It’s almost eight in the evening.
Xiao Zhan is close to falling asleep on the kitchen counter. When you’re dating a younger man, he reflects, you have to deal with inconsistent fears at night, sudden sparks of dangerous ideas, unthinkable antics and tons of insecurities. Or perhaps these are the incredible perks of being with Wang Yibo... whatever it was, Xiao Zhan was too tired that day, especially because it was Friday and his manager couldn’t provide him a day off early that week. He expected nothing more than a great dinner and, soon after, a great night of sleep.
Well, if Wang Yibo wasn’t that late.
Two hours pass by and he feels tempted to eat alone. One more hour passes, and Xiao Zhan devours half of the dinner, keeping the food in the fridge for when his boyfriend arrives. Restless, he checks his phone again. The messages he sent? Unanswered. The calls he had made? Voicemail.
Resignedly walking towards the bedroom, ready to face an empty bed, he thinks that perhaps Wang Yibo wouldn’t want to receive notifications while working on God knows what and that he was being an annoying lover ━ besides, busy schedule comes with the relationship. Xiao Zhan walks like a zombie through the corridor until he hears the subtle sound of a key on the doorknob.
It’s almost midnight and Wang Yibo finally comes home, tiptoed as if invading the place. He closes the door with care as if the walls were made of porcelain ━ dirty bag on the back, brown jacket, white shoes and messy hair. If he wasn’t in danger before, he’d be in danger at that moment.
Wang Yibo freezes as he looks on his right side and realizes Xiao Zhan was there, watching him closely. “Why aren't you sleeping?” he asks, clearly nervous while adjusting his jacket.
“Would you prefer if I was asleep?” Xiao Zhan inquires, squinting at his extremely suspicious behaviour.
He doesn’t even insist on placing a kiss on his cheek as a “welcome back”, as he‘s used to. Instead, crosses his arms, observing how Wang Yibo was acting like a criminal who was just caught, with wide eyes and trembling, although trying to act normal.
“You didn’t warn me. I didn’t know you’d come sooner,” he says, stepping away from the door and heading to the kitchen, avoiding Xiao Zhan’s icy eyes.
Heavens, he had warned. “I told you I’d arrive early and prepare dinner. Where the hell is your phone?”
“Huh?” Wang Yibo keeps the facade still. “It’s in my pocket. I’m ━ mn, I’m sorry. I overworked today…”
“Hmn, you did? And did you go out with Da-laoshi as you said?”
“Yes,” he replies, but it’s too fast.
Such a lie. Yibo said nothing about going out with Da-laoshi.
Xiao Zhan uncrosses his arms and sighs. He walks into the kitchen, getting close to his boyfriend; he could smell his perfume, still stuck in his body after a day of work. It was hard to avoid the urge of forgetting all suspicions and push him to bed.
Deciding to assume an affectionate posture, Xiao Zhan pecks him, wrapping his arms around his neck. “What’s wrong?”
Wang Yibo doesn’t reply. He pouts contemptuously before pulling him closer, granting another slight kiss on his lips. However, with that proximity, Xiao Zhan hears a strange noise, imperceptible if it weren’t for his good senses.
It's a bit repressed, yet he can recognize a ‘quack’ coming from Wang Yibo's jacket. Both bodies freeze in place. He wasn’t the only one who heard it. It couldn’t be, could it? Hallucination, right?
Apparently not, since Wang Yibo looked guilty. His eyes were already down, just like a puppy after making a mess. “Zhan-ge…” he starts, “I can explain.”
Xiao Zhan drifts away. “Well, I’m waiting.”
His boyfriend finally gives up on the idea of hiding anything, thus pulling out of his jacket, for God’s sake, a black duckling ━ a cute little thing, as small as his hand. Xiao Zhan’s heart begs for him to pet the animal, meanwhile, his brain begs him to maintain a rational attitude.
“Do you remember that I said we’d pay a visit to a farm for a Day Day Up recording? Well… one of the ducklings there didn’t want to part away from me,” Yibo lifts the little duck with his huge hands, holding it like Rafiki held Simba during his baptism.
