"The first lesson in figure skating is always about... falling."
Century Star Club Rink, China
Bai Yu was taking a break from the practice when excited gossip began to permeate the air around him, ‘Ah! The Ice Prince is here! Ohmygod ohmygod!’ He didn’t have to look back at the rink to see it was Zhu Yilong in the middle of his warm ups and stroking exercises that had the girls so fascinated and awed.
“ He is so effortlessly beautiful ah. ” Fei Hong swatted Yu Yan, “Yah! Focus on his skating!” Yu Yan rubbed her with a pout, “I am! But I can also appreciate beauty when I see it!”
“Tch. You are hopeless.”
However he did need to look back at the rink to see what exactly aroused the comment earlier and no, this was not an excuse to look at Zhu Yilong or his beautiful skating. It was just...curiosity. It wasn’t about how his eyes naturally followed Zhu Yilong’s graceful figure. It was simply... curiosity.
Fei Hong and Yu Yan were a part of their team representing the China in women’s section of Figure Skating
Zhu Yilong’s leg stretched out backwards and it quickly transitioned into a spin and for that moment, Bai Yu stood there watching him spin so effortlessly coupled with an elegant sort of charm that could only be attributed to his style of skating, something that was uniquely Zhu Yilong. World ceased to exist beyond the rink and the lone skater dressed in black and in that moment that was the only thing that Bai Yu’s senses combinedly registered.
Zhu Yilong went through a combination of jumps that remained as powerful as he remembered them to be but none of them lost the smooth graceful touch that only he carried when he skated on ice.
“Is he really… you know like a real ice prince? I heard Miss Lin say this other day and I probably think she meant something else?”
“You mean his personality?”
“Maybe?” Fei Hong looked sheepish but Bai Yu assumed she was curious about the world famous skater Zhu Yilong like many others who watched him practice on this rink and were too awed by his beauty while skating and otherwise. Because let’s face it Zhu Yilong was not just a beautiful skater but also a beautiful man and all these people lining up to watch his practice was proof of that. However Bai Yu had grown used to such people day in and day out and they were neither the first nor the last.
He leaned back against the wall and sighed, his eyes trailing the zig zag motions that Zhu Yilong was making on ice, that intense look of concentration on his face and a lopsided smile when he accomplished his sequence in the way he wanted it. Bai Yu chuckled to himself remembering how Zhu Yilong was nothing like the cold ‘ice prince’ that had grown notoriously popular amongst their peers because of his tendency to end conversations and his slow to warm up personality. There was a memory that distinctly reminded him of this fact:
Bai Yu had been wanting to try out the jump that he had seen his gege do during their practices. After a lot of begging and crying, Bai yu had finally managed to convince their coach that he was ready to attempt the jump which had required another set of prep and training but all in all he was excited to finally transfer all that training onto ice.
It had been Bai Yu’s first attempt, he was giddy with excitement that he could finally do what Long-ge did on ice and catch up to him.
Alas! It hadn’t gone well for his first attempt and he ended up falling on the ice as a result of his miscalculated poor technique. Bai Yu had big fat tears rolling down his face, disillusioned not because he failed the jump on his first attempt but the fact that he would have to wait before he could catch up to Long-ge and stay away from ice till his injury had healed. It had been a minor slip up but a major downer for him overall.
But those tears stopped once Long-ge hurried over to him with his eyes wide, inspecting him in concern and asking slow and hesitant questions. “It will heal soon!” A wide eyed Long-ge had blurted out after a moment of silence. “I mean...I was injured like this too and look I am fine now!” Zhu Yilong had thought hard and then nodded his head resolutely. “Here take the rescue meds and then get it checked later okay!” And Zhu Yilong had hurriedly handed over medicine patches and painkillers but for the first time it was Zhu Yilong doing all the talking and Bai Yu listening to him quietly, nearly dumbfounded.
Ah, those eyes seemed sad, Bai Yu could recall that even today with a shocking amount of clarity. And that fueled Bai Yu to get talking like a chatterbox again, if it meant that he could somehow mitigate the sadness he had seen in those pretty eyes.
Looking back to that memory, he had come to understand that Zhu Yilong was a very warm person if someone managed to crack down the layers of ice he had cocooned himself in. But he was secretly glad that this was a side only he had witnessed if he was still hearing this kind of gossip. Bai Yu smirked to himself, feeling like he had unlocked a rare achievement in the form of his friendship with Zhu Yilong.
“What are you so getting so confident about huh?”
Bai Yu yelped unattractively and flinched back when Zhu Yilong suddenly appeared in front of him with a small yet satisfied smile on his face and a light sheen of sweat. “Aiya Long-ge, you love scaring me like this don’t you?”
Zhu Yilong gestured to himself with raised eyebrows, “Me?” Bai Yu nodded quickly earning an eyeroll from Zhu Yilong. “ Am I really that scary huh?” Bai Yu nodded again and Zhu Yilong punched him in his arm, “Your theatrics are worsening each day! I think you have a career set for you once you retire.”
“Have mercy Long-ge.” Bai Yu mumbled to Zhu Yilong while shaking his head, distantly aware of the eyes watching them. “I was just recalling our sweet childhood days, you know.” It drew a smile from Zhu Yilong who leaned in with interest. It signified that he was only upto more mischief. “As in the time when you were sulking about not being able to do the jumps?” And he was right.
Zhu Yilong was rather relentless despite the affronted gasp from Bai Yu, “I remember your chubby face looking sullen in the corner watching me skate and then stomping your foot when you couldn’t do the same.” Bai Yu was shocked that Zhu Yilong remembered that incident in such an odd amount of detail.
“Long-ge! Why do you remember that I am-” Zhu Yilong guffawed at his distressed look and Bai Yu stopped mid sentence to watch the ice prince snort and laugh like a hyena because he remembered something funny from ages ago. But it was rather unforgivable that it came at his own expense.
“What? Your face was funny back then!” At the sight of Bai Yu staring at him expressionlessly, Zhu Yilong retreated a little and sobered up instantly, “And cute maybe..?”
Bai Yu swatted his arm, “Oh my god Long-ge! Stop making fun of me!”
Zhu Yilong put up his hands in surrender, “Fine, we are no longer discussing the adventures of Xiao-Bai...or his never ending struggles with Lutz.”
“Not... unless we are discussing the adventures of Long-Long and his Floops.” Bai Yu intentionally mimicked the nickname he had heard from Zhu Yilong’s mom when they were younger. It was a shame there weren't many people who could call him that.
