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Bad at Love

Chapter Text

“Xiao Hei? Xiao Hei!”

“Huh?”

The young boy blinked before lifting his head up, looking embarrassed. “Sorry, shifu, what did you say?”

Wuxian sighed a little. “What was the last thing you heard?”

Even after thinking for a moment, Xiao Hei… couldn’t remember the last thing he heard. He zoned out a long time ago.

Already expecting this, Wuxian shook his head but placed his hand gently attop Xiao Hei’s head, ruffling his white hair affectionately. “That’s okay, we’ll continue tomorrow, you must be tired.”

“I’m not tired!” Xiao Hei exclaimed quickly in defense, his cheeks puffing out. “Come on, I can still go a while more! Please, shifu!”

Wuxian opened his mouth, about to say something, when there was a low growling noise. They stood in silence for a moment as Xiao Hei’s face slowly reddened in embarrassment, his face twisting. “Maybe not tired,” Wuxian said slowly, obviously trying to keep the amused smile off his face, “but certainly hungry. We haven’t eaten anything since breakfast.”

“N-No, I’m not…” but Xiao Hei knew there was no fighting it. His shifu knew him too well, even after just two years of studying under him as his disciple. Xiao Hei was a growing boy after all, he needed to eat. Finally, with his eat down in defeat, Xiao Hei relented.

“What’re you hungry for?” Wuxian asked as he started leading the way, confident that the boy would follow him.

“Chicken!! I want chicken!!!”

 

-----

 

He thought of spots of sunlight filtering through the trees.

Plants overgrowing human made buildings, reclaiming it to the earth. Birds chirped high up on their branches as other critters freely ran around, unafraid of the place they lived in.

It was a lovely place, one that made him feel safe and at home, like he would be taken care of here. He’d never have to leave.

A suffocating feeling suddenly came over, and upon looking down, he was wrapped up in vines, making it impossible for him to move no matter how much he struggled and tried to break free. His heart was pounding in his chest. The sounds from the forest were silent, but the silence was deafening, too loud, too much.

“Xiao Hei.”

A familiar voice.

A flash of purple.

“I’m sorry.”

 

“Xiao Hei!!”

A dark ceiling was the first thing that greeted him when his eyes flew open, and he scrambled to sit up. The suffocating feeling from the vines was still deep in his lungs, kicking off the blankets he wraps himself in and attempting to get a full breath. His vision was swimming, everything feeling like he was submerged underwater.

“Xiao Hei, look at me, I’m right here.”

His eyes searched for that familiar voice before landing on Wuxian, his expression one full of worry. “You’re fine, it’s okay,” Wuxian said, his voice calm and reassuring despite the worry look he wore.

Slowly, Xiao Hei felt himself relaxing. There was no purple here. Everything was blue, and calming, and safe. He was safe here, as long as Wuxian was here, he was safe.

With careful hands, Wuxian reached out and placed a hand on Xiao Hei’s shoulder. For a moment, Xiao Hei flinched from it, his mind screaming that he was going to get hurt from that hand, but once it touched him and nothing happened, he relaxed. Slowly, he regained his breath.

Wuxian moved so he was now sitting on the bed, his back supported by the headboard, and allowed Xiao Hei to climb into his lap. “Focus on my breathing, Xiao Hei,” he said, running a gentle hand through the white hair that didn’t belong.

At first, this would happen every few days out of the passing weeks, happening too often for comfort, but it was to be expected. Xiao Hei, although an elfin, was still just a child. A child that only ever knew how to be on his own, and was hurt by the same hand that reached out and offered safety the very first time in his life.

Luckily, as time moved on, Xiao Hei was also able to move on, and these sorts of things came by rarely. They were working towards helping him to trust in others. It was a slow process, but at least the dreams came less frequently. That was the part that scared Xiao Hei the most, and the hardest to bring him down from.

This dream must not have lasted very long, because Xiao Hei was quick to focus on the calming breaths he felt from Wuxian, his breathing evening out and the shaking to stop.

Wuxian expected Xiao Hei to fall back asleep after using up so much energy from the scare, feeling exhausted right after, and that’s what he thought had happened as the silence dragged on for a few moments.

“Shifu?” Xiao Hei called out in a small voice, so completely different than the loud boy Wuxian was used to.

“What is it?”

Whatever he wanted to say, Xiao Hei seemed to take a long time in gathering his thoughts to say it, because he was silent once more for a few moments before once again saying anything.

“You… You knew Feng Xi before, right? Before… Everything?”

It would be safe to say that, upon hearing that question, Wuxian was surprised. For the most part, they never spoke about anything of what happened, nor with the ones that were involved. Neither one wanted to bring it up.

Well, Wuxian knew that this would come eventually. “I did,” he said, nodding his head lightly. He felt his own chest twist in a combination of feelings.

“Can you tell me a bit about him? Maybe then I… Then I can understand why he did what he did…?”

“You know you’re under no obligation to forgive him, right? No matter what, you don’t have to justify what he did to you.”

Xiao Hei weakly nodded his head. “I know, shifu, but I don’t know what to think. I just want to understand him, I guess. I’ve been thinking about it for a while.”

“Is that why you’ve been so distracted lately?”

“En…”

Wuxian thought it over for a moment. Telling Xiao Hei everything, it would mean opening up his own wounds that time had slowly healed over, thinking back to those days he hadn’t thought of for so long, but still cherish enough to never let them go.

In a way, they both were scared, weren’t they?

He drew in a calming breath.

“Okay, Xiao Hei, I’ll tell you…”

 

××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××

 

“Shizun!! Wuxian and Feng Xi are fighting again!!!”

The shoutings of the surrounding crowd was blocked out as a punch landed against his face, making his head spin and thrown off balance for a moment. He wiped off the blood with the back of his hand, and threw a glare at the other standing before him.

“Why the hell does the guild allow a human like you in anyways?!” Feng Xi shouted, hand reaching out and grabbing at Wuxian’s collar. “You think you’re so much better cause you’re a human that learned how to control metal? Ha!”

Wuxian ignored the taste of iron in his mouth in order to knee Feng Xi in the gut as hard as he could, making the other sputter and cough, his grip releasing. He took advantage of the situation, shoving Feng Xi over onto his back and sitting on his abdomen, using his weight to keep the other down. He pulled his arm back, ready to land his own punch against Feng Xi, but was forced off of him by someone grabbing his arm.

“That’s enough, the both of you!”

Hearing the angry sounding voice of their teacher, it should’ve made Wuxian worried, but it didn’t. Instead, he attempted to fight against the grip, lunging at Feng Xi once again only to be held back effortlessly.

“Both of you are to come with me this instant!”

The taste of iron never left his mouth, as the two of them were dragged behind their teacher, exchanging glares whenever given the chance, until finally they were pushed into a room and the door slammed behind them.

At least they knew better than to start a fight right in front of the teacher.

Said teacher sat down behind a desk in front of the two, letting out a heavy sigh as he rubbed at his temples. “I understand you two are young, but must you really get in so many fights? This is the fourth one this week.”

Wuxian stood at attention, his hands placed politely behind his back but were balled into tight fists. Feng Xi, on the other hand, stood as if he was about to once again lunge, in defense. Of course, it was no surprise when he opened his mouth and fought with the teacher. “He instigates though! He’s so arrogant that he just begs to be punched!”

“Arrogance?” Wuxian scoffed. “Is that what you call everyone who’s stronger than you?”

“You are NOT stronger than me! Humans will always be inferior to elfin’s and that’s just a fact!”

“Knock it off!!!” The teacher yelled, followed by his hands slamming down onto the desk and effectively breaking it in half, the pieces falling to the floor in a heap. The two instantly stopped their bickering and closed their mouths.

With a heavy sigh in defeat, the teacher looked at the mess before walking around it, deciding to ignore it for the moment. “Feng Xi, there’s no such thing as humans being inferior to us. This is the whole reason the guild was formed, so we may all live in balance and peace with one another.”

Feng Xi wanted to argue against him, but kept quiet. It was one thing to argue against Wuxian, but it was another to fight their teacher.

“This might be the perfect time to give both of you a new mission…”

This instantly caught their attention, looking at their teacher now with interest and questioning gazes. It wasn’t often that students were given missions so early. But because of the timing, Wuxian couldn’t help but frown, feeling suspicious over what this new mission may be.

“It has come to my attention that, even though the both of you are the strongest students I quite possibly have ever had, reaching leaps and bounds above your peers, you both are also extremely naive and stubborn. Wuxian, you are very terrible with communicating with others and can’t work as a team. Feng Xi, you have yet to realize the purpose for the creation of the guild and your place within it.”

The teacher paused, looking back and forth between the two, challenging them to say anything against him.

“Therefore, before you two can be appointed Executors, I’m sending you to a human village, where you both will work together to not only help the humans living there, but also deal with an elfin resistance that’s threatening said humans.”

“So I’m being expected to fight against my own kind?” Feng Xi sneered.

The teacher nodded. “If you’re to become Executor, this is one of the things you may be tasked to do. Some elfin won’t listen to reason, and instead need to be taken down by force.”

“This is ridiculous.”

Wuxian rolled his eyes.

“There are already some of your classmates over there,” the teacher continued, “but they’re not to help with your mission. If either of you are to act out, they will notify me. If either of you fail, then you both will be held off from becoming Executors.”

“You’ll punish the both of us?” Wuxian couldn’t help but ask, his eyes widening a bit as such a thing sank in. The two exchanged looks, both of surprise and of distrust.

 

(“Ah, why did the room suddenly become full of static??”)

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

“Feng Xi, how could you almost let those humans get crushed?! I thought I told you to protect them?!”

“Since when did you start calling the shots on this mission? We’re supposed to work together, remember?” Feng Xi spoke in such a condescending way that made Wuxian’s blood boil, losing almost all of his well-kept composure. “Besides,” Feng Xi continued, shifting his gaze so he looked as though he was now looking down on Wuxian, as if he were the superior one, “you seemed to have no problem hurting those elfin, are they not worthy of protection?”

Wuxian gritted his teeth. “That’s not the same and you know it!”

“No, I don’t!” Feng Xi snapped back. “What makes humans so worthy of protection while the elfin aren’t?! All they’ve done is destroy! They destroy everything they touch, yet all you and the guild want to do is protect them! You’re biased, you’re not here for peace and balanced, all you want to do is save yourself and the rest of your kind!”

“You think I don’t know that? How do you think I ended up in the guild?!”

The silence that followed felt crushing to both of them. They never explained their pasts to each other, never gave an explanation to why they joined the guild. The only thing Feng Xi knew was that most of the members of the guild treated him different. Figuring that was because of him being a human, of that being a novelty, he never asked about it.

“I was taken in by the guild because I was left to die.”

From the moment elfin are “born”, they’re pretty much alone and left to fend for themselves, unless by some lucky chance there are others nearby that decide to take you in. Feng Xi didn’t have that sort of thing, he was alone the moment he was brought into this world, figured everything else himself. Therefore, he was able to help the other elfin that came into being, was able to teach them.

He knew vaguely that humans were different, they were small and very fragile while young and needed protection from the older humans for many years before they were able to take care of themselves.

“From the moment I was born, everyone could tell there was something different about me, and it scared everyone, even my own parents. Because of that, they left me abandoned me in the forest. If it wasn’t for an elfin who had already been nearby hearing my crying, I probably would’ve…” Wuxian couldn’t finish his sentence. Besides, Feng Xi could know what he meant by leaving it off.

“So why do you choose to protect humans?” Feng Xi asked, frowning. “If they were so ready to toss you away, then why protect them?”

It was a tricky question to answer, and some days, Wuxian didn’t even know himself. He’s aware that humans tend to destroy, that they’re selfish and have no care for the world around them. Some days, being the same species as them made him feel sick to his stomach. “Because I know that not all humans are terrible, and it’s those that are good that I want to help protect.”

Feng Xi opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. He couldn’t think of a single thing to say in response to that. Finally, he scoffed, before walking past Wuxian. “Fine, but if I ever find out you have me protect one of those “terrible humans”, I won’t be able to forgive you.”

Wuxian had nothing to say to that as he watched Feng Xi walk away, shocked that the other didn’t try to fight him any more on the subject.

He let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding…

Chapter Text

Keeping the humans and elfins at peace with one another in the village was going better than anyone expected. Those that were part of the resistance but wanted to break away did so freely, choosing now to live with the humans inside their village, and the humans felt more at ease with the decreasing numbers of rebelling elfin, as well as with Wuxian and Feng Xi protecting their homes.

Fighting became less, and the two started to understand each other more, working together easier and more efficiently. They were able to take care of issues twice as fast now that they weren’t at each other's throats.

In celebration, and to properly welcome the elfins that now resided within their village, the humans announced that they would be throwing a festival and they begged Wuxian and Feng Xi to join them.

Of course, they were both hesitant at first, each with their own reasons for declining the invitation, but, somehow, they were swept up into going anyways…

There was plenty of music and dancing to go around, with even more alcohol to go with it. Humans and elfin took turns exchanging various tales that came with elaborate acting and the occasional drunkard stumbling around.

