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Too Many Flowers

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"You're coming," Zhao Yunlan declares in no uncertain terms, cutting through Da Qing's complaints. Da Qing glares at him, and then leans into Ye Zun's hand, scratching under Da Qing's chin comfortingly.

At least someone is showing some sympathy here.

"You're the representative of the Cat Tribe," Zhao Yunlan points out, knowing as well as Da Qing that that means he can't not go. But that doesn't mean he has to cut off Da Qing's complaints like that. That's just rude.

Da Qing glares at him again. "It's hosted by the Flower Tribe," he whines. Ye Zun's fingers have moved to scratch behind his ears instead and it's really hard to concentrate on sounding properly annoyed. "You know what they're like. I'm a cat, I can't just eat… flowers. Fruit. Whatever."

"You still don't have a choice," Zhao Yunlan tells him, sounding annoyed. "You can eat once you get home. I'm going, you're going, Shen Wei is going," he says emphatically.

Da Qing can feel Ye Zun's fingers tremble against him for a second and glares even harder at Zhao Yunlan for a split second, before butting his head against Ye Zun's hand. Ye Zun smiles down at him half-heartedly and quickly starts petting him again.

"Ah, A-Ye you're the only one who doesn't have to come if you don't want to," Zhao Yunlan says, his voice turning a lot gentler than it had been now that he isn't talking to Da Qing.

Da Qing hates the idea of leaving Ye Zun alone while all of them go off to the damned Yashou gathering. It's not like Ye Zun can't manage, Da Qing just happens to know that he doesn't like being alone. But Ye Zun also doesn't like being around strangers at all.

"If you come, you can just stay as a dragon," Da Qing assures him. "It's a Yashou thing, no one will think it's weird or anything."

Zhao Yunlan has managed to sit down next to them without Da Qing quite noticing. He does notice Zhao Yunlan reaching out to tuck a strand of hair behind Ye Zun's ear gently. At least he's trying, Da Qing thinks huffily.

"The damned cat is right, you don't even need to show yourself if you don't want to. But it's up to you if you want to come at all," Zhao Yunlan tells him.

Ye Zun huffs, but his fingers twist into Da Qing's fur in a way that usually would make Da Qing hiss out a warning. This time, he just butts his head against Ye Zun's hand again. With a start, Ye Zun loosens his grip, and then a moment later pets Da Qing apologetically.

Zhao Yunlan makes a small noise that means nothing just to fill the silence. Da Qing purrs loudly.

"Well, it's still a few weeks off. You don't have to decide yet," Zhao Yunlan says.

Da Qing hates the whole thing. The smell of all the flowers makes him want to sneeze constantly. Usually, he likes flowers just fine, it's just… too many flowers. And he has to just sit there and smile and eat food that is not meant for a cat and talk to a bunch of people that he'd really prefer not to talk to.

Not that he minds them that much usually, but today all anyone wants to talk about is Yashou affairs and how the Cat Tribe feels about this or that and mainly the Cat Tribe is a tribe of one and all of this is just exhausting.

He can't even turn into his cat shape at the moment, because he has a tiny dragon up his sleeve who Da Qing is very determined not to dislodge. Ye Zun had been anything but eager about coming, but also very determined to do so, for reasons that he refused to explain to Da Qing.

Da Qing smiles, even though at this point it feels a lot more like a grimace, at something Ya Qing just said. The crow gives him a biting look, her teeth flashing sharply as she smiles at him. She definitely knows what that means to a cat.

Da Qing really, really wants to just turn into a cat and hide under the table. Or possibly move over to sit with Zhao Yunlan and Shen Wei instead of being here with the Yashou Elders. Well, at least Zhu Hong is here, suffering through this with him.

(Infuriatingly, Da Qing still doesn't know how exactly Zhu Hong ended up as the leader of the Yashou. Zhao Yunlan was smug about it for weeks afterwards, so he had something to do with it, but he refused to explain—probably just to be annoying—and Da Qing is not admitting to any of the other Yashou that he doesn't know. There's nothing the Cat Tribe doesn't know, after all.)

It feels like an eternity later that Da Qing finally manages to escape the company of the Yashou Elders. It's entirely because of Ye Zun, who just suddenly decides to crawl out of his sleeve and then flies a few circles around Da Qing before settling down on his shoulders, and warbling demandingly at him.

"I think you'll have to excuse me for a while," Da Qing says, possibly sounding happier about it than he should, but he doesn't care.

Zhu Hong looks at the tiny dragon draped over Da Qing's shoulders, tail possessively coiled around his throat.

"Yes, I guess so," she says dryly, and then gives Da Qing a quick smile.

Da Qing nods at her and then quickly gets up and walks away, before anyone changes their mind about it. He knows he'll have to be back later, but any time away from all the useless talking is fine by him.

Da Qing finds somewhere secluded for them. A nice little place surrounded by green bushes and not that many actual flowers. He still doesn't mind flowers, but there really is such a thing as too many flowers for one night. He sits down on the grass, not caring if it stains his clothes or not.

"Better?" he asks Ye Zun, who chirps once and then unwinds from around his neck.

The next moment Ye Zun is standing there, looking down at Da Qing.

"Wait here for a moment," Ye Zun says and before Da Qing can say anything at all, he's vanished into a portal. Da Qing blinks. Well, he could at least have taken Da Qing with him, he thinks grumpily.

He doesn't have time for much more than that before Ye Zun is already back, a bag in his hands, filled with something that smells suspiciously like—food. He sits down next to Da Qing and starts pulling out food containers from the bag and setting them down on the grass.

"I asked gege to make you something," he says quietly, not looking up from what he's doing.

Before Da Qing has quite realised what he's doing he's already throwing his arms around Ye Zun, loudly declaring, "I love you." The surprise of it topples both of them over, leaving Da Qing lying half on top of Ye Zun, his arms still around him.

Da Qing lifts his head from where it ended up, his cheek pressed against Ye Zun's cheek, and looks down at him. "Uh.." he says and then feels all the words flee from him as he sees the blush spreading over Ye Zun's cheeks.

Oh, well… what does he have to lose, Da Qing thinks feeling just a bit dazed. He leans down and presses his lips against Ye Zun's lips. Ye Zun gasps softly under him, his lips moving lightly against Da Qing's. It's only a very brief kiss. Stupidly, Da Qing can feel a blush creeping up his own cheeks.

"Uh…" he says again.

"Mhmm," Ye Zun says.

They stare at each other for a moment, and Da Qing feels a whole lot like his brain has just dribbled out of his ears because it sure isn't quite working at the moment.

"We should eat," Ye Zun says finally.

"Yes," Da Qing agrees. He is hungry. Food is good. Shen Wei's food is always good.

It takes a moment before he realises that he has to move, and scrambles off of Ye Zun. Ye Zun sits up slowly, looking a bit dazed. He moves the food containers that had scattered when they tumbled to the ground. Da Qing helps him.

And then Ye Zun presses a quick little kiss to Da Qing's cheek before they settle down to eat some actual food, fit for cats. Maybe Da Qing can survive the smell of flowers for a little while longer.