He wasn’t sure he still existed outside of his nervousness. Before, it was a little thing breathing inside him with all the other emotions. Joy, excitement, they were certain, and fear, just under the surface, blended in with anticipation… The anticipation of what, he didn’t know. It didn’t matter anyway, they were all gone and the only thing he felt was nervousness as he continued to tap his feet on the floor, synced with the tick-tocks of the clock he still couldn’t find it. It must’ve been somewhere in the room since he could clearly hear its continuous sound but…
“Hey what time is it?” He asked the boy sitting next to him, with his knees pressed to each other, hands folded in his lap and looking straight to the wall across him.
The boy didn’t glance at him as he raised his arm, rolled the sleeves of his shirt just to look at his watch, said “09.07 am,” with an almost robotic tone, and went back to staring at the wall.
He nodded and added a quick thanks as the boy couldn’t see him.
They waited, waited, and waited. Or they must’ve had because tick-tocks didn’t stop but the time felt like a frozen cream at the bottom of the bowl, refusing to flow and sitting there stubbornly. He didn’t know how long it would take for his patience to run out and then he would finally wipe the cream out of the bowl with his finger.
“Do you think we will wait here forever?”
The boy glanced at him this time and oh, he had beautiful eyes, shining like frozen honey in this dull room deserted to colorlessness. The boy pursed his lips and didn’t say anything for a while as he tilted his head to the side and caused his long strands of black hair to fall over his shoulder and he was ridiculously beautiful while doing so that he felt something other than nervousness for the first time in… Ah, the time was funny, he didn’t remember.
“I don’t know,” the boy said at last. He looked to the woman behind the counter who was writing down one of the customer’s name with tired-looking eyes and frowned as she became out of ink.
He let out a sigh and glanced over the digital clock just behind de woman. It read at 09.07 am. He frowned. Wasn’t it the exact same minute when he asked the boy what time it was? Oh, right, the frozen cream.
Tick-tocks didn’t stop. Tick-tocks continued. Where were the tick-tocks coming from?
The plastic seat he was sitting on felt uncomfortable as he became aware of how his sweaty jeans stick to his skin and to the plastic and how his nervousness grew bigger inside him as if to threaten to take place of his heart and his soul and…
“We aren’t actually here, are we?”
The boy turned to him and he was right because right now they were sitting at a seaside café, a gentle breeze caressing the fine hairs at his bare calves and the sand dancing inside his flip-flops and the fresh-sweet taste of the mint-chocolate ice cream filling his mouth. He was not nervous anymore, he was happy. He didn’t know why but that didn’t matter because the boy was smiling at him, a softness in his honey eyes, a gentle curve in his ice-cream smeared mouth.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” the boy said.
This was the moment he would introduce himself. Hi, my name is this, and your name is this and I am so happy to be able to spend my time with you even though I don’t know anything, who am I, why am I here, why I feel so happy just by looking at you and what is this feeling slowly tries to carve itself inside my heart and conquer every other feeling I will ever have.
He didn’t say that as he didn’t know his name.
They finished their ice cream in silence and went out for a walk at the beach. He got rid of his flip-flops at some point, walking bare feet in the warm sands. The boy still wore his though, said the uneven rocks hidden among the sands could hurt their skin.
“You shouldn’t have thrown out yours,” the boy scolded him gently.
“It’s okay,” he said and smiled at him. “You’re here to help me if I feel any pain.”
“How?” the boy asked.
He took the boy’s hand in his and squeezed it lightly while still looking at his honey eyes. “Like this.”
The boy looked at him. He didn’t stop looking at him since he first did but this time his eyes; gentle, soft, warm, and honey-like looked like a depthless story, like he could easily drown in them once he took a step forward to see just who he was in this story and wouldn’t even complain. The boy raised their linked hands to the sky, let the setting sun paint their skin with its warm colors, his a little darker and the boy’s a little paler but still glowing together, glowing brighter than the sun.