The lights bounced off the small waterway that passed through the town, making the night look exceptionally brilliant and bright.

Feng Xi stood with his arms crossed, looking a bit uncomfortable every time a child ran past or an adult got too close to him. “Do we really have to be here?” he asked, sounding just as uncomfortable as he looked.

Wuxian nodded, hands clasped together behind his back. “Of course. It would be impolite for us to not attend.”

“But didn’t we already try to decline?”

“......”

“We could probably sneak away, no one is paying us any attention.”

“I’m pretty sure someone will eventually drag us back… Do you not enjoy festivals?”

Feng Xi thought for a moment, eyebrows furrowed in thought, as he finally shook his head slowly. “It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, I just prefer smaller ones. The kind you normally have with friends.”

Wuxian blinked, not understanding what he meant. Weren’t these sort of things reserved for big events and crowds only? Something must’ve given away his thoughts, because Feng Xi spoke up once more. “Haven’t you done this with friends before? Anyone close?”

He felt too embarrassed to say anything, so Wuxian chose to keep quiet. Either way, the answer was obvious just by his silence, and Feng Xi let out a soft hum. “With you being so popular at the guild, I’d figure you’d do this often.”

Silence filled between them, only broken up by the sounds of laughter and music from everyone around them. Wuxian let out a sigh, turning his gaze off to the side.

“This is actually… My first time attending a festival…” he said in a voice so low that Feng Xi wouldn’t be able to hear if he weren’t an elfin.

Feng Xi blinked, stunned. “Is it really? First time ever?”

“I’m not repeating myself.”

“I didn’t mean anything bad by it, I just wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.”

Just as Wuxian was about to answer, movement from the sky caught his attention and he turned to face it. Drifting there in the dark sky was a glowing lantern, rising up higher and higher into the air. Soon, many others followed after, until they were almost indistinguishable from the stars that shone in the wide darkness of night.

The spirits must’ve been curious about these floating lanterns as they started flying around them, a few noticing the lights from the festival down below and descending. A few humans gasped at such a sight, while some children giggled and chased after them.

“Guess these little ones haven’t seen a festival held here in a long time,” Feng Xi said, his voice full of amusement, uncrossing his arms as he watched the soft glowing spirits drift about lazily.

Wuxian reached out his hand and allowed a small spirit in the form of a butterfly to rest on his open palm. He couldn’t stop the small smile that made its way across his face, watching the spirit flap its wings slowly.

What he didn’t notice was Feng Xi’s gaze not on the spirits anymore, but was now on him, too afraid to even breathe, as if anything he did would ruin this brief moment.

Soon, the butterfly spirit took to the air once more, joining in a game of chase with some children. Wuxian placed his hand behind his back once more before turning to look at Feng Xi, the smile dropping once he noticed the other was staring at him. “Is something the matter?”

Feng Xi blinked and shook himself out of his stupor, trying to regain his wits about himself and hide the light heating of his face. “No, of course not, I just…”

He didn’t know what would happen if he were to say the words out loud, that that was the very first time he had ever seen Wuxian smile in the years he’s known him. Was it that Wuxian just never smiled around Feng Xi? Or did he never smile in general?

It felt like such a huge secret that he wanted to keep to himself, afraid that it would never happen again if he were to speak it.

Feng Xi stood there with his mouth open, trying to find something to say, when a group of children suddenly rushed by, following behind a small group of small, silvery spirits. Being as unaware and as clumsy as children are, they bumped into Wuxian full bodily, causing the normally poised and balanced human to stumble forward. Feng Xi reacted without thinking, stepping in front of Wuxian and catching him.

They weren’t that different in height, and with the added height Feng Xi’s unruly hair gave him, a lot of people mistaken them for being the same, but the reality was that Wuxian was only slightly taller than him. Having stumbled, however, Wuxian was now leaned forward and had to look up at Feng Xi.

“Well this is a night of firsts,” Feng Xi said with amusement all over his face and voice, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you stumble before.”

Wuxian frowned and averted his gaze.

Actually, was-was he POUTING????

As Wuxian straightened himself up, the music around them changed, and people started pairing up and dancing. They were smiling and laughing, some even stumbling around in their drunken states and stepping all over one another. It was an absolute mess.

Well, if this was a night full of firsts…

“Have you ever danced before?”

Wuxian turned back to him, eyebrows raising. “No, why would I?”

Feng Xi smiled, holding his hand out towards the other. “Neither have I, so why don’t you dance with me?”

Wuxian looked back and forth between the outstretched hand and Feng Xi’s face, searching for anything that showed this was nothing more than a joke. “What’s the point?” he asked, hesitant, but not rejecting.

It would be fine if he said no, the fact that Wuxian was hesitating was enough. Normally, the human would avoid all contact if possible, except for the times the two of them got into physical altercations. Feng Xi didn’t want to push him too far out of his comfort zone.

“There’s no point, this is a night of firsts so far, isn’t it? So why not have our very first dance together? Besides, we can’t do much worse than those bumbling humans over there,” he gestured with the tilt of his head towards a couple who were tripping over each other and their long skirts. Despite looking like idiots, they looked like they were having fun.

His gaze lingered on the couple for a moment, before looking back at Feng Xi. Slowly, he reached his hand out and placed it in the one offered out to him. “We stay over here though, I don’t…”

Wuxian didn’t want to continue his sentence, that he didn’t want to look like a fool in front of so many, he had a reputation to keep, a powerful and poised human who could bend metals to his will, unfazed by others.

Feng Xi nodded in agreement. “That’s okay, I didn’t plan on moving from this spot anyways.”

He pulled Wuxian closer, the two standing closer than they ever had before that hadn’t been a result of arguments and fighting.

“If neither one of us have danced before, then how do we go about this?” Wuxian asked, looking more and more worried about this entire situation, as if he was about to back out at any moment now.

Feng Xi tightened his grip on Wuxian’s hand for a fleeting moment, ressurance. “Don’t worry about it, I’ve watched a few humans dance while at my home.”

In reality, Feng Xi really didn’t know what he was doing, why he even asked to dance in the first place, but a very loud part of him told him to do this, so he listened to it. Besides, Wuxian was none the wiser anyways, he wouldn’t be able to tell if there was any mess ups.

He helped position their arms to how he’d seen it done before, all the while Wuxian giving him doubtful looks and making sure no one else was paying them any mind in their own little corner.

“Alright, this is the harder part.”

“How so?”

“Now we just attempt to not step on each other.”

Wuxian gave him a look, as if questioning how that could be the hardest part, but within the first step, Wuxian’s foot stepped right on top of Feng Xi’s, and not too lightly either. Feng Xi hissed in pain as Wuxian went to step off, looking so much like a fish out of water that Feng Xi couldn’t help but laugh.

“It’s okay! You of all people should know it takes more than that to put me out of commission. Besides, I’ll probably have my payback soon. Come on, let’s try again.”

This time, they got about five steps in before Feng Xi stepped on Wuxian’s foot this time, causing the human to lightly shove him away to get him off. They tried again and again, progressively getting better results each time, Wuxian becoming more relaxed with Feng Xi’s gentle convincing and guidance, paying less attention to the crowd around them.

“I knew we’d figure it out eventually, you’re a natural,” Feng Xi said with a soft laugh, wincing as Wuxian accidentally kicks his shin right afterwards.

Wuxian cleared his throat, trying to pretend he never made a mistake in the first place. “So, you mentioned that you watched humans dance before?”

Feng Xi let out a hum in confirmation.

“Where do you live? I figured you lived in a place completely void of humans.”

“Well, you’re not entirely wrong,” Feng Xi explained, “I live in a forest, like most elfin do, but in the past few years, some humans have taken up residence there. For the most part, we’ve lived in harmony. Sometimes they’re amusing, and my friends and I would go and visit the village. However…”

His expression slowly turned darker, as he looked at something past Wuxian, something not there as he became lost in thought. “Recently they’ve been expanding, they’re cutting down more and more of my home. A lot of the other elfin that once lived there have left, it's just my friends and I now.”

Wuxian didn’t know the pain of losing a home, all he could remember was living in the guild, being taken care of by them. He was too young to remember the parents that abandoned him or the village that forsaken him, so he couldn’t find any words to say that could possibly comfort Feng Xi.

Besides, they’ve both been on plenty of missions that showed the end result of this sort of thing. Sadly, humans were stubborn and relentless. Eventually the forest will be torn down, along with his home.

Before he could say anything, Feng Xi seemed to calm himself down, the dark look on his face leaving and giving an apologetic smile. “But the guild promised to help out, so that’s why I joined.”

So that’s why he joined, even though he had a strong aversion to humans. It made sense, honestly. Wuxian still found it hard to pull up any words that could be of any comfort or encouragement, so he nodded instead and allowed himself to get lost in their slow and awkward dance.

Chapter Text

As their teacher promised, Feng Xi and Wuxian were quickly promoted to Executors not long after their return, and since then, most of their missions have been as a pair.

Being some of the strongest Executors in the guild, they were naturally sent on harder missions, and the two slowly got better at working together and understanding one another. The greatest chance of success became sending the two of them out together.

“So where are we headed to, anyways?” Feng Xi asked as they stopped for a moment in a small clearing, looking around. “Doesn’t seem like we’re near any villages…”

Wuxian sighed silently, nothing more than a small raising of his shoulders to signify it. “Were you listening at all to our mission briefing?”

Feng Xi shook his head, crossing his arms as he leaned casually against a large tree. “They tend to drag on, so I stopped listening after some time. Besides, we’re more often than not paired up, I know you’ll listen to everything they tell us.”

Refusing to acknowledge that statement, Wuxian turned his back towards Feng Xi as he removed a small scroll from within his robes, the ink swirled once it was opened up and slowly revealed a map, showing their exact location. “Our mission,” he said after a few moments of silence, “is to find the two groups of elfin’s that live in this area. They’ve become territorial with each other over this forest after one group was forced to move due to human’s taking over what used to be their home.”

“Guess the other group doesn’t want to share the space,” Feng Xi said with a frown. “Why didn’t they just try to stop the humans?”

“There were members of the guild living amongst them. They tried, but were stopped before any damage could be done.”

Feng Xi wanted to say something, but held back. It wouldn’t do any good anyways, it would just cause him and Wuxian to get into an argument, and that’s not what they were here for.

He looked around the forest, feeling most comfortable out in nature, surrounded by the elements. He didn’t like to be cramped up in buildings, they felt suffocating to him, so missions like these out in the open allowed him a breath of fresh air.

After a while, he frowned. Something felt off about this part of the forest.

It was extremely quiet, and there was no spirits ambling around. It was as if this part was deserted, as if something was about to happen…

He felt electricity through the air, cracking wildly. He looked to Wuxian, and without time to warn him, Feng Xi summoned a vine that threw the human out of the way. In the next second, a bolt of electricity hit right where Wuxian had been standing, causing the vine to crackle and explode from the power.

“Awww, how do you miss such an easy target?”

“Don’t worry, next time I won’t miss.”

“Who are you, and why are you attacking us?” Wuxian asked, having quickly recovered from the unexpected shove, though his hair did look a bit disheveled...

“Doesn’t matter who we are,” one of the unknown elfin said, taking a step forward and lightning crackled all around them. “Leave, now.”

“We’re from the guild,” Feng Xi said, “we’re here to help.”

“Help?” the smaller one said, before scoffing. “We don’t need the guilds ‘help’, if you wanted to help, then you shouldn’t have let those humans destroy our land.”

So these were part of the group from the ones that lost their home. No wonder they were being so hostile, the two of them probably ended up in their territory.

“It’s no use trying to convince them,” Wuxian said to Feng Xi, the metal pieces on his arms rising into the air before shooting straight to their enemies, not allowing the other two any more time to possibly explain themselves.

The larger one raised their arm and lightning shot out from it. It stretched across the metal plates aimed for them, using each one as a stepping stone before aiming straight at Wuxian.

He dodged out of the way, the tree behind him becoming scorched and burn marks stretched across the bark.

Feng Xi rush towards the one controlling lightning, about to call forth vines in order to hold them down, but a face suddenly appeared in front of him, wearing a smirk on their face before throwing him to the side, causing him to scid across the rough forest terrain before coming to a hard stop from hitting a bolder.

“You know, I just realized why the two of you look so familiar,” the smaller elfin said as they walked towards Feng Xi, who was gathering himself up from the rubble. “You’re guys are a popular Feng Xi and Wuxian from the guild, right? Word about you two has travelled quickly, I’m impressed. But is that Wuxian really a human? Why are you working together with him?”

Feng Xi gritted his teeth. Vines broke through from the ground, aimed right at the smaller elfin, who dodged them. Fist drawn back, Feng Xi rushed at them while they were distracted and threw a punch. The elfin caught his fist, the power of it causing them to move back several feet, kicking up dirt and rocks in the process.

“Isn’t working for the guild kinda pathetic? Helping humans, even saving them sometimes, why would any elfin really wanna do that?”