“Nope. And that was in the past.” Zhu Yilong gave him a cheeky smile that displayed all of his teeth and he began to back away but Bai Yu caught his arm making him stumble on ice due to the unexpected movement. Bai Yu tightened his grip automatically to stabilise him, “How about ice cream later?”
Zhu Yilong gave him a look which translated to, ‘If that’s fine with you…’ Bai Yu patted his arm, “It’s okay, we haven’t hung out in a while anyway.” The truth was that soon they were going to start practicing intensely for the upcoming championship which would also mean strict bland diets and long hours of practices. This was really the only time he would get to spend freely before he drowned himself in his world of skating. Hanging out and eating ice cream with Long-ge was also a routine he wasn’t willing to let go of, no matter what season it was. It was something stable he clung to which served as a relaxation period for him and helped him ground himself from all the chaos surrounding him.
When Bai Yu had said that they hadn’t hung out in a long while, he really meant it because the last time they had gone out for ice cream he had somehow failed to notice that Zhu Yilong was a messy eater. Or was it that he was only messy while eating ice cream? Bai Yu had troubles with his memory and he was sure that there was a lot of overwriting involved since they used to do this quite frequently till they became representatives of China and got too busy with their own schedule to be able to do this.
Zhu Yilong blinked and took a bite of his ice cream and Bai Yu flinched internally because he felt that in his teeth. At the same time a bit of ice cream was still left on his lips.
“Long-ge, you have some ice cream there…” Bai Yu vaguely pointed at Zhu Yilong’s face who only blinked at him before hesitantly following his directions. Bai Yu hurriedly handed him a tissue but Zhu Yilong was successful in only getting some of it off. Bai Yu had an idea. He wanted to see how long it would be till Zhu Yilong noticed the tiny smudge of ice cream on his face.
Darn! He couldn't really take any blackmail photos without getting noticed, Zhu Yilong might be oblivious to all the gossip but he had sharp senses that always sensed it whenever he was being photographed without consent aka whenever Bai Yu tried to collect meme materials.
As their conversation progressed, somehow Bai Yu couldn’t take his eyes off the bit of ice cream on his lips and this one on one conversation for such an extended period wasn’t helping it either. For such a tiny thing it was such a huge distraction, and that really bothered him.
It bothered him so much that his hands were already close to touching Zhu Yilong’s bottom lip when he woke up from his distracted haze only to be greeted by Zhu Yilong’s raised eyebrows and a small smile on his face.
Bai Yu immediately withdrew his hand and smiled at Zhu Yilong, muttering sheepishly, “There is still some ice cream left…”
“What?” Zhu Yilong swiped his fingers across his lip and mumbled, “Oh.”
“Weren’t you trying to collect your blackmail material?” Zhu Yilong shook his head with a sigh and for some reason Bai Yu let out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding.
“You know me too well Long-ge.” Bai Yu played along with that sheepish reply of his but he couldn’t make sense of the red ears on Zhu Yilong or his wayward thoughts. “Well what stopped you this time? Or wait is it already sent to me on WeChat?” Zhu Yilong fumbled around for his phone but Bai Yu blurted out, “No!” and then wanted to plant himself head first on the table because how was he supposed to explain this?
“It’s your fault! I realized that I can’t get anything sitting this close to you so I gave up.” Bai Yu decided to come clean.
“I am still not going to make any of this easier for you so good attempt!” Zhu Yilong actually gave him a thumbs up with a sarcastic smile on his face.
“Oh god! When have you ever huh?” Bai Yu resisted the urge to swat at him so he settled for rolling his eyes instead.
And just like that, they had once again settled into their old patterns of teasing each other while talking about skating here and there. When Bai Yu admitted that he wanted to add a certain element he wasn't really confident about, Zhu Yilong decided to stay back and help him when they got back to the rink and without any further prompting, Zhu Yilong made some calls and had the rink booked for the night so they could practice in privacy.
“Thank you for your help! As always I know that I can rely on you when it comes to sequencing.”
Zhu Yilong smiled with a refusal ready on his lips, “We have a coach for that you know? I don’t know why it is me that you need to ask.”
“I am trying to steal your secret gege so I can finally take that spot from you!” Bai Yu was clearly joking about stealing but they always competed about taking the top spot in competitions and they were always neck to neck in competitions but he was always proud of his Long-ge for taking that spot and maintaining it. At the end of the day what mattered the most was that they kept improving with each season that passed and that is how they ended up earning the rank they had today.
He secretly wanted Zhu Yilong to relax and loosen up when they spent their time alone like this. He knew it was rare for both of them so it was win-win
Zhu Yilong wrinkled his nose in distaste, “I have been scammed it seems”
“It’s not your fault gege, I am just that charming, you know?”
Zhu Yilong’s leg stretched out to kick him lightly, “Sheesh! Your jokes never end.”
“Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be lifted?”
“You mean during skating?” Zhu Yilong reconfirmed with Bai Yu who wasn’t sure what he expected from Zhu Yilong but his calm response was definitely not on his list. “It would be a lie to say if I didn’t but I suppose it was just a passing thought when I was watching one of the pair skating programs. Why do you ask?” Bai Yu hadn’t detected a speck of judgement just inquisitiveness from that question and that is why he always loved hanging out with him.
Bai Yu skated over to Zhu Yilong and both of them began to skate aimlessly around the rink, instantly falling into rhythm.
“I couldn’t decide if it would feel amazing or scary?” Zhu Yilong was listening to him intently and only hummed in appropriate places to keep him going. “Are those skaters enjoying it? Or are they trembling with trepidation?” They continued gliding around for a while in silence and Bai Yu answered his own question. “I suppose 'trembling' isn't the right word but I would still get a bit anxious, you know?”
Zhu Yilong turned abruptly and began to skate backwards as the wind ruffled his smooth hair, “It seems like you want to give it a try?” Zhu Yilong smiled in a way that his eyes curved with glee and gentle amusement. Bai Yu caught up to him and gently nudged him away before he could hit the edge of the rink. “Then why don’t you help me?” Bai Yu’s eyes glinted mischievously and from the expression he made, it was obvious that he had recognized it too.
“W- what is it?” Zhu Yiling stuttered for a bit and Bai Yu found the sudden loss of bravado to be endearing. “Why don’t we try something simple hm.”
“That is fine Xiao-Bai but the question is, who will lift whom?” Bai Yu knew he could trust Zhu Yilong to ask the most pressing question at the most crucial time.
