Shen Wei never thought things would end up this way. He honest to god just wanted to help Zhao Yunlan. He never thought-
Well, none of that matters now. It's useless to think about what-ifs. Useless to apologize, to say that it wasn't meant that way. And he's the one to blame. He is the cause of all this. He's the cause of Zhao Yunlan's demise.
And so Shen Wei sits in the hallway, in front of their apartment, and just stares at the ceiling. He doesn't dare to go back to the apartment, the scene of the crime. Fear curls at his heart and it's been so long since he felt the pure terror coursing through his veins. His head is full of thoughts, all of them racing past one another. His heart is beating fast in his chest and he feels like he could throw up.
"Shen-laoshi?" a familiar young voice calls out to him. "What are you doing out here?"
Shen Wei looks up at the dark-haired youth, his eyes spelling fear. Da Qing, the poor cat. If he learns what happened…
"What happened?" Da Qing asks, his heartbeat picking up and Shen Wei can hear it fill with fear.
"Da Qing…" Shen Wei starts. "I'm sorry…"
"What happened? Please tell me!" Da Qing squats down to be in Shen Wei's line of sight.
"I…" Shen Wei stops to swallow his fear and then looks into the cat's eyes. "I made a mistake."
"What is it?" Da Qing reaches out to pull the professor to his feet. "I'm sure it isn't that bad, we can fix it. Let's go inside and I'll help you."
"I…" Shen Wei looks at the door. "I don't dare to. It's better if you go alone. This can't be fixed."
"There is little to nothing that can't be fixed. Just tell me. If you don't want to go inside, then tell me here."
"It's… a long story" Shen Wei sighs.
"We have time" Da Qing tries to calm the professor.
"I… alright" Shen Wei nods finally. "It all started…"
In the morning. Shen Wei woke up next to Zhao Yunlan as always. His warm body basically on top of his, acting as a living blanket. As always, Shen Wei was awake long before Zhao Yunlan woke. But he liked having time to just hold the other and enjoy the other’s warmth. And he liked seeing the calm stretched across his husband’s features. It wasn’t always that way as Zhao Yunlan still woke in the middle of the night at times, having nightmares of the both of them dying. Even though that was five years in the past now.
Still, this morning was a good one and there were rays of sunshine dancing on their bodies. It was going to be a warm day, which made Shen Wei sigh with happiness. He loved the sunlight and he liked doing anything under it. It was going to be a great day.
Until Zhao Yunlan woke up. He groaned and rolled away from Shen Wei, even as the other chased after his warmth.
“Leave me alone” Zhao Yunlan murmured, his voice muffled by the pillow he just stuffed his face into. “I don’t want to get up.”
“You don’t have to” Shen Wei said gently, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You can stay in bed if you want to.”
Zhao Yunlan grunted and pulled his shoulder out from underneath Shen Wei’s hand, scooting over to the very edge of the bed. Shen Wei’s heart jumped with worry and his mind started racing with fear.
“Is something wrong, Yunlan?” he asked as softly as he could.
“No” Zhao Yunlan said, clearly lying.
“Then…” Shen Wei didn’t want to voice his fears. Why do you pull away from me? Why are you giving me the cold shoulder? Did I do something wrong?
“I’ll make you breakfast” he said instead and got out of bed.
He tried to shake off the unnerving feeling and just focus on the toast and the congee. He could only hope that it was just a bad dream that left Zhao Yunlan acting cold and that later he’d be feeling better.
The smell of coffee filled the entire kitchen and by extension the living room. Around ten minutes later the sound of the soft steps of his husband hit his ear and soon warm arms circled around his waist.
“I’m sorry” Zhao Yunlan whispered as he put his head on Shen Wei’s shoulder.
“Bad dream?” Shen Wei asked and Zhao Yunlan hid his face in his neck as he nodded.
"I dreamed about Ye Zun and dying again" he whispered and Shen Wei's heart squeezed with pain. "But this time it was only you” his arms squeezed around Shen Wei’s waist as he recalled the dream. “You sacrificed yourself and made me forget. You tried to make me forget all our moments together.”
