ould appear.

The only slightly headache-inducing thing was that the school would be holding some kind of literature and art production, and each class must prepare several programs.

“Somehow I was drawn and got asked to prepare a show.
I chose a solo performance so I won’t need to stay in school to rehearse with everyone for the time being, but I can’t say for certain about whatever happens after that.” 

When he and Lin were having lunch on the rooftop at noon, Ye Zun mentioned his problems with mild distress.

The corners of Lin’s lips were gently hooked up, his eyes clear and curious.
“I am also looking forward to seeing your performance.
If you need me, you can speak up at any time.” 

“En, I will.” Ye Zun blinked and smiled lightly.
“Lunch was very delicious.
Let me wash the tableware ba.”

Lin was slightly stunned.
Compared to the somewhat shaky and uneasy behaviour at the beginning, Ye Zun’s smile was much more free.
However, it was very faint, like the grass blades stretched awake in the mornings of late summer; the sun had not yet shone, but the dew of last night was dazzling.

He watched intently and curiously, a smile unconsciously forming across his lips.

“It just so happens that I’m not good at cleaning.
Then, I will trouble you.”

……

Nothing happened in the afternoon.

When the music signalling the end of school sounded, Ye Zun packed his belongings into his school bag while saying to Shen Yuan at the same table, “I won’t be going back tonight.
For safety’s sake, it’s best if you don’t go back either.”

Shen Yuan sat there, running a hand through his hair in a bored manner, looking at him curiously and with a laid-back attitude.
“En, have a date ah. So, are you also planning to something dirty*?”


[T/N: 龌龊: same as the ‘narrow-minded’/’despicable’ from earlier] 

Ye Zun’s movements never paused and he didn’t look at the other.
He just calmly said, “Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that to you this morning.
If you are very angry, you don’t need to forgive me.
Excuse me.”

Shen Yuan stepped aside and watched Ye Zun walk out of the classroom with the bag on his back, then returned to his seat, slightly leaning back before saying in a low and listless voice, “Who apologises like that, I don’t need to forgive you? It obviously means you don’t care about me.”

He wasn’t displeased.
Although his eyes were still dull to its depths, the corners of his lips slowly rose, evoking a gorgeous and dark smile.
Without blinking, he looked out the window, watching Ye Zun’s back disappear into the corridor.

Fingers lightly tapped the thin lips that were curved in a faint arc.
“En, he really is arrogant* ah.
Even more interesting than I thought.”

[T/N: 高冷/haughty/indifferent: call back to Ye Zun describing why people hated him in reality]

……

Today’s weather was also very gloomy.
There was still no sun, and the darkness settled early in the evening.

After Ye Zun arrived downstairs, he didn’t wait long before he saw the priest walking towards him through the wisteria veranda in the garden.

“Have you waited for long?” A thin, gentle smile appeared in Lin’s eyes, his question being asked softly.

“Not really.”

“There is something we need to do today, let’s take the car directly back ba.”

The parking lot was located opposite to the school.
After the car was opened with the remote control, Lin walked over to open the door of the passenger seat first, his fingers naturally resting along the rim of the door, waiting for Ye Zun to sit inside.

The man’s instinctive and considerate gentlemanly behaviour made Ye Zun startle.
“Thank you.”

——He was treated with such care, as if he was a girl.

Until he sat down, he felt a slight, but persistent, discomfort.

“The car has been parked here for a few days.
Although I don’t drive often, my skill should still be okay so you don’t need to worry too much.
You’ve already fastened your seat belt ah.”

Ye Zun snuck a glimpse at Lin and realised that the other party seemed to have misunderstood his nervousness.
He breathed slowly and made himself relax.

“En.” 

The car was driven very steadily.
Even Ye Zun, who has always experienced motion sickness, arrived at their destination without feeling anything.

Because they entered from the gate on the other side of the villa complex where the priest lived, the view was blocked by those high-rise buildings and they couldn’t directly see the low residential housing in the geographical depression where Ye Zun lived.
He couldn’t say if such a thing was relieving or not.

When he thought of that oppressive house, he naturally thought about the things he left behind in the house.

