Feng Yeran could feel Feng Hua’s body trembling lightly, and the place where the two touched gradually grew hotter.
Outside, the rain splashed onto the bus, washing the windows as it crashed down.
Feng Hua was held in the standing Feng Yeran’s arms and his face couldn’t be seen. After a while, he softly said, “Isn’t your heart beating so fast because you’re afraid?”
“No!” Feng Yeran let go of Feng Hua and frowned.
“But, even if it’s fake, I really want to hear you say it again.”
“Is that so.” Feng Hua wrapped his arms around Feng Yeran’s waist and looked up at him. “Say it again.”
“…I… I love you, Feng Hua.”
“Say it again.”
“I love you.”
Feng Hua smiled, but it was like crying.
His eyelashes quivered, his eyes were slightly red, and then, two drops of liquid slid down from his eyes.
He smiled and hugged Feng Yeran tightly, burying his head in Feng Yeran’s embrace as he said repeatedly, “If this is a dream, I really hope I never wake up.”
After Feng Hua’s doppelganger disappeared, it didn’t take long for a new doppelganger to sit next to Feng Yeran.
They rode to the terminus, changed buses and turned back.
They sat in the last row, leaning against each other.
Feng Yeran was still awake and Feng Hua was asleep.
He hadn’t had a good sleep for a long time. It was black under his eyes.
From a distant place, the sound of a bell came.
One after another, it seemed heavy, empty and unreal in the intense rain.
Feng Hua frowned slightly as though he wasn’t sleeping soundly. His fingers moved slightly. He was dreaming.
He walked in the darkness, and in front of him was a wall that was about to be finished.
The white shadow was working hard to move bricks and pile up the last wall.
“It’s almost finished.” Feng Hua softly sighed.
“Yes.” The white shadow seemed happy. “But this is just the beginning. We still need the roof, window, door, chimney…”
“And the key.”
The white shadow smiled. “Yes, the key. I really hope you can get the key soon.”
The white shadow put down the things in its hands and flew over to Feng Hua. “Your mood seems to be better?”
“He said he loves me. Do I get the key?”
“But, do you believe it?”
* * *
In the house, Feng Hua was writing an email.
“I often see you writing emails. Who are you writing to?” Feng Yeran asked.
“You’ve forgotten her, Ye’er? You were the one who hired her for me. When I broke down for the first time as a child and became a monster, and then locked myself in a shell, didn’t you hire a psychiatrist?”
“…Is that so?”
“…” Feng Hua was speechless. “By the way, she left me a business card and said that I can go to her if I have any problems.”
Feng Hua found the business card and showed it to Feng Yeran.
“Qin Studio… It just so happens that I also want to consult a psychiatrist recently.”
“Really? Then let’s go together.”
Feng Hua’s main body sat on the sofa as he easily split off an identical doppelganger.
He and Feng Yeran got into a taxi. An hour later, they arrived at their destination.
Different from their impression, it was a low grey building with construction banging away inside.
When they came to the second floor, they couldn’t find the sign for Qin Studio. There was a small advertising company on the second floor, and the other areas were obviously still under construction, very messy and noisy.
Feng Yeran walked into the advertising company. “Excuse me, is Qin Studio here?”
“Never heard of it.”
“You see, we came here following the business card. It says the address is here.”
The receptionist frowned. “Sir, this is just a blank piece of paper.”
Feng Yeran took another look, and, indeed, it was just a blank piece of paper. Thin sweat broke out on his forehead.
Feng Hua asked again, “The boss of Qin Studio is a woman in her forties or fifties, very competent. Her name is Qin Xihe and she is my psychiatrist. Is she really not here? Did she move away? What was this place used for before?”
A male staff member smoking nearby said, “This place has been a restaurant for ten straight years. It’s a lot of smoke. I really haven’t heard of any counselling room… You’re at the wrong place.”
The two of them wandered through the entire building and asked several people, but no one had ever heard of Qin Xihe or Qin Studio.
