Xie Yi found his current position much too nice to move at all, so he didn’t. Although he did not know how much exactly he was allowed to do, he was already a bit overwhelmed by the fact that he could hug Shi Yue freely like this.
In a sudden burst of feelings, he felt tears well up in his eyes.
Shi Yue flinched in surprise and hurriedly tried to turn Xie Yi’s head, but the youth refused to comply and kept it on his shoulder.
“Xie Yi? Is something wrong? Ah Yi?”
The gentle, loving call only strengthened the feeling. Xie Yi squeezed his eyes shut and sorted them out.
Fury. Indignation. Love, too. Relief.
And a single thought, turning and turning in his head like a fearsome ghost. A voice too strong to be his own, and yet it spoke like him.
How dare they? How dare they, how dare they?
How dare they try to take the future that was his? Take his brother, take his husband, take his freedom? How dare they?
Now it was all his again, never to let go. What was supposed to be his was now all back in his hands.
And all that he could feel was the boundless hate and relief of a soul that should not ever had to suffer all of this pain, that should not have lived in a twisted body.
He knew it with a weird certainty - that this was him, but not completely. This was indignation coming from somewhere far away, and he accepted it quietly. It would be good when fighting against the Demonic Sect.
And besides… It wasn’t of a destructive nature. Despite all that hate and fury, there was also a ginger feeling of protectiveness towards his loved ones.
Xie Yi fell into a daze and only blinked himself out of it when he noticed someone brushing a hand over his hair.
He looked into Shi Yue’s widened eyes, frightened, and noted his pale skin. Mingtian’s hand was on his back and they were speaking soothing words.
Even Xue Hua was at his side, holding a cool hand against his forehead, and only now did Xie Yi realize that at some point he must have forgotten to keep the muscles of his legs straight, as they had buckled down.
“Sorry, I zoned out”, he said slowly, looking at his family with a sheepish smile that made them breathe out in relief.
Only Su Liang was sitting on the ground, tilting his head and flicking an ear as he wondered where the nice feeling he had just felt vanished to. 1This is confusing but I wanted to add this scene cause I wanted to give it closure. As you might remember or not, this timeline is timeline three, with the first original one being the one where the Demonic Sect never knew about Xie Yi and he grew up as Shi Yue’s junior brother. They became Immortals and married. That timeline was broken apart, but time is a pretty complicated construct in my story. Just like Shi Yue met his past selves while in coma, Xie Yi also has his past selves. The soul of an Immortal is already a bit split apart from this world, so it’s semi-existent despite the timeline never completing. At this point it woke up once with all its hate towards the people that destroyed the life he was supposed to have, and also all the love of centuries he has for his family. Shi Yue’s Immortal soul was already there to allow Shi Yue to remember, so I wanted Xie Yi’s to also have his way to send our Xiao Yi off.
“Is it stress? It’s stress, isn’t it? Do you want to rest? Do you want me to carry you?” Mingtian made a fuss, his strong muscles tense.
“I think you are stressed”, Xua Hua chided softly. “Xie Yi, is it better now?”
“I blanked out. I don’t feel bad, really. I guess I’m still a bit dizzy because of all of this”, Xie Yi tried to explain. Now back to a clear mind, he eagerly looked at Shi Yue. “Shi Yue, what did you call me? You called me differently!”
Shi Yue felt his face flush a bit in embarrassment when everyone looked at him. “...Is it a problem? It should be fine to call my lover Ah Yi, no?”
“Like!” Xie Yi pounced forward and hugged Shi Yue again, almost purring like a kitten.
Pouting, Mingtian crossed his arms. “What’s with this way of calling? Are you trying to announce your position to everyone? This-”
Older brother MingMing closed his mouth.
Xue Hua shook his head with an exasperated but amused expression. Mingtian was a blunt person, and this childish side of his was cute, too.
It might have been because everyone was aware that the coming weeks and months would have less and less peaceful days, that all of them were easygoing. The soft mood did not vanish, even when Xie Yi stopped hanging off Shi Yue’s arm once they approached the city again.
Weirdly exhausted from the emotional up and downs, Xie Yi wanted to rest soon and none of them complained.
They quietly entered the Honourable Sect again and the two cultivators left for the private quarters they had been assigned.
Shi Yue sat down on the edge of the bed while Xie Yi threw himself onto the blankets.
