Tong Yan sat down on his knees and, in a comforting pose, tried to embrace the anxious alpha.
On the narrow armchair, a corner of the ridiculously gorgeously designed blanket slipped to the ground, the other half still hanging on Tong Yan’s shoulder. Tong Yan pressed the back of Zhuo Xiang Ming’s head, bringing him into his bosom. The two exchanged position, silent for a good while.
Tong Yan felt a little distressed … not a little, very distressed. This alpha becoming so fragile seemed to be entirely due to his existence. The impact of the change in relationship between the two people was two-way. While the omega was engrossed in the belonging and submission brought about by the mark, the alpha was also tamed by the omega.
He recalled Zhuo Xiang Ming’s expression when he looked at him, it was the same as in the past, but now he could unprecedentedly clearly feel the warmth and sincerity in it.
Tong Yan realized that no love was painless. As members of society, their desire for independence and the animal characteristics engraved within that they attempted to suppress experienced the strongest collision during the marking period. They were stung during the process of probing out and adjusting intimate distance, but fortunately, this pain originated from love, and everyone suffered gladly.
”Isn’t that normal?” Tong Yan said, “I feel that way too, which proves that you love me a lot, and I also love you a lot.”
”Yes.” Zhuo Xiang Ming said in a low voice, “I love you a lot.”
Tong Yan placed his hand on his face, responding, “I know.”
By dinner time, after Tong Yan finished eating, Zhuo Xiang Ming was in a much better mood. But Tong Yan was exhausted, sinking into the chair placed near the fireplace.
The two agreed to spend the Spring Festival in this mountain villa. Lin Yue Hua and Tong Li Qin called two more times, but they were both experienced in these things, and soon realized the real reason why Tong Yan wasn’t answering the phone. Afterwards, they no longer asked to speak to Tong Yan.
Tong Yan, who was addicted to watching horror suspense films, suddenly had an idea: “Isn’t this a really good method to murder someone? A person disappears out of thin air, and no one suspects a thing.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “After a marking is completed, the social security bureau has countless data recording processes that require the couple to be physically present, what makes it a good method?”
Tong Yan: “That’s true.”
After thinking about it, he added: “But they can use this time to escape! Think about it, almost twenty days has passed, if you escaped that long ago, I doubt Interpol will be able to catch you.”
There was a sound of crackling fire in the fireplace, the room temperature was very satisfactory, Tong Yan’s face was a little flushed from the warmth.
Zhuo Xiang Ming put down the thermometer in his hand and looked at him for a while: “I think you’re too free right now.”
”I’m not ah.” Tong Yan vigilantly showed him the little robot in his hands, “I’m playing.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming crouched in front of him: “Go back to the bedroom and play.”
Tong Yan recalled how he had been bullied halfway through dinner, thinking that he shouldn’t be such a beast, he hesitantly said: “Later, I’m watching the fireplace.”
“There’s nothing worth looking at.” Zhuo Xiang Ming said.
Tong Yan: “It’s different from the one in mom’s house, what kind of firewood is burning inside? It seems to have a scent, can we build one in our house? I think …”
He attempted to annoy Zhuo Xiang Ming away with nonsense, but his strategy failed, and he was hoisted up before he could finish speaking.
Tong Yan struggled: “I’m not sleepy!”
Zhuo Xiang Ming said while walking, “I won’t let you sleep.”
The little robot rolled over to the fireplace. The temperature was too high, so the next day, when Tong Yan came to look for it, a layer of paint had already melted. He was repeatedly tossed this way and that way by Zhuo Xiang Ming last night, at the moment, he couldn’t decide who was more pitiful between himself and the little robot.
He went to the kitchen to find Zhuo Xiang Ming, carrying the little robot which was broken in both mind and body, but before he could speak, he was embraced and kissed for a while. When he had trouble breathing through the kiss, only then did Zhuo Xiang Ming say: “Almost done, wait here a while.”
”That’s not it!” Tong Yan said.
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “Then what’s wrong?”
Tong Yan suddenly didn’t want to say it.
He was a bit wiser, realizing that he couldn’t win in an argument against Zhuo Xiang Ming. Moreover, if he demanded that he compensate him for something so trivial now, it’ll definitely sound like flirting, and he would likely be inadvertently dragged back to the wolf’s den.
Tong Yan shook his head and said: “Never mind, I’ll watch the lunch.”