The sun disappeared; the sky turned purple, then blue, then indigo as they continued holding hands, walking this time under the brightness of the stars, accompanied with the shadows moonlight cast upon the sands.
They didn’t talk, however strongly he wanted to hear the boy’s voice, they kept silent, listened to the voice of the sea when the wind decided to dance across its smooth surface instead of each other’s. He figured they would have plenty of time to talk as the time still seemed frozen, this time like a frozen lake that turned into their dance floor, making them dread the moment it would be unfrozen as they moved.
It was strange though, he somehow knew he liked talking, talking about everything and anything, being silent felt like he bit into a watermelon expecting it’s sweet, juicy flavor, instead he met with a sour, bitter taste in his tongue. But what was there to talk about? He couldn’t say to the boy how beautiful he thought he was, not when they’d just met, or couldn’t kiss his slim hands, his soft cheeks, or his beautiful, pink lips just because he didn’t know what to do with his mouth. Of course, it wasn’t just that, he could, for example, shut his mouth but still couldn’t get rid of the idea of kissing the boy because he was right there, at his side and so, so beautiful.
“I wanna kiss you,” he blurted out.
The boy stopped walking. His hand slipped out of his and fell to his side.
He suddenly dreaded the next moment even though the time was still frozen.
The boy looked at him, lips apart, a soft blush spreading from his ears to his cheeks, one he knew the twin of it was wandering in his face, according to the sudden heat he felt under those honey-eyes.
“I…” the boy started. “What?”
He couldn’t stand looking at him, couldn’t stand looking at these deep honey-eyes and not immediately kissing them so he looked at his bare feet, the sand between his toes, the little scar he didn’t know about in his right ankle, just like everything. Except for this sudden, immense wish. “I wanted to kiss you,” he repeated. He didn’t know why he used the past tense, it wasn’t a time-related wish, it was timeless, placeless, he would still want to kiss him even he was lost in time and space.
“I…” the boy tried again. “Why?”
He looked at him because while looking at him without kissing him hurt, not looking at him at all hurt even worse.
The boy was surprised but didn’t look like he despised the idea.
That’s a start, he thought.
“Because you’re beautiful,” he said and felt the relief washed over him as the sentence finally left his mouth, happy to be free and to be able to land on the boy’s face, making him even more beautiful with his parted lips and widened honey-eyes. “And I don’t know so much but I know that I like you, I like being with you, I like just… standing next to you, like we don’t have to do anything, we could just stand, or hold hands and I would be the happiest person alive because it’s you.” He could feel the tears gathering in his eyes, threatening to slip out of his eyeballs and make themselves visible to the boy, happy tears he told himself, I’m happy because I’m with him. “And it’s not about anything else, really. I could be anywhere, anytime, and couldn’t possibly be happier than when I’m with you because I love you, Lan Zhan, I love you.”
“Wei Ying…” Lan Zhan whispered.
They took a step on the thin ice they were dancing, too quick, too careless one.
The ice thinned.
“Wei Ying, love…”
And the time shattered.
The time was a funny thing. It didn’t feel like anything Wei Ying felt before or didn’t feel like it used to felt before because before, eh, before the time existed. But in these moments it did not, or rather it did in a completely different way because everything happened in one moment. Then, ceased to happen. Like he was reading a book, so immersed in a story, flipping pages without realizing, and suddenly, in the middle of the story, the pages turned blank and he was left wondering what would happen next. Except, he wasn’t just a reader, he was the main character of the story, the story that ceased to exist.
He sat there, for an eternity, waited for something to happen. Nothing. Just nothing. It wasn’t right. He supposed to be… where? Oh, right he was doing something with his… who?
He grabbed his head and screamed with frustration. “Useless, useless brain.” He hit his forehead in a futile attempt.
A voice came. Nearing footsteps. Little clatters of heels on the hard surface. He looked up to see a woman in a white dress approaching him. Her long skirt and long sleeves were not touching the ground, floating in the air, just like her light-colored hair and she looked like an immortal goddess, she was probably an immortal goddess as with the flick of her hand the blankness disappeared and they were sitting at a table, two cups of tea and a plate of cookies before them.
