Guo Guang turns off the light and lies back, his hands behind his head. He hears Da Shi's breathing change. He hears Ju Wan snore and mutter. Guo Guang waits, not moving, taking long slow breaths.
The bed begins to shake. Guo Guang stares up into the dark and listens to Hai Tang's rough breathing. He wonders if Hai Tang keeps his eyes open, but no, he would squeeze them closed, seeing whatever he thinks about every night.
The bunk shakes faster, the blankets rustle. Guo Guang holds his breath until Hai Tang chokes, sighs, rolls over.
When everything is still, Guo Guang closes his eyes and grabs his dick, stroking as fast as he dares, thinking about Hai Tang's hand instead of his own.
When he's done, he wipes his hand on a tissue.
"What's for supper?" Hai Tang pushes Zhen Zhi through the door.
Zhen Zhi smiles. "Does it matter as long as there's enough?"
"Don't answer a question with a question!" Hai Tang grabs Zhen Zhi's shoulder, then squirms past him into the house.
There's more than enough. Zhen Zhi's mother fusses over them: are they doing their homework, are they working hard at tennis, is Hai Tang okay living in the dormitory with no one to look after him.
After supper, she leaves to go drink with a neighbour. "We should do our homework," Zhen Zhi says.
"Come on." Hai Tang yanks Zhen Zhi from the table, drags him into the bedroom, throws him down on the bed. He crawls on top and kisses Zhen Zhi, pushing Zhen Zhi's glasses into his face. "Wait," Zhen Zhi says and takes them off.
"Come on." Hai Tang pulls off his shirt, pulls at Zhen Zhi's shirt, puts his tongue in Zhen Zhi's mouth. Zhen Zhi can't stop him, isn't sure he's ever tried to stop him. "Come on," Hai Tang says again and again, until they're naked and fucking precariously on the narrow bed. Hai Tang is loud and Zhen Zhi can't reach to put his hand over Hai Tang's mouth. So he hurries instead and tells himself that next time, next time for sure, he'll turn the radio on before they start.
Afterwards, Hai Tang curls his body inside the curve of Zhen Zhi's, tucking Zhen Zhi's arm around him. His back and thighs are warm and damp and Zhen Zhi presses his face into the spikes of Hai Tang's hair for far too long.
A siren goes by in the street outside. "Come on," Zhen Zhi says. "I have to change the sheets."
"I have to talk to you," Zhen Zhi says to Guo Guang. The dorm room is full, the boys are studying and playing games and Cheng Wu is hanging around for no good reason at all.
Guo Guang moves over so Zhen Zhi can sit down. "It's about the first-year practices," Zhen Zhi says. Guo Guang nods and follows Zhen Zhi's finger over the page. Zhen Zhi outlines the issues, they make a plan, talking low under Ju Wan and Hai Tang sniping at each other in the top half of the room.
"When do you get your homework done?" Guo Guang says. "You shouldn't spend so much time on this."
"There's plenty of time," Zhen Zhi says. He looks up at Hai Tang's bunk. Hai Tang rolls over onto his stomach, chews on his pen. He looks up and Zhen Zhi gives him a smile.
Guo Guang turns his head. "I have to get back to work."
"I should go." Zhen Zhi takes his things. Hai Tang climbs down, hooks his arm around Zhen Zhi's neck.
"I'll walk out with you."
Halfway down the hall, Hai Tang bumps his hip against Zhen Zhi. "Can I come over again this weekend?"
When Guo Guang gets back from class, Hai Tang is sleeping in Guo Guang's bunk. His mouth is open, he's drooling on the pillow. His arm is thrown back over his head.
Guo Guang stands there. After a few minutes, Hai Tang's eyes open. Guo Guang doesn't move. Hai Tang doesn't move. Guo Guang wants to say something. He feels his heart beating. He feels his lungs ache.
Hai Tang rolls over. "Your bed is more comfortable." He's curled up on his side, knees drawn up. There's space behind him on the bed.
Guo Guang puts his books down on the table. "Practice is in half an hour."