He placed the little robot on the window sill, next to a row of succulents, then went back to eat the meal with Zhuo Xiang Ming, suffering in silence.
But! Even without saying anything! At noon! He was still!
Tong Yan was lying on the bed, most of his face buried in the pillow. Just now, Zhuo Xiang Ming initially wasn’t gentle, but at the end he was especially ruthless. He couldn’t hold back his tears, crying quite miserably. When it finally ended, Zhuo Xiang Ming drew closer and kissed him, very captivated. He had no strength, and could only be gently embraced, after a while, he said: “You have to compensate me for my robot.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming suddenly laughed: “Idiot.”
”You even dare scold me.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “You’re not an idiot? The paint was already melting, yet you left it out on the balcony to sunbathe.”
Tong Yan felt hopeless, he shrank into Zhuo Xiang Ming’s embrace, falling asleep, choked with sobs.
Life in the villa was very simple with just him and Zhuo Xiang Ming. It snowed on the 28th, and it snowed again on the night of the Chinese New Year. Zhuo Xiang Ming carried him out for a walk.
Tong Yan was naturally unfamiliar with the area, Zhuo Xiang Ming said: “Don’t run too far, just stroll around nearby.”
The temperature in the mountains was much lower than in the city, both of them were wearing very thick clothes and wrapped in scarves.
Tong Yan really didn’t wander too far. He glanced down at the snowy earth that no one had treaded on, and up at the sky, covered in a multitude of stars. Tong Yan stomped on the snow for a while. They returned home ten minutes later, when he felt that he had finally filled his lungs with outside air.
Tong Yan stood in the doorway and took off his scarf and gloves. Feeling that his eyes were very cold, he looked at his reflection in the mirror, finding snowflakes clinging to his eyelashes. He wanted to take another look, but the little bit of snow couldn’t last long, melting after a few blinks. Tong Yan rubbed his eyes, only then noticing that Zhuo Xiang Ming was motionless in the mirror, merely looking down at him.
This feeling was very familiar, Tong Yan stuttered: “It’s c-cold here, let’s go back to the room.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming stepped forward, Tong Yan hurriedly turned around and grabbed his cuff, but he didn’t resist, letting Zhuo Xiang Ming kiss his neck and ears. He said in a low voice: “Can we go back to the room? I really can’t stand the cold.”
His “can’t stand the cold” sounded very pitiful. Zhuo Xiang Ming complied with him, but the alpha never backed down for nothing. Tong Yan was quite well-behaved, but he was still played with to tears and pleas every time.
Zhuo Xiang Ming wasn’t concerned with his pleas, only asking if it hurt. Tong Yan naively said that it didn’t hurt, so his pleas for ‘lighter’ and ‘slower’ were not counted as valid.
”Why are you crying?” Zhuo Xiang Ming wrapped the quilt around him and kissed the tears off his face, “Uncomfortable?”
Tong Yan was so tired that he didn’t want to talk, simply leaning against him.
Zhuo Xiang Ming said again: “Don’t cry baby.”
”Wait a moment.” Tong Yan whispered.
”Do you want something to eat? Should I make you some soup, or eggs?”
Tong Yan: “I want to sleep.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming placed him on the bed. It was really late. They hadn’t taken a break since they came back. Tong Yan was so tired that he couldn’t even find the strength to move his fingers.
But his body was probably very tired yet not very sleepy. Tong Yan was dazed for a while. He groped the spot beside him and realized that Zhuo Xiang Ming was gone, immediately waking up.
The bathroom light was off, and the pillow was cold, he’d apparently been gone for a while.
However, Tong Yan didn’t have to search too hard, in the corridor, there was only one room with the lights on, a sliver of light coming through the door gap.
The door wasn’t shut, the closer he got, the clearer the voice inside.
”… a whole week, but it’s not a problem of duration, the situation hasn’t alleviated during this time.” Zhuo Xiang Ming was talking.
Tong Yan thought that he was on the phone, and was about to push the door open, but then he heard a female voice reply: “In theory, one week isn’t an especially lengthy period for the monopolizing stage, but it does exceed the average duration.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “Is that normal?”
Tong Yan stopped the hand that was pushing the door. If it was a phone call, he shouldn’t have been able to hear the other person’s voice, especially so clearly.
The conversation between the two people in the room didn’t actually take long. Tong Yan hesitated a while, anxious about the person in the video chat with Zhuo Xiang Ming seeing him in his pajamas, before realizing what they were discussing.
