Since that day, the two of them had met him regularly. At first, it was mostly Bao Feng Yu who would go to Yang Guang’s palace, sitting with him for a few hours.
Yang Guang had become a little self-conscious when they spent so much time and he wasn’t able to talk like all the other gods. So he had tried to think of things they could do that wouldn’t require them to talk. Playing a board game with him, doing some calligraphy, whatever he could think of, he would suggest it by just showing him the things and then pretending to be excited about it even though he really would’ve liked to know more about Bao Feng Yu instead.
For some time, the god of storms went along with things. In any case, to him, all of this was new. He found out that Yang Guang surprisingly sucked at playing weiqi but that he was quite good at calligraphy. In fact, the way he wrote was beautiful, something worthy to be admired. It reminded him a little of the way that Yang Guang danced. There was a certain elegance to it but also a lightness as if in the next moment, this person or that character on the paper would lift off and fly into the sky.
He also realized that Yang Guang really liked music. From the guzhen to the huqin or from the xiao to the drum, he could play all of them. It probably wasn’t strange. If he loved to dance, he’d probably also like music. It was just that a lot of these instruments didn’t really work well for playing while dancing.
After a few days of watching Yang Guang either play or dance in silence, Bao Feng Yu couldn’t help but pick up the drums himself and play a tune, motioning for Yang Guang to dance.
He himself wasn’t a person that was that musically gifted. He had a sense of rhythm but that was it. He had never really bothered to put in the time to learn much. Playing the drums was something that he could do a little but he wasn’t too well versed in it either. Nonetheless, Yang Guang was able to make a beautiful dance out of his botched-up songs, and with time, Bao Feng Yu managed to get a bit better.
From doing just anything randomly, they finally settled on mostly spending their time like this. Even though Bao Feng Yu still would’ve liked to have a talk every now and then, he also loved watching him dance and he could do so for hours on end. Now, at least part of that wish was fulfilled so he wasn’t greedy for more.
He also knew that Yang Guang probably had a few hangups about being the only god born without a voice so he didn’t want to rush him. While he didn’t mind, he could imagine that others did and most likely, Yang Guang had suffered through that. The fact that he hadn’t seen a single person come over despite how much time he had spent here at Yang Guang’s palace told him that there were quite a few things wrong.
Bao Feng Yu didn’t need to say anything anyway because, with time, Yang Guang didn’t manage to hold himself back. He started to motion a bit to ask about Bao Feng Yu. He couldn’t help himself. He just wanted to know more about this man that was insisting on coming over almost every single day. Even if he couldn’t speak to him much, he wanted to know some simple things at least: How his day had been before he came over, how he thought about something, or whether he would take part in some festival coming up. Even though they were just some simple questions, it was enough as long as he could hear a bit more about him.
Bao Feng Yu patiently waited for him to finish signing before he started guessing what he might mean, and then told him whatever he wanted to know after he had figured it out.
One of those days, he couldn’t help but look at Yang Guang a little longer after he had had an especially difficult time to tell what he wanted to know. There was a question that had been bothering him for a bit and now, he couldn’t help but finally ask. “Is it that people don’t come here because they have a hard time telling what you mean?”
Yang Guang stared at him and then lowered his head, not sure how to answer. Wasn’t the answer obvious? Clearly, that was the case. But he was afraid of what would happen if he nodded his head. He just … he didn’t want Bao Feng Yu to leave as well. And with how they still had problems in communicating, that was something he was afraid of.
Bao Feng Yu reached over and actually cupped his cheeks, making him face up again. “It’s alright. It’s … it’s a pity. They are missing out. But I don’t mind having you all to myself. It is also nice. I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Yang Guang couldn’t help but smile when he said that. Bao Feng Yu was really sweet to him. He didn’t quite understand it but it felt nice to have somebody’s undivided attention.
Seeing his smile, Bao Feng Yu reluctantly took back his hands and then grabbed Yang Guang’s. “I guess I feel like they should try harder to understand you. In any case, is there no family around? No friends from your childhood days? Surely, somebody who grew up with you would have an easier time to tell, right?”
Yang Guang faintly furrowed his brows. His family and friends … that was hard to explain as well. And it was something that he didn’t even know how to begin with explaining with just his hands and some guesswork on Bao Feng Yu’s part.
