“Right.” Yan Fei sneered and slowly nodded. “I have decided.”
“What?” Luo Xun stared in confusion.
He had just come back, tired to death after moving things for half a day. Now he just wanted to take a bath and go to sleep. He did not understand Yan Fei. Why did he suddenly lose his temper?
His eyes involuntarily trailed down Yan Fei’s face to avoid his eyes and ended up on his lips. Yan Fei’s lips had regained their natural colour which stirred with enchantment. His lips must be very soft.
Luo Xun desperately shook his head to stay focused. When tried to ask something, Yan Fei brushed close to his ear and said lowly.
“If you dare go out alone, I will melt down your door.”
…That is not how metal powers work okay? It would also be a waste of wood. So what the hell was he doing?
Luo Xun’s head was still muddled, his whole face was red from embarrassment at two people in such close contact. Although he became bent after the apocalypse, he did not want to get mixed up in other’s drama and also did not want to spend crystal nuclei in order to sleep with potentially unhygienic people.
He had found someone he would have been willing to spend his days with, however the man had left before the friendship developed beyond that. The two had relied on each other on the road to stay warm, give a small helping hand, not so much for romance.
Therefore until now, Luo Xun had no experience with first kiss or tumble in the sheets even in his previous hometown. His closest companion would technically be Puppy, a young chow chow! Not this stunning, handsome man in front of him!
“You…you, what are you doing!?” Luo Xun pushed Yan Fei’s shoulder in embarassament – afraid to push his chest in case of hitting the injury.
He had only been gone for five days, how did the guy change so much? What happened the past five days?
“Is this about your injury? That when you’re healed you can go out?”
He suddenly remembered Yan Fei effortlessly helping him move stuff. Luo Xun tilted forward.
“You’re fully healed!?”
Yan Fei’s eyes moved from Luo Xun’s face to his flushed ears and neck. His reaction was similar to the first time, unable to stand the slightest teasing. Wait…was his initial guess correct? That Luo Xun was gay?
Light glimmered in his chest, he had been irritable and anxious when Luo Xun had not returned to base on time. However, right here and now, close to Luo Xun, Yan Fei felt a feeling blossom in his heart.
A thought arose – close, closer, keep him by his side.
The warmth of home came from Luo Xun, if he could keep this source by his side, it would be the beginning of a completely new life.
If they had met before the apocalypse, their lives following a scripted development, even if he became interested in a man and wanted to try a same sex relationship Yan Fei was afraid it would be with a mentality of curiosity. Even if the relationship became serious, he could only hide in secret, dare not make it public.
But now, he suddenly wanted to try. It was not because it was something he had never tried before but because it was Luo Xun. Not about his sex or getting out of his pre-apocalyptic oppressed life, just because of Luo Xun as a person.
There was no one else who would make him scared after five days without contact, no one else who would make him worry once out of sight. No one else who would cause him to avenge them on those who might have harmed them…
Luo Xun was stunned when Yan Fei did not answer his question and instead smiled from the bottom of his heart. Luo Xun could not look directly at the smile but also could not tear his eyes away.
“I am alright.” Yan Fei was not prepared to explain his recent epiphany.
Anyway, he could not leave now, especially on his own. They had already decided to live together – at Luo Xun’s own initiative. He definitely would not leave.
As for the potential relationship problems between two people…Yan Fei’s peach blossom eyes narrowed, making Luo Xun dizzy.
“My injury has been completely healed, what sorts of supplies did you bring back today?”
“Woo…” They puppy who had been ignored for too long placed her chin on her paws while laying with on the ground with sad eyes and a drooping tail. The two people were too close – she could not squeeze in!
Luo Xun heard the sound and looked down. *Swish* The puppy stood up, her tail shaking so fast it left shadow after images.
“Brought many metal plates, hardware accessories…” Luo Xun had not seen Puppy in a long time, he squatted down to catch the dop rushing into his chest.
Just the right height to cover his heart and liver if Yan Fei got provoked and jumped him.
“Did you eat you fill these days? You seem to have grown a bit…”
Luo Xun looked up with bright eyes. “We found a grocery shop, I only grabbed a few packets of frozen beef and mutton slices. Let’s eat hotpot!”
