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system failure

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Luo Binghe is already awake when Shen Qingqiu blinks into wakefulness.

Shen Qingqiu’s husband’s fingers are carding through his hair, gentle in their motion, and Luo Binghe lets out a pleased hum when Shen Qingqiu sighs in contentment, and burrows closer into Luo Qinghe’s embrace.

Shizun,” Luo Binghe greets. When Shen Qingqiu pinches his side lightly, he corrects himself. He is Luo Binghe’s shizun when they have an audience; when it’s just them, when Luo Binghe is wrapped around him like this, Shen Qingqiu prefers another form of address. “Husband.”

“Binghe,” Shen Qingqiu says, and rewards him with the brush of his lips on Luo Binghe’s neck.

Mornings like these are not uncommon, to Shen Qingqiu’s delight. Luo Binghe tasks himself with taking Shen Qingqiu apart in the nights, but Shen Qingqiu knows he also very much enjoys the gentle intimacy of the mornings they get to spend together where Shen Qingqiu lets him hold and touch him as much as Luo Binghe wants, enough to tide them through the day, until Luo Binghe gets to wreck him in the night again.

Shen Qingqiu smiles at the thought. His sticky husband. His sticky husband that he loves very much.

[WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! Important things must be said three times!]

Shen Qingqiu stills. The system hasn’t been active in years now, not since he rewrote the story to give himself his own goddamn happy ending, and he will be damned if it has come to ruin the perfect life he’s come to create for himself by Luo Binghe’s side now.

[Due to a system failure, the system will automatically reboot in SIXTY MINUTES. (≧σ≦) Does this user want to save his progress, or start from the beginning?]

Start from the-

Shen Qingqiu mentally slams the save button so hard he thinks he can see fractures in the system’s screen.

[This user’s progress has been saved! (ฅ⁍̴̀◊⁍̴́)و ̑̑ Please be aware that the user may be subject to loss of memory during the system reboot! Calculating time required to recalibrate user’s memories…]

What the fuck! Memory loss? Nobody said anything about memory loss!

[Calculating time required to recalibrate user’s memories…]

Stupid system! Why is there even a system failure?!

[System has detected animosity from the user. (▰˘︹˘▰) Calculating time required to recalibrate user’s memories…very slowly…]

Shen Qingqiu could strangle someone.

“Husband?” Luo Binghe asks, blinking at him in concern, and Shen Qingqiu forces himself to relax once again in Luo Binghe’s hold.

If he’s going to lose his memories, he has to be somewhere far away from Luo Binghe.

First of all, Luo Binghe is going to worry himself to death, even if he knows the effects will not be permanent. Shen Qingqiu wouldn’t even be able to explain the whole system failure or the transmigration without Luo Binghe bursting into tears, or threatening to rip a hole in the fabric of the universe to stop the system from messing with him. Sixty minutes is definitely not going to be enough to deal with this fallout.

Secondly, if he loses his memories of being happily married to Luo Binghe, he might be...frightened of Luo Binghe, the way he was when he first transmigrated. That might scare Luo Binghe. Or make him sad. Shen Qingqiu definitely cannot have that.

So.

Qing Jing Peak it is, then.

Or, perhaps… If this is to be a system failure, perhaps he should give Airplane Bro some heads up. Or, they could spend the downtime together, and Shen Qingqiu can curse him to his heart’s content for writing his stupid novel and creating this stupid universe.

(This stupid novel did give Shen Qingqiu a wonderful husband, yes, but Shen Qingqiu had to do that all on his own, and he will die before he gives Airplane Bro any credit for that.)

“Binghe,” Shen Qingqiu says, “this master has to go back to Cang Qiong Mountain today.”

Luo Binghe nods. “I will go with you.”

Shen Qingqiu kisses him gently. “No need,” he tells Luo Binghe. “I will be meditating with your Shang-shishu. Your presence will be distracting. I will be back in a week.” Maybe less. Hopefully less, but with Luo Binghe, it’s always best to prepare him for the worst case scenario.

Luo Binghe looks crestfallen. “A week?” he whines. “But who will look after you for one whole week? Can’t I come along with you, shizun? I’ll be good, and I won’t distract you from your meditation. I’ll just sit there, and watch over you.”

Lies.

The last time he’d gone back to Qing Jing Peak for some actual meditation to break through his cultivation bottleneck, Luo Binghe had cajoled his way into accompanying Shen Qingqiu. Shen Qingqiu had managed to meditate for perhaps the span of three incense sticks before his husband had shown him that there were plenty of other ways (or well, one particular way) that one could level up in cultivation.

(Papapa. In this world, everything was solved by papapa, because Shang Qinghua is the fucking worst.)

“Binghe,” Shen Qingqiu says sternly. Proper stern, not bedroom stern. Proper stern gets Luo Binghe to listen. Bedroom stern gets Shen Qingqiu aching in ways that he really shouldn’t still be finding out for the first time that he can ache. “I will be very disappointed if you persist in following me when I have specifically told you to stay.”

Luo Binghe’s crocodile tears are triggered, but Shen Qingqiu stays firm.

It’s for Luo Binghe’s own good.

Luo Binghe eventually acquiesces.

--

[Time required to complete system reboot and recalibrate this user’s memories is THIRTY-TWO HOURS.]

“Thirty-two hours!” Shen Qingqiu growls. “Why do I have to go through a system reboot that will see me lose my memories for more than a day, and you’re fine? What sort of bullshit system is that!”