“You’re really annoying.”

A vine wrapped around their ankle before throwing them high up into the air.

He was about to chase after, when the ground beneath his feet shoot and an exploding noise made him stumble and falter.

Wuxian was pushed back a few feet by the explosion, cuts across his skin and clothing from the pieces of bark that would fly each time a tree was exploded by lightning.

“Don’t you see you’re outmatched here, little human?”

Feng Xi was about to help Wuxian while the other elfin was occupied, when he heard a noise and froze.

It sounded like.. Like crying?

Cautiously, he approached to where the noise was coming from. Tucked into the exposed roots of the tree, curled up, was a small, orange elfin, a soft fox tail wrapped up in two small arms.

The tiny elfin jumped upon seeing Feng Xi, and more tears fell down her face with a hiccup. “Don’t-Don’t hurt me!” she said, her voice breaking.

She looked rugged and dirty, some of the orange fur of her tail clumped with mud.

“I won’t hurt you, I promise,” Feng Xi said once he got over his shock of finding a child here, kneeling down so he wasn’t towering over the scared child. “What are you doing here, little one? It isn’t safe.”

“I don’t-” hiccup “I don’t know, I got lo-” hiccup “lost!”

He didn’t understand what the situation was, but he knew he couldn’t just leave the child alone like this. She could be involved with the fighting elfin as well.

“My name is Feng Xi, what’s yours?”

The child seemed hesitant for a moment, but so far had no reason to mistrust him, so she answered softly, “Ruo Shui…”

Feng Xi gave her a small smile, nodding. “A very pretty name. Ruo Shui, come with me, my friend and I will keep you safe,” he stretched out an open hand towards her, inviting her to take it. He knew he was quickly running out of time, and if he wanted to get this little elfin out of here, they needed to leave soon.

Ruo Shui sniffed and wiped at her cheeks with the backs of her hands. “Prom-Promise you won’t hurt me?”

“I promise.”

The child reached out and was about to take his hand, when Feng Xi felt something behind him, quickly scooping up the fox elfin in his arms and jumping out of the way. The tree she had been previously tucked into exploded, and Ruo Shui screamed.

“So that’s where you ran off to, Ruo Shui,” one of the other elfin said.

Looking over, Feng Xi saw that the one he had previously thrown was now back on the ground, though they looked like they had a rough time falling through branches. The other one looked scuffed up as well, Wuxian having successfully landing a few blows to the other despite having the disadvantage.

“Don’t let them take me!” Ruo Shui screamed, her grip on Feng Xi tightening and she buried her face against him. “They hurt me! They hurt my family!”

“Thank you for finding her for us. If you just hand her over, then this whole thing can be forgotten and we’ll let you leave.”

Feng Xi and Wuxian exchanged looks.

The two of them were powerful Executors indeed, but currently one of the elfin they were fighting had a great advantage over them, more so for Wuxian. If they weren’t careful, the lightning will knock them out in one hit.

“Take Ruo Shui and run,” Feng Xi said as he passed the orange fox over to the human, whose eyes widened at having a child suddenly thrust into his arms.

“What? Feng Xi, I’m-”

“You know you’re at a disadvantage here, at least I can stall a little for you to take her to safety. Now stop talking and go!” Feng Xi shoved Wuxian as hard as he could behind him, ending the conversation there.

Wuxian turned around, intending to call out to Feng Xi, but there was suddenly a wall of foliage blocking his vision, creating a wall between them. There was no more discussing, the only thing he could do now was run.

It went against everything he knew to start running and leave Feng Xi behind, but he was right. They needed to get Ruo Shui somewhere safe before figuring out what was going on, so Wuxian forced himself not to look back, holding the small fox elfin close, in a protective embrace. She trembled violently in his arms.

Behind him, Wuxian heard the now all too familiar crack of the trees from lightning being struck at it, and felt the ground shake.

Ahead of him, the smaller elfin suddenly appeared, looking much more roughed up than he saw them moments ago.

He dodged around them, but again and again he saw them appear in front of him, just barely missing every time.

Just as they were about to get ahold of Wuxian this time, a vine snaked up and wrapped itself around their ankle, dragging them across the ground at a high speed out of sight.

There was a shout of rage, followed by a large booming noise, and then Wuxian was hit violently in his back, knocking the air from his lungs and unable to keep moving, other than to hold onto Ruo Shui tightly before crashing to the ground.

His vision blacked for a moment, trying to gather his wits, when he heard a voice calling out to him.

"Come on, wake up, Wuxian," Feng Xi called out.

Wuxian had no energy to respond, his sight fighting to clear up, when he saw a spot of orange.

"Got the little brat at least," the smaller elfin said, holding the child by the tail. She didn't move or fight back, completely knocked unconscious.

"What should we do with those Executors?"

"Hmmm… why don't you just hit 'em with something strong? That should take care of them."

There was crackling in the air.

Wuxian forced himself to reach out with an arm, one of the metal plates shooting off his arm. It wrapped around Ruo Shui, the speed of the plate catching the elfin holding her off guard and letting her slip from their grip.

He once more held Ruo Shui in a protective embrace and turned so he could shield the child from the other two.

The electricity in the air snapped.

At the last second, Feng Xi summoned vines that surrounded the three of them in a dome like barrier.

When the lightning outside hit the vines, there was the unmistakable smell of burning, and Feng Xi winced at the amount of energy he was exerting.

"What are you doing?" Wuxian snapped. "You're using up too much power!"

"So is this bastard," Feng Xi said through gritted teeth, the hands he placed on the ground now clawing at the dirt.

The lightning didn't stop, and for each layer it burned and blew apart, vines replaced it.

"Stop!" Wuxian shouted, feeling so desperate and useless as he could only watch as Feng Xi does his best to fight, while Wuxian couldn't do anything, or it'll put them in danger of being hit by lightning. He hates this feeling, he hates it so much. They were both Executors, yet how could he be so powerless?

"That's funny," Feng Xi wore a pained smile, turning to look at Wuxian. "I think this is the first time that I've-that I've seen you concerned for me."

Wuxian felt time stop for a moment as he stared at Feng Xi, holding his breath.

Time caught up with them all to fast, and the vines around them burst and burned. As the vines around them fell, so did Feng Xi.

The larger elfin was panting heavily, having trouble standing up, choosing to kneel on the ground instead.

"At least you managed to wear Feng Xi out," the smaller one said with a nod.

Wuxian coughed due to the debris and ash around him and in his lungs.

He knew he wouldn't make it very far if he tried to run again, he didn't the last time when he had Feng Xi's help. Alone, he didn't stand a chance, he couldn't protect two unconscious elfin, and he couldn't run.

They were cornered.

Suddenly, he remembered something, and reached into the fold of his robes. He took out a small, red pearl. Never before had they had to use this sort of thing. They were always unstoppable, undefeated.

Wuxian threw it up into the air. It soared high above the trees before exploding in the air. A distress beacon, calling for immediate backup.

He hoped someone would respond soon.

Pain shot through his entire body, but the darkness took over soon after and everything went quiet.

Chapter Text

Everything was too bright, too loud, too much.

It all was too much, too much, too much, everything hurts. His head hurt so much, and his arms.

Why do his arms hurt so much?

Slowly, Wuxian blinked his eyes open, squinting them once the harsh light hit his eyes. It took a moment for them to adjust.

His mind was muddled and dragging behind, but after a few moments of looking around, he realized he was at the guild.

How did he get here? And why were his memories a mess?

The last thing he remembered was being on a mission, calling for help…

His eyes widened.

"Feng Xi…"

That's right, Feng Xi used up too much energy, didn't he? Wuxian remembers watching him collapse once the vine barrier he created was destroyed.

Was he alright? How much energy did he use up? Where--

"Feng Xi is recovering."

The voice sounded muffled, as if he was listening from under water. He slowly turned his head to where he heard the voice, the movement causing his vision to spin, resulting in him having to close his eyes for a moment as he spoke. “How is he?”

“Stable,” the female elfin said, walking over to his bedside and setting down a tray that held medical gauze on it before sitting down at the chair placed next to his bed. “I hope you don’t mind myself and the other healers coming into your home every now and again. We figured this would be better than keeping you at the medical ward.”

“I hadn’t realized you were a healer.”

Xing made a laughing sound that sounded much too awkward. “Well, I’m not a healer, I’m still just an aether elfin, but I learned some human medicine. There’s not a lot of elfin here willing to work on you, or aren’t even sure if they can. Our forms, compared to a humans, work so differently, and currently all the real healer elfin are pretty busy.”

As she spoke, she reached out and grabbed a gentle hold of his wrist, lifting it up and unwrapping the gauze currently binding them. Wuxian watched her work as he listened, wondering why his arms were so bandaged up and aching. When half of the gauze was removed, he realized why.

On his forearms, where the metal plates had been, the skin there was an ugly shade of red, burnt badly. The lightning strike he had been hit with scarred his skin, resulting in a lightning bolt pattern from his wrists, up until just before his elbows.

The skin looked raw and gross. Wuxian turned his head away, refusing to look at it any more.

“I’m sorry,” Xing apologized with a sigh, “I should have warned you beforehand.”

“It’s okay…”

“The lightning elfin did a pretty good number on you. You were lucky some guild members happened to be so close when you released the distress beacon. Anyways, as a result of your fight, both of your forearms will look like this for a while. I’ve been applying some medical salve to them that’s supposed to help with the pain, but…”

She took a deep breath, frowning. She refused to look at him, overly concentrating on wrapping his one arm in fresh gauze. “But I don’t think your arms will properly recover. You’ll have to keep them wrapped up if you have your metal plates on your arms still. The metal will bother the delicate skin, it may cause you to start bleeding, and these lightning pattern scars won’t go away.”

If he thought about it, this wasn’t the worst that could have happened anyways. Being a metal type, he was always told to be wary of those who could control electrical currents, he just didn’t expect to go against one this powerful. If he’d never been warned beforehand, then the result could have gone much worse, maybe even deadly.

And he knew that getting scarred this bad by a lightning elfin, there was no chance of his body losing these scars, not unless someone insanely strong were to heal him, or he would have to train himself to become stronger and heal them himself.

Either way, for the foreseeable future, Wuxian was stuck with these scars.

Xing finished working on both his arms silently, afraid of saying anything more and possibly upsetting him. He raised one of his arms and looked at the gauze wrapped around it before turning back to Xing, who was picking up to leave.

“Where’s Feng Xi?” he asked, sitting up. The room spun violently.

“Ah, no no no, don’t get up,” she said frantically, quickly setting down her tray and rushing over to his side. “You’re still recovering, you received a lot of other minor wounds to your body, not to mention you’ve been unconscious for almost a whole week--”

“A week?” Wuxian muttered with a small frown. Now he really wanted to go see Feng Xi. He couldn’t explain why, all he knew was that he felt uneasy if he didn’t go and see with his own eyes that he was okay.

“Yeah, so you REALLY shouldn’t be-- no no PLEASE stop trying to get up!! Ack you know I’m not as strong as you!! This is unfair, this is bullying!! Gege, please go back to bed!!!” Xing frantically waved about, trying her best to get the stubborn human to listen to her, but he was stubborn as ever.

“Please tell me where he is.”

She froze, noticing something in his expression, in his eyes, that she had never seen before from him. Her chest tightened, and she wondered if he was even aware of how he looked right now.

Finally, she let out a heavy sigh, shoulders sagging. “Gege, if I get in trouble because of you, I’ll never be nice to you again… He’s also in his room. He might be stable, but… Ah, well, you’re headed over there anyways, so you’ll figure it out once you get there.”

Xing excused herself and left Wuxian alone. She tried insisting that she help him get to Feng Xi, but Wuxian told her he didn't want her to get in trouble if caught. Besides, he was stronger than most humans anyways.

Though, once he got up and started walking, he quickly realized that a week unconscious could do a lot more to a person than he thought. He was disoriented and his vision tilted this way and that, as well as feeling fatigued and running out of breath quickly.

He'd never been hurt this bad before, so this sensation was all new to him.

Slowly, Wuxian made his way through the guild, making sure to step carefully and not let anyone with authority over him see him up and about. After some time, much longer than it should have taken, he got to where Feng Xi stayed.

The door in front of him was closed, as it should be.

Wuxian hesitated.

Why was he hesitating? This is what he wanted, right? He wanted to go see Feng Xi, to make sure he was alright. Now that he was here, something in him told him he didn't deserve to go in. Xing said something happened to him, but Wuxian's mind could only supply bad scenarios.

What if Feng Xi didn't actually want to see him?

What if he was upset or mad at him?

What if he just saw Wuxian as weak now? As a burden?

What if--

"Gege?"

Wuxian blinked, the sudden high pitched voice dragging him out of his mind. He didn't know how long he'd been standing here, staring at the door for.

He turned to look slowly, as to not worsen his headache and cause his vision to swim too much, when he was met with orange.

"Ruo Shui?"

The little fox elfin walked over to him, reaching out and clinging onto his pant leg. "Is gege Wuxian?"

