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With You, My Heart Feels At Home

Chapter Text

The night was warm without the overbearing heat from the sun. The grass and trees were still damp from the storm that passed just earlier today, making the ground muddy and a bit unstable to step in at places, with puddles here and there.

Away from the light pollution of the city, the stars hung brightly in the sky above, and the addition of fireflies blinking about made it seem like the stars had descended and danced about.

Laughter broke through the silence of night as Xiao Hei and Xiaobai raced through the trees and over rocks, with Xiao Hei taking the lead easily, navigating through the rough terrain easily.

“You’re cheating!!” Xiaobai called from where she was struggling to get over a large tree log, her body thrown over it with one foot tiptoed in an attempt to hurdle it. Bidiu was on the log beside her, tilting its head as it watched.

“Cheating? I’m an elfin, what’d you expect? And you’re the one that said we should!” Xiao Hei called out, turning around from where he stood next to a rock and leaned against it. He watched as Xiaobai struggled for a few moments more before the girl finally got over the stump, only to tilt too far and land on the ground below, making Xiao Hei break out into laughter.

Using the fallen log to get herself back onto her feet, Xiaobai let out a breathy and tired laugh as she sat down on it, breathing heavily. “Alright, alright, I think I’m done, come back over here, I need to rest for a bit.”

Doing as told, Xiao Hei made his way back over to the human, jumping and landing on top of the log before crossing his legs and sitting beside her, a smile on his face. “This ends the same way every time,” he said, watching as Bidiu clambered about before the dumpling rat decided it wanted to be on Xiao Hei’s shoulder for the moment. “You should know better than to challenge me.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Xiaobai reached out and gently scratched behind one of Bidiu’s ears, making the creature chirp out happily. “It got you to clear your mind for a bit, didn’t it?”

At the reminder of why they were even out here in the first place, it made Xiao Hei lay his ears back a little and for his smile to fade. Looking away, he started having that frustrated feeling again, bit luckily, it wasn’t as intense anymore. It was still there, but having a much needed break to clear his mind a little, Xiao Hei didn’t feel the suffocating weight of it. Instead, it just weighed down his chest a little. He appreciated Xiaobai giving him that much needed distraction.

“Shouldn’t we get you back home?” Xiao Hei said after a few moments of silence, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly to calm himself. “It’s really dark out now, if your parents find out, they’ll be really worried and you’ll get in trouble.”

Xiaobai didn’t answer right away, instead she hummed softly as she held out her hand. Without the commotion of children running through the forest, bit by bit, the little silver spirits were coming out of their hiding spots to join the fireflies in flying around, doing as they pleased. With her hand held out, a small blob of a spirit landed in her open palm, resting there for a moment before it took off once more, bursting in the air as a butterfly and fluttering away.

Normally, these spirits didn’t come out with humans around. They would prefer to keep hidden and out of sight from them, with the exception being someone like Wuxian, who had high amounts of spiritual energy, but since Xiao Hei was an elfin and also had high spiritual energy, the spirits knew it was safe to come out.

Finally, Xiaobai smiled widely as she kicked her feet a little. “Just a little longer, and then we can go back. Before then, why don’t you tell me a bit about Feng Xi? You say he’s important to you, but you haven’t told me a whole lot about him.”

It wasn’t like he was trying to keep Feng Xi a secret, but during the time that Feng Xi was gone and it was uncertain if he would actually come back, he didn’t feel like bringing it up. It would feel too much like getting his hopes up if he were to have spoken about Feng Xi during that time, so Xiao Hei never said anything other than a few things here and there.

Now, with Feng Xi actually back, and hopefully here to stay, Xiao Hei could openly talk about him.

On top of that, Xiao Hei didn’t necessarily feel the need to talk about his past too much. There was still a lot about him that Xiaobai wasn’t aware of. Not all of them were particularly good memories. He told a bit about his time with Wuxian, his training and some of the places they stayed at, but other than that…

 

Xiao Hei started tugging at the hem of his shirt a bit, twisting the fabric this way and that through his fingers. “Well… I guess Feng Xi was the first person to take me in and look after me,” he said, his words a little slow, chosen carefully. It wasn’t that Xiao Hei didn’t trust Xiaobai or anything like that, he was just someone who liked their privacy.

“Ah, really?” It was easy to hear the excitement and interest in her tone, probably happy to learn a bit more about him. “Where did you stay before that?”

“Alone, in a forest.”

“Do most elfin grow up alone?”