The female voice sounded about thirty years old, serious and gentle. It made the listeners feel very comfortable, giving off a natural feeling of trustworthiness—-an intelligent semi-robotic sound.
The other party must’ve been a little bit embarrassed, saying after a while: “Sir, this is the case, our contact time is too short, only a few minutes from the beginning to the present. It is very difficult for me to give a negative or affirmative response about the normality of this situation without knowledge of your personality and mental state in your daily life, as well as your physical condition.”
”In fact, the monopolizing stage is a very common physiological phenomenon. As a counsellor, I shouldn’t describe it as normal or abnormal.”
”I just want to know how long this situation will persist, whether it will intensify, or possibly cause harm to my omega.” Zhuo Xiang Ming revealed some rare anxiety.
”Intense sexual desire is very normal during the initial stage of the conclusion of the marking process. I’ve checked your current pheromone and hormone levels, and they are all very normal.” The other side said: “I first need to look over the pre-notes of your most recent discussion with your psychologist. I only require the pre-notes, which will be used to reference the level of your physical and mental stability, I will not touch upon the content of the discussion.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “I don’t have a consultation record.”
In this society where a psychologist was guaranteed to be named on everyone’s social security card, hearing someone say “I don’t have a consultation record” was extremely unbelievable, the degree of shock might be comparable to someone having never brushed their teeth.
An adult, who, from the point of view of his appointment style and spending choice, had a high probability of being an adult male in upper class society, didn’t have a consultation record.
The other side confirmed with him: “You don’t have a consultation record.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “I don’t.”
”Okay.” The counsellor didn’t pause for too long, “I already have some understanding of your current situation. I require your answers to the following somewhat related questions, but before that, I assure you that the content of this consultation is absolutely confidential. After the conclusion of the consultation, the system will also promptly delete the visitation record. Can you tell me how long you guys have been married?”
”More than six months.”
”The omega’s age?”
”He turns nineteen in four months.”
”A rare age match.” The counselor laughed friendlily, “Is he still a student?”
”So he’s currently on holiday … Today is the Spring Festival, and only you two are staying together, did the omega say anything about this?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “No … before going to bed, he told me that he missed my mother a little, I think he might want to call her.”
”What did you say?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming sounded vexed: “I didn’t respond.”
”He is very frank.” The counselor said, “In general, when their partner is in this state, the other party might initially try to avoid mentioning their longing for the outside world as much as possible, but your omega hasn’t. You can tell that he has a lot of trust in you.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming didn’t reply.
”What activities have you guys done during this monopolizing stage?” The AI added, “Activities outside of sex.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming pondered: “He sometimes builds Lego or watches TV. Most of the time, he sleeps.”
”Where are you during this time?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “I’m next to him.”
”How is the omega’s mood recently?” Asked the counsellor, “No need to put yourself in his shoes, just speak from your perspective.”
After a while, Zhuo Xiang Ming said: “He seems quite calm, much calmer than me, although he’s very tired. I think this might be related to what you said, because he trusts me, he believes I can lead him back to normal life soon.”
”Your current life isn’t abnormal.” The counsellor emphasized again.
”Has the data about pheromone level remained the same after the marking?”
”Yes.” Zhuo Xiang Ming said.
After a brief moment of silence, the counsellor said: “This data is completely safe for a marking. As for the reason why the frequency of sexual activity has remained the same after the conclusion of the marking and estrus periods, because our contact time is too short, I can only estimate that-“
Tong Yan didn’t listen any further. He realized that this was Zhuo Xiang Ming’s private business, even if the purpose was merely to solve the problem that wasn’t a problem between the two of them.
He returned to the bedroom, a little amused, and also distressed.
He was amused at the expensiveness and uselessness of the AI, not to mention this method of “leaving things until the last moment”. At first, he was worried that Zhuo Xiang Ming really had a problem, but now he understood. Zhuo Xiang Ming was afraid that he would hate him for wanting too much, but he still couldn’t change his behavior, so he came up with this method.
He was distressed that, although the matter was simple, it was also not so simple.
When he heard Zhuo Xiang Ming’s repeated confirmation that he had no consultation records, Tong Yan felt a very intense heartache. No matter how mature, steady, gentle and reliable his lover seemed, in the end, he was a person who had great difficulty talking about his thoughts and revealing his heart.