“Can I lift you Long-ge?” Bai Yu felt sheepish even suggesting it but it had to be done, “Aren’t I taller?”
Zhu Yilong scoffed in reply, “As if. Only by three centimeters!” Zhu Yilong again turned away from him and began to skate away in the opposite direction, “Are you really giving up without even trying?” Bai Yu hollered at him, finding his antics to be very amusing.
“I think it's too much to expect a man like you to lift me up successfully.” Zhu Yilong responded cheekily getting an affronted ‘Hey!’ in response. Zhu Yilong snorted and yelled back at him “It was your curiosity! It should be you who gets lifted.” Bai Yu finally caught up with the world champion and made another suggestion, trying to catch his breath because Zhu Yilong always liked to drain his energy like this, “How about both of us giving it a shot? And then we can take it from there.”
Zhu Yilong shot him a withered look and his grin widened but he knew not to push it because he was sure the question of why they were even doing this was about to fall from Zhu Yilong's lips and end this session right here. Oh the joy of teasing his Long-ge, he couldn’t get enough of it, not since his teenager self decided that it would be fun to mess with this guy. He congratulated his teenage self for making the second best choice ever. The first had to be skating of course.
On some days, they stayed back to discuss a bit of technique which gradually transitioned to fooling around on the ice like they were children who had just learnt to skate and some days they met up on the rink when it was nightfall because once the season began they wouldn’t have time to see each other like this and indulge in carefree skating.
Bai Yu had still not given up on lifts and despite his initial reluctance, Zhu Yilong had finally given in and tried to attempt it seriously for once but it was only because he was better at lifting compared to Bai Yu. That had given him enough drive to practice it somewhat seriously. However it was difficult to be serious when both of them were practicing something for extended time.
“Will you let me concentrate! Your chattiness is shattering my focus.” A younger Zhu Yilong had snapped at him which had resulted in abrupt cessation of his one sided conversation. Zhu Yilong had grown increasingly guiltier with each second that had passed in silence until he grew tired of it and patted Bai Yu’s shoulder with a string of apologies accompanied by an awkward smile.
Bai Yu smiled when he recalled that scene, because over the years Zhu Yilong had become calmer and gentler and had grown used to his overall talkativeness and had lost the sharp edge he had when they were kids. The best transition was that his conversation was no longer one-sided and that had made all the difference.
“Woah!” Bai Yu found himself exclaiming the first time they pulled it off successfully. He experienced a brief moment of indescribable thrill when he realized that he had placed all his trust and faith in his Long-ge leaving no room for doubts and as a result what he experienced at the end was unadulterated joy. “We did it! You did it! It was amazing.” Bai Yu informed Zhu Yilong when they took a pause from all that exertion. Zhu Yilong’s face lit up at the praise.
“Did you get your answer?” Zhu Yilong absentmindedly wiped the sweat from his neck looking at him with a bright smile on his face. Bai Yu nodded his head happily.
“I want to try one more lift…” Bai Yu didn’t forget to add his infamous pout, “Please?”
Zhu Yilong watched him silently for a moment before sighing out loud, “I will think about it tomorrow.”
“That means we will right?”
“It might take a while actually”
“Oh we have the challenger series soon...are you going to get busy?”
Zhu Yilong grimaced but nodded his head in resignation, “If I recall correctly, I also have several meetings with the sponsors before I throw myself into practicing” He seemed apologetic but there was nothing they could do, their careers held higher priority. Bai Yu patted his back and grinned at him widely. “Don’t think I will forget this so easily.”
Zhu Yilong widened his eyes comically before speaking, “Oh my god! How did you discover my secret so easily? Damn…” Zhu Yilong looked away dramatically while rubbing the back of his head, “I had been secretly hoping that you would.” It was Bai Yu’s turn to sigh at the over dramatic response. He pretended to punch his arm in retaliation which finally got Zhu Yilong to stop.
“You have got your career path all wrong Long-ge.” Bai Yu said as he casually slung his arm around Zhu Yilong’s broad shoulders on their way out. He was sure that Zhu Yilong was rolling his eyes out of sight but nothing could dampen his mood, not after they had managed to nail the lift. But he wasn’t leaving Zhu Yilong alone till they accomplished the lift he had been eyeing for a while and it was only a matter of time before he would get to pester him again.
Lombardia Trophy, Italy
“Ladies and Gentlemen, our World Champion from China, Zhu Yilong!”
Bai Yu watched Zhu Yilong skate with intense concentration, his eyes darting around the screen to take note of his moves and scores for the elements used.
Zhu Yilong landed the Triple Axel, Euler and Triple Salchow combo as Bai Yu watched his fluid movements in awe. Long-ge wasn't a big fan of over saturating his routines with the jumps but it always awed him to watch it up close. This nostalgic feeling, it took him back to the time he had first seen it as a kid, immediately wanting to start on his jumps when he wasn’t even ready for it.
Years had passed since then and both of them had honed in on their skills to the best of their ability yet Bai Yu couldn’t achieve the level of artistic touch that Zhu Yilong had managed to achieve but he was fine with it. He preferred watching Long-ge doing his magic anyway because his strengths had led him in a different direction.
“The Ice Prince is really no joke.” And of course no competition was ever complete without the squeals from Zhu Yilong fanclub.
“What were you expecting huh? He got that title after he rose up in ranks!” The voice lowered a little but Bai Yu could hear it clearly if he strained his ears a little. “Truly deserving of the title ‘Ice Prince’ because he really looks like a prince.” The voices broke out in a fit of giggle.
“I know right!” The giggles and comments continued, distracting Bai Yu every now and then from watching Zhu Yilong’s skating program. There was something that really bothered him. Something about those comments, that rubbed him the wrong way.
He tried to focus on Zhu Yilong again.
Zhu Yilong ended his program with a bracket and a small smile on his face, bowing to the audience before making his way out.
He watched Zhu Yilong as he waited for his scores with their coach in the Kiss and Cry area.
“Zhu Yilong has scored 209.79 points for his free program, currently making him the first place!” Zhu Yilong clapped at the result with the same professional smile on his face seemingly distant from everything around him. His coach congratulated him with a handshake which transitioned into one armed-hug and then resumed clapping again.
“Tsk, he seems really cold, like the ice.” came the hushed voices from behind him again.
Ah. He now understood what had been bothering him all this while.
