Ye Zun doesn’t like being alone, he never had. It’s why he developed such a deep hatred for his older brother when he thought he had abandoned him. It was why he believed Shen Wei had to bow and grovel at his feet before he killed him because his big brother knew how separation killed him inside and he still left, or so he had thought.
But being alone had always scared Ye Zun, no matter the reason, which is why when he woke up in Shen Wei’s bed he was breathing hard enough to choke, his nightmares gripping him physically and mentally. The sheets were bunched around him and fisted in a grip so tight he could almost feel it through the numbness of his body and the room was dark save for the sliver of moonlight filtering through the curtains, just like his mind. His big brother was the only source of light in a deep and dark place, which was why his eyes roamed frantically for his source of comfort. The bed was empty beside him and he looked wildly towards the couch and the kitchenette, desperate for big brother’s calming presence.
There was no sign of anyone except him being in the apartment though and he threw the covers off and dashed towards the bathroom, hoping Shen Wei was in there doing something…anything as long as he was close enough to touch. With his heart beating too fast for comfort Ye Zun threw on the bathroom light but the little room was empty; no-one on the toilet or in the shower.
No-one. He was alone.
Ye Zun almost felt like he was being pulled down into the darkness of his mind when he suddenly remembered, YunLan was across the hall. Yun Lan would know where his brother went, right? It’s not like those two aren’t joined at the hip or something similar. Ye Zun doesn’t fully understand but even he can see there is something there between them, which means if there’s anybody who could convince Shen Wei to abandon him at all it would be that infuriating Chief Zhao. It’s why he doesn’t make any great effort to get along with the guy and he can tell the feeling is mutual. They both share his big brother in different capacities but they are both so threatened by each other for Shen Wei’s attention it’s really sort of sad. Shen Wei is the anchor in both their lives and they want to covet that piece of Shen Wei that the other has.
Ye Zun throws open the door and clambers out, gripping the knob of YunLan’s own with enough anticipation to cripple him. He needed his big brother and he needed him now.
The thing about the doors in these apartments was that they were extremely quiet. No matter how hard or soft you opened them there was barely any noise, if any. Ye Zun’s intention was to drag his his brother back to bed with him if he was with YunLan and if he wasn’t, get the guy to start a manhunt immediately with his team for his missing brother. But what Ye Zun’s eyes saw took a moment to connect with his brain. He didn’t know what he was expecting to find in YunLan’s apartment, but it took a few moments for him to process what was happening before him.
The apartment was open plan, just like his brother’s and there was a couch and one bed. Ye Zun had been in here once, when fate and a promise had taken his brother out of Dixing when it shouldn’t have been possible anymore. Ye Zun had held on to Shen Wei with his soul and they had found themselves right outside this door, their destination a road map from Shen Wei’s heart. They had found themselves inside with a crying and blabbering YunLan who did not think his hands should ever leave his big brother and it had left a bitter feeling in Ye Zun’s heart.
He hasn’t set foot in this apartment since.
Ye Zun realized belatedly though what was happening, because from their position, Shen Wei on his back on the bed with YunLan on top of him, moving like that snake girl’s tail does sometimes, it was an act he was intimately familiar with. Painfully intimate. The knitted brow and parted lips and quick breathing on Shen Wei’s face somehow reminded him of his own and something cloying and black rushed up into his consciousness so fast he had no idea what happened next.
Everything went black.
What felt like a split second later there was a burst of dark energy with enough power to skin a human alive being shot straight at YunLan. There was no rational thinking, no forward thought at all, just the need to kill and destroy, to make it stop.
There was a shout and Shen Wei had grabbed YunLan around the hip with one hand and rolled them so the man was under him while he countered Ye Zun’s energy with a blast of his own that sounded like a mini explosion in the small apartment.
“Di Di!?” Shen wei had barked, the command in his voice clear but Ye Zun didn’t care, YunLan had to die and he had to die now.
“What the hell is wrong with him?” YunLan screamed at Shen Wei, even while he was hesitantly pointing his gun straight at Ye Zun’s chest.
“I don’t…” Shen Wei started but Ye Zun was building up dark energy in his hands again, his eyes intensely fixed on YunLan. It will not happen again, no way in hell will it ever happen again.
Not to Shen Wei, not to him, not to anybody ever again.
“Ye Zun, STOP!”
Ye Zun had raised his hands, ready to obliterate Zhao Yunlan, obliterate all of Haixing if he had to, when something hit him so hard he flew into the wall, cracking his head against the hard surface and was knocked unconscious.
The next time consciousness came to Ye Zun it was followed by a world of pain coursing through his body. It was a lot to take in but there were whispers, voices and then they slowly became sentences. Wherever he was there was people talking around him, more than one voices; arguing, pleading, commanding.
“What the hell happened back there?!” It was Da Qing, if Ye Zun remembered correctly.