But now, for him, for the sake of their slightly trivial bedroom affairs, he was willing to accept counseling and talk about private business, just wanting to know, “will my omega be harmed”.
My omega. This was the first time Tong Yan heard Zhuo Xiang Ming address him that way, only now did he realize that it could be regarded as a very touching term of endearment.
Not long after, Zhuo Xiang Ming returned.
”Awake?” Zhuo Xiang Ming walked up to the bed from the other side.
Tong Yan hummed: “Is it still snowing outside?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming: “It is.”
”Let’s build a snowman tomorrow, okay?” Tong Yan said, “We can take a picture and send it home.”
Zhuo Xiang Ming promised while observing his face: “Are you still tired?”
Tong Yan: “I feel okay after the nap.”
”Come.” Zhuo Xiang Ming spread his arms for him, and Tong Yan leaned into his embrace again.
The two snuggled together, one of the few moments without lust.
However, Tong Yan acknowledged Zhuo Xiang Ming’s ability to keep secrets from him, so not long after, he took the initiative to talk about the matter of him consulting with the AI.
”It said that this was very normal.” Zhuo Xiang Ming said.
Tong Yan deliberately asked: “Who knows?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming squeezed him roguishly: “I’m certain.”
In any case, he couldn’t run away, Tong Yan languidly let himself be bullied. His clothes were halfway off when Zhuo Xiang Ming suddenly paused, then climbed up until they were face to face, saying: “Actually, we met once, when you were younger.”
”Huh?” Tong Yan stared blankly, “When?”
“During summer vacation one year.” Zhuo Xiang Ming was also chasing the memory, his expression gradually changing, smiling very faintly. Tong Yan anxiously urged him, only then did he continue, “It must’ve been Tong Yang’s birthday, many people had been invited. I arrived late, I could hear people singing the birthday song inside, then I found a brat crying by the door.”
Tong Yan’s intuition told him that the ‘brat” was himself, saying in dissatisfaction: “How rude!”
”You were riding your bike when you bumped into a small rock and fell off. I helped you up, you asked who I was, and I said you could call me big brother. You called me a liar and said that you only had one big brother, then you heartlessly rode away on your bike.”
Tong Yan stared blankly, trying to remember, but how could he remember? At that time, Zhuo Xiang Ming was also only twelve or thirteen years old, he was so small, and so many years had passed.
Zhuo Xiang Ming was also reminiscing. He originally hadn’t remembered it, but it suddenly came to his mind. Because Tong Yan was in his embrace, that memory seemed to clear up all at once.
A glutinous rice dumpling like child was crying in distress after falling off his bike, but he immediately stopped crying when he was helped up by a person pulling up in a car. There were still tears hanging around his eyes, and his cheeks were chubby, but his mood was suddenly better, as if the person who had just been so distraught was not him. Two small, chubby hands gripped the handle of the car door and he asked Zhuo Xiang Ming in a tender voice: “Thank you for helping me, who are you?”
Zhuo Xiang Ming felt that this child was truly beautiful, and not at all annoying, so he said: “You can call me big brother.”
”Liar!” The child promptly said, speaking slowly, “I have a big brother, his name is Tong Yang.”
For a while, Zhuo Xiang Ming didn’t know what to say. The child mounted his small bike and grunted away; the bike was equipped with a speed limit chain to guarantee safety. He rode quite a distance away with great difficulty, then he stopped, glancing back to observe Zhuo Xiang Ming, who was still in his original position. He stared with two round little foxlike eyes, looking very alert, as if Zhuo Xiang Ming was really a conniving villain.
Innocent Small O’s, who has yet to learn how to write characters, video diary: Today was much more fun, what did I do? Wake up, pee pee, brush my teeth, wash my face, eat, watch cartoons, ride my bike, eat, take a nap, watch cartoons, ride my bike, everything was very fun, but in the end, a bad guy suddenly came to my home and tried to trick me into calling him big brother, before he came, I fell down, even though I was riding my bike properly, I seriously suspect that it’s all part of a big plot!
Idea- The author used the phrase, 福至心灵 fúzhì-xīnlíng, meaning ‘when good fortune comes, the mind is clear’. I didn’t know how to incorporate this, so I just wrote idea
felt hopeless-人财两空, rén cái liǎng kōng, loss of life and property
ZXM signing up for therapy because he feels that he might hurt TongTong is somehow the sweetest thing ever.