Actions

Work Header

Embracing Sunlight [English Translation]

Work Text:

01

It is winter. The nights grow long and fraught with dreams. [1]

Wu Xian has not been sleeping well recently.

He often dreamt of a rosewood door, a milky white hall. Sunlight shone through the stained glass windows. A full house of guests laughed loudly and waved the flowers in their hands. And Feng Xi stood in front of him, with a red rose pinned to the pocket of his white suit. His eyes curved into a smile towards Wu Xian, brimming with thick, honey-sweet affection.

A priest was in charge of officiating the ceremony. He asked aloud, “Do you promise to take the person before you as your lifelong lover, regardless of old age or sickness, of poverty or wealth? Do you promise to always love him, take care of him, respect him, commit to him, and stay loyal to him until life’s end?”

“I do,” they replied at the same time.

And so the crowd of guests congratulated them. They cheered and threw their flowers up into the air. Layers upon layers of petals clouded Wu Xian’s vision, until he could barely see Feng Xi’s face.

At that moment, the priest turned sideways to face Wu Xian. He asked, “Do you promise to give him all your love and to fulfill all his wishes?”

Wu Xian had yet to open his mouth to reply, but the priest still continued to speak.

“But what if he doesn’t want anything—except his own death?”

02

When Wu Xian woke up, his heart pained from how fast it pulsed. His arms held only the empty moonlight, devoid of any trace of warmth.

He sat up. With a hoarse voice, he called out a name. “...Feng Xi?”

Their bedroom’s balcony door was open, and the corners of the window curtains were lightly fluttering in the evening wind. Barefoot, Wu Xian stepped off of the bed and onto the cold floor, searching for Feng Xi through the moonlight.

Feng Xi was just sitting on the balcony railing. His shoulders were slumped, like a mountain drawn by a child. His head was also angled downwards, and he was quietly gazing at the darkness below his feet.

When Wu Xian called out to him again, he finally regained his senses. He turned his head and offered Wu Xian a smile.

The tattered pair of wings on Feng Xi’s back opened slightly. A blood red moon slept in every wound.

Wu Xian’s lover is a vampire.

03 

The first time Wu Xian saw him was in the Guild’s medical treatment facility, across the heads of countless medical faculty.

At the time, Feng Xi’s condition was extremely dire. Pan Jing said that the Guild had rescued him from an underground scientific research institute. In order to discover the secrets of immortality, the humans conducted all the experiments they could on Feng Xi’s body, almost taking his life.

From far away, Wu Xian took a look at the person lying on the bed. Both of his eyes were closed tightly. His face was deathly pale, and his breaths came out weakly. Every inch [2] of his skin was wrapped in gauze soaked in blood.

But medical treatment had never been one of Wu Xian’s strengths. At that time, even though he felt anxious, Wu Xian could only say to Pan Jing, “If there’s something I can do to help, find me immediately.”

04

The second time Wu Xian saw him was in the Guild’s confinement room, through thick one-way glass.

This time, Feng Xi could leave his bed and walk, but his footsteps remained shaky. He exercised his spiritual power, and from his shoulder blades emerged black bat wings, striving to fly upwards. But his bat wings were full of wounds. The slashes and burns were likely caused by his ruthless captors seeking to prevent him from escaping. With such wings, Feng Xi could barely remain in the air for a few seconds. The ceiling of the confinement room was low; Feng Xi slammed around erratically in the room, like a butterfly trapped in a glass bottle.

Wu Xian couldn’t bear the sight in front of him, and asked Pan Jing what had happened.

Pan Jing was also at a loss on what to do. He said that Feng Xi had amnesia and could not remember anything but his own name, and that he kept saying that he wanted to go home. But none of the Guild elfins recognized him or knew where his home was. In his urgency, he strove to rush outside alone. With no other good options, the Guild had to set up this solution to secure him.

Wu Xian creased his brow and pondered for a moment. As he stared into the glass, Feng Xi also happened to turn his head at the same moment. 

