Xie Yi stepped another bit closer. His wide eyes were glued to his master, watching every reaction.
“The kind of ‘like’ to have for a spouse? Like MingMing and Xue Hua?”
“Yes.” ...As much as he hated admitting that those two did indeed have deep and pure feelings between them.
Xie Yi twisted his hand and Shi Yue, surprised at having forgotten he was holding Xie Yi’s wrist, let go. There were red marks where he had held the other, and guilt flashed across his face.
Xie Yi, however, only turned his hand to experimentally hold Shi Yue’s - intertwining their fingers and pressing a bit as he stared at Shi Yue.
Shi Yue’s lips pursed slightly. He returned the pressure and looked back at Xie Yi.
The softest hint of a smile was appearing on the other’s face. Despite not showing too much on his lips, it was fully visible in his eyes.
Xie Yi stretched out his other hand to take in Shi Yue’s left hand, standing right in front of him. His voice vibrated with soft laughter as he spoke. “I hope you know that I am a terribly troublesome person that will be even more troublesome as a lover.”
Xie Yi did not think he was suitable for Shi Yue in any way. He didn’t think he would be a good lover. He wanted to question, why would Shi Yue like him, why would he ask him to be together when they were so unsuitable. He wanted to ask, what is good enough about me that someone like you turns my way?
But right now, he did not have the heart to say his doubts - he wanted to laugh and smile, and do nothing else. He didn't want to question, he wanted to accept it as it was and be happy about it.
“I am aware”, Shi Yue resignedly responded, an eyebrow jumping up.
The black-haired man chuckled and placed his head on Shi Yue’s shoulder. The Grandmaster could feel the other’s face being nuzzled into his shoulder and hair.
“Xie Yi, would you please give me an answer, though”, a slightly desperate Shi Yue asked when no other word came after a moment of silence.
“Ah? Do I still have to give one?”, Xie Yi asked with mild confusion, although he did not move an inch from his comfortable position. It was warm and Shi Yue was close - he could smell the soft scent of witchhazel. “Since it’s quite obvious. You know I’m in love with you.”
“In fact, simply because feelings are mutual does not mean both people will start going out, which is why I’m asking”, Shi Yue explained with unexpected patience.
“Ooh. I agree! Of course I agree! What else would I do? Shi Yue, I hope you won’t regret this and leave me behind”, Xie Yi said loudly, although the tinge of sadness at the end betrayed his insecurity. “Don’t do that to me.”
“Can you not talk about breaking up right after we got together”, Shi Yue growled a bit playfully and freed one hand to tug the head off his shoulder.
Gingerly, he placed a kiss next to Xie Yi’s eyes. The other pressed his eyes shut in response, quivering a bit at the contact.
“I’m not planning on doing that.”
“Un.” Xie Yi’s response was almost inaudible. He was breathing only shallowly, as if worried to disturb anything, and stood motionless. He only leaned a bit forward to allow another few pecks on his cheek.
Shi Yue lingered over his lips for a moment before using all of the willpower he must have gathered the last century just to not press on. The temptation was there, but he was quite clear of Xie Yi's lack of experience and absolutely didn't want to hurry too much. His lips only gently rubbed against the sides of Xie Yi's for a moment.
The youth made a small sound and swallowed down the words he wanted to say. He didn't want to scare Shi Yue away.
Like that, two people treated the other side as porcelain while forgetting that it was complete nonsense.
Not that far away, Su Liang was happily twitching his ears around in his mother’s arms. He was happy. Although his understanding of the situation was limited, he could tell that it was a good thing that YiYi and Yue were standing so close together.
Xue Hua smiled softly, relieved at seeing the scene. One worry less.
Quite different was Mingtian, who was muttering something in growls and groaning once in a while with his head against a tree and claws scratching over the bark.
“Are you that unhappy?”, Xue Hua inquired at the scene.
“Yes”, Mingtian growled. “But worse is, I don’t know if I should help… I don’t want to help that guy… I’m sorry, but I really don’t want to help him… But the kid will be happier that way, so… Ugh!”
He hit his head against the tree again before dragging his hands through his hair.
“I don’t know what exactly you’d help them with, but please do it”, Xue Hua demanded with furrowed brows. “For Xie Yi and for me, if not for Yue.”
“I got it, I got it”, Mingtian whined.
He waited until the mood next to the lake had returned to being more normal and the two were about to leave until he came out.
Admittedly, Mingtian’s face was much blacker at the scene than Shi Yue’s had been when Mingtian had taken Xue Hua away.
“I’m not going to congratulate you”, he declared loudly while pointing at Shi Yue. “...Though I’ll congratulate the kid. Xiao Yi, I’m happy you got what you wanted.”
