“So what’s love for you?”
For Fanjie love had a wild face. Or faces. To him love was Xikan and Luo Zheng’s loud arguments that ended with them lying on the floor, gasping for air, laughing. Love was Luo Zheng’s cackle and Xikan’s enraged yelling. It was the look in Luo Zheng’s eyes before he dumped a bucket of cold water over Xikan’s head and the fury in Xikan’s face as he turned to face him, sputtering. It was the way they would chase each other on nights when it snowed, knowing they would slip and fall eventually. But that didn’t matter to them, why would it?
It was how they would pull Fanjie into their messes, pulling him by the arm and grinning ear to ear, like that one time Fanjie had finished a drink, and instead of letting Fanjie throw the can in the bin, they had spent the rest of the night kicking it around, as if it was a ball. It was snowball fights and nights they stayed up playing Mario Kart and it was the karaoke and the Pictionary and all the board games. It was their bad cooking and their messiness and it was them.
Because to Sun Fanjie, love was Li Xikan and Luo Zheng, and everything that came with them.
For Luo Zheng love was like autumn and its leaves. Love was when Xikan and Fanjie would buy takeout from the one fast food joint they had gone to since they were sixteen. It was Fanjie letting Xikan play with his hair when he was bored, grinning as he passed by the mirror seeing Xikan’s masterpiece. It was Xikan cancelling all his schedules to stay with Fanjie when he was sick and it was Xikan catching the cold as well.
It was the way they had grown up with each other, how he had seen Xikan go from the boy who stood on the sides to the star at the center of every stage. How he could vividly remember the day when Fanjie had first touched a piano - and how now the beautiful songs seemed to spill from his fingers. It was how Luo Zheng had witnessed every person they had been and how he would witness every person they would become. It was how he had loved them all.
Because to Luo Zheng, love was Sun Fanjie and Li Xikan, and every version of them he had met and every version he would meet.
For Xikan love was warm and quiet. Love was Fanjie and Luo Zheng cuddled up with each other on the couch, having fallen asleep waiting for him to get home, Fanjie’s face buried in Luo Zheng’s neck and Luo Zheng holding on tightly to his sweater. It was the smell of Fanjie’s cooking greeting him when he woke up on mornings after late nights. It was all the forehead kisses and the way they would ruffle his hair when they walked past.
It was how he felt on the early morning of August 29th, seeing Luo Zheng in the crowd from atop the podium, the surrealness of it all, the thought that Luo Zheng should be standing beside him, not in the crowd. It went back even further, to how he felt that April 5th, long ago, how Fanjie had spent the whole day holding Xikan in his arms, soothing him as he sobbed. And further still to all the days they had spent in that red practice room, how he felt when he caught their eyes in the mirror. It was how he felt whenever he looked down from a stage and found them, Luo Zheng and Fanjie holding banners cheering as loud as they could.
Because to Li Xikan, love was Luo Zheng and Sun Fanjie, and every second he spent with them.