The Advance of the Mountain Wind – Two

Yunlan calls bullshit, at the very end, and everything changes, including himself. The SID can probably cope, but the Ministry may never be the same, to say nothing of Dixing. Romance, Drama, Porn, I-4

They paused in the hallway between their apartments, staring at each other in silence for a long moment. Yunlan would deny to his dying breath (and beyond, obviously) that he ever had or ever would feel anything in shouting distance of ‘bashful’, but he did have to admit to a sudden moment of regret that he’d never gotten at lot of practice at taking a date home. Or being taken home, for that matter, except that Shen Wei didn’t seem to be doing any taking anywhere, either, and was just…

…just standing there, quite still. Watching him.

Yunlan laughed a little, feeling the sneaking tension in his shoulders let go all at once. He knew that look. Knew the stillness of xiao-Wei restraining himself. More than that, he knew the heat shuttered behind that waiting gaze.

“So.” Yunlan scrubbed a hand through his hair, glancing around the empty hallway for inspiration before he finally gave up and swept his arm toward his own door, inviting. “Come in?”

The waiting in Shen Wei’s gaze melted into intent heat, and he smiled, slow. “Yes.”

“Right. Yes.” Yunlan turned to open the door, and the light pressure of Shen Wei’s hand settling at the small of his back nearly made him trip over his own threshold.

The path from his door to the bed had never seemed quite so full of obstructions, even if they only consisted of some scattered shoes and a bit of a corner.

“Yunlan.”

The sound of his bare given name, rolled over Shen Wei’s tongue like he was tasting it, made Yunlan’s breath shudder in his lungs. “Yeah?” he managed, almost his nonchalant self.

Shen Wei’s hands slid over his shoulders, turning him to see that Shen Wei’s smile had softened. “Let me?”

Old, deep certainty washed over Yunlan again. This was the one he could always trust, beyond sense or reason, beyond question or doubt. His smile was easy with that certainty, if tilted with the newness of the oldness. “Yeah.”

Shen Wei’s hands closed around his face, careful, tender, as though Yunlan was the most precious thing he’d ever held, and it was so very easy to relax into them, to reach out and settle his hands on xiao-Wei’s waist, and open his mouth for the soft, cool lips sliding over his.

One slow, careful kiss after another, Shen Wei’s tongue stroked deeper and deeper into his mouth, until Yunlan’s breath was coming fast and short and his fingers dug into Shen Wei’s hips, pulling him closer. Urgency coiled tighter and tighter in his belly, and finally spilled over into words.

“All right, can…” Another kiss. “Can we just…” Another, and this time he felt the curve of Shen Wei’s lips against his. “Xiao-Wei…!” His laughter was what finally broke them apart, though the quiet mischief dancing in xiao-Wei’s eyes made Yunlan lean their foreheads together as he caught his breath. “Bed?”

“I’d like that.” Shen Wei’s hands slid over his shoulders and down his arms to catch his hands, and Shen Wei backed up without so much as looking over his shoulder, drawing Yunlan toward the bed. That amount of attention focused on him made his breath quicken again. And Shen Wei himself…

Yunlan had always thought Shen Wei was beautiful. He had eyes, after all. But it was amazing what you could get used to when it walked beside you day after day, stuffed breakfast into your hand way too early in the morning, and silently petitioned the heavens for patience over your unfolded clothes. Now it was leaping out at him all over again—the economy of Shen Wei’s movement as he shrugged out of his unbuttoned shirt, the fullness of his lips as he smiled, the careful strength of long fingers wrapping around the back of Yunlan’s neck and tugging him down to another kiss. When Shen Wei pushed Yunlan down to sit on the edge of the bed and knelt to tug his boots off, the grace of it stole Yunlan’s breath. Seeing Shen Wei smile up at him under his lashes nearly distracted Yunlan from the fact that Shen Wei was undoing his jeans.

It wasn’t awkward at all to lie back, to stretch out on the rumpled sheets, and feel the weight of xiao-Wei’s eyes on him, and Yunlan had another moment of disorientation at how not-strange this felt. It blew away like milkweed down, though, when Shen Wei prowled up onto the bed to settle against him.

Part of him expected the cool of xiao-Wei’s skin against his, and all of him positively purred at how good it felt. “Xiao-Wei,” he murmured, sliding his hands up the sleek line of Shen Wei’s bare back, the way he’d really, really wanted to that one time Shen Wei had volunteered to have baseline energy readings taken. He could feel Shen Wei shiver under his palms.

“You keep calling me that.” Shen Wei didn’t sound upset, but he did sounds a bit wistful. Yunlan smiled, wry.

“Don’t think I could call you anything else, when we’re like this. It just… it’s the name that’s there.” More slowly, sorting the urge out in his own head, “It’s my name, for you.”

