It was nearing noon as the end of the work shift approached.
Fortunately, the doctor on duty in the endoscopy room was familiar with Ji Yao, so she closed the curtain and conducted an examination for Jiang Heng.

While Jiang Heng was undergoing the examination, Ji Yao sat in the waiting area, looking through the stack of x-ray examination forms.

From the examination results, it was clear that Jiang Heng took his health quite seriously, though his immune system was indeed a bit weak, likely due to his busy work schedule.
Ji Yao casually took out a pen from his chest pocket, drew a line under the white blood cell count, and prepared to say a few words to Jiang Heng later.

The imaging results appeared normal.
Ji Yao flipped through the examination forms one by one, circling values that were either high or low and noting them down on the back of the imaging report.

After finishing all this, his professional habit kicked in, and he unconsciously started categorizing the forms into different groups.
He pulled out the payment forms one by one and set them aside, neatly arranging them in his hand.

About half an hour later, the door of the endoscopy room opened from the inside, and the young female doctor on duty waved at him.

“We’re done,” the doctor handed him the report and pointed at it with her pen, saying, “The recovery seems to be going well.
The ulcer activity should be relatively low.  You can look at the remaining details yourself, right?”

Ji Yao lowered his head to look at the report and nodded in response.

“Alright then,” the doctor clapped her hands and said, “I’m going to have lunch now.
The new fast food place near the hospital entrance is really delicious.
You should try it sometime.”

“Sure, thanks,” Ji Yao smiled and said, “I’ll treat you next time.”

The female doctor waved her hand without being overly polite and said goodbye.

After the doctor on duty left, Ji Yao pushed open the door of the examination room behind him.
Jiang Heng was lying on the bed resting.


He must have been woken up by the doctor once already.
Half-closed eyes were resting on the bed, and his left hand was groping beside him, seeming to be looking for something.

Ji Yao quickly took hold of Jiang Heng’s hand, his movement familiar and intimate.
His fingertips rested on Jiang Heng’s palm, feeling a slightly cool sensation.

In response Jiang Heng rubbed Ji Yao’s slender wrist bone with his thumb.
Ji Yao’s heart trembled, and he instinctively tightened his grip on Jiang Heng’s hand.

The touch of their skin brought about an indescribable and unclear feeling.
Ji Yao sat stiffly on the edge of the bed, a sense of weariness welling up from deep within.

Considering his current relationship with Jiang Heng, this feeling wasn’t exactly that of a “weary bird returning to its nest,” but Ji Yao genuinely felt a sense of fatigue, as if he had circled around, and in the end, this person was still what remained in his eyes.

Suddenly, Ji Yao recalled a casual conversation he had had with He Xiangyin a couple of days ago.

After reconnecting with Jiang Heng, Ji Yao seemed to lose interest in other activities.
He went straight from work to home, preferring to tidy up the house and sleep rather than going out for drinks and partying.

He Xiangyin had tried to invite him out a few times but failed.
Through subtle hints and persuasion, he managed to extract information about Jiang Heng from Ji Yao.
He found it quite surprising.


“You’ve reconnected with your ex-boyfriend?” He Xiangyin had said with a hint of lingering fear, “Let me tell you, when exes get back together, there are usually only two outcomes: either they can’t stand each other at all, or the old feelings are rekindled—be careful not to fall back due to this pretend relationship for his mum.”

It was early evening at the time, and the lights outside were bright, with the hustle and bustle of traffic.
Ji Yao held his phone, knowing that He Xiangyin couldn’t see his expression, but he still lowered his eyes nervously and wiped off a bit of fog from the window.

“I know,” Ji Yao remained silent for a while, eventually sighing and saying, “I really can’t figure out his intention, but I can’t refuse him, I owe him a favor.”

Ji Yao was afraid of commitment, afraid of settling down, but even in his panic, he had spent three years living with Jiang Heng.

He still couldn’t fully trust any intimate relationship, but deep within, he had a willingness to get closer to Jiang Heng.

For more than twenty years of his life, he had been constrained by family circumstances, and in the three years that followed, he had wandered aimlessly.
Only during the years spent with Jiang Heng had he experienced a period of stability and freedom.

During the years when Jiang Heng was absent, Ji Yao had assumed that they would never meet again.
As a result, even the person Jiang Heng had become turned into a “sensitive issue” that he wanted to avoid.
He dared not even think about it, touch upon it.
Even his old friends were contactable only with caution.

But now Jiang Heng had reappeared, kindling a spark of warmth within Ji Yao.
They had both agreed to “reacquaint” themselves.
Ji Yao found himself able to face this issue head-on.

Looking at it this way, the few times Ji Yao had been defiant and resisted in his life were all because of Jiang Heng.
He got the courage to stand up to his family all because of Jiang Heng.