His pupils were the color of lilac. The light fell into the depths and shallows of his eyes, like the wind blowing through tips of lavender. With those eyes, he peered back at Wu Xian through the glass. Even knowing that he couldn’t possibly perceive him, Wu Xian’s heart still fell into strange disarray.

“Has he been feeding?” Wu Xian asked Pan Jing. “Does the Guild have any human blood?”

His Adam's apple bobbed in his throat, and he swallowed some inexplicable feelings. Suddenly, he said, “You can give my blood to him.”

05

The third time Wu Xian saw him was in Pan Jing’s office, across a tiny square table.

Feng Xi’s condition had improved greatly. The color had returned to his face, and his lips were the pink of cherry blossoms under the moon. He no longer had the same impatience from before. While Pan Jing spoke, he kept staring at the meat placed at the center of the table, without lifting his gaze or making a sound.

Pan Jing said there was now something Wu Xian could help with.

Since Feng Xi’s health had made a turn for the better, he could finally remember some more things. With their abilities, the Guild’s elfins had roughly discerned the vicinity of his house. Now they only needed to send him home, and then contact the nearest Guild Hall to take care of him.

However, Wu Xian and Pan Jing both knew that what they called care was really supervision. Feng Xi lived on human blood, and he could never be in the presence of light. If he ever lost control and caused a catastrophe, then all their previous efforts would go to waste. The reason why Wu Xian was selected to accompany him was not just because he was a human who could provide a stable form of sustenance for Feng Xi on the road. More importantly, it was because if Feng Xi ever lost control, Wu Xian had enough strength to deal with him.

Wu Xian’s heart was clear on this matter, so he opened his mouth and agreed.

Only then did Feng Xi spare him a glance. For the first time, Wu Xian heard his voice, like the wind gently brushing over his ears.

He said, “Thank you.”

06

During their journey, day and night seemed to switch places.

Unable to ride trains or planes, they could only depend on the cars and rails. Along the way, they stayed in poorly managed hotels--checking in at the middle of the night and leaving by dusk the next day. If they had any delays, Wu Xian would let Feng Xi stick newspapers on the hotel window so he could sleep, then wait for the sun to set in order to remove it.

One day, Wu Xian went downstairs to eat dinner. When he returned to their room, Feng Xi was already awake. As Wu Xian pushed open the door, Feng Xi had just torn off the last newspaper from the glass. The neon lights of the city revolved slowly on his body, and he leaned against the window, watching the people carrying out their lives below without saying a word. 

Feng Xi liked to observe humans. On the roads, on public transportation, and through the city market shelves, he carefully spied on this familiar yet strange world, both yearning and distant.

Wu Xian would teach him basic life skills, such as how to ride a car, how to shop, and the use of modern electronic equipment. Feng Xi learned things quickly, and in a short time, the person in charge of preparations changed. In comparison to Wu Xian, who was careless and tended to skip over details [3], Feng Xi was more particular and patient, able to arrange everything properly.

Originally, this should have been an easy journey.

Wu Xian did not speak much, and Feng Xi usually kept his silence. They could stay peacefully together in quiet spaces without disturbing each other’s thoughts.

Only one thing worried Wu Xian: the method by which Feng Xi fed.

Before, he would let other people draw blood from his veins before handing it over to Feng Xi. This was completely different from direct blood sucking.

It was unlikely that Pan Jing knew that in order to make their prey well-behaved during bloodsucking, a vampire would inject a toxin inside of them. The toxin would let their prey feel the sensation of euphoria, so they would give up resistance. 

The first two times, Feng Xi bit his wrist. Wu Xian could conceal his reaction then. The third time, Feng Xi was a little restless. He pressed Wu Xian against the hotel sofa and licked his neck. When he pierced his fangs through Wu Xian’s veins, Wu Xian was helpless against preventing any reaction. Feng Xi was also straddling him, just barely brushing against his body.

Wu Xian thought of reporting this matter to the Guild, either asking them to switch executors or changing the method by which they sent Feng Xi home. But he never thought that Feng Xi would use his own hands to relieve him. 

The person beside him brushed back his bangs, exposing his beautiful face. Against the light, his entire body seemed to glow. A faint fire burned in the depths of his eyes.

