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You Know Me Too Well

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"What do you want?" You eyed the purple haired man with caution, teeth bared as you tried to ward him off with fruitless threats.

 

The humans have thrown you into the nearest back alley after getting caught trying to steal food. You couldn't even hunt for small critters nor fruits because they're all guarded by humans armed with their filthy guns that were sure to kill in a single shot.

 

You've tried to leave, traveling for hundreds of kilometers away but there was nowhere you could go. There were no forests, no lakes or even gardens, and if there were, they were all contaminated with filth and human waste.

 

No matter where you eyes landed on, there were only buildings, tall scary ones, like skyscrapers that touched the clouds with ease and it made you wonder–

 

How were the sinners closer to the heavens than spirits were?

 

You didn't know where you came from or who your parents were but you knew one thing and it was that you were a guardian.

 

You protected forests and talked to the birds as if they were your family, yet here you were being deprived of the things you were born to protect because of this silly little thing that humans liked to call innovation.

 

How could they call destroying a spirit's home 'innovation'?

 

The man tried taking a small step forward, but it only sent you back, drawing out your claws from your hands as another threat.

 

"Come closer and I'll kill you." You warned.

 

He held out his hand over to you with a gentle smile. On his palm was an apple, ripe and freshly picked from its tree.

 

Where did he get even that?

 

If someone saw him right now, it would probably look like he was taming a feral beast.

 

You stared at the fruit at hand, tempted at the urge to take the food and run but you feared he'd run after you and hunt you down.

 

"It's okay. I've noticed that you weren't getting any catches for the past few days so I had to at least give you something to eat." He said and crouched down to the ground, taking note of your hesitance.

 

"My name is FengXi."

 

He was watching you… he's been watching you– spying on you for a week and you didn’t know. 

 

"You're going to kill me, aren't you?" You said, retreating your hands to yourself before taking a few more steps back.

 

"No, not at all. I'm trying to help you, actually." He sat on the floor and made himself comfortable as he still held the fruit in his hand with care.

 

"Why?"

 

"Humans took your forest away from you, didn't they?"

 

You clicked your tongue and looked away but you nodded nonetheless.

 

You hated how he was right.

 

"Then come with me. We'll take our home back. Together."

 

FengXi looked straight into your eyes and began to slowly morph into his beast form.

 

A black panther– that was what he was.

 

His fur glistened like water dew under the morning sun, yet his purple eyes held something more. You felt his rage, his fear and the heavy grudge that his heart held onto like a prized possession.

 

He was a spirit, a beast– a demon, just like you.

 

His goals were yours and yours were his. You both had the same dream– to take back your lands and live in solitude within nature, just the way you all used to be. No humans, no invasive industries, no nothing. Just the earth, the spirits and a family you have always wished to have.

 

But it was just a dream, nothing more.

 

You can never achieve the peace that you longed for because it was all a dream and you have to wake up.

 

It's never going to happen, (Y/N).

 

Wake up.

 

"(Y/N), wake up!"

 

You felt a hand on both of your arms as you were being shaken back to consciousness.

 

Nezha sat on the side of your bed looking like you had just injured yourself again.

 

"Are you alright?" He asked. "I heard you thrashing around so I got worried."

 

You wanted to tell him no. No, you were not fine.

 

You just wanted to forget everything. Forget FengXi, his lies and the hate for humans that he planted in your heart that you shamelessly flourished into your own hatred.

 

You looked down onto your lap and grasped the end of Nezha's jacket. You tried to speak but the lump in your throat kept you from doing so, with only choked sobs and broken words escaping your lips.

 

"You don't have to talk about it, (Y/N). It's just a nightmare. It's not real."

 

Except it was very much real. It was a flash of memory– the exact same thing that happened when you had first had a proper conversation with FengXi after running after one another for countless days.

 

"I'll be leaving for a guild meeting in a bit, but I still have something to show you. I'll be in the courtyard when you're ready." He gave you a pat on the back and left your room.

