“For the last time,” Quan said tersely as he replaced the high jump bar, “I’m not gay. And stop spying on me while I’m practicing.”
“Please, Quan.” Shen Le threw an arm around Rui Xi, who frowned and struggled but had grown so used to Shen Le over the months that she soon gave up. “The look on your face right now tells me different.”
“Shut it. And let go of him.”
“It’s totally fine if you’re like that, Quan. I keep telling you, society’s very open nowadays. Everyone knows you two have a thing going, anyway.” Shen Le grinned at Rui Xi. “Look, he’s blushing!”
“Xiu Yi!” Quan called, “I know you’re hiding behind the bleachers. I’ll let you have my dessert if you get rid of Shen Le.”
“Ying Kai’s Golden Right Foot is all over it, Quan, don’t you even worry.” Xiu Yi popped out with a grin like he hadn’t been spying on his precious Rui Xi for the past hour, which they all knew he was so why try to hide it? “Come on, you ape, you’ve had your fun.”
“Yeah, yeah, feather head.” Shen Le withdrew his arm from Rui Xi’s shoulder. “Just remember, Quan,” he said with mock sympathy, “it’s okay to be gay.”
Quan glared at Shen Le’s retreating back while Rui Xi looked on thoughtfully. “Have you noticed,” she asked, “that he only starts on about the gay stuff when Xiu Yi’s around?”
* * *
“Why do you have to come hang around here and bug Rui Xi all the time?” Xiu Yi grumped as he trudged towards the bus stop. “He doesn’t need you being all touchy and accusing him of… of that.”
“And here I thought I stopped by to bother Quan.” Shen Le tugged at one of the wilder flyaways in Xiu Yi’s blond-streaked hair. “And it’s not an accusation if it’s true, featherbrain, which it obviously is.”
“Rui Xi’s not like that! Neither is Quan,” he added after a moment’s thought, “they’re just friends. Can’t guys just be friends without people making weird assumptions about their sexuality? Why’s everything gotta be about gay stuff all the time?!” Xiu Yi kicked at a pebble and sent it flying across the schoolyard where, unbeknownst to him, it hit Da Shu in the back of the head, somehow convincing him that he’d angered some of his more violent otherworldly acquaintances. He spent the next two weeks huddled in his bunk with all the lights turned on. Ignorant of this, Xiu Yi lost interest in the rock’s trajectory and continued on his way. “Just because you like being around another guy doesn’t mean anything at all,” he fumed.
Shen Le crossed his arms smugly. “Sounds like someone’s a little insecure about this whole gay thing.”
“Shut up, you ape! Who asked you?” They’d arrived at the bus stop. Xiu Yi glanced down the road. “Good timing, it’ll be here any minute.”
“I’m a very understanding kind of guy, you know.”
“Shut up! I’m not gay!!”
And Shen Le was at Xiu Yi’s side, arm around his waist and his face way too close for Ying Kai’s Golden Right Foot’s comfort. “Verrrrry understanding,” Shen Le drawled, their lips brushing together.
Xiu Yi would never admit to being the one to close the remaining distance, mostly because it was definitely that stupid asshole Shen Le that went and did it while Xiu Yi was too busy suppressing all this troublesome gay stuff to notice another guy’s tongue in his mouth. He didn’t really have anything to compare it to, but he was pretty sure it was nothing like kissing a girl, if only because no girl’s hands could dig into his hips and hard as Shen Le’s, and no girl would let Xiu Yi grip just as hard back.
Shen Le drew back and grinned that asshole grin of his that made Xiu Yi wonder if he and his sweet little sister were really related. “The world’s very accepting,” he said as he swaggered backwards toward the bus, “nowadays.”
“Shut up,” Xiu Yi muttered as he wiped his mouth on the back of his wrist. “I’m not gay.”
And Shen Le laughed that stupid asshole laugh, and told Xiu Yi he’d catch him later. And Xiu Yi grinned that stupid pervert grin and said yeah, later, and he stumbled back toward the track field with daydreams swirling in clouds above his head.