"Hit with me," Guo Guang says. Zhen Zhi picks up his bag and they walk to the indoor courts. They stretch together, swing their racquets. "Will you check my form?"
They volley. "Your rhythm is off," Zhen Zhi says. "Is it your shoulder?"
"Maybe," Guo Guang says. "How can I take the pressure off?"
Zhen Zhi puts his hands around the joint. Guo Guang's muscles are stiff, his eyes look tired. "You should see a doctor again."
Guo Guang rotates his arm, then puts it around Zhen Zhi's shoulders. "We're good friends," he says.
"Yes," Zhen Zhi says. "We are."
It's dark and the bed is shaking. Guo Guang reaches up and touches the bottom of Hai Tang's bunk, keeps his hand there until Hai Tang comes.
He doesn't jerk off afterwards, just keeps his hand in the air until his arm is aching. He goes down to the toilets, blinking at the lights in the hall. He stands at the sinks, staring at his face in the mirror, a little blurry without his glasses.
He's still half-hard. And there's something else gathering inside of him, a punch or a scream. He doesn't know how long he can keep choking it down.
He splashes cold water on his face. Behind him, in the mirror, the door opens. Hai Tang, in boxers and a t-shirt. "I couldn't sleep," he says.
Guo Guang doesn't turn around. Hai Tang comes up beside him, leans on his arm. Guo Guang grips the counter top. "Go back to bed."
"Come on." Hai Tang pulls at Guo Guang, and Guo Guang lets himself be pulled, lets himself be shoved into a toilet stall.
Hai Tang doesn't stop. You always have to tell him twice before he'll listen. He pulls down Guo Guang's boxers, wraps his hand around Guo Guang's dick.
It's a shock, Hai Tang's cold fingers, Guo Guang's burning skin. "Hai Tang..." You have to tell him twice.
Hai Tang slides down, takes Guo Guang in his mouth and Guo Guang can't tell Hai Tang to stop, can't even worry about getting caught. He can only clutch and gasp and come.
When he's done, Hai Tang spits in the toilet and wipes his mouth on the bottom of his shirt. He grabs Guo Guang around the neck. "Good night," he says into Guo Guang's ear. He leaves.
Guo Guang sits on the bathroom floor for an hour before he goes back to bed.
When Zhen Zhi opens the door, Hai Tang is standing there. "I wasn't expecting you tonight."
"I know." Hai Tang waits outside until Zhen Zhi moves aside to let him in.
They sit in Zhen Zhi's room, side by side on the bed. Hai Tang hunches his shoulders. He stares at the floor, clenches his hands on his knees.
Zhen Zhi watches him for a few minutes. He puts his hand on Hai Tang's back. Hai Tang knocks it away.
"Why don't you do something?"
"What do you want me to do?"
"Don't answer a question with a question." Hai Tang turns, grabs Zhen Zhi's shoulders, smashes their mouths together.
Zhen Zhi lets Hai Tang kiss him, undress him, touch him. Then Hai Tang rolls over and Zhen Zhi fucks him until they are both flushed and gasping. He doesn't even turn the radio on.
"I want to show you something." Hai Tang grabs Guo Guang's shoulder. "It's in the locker room. You have your key, right?"
Guo Guang has his key. He unlocks the door. Hai Tang spills in behind him, pushes him against his locker, and they kiss like they're putting out a fire, slamming from locker to locker, crashing from the locker to the floor. Guo Guang bangs his head on the bench and sees stars.
Hai Tang stretches out against Guo Guang, the whole wiry length of him. He's got his face against Guo Guang's shoulder, he's got his arms around Guo Guang's back. Guo Guang grabs Hai Tang's ass and they buck against each other.
Guo Guang comes in his pants. A few seconds later, Hai Tang shudders and does the same.
Hai Tang grins. He puts his hand up the back of Guo Guang's shirt, rests his forehead against Guo Guang's chest. His hair tickles Guo Guang's lip.
Guo Guang stares at Zhen Zhi's locker, at the photos pasted on it. "I need a shower," he says.
At lunch, Zhen Zhi can't catch Guo Guang's eye. Guo Guang leaves early, half his food uneaten. "I'm busy," he says.
