The clock hit 2 o’clock. A cup of water was placed on his table, barely where Mo Fan could see it. He knew it was there, though, because it was there every day at 2 o’clock on the dot, like clockwork. He inclined his head ever so slightly, and he knew that Qiao Yifan was smiling at him, even though his eyes were glued on his computer screen, concentrating hard on the training exercise Ye Xiu had assigned. His chest warmed and his APM increased, even as he knew Qiao Yifan was walking away.
Su Mucheng scooted her chair over. Reaching out a hand, she adjusted Mo Fan’s headphones so that he could hear her. She blinked, taking in the sight for just a moment. She whispered, “Hey, Mo Fan... Your ears are red.” She leaned back, and popped a melon seed in her mouth. She grinned.
She held out her hand, which was full of seeds, and offered some to him. Mo Fan took one, to be polite, but turned away quickly. He chased the seed down with a gulp of water from the cup Qiao Yifan had left. Mo Fan readjusted his headphones, effectively hiding his ears, and turned back to Glory. Su Mucheng didn’t take offense. She left a pile of seeds on the table near the water bottle, smiling as though she was the cat that ate the canary. She stood up, brushing past him with a comforting pat on the head, and headed out of the training room.
He hissed under his breath. He had to get better at controlling himself; no matter how much he might get flustered around the younger man, becoming sloppy in Glory was unacceptable. He attacked the training exercise with a quiet ferocity he rarely had.
Just as he was getting back into the swing of things, Mo Fan saw the chair previously occupied by Su Mucheng being filled with a familiar jacket. His face flushed and his actions got sloppier. He squinted hard, trying to regain control over his stupid brain. After a time longer than he’d like to admit - though any time was too long, really - he managed to finish the training exercise with a passable focus.
“You...” He paused.. “Why are you sitting here?” His voice came out gruffer than he intended. He hoped Qiao Yifan wouldn’t be offended.
“Ah... Senior Su Mucheng wanted to sit where I was, so she told me to take her spot,” Qiao Yifan said. “Do you want me to find another computer?” He began to stand.
Mo Fan raised his hand. “No, it’s fine.” He stared harder at his computer screen, trying not to think about what he was about to say next. “Stay.” He restarted his training exercise, though his mind was anywhere but on Glory.
At this uncharacteristic action, Qiao Yifan stared at him and sat back down. “Thank you,” he murmured and turned back to his computer. Swift hands tapped at the keyboard, and the determination was clear in his face.
Watching the younger man, Mo Fan’s chest warmed and he let a smile slip onto his face. It was amazing how Qiao Yifan would always thank people for the smallest of things; from what Mo Fan could tell, his time in Tiny Herb hadn’t done much for Qiao Yifan’s self-esteem. Here, though, Qiao Yifan would always be thanked for his hard work. Happy really was a kind place. Still... “Thank you,” Mo Fan murmured, barely moving his lips.
The younger man looked genuinely shocked, which hurt Mo Fan. Qiao Yifan shouldn’t have been shocked that he was thanked. Although, it could have been because Mo Fan spoke, which was pretty fair, honestly.
Qiao Yifan let a smile bloom across his face. “You’re welcome, Mo Fan.” He hesitated for a moment, then leaned over. He placed his hand, soft and innocent, on Mo Fan’s and squeezed before blushing deeply and jerking his head back to face his computer.
Mo Fan’s head swiveled to look at Qiao Yifan, and he slowly turned red. He gaped at Qiao Yifan, but Qiao Yifan stubbornly stared straight at the computer screen. His hand was gripping the mouse so tightly that Mo Fan could see where the muscles had tensed.
In a fit of stupidity or courage, Mo Fan decided to reach over with his own hand. The light touch he left on Qiao Yifan’s hand made Mo Fan’s fingers tingle. The feeling of Qiao Yifan’s skin stayed on his mind for a few minutes as the two men sat in total stillness. Mo Fan, absentminded, let his opposite hand drift over to rest on the one that had touched Qiao Yifan. When he realized what he was doing, his hand stilled and he ducked his head. His scarf was covering most of his face; he hoped Qiao Yifan wouldn’t be able to see his expression.
Smiling, Mo Fan turned back to his computer. His heart was calmer than it had ever been around Qiao Yifan, and his concentration didn’t break again until practice was over. He felt satisfied with his progress and began his stretches.
Happy’s team members left one by one, trickling out of the practice room. Waiting for Qiao Yifan to leave, Mo Fan didn’t budge an inch. The other man just sat there, though. Mo Fan glanced to the side to sneak a glance at Qiao Yifan only to find that the other man was already looking at him. Their eyes met, and, blushing, they both whipped their heads around. Slowly, Mo Fan turned back to Qiao Yifan. He asked, barely louder than a whisper, “Do you want to eat with me?”
Qiao Yifan nodded hesitantly and replied, “If you’ll have me.” His eyes darted from side to side nervously.
Mo Fan nodded and stood up. Qiao Yifan rose with him. The two men walked out of the training room side by side, hands brushing slightly. They walked in silence, but it wasn’t an awkward one. It was comfortable.