Ah, that's right, he didn't have a chance to tell the child his name earlier. "Yes, I am," he said, looking down at her, and not minding the physical contact this time. She was just a child, after all.

Her eyes seem to light up, and a wide smile appeared on her face. "I knew it! I knew gege would help us!"

He hadn't the slightest clue what she was going on about, his mind too sluggish to keep up with the ramblings of a child. "Are you alright?" he asked her instead.

"Mhm!" Ruo Shui hummed with a nod. "Gege, gege, is it true you're a human? I was always told humans were super scary and not to be trusted, but you're human, right? Right?"

Wuxian nodded slightly.

"Then humans must not be so scary after all!" She seemed to have come up with her own conclusion, so Wuxian decided to stay silent and let her have her fun. That is, until she tugged on his pant leg a bit, her smile dropping. "Hey, why're you standing in front of this door anyways?"

He looked away from Ruo Shui, looking back at the door, as if remembering why he's here. "I was… thinking of going inside…"

"The door won't open if you stare at it! Here, I got it!"

Before Wuxian could even try to stop the girl, she had already pushed it open, grinning up at him after she'd done so. "There you go! I helped! Ruo Shui has to go now, bye gege!"

And as quickly as she appeared, Ruo Shui left, her childish giggling fading the further she walked until he couldn't hear her anymore, and Wuxian was left alone again.

He looked to the room, one he'd never been inside before, and held his breath. So far, Feng Xi hasn't said anything, hasn't come to the door, so it's probably safe to assume he's asleep.

Should he go in? If Feng Xi is asleep, he should let him rest, right?

Wuxian's mind was a tornado of thoughts, and it only made his head hurt worse, so finally, he decided he wasn't going to just stand there anymore.

With a calming breath, he walked in and shut the door behind him.

Since Feng Xi relied on earth elements such as plants and was born in the forest, it was understandable that his room was littered with such things. They grew freely, wrapping around whatever they could touch, almost completely covering the room until it looked like it was part of a forest.

Of course, he preferred to call the forest he was born at his home, but this seemed like as if Feng Xi would call it a close second.

Not wanting to disturb him, in case he was asleep, Wuxian walked quietly, taking in the sight of his room, before finding said elfin.

Wuxian was shocked at first. He knew Feng Xi had used up a lot of his energy, but the way he recovered was different than an elfins, especially one like Feng Xi.

Instead of seeing the wild purple haired youth, Wuxian instead was met with seeing a large black panther, curled up in soft materials that replaced a bed.

This was the first time Wuxian had ever seen Feng Xi in his animal form, and he was left speechless.

The black coat seemed iridescent, giving off a more purple sheen when the light hit it just right. Having never come face to face with a panther before, Wuxian couldn't tell if he was of the same size as them, but either way he was large.

Wuxian carefully made his way over until he could sit on the soft materials, making sure to leave enough room between them. He couldn't explain what he was feeling, but something in his heart twisted at the sight.

With a slightly trembling hand, Wuxian reached out and very gently touched the dark fur on his cheeks. It was soft.

Feng Xi leaned into the touch, making Wuxian hold his breath, in fear that the elfin had woken up. When nothing happened for a few beats, he slowly relaxed again, and began carding his fingers through the fur gently. In his sleeping state, Feng Xi seemed to sigh in content.

Wuxian couldn't stop the small smile that formed, his chest swelling with so many emotions at once, he had no idea what any of them meant, or what to do with them.

The room was relaxing, and he slowly felt himself becoming drowsy, the fatigue from the walking earlier kicking in. Getting injured was a hassle.

He knew he should leave. He really, really should, before Feng Xi woke up, before someone found out he wasn't in his room, because he didn't belong here, but instead of listening to all the red flags going off in his mind, he couldn't bring himself to tear away from Feng Xi.

Instead, he laid down, almost making the mistake of using one of his injured arms as a pillow, but stopped himself just before he could.

Wuxian continued to slowly pet the black fur until he drifted off to sleep beside Feng Xi.

 

-----------------------------------------------

 

When he first woke up, he was disoriented. This wasn’t his room, this wasn’t his bed, his arms were aching so badly, and there was an unfamiliar weight on his stomach. Wuxian softly groaned, his sleep muddled mind trying to piece everything together. Without thinking, he used one of his hands to touch his other arm, and instantly regretted it.

The aching sharpened, making him hiss in pain and his eyes fly open to look at his arms.

Ah, that’s right, he was injured. Spots of light red were seeping through the white bandages. They would need to get changed soon…

“Are you okay?”

The voice wasn’t so much spoken, it was in his mind as if thoughts of his own.

Looking down, finally inspecting why his stomach weighed more than normal, he was met with sharp cat eyes staring at him, a mass of black fur. At some point, Feng Xi must have accidentally laid his head on Wuxian’s stomach while asleep. His sharp movements probably woke the elfin up.

“I’m fine,” Wuxian said, trying to ignore the pain in his arms. It would be fixed soon enough anyways. “How’re you though? Xing said we both have been out for a week.”

Feng Xi sighed heavily. In his current state, there weren't many facial movements to give away his emotions, but Wuxian felt as though the news was annoying to him. It was understandable, they both preferred to be active instead of bedridden anyways.

“I feel fine, but I’ll be stuck like this for a while.”

“How come?” Wuxian asked, mindlessly reaching out to touch the soft fur on Feng Xi’s cheek again. He just needed a distraction from the pain.

For a brief moment, Feng Xi’s eyes seemed to widen in surprise, ears twitching just the slightest, before he finally relaxed into the touch much like he had done in his sleep, his eyes sliding shut. A soft rumbling noise came from him, vibrating into Wuxian’s body.

“Used up too much energy,” he said as he accepted the soft pettings. “This form is easier to maintain than the more human looking one.”

“Hmm, is that so? I would think you’d rather prefer to look like this rather than a human.”

“This form is more inconvenient, I’d rather have hands I can use instead of paws.”

Wuxian pulled his hand away in order to grab at Feng Xi’s paw with both hands, realizing it’s larger than his own hand, and that the bads underneath, although calloused, were soft.

“I’ll probably have to avoid my friends for a while too,” Feng Xi said in what sounded like an annoyed groan.

Just as Wuxian was about to ask why, the door to the room slammed open without warning, causing both of them to startle and frantically move away from each other.

Even before seeing who it was that slammed the door, they knew they were in trouble.

Xing entered the room, looking disheveled and very much pissed off, her fists clenched tightly by her sides. Although smaller than both of them, as well as being weaker in many ways, the aura around her was dark…

“You,” she said, teeth clenched as she pointed at Wuxian. “I gave you permission to see Feng Xi, but I did NOT say you could stay in his room. They’ve been trying to search everywhere for you, yet I couldn’t say anything without exposing that I let an injured Executor out and about.”

Wuxian didn’t try to justify himself. That would only make things worse.

“And you went and somehow reopened your wounds…”

She went eerily quiet after her eyes traveled downwards and saw the bits of red on the bandages. It seemed like it would be the end of the discussion, that they got off easy, when…

“GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!!!” Xing screamed, waving her arms about. “WUXIAN GET OUT OF THIS ROOM RIGHT NOW!!! NEITHER OF YOU ARE TO LEAVE YOUR ROOMS UNTIL I SAY SO!!!"

The two of them exchanged a fleeting look before Wuxian reluctantly got up, having been much too comfortable where he was but didn't want the wrath of Xing to get worse, so he obediently complied and left the room, allowing another elfin to enter the room and for Xing to slam the door in his face.

All in all, that went much better than it could've been…

Chapter Text

As much as Wuxian enjoyed his time alone, being an introvert and all that, being locked up in his room for a week after a pretty frustrating loss made one's mind race.

For one, he was trying to come up with ways to make his metal plates more resistant to electricity without weakening them too much overall. If he could find a way to prevent this scenario from happening again in the future, then that would be ideal.

Second, he began to doubt himself and his abilities. During that fight, instead of just being useless, he was a hazard. One wrong move and they all would have ended up in much worse shape. It ate at Wuxian constantly when he was left alone to think, when he wasn't being checked on by Xing.

However, there was one small mercy in his week long isolated punishment, and that was Ruo Shui.

Ruo Shui visited him sometimes more than once a day, when the little elfin could escape the watch of the elders. She told him how the two elfin that attacked them in the forest were taken away someplace, Ruo Shui didn't know where but Wuxian had a feeling it was prosecution.

There was also the news of the two rival groups being allowed to join the guild should either side please, and most of the elfin had joined.

Overall, it was a happy ending to such a tragic event. Wuxian was relieved Feng Xi's effort didn't go to waste.

By the time the week was up, the wounds on his arms had once again healed over, and Xing threatened that if he were to open them up again, he wouldn't be leaving until they were fully healed.

Of course, this still meant he wasn't allowed on missions for a while, and the guild would prefer that he were to stay than to leave and possibly be targeted for an attack of any sort. Not wanting to worry or be a bother, he complied and stayed.

He sat outside alone, the surrounding area quiet and peaceful, with his legs crossed and eyes closed. His mind was racing, and he was attempting to calm it, as well as regulate the energy that bad been knocked off balance from his fight. In no way did he use up as much as Feng Xi, but he still suffered quite a bit.

Feng Xi…

Wuxian wondered how his recovery was going, if he was doing any better.

Was Feng Xi allowed to leave house arrest after a week like he was? Or was it better for him to stay put until he fully recovered?

For as long as Wuxian had been in the guild, having been raised by the members of it and growing up alongside any of the younger elfin, there was still much he didn't underhand about them.

Elfin were as much of a mystery to him as he was to them.

Would he be allowed to visit Feng Xi then? Maybe as long as Xing doesn't find out, it should be fine, right?

Opening his eyes, he was standing up when he heard loud laughter.

Laughter, of course, was nothing new around here, but Wuxian grew curious and followed it, wondering what was going on.

"I haven't seen you like this in years!!!! Feng Xi!!!"

Standing just outside the building was an elfin he'd never met before, Xing and Feng Xi, who was currently sitting and being pretty much assaulted by furious pettings from the unknown elfin.

"Ah, Luo Zhu, please be careful," Xing said in a nervous tone, her hands waving about as if unsure what to do with them, "Feng Xi is still recovering obviously, don't ruffle him up too much…"

"But he's so cute and soft like this," Luo Zhu said with a large smile. He turned his head upon noticing movement from Wuxian and waved. "Oh, hello!"

Xing turned to look and waved at him as well. "Hello, gege! Nice to see you out of your room!!"

…….. She was the one that locked them up in the first place…

As Wuxian walked over, hands held behind his back, Feng Xi shook his head and the fur on his face that Luo Zhu abused went to a somewhat normal state.

"Wuxian," Feng Xi said, speaking now that allowed them all to hear him, "this is Luo Zhu, my friend. We share the same home."

Giving a quick look over, Wuxian then bowed politely. "Nice to meet you."

"No need to be so formal," Luo Zhu said as he reached out and patted at Wuxian's shoulder, leaving his hand resting there. "I've already heard a bit about you."

Wuxian glanced at the hand still on his shoulder and brushed it off as politely as possible. "I'm afraid I can't say the same," he said.

Luo Zhu's expression dropped, looking at Feng Xi with a now offended expression. Feng Xi pointedly refused to make eye contact. "You've really said nothing about me?" Luo Zhu asked. "I can't believe it… After all these years we've spent together?"

"I'm sure it just happened to slip his mind," Xing said, "you don't exactly come around that often anyways…" her voice trailed off at the end, looking down and fidgeting with the hem of her sleeve.

"Are you part of the guild?" Wuxian asked, now curious.

"Yes, and no," Feng Xi answered.

Luo Zhu nodded in agreement. "It's a bit complicated, but in a way I'm part of the guild. I made a deal, I stay to watch over our forest while also helping the humans that live next to us, in exchange for the guild helping to preserve what's left of our home."

Most elfin, the moment their homes start getting taken by humans, would move on and find somewhere else to live, sometimes that included living with the humans themselves. They must really care about their forest if Feng Xi and Luo Zhu are doing what they can to protect it, even if they don't necessarily agree with humans and elfin interacting.

"How many more live in your forest?"

"Not many, there's obviously Feng Xi and I, but there's also Xu Huai, and our newest addition Tian Hu."

"How is he, by the way?" Feng Xi finally turned to look at Luo Zhu, his tail swishing lazily behind him against the ground.

"Tian Hu is adjusting really well, he has a strong affinity for meat though…"

“Luo Zhu will be staying at the guild for a while,” Feng Xi turned and explained to Wuxian his friends sudden appearance.

“I’ll be helping with Feng Xi’s recovery,” Luo Zhu nodded in agreement before resting a hand on Xing’s shoulder, who had been mostly quiet up until now. “It was her idea to get me out here.”

Xing went stiff and red faced as soon as his hand was placed on her shoulder, looking as if she was about to combust at any second now. “Well, I just-I figured, with you being the same-- similar types and all, and you bond that-- um,” her voice faded off again.