Ye Zun suddenly returned to his senses and looked at the priest very apologetically.
He held back until after Lin finished parking the car, then he immediately asked him, “That, is that little white snake in the church a pet Father raised?”

Lin looked at him inquiringly.
It was the first time he hadn’t replied to a question.

Ye Zun said remorsefully, “I’m sorry, I accidentally brought it into this instance as well, and I even left it in that house.
I didn’t know Father was here, and I know I should’ve brought it to school on the very first day, but it wasn’t with me this morning…” 

Because he was anxious, he began to talk faster, and his words also became rather unclear.

However, Lin understood.
He looked at him warmly, “It’s okay, don’t worry.”

Ye Zun quietened down and looked at him with a slightly uneasy expression, like a kid who had done something wrong.

Lin’s eyes softened and gazed at him quietly.
“Although it was raised in the church, it has always been by itself.
It really is great that you like it.
If you are willing, may I please ask you to always take care of it?”

Ye Zun frowned, looking up at him with his eyes opened wide, just like a child.
“Of course I am willing.
But, I won’t be able to raise it well, and it’s also too dangerous inside an instance.”

Lin raised an eyebrow slightly.
“It’s okay, that snake knows how to avoid danger, and it knows how to go out and look for its own food.
With it by your side, it can also warn you when you are in danger, and I will feel far more at ease.” 

Since the priest said so, Ye Zun naturally nodded in agreement.
“Okay ah, I will properly take care of it.
Oh right, what’s its name?”

“Moros.”

“En?” Ye Zun was slightly surprised, “Isn’t that the same name as Father?” 

The corners of Lin’s lips lifted faintly, looking at him and saying, “It is the same, because I don’t know how to choose names.
I think the name suits it very well.”

Ye Zun smiled with crescent-shaped eyes.
“That is true.”

Moros means cold, and this name obviously suited a snake more than for the priest himself.

“Lin is also very nice to the ears.
It’s very suitable for you.”

Although every breath that he exhaled was desolate full of abstinence, the priest’s eyes were clear and warm.
This feeling of coldness born from distance was like the end of winter, the thin layer of ice on the surface of spring water.
On the contrary, it made the small display of gentleness much more real and beautiful, a source of desire.

Lin stared at him, slowly lifting the corners of his lips, showing a shallow smile.
“As long as you like it.
I am very happy.”

Ye Zun didn’t know what to say so he lowered his head and smiled.
If he continued talking about this topic, he felt like he would become a little embarrassed.

The two entered Lin’s apartment together.

After closing the door, Lin smoothly took off the outer jacket of his outfit.
Once he hung up his clothes, he looked at Ye Zun who was still wearing the uniform.
He couldn’t help but raise his eyebrows slightly.

For Ye Zun, the size of his uniform was a bit tight.
The outline of his waist was outrageously slender, and the stature hidden underneath the clothes became much thinner, lighter and fitting.
The stiffness and sex appeal that emerged during the transition from teenager to youth seemed to exist, yet also not.
It actually was very good-looking on him.

Ye Zun hesitated for a moment and tried to pull off his outer jacket.
“These clothes are a bit small, it’s not easy to take off…”

“I will help you ba.”

Lin stepped forward with an offered hand.

Released from the restraining uniform, Ye Zun’s entire body couldn’t help but deflate in relief.

After hanging Ye Zun’s uniform next to his own clothes, Lin walked to the fridge.
“What do you want to drink? A beverage or beer?”

“I don’t mind.”

“Sorry, even though I asked, it turns out that there is only beer in the fridge.”

Ye Zun couldn’t help but smile, and lightly shook his head.
“I’m an adult, don’t worry about it.”

He received the can of beer Lin had cracked open before handing it to him, a smile still on his face.

“It’s really weird.
Although I don’t usually like the strange taste of beer, when I’m drinking with you, Father, I think it’s pretty good.”

Lin looked at him as he drank.
His ink-coloured eyes were dotted with stars, revealing a shallow smile.
With reservation, he said, “En, me too.” 

The two finished their beers together, then chatted and relaxed for a while.


