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Patching You Up

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The door rattled.

A string of curse words could be heard from where Hua Chen Yu was sitting, a loud whirring laptop perched on his lap with various note pads scattering haphazardly around him.

‘Ow! Fuck! Whose idea was it to put this damn wooden shelf by the door?!’

‘The housing department did. You do know that they are the ones who designed this shitty dorm.’

Hua Chen Yu replied easily, pushing the glasses up his nose while continued to type away diligently on the laptop.

A few more grumbles were heard from the doorway, then: ‘Hua Hua! Are you ignoring me? Why are you ignoring me! When I have come home battle-worn, and you are just gonna stare at your laptop? I don’t know you anymore, you are such a cold-hearted roommate, my Feelings are hurt---’

The rambles were cut short when Hua Chen Yu finally looked up and smiled at Zhou Shen.

‘Welcome back, Shen Shen.’

At that, a tint of red started spreading across Zhou Shen’s face, and he tripped over thin air elegantly as he shuffled towards Hua Chen Yu. That always worked in shutting him up, no matter the circumstances. It meant that, for example, if Hua Chen Yu do that to him during a very important presentation, on a very important topic, in a very important class which he needs to pass, he will, no doubt, stutter and breakdown like a damn phone thrown into the water, and fail the class.

It’s the smile and the nickname, I swear to god. If he doesn’t stop being so pretty, I will bash his darn beautiful face in, Zhou Shen thought.

‘I don’t know what you are thinking, but you have to stop the violent thoughts, presumably, at me. You only make that face when you are plotting to beat someone up.’

The grimace on Zhou Shen’s face was hilarious, and Hua Chen Yu told him so.

‘Alright, gangster, go shower so I can patch you up because I am an amazing and responsible roommate. The best.’

That’s right, they are roommates. One of them often gets into fights, while the other one is usually tasked with fixing him up after the fights. You can already guess who is which.

One day, their friend who was coincidentally in the room, while Hua Chen Yu was tending to Zhou Shen, thought that they were together, but was met with a joke and a long, suspicious, stuttering explanation about how they are just really, really good friends.

However, with how different and gentle Hua Chen Yu would always act around Zhou Shen, and how Zhou Shen would let his tough façade down when he is with Hua Chen Yu, everyone is silently voting for them as The Couple of the year.

So, Zhou Shen wished that Hua Chen Yu is his boyfriend. Hua Chen Yu also wished that Zhou Shen is his boyfriend.

(What pining idiots, their friends sigh helplessly.)

Anyways, back to the present.

By the time Zhou Shen finished showering, Hua Chen Yu was already waiting by the table, ready to do a throughout check on Zhou Shen before going to sleep. He didn’t bother glancing at Zhou Shen, just signalled for him to come closer.

‘Come, I’ll patch you up.’

‘Ok.’

It’s the same lines, over and over again, Hua Chen Yu would say to Zhou Shen almost on a weekly basis. Zhou Shen sat down and peered at Hua Chen Yu guiding his hand towards him, cleaning his wounds carefully. Zhou Shen thought, maybe one day, he will let me hold his hand.

‘You are staring really intensely at my hand.’

Hua Chen Yu murmured softly, and even though Zhou Shen heard him, he was in a daze. He turned his palm around and linked Hua Chen Yu’s hand with his, the size difference made Zhou Shen feel a little bit funny inside. Hua Chen Yu’s hand was big and warm, and the warmth travelled slowly through Zhou Shen’s arms, his head, his chest, and settles snugly in his stomach.

‘Zhou Shen?’

Zhou Shen didn’t respond, didn’t untangle their fingers, still in his daydream. Hua Chen Yu’s fingers were long, as expected from a person who plays the piano. It fitted pleasantly with Zhou Shen’s hand, and he mentally laughed at all the girls that would cry in jealousy just because he got to touch Hua Chen Yu’s hand.

Ha, suck my toes, thought Zhou Shen maniacally.

Unconsciously, he let out a small chuckle and turned Hua Chen Yu’s hand over, thumb brushing over Hua Chen Yu’s knuckles slowly, still knee-deep in a trance. Hua Chen Yu’s hands were always so gentle; when he was typing, when he was cleaning, and especially when he was patching Zhou Shen up.

‘… Shen Shen?’