Xiao-Wei kissed him again, at that, swift but so tender it made Yunlan’s chest tight. “Yes,” he agreed, against Yunlan’s mouth. Yunlan wound himself tighter around xiao-Wei, breathless with the simple amazement that this was really his.

And then a lot more breathless with the way xiao-Wei’s hands slid down his body, open and openly possessive, and maybe he should have expected the jolt of heat that sent through him but he really hadn’t. “I can tell you again, now,” xiao-Wei murmured against his throat. “You are the heart of me. Whatever life I’ve had, all this time, is because you stopped and smiled that very first day, so long ago. I have always treasured you.” With every word, the heat in Yunlan sank deeper, softened, filled him with a warmth and sweetness that he thought might undo him all by itself. That old-new familiarity ran under it, but twined through the familiarity was wonder. Yunlan had to close his eyes and just breathe, holding tight to xiao-Wei, when he realized this must always have been a wonder to him, to have xiao-Wei’s love and care.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” He meant it to come out light, but his voice caught and cracked on the words. Xiao-Wei’s hand cupped his cheek, cool and gentle, and Yunlan opened his eyes to see xiao-Wei smiling down at him, eyes bright with laughter and soft with understanding.

“Yes.”

And then xiao-Wei’s smile widened and Yunlan braced himself on pure reflex, both old and current. “Perhaps we should test that a bit, though,” xiao-Wei murmured. His hand slid down from Yunlan’s cheek, trailed across his chest and down his stomach, and Yunlan barely had time for his eyes to stretch wide with realization before long fingers wrapped around his cock. The chill of xiao-Wei’s touch against heated skin felt incredible.

“Xiao-Wei… oh fuck…” Yunlan’s hips rocked up into xiao-Wei’s hold, and he shuddered with the heavy curl of pleasure up his spine. “Ohhh fuck.”

Pressed this close, he could feel that xiao-Wei was laughing. “Well, I see there’s no change there.” Yunlan made an inarticulate sound and reached up to pull xiao-Wei down to another kiss, deep and wet and wanting. Xiao-Wei gathered him closer, touch gentling. “Yes,” he murmured. Yunlan wasn’t at all surprised when xiao-Wei reached unerringly for the bottle tucked under the bedside table, and those cool, deft fingers were slick when they closed around him again. Yunlan groaned, hands working against xiao-Wei’s shoulders as pleasure coiled low in his stomach, hot and slow. It felt so simple, so stunningly easy, to let his senses take him, to just move with xiao-Wei’s hands on him as the heat wound tighter and tighter, and finally broke like a storm, shaking him apart until he was gasping for breath, holding tight to xiao-Wei against the intensity of it.

And xiao-Wei held him secure through all of it.

In fact, when Yunlan’s thoughts started fitting sensibly together, again, he realized that xiao-Wei was just holding him, fingers sliding through his hair, slow and soothing. “So, um.” Yunlan cleared his throat and glanced up, “were you…?” He trailed off completely when he saw the warm satisfaction in xiao-Wei’s smile.

“Later,” xiao-Wei said, simply.

The familiarity of that care rang through Yunlan like his heart was a struck bell, sweet and certain and so overwhelming to him now that he could barely breathe, only catch Shen Wei close and hold on. This. This was the one who would always care, would never leave, who had proved his trust over and over again.

It took a while for Yunlan’s breath to come evenly again.

As he quieted, though, the unquestioning steadiness of xiao-Wei’s arms around him connected one thought to another, and Yunlan stared up at the ceiling, past Shen Wei’s shoulder. “It must have hurt you so much,” he whispered, “when I didn’t know you. Didn’t remember you.”

Xiao-Wei went utterly still, against him, for one heartbeat, another, and then stirred with a tiny shrug. After the past year, Yunlan was ready for that, though. “Ah-ah! Don’t try to deny it.”

A tiny snort answered him, but at least xiao-Wei’s body stopped shifting toward dismissal. Xiao-Wei was quiet for a moment. “I could hardly blame you for not remembering when I was the one who took Shen Nong’s bargain without consulting you.”

“Of course not,” Yunlan agreed, waiting for xiao-Wei’s shoulders to settle, under his hands. “But that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.” He felt the tiny, instantly stifled flinch, too, and sighed, rubbing a hand slowly up and down xiao-Wei’s back. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize,” Shen Wei snapped, pushing up on an elbow to glower at him. Yunlan smiled and touched a finger to xiao-Wei’s lips.

“I’m not apologizing. I’m just saying that I’m sorry you had that pain.” As he’d grown to expect, and felt he’d probably learned to expect a long time ago, xiao-Wei didn’t contradict his insistence, only made an irritated sound and dropped back down against his shoulder. Yunlan smiled wider and snuggled up until xiao-Wei relaxed and curled around him again. Yunlan let his eyes drift closed, satisfied.

