Jing He watered the plants behind his palace absentmindedly. How was he supposed to tell Qiu Ling? Knowing him, he probably wouldn’t take the news well. He couldn’t fault him for it though. This really was mistimed.
Jing He sighed and wanted to bring the jar back inside when a pair of strong arms snaked around his waist.
"Did you miss me, my love?" Qiu Ling murmured next to his ear, his breath tickling Jing He’s skin.
"You’re back." Jing He smiled and gently stroked that familiar arm while leaning back against the broad chest behind him.
"Mn. I couldn’t wait to see you." Qiu Ling leaned forward and kissed his cheek, his lips lingering on his beloved’s cheek for a moment before he hesitantly drew back. "Did you tell him already?"
Jing He lowered his head and averted his face. "I … I went to see him yesterday after you left."
Silence ensued and stretched between them. Jing He’s heart beat faster. He wouldn’t be that angry, would he?
Finally, a second arm encircled his waist and his lover rested his chin on Jing He’s shoulder. "So you didn’t tell him." He sounded calm but Jing He knew that he probably wasn’t. He tried shifting in his embrace but didn’t manage to turn around. Those strong arms secured him in place.
"I wanted to. But you also know how he is. It’s not that easy to tell him."
"Then maybe I should go after all. Isn’t it better anyway? Why would you bring our marriage up on your own? As your future husband, I should be the one to do that."
Jing He sighed. "Have you forgotten how he reacted when you brought it up back then?"
"That was then. This is now. I doubt it’ll be as bad again." He chuckled in a low voice and kissed Jing He’s cheek once more. "Even if he does … I could still kidnap you to my kingdom. After the deed is done he won’t be able to do anything. He’ll have to accept it."
Jing He smiled and for a moment he was actually tempted to tell his lover to do exactly that. Wouldn’t it be wonderful? Escaping with him, marrying him in secret and only returning after everything was set in stone. His father could demand whatever he wanted after that. It wouldn’t be important anymore. He would already be his beloved person’s other half by then. Unfortunately …
"There is something you don’t know yet."
"Then tell me." Qiu Ling loosened his grip and Jing He turned around, looking up at the handsome face he had grown accustomed to seeing over the last ten years.
"As a god, I’ll have to face trials in the human realm a few times. Actually, I should have done that already but father never sent me because he was worried I might be too young. Unfortunately, I can’t delay it any longer."
Qiu Ling frowned slightly. "Your meaning is …?"
Jing He rubbed the hem of his sleeve and averted his face once more. "I’ll have to leave for the human world a week from now. It’s already been decided."
Qiu Ling’s grip around him tightened. "You’ll … How long will that take?"
Jing He took a peek at him before hurriedly looking away again. "I’m not sure. The Fate’s Scribe will write a fate for my mortal reincarnation. The time I need will depend on that. But it won’t be more than a mortal lifetime."
Qiu Ling closed his eyes. One mortal lifetime … The time flowed differently in the immortal realms but considering a human might live up to sixty or even seventy years he would still have to be without his beloved for about two months!
He slowly lifted a hand and stroked Jing He’s silky black hair. "Do you really have to?"
Jing He pressed his lips together. He wanted to give in to Qiu Ling’s pleading gaze and tell him that, no, he didn’t definitely have to but he still nodded. The trials were mandatory. He couldn’t get around them however much he wanted. "There is no other way. My father told me yesterday. That was why …"
"But don’t worry!" Jing He pressed his hands up against Qiu Ling’s chest and forced himself to smile. "When I come back I’ll tell him immediately. He won’t be able to say anything. And then we can marry."
"I hope so." Qiu Ling smiled but it seemed strained. He really feared that something might happen again. That damned old man … ah, no, his beloved’s father didn’t like him that much. As soon as Jing He told him, he would probably find all sorts of excuses why they couldn’t marry for now.
Jing He was equally worried. He, too, would have liked to make it official before he went to attempt his trial. Two months weren’t long but Qiu Ling was such a wonderful man. Wouldn’t there be other people vying for his attention? What if he fell in love with somebody else? After all, he had already waited ten years. Maybe his passion was wearing thin together with his patience.
Jing He looked up into those dark eyes and his fingers tugged into Qiu Ling’s black robe. How would he go on living if the person he had lost his heart to suddenly stopped caring for him?
If I told him to really take me to his kingdom and make me his … Would I seem cheap?
In the end, Jing He only sighed. He patted Qiu Ling’s chest and snuggled up to him. He just had to trust him. Qiu Ling had never let him down. Certainly, nothing would happen in these two months either.
He closed his eyes and silently enjoyed being this close to him. After all, who knew when they would have this opportunity again? There would be quite a few things to prepare and Qiu Ling couldn’t stay with him the whole time. And then, after this week, he would be gone for a while. Just thinking about it made Jing He miss him.
"Back then, I never would have thought that we would ever get to this point."
"Mn." Qiu Ling stroked his beloved’s hair with a satisfied smile. "It’s a good thing I have this much foresight or you really would have missed out in your life."
Jing He held back a laugh. "You’re right. I would have. Thankfully, you were so persistent."
"I’ll continue with that." Qiu Ling bent down and kissed his hair. He definitely would continue to persist. Until this person was his in every sense. And even then he would persist in loving him until the day they were both old and wrinkled.
Ah, most likely, his beloved would be the prettiest old man in all the immortal realms and just catching a glimpse of him or hearing his name would cause all those younglings to rip out their hair in frustration.
Mn, he really had such good taste.