Violent retching filled the bamboo house for the third time that night as Shen Qingqiu leaned over a bucket he had placed near his bed. Whatever was happening to him he could no longer deny that he was sick.
The symptoms came on slow at first, strong smells turning Shen Qingqiu’s stomach and his appetite abating bit by bit until it was all he could do to eat light soups and lightly flavored tea. Pickled anything seemed to help soothe the ache in his belly, and didn’t overwhelm his taste buds like most other food had been but nothing he did could stop him waking in the middle of the night and the early hours of the morning to empty out his stomach.
Shen Qingqiu was an immortal, how was it possible for him to be sick like this? Shen Qingqiu mentally whined as he leaned over the bucket once more. Had he been poisoned? None of his symptoms matched any poison that he had ever read about, and he knew them all. It couldn’t be a qi deviation, everything he knew told him his qi, while weaker and behaving oddly, was fine and any discrepancies matched with what he knew happened when one was ill.
Damn it, he was going to have to go see Mu Shidi wasn’t he? He hated troubling anyone over these types of things, but he wasn’t Shen Yuan anymore and persistent minor symptoms of illness meant a lot more when an immortal cultivator was experiencing them and whatever was causing the symptoms would need to be treated.
“Can you repeat your symptoms for me?” Mu Qingfang asked with a frown and furrowed eyebrows as he gently took Shen Qingqiu’s wrist in between his fingers and began his exam as the pair sat on the spare bed he kept in his rooms for patients that required his around the clock attention.
The kind overworked medic had answered his door despite the late hour, his hair attractively sleep ruffled and his inner robes wrinkled and askew as he blinked in drowsy and dazed concern at Shen Qingqiu who stood on his doorstep.
“Nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and general malaise,” Shen Qingqiu listed off with the dullness of someone who had to do this kind of task regularly.
Other people's scents were also causing him problems, but he brushed that off as an Alpha’s intolerance for other Alpha’s as it seemed the only people whose scents caused his stomach to turn and for a sense of wariness or rage to kindle under his skin were all Alpha’s. Only Luo Binghe seemed to be immune to the response, a sense of comfort and familiarity calming his nerves whenever it was just him and the boy in their home.
Confusion overcame Mu Qingfang’s face as his fingers twitched against Shen Qingqiu’s wrist before he gave him a contemplative look. “Forgive me for my boldness, but I have to ask, has Shixiong m..,” Mu Qingfang paused to look at Shen Qingqiu’s neck before looking into his eyes, “...had relations with another Alpha? It is exceedingly rare but it is possible…”
...What?...Sex, was Mu Qingfang asking if he had….Shen Qingqiu was known to be promiscuous, but it was with beta women, not Alphas. And what was rare? ...If he caught an std he was going to murder Airplane the second he could get his hands on that shitty author. See if he didn't.
“I...I Don’t know,” Shen Qingqiu answered honestly, whatever the original goods did or did not do in private was not something he was aware of.
“I see,” Mu Qingfang said, a hint of something sad in his voice as he spoke softly. “Could Shixiong lay back on the bed for me, I’d like to examine your stomach if that's alright.”
Dread nipped coldly at Shen Qingqiu’s nerves as he complied, giving Mu Qingfang a nod in lieu of speaking as the sensation tickled up his limbs. Usually, Mu Qingfang only ever had to take his pulse to discern what was wrong with him, for him to need to do a more hands on exam...It was concerning. Something must be seriously wrong. Had he made a terrible mistake waiting as long as he did before seeking medical attention?
“We had suspected Shen Shixiong might be suffering from some memory loss,” Mu Qingfang said, smiling reassuringly at him as his hand pushed and kneaded around his lower stomach.
“...” Shen Qingqiu’s heart began to race as his eyes moved to look at Mu Qingfang in observation and repressed fear before he managed to stifle the urge to run. “More than some it would seem,” he confessed before turning to stare at the wall as the medic did his work.
“Shixiong,” Mu Qingfang said carefully when he pulled his hands away, leaving Shen Qingqiu’s stomach feeling icy cold with their absence. “This one know’s that Shen Shixiong has made his reluctance on more intimate exams clear in the past, but…”
...Intimate exams? As Shen Yuan he had been through the wringer with all things medical exams, he doubted anything Mu Qingfang needed to do would faze him. “It’s fine,” Shen Qingqiu said like an idiot.
When he had blindly consented to this he had thought Mu Qingfang was talking about being naked or something not... Shen Qingqiu blushed furiously, his hands clenching tightly to the blanket Mu Qingfang had draped over him while the medic sat in between his spread legs. He valiantly ignored the slick press of fingers into him, feeling a small sense of gratefulness that it wasn’t cold like he had expected it to be.
Just what kind of std did he get saddled with? Shen Qingqiu wondered, mentally going over the novel from front to back in an attempt to figure out what the hell the original goods had been up to in those brothels.