He quickly got up to remove the ingredients from the bag. Beef and mutton slices were not heavy but took up space so Luo Xun did not buy any before the apocalypse. Now that he accidentally got some he would not hold back.
He was glad that it was winter outside, the weather was cold, electricity only came from a standby power supply. The blackout had ended recently but the meat in the freezer had not gone bad. Otherwise they could only eat biscuits, potato chips or something similar.
“Well there are some vegetables on the balcony that can be harvested.” Yan Fei’s eyes softened.
Luo Xun’s cooking was not superb but had the taste of home. A taste not found in the upscale restaurants Yan Fei had frequented. Although he had eaten while Luo Xun was gone, he would not starve himself, but the taste of the heated dumplings and buns were different from Luo Xun’s prepared food.
He did not know if it was a matter of the heart or because at the time he had eaten alone – the little puppy did not count. The beef and mutton slices had softened in the bag so Luo Xun put them into one of the freezers. Two of the freezers at home had been completely filled the last one was on standby for temporary use.
Along with the packs of meat, he also got two packages of bacon and put them all together. Luo Xun changed his clothes, placed the plate in a corner and went to the balcony to pick some vegetables.
The homegrown little rapeseed had grown a lot, though not actually that big, he could grab some leaves. Before leaving Luo Xun had planted some bean sprouts, which had grown large enough to harvest. He left the roots to regrow, the top parts could be rinsed and eaten as a side dish. The dishes would not be decadent but could be eaten fresh.
“By the way, did any of the plants mutate?”
Luo Xun had instructed Yan Fei before leaving, if anything strange grew he would dispose of it. Since the plants looked normal with no mutations mixed in, Yan Fei must have handled it.
“Yes, some of the colors were strange so I took and burned them.” Yan Fei had followed Luo Xun into the greenhouse and saw him skillfully pick up a nursery box in order to check.
Strange plants were likely to have mutated into benign variations with larger yields or even an entirely new species of plant. But Luo Xun was afraid something would happen to Yan Fei so he let him immediately get rid of anything wrong. Otherwise he could come back to find that Yan Fei and the puppy had eaten unknown, mutated plants. There would be no place for him to cry.
“Okay, I’ll lightly rinse some. I’ll plant the remainder tomorrow morning.”
He took out the edible parts and brought out the hot pot ingredients to lay out on a plate. Luo Xun rinsed out the cooking pot, lit the fire, ready to eat!
There was some tofu in the freezer, also bought in the market before the apocalypse and directly frozen. The home grown soybeans could be harvested late next year. If Luo Xun felt like eating tofu, they would use the dried soy beans at home.
He had been busy with many things since the start of the apocalypse. What if one wanted to eat something specific during this time? Was it cold enough to be worth the effort?
Took out the tofu, washed the rapeseed, bean sprouts, pea sprouts, chopped parsley and took the meat out from the packaging. The two men sat at the table and waited for the water in the pot to boil.
When eating hot pot Yan Fei like to eat any red meat but also enjoyed more uncommon ingredients such as mushrooms, beef tripe, minced fish and beef. For a long time he had not eaten such a pure hot pot, usually he ate a more complex one with more ingredients.
He was at ease, eating with Luo Xun was peaceful. Luo Xun first put lamb slices in after adding some rapeseed and sighed with some regret. “Unfortunately there’s no cabbage planted at home.”
The growth rate of chinese cabbage was slower than other vegetables. Even if he planted right after renting the house, there likely would not have been any to eat right now.
“Eat these first, wait until the plants have sprouted again before saying something like that.” Yan Fei gave him a cooked slice of mutton and also got himself a piece.
In fact, Luo Xun had eaten rather well since entering the apocalypse, especially compared to his past experience over a decade. Back then he sometimes did not even have a mouthful of hot water to drink. Coupled with the mass variations of crops after the apocalypse, ordinary people could not access basic tasting crops.
Unpalatable, even having many days with nothing to eat, being able to eat was a happy occasion. Not to mention after being reborn he could eat ummutated meat and vegetables.
During the apocalypse, most of the crops would mutate. Luo Xun was very aware of this matter, the change in taste was only a small part. One of the reasons his first priority during the end of the world was to collect as many crop seeds as possible.