A comically adorable scene, especially while his boyfriend’s eyes were sparkling with adoration. “And you... just decided to bring the duckling home?” Xiao Zhan asks, struggling to control the enormous feeling of affection taking hold of his chest. “What━”
“No, listen, listen,” Wang Yibo interrupts, abruptly hiding the baby animal, and the duckling quacks. “It’s not my fault. He’s an orphan! He could be our baby boy.”
Xiao Zhan decides to leave the kitchen, since, sincerely, he’s too sleepy for that shit. It was better to settle far from those sappy eyes, implicitly asking to let a small animal, incredibly captivating, but also incredibly messy, live with them. Dealing with Wang Yibo was already quite difficult: he’d demand affection and attention every hour of the day ━ now imagine having to take care of a duckling as well.
The animal quacks again, three times in a row, probably not accepting the fact that Xiao Zhan had turned his back on his adorable face. “How can you be so cruel, Zhan-ge?” Wang Yibo complains, placing the duckling on the floor, letting him roam freely, tripping over the furniture here and there. “Don’t you love animals? Jianguo would love companionship.”
There’s a lot he could refute on that. First, Jianguo is a cat, and cats, everyone knows, are antisocial animals that intimately contemplates the idea of dominating the human race, causing everyone to bow to their furry needs. Cats are cute in the same proportion they’re arrogant; lonely tiny creatures that didn’t have as much love for their owner as their owner could have for them. Despite all of this, Xiao Zhan liked those beasties.
Second, everything that could come out of Wang Yibo’s mouth from that moment onwards was just excuses or reasons to make him accept the duckling inside the house, and he couldn’t be carried away by that.
“We don’t even have time to take care of Jianguo properly, and now a duck?” he argues, glancing at the pet.
The little animal was running back and forth with his feet stretched out, making small noises every time he ended up hitting something, like the sofa or Wang Yibo’s sneakers. He was so short that he could as well be out of sight in an instant, and his black fur looked awfully soft.
Quack once, when the duckling approached Xiao Zhan’s feet. Quack twice, while running around them. Quack again, when Wang Yibo looked at him as if to say ‘I’m gonna convince him, wait a minute’. Quack countless times, as if he wanted to recreate human words.
“He’s an orphan!” Wang Yibo exclaims, pouting even more. “He━” the duckling quacks, “is very well behaved,” ‘quack’ once again, “and I’ll be careful,” one more ‘quack!’, “so you don’t have to worry!”
Xiao Zhan just wanted to sleep peacefully. No ducks, no arguments, no Wang Yibo trying to get something out of him with his charm.
“Okay, he’s an orphan,” he sighs. “Are you going to adopt all the orphans in the world now?”
“I mean, we could…” Wang Yibo whispers. Then, he seems to realize his response didn’t solve anything and soon fixes it: “Well, not every one of them. It’s just him…”
“My love,” he calls, almost pleadingly. “We live in an apartment.”
Wang Yibo softens with the affectionate nickname for a second. Nevertheless, he picks the duckling from the floor, nestles him in his chest and says: “You’re just making up excuses. Look at us. If he leaves, I’ll leave too.”
“Okay, I’ll not actually leave, because I love you, but I’m serious when I say I’ll be upset,” Wang Yibo tells him with puffed cheeks. “It’s our baby boy! You can't let him go... he chose us.”
However, Xiao Zhan will have that moment of a little black duckling nestling on Wang Yibo’s chest captured forever in his heart. His boyfriend’s face changes hurriedly: eyes shining in supplication, falsely innocent. The duckling rolls in his arms, leaning his head against his shirt, then, as if he knew he still needed to convince one part about the adoption, he turns to Xiao Zhan and makes a quack sound.
“I swear I’ll have white hair sooner than expected,” Xiao Zhan sighs, defeated.
Wang Yibo and the duckling look at him expectantly. Damn, how ridiculous that was. Extremely frustrating how much he could give up because of his boyfriend. He could be convinced so easily; Wang Yibo wielded so much power over Xiao Zhan that it was terrifying.
