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What's In a Beard

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Zhu Yi-Long looked up at the oddly familiar figure that was standing proudly right in front of him. He had to look up and see who was blocking his light when he was trying to earn his daily points from the game he was playing, without hurting his eyes from the dim lighting.

He was distracted from his task, until the figure's feet made an impatient tapping on the floor. He looked up with his mind still on the game, thinking more about giving an annoyed look to whoever was standing there rather  than engaging in actual eye contact. His eyes pondered on a pair of black trousers with golden stripes fitting nicely on the lean legs of the owner. He continued on an half tucked long white shirt that slightly traced the well-shaped chest of the man wearing it. His eyes continued up to see a proudly raised head, clean-shaved face and short, messy hair.

"What a cute chin" he thought, as he looked back down. Immediately he felt a weird sensation as if he was falling down from high up. His stomach jumped. He knew that chin. He knew that figure. He knew that face. He most certainly knew those beautiful kind and playful eyes. How could he be so absorbed in his game to not realise from the first glance?

-Hey? You.....shaved!?, he said. It was more like a statement that had a hint of wonder, rather than an actual question.

-And I thought you wouldn't notice Long Ge,  Bai Yu said wrinkling his face into a big smile. He lifted his neck a bit as if to allow Zhu Yi-long to take a good look of his clean shaven face.

ZYL's heart skipped a bit. Bai Yu was so pretty. If he was pretty before he was ten times prettier now. Or maybe it was just because it was the first time he could see his entire face without any shade on it. He could carefully examine every inch of his bare face, his skin texture, his mouth dimples...his jaw. How could he be attracted to a jaw that much? Was it weird? It was strange seeing him without a beard but also refreshing. He could trace his lips so clearly now. So ..sweet and round and red. Like cherries.

Bai Yu noticed ZYL staring at his face so intensely, as if he wanted to print it in his memory. Was he thinking he look bad? Was he thinking he liked him more with a beard? What could his intense stare mean? His stomach  was tied into a knot and he felt empty. His initial toothy smile  fell  halfway and even though he tried to keep it up, his eyes betrayed his worry. He looked into Long Ge's familiar eyes. Those warm eyes. ZYL followed his gaze and met Bai Yu s eyes. His eyebrows lifted into that cheecky and yet so innocent and cute expression he always took when he was surprised or out of words.

The corner of his lips got lifted into a  inquisitive half smile.

"How is he so attractive when he does that" Bai Yu wondered. It pained him to think Long Ge would never look at him and think the same. He wasn't even sure what it was really he felt himself. He never thought he liked men. And he probably didn't. But ZYL just had that kind of face, that personality.... That made it impossible for him to think of a word other than...attractive. Pure attractiveness.

ZYL got up from the chair. He puffed a bit and shook his head, his expression utterly serious but his body language exaggerated, as if he was jokingly examining Bai Yu's new look.

 

-You don't like it Long Ge? You always say I look older than you...now my face is smooth as a baby's.

-And why do you care if I like it? Asked ZYL innocently.

It was as if he knew that his delay was torture in Bai Yu's heart.

-Well your opinion is important to me, BY said jokingly.

 

ZYL came closer to him. Bai Yu's heart started beating faster. ZYL always looked so deeply into his eyes, so ... earnestly and felt like they were piercing him.

They were so close and he could see Long Ge's lips  tremble in that half smile. He could see his eyes examining his face. Long Ge looked up at him and brought his hands on his face. He touched his chin. A soft pet that embraced both his cheeks.

-It's soft..., he said eventually and gave him a big and honest smile.

 

Bai yu felt like he could breathe again. He smiled shyly at first and then let out a loud laughter pushing ZYL away in a teasing manner.

 

-Long Ge!!!! You tricked me, being so serious. I thought you didn't appreciate my adorable face.

 – Your face is always great, beard or not Xiao Bai.

 

ZYL reached Bai Yu's chin and touched it once more, this time with his thump and slightly tickled it.

 

-It's so soft I could kiss it, he laughed.

-Well do it! Bai Yu dared him.

To Bai Yu's surprise, Long Ge came close to him, Bai Yu reach with his arm and touched his waist. ZYL pursed his lips together and leaned in for a kiss.

 

He should've known ZYL might, actually, take up the challenge. He may appear distant, but he shows affection proudly and when it comes to personal space, he is possibly ignorant to the meaning of it. Not to mention he sometimes surprises Bai Yu by doing things he wouldn't think he could do.

Bai yu's head instinctively fell back in a laughter. Better be careful too. People could be watching.

His laughter was real though. His heart was beating fast and light, his stomach was no longer a knot. He felt happy.

 

Reciprocation or not.... Having ZYL around him, joking with him, being comfortable with him... it made everything better.