When Zhu Yilong returned to the waiting room, he congratulated him with a quick hug and a wide grin. Zhu Yilong didn’t say anything but his eyes sparkled happily.
“Aiyo Long-ge! You are really not letting me win this right?”
“I did score higher in the Short program but then you really covered the difference in Free skating, I was this close, you know?” Bai Yu pouted at Zhu Yilong.
“It was a small difference Xiao-Bai and nope not a chance.” Zhu Yilong replied as they sat down on the chairs taking a breather now that they had finished up their programs. “Where is the fun, if I let you do that huh? Didn’t you say you are going to beat me this time?”
Bai Yu pouted and blinked up at Zhu Yilong, “Tch. You are really too serious eh.”
“Is this a joke?” Zhu Yilong countered with innocent eyes of his own. Bai Yu burst out laughing and Zhu Yilong leaned back with a pleased smile on his face. “Loosen up sometimes Long-ge.”
“And do what?” Zhu Yilong eyed him in disdain.
“I don’t know? How about doing something new?” Bai Yu tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Something seems to be lacking...what was it again? Ah yes the sex appeal...”
Bai Yu chuckled loudly again apologizing to Zhu Yilong the next moment who had his jaws dropped. “I was just kidding ai. It just seemed very out of character for you and it was the first thing that struck me. But I didn’t mean any harm, I am sorry. I am sorry.”
“In my defense you always play it too safe, don’t you think?” Bai Yu tried to state it as gently as he could.
Zhu Yilong appeared half dazed and half disgruntled at yet another wild suggestion from Bai Yu, “So you think I am incapable of doing sexy?”
“Why are you so serious, oh my god it was just a joke.” Bai Yu cleared his throat again trying to cover up his slip up before Long-ge could dig deeper into something he had yet to fathom. “It’s just something I blurted out to mess with you, you don’t really have to do it.”
Zhu Yilong signalled him to stop, “Even if it was a joke, it must be grounded in reality isn’t it?”
Bai Yu flinched internally at the serious tone, he had really outdone himself with his stupid jokes this time but it broke his heart to know that obliviousness was only a mask, Zhu Yilong had been equally aware of the gossips, if not more. He was starting to feel a little ashamed of himself.
“I am sorry.” Bai Yu mumbled out quietly.
“You will be Xiao-Bai, when I prove you wrong.” Bai Yu looked up in shock, hearing the light tone despite the heavy turn their conversation had taken.
“Is that a challenge?”
“You bet it is.” Zhu Yilong’s eyes twinkled with mischief when he said that and probably just probably, Bai Yu suspected that this wasn’t going to make his life any easier.
Bai Yu held out his hand, “Then see you at the Grand Prix Finals?”
Zhu Yilong took it with newfound confidence "Try to make it there safely."
Figure Skating was fun when he could directly compete against his Long-ge even if it meant winning the Grand Prix to get there. It would be worth it after all.
Bai Yu watched a sweaty Zhu Yilong make his way over seemingly out of breath.
“Don’t say-” Both of them began at the same time and burst out in laughter.
“So which lift was it?” Zhu Yilong got straight to the point, probably because they had the rink only for a limited time.
Bai Yu couldn’t resist thumping his back with a leering grin, “You have really gotten invested in this haven’t you?” Zhu Yilong clenched his jaws and raised his finger to point at Bai Yu, “You-”
“Don’t deny it Long-ge. You are having fun aren’t you?” Zhu Yilong scoffed and looked away, “How about doing the lifts on your own?” Zhu Yilong gave him a sarcastic smile and made a show of leaving when Bai Yu caught his elbow and accidentally manhandled him towards himself. Bai Yu didn’t know if he should laugh at how cliché this seemed or cry at the fact that this was a cliché he had only ever encountered in movies assuming that this was only a staple for korean dramas and had little basis in reality.
Zhu Yilong had wide guileless eyes- was the first and the most prominent thought in his head. They gave a soft touch to his face which was angular and consisted of high cheekbones especially those ridiculously long eyelashes. These features combined in the most aesthetically pleasing way that had a perfect balance of everything to give him an overall innocent and youthful appearance. He had come across a lot of photos on weibo that were zoomed in on his eyelashes. Many of which were laced with equal parts appreciation and equal parts envy.
“Is there something on my face?” Zhu Yilong tilted his head in a question like he was used to doing in his interviews and Bai Yu’s heart gave a jolt seeing it up close.
“No…” Bai Yu immediately snapped out of his daze and let Zhu Yilong go. “No. There isn’t” Bai Yu didn’t realize his hands were clenched till he tried to retrieve his phone.
“Come here, Long-ge.” Bai Yu waved his phone and gestured to Zhu Yilong to come closer.
Zhu Yilong blinked once, twice and then opened his mouth to speak and closed it again after the video ended.
“You really wanted to be lifted high.” Zhu Yilong sighed out.
“And who said it’s going to be me?’ Bai Yu said in mock offense.
Zhu Yilong gestured for them to go off ice. “Don’t you think you are too ambitious for someone who can’t even do a group 1 lift.”
“You are too smug for someone who can only do that!” Bai Yu wagged his finger accusatory. “Why do you get to do everything? It’s unfair!”
“Fine! Since we are back to this, both of us should give it a shot.”
Bai Yu was instantly in the position to do the lift which aroused more sighs from Zhu Yilong.
Zhu Yilong was supposed to sit on his thigh so that Bai Yu could switch the grip from his hand to his waist before actually lifting Zhu Yilong in the air.
Bai Yu held onto Zhu Yilong’s hand and flinched at how cold they were. “On my count of 3, you are supposed to sit on my thigh…” Bai Yu trailed off hesitantly finding the description weird and strangely suggestive. He noticed Zhu Yilong’s ears turning red but his face remained unreadable. Bai Yu decided to shrug it off for the sake of greater good. “And then I will do the rest but don’t forget to balance yourself using my shoulder okay!”
Zhu Yilong seemed like he would retort but his face smoothed out again. “Let’s just do it in parts and we will get to lifting later?” Zhu Yilong nodded wordlessly at his suggestion. “3...2...1”
Zhu Yilong made a jump but Bai Yu’s knees ended up buckling too much from the weight. “Don’t put in all of your weight Long-ge, this needs to be quick and agile okay?”
They tried again with little more success but Bai Yu was still unable to maintain balance to switch grips. Bai Yu felt a little hesitant putting his hand on Zhu Yilong’s waist, let alone gripping it enough to lift him up high. Zhu Yilong remained quiet throughout this session, adding inputs wherever necessary, obviously ignoring the elephant in the room.