“So you escaped, huh?” the woman asked.
Wei Ying looked at her. “No?”
The woman smiled, looking at her cup of tea. She was a beautiful woman, with light blonde hair surrounding her pale face, eyes dark as a night sky, and well-shaped eyebrows but she was intimidating. Her smile looked too sharp, her fingers curled into her chin looked like she could smash the cup, and cut Wei Ying’s face in half with one of the porcelain pieces with his one wrong movement. Thankfully, she did not. Just raised her head, arched one eyebrow, and said “Yes, you did.” She set the teacup at the table. “I don’t blame you though, The Highs know, I would too, escape that part of the Land of Dreams, I was there once…” She shook her head as if to try to get rid of the memory. “And I don’t wanna be there ever again. That’s why we set up a team for that job but they are awfully slow and apparently…” She threw an accusing glance at Wei Ying. “…couldn’t even notice when two characters just left.”
Two characters just left. Wei Ying gaped at her. Two characters. Two… “Lan Zhan!” He stood up once he remembered, remembered his name, his face, God, his smile. “Lan Zhan.”
“Easy, lover boy,” the woman said, gesturing for him to sit again. “Your Lan Zhan isn’t going anywhere. He is with my friend right now and probably having a similar conversation. But don’t worry, you’ll meet again.”
Wei Ying sat down at his chair and grabbed the edge of the table. “When?” He was restless, he was finally remembering something and he was restless. “We were waiting and suddenly we were not and I was…” Going to kiss him, oh God he was going to kiss him and the time decided to move in that exact moment and he had to sit here with this strange woman, hear her nonsenses and drink a cup of tea. He didn’t even like tea! That was Lan Zhan.
“Yeah, I know, it’s unfair. But don’t take it personally, Land of Dreams does that to everyone.”
“I’m sorry, can we slow down? What is the Land of Dreams? I was confessing to the love of my life, then not and suddenly you’re here, talking about some kind of magical stuff but I have a head-ache, you know!” And it was getting worse at every moment.
“Okay, okay, I should probably take it from the start.”
“Yeah, thank you.” Wei Ying leaned back in his chair. “Please keep going.”
“You’re a dream character. That means, you’re created in someone’s mind and you take form here, Land of Dreams where you can find every other dream character ever dreamt, small and big, doesn’t matter. But…” She stopped Wei Ying’s interruption with her hand. “For some reason, your creator, I assume they are a writer, decided your story isn’t good enough to write or they don’t have enough energy to write or simply forgot about the story once they thought so highly of it and you’re here. Unsure of what to do. Because of some irresponsible creator.” She shook her head. “I hate that kind of people, they’re a pain in the ass.”
“Yeah, tell me about it,” Wei Ying said. He laughed because it was ridiculous and made no sense at all but at the same time it made perfect sense because it reflected how confused he felt towards everything happening around him, the frozen time, waiting and not waiting, Lan Zhan and Lan Zhan and Lan Zhan and this woman.
“What am I gonna do?” he said once his laughs turned into silent tears and his tears turned into nothingness and nothingness settled inside him.
The woman gestured the cup of tea in front of him. “Drink your tea before it gets cold.”
He knew the moments he was lost in obscurity was rare in his life. He always knew what to do, what to say, how to act, until something stole that knowledge from him and he was in utter darkness, looking at the shattering pieces of something sharp around him… what, they weren’t glass or ice. They were…
“Memories,” a voice in the darkness said.
“Whose?” he asked and felt an uncanny unfamiliarness towards his own voice.
His memories. He needed them. He was nothing but an empty shell without them. He raised a hand, aiming to touch the floating pieces of broken memories around him but when he tried to make contact, they went past through him, not cutting, not slicing, not even touching, as if they were not real, merely dream. Or maybe he was the dream. He didn’t feel real anyway.