Even without prior (current) experience, he felt like he was getting a pretty good handle on how to do this relationship thing.


Knocking woke Yunlan up, and it took him a moment to figure out why, when he turned over to bury his head in the pillows, he wound up pressed tight against another body instead. “Ngh?” he asked, squinting at the expanse of chest in front of his nose.

“Do you want me to answer the door to your apartment?” Shen Wei asked, sounding both amused and far too awake.

Imagining the response of any of his team to that, Yunlan winced and pushed up onto his elbows. “I’m awake, I’m awake.”

“Hmm.” A cool hand settled on Yunlan’s cheek and suddenly he was being kissed, slow and thorough. A curl of heat licked through him, in answer, and his hand reached up to thread through xiao-Wei’s hair. The ease of it, the knowledge that this was his and he could reach out for it any time, for any reason, left Yunlan more breathless than the kiss. When xiao-Wei drew back, Yunlan stayed leaning over him for a long moment, stunned all over again.

“I’m awake,” he finally said, soft and wondering.

Shen Wei smiled up at him, small and bright, and so perfectly content Yunlan’s heart ached. “Then go answer the door.”

Another knock underscored the point, and Yunlan crawled out of bed and into some clothes, since whoever it was obviously wasn’t going away. When he opened the door, though, he had one moment of wondering whether he really was awake or not, because he came face to face with himself. But no, he’d seen this, hadn’t he, while holding fast to the gateway into the Lamp? Zhang Shi had done as he’d promised and taken Yunlan’s place.

“Well.” Yunlan ran a hand through his hair and stood aside. “This is going to be awkward.”

“That depends.” Zhang Shi pushed a large cardboard box with ‘Shen – clothes’ written on it inside and shouldered past him to dump an entire backpack full of files on the table. “If you want to avoid the hero worship and bureaucracy that’s trying to swallow the Division, you could always start running now. Otherwise,” he gestured to the files, “get reading on the past year’s cases and new personnel, and I’ll try to catch you up. Your cat informed me of things last night, so I came prepared.”

“You know, I get the impression that you might just tackle me and drag me back to the paperwork if I tried to run.” Yunlan flopped down on the couch and eyed the stack of binders; it didn’t actually look that bad, for a year’s worth.

Zhang Shi interrupted his calculations of how fast he could get through this to lean over him and jab a finger into his chest. “When I thought you were dead, that was one thing. Now I know you’re not, you had better not ever make me accept an award in your place again.”

The face might be Yunlan’s, but that glower was one he’d seen more than once on his father’s face, always after he’d done something that was maybe a little more reckless than it should have been. Just a little. Yunlan patted his other dad’s hand, smiling. “Don’t worry. We won’t let it happen again.”

Plates clinked very distinctly as Shen Wei set breakfast down beside the files. “We most certainly will not.”

“Now, why does that sound more like a threat than a promise?” Yunlan asked, lightly.

Shen Wei gave him a dark look. “I had things under control, with Ye Zun. There was no need for you to come rushing in when you were still a human. He could easily have killed you by accident. He nearly did.”

Yunlan knew exactly where xiao-Wei’s sudden anger was coming from, because he could feel it leaping up in his own heart. Now they had time for it, and a reminder of it, his blood was abruptly boiling with the fear and pain of watching Shen Wei take the blow meant for him and fall, limp as a broken doll. “Your entire ‘plan’ consisted of sacrificing your life to force-feed Ye Zun an incompatible energy,” he snapped, “and do you want to talk about the part where that means you had to be poisoning yourself to set it up?”

Shen Wei’s hands flinched into fists and he jerked his chin aside, breaking Yunlan’s gaze to look past him. Yunlan made an inarticulate sound of frustration, and threw himself onto his feet to pace a few lengths of the room before he started wanting to throw something else.

“If I may interrupt…”

It was his own voice, but his father’s tone through and through, and Yunlan buried his face in his hand, biting back a groan. He’d just had a fight with his lover in front of his demi-dad. The morning couldn’t get any better. “Sure, feel free,” he muttered into his palm.

“My Lord Envoy,” Zhang Shi said, very formal, and sounding less and less like Yunlan, which was a relief, “may I ask your assurance that you are well, now?”

Yunlan could hear the deep breath that Shen Wei took to make his voice quiet again. “You may. And I am well, now, though it may take a little time to be sure of the other effects.”

Yunlan spun around sharply at that. “Other effects?”

Shen Wei gave him a tight-lipped glance. “You shared a spark of your soul with me, created a soul in me where there never was one, and that’s in addition to the part of your nature you shared with me ten millennia ago. I’m not even sure what I am, now.”