They stood by a dilapidated and dirty window, with plastic cans and cigarette butts everywhere.
Feng Yeran received a phone call. He listened for a while, gave an “mm”, then hung up.
They were silent for a long time before Feng Hua said, “Ye’er, do you think I lied to you?”
“When did you first meet Qin Xihe?”
“When I first broke down and became a monster.”
“Do you remember the details?”
“She entered my dream through hypnosis and said that you had hired her to persuade me to come out of the cocoon.”
“Have you seen her since?”
“She visits me occasionally and we talk in the courtyard.”
An old-fashioned train passed by, its roar rising from far to near.
Feng Yeran sighed. “But Feng Hua, I really didn’t hire her. Besides, I’ve had people look at the surveillance in the courtyard and asked the doorman many times, and they’ve never seen a woman in her forties or fifties.”
“You just came back when she last left. She practically brushed past you!”
“Feng Hua, if someone really did visit you, I think I definitely would’ve said hello to her.”
“…” Feng Hua laughed. “So, besides Sean, even she’s a figment of my imagination?”
“Let’s go back.”
The two of them walked through the crowd.
It was probably some holiday today. The square was full of people, with men and women laughing and children bouncing around with balloons.
Feng Hua looked quite tall among the people coming and going.
He asked, “Ye’er, I’m already this sick. Do you still love me? Do you really love me?”
Feng Yeran was stunned. “…What are you talking about? Of course, I love you.”
Feng Hua, who was walking behind, suddenly pulled Feng Yeran’s wrist. Feng Yeran turned his head and saw his faint smile, which was warm, like a wind with fragments of sunshine. “Then, kiss me here, ten minutes.”
Feng Yeran was surprised. “Don’t talk nonsense. We’re outside. You see, there are so many people here…”
Of course, Feng Yeran knew that apart from the crowded pedestrians here, there were also cameras in the distance, and someone had rushed over to watch them. Perhaps, whoever had just accidentally touched them had put a bug on them.
Although society was now very open, kissing a man in public was really not something he would do… Besides, the people at the research institute didn’t know the complicated relationship between them. Even if he mentioned love, they understood it as family love!
Feng Yeran turned his head. “Let’s go back quickly.”
However, his wrist was held tightly by Feng Hua, preventing him from moving forward.
Feng Hua’s voice came from behind. “But if you really love me, how can you worry about other things?”
“If it’s me, I can kiss you no matter where we are. So, sure enough, you don’t love me.”
Feng Hua let go.
Feng Yeran walked forward.
Feng Hua silently watched Feng Yeran’s back gradually moving away. His black hair and clothes billowed, his skin was pale, his eyelashes gradually drooped, and the blue in his eyes seemed to have frozen into ice.
However, he didn’t expect it.
Feng Yeran, who’d left for a while, suddenly turned around and ran towards him.
Feng Hua stared blankly at the man rushing towards him.
Thousands of people had long since turned into grey blocks, thousands of noises were muted, and it seemed as if he could only hear Feng Yeran’s slight panting and crisp footsteps.
Feng Yeran stood in front of Feng Hua, pulled down Feng Hua’s collar, and tilted his head to kiss him.
What followed was completely out of control.
Within seconds, the active him had become passive, and he was kissed by Feng Hua till he couldn’t stand straight.
Feng Hua held his face and lowered his head to kiss him like mad.
Feng Yeran tilted his head back as Feng Hua’s hot hands slid across his neck. He swallowed the excess liquid in his mouth.
A sweet and rusty kiss.
How many people looked at them, how many whistled, how many took photos, how many cheered, how many showed disdainful eyes, how many covered their children’s eyes…
Yet, at that moment, it seemed that their eyes were blinded and their bodies were paralysed.
Except for the reckless madness.
They forgot everything.
* * *
After Feng Yeran decided to love Feng Hua, the relationship between the two eased a lot.
However, it was obvious that the scars of the past couldn’t be healed quickly. Feng Hua was capricious and so was their relationship.