Zhu Yilong took off his jacket and took his position unaware of a certain gaze following him. And Bai Yu was overloaded with visual information about how the black t-shirt stretched across his frame and he gulped nervously, an unknown feeling buzzing in his veins which he chose not to dwell on. It wasn’t wrong to be occasionally reminded about how attractive Zhu Yilong was. Friends appreciated each other...right?
Did friends want to hold each other not let go? He found Zhu Yilong’s warmth in this cold rink to be incredibly addictive but there was no explanation for his hands wanting to drift away from their spot on his waist and roam all over- Bai Yu took a deep breath and exhaled his unnecessary thoughts out.
Both of them resolutely avoided eye contact like they had an unspoken agreement between themselves. However, it wasn’t helping them in their endeavours and he decided to take the matters in his own hands. “Long-ge, look at me?” Bai Yu spoke softly to get his gege’s attention but at the same time he didn’t want to scare him away. Bai Yu’s heart thudded when Long-ge directed the warmth of his beautiful eyes towards him, “You need to trust me and for that please look at me.” Zhu Yilong seemed dazed from that moment onwards as he did not reply.
Bai Yu finally managed to switch his grip in time and lift Long-ge in one quick move, who hastily gripped his shoulder with wide eyes vaguely accomplishing the star lift.
Bai Yu put Zhu Yilong down gently and thumped his shoulder, hard. Zhu Yilong finally woke up from his daze but he was still staring at Bai Yu with wide eyes so Bai Yu punched his arm jokingly, “Are you that shocked that I could lift you up huh?”
Bai Yu punched his arm again when Zhu Yilong nodded a little too enthusiastically, “Hey I am not that weak!” Zhu Yilong shrugged but this time he was grinning widely.
“Don’t start sulking now! We finally did it! You should be celebrating your victory and... your strength.”
“Hey I noticed that pause and your insincerity! You take that back!”
“And you are the one who calls me childish.” It seemed counterproductive when Bai Yu was the one muttering sullenly
Zhu Yilong grimaced and rolled his eyes, “Sure Xiao-Bai if that helps you sleep at night.” Zhu Yilong patted his back– more like thumping him there with enough force to make him stumble and for once Bai Yu wanted to scream at how insufferable this man was. He didn’t have to see the cheshire grin on Zhu Yilong’s face to know it was there.
Grand Prix Finals, Nagoya
Zhu Yilong skated out on the rink and Bai Yu closed his eyes momentarily, no no no, this wasn’t happening, Long-ge couldn’t be wearing such a low cut costume- no he couldn’t be serious...Shit! Their challenge was happening for real and this was only the beginning. He was thankful that deep V narrowed into a slit held together by the mercy of laces.
Despite his inner ramblings Bai Yu had to congratulate Long-ge for choosing the costume that really brought out his best features for it was an all black costume with silver details and glitter around the V of his neck, making it contrast beautifully with his skin but at the same time it gave an illusion of a sleek panther with predatory eyes and graceful movements.
As soon as the music began Zhu Yilong changed to a different person, he looked up as if he were completely at ease with himself; relaxed but suave and charming. And gradually he began to move around the rink doing backward crossovers and then slid down across the ice in a short spin coming to a brief pause with the music. Then he resumed skating again, his expressions changing with the music completely engrossed in the slow rhythm.
Zhu Yilong then lifted his arms and arched his back in an Ina Bauer, gliding across the ice beautifully. That smile he had on his face spoke volumes about how he was really enjoying it and Bai Yu wanted to protect that smile and never let anyone disturb it; a perfect picture of serenity The camera captured one of the better angle of his face and it was then Zhu Yilong smirked and licked his lips and Bai Yu couldn’t tell if it was intentional or not because Zhu Yilong was very attractive when he was intensely focused on something and while it wasn’t his first time seeing it, it was definitely his first time witnessing it in combination with this sexy avatar.
'Get a grip! 'Bai Yu chided himself internally, he wasn't supposed to be harbouring these kind of perverse thoughts for someone who was supposed to be his best friend.
Bai Yu rubbed his face with his hands trying hard to suppress the tactile memory of holding Zhu Yilong when they had attempted the star lift. It wasn’t really working if his eyes were choosing to fixate on his curves as he bent down at a dangerous angle to execute a flawless hydroblade. In all the programs he had monitored Zhu Yilong, he had never wondered how firm that ass was.
Shit- this was really a dangerous territory almost dangerous as that hydroblade he had just finished. Bai Yu put a hand on his chest feeling his heart beat like a drum.
Zhu Yilong did a Triple Axel which still left Bai Yu in a childlike awe to watch him do the jumps- it has been his inspiration, his source of motivation to keep practicing and the reason he fell in love with skating. Long-ge was like the Morning Star in the sky, bright and immovable; the light of which guided him when he couldn't see the path ahead of him.
And of course the seemingly lazy choctaw that transitioned into a perfect flying camel spin.
Zhu Yilong was known to be many things- an angel, an ice prince and everything divine but who was this sexy devil bending his body in all the seductive ways he hadn’t ever associated with his Long-ge- wait... his ??? He choked on air- Since when was Zhu Yilong his? “When does this get over Long-ge?” Bai Yu muttered to himself.
Bai Yu had assumed he would be safe for the moment Long-ge was spinning but his brain had declared mutiny against his restraints or bounds of friendship and was spiralling into depths of wanting to know for himself if Zhu Yilong’s flexibility could put him to test in certain other areas.
He choked on air because they were only friends! Since when was he capable of such thoughts towards his childhood friend and his rival Zhu Yilong? Was this a good time to cry?
This was wrong.
The brief glimpses at his expressions were driving Bai Yu crazy, especially his amorous eyes and parted lips when he stretched his hand out towards the audience. That was a really sexy shot of him- oh no, he had lost this challenge, spectacularly.
And probably his sanity too.
He was not imagining kissing those perfect lips and he refused to admit it even to himself.
Zhu Yilong grinning breathlessly at the screen while bowing to audience seemed to be mocking his misery albeit unintentionally.
Bai Yu didn’t know what possessed him to pull Zhu Yilong to the dancefloor but probably the effect of alcohol was finally getting to his brain and he was really losing all sense of inhibitions.
But what possessed Zhu Yilong to follow along? Maybe both of them were indeed inebriated that Zhu Yilong was moreso than him since he hadn’t ever joined them on the dancefloor no matter what parties or after parties they attended. He always stayed on the sidelines, watching them from afar.