To Ji Yao, Jiang Heng was not just a gentle and considerate perfect romantic partner.
He was the source of Ji Yao’s courage on the rare occasions he stood his ground.


Unfortunately, Ji Yao had resisted once, twice, but he hadn’t held his ground in the most crucial matter.

Ji Yao felt uncomfortable, not wanting to delve deeper into his thoughts.
Subconsciously, he tightened his grip on Jiang Heng’s hand.

Jiang Heng seemed to be stirred by his movement and opened his eyes to glance at him.
He was still not fully awake, so he asked Ji Yao in a drowsy tone, “Where’s the cake?”

Ji Yao was momentarily taken aback.

After waking up from general anesthesia, some people’s minds wouldn’t fully clear yet.
They often mixed up the present with the past, leading to amusing situations.
Ji Yao had been worried that Jiang Heng might start quoting legal clauses, but asking about a cake was unexpected.

“What cake?” Ji Yao asked.

Jiang Heng gave him a brief look, furrowed his brows slightly, but didn’t respond.
He turned his head away, closing his eyes and fell silent.

Ji Yao was left with a big question mark in his mind due to Jiang Heng’s question.
Sensing that Jiang Heng might not be in the best mood, Ji Yao thought for a moment and then took out his phone to send a message to the doctor who had been on duty in the endoscopy room.

“Are you still eating outside?” Ji Yao asked.

The other person quickly replied with a thumbs-up emoji.
Ji Yao hesitated for a moment and then asked, “On your way back, could you pick up a cake for me from the bakery near the entrance?”

“Sure,” the person replied, “What flavor?”

“… Strawberry,” Ji Yao said.

There was a strange silence for about ten seconds before the response came, “… okay.”

Jiang Heng felt like he had slept for an unusually long time.
He opened his eyes in a daze and noticed that the angle of the sunlight outside had changed significantly since he had entered the room.
Ji Yao was sitting in a chair not far from the bed, using the check-up forms as a makeshift desk to write something.

Jiang Heng cleared his throat.
He coughed twice and asked in a hoarse voice, “What time is it?”


Ji Yao lifted his eyelids at the sound and glanced at him.
Then, he checked the time on his phone.

“It’s quite coincidental,” Ji Yao said.
“In another fifteen minutes, it will be time for me to head back to work for the afternoon shift.
Even if you wouldn’t have fully woken up by then, I’ll would have woken you up.”

Jiang Heng was sensitive to anesthetics, and he was displaying some adverse reactions to propofol.
He sat up from the bed in a slightly dizzy state.
Ji Yao finished writing the last stroke, folded the stack of paper, and slipped it into Jiang Heng’s coat.

Then, Ji Yao draped the coat over Jiang Heng and helped him stand up.
As he did, he slipped something into Jiang Heng’s hand.

Looking down, Jiang Heng discovered a cake box with a cartoon cat logo on it.

“Why are you giving me this?” Jiang Heng asked in confusion.

“You asked for it yourself,” Ji Yao said with a straight face.
“Did you forget? When you were still under anesthesia, you insisted on having a cake.
And it had to be strawberry flavored.”

Jiang Heng: “…”

Ji Yao had originally intended to tease him a little, fully prepared to be exposed by Jiang Heng right away.
However, he hadn’t expected Jiang Heng to be so easily fooled in this matter.
Jiang Heng scrunched his brows, glanced at Ji Yao, then at the cake box, and thanked him with a slightly odd expression.

Ji Yao hadn’t anticipated that Jiang Heng would believe him so readily.
It wasn’t easy to backtrack and explain that he was just joking.
So, Ji Yao forced down his urge to smile, almost causing himself some internal injuries.

As Jiang Heng had come for a medical checkup, he hadn’t driven himself.
Ji Yao escorted him to the entrance of the hospital and watched him get into a taxi.

“Have the cake later in the evening,” Ji Yao instructed as he held onto the car door, delivering his medical advice with precision.
“Wait for a couple of hours until the dizziness subsides before you have a meal.
Since the anesthesia hasn’t fully worn off, it’s best you don’t go to work today.
Head home and get some rest.
I’ve included the examination results and instructions at the back of the report.
Take a look when you get home.”

“Got it,” Jiang Heng said.

Ji Yao nodded and was about to close the car door when Jiang Heng suddenly remembered something.
He leaned out of the car and asked, “Do you have time on Friday evening?”

“Friday? Yes,” Ji Yao replied.
“What’s up? Is Auntie coming?”

“Ge Xing is returning to Beijing and wants to meet us,” Jiang Heng said.
“Friday evening at 7:30, at Zhou Qingbo’s place.
You’ve been there before.”

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