 “You’re hard.” His tone was light and breezy when he said this, and Wu Xian’s blood was still dripping from the corner of his lips. “I can help you.”

The metal pieces on Wu Xian’s arms emitted a small buzzing sound, but he did not make a move in the end.

On the contrary, Wu Xian pushed his body over Feng Xi and subdued him with savage kisses that were more comparable to bites.

He used an even more casual tone to say, “Thank you.”

07

Executor and vampire, man and man, sex and hunger. 

The relationship between them had become twisted and strange.

From that day on, they embraced and slept together after Feng Xi’s routine meals. Maintaining distance was something they considered only after they became more clear-headed.

Feng Xi appeared to be very experienced with all of this. Wu Xian held several speculations as to why, but he never questioned him aloud. He knew he would not get the answer he wanted.

During this time, their distance from Feng Xi’s house was getting shorter and shorter. It was hidden in an old forest on a mountain. Wu Xian asked around in the nearby village and heard the villagers say that ghosts dwelled there--no one had ventured inside in a long time. Wu Xian knew he had found the right place, so he moved forth with Feng Xi. There were no cars or roads in this area, so he had to purchase a motorcycle to carry Feng Xi over the country roads.

Feng Xi had never encountered such a thing. At the beginning he sat straight and stiff as a board behind Wu Xian, but the country road was not smooth. After several bumps, he became scared, so he wrapped his arms around Wu Xian’s waist.

It was a summer night with a beautiful moon. Even the clouds parted for them to allow the lights in the sky to lead their way. Fields stretched out on both sides of the road. Insects cried and frogs croaked one after each other. The wind cast ripples in the rice paddies, and Feng Xi let out a soft breath, a puff against his back.  

Wu Xian suddenly realized they had never been so close before.

In bed, only their bodies pressed closely together. Their hearts and minds operated independently, and they never relaxed for a moment.

It was a pity that he couldn’t enjoy this rare peace for long. Perhaps due to all the bumps in the road messing with the wiring, the motorcycle’s lights blinked once and then twice, before completely turning off. The fields had no place to recharge, and certainly no one to provide repairs. Wu Xian was worried what would happen to Feng Xi if the fixes were not done by dawn.

“Then I can just die here.” Feng Xi’s words came abruptly, as he stood by watching Wu Xian repair the motorcycle.

Wu Xian spared him a glance, and furrowed his brows. “You will not.”

Feng Xi was silent for a while. It took a long time for the wind to deliver his soft words. “Isn’t this much simpler? For you and the Guild?”

Wu Xian spun around to face him. Feng Xi continued, “The strongest executor, completing the simple task of sending someone home...I’m not ignorant.”

Wu Xian’s heart felt as if someone had suddenly grabbed it and wrung it out. He couldn’t help saying, “Is this the reason why you went to bed with me?”

Feng Xi had not expected for him to reply so bluntly. He cursed under his breath angrily and turned to leave, but Wu Xian moved his metal pieces to hold him in place.

This was the first time he had raised a hand towards Feng Xi. Wu Xian acknowledged clearly, “You’re not wrong. I am here to supervise you.”

Feng Xi struggled violently for a while, but Wu Xian was determined to bring him under his submission. The grip of his iron pieces strengthened by several degrees. Feng Xi became so anxious that his bat wings reappeared; even then, he still could not move at all. His eyes turned red with anger, and he finally let loose his real feelings. He roared, “Let me go!”

Wu Xian didn’t pay attention to him. He just said, “I’m supervising you, but this does not conflict with my sincere desire to send you back home. In a similar way, the Guild rescued you, and spent such a long time healing you and helping you find your home. Do you think this is all for show? They have their concerns, but this does not mean they wish to harm you.”

Feng Xi was not a person who could not listen to reason. Wu Xian could clearly tell that he was slowly withdrawing his claws. He struggled for a while, but eventually, he quieted down again. He only persisted in saying, “...Let me go.”