Luo Zhu laughed happily, seemingly unaware of Xing’s supposed suffering, removing his hand, placing his hands behind his back playfully. “I still have to go get my room situated and together. Sorry to cut our meeting short,” he said the last part to Wuxian, giving a small nod, which the human returned.

He gave an enthusiastic wave as he walked away.

Once Luo Zhu was out of view, Feng Xi gave a suffering sounding groan, eyes closing. “He’s going to be insufferable the longer I stay like this. How long until I can change form?”

……..

“Xing?”

…………….

“Ah, Xing? Hello?”

“Huh?” The elfin jumped, seeming struck down from a daze as she looked around frantically. She placed her hands on her cheeks, which were still shaded a red colour. “Sorry, sorry, I wasn’t listening… What did you say?”

Wuxian raised his eyebrows. Maybe there was another reason for asking the other elfin to come that wasn’t just for Feng Xi’s recovery

 

--------------------------------

It was estimated that it would take about a month, with Luo Zhu’s help, for Feng Xi to be strong enough and change his form. He would have to change back to a panther for a few hours every day still, but after some time, he would eventually be able to control it once more.

It was lucky, Xing said that Feng Xi was such a strong and powerful elfin to begin with. Anyone else, and they would be put out of commission for longer, probably half a year nearly. She thoroughly scolded him for being so reckless every check up.

Wuxian himself was also making slow and steady recovery. The various wounds on his body were no longer in threat of reopening, as they had scabbed over, and his arms didn’t ache as much anymore. For a while more he would be out of commission due to the burns and the over sensitivity of the skin.

The skin underneath the bandages was pale and gross in his opinion. The only colouring to them was the lightning styled scar pattern that ran through his arms in a dark, ugly looking red.

And yet, despite his injuries, Wuxian continued to wonder why he didn’t try harder, why he didn’t do enough despite the risks. He should’ve pushed himself until the very end.

He ran his hand through his hair, these thoughts filling him with unrest and never ending guilt. It was his fault Feng Xi was like this, it was his fault Feng Xi wouldn’t be able to recover for a while more. All they spoke about was him changing form, what about his other abilities? Would he still be able to do those once he changed back? Or would it take a while?

He wanted to ask these questions so desperately, but Wuxian was never good with words, was never good with emotions. He didn’t know how to ask. He didn’t think it was within his right to ask.

Too caught up in his own mind, he failed to notice the movement by his window right away, the figure already looming inside of his room in the shadows provided by nightfall, the small flickering candle unable to reach.

The guild was too safe for it to be anyone with ill intent, the action had Wuxian more confused than anything from where he was seated at his bed. He waited for the other to say something, but for a few minutes they just stood there in silence.

Finally, they stepped into the candle light, and Wuxian shot to his feet.

“Feng Xi..?”

The familiar face smiled, taking a step closer. “I’m back,” Feng Xi said, his voice gentle.

Wuxian couldn’t help himself from stepping closer and reaching out, touching Feng Xi’s cheek as if it may have been an illusion. The skin underneath felt warm and real. It may have been a trick, but Wuxian thought he saw Feng Xi lean into his touch the slightest.

“When did you change?” he asked, looking the elfin up and down in disbelief.

“Maybe about… Five minutes ago?” Feng Xi said. “I don’t know, it hasn’t been too long though.”

Five minutes? So he only just changed forms? “Did you tell Xing yet, or another healer?”

Feng Xi shook his head, the movement slight as to not knock off Wuxian’s hand from where it still rested against his cheek. “You’re the first.”

They were certainly going to get an earful from Xing once she finds out, but at the moment Wuxian can’t bring himself to care. His chest twisted at the knowledge that he was the first to know, that he was the first Feng Xi seeked out.

Wuxian opened his mouth to say something when he froze, his eyes catching movement above Feng Xi’s head. The dim light made it hard to see, but their similar height made it so he didn’t have to stretch to see.

Atop Feng Xi’s head, almost completely lost in his unruly purple hair, were fuzzy cat ears that lay back as soon as the elfin realized what he was looking at.

“The reason it took me so long to get here was because, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t change my ears and tail,” he admitted sheepishly. Looking down, sure enough there was a black tail swishing this way and that.

Wuxian slowly let out a sigh, and a weight he didn’t know he had lifted off his chest and shoulders. Seeing Feng Xi like this once again filled him with relief, and it calmed down his guilt, even if just a bit.

For a few moments, they stood there in silence, content with just being next to each other, not needing to exchange any words. It was a calming silence, not at all uncomfortable.

A rumbling sound broke the silence. Wuxian raised his eyebrows, and Feng Xi once again looked sheepish, averting his gaze to look into the darkness. “I may be just a little hungry.”

“A little?”

“Changing forms takes a lot of energy, ” Feng Xi said defensively, but wore a wide smile.

----------------

With a flick of his hand, the kitchen was filled in soft flickering candle light.

This bigger kitchen area in the guild didn’t get used too often, it was used mostly for when there were festivities being held, or when they had a sudden inflation of elfin to care for, such as the two elfin groups that had been fighting with one another in the forest. It was free for anyone to use.

In cases like with Wuxian and Feng Xi, where an Executor is out of the guild more often than they are in it, their rooms are without a kitchen area.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you cook before,” Feng Xi said as he sat himself down on top of a counter. Wuxian opened his mouth to tell him to get down from it, but in the end decided against it. Seeing Feng Xi up on the counter, his head tilted slightly to the side in curiosity, Wuxian felt his face heating up.

“That’s because I haven’t,” Wuxian answered nonchalantly, back turned to the elfin in order to hide his face as he rummaged around.

Feng Xi made a noise that sounded much like a laugh he was trying so hard to conceal. “Do you know what you’re doing then?”

Wuxian frowned. “You just… cook it until it’s safe to eat, right?”

Shaking his head, Feng Xi hopped down from the counter. “How about this,” he said, walking over so he was now standing in front of Wuxian, arms crossed, “why don’t we have a little competition? Let’s see whose food turns out better.”

He wanted to argue against it, that Feng Xi only just had enough energy to finally change forms again, but seeing the challenging grin on Feng Xi’s face, reminding him of when they were younger and would always get into fights yet laced now with something softer, Wuxian found himself unable to back down from the challenge.

Something in his expression must have gave away his choice, because Feng Xi held out his hand. “Loser has to do one thing the winner says, no matter what it may be.”

If this had been in the past, neither one of them would agree to such terms. They would’ve been too untrusting of the other. Now, there was nothing but blind trust. Wuxian took his hand without hesitation, accepting the terms.

Even though they stated it was a competition beforehand, they worked together in completing the meal with the tasks split up, the easier ones going towards Wuxian while anything more complicated went to Feng Xi.

Except when it came to the meat, Wuxian insisted that he could cook it just fine, that he’d seen it done time and time again before. Feng Xi didn’t put up a fight, relenting easily.

They worked in relative silence, easy to work around and understand one another without having to say much, and soon the simple dish was complete. With their combined efforts, it looked good. They made sure to clean up whatever mess they made before they went to eat.

Feng Xi opened and closed his mouth a few times, and Wuxian waited patiently for him to say whatever it was he wanted. “So,” he said, before giving a small sigh, “So why have you never cooked before?”

“When I was younger, I didn’t make as many elfin as uncomfortable as I do now,” Wuxian said, seeing no point in beating around the bush with explaining it, “so a lot of them took care of me, which included making meals for me.”

He was silent for a few moments before shaking his head, laughing softly. “You were babied, is what you’re telling me,” Feng Xi said with an amused look.

Wuxian felt his face heating up again, this time in embarrassment, frowning. “I wouldn’t say it like that, but… Yeah, pretty much…” He never needed to learn how to cook because of that, so he never did. There was no reason too, when he was always too focused on becoming an Executor.

“What about you?” Wuxian asked, clearing his throat in order to calm down his burning face. “You seemed as if you knew what you were doing.”

“For a while, I had to take care of myself,” Feng Xi explained, “and when Luo Zhu finally came around, I took care of him too. Though, I only learned how to cook once Luo Zhu accused me of trying to poison him.”

Feng Xi spoke of his friends and his home fondly, with a soft look in his eyes. Wuxian felt his chest twist, and wondered just why every time he was around Feng Xi now, he felt his heart quicken, and a selfish voice in his mind demanded having the elfin all to himself.

Wuxian swallowed past the lump in his throat, forcing down whatever this feeling was. “Let’s eat.”

 

(It’s safe to say, Feng Xi won the competition…)

Chapter Text

“Ruo Shui, please stop pulling on my hair…”

“But I wanna see your ears!”

Feng Xi sighed in defeat before laying down on the ground, the little fox cheering in triumph. Of course, it wasn’t anywhere near a win for Feng Xi, as she just went on to pull on his ears, but he was too tired to get up.

“Ready for another round?” Luo Zhu said, grinning widely. He was full of energy, even though they had already sparred for a while now.

“Just give me- ow- five minutes,” Feng Xi said as he winced at the abuse his ears were going through. He was pretty used to it by now though, Ruo Shui had a habit of abusing either his ears or tail since they saved her. He was about to tell her to stop pulling so much, when he felt the little hands be removed completely from his ears, and he looked up.

“Pulling on another's ears is impolite,” Wuxian said to Ruo Shui, holding the child so she was secured on his hip.

Ruo Shui stared at him for a few moments, making him unsure if she even heard him. Her hands suddenly reached out and latched onto his hair, tugging at it while giggling.

Wuxian let out a sigh, ignoring Feng Xi’s wild laughter, as he sat down and set the little elfin onto her feet. “Quit causing trouble,” he scolded, but his tone held no malice at all as he ruffled her orange hair.

“I got this,” Luo Zhu said, as a flower bloomed in his palm and he gave it a gentle blow, letting it off to float into the air. Ruo Shui stared at it with wide, curious eyes, chasing after it. The flower avoided her hands just barely each time she almost got ahold of it.

“Is this seat taken?”

Before Wuxian could even register he was being spoken to, a weight was suddenly placed in his crossed legs. Looking down, he saw Feng Xi with his head resting in his lap, the elfins eyes closed. “Much better,” he said.

Wuxian coughed, looking away.

“Where’ve you been, Wuxian?” Luo Zhu asked, looking completely unaffected by the scene in front of him. “We haven’t seen you around these past few days.”

“I’ve been working on improving my metal plates,” Wuxian explained, relieved for whatever distraction he could get.

“Really? You forge those things yourself?”

Wuxian nodded. “All metal types do. That way, in a fight against another metal type, it’s harder for them to possibly control it.”

Luo Zhu’s eyes widened, looking impressed. “I didn’t know that, that’s so cool!”

“It takes a lot of trust to teach another metal type how to control the plates one forges themselves, so a lot do not teach others.”

“Sounds like something like that goes through a lot of trial and error.”

Wuxian nodded in agreement.

“Hey, Wuxian?”

Looking down, he saw that Feng Xi was frowning in concentration at something. The intensity of his gaze made Wuxian want to look away, but he forced himself not to.

“Are you wearing your hair different?” Feng Xi asked. “It doesn’t look how it normally does.”

For a moment, Wuxian was confused, before he remembered what it was. “Oh, that. My hair kept getting in the way, so I used one of the metal plates to hold it back. I guess it’s still there…”

He had honestly forgotten he had even done that, completely unbothered by it by now. The plate currently holding it back was the only successful one so far, and he couldn’t carry it on his arms like he normally did, so at the time it was just convenient. Now, he was embarrassed to be seen like this. He was contemplating removing it, when Feng Xi once again spoke up.

“I like it like this,” he said, nodding a little as if agreeing with himself. “I can see more of your face this way.”

Wuxian felt himself panicking. What the hell was he supposed to say to that??????

What the hell was he supposed to say??!!!!

Luckily, Wuxian didn’t need to come up with something to say, because Feng Xi sat up and turned around, looking at him over his shoulder. “Do you mind putting my hair up for me? I keep trying, but every time it falls out while sparring.”

“You have too much hair, it refuses to be contained,” Luo Zhu laughed before waving a hand. “Why don’t the two of you go against each other?”

“I thought you were impatient to try and beat me?” Feng Xi rolled his eyes, sitting still as he allowed Wuxian to gather up his hair into a high ponytail.

Whatever the two were bickering over, Wuxian completely ignored it. Never before had he seen Feng Xi with his hair up, always choosing to instead wear it down and letting it run wild.

It was just hair, so why was the thought of Feng Xi with his hair up making him feel like he couldn’t breathe?

“I wouldn’t mind sparring,” Wuxian said mindlessly. When his brain finally caught up with what he said, he mentally kicked himself. How was he going to focus going against Feng Xi?

“Aren’t your arms still healing?” Feng Xi asked, turning and giving him a concerned look. “I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I hurt you more.”

“I need to test out the metal plate anyways,” he said, pausing for a moment before adding on, “I trust you.”

It might have been a trick of the light, but for a moment, Wuxian swore he could see Feng Xi’s face reddened before he turned away, standing up.