He thought for a moment and then got up, getting a brush and paper. If he really couldn’t make himself understood, this was what he usually went back to. But it also took a lot of time and it made him feel even worse because it didn’t feel as natural to him. In this case, he was willing to do it though because Bao Feng Yu had never shown more interest in him than this. And given the opportunity, he wanted to let him know.
Bao Feng Yu already glanced over his shoulder while he was writing, silently reading along. What Yang Guang wrote was quite heartbreaking: After he was born and it became clear that he didn’t have a voice, his family tried to see if they could find a cure to fix it. But they hadn’t been able to find anything and finally, at least his parents had accepted him as he was, finding ways to work around the challenges it provided.
The rest of his family hadn’t been as well-meaning though. This child, they weren’t happy with him. They actually refused to have anything to do with him or with his parents when they went about things in their own way.
Bao Feng Yu’s brows furrowed together when he read this. “That family of yours is cruel. How could they do something like that to you and your parents? You might not have a voice but is it really that bad? In any case, it is not like you are unable to communicate at all. Clearly, you’re able to speak with your hands.”
Yang Guang looked up and there was a faint smile on his lips even though it was tinged with sadness. He thought for a bit, left a bit of space on the paper, and then started to write anew.
Originally, when he grew up, he had a way to communicate with his parents. The way he would sign things, it was indeed like speaking with his hands. Much better than the bit of pointing and motioning and imitating that he was doing right now.
But even though his parents understood him very well and were even able to mimic what he did to explain things to him in his way, the rest of his family scoffed at that and there were no other young gods around that could be bothered to learn. So in the end, it was just him and his parents until they were taken from him.
Bao Feng Yu looked at him, feeling the sadness that was radiating off him. He reached out and rubbed his neck, sitting down next to him. “I’m willing to learn. It would take me quite a bit of time but I can do it.”
Yang Guang smiled but he still shook his head. In any case, who knew if he would still be able to do it? It had been so long since he needed to use it.
Bao Feng Yu wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. “No? Why not?” He had a few guesses but he didn’t mention a single one. He wanted to know Yang Guang’s true thoughts. He didn’t want to influence him and just make him nod because some guess came closer than another.
Yang Guang thought for a bit and shook his head again. Then he shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t mean that he didn’t know but that there really was no use. He formed a ball with his hands before opening his palm again, trying to show him that it was just an empty thing.
After so long, there were some things that the two of them had gotten used to and while Bao Feng Yu still wasn’t able to understand everything, he had picked up some of the ways that Yang Guang liked to make his ideas clear. Finding something that was related or could be interpreted figuratively in some way was something that he especially liked to do. Thus, seeing this kind of movement, he only needed to ponder for a moment before he understood the meaning.
“You mean to say it is pointless. I don<T agree. In any case, the two of us have been spending a lot of time together. I consider you my friend. And …” He stopped for a moment, not quite sure if he wasn’t going too far there. In the end, he cleared his throat though and looked at him earnestly. “If you do not mind then … then I could even imagine it to be more one-day. Maybe not immediately if you aren’t ready yet but in the future, I would really like to be more than a friend to you.
“If that is something that you want as well and if we were to live together in the future, then I would very much like to be part of something that was and probably still is important to you. And having a way to speak with each other better than we are currently able to do it would help a lot.
“In any case, I’m willing to do that for you and it is also something that I would like to do for myself. This isn’t something that I’m just doing out of selflessness. Surely, it will benefit me just as much as you.”
Yes, by now, he had no doubt about his intentions anymore. He might not have known at the beginning when he met him but he had felt that there was something between them or maybe that there could be something between them further down the road. And now, they were further down that road and he had finally figured it out. He knew what that something was and he wanted to grasp it. He didn’t think that that was wrong.
Yang Guang looked at him and after a while, he finally nodded. He reached over to grab Bao Feng Yu’s hand and then she slowly guided him through what he remembered. At first, he was a little slow as if he could hardly remember. But the longer they continued, the more fluent he became, the memories of his childhood, of his language, of his identity all rushing back into his mind. Yes, even after all those years, this was something that he had never forgotten and that he was still incredibly familiar with.
