Yang Guang danced over the meadow, joyfully twirling on the spot, slowly moving over the place with his sun-kissed limbs bending gracefully. Light shone down on him, seeming to ignite his golden hair like a blaze. There was a faint smile on his lips as if his thoughts had wandered off to a faraway realm, lending this spot in the mortal world a bit of its beauty.
A breeze brushed through the grass and flowers, bringing with it a sweet scent and a hint of coolness on this hot day, refreshing everyone close by that had felt pressured by the unending hotness. Yang Guang slowed down in his dance, his hands still raised in the air. For a moment, he remained like that. Finally, his eyes cracked open, uncovering a dazzling blue iris with specks of white just like the blue summer sky with white clouds drifting past. The black pupil reflected a person on the other side of the meadow.
Gray hair, a dark robe, and a pair of piercing eyes.
Yang Guang smiled further when he saw the man and his blue eyes curled with his lips. They looked at each other and the breeze seemed to pick up, dispelling the oppressive heat. Yang Guang took a step in the other direction and transitioned back into his dance, the bracelets around his wrists and ankles twinkling faintly with each movement. The breeze brushed over his body as if caressing it and made his golden hair and the skirt of his white robe fly as if they wanted to join in his dance.
Yang Guang had closed his eyes again, the sunshine painting his face an even warmer color. The blue stone embedded in his frontlet refracted the light, adding a blue corona to his hairline.
Bao Feng Yu’s gaze rested on that beautiful face, his gray eyes not even blinking as if he was afraid to miss out on the slightest change in Yang Guang’s expression. When Yang Guang had almost reached the other side of the meadow, he followed suit but with each step he took, Yang Guang retreated by one.
Bao Feng Yu did not seem to notice. At the very least, he did not stop in his tracks and instead continued to follow him persistently, one step at one moment, one turn the next. In this way, they traveled through the grass to their feet. The sun was still shining down on them, warming their skin and shrouding them in a faint halo.
In the distance though, the blue sky lost its splendor and turned a faint gray. The wind pushed the white clouds further toward them and the ones following were gray, hinting at an incoming storm.
Yang Guang cracked his eyes open, his gaze accurately landing on the other man’s face. He smiled sweetly and turned in a circle, the skirt and the sleeves of his white robe forming two arcs that threw back the light, almost blinding. Then, he stood in place, just looking at Bao Feng Yu as if to lure him over, as if to invite him.
One step and the distance shrunk. Another step and they were close enough to see their own figure in the other’s eyes. A third step and they were separated by a mere arm’s length. A fourth one and they could feel each other’s breath on their face.
The wind picked up further, blowing through their long hair. The dark gray strands intermingled with the golden ones, a stark contrast in the middle of the meadow. Bao Feng Yu reached out his arms and Yang Guang stepped in-between. A white robe and a black one painted a harmonious picture. He craned his neck and for the faintest moment, their lips met in the middle.
A raindrop fell on Yang Guang’s hair, trailed down the length of his cheek, and finally dropped from his chin. A second followed and then a third. Above their heads, there was the faintest hint of a rainbow shimmering in the air.
Yang Guang smiled and pulled back. The colors separated, leaving only their fingertips against each other until they as well lost touch.
Pushing off the ground, Yang Guang rose into the air. His feet seemed to step on the last remaining rays of sunlight, propelling him upward and upward even further, until he reached an expanse of blue sky among the clouds that were turning darker each second, encircling them and the meadow around.
Yang Guang turned around and glanced at Bao Feng Yu, his lips hooking up in another enchanting smile. For just a spell, the clouds turned golden and the storm around them seemed to pause. Then, his figure blurred and disappeared between the clouds, reappearing in the realm above while the storm down below started to rage again, now even more ferociously than before.
The grass that had been swaying faintly was pressed down by the platter of the raindrops. The trees whose leaves had been whispering faintly, promising a bit of shade on this hot summer day, were now whipped by the wind as if they would be ripped out of the ground the next moment and topple onto the meadow, burying everything in sight.
The sky cracked with the lightning as if it would be torn asunder and reveal the world above. The clouds looked eerie, a mixture of gray and violet like demons that stretched out their hands to whisk away any unassuming travelers. The thunder had turned from a faint growling in the distance to booming bangs that seemed to come from right next to one’s ears.
Near and far, people rushed to return to their houses or find some other place to seek shelter. But in the middle of the meadow, Bao Feng Yu still stood in the same spot where he had been when Yang Guang left. He looked up to the sky, the raindrops splattering against his face, the blinding lightning strikes making it look cold and pale in the surrounding darkness that had long replaced the sunny summer day. The gaze from his gray eyes seemed to pierce through that thick layer of clouds, peering into the world above and seeing the person that had already vanished there.
While the tempest was spreading further down in the world of the mortals, soon engulfing not only the meadow where Yang Guang had danced but half a mortal kingdom, things were exceedingly calm in this higher realm that Bao Feng Yu was thinking of.
