There is definitely something wrong in how he is acting but Liu Qingge has no idea how to fix it. First he is insanely fidgety when he sees Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe walk around. He knows that something is weird about how he feels because he doesn’t get this anxious with the other peak lords and never around any of his disciples. Secondly, he gets clammy around the two, adding to his fidgeting. He’s had poisons and different pollens effect him but no matter what he reads, nothing ever tells him what could possibly have infected him to have him acting like this.
His sister is no help. When he finally musters up the courage to visit her and ask her for help, she looks almost lost when he explains everything.
‘So you see them and get nervous and sweaty.” Liu Mingyuan says.
“Yes, I just said that.”
“My heart hurts. It gets fast.” Liu Qingge crosses his arms, trying to avoid the sharp look his sister sends him.
“Do you ever think about Master Shen and Luo Binghe specially?”
Liu Qingge stands very fast. “This is a waste of time. I will take my leave.”
“Brother!” Liu Mingyuan almost whines. “This is important! It sounds like you have a crush on them!”
Liu Qingge does not give her the chance to follow after him as he hurriedly runs off. That was stupid. His sister was so incredibly smart and that was the conclusion she came to. There was no way he had a crush on those two. They were beautiful men but they weren’t attainable. They were married to each other so why would they look at him.
His heart clenched painfully at that thought and he quickly shakes it off. This was stupid. He shouldn’t be thinking about something like this. It’s a waste of time like he thought before and he could use it training. Something he can actually understand.
His students end up taking quite a beating the next few weeks as he tries to ignore his thoughts circling around his conversation with his sister. He hates that he feels like a young girl when the very thought of the two also wanting to be involved with him comes to mind. It leads to him using training his disciples as an excuse to ignore it wholeheartedly.
He can’t completely as the two come to see him or invite him over constantly. The small moments with the three of them having tea together, quietly enjoying the other’s presence, is something he doesn’t want to mess with. It’s during those meetings that he realizes he is in love with the both of them. Seeing Luo Binghe with flour in his hair after baking for an hour, Shen Qingqiu laughing, his eyes bright as he looks at both Liu Qingge and Luo Binghe, he realizes he wants this. It hits so intensely it hurts him to know he was too much of a coward to even ask.
So he ignores the feelings. He doesn’t let them show and just quietly excuses himself when it gets too painful to feel the domesticity of the two and how they almost include him so naturally. He ignores the way Luo Binghe starts to cling to him in a similar way he does to Shen Qingqiu. He ignores how Shen Qingqiu will lean on him in the privacy of their homes and fall asleep without a thought.
But he couldn’t escape them for very long because he is still a peak lord, he still has duties.
Yue Qingyuan sends him on a mission with Shen Qingqiu and of course Luo Binghe tags along. He would never leave the two’s side and there was a constant smugness around Luo Binghe.
“Husband,” Luo Binghe says happily. “Are we riding a carriage on this trip?”
“Liu-shidi would insist on driving. It is not far, why not fly?” Shen Qingqiu says mildly.
“No,” Liu Qingge speaks up. “Without A Cure hasn’t acted up in months. It’s too dangerous to have you flying.”
“I don’t want to make Liu-shidi drive-”
“It’s fine.” Liu Qingge cuts him off. He crosses his arms and scowls. “It’s a day and a half by carriage so we should get going.”
“Does Liu-shishiu really not mind? I can arrange a better driver.” Luo Binghe says lowly. Liu Qingge scoffs, barely avoiding rolling his eyes.
“I don’t need to be coddled.”
Luo Binghe leaves to go to the carriage, Liu Qingge sitting as he starts the horses forwarding. He can hear the two talking about different things and listens idly. He isn’t particularly caring about the demon realm and Luo Binghe’s business but it’s something to fill the empty space of boredom.
They reach the town they’re supposed to be supporting from a large and unknown spiritual beast. There’s hoof marks trampled all over the streets and smashed stalls. The villagers are slowly picking things up from the attacks, looking annoyed but like this was routine. Liu Qingge had left the carriage outside of the town, the three walking the rest of the way easily. Shen Qingqiu was the first to start asking around the town for information.
It's a boar like creature that breathes fire and has a spiked tail that has poison on the quills. It’s teeth are sharp and there were a few people that had died already from it’s poisoning or being attacked. It sounded like a regular Poisonous Fire Boar but Shen Qingqiu was skeptical to take it so lightly.