Feng Hua, who was insecure, always tested Feng Yeran again and again, as if it was only through constant probing and testing that he could feel Feng Yeran’s feelings.
He did ambiguous things to Feng Yeran in public.
When attending events, he flirted with women and observed Feng Yeran’s reaction. If he made Feng Yeran angry, he would become like a child and rest his head on Feng Yeran’s lap, apologising and pouting…
And Feng Yeran was in a very bad state.
He was having more and more stomachaches, vomiting, weight loss, and nightmares—nightmares of charred bodies, visions of seeing charred bodies.
At first, he only saw them in the wardrobe and under the bed.
One night, he dreamed that the whole block was burning in flames. People were running and screaming in terror, and then were burnt alive one by one.
Another day, he found that all the people walking in the street turned out to be burnt. Some had lost their hands and feet, some had lost parts of their faces, some had two holes in their eye area, some had broken off noses…
He decided to go to the hospital for an examination. He didn’t tell Feng Hua because he thought it wouldn’t take too long.
That day, Feng Hua had just had an infusion and was in a coma. He couldn’t yet split off a doppelganger to follow Feng Yeran.
Feng Yeran got on the air train alone. Looking at the many buildings and tall astronomy towers, he felt dizzy and dazzled. He fainted.
He was sent to the hospital and stayed there for three days without any means of communication.
After Feng Yeran woke up, he was surrounded by doctors and nurses.
They chatted for a while, but Feng Yeran’s face was indifferent. The old doctor nearby kept sighing and shaking his head.
When Feng Hua rushed over, this was what he saw.
The doctors and nurses felt a strong pressure and their bodies jolted to the side.
Not a trace of Feng Hua’s movements to be seen at all, he was already hugging Feng Yeran tightly the next moment. “I’ve been looking for you for so long… I thought…”
Feng Yeran laughed. “Did you think I left you? I just slept for a few days.”
“Come back with me. I’ll save you.”
“Even if it’s you—” Feng Yeran didn’t finish, then nodded. “Okay, let’s go back.”
Feng Yeran only realised after going back.
Feng Hua had broken down again. Several rooms in the house were unusable and two researchers were injured.
Feng Yeran couldn’t help but have a headache. This time, he had only left for three days and it was like this. Then, what if it was a week? A month? Half a year? A year? Or… what if he left him forever?
He couldn’t imagine it.
Feng Hua was working hard to treat Feng Yeran. Every day, he would continuously treat him for four or five hours.
At the same time, he was breaking down. The calm him was gentle, innocent and sweet. But, once he broke down, he became dangerous and reckless, and was simply a ticking time bomb. He was getting more and more easily broken down by small things. He couldn’t accept Feng Yeran leaving him, even for a little while; he couldn’t accept Feng Yeran getting close to others; he couldn’t accept Feng Yeran’s condition deteriorating.
And the time when Feng Yeran was conscious was decreasing. He was often trapped in his dreams.
In his dreams, he loved Feng Hua so, so much, but he hated Feng Hua so much. He hated Feng Hua who never believed he loved him, hated Feng Hua who was constantly mad, hated Feng Hua who was dangerous yet vulnerable, hated Feng Hua who made him unable to leave happily.
He dreamed that Feng Hua was lying on the sofa for a nap, and then he killed Feng Hua with a pillow.
He dreamed that Feng Hua fell into a pool and didn’t resurface.
He dreamed that Feng Hua kissed him, but he pushed him away. Feng Hua fell on the tracks and a train sped past.
He dreamed that the handsome and tall Feng Hua was burnt by a blazing fire…
The cruelty in the dreams undoubtedly made Feng Yeran even more anxious and guilty when he woke up.
Again and again, he observed how his thin, pale hands stroked Feng Hua’s face tenderly and pitifully in reality, and how they killed him cruelly in his dreams…
And how, after killing Feng Hua, he walked lightly and alone to ultimate destruction.
* * *
At last, another Christmas came, and Feng Hua’s birthday arrived.
