They were very well-matched.
One was the deputy head of the ophthalmology department; the other was a prodigious cardiac surgeon.
They were both outstanding people, perfectly matched in every area.
It was through Tian Yi that Tao Xiaodong had met Tang Suoyan, an upperclassman who Tian Yi had always admired and worshipped in school.
Tian Yi had personally brought Tao Huainan to Tang Suoyan’s office not long after the other returned from abroad, saying, Senior, this is my lil’ bro.
One of the research topics under Tang Suoyan’s wing when overseas was retinitis pigmentosa.
It was a challenge that many around the world were tackling.
As of current, there was no effective treatment for this genetic deficiency.
Tao Huainan was twelve when he was first brought to Tang Suoyan, and he was greeted with the unsettling smell unique to hospitals as well as the refreshing minty scent from the man in front of him.
Tao Xiaodong and Chi Cheng weren’t there.
A little uncomfortable in this foreign environment, he leaned towards Tian Yi.
Tang, standing in front of him, reached out to touch his head.
The palm resting on the crown of his head was very gentle.
It lingered on him for a time, staying there even as the man conversed with Tian Yi.
It was reminiscent of his brother’s unwitting actions when chatting with others.
Tao Huainan had been blind since the tender age of four.
The only impression he had left of sight was a few fragmented still shots, and that was all the world through his eyes.
As time wore on, it became harder to recall these, and even his dreams became even more vague.
Before his eyes only dim, indistinct flashes of light remained, and their presence made no difference to his vision.
He was blind.
Tao Huainan had long made his peace with that.
He had long undergone the reactions and psychological readjustment that a person with an acquired disability would experience.
Especially considering his young age at that time, it wasn’t a difficult hurdle to cross.
He was even glad that he had been blind since young, for his impressions of colour weren’t deep.
Tao Huainan had never cared about his eyes.
After all, it couldn’t get much worse.
To him, it didn’t matter whether his condition continued to regress, as it didn’t look any different to him.
Yet, on that day, Dr.
Tang bent down and told him, “Don’t give up on your eyes.
You must protect them.
No one has given up on you; there are many, many excellent doctors and researchers in the world, all working towards a solution.
Your eyes are in good condition.
They are healthy, and they are also staying strong.”
Tao Huainan pursed his lips and nodded.
Tang Suoyan smiled and lightly knocked his forehead; it resounded very softly.
“You don’t know how beautiful your eyes are.
Take care of them.
Trust those excellent doctors.
I hope that the day when I have a way to cure them comes, your eyes will still be as beautiful as they are now.”
The peppermint scent was almost imperceptible; at times, it hovered faintly at the tip of his nose, and at times, it was absent.
Tao Huainan breathed in deeply, remembering this peppermint scent on his body.
That was an afternoon that Tao Huainan could recollect with startling clarity.
His brother was out of the house, and Chi Cheng had left on an errand for him.
Tian Yi ge had whisked him off to the hospital, later saying that he was taking him to see an exceptionally outstanding doctor.
Before, he had met countless doctors.
His brother had taken him to visit many eye specialists.
But after that, Tao Huainan only had this one doctor.
He really liked Tang Suoyan.
And Tao Xiaodong, naturally, liked what his brother liked.
Tang Suoyan was an impressive doctor that Tao Xiaodong didn’t dare to approach.
They shared a meal once at the outset solely to discuss Tao Huainan’s eyes.
Following that, they’d only meet every time he brought Tao Huainan for his eye check-ups, making the most basic of greetings without much more interaction.
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.
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There was even once a social gathering, largely comprising of alumni from their medical school.
Tao Xiaodong was friends with many of them and helped Tong Ning block a few drinks.
Someone made allusions in jest about the two of them, but Tao Xiaodong hurriedly flapped his hand.
“Don’t joke around.”
Xia Yuan asked him privately, “Xiaodong, could you be… interested in Tong Ning”
Tao Xiaodong immediately shook his head.
“Nothing of that sort.”
“Then why do I feel like you treat him quite well” Xia Yuan shot Tao Xiaodong a glance askance, scrutinising his expression, “Or are my eyes deceiving me”
“Don’t think too much.