“I don’t know,” Shen Wei answered, sounding subdued and confused.
“He almost killed the chief!” Da Qing screamed.
“Is he the evil, dark overlord again?” Zhu Hong asked curiously.
“Maybe he wants to kill all of us, not just the chief?” Lin Jing gave his two cents. “You said he released enough dark energy to almost destroy chief’s apartment? What magnitude was it? Was the seismic scale…?”
“Now’s not the time for scientific research on dark powers,” Chu cut in.
“Maybe we should find a way to send him back to Dixing…by himself.”
It was Zhao Yunlan, voice cold and knowing exactly where to strike. It was the only words that pierced through Ye Zun’s soul because his brother had a way of agreeing to almost anything that guy wanted. Ye Zun ignored the pain and focused on the anger, standing up and grabbing the bars of the cell he was being held in at the SID headquarters, he realized once he glimpsed his surroundings. His eyes burned with hatred for Zhao YunLan.
“Ye Zun…” Shen Wei started. “Why?”
Ye Zun looked to his brother, willing him to understand. “Because he has to die for what he did to you.”
Shen Wei started to come closer, shaking YunLan’s hand off when he tried to hold him back.
“Did to me?”
His brother looked so perplexed, like he didn’t understand the gravity of the situation and Ye Zun had to make him see.
“He was hurting you…Ge ge.”
God, if anything his big brother looked even more confused and he knew this was YunLan’s doing. That guy had poisoned his brother’s mind and his body. Ye Zun remembered that look on his brother’s face when they were in bed and it felt like he was under the rebel leader again, crying and begging for his body and his sanity because the pain was too much and the guy would use him until he wasn’t able to function anymore. The worst doormat.
Shen Wei reached out and held his hand and something like calm washed over Ye Zun at his touch, but there was still the pain and the fear from his years with the rebel factions and it was just overwhelming. Tears formed in his eyes as he tried his best to make Shen Wei understand.
“You were under him and you looked like you were in pain, Ge ge, and I suddenly remembered, could feel him again as if it was happening to me and I thought the same thing was being done to you.”
Tears pooled in Shen Wei’s eyes at his words and Ye Zun saw the moment his brother understood what he was trying to say.
“I was the prettiest one in the camp…”
“Ye Zun, don’t…”
“I wasn’t good for anything except that…”
“Ye Zun…” Shen Wei begged.
“There were no girls and even when we stopped in villages he didn’t want any.”
“No…” The heartbreak was as clear on Shen Wei’s face as it was in his voice.
Ye Zun held on to his brother like his life depended on it. “I thought the same was being done to you.”
Shen Wei fell to his knees, hanging his head while he cried and Ye Zun knew, knew his brother wished he was there to stop it, and wished he had never left that day so he could fall into the hands of the rebel leader and live the kind of life he did. He knew his brother wished a lot of things at this moment but it was too late now and there was nothing that could be done about the past.
“I’m sorry…” Shen Wei kept apologizing and Ye Zun hugged him even tighter.
“Don’t be, it’s not your fault big brother.”
Ye Zun meant every word.
“Ok, everybody out.”
YunLan could be heard softly ushering the others out of the room. After they left YunLan came over with the key to his cell. Shen Wei stepped back so he could open the door and the brothers met in a full embrace has soon they were able to be in other’s arms.
“It’s all my fault…” Shen Wei sobbed and Ye Zun squeezed him tight.
“No, it’s nobody’s fault but the rebel leader, big brother.”
Ye Zun could see Zhao YunLan in his periphery and he looked towards the man when he cleared his throat for attention.
“What you saw us doing, Ye Zun, was so far from hurtful. I like Shen Wei, too much for my own good and I would never, ever do anything to hurt him. You can bet my life on it.”
Shen Wei pulled back at that and wiped his eyes with one hand, deciding to add to YunLan’s conversation starter.
“I’m sorry you see sex as something bad Ye Zun but it can be such a wonderful thing between two people who love each other. It was used as a weapon against you but please believe me when I say it’s something that strengthens the bond between YunLan and I and we consider it very sacred. I really enjoy it.”
Ye Zun nodded. He was the one that didn’t understand and he was regretful of how he went about it, trying to kill the other man. He looked at Zhao YunLan at that thought and bowed deeply to the man in apology. “I’m sorry, Chief Zhao.”
Zhao YunLan smiled like he always did, clapping Ye Zun on the shoulder in solidarity and Ye Zun felt something inside him loosen even further. Maybe he could learn to be more tolerant towards the Lord Guardian.
“Shall we go home? I’m sure we have a lot of things to work out and I don’t think the SID headquarters is the best place to do it,” YunLan offered, right after he popped a lollipop in his mouth.
Shen Wei nodded and Ye Zun agreed. Home is definitely where he wanted to be.