 

As you sat on your bed, your room began to turn deafeningly quiet that it brought ringing to your ears. You opened the windows to break the silence, letting the fresh morning breeze into your room and breathed it in, instantly bringing clarity in your senses.

 

You really needed to let FengXi go. You had to let your dead best friend go but you can't. Not yet, at least. You just need more time. Maybe a few months– probably even years, but you'll get over it.

 

It's just that you don't know how.

 

You took yet another deep breath and sighed, swinging your legs off the bed and stood up, deciding that you've been mulling for too long that Nezha's probably getting impatient.

 

As soon as you changed out of your night clothes, you met up with your brother in the courtyard who had his arms crossed, head facing upwards as if he was waiting for something to fall down.

 

You wondered at what got his attention and mirrored him.

 

As you looked up to the sky, you spotted Wuxian, the strongest human from the Spirit Guild flying towards the temple– towards you .

 

Your breath hitched and began to see red. You didn't know what to feel first, anger or fear– maybe both .

 

The stress broke almost all of the weak glamours placed on your body as you clenched your hands, the urge to throw fists was strong but you couldn't move from immense panic. You felt your knees weaken, fighting between the decision of whether you should run away or straight to the incoming exterminator.

 

You looked at Nezha, scared and confused. He shook his head and held your wrist as he gave them a quick squeeze of reassurance.

 

"(Y/N)!" A young voice called with glee and jumped off WuXian, practically throwing themself onto you like a massive plush toy and resting their chin on your shoulder with a boyish giggle.

 

"We found you!"

 

Your breath seemed to stop at the boy who promptly leapt into your arms.

 

The red that obscured your vision began to disappear along with your rage when you saw the awfully familiar black cat ears and white hair that you last saw months ago.

 

It was Xiaohei.

 

He's… here. He's really here.

 

He pulled away from the embrace and immediately grabbed a handful of his hair to compare it with your own. "Look, we have the same hair now!" He said as he waved your hair in front of your face.

 

"You idiot…" you grumbled, tears starting to well from your eyes as you held back a sob, "That's not even good news."

 

You gripped on Xiaohei's sleeves and leaned your forehead on his shoulder.

 

"At least we're alive, right?" He cheered, lowering his head to look at you.

 

You chuckled one last time before wrapping him around your arms once more and placed him back down to the ground.

 

You faced Nezha with an apologetic look and smiled meekly at him. He gave you an understanding nod in response, he didn't tell you about their secret arrival so it was somehow his fault for startling you.

 

You looked back at Xiaohei– not understanding how he could look so happy even after everything that happened. The bright, childish smile plastered on his face just never failed to pass onto you like a contagious disease.

 

You thought he was going to hate you for running away from him, but he wasn't. He was just happy to see you again.

 

"Also! I asked Master Nezha earlier if he can train you! If Master WuXian agreed to teach me, then it's fair you get a teacher too!" He added.

 

Your brows furrowed as you glanced at Nezha for confirmation. They’re joking, right? They’ve got to be joking.

 

"It was my idea. It's up to you whether you want to train under me so that you can join the guild." The god shrugged.

 

"Join the guild…?"

 

"Y'know, like fighting bad demons and protecting Longyou! We get to do cool stuff, maybe run errands too." Xiaohei snickered as he elbowed his master who stood close.

 

Wuxian made a faint smile at the inside joke but encouraged it nonetheless.

 

He then properly faced you and hung his head low with his hands behind his back and bowed.

 

You stared dumbfounded at the exterminator. 

 

"We haven't told the Guilds about your location so you can rest easy. I'm sorry for alarming you." He apologized.

 

You haven’t heard an apology from a human in a long time. You fought the urge to accept it– WuXian and a (rather hotheaded) friend of his named Jiang Lian, had tried capturing you for years to no end with the aim of taking you back to the guild for what you could only assume was execution. You could deny it, you could attack him right then and there but he’s apologizing.

 

Apologizing for something he was tasked to do just because you were blinded by your pure spite towards his kind.

 

You took a small step towards him and gently placed a hand on his shoulder, making him glance back up to you.

 

“Thank you.” You said.