Lin stood up, his eyes covered with a thin film of softness, looking at him and asking, “Are you fine with pasta for dinner?”

Ye Zun comfortably sat on the sofa, returning a smile when he heard the words.
“You can just cook whatever according to what you’ve planned.”

Lin remained standing and warmly said, “Then you can do your homework first.
We can read the diary after dinner, we have a lot of time.”

“Yes, Laoshi*.” It was a rare occasion where Ye Zun made a joke.

[T/N: teacher]

The corners of Lin’s lips slightly rose, and assuming the stance of a superior, he watched him quietly from above.
“A teacher who took a student home to stay overnight without authorisation, is a violation of a teacher’s morals.
Hearing this at such a time, it really makes people sweat.”

Ye Zun, maintaining his smile: “……”

——But, this kind of joke, how should I answer?

“Just kidding.” Lin’s eyes were clear and the corners of his lips raised in an imperceptible smile.
He softly said, “However, I don’t like having a teacher-student relationship with you.
Most students are more or less a little afraid of their teacher, but I do not wish for you to be afraid of me.
I want a more close and trusting relationship.”

“Of course, we have one already.” Ye Zun furrowed his eyebrows slightly, looking at him earnestly and honestly.
“Lin is my best, and also my only friend.”

This was the sincere truth.
After so many years, he has met the first person who could let him open his heart to trust and subconsciously tell another everything in his inner world.
The priest was the only one.

Lin revealed a real smile on his lips and in his eyes, laying his sight on him.
“En, me too.
Until now, you are the only, and the best.”

His eyes and Ye Zun’s own maintained contact with one another for a few breaths, and before the other young man began to get nervous and uncomfortable, he took a step back first, smiling faintly and gently with restraint and self-control.
“Then, I will go and cook dinner first.”

After Lin walked into the kitchen, Ye Zun involuntarily exhaled a small breath, his smile remaining on his face.

He really did think of the priest in that way, but outright saying his thoughts like that, although there is no regret, it was still a little embarrassing after all.
There was a persisting feeling like he was a boy in elementary school.

However, if he were to do everything again, he would still tell the other man his thoughts straightforwardly, just like this.

Because that person is very important to him, so he wants to tell him these feelings.

He hoped he could always be close with the other man like this, and even closer.
For this reason, even if he was used to being introverted, he also wanted to take the initiative.

He had never liked someone so much like this.
Even when he was with the other man, perhaps it was because they were two people who lived in two different worlds, two people with completely different personalities, and have different ways of doing things and valued habits, so he often felt nervous and uneasy all over his body.
But he still liked him very much, to the extent where he hoped to be able to meet with the man frequently.

Occasionally, he would still conjure up self-doubts of whether he was worthy of having such a good friend at his current level.

But, he will be worthy.

——I just have to work harder ah.

They sat through dinner together.

Although he said he was not good at cleaning, Lin still followed Ye Zun, who had undertaken the job of cleaning up, into the kitchen and finished the follow-up cleaning and other closing chores together.

“Maybe, compared to me not being good at this, I just don’t like doing this kind of thing by myself.”

“Me too.
If it’s with Father, I think washing dishes is also very interesting.”

Lin’s eyes fell on Ye Zun’s hands that were being dried off after washing the dishes.
He slightly paused.
“I couldn’t tell, but you are good at work because your hands are very perfect.”

Although the priest always exaggerated his praises, Ye Zun was very calm this time, because it was not the first time he had heard such words.
Other people have said that even more, and he even heard it from time to time since his childhood, although the intention was to mock him for acting like a young master who has never even touched the sunlight with his fingers.

Ye Zun offhandedly said, “It’s not very obvious to the eyes, but if you touch it, you can feel the thin calluses on the flats of my fingers.
But, although they have indeed always been working, because of my grandma’s sake, they didn’t do too much.
Thanks to these fingers that look like they’ve been pampered, in the beginning, I relied on them to get a part-time job in advertisement and earn my living expenses.

Even if he said so, Ye Zun only washed things and wiped them dry.
It wasn’t like he had done some extra work to help him earn money.

“Really?” This was spoken in a tone that seemed not too sure.

