Ch.73 – One-way Passage

 

The entire dream was fragmentary.

He wasn’t sure if it was influenced by his visit to the university today, but every scene in his dream was related to the school, and He Yufeng appeared in many of them.

Xia Wennan dreamt of studying with He Yufeng in the library, He Yufeng helping him jot down experiment results in the lab, and the two of them playing basketball on the court.
Xia Wennan dreamt of other things aside from this, all of which he could describe as picturesque.

As a result, when Xia Wennan later awoke, he was dazed all over.
It wasn’t until he opened his eyes did he realise that his headache had gone away and that Ming Luchuan was still sleeping beside him with an arm snugly wrapped around him.

When Xia Wennan stirred, Ming Luchuan tightened his embrace.
He raised his head and gazed at Xia Wennan, eyes hazy with sleep.
“Still hurting? Would you like to go to the hospital?”

“It doesn’t hurt anymore.” Xia Wennan rolled over and sat up, lifting a hand to pat his own head.

Ming Luchuan sat up with him, his gaze never leaving Xia Wennan.

The only thing going through Xia Wennan’s mind was how strange his dream had been.
Why would he dream of He Yufeng? Was it because they had happened to visit their university together? So, did that mean that those dreams were merely dreams? Or were they fragments of the memories he’d lost?

Xia Wennan clutched at his hair.

“We should go to the hospital,” said Ming Luchuan.

Xia Wennan turned to take a long look at him before reaching out and hugging him.
“It’s okay, it doesn’t hurt anymore.
Let’s just go in two days, for my routine check-up.”

Ming Luchuan stroked Xia Wennan’s hair.
“You’re really all right?”

“Mm.”

That morning, Xia Wennan went to the hospital on his own, behind Ming Luchuan’s back.

Lin Shuqiu was the one in charge of Xia Wennan’s routine checkups.
When he learnt that Xia Wennan had hit his head against a tree and had been dizzy for the entire night, he told him that he could consider performing an MRI if he wanted a more thorough examination.
If the headache was only short-term, however, Lin Shuqiu suspected that Xia Wennan was suffering from a mild concussion.


“No, I’m not questioning if my brain broke,” said Xia Wennan.
“I think I might have recovered some of my memories, actually.”

Lin Shuqiu was in the midst of filling out a medical case report when he heard this.
“That’s a good thing then,” he said, “maybe your memories are starting to gradually return.”

“But they aren’t complete… they’re very vague.”

Lin Shuqiu looked at him.

“Are you free for lunch?” Xia Wennan inquired.

At noon, after Lin Shuqiu finished up his rounds, he spared some time to have lunch with Xia Wennan at a restaurant near the hospital’s entrance.

Xia Wennan told him about his dream the night before.

Lin Shuqiu listened while eating, and afterwards, he gave a nod.
“They might be fragments of your memories, manifesting in the form of dreams.”

Xia Wennan seemingly had no appetite.
The set meal in front of him went untouched, and his knitted brow spelled distress.

“What’s wrong?” Lin Shuqiu asked as he pushed the frame of his glasses up his nose bridge.

Xia Wennan picked up his chopsticks and prodded at the contents of his bowl a few times.
He then leaned closer to Lin Shuqiu and lowered his voice, saying, “The way dream-He Yufeng treated me felt a little ambiguous.”

Lin Shuqiu was taken aback.
“You’re kidding?”

Xia Wennan said, “So what do you think? Are they my actual memories, or are my dreams a reflection of whatever subconscious thoughts I have?”

Lin Shuqiu unwittingly asked, “Do you like that Senior He guy?”

“Of course not!” Despite his words, Xia Wennan was most perplexed when it came to this matter.
“There’s no way I’d be into alphas.”

“Isn’t Mr.
Ming an alpha?” Lin Shuqiu ventured cautiously.

Xia Wennan lowered his head and jabbed a hole in his rice with the end of his chopsticks.
After a moment, he looked up and said, “He’s different.
Don’t change the subject.”

“……right.” Lin Shuqiu was starving when he’d left the hospital earlier, so he had practically inhaled his meal.
A look at the time told him that he needed to return to the hospital soon, but he remained patient, wanting to talk to Xia Wennan for a little longer.
“So, what exactly are you worried about?”

Xia Wennan said, “I just think it’s weird—why would I dream about something like that?”

“Dreams don’t necessarily mean anything to us.”

“Didn’t you say that my missing memories may be manifesting as dreams?”

“Because that’s what you think.”