What nonsense is your mind filled with” Tao Xiaodong’s eyebrows creased.
There was nothing else to it, and so he was unwilling to go into it.
Xia Yuan kindly advised, “He’s spoken for already.
Don’t you also know the one he’s attached to Don’t intrude in where you don’t belong; you mustn’t venture down the dark path.”
Tao Xiaodong casually picked up a book and slapped Xia Yuan with it.
He stood up, done with this conversation.
“Oh, shut up.
I already said that there’s nothing going on, so stop talking about it.
Aren’t you sick of yourself yet”
Tao Xiaodong really didn’t have such an intention, honest to god.
Whether or not Tong Ning was attached held no significance to Tao Xiaodong.
Furthermore, the attention that he showed Tong Ning was out of his respect for Tang Suoyan in the first place.
Since exchanging contacts on WeChat, both he and Tong Ning had never sent a single message to each other.
Tao Xiaodong was getting the creeps from hearing people talking about them in that light; he couldn’t take it anymore.
Tong Ning was someone who held himself with dignity.
Tao Xiaodong only ever saw Tong Ning in a white shirt and dress pants, and his bearing was always immaculate.
Every word spoken and every smile offered was befitting to the situation, making him seem slightly aloof.
It was also this aura that attracted Xia Yuan those years ago—as though no one could get close to him, yet without it being tinged by arrogance, leaving instead a lasting impression on the people he met.
People who knew him well would say that Tong Ning didn’t have friends that he was particularly close to.
He would maintain a distance from anyone.
This was the way he normally was in the hospital as well; gentle, polite, quiet, and not quick to anger.
Someone like that was too perfect.
It was unreal.
Perhaps it was only in front of Tang Suoyan that he would show his truest self.
Tang Suoyan’s car waited in Er Hospital’s car park for about an hour before Tong Ning came out, having ended his shift.
Tang Suoyan parked his car close to Tong Ning’s, and as Tong Ning approached, Tang Suoyan pressed on the horn.
When Tong Ning saw him, his brows unconsciously lifted.
Tang Suoyan pressed the horn again.
Tong Ning walked over and got into the car.
It had been too long since they last saw each other.
Tong Ning had avoided him.
It was more than three months since the Lunar New Year to the present, yet this was their first meeting.
Tang Suoyan said, “Let’s talk.”
It wasn’t possible for them to go on like this; they both knew this.
Tong Ning calmly nodded.
Without another word, Tang Suoyan drove them home—to Tang Suoyan’s place.
Tong Ning had shifted away many of his possessions, but there were still many remnants of his presence, and Tang Suoyan hadn’t touched what was left behind.
This was the place where he had lived for many years.
It was all profoundly familiar to him.
His indoor slippers were still in the shoe cabinet.
The two people changed their shoes in silence, then each went to wash up in the bathroom.
The habits formed from their many years of cohabitation were, by now, etched in their bones.
After that, they’d even tacitly prepared dinner together.
They had their respective roles in the kitchen, whether it was to wash the vegetables or cook the food, this was accomplished without requiring any communication between them.
After they dined, they both sat on the sofa.
Tang Suoyan’s hands were still slightly damp from having just washed them.
He wiped them with a piece of tissue, speaking to Tong Ning, “What are your thoughts Say them out.”
What were his thoughts
To this question that Tang Suoyan flung at him, Tong Ning was not able to give an immediate response.
His jaw tensed.
He stayed quiet for a moment before turning the question back to Tang Suoyan.
“Have you recalled the reason that we fought”
Tang Suoyan nodded.
He did end up recalling how this feud started—not because Tong Ning got upset, but because Tang Suoyan had turned away first.
The reason was a bit difficult to get out.
Particularly for prideful people like them.
Tong Ning was never one for intimacy.
He was somewhat repulsed by sexual intercourse.
Even back in their twenties, Tong Ning never had such passions.
But he wouldn’t show any aversion, even going along with it.
Moreover, Tang Suoyan was able to bring him pleasure and take him apart.
