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Concern is a two way road

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His beloved is someone who fusses over him a lot, Xie Lian knows this very well, if he ever returns home with a single speck of blood or a blooming bruise Hua Cheng will be beside him in a split second worrying over it. It’s sweet but Xie Lian is still growing used to having someone fuss over him so much and he knows that Hua Cheng’s death threats to whoever brings him harm aren’t empty or spoken from the heat of the moment. If Crimson Rain Sought Flower vows to behead someone then someone’s head shall roll.

Xie Lian understands that his husband worries for him out of love, he worries for Hua Cheng as well, neither of them are weak but accidents happen (especially when Xie Lian has an abysmal level of awful misfortune).

So, if Xie Lian’s brain short circuits when his beloved San Lang walks into Paradise Manor with red that has nothing to do with his clothes he can’t be blamed, right?

Hua Cheng is known for being dressed in red, it’s his signature per say, he’s known widely for his blood rain and yet Xie Lian feels himself panic because the red he sees isn’t the luxurious crimson hue of his robes but the true red of blood that clings to his alabaster skin. His own blood, no less.

“San Lang!”

“Gege!”

Hua Cheng’s tone doesn’t match Xie Lian’s, he sounds purely delighted and Xie Lian would have shared the feeling hadn’t he been worrying over his husband who seemingly returned home injured. He was about to grab him, but his hands freeze inches away from Hua Cheng, hands dumbly hovering in the air as he wonders if he should touch, would it hurt? Is it a grave wound?

His husband is a ghost; he’s been dead for years, but his mind tends to forget that.

“Gege,” Hua Cheng hums softly “Gege, it’s alright. It’s nothing serious.”

“But—you’re bleeding! How did you get hurt?”

“Is gege going to avenge me?”

“If I have to, yes!”

The ghost king stares at him for a moment, a single eye slightly wide and his jaw a bit slack, that shock wears away just as soon as it came giving way to a smile that does nothing to dissipate Xie Lian’s concerns.

“Let’s…Get you treated, alright?” Xie Lian urges while holding his hand “Cleaned too.”

Both turn their attention to E’Ming who suddenly shivers and quivers in its scabbard at the mention of getting ‘cleaned’. Xie Lian not only spoils his husband but he also spoils his weapon which has taken a great liking to taking baths with Xie Lian so when the god said ‘cleaned’ the blade obviously became eager with the idea of taking a bath with Xie Lian per habit.

“…Ignore it, gege.”

Xie Lian laughs at that as he gives E’Ming a gentle pat on its hilt which causes the bright red eye to squint happily in return.

“We’ll get you both cleaned up.”

As it turns out, the wound is a gash on Hua Cheng’s arm, the ghost king brushes it off as nothing as he says that it will heal soon enough but Xie Lian can’t brush it off so easily. The sight of his arm bloodied and with the skin teared off is making Xie Lian recall one too many things, it’s making his heart shrivel and sink heavily into the depths of his stomach in a nauseating way.

Is this how Hua Cheng feels each time he returns home wounded? Does his husband always feel like this?

“Gege,” Xie Lian startles when he feels a cold pressure to his forehead, looking up golden brown eyes meet a single coal eye “I’m fine, there’s no need to worry.”

“You’re wounded, you’re not fine. Of course, I’m worried!”

A kiss is pressed to his forehead and while it makes his heart skitter and warm blossom in his chest -he’s still heavily concerned. Xie Lian makes gentle work of cleaning the wound but at some point, his vision starts to blur at the edges with small tears making the task a bit hard. His husband isn’t weak, he won’t die over something so small, he will heal soon but the sight of his injured husband isn’t something that Xie Lian can swallow so easily.

“I know—” He says before Hua Cheng can even try to open his mouth “San Lang is very strong, I know. This is something small, but…But I really hate seeing you hurt.”

He’s no stranger to pain, Xie Lian has suffered a wide range of pain and wounds, his pain tolerance is barely existent at this point but emotional pain? Oh, that’s something he can’t quite get used to -especially when it comes to his husband.

“Oh, but look” Hua Cheng jerks his chin towards his arm “There’s nothing for gege to worry about, see?”

Peeking from between the piece of cloth Xie Lian had been using the clean the blood there’s beautiful unmarked alabaster skin where once a large gash was.

“Is this how it feels…? When I come home injured.”

“En,” Hua Cheng gently reaches for his husband to cradle him on his lap while pressing a loving kiss to the tip of his nose.

Xie Lian still stares at his forearm even though there’s nothing there, just smooth beautiful skin, a soft patch of skin that Xie Lian traces with his fingers gently because he can and because he loves his husband too much not to.

“But, you know,” Xie Lian tilts his head to look at him “I’m tired. I had to deal with idiots and was away from gege for so long…”

His voice is demure and soft, almost childishly so.

Ah. There’s the clingy and very affectionate San Lang.

Xie Lian feels his worries simmer down as his beloved (and very whiny) husband tries to fish for both compliments and his attention.  

“Yes, yes” He chuckles while pressing a kiss to his cheek “San Lang worked very hard today.”

Xie Lian did say that he needed to get cleaned up and so both end up in the large tub with a very pleased E’Ming being once petted by Xie Lian who leans against his husband chest. The water is warm in such a pleasant and relaxing way that Xie Lian feels like all of his worries are days old rather than hours old, but they haven’t faded completely from his mind.

“San Lang?” He receives a purr like hum in return, he feels it more than he hears it “You know how you told me not to touch anything that might be dangerous? For me to always be careful.”

“En. Why…?”

The god tilts his head back to look at the ghost king who tilts his head slightly to the side in return, a single coal colored eye intently focused on him with every bit of adoration twinkling in it that for a moment Xie Lian loses track of his own thoughts and what he was about to say.

“How about we promise that we’ll both be careful? You won’t touch things that might be dangerous, and I won’t either. You’ll try to be more careful and so will I, how about it?”

Hua Cheng doesn’t have Xie Lian’s luck, if anything his good fortune is heavy and bountiful enough for both of them and it probably counters Xie Lian’s misfortune, they balance each other in that aspect but it doesn’t make him worry any less for his husband even if Hua Cheng is very knowledgeable about everything and is a very strong deity.

“That’s fair,” Hua Cheng smiles at him, warm and adoring “It’s a promise then.”

It is and they seal it with a kiss just because they can and because they want to.

If Xie Lian returns home bruised or bleeding Hua Cheng will fuss over him, in return, if he’s the one to come home injured or bleeding Xie Lian will fuss over him in return. Both have spent much too long all alone, licking their own wounds, they have forever and more ahead of them and that means no one has to tend to bruises and wounds by themselves. They can do this instead, help each other and soak into each other’s embrace, talk of the happenings of the day even if E’Ming rattles noisily in its scabbard to demand more attention and pets which Xie Lian happily gives just as he happily melts into Hua Cheng's embrace knowing that he's safe in that familiar embrace and that Hua Cheng, in return, is also safe in his.