore. "Go back to sleep. Later, I'll take my time and teach you everything bit by bit."
Gu Wei was genuinely still tired. He had woken up somewhat abruptly, only to be faced with the challenge of easing Jiang Xun's supposed anger. Now, he bundled himself up in their covers and quickly drifted off to sleep again.
At nine in the morning, netizens were still discussing last night's concert. T.ATW and #TheCloudsPart remained high on the trending topics list.
Gu Wei's popularity continued to soar.
Many people had taken note of the ring Gu Wei had kissed during the concert. Someone reviewed Jiang Xun's recent livestreams and noticed a matching ring on his finger.
And at just that time, Jiang Xun sent out a new Weibo post.
Five minutes later, Jiang Ying shared the post.
@JiangYingKANI: OK.jpg @TMW-Xun: SuperHappy.jpg
Within seconds, countless netizens had decoded the 'hidden' meanings behind those messages.
[@JiangXun, you're not allowed to bully our idol! Do you hear me?]
[Holy crap, this reaction meme is way too evocative. It's like I can feel Jiang Xun smirking through the screen.]
[I'll be waiting for Weiwei's bright future. Best wishes to you both.]
[When are you getting your marriage license? We're all waiting, please hurry~]
[Ahhh, they're finally official. My ship is canon now. It really was a good idea to invest my feels in you two! Every day feels like New Year's Day.]
[Hahaha, the comments are full of the bride's fans.]
[Weiwei! If Jiang Xun bullies you, an army of little hedgehogs are ready to beat the stuffing out of him!]
[@JiangXun, give our Weiwei back for a while, he still has a bunch of concerts to perform.]
The news spread fast. Everyone told a dozen friends, and those friends each told a dozen more. By the time Gu Wei woke up again, around noon, he discovered his fans had already planned a honeymoon for him and Jiang Xun. They'd even thoughtfully drafted up an itinerary.
"Have some congee." Jiang Xun set a bowl down on the nightstand and sat at the edge of the bed, reaching out to press a hand to Gu Wei's forehead. He felt a little warmth. "I think you're running a low fever. It's my fault."
"Not your fault." Gu Wei shook his head. "I stood in the bathroom for too long after my shower last night. I probably caught a chill."
But Jiang Xun, in his heart, knew exactly what had brought on Gu Wei's fever. He planned to take good care of Gu Wei for the rest of his break, without touching him again.
In his heart, Gu Wei was still thinking of the matter of his new 'toxic stan'.
"My break is… ending tomorrow." Gu Wei was lying down in Jiang Xun's bed, practicing a few songs for the concert. Feigning innocence, he asked, "Are you going to… be my 'toxic stan' some more?"
"Little Weilai," Jiang Xun chided. "Do you want to perform at tomorrow's concert or not?"
Gu Wei hastily rolled over, curled up under the covers, and didn't move again.
He spent some time scrolling through Weibo while hiding under the covers. It was then that he realized they had gained hordes of new shippers overnight, and those shippers were really having a grand old time.
"What are you looking at?" Jiang Xun lifted the covers and plucked Gu Wei's cell phone from his hands, glancing at the screen. "This isn't as interesting as me. Weiwei, do you want to play some more?"
Gu Wei gave it a moment's consideration. "…let's not."
He would have to perform the dances he'd personally choreographed no matter how difficult they were. If they played some more today, then tomorrow… he wouldn't be able to dance at all.
T.ATW's second concert was to be held in B City. Jiang Xun dropped Gu Wei off at the airport, and they were mobbed by reporters as soon as they climbed out of the car.
"May I ask if it's true that you've gotten engaged?"
"When will you start planning the wedding?"
"Will you be applying for your marriage license soon? What are your plans for the future?"
"How far has your relationship progressed?"
"How far?" Jiang Xun echoed. He reached out and pulled Gu Wei to his side. "I've said it before. It's exactly what it looks like."
"But what does it look…"
Before the reporter could finish uttering the question, Jiang Xun pulled Gu Wei even closer and, through their face masks, gently kissed the corner of Gu Wei's lips.
"Like this," Jiang Xun said.
"I'm going now," Gu Wei whispered.
"Go ahead." Jiang Xun laid a hand at the small of Gu Wei's back and gave him a light push, nudging him forward half a step. "We'll take our time settling the score when you get back."
The little hedgehogs waiting to see Gu Wei off at the airport cheered at the sight of him. Gu Wei turned back and winked at Jiang Xun. All around them, cameras flashed.
It was a bright and sunny day; the clouds had parted.
In front of Gu Wei were the people who supported him, and behind him was the person who loved him dearly. With them, Gu Wei could weather any storm. He strode forward, accompanied by the sound of clicking shutters, and fearlessly faced his future.
His promising future.
— End of Main Story —