 

The smile that tugged on your lips left him speechless that he could only look back down to the ground. He wasn’t expecting you to thank him at all.   

 

"I know you already got surprised, but this isn't actually the surprise I meant to tell you." Nezha said.

 

"This better not be me being taken to the Headquarters." You hissed, turning your attention back to him.

 

"No. Not today. We're taking you to the city."

 

"That doesn't make it any better."

 

"But they have so much stuff in Longyou! Like food! Luozhu even started to live there!" Xiaohei countered.

 

You clenched your fists. You can't, even if Luozhu's free you cannot face anyone in that city anymore. You've done enough, to both the humans and the spirits that only wished to live a peaceful life.

 

"I'm sorry, Xiaohei. I don't think I'm ready to go anywhere near Guild territory." You said, turning your head away.

 

"You still hate humans… don't you?" He asked.

 

"I'm working on it, Hei. I promise I'll visit you in the city when I get the chance." You smiled as you ruffled his hair.

 

Even with your reassurance, Xiaohei's head still hung low for a moment when he suddenly got off his master's arms and ran towards the forest.

 

You wanted to follow the kid. You thought he’d run away from disappointment because of your rejection but he only went behind the nearest tree and picked up a black cat wrapped in bandages that was almost half his size, before walking back to you.

 

"At least take this cat with you. He kept shoving your glamour charm over to me so I thought he was looking for you." He lifted the cat that securely had a pendant in its mouth.

 

It was the glamour charm that FengXi gave you years ago.

 

How did the cat even recognize you?

 

"Wait." Nezha said, putting his hand in between the two of you before you could get your hands on that cat. "Where did this come from?"

 

"In Luozhu's flower shop!" The kid replied, "He's been chilling there for quite a while now, but he came back all beat up a week ago and we kinda got scared that we're not taking care of him properly so… Here he is!"

 

He eyed the cat warily as if expecting something to happen, but the cat didn't budge and blinked slowly at him instead.

 

Nezha, still looking suspicious, took one of his qiankun rings off his wrists and placed it on the cat.

 

It tried to pry the ring off its neck, scratching and growling at it as it magically morphed into a size that can accommodate the cat's neck.

 

"It's to… help him heal from all the scars." He said and stepped away as he finally let you cradle the cat in your arms.

 

"Is that all?" The god turned to the exterminator and his student.

 

When the two of them nodded their heads in confirmation, Nezha looked at you one last time for a silent farewell before activating his fire wheels.

 

As Wuxian bent his knees to prepare for take off, you called his name.

 

"Wuxian." The human looked back at you, "Please take care of Xiaohei for me." Wuxian gave you a genuine smile before flying away to catch up with Nezha.

 

You watched as they slowly disappeared in the horizon before turning your attention back to the cat you just received as it clung to your shoulder like a terrified kitten as you walked back to your room in the temple.

 

You didn’t even realize that his fur was an absolute mess until you had a proper look at him. His right eye was discolored, probably blinded by something– or someone, but you could only assume.

 

"Who hurt you…?" You mumbled, running your hand across his fur before scratching his chin, making him tilt his head towards your touch.

 

The cat looked at the tapestry of the great Journey to the West and used his tail to point at the golden monkey drawn in the middle– Sun Wukong.

 

You could only furrow your brows at the thought. Who in the ever loving fuck would even dare hurt a cat? That was just cruel.

 

"Why is it that when I'm told stories about him it's always bad news." You mumbled to yourself. "What's your name? Do you have one?"

 

The cat looked around and pointed his paw at the conveniently placed empty box of macaroni on your table.

 

"Macaroni?"

 

The cat yowled aggressively as he jumped on the table and repeatedly tapped on the first three letters and– ohhhhh.

 

It was Mac , not Macaroni.

 

Man, this cat is way too smart to be normal.

 

"Mac, huh? Well, I'm turning that to Macaroni and you can't do anything about it."

 

The cat meowed in protest as his tail waved from side to side but you only gave him a scratch below the ear.

 

"What? It's cute. And don't worry, I'll try and beat that monkey up for you one day."