Wu Xian had still wanted to keep him tied down for a while. But he suddenly realized that Feng Xi was trembling, and even the iron pieces that bound him were shaking slightly. In an instant, the vision of Pan Jing speaking about the experiments and Feng Xi’s initial appearance rushed into Wu Xian’s mind. Feng Xi’s defiance was not only because of his character.

So he immediately removed the iron pieces, bowing and saying his apologies. Feng Xi did not say a word, and the fire in his eyes dissipated. He turned his head to look elsewhere.

The two stood in awkward silence for a while, and Wu Xian was forced to turn around to continue repairing the motorcycle.

Fortunately, though the motorcycle had initially broken for some indiscernible reason, it somehow fixed itself just as indiscernibly.

Wu Xian stepped on the motorcycle. As he pondered how to call Feng Xi over, the seat behind him sank, and Feng Xi hugged his waist again. 

They set off again as if the events before had never happened. But a thorn still pricked Wu Xian’s heart. He said, “The Guild is different from those outside. Everyone there is understanding and considerate. We will not be like those who hurt you. We are all like each other.” 

After a long time, he finally heard Feng Xi’s response.

He said, “They are elfins, you are a god, and I…

“I’m just a monster.”

08 

Later, Wu Xian would often think of these words. 

Some smarter people would have heard these words and surely known how to reply. They could use their words to bring Feng Xi peace.

But at the time he didn’t know what to say. He did not reply, and only kept his silence.

They finally arrived at their destination before the sun rose. Deep in the mountain, there was a house with a blue-tiled roof, surrounded by a large courtyard outside. It looked very old.

Strangely, the inside of the house did not appear to be a solitary residence. There were traces of other people who had lived inside it. Feng Xi found a photo with himself and two boys in a drawer in the back room, but he could not remember who the other two were.

He was quite dismayed, and did not have an ounce of the joy from a normal homecoming.

Wu Xian could only pull him together by getting him to think of other things, such as tidying the house, organizing the interior, and connecting with the nearest branch of the Guild.

He thought of a way to connect Feng Xi’s house with electricity and asked the Guild elfins for help to install some necessary household appliances. He asked them to take care of Feng Xi on regular days--especially since he did not want to live in the Guild, they should come visit him often.

Logically speaking, his mission had been completed. Nezha’s division was short on labor and had already called him a few hundred times.

But he saw the long shadow Feng Xi cast in the broken house, stretching from the bedroom to the porch, and he felt fixed in place.

So he hung up Nezha’s call again, and told Feng Xi, “I will go back later. Let me help you tidy up this place first.”

Feng Xi was a little surprised, but he did not say anything in the end.

After the regular nightly feeding time, Feng Xi hesitated before attempting to touch him again. But Wu Xian pushed him away, saying there was no need.

In the later days, Wu Xian helped him stock up on goods. Feng Xi organized the house’s items, while Wu Xian dealt with the courtyard. Slowly, Feng Xi seemed to remember more things. He said the garden used to grow flowers and vegetables. So Wu Xian removed the grass for him and bought seeds. They planted them together at night.

In the courtyard under the moonlight, they sat side by side on the ground, tired and just a little distance apart.

Feng Xi inclined his head to stare at him, and Wu Xian returned his gaze. “Hungry?”

“I’m not hungry.” Feng Xi paused for a second, then changed his mind. “I’m hungry.”

So he leaned forward. The location he aimed for was above the neck: Wu Xian’s thin lips.

That was the first time they made love.

09 

Later, Wu Xian would often visit him, bringing him some necessities. He told the others that Feng Xi’s conditions were unique, and he needed some special care. No one questioned him.

In fact, his life’s necessity was Wu Xian himself.

The blood given by the Guild was all stored at the bottom of the freezer. He only wanted Wu Xian, the source of his hunger and satisfaction.

Now whenever Feng Xi would remember new things from time to time, he took Wu Xian to the courtyard to look at the fruits and vegetables. He said it was like this in the past -   there grew a pumpkin, and there hung the grape vines.

The moonlight spilled on him. He said, “I remember, right here, the sunlight used to fall...”