“It is how I suspected,” Mu Qingfang said after he pushed on something that made Shen Qingqiu jerk in surprise before pulling away and helping him readjust his robes. “With your issues with your memories, I have to wonder...Does Qingqiu not know he is not an Alpha?” A gentle hand carefully placed itself on Shen Qingqiu’s shoulder as Mu Qingfang looked at him with concern, Mu Qingfag’s thumb gently rubbing against the side of his neck as if to comfort.
Not an Alpha? It would make sense for the scum villain to be a beta in disguise, the main villain was always hiding something or manipulating people.
Shen Qingqiu shook his head as he stared down at his lap. Beta’s were not allowed to be Peak Lords or high ranking leaders, if he was a beta...would he not be allowed to be a Peak Lord anymore? Would he lose his students? His Binghe? His hands trembled at the thought of losing everything he had grown to love.
“What’s wrong with me?” Shen Qingqiu asked, more for something to distract him from the possible train wreck he was heading into than actually wanting to know.
“Qingqiu..” Mu Qingfang started to speak before shifting to sit closer to Shen Qingqiu and running a soothing hand through his hair as a calming scent of cool mint and earthy herbs emitted from the Alpha physician. “Qingqiu is with child.”
…..What? Shen Qingqiu’s mind whited out, static ringing in his ears as he stared at Mu Qingfang like the man was insane. Beta men couldn’t get pregnant.
“That’s not possible,” Shen Qingqiu said in knee jerk denial as one of his hands went to press against his stomach. If he wasn’t an Alpha then the only way he could possibly be pregnant was… “I can’t be pregnant.” To be an Omega, let alone an unmated pregnant omega was not something he could handle.
“Qingqiu,” Mu Qingfang spoke calmly, his scent matching his words as he gently ran his hand through Shen Qingqiu’s hair before cupping the side of his neck and rubbing his thumb in soothing circles underneath his chin and ear. “A-Qiu, it’s alright, there are ways to handle this if you do not wish to have this child, none of us will find fault or judge you for whatever decision you decide to make.”
“I’m not...I can’t be an Omega...Mu Shidi,” Shen Qingqiu said ending on a choked whine as he reached out, clutching at Mu Qingfang’s arm as tightly as he clutched his middle before leaning forward and pressing his forehead to the medic's shoulder. “Omega’s can’t be Peak Lords,” He murmured into the safety of Mu Qingfang’s neck, breathing in whatever it was that was so soothing that was coming from the medic.
“No one is going to take away what's rightfully yours,” Mu Qingfang soothed, gently patting the back of Shen Qingqiu’s head before trailing his hand back down to rub at his neck. “None of A-Qiu’s martial siblings will tolerate anyone trying to separate our pack. I promise you, everything is going to be alright.”
How could any of this possibly turn out alright? He thought he had had it bad being landed as an Alpha scum villain in a world dominated by Alpha’s but for that villain to actually be and Omega...That was already bad enough, but also pregnant and without an Alpha? There wasn’t much worse you could get in a world like this.
“I can make A-Qiu some medicine if he would like, no one else need know this ever happened,” Mu Qingfang spoke carefully, the soft timbre of his voice laced with care and concern.
No one needed to know? Shen Qingqiu sniffed before he pulled away and looked into Mu Qingfang’s eyes as he tried to puzzle out what the Alpha was saying. Abortion, his mind helpfully supplied through the white haze his panic had laced over his mind like a fine net.
Jerking back, Shen Qingqiu clutched his stomach even tighter as he wrapped his arm around his middle as if to shield the small spark of life from Mu Qingfang. “No!” Shen Qingqiu snapped out as something raged inside him, building into a dull roar in his ears that turned into an audible growl.
Raising his hands in the air, Mu Qingfang hummed a soft rumbling coo as he put some distance between them. “Alright,” Mu Qingfang said as he slid off the bed before turning away to put around his house. ”If that is your wish, then I can make medicine to help with your morning sickness and a nutritional soup that should help aid in your baby's growth.”
The offer for relief from the nightmare that was his stomach calmed Shen Qingqiu’s nerves the low frequency growl fading away until it was only a tickle in his chest as he watched Mu Qingfang work.
“Many thanks,” Shen Qingqiu mumbled thoughtlessly as he accepted a bowl filled with some sort of liquid. He had just growled at someone...He had never growled the entire time he has lived as Shen Qingqiu. It was a weird feeling, both physically and mentally with how pure instinct and the need to protect overcame his rational mind.
“If Qingqiu wishes to keep this child then Yue Shixiong and the others must be informed,” Mu Qingfang said as he sat back down on the bed, hovering on the edge to give Shen Qingqiu as much distance as he could.
Holding the bowl in one hand and the spoon in the other Shen Qingqiu stirred the contents, tapping at the edge of the bowl a few times before finally taking a hesitant sip. It didn’t taste good, but it wasn’t bad, whatever this was it didn’t really have much of a flavor at all and it settled his stomach and filled his aching belly with its warmth.
“This Shixiong understands,” Shen Qingqiu said between small sips, pausing to look up at Mu Qingfang when the Alpha placed a hand on his knee.