 

The cat made a tiny sound akin to a snort and began to scratch at the qiankun hoop with his hind legs.

 

"Sorry, Mac. I can't control Nezha's qiankun ring so we need to wait for him to get home before you can take it off. You should rest, it might help you heal faster." You said and placed the cat down on your desk.

 

You took out the glamour charm that you had pocketed earlier and held it on your palm, recognizing each and every intricate pattern carved into the eclipse pendant that hung on the necklace.

 

You used it to keep your glamour intact during battles, or just in any circumstance, really. FengXi gave it to you because he knew you didn't like having your beast form out for… very obvious reasons.

 

Though you weren't going to use it anymore since you haven't been in populated areas for a long time so it didn't matter if you had your glamour off or not. 

 

You placed the charm in one of your drawers and laid back on your bed. You closed your eyes to get more sleep, when you suddenly felt weight get dumped on your stomach.

 

You took a peak and saw Mac kneading at your zhongyi before setting himself down in a comfortable position.

 

Soon enough purrs began to fill the room. You couldn't help but chuckle softly as you placed a hand on your cat, letting his rhythmic whirring pull you into a deep dreamless slumber.

 

— ❀ —

 

Damn Nezha and his stupid qiankun hoop limiting his magic.

 

Macaque was lucky enough to know the incantation used to manually loosen the ring so that he could at least turn himself into a human sized version of his shadow demon form. It was pretty hard to keep in a solid state, but it'll do just fine.

 

He sat on the edge of your bed, eyes locking onto your peaceful sleeping face as his ears twitched from the sound of your soft snores.

 

He just got back from a pretty nasty fight with Sun Wukong and his protege a week ago and sought refuge as a harmless cat at the flower shop that was being taken care of by Luozhu, who was kind enough to take him in for a while. He was waiting for an opportunity for Xiaohei to visit the shop, as he had no idea where you currently were at the time and his best bet was the cat beast. Turns out, you were being taken care of by Nezha, your infamous (unofficial) adoptive brother that you had considered family ever since your first life.

 

Now, after more than a hundred years of waiting and searching, he's finally with your reincarnation once again.

 

Truth be told, he already found you almost half a century ago, but to his surprise, FengXi got to save you way before he could.

 

He hasn't shown himself to you at the time so the panther beast pleaded to let you stay and live the life you had built on your own until he's taken back the lands that once belonged to him, and Macaque, not wanting to mercilessly destroy a friendship that you forged with this demon, agreed. 

 

He gave FengXi a glamour charm for you to use for your beast form and left you under the panther's care under one condition– he was to sacrifice himself for your safety under any circumstance. It didn't matter if he died, it didn't matter if he didn't finish his goals, he had to bring you back to Macaque no matter what it takes. It was a privilege that he even let them anywhere near you, more so that he didn't dare intervene in your life with the rogue demons until he heard of the news that FengXi took his own life after a tragic defeat from a fight with his long time enemies.

 

Not that he cared, really, it was about time he spent time with you, anyway.

 

His hand reached up to your head, fingers twirling itself in the soft white sections of your hair and gently applied glamour on it, careful not to disrupt your sleep.

 

 

His magic was still limited due to the qiankun hoop, but he thankfully had enough to properly hide your self proclaimed 'flaws'.

 

He found it beautiful, of course, he always did. Every scar, every blemish, every imperfection you had in your past lives was beautiful to him, even until now.

 

It was just that he knew the pains of not wanting to see scars that held fresh wounds when faced in front of a mirror and he will do anything to help you suppress those memories.

 

From the encounter earlier, Nezha, with no doubt, knew who he was and there was no denying it just from the reaction that he had, though he didn't really attack him like he had expected either. He didn't know if the Lotus Prince was saving the fight for later, but perhaps maybe there was still a chance that he could negotiate with him and settle a deal to let him stay with (Y/N) for as long as he can.

 

After that, the only thing he had to do was make you fall in love with him and only him, the same way he had always done for the past thousands of years.

 

You didn't have to know about Wukong.

 

I mean, nobody has ever been hurt by little while lies, right?