There were many things Shen Qingqiu missed about the 21st century. Video games, instant foods, unholy amounts of caffeine, clothing that didn't involve approximately eight thousand layers, the electricity that ran the internet that gave him sweet, sweet memes, but really most of all: A/C.
Usually his fairly new (or fairly used if you thought about it, which Shen Qingqiu most certainly tried not to do) immortal body took care of any discomfort that came with temperature changes. Usually there was a soft wind that rustled the leaves and waved the heat away. Usually all he needed was his fan for a light breeze and he was fine.
Well fuck usually because Shen Qingqiu thought he lived on top of a mountain, not in the pits of hell itself.
The heat had been so intense that he had taken one look at his disciples and announced a free day to be spent however they felt best. Their looks of pure relief, even on his most blank-faced students, was something Shen Qingqiu definitely agreed with.
Any breeze that had managed to find its way onto the peak was crushed by the near visible heat. Shen Qingqiu was sure that had there been any concrete or tarmac the wavering heat would have pooled together to create visions of false water. The greenery that surrounded him on every side could only buffer so much, but Shen Qingqiu had a secret weapon that he would gladly abuse:
A little pond hidden in the bamboo stalks a short walk from his house.
It, as far as he could tell, was just a small inlet connected to a river that lead down the mountain. It was also the only reason he wasn't currently dying, though that seemed like it would change very quickly.
Forever surrounded by prudes who couldn't deal with the back of someone's neck, Shen Qingqiu had always found himself two seconds away from laughing at the flustered teenagers who accidentally saw the scandalous skin of one of their martial siblings' wrists. When he had eagerly removed his footwear and rolled his pants far past his knees, robes splayed behind him as to not get them wet, Shen Qingqiu wasn't exactly prepared to suddenly be on the end of one such a freak out - but, really, he should have been.
Weight on one hand propped behind him, the other busy fluttering his fan for some relief to his neck, Shen Qingqiu stared blankly at the sudden form of one Liu Qingge.
He could already feel the headache future him will suffer through.
"Shen Qingqiu!" Ah yes, there it was. "Just what are you doing?"
Shen Qingqiu made a show of looking around, rolling his neck back and forth as he slowly gazed at the water, the bamboo, the sky, and then Liu Qingge himself. "What does it look like I'm doing, Liu-shidi?"
"Being shameless!" Liu Qingge snapped. "What if one of the disciples saw you in such a state?"
"Then I suppose they will know what my calves looks like and we can go on from there," Shen Qingqiu drawled. His eyes narrowed. "I'm cooling off on a hot day, shidi, I am not out in the middle of Qing Jing Peak flashing the town below."
Liu Qingge quickly turned bright red and Shen Qingqiu hid his smirk behind his still fluttering fan. Served Liu Qingge right! He wasn't doing anything but sitting by a secluded pond near his own house and—
Shen Qingqiu's eyes narrowed further.
"Liu-shidi," Shen Qingqiu hoped Liu Qingge had enough of a brain hiding somewhere in his stupid muscles to realize the coolness of his tone was to be feared, "this shixiong of yours has told you what he is doing here, but what, exactly, are you doing upon my peak?"
Liu Qingge narrowed his eyes back and Shen Qingqiu bade a fond farewell to his shidi's lost brain cells. "One of your pestering disciples was running about my peak, yelling about how their most gracious shizun had given Qing Jing Peak a day off."
The words were said like - Shen Qingqiu didn't even know. A threat? A question? Liu Qingge sounded more bewildered than anything else, but Shen Qingqiu couldn't for the life of him understand why.
And then it clicked. He sighed. "Liu-shidi, please tell me that you didn't have your disciples training in this heat?"
The blank stare Liu Qingge gave him made him sigh again. The sharp bite of pettiness simmered beneath his skin and Shen Qingqiu was weak to it—he slowly dragged his leg from the water to point directly at Liu Qingge, his eyes growing wider with every centimetre of revealed skin.
Shen Qingqiu snapped his fan shut. "Shidi said this one is shameless for showing such skin and yet here is shidi himself, staring so indecently. Perhaps Liu-shidi should take responsibility on seeing his shixiong in such a state."
If Shen Qingqiu had thought Liu Qingge went bright red at the distorted vision of his legs, that had nothing on the way he flushed all the way down his neck. Eyebrows by his hairline, Shen Qingqiu had the stray, curious thought of where that flush ended.
Liu Qingge's mouth moved without sound. He - as far as Shen Qingqiu could tell - was two seconds away from going into a qi deviation right in front of his eyes yet again. Luckily it was not meant to be and, after substantial throat clearing, Liu Qingge finally took a deep breath. His eyes flickered back and forth between Shen Qingqiu's face and leg, still up in the air with his toes pointed, and he cleared his throat yet again.
(He wouldn't admit, even under pain of death, that he longed to trace Shen Qingqiu's skin with more than just his eyes. The clear droplets of water that rolled down the curve of his calf, over his knee, skimmed the giving muscle of his thigh—Liu Qingge wanted to taste its path with tongue and teeth. He wanted to bite down and take that sweet flesh between his incisors and suck unforgiving bruises into it.
One hand itched for the feel of Shen Qingqiu's palm and the callouses of instruments rather than weapons etched into his fingertips. The other wanted to wrap around the delicate bones of his wrists and ankles, paint them in the shape of fingers, Shen Qingqiu's voice siren call in his ears.
Liu Qingge was a hungry man - it wasn't his fault Shen Qingqiu was a feast.
Wasn't his fault that Shen Qingqiu gave him such an easy opening.)
"This Liu Qingge is an honorable man! He would never besmirch the nature of the Peak Lord Shen Qingqiu and will therefore, of course, take full responsibility in seeing the Lord Shen in such a state!"
Neither man could really comprehend what was coming out of Liu Qingge's mouth; Shen Qingqiu was certain he was the one currently going through a qi deviation and Liu Qingge was more worried about having a heart attack than whatever his brain managed to string together. They both sat in the awkward silence that followed Liu Qingge's short rant, red faced and dumbfounded, only broken when Shen Qingqiu finally let gravity take back hold of his leg.
Startled, as if it wasn't his own limb, Shen Qingqiu sat up completely straight and opened his fan once again. He opened his mouth, hoping the two brain cells he had left (as he was sure the rest had fled the moment Liu Qingge had stepped foot in the area) could make a sentence he wouldn't regret.
What he had wanted to say was some eloquent bullshit on why he thought Liu Qingge needed to seek medical help and to explain what the fuck he thought "taking responsibility" was.
What he actually said was, "I demand a spring wedding."
Immediately, Shen Qingqiu was bombarded by the unpleasant rings of the System and the much more pleasant visage of his shidi's face lit up in a smile. Blindsided by the noise ("Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations! Important things are said in threes!") and nearly taken apart by the stupidly handsome Liu Qingge's stupidly handsome face, Shen Qingqiu was unable to do anything but nod as Liu Qingge did an immediate about face - something about telling his family? About his engagement?
Because they were now engaged? Is that how that happened? Did that count? Did people get engaged for whatever reason, no matter how stupid? Did Liu Qingge just take him seriously?
"What just happened?!"