your mess is mine

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"You're talking in your sleep, all the time

Well, you still make sense to me

Your mess is mine."

- Your Mess is Mine | Vance Joy

It's late when they call it a night; FengSong and Chen Wen have long since left for the company apartments, leaving WeiZhou and JingYu stumbling out from the karaoke bar at god knows what time in the morning.

The streets are near-empty at this hour though there are still university students searching vainly for open bars, laughing as they stagger drunkenly down the sidewalk. WeiZhou watches them for a moment, right across the street, thinking about how not too long ago he'd been one of them too. He's not any older than they are but it feels like lifetimes ago that he'd allowed himself to be carefree and silly. He glances up at JingYu who squints at the phone in his hand before flashing him a half-smile. "Let's go home," JingYu says. "Before anyone notices we're missing."

They pass shuttered storefronts, restaurants whose chairs are up on the tables, a lone 24-hour convenience store chain playing cheery holiday music so early in the year. It's JingYu who manages to flag down a taxi and hustle WeiZhou into the backseat where WeiZhou's head immediately finds JingYu's shoulder by proximity, if nothing else. The interior of the taxi smells like limes, but JingYu's smell is cleaner, more mineral: stale cologne, and that musty t-shirt smell that you get after wearing the same shirt for awhile. It's not half-bad. WeiZhou falls asleep almost immediately. He's jostled awake after what feels like a second later, and they're back home again on a familiar street, lit with rippling LED signs from billboards on neighbouring buildings. JingYu hands the cabbie some money then squeezes WeiZhou's knee as he hoists himself out of the door. "We're here," he says, one hand on the roof of the cab, head ducked inside. His breath stirs the cold air. "Wake up, Zhou Zhou. Wake up, hey." He gives WeiZhou a few taps on the cheek.

WeiZhou moans in protest, rubs his eyes, stifling a big yawn. "Already?"

"You've been asleep for nearly an hour," JingYu tells him, shaking his head as he laughs.

WeiZhou follows JingYu into the building where the security guard raises an eyebrow at them but wisely keeps his mouth shut. WeiZhou had dreamt a little in the cab, but he can't seem to fathom what it had been about. Something about a lake, maybe. He remembers water.

WeiZhou yawns again and leans against the wall behind him, and as soon as his eyes meet JingYu's in the reflective chrome surface of the elevator doors, they burst out laughing. WeiZhou rubs his eyes, feeling them watering in the corners. He'd neglected to wear his contacts that day, had misplaced his glasses and left the apartments without remembering to look for them, when JingYu invited the three of them to his favourite karaoke bar in Hengshan Road. FengSong had been the first one to get drunk, crying into his beer and challenging everyone to a fist fight, something Chen Wen remembered to document on his phone so he could blackmail him for Starbucks coffee in the morning.

Normally WeiZhou didn't let himself get too drunk when around unfamiliar company, but he'd been verging on tipsy all night long, downing shot after shot as soon as the young ones had left, nervous around JingYu somehow, without knowing exactly why. JingYu is friendly enough once you get to know him, but WeiZhou is still finding it hard to get a good read on him sometimes. JingYu with his open laugh, JingYu with his hand curled over the back of WeiZhou's neck, JingYu with his close-lippedness over his private life, how he never volunteers any personal information unless you shared with him a secret. All of him, still a mystery.

The elevators open with a soft ding. JingYu holds it open and WeiZhou ducks under his arm and heads for their door but he can't seem to fit the keycard in the slot with his eyesight gone bad and swimmy. It's half the alcohol and half the lack of glasses. JingYu does him the honors, swiping the card from his hand with a soft cluck of the tongue like WeiZhou is some kid that needs chiding. JingYu flicks the lights on and WeiZhou blinks against the sudden flood of light. Everything is as they've left it: the bed mussed up with the covers peeled back, clothes spilling out of suitcases in a haphazard mess, the closet door left slightly ajar, JingYu's prized skateboard leaning against the wall. The curtains had been pulled back, the light outside softened by the dew on the windows.

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