Ye Zun smiled a little and stretched out his hand to Lin.
“Would you like to feel it?”

After he said that, he remembered that when they went to watch the pear blossoms that night, this person had actually held his hand.

“Okay ah.” Lin already reached out naturally to hold his hand, his thumb curiously caressing the outline of his palm, near the inner-knuckles.
There was a soft and slightly itchy feeling from the touch.

Ye Zun held his smile, his eyes drooping from unease.
This kind of slightly intimate behaviour…

Lin didn’t lift his eyes, his gaze still focused on his hand with intent and curiosity.
Perhaps he didn’t notice this atmosphere, as he admiringly said with a smile, “It really is a perfect hand suited for shooting commercials.
Wear a ring or watch, pressing on piano keys or just the glass of a window, it will all look very good. En, is this level of contact, do you hate it?”

“Oh, it’s okay.” Returning to his senses, Ye Zun kept his smile and immediately looked up at him and shook his head.
In the bottom of his heart, he felt that his wording was a little strange, but his attention was quickly shifted.
“It’s not that I hate it, it’s just that I’m not used to touching another person like this.
I should be fine after a few more times.”

Before Ye Zun’s heartbeat and breathing accelerated so much to the point where it would become obvious how uneasy he was, Lin let go of his hand.
With a controlled smile, he looked at him with clear and earnest eyes.
“It’s okay, don’t force yourself to get close to others.
However, despite saying that, from the bottom of my heart, I hope I can be the exception.”

“Of course you are the exception,” Ye Zun replied steadily.
After saying this, he subconsciously pinched his own ear, and the bump on his throat rolled slightly with restraint, his eyes unconsciously avoiding the other for a moment.

Fortunately, Lin didn’t speak any further, just nodding implicitly before walking towards the bedroom.

“Although the apartment is very large, it is actually a rented house.
The only available room, apart from the living room, is just the one bedroom.
Would you mind staying with me tonight? You don’t need to force yourself.
If you really are not used to it, I can sleep on the sofa.”

Ye Zun immediately shook his head.
“Of course not.
I even wanted to say that if you mind it, I can sleep on the sofa.”

——How can I let the owner sleep on the sofa while I occupy the bedroom by myself? That’s way too unreasonable.

The two of them walked into the bedroom.

Lin took out a beige sleeping robe from the closet and handed it to him.
“When I bought this set, the size turned out to be too small so I haven’t worn it yet.” 

Ye Zun took the pyjamas and obediently went to take a shower.

After washing, he walked back into the bedroom while towelling off his hair.
He suddenly thought that the two of them could just shower and go to sleep after going over the diary in the living room or the study ah.

But they’ve already washed up, and the tangled order didn’t affect anything at all.
He shook his head and pushed his thoughts aside.

When Lin finished showering and came in wearing his pyjamas, Ye Zun was already sitting on the bed, his head slightly lowered to look down at the open diary.

His long, pitch-black hair was half damp, exposing a slender and tender neck.
The size of his sleeping robe was still slightly too big for him, with the neckline hanging low and revealing an expanse of thin and dazzling white skin.

The delicate beauty of the skin and the fragility and daintiness of the bones, smooth and pliable to just the right proportion, like an unmatched treasure of the arts, carved from the rarest jade.

It was reminiscent of the Queen of the Night* on the cusp of blooming beneath dew drops during night fall, like the fresh and refreshing milk pudding* in midsummer.

[T/N: epiphyllum oxypetalum (flower)]
[T/N: 奶皮甜品: double skin milk dessert]

The bedroom door behind Lin slowly closed.
He had no smile on his face, and his bright black and clear eyes peered down from high above, curiously watching at the person on the bed with his full attention.

His thin lips were slightly opened.
Because of the slight trance, he temporarily lost some control over his expression.
The chill in his pupils overshadowed the warmth in his eyes.

A refreshing and delicious milk pudding was sitting right in front of him.
How about it, do you want to eat it now?

After his breathing stilled for a moment, the delicate and ascetic jut on his throat gently rolled up and down.
His voice was especially deep and elegant, with the slightly cold gentleness that was ever-present.
“Now, we can begin.”

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