“Okay,” he grunts. “Okay, okay, get that expression off of your face. Let’s see how this will go.”
The little duck is lifted again, just like Simba, and Wang Yibo smiles like Xiao Zhan was holding the moon in his hands. He wonders how long his boyfriend imagined he could hide the animal from him; perhaps a night, enough for him to think of ways to soften his heart and tell about the situation.
It was all too ridiculous and Xiao Zhan was too tired. He wanted to lie in his comfortable bed and sleep the whole weekend, warm under the covers. However, that night, he helps his boyfriend find a place for the duckling to sleep, feed, drink water and do his necessities. When Wang Yibo finally eats, takes a shower and goes to their room, it’s already two in the morning.
The week goes by idly. During recordings, they manage to take care of the duckling quite well. After a trip to the vet and the necessary purchases, the new member of the apartment easily settles down. Sometimes, when they didn’t have time to go check on him, they asked one of their employees to do so; and when the little duck would quack incessantly, they just needed to put him in a bowl of water and leave him there, swimming to relax.
“It must be good being a duck,” Wang Yibo would say, stroking his fur underwater. “Zhan-ge, come here.”
Xiao Zhan would come closer, only to be greeted with water on his face. His boyfriend would start a war, mischievously, and he, who was just as competitive, would throw water back; therefore, the night would pass with the duckling swimming and the two of them running soaking wet through the house, laughing like children.
They searched together for all the articles on how to take care of a duck. They had learned that the animal needed sun; then, they put protection on the balcony, for the little one to walk as much as he wanted. Ducks eat vegetables as well as fruits; then, they bought a bunch of them for him. Okay, perhaps they’d pamper the duckling too, buying tiny toys or caressing his small head every time he’d cling to their shoes.
The animal was also curious he’d fearlessly get under every piece of furniture in the apartment. On Wednesday, Wang Yibo and Xiao Zhan entered the house for soon to get desperate ━ their duck was nowhere to be found. Of course, they thought the worst: the duckling could have somehow fallen from that height! It was such a curious little thing that could have managed to get past the protection and tripped...
They checked every corner of the apartment, until, “Zhan-ge!”
“Did you find him?” Xiao Zhan yells with hope, finishing searching at the pipes.
And Xiao Zhan runs towards the voice, getting into their room, smiling when he sees his boyfriend holding the laundry basket. Their little duck managed to get into the clothes; stuck there, well hidden in the middle of that mess, only his small face was showing off. His ‘quack!’ resonated in their ears, and only then they relaxed again.
Xiao Zhan would be lying if he says that he didn’t love the animal already. He’d be lying if he says that he hadn’t gotten used to his presence after only a few days.
Afterwards, Wang Yibo was plagued by paternal affection. He kept imitating the duck’s silly movements, holding him everywhere, talking to him in a childish tone, even trying to get the duck grounded for getting inside his shoes. The day after, he had come home to find the pet walking around with his sneakers.
“Bo-di,” he calls, exhausted. “Is this serious?”
Wang Yibo laughs. Later, when he forgets about the incident and looks everywhere for his shoes, notices that the little duck has already pushed it into his corner, taking it as some kind of playground. Why the hell didn’t Yibo let him take his shoes instead? Jealous of his sneakers as he was, certainly wouldn’t like either.
The biggest problem was that, at night, the duck would keep quacking. It’d quack randomly, and he feared that the neighbours would complain at any moment. Wang Yibo, afraid to get out of bed at that hour, would say that maybe the duck was quacking at ghosts, and from ghosts, he’d run away from ━ Xiao Zhan would push him sleepily to the corner where the duck had made himself comfortable and they’d bring him close, petting him until he’d finally sleep, like a baby.
Heavens, but that cute little thing could squawk terribly when he wished.
“It’s your duck, you go,” Xiao Zhan says when he can’t stand anymore, pushing the blankets over his head.
Yibo rummages, taking his boyfriend’s hand from his waist and pushing him out immaturely, also sleepy. “It’s ours. You go now.”
“It was your idea to have a duck,” he recalls, yawning.
“But you’re his mother.”
