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the blood that links us

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Wu Xie was terrified when he found Xiaoge in the mist, swaying on his legs and surrounded by snakes. He’d been so sure that Xiaoge was immune to their venom—to hear Pangzi say he wasn’t shocked him to his core, and he knew he had to go find Xiaoge and help immediately.

He grabbed Xiaoge and almost dragged him inside the nearest tent, barely avoiding more snakes.

“Xiaoge?” Wu Xie started to prepare the syringe with the serum.

Xiaoge uncovered his forearm. His skin was white as snow and just as cold, as always. His heart wasn’t beating in his chest, as it never did. Wu Xie had never minded what he was before, but now he was just so scared. Would injecting him with the serum even help? He’d know better than Wu Xie, though, so Wu Xie tried to steady his hands. He plunged the needle into Xiaoge’s arm; discarded the syringe once it was empty.

“Is it enough? Do you need anything else?” Wu Xie peered into Xiaoge’s face with worry.

Xiaoge closed his hands tightly into fists. Then, before Wu Xie really understood what was happening, Xiaoge was on him, one hand tilting his head to the side, his cold lips pressed against Wu Xie’s neck.

Wu Xie shut down an instinctual wave of panic and made himself go limp. If Xiaoge needed blood, Wu Xie was more than happy to give him his. Just as long as Xiaoge would be okay.

He’d never bitten him before—Wu Xie wasn’t quite sure how long he could go without blood when they were far from civilisation and out of handy portable freezes filled with blood packs. Certainly longer than what Wu Xie had heard about other vampires, but then he could stand the sunlight, too; he was obviously special in more ways than one.

And he was hurt now; hurt and poisoned.

But he wasn’t biting Wu Xie. He was perfectly still, and he must’ve been able to feel Wu Xie’s pulse under his mouth, but he didn’t bite him.

After a long, long moment, he let Wu Xie go.

Wu Xie twisted around to face him, and saw Xiaoge looking at the tent flap as if contemplating going out again. He didn’t do that, but he moved away from Wu Xie with his inhuman speed, moving to the far end of the tent, as if it made any difference here.

As if he thought Wu Xie was afraid of him.

“Xiaoge,” Wu Xie said softly. “It’s okay. You can do it.”

Xiaoge shook his head. “I won’t hurt you.” His voice was rough.

“You won’t,” Wu Xie said. “I trust you.” It was the truth. He had full faith in Xiaoge.

And—Xiaoge needed it. He was even paler than usual; his skin almost translucent. He was shivering slightly, and his eyes kept darting to Wu Xie before he forced himself to look away.

He was always so composed whenever Wu Xie saw him, but he was the opposite of that now. He’d spilled his own blood for Wu Xie so many times. Why did he think Wu Xie wouldn’t do it for him?

Wu Xie knew what to do.

He caught Xiaoge’s eyes and then calmly cut his own wrist with his knife. Not a long cut, and not very deep either. Safe for him. Just enough so that it would bleed.

He knew it was a cruel thing to do; he remembered Xiaoge’s pained words when he wondered if he was even human; if anyone would notice if he were gone.

Wu Xie knew: he was a vampire, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t human, and Wu Xie would notice if Xiaoge were gone, and this, here, giving him his blood—it was the only thing to do.

Xiaoge took an unsteady step in his direction, his eyes flashing red as bright as Wu Xie’s blood. His fangs were very sharp. He was not going to hurt Wu Xie, and if he couldn’t believe it himself, Wu Xie was going to prove it to him.

“Drink,” Wu Xie told him. “It’s all right.”

Xiaoge was next to him in an instant, one arm embracing him in his waist, impossibly gently, the other raising Wu Xie’s wrist to his lips.

Wu Xie had donated blood in the past and had sustained bleeding wounds, but the sensation was nothing like this, Xiaoge’s mouth pressed to his wrist, his tongue lapping at the cut, Xiaoge sucking his blood.

Wu Xie held on to him, both to keep himself steady and to show Xiaoge he wanted it. He was becoming slightly light-headed, but at the same time he could feel Xiaoge growing warmer under his hands, warmer than he’d ever felt—all thanks to Wu Xie’s blood.

Wu Xie realised that he didn’t mind the weakness overcoming him if it meant Xiaoge could be warmed up with his life.

Wu Xie wasn’t sure how long it’d been when Xiaoge let him go. His complexion looked better now, rosy and not deadly pale. He searched Wu Xie’s face and Wu Xie, now more than a bit dizzy, smiled at him encouragingly.

“It’s all right,” he repeated. “I—I liked it.”

He wasn’t just reassuring Xiaoge. He did like it: Xiaoge’s closeness and the surrealistic knowledge that it was Wu Xie’s blood coursing through him now, sustaining him. That Wu Xie could help him, too. He was tired, and his wrist hurt now, but it was worth it.

And maybe next time Xiaoge would actually bite him, and it wouldn’t hurt as much as a blade cutting through his skin.

Xiaoge helped him sit. He looked through the contents of the tent and found a roll of bandage to dress Wu Xie’s wrist with. He kept observing him carefully.

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly.

“I’m not,” Wu Xie told him. Xiaoge’s lips were still stained with his blood, and in a fit of courage or maybe stupidity, Wu Xie leant in to kiss him.

His lips were warmer now, like the rest of him. He didn’t react at first, and then tilted his head into the kiss, still slow and gentle. His tongue darted out to lick at Wu Xie’s mouth, cleaning it from the blood that must’ve transferred during the kiss.

“See,” Wu Xie told him quietly. “I’m not scared of you and you didn’t hurt me.”

There was quiet disbelief still hiding in Xiaoge’s face, but he stayed close to Wu Xie.