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ghosts behind us

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Wang Yibo wakes up. 

His legs were clinging to Xiao Zhan’s, his hands were on top of his chest and he was drooling on his boyfriend's shirt. He had pleasantly gotten used to sleeping that way whenever they had free time, yet that night wind was taking over the room. Through the crack of the window, an uncomfortable breeze was trespassing, and the covers weren’t able to filter it. 

Xiao Zhan doesn’t move; he keeps snoring softly, sleeping as still as a rock. On the other hand, Yibo urges to close the window to sleep peacefully. Therefore, he gets up drowsily, wishing to go back to bed for a few more hours. 

The sight of the obscure corridor gives him goosebumps. Dark places have always terrified him.

Just then, a strange noise appears and he freezes in place. It’s not loud, however, he can’t identify where it was coming from. Wang Yibo thinks he shouldn’t look in that direction, because in horror movies whenever someone looks where they shouldn’t a monster appears ━ as stupid characters, surely. Pretending to be blind and deaf was the best option. Even so, through his peripheral vision, a blurred creepy thing emerges. Fear makes him unconsciously turn his head.

A white figure crosses the corridor. Wang Yibo trembles. 

“Ge... I think our house is haunted.”

Xiao Zhan mumbles something incomprehensible. He stands immobile, not knowing what to do; his boyfriend was the brave one in the relationship! (well, Xiao Zhan feared nothing except eggplants). When watching horror movies, he was rarely frightened; when it was about insects, he was never bothered by earthworms. 

Regaining strength, Yibo quickly jumps back on the bed. “Zhan-ge! Zhan-ge, there’s a ghost here! Protect me!” 

Finally, to his relief, Xiao Zhan wakes up. “What?” he asks, squinting, “Calm down. Ghosts don’t exist. Your eyes are deceiving you.”

And was it possible to confound a ghost? Certainly not. 

“I’m sure I saw one!” he argues, pulling the blanket over himself and turning his body behind his boyfriend’s. “Zhan-ge, there was a ghost on the corridor just now...”

As a real gentleman, Xiao Zhan gets up to turn on the bedroom light. Secondly, he turns on the lights of the corridor: there was nothing but their shadows and the wind passing through the still open window, 

It was all an evil scheme of the ghost, Yibo was sure. 

“Zhan-ge,” he calls lowly, in case the creature was listening, “it could attack you. Stay near me...”

“Yibo,” his boyfriend sighs, standing by the door, crossing his arms, “I think you’re watching too many horror movies. Let’s go back to sleep, alright?” 

He’s startled by the idea. “How can you sleep when there’s a ghost in our house?!”

What if the damn ghost decides to wander into their room, watching them sleep like a sadist and then haunt them down until madness? It was too risky ━ Wang Yibo wouldn’t dare. 

Xiao Zhan lies down again. “And what do you suggest? Call the ghostbusters?”

“Let’s pack and move.”

For a second, his boyfriend looks at him with apparent concern. The second passes and he turns around to bury his head in the pillow, ignoring that admirable idea. 

“Zhan-ge, I’m serious,” he says. It wasn't worth continuing living in a place like that, where a pernicious creature could watch them sleep. “Come on, get up!”

“Yibo,” Xiao Zhan mutters, “let’s go back to sleep.”

“I’m not sleeping with a ghost in my house! I swear I saw it!”

He doesn’t turn off the lights and instead lies close to his boyfriend, eyes fixed on the corridor, ready to call him again if the ghost dares to reappear. Unconsciously, he pouts. Ten minutes go by like that: eyes glazed beyond the door, grabbing Xiao Zhan’s arm, awake, awake, awake. His boyfriend gives up quickly, since he really appreciates his hours of sleep, and gets up once more. 

“Okay, okay,” he grunts like someone who’s not okay at all, “I’ll search more.”

Letting his gege search for the damn bastard alone also didn’t soothe his fears; what if he was taken to the dark side of the force? Who would protect him then? 

“...What if it attacks Zhan-ge?” he asks, wrapping himself in a blanket. 

“If you won’t sleep anyway, I better go.”

And off he goes. Xiao Zhan searches in the bathroom first, and nothing. Then, he searches in the kitchen, the living room and the guest room, yet finds nothing. He returns with tired eyes, offering his boyfriend the conclusion: “Nothing. There’s nothing anywhere.” 

Damn phantom with its manipulation skills. “He’s hiding from you…”

Xiao Zhan sighs. “And what do you intend to do? We cannot leave the house because of this.”

He decides to get up too, to stay closer to his human shield. When Xiao Zhan sees Wang Yibo standing up barefoot, body covered and tiny head sticking out like a perfect dumpling, he can’t resist pecking his lips. During that short time of a kiss, Yibo even manages to forget they were under threat. 

“How about… spending the night in a hotel?” he suggests. 

“It’s not a good idea,” Xiao Zhan thinks for about thirty seconds. “We’re sleeping on the balcony tonight, then. Is it fine for you?”

“What?”

Their balcony was a comfortable place. A few months ago, Xiao Zhan had placed pillows on the floor, filled it with some plants, photographs, and, in addition, utilized lamps scattered in that minimalist indie style his boyfriend enjoyed. They had already spent some sleepless nights there, but this was a whole other matter. 

In any case… ghosts are limited creatures, aren’t they? They usually stay inside houses, don’t they? Perhaps it was a good idea. 

Xiao Zhan notices his thoughts. “It’s on the balcony or here inside, next to the ghost.”

“You said there was no ghost!”

His boyfriend had checked every room carefully, and was now unsure of the situation? It wasn’t fair! Xiao Zhan sighs, then rolls up the blankets and the pillows, holding them in his arms while heading to the balcony. When arriving, he turns on the lights, and Wang Yibo can breathe easier. 