If all the seeds were planted and he could find some good varieties then future days would be much better. He had lived a good life only because his chives had mutated into a high quality variant.
The entire harvest of chives each time was specially sold to an important person’s home. This was how he secured a life all those years ago. One could live without a backer in the apocalypse but do not expect to live well without a thigh to hold, survival skills or life support.
Compared to the prepared Luo Xun, Yan Fei had suffered when the apocalypse had arrived. He used to live in the center of the city. He realized early the end of the world but wrongly estimated the severity of the situation. Most people avoided zombies to get convenience food. Before encountering Luo Xun, he rarely had a good meal.
The meat was not very rich but was much better than previous days. Although Yan Fei did not go out these days, he listened to Luo Xun’s radio everyday day from morning to night. The contents of the radio focused on current peace but it could not completely cover up the truth of the outside world. Yan Fei was very intelligent and analyzed the outside situation by observing static and dynamic information of the area.
The two people ate and cleared the table of ingredients. Luo Xun ran to the balcony to cut some more leek, rapeseed or something to rinse and eat.
The puppy was lying at the edge of the table with a small bowl in front of her. It had a few slices of rapeseed along with two slices each of beef and mutton. She grabbed a piece of beef and placed it on Yan Fei’s slipper. Head tilted as she debated eating.
Yan Fei’s body blocked his view of the puppy so he did not realize his shoe had turned into a table. He thought she was lying there and playing around.
After dinner, the two people did not want to move. Luo Xun turned towards the door in surprise when he heard laughter from the outside corridor along with a woman’s voice.
“Someone moved into 1602?”
Yan Fei shook his head. “The 15th floor, a group of college students came a few days after you left. I haven’t seen them but there were men and women.”
He had only caught a glimpse from the balcony the day they had moved in.
Luo Xun thought for a moment then nodded. “1602 has already been accounted for by the army. This kind of house won’t move anytime soon.”
Except for old neighborhood houses, when the army went to the old district to clean out zombies. If they could roughly confirm that a family had died or turned into zombies and had the house deed or other accounts, the items would registered for public housing distribution.
It was trivial and a waste of time, but it at least guaranteed the interests of most people. The rest of the houses would wait for more people to arrive on base in the coming months and be carefully allocated.
Yan Fei carelessly shrugged his shoulders. “New people may have a power or some kind of useful skill. The radio encouraged people to register, as well as help the base kill zombies and rescue trapped people.”
“Wait for two days. I want to have a good night’s sleep.” Luo Xun stretched and yawned.
Thinking for a moment, Yan Fei stood up. “I’ll tidy up, you take a bath and rest early.”
Luo Xun had been busy outside for a number of days, Yan Fei could finish chores by himself. He stood and the puppy rolled off his foot, when he glanced down, his expression darkened immediately.
“What’s the matter?” In surprise Luo Xun also looked down.
The coral, velvet slippers on Yan Fei’s foot was covered in large oil stains. Puppy had plastered small pieces of either beef or mutton all over the shoe. Luo Xun began to chuckle, clutching his belly. Did the puppy treat the shoe as a table? She was …so talented!
Yan Fei stooped to poke the puppy’s forehead, who was somewhat groggy until she felt pain from her forehead. Thinking Yan Fei was playing around, she jumped up and chased his hand. She caught his finger gently and licked it like a meaty bone.
Yan Fei threw off the puppy and grimaced at his hand. “You should train your dog better!”
Luo Xun fell from the sofa howling with laughter. “You, you stayed at home and didn’t tame her these past few days?”
Yan Fei had contributed his own slippers as a makeshift table.
“How come she did not eat on my slippers?” It must have been because of character.
Seeing Luo Xun laugh. Yan Fei’s mouth quirked to the other’s confusion. Yan Fei suddenly stretched out his hand and wiped dog saliva on Luo Xun’s face. Luo Xun rolled onto the ground from the sofa.
“Smearing dog spit on someone’s face?” Luo Xun finally got up after laughing himself into exhaustion.
“Isn’t she your dog? Aren’t you going to take a shower now?” Yan Fei calmly returned from the washroom, flicking away water droplets – finally washed clean. He went to the table and packed the dishes.
The little puppy was holding her own bowl, munching on the rapeseed, completely oblivious to the fact that the two owner’s fight had been caused by her.