It’s nest usually had packs of five that protected the young in spring and the town might have been too close to where they built their nest, angering it out of fear for the newborns.
“We might have to move their nesting place so they stop attacking the towns people.” Shen Qingqiu muses, sipping tea later at the inn they were staying at. They would wait until later that night to start looking as they were nocturnal animals.
“Husband should get some sleep before we start.” Luo Binghe says. He looks over at Liu Qingge and adds, “I can watch over the town so you both can rest.”
There was nothing rude or smug how he said it but it made Liu Qingge bristle nonetheless. “I’m fine.”
Later that night, they stumble into one of the Fire Boar’s young, lost from the nest. Shen Qingqiu curses when he sees it, quickly pushing the two into a bush.
It’s a near miss as a Fire Boar breathes right over their heads the minute they disappear, a horrendous stench surrounding them. The Fire Boar sees them, charging immediately. They all split, jumping out of the way at once. Liu Qinge takes Chen Luan out and rushes the first boar, seeing the second hiding to protect the young. He slides, avoiding the fire and using the blunt side of his sword to hit the jaw, disorienting the animal.
Luo Binghe follows him as Shen Qingqiu stays to watch for the other three, in case they come for support.
It’s a few minutes into defending themselves that Shen QIngqiu finally shouts, “We need to retreat! There are the other three!”
Liu Qingge and Luo Binghe both whip around and sprint after Shen Qingqiu. They use their spiritual energy to help them but one of the boars still pursues, the fastest of the group and most likely a leader of sorts.
It’s in one of the moments where Luo Binghe looks to see if Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge are okay, that the boar is able to gain on him. Is able to close just enough distance to lunge at Luo Binghe and it’s a second too late for him to do anything.
Liu Qingge is fast to push Luo Binghe out of the way. There’s a sharp pain in his back as he falls, gasping. It feels manageable until there’s another in his arm. It burns easily under a hit that sends him back into a stone, leaving him breathless and hardly able to see. He hit his head and it pounds to his rapid heartbeat and makes him nauseous and barely able to process much. Luo Binghe is still fighting where Liu Qingge was with Shen Qingqiu using their perfected relationship to support the other.
There’s yelling as he wheezes, coughing harshly and spitting blood onto the grass below him. His back is on fire and his vision swims more with black dots. He doesn’t regret the pain until he sees the grief in Shen Qingqiu’s eyes.
Shen Qingqiu fusses over him, wiping his face and turning him on his side to check his injuries. There’s a pool of blood under him from how deep the scratches on his back and arm go. They burn and start to green with poison that leads to similar pain. Liu Qingge doesn’t flinch at the touch though, staring hazily at Shen Qingqiu.
What he doesn’t expect is the thunderous look Luo Binghe wears as he bends, picking Liu Qingge up carefully. His hands are gentle as he adjusts Liu Qingge in his hold. Liu Qingge doesn’t have the energy to fight against it.
Liu Qingge isn’t sure what happens, assuming he blacks in and out of consciousness the next few hours. There’s a flurry of movement around him he assumes is running or flying. He feels gentle and calloused hands on his head that are distinctly Shen Qingqiu, calloused from the sword and guqin. Another pair is there too, helping to hold him down as something is dripped onto his back and eventually his arm.
It makes him thrash in renewed pain. He lets out a strange gurgle of pain. There’s murmured voices. He can’t hear what they say, everything sounding underwater. But the voice is low and deep and another joins. Both eventually helps him slowly fall unconscious again.
He wakes up to a damp cloth over his eyes. His stomach rolls and it makes his head pound. His back is a dull ache compared to the storm inside his head as he swallows. There’s rustling and a hand in his. There’s more talking and that is what takes the nausea to another level.
It takes a few moments until his stomach cramps around his dry heaves for them to tip something into his mouth. He’s too weak to push his head away and its slimy as it goes down. The nausea almost completely subsides though, his head going to a dull ache along with his back that helps him fall asleep.
It’s another few hours later he wakes up again. There’s still a cloth over his eyes but there’s less pain in his back. His cultivation must have started healing things slowly. His head hurts less as well so he tries to take the cloth from his eyes. His fingers barely move, just switching in his attempt. He feels heavy and weightless all at once as he lays on his side.
“Liu-shidi,” somebody murmurs.
He can only let out a small hum, throat still feeling raw.