Shen Wei’s heart was filled with pain, but not his own. Or not only his own. He turned around and brought his husband into his arms. He held him as close as he could, hoping to ease both of their pain. It was a trauma they shared and they just hoped that at some point the scars would heal.
“I’m sorry” Shen Wei whispered into his hair. “I’m sorry you’re still plagued by these nightmares. I wish I could help you somehow my love.”
“Just hold me” Zhao Yunlan squeezed his eyes shut and buried his head in his husband’s neck.
“Forever my darling” Shen Wei promised and pressed a kiss to his head to further instill his words. “Forever.”
They stood there for a while, just holding the other, healing together. Occasionally Shen Wei pressed a kiss to Zhao Yunlan’s head, who in return pressed a kiss to his neck.
“I love you” Zhao Yunlan muttered.
“I love you too” Shen Wei smiled and then pulled away from him slightly.
Zhao Yunlan finally flashed his charming smile which always made Shen Wei’s heart skip a beat. Finally, back to his usual self, Zhao Yunlan pulled Shen Wei in for a kiss, but it turned more playful than gentle. He nibbled at Shen Wei’s lower lip and one of his fingers dug into his husband’s side. Shen Wei jumped away from him, always shocked at how ticklish he was.
“Yunlan!” Shen Wei scolded the man, but there was no malice behind his words.
“Fine, fine” the other smiled and put his hands up in surrender. “I’ll leave you to make breakfast.”
Shen Wei should’ve known better than to believe that was all to his husband’s teasing. Still, at that moment, he just settled back into making breakfast, the act of taking care of Zhao Yunlan always providing great pleasure to him. This was the first thing he ever did after meeting the man again. And even now, it brought him so much joy.
They ate in the calm morning light, Shen Wei totally forgetting about the tickling and the mischief that his husband’s eyes always spell. He was just grateful for the calm morning and the fact that he didn’t have any classes that day. It has been also very calm in the past few years for the SID, with only a couple of cases every month. With Dixingren not being forced to stay in Dixing and also light returning there, they didn’t cause much trouble in Haixing. So, many days, Zhao Yunlan just sat in the office along with the team, though the higher-ups always gave them some type of work. Thankfully, the day was both of their days off and Shen Wei thought about how they should spend it.
“Hm” Shen Wei hummed and looked at Zhao Yunlan. “Would you like to go out and do something?”
“I think I’d rather stay in.”
“But it’s a beautiful day out” he blinked and Zhao Yunlan sighed, still not immune to Shen Wei’s big brown eyes.
“Fine, fine” he grabbed the other’s hand, his thumb running across the matching ring on his finger. “How about staying in for now and then we can go out and do something in the afternoon?”
“Okay” Shen Wei’s lips pulled into a happy smile that Zhao Yunlan couldn’t help but reciprocate.
So their day was decided. And Shen Wei planned to make it as relaxing as he could. Who would’ve thought that his husband would be filled with so much mischief?
Well… Shen Wei should’ve known. They have been married for five years after all.
So the pillow in his face as he tried to read really shouldn’t have surprised him as much as it did. He looked at Zhao Yunlan, blinking once, twice, thrice, and then furrowed his eyebrows.
“What was that for?” he asked.
“Nothing” Zhao Yunlan shrugged and took back the pillow Shen Wei was holding out for him, putting it under his head and going back to whatever he was doing on his phone.
Shen Wei stared at the chief of SID for another second and then decided that it was probably just a way to get his attention. So he went back to reading.
But the assaults didn’t stop. About ten minutes later, Zhao Yunlan threw the pillow at him once again and this time Shen Wei caught the smirk on the other’s lips.
“What are you doing?” he asked, confused about the other’s actions.
“Nothing” Zhao Yunlan replied once again and pulled back the pillow, repeating his earlier actions of putting it back under his head.