The voice in the darkness spoke again. “Don’t worry, memories don’t get lost easily, they can be broken into millions of tiny pieces and get confused as they wander around aimlessly but they always do find their way back eventually.”
“I don’t understand,” he whispered to the darkness, to the voice beyond it. “Why am I here?”
The voice took a shape though the darkness still remained, it became a man, dressed in all white, contrary to the pitch black of his hair. He smiled, a warm, sincere one, illuminating his sharp features. “Hi.”
“Hi,” he said back, he didn’t know what else to say.
“This is your dreamland.” He looked around. “I know it must be confusing for you but don’t worry, you’ll find your way back, just like your memories. They’ll come to you.”
“But…” He wasn’t supposed to be there, he was supposed to be with… Wei Ying. He was with Wei Ying, holding his hand under the shining lights of the stars, in a moment where his every dream seemed possible and listening to his name, Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, falling from his lips with fondness. “Where is Wei Ying?”
“Ah, your friend right, he is the other escapee. He is with my friend…” He tilted his head to the side and remained silent for a few seconds as his eyebrows raised with something akin to bewilderment. “Or rather, was. She made him drink that again.” A fond smile appeared on his lips as he continued. “I always tell her she shouldn’t let confused characters get even more confused but I might as well talking to a wall, she always goes with her way.” He looked at Lan Zhan. “You know that feeling, right?”
Lan Zhan nodded. Wei Ying too always went with his way. Sometimes it hurt Lan Zhan, sometimes it made him confused, sometimes made him want to scream with frustration, he didn’t know how to do that one though, just imagined doing it.
“Come,” the man said. “I’ll show you the way.”
Lan Zhan followed the man. They walked in the darkness that didn’t felt as confusing as before, went past the broken pieces of memories till they reached the very end of them, leaving the darkness behind. It was midday when they reached their destination, a small garden with a little pond in the middle, it's surrounding decorated with flowers of any kind, peonies, tulips, gentians, all of them shining with a vibrant red.
The man sat at the bench viewing the pond.
Lan Zhan followed him.
“Some people,” the man said. “Can’t find enough energy to finish a dream. I can’t blame them since dreaming is a hard job, way harder than it seems. Most people don’t realize this though. I was once one of them and probably created a handful of restless dream characters. These restless characters... they often go to where the unfinished stories go, to the depths of the Land of Dreams, to become part of another dream or to get lost among other dreams. They sometimes become apart from their dreamer to find their own way. They continue to exist because they make themselves exist, not their dreamer…” He looked at Lan Zhan, his green eyes as dark as the leaves of the trees behind him. “…the dreams themselves.”
“I am a dream,” Lan Zhan said.
“I am not real.”
“What is real and what is not does not matter.”
The tea smelled like honey, lotus flowers, and home. It tasted the same when he drank it, a warm, heavy taste in his throat then a warm, heavy feeling at his chest as he found himself immersed in water; his long, black hair floating around his head, clothes soaking, getting wetter and threatening to pull him to the depths of the water. But he did not fear for the water was nothing but an old friend for him, always welcoming him with sincere hugs. He opened his one eye to see the blazing sun above him, shining with a burning degree, setting his bare skin that did not make contact with the relieving chillness of the water on fire.
He heard a lovely voice. “A-Xian!” the voice said. “A-Xian, come, you’ll get a sunstroke.”
He opened both of his eyes. The water moved around him as he momently lost his balance and sank into the water, everything surrounding him went blurry and uncertain for a second before he emerged from the water, took a deep breath, and swam to the shore.
“I told you, you would get drowned someday,” another voice said above him, thrusting out of his hand despite the bitterness in his voice.
“Luckily,” he said to his brother as he took his hand to pull out of the water, water dripping from his long hair, from his soaked clothes, and making small ponds around his feet. “That day isn’t today.”
“It could be if you weren’t fast enough.”
“Don't worry Jiang Cheng, I’m always fast enough.”