He feels the need to correct him, even under the effect of sleepiness, tiredness and quacks: “Shut up, we’re both dads.”
Wang Yibo opens his eyes. “So you admit he’s our son?”
Xiao Zhan kicks him out of bed.
It’s only after two weeks that they realize the duck needed a name. Wang Yibo was taking the basin off the balcony, ready to wash it, when Xiao Zhan passed by the kitchen holding the pet and realized that they hadn’t decided how to address him.
“We didn’t give him a name,” he says.
Wang Yibo turns around, eyebrows furrowed. “It’s... duck.”
The duckling lets out an outrage ‘quack!’ and Xiao Zhan holds him closer. The little animal was showing differences in size; however, if two weeks ago he was so small he could fit Yibo’s palms perfectly, at least now he was no longer able to camouflage easily between their clothes, since his head would appear, bright and clean. If two weeks ago he was so small he could disappear quickly among the furniture, now he could no longer curl up to fit under the sofa to stay there indefinitely. The sneakers he had stolen from Xiao Zhan were no longer as big on his fins and the protection they had done on the balcony should be replaced by bigger ones.
The fact was: he needed a name. How could they have forgotten that step? Poor little one! Xiao Zhan strokes his fur, listening to his low quack of satisfaction.
“We need an appropriate name,” he says, feeling him shift a little in his arms until he finds a comfortable position. “We can’t keep calling him duck.”
Wang Yibo pauses his chore for a second to look at them both, eyes revealing fondness. While staring at the duckling, he puts his hands on his waists and uses an exaggeratedly intellectual expression. “Okay, hmn... how about Yue?”
“Yue?” Xiao Zhan tilts his head. “It’s... a good name, I guess.”
“Xiao Yue. Because he’s a Xiao!” Wang Yibo concludes, laughing in joy.
The duckling makes an energetic ‘quack!’, shifting until Xiao Zhan puts him on the floor, watching him prowl his feet in adoration ━ as if he could understand the conversation. He cannot help feeling endearment for Yue, that cute weird duckling his cute weird boyfriend brought to their house unannounced.
And, sure, the name was more than appropriate.
Another week passes, thus completing almost a month of little Yue’s stay in their apartment. Considering that they didn’t have big projects so far, asking for extra assistance was unnecessary; besides, Xiao Zhan was suspecting Yibo feared the fact that Yue was growing up fast.
On the weekend, after they finishing bathing the ducking, Wang Yibo’s fatherly demeanour made him tear up. “He’s growing up so well,” he said, “Maybe it’s time for him to meet other ducks.”
“Hmn?” Xiao Zhan asked, confused.
Wang Yibo looked at him significantly. “Maybe we could give him a sibling.”
“Oh, God, no .”
Crazy, crazy idea. Of course, they loved that cheerful company and had gotten used to his quacks at night ━ still, they had jobs, which would soon fill them with stress, preventing both from coming home every day, unlike as it was happening that month. In addition, Yue was already causing quite a mess, sometimes hovering around the protection they had arranged for him or doing his needs where he shouldn’t. Even the sneakers he stole had, somehow, fallen onto the lower neighbour’s balcony.
Imagining another duck running around the house, squawking and hiding, could give him a headache.
“Zhan-ge,” Yibo calls, with his abandoned puppy eyes. Xiao Zhan does his best not to look. “Zhan-ge!”
“But we’re great fathers!” he argues, and Yue quacks in agreement. “We’re taking care of him fine! I saw that ducks don’t like to be lonely… we could be careful.”
“No,” Xiao Zhan responds emphatically again, determined to avoid that madness.
Wang Yibo starts to pull the sleeve of his shirt like a child asking for candy, stroking his shoulders or hair, attempting to coax him. However, he wouldn’t surrender, not even with Yibo’s sly kisses running down his neck or Yue's ‘quack!’. He doesn’t respond to his ‘Zhan-ge…’ in a low, loving tone and when his boyfriend pouts, he rolls his eyes fast.