Shen Wei furrowed his eyebrows and tried to go back to reading, but was now paying close attention to him. What was he up to? Why did he slap him twice with the pillow? What were his plans?
Soon, those questions were answered by Zhao Yunlan himself, who once again tried to throw the pillow in his husband’s face. But this time, Shen Wei caught it. And in a fit of annoyance, he threw it right back. That shocked Zhao Yunlan right out of his mirth. But only for a second, as he grabbed the pillow once again and hurled it toward Shen Wei.
“Oh, is this how you wanna play?” Shen Wei asked, picking up the pillow from the floor and standing on his knees so he could hit Zhao Yunlan in the face.
“Yes!” Zhao Yunlan laughed out loud and grabbed the other pillow resting behind his back and launched a counterattack.
This is how they ended up pillow fighting in the late morning, their couch turning into a mess of blankets and arms as they fought. But Zhao Yunlan wasn’t famous for his dirty tricks for nothing. At one moment he was just hitting with a pillow and then the next, he caught Shen Wei’s arms and started tickling his side.
“Ah, the great Heipaoshi! Defeated by a mere mortal!” Zhao Yunlan mused as he watched the other squirm around, laughing loudly. It’s not always that Shen Wei lets all his guard down and genuinely laughs, so this moment was very precious to him. His heart filled with great joy at the sight.
“Yunlan!” Shen Wei managed to gasp between laughs and he tried to grab the other’s hands to stop the assault at his sides.
“Only if you admit that I’m the winner!”
But Shen Wei wasn’t called Heipaoshi for nothing either. He finally caught his husband’s hands and in a matter of a fraction of a second, he flipped their positions and straddled the other’s waist, holding his hands down at his side. His hair a mess, sticking out in all directions, his glasses long abandoned on the coffee table, he looked down at the other, panting.
“This is now war Zhao Yunlan!” he said, lowering his voice, trying to sound as menacing as Heipaoshi once did in the past. “And I plan to win it.”
“It’s not fair if you hold my hands down!” Zhao Yunlan whined, trying to squirm free of his grasp, though the mirth was still present in his voice.
“Everything is fair in love and war” Shen Wei smirked (actually smirked!) and grabbed both of Zhao Yunlan’s hands in one of his own, starting a tickle attack on the other’s side.
Zhao Yunlan’s loud laughter filled the entire apartment as he was tickled mercilessly, his legs kicking, though finding no purchase. He tried to free his arms, at least one of them, but for a long time, he couldn’t do anything. His senses were overwhelmed by his husband’s merciless tickling, the sound of his laughter, and the intense joy he felt. But then he struggled his hand free and immediately he flung the pillow closest to him at Shen Wei’s face.
That shocked Shen Wei out of his attacks and he blinked, slightly out of it. In that time, Zhao Yunlan managed to get out from underneath him and fall to the floor. He didn’t stay there for a long time though and got up to tackle Shen Wei from behind, making sure the other couldn’t get up for a while.
“Everything is fair in love and war” he echoed Shen Wei’s earlier statement and without waiting for a response, he bolted out of the room to hide.
Their pillow fight now turned into a game of tag. Or cat and mouse. Maybe both. But honestly, they were having fun, so really, no one could blame them.
Once Shen Wei was able to breathe, he picked up the other pillow and went to look for his prey. Or was he the prey? Only time could tell. Still, he crept through the house, focusing on his enhanced hearing to detect where Zhao Yunlan might have hidden. However, Zhao Yunlan has known him for more than six years, been married to him for five. He knew all his tricks. And in one fraction of a second, he was hit from a side, he wasn’t expecting to get hit from. He heard the chuckle as he held his stomach, though the hit really didn’t hurt at all. It was all a game. And Shen Wei was enjoying it.
He followed the chuckle and the sound of the footsteps, all of it leading him to the bedroom Da Qing had for when he wanted to sleep in his human form. Or when Shen Wei and Zhao Yunlan wanted to spend time alone. Though on those nights the fat cat fled from the apartment to be far away.