“Alright, but make sure Xing doesn’t know, or we’ll be locked up again,” Feng Xi said as he turned back to face Wuxian, holding out a hand to help him stand up.

Without hesitation, Wuxian accepted the outstretched hand.

Since both of them were still technically in the process of recovering, they set specific terms in order to keep each other from pushing themselves. There was to be no excessive use of energy, and they couldn’t throw each other around like ragdolls, so one limb had to be touching the ground at all times.

They were two of the strongest within the guild, so it would be very easy for the two of them to get carried away. If they hadn’t been previously injured it would be fine, except for the fact they’d be a hazard to destroying anything.

After setting the terms, Feng Xi nodded thoughtfully for a moment, trying to find a way to make it more interesting. “How about a sword fight then?” He offered, a vine snaking up from the ground, wrapping around his arm until he yanked at it, forming what looked to be like a sword made out of vines. “That way we can make sure to keep our distance. Besides, you just really need to test the strength of your metal plate there, right?”

Wuxian thought about it for a moment before nodding in agreement. It did make the most sense in the end, since mixing the different kinds of metals could potentially make the plates weaker overall.

Summoning the metal plate to his hand, Wuxian's hair now flew freely once more, unbound.

Luo Zhu called over Ruo Shui and gathered her in his arms, seated a ways away from where the two were sparring. "Do ya wanna watch the two gege's fight, A-Shui?" He asked the little elfin, giving her a wide smile.

Ruo Shui seemed hesitant at first, looking back and forth between Feng Xi and Wuxian before turning back to Luo Zhu. "Why're they fighting? Are they mad at each other?"

"Not at all," he reassured the child, giving her a reassuring squeeze in his arms that made her giggle, "just the opposite, actually. It'll be okay, I promise."

At that, Ruo Shui seemed to relax a little at the idea, turning to watch them now.

Somehow, in the middle of their conversation, Feng Xi and Wuxian had already begun their sparring, which made Luo Zhu sigh and shake his head.

They exchanged blow after blow with their weapons, reading each other so well that they were able to dodge attacks or counter them flawlessly. After having not only fought against each other, but side by side as well, countless times, they could almost predict what the other was going to do.

Even when they were supposed to be holding back, the ground shook lightly, and they were sure to get in trouble for it later.

It seemed as though the world fell away, and to Wuxian, there was nothing that existed but him and Feng Xi at this moment. It was obvious that the elfin was taking great care into avoiding his arms in any way, probably more so than any other opponent would.

As their match came to a close, ending in a tie as both held their weapons to each other's throats, a realization dawned on him, one that he couldn't hold back any longer.

Wuxian tossed the metal plate aside as he reached out and grabbed Feng Xi's wrist, pulling him along as he walked away from the scene and to a more secluded area.

Adrenaline pumped through Wuxian's veins, and he knew that if he didn't do this now, he may never have the courage for it any other time, so he pushed Feng Xi against the wall of a building, uncaring of which one it may be.

"Wuxian?" Feng Xi called out in a careful and calm voice, but not at all sounding afraid in the slightest.

Feng Xi's hair was still bound up, but was now a mess. His breathing came out deep and slow, as if still trying to catch his breath.

Wuxian really couldn't hold back anymore.

He gently caressed Feng Xi's cheek, like he'd done so many times before without realizing it, and leaned in, pressing their lips together.

 

When Wuxian pulled back, there was no reaction for a few moments, just Feng Xi staring at him with wide, blown out eyes.

Finally, as if a switch had been flipped, the elfins entire face heated up, turning a very dark shade of red, and he placed his hands over his face.

"Wha-What-What did you just DO???" Feng Xi stammered, voice muffled due to his hands.

Wuxian frowned, tilting his head a little. "I kissed you… You don't know what a kiss is?"

"I know exactly what a kiss is!!" His voice raised in volume in panic. "But WHY!?"

"Simply because I wanted to."

Wuxian didn't know exactly what kind of anger Feng Xi was looking for, because when he removed his hands, the expression he wore was serious, although he was blushing still.

"That's not a good enough answer, I need to know if…" Feng Xi sighed heavily, placing a hand on Wuxian's shoulder, really to pull or push him away depending on his answer. "I need to know if you feel the same way about me."

How was he supposed to know how Feng Xi felt? He didn't even stop to consider it.

Wuxian thought for a moment, trying to put these confusing and messed up feelings to words.

"I feel like I'm the only one I want you to ever look at," he said, lowering his gaze so he wasn't looking at Feng Xi anymore. "That, as long as I'm with you, I don't care what happens or where I end up. That I want to become stronger in order to protect you… I also really want to kiss you."

Feng Xi made a choking noise at the last one, which had been added on as a near afterthought.

"Do you feel the same about any of those?"

With a gentle touch, Wuxian felt Feng Xi's hand slowly lift up his head, and he was met with Feng Xi smiling gently, looking as though the weight of the world was suddenly lifted from his shoulders.

"I do," Feng Xi replied in such a soft voice, Wuxian had to strain to hear it, but the soft declaration made it feel all the more private and special.

"But you can't just kiss me randomly, warn me next time, will you?"

Wuxian nodded. "Then can I kiss you now?"

"Again?!"

Wuxian nodded once again.

"Geez, you'll certainly be the death of me," Feng Xi muttered, but there was no true malice in his voice, as he instead pulled Wuxian closer with his hands placed firmly on the humans waist, and they kissed until their lungs burned for air.

 

("Ruo Shui wants to go with the gege's!!"

"It's probably best to leave them alone for now, A-Shui…")

Chapter Text

Xing was concentrating quietly for a few moments, her fingers pressed gently onto the inside of Feng Xi’s wrists, before she opened her eyes and smiled at him. “It looks like you’re fine for the most part,” she said, withdrawing her hand, “no overworking yourself though, I still want you to take it easy for a few more weeks, but you should be able to start going on missions again.”

Feng Xi let out a sigh of relief as Luo Zhu let out a cheer in triumph.

His ears and tail had gone away the last time he transformed back, so Xing knew it was time to give one last check up to determine how far he was with recovering.

Wuxian reached out and placed a hand gently on Feng Xi’s shoulder, catching his attention, and the human smiled gently at him, the faintest hint of a smile on his face, but his eyes told Feng Xi that he was just as relieved.

“Oh,” Feng Xi said suddenly, as if remembering something as he turned back to Xing. “What about Wuxian? How are his arms healing?”

Xing rubbed at the back of her neck, taking a moment to think. “He certainly is healing quicker than a normal human would, but he’ll still need some time. However, I’m sure as long as the two of you are together, there should be no problem with him being assigned missions as well.”

Feng Xi seemed to light up at the news, turning back to look at Wuxian and giving him a bright smile, overjoyed by the good news. Wuxian’s face heated up at seeing such an expression, turning away in an attempt to hide the growing redness.

“Ugh, you two are hardly even doing anything and you’re just oozing sappiness,” Xing gagged, rolling her eyes, but her voice held gentle teasing in it.

“You’re just upset cause you lost the bet,” Luo Zhu said with a laugh.

“Am not, I knew the moment you placed that stupid bet I would lose.”

“What bet?” Wuxian asked, looking around in confusion.

Luo Zhu and Xing exchanged a look, but refused to clarify what they were talking about.

Feng Xi groaned. “How many were in on this bet?” he asked, not needing any explanation of what they were talking about.

“Oh, you know, not many,” Xing laughed nervously, avoiding eye contact with the two of them. “Just about, uh-”

“About more than half of the guild,” Luo Zhu finished, obviously trying to contain his laughter but doing a very poor attempt at it.

Feng Xi sighed heavily, his eyes looking up at the ceiling, though he had entirely expected this. Xing at least did her best to look regretful for her actions, face red as she continued to laugh nervously under her breath as she cleaned up the small mess of medical wrap and ointment, having treated Wuxian’s arms before giving Feng Xi an examination.

“But hey, you’re all better now,” Luo Zhu said, changing the subject, “this means we should celebrate!” He threw his arms up in excitement.

“They only just got better,” Xing reminded him, raising her eyebrows.

“It wouldn’t be anything big, I promise.”

Having stayed silent for a few moments, Feng Xi finally nodded in agreement, a small smile on his face. “That sounds nice, it’d give me an excuse to go home for a bit.”

Wuxian expected that the invitation didn’t extend to him, as it seemed like the two of them were talking about celebrating at their forest, but Feng Xi reaching out and gently grabbing his hand made him startle a little.

“You’ll join us, won’t you?”

His eyes were hopeful, and his expression soft and full of wanting.

Nervously, Wuxian gently squeezed the hand holding his. He wanted to say yes, more than anything, but there was a lump in his throat, completely thrown off by the sudden invitation and the soft look Feng Xi was giving him. He opened his mouth to respond, but nothing came out.

After a few moments, Feng Xi seemed to pick up on this, and a thought suddenly came to his mind. “Remember our competition a while ago? Where the winner could make the loser do anything they want?”

Wuxian nodded.

“Then, as the winner, I’m telling you to join us.”

For some reason, having the weight of choosing taken off of his shoulders made him relax, his mind coming to an abrupt halt, no longer running wild in doubts and possibilities. Slowly, he released a breath, the lump in his throat coming undone, and he once again nodded. “Okay,” he said, his voice soft, “I’ll go.”

“Of course, you’re welcome to join us as well, Xing,” Luo Zhu said, turning away from the scene in front of him.

Not having expected that at all, Xing fumbled with the medical equipment in her arms, letting a high pitch noise out as she scrambled to right herself. “Wha-What? Me? Why me?”

Luo Zhu shrugged a shoulder, wearing an amused smile. “You treated them, it’s only right that we invite you as thanks for all you’ve done.”

With her face once again turning a deep shade of red, she turned her back to them as she placed the items in their shelves. “Ah, it’s-it’s nothing, just, uh, just doing my job, you know? Hahaha, it’s okay, no need to invite me!”

“We would love if you were to join us,” Feng Xi said in agreement. “Despite threatening us every now and again, you did take good care of us.”

Xing looked back and forth between them, her shoulders hunched and looking unsure about the matter. After a few moments, she let out a heavy sigh before shaking her head. “I would love to, but I still can’t leave the guild,” she admitted, her voice sounding tense. “I still haven’t learned how to properly control my aether ability, leaving the guild still puts everyone at risk. So, thank you for the invite, but I’ll have to decline.”

Wuxian frowned. There wasn’t much known about aether type elfin, in fact Xing was the only one known so far, so he had no idea about this restriction. Then again, he did notice that she seemed to wear these types of bracelets that gave off a suppressive energy that seemed to change often, so it must be something the guild was creating and working on.

It was sad really, he had no idea how long she’s been in the guild. So many years have passed, and she hasn’t been able to leave in fear of hurting others on accident, simply because her ability was too powerful to control.

Luckily, it seemed as though the guild was helping her, and Wuxian had every faith in them that they’ll find a solution.

“Don’t worry about it,” Luo Zhu said, walking over and putting a hand on her shoulder in comfort. “There’ll be plenty of other things to celebrate in the future, once you’re able to leave you’re more than welcome to join us.”

Xing stared at him, frozen for a few seconds, before she smiled, looking relieved and overjoyed at the idea that she was invited to future celebrations, that he had so much faith in her that his words seemed like an absolute, not a maybe. “I can’t wait then.”

“Well, we better be going then.” Luo Zhu removed his hand from Xing’s shoulder and turned away, placing his hands behind his head. “I’m sure the others will be surprised to see you, Feng Xi!”

Smiling, Feng Xi nodded as he stood up. “I missed them, it’ll be nice to catch up.”

Wuxian looked at them, but stood up as well. “So, we’re heading out now?”

“Of course! Any time is as good as ever, so why not now? You have somewhere else to be?”

“No, I don’t, I-”

“Great! So we’ll leave now!”

Xing walked them to the door, reminding them not to push themselves or to get into any trouble, threatening house arrest again if they were to come back in worse condition than they are now, and they all promised to take it easy.

Their departure from the guild was done quickly, afraid that if Ruo Shui saw them leaving that she would cry and cling onto them, begging to be brought along.

They reached the forest with the sun setting in the sky, giving everything a golden hue to it, as if the forest itself was made entirely of gold. It gave off a peaceful aura, calming and secure. It was the same type of feeling Wuxian got when he was with Feng Xi.

No wonder Feng Xi was doing everything he could to protect it, even if that meant having to protect humans that he didn't like all that much. He was not only protecting his home, but the homes of the animals that lived there as well.

There was an abundance of spirits floating around and peeking out from the trees, curious on the newcomer, a human no less. A human hasn't stepped foot this deep into the forest in many years.

"Careful, that rock is tricky," Feng Xi said gently, holding out his hand for Wuxian to take. He knew fully well the human could take care of himself just fine, but Wuxian reached out to the hand that was always so gentle and warm anyways. After he jumped from the rock, they kept their hands joined together, walking at a leisurely pace.

"Luo Zhu went on ahead, claiming the surprise will be better this way," Feng Xi said, laughing lightly. "I don't think it will matter either way."

