The back of the photo had a doodle of a rabbit holding a heart.
He Zhou’s seen this rabbit before on the back of a sticky note he had left.
Unexpectedly, the rabbit that Qiu Yanzhi had once drawn for him reappeared on the back of Qin He’s photo.
The rabbit was never meant for him.
From the very start, Qiu Yanzhi only saw him as Qin He’s substitute.
So from the very start, this rabbit was only meant for Qin He.
He Zhou’s heart felt like it was being crushed by a massive weight. He looked down at the photo. He knew that he should put it back where he had found it.
But he didn’t want to.
He crumpled the paper into a ball with one hand and threw it in the trash.
Qiu Yanzhi’s unbearable pants came from the washroom.
He Zhou’s eyes drifted downward. He locked the door from the inside before slowly walking towards the bathroom.
Qiu Yanzhi was clothed only in a white shirt, his jacket and pants lying on the ground. Ice cold water ran down his body, the sight enough to make anyone shiver. He leaned back with his eyes closed in the tub, biting his lips, his slender neck reared back. The visible parts of his skin were tinged a light pink. The motions of his right hand were partially obscured by his bent leg.
He Zhou loosened his tie and took off his jacket as he slowly approached.
Qiu Yanzhi opened his eyes after hearing something. He startled after seeing He Zhou approaching, his hand pausing as well.
He gave He Zhou a somewhat panicked look. “...W-why did you suddenly come in?!”
He Zhou reached into the tub and picked up Qiu Yanzhi.
“I came to help you.”
He Zhou sealed Qiu Yanzhi’s lips with a kiss as he headed for the bedroom.
Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment before his dazed eyes widened. Then he put his arms around He Zhou’s neck and passionately returned the kiss.
Qiu Yanzhi softly called his name.
He Zhou put Qiu Yanzhi on the bed. He coldly thought as he retrieved a toy from the nightstand:
“Qin He goes by He Zhou now.”
He Zhou turned Qiu Yanzhi over so that he was now lying on his stomach.
Qiu Yanzhi, however, uncooperatively rolled back. He quietly said, "...I want to see you."
After saying that, he came over to give He Zhou another kiss.
“Is it me you want to see, or Qin He?” He Zhou suddenly spoke.
Qiu Yanzhi was taken aback.
A single sentence seemed to let out all the resentment He Zhou was bottling up inside. His tone immediately lightened up.
“Qiu Yanzhi, am I able to better satisfy you now that I’m in Qin He’s body?”
Qiu Yanzhi blanched. He slapped He Zhou across the face.
He Zhou didn’t even move as he took the slap.
Qiu Yanzhi’s blow didn’t have much force behind it, but he was left shaking afterwards in fury.
“--He Zhou, just what do you take me for?!”
He Zhou silently regarded him. “You’ll always be you. But you can pretend I’m Qin He. I don’t mind.”
“Why would I pretend you’re Qin He??” Qiu Yanzhi felt like He Zhou had a screw or two loose.
"Haven't you always thought of me as Qin He?" He Zhou retorted, "Aren't you with me because I look just like him?"
Qiu Yanzhi stared at He Zhou. He opened his mouth but no words came out.
He Zhou closed his eyes for a second before quirking his lips. He said almost self-deprecatingly, “It’s fine. I’m willing to be Qin He’s substitute. I won’t leave as long as you still have use for me.”
Qiu Yanzhi grit his teeth and started relentlessly kicking He Zhou in the calf. With red-rimmed eyes, he hoarsely yelled, "He Zhou, are you a fucking idiot? I obviously like you a lot!”
He Zhou froze.
"I like you so fucking much!" Qiu Yanzhi suddenly started crying so hard he couldn’t catch his breath. He wiped his face with his hand to no avail as he said with a hiccup in his voice, “This...this is my first...first time liking someone so much...but you dare to say I’m using you as a substitute? Do you want to give me an aneurysm…?”
He Zhou somewhat helplessly went to wipe away his tears. “You...you really like me…?”
Qiu Yanzhi couldn’t stop crying. “Who else...would I like? Yes, I’ll admit I might’ve had feelings for Qin He as a kid, but how could I still like what he’s become?! I almost fucking kidnapped him for your sake, but you acutally thought I was using you as a substitute… He Zhou, how could you, ah!”
"...Then, then why do you have a picture of Qin He in your phone case?"
Qiu Yanzhi looked at He Zhou with teary eyes. "...What photo?"
He Zhou frantically got off the bed and fished out a photo from the trash, handing it to Qiu Yanzhi. “This one.”
Qiu Yanzhi was taken aback. He looked at He Zhou with red-rimmed eyes and said, “This is a photo of Fei Sihao I had an artist custom retouch after you died. How could...how could it possibly be Qin He?”
Qiu Yanzhi wiped at his tears. He took his phone and found the work in progress shots and his chat history with the artist, then he threw it to He Zhou.
He Zhou sheepishly handed the phone back to Qiu Yanzhi after taking a look. “Sorry, I misunderstood you..."
His mouth might be apologizing, but his eyebrows and lips were smiling.
He Zhou couldn’t resist leaning over to plant kisses on Qiu Yanzhi’s mouth and eyelids. He apologized again and again, “I’m sorry, so sorry for making a mistake…”
Still fuming, Qiu Yanzhi tilted his head away. “Fuck off. Don’t kiss me with Qin He’s mouth.”
He Zhou kissed him on the lips again.
“Since you like me, the one kissing you is me.”
After calming down, Qiu Yanzhi suddenly asked, “Wait a minute. He Zhou, why didn’t you believe that I like you before? I thought I was so obvious.”
He Zhou was silent for a moment. "Qiu Yanzhi, you’ve lied to me so many times."
Qiu Yanzhi froze.
He Zhou slowly continued: "From the very beginning, I mistakenly thought that you liked me. Ever since, you have proven through your actions that what I thought was love was simply deception. Your deception.”
Qiu Yanzhi opened his mouth, a sour feeling rising in his nose. His eyes reddened again as his heart flooded with self-admonishment and heartache. He was near incoherent. “...I’m so sorry for lying to you for so long, He Zhou… I’ll never lie to you again, honest. Never again.”
He Zhou leaned over to kiss the corners of his eyes. Before he could say anything, there was a loud bang as the door was violently thrown open by someone.
Fei Sihao stood in the doorway with a shopping bag in hand.
He was utterly shocked to find his boyfriend and his brother-in-law lying on the same bed together with their clothes a mess.
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
He Zhou: "......"
He Zhou quickly used the blanket to securely cover Qiu Yanzhi.
Qiu Yanzhi glared at him. "Why didn’t you fucking lock the door?!”
He Zhou: “...I locked it, but he has the room key.”
Wuwu poor He Zhou... Here is a song that reminded me of him before he and Qiu Yanzhi made up in this part, wuwu...
Also the main story as well as extra 1 are available on Patreon. Just saying.
Now I'm off to cram for exams! \(✯◡✯)/