“You two!” His sister came to the sight, wearing one of her lighter purple robes with a sheer lace layer draping from her shoulder to her waist along with her dark, silken hair, looking absolutely stunning under the burning hot sun. She placed one hand to her waist and took the other to her forehead to block the blinding light. “Stop bickering, come, eat your watermelon before it gets hot.”
Wei Ying laughed and put his arm over Jiang Cheng’s shoulder despite his brother’s huffing. “Come on Jiang Cheng, we shouldn’t make A-Jie wait.”
When he bit into the watermelon, the fresh, juicy, sweet flavor filled his mouth. He took another bite. “Hımm, Lan Zhan, these are so different from the ones I ate at Lotus Pier. They were far juicier, these… ah, don’t look at me like that Lan Zhan!”
“Mn.” Lan Zhan set the bowl aside and looked at it with utter disappointment as if the watermelon itself made something to offend him. Wei Ying had to hold back his laughter because one Lan Zhan would be sadder than he already was and two, well the watermelon would spit out from his mouth and that would be a waste. “I could bring another one if you’d like.”
“Ah Lan Zhan, don’t be silly, they are good, I swear, they are just different, different doesn’t mean bad.”
“Mn, if you say so.”
“Yes I do, and I am always right, right Lan Zhan?”
Lan Zhan gave him his soft smile, the one that illuminating his honey-eyes, curving his lips just a little but enough to make Wei Ying yield to the urge to lean in and kiss the smile at his lips. He sighed happily to the kiss. The watermelon was sweet but not as sweet as Lan Zhan’s lips.
But it wasn’t right and no he wasn’t talking about the kiss. He was…
He heard the tick-tocks again, that steady, nerve-wracking voice, filling his every cell with an ominous feeling that sent shivers even to the tip of his toes.
Great news, Wei Wuxian is dead.
You always run so fast, I didn’t have enough time to look at you.
You said you could control them.
Wei Ying, come back.
Noooo!!! No, no, no! Stop!
He covered his ears with his hands but tick-tock didn’t stop. Time was running so fast, so fast and he couldn’t stop it, couldn’t do anything except watching with horror as everything slipped out of his hand, his home, his family, his love and he was left with nothing. Nothing. Only tick-tocks.
“What do you dream of?”
What did he dream of? Lan Zhan didn’t know the answer to this question. Could dreams dream? Though he didn’t know he was a dream until a few moments ago, he wasn’t sure he did dream much in his life. Sure, he wanted something. A peaceful life, a home, a long life with his loved ones but to call something a dream, shouldn’t that thing supposed to be greater than just a few mortal wishes? Becoming the best in something, changing the world, ending wars, and saving people.
The man continued as if he could hear Lan Zhan’s thoughts just by looking at his face. “Dreams don’t have to be big things, you know. You don’t have to have a big passion just to call yourself a dreamer. Sometimes dreaming simple things is more than enough. Dreaming to be happy, dreaming to be healthy, dreaming to be never apart from someone you love. Dreaming smaller things or losing your bigger dreams with time doesn’t make you smaller or any less important. So, what do you dream of?”
What did he dream of?
He remembered a time he dreamed of the pain to stop, alone in his Jingshi, lying face down in the bed, the wind filling inside from the half-open window caressing the fresh wounds at his back. However, it wasn’t the physical pain that made the silent tears trailing down his face, invisible in the darkest hour of the night, a time even the moon went to sleep. He remembered that it was the ache, the emptiness inside him that caused the greater pain.
He remembered a time he dreamed of a door to open. He was waiting, crouched down on his knees, cold wind howling above his ear, the snow-covered ground beneath him threatening to freeze him. The door kept closed and closed. Hours passed. Everyone said it would not open anymore but he refused to believe them, continued stubbornly to wait here until even the tiniest pieces of hope would be wrenched away from him.
He remembered a time he dreamed of seeing his face again. It was night again and he was sleeping beside him, hugged securely in his arms, listening to his steady breaths and reassuring himself, he is here, he is alive. Still, he dreamed of seeing his face, his real face again, and immediately felt guilty for his selfish wish. He was here, still alive after years of separation. How could he be this greedy and dream for more?