Xiao Hei shrugged. The fact that he was alone for the first six years of his life made it so there was a lot he didn’t know about. Sure, Wuxian taught him a lot, and Xiao Hei got to learn a lot from the other elfin’s he met during their travels, but Wuxian was his main source of knowledge, and Wuxian was human. There wasn’t a whole lot Wuxian could teach him about elfins and their experiences, even though Wuxian was practically raised by elfins. It was also another reason why Xiao Hei knew so little about his own kind upon meeting Feng Xi.

“Feng Xi was the first elfin I met, actually,” Xiao Hei continued on. “He introduced me to his family as well, and gave me a home on the island they stayed at.”

“What are they like? How was the island?”

Xiao Hei went into explaining for Xiaobai. He told her of Luo Zhu, Tian Hu and Xu Huai, how they all took him in quickly despite the short time they knew each other. It hurt a little, thinking back and remembering that, at that time, they welcomed him so quickly because of his ability, but then he remembered how Feng Xi explained that it wasn’t the reason at first.

That, at first, they really did want to take Xiao Hei in, and the situation involving his ability was something that came later, once Feng Xi learned about it.

“It would’ve been a really nice island to live on,” Xiao Hei said with a bittersweet smile. “It was really pretty, and had a lot of spirits. I think it was because Feng Xi was there that it was so nice. He might not seem like it now, but he’s actually really powerful!”

Xiaobai smiled widely, perking up a little at something. “That’s the first time I’ve heard you call someone other than your shifu powerful! He must mean a whole lot to you!”

Blinking for a moment, as realization set in, Xiao Hei felt his face heating up in embarrassment. “It-It’s not my fault others are so weak! I’m just being honest!”

The girl laughed loudly, throwing her arms over his shoulders and shaking him gently. “Ahhh, didi is shy! So cute!”

This only caused him to blush more at the attention, attempting to lightly shove her off. After knowing her for so long and becoming best friends, Xiao Hei was used to light teasing like this, having to deal with it rather often. Still, it was embarrassing!!!

 

“Hold on…”

 

Xiaobai suddenly stopped shaking him, and Xiao Hei looked at her, waiting for her to speak whatever it was she suddenly had to say.

“So, if him and your shifu both took you in at some point, and they were together before….. Does this make them your dads?”

“HA?!”

 

What was she going on about?!

 

Xiao Hei felt his face heating up even more as he shoved her away, easier this time since Xiaobai was laughing too hard to put up a fight. In fact, she was laughing so hard that she almost fell off the log, with Bidiu attempting to save her by pulling on the hem of her shirt, though it did next to nothing since it was so small.

“You can’t tell me you haven’t thought of them as parental figures at least once,” Xiaobai said, once she calmed down enough to speak, wiping away the tears from her eyes as she did so.

 

It….

 

It really wouldn’t be a lie. He has thought about it a few times.

 

Elfins really don’t have a concept of parents. They’re born from mass amounts of spiritual energy forming together to create a being. They were born from the earth and everything around it, everything that existed and held life. They were single entities that didn’t rely on reproduction that other species did, so it felt strange whenever he thought of these things.

But he couldn’t help it. Every time Wuxian taught him something, protected him, encouraged him, Xiao Hei couldn’t help but make the comparison. Even Feng Xi for that short amount of time felt like that to him, even before he knew what the term for it was.

No matter how you called it though, Xiao Hei really couldn’t deny the feeling he got when he was with them. It was the entire reason he decided to stay with Wuxian in the first place despite not having a stable place to live.

They felt like…..

 

There was a rustling noise, making Xiao Hei’s ears twitch and for him to look up. He knew instantly that it wasn’t an animal, and they tend to stay away from him if they have ill intent simply because he was so powerful, they sensed it. And either way, he couldn’t pick up any malicious intent right away, so he wasn’t afraid of something possibly happening to Xiaobai.

It took him a moment to focus, but once he did and realized who it was, Xiao Hei felt his chest tighten. He jumped off of the log and took one of Xiaobai’s hands in his. “Come on, let’s go,” he said, tugging at her arm to get her to move.

Xiaobai didn’t move though, instead looking at him in confusion. “Why? What’s wrong?”

“I just don’t want to be here anymore.”

Before anything more could be said between the two children, there was someone calling their names, and Xiaobai turned towards the voices. “Someone’s looking for us?”

Knowing that it was pointless to run away anymore, Xiao Hei took back his hand and turned away. He had half a mind to start running, running away from them, from everyone. He didn’t feel ready to confront them, he didn’t think he could take any more arguments.