Zhen Zhi leaves Hai Tang and Ju Wan arguing over noodles. Da Shi tries to shush them. Zhen Zhi buses his tray instead of helping.
He finds Guo Guang in the first place he looks: the locker room, sitting on a bench. Zhen Zhi sits down beside him. The room is cold, all the colours have a blue tinge.
Zhen Zhi puts his hand on Guo Guang's shoulder. He feels cold too. "It's okay."
"It's not," Guo Guang says.
"I know." Zhen Zhi wonders if everything looks blue to Guo Guang too, if it's just a trick of the light.
"What are you going to do?"
"It's up to him." Zhen Zhi looks over at Hai Tang's locker. He's got a picture of himself pasted up there, mid-shot. Zhen Zhi remembers every stroke of that game.
"Aren't you going to yell at me?" Guo Guang turns to Zhen Zhi for the first time, looks him in the eye.
"We're friends," Zhen Zhi says.
"Why did you make me run laps?" Hai Tang catches Guo Guang in the hall, bumps against his hip. The pen falls off Guo Guang's clipboard and he stoops to pick it up.
"Why did you mouth off?"
Hai Tang scowls. "Don't answer a question with a question."
Guo Guang isn't going to do this any more but he ends up at the locker room anyway, ends up with the key in his hand, with Hai Tang on top of him, beneath him, all over him.
Hai Tang is even louder, during, but afterwards he shuts his mouth and moves away, looking for something in his locker that takes a long time to find.
Guo Guang leaves him there.
Guo Guang pulls his practice shirt on over his head. "We've had an offer of a friendly from Yin Hua," he says to Zhen Zhi and Da Shi. "Do you think we should accept?"
Zhen Zhi takes out a notebook and turns to the tournament schedule. "Do we have time?"
"Don't answer a question with a question," Hai Tang yells. Guo Guang looks up just as something explodes against the locker beside his head, between him and Zhen Zhi.
"Hai Tang!" everyone yells all at once, everyone else. Chun Long and Cheng Wu jump on Hai Tang but he wrenches away.
Zhen Zhi is completely still, his finger still touching the page and his mouth half open. On the floor are shards of coloured ceramic -- a mug?
"Leave me alone," Hai Tang yells. He runs out. The boys chase after him.
"Stop," Guo Guang says and they stop. "Get ready for practice."
"Your face," Zhou Zhu says and it's only then that Guo Guang's realizes his cheek is bleeding.
Zhen Zhi finds Hai Tang in the first place he looks: on the first row of the bleachers beside the track. When Hai Tang sees Zhen Zhi, he starts clicking furiously on his PSP, staring at the screen. Zhen Zhi can see from here's it's not turned on.
Hai Tang doesn't move for a moment, even to pretend to play his game. Then he jumps up and shoves Zhen Zhi full in the chest. Zhen Zhi stumbles and Hai Tang yanks him up, shoves him again.
"Why don't you do anything?" he yells. "I know you know."
"I'm sorry." Zhen Zhi steps closer.
"Why are you apologizing?" Hai Tang grabs Zhen Zhi's shoulders, shakes him. Then he lets go, drops to the seat with his head in his hands. His shoulders heave. "Why don't you fight?"
Zhen Zhi sits, puts his arm around Hai Tang. He strokes Hai Tang's hair. "I am fighting."
"I'm sorry about your face." Hai Tang doesn't look right at Guo Guang. He doesn't say anything about cutting practice. He doesn't say anything about staying out after curfew.
Everyone else is waiting for Guo Guang to tell Hai Tang off, to tell him to grow up.
"I'm sorry too," Guo Guang says. Hai Tang nods and climbs up to his bunk. Guo Guang's phone vibrates. Sorry from Zhen Zhi.
Hai Tang's phone rings. "Friday night?" Guo Guang hears him say.
Da Shi looks over at Guo Guang. "Good night," Guo Guang says and turns to face the wall.
When the room is dark and silent, the bed starts shaking. Guo Guang stares up into the dark. After Hai Tang is done, he rolls over and starts to snore.
Guo Guang is awake all night.