Zhao Yunlan's lollipop supply is running dangerously low, limited to what was in his pockets when he time traveled. But he’d dipped into it in the morning during a particularly stressful war strategizing meeting with Ma Gui and Fu You, where he felt uncomfortably out of place, and when he re-emerges, he’s got a strawberry lollipop clenched beneath his teeth.
And that’s when Shen Wei pulls him into a dark corner of the cave headquarters, and kisses him.
Shen Wei says solemnly, “I want to taste this every day of my life. All the different kinds of sweetness.”
Even though it’s selfish of him, even though he knows this will hurt Shen Wei even more when he leaves, Zhao Yunlan runs his thumb across Shen Wei's bottom lip and says, “You will.”
In ten thousand years, Shen Wei will find a wary stranger who will politely shake his hand and not recognize his name. This stranger will look exactly like a man he met ten thousand years ago who lit up at the very sight of him, who named him, who kissed and touched him like this. The universe is unfair - Zhao Yunlan knows this very well - and there is something terrifying about the breadth and scope of this all.
What am I doing? Zhao Yunlan thinks, when he wakes up, with Shen Wei curled around him. What have I done to you?
It is difficult relearning the intricacies of a body you already know well.
For instance, Zhao Yunlan discovers that he likes to touch Shen Wei’s long dark hair, running his fingers through the soft waves of it. He likes to tuck the strands behind Shen Wei’s ears before he kisses him.
For instance, Zhao Yunlan realizes that Shen Wei, in the present, is always rough and passionate. But there’s this small thing he does, as he showers Zhao Yunlan’s neck and chest with bites and kisses - he avoids a certain patch of skin by Zhao Yunlan’s ribcage.
Now, in the past, Zhao Yunlan only learns why when a rebel Dixingian nicks him with a poisoned dagger. Shen Wei can’t heal the injury with his abilities - Zhao Yunlan has to bandage it and apply medicine provided by the Yashou tribe - and when they’re intimate, Shen Wei avoids the wounded area with a careful gentleness.
Zhao Yunlan remembers thinking with a sharp clarity: Shen Wei, you love me too much. It’s too much. Reckless protectiveness and self-sacrifice. The pain on his face when he’d cut himself open, saying it was worth it to do this for him.
You love me too much.
There is an ugly monster inside of Zhao Yunlan that says, But I want him to.
Ten thousand years ago, Shen Wei is a bright-eyed young war hero, and ‘Kunlun’ drops into his life with immediate laughter and affection. They fight rebel Dixingians back to back, make schemes and war plans together, and touch hands. It’s easy to fall in love with him again, and even easier for him to fall for you in return.
Ten thousand years from now, Zhao Yunlan is like a coiled spring, chief of the SID, and Professor Shen Wei of Longcheng University burns with silent devotion and yearning. They confront runaway Dixingians, make schemes and solve cases together, and touch hands. It’s easy to fall in love with him again, and even easier for him to fall for you in return.