“There you two are,” Feng Xi said once he spotted the children, his shoulders relaxing a little.

Since Feng Xi didn’t have enough spiritual energy, Xiao Hei was barely able to sense the other elfin. He looked up in surprise to see Feng Xi and Wuxian together, looking at them with what seemed like relief in their eyes.

“Xiaobai,” Wuxian said, turning to the girl and his voice turning a little stern. “Your mother is worried sick about you. She thinks you’ve been kidnapped.”

The girl at least had enough decency to look a bit sheepish, smiling a little in embarrassment as she hopped down from the log.

Upon the two new persons showing up, Bidiu had ducked a little behind Xiaobai, using her shoulder as cover from where it perched, but after a few moments it perked up with a chirping noise before it swiftly climbed off of her, and rushed over to Feng Xi.

At first, Feng Xi just stared at Bidiu with raised eyebrows, but when it stopped at his feet and proceeded to look up at him with a questioning head tilt of its own, he laughed softly and knelt down. “I haven’t seen one of your kind in a while,” he said, reaching out with a gentle hand and petting at Bidiu’s chin.

Obviously happy, Bidiu chirped before climbing up Feng Xi to get to his shoulder, Bidiu’s favorite place to perch, once again making a chirping noise from its new vantage point.

“Bidiu made a new friend!” Xiaobai said happily, her hands clasped together. “Normally, Bidiu is really shy around new people, even elfin!”

Xiao Hei watched in mild surprise as Wuxian and Feng Xi smiled at each other, with Wuxian reaching out to also pat at Bidiu’s head and make the creature chirp more at the attention it was receiving.

Something felt different between Feng Xi and Wuxian.

There wasn’t that hostility anymore. It didn’t feel like they were about to go at each other's throats at any moment.

It was almost as if they had made up…

 

But, no.

 

No, Xiao Hei couldn’t trust it.

 

They’ve done this before, where they were fine for a little bit, and then started arguing with each other at the drop of a hat when something is said or done. He didn’t trust it.

His hesitancy to go to them must’ve been obvious, because now Wuxian was turned to him, attention no longer on Bidiu. “Come here, Xiao Hei,” he called to the child. “It’s time to go.”

Xiao Hei took a step back. “No.” He took another step, ready to run. “I don’t want to.”

Wuxian and Feng Xi looked at each other, having some kind of silent conversation before they both turned back to look at him.

“Xiao Hei, it’s okay,” Feng Xi said this time, taking a step forward. “Nothing’s going to happen anymore. We’re not going to argue.”

They must’ve talked about what Xiao Hei said while they were trying to find him, because Wuxian didn’t seem at all surprised by Feng Xi’s words.

 

He felt that familiar frustrated feeling bubbling up in his chest.

“No!” Xiao Hei shouted this time, and his hands pulled at the hem of his shirt. He wasn’t able to look at them anymore, so instead, he looked at the ground beneath his feet. “No, I don’t believe you! I’ve only seen you two arguing, why should I believe you? I can’t stand it anymore!”

Xiao Hei shut his eyes. He didn’t want to look up at them. He was afraid that, if he did, they would start arguing with each other again. He was tired of it, he just wanted them to work something out, he just wanted them to be happy. Why are adults so confusing and stubborn? Why did they always have to fight?

 

“We’re sorry.”

 

Wuxian’s apology made his eyes shoot open, yet still, Xiao Hei couldn’t look at them.

“We dragged you into our problems without meaning to. What happened between us has nothing to do with you, and we shouldn’t have made you feel like it was your fault somehow…”

“There won’t be any more arguing, Xiao Hei. Wuxian and I still have a lot we need to talk about, but we’re going to work it out together. Everything’s going to be okay, so…”

Slowly, Xiao Hei looked up once they stopped talking, feeling like his throat was closing up. They would never lie to him about this sort of thing, he knows they wouldn’t, so if they’re saying that they’re going to work something out together, and that they won’t argue anymore…

Xiao Hei saw Wuxian standing with his arms held out toward him, the both of them wearing soft but apologetic smiles on their faces. “Come back with us.”

There was a sense of nostalgia to this scene, much like the time when Xiao Hei was going to separate from Wuxian at the guild, so many years ago. When their paths were supposed to split right there, but the feeling Xiao Hei got from Wuxian made him not want to.

It was a soft, comforting feeling that made Xiao Hei feel safe and loved. It made him feel like that, no matter what, nothing would ever be able to harm him. Without Wuxian there, the guild would’ve felt cold and intimidating. He didn’t want to stay there.

