Leng Jin Yu sighed. No wonder Xin Lan had been so strange when they met in the capital. He patted Jinde’s back and hugged him, considering what to say in this kind of situation.
He didn’t like Xin Lan very much but he knew how important he was to Jinde. Of course, Jinde would be unsettled if something changed between them. Especially if it was because of something he couldn’t change.
“You know … even if Xin Lan has feelings for you, I doubt he is expecting anything from you. He knows you’re already taken.”
Jinde nodded. “I know that. It’s just … how does he feel? Falling in love with somebody without a chance to be with them … I know that feeling. It’s not a pleasant one. Quite the contrary. If we could fall like the gods, then who knows if the two of us wouldn’t have ended up as fallen dragons, huh?”
Leng Jin Yu sighed. “I doubt it’s as bad for him. He’s very strong and didn’t he know about your relationship with Chun Yin from the very beginning? It’s not like you led him on.”
Jinde’s hands clenched around Leng Jin Yu’s robe. “I’m not so sure about that. I didn’t tell him at first. Maybe …”
“Maybe he fell in love with you then and kept it a secret until now? Don’t you think he would have approached you if that was the case? Chun Yin died. After that, couldn’t he have made a move? Even if you couldn’t fall in love with him because of the curse, having a relationship based on truth would have been possible, don’t you think? But he didn’t so I doubt he wants to change anything.”
Jinde furrowed his brows. Right. If Xin Lan had wanted to … Ah, but then again when would have been a good time for that? First, he had been heartbroken about Chun Yin’s marriage. Then, he had fallen into Jian Heng’s trap. There hadn’t been much time between these two events and afterward … The war had come too soon and he had been hurt with the soul-devouring dagger, his life slowly draining. When would Xin Lan have had the time to make advances on him?
“Jinde. Whatever the reason he didn’t bring it up this isn’t your fault. You can’t change something if you don’t know about it.”
“But that’s it. How come I didn’t know? Xin Lan … he’s a sly fox but we’ve spent a lot of time together. Shouldn’t I have been able to see that something was wrong? Even Chun Yin could. Why did it … completely escape my perception?”
Leng Jin Yu smiled wryly. “Isn’t that because Chun Yin was jealous? There were things holding him back from being with you but, on the other hand, there was a man who could stand by your side and support you like he wanted to. With the personality you described to me, it would have been a miracle if he didn’t hate Xin Lan. And that is regardless of whether Xin Lan had feelings for you or not. He would have rejected him anyway.”
“So you think it’s not that I was blind but that Chun Yin was seeing more than there is?” Jinde furrowed his brows. In hindsight, it wasn’t just the beginning. Hadn’t there also been that evening before he spent his final night with Chun Yin? He had been the one to consider Xin Lan. It had been him who moved to kiss him. But Xin Lan hadn’t rejected him. He might not have approached him either but he had waited silently as if he wanted to make sure. Was it that? Had Xin Lan hoped for him to move just like he had hoped for Chun Yin to do so?
That kiss … Thinking back now, he could imagine what would have happened if his lips touched Xin Lan’s. Xin Lan wasn’t a man who needed to take the initiative. Even if he showed just a mild interest, most people would take him up on what they perceived as an offer. His status in the dragon race and among all the immortals guaranteed as much. He wasn’t used to pursuing although he might have enjoyed if he did. But no, to him it was expected that the other person made the first move. And in his case …
Jinde sighed and leaned his forehead against his husband’s shoulder. He had been in love with Chun Yin for so long that he never took note of the other men in his surroundings. Allowing Xin Lan so close in the beginning had been because he was injured and while taking care of him, he had felt for the first time just how pleasant it could feel to hold someone’s attention. That gaze … the fire in those eyes that told him: Yes, you are beautiful. You are worth my time.
But after that, he had ignored any possibility of a romantic relationship between them just like with everyone else. Even when his Master brought up marriage and every attempt at finding a woman he could like had failed and he turned to look for a husband instead of a wife, Xin Lan had never come to mind. Only when there was nobody left did he finally remember that yes, there was that person. The one he trusted the most in his life. Why had he never thought of him?
Had Xin Lan considered the possibility of becoming his husband? He didn’t know. And honestly, he didn’t want to know because if he ever found out, he might feel even worse. What had he thought when he approached Xin Lan after not even thinking of him once while he searched for a suitable partner? Shouldn’t this person have come to mind first? But maybe he had unconsciously rejected him because he had felt his admiration in the beginning. Maybe … being with Xin Lan would have felt more like cheating on Chun Yin than being with somebody else would have. Because deep down he had known that even though he would never be able to love Xin Lan, he would be able to enjoy a marriage with him. After all, Xin Lan knew him well, maybe better than he knew himself and certainly a lot better than Chun Yin even though Chun Yin had known him much longer.
This kind of person … was very dangerous to allow at his side.