He didn’t remember when the time stopped and all of his memories broke into confused little pieces, along with his tiny dreams spread over his life.
“How am I going to go back?”
To home, he’d wanted to say. But where was his home, to which part of his life he belonged? Was he four years old Lan Zhan, who still sat in his mother’s lap, telling her stories of the world outside of the small cottage she couldn’t leave? Was he a teenager, frustrated with the bright-smiled boy he’d just met because he couldn’t get him out of his mind? Was he the single father of the boy he rescued from the ashes of a place used to be a warm home for hopeless people? Who was he? Where was he? Where did he belong?
Wei Ying crouched in the darkness, hands still covering his ears. “Please, stop,” he begged to the voice. “I wanna go home.”
“To Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan answered.
The time was a funny thing. It didn’t feel like it supposed to felt. Or maybe Wei Ying knew time wrong all along and he’d just started to get to know it. It did stop moving again, stayed frozen for a brief moment, and started to move backward, much slower than before and he was at the beach again, holding Lan Zhan’s hand under the shining night sky, listening to his own rapid, quick heartbeats becoming slower until it finally synced with Lan Zhan’s.
“Lan Zhan…” he said.
Lan Zhan looked at him, honey eyes shining wet, lips slightly parted and so, so beautiful.
Wei Ying kissed him. It felt like first. It felt like millionth. It felt like last as he desperately trying to get the taste of him, of his soft bottom lip, of the pinkness of his mouth, of his little sigh as their tongues slid and their bodies pressed together with the need of more and more. His hand reached the back of his neck, caressed the fine hair here as he whispered his love with every sound he breathed whenever their lips parted for a moment. Lan Zhan too, whispered his love with his own way, saying his name again and again with every press of his lips, with every move of his hand on Wei Ying’s body, on his back, on his waist, on his chest, just above his heart before he kissed there too.
“Lan Zhan…” Wei Ying said, he felt breathless, he felt frozen in place and he felt he could only exist with the supporting weight of Lan Zhan’s arms around his waist.
Lan Zhan kissed his tears before they could shed.
Wei Ying held on tight on his shoulders.
“I missed your face,” Lan Zhan whispered to his cheekbone. “Missed your voice,” he breathed to his temple. “Missed your smell,” he mouthed to his jaw. He buried his face to Wei Ying’s neck. “Missed you, Wei Ying.”
“I’m here Lan Zhan.” He hugged him. “I’m here.” Kissed the corner of his mouth. “We’re here.”
The pieces of their memories slowly came together as they sat tangled with each other, Lan Zhan’s hand drawing soothing circles to his nape, Wei Ying hugging his waist and inhaling his smell with his every breath. The crackling of the fire filled the gap between silences, its heat radiating from the fireplace settled with them. It was peaceful, in that small cottage they’d found at the beach when they get tired of walking; and relaxing, so much so that, Wei Ying could feel himself getting drowsy, slowly slipping into the sleep in Lan Zhan’s warm embrace.
They didn’t talk about their memories, however joyful and full of love some were, others were equally wailful, full of pains and tears, full of regrets for the words that never could find the right moment to be uttered. They were with them though, Wei Ying still tasted his Shije’s lotus and pork rib soup, sweetened with the laughter of three siblings who yet to discover the miseries of the life lie ahead of them. He still smelled the happiness radiated from little A-Yuan when Lan Zhan bought that wooden butterfly for him, his first real toy, and later treated them with dinner, his first real meal, not just two half bowls but a meal with soup, several dishes, and dessert.
He told Lan Zhan about his strange encounter with that goddess-like woman though, and what happened after that, how he found himself in the midst of his memories, everything happening at one single moment but actually nothing happening at all. Nothing. Just tick-tocks.
“I still hear the echo of these tick-tocks,” Wei Ying said. “I thought I could never escape them and would be stuck with…” He shivered as he remembered these moments when the time flew so harsh towards him. “…that.”