Now, with Feng Xi and Wuxian standing before him, both of them asking for Xiao Hei to stay with them, he felt a rush of emotions that made it hard to breathe, much less talk.

 

He wanted to be with them. No matter what this feeling was called, he already had a name for it himself.

 

Xiao Hei ran towards them with reckless abandon, uncaring of anything that stood between them. With no hesitation, Xiao Hei threw himself into Wuxian’s arms. Warmth and relief instantly filled him, and he couldn’t hold back anymore. Letting out a sob, Xiao Hei clung desperately to Wuxian, refusing to let go even as he felt Wuxian shift to kneel down and hold him better, along with Feng Xi joining in and wrapping his arms around the child.

Before, when it was just him and Wuxian, Xiao Hei already felt at peace, but always felt as though something was missing. Now, with Feng Xi here, and not planning on leaving anytime soon, that missing something was filled up in his heart, and it felt whole.

No matter what others called this, no matter what technical terms there are, Xiao Hei knows what they are to him.

 

They are home.

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

“How is he?”

Wuxian looks up to where Feng Xi is standing in the doorway of his bedroom, closing the door softly.

“I think he exhausted himself,” Wuxian said softly with a fond smile, looking down at Xiao Hei who had his head rested in Wuxian’s lap. He brushed the child’s white, unruly hair back a little.

Xiao Hei had cried for a while in Wuxian’s and Feng Xi’s arms, holding onto them tightly, as if he had been afraid they would disappear if he let them go for even a moment. It was strange, but Wuxian had felt a sense of deja vu with the way that Xiao Hei was crying so intensely.

Through the years, Xiao Hei hardly cried. The only times he ever truly did was when he would wake up in a panic from some nightmare or other, with the memories of what happened in Long You too strong and too fresh in his mind, too young to have gone through such hardships.

But this reminded him of being at the guild for the very first time with Xiao Hei so many years ago, when he was about to leave the child behind. Wuxian had wanted Xiao Hei to finally have a place to call home, somewhere he could return to and not fear it disappearing. Someplace warm that will always welcome him.

Wuxian had been sure it was the right thing to do, leaving him behind, but Xiao Hei thought otherwise. It was selfish that Wuxian was filled with relief at the time, but he couldn’t say no to him.

It had taken a while, but after some time, Xiao Hei calmed and stopped crying, exhausting himself but refusing to let go of them. It took a lot of coaxing, but eventually Xiao Hei let go of Wuxian. Feng Xi didn’t know his way around Ling Xi, so the two agreed to split up, with Feng Xi taking Xiao Hei with him back to Long You through the Ling Xi guild’s teleportation, while Wuxian took Xiaobai home.

On the way, Xiaobai apologized, telling Wuxian how it had been her idea for them to go out, and how she didn’t mean for everyone to get worried over them, but she had wanted to try to cheer Xiao Hei up in some way.

He reassured her that there was no reason for her to apologize, at least not to him or Feng Xi. They both knew that Xiao Hei was capable of taking care of himself and keeping Xiaobai safe, and that the real threat here was her facing her mother.

 

In the end though, Wuxian thanked her.

He thanked her for being such a kind and caring friend to Xiao Hei for all these years, and for being there for him when himself and Feng Xi were clearly lacking. He felt bad as he watched Xiaobai walk into her apartment building, walking right into what would certainly be a storm for her. All he could do was hope that her mother would go easy on her and not punish the girl too much.

 

As the moon rose higher into the sky, soon to start making its descent into the horizon in order to bring about the new day, Wuxian made his way back to Feng Xi’s apartment, a place he didn’t image he would be visiting so frequently, didn’t think he would have the right to.

When he got inside, that’s when he was met with the sight of Feng Xi struggling to get a clingy and fast asleep Xiao Hei off of him, which is how Wuxian ended up where he is now, as the young elfins pillow.

Feng Xi walked over to sit at the edge of the bed, the same overly fond smile on his face as he reached out to run a hand through Xiao Hei’s hair, but Wuxian noticed as he froze, stopping his hand from reaching out any further to actually touch the child. Looking up, he saw the smile disappear off of Feng Xi’s face, replaced now with something more conflicted, something more afraid.

With a gentle hand, Wuxian placed his own hand on top of Feng Xi’s, tangling their fingers together a bit and guiding his hand down slowly until their hands were placed on Xiao Hei’s head.