Both of them swayed to the slow music but then the music changed and the atmosphere around them got charged up. Zhu Yilong shakily placed his hand on his shoulder and that itself carried an electric charge.
Bai Yu arm came up to encircle around his neck turning him over so that Zhu Yilong’s back was facing Bai Yu’s front and used that momentum to pull him closer, impossibly close that there wasn’t even an inch of distance between them. Bai Yu felt his pulse thrum harder when Zhu Yilong let Bai Yu manhandle him so easily as if he were an extension of Bai Yu’s limbs; so pliant and so warm. Bai Yu’s line of vision was filled with the alluring sight of Zhu Yilong’s exposed nape and he found himself unable to stay away from anything that was his Long-ge.
Zhu Yilong put his head on Bai Yu’s shoulders and tightened Bai Yu’s hold around his waist, he shuffled a little but he looked like he was home right in Bai Yu’s arms with his eyes closed and a smile on his face. Bai Yu chased that smile with his own lips but he was a little too drunk so he ended up kissing the corner of his lips but he didn’t stop there, he continued to trail kisses on his jaw and neck, leaving a mark on his clavicle.
Zhu Yilong let out a small sound with a happy sigh and his hand came up to cradle Bai Yu’s head in encouragement, moving his ass deliberately against Bai Yu’s crotch. There were pin pricks of electricity wherever they touched and the sensation was too addicting to let go.
He didn’t want this to stop.
He couldn’t bring himself to stop.
Bai Yu’s hand was trailing all over Zhu Yilong’s torso, one of his hands coming to rest on his toned abdomen under the layers of clothes he wore, and Zhu Yilong rewarded him with another hip roll with an approving hum. His other hand was resting on Zhu Yilong’s delectable butt, shamelessly groping it wherever Zhu Yilong grinded down against him.
By now they were full on grinding on each other but neither of them cared. It felt way too good. Especially leaving his marks on Zhu Yilong’s fair skin. His brain might be too muddled with alcohol but even then it was way too sure that his beard would leave a unique mark on his neck and that thought incited a deeper kind of desire in him. Zhu Yilong opened his eyes and was looking at him despite his hazy focus.
He blinked slowly and his smile grew, but this seemed different, he couldn’t tell why or how but it had a different effect on him. In his mind’s eyes, he saw it as sweet but a seductive smile because it was beckoning Bai Yu to get closer and taste it for himself, unleash all of his restraint and take whatever he desired. And an odd thought struck him: If Zhu Yilong continued to look at him like that with his beautiful eyes, he wouldn’t be able to refuse him anything- absolutely nothing.
‘There was nothing he would refuse… There was nothing-
And that was also the thought that caused him to sober up instantly.
It was getting incredibly dangerous if he wasn’t going to refuse his Long-ge even when they were so out of it that they couldn’t think straight or decide the consequences of where all of this was actually heading.
And a one-night stand was a term that cut through all the feelings that were beginning to bubble up and take the shape of something that he was finally coming to recognize. He would rather keep the feelings than to go ahead and take up the knife and destroy whatever they had.
Bai Yu instantly put some distance between both of them and led a confused Zhu Yilong out of the night club. He was sober enough to lead them back to the hotel and hailed a cab for them. Zhu Yilong was leaning on him but there was a sad smile on his face that Bai Yu failed to see.
Bai Yu rubbed his face with a sigh as Zhu Yilong snoozed on the bed through all of his inner turmoil.
He had not only lost the challenge but probably his friendship too.
He leaned down to take one last look at Zhu Yilong's face, a hopeless sort of desperation to memorise his face before he– why did it have to come to this? He resisted the urge to kiss him so he kissed his forehead before leaving.
'The first lesson in figure skating is always learning to fall. '
Maybe there it should be a lesson taught in reality as well.
Century Star Club Rink, China
Learning to fall… falling...fallen…
Bai Yu just hoped miserably that he didn’t actually end up falling on ice. Inner turmoils were no excuse to miss the practices. He had finished warming up and was about to start his jump practices but somehow there was a growing sense of unease- the strange restless feeling was back and it was more intense than ever.
He tried to go for his best jump, The Quad Lutz but he ended up spinning only once in the air and landing on the ice very shakily. He skated around for a while doing choctaws and mohawks and attempted to do the Quad Lutz again, however he didn’t take off correctly and it was a shaky Double Loop instead.
“Okay...Since we can’t aim high, let’s do something else.” Bai Yu closed his eyes and attempted to do A Double Axel which he was able to land perfectly and he let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He did it again and he was very relieved to know that despite his shaky start he was not a lost case yet.
He was about to scale up to Triple Axel when he was bombarded with images of Zhu Yilong’s sleek figure doing the jump at The Grand Prix Finals- so, so- mesmerizing... and Bai Yu stood blankly at the skating rink lost in his thoughts of Long-ge and his skating but this time it was for reasons he didn’t want to acknowledge. Bai Yu squatted down onto the ice, rubbing his face tiredly.
He had lost the inner zen he felt when he did his jumps and was replaced by unnamed longing instead.
“Is this the right time to retire huh?” He wondered out aloud.
Unbeknownst to him, Zhu Yilong had been observing his ups and downs from the sidelines and retreated quietly when Bai Yu mentioned retirement.
Bai Yu had lost track of time and it was almost nighttime when Zhu Yilong showed up on ice, skating beside him wordlessly.
“Oh Long-ge...You are here already…” Bai Yu flinched at the narrowed eyes he got in response.
“Did you forget? We never did the Star lift on ice and I assumed it was an unspoken agreement ro help you achieve your dream.
Bai Yu had completely forgotten about the Star lift himself and he was shocked that Long-ge had willingly shown up just to finish what they had started. He had expected Zhu Yilong would forget about it entirely and would not show up unless prompted by his text.
“Uh...Long-ge I’m sorry that I forgot-”
Zhu Yilong had finished warming up on the ice and unzipped his jacket with a little more force than needed and flung it off the rink.
“I didn’t.” Was his clipped reply.
Bai Yu didn’t want to admit he had been following that action rather closely. He sighed in misery knowing very well that the Star Lift was a test of patience he was sure to fail if he wasn’t able to keep himself in check when Zhu Yilong did mundane things like taking off his jacket.
“Long-ge? I’m really very sorry but I feel really tired right now, how about we go home instead? It’s getting late…”
A chasm of silence began to stretch between them.
