There was no way Qiu Ling would ever deny that he missed Jing He. He had fought for a full decade to make Jing He fall in love with him, acknowledge his feelings, and finally agree to be with him and marry him. How heartless would he need to be to not miss him now that they had been separated on such short notice just when they wanted to start planning their wedding?
No, he could not ever deny that he longed to be with him, longed to see him, and hear his voice. This seemingly perfect person that had only recently started to show cracks in front of him … he was the light of his life, the only part he had no regrets about.
Thinking back now, that was probably what had attracted him to Jing He in the first place. The two of them … they were equally fake. They both put on that artificial smile when they left their rooms in the morning and only stopped with that when they were sure they were alone again. Jing He even managed to spew some niceties when people talked to him. But nobody knew just how much they were hurting inside. It probably needed someone like them to recognize it. And maybe it also needed someone like them to finally let go of that mask.
Not that he had managed to do that.
Ah … Qiu Ling closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He felt like he suddenly understood. The reason he had been trapped in his inner self, it wasn’t that he was supposed to feel guilty or find a way to make up for it. It was because even until now, as much as he loved Jing He, he still hadn’t been able to confess to all these things.
He hadn’t been able to tell him his true feelings even after those ten years of chasing and finally getting him. Because deep down he was still just as scared as he had been in the beginning. He feared that everyone may find out. He feared how people would look at him. He feared to lose him, that person most precious to him, that person that couldn’t be lost under any circumstances.
How would he live should that person ever leave his side? He did not dare to imagine. In fact, there was no need to try. He knew that after having found solace in Jing He, he would be unable to cope if he lost him. When he met Jing Yi in the Yun Zou Sect for the first time and told him that he might as well not be alive at all if they couldn’t be a couple, he had not been trying to be dramatic.
No, he really could not go on without Jing He at his side. He needed him. He could do without anything else but not without Jing He. If his beloved were to leave, it would be his end.
Qiu Ling opened his eyes and looked up at the sky that seemed a little friendlier here even though that banquet back then had been held in the evening. Maybe it was just that a clear night sky made the lights surrounding seem brighter than the endless gray out there could have ever been.
Yes, this was just how his relationship with Jing He was: clear and bright, different from the world out there. They had needed a lot of time to make this beautiful thing work. Now …
Qiu Ling lowered his head again, gazing at Jing Yi. If it had been in the beginning when Jing He and he just met, things might not have worked out if he told him. But after these ten years, after even spending this trial together, everything should have changed. Yes, most likely, Jing He wouldn’t leave him. His fear was not only irrational, it was downright dumb.
He still hadn’t been able to do anything about it but it was about time he did.
“Imagine you fell in love with somebody …”
Jing Yi looked up at Qiu Ling’s words. Hadn’t he just been confessing his feelings? Why was he saying something like this now? Moreover … What was there to imagine? He had already fallen in love. He wanted to say something but Qiu Ling already took a trembling breath and continued.
“And then imagine that person loved you back but … there is something you haven’t told him and you don’t dare to tell him because you’re afraid that that person would leave you if he knew.”
“You …” Jing Yi bit his lip again, tasting the blood that had already dried. “You’re not saying that because I cried just now, are you?”
Qiu Ling looked at him and smiled but his smile was so sad that Jing Yi felt a pang in his own heart. “It’s because of that too. I feel like … everything might be so much easier if I wasn’t such a coward.”
“You think that because I always wanted you to believe that.” And not only in this life.
Jing Yi wanted to retort but then suddenly thought of how Qiu Ling had clung to him when he rejected him previously. Indeed. Maybe Qiu Ling wasn’t as perfect as he had made him out to be. And maybe that was a problem. Wouldn’t he feel weighed down by those expectations?
Jing Yi wiped the last tears from his cheeks and grabbed Qiu Ling’s shoulders. Forget about whoever that person was. There would be some kind of reason for how Qiu Ling had reacted. But he shouldn’t bother with this now. The most important thing was that he liked him, wasn’t it? Why should he care about anything else? They could make it work somehow.
“You don’t have to be perfect. I … I love you too. And I would do it all the same regardless of what is distressing you so much. You … can always talk to me.”
Qiu Ling smiled and bent down, pecking Jing Yi’s lips. He’d give everything to hear those words from Jing He. But how could he if he never said anything? As long as he pretended, Jing He would pretend with him, even if he knew the truth at heart. He had always been like this.
But … Jing He had already dared to show some cracks. In that case, he should do the same. And this time of his in the mortal world … Couldn’t it be a time for him to try?
Jing Yi didn’t remember his past as Jing He. It wouldn’t influence his decisions at all. And when they returned to the Nine Heavens and Jing He woke up again, he could tell him everything once again from the beginning, finally laying everything bare and allowing his beloved to look into the deepest part of himself.