Cold fear washed over Yunlan, though he felt it break against an old, deep certainty, and he took a step back toward xiao-Wei. “It couldn’t hurt you, though, right?” He pressed a hand to his chest, as if he could take hold of that certainty. “That’s right, isn’t it?”

The hard line of Shen Wei’s shoulders softened at once, and he reached out to wrap a hand around Yunlan’s arm. “Yes, that’s right. If there were going to be problems, it would have been obvious immediately.” He hesitated for a long moment and finally sighed, his giving-in sigh, and Yunlan couldn’t help a tiny grin when he realized he could recognize the sound. Xiao-Wei snorted at him and pushed him back over to the couch, settling beside him. At xiao-Wei’s wave of permission, Zhang Shi nudged plates of dumplings and fruit aside and sat on the table.

“I am well,” xiao-Wei started, firmly, “but between what I did and what you did, it’s very likely that my entire nature has been changed. When I realized the kind of disruption the Dial had caused in my being, it was just when I’d become sure that my brother was breaking free. I’d been considering asking the sacred tree to release our bargain and reclaiming the Guardian token already, because a significant part of my power was bound up in creating it. If I’d been able to reclaim that power, to reconvert it into my own, I could have faced Ye Zun evenly, though it would have meant all restraints on the power of my people in this realm would be removed. It seemed like a reasonable risk, if it meant I could stop Ye Zun early enough. But once I was injured, my chances of containing Ye Zun again went down considerably. That was when it occurred to me that if I absorbed the token’s power without reclaiming or reconverting it, especially if I could displace enough of my own power to keep the conflict of energies from being apparent, it would be very easy to bait my brother into consuming it.”

The shock on Zhang Shi’s face was, if anything, even greater than Yunlan’s. “If the Guardian charge was a bargain with the sacred tree… that’s a heavenly power, you would have had to reduce your strength to almost nothing!”

“As I said,” Shen Wei answered, terrifyingly level. “Very easy.”

After a long moment, Zhang Shi bowed his head to Shen Wei. “Noble Lord,” he said, softly, more formal than ever.

“Stop encouraging him!” Yunlan snapped. “That was not a reasonable risk!”

Xiao-Wei raised his brows and gave Yunlan a very pointed, sidelong look. “So, it’s reasonable when you do it, but not when I do it?”

“Don’t tell me you don’t think exactly the same thing.” They eyed each other for a long moment before the essential ridiculousness of their mutual insistence caught up with Yunlan and he had to stifle the snort of laughter that was trying to escape. When he spotted the twitch at the corner of xiao-Wei’s mouth, he lost it, and the two of them leaned together, laughing low and helpless for a long moment.

“At any rate,” xiao-Wei finally said, adjusting his glasses for composure just like a cat resettling its fur, “the half of my nature that has always been ghost was considerably weakened, in part replaced with the token’s power, which was half mine and half the sacred tree’s, and then on top of that the same one who gifted me with a god’s nature added soul fire.” He spread his hands. “I have no idea, yet, what all that became in the process of regaining matter on our way out of the Lamp.”

“A god,” Yunlan said, quietly, words that came whole and certain from that deep sense of memory inside him, now. “A god of ghosts. I think… I think that was what I always meant and hoped for.”

The sound xiao-Wei made was wordless, as soft and amazed as his eyes had gone.

“That’s quite the courting gift,” Zhang Shi murmured, sounding both impressed and paternally amused.

A choked laugh escaped xiao-Wei, and he added, “Better than antique books.” Yunlan gave serious consideration to sinking through the couch in embarrassment, at least until xiao-Wei leaned into his side again with a tiny, warm smile.

“Well.” Yunlan scrubbed a hand through his hair. “Maybe the first order of Division business is actually some test-runs to find out what you can do now, and how.”

“After breakfast,” xiao-Wei specified firmly.

“Right, fine, breakfast.” Yunlan agreed peaceably, raising his hands. He didn’t so much as glance at Zhang Shi. He could feel the doting-dad vibes from here, which would be too bizarre to see on his own face. “Also, we need to get Zhang Shi a new identity.”

“I called Dr. Cheng this morning.” Zhang Shi sounded relieved. “She knew of a good prospect at once.”

“Cheng Xinyan has great integrity,” xiao-Wei commented mildly, between small bites of orange. “I trust her judgement. A candidate she’s chosen will be acceptable, but to stay here you will need to re-join one of the law enforcement departments. Not,” he added a bit dryly, “the Supervisory Bureau.” Yunlan had actually forgotten, for a moment, that Zhang Shi would need the Envoy’s approval to continue living in this realm. His other dad was his lover’s subject and quite possibly about to be his employee.

It was a good thing he’d never much wanted a normal life.