That pout pisses him off. If Wang Yibo asked to start a war with that expression, Xiao Zhan would do it right away, since, heavens, he’s such a weak man. Therefore, he tells himself several times not to look at him, not to look at him. If he doesn’t look, he won’t surrender to such desires.
Soon, it begins. His boyfriend wants to adopt every pet he sees, whether on television, on Day Day Up, or passing by a pet store. Previously, both agreed that Jianguo would live with Xiao Zhan’s mother while they weren’t home for long periods and it was becoming difficult to take care of Yue now that they’re stuck in tighter projects. Time was short whilst their duck was growing up fast.
Naturally, Wang Yibo doesn’t notice. Every time he’d encounter a dog, he’d say that he wished to have one. Every time he’d encounter a cat, he’d say that he missed Jianguo. Once, watching a National Geographic Wild report, he commented on how cute lion cubs were, adding that they could be tamed when adopted from a young age, turning into real kittens, despite the need for many precautions. Well, and Wang Yibo, guess what? He stayed upset for two whole days when Xiao Zhan said they couldn’t raise one, nor did they know if it was allowed such a thing for people like them, who didn’t know wild animals in general.
The matter transformed into ridiculous arguments. When he’d watch the news about lizards, Yibo would dream of raising one. When they’d watch a report about monkeys, Yibo would insist that they needed to get one too. His wild spirit had gone far out from normal proportions and Xiao Zhan could no longer bear discussions.
Finally, when it completed a month since Yue’s adoption, they bought a small cake to celebrate. The duckling was making quiet quacks on Wang Yibo’s lap while his boyfriend was watching a reporter talk about the tremendous popularity pet pigs earned lately.
“Zhan-ge…” he calls, a childish voice making its appearance.
Xiao Zhan grunts knowing. “No.”
“I said nothing.”
Yue makes a ‘quack?’, hiding under the covers on the sofa, getting closer to Xiao Zhan, who was leaning on his boyfriend’s shoulder. He takes the duckling in his hands and strokes his fur. “We can’t have a pig, Yibo.”
“I didn’t say we should have a pig…” Wang Yibo poked him.
“Your eyes are saying it. No pig enters the house,” Xiao Zhan says. His boyfriend pouts, he could see out of the corner of his eye and then he adds: “And stop pouting. Damn… it won’t work.”
“Why do you hate pigs?”
“I don’t hate pigs,” Xiao Zhan replies, exasperated. When the younger man had no more arguments, he’d use his words against him, distorting them for his benefit. So unfair ━ Wang Yibo couldn’t be controlled when he wanted. He elaborates: “You want everything you see on TV. Just a few days ago you said you wanted a lion cub because of a reportage.”
“I changed my mind,” Yibo says, moving on the couch to peck Xiao Zhan. “Xiao-laoshi is right, we can’t have a baby lion, you already have me. And, anyway, if we have a lion it could attack the pig. Better not.”
“We are not getting a pig,” he speaks categorically. The kisses his boyfriend placed on his face wouldn’t change his decision. “Not a lion or lizard either. Seriously, I’m scared I’ll get home someday and you’ll be caressing a dangerous animal, like an alligator or something,” Xiao Zhan sighs, afraid to even imagine. “These wild thoughts of yours could kill us, baobei. We don’t have a zoo.”
At last, the kisses stopped. Wang Yibo turns away, apparently sad after those words, and Xiao Zhan misses his proximity at the same moment. Yue makes a ‘quack?’, settling between them. Well, he could take a momentarily sulky Wang Yibo pouting irresistibly, but not a sad, disappointed Wang Yibo.
“Hey?” he calls, hurrying to undo his annoyance. “Why don’t you choose something easy to care of, like a hamster, or a fish? Even a bunny could be a good idea… bunnies are cute.”
Only at the mention of a bunny, his boyfriend turns around again. “I don’t want a hamster, don’t want a fish, and I have a bunny already,” he tells him. “Why an alligator though?”
Right, Xiao Zhan feared he’d say that an alligator was a good option. He pulls him closer, and replies, “I don’t know. You don’t want an alligator, do you?”
Yue makes a ‘quack!’ as if he dreaded the idea.
