Ming Luchuan didn’t say anything else after that, so Xia Wennan followed suit.
He lay on his back, gazing up at the ceiling unseeingly.
Yawning, his weariness eventually caught up to him, and he closed his eyes and fell into a deep sleep.

It was already bright outside when Xia Wennan awoke the next morning.
This, however, was the least of his concerns—what concerned him more was the fact that he’d rolled right across the divider some time in the night and slept plastered all along Ming Luchuan’s side.
Furthermore, he appeared to be using Ming Luchuan as a bolster, his arm thrown over Ming Luchuan’s waist.

He opened his eyes, slowly lifted his head, and discovered that Ming Luchuan was still fast asleep, so he gently and slowly withdrew his arm from the man’s body, trying not to rouse him.

Halfway through, just as his arm was about to leave Ming Luchuan’s body, but before he could move any further, he heard Ming Luchuan say, “I’m awake.”

He looked up in alarm, saw that Ming Luchuan’s eyes were still closed, and retorted without thinking, “No you’re not.”

Ming Luchuan opened his eyes and turned to face him.
His eyes were bright and clear, not at all like someone who’d just awoken.
“I’ve been awake for a while now,” he said. 

Xia Wennan retracted his hand and shrank into his blanket until it was up to his chin.
“Then why didn’t you wake me up?” he mumbled.

Ming Luchuan sneered.
“Why would I? Won’t you scram once you’re awake?”

Xia Wennan grumbled, “You’re a nutcase.”

Ming Luchuan threw off his covers and went to the bathroom.

Xia Wennan retreated inside his blanket and lay there for a while.
Since all traces of sleepiness had already left his body, he simply got out of bed, put on his slippers, and walked to the window.
He opened the curtains slightly and closed his eyes in reflex as the morning sunlight streamed in.
He took a half-step back until his eyes adjusted to the brightness before looking outside again.

He could now see the garden clearly.
It was overgrown with plants and flowers, and it was clear that someone cared for it on a regular basis.
The colors were lovely, and the plants grew abundantly.
In the middle of the garden, there was a small open space with white tables and chairs.
It must be nice to sit there with a book and a cup of coffee when the weather isn’t too hot.

The chairs were empty at the time, but in the downstairs garden, there was a lone wheelchair.

And the person in the wheelchair was none other than Ming Sichen.

From where Xia Wennan stood, he could only catch a glimpse of Ming Sichen’s frail back and the fluffy black hair at the top of his head.
Ming Sichen sat motionless in his wheelchair, his eyes fixed straight ahead as if in a daze.

Ming Sichen would occasionally lower his head, revealing a sliver of fair nape between his collar and the ends of his hair.
Xia Wennan then discovered that he actually had a tattoo on his nape.
From this distance, he could still make out a butterfly tattoo; which was perhaps of a similar design to Ming Siyan’s. 

“What are you looking at?” said Ming Luchuan, who’d walked up to his side without him noticing.

Staring at the tattoo on Ming Sichen’s nape, he said, “Your brothers have identical tattoos on their glands.”

“He doesn’t have glands.”

“What?” Xia Wennan turned to Ming Luchuan in confusion.

Ming Luchuan cast his gaze downwards and said, “Ming Sichen doesn’t have glands.
He’s a beta.”

For a moment, Xia Wennan was somewhat stunned. 

From the moment he arrived at the Ming family house and met Ming Sichen, Xia Wennan had assumed that he was an omega.
Primarily because he was Ming Siyan’s—who was an omega himself—twin.
Their resemblance was uncanny, so how could their secondary sex be different? Were they fraternal twins who just happened to be identical?

“They don’t have the same dad?” asked Xia Wennan.
“I mean—your other dad.” 

Ming Luchuan glanced at him.
“How do you think twins come to be?”

Xia Wennan’s mouth slightly fell open.
He had a terrible idea.

“Shut your mouth,” said Ming Luchuan.
“How would they look so alike if they don’t have the same father? Their father’s a beta.”

“Then how come you’re an alpha?” Xia Wennan was totally perplexed. 

“Because I have a different father,” said Ming Luchuan. 

“Didn’t you say that your father is an alpha?”

“Didn’t I tell you he was already dead? Don’t bring him up again.”

“Okay.” Xia Wennan leaned against the window.
He wasn’t particularly interested in Ming Luchuan’s alpha father, but as a beta, he somewhat sympathised with Ming Sichen.
“He didn’t grow up happily in this house, did he?”

“Why do you say that?” asked Ming Luchuan. 

Xia Wennan propped his face on one hand.
“He has alpha and omega brothers, but he himself is a beta.
He must’ve felt a great deal of pressure from a young age.”

“And what’s wrong with betas?” Ming Luchuan’s eyes fell on Xia Wennan.
“You’re also a beta.
Don’t tell me you think you’re inferior to alphas and omegas?”

“It’s precisely because I’m a beta that I know how hard it is for us in this society.
Some differences are physiological in nature.
Just because I say that I’m doing fine, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually fine—it’s not that simple.”

Ming Luchuan didn’t say anything for a long time. Xia Wennan couldn’t resist looking up at him, only to realise that the man had been staring at him the entire time.
He paused for a beat before asking, “What are you staring at? Why aren’t you saying anything?”

“I thought that there was something wrong with your brain.”

“There is something wrong with my brain.
I don’t even know you anymore.”

“But you’re not as naive as you appear,” said Ming Luchuan. 

Xia Wennan laughed when he heard this.
“I am naive.
Being naive is a good thing.
It means that you haven’t grown up yet, and you still have someone to protect you from the wind and rain and shoulder your responsibilities.” His smile faded as he spoke, his gaze fixed on the garden outside the window.
He suddenly remembered that that someone had died a long time ago.

Ming Luchuan extended his hand and touched Xia Wennan’s head.
Xia Wennan didn’t react.
Ming Luchuan spread his fingers; the slender digits and his large palm engulfing the top of Xia Wennan’s head.
He looked down at Xia Wennan’s messy hair, the ends of which were tousled by his palm.

Xia Wennan rested against the window sill for a moment before righting himself up and saying, “I’m going to wash up.”

Ming Luchuan turned away coldly, heading to the wardrobe to change his clothes.

When they went downstairs, Ming Sichen had left the garden and was now in the dining room.
Hearing the sound of a basketball outside, Xia Wennan cast a curious glance and saw Yin Zejing playing. 

Xia Wennan immediately wanted to turn away when he saw Yin Zejing, but he was one step too late; Yin Zejing had already noticed him and was passing the ball to him.
“Wennan, let’s play a one-on-one game.”

“I can’t play basketball,” Xia Wennan said as he reflexively raised his hands to catch the ball.

Yin Zejing was wearing a sleeveless white tee, his well-proportioned and muscly arms sticking out of wide sleeves.
He’d obviously only recently begun playing, but a thin sheen of sweat had already formed on his brow.
The air reeked of the aggressiveness of alpha pheromones, making Xia Wennan feel uneasy.

Xia Wennan passed the ball back to Yin Zejing. Yin Zejing barked out a laugh as he caught the ball.
He tossed the ball in the air and said, “Weren’t you the captain of your high school team?”

Xia Wennan had been a member of his high school basketball team, and he was the only non-alpha starter to boot.
He couldn’t help inwardly cursing how he couldn’t just keep his mouth shut, being the amnesiac that he was.
At the same time, he summoned a half-hearted smile and said,  “Really? I completely forgot.”

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