translator: baumkuchen editors: serefina, glitterypanda
After he hung up, 061 asked him, “……Want to go take a look?”
Chi Xiaochi, “Of course.”
Regardless of his misgivings, this “uncle”’s identity had been personally verified by Dong Ge’s mother. There likely wouldn’t be anything wrong.
Half an hour later, Chi Xiaochi, bundled up in a pitch black down jacket, sat by the already frozen over decorative pond by the entrance to the sports school, waiting for this unknown uncle’s arrival.
It had been a long time since Dong Ge had received a haircut. It had grown to become shoulder-length and was tied into simple ponytail at the back of his head by a black hairband.
With nothing better to do, Chi Xiaochi undid his ponytail and tied his hair into a little bun.
This was the hairstyle Lou Sifan had usually put Dong Ge’s hair into in the past.
Dong Ge didn’t like cutting his hair. In order for it to not impact his performance during competitions, Lou Sifan would always come to his dorm room before competitions and help him put it into a bun.
From the age of 19 to 24, for a full five years, he had been in a secret relationship with Lou Sifan.
During this period, Dong Ge felt that he was blessed, but was occasionally a little dissatisfied.
Other than the He Changsheng who had all along been a faint presence standing between them, he still had another equally big load on his mind.
—— Dong Ge actually didn’t like being on the bottom.
But every time he brought it up to Lou Sifan, Lou Sifan would always smile and say, then next time, I’ll let you top next time.
His tone was completely as if he was coaxing a little kid, and as to when exactly the so-called “next time” would come, only the heavens knew.
Dong Ge brought it up a few times before dropping it.
He reasoned with himself: nevermind, it was really painful anyways, Lou Sifan might not be able to take it.
However, as time passed, Dong Ge’s way of thinking changed.
He always thought that it was just him being too sensitive, but Lou Sifan and He Changsheng’s “friendship” was truly eternal. Even after Lou Sifan and him got together in secret, most of the time, Lou Sifan would still go everywhere with He Changsheng.
Dong Ge would always follow behind Lou Sifan like a little lackey, staring at He Changsheng, lost in thought.
Why didn’t he know to not get in their way?
Didn’t he have any other friends? Why did he have to monopolise Lou-ge’s time?
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Nevertheless, their behaviour never went over the line. They were really and truly a pair of very proper good friends. Even if Dong Ge wanted to look for bones in the chicken egg, there wasn’t a single point to get angry about to be found.
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He Changsheng was like a needle wedged in Dong Ge’s flesh, making him feel a burst of piercing pain from time to time.
Later on, even without needing Lou Sifan to bring it up, Dong Ge would subconsciously make He Changsheng his target for comparison and competition.
Clearly, one was a pair skater, and the other was a single skater. Their professions didn’t conflict at all, but Dong Ge couldn’t help but compare himself to He Changsheng.
In this Petri dish Lou Sifan had personally prepared, those negative emotions continued to flourish.
Dong Ge’s hatred of He Changsheng grew and grew, until one day, those negative emotions reached their peak.
It was a weekend.
As usual, Lou Sifan went to the pair skater’s practice rink to find He Changsheng, to practice and chat together with him, and Dong Ge also followed him as usual.
Since yesterday, Lou Sifan had been in an inexplicably bad mood. That morning, he had even barely touched his breakfast.
Dong Ge was worried that he would catch a chill. After skating for a while, he got out and left the training area, slipping over to the vending machine and buying a can of hot coffee. Worried that the coffee would get cold, he held it in his hands and slipped back as quickly as possible.
Just as he walked over to the side of the rink, he unexpectedly saw Lou Sifan directing a rare ugly look towards He Changsheng. He adopted a manner like he was conducting an interrogation. “Who was that guy with you when I came to find you yesterday?”
Dong Ge stopped. He began to listen carefully.
He Changsheng’s attitude was very mild. “A friend introduced him to me. I was having a meal with him, that’s all.”
Lou Sifan was unwilling to stop pushing. “Just a meal?”
He Changsheng said calmly, “I haven’t been in a single relationship for so many years, I want to try dating. Just testing the waters, no one says we have to get together. ……What are you so anxious about?”
He then asked, “Since it’s a date, why did you go find a man?”
He Changsheng shot him a look. “You’re homophobic?”
Lou Sifan said, “……I’m not. I just never thought that you were also……”
He Changsheng, “……’Also’?”
Lou Sifan, “I know about two or three couples in the team. It’s not strange.”
He Changsheng, “Oh.”
Lou Sifan paused for a moment. He asked tentatively, “Would you rather be on the top or on the bottom?”
He Changsheng, “……We haven’t even compared our Eight Characters. You’re really thinking ahead for me.”