He threw a genuine smile at a very pleased-looking Xie Yi before his face returned to being grim as he glared back at Shi Yue.
The Grandmaster was both terribly embarrassed and unhappy - one because he still did not like Mingtian that much, and the other because it seemed that his confession had been watched.
“Still, only! Only because I know that this would end badly because you will be too dumb to notice it-” Mingtian breathed in deeply and Shi Yue flared up at the insult.
“Just know that Xie Yi will currently not, and I repeat, not, make any move on you past maybe reaching for your hand.”
The atmosphere settled into a confused silence as Shi Yue stared, his face a question mark and Xie Yi innocently blinked.
“And by that I mean, he absolutely will not risk breaking your pace on how things go”, Mingtian exhaustedly declared with a dark face. “So have fun explaining to him what he’s allowed to do and when.”
Shi Yue kept returning Mingtian’s gaze for quite some time before slowly looking over to Xie Yi, who still held his hand. Now that he mentioned it, Xie Yi had shown no sign of rejection at his small kisses, but had made no motion of returning them, either.
Shi Yue hadn’t tried going for a deep kiss yet; he knew that Xie Yi had no experience so he wanted to be careful in advancing, and right now wasn’t the best time.
At feeling the stare, Xie Yi spoke up unbidden. “Hm? I don’t want to make you unhappy, so I won’t do anything, yeah. What if I did something you don’t like, or did it wrong, or at the wrong time or place or whatever?”
“This is literally the only time I’m helping you clear up a misunderstanding before it happens”, Mingtian mumbled grudgingly.
The Grandmaster felt his face twitch. His lifted his hands to place them on Xie Yi’s cheeks and spoke with a mixture of doting and awkwardness. “I’m your lover now! It’s fine to do what you want, at least when no one or only our family are around!”
Xie Yi blankly stared at Shi Yue.
Something in his head told him that he couldn’t quite take his beloved’s words at face value. He somewhat had a feeling he was not allowed to jump Shi Yue and tear off his clothes because he hadn’t touched those muscles yet, and he still wanted to. “I’m… not sure…”
“How about this then, kisses are fine?”, Shi Yue tried instead and softly placed one on Xie Yi’s lips. “Or do they make you uncomfortable?”
Xie-wants-to-jump-Yi “...No, I like it.”
“...You’re not going to take the initiative, are you?”
“...What if it’s bad timing?”
“...Okay. Just… Just tell me when you’re uncomfortable about something or want to do something. If someone is around, it’s no good, if it’s family… Maybe whisper it to me?”
“Oooooor you don’t touch the kid at all? That sounds like a great idea. I think it’s a great idea.” Mingtian pulled his face into a snarl.
The sneer on his face froze the minute the black-haired youth turned to him.
Xie Yi wordlessly took a step forward, wrapped his arms around Shi Yue’s waist and squashed his cheek against the tall man’s shoulder. His eyes stayed on Mingtian, while Shi Yue gave a mental scream and hugged his disciple.
Mingtian looked at the defenceless but content look on Xie Yi’s face and whined again. “...Shi Yue, you’d better treat him right. If you hurt him, you’ll get in trouble with me.”
“Can he even hurt me?”, Xie Yi asked. It wasn’t a rhetorical question or Xie Yi implying that Shi Yue would never, under any circumstances, try to hurt him.
It was a literal question and everyone fell quiet at the thought of it.
Demonic Sect leader who underwent hundreds of years of human experimentation without a single complaint.
“...If you mentally hurt him or break his heart.”
“Xie Yi, I don’t think it’s realistic, but if I actually manage to somehow physically hurt you, then please tell me, okay? Mentally, as well.”
“Okay.” Pleased, Xie Yi nuzzled his face against Shi Yue’s and the Grandmaster gave a soft sigh, patting his back. He was planning on treating Xie Yi very carefully even if it might not be needed, but he wanted to make sure that the other felt comfortable with everything.
Xie Yi relaxed his weight against the Grandmaster, enjoying the gentle hug and taking a minute to remember the confession Shi Yue had made. He happily giggled.
Mingtian sighed and turned away to fetch his own family. Meanwhile, Shi Yue was relieved to have made the decision to confess today, especially after seeing Xie Yi act like this.
“I’ve got a very large family now”, Xie Yi murmured with a warm feeling in his heart.
“You do”, Shi Yue whispered back, stroking his hair.
“I love our family line”, Xie Yi snickered. The sound was childish, but it made Shi Yue’s heart jump - especially at the word ‘our’.
...Aaaah. His lover was so cute. His murderous, bloodthirsty, violent little beauty who could control demonic energy.
Yes. There was nothing wrong with that sentence, at all.