Lan Zhan kissed his hair. “Mn.”
Lan Zhan too, told about how he met a strange man, who led him through his memories to a garden and told him being a dream or being real did not matter at all.
“Lan Zhan…” Wei Ying murmured sometime later. “We are dreams, can you believe it?”
Lan Zhan nodded, hugging him even more tightly.
“Someone really dreamt someone like you.” He pulled away just enough to see his face. “I mean it makes sense, look at you. You could only belong to a dream.” He raised his hand and started finger counting. “Handsome, talented, kind, thoughtful, patient, most perfect husband in the world. There was no way you could be real.”
“Husband?” Lan Zhan asked, raising his eyebrows. “Did we get married?”
“Yes, you don’t remember? I remember, our dreamer definitely must’ve dreamt of us getting married. But we can always marry again if you don’t remember Lan Zhan, we can marry a hundred, no a thousand times if you like.”
Lan Zhan laughed, it was more like a huff of air that took off Wei Ying’s hair, just a little louder than his usual breathing but it still made his heart flip-flap inside him.
“And we can marry in different worlds, in different times. We can even pretend to fall in love for the first time countless times. I would love to fall in love with little Lan Zhan, growing in love with him, and eventually marry him. Or I would love the older Lan Zhan, at the first sight, in the most unexpected moment when we both were so caught up in our everyday business. Or a completely different Lan Zhan, let’s say… a fairy? Would you love fairy Wei Ying too, if you don’t I could be something else…”
“I would love the fairy Wei Ying, or any other Wei Yings and I would love to marry each of them.”
“Mark your words.”
Wei Ying sighed happily and rested his head to Lan Zhan’s chest, listening to his heart. After a couple of minutes, he sensed Lan Zhan tensed underneath him and looked up to see his furrowed eyebrows and tightly pressed lips. “Ah, you’re making that face again.” He pressed one of his fingers to his brows, to ease that frown away. “What’s wrong Lan Zhan, what are you thinking?”
“That person dreamed of you…” Lan Zhan said, with a clear despite in his voice. “They made you suffer so much. You… you’ve lost so much.”
“Ah,” Of course he would be bothered with that, his sweet, ever-thoughtful Lan Zhan who would be upset even with the smallest cut in his finger. “I am sure they didn’t mean to. Besides, who could imagine some part of your dream would come to life and would accuse you because you what… created them? It’s silly.” He shook his head. “It’s not important now. We don’t belong to someone else’s mind anymore.”
They used to belong somewhere but that place didn’t exist anymore, or maybe never existed and they were just two wandering souls between the gap of the worlds, not belonging anywhere, anytime, just to each other.
They left the cottage early in the morning and walked along the beach. The sun moved with them too, following them as it rising slowly upon the sea, scattering the blue of the air with its brightening lights.
That strange woman and man joined in them later, when the sun fully rose and the world was no longer a pale blue.
“I see you found your way,” said the woman, this time in more casual clothes, a large white t-shirt and denim shorts, feet bare just like Wei Ying’s.
Lan Zhan grabbed Wei Ying’s hand, intertwining their fingers. “Yes.”
The woman leaned her head to the man’s shoulder, a soft smile appearing on her face and making her look a lot less intimidating than before. “I told you,” she said to the man, their hairs blending together, a dark and a pale color, making a beautiful contrast. “They were strong ones, they could write themselves together.”
The man grabbed the woman’s waist and pulled her closer to him. “Yes, indeed.”
“Good luck with… the rest of your adventures. I imagine a lot is waiting for you.”
They left with that. They had lots of stories to explore, lots of dream characters to help, and lots of dreamlands to visit.
As for Wei Ying and Lan Zhan…
Wei Ying squeezed Lan Zhan’s hand and smiled at him. “Lan Zhan, let’s go home.”
And in the future, if they were asked what happens to the unfinished stories, they would answer, they write themselves.