“Back then,” Xie Lian says softly, “I should have treated you much better. You didn’t deserve…” He trails off, face contorting into a grimace.
You could have treated me much worse, and you would still have done nothing wrong, Hua Cheng doesn’t say. He knows from experience that that isn’t what Xie Lian needs to hear. Instead, he says, just as softly, “You treat me gently now.”
“I still wish I could go back,” Xie Lian says, looking up. There are tears in his eyes. Hua Cheng hates himself for allowing that to happen. “I wish I could hold Wu Ming. I wish I could tell him it’s okay, I don’t hate him.”
Hua Cheng carefully scoops Xie Lian’s hands into his own. “I know,” he says. I know you want to. I know you love me.
Xie Lian squeezes Hua Cheng’s hands, giving him a watery smile.
And Hua Cheng has an idea.
“Dianxia,” he says, dropping to one knee in front of his god. A mask flickers into being in front of his face as he shifts his form.
Xie Lian gasps, and a second knee hits the ground.
“I’ve always watched you,” Hua Cheng says. “I will never leave you.”
“Wu Ming,” Xie Lian sobs out, and Hua Cheng’s arms are suddenly full of his beloved.
“Dianxia,” Hua Cheng whispers, pulling Xie Lian close.
It’s strange, to remember what he was like all those centuries ago, a mere Wrath with barely anything to offer his god.
It’s even stranger to have it truly sink in that Xie Lian cared for him then.
He takes a shaky breath he doesn’t need.
“I wish I could have had a little more time with you,” Xie Lian says.
“We have eternity together, now,” Hua Cheng reassures him, and Xie Lian hugs him tighter in response.
Hua Cheng leans into his beloved’s embrace, and deep inside, he feels something start to heal.