Shang Qinghua shrugs. “Perhaps because I never made it a habit to verbally abuse the system?”

Shen Qingqiu throws a teacup at him, and feels satisfaction when it hits its intended target.

--

“-long story short,” Shang Qinghua tells him, still snacking on his goddamn melon seeds, completely uncaring of Shen Yuan’s abject horror at everything Shang Qinghua has just told him, “when it comes to Luo Binghe now, it’s not your limbs that you have to worry about anymore, but your chrysanthemum.”

Shen Yuan is silent for a moment, reeling from the fact that he’s gone from scum villain who gets his limbs torn apart to a one-man harem of a powerful demon lord.

He stares at Shang Qinghua. Shang Qinghua eyes him back steadily, and bites down on a melon seed.

“I,” Shen Yuan declares calmly, with all the sincerity and conviction he can muster, “am going to kill you.”

“It’s not even my fault!” Shang Qinghua whines quietly. “You were the one who went and changed my story by, I don’t know, seducing my son-”

Shen Yuan throws his empty teacup at Shang Qinghua. “Who wants to seduce your son?!” he yells. “Why would I seduce your son?!”

Shang Qinghua shushes him. “Stop being so loud,” he tells him. “Every time your blood pressure so much as spikes when you’re away from Luo Binghe-”

A portal opens up, and out steps Luo Binghe in all his demon lord glory.

Shen Yuan’s first thought is: holy fuck.

This is quickly followed up with: the fanart really did not do him justice.

Shizun,” Luo Binghe says. He looks almost pleased to be here. Right. Shang Qinghua had said that Luo Binghe was...very attached to him, and it was uncommon for them to be apart for too long. “This disciple felt you were in distress?” He reaches out and brushes his fingers over Shen Yuan’s jaw lightly, before curling possessively over it, thumbing across Shen Yuan’s lips while glaring at Shang Qinghua. “Is there something this disciple can do for shizun to ease shizun’s distress?”

Cool. Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool.

He’s absolutely not going to lie — nobody has ever touched him like this before, or looked at him like this before. It’s a lot! It’s too much!

“Luo Binghe,” Shen Yuan croaks out.

Luo Binghe turns back to face Shen Yuan with wide eyes. He retracts his hand from Shen Yuan’s face. “Shizun? Did Binghe do something wrong?” he asks, and what the fuck, is that a- A pout? What happened to terrifying Demon King Luo Binghe?

Right. Shen Yuan happened, apparently.

“Binghe,” Shen Yuan tries again.

“Yes, shizun?”

What did Shang Qinghua say his excuse for coming to An Ding Peak was? Something to do with his meditation. Something about increasing cultivation. Shen Yuan cannot really remember; he was too busy focusing on more important aspects like how he’s apparently transmigrated into a fucking stallion novel, and is now sleeping with Luo Binghe.

Shen Yuan has never slept with anyone before! He’s never kissed anyone before! Heck! He’s never even held a boy’s hand before! How can he be sleeping with-

He stares at Luo Binghe, whose gorgeous eyes have started to tear up at Shen Yuan’s silence, and can’t help but to remember choice excerpts from Proud Immortal Demon Way that describe Luo Binghe’s cock as the “heavenly pillar of god”.

-this!

Shizun?” Luo Binghe tries again. And then, softer, “Husband? Why are you looking at me like this? Has this one done something to displease you?”

Husband! Luo Binghe is Shen Yuan’s husband! That Shen Yuan regularly papapas with!

Luo Binghe turns to glare at Shang Qinghua again. “Why is shizun in distress? What have you done to him?” he demands.

Shang Qinghua cowers. “Junshang,” he says, “I wouldn’t dare do anything to Shen-shixiong, knowing how much you value his well-being. Your shizun was merely lamenting upon the difficulties with his concentration before you came. He was just saying that it might be because he cannot stop thinking about you, junshang!”

At that, Shen Yuan snaps back into himself enough to glare at that traitorous little snake.

“It would appear that your shizun missed you very much,” Shang Qinghua continues, “even though you have only been apart for several hours!”

“Shang Qinghua!” Shen Yuan yells.

Whatever lies Shang Qinghua has just fed Luo Binghe works like a charm, though. When Shen Yuan turns to look at him, Luo Binghe is beaming, clearly delighted at the thought that Shen Yuan could have missed him so much he started to feel distressed at Luo Binghe’s absence.

Shizun!” Luo Binghe says happily. “This disciple will stay by your side while you meditate, if shizun misses me so much! I'll be good, I promise!”

Shen Yuan glares at Shang Qinghua. He wonders if Shang Qinghua can read the murderous vibes in his eyes. If he’s supposed to be Shen Qingqiu, that means that he definitely has enough cultivation to beat Shang Qinghua in a fight, and kick him down the mountain, right?

“Perhaps,” Shang Qinghua says, eyes glinting dangerously. “Perhaps junshang and Shen-shixiong would be more comfortable back in the absolute privacy of your home at Qing Jing Peak?”

Luo Binghe nods sagely. “Shang-shishu is very wise indeed. I see now why shizun was insistent upon meditating with you,” he says, curling his fingers around Shen Yuan’s thinner ones. “This disciple will take his shizun back to Qing Jing Peak, then.”

Before Shen Yuan is dragged into the portal that Luo Binghe opens up, Shang Qinghua smiles at him, and mouths, “Chrysanthemum.”

Shen Yuan is going to kill Shang Qinghua.