Yang Guang’s golden hair had dried at once when he stepped foot into this place and the warm breeze brushed his cheeks. He glanced at the portal behind him with a smile as if he could still see Bao Feng Yu behind him. Then he walked down the paved road, making his way through the marketplace with its stalls and the crowd of gods gathered around.
In the distance, the buildings stood further apart and the simple houses were replaced by spacious estates and finally, magnificent palaces greeted one’s gaze. Yang Guang walked in that direction, his steps leading him to a staircase made of white stone that led up to one of the palaces. One step at a time he walked up, his white robe swaying around his legs with every move, the bracelets at his ankles tinkling faintly.
When he reached the top of the staircase and stepped below the eaves of the curved roof that was held up by sandy columns, he stopped for a spell and turned to look over his shoulder, his gaze roving over the streets behind as if searching for something. He didn’t seem to find what he was looking for though and turned back around, stepping through the gate in front of him.
A plaque hung over the entrance: ‘Palace of the Sun God’ was written on it in golden letters that sparkled in the light. Yang Guang passed through below that plaque, not even sparing it a glance. Too often had he seen it already as that he would still pay attention to it. Instead, he walked in further, past the servants that were there to wait on him, and to the courtyard on the other side of the palace.
This place was framed by a corridor of columns that let in the faint breeze from outside while not allowing others to take a look inside unless they came close. A natural spring lay in the middle of this courtyard, bushes and flowers having been planted around it, covering it further from sight. Only here and there could the surface be seen from outside, glittering in the light that fell in from above.
Yang Guang walked down a small path that led through the flowers, their leaves brushing against the skirt of his robe when he passed, leaving a faint flowery scent wafting in the air.
Yang Guang stopped at the edge of the spring and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath before he sighed. He untied the golden sash around his waist, making the fabric glitter in the light. Without opening his eyes, he turned to the side and let it fall. The sash landed accurately on a small stone bench that was hidden between the bushes. The god did not pause and brushed the white fabric of the robe off his shoulders, making it rustle in the process. He let it follow the sash and stepped into the water, the cool sensation making him pause for just a spell.
He walked further inside, his white inner robe turning translucent when it became wet and clinging to his body, showing every curve beneath. The God of the Sun did not care. He merely walked to the middle of the spring, scooped up some of the water, and started to rinse his body, another sigh escaping his lips at the cool touch.
Meanwhile, in the realm below, Bao Feng Yu still stood in the very same meadow. The wind was roaring around him, making his hair and the black robe flutter violently. His head was still raised as well, the gaze out of his dark eyes still fixed on the spot where Yang Guang had disappeared.
He did not seem to feel the cutting wind or the raindrops falling onto the bare skin of his face. He just stared upward, his gaze intense. Clearly, he at least felt the pain of parting ways.
Bao Feng Yu stood for a moment longer, the wind yanking on his figure before he rushed over the meadow, his steps becoming faster and faster. Then, he jumped. Lightning struck around him and his toes seemed to touch the snakes of light, push off them and catapult him higher into the air. Like an arrow finally released from the bow, he shot into the sky and broke through the barrier between the realms.
His body slowed down as soon as he reached the other side and he hovered in the air for a moment before he slowly sank back to the ground, his boots touching the stone with a crisp sound.
Here in the realm of the gods, the sun was shining despite the tempest raging down below. Bao Feng Yu glanced at it, then followed the same path that Yang Guang had taken before. He did not take the time to look around or pause even when he finally reached the palace with the sand-colored columns. He just walked inside with crisp steps and passed by the servants that curtsied or bowed when they saw him before resuming their work when he was gone.
Bao Feng Yu’s steps carried him to the courtyard with the spring from where the faint sound of splashing water could be heard. When he arrived, Yang Guang had just stepped out of the spring, his white inner robe and golden hair still dripping wet, a handful of translucent drops trailing down the curves of his face and body before falling onto the stone floor that had been warmed by the sun.
Bao Feng Yu stopped in his tracks but his gaze traveled the rest of the distance, seeming to wrap around the other god, its touch as warm as the sunlight shining down from above.
Yang Guang turned around, a faint smile lifting up the corners of his lips. He reached up and gathered his hair into his hands, twisting it up and gently wringing it. The water dripped down, traveling over the curve of his shoulders and back, over his buttocks, and finally fell onto the ground as well, making the sandy stone seem darker.
Bao Feng Yu’s stern face slowly lit up with a smile as well. He walked over and gathered the other man into his arms, reaching up to brush through his hair. A trace of magic played around his fingers and those soft strands dried at once, feeling like silk against his skin once more.
