Deep down, Pei Ming always knew the day he would stumble upon one of his many mistakes waiting for him on his doorstep would come. Everyone, from his ex-girlfriends to his mother passing through the cashier down the street who has lived through many of Pei Ming's emergency two am quests for condoms, said his wanton lifestyle would come and bite him in the ass at some point. He usually replied that any biting in the ass was welcome as long as the biter had a pretty face.
Pei Ming's mistake, roughly six months old and whimpering meekly in his basket, did not have a pretty face. Objectively speaking. Whoever said babies were cute and not deformed versions of dolls was clearly lying.
"LING WEN! SHI WUDU" He yelled as he stormed back inside their flat, holding the baby at arm's length like a hot potato. "WHAT DO I DO?"
His roommate took one unimpressed glance at him and the miniature human being he definitely didn't have when he tried to leave thirty seconds ago and sighed. She didn't even stop typing furiously on her computer. What a woman. "It's too early for this shit. Is there a note?"
Of course Ling Wen understood the situation immediately. Pei Ming wouldn't be surprised if she had a ten steps plan to deal with the potential consequences of Pei Ming knocking up one of his numerous flings prepared already. Thank the lord for Ling Wen and her otherworldly adaptation skills.
"Yeah." Pei Ming awkwardly tucked the baby on the crook of of his elbow to free his left hand and pass along the note he found in the basket.
Honestly. A wicker basket. Who even used those in their time and age? Pei Ming tried to remember who among his past conquests from a year and a few months ago would be extra enough for to abandon a baby in front of his doorstep with a note instead of barging in, throw his mistake at his face and yell at him to take his responsibilities, like a normal person.
"For fuck's sake," a murderous Shi Wudu snarled as he emerged of his cave. "This is not how you hold a baby, moron."
At the sight of his roommate striding intentently toward him like a predator two seconds away from pouncing on his prey, Pei Ming had to restrain himself from throwing away the extra-weight in his arms and run for his life. He froze up, prayed the cons of killing him cleanly, destroying his body and all the evidence outweighed the pros and hoped for the best. Shi Wudu did not try to murder him, to his everlasting relief, and instead angrily adjusted Pei Ming's arms until his position satisfied Shi Wudu's standards on proper baby holding forms.
Satisfied with his work, Shi Wudu nodded once and twirled dramatically backward, his silk dressing gown fluttering as he stormed back in his room. Pei Ming stared down the baby, bemused. The baby stared back, looking very judgemental for a six months years old in his precarious position.
Softly, but with a lot of feelings, Pei Ming said: "What the fuck."
"More like which fuck," Ling Wen scoffed after she discarded the tear-stained letter, full of disdain for the weak human being who wrote it. Ling Wen and compassion didn't exactly belong in the same universe. "Any idea who the mother can be?"
Pei Ming squints at the baby as if he had a chance to trigger his feeble memory by staring hard enough. "Not a clue. What do I do now?"
He looked up at Ling Wen, radiating blind faith in her superior skills. She would know what to do. Ling Wen always knew what to do. Her contingency plans had contingency plans of their own. A fifty pages report due tomorrow morning? No matter the topic, Ling Wen could do it. Convince a cop to forget about a minor infraction? Doable if given the proper tools and enough time. A body to get rid of discreetly at 3 am? Pei Ming wasn't sure she would do it, but he had no doubt she knew all the good places, just in case.
Ling Wen could do anything. For a price, naturally. Ling Wen's services didn't come free of charge.
"Build a time travel machine and cut off your past self's dick before you can impregnate this snot and shit factory's mother," she casually destroyed his hopes, sipping on her seventh's cup of coffee of the morning.
"Throw him in the trash bin and pretend you can't hear him screaming," Shi Wudu snorted loud enough to be heard from his bedroom. "Don't get caught though. I'm not bailing you out of jail again."
"You two are awful human beings," Pei Ming said like this was astonishing news to him.
It wasn't, of course. After more than fifteen years of passive-aggressive friendship and ten years of cohabitation, Pei Ming would have to be way dumber than he actually was not to notice his closest friends were constantly flirting on the line of psychopathy. Not that Pei Ming was an angel himself. There was a reason they stayed roommates since college as no one else could stand to live with them and vice versa. And the fancy nickname of 'three tumors' didn't come from nowhere.
Ling Wen rolled her eyes. "We were joking. As if you could build a time travel machine."
"He'd probably use it to bang historical figures instead of solving his problem," Shi Wudu popped his head by the doorframe to bring his contribution to the slaughter party. "No sense of priorities."
"Hey!" Pei Ming protested, though it was definitely accurate.
Shi Wudu ignored him. Fuck, but he looked smoking hot in his navy three pieces suit, the part of Pei Ming's brain that was constant horny leered. Especially when he was in Condescending Prick Mode, which was basically all the time.
"Have you seen my silver necktie?" Shi Wudu asked to Ling Wen. The possibility that Pei Ming might know something he didn't most likely didn't cross his mind.
"Which silver necktie, you have an army of those," Ling Wen deadpanned before swallowing the end of her cup at once.
"Bathroom," Pei Ming said, petulantly. He could be useful sometimes. He totally could. Shi Wudu disappeared to the bathroom without so much of a thank you. Typical. "Anyway can we get back to the problem at hand?"
Literally at hand. Pei Ming was amazed said problem had yet to start yelling to his face or shit on him. That was all babies did, right? Yell, drink from titties, and shit. Such an uncomplicated life. So far the baby was pretty calm, so that was something. Or maybe he was just terrified.