“You scared us.” Shen Qingqiu whispers. The way he talks makes him sound like he was crying before. That’s not right.
“Sorry,” Is all Liu Qingge can manage to rasp. There’s a slight laugh as a hand goes through his hair. It’s loose over his shoulder and the way the hand gently goes through to his scalp makes him almost preen.
“You shouldn’t be the one apologizing. Binghe was beside himself with worry. Would you like me to get Mu Qingfang so you can take something to go back to sleep?”
“No.” Liu Qingge swallows, his hand twitching as it itches to hold Shen Qingqiu’s. “Where...Binghe?”
“I managed to get him to sleep for now. He’s in the room beside us. He isn’t hurt but he had expended much more energy than he should have trying to get us back so you could be treated.”
Shen Qingqiu gives a small, worried cluck of his tongue. Liu Qingge feels so incredibly fond at the noise that he smiles. There isn’t much else to say and Liu Qingge can feel himself drifting again.
He tunes back in when a different pair of hands is holding his. He flexes his hand, still unable to see from the cloth on his eyes, but there’s a brightness in the room that seeps through the cloth’s edges. The small action has the other’s breath hitch and there’s a distinct shake in the arms that Liu Qingge can’t quite place.
“Liu-shishu should not have gotten hurt on this one’s foolishness.” Luo Binghe says mournfully.
“Not foolish,” he says.
His voice is still raw but a cup is held to his lips. He takes small sips until it’s finished. He can finally roll onto his back but he’s hot and still feels the heaviness in his limbs that always comes with a fever.
“Let this one take care of you as repayment.”
“No need,” Liu Qingge says tiredly. “Wanted to.”
There’s another hand trailing gently along his forehead, smoothing hair away from his face. “Liu-shishu is a good man. What would we do without him?”
The gentleness startles Liu Qingge but he isn’t able to pinpoint why. He just makes a soft sound as he lays between the two.
It’s quiet as he dozes on and off through a fever. The cloth from his face is removed eventually and the room is dim with curtains blocking most of the sunlight. Mu Qingfang is in and out of the room, checking his condition. He explains the fever is from the poison slowly being worked out of his system, which Liu Qingge predicted. He gives a small grunt as Mu Qingfang explains.
His sister is another visitor besides Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe. She rushes in, breathless to see her brother but stops short at the other two already in the room. She barely manages to bow and greet them in time.
“Brother, how come you got hurt?” Liu Mingyan asks later, when they had been left alone. She sits on the bed and dabs at his forehead, making sure none of the damp sweat bleeds far from his skin.
“Luo Binghe was in trouble.”
Liu Mingyan looks stricken at the statement.
Maybe it was his fever or exhaustion but Liu Qingge says, quietly, “Would rather me. Shen-shixiong would be sad if he died.”
There’s a strangled noise that has Liu Qingge rousing slightly, barely able to look to see Luo Binghe in the doorway, Shen Qingqiu not far behind.
Liu Mingyan pats her brother’s hand, squeezing once before leaving. He almost feels betrayed at her leaving but knows that she’d never want to intrude on something that is obviously a private conversation.
Luo Binghe is the first to say anything as he sits beside the cot. “Why does Liu-shishu think this one would not be sad if you died as well?”
Liu Qingge peaks an eye open and regrets looking at Luo Binghe. He looks wrecked, eyes wet and misty in a way he has never seen before. He looks barely able to contain a sob as he waits for Liu Qingge to say anything. He’s at a loss though because he was never wishing to die.
“It is easier to forget me as you are not married to me.” He finally settles on. It doesn’t help like he thinks it will.
Shen Qingqiu moves first, sitting on the bed and gently cupping Liu Qingge’s face in a way he has dreamed of. “Liu-shidi shouldn’t talk like he’s so expendable to us.”
“You have each other.”
There’s a look shared between Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe that is pained. Liu Qingge doesn’t know what to make of it. He’s so tired all of a sudden.
He must show he’s tired because Shen Qingqiu, when he looks at him again, smiles. There’s the comforting weight on his face as Shen Qingqiu strokes gently along his cheek. It lulls him back to sleep as Shen QIngqiu says, “We’ll talk later.”
Later seemed to be several days as it took longer than usual for Liu Qingge to finally be up more than a few hours at a time. When it was too bright, he got a headache so strong he couldn’t function and had to lay in darkness with a towel over his eyes and a bucket beside him. Some days it would be fine but usually he dreaded the sunlight filtering through the curtains that woke him up. He could never tell if it would curdle everything in his stomach or not.
