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One must imagine Shen Wei happy

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The rain was crashing down on the windows, all the clouds were tinged with a dark grey, sadness seemed to engulf the whole earth. Or at least, it was engulfing Shen Wei's life that day. That day, as it had been for far too many other days in his existence, by the way.

Lying on his side on his bed, one arm under his pillow, Shen Wei was still dressed, his glasses discarded on the bedside table. Aside from the depressing weather, not a sound was audible in the room. Only, his body seemed to jerk periodically. Half-buried in his pillow, his face, usually so controlled and composed in public, displayed his pain in the privacy of his surroundings. Tears slipped from his eyes silently, what was the point of holding them back now? Again, he was heartbroken and history had repeated itself... Again, he felt so alone.

Slowly, he moved his left hand to his collar to pull his pendant from his shirt. He gently held his precious treasure and brought it to his lips, a desperate attempt to get as close as he could to his beloved when it had become impossible... With his free hand, he gently caressed the ring that adorned his ring finger, the second treasure he had left. He had been able to enjoy such a sweet married life before fate caught up with him... Now the loss twisted him with pain. This infernal cycle would never leave him.

A sob escaped him, tearing through the deafening silence of the room.

Like whenever sadness brought tears to his eyes, it was always related to Kunlun, or in this case in this life, Zhao Yunlan (although he once told him not to cry for him).

One would think that after so long, he would have gotten used to the pain, the loss, the despair, the frustration... but no time was ever sweeter. Not even close. Sometimes it actually seemed to get worse with each new cycle. He was tired of it.

Through his ten thousand years, he had learned to hide his emotions from the other's eyes. But once he was alone with himself, he found that occasionally he could no longer contain them. In a way it was necessary: it was because he had moments of emotional release out of sight that he could conceal his emotions in public so well. That much, at least, he could control.

Oh, how happy he had been these past few years, having Zhao Yunlan by his side, regardless of what it meant in the end. He had been able to selfishly enjoy a moment of happiness in the midst of the drama that was his existence. He had tried his best to (he hoped) contribute to the happiness of the one he loved and thus to his own. Even if somehow it only made things more painful after his inevitable disappearance...

A few days before their last 'first' meeting, time had worked so well that he had surprised himself not having thought of him during the time he spent working and teaching his students. It was only later, when he was alone, a his hand on his pendant, with the same affection, the same longing, and the usual painful twist to his heart. Then Kunlun had resurfaced as Zhao Yunlan as the Chief of the Special Investigation Department, and the whole process had repeated itself, with fate taking him away once more...

Now here he was, grief and despair twisting him yet again. Oh, he wished they could simply both live or both die. It would have been so much easier. Because they would never have a happy ending, Shen Wei always ended up losing him in the end.

His history, their history, the name of Kunlun and all his reincarnations were all closely linked to pain. Pain he still hadn't gotten used to, and probably never would. Over the years he had accepted it. For his sake he could not approach him, for each closeness made the other wither away at a dizzying rate. So Shen Wei had refused to do so most of the time, persuading himself that it was better that way for the both of them. Though the outcome was always the same no matter what he choose, he wasn't that selfish. Kunlun deserved a good life, and he deserved better than one born out of darkness. The Ghost King was doomed to contemplate him from afar.

Shen Wei remained only a shadow, that was his fate. Despite the guardian's gifts, destiny had decided that his life would end alone in the same darkness in which he was born and bound to... It was a torment.

But after all, fate could have been much crueller by choosing to separate them for good, making sure that they remembered without ever being able to see each other. Until time made it a memory of a distant past, a relic, a mirage even... At least what they had lived so far and what they would probably live in the future was real.

Each cycle started with his loss. Little by little he would get over it slowly, very slowly, then he would meet him again, under another name, with all the frustration in the world of not being able to approach him. To end up losing him again, either without even meeting him, or he did approach him (in which case he lost him more quickly, this time with an additional guilt that would plague him)... rinse and repeat. At least that was how it had always been.

Shen Wei could contemplate life taunting him unscrupulously by waving Zhao Yunlan right under his nose. As one would cruelly taunt a child, a candy right in front of him while forbidding him to take it.

Well, so be it! If that was what fate wanted, then he wanted it too, and he would take whatever life presented him with as well as the punishments that threatened him.

Until then, Shen Wei had never tried to break the restriction until Zhao Yunlan pointed it out to him one day... ‘If it was the end of the world today, and you’d never done what your heart truly desires, wouldn't that be a shame?’ Also, Zhao Yunlan had asked him whether he wanted his heart or not and Shen Wei promised to never let go anymore. At that moment he had not meant it only for Zhao Yunlan. He would not stay away from Kunlun's reincarnation anymore. He was just going to honor his promise since the end would not change in the slightest no matter what he did... From now on, he would be selfish and devour every bit of life. He was finally going to get some vitalism out of this whole ordeal.

And as Kunlun had advised him, he would not regret his choice. After all, he would always see him again, life after life. The simple fact of seeing Kunlun live made Shen Wei happy, even when he refrained himself from getting close for reasons other than the prohibition.

Moreover, if his situation was synonymous with pain, it was also filled with happiness. In fact, the two were interdependent. Shen Wei was never tired of rediscovering his love. Whether it was by satisfying his urge in a surreptitious glance, by stealing a few moments of simple conversation, by sharing glances, gestures, by satisfying their mutual desire... Small, banal things that turn into pain once he has become just a stranger to his lover's eyes. But these moments, he would not trade them for anything in the world.

Yes, despite all this, Shen Wei preferred this torment to any other, and he would still choose it if he had to. At least he knew that they would meet again, near or far, no matter how long he had to wait again... After all, it was because there were those moments of profound suffering that he could so appreciate and enjoy the moments of pure happiness.

But right now, god, it was so painful!

Shen Wei heard someone enter but he did not move an inch. He had no energy whatsoever. Beside him, the bed’s mattress sinked under a weight. The person took a breath.

"...Ge-..." Shen Wei heard his brother's voice say.

However, as soon as the word left his mouth, Ye Zun wondered what to say. He had no idea how to console his brother, or how to console anyone at all for that matter. He himself had suffered being alone in that damn pillar for so long, but this was the first time he realized that his brother had also suffered. Shen Wei had had to deal with so much for so long without anyone being there for him. And how many times had he gone through this pain over and over in a loop?

So he simply stayed here, placing a delicate hand on his brother's back to sooth him if it even did anything at all...

Ye Zun felt sorry for Shen Wei. Although they had had disagreements before, he wished they had not been separated and that he had been there to support him through it all. Maybe it would have been more bearable.

After a while, Shen Wei straightened up and landed in his brother's arms, crying down his neck. Ye Zun did the only thing he could do and stroked his back affectionately while holding him.

Comforted by the feeling of finally having a shoulder to cry on, his emotions became harder to keep down, and a groan escaped Shen Wei.

"Didi..."

"Shhh, I know... I'm here now. You can lean on me. You don't have to bear this alone anymore."

As strange as it was for Shen Wei, it felt good to cry. His brother was right, this time Shen Wei wasn't alone. He wouldn't be anymore. And one day, his lover would be back. Shen Wei was looking forward to that day, and with Ye Zun this time, it might be even better. He hoped they would get along well. It would be so nice...