"Your problem, you mean," Ling Wen said with zero tact and zero sympathy. "I guess you'll have to embrace your responsibilities and turn a new leaf. Bye bye the fun and debauched lifestyle you led so far, hello posting boring pictures of your kid throwing up on instagram, driving in minivans and going to bed at ten pm. Who knows, maybe you'll grow to like it. Maybe you'll look back one day and think: young me was so dumb, this was my true purpose in life all along."
Pei Ming looked down at the baby again and tried to find some feeling for him that wasn't complete panic. Wasn't fatherhood supposed to be instinctual or something? "Wait, really?"
"No, you stupid ass!" Ling Wen waved her hands to the sky. "What is this, a soap opera? We call the cops and we get rid of it."
"We have to burn the letter first," Shi Wudu pensively added as he walked back in the kitchen, necktie in place. "Destroy the evidence. Then we pretend we have no idea where it's coming from. I know some guys in the police who'll look the other way. Problem solved."
Like the smoking addict she was, Ling Wen pulled her lighter from her pocket without missing a beat. "Not inside though, smoke smell is suspicious."
"Naturally," Shi Wudu agreed. " And you better not have been smoking inside again. Those will kill you."
"I don't plan to let lung cancer be my end," Ling Wen snorted, as if the cancer was an issue that could be solved by glaring at it and threatening it of bankruptcy.
"I meant I will kill you if you ruin my suits with that disgusting smell. It's Armani, bitch."
"I know, you remind me every day, bitch." Ling Wen rolled her eyes, before she handed over her phone to Pei Ming. "Call them now and pretend you're panicking. Shouldn't be too hard, you look two seconds away from going full fainting damsel in distress on us."
Pei Ming took the phone by sheer automatism. Being the dumbass by default of the group, he had been trained to obey Ling Wen's orders since high school like a dog slightly more intelligent than normal. He stared down at her silver and expensive phone, thinks of his own phone which would deserve a place in a museum, as Shi Wudu vehemently reminded him on every one of his birthdays. Then he looked at the baby. Really looked at him. The pint-sized human stared back, his eyes dark and deep, as if he could see Pei Ming's soul and what he saw wasn't completely fucked up yet.
Or maybe he was just hungry, what did Pei Ming know anyway.
...shit. Shit, but that little gremlin was cute.
"For fuck's sake, stop looking at him," Ling Wen said, snapping her fingers in front of his nose irritatingly. "I know you, you're going to get attached. You're an emotional mess."
At that unprobable statement, Pei Ming had war flashbacks of his last girlfriend, who threw the entirety of her fridge to his face yelling he had no soul and would rot in hell. He was predictable as hell because Ling Wen added: "Not for romance, but for the rest? You're a bleeding heart. That's why you need us."
Pei Ming was pretty sure he could only be called a bleeding heart in comparison to his two assholes roommates. Pei Ming's generosity and empathy for the rest of the human race existed by leaps and bounds. At best, crumbles of kindness were allowed to see the sunlight among the rest of his personality, but most of the time it got beat up by his selfishness and left for dead on the pavement.
"Hopeless, you're absolutely hopeless," Shi Wudu sighed when he strided back in the kitchen. "Give it to me."
Fueled by pure instinct, Pei Ming shifted sidesway to avoid Shi Wudu's arms, tugging the baby close. "He's not a it."
"Oh my fucking god. Fine. The phone then. I'll do it for you."
Petulantly, Pei Ming refused to hand over Ling Wen's phone either. They all looked at each other, trapped into a three-way standoff like in those western movies.
"Pei Ming," Shi Wudu enunciated slowly. It was his 'you're acting even stupider than usual, let the adults handle the situation' voice. "Give. Me. The. Phone."
Shi Wudu blinked in surprise. Pei Ming couldn't be called obedient by any means, as his mother, his teachers and anyone would ever tried to force him to do things would tell you. Yet within this household, he usually deferred to their judgement in most things except food. None of them could be trusted in a kitchen. Shi Wudu might as well be a pampered princess with a knife and Ling Wen cared for cooking as much as she cared for other self-care activities, which was not at all.
Anyway. The point was, Pei Ming had decided early in his life he trusted them to handle his affairs with the care they showed no one else except themselves and Shi Qing Xuan, and the method had yet to fail him so far.
But. He didn't know. He didn't want to take rash decisions, for once in his life. The irony of that statement didn't escape his notice. Pei Ming clearly was the impulsive one among them cold blooded snakes.
"I want to think about it," he said, defensive.
"Think about what?" Ling Wen retorted, sounding dubious. "You can't raise a child, Pei Ming. You can't even take care of a plant."
… Well. It was not untrue Pei Ming got gardening ambitions every spring, regular as clockwork, bought a shitton of plants and fancy vegetal care products he didn't need then got bored after a few week. After his brief but intense period of interest passed, the poor things had a long and agonizing descent into death by deshydratation and complete lack of attention.
It was not the same though. Pei Ming wouldn't be terrible enough to put his baby in a pot, leave it outside at the mercy of the cold and not water it for months. He didn't know shit about childcare, but he would at the minimum allow his pot baby to stay inside and water it milk every day.
He could totally do this. He could. If he wanted to, that was it. Which was still to be determined.
"I want to think about it," he stubbornly repeated.
Shi Wudu rolled his eyes. "Are you prepared to move out of the flat to live on your own with a baby? Because I am not going to share my personal space with that health hazard."
Ah. Pei Ming hadn't planned that far yet. It was a work on progress. "...well. Well."
"You know what?" Ling Wen cut in, smiling to herself in a way that only meant trouble. "You can stay and keep it-him. But we're not helping, at all. Let's see how long you last before you throw the towel."
That sounded like a challenge. Pei Ming had yet to meet a challenge he wasn't determined to beat to death and show it who's the boss. "Deal."
"I never agreed to this," Shi Wudu grumbled.
The baby who really needed a name hiccupped in agreement.