“No. Does Xiao-laoshi want an alligator?”
All that talk was giving him migraines. “Yes, of course,” Xiao Zhan laughs wryly. “Aiya, of course, I want an alligator, who wouldn’t?”
With those words, Yibo lights up, suddenly excited. A terrible feeling ignited: that was exactly what his boyfriend was waiting for. He says: “Zhan-ge, we can’t have an alligator! You’re so weird, Xiao-laoshi. We don’t have a zoo!”
Xiao Zhan immediately slaps him on the shoulder, making him laugh contentedly, forgetting that he was supposedly sulking. Such a brat. Safety must come first, sure, and if Yibo couldn’t see that, at least he did. In the end, no more arguments about alligators, lion cubs or wild lizards occur.
Over the week, Xiao Zhan starts to worry. Little Yue, now that he’s bigger, needs extra space and more company they cannot provide due work. It ends up happening the same thing that happened with Jianguo before his career started: Xiao Zhan needed someone, somewhere, to keep her while he couldn’t. Despite having fun daily with Yue’s messes, it was time to find him a refuge. The hard part, as always, was to make his boyfriend understand.
In the evening, after Yue’s time to swim, he tries to talk with the younger man. “You know,” he sighs, “We can’t keep bothering the assistants to come and check on him. What do you think about letting him stay with my parents for now? Their house is quite large, and they have a garden. He’ll be able to play a lot, we’ll receive pictures, mom will update us often...”
Yue makes a loud ‘quack!’, looking like a baby who somehow understood everything ━ as if he knew they were talking about him. Wang Yibo widens his eyes, covering the duckling’s ears instantly.
“Xiao Zhan!” he exclaims. “Why are you scaring our son off?”
“I am not!” Xiao Zhan defends himself, trying to get closer, yet Wang Yibo disengages. “We just have new projects coming up, and we’re not going to sleep home every night anymore. I’m just thinking about what’s best for him.”
Wang Yibo squints. “Do you think abandoning him is the best option?”
“It’s not abandoning!” he says, then sighs. “We’ll visit him whenever possible and my parents will send us pictures of him and Jianguo frequently, I’m sure. He’ll befriend her ━ companionship, remember? My parents are never bothered by new animals anyway, so…”
Nonetheless, his boyfriend was an extremely stubborn person, who doesn’t settle for that kind of senseless agreement. That night, they didn’t say anything else. They slept with a tension hanging; at dawn, the duckling made ‘quack?’ on the other side of the house, attentive to his fathers’ fight.
It’s only after two nights that Wang Yibo seems to get hold of what Xiao Zhan suggested. His boyfriend resigns, approaching him with Yue on his lap, and says: “Okay… maybe leaving him with your parents is acceptable… for now. But you have to promise me that when we have free time we’ll bring him back! And when we retire, we’ll definitely raise some ducks.”
Xiao Zhan laughs, happy that he convinced him. After a long kiss on his cheek, he replies: “Okay, I promise.”
“And we’re also going to adopt another cat… and a dog!” Wang Yibo blatantly increases the promise and Yue seems happy to see the parents together again, a ‘quack!’ resonating in the background.
“And a turtle as well.”
Xiao Zhan smiles. “We can arrange that.”
“And a baby,” Wang Yibo adds at last, with a big, hopeful smile.
It’s frightening how straightforward his boyfriend could be. A baby...? When he started that relationship he gave up on having a normal life ━ like getting married early, having children and a stable job, travelling from time to time, the predictable life many people pursue. It turns out that Wang Yibo was anything except predictable, and Xiao Zhan loved that. Why would he settle for a stable life, after all? He has always known if he ever marries him and they decide to raise a child, adoption was the solution.
Lord, Wang Yibo was already such a kid. The house had legos scattered everywhere, bicycle tools, skateboards, clothes, a pile of handmade materials Xiao Zhan had bought; a heap of little things kept together, tangled. It was comfortable. They didn’t have a job as stable as the others, however, Xiao Zhan loved everything he had.
The idea of a normal life seemed extremely tedious.