He watched as Feng Xi let out a slow, calming breath, and a small smile once more returned to his face, moving his hand away and allowing Feng Xi to smooth out the untameable mess that was Xiao Hei’s hair.

“He already told you that he forgave you, didn’t he?” Wuxian asks, looking up after a few moments.

Feng Xi nodded before letting out another breath as he pulled away, his eyes still on Xiao Hei. “Yeah, he did, but I’m… I still can’t forgive myself.”

In a way, Wuxian understood. They both had things they couldn’t forgive themselves for. Maybe it would take years for them to at least forgive themselves even a little bit. Wuxian knows that it was something he couldn’t get through yet, not when he still hasn’t apologized properly to Feng Xi.

In the faint, silver light provided by the moon and the ambient lighting of the city, Wuxian saw the shine from the band of metal still on Feng Xi’s hand. Even after all this time, even without knowing the meaning behind it, Feng Xi kept it on.

Wuxian felt his heart twist.

 

“I need to apologize for something.”

Feng Xi looked up and raised his eyebrows. “I think we both have a lot we need to apologize for.”

That was true. “Well, I’ll start with this then. Remember a few nights ago, when Xiao Hei brought me here because he found me nearly unconscious?”

“How can I not? You--” Feng Xi cleared his throat, not finishing his sentence, probably still under the impression that Wuxian didn’t remember what went on. “Anyways, go on. What about it?”

“I remember everything,” Wuxian said quickly and quietly, looking down in shame. There was no point in dragging it out longer, so he confessed without hesitation, once again finding himself afraid of seeing Feng Xi’s expression. “I only pretended to be delirious because I… I couldn’t hold back any longer, and my chest ached. Even if it was for only a moment, I wanted to be the only one you looked at.”

In some way, this felt like confessing his feelings all over again, like he had done so many decades ago when they were younger. Now, so many years later, he was determined to confess his feelings again, this time without making any of the mistakes he had made in the past, but only if Feng Xi wanted him.

 

“Was that another one of your stupid, impulsive acts you told me you’ve been doing a lot lately?”

 

Wuxian slowly nodded. It really had been stupid and impulsive. Around Feng Xi, any logical thought Wuxian had instantly goes out the window, making him say and do stupid, impulsive things. “I don’t regret it,” Wuxian added, making sure that Feng Xi knew that it wasn’t just some spur of the moment thing. “I meant what I said, that I don’t know what to do when I wake up and you’re not there.”

His desperation to bring Feng Xi bad was proof enough that he really didn’t know what to do without Feng Xi. Even if the elfin wasn’t there with him physically, just knowing that he was out there somewhere, alive, was enough for Wuxian to get up and do what he needed, day by day. In a world without Feng Xi, it was cold and disorienting.

The bed shifted with Feng Xi’s weight, and Wuxian expected that he was going to get up and leave, too disgusted in Wuxian to be around him any longer, but instead the weight got closer, and he watched as Feng Xi’s hand came into his view, reaching out and grabbing onto Wuxian’s with some hesitation, as if he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to or not.

 

“You’re going to be the death of me.”

Wuxian’s heart twisted painfully, remembering how those words, once said so carelessly, carried a different meaning now to him, and he hated it, but when he looked up, he saw in the faint light that Feng Xi’s face was reddened a little.

Feng Xi leaned forward until their foreheads touched, and Wuxian closed his eyes, the pain in his heart ebbing away bit by bit as it was surrounded by familiar warmth. “We’ll figure this out.” His tone made it sound more like a promise than just a mere statement, and for the first time in a long, long time, Wuxian allowed himself to feel just a little bit hopeful.

They’ll be able to figure this out. It’ll take time, and they might not progress smoothly, but Feng Xi seemed to want to get this to work just as much as he did. They both missed each other, both yearned for each other, and now they were both determined to do what it takes to fix whatever they could.

 

They were going to be okay…

 

 

 

 

Wuxian!

At the sudden familiar voice, his eyes shot open and he leaned away from Feng Xi. “Pan Jing?” He extended a bit of his spiritual energy to Feng Xi, just enough to where he would be able to hear the telepathic communication as well.

Obviously displeased by the interruption, all the more so by a guild leader, Wuxian watched as Feng Xi rolled his eyes a little.

Wuxian, you need to get to Luo Zhu’s location immediately!

Feng Xi noticeably startled at hearing the other elfins name. The urgency in Pan Jing’s voice had Wuxian frowning in concern. “What’s going on?”

 

Those spiritual flares have been coming from Xing, and her ability will wipe out Long You if she isn’t stabilized soon!