Zhu Yilong finally looked up but he didn’t make proper eye contact when he nodded his head. “Yes. Home.”
Bai Yu couldn’t see his face clearly when Zhu Yilong retrieved his jacket and put it on himself leaving it unzipped. Then he took a pause and retraced his steps back to Bai Yu, “Go home, Xiao-Bai–” Bai Yu shuddered at the endearment and some part of him craved to hear more of Zhu Yilong’s deep voice calling him just that. “I will stay here to practice some more.”
Bai Yu noticed how clipped his sentences had become and how awkward their conversations had become. What pierced Bai Yu was that Zhu Yilong mentioned nothing about going home anytime soon. He had fucked up big time with his feelings that had been snowballing since god-knows-when.
“Make sure you go home after your practice Long-ge.”
“I will.” Came the instant answer- too fast and he knew that Zhu Yilong was going to stay till he had exhausted himself completely.
“Are you sure?” Bai Yu leaned into his space, trying to ensure that his Long-ge would be alright but he was determined to not return his stare, when Bai Yu kept waiting for an answer he finally looked at him, seeming as drained as Bai Yu felt after spending his day at the skating rink.
“Don’t worry Xiao-Bai, I will ask my manager to pick me up and you can check with him later. Please be careful on your way home and don’t go to sleep hungry.”
Bai Yu wanted to break down crying right in that moment because Zhu Yilong never failed to be considerate. His care and concern were so palpable in that moment that anyone who knew him well would fall for his sweet charms (if they had somehow managed to bypass his gorgeous face that is.)
It was unfair...unacceptable...unmerciful of Zhu Yilong to make him fall for him so irrevocably and in all the ways he could. A point of no return.
If Bai Yu were to comment on Zhu Yilong’s skating that night as he took one last look before he left, it could be summarised in one word: Melancholic.
The following days, Bai Yu had developed a skill for avoiding Zhu Yilong despite the practices with the National Team.
He couldn’t look at his Long-ge the same way anymore and that thought drove him up the wall– this awkwardness, the silences– it was worse than the time they had first met on the rink and had been officially introduced to each other.
There were times he caught Zhu Yilong staring at him from the sidelines as if there were things he wanted to say...things left unsaid between them.
Bai Yu scoffed at the hopeless romantic within himself. What was there to say after that nightclub incident? It was perhaps for the best that Zhu Yilong was letting the unspoken words hang in the air, and even better if he had forgotten all of it. The last thing he wanted Long-ge to remember that Bai Yu had taken advantage of his drunken self– something he hadn't forgiven himself for. Yet.
Zhu Yilong tried to approach him almost daily but Bai Yu could sense his presence from a distance and had managed to dodge him before he got closer. And then Zhu Yilong would leave him alone for the rest of the day, practicing quietly by himself.
The Team had noticed the sudden tension between both of them and were avoiding getting caught in the crossfire accidentally. Bai Yu had noticed several of his teammates glare at him or shake their heads in disapproval. Even their coach had asked Bai Yu to take a day off if he was going to be a hazard to himself and to others.
He wanted to wrench his traitorous heart out that thudded so loudly that he was afraid Zhu Yilong would hear it if he got any closer and throw it away into the ocean so he wouldn’t have these thoughts anymore and he could return to trolling his Long-ge again.The rebellious side of him whispered like a devil- what if he could wrench his heart out and give it to Zhu Yilong instead? Bai Yu closed his eyes at the imaginary rejection if he did that in reality.
He glanced at Zhu Yilong’s unreadable face and sighed, he should really do something before Zhu Yilong had finished retreating into his shell completely.
Bai Yu had been about to take off for the jump when he noticed stray drops of blood on the ice, a piercing contrast that brought his heart to a stop and he immediately whipped around to see Zhu Yilong hunched over holding his face, cradling it gently.
His restarted heart almost made him dizzy with the emotions, he spotted Fei Hong off the rink and yelled in her direction as he skated over to where Zhu Yilong was.
"Get the tissues! Fast!"
It instantly got everyone's attention who rushed over as soon as they could manage but Bai Yu was already beside Zhu Yilong helping him off the rink so he could sit.
He got on his knees and struggled with taking off his gloves in his haste. He kneeled in front of Zhu Yilong and helped him wipe the blood despite his refusal to move his hand which was already bloody. "Give him some room everyone!"
Zhu Yilong pinched his nose and breathed through his mouth while leaning forward and then thanked Bai Yu in his nasally voice.
That polite gratitude had Bai Yu's head reeling with so many emotions that he lost control of himself, "What have you been doing that you have gotten like this? Do you even take care of yourself? You weren't careless like this before!" The worries came pouring forth like a broken dam.
Zhu Yilong finally took his hand off his nose to return the glare with equal vehemence, "Since when do you care so much."
Bai Yu stood there in shock, his mind experiencing a shut-down and the rest of the team backed away visibly, noticing the tense conversation. Bai Yu nodded blankly trying to keep himself together and then took his jacket and stomped off the rink without sparing a single glance.
He knew what had prompted such harsh words from Zhu Yilong. He had no right to be hurt and had no rights to cry. It was his fault after all. Everything that had gone wrong so far had been his fault and yet Zhu Yilong had accepted it all and suffered silently on the side, giving him time and space. And the worst thing was that he was sure he didn't deserve any of it, not after that incident .
His feelings were at fault.
Bai Yu assumed that Zhu Yilong would definitely not show up today so he just sat back on the bench by the side of the rink and wondered, was it really that after-party at the nightclub that had changed their relationship so drastically? Nah… he recalled that strange buzz he had felt when they had been practicing the Star Lift… so he had these feelings since then?
Ah… the right answer was not amongst any of these events but the fact he had grown into his feelings for his best friend and rival and it had actually begun from the day when he wanted to mess with Zhu Yilong when they had been teens.
What had started off as a childish entertainment had actually kickstarted their friendship and back then it had only been fun games to see Zhu Yilong make funny different faces each time he said something stupid but now he could see why he had been so compelled to do that in first place. And it was now he was able to realize the actual depth of his feelings.
In conclusion: he was in shit deeper than the Mariana Trench.
Bai Yu’s eyes accidentally noticed a familiar figure entering the rink and it immediately turned on his fight or flight response which was still set to flight mode.
“Are you in a hurry?”