“We could adopt a baby, that’s what I’m saying,” Yibo kisses his shoulder. “Don’t you wanna raise a child with me?”
Xiao Zhan thinks about the idea for a second. His heart beats faster at the thought of his boyfriend lulling a baby, teaching a small child to skate and breakdance. “I do, baobei,” he admits, “But we’re thinking too far, don’t you think? We haven’t even gotten married yet.”
“But we will one day!” Wang Yibo raises his hand, their love symbolized on his dating ring. “I’ll kidnap you if you don’t marry me.”
Xiao Zhan can’t even resist that look anymore. “Yibo…”
“Zhan-ge,” he pouts, and it’s so unfair. He had controlled himself so much not to surrender his wishes before, that now he could return to surrender so easily. “Make that promise for me. As soon as we retire from the industry, okay? We’re good fathers!”
He remembers that crazy month, the moment when little Yue arrived and all the times they woke up at dawn to try and calm him. What if it was a baby? They were now pros at watching over ducks anyway. They were still young, yet thinking about the future wouldn’t hurt, especially in a career where you rise and fall smoothly; your position being taken by illustrious new faces.
Xiao Zhan wasn’t naive to think he’d be popular forever, much less thought that no one would sing better than him, perform brighter, or conquer much more than he could. There will always be someone who’ll do things differently than you do. There will be someone, in the future, who’ll shine more than he does now. There will be someone to take his place. He’ll remember Wang Yibo's young age forever though, as much as he knows that his boyfriend will remember him being on stage forever.
It would be good, in the future, to forget all the obligations to educate another person; to take care of a child together. It would be good to share everything he has learned.
Xiao Zhan suddenly agitates. It wasn’t a bad idea. “Okay... a baby, huh? I can promise that too.”
Wang Yibo lights up entirely, smiling at his boyfriend as if he’s the only one in the whole world. “Good! Just to clarify, you’re promising me ducklings, two cats, a dog, a turtle and a baby,” he says, and Xiao Zhan nods, making him smile wider. “What a good gege you are.”
“No, I’m a weak, tired gege,” he says, circling Wang Yibo’s waist to drop his head on his shoulder. “I always end up promising you too much.”
For Wang Yibo, however, it must be what being a good gege meant. So unfair, softening Xiao Zhan’s heart like that. Yue lets out a cheerful ‘quack!’ and he says: “See? Even our son agrees.”
It makes his boyfriend giggles. Yibo turns Xiao Zhan’s face and gives him a long kiss on the forehead. “There’s one more thing, by the way. Promise me that you’ll love me ‘till we die. No! You’ll love me even after we die. ‘Till the end of time!”
He looks up, chest warm. “Huh? Thinking about our death so soon?” he asks, and Wang Yibo slaps his arm briefly. “I already love you ‘till the end of time.”
His boyfriend was so strict when it came to promises.
“I promise,” sighs Xiao Zhan, pulling him in for a peck. “I promise to love you ‘till the end of time. Satisfied?”
“Very much,” he nods, still smiling. “And you’ll love our cats, our dog, our turtle and our ducklings. You’ll love our little zoo.”
Xiao Zhan regrets that all a bit. It was so much. Would he be able to change his mind before the time comes? Focus on the present, he tells himself. “Heavens. Okay, yes, all of that too.”
“And our future baby.”
This time, he eagerly agrees, “Yes, and our future baby.”
With nothing more to promise, Xiao Zhan can finally breathe in peace. Yue makes a ‘quack!’ near them, warning about his presence, and they stop kissing on behalf of their baby duck.
Finally, proud of his own deed, Wang Yibo smirks. “I ducking love you.”
“Now shut up, will you?” Xiao Zhan grunts at such a ridiculous joke, yet unable to hide the smile that comes right after.
Yibo laughs, full of himself. At least he doesn’t mention any more wild animals ━ ducklings were good, couldn’t get them killed. He expresses that emotion, making his boyfriend laugh harder, throwing his head back, and his laugh is very similar, truly, to an uncontrolled duck. Yue makes a ‘quack?’ as if in recognition, and the similarity of the sounds makes Xiao Zhan chuckles.