During those days, Tong Ning behaved very normally and acquiesced to sex whenever Tang Suoyan was in the mood.
But in recent years, he had become increasingly disinclined towards such activities.
He would usually just blow it off, using exhaustion as an excuse.
Such matters were based on the consent of both parties.
If one was unwilling, there was no pleasure to be found.
It didn’t matter if Tong Ning undoubtedly enjoyed the act when they actually got down to it.
Tang Suoyan liked being in absolute control.
He knew Tong Ning’s body well enough that it was impossible for there to be any lack of chemistry between them.
Yet, Tong Ning was so unwilling that he even felt revulsion.
Their feud this time began with Tang Suoyan wanting to have sex.
Tong Ning had yielded after putting up a show of resistance.
He didn’t explicitly say no and his bodily reactions clearly exposed his arousal.
But he still ended up abruptly pushing Tang Suoyan away.
“…I don’t want it.” Tong Ning inhaled deeply.
His brows furrowed and his gaze was averted.
Tang Suoyan lapsed into silence, and after this silence, he asked Tong Ning, “What’s wrong with you”
At that time, they were already bare from the waist up.
Tong Ning put his clothes back on and said in a low voice, “There’s nothing wrong.
I just don’t want to do it.
Can I just jerk you off”
This wasn’t the first time this happened.
While Tong Ning was unwilling to let nature take its course, he wasn’t against lowering his body or getting on his knees, using other methods to get past it.
Any incongruity between lovers was, in truth, very difficult to broach, especially when both parties were physically and mentally well.
And every time, Tong Ning was excessively adamant when pushing him away.
His abhorrence and disdain would be written all over his face, and this revulsion was wounding to see.
Tang Suoyan’s expression was dark.
He seldom kicked up a temper or hardened his face towards Tong Ning, for Tong Ning didn’t like seeing him that way.
Tong Ning said, “I just don’t like doing it.
The more I do it, the more I don’t want it.
If you feel that you can’t accept not doing it, then let’s end it.
I really don’t like it.”
A sliver of irritability that came out of nowhere coloured his voice as he said this.
Tang Suoyan had never coerced Tong Ning into anything.
When he directly said he didn’t want it, Tang Suoyan never continued.
However, it was unreasonable for them to carry on this way indefinitely.
Tang Suoyan fastened the buttons of his pyjamas in silence.
Then, he looked at Tong Ning, saying in a low voice, “Fix the problem.
Don’t just throw me talk of ending it every time.
Those words cannot fix anything.”
Tong Ning couldn’t stand the way Tang Suoyan spoke to him in anger.
“What’s there to fix I just don’t like it.
Must I accept doing it with you for it to count as having fixed it”
Ultimately, they weren’t able to talk things out.
Tang Suoyan was in too poor a mood and Tong Ning’s words were barbed.
From then on, they both put on a cold front.
A few days after, Tong Ning moved out and Tang Suoyan got busy.
But it was impossible to shelve this forever.
Ultimately, this dispute needed resolution, and this conversation was long due.
They each had sufficient time to calm down.
Three months was enough time for both parties to smother their rage, calmly approach the problem, and reach a resolution in a level-headed manner.
Tong Ning sat on the sofa in silence for so long that the pedestrians walking their dogs in the neighbourhood had all since returned to their homes.
By the time he spoke, the opposite building was brightly illuminated with light from windows.
Such a long spell of silence could only be prelude words that were difficult to articulate.
He looked at Tang Suoyan.
The rims of his eyes had reddened and his voice was hoarse.
“I’m not upset this time.
I’m not saying this out of anger, either.
I really want to… end it.”
Tentatively leaving this unlocked, still undecided in light of new features that cg has coded and that the discord role for chapter updates isn’t set up yet.
If I do end up locking it, visit the discord for the password and update notifs.
Audio drama e01 covers up to mid this chapter.
Highly, highly rec it, it’s why I decided to pick up this project in the first place ^^
Appreciate your help to not share the video links around so I don’t have to play dmca cat-and-mouse.
For this reason, I also advise anyone interested in the audio drama to watch the episodes asap when I release them instead of stacking.