Bao Feng Yu earnestly tried to remember everything. He knew that he would need time but he didn’t doubt that he could do it in the end. In any case, he had a very good reason to learn.
That day, he didn’t manage to retain everything but it was a beginning. And every day, he learned more, remembered more. After a while, it became apparent that when Bao Feng Yu put his mind to something, he was able to achieve results rather fast. Just a few weeks went by and the two of them were already able to carry a simple conversation in what was Yang Guang’s own language.
Spurred on by this success, Bao Feng Yu threw himself at his task with even more vigor, not only having Yang Guang show him more and more each day and practice with him, but also using all the time after he returned to his own palace to practice on his own.
After a few months, the speed with which they were able to talk had picked up a lot and there were seldom moments where Bao Feng Yu couldn’t understand anymore. Even if it happened that he didn’t know originally, Yang Guang just needed to slowly sign in a different way, explaining what he had missed this way. Then, the conversation already went on as usual, with just one more thing added to what Bao Feng Yu was able to understand.
Yang Guang’s eyes glimmered with happiness whenever they had a long conversation. It reminded him of the time when his parents had still been alive and he felt so much more free being able to talk this way. He didn’t need to fret over how to say something to make himself understood and even if he was misunderstood once, he had no problem backtracking and explaining what exactly Bao Feng Yu had gotten wrong. It was … relaxed.
Yes, this was much more comfortable than the way he had been doing it before. And even though he had originally said that Bao Feng Yu didn’t need to do it, he was still happy that the storm god had convinced him otherwise. Now, he couldn’t even imagine going back to how things had been before.
One of those days, Bao Feng Yu looked at him and his hands moved, pulling Yang Guang out of his thoughts. He looked up and finally, his expression changed.
Bao Feng Yu raised his brows, wondering if he had made one of the more stupid mistakes. He thought for a moment but figured that it should have been right. To make sure that he hadn’t accidentally said something different though, he signed again. ‘Will you be my lover?’
Yang Guang looked at him and feeling that just a nod wouldn’t be enough, he signed his answer. ‘Yes, very much so.’ He lowered his head, his cheeks flushing red before he leaned over and gently kissed him.
At this time, almost a year had gone by since they met in the mortal realm. In this year, they had gotten so much closer that there was no doubt on either side. Thus, the question was asked, an answer given, and things were settled just like this.
Looking back now, after another six years had gone by, it seemed as if everything had indeed been predetermined, fate leading them to each other and making them go forward together.
Lying in the dark of his palace, Yang Guang looked at his lover’s sleeping face next to him, smiling faintly when he thought back to that day they had finally become a couple. He hadn’t regretted it even once and he knew he wouldn’t going forward either.
He reached out, gently brushing his lover’s cheek before he leaned over him and gently kissed him. He remained like that, just gazing at the familiar face. Moonlight was spilling onto it, softening the rough edges and giving it a dream-like quality. Yang Guang’s smile brightened and he laid down again, snuggling up to his lover’s chest again.
Having woken up when that pair of soft lips touched his skin, Bao Feng Yu smiled as well and rubbed his back. He craned his neck and kissed the top of his head, feeling contented.
He lay there for a moment, staring up at the ceiling before he grabbed Yang Guang’s hand. He gently wrote on his palm since it was too dark to see the other person sign. ‘What’s the matter? Can’t sleep?’
Yang Guang smiled and turned his hand back around. ‘It is our anniversary tomorrow.’
Bao Feng Yu kissed his forehead. ‘I know.’
Yang Guang’s lips curved up further and he felt like he really should’ve expected this. Bao Feng Yu wasn’t the type of person who would let something like this slip his mind. That was probably why he had come to the mortal realm as well. They would be busy tomorrow so there wouldn’t be time to go then. Thus, they had probably both thought of going earlier.
His lover brushed his skin with his lips and couldn’t help but add another sentence. ‘Better sleep soon so you’ll have energy for tomorrow.’
Even if they couldn’t go down to take part in the festival, they would surely celebrate at home. It was better to be well-rested for that.
Yang Guang nodded. ‘Good night.’
Bao Feng Yu turned his hand around and requited the wish before the two of them closed their eyes again, finally falling asleep for real.