Having been friends for so many years, He Changsheng did not consider such a question offensive.
A hint of a smile appeared on He Changsheng’s eternally iceberg-like face. “I haven’t really thought about it, and I don’t plan on casually testing it out. I might prefer to be on top, but if I like it enough, being on the bottom wouldn’t be so bad either.”
Lou Sifan said, “If you’re going to get intimate with someone else, being on top is always better.”
He Changsheng said, “Why?”
Lou Sifan replied in a joking tone, “Being on the bottom is so humiliating ah, and it also hurts. Even if you want to be on the bottom, then you’ll have to find a caring person.”
The coffee in Dong Ge’s hand felt as if it had turned into a soldering iron, searing into his palm, the burning pain making his entire body tremble.
……“Being on the bottom is so humiliating ah.”
……“It also hurts.”
So it turned out, he knew.
Dong Ge suddenly felt like the him who had gladly endured that kind of pain and seen himself as blessed, was a fool.
Because of this, he got into an argument with Lou Sifan.
After finding out the reason behind his anger, Lou Sifan very patiently coaxed him and admitted his wrongs, saying that he was just saying it casually, he wasn’t serious, if it was really that bad he could let Dong Ge have a go at being on top, and to take that as his apology.
Even though they eventually still reconciled, a prickly sense of jealousy and crisis had already crawled into Dong Ge’s heart.
He had been constantly criticised by his parents growing up, to the extent that a deep-rooted concept that been branded onto his heart.
——Not being liked by others was because he wasn’t good enough.
Even if he had already won innumerable championships at Grand Prix Finals both within the country and abroad at a young age and set a domestic record, Dong Ge still felt like it wasn’t enough.
Shortly after that, Dong Ge was faced with an important international competition.
When he was preparing for the competition, something happened: Lou Sifan brought him out to play with He Changsheng.
Since their last conversation, Lou Sifan’s frequency of looking for He Changsheng had increased significantly, and his reason was also very reasonable.
Lou Sifan gently said to Dong Ge, “Changsheng is an expert choreographer, if you let him, your senior, give you some guidance, your results will improve significantly.”
During this practice session, He Changsheng had a momentary breakthrough, performing a jump sequence of 4T+3A.
Because it was just in practice, He Changsheng performed this difficult singles jump sequence quite easily.
Lou Sifan cheered him on, smiling and saying, “Changsheng, the points you would get for this sequence could break the Asian record.”
He Changsheng said, “Don’t talk nonsense. I’m just jumping around in private. If it was in a competition, I’m not sure I would be able to do this well.”
Lou Sifan smiled and turned to Dong Ge, saying, “See your He-qianbei? You need to practice well, you got that?”
Sitting by the side of the rink, Dong Ge lowered his head and tied up the shoelaces of his skates. “……En, got it.”
A few days later, when he and the coach were discussing tactics, Dong Ge didn’t hesitate at all. “4lz+3T.”
The coach advised him to not take risks. Although Dong Ge’s jumping level was first-class, these movements were too difficult. For Dong Ge, the number one thing he should be pursuing was stability, he had a good chance of earning points with his step sequence.
Dong Ge said stubbornly, “I can do it.”
Since that He Changsheng could do it, then he definitely could as well.
……That was a decision Dong Ge would regret for the rest of his life.
Like He Changsheng had said, one’s performance in competitions and one’s performance in private were two different things.
Under the pressure of an away battle and the competitive atmosphere, Dong Ge stubbornly stood up to the challenge, performing the most difficult 4lz movement perfectly.
The issue lay with his second jump.
Due to him failing to control his landing, he lost his centre of gravity. His skates slipped and he fell heavily on the ice.
Dong Ge’s coach wrung his wrists and sighed, thinking, it was a pity, but he might be missing the cup this time.
But soon, he realised something was wrong.
Dong Ge lay on the ice. As the accompanying music continued to play, no matter how he tried, he couldn’t get up.
With a cry of shock, he signalled to the referee team and rushed onto the rink.
Dong Ge’s entire body shivered with pain. He curled up into a ball. As his warm sweat dripped onto the ice, he murmured in a low voice, “……My leg, my leg.”
sere: what a terrible cliff but it only gets worse
baum: on another note, I’m kinda glad the author brought up the not switching issue? it’s always kinda rubbed me the wrong way when the person on the bottom wants to try being on top and the guy on top is always SUPER against it. I think I’ve even seen one where the guy on top kneed the guy trying to top for once in the crotch :v like, why? if you think it’s that bad, why would you make someone you love go through with that?
also, let me know if I’ve got the skating gifs wrong! I don’t really know much, my friend’s the fan not me lmao