Bai Yu didn’t turn back but answered him anyway, “I just realized that I forgot to eat my dinner-”
“Oh then let’s go together.” Zhu Yilong said with mock cheeriness and Bai Yu knew Zhu Yilong was hurt by his sudden indifference but he couldn’t jeopardize what they had for the sake of his feelings, it was disrespectful to their friendship.
“Ah Long-ge, I forgot I have a meeting with the choreographer so maybe I will just go home and sleep early.”
“You must be getting old Xiao-Bai, you are forgetting a lot of things today.” Zhu Yilong caught up to him and stood close to him. Very close.
“Just like how you have forgotten our friendship.” Those words— they might as well have been an icicle slicing through him. The remark was scathing but the effect was rather mitigated by his red eyes and downturned lips. Bai Yu forgot everything and ended up looking at him straight in the eye.
Zhu Yilong brought their foreheads together, “Are you unwell? But it seems like you don’t have a fever…” Zhu Yilong mused to himself slowly and Bai Yu felt his face get hot and heart threatening to burst at the complete lack of proximity. Everywhere Bai Yu turned his gaze to, it was only filled with Zhu Yilong.
He was vaguely aware of Zhu Yilong’s eyes darting all over his face observing him closely and he ripped himself out of Zhu Yilong’s gentle grip.
“Please Long-ge...Please don’t stand so close to me- I-I-” Bai Yu stuttered when faced with the eyes again.
“You what?” Zhu Yilong asked him.
“If you will stand so close to me, I will…” Bai Yu began in a high pitch and then stumbled around for words, “I will kiss you!” Bai Yu didn’t know if he really left his sanity back in Nagoya at the Grand Prix finals or if this was fuelled by his overflowing feelings. Either way he hoped that it shocked Zhu Yilong enough to keep his distance.
What he got was an equally unexpected reply, “And what if I stand away from you?” Zhu Yilong really took a few steps back at that and Bai Yu looked away, hastily trying to glue the pieces of his splintered heart after the indirect rejection.
“I think you misunderstood my question.” Zhu Yilong sounded weirdly amused and Bai Yu didn’t know what he was supposed to feel. “I asked, If I stand away from you, would you still want to kiss me?”
Okay he was really confused here so he had to face Zhu Yilong and what Bai Yu saw on his face left him speechless. Zhu Yilong’s eyes were twinkling with mirth and the corners of his lips were upturned in a half-smile and half-smirk that only he could pull off so attractively without making it overbearing.
“Long-ge!” Bai Yu cried out and began to hit his arm with as much force as he could put in his punches. “I can’t believe you are making fun of me like this! I hate you so much right now! I hate you!” Zhu Yilong swiftly caught his fist in his own, caressing the back of his hand with his thumb and pulled him close to peck him on his cheek.
“You are really so cute Xiao-Bai.” Zhu Yilong’s eyes crinkled up cutely when he smiled and that drove him off the edge and he willingly took the plunge. He used their joined hands to reel in Zhu Yilong for an actual kiss.
Bai Yu felt incredibly smug when Zhu Yilong yelped and had his eyes wide open when Bai Yu kissed him but he melted into their kiss soon enough, returning his kiss with equal enthusiasm, his lips so soft and so sweet that Bai Yu could keep kissing him forever. However he decided to keep it chaste for sanity purposes lest he did something really unexpected in a public place with how his thoughts had been spiralling as of late.
They broke apart with identical grins on their faces.
“You are the worst you know!”
“I know.” Zhu Yilong didn’t seem perturbed.
“You trolled me in the middle of my confession!” Bai Yu exclaimed with mock despair and that was enough dramatics to prompt the infamous eye roll from Zhu Yilong. “You weren’t getting anywhere with your confession if not for my trolling.”
And they continued arguing as they made their way out, holding hands and smiling through it all. "Am I the 'Ice Princess' now?" It satisfied Bai Yu to see the calm Long-ge sputter indignantly and get flustered with a blush and everything.
"Long-ge that night...at the club…" Bai Yu fiddled with his jacket, unsure of how to approach this. But he knew that it was time to finally face the music.
Zhu Yilong paused for a second and then continued, "Yes, what about it?"
"Do you– Do you remember any of it?"
Zhu Yilong nodded after another pause. "Then why didn't you say anything?" Bai Yu realized the stupidity of his statement after it left his mouth. He never even gave Zhu Yilong any chance to talk to him let alone an incident like that. Bai Yu looked away feeling tears welling up in his eyes, all the pain and all the days spent worrying about losing Zhu Yilong and his friendship threatened to spill out right in that moment.
"Aiyo- you are still the same crybaby." Zhu Yilong might be teasing him but there was an edge of concern in his voice that made him tremble harder. And Zhu Yilong was still not the best at comforting him with words but he had pulled him into a warm comforting hug and that was the only thing he needed from his Long-ge in that moment.
Stars On Ice, Japan
Zhu Yilong and Bai Yu skated out together doing a brief warm up before they could officially begin.
Bai Yu felt peaceful skating beside Zhu Yilong, performing the same jumps and doing the same spins. It felt surreal to be doing this together, holding hands doing the thing both of them loved. He had never imagined that the lifts he had practiced as a random joke would have such a wonderful end. And they had included both the lifts performed as they had practiced it on those stolen nights at the rink.
Zhu Yilong smiled at him wide and carefree when he turned around and skated backwards to do the Star Lift and Bai Yu felt drawn to him and his eyes never strayed away from him the entire duration of the lift; almost forgetting their next step.
‘We’re like diamonds in the sky~’
They stretched their hands out towards each other and Zhu Yilong smiled shyly his ears turning red when Bai Yu held his hand and drew him closer in his embrace.
Bai Yu held onto his hand, gripping it gently, using the momentum from the jump to be lifted by Zhu Yilong, the excitement making him giddy with all sorts of feelings. Zhu Yilong's smile was so beautiful, so bright the rest of the world faded away from around him.
He had always believed his first love was Figure Skating however there was a small correction to be made: His first love was the guy who made him fall in love with Figure Skating.
The skaters held a small celebration involving ice cream after the program had ended and they just met up casually before leaving for their respective countries.
There was something odd about the way Zhu Yilong was eating his ice cream. Bai Yu squinted for a while and he got it!– he was using a spoon! The last time they had met up for ice cream, he was one hundred percent sure that Zhu Yilong hadn't bothered with a spoon and was eating rather messily– oh.
Zhu Yilong had been trolling him for much longer than he had anticipated.
Long-ge gave him a knowing smirk when their eyes met and Bai Yu's entire face turned red.