After saying this he leaned back slightly. The back of his hand slid gently across his forehead, kissing the tip of his nose, his moist lips, and falling along the collarbone along his neck. He let out a small breath that danced in the cool air.

“...Fall right over me.”

Pan Jing had seen the research materials. Feng Xi was once also a human being, but he had become like this after experiencing such mysterious changes.

It was ridiculous.

The people who had captured him couldn’t wait to dismantle him for the chance at eternal life, but Feng Xi simply wanted to use everything to return back to the past.

More than once, he said to Wu Xian that he only wanted to be like everyone else, to freely walk under the sun.

Wu Xian asked, “Even if you turn to dust and vanish?”

Feng Xi paused for a long time. He said, “Even if I turn to dust and vanish.”

In his eyes, the sun was the source of all things, the first steps in a new day, the amnesty of innocence, a blanket of care and love. 

“Even if it is only a moment,” he said. “Under the sun, I can feel that I am alive, and then I can greet death in peace.”

10 

Wu Xian would definitely not let such a thing come to pass.

Before he encountered Feng Xi, he rarely thought of love.

He lived for too long, and heard too many sayings. Love and hatred were confusing disturbances.

Some people said, if you love him, you should give him all that he wants, grant him his freedom, and let him do what he wishes to do.

But Wu Xian was once the freest person in the world, coming and going like the wind. Yet happiness? He could not speak of it.

It was Feng Xi who made “me” become “us,” so the answer to his problems should also lie in “us” and not be a decision made by “me.” Wasn’t that correct? 

Feng Xi wished to touch sunlight, so Wu Xian would find a way for him. He found many substitutes, installing warm yellow light strips everywhere in the house.

He knew that it wasn’t enough.

They were not warm enough, nor were they bright enough. They were nothing in the face of real sunlight.

Wu Xian took a long time to come up with a good substitute. He picked a moonless night to call Feng Xi into the courtyard, to gift him a little “sun.”

The “sun” was about as big as a basketball. The transparent surface was shining with light, and it felt warm to touch.

“What’s burning...inside?” Feng Xi touched it, almost speechless.

Wu Xian paused for a little bit. Then he replied, “Nezha’s wind-and-fire wheels. I stole it.”

Feng Xi couldn’t help but laugh. “Sooner or later you will be fired.”

“That’s fine too.” As Wu Xian spoke, he took the sun from the slightly stunned Feng Xi’s hands, and then gently cast it into the air. An iron piece lifted it up, and it hovered in mid-air. Wu Xian said, “It’s not over yet.”

As soon as the sound of his words dissipated, the “sun” burst into incredible light. A blazing fire inside scattered radiance and heat. Instantly, the sky was as bright as a clear day.

Wu Xian said, “It doesn’t let out light in a large area, and right now it’s late at night. Only a few elderly people and children live in the village nearby. They will not notice.”

Feng Xi looked up at this inconceivable sky. Warm light benevolently kissed his forehead, its love indomitable by prejudice.

With a trembling voice, Feng Xi asked Wu Xian, “How long can it be kept like this?”

Wu Xian said, “One hour.”

He thought that during this hour, Feng Xi could stroll around in his flower garden, watch the rainbow light refracting off the dewdrops on the grapevines, or even read a few pages of his book and do a lazy stretch. He could have done anything.

But Feng Xi did not.

He chose to pull Wu Xian down to lay on the ground. They just rested on the “sun”-kissed grass, doing nothing.

Wu Xian said, “Are you sure about this? This is not easy to steal.”

Feng Xi said, “Hush.”

Like this, they laid on the grass and watched the sun for a very long time, until their eyes began to dry out. Even if they closed their eyes, the round circle of light would appear in the darkness.

One hour was about to be up. Wu Xian asked him, “Do you like it?”

He wanted to say that in the future he would think of more ways for Feng Xi to see the sunlight - perhaps even better ways. Those crafty human beings would come up with great inventions, and maybe even cure him.

The sun has always meant hope, hasn’t it?

Feng Xi turned sideways and tightly embraced Wu Xian. As the sun went out, his voice lit up.

11

“I love it.”