The nickname broke Zhou Shen out of his reverie. He suddenly realised what he just did and tensed up nervously, the fight or flight instinct kicking in. All he could think about was that if Hua Chen Yu found out about his not so little crush on him, their friendship would be ruined and there will no longer be a Friday movie night and no one will wait for him to get back to the dorm at the end of the day and patch him up and heat up the food for him and to tell him off about fighting with people so much---

Zhou Shen gave a sharp inhale, his eyes widen in guilt and he let go of Hua Chen Yu’s hand as if being burned, and ran into his room pathetically. He locked the door behind him in a panic, praying to the god that Hua Chen Yu wouldn’t follow him and question him.

‘Shen Shen!’

The door rattled.

Zhou Shen startled and dashed onto his bed, accidentally knocking his bruised hand onto the wardrobe.

He let out a small whimper at the pain and dived under the blankets and hoped that Hua Chen Yu would go away.

He didn’t want to hear what Hua Chen Yu was going to tell him, and he refused to listen to what Hua Chen Yu had to say to him. Zhou Shen could already predict how uncomfortable Hua Chen Yu would look and how the conversation would end.

It hurt.

‘Zhou Shen, can you please open the door?’

Zhou Shen heard Hua Chen Yu knocking a few more times on the door, before the silence fell over the room. He slowly sat up on his bed, eyes focused on the doors. It seemed like Hua Chen Yu had given up and walked away and Zhou Shen sighs defeatedly. He didn’t know what to think anymore with his brain running overdrive. On one hand, he was relieved that Hua Chen Yu was gone, and maybe he would forget about what happened in the living room. On the other hand, he couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit of disappointment when Hua Chen Yu left.

Down the drain our friendship goes, he thinks.

Suddenly, something wet hit Zhou Shen’s hand and he looked down, just to realise that his vision is blurred by his tears. The realisation caught up to him, and the dam broke.

When Hua Chen Yu finally found the spare keys to Zhou Shen’s room, he opened the door to a crying Zhou Shen on the bed. Tears streamed down his face uncontrollably, wetting his shirt and blanket. Hua Chen Yu quickly closed the door and climbed onto the bed and wiped Zhou Shen tears away.

‘Shen Shen, why are you crying, hm?’

Zhou Shen closed his eyes and dropped his head, refusing to look at Hua Chen Yu directly. His breaths were coming out in short bursts, and Zhou Shen starts to tremble on the bed. At first, Hua Chen Yu thought Zhou Shen was crying again and prepared to go in for a hug. Then he noticed the shortness of Zhou Shen’s breathing, and registered that Zhou Shen was having a panic attack.

‘Shen Shen, you are having a panic attack.’

Hua Chen Yu scooted closer to Zhou Shen and held his hand, trying to ground Zhou Shen down.

‘Take a breath with me. Here, do it with me, ok? Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale…’

Hua Chen Yu didn’t let of Zhou Shen’s hands as he guided him through the breathing process. The red on Zhou Shen’s face finally subsided a little bit. Hua Chen Yu let out a sigh of relief and rearranged Zhou Shen onto his lap.
He felt Zhou Shen tensing up in his hold, like he was preparing to run away, again.

‘Don’t move just yet, rest a bit.’

Quickly, he wrapped his arms around Zhou Shen’s torso and pressed Zhou Shen into him, and covered Zhou Shen’s eyes with one hand.

‘It’s ok, everything is fine. Keep breathing.’

Hua Chen Yu rubbed slowly on Zhou Shen’s hips and felt Zhou Shen relaxed and sank into his arms.

‘All good now?’ Hua Chen Yu whispered lightly to Zhou Shen.

Feeling Zhou Shen nodding in affirmation, he continued: ‘Can you tell me what’s wrong?’

After a few minutes of silence, Zhou Shen finally spoke up, albeit a bit unwillingly.

‘… you.’

‘Me? I didn’t quite catch that.’

‘I… you.’

‘You, me?’

‘I said I like you!’

Zhou Shen braced himself for the rejection to come, but was surprised to hear Hua Chen Yu chuckling behind him.

‘… why are you laughing?’

Zhou Shen gaped at Hua Chen Yu in disbelief, and struggled to untangle himself from Hua Chen Yu, wanting to put some distance between them.

‘Stop laughing!’

Hua Chen Yu’s hold on got tighter and tighter as he tried to stop laughing, but failing to stop laughing each time he felt Zhou Shen trying to wiggle out of the hug.