That day, Feng Yeran was in pretty good spirits. He got out of bed and cooked several delicious dishes himself.
There was a flurry of snow outside and the house was bustling with noise. They had invited the researchers they usually spent time with to join them for the meal. Christmas music came from the television and the Christmas tree sparked with cute lights.
In the evening, the snow stopped and the sun set. The other researchers had all gone home.
Feng Hua accompanied Feng Yeran, who was wrapped up like a rice dumpling1, for a walk in the courtyard, where the breeze blew with the faint scent of wintersweet.
“Feng Hua, why aren’t you just an ordinary child?”
“Do you regret having created me so much?”
“I want you to live well, pure and happy.”
“I am living well.”
“Laughing every day.”
“What a fake laugh.”
“Even faker.” Feng Yeran paused for a moment. “I’m tired. Let’s sit for a while.”
The two of them sat on the soft chairs, looking at the distant scenery comfortably.
They heard the sound of a bell again. It was a tall bell tower, not far from the astronomy tower.
The rose-coloured sunlight outlining the bell tower had a sense of holiness.
Dong… dong… dong… dong…
Slow and heavy, like the heartbeat of the world.
Feng Hua frowned slightly. He seemed a little dizzy.
Feng Hua nodded.
“Then get some sleep. When you wake up, we’ll watch a movie together.”
Feng Hua went to sleep.
His breathing gradually became even and soft, with weariness.
Feng Yeran sat and watched him, then calmly took out a syringe and carefully removed the air from it.
It was TS2330, something more powerful than an electric shock. It could make someone forget everything and start anew.
Feng Yeran gently stroked Feng Hua’s forehead and cheek with his pale hand.
He bowed his head and gently kissed his lips.
The syringe was inserted into Feng Hua’s vein and the drug was quickly injected.
Feng Hua woke up with a start. “What’s going on? What’re you doing?”
Then, he jerked out the needle and smashed it on the snow. He bit the needle hole and tried to suck the drug out.
“Feng Hua, forget everything. It’s better for you and me,” Feng Yeran said as he looked down.
Feng Hua’s arms and even his whole body began to twitch. He was resisting fiercely, his face ferocious.
Feng Yeran looked at him wearily, then lay on the soft chair, waiting for Feng Hua to calm down and become a carefree child again.
He didn’t know how long it took before Feng Hua finally calmed down.
He got up from the snow, bruised and battered.
Feng Yeran looked at Feng Hua and asked, “Child, do you know who I am?”
Feng Hua slowly turned his head to look at him. His face was cold, without a trace of expression, and even his voice was no longer gentle, but emotionless.
“Who are you?”
Large drops of tears fell from Feng Yeran’s eyes. He almost instantly cried out.
All the once beautiful and colourful past had turned black and white. Feng Hua could no longer remember even the slightest bit. Feng Hua’s love for him, which was so raging it was terrifying, had also vanished into nothing with his memory.
His heart was throbbing with pain. He had never been in so much pain before. The pain of losing Chen Xuan wasn’t even a ten-thousandth of this.
However, this was his only way.
He didn’t have many days left to live. He hoped that Feng Hua wouldn’t go mad because of his departure. He hoped his Feng Hua would be happy and cheerful.
If he didn’t do this, he was afraid that they’d really both go to ruin like in his dreams.
Feng Yeran hadn’t cried like this for a long time. He went from low sobs to loud bawling.
The tears and snot couldn’t be stopped.
Feng Yeran wiped his tears with his sleeve. “It’s nothing…”
“Didn’t you want me to forget about you? Then why are you crying so much?”
Feng Hua stood up and walked towards him with blood still on his lips. “Ye’er, do you really think that drugs can make me forget you?”
Feng Hua gently knelt down in front of him and wiped his tears with his hand. “Once an Adesir has set their mind on someone, it’s a lifetime, it’s forever. Even if I forget myself, I won’t forget you.”
“Do you understand how cruel it is to make me forget you? That’s worse than death… Ye’er, don’t you understand? You’re the whole meaning of my life!”