“Ah Yi”, Shi Yue called with some hesitance.
Xie Yi wordlessly turned to the side and curled around the sitting Shi Yue, wrapping his arms around the man’s waist.
“I’m sorry, I’ll have to do you injustice. I don’t think this is a good time for people to see our relationship.” Shi Yue forced the words out, unhappy. He looked down at his new lover, not sure how the other would react.
Xie Yi opened his eyes a slit, the red colour shimmering. He closed them again and hugged Shi Yue tighter. “That is no injustice in my eyes, Shi Yue. I understand and I agree. We have time.”
Shi Yue reached out a hand to unravel the ribbon around the black hair. It fell down in long waves. “We will make them pay.”
Xie Yi took several minutes to answer, so long that Shi Yue wondered if he had dozed off.
“Shi Yue, I don’t think you truly understand what I experienced, and that’s normal. My payback… You’re a good person. A gentle person, I know that. But I hope you won’t dissuade me, or dislike me for the revenge I will take, no matter how cruel.”
“I won’t”, Shi Yue solemnly replied. “And I won’t turn away from you.”
The shoulders of the slender man relaxed and he hummed in reply.
Shi Yue smiled. He stood up, then bent down and moved Xie Yi to lie under the blanket. Xie Yi’s lips curled a bit at the treatment. Finally, a gentle kiss was placed on them - lingering only for a moment, but the warmth stayed behind. “Sleep well, Ah Yi.”
“Good night.” Xie Yi curled himself up into the blankets.
The door closed with a quiet click as Shi Yue made his way back into his room.
Xie Yi blinked once into the darkness. He cocked his head, stretched out an arm and dragged Juxian to himself under the covers.
His instinct told him that he was not going to have a night as peaceful as he wanted to have, with a feeling of unrest settled in his stomach.
Decades of sleeping outside or in the quarters of the Demonic Sect had given Xie Yi a weird sense of when to expect something bad. He liked relying on it - it was rarely wrong, and being a bit too careful had yet to hurt him.
He did not find anything wrong immediately. No one tried to enter his room or disturbed his rest, but Xie Yi found himself unable to take his hand off Juxian, who was strapped around his waist. He couldn’t and didn’t want to move it, which also meant he couldn’t go outside - walking around with a hand on your sword (even worse, spiritual sword) was hardly courteous.
Shi Yue knocked against his door when he didn’t come out even after breakfast ended.
“Come in”, Xie Yi called, sitting on the corner of his bed.
Shi Yue entered and paused momentarily when seeing Xie Yi’s face.
It wasn’t turned to him, so he was quite sure he wasn’t at fault for whatever made Xie Yi look like he had bitten into a lemon.
He approached carefully and brushed a hand through the youth’s fringe. “What’s wrong?”
“Something.” Xie Yi grimly looked up, then decided that he could let go of Juxian in favor of wrapping his arms around Shi Yue’s stomach.
“That’s very detailed. What kind of something?”
Shi Yue tried to concentrate on the issue at hand, but he still found himself a bit sidetracked by his lover’s bed hair.
“Something changed during the night. I don’t know what, but I’m pretty sure something is different and I don’t think I like it”, Xie Yi lamented. “Call it animal instinct.”
Shi Yue’s hand stopped. He had seen people survive thanks to the most unusual hunches. Cultivators who suddenly insisted on taking a certain item, or leaving one behind, or who refused to associate with a kind person. There were some who would wake in the middle of the night and leave a perfectly safe camp.
This kind of intuition wasn’t unusual. Most people called it experience - since Grandmasters and Transcendents were the most likely to have these hunches - but there were many who believed it had to do with the weakening link to their current plane.
Someone not involved in a story would always see clearer than one captured in its flow.
“What do you suggest? Is there anything that might help you feel safer?”
Xie Yi shook his head and let go of Shi Yue. He gave a dark smile. “Right now, people underestimate me left and right. They will suffer if they think they can hurt me easily. I’m just wary.”
Right - he did not have to expect an army of spiritual Masters coming to kill him. He was merely a disciple right now. As long as he played his cards right, he had a good chance against anyone coming to kill him.
“We will be fine”, Shi Yue tried to soothe him. He bent down, holding Xie Yi’s face and giving him a soft kiss on the lips.