Wuxian hummed, feeling himself relax a little at the sound of Feng Xi's laughter, but soon feeling restless once more.

He wasn't shy, Wuxian was never shy. He was just a person that likes to keep to himself, standing on the sidelines, only coming into view when needed. He wasn't antisocial, he just found it hard to socialize, not knowing quite how to.

For how he was feeling right now, nervous would be the way to describe it. Nervous, anxious, at meeting those who Feng Xi consider family.

Something must've gave it away, because Feng Xi stopped walking and looked at Wuxian with a concerned expression. "Wuxian, are you okay?"

Wuxian nodded stiffly.

"Don't lie to me, you keep tensing up. Are you nervous?"

He thought about it for a moment, wanting to lie again, but Feng Xi already saw through him, so Wuxian nodded slightly, the hand not being held clenched into a fist.

Feng Xi smiled reassuringly, grabbing into both of his hands so neither one of them could clench up. "It'll be okay," he said, looking down at their joined hands. "Honestly, the only one who talks a lot is Luo Zhu, the other two tend to keep things short. They're really great though, I promise."

Wuxian didn't know how much that helped, but the soft expression on Feng Xi's face made him feel more at ease, so after a moment he said, "Tell me more about them."

"Xu Huai is an ice type elfin," Feng Xi went on to explain, turning their entwined hands this way and that, with gentle motions. It was helping to calm Wuxian's nerves a little. "He came around later than Luo Zhu and I, some time during a really bad winter. He's very straight to the point, and very loyal. Tian Hu was born quite recently, so he's still small, or at least from the last time I saw him. He talks even less than Xu Huai, which is surprising."

The more he listened, the more Wuxian felt himself become less nervous, instead he felt that ugly something feeling fill his chest. He still didn't know what it was, other than it made him want Feng Xi to forget everything that wasn't him. It was a very selfish feeling, Wuxian knew he couldn't have someone entirely to himself, but he wanted it.

He really, really wanted it.

"And me?"

Feng Xi finally looked up, and realised Wuxian's gaze had been on him the entire time, never once leaving.

"What do you tell them about me?"

Without realizing it, the two had leaned forward into each other's space, so close that Wuxian could feel Feng Xi's breath across his lips. He wanted to be greedy, to lean in the rest of the way, to forget this entire idea and keep Feng Xi to himself.

"You…" Feng Xi's voice was airy, no more than a whisper, as he struggled to find words. "I--"

"HEY YOU TWO!!! QUIT THAT AND GET OVER HERE!!!"

The sudden yelling of Luo Zhu's voice caused the both of them to startle and move away from each other, both of their faces burning and red, embarrassed from being caught.

Despite that, their hands gradually made their way to each other once more as they walked.

 

“You two were busy looking into each others eyes, I had to go and ruin the surprise, I hope you’re happy,” Luo Zhu said with a pout, his arms crossed over his chest and looking as though his great plans were ruined.

They were in the middle of a small clearing in the forest. There wasn’t much to give away that someone lived here, but looking around, Wuxian could see little things that showed hints of it, as if the heart of the forest truly was their home. Most elfin born in the middle of forests prefered to keep them relatively untouched, so he wasn’t too surprised to see just how little of it was touched, but it was charming in its own right.

“Welcome back,” an elfin with horns said, greeting Luo Zhu and Feng Xi with a nod. “You must be Wuxian,” the elfin continued, turning to him and proceeding to bow respectfully. “A pleasure to meet you. I am Xu Huai.”

Wuxian returned his greeting, though obviously not having to introduce himself. It just made him wonder what sorts of things Feng Xi had mentioned to them.

“This is Tian Hu,” Feng Xi spoke up, gesturing down to round, cat like elfin currently in his arms, face buried against his chest. “He’s still a bit shy, it may take him a while to get used to you.”

Tian Hu only peeked from where he was pressing himself against Feng Xi before turning away once more, saying nothing. Luo Zhu laughed, putting his arms around Wuxian’s shoulders, completely oblivious to the scowl the human was throwing in his direction. “It’s okay, A-Hu! No need to be shy!!”

“Your yelling may be startling him,” Xu Huai said.

“Huh? You take that back right now! You’re just jealous cause A-Hu likes me more!”

“He obviously prefers Feng Xi over either of us.”

“.... Yeah, probably because he’s a big cat as well.”

“I’m standing right here, you two,” Feng Xi frowned, looking embarrassed.

“You really missed it, Xu Huai!” Luo Zhu said, completely ignoring the other elfin. “It’s not every day we get to see Feng Xi completely change into his animal form!! He was so cute and soft!”

Wuxian couldn’t stand to be manhandled anymore, so, as politely as he could, he shrugged off Luo Zhu’s grip from his shoulders, making sure to take a step or two away from him to make sure the chances of it happening again lessened. Without having realized it, he had stood closer to Feng Xi, who gave him a small reassuring smile.

It was really interesting to see the place and family Feng Xi held so close to his heart. Although he regards the guild to be his home, and wouldn’t give it up for anything, he didn’t consider anyone to truly be close enough to be his family. Sure, there were the ones that helped took care of him, to raise him and teach him everything he needed to know, but other than that, as he grew older and stronger, the less those in the guild would talk to him.

By the time Feng Xi came around to joining the guild, Wuxian was more or less used to being completely alone, with the exception of a few elfin who weren’t afraid or uncomfortable of him, such as Xing.

“I have an idea,” Luo Zhu said, catching their attention, apparently whatever argument he was having with Xu Huai was over. “Why don’t we get some wine and meat from the human village? We can race there.”

“Are you sure a race is a good idea?” Feng Xi asked, shaking his head in amusement. “Wuxian doesn’t know the layout of the forest yet.”

“He’s super strong and powerful for a human, I’m sure a race in unfamiliar territory won’t be too much for him. Or are you just afraid you’ll lose this time?” Luo Zhu raised his eyes, challenging the other elfin.

Feng Xi scoffed, easily falling into the bait as a challenging glint appeared in his eyes. “You can’t beat me in a spar, do you really think you can beat me in a race?”

Silently, Xu Huai walked over and carefully removed Tian Hu from Feng Xi’s arms, now holding him safely in his own embrace, safe from any potential danger that was apparently these two challenging each other to everything they could think of.

Without much of a warning, Luo Zhu and Feng Xi took off in a direction, disturbing the animals and birds that were readying for a night of rest.

It was pretty ridiculous, yet the action only filled Wuxian’s chest with warmth, remembering how much Feng Xi enjoys a challenge.

“Are you going to join them?” Xu Huai asked Wuxian, looking like he really didn’t care what the others answer would be.

Wuxian shook his head. He felt as though getting caught in between those two would not be pretty…

Xu Huai nodded in silent understanding before gesturing with his head for Wuxian to follow him, going at a much slower speed than the other two. It gave Wuxian a chance to look around more, which he was thankful for. At one point, they passed by a small stream, which he had a feeling also ran through the village they were heading to.

Even with going at a slow pace, it didn’t take long for them to finally see buildings in the distance, which seemed to have progressed more since the last time Wuxian saw any. Humans did have a habit of progressing shockingly quick.

On the outskirts of the village, on a slanted rooftop, it was easy to spot Feng Xi, even now within the darkness of night, glowing lights from the village below hardly touching him.

“Who won?” Xu Huai asked once they landed, looking as though this scene was something he witnessed regularly.

Feng Xi lay on the roof with his arms spread out, his breathing a little heavier than normal. “Me, of course,” he said, wearing a triumphant smile. “I just need to catch my breath… I’m still in the process of recovery, you know.”

“I’m aware,” Xu Huai sat down, crossing his legs and letting Tian Hu sit in the space between them.

Wuxian sat down next to Feng Xi, looking concerned.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Feng Xi said as he sat up, using his arms to lean back on.

Silently, Wuxian reached out and placed a hand on Feng Xi’s cheek. “Are you alright?”

Feng Xi made a breathy noise that sounded like a laugh, reaching out to grab onto Wuxian’s wrist that was caressing his cheek to keep it in place, turning his head to place a gentle kiss on his palm. “I am, don’t worry,” he reassured, smiling against his palm. “Besides, I really don’t want to go back and have Xing place us under house arrest again. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t see you for a week.”

Wuxian felt his face burn up, looking around to see if anyone would notice them. Of course, no one would, they were on a roof for one, and Xu Huai was completely uninterested in whatever was going on between them. He let out a soft sigh in relief, letting himself relax. “Where did Luo Zhu go?”

“Down there,” Feng Xi slightly gestured with a tilt of his head, bringing their entwined hands to rest on Wuxian’s knee. “Since he helps out these humans here, they know him pretty well. They give us food in exchange for his help, so it’s really just asking if they have anything extra they can give us.”

“Does Xu Huai help humans too?”

Feng Xi shook his head. “Like me, he would prefer to keep away from them, so he stays and watches over the forest. Tian Hu is still too young to do much, but he’s making quick friends with the wildlife.”

“You all have this down pretty systematically.”

“Well, we want to protect and preserve what’s left of our home, so we’re doing what we can and let the guild hold up their end of the deal. This entire village used to be part of our forest as well, but now there’s just this small part behind us left.”

Wuxian had seen this sort of thing happen time and time again, inevitably the humans would take over everything, and then elfin living there will either need to conform with them or move. It happened each and every time, no matter how hard the elfin worked to stop it.

For once, he hoped that this time would be different.

They didn’t have to wait much longer after that for Luo Zhu to join them on the roof, a wide smile on his face, arms full. “They were extra generous,” he said as he set the items down, consisting of two large black jars and a few boxes that let out alluring smells. “I told them we have a guest, so they gave me some extras!”

Having smelled the food, Tian Hu stood up and instantly made his way over, opening a box up and wasting no time in eating the contents inside. Luo Zhu gently chided him, telling the young elfin to slow down as he patted his head.

Feng Xi and Luo Zhu began telling Xu Huai everything that had been going on in the guild, the other listening silently as Luo Zhu passed around whatever was inside of those jars. Wuxian held the bowl, the liquid inside of it smelling like alcohol.

“It’s some cheap wine,” Feng Xi said, having noticed Wuxian’s hesitation, holding a bowl of his own. “You don’t have to drink it.”

Wuxian had alcohol before, but the last time he had some was too long ago to remember. It wasn’t that he didn’t like drinking alcohol, it just was never something he really cared about, so he shrugged easily and said nothing about it.

“Cheers!” Luo Zhu exclaimed, raising his bowl in the air. “To no longer having to suffer over Feng Xi’s useless pining over Wuxian!”

Feng Xi, who had already had the bowl to his mouth, almost choked on the liquid upon hearing this, coughing. “Wha-What do you mean ‘useless pining’?” Both of their faces were a burning red, with Wuxian looking down at the bowl in his hands.

“You’re celebrating too soon,” Xu Huai said after having taken a sip, “now we’ll have to deal with their endless PDA.”

“Ah, Xu Huai! Have you been listening to humans more often these days? How do you know what PDA means!” Luo Zhu laughed, holding his stomach as he did so.

Wuxian felt his face heating up more and more, unsure how to feel of being seen through so easily. Maybe he shouldn’t be taking it so hard, especially since it was Feng Xi’s friends just lightly poking fun at him, but Wuxian was the type of person who kept everything he felt and thought under wraps for the most part. The only times he showed anything was with Feng Xi, who made him feel safe enough to drop his guard.

Wanting to stop the closing of this throat, Wuxian quickly drank all the wine in his bowl, the burning feeling as it went down his throat hurting, almost making him cough and gag.

“You okay there?” Feng Xi asked, reaching out to gently rub his back. “It’s best if you don’t drink it so quickly.”

With tears in his eyes from the disgusting taste, Wuxian held out his bowl to Luo Zhu. “More, please,” he said, his voice strained a little.

“Wine,” Tian Hu said as he walked over and tried to get into the jar, only for Feng Xi to quickly scoop him up with one of his arms and away from it.

“Too young.”

Chapter Text

Wuxian felt warm.

He didn’t know how to explain it other than his entire being felt warm, and he couldn’t quite keep his thoughts in order either as his brain felt all muddled and sluggish. He didn’t think the wine would do much to him, but he forgot he was human.

For as strong and powerful he was, rare to find in a human, he was still a human who didn’t drink often and may have overestimated himself a little. He’s never gotten drunk before, but it was probably safe to assume he was drunk right now.

“You okay, Wuxian?” Feng Xi asked him, tilting his head a little but wearing a soft smile. “You didn’t have to drink so much.”

“I’m fine,” he nodded, which wasn’t a lie. He felt pretty much fine, everything just felt like as if it was shifted slightly to the side and felt warm. He looked at Feng Xi for a few moments in silence, frowning a little.

“What’s wrong?”

“Have you always been this good looking?”

Feng Xi froze and seemed to shut down for a moment, just blankly staring back at Wuxian before turning away, using a hand to cover half his face. “I’m guessing alcohol makes you more honest,” he said, voice muffled.

