Pei Xiu lands on the ground with a soft thud. He folds his pitch-black wings and they blend with his dark clothes. He surveys the area. The land is still a bit wet from the previous rain. Even the trees and plants' leaves carry a few droplets here and there.
It is quiet, except for the cicadas singing. The night sky is already cloudless but it is also without stars, unexpectedly, the sole light being the kind moon above.
The hut before him is standing alone in the middle of the forest. At a glance, it seems as if no one lives there. However, there are traces of life in every part of it if you look close enough.
A few moments later, a candle flickers near the window. Soon after, he hears the door creaking. Immediately, he puts his hands behind his back. It opens up a bit before it fully reveals a petite young maiden.
Ban Yue bends down to straighten and dust her dark blue robes with one hand. On her other hand, she holds the candle. When she is done, she raises it and it illuminates her beautiful face.
A trace of sleepiness is evident in her gentle eyes. Upon realizing how bright the moon is, she blows the candle. Thin white smoke drifts from it. She stares at it and decides to leave it on the window sill.
Across her, Pei Xiu stands motionless, observing her every move. He reveals nothing on his face, remaining unaffected by the cold that is seeping through. Ban Yue looks at him and when they meet each other's gaze, she gives him the sweetest smile.
Something inside him finally cracks and he feels warm once again. He holds his breath, his hands behind his back tense a little. A few petals fall from the bunch of colorful wildflowers he is clutching tightly.
"You are here!" There's a singsong in her voice, fully awake now that he has come. She walks towards him, her footsteps light and carefree. She closes the gap in a few seconds.
She looks up at him and her lips split into another beautiful smile, a little bit playful this time. She tilts her head and her lips part, wanting to tease him. But he extends a hand and the hues of white and perhaps yellow and orange fill her vision.
She gasps at the sight but recovers soon to take them from his hand. When she purses her lips, a comfortable heat dusts her cheeks. She brings them close to her face. The soft and subtle smell of earth and flowers fills her.
"Thank you." She says bashfully. Then she tiptoes and kisses him on the cheek.
The steadily growing warmth in him threatens to unfurl on his cheeks. He mumbles a silent prayer for the shadows to hide it, hoping his face will not betray him.
But his eyes won't lie, the tenderness in them visible. And his heart won't too as it pounds heavy and eagerly in his chest. And so slowly, he reaches for her.
Ban Yue allows him, his steady arms wrapping around her delicate frame. She returns the embrace and leans cozily against him. Vanilla and sandalwood. They've always fit perfectly.
"I've missed you." He whispers as the quiet envelopes them, only their beating hearts can be heard.