He remembers the last time they were there. Wang Yibo had danced  'Falling in Love'  for him ━ his boyfriend loves the time when he had blonde hair. Xiao Zhan always said that version of him was adorable, as if Yibo could be anything if not sexy and cool.

There were also nights when he’d come home exhausted from work, upset for no reason, and Xiao Zhan would prepare his favourite food, put him in the bathtub and wash his hair, massaging his body gently. Afterwards, he’d dry his hair delicately, and they’d dine together on that spot, under a starry sky. Those were the best nights for him. 

At that moment, his boyfriend was arranging the corner where they’d sleep. “Come here, no ghost will get us.”

If he was so sure… “Okay,” he whispers, “but bring me my slippers first, the floor is cold.” 

Xiao Zhan looks at his feet. “You’re afraid to go get slippers?”

“Yeah, so what?” he says, because it was okay to be afraid of ghosts, wasn’t it? His boyfriend wasn’t normal, with that heart made of stone. Yibo argues, “What if I go alone and the ghost appears again?” 

“Be nice,” Xiao Zhan replies. “Say hi to them.”

“Zhan-ge!”

An urge to laugh rises in his throat, but he doesn’t; his boyfriend doesn’t deserve it, treating him like that. Sleep wasn’t important, their safety was more of a priority ━ a ghost would only cause trouble. Fortunately, his ge gets up to fetch the slippers. At last, they lay down under four covers, to ward off the cold, and the stars watch over them. 

Since they started dating and living together, so many things he learned; both about him, Xiao Zhan, and love. Wang Yibo was proud of himself for the number of things he had discovered. Yes, it wasn’t easy to build a relationship, especially when you have millions of viewers waiting for you to make a mistake in front of cameras.

Nonetheless, about Xiao Zhan... it was so nice to have him around, under starry nights or not, on hot and cold days and on weekends or weekdays. They have disagreements sometimes, as couples always do, but they’d resolve quickly and loved each other enough to care, protect, be loyal and understand that no human being is perfect and that making mistakes is valid. 

Wang Yibo believes he could write an entire book about his boyfriend any day. It would be simple. He knew about him more than he knew about himself.

Xiao Zhan talks to the television. He’s also clumsy, usually hitting body parts on furniture and getting bruises; he gets distracted easily, although he knows how to focus rigorously when it comes to something he’s interested in, like design. He knows how to take care of plants quite well. Animals and children love him (how could anyone not love him?); he takes long, hot showers and doesn’t like a mess. Xiao Zhan writes down anything, because of his weak memory, and also creates short songs about simple tasks with silly rhymes. His boyfriend likes to practice random crafts he finds on the internet, has a good sense of humour, learns new recipes fast (he cooks very well, by the way!) and takes great care when handling stuff.

Wang Yibo, on the other hand, breaks glasses all the time and makes a mess unconsciously. Animals usually hate him and he can barely take care of himself, imagine taking care of a child! ━ he likes quick, cold baths, and makes strange sounds when he’s distracted. He curses when playing video games, as well as nap wherever possible, like a sloth. 

Having someone by his side to protect him from ghosts... surely, was more than he deserved. It brings him indescribable comfort. 

“Come closer,” his boyfriend asks when they’re both looking at the sky. 

He gets closer by just a few millimetres. 

“Closer.”

Then, Yibo glues on him. If he gets any closer, he’d have to break the laws of physics and inhabit the same place as his gege. Xiao Zhan puts his arms around his waist and kisses his forehead affectionately. “Sleep now, okay? I’m here.” 

He nestles on his chest. Above them, the sky is perfect; no indication of rain. He forgets all the fears, and sleep attacks him ruthlessly again, making him close his eyes.

Well, if luck or fate made him meet Xiao Zhan, he was grateful. And he does thank the universe, quietly, when he’s almost falling unconscious. It was the best timing, under the clouds. One day, perhaps everyone would discover that they were together, that they lay on a balcony like that, hiding from ghosts and cameras. One day, perhaps, everyone would discover that they belonged to each other, that they always would. 

Until then, may they just rest under the stars. 


“Zhan-ge, did you see my white shirt?” 

Another Day Day Up recording, and he was late since his shirt was completely gone. Yibo had already searched in both wardrobes; found nothing. It wasn’t under the bed, nor in the washing machine. 

“Hmn?” Xiao Zhan hums from the kitchen, “It wasn’t in the bathroom?” 

“It’s nowhere.”

Sighing in frustration, Wang Yibo searches the guest room, even if it’s the least likely place. It wasn't under the bed, much less lying around. However, when he looks up as he walks out the door, he sees a stain on the window. There, barely noticeable, his white shirt was lying. 

At the same time, everything makes sense. His head spins, remembering the figure he had seen crossing the corridor two weeks ago. The figure had left the bathroom, going straight to the other room; now, the ‘ghost’ was stuck in the window, after being blown by the wind. 

First, he takes time to laugh. Then, he runs into the kitchen and hugs his boyfriend, explaining all the past confusion and hurrying to apologize: “Zhan-ge, I was wrong! Zhan-ge, forgive me for disturbing your sleep!”

He even makes an irresistible pout, since his hero was terrible at dealing with them. That technique was always convincing, even if he’d decide to break the whole house. Xiao Zhan pecks him and smiles. “Aiya… it’s okay. Gege will always protect you, even if it’s from shirts floating with the wind.”

Wang Yibo knows. He knows, and he’s immensely grateful. His boyfriend kisses him again and they both forget about it, even though at some point Yibo will fear the night again and Xiao Zhan will need to wake up and turn on the light for him again. His ge would protect him, a thousand times, if needed. 

And he’d leave all ghosts behind, forgotten, since he had Xiao Zhan by his side.