“Aren’t you a doctor? You don’t even know?”

Lin Shuqiu was stumped.
“I’m just your average doctor… I don’t study dreams.”

Though Xia Wennan failed to obtain his desired answer from Lin Shuqiu, as a matter of fact, he was more inclined to believe that his dreams were the missing parts of his memories.
Because the scenes in the dream felt real, as opposed to his previous dreams, in which his surroundings were always bizarre.
Plus, when he and He Yufeng were together, that ambiguous air had truly been present, and it was this that troubled him.

That afternoon, Xia Wennan came by Ming Luchuan’s office, sitting on the sofa and staring at him blankly.

Ming Luchuan had work to handle, and it was only over half an hour later did he look up at Xia Wennan.
“You’re not going back to work?”

Xia Wennan lifted both hands and covered his head with his palms, saying, “I don’t want to work.
What am I thinking?”

Ming Luchuan looked at him wordlessly.

Xia Wennan laid on his back.
“I’m useless trash.”

“Come here,” said Ming Luchuan.

With his gaze trained to the ceiling, Xia Wennan hesitated for a while before rising from the sofa, his body swaying as he walked over to Ming Luchuan.
Once Xia Wennan was in front of him, he leaned backwards and perched on Ming Luchuan’s desk, shook his feet, and flung off his shoes.
He then cast a glance at Ming Luchuan, and when he saw no reaction, he sat atop the table with his legs crossed.

“What’s the matter?” Ming Luchuan asked him.

“What’s the matter with what?”

“You seem really agitated.
Why don’t I accompany you to the hospital tomorrow?”

Xia Wennan hurriedly said, “No need, I’ve already gone today.”

“You’re already gone?”

“Mm.” As Xia Wennan stared at Ming Luchuan’s tie, he said, “I didn’t feel that well this morning, so I went on my own.”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.
Doctor Lin said that it might be a mild concussion.”

Xia Wennan asked, “Do you need to do a more detailed exam?”

Xia Wennan shook his head.
Little by little, his gaze moved upwards until it fell on Ming Luchuan’s face.
Xia Wennan looked at him for a while before saying, “I don’t like alphas.”

Ming Luchuan’s face immediately fell.

Xia Wennan added, “Except for you.”

Ming Luchuan’s stormy expression immediately cleared.

Xia Wennan said, “You know, you’d be incredibly talented if you went and trained for the Sichuan Opera.”[1]


“Do you like me?” Ming Luchuan asked him.

Xia Wennan averted his gaze.
“Why are you saying that—what are we, an old married couple?”

Ming Luchuan reached out and held Xia Wennan’s ankle.
“Can’t an old married couple be in love?”

Xia Wennan glanced down at Ming Luchuan’s hand.
The skin there felt somewhat ticklish under his touch, and that tickling sensation reached the bottom of his heart.
He then began babbling, “Look how many old couples out there don’t even have a sex life, what sort of love are you talking about?”

At Xia Wennan’s words, Ming Luchuan’s fingers, which had originally been gently tracing Xia Wennan’s jutting ankle bone, stilled.
He said, “Is that supposed to be suggestive?”

Xia Wennan’s face reddened in an instant.
“No! I was talking about others, not us.
I’m not like that.”

“You still haven’t answered my question yet.”

Xia Wennan, whose attention had been drawn away by his own doing, asked,“What question?”

“Do you like me?”

Xia Wennan hung his head, his fingertips brushing against Ming Luchuan’s.
“What am I doing here wasting my time with you if I don’t like you? I would’ve gone out and found a beta girl to date a long time ago, okay?”

Ming Luchuan rose from his seat, pressed a hand to Xia Wennan’s nape, and called his name, “Wennan.

The matter of He Yufeng had long vacated Xia Wennan’s mind.
He had a faint provocative premonition, which, on one hand, he felt wasn’t right, but on the other, his limbs were ready to spring into action.

Right then, his phone, which had been tucked inside his pants pocket, suddenly rang.
After looking at Ming Luchuan, he fished his phone out to set it aside, only to accidentally catch a glimpse of the on-screen notification—Teacher Lin had invited him to a group chat for his graduate students.

Xia Wennan swiftly unlocked his screen and opened the WeChat group’s members list, where he saw that, aside from He Yufeng and himself, there were a slew of other members, all of whom were most likely Teacher Lin’s students.

Struck with an idea, Xia Wennan looked up and said to Ming Luchuan, “Something came up, we’ll continue tonight.”

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