Bao Feng Yu lifted one of them to his lips, leaving a faint kiss on it. Up here in the gods’ realm, their abilities did not have as much of an effect as long as they did not use them deliberately and they did not repel each other as they did in the realm of the mortals. Standing this close was not a problem, touching for more than a spell was not impossible. In fact, right now, the warmth of one body was transmitted to the other, any hint of coldness dispelled, making both of them smile.
Yang Guang craned his neck and their lips met again just that this time, they did not need to separate immediately. Those blue eyes met a pair of gray ones before the sun-kissed eyelids lowered, shielding them from view. The world reduced to a gentle embrace, a pair of strong hands, and a pair of slender legs wrapped in the thinnest of fabrics. The sound of their heartbeats and the occasional drop of water were the only sounds accompanying their kiss.
For all they cared, they could have stayed like this for eternity.
Still, Yang Guang pulled back after a while, his fingers resting on Bao Feng Yu’s chest to stop him from following when he turned. He didn’t go far though. He merely walked the few steps to the bench amidst the flowers and picked up the white outer robe lying there. He put it back on and carefully tied the golden sash before he turned back to his lover, smiling brightly, his blue eyes shimmering in the light.
Bao Feng Yu’s gaze turned gentler. He reached out a hand and waited for Yang Guang to come over and take it. He pulled him close and then shifted out of the small path between the flowers and onto the empty space next to it, his mind filled with the sight of Yang Guang on that meadow.
Yang Guang turned, his back leaning against his lover’s chest. He raised his other arm, the outer sleeve dropping down to his elbow while only the thin inner robe clung to his skin. His fingers brushed Bao Feng Yu’s cheek, light as a feather scratching his heart.
The god of storms leaned closer but when those fingertips reached his jaw and his lips were about to reach his skin, his lover turned in his arms again, dancing out of his reach. There was a twinkle in his eyes, a silent invitation to follow along now that they were no longer restricted by their powers.
Bao Feng Yu did not need more than that. With a swift motion, he shook out his gray sleeves and then took a step toward him. In just a few moves, he had caught up to him, reaching for his hand. This time, Yang Guang did not shy away. He stood on the spot, one arm moving up while the other moved down. It looked graceful and just like an invitation.
Bao Feng Yu inched closer, his hands following the motion and catching one of those hands, their fingers intertwining. He pulled and Yang Guang whirled around, finally facing him again. Their gazes met, entangling in the air.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, they leaned closer as if they were naturally being drawn to each other.
The God of the Sun reached up with his other arm, his fingers brushing his lover’s gray hair, his cheek, his jaw, and finally his neck before they swerved to the side, wrapping around his shoulders.
Bao Feng Yu tilted his head and tugged at his hand again, making him turn on the spot, whirling around with him. There was no sound in this courtyard save for that of their steps, the rustling of their clothes and the leaves of the flowers, and their faint breath.
They danced, their steps leading them around the spring. Their bodies would stick together for one moment before Yang Guang would disentangle from his lover’s embrace, whirling around by himself before he returned into the arms of the person already waiting for him.
Bao Feng Yu did not let him out of his eyes for a single moment, his gaze much softer than it had been down in the mortal world. With steady steps he kept up, with gentle motions he welcomed him, his heart beating like a steady drum accompanying their dance.
Finally, the sky that had long become orange turned into red, indicating the evening’s last hours. Yang Guang stopped where he stood and looked up to the clouds above. Bao Feng Yu made use of the opportunity and with one step, he stood behind his lover again, pulling him up against his chest and wrapping his arms around his waist.
Yang Guang closed his eyes and just quietly enjoyed the warmth of the evening sun and his lover’s embrace. Bao Feng Yu did not move either. He just held him and also raised his face toward the sun, closing his eyes just like his lover had done to enjoy the last rays of sunlight that still wrapped them in their warmth.
Only when the light had almost vanished did Bao Feng Yu move again. He cracked his eyes open and then bent down to pick up his lover. The ankle bracelets gave a crisp tinkling sound. The two smiled at each other and Bao Feng Yu carried him inside. There was a faint trace of magic in the air and in the darkened sky, some clouds gathered, rumbling faintly before, drop by drop, rain fell, prattling onto the palace’s roof like music.
Yang Guang held onto his lover’s shoulders and looked up to the ceiling, listening to the rain. His lips curled into a smile and finally, he rested his head on his lover’s shoulder, closing his eyes, and was slowly lulled into sleep by the rhythmic sound and the faint swaying of Bao Feng Yu’s steps.
His lover brought him into the inner chamber and laid him down on the bed in the middle of the room. He smiled when he saw Yang Guang’s closed eyes and the faint curve that remained on his lips. He carefully opened the golden sash and pulled the white outer robe from his shoulders, putting both aside. Taking off his own black robe, he slipped into bed next to him. He grabbed the thin blanket from the foot of the bed and gently covered their bodies with it. Then he gathered Yang Guang back into his arms and closed his eyes, falling asleep to the pitter-patter of the rain as well.