After his fever finally broke and he could go three days without a migraine, he was allowed to be released back to Bai Zhan peak. He was getting dressed to leave when Shen Qingqiu and Luo BInghe knocked on the closed door. He called for them to come in, sitting in front of a mirror to put his hair up.
“Liu-shidi, are you going anywhere?” Shen Qingqiu asks carefully.
“I have to go back to my peak. Check on my disciples.”
“You have just been released. You should take some time to recover.”
“I’ve had four days. I’m fine.”
“If shishu is fine, why doesn’t he spare with this one?” Luo Binghe asks.
Liu Qingge looks behind him in the mirror suspiciously before nodding slowly. Luo BInghe brightens and they wait for Liu Qingge to finish gathering everything to leave to Qing Jing peak.
The spare is rough and expends the restless energy Liu Qingge had pent up over the last few days recovering. He’s panting and on the ground with a training sword at his throat as he’s pinned under Luo Binghe’s hips. Shen Qingqiu had agreed to spare afterwards but there was an obvious air of reluctance as he moves from the sidelines, pulling Luo Binghe up and offering a hand for Liu Qingge.
Liu Qingge sits up slowly, feeling his vision dancing with flashes. There’s a worried noise from Luo Binghe but he can’t make out what’s being said. When he tries to stand, everything tilts until he’s on his back, staring at the sky. Shen Qingqiu was the closest to him and caught him mid fall, carefully rearranging Liu Qingge in his arms.
It’s a short walk to the bamboo hut as Luo Binghe follows. He’s laid in Shen Qingqiu’s bed, boots taken off and outer robe gently removed before he’s tucked in. The curtains are drawn and soon there’s a cloth soaked in warm water going back over his eyes, the water running past his temple into his ear. He’s nauseous as he tries to focus on something other than the rolling of his stomach and his pounding head.
The two are worried and fuss over him the entire time, making sure he has enough water and that something is beside him in case he gets sick. He isn’t quite sure when but they manage to give him a medication to help his nausea and pain, making him fade in and out for the next few hours.
When the medicine finally fades and he comes to fully, he can’t help but let out a small sigh. There’s a shuffle beside him on the bed and somebody’s hand is in his hair. They stroke along his head, threading their hands gently through it.
“Is Liu-shishu feeling better?” Luo Binghe asks.
“Hm,” Liu Qingge says. He sluggishly pulls the cloth down from his eyes, peaking an eye open. When the pain doesn’t flare nor his nausea, he opens both eyes fully. Luo Binghe is in his under robes beside Liu QIngge while Shen Qingqiu reads next to the bed. He’s looking at the two, his fingers bookmarking his page.
“Do you think you would need to see Mu Qingfang?”
“No. Just a headache.” Liu Qingge mumbles. “Don’t wanna go back.”
Shen Qingqiu gives a small huff. “This is more than a headache. You hit your head so you could get many more of these episodes in the coming future if you aren’t careful. I didn't think it would be as serious because I'm not as familiar with head injuries and their effects. You will need to slowly start doing things you used to, which includes any and all training that is more than meditation and light exercise.”
Liu Qingge feels himself scowl at the thought of having to hold off on not doing most of his job as a peak lord and a teacher.
“Liu-shishu,” Luo Binghe starts, making him look over. “Me and Husband have something we would like to discuss with you. Would you feel up to hearing us out now or later?”
“Now,” Liu QIngge says immediately. If this was anything bad, he needed to hear it now so that he could deal with it.
Shen Qingqiu gets up and sits beside Liu Qingge on the bed. There’s an odd shyness to the way he does it and doesn’t look at Liu Qingge’s face. “We have been talking and...we would like to ask if…Binghe, I can’t be the one to ask.”
“Ask me what?”
Luo Binghe smiles, not the smug little smirk, but the happy smile that he shows Shen Qingqiu whenever he praises the other. It makes Liu Qingge’s heart do a funny little thing and he hopes his face isn’t red or noticeable in this lighting.
“We would like to ask if you would like to be a part of our relationship. Husband and I have noticed that we both have affections for Liu-shishu and if he is amenable, both of us would like to court him.”
It takes a minute for the entire moment to process before Liu Qingge feels his face flame and he tries desperately to sink farther into the bed. He has no idea how to even begin to answer this, especially as this is something he had never even thought of dreaming about.