As he entered the room, he was once again hit in the stomach with the pillow, another chuckle falling from Zhao Yunlan’s lips as he quickly ran away from Shen Wei, who ran after him this time. He tackled the man from behind, making sure they fell on the thick carpet that they laid on the floor after Da Qing complained about his feet getting cold.
“No!” Zhao Yunlan yelled out before his laugh took over and he started flailing under Shen Wei’s hold. “No, let me go! This isn’t fair!”
“I’m not letting you go this time” Shen Wei let out a laugh and started tickling him once again.
And Zhao Yunlan laughed, deep from the heart and Shen Wei laughed with him, enjoying the sound and of course the great game they shared. He could feel the rumble of the laughter under his fingers that danced on Zhao Yunlan’s sides, going up and down, sparing no second with the torment. The bellowing laughter left a sweet sensation brewing in his heart, the feeling settling next to the endless love he had to share.
“I can’t breathe” Zhao Yunlan had tears rolling down his cheeks from the laughter and his face started to hurt from the wide smile.
“I’ll let you go if you admit that I’m the victor of this war” Shen Wei held down his hands, face almost splitting with the wide grin he has on his face.
“Absolutely not!” Zhao Yunlan breathed in deeply, filling his lungs with as much air as he can manage.
“Admit it!” Shen Wei pressed.
“No!” he still had the energy to hold his position against Shen Wei.
“Admit” he moved the other’s hands in one hand and moved the other down to be able to tickle if worst came to worst.
“No! Don’t!” Zhao Yunlan tried to move away or struggle free, but he wasn’t able to. Jokingly panicked, he looked into Shen Wei’s eyes. “Truce?”
Shen Wei pretended to think about the offer for a minute. But before he could agree to the truce, he was shocked by Zhao Yunlan’s strength as the other tried to fling a pillow at him. In his shock, he called upon his powers and accidentally teleported away.
“So that’s what happened” Shen Wei hangs his head low, still committed to the role. Throughout the story, the two slid down to the floor once again, this time facing the apartment's door.
“Oh my god” Da Qing sighs, annoyed by the two’s dumb game.
“Da Qing, don’t leave! This is a serious problem!” Shen Wei tries to get him to stay as the cat stands up and walks up to the door.
“I leave for half a day and you guys turn into literal five-year-olds” the fat cat grumbles and opens the front door, seeing Zhao Yunlan sprawled out on the thick carpet in the living room.
“Ah, Da Qing!” Zhao Yunlan lifts his head. “You’re home! Have you seen Shen Wei?”
“Unfortunately” Da Qing rolls his eyes and walks to his room. “Stop your nonsense and make some lunch. I’m hungry” he says as he closes the door behind him.
Shen Wei peeks in through the door, meeting Zhao Yunlan’s eyes. They stare at each other for a second and then burst out laughing. They just sit there laughing for what feels like an hour and every time they try to stop, they see the other’s expression and the laughing continues.
After about ten minutes, Shen Wei finally stands up from the floor and walks in through the front door, closing it behind him. He walks to Zhao Yunlan, who’s now sprawled out on the floor once again, and looks down at him with a wide smile.
“Truce?” he asks jokingly.
“Truce” Zhao Yunlan nods half-seriously and then reaches out for Shen Wei’s hand.
Shen Wei helps him stand up and they stumble for a second. Then Shen Wei hears Zhao Yunlan’s stomach growl and he lets out a chuckle.
“I’ll make lunch” he smiles and his husband nods. “You just… try to grab everything from the floor. Just put it on the couch, I’ll sort it out later.”
“Alright” Zhao Yunlan nods and presses a chaste kiss to the other’s lips.
Shen Wei smiles against the other's lips and then walks to the kitchen to prepare lunch for the three of them. Later they would go out to a park or just for a walk. Maybe they'd go down to the lake or maybe they'd just enjoy the sun, sitting on a bench and talking. Whatever it may be, Shen Wei will always be grateful for days like this. After all, even the great Heipaoshi has to have some fun every once in a while.