“I’m always honest, I’ve never lied.”

Shaking his head, Feng Xi stood up and stretched. “We should head back now,” he said to the group, “before someone complains about the noise.”

The noise mainly referred to Luo Zhu, who used the excuse of alcohol to shout as much as he wanted. Most humans didn’t know any better anyways.

“Will you two return to the guild?” Xu Huai asked, standing up and grabbing the half jar of wine, the only thing left from the food and alcohol they had gotten earlier.

Feng Xi thought for a moment as he held a hand out for Wuxian to grab, helping him stand up and placing a hand on Wuxian’s waist when he stumbled a little, unable to hide the small endearing smile. “I think we’ll stay here for the night and return in the morning.”

“You sure Xing won’t kill you if you stay?” Luo Zhu picked Tian Hu up and placed the elfin on his shoulders. “She might be pretty upset if you two don’t return.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine, besides, I don’t want anything to happen.” There was no need to say what exactly he was worried about, as the lingering touch and gentle gaze he gave Wuxian was obvious, and disgusting, enough.

After making sure Wuxian was okay enough to stand and move around on his own, they retreated back into the forest, this time with no race to worry about. Wuxian was a few paces behind them, taking his time and making sure to be as careful as he could be. His body felt like it was just a bit heavier, so his movements were more sluggish than normal. Feng Xi turned back every now and again to make sure he was doing fine with keeping up.

Wuxian stared at the waters of the stream they passed by only a few hours ago, watching for a moment as fireflies danced around above the water's surface, and the tiny white spirits seemed the dance along with them. It was a gorgeous sight.

Of course, this resulted in his foot getting snagged by a tree branch, and the next thing he knew, he was under the water's surface.

Feng Xi stopped as soon as he heard the splash, turning around to try and frantically find Wuxian, hoping that the noise had been made from something else. When he couldn’t find him, panic rose up in his chest.

“Wuxian!”

He quickly descended down onto a rock in the middle of the gentle stream, turning this way and that to look for any signs of the human within the waters, panic rising with each moment that passed.

Luckily, he didn’t have to suffer for much longer, because something splashed lightly next to him, and when he looked down, he saw Wuxian holding onto the rock, head raised above the waters.

“Are you alright?” Feng Xi said, his voice laced with concern as he knelt down in order to place his hands on either side of Wuxian’s face. “Are you hurt anywhere?”

Lightly, Wuxian shook his head. “I’m fine. Did you think I couldn’t swim?”

“It’s not that I didn’t think you couldn’t swim, it’s that I thought something bad happened to you, or that you might’ve been too drunk to swim.”

“What sort of bad thing would happen to me here?”

“I don’t know! But I was still worried!”

“This is your home, I trust that nothing will hurt me here.”

Feng Xi froze once again, like he seemed to have a habit of doing if Wuxian said or did anything that caught him off guard and made him flustered, as if the information alone was too much to handle and his brain stopped working.

A few moments of silence passed with the two just simply staring at one another before Wuxian reached out and grabbed one of Feng Xi’s hands that was still holding his face. “Feng Xi, can I kiss you now?”

“Huh?”

“You said I could kiss you as long as I ask, so can I kiss you?”

This entire situation was ridiculous.

Wuxian was currently drunk and in a stream of water, probably chilled to the bone right now if he wasn’t already circulating heat through his body, and Feng Xi just found himself being so enamoured with this strange human that he couldn’t hide his smile.

“Of course,” he said, as if the answer would be anything but that.

Leaning down, Feng Xi gently placed a kiss on Wuxian’s lips, tasting the alcohol he drank earlier, and what he assumed to be water from the stream. He sighed softly into the kiss, his chest feeling as if it were about to burst as Wuxian’s grip on his hand tightened a little.

 

(“Xu Huai, how often do you think we’ll have to deal with this?”

“... Just be glad we don’t stay at the guild.”

“............ I feel bad for everyone already.”)

 

-----------------------------------------

 

 

Of course, nothing could be perfect forever, but he never expected it to go up in flames the way that it did.

It came crashing down slowly at first, only realizing now what went wrong so many years later, when it was far too late to try and make things right.

At first, it started with just Wuxian secluding himself with training. He couldn’t live with the guilt he felt with having put Feng Xi in harm's way, making him push himself to his limit only because Wuxian was too weak to do anything. No matter how many times Feng Xi or anyone reassured him that it wasn’t his fault, Wuxian still felt inadequate, like he needed to be better, so he pushed himself to become better.

As Wuxian secluded himself, the tension with the humans taking over Feng Xi’s home grew stronger. It was like a pot threatening to spill over at any moment now. The humans wanted to expand, as they always did, and were getting tired of one thing or another preventing them from doing so. They shouted that they needed more homes, more buildings, they needed to advance with the rest of the world, the forest was too in the way.

These were small problems that put a small wedge in their relationship at first, but as time went by it only grew larger and larger.

Wuxian started to fear the vulnerability he felt around Feng Xi, and he knew it was a problem he had to deal with entirely on his own, but it caused him to be more closed off around him, unable to speak what he wanted to say, what he needed to say.

It was something Wuxian still regret to this day, because watching Feng Xi become more desperate with each passing day to get something out of him haunted his dreams, until finally Feng Xi stopped trying altogether.

The wedge between them grew larger. Feng Xi was getting fed up, and started accusing Wuxian of things that weren’t true. That Wuxian didn’t actually care, that he was only part of the guild to help humans, that he didn’t care what happened to elfins because he showed no resistance in fighting them, but would never lay a hand on a human.

No matter how much Wuxian wanted to fight against these claims, he felt his throat close up each and every time. His chest twisted in an ugly feeling each time.

Why couldn’t he just say what he wanted? Why couldn’t he get across why he was doing something, or what he was thinking?

Why was it so hard for him to admit his feelings?

 

It was so frustrating…!!

 

Why was it so hard for him to say anything?!

This, of course, caused them to start arguing again, like they had done so long ago.

Eventually, Wuxian was sure he would’ve pulled himself together, would’ve said everything he wanted to and more if he was just given a little bit of time, as he wasn’t used to being so vulnerable, but he wasn’t allowed that chance, because before he could, Feng Xi attacked the human village.

They had started construction again, as well as deforestation. There was nothing stopping them now, and the inevitable eventually happened.

Wuxian wasn’t there to witness it himself, but once he heard rumors about it, and about Feng Xi’s prosecution, every inch of his body was filled with dread. He didn’t believe that Feng Xi had intentionally harmed or even killed anyone. Even if they could no longer see eye to eye, Feng Xi still had his morals, and Wuxian knew he’d never intentionally hurt anyone.

He was mostly afraid of what the guild would do to him.

No one told him of what was going to happen. Wuxian wasn’t allowed to talk to or even visit Feng Xi, and he endlessly worried.

Until it was time for their last meeting.

There was something in the air that told Wuxian that this would be the last time they would see each other, at least for a long, long time. There was a certain thickness to the air, as Feng Xi appeared in front of Wuxian’s home that final night.

He looked run down and ragged, as if he was tired.

“Feng Xi,” Wuxian called out, rushing over to the elfin. He reached out to place his hand on Feng Xi’s cheek, a habit he unknowingly gotten into, but stopped before making contact.

Feng Xi smiled, but it was pained and sad. “You’re not going to touch me anymore? Do I disgust you that much?” He laughed humorlessly.

Wuxian felt his throat closing up, like it did so many other times when he wanted to desperately say something. He remained silent as he drew his hand away. The stretch of silence that came between them felt heavy, weighing down their bodies.

“You probably think I’m some kind of monster now but… But they lied, Wuxian.”

“Who lied?” The fact he was even able to ask this question startled Wuxian himself a little.

“The guild, they lied. They lied about everything. They said they would help, but they didn’t.”

Wuxian frowned. “What do you mean? The guild doesn’t lie, they-”

“Yeah, well they sure didn’t do anything to help me!” Feng Xi snapped. His eyes shut tightly, hands balled into tight fists that made Wuxian fear that his nails would dig into his palms and make them bleed. “They lied about protecting my home, they didn’t do anything! And when I tried to warn them about this, they just told me it was inevitable, that they couldn’t actually stop the humans from tearing down the forest! So I had to act, I had to try to protect what was left of my home, only for them to throw me into a cell and claim I’ve committed treason!”

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Yes, Wuxian knew this act would be inevitable, that humans would eventually take, but he never expected that it would happen so soon, that the guild would actually allow it to happen.

Wuxian opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying to find the voice to say what he wanted, trying to find the courage. “What will you do now?” he asked instead.

Feng Xi let out a heavy sigh, one that dragged his shoulders down, as if he were unable to handle the weight of them any longer. “Luo Zhu helped me out of my cell. I… I’m leaving the guild…”

His voice had been so soft that Wuxian wasn’t even sure if he had heard him correctly, but he knew he did, and his heart dropped.

Too many thoughts, too many feelings, all came rushing in at once, and Wuxian felt like he was about to explode just by the sheer weight of them. But, of course, he couldn’t bring himself to say anything. The two just stood there in silence once more, the weight of the news sinking in.

“Wuxian.”

Feng Xi looked up, and looked Wuxian in the eyes, searching for something. Desperation was written all across his face, and it felt crushing to see such an expression on him.

“Wuxian, please… Please leave the guild and come with me.”

Time seemed to stop for a moment as he was finally able to get these words out, to get his plea out.

Feng Xi knew that there was a slim chance of Wuxian agreeing. He knew just how much the guild meant to Wuxian, as the forest meant to Feng Xi. It was home, and he knew that leaving it suddenly would be the hardest thing for Wuxian to do.

But he had ran his through his mind a million times by now, and Feng Xi realized that he didn’t need a yes from him. He didn’t need Wuxian to actually drop everything and leave with him. All he wanted was a sign that Feng Xi actually meant something to him, that there was a chance he meant more to Wuxian than the guild did. That just maybe he mattered more in Wuxian’s heart than the guild.

All he was looking for was just a moment of hesitation, but he wasn’t even given that.

Without missing a beat, Wuxian opened his mouth, and said, “No.”

So that was his answer. That’s how he felt, huh?

Feng Xi felt a bitter taste in his mouth as his heart felt like it was crushed.

“I see how it is,” Feng Xi scoffed, shaking his head. He really was a fool to believe such a thing, wasn’t he?

“Goodbye, Wuxian.”

With those final words, Feng Xi turned his back to him and walked away, not leaving any room for Wuxian to answer or even try to justify himself. He wouldn’t be able to bare it if he did.

 

Not too long after their final encounter, Wuxian heard of the forest being completely destroyed.

 

×××××××××××××××××××××××××××××××

 

"You can probably guess when the next time we met was."

Xiao Hei yawned, having listened to Wuxian's story attentively the entire time. He wasn't sure how much time had passed, but the sky was still dark outside, and Xiao Hei was still curled up in his arms.

"You and Feng Xi… I didn't think you guys had that kind of relationship…" Xiao Hei muttered, his voice slightly muffled from where he was buried against Wuxian.

"Are you surprised?"

Humming, the child thought about it for a moment before answering. "Not really. I could tell you two knew each other, especially seeing you guys fight. It was like you could understand each other even before the other knew what they were doing."

That was true he supposed, it probably had to do with the fact that they fought so much, either together or against one another. Some habits die hard.

Xiao Hei was quiet for a few moments, content to get lost in the lulling feeling of Wuxian petting his hand through his hair in a slow, soothing motion, even though Xiao Hei felt fine now.

"... Do you think, if they manage to bring him back, you two can talk?"

Wuxian froze for a moment, taken aback by Xiao Hei's words.

It was certainly something he thought about, probably more often than he was willing to admit, but he'd never said it out loud. It felt too real to be said out loud.

Too hopeful.

He let out a heavy sigh before answering. "I would like to try, but I'm afraid your shifu is a coward."

Xiao Hei sat up, turning around before hitting both his fists against Wuxian's chest. It didn't hurt at all, as he put no power behind it, but it did knock some air out of him.

"Don't you ever say that about my shifu!" The child shouted, looking angry. "Shifu isn't like what he was back then! Shifu can better explain himself and show his feelings now! Shifu is not a coward!!"

"Okay okay," Wuxian hushed him, "quiet, or we'll be kicked out for noise complaints. Lay back down, Xiao Hei, come on."

It didn't take much to convince the child to lay back down with an angry huff, but he still crawled back into Wuxian's arms, seeking that comfort even if he didn't need it anymore.

"Well, I'm gonna talk to him," Xiao Hei muttered, his voice giving away that he was clearly pouting, "so that means you have to as well."

Children were always do brave and daring. Wuxian wondered just how much longer it would take if the guild is successful. If they will be successful.

A large part of him hopes that they will, the part that still craves to reach out and try to mend what was broken.

A smaller piece of him hid in the corner, afraid of the possible confrontation and what may come with it.

For now, he shook away the thoughts and pulled the blankets around himself and the fast asleep Xiao Hei, having tired himself out finally.

At least one of them was brave.