“You do not have to answer now. You can think on this and answer in your own time. We would like to propose this now while you are still recovering and have the time to spend thinking if it is what you wish. There is no obligation to say yes or even no.” Shen Qingqiu says quickly, looking flustered and nervous. It’s a wonderful look on him.
“Shishu is free to deny us at any point and we will leave him.” Luo Binghe says, pouting a little at the very thought of having to leave him.
“Don’t leave.” Liu Qingge says softly. Luo Binghe had started to move from the bed, going to the side room to give him the time to think. “Why would you want me to join you two?”
“You know that having multiple partners is not a foreign thing to do. Having all partners involved be together, maybe. But you are somebody we could both not live without. I was planning on talking with Qingge later but you had gotten hurt and we realized we should do this before we regret not saying anything.” Shen Qingqiu leans over him, cupping his face. “Especially after hearing how you said that you thought I would be fine with having Binghe survive and not yourself.”
It’s a fuzzy memory for Liu Qingge but there’s a grief in both their eyes that makes him realize how wrong he had been, even if he didn’t regret taking the attacks for Luo Binghe.
“Yes,” Liu Qingge says. “I want to...court you both. But I would have to talk to Sect Leader about customs.”
“We can worry about that later, Shishu,” Luo Binge says.
Liu Qingge frowns, looking at him. “Call me Qingge.”
There’s an embarrassed flush on Luo Binghe that ends in him grinning happily, carefully pulling Liu QIngge against his chest and bundling Shen Qingqiu into the bed as well. “This one hadn’t thought you would enjoy being so forward.”
“Luo Binghe calls Shen-shixiong similarly, I feel I wouldn’t mind.”
There’s a hesitant pause from Shen Qingqiu before tangles his hand into Liu Qingge’s, tugging on it so he can get the other’s attention. “He calls me a different name in private. Would you like to know it?”
“No,” Shen Qingqiu says, his voice shaking slightly. “My original name is Shen Yuan. I am not the original Shen Jiu from this world.”
“Since the qi deviation.”
“You don’t sound shocked.”
“I suspected something. You are too different. I had never seen Shen Qingqiu ever smile as easily as you have. He was a prick.”
There’s a shocked laugh from the other two at the brash language.
“Does that...change anything?” Shen Qingqiu asks hesitantly.
“No. I suspected you were different and I fell in love with this you, not the original Shen Jiu. You're Shen Yuan...A-Yuan?”
Shen Qingqiu makes a strangled noise and kisses Liu Qingge, his hands tight in Liu Qingge’s under robes. Luo Binghe wraps his arms around Liu Qingge, looking happily down at the other two.
“A-Yuan is a kind man with a beautiful soul. It is no shock two people fell so hard for him.” Luo Binghe says, sounding happy. But there’s a slight edge Liu Qingge doesn’t miss.
It has him turning to look at Luo Binghe and say back tentatively, “And Binghe is a wonderful man with a similarly kind soul to have two men fall for him so deeply.”
It shocks the other two into silence until he feels them smothering his face in kisses. He never really talks about his feelings that openly. There was a small vulnerability in Luo Binghe’s eyes, the way he was almost scared to ask how Liu Qingge felt about him, that made him want to say something more.
He isn’t good with words, his sister would be the first to tell him that. But he does know how to read people’s emotions after years of studying people’s subtle changes in stances and positions for fights. He knew when somebody had hit an edge where they needed to be shown support and guided through something. Luo Binghe was very similarly at that point and it was natural to say to the two of them that he had grown to love them both equally.
They laid happily together in the dark, looking at the ceiling as they stayed there. Shen Qingqiu had gone back to reading but had started out loud instead. He moved so that he was in the middle, Luo Binghe coming around to his other side so Liu Qingge didn’t have to move very much. He was a small puppy in Shen Qingqiu’s lap, happily preening under the slightest touch.
Liu Qingge was curled on the other side, eyes closed as he listened distantly to the different plants being listed off and talked about in the book. He isn’t sure how Shen Qingqiu can handle reading something so dull but listens as he starts talking in tangents about certain plants. He’s comfortable and warm in bed with the other two men he loves, hearing them talk over him as he lays against Shen Qingqiu, his hand threaded with Luo Binghe’s over Shen Qingqiu’s stomach.
In the morning he would have to look at paperwork and go through things he had missed but right now, he could have this moment of the three of them.