They end up laying on the bed sideways, with Hua Chen Yu trembling with unfinished laughter at Zhou Shen’s side.

‘I am being serious!’

‘I know! I am just feeling a bit hysterical right now.’

Zhou Shen turned around and glared at Hua Chen Yu, tears starting to gather at the corner of his eyes again. But with mirth still twinkling around his eyes, Hua Chen Yu quickly tucked Zhou Shen into his nape, and whispered next Zhou Shen slowly reddening right ear.

‘Zhou Shen, I like you too.’

 

 

 

 

*Bonus*

Zhou Shen got into a fight, again.

When he got back to the dorm, he planned to be as stealthy as a cat, and prayed that Hua Chen Yu doesn’t see him.

He successfully opened the door quietly, closed the door quietly, and put the jiggly keys down quietly. Just when he thought he got it all figured out, obviously, the gods will never answer Zhou Shen’s prayers. He ran into the wooden shelf for the nth time, and immediately curses the housing department down with his colourful language. Hua Chen Yu was on the couch doing his work again, already used to the commotion. Usually, he wouldn’t even spare Zhou Shen’s direction a glance, but this time he looked up, and frowned.

‘… Is that a bruise, that I spy with my little eyes.’

It was a statement, not a question.

‘Uh, yes?’

Zhou Shen stopped there sheepishly and did not elaborate further. Usually, he would scramble at any chance to explain himself, but this time he seemed almost… bashful about it. Hua Chen Yu raised his left eyebrow, but let him off this time.

He cocked his head to the direction of the bathroom and said to Zhou Shen: ‘Go shower. I’ll patch you up once you’re clean.’

Zhou Shen nodded like the good boy that he was and ran into the shower. When he finished cleaning himself up, he walked out the bathroom in a shirt too big on him, and was the medical kit on Hua Chen Yu’s lap, ready to be used for the fifth time that month. Hua Chen Yu gestured at the seat next to him, hands already opening the kit to grab the antiseptic wipes and bandages out. Zhou Shen sat silently, swinging his feet on the couch. While Hua Chen Yu tended to the bruises, a few yelps escaped here and there from Zhou Shen’s mouth when it hurt a tad bit too much.

‘I don’t see you making these noises when you fight, hm?’

Zhou Shen didn’t answer Hua Chen Yu. He couldn’t see the expression on Hua Chen Yu’s face clearly; his hair was getting longer, falling into his eyes when he leans forward.

Just as Zhou Shen’s hand almost touched Hua Chen Yu’s hair, Hua Chen Yu suddenly quips up.

‘Having fun staring at me?’

He looked up and smiled at Zhou Shen, but there was an evil glint in his eyes.

‘Maybe I should tie you up onto the bed with the bandages.’

He smirked at Zhou Shen, who was opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish, at a loss for words.

‘So you won’t be able to move and get into stupid fights again. And you seemed to like it last time when I held your hands down while we were doing…’

‘Shut up!’

When Zhou Shen finally came to, an angry blush was climbing up his face as he tried to stare angrily (keyword: tried) at Hua Chen Yu. He reached for the nearest thing he could find, which was Hua Chen Yu’s 216 pages financial accounting textbook and whacked the life out of Hua Chen Yu with it.

The audacity of this man! I am in pain, and he is thinking about that time!? … not that I am against it or anything, I do kinda wanna try that but---

‘Shen Shen, I can literally see what you are thinking.’

The blush comes back, full force. Zhou Shen panicked and tried to stand up (again, keyword: tried) to get away from Hua Chen Yu. But being an injured person has its downside. Instead of successfully putting some distance between them, he stumbled gracefully, tripped over one of the legs of the wobbly coffee table deftly, and fell into Hua Chen Yu’s laps with an embarrassing squeak.

‘Bro, please stop reading my mind!’

Hua Chen Yu: I just get bro-zoned by my boyfriend?

The answer is yes.

But there were other more important things to pay attention to.

‘Oh, so you were thinking about something inappropriate, hm? You do really want me to tie you up in bed!’

Hua Chen Yu smiled innocently at a flushed Zhou Shen, and there was nothing Zhou Shen could do.

Who was the one who went ahead fell for this human being that loves to tease him endlessly?

There was only himself, that Zhou Shen can blame.