I believe I said I’d update this project each Saturday. Well, turns out I looked wrong. It’s one chater each on Saturday and Sunday so here you go with a second chapter for this week!
Zhen Zhu smiled as well when he was held in his husband’s arms and reached up to put his own hands over the slightly bigger ones. “It sounds good to have a home.”
Zhu Hong slightly tilted his head, trying to peer into his spouse’s face to get a better read on his expression. “Is it weird? To just hatch and then be brought here, get married, and move into the home somebody else prepared?” He hadn’t really thought about it before but now that Zhen Zhu said it like this, he couldn’t help but wonder.
If it was his own life, he couldn’t imagine it going like this. He had never questioned any of the customs they had. But now that he was in the situation, he realized that maybe not everything was that great. The dragons choosing the eggs of the phoenixes they intended to live with … clearly, it was a beautiful concept. To feel a connection, to fulfill destiny, to build a future with the person that was meant for you … But he himself was the living, breathing proof that this would not always work.
He had just taken some egg he found by coincidence. Clearly, Zhen Zhu was not his destined partner. It might very well be that he had taken him from the person that he was actually meant to be with. Maybe that person had already missed him when they went up the mountain and couldn’t find him because his egg had been wedged in the crevice or maybe that person hadn’t gone there yet to search for their destined partner. Actually, they might not even be born yet. He just didn’t know. And now, it was too late to ever find out.
In any case, Zhen Zhu and he were a couple that hadn’t been bound by fate but by a lie. He would never admit to that in front of Zhen Zhu as long as they lived but who knew what the consequences of that would be? He couldn’t even ensure that his lover would be happy with him. If he wasn’t … who could say what the reason for that was? Maybe a couple like them just shouldn’t be. Maybe Zhen Zhu would subconsciously feel that there was something missing and that there was something, somebody else out there for him.
In any case, Zhen Zhu had not had a choice. He had been chosen so he had to go ahead with it. Whether he wanted to or not, whether he felt a connection with him or not. In fact, Zhu Hong wondered about this a bit. Did the phoenixes feel the connection the same way the dragons did? And could Zhen Zhu feel the missing connection right now? He really wanted to know but he couldn’t ask directly or he would give away that he had lied so as to not lose face. Then, if Zhen Zhu actually wasn’t able to feel the connection and believed them to be a destined couple, what would he think? He would probably feel even worse.
Zhu Hong closed his eyes and hugged his spouse a little tighter, wanting to prevent that from happening. This person … no matter whether he was able to fall in love with him or not, he couldn’t let him come to harm. He just couldn’t. He owed that to him. Since he had taken the life from him that he should have had, he needed to provide him with one that was just as good.
While Zhu Hong was worrying about his mistakes from last week, Zhen Zhu was also wondering. “Actually, I don’t think it’s that strange. Maybe it is because I have the memories of my clan but this is how it is supposed to be, isn’t it? Also, from the moment I first saw you, I liked you. So what would be bad about going home with you and leading our life together?” He turned in Zhu Hong’s arms, a bright smile showing on his face.
Zhu Hong looked at him, a little startled. When he found the egg and didn’t feel a connection, he had only thought of how to get out of that situation. He never thought further. When he finally did, he had feared how Zhen Zhu would feel. But now it seemed that he had been worrying too much. This little phoenix … naturally, he couldn’t say for sure but it almost looked as if he felt a connection.
Zhu Hong really didn’t know how to proceed. He reached out, and gently cupped Zhen Zhu’s cheeks, leaning down to kiss him on the lips. The little phoenix sunk into his embrace and closed his eyes, quietly requiting the kiss. Clearly, he really didn’t have any apprehensions about being a couple and living together.
Realizing this, Zhu Hong deepened the kiss. He might not be in love with Zhen Zhu but he was happy with how things had turned out. Also, he could not deny that he was somewhat attracted to him. Growing up, it wasn’t like the dragons could never have relationships before choosing their spouse. And they definitely had eyes to see. Seeing Zhen Zhu, he had to say that he was exactly the type he liked. So naturally, he didn’t have any problem acting on those feelings at least.
He gave a faint hum and then picked him up, carrying him through the house into the inner room where he put him down on the bed. Pulling back a little, he smiled. “Well, I’m happy that you’re happy.” He really was. This was the best outcome. If Zhen Zhu could like him like other phoenixes liked their spouses, then he would not suffer. That was probably the most he could ask for right now.
Zhen Zhu smiled and reached up, wrapping his arms around Zhu Hong’s neck. “I am. What about you? Are you also happy now that I am here?” His apricot-colored eyes seemed to glitter when he asked about this.
There was a pang of a guilty conscience in Zhu Hong’s heart but he forced it down immediately and smiled faintly as if he was just as happy as his little phoenix. “I gained an especially beautiful spouse, the one I chose that day. I’m definitely very happy with how things turned out. I just hope that there was no oversight on our side as to what you will need. I was in a bit of a rush since there was only one week needed for you to completely mature before you would hatch and come back here.”
Speaking of that, Zhu Hong sat up and went to open a cupboard at the side of the room. He took out a small vial and walked back to the bed, sitting down on the edge. “I said I had some ointment for your wound but didn’t move to get it immediately. That was truly my oversight. In any case, you should put it on immediately. It is a special one that is made precisely for this type of situation.” He opened the vial and handed it to Zhen Zhu, giving a faint smile. “You can always remind me if I forget about something. Also, if there is something lacking in the house or in any other part of your life that you need, you can always tell me.
“This is our home from now on and we are a family. One day, we will have a child or — if we’re lucky — even two. So don’t treat me like a stranger. I am your husband. I will always be there for you and put you and your needs first in everything. There is no reason to hold back with anything.”
Zhen Zhu nodded and poured some of the ointment onto his hand. Pulling the lapel of his robe apart, he reached inside and rubbed it onto the spot where he had pulled out his heart feather. Immediately, the piercing pain subsided. It turned into a dull throbbing at first but finally completely ceased. Zhen Zhu raised his brows in amazement and his eyes widened when he looked up at Zhu Hong. “It doesn’t hurt at all anymore.”
Zhu Hong nodded and inched closer again, taking the vial from Zhen Zhu’s hands and putting it down beside the bed. “Didn’t I say it was a special ointment made precisely for this? Actually, the wound will be healed in just a couple of minutes.”
Zhen Zhu blinked and tried to take a look but he wasn’t able to without really taking off his robe. Still, just thinking about it, he felt that it was amazing.
Zhu Hong laughed lightly when he saw his expression. “Don’t get used to it. This ointment isn’t made easily so there is only a little produced every couple of decades. We only use it for special occasions such as this or if there is an emergency that doesn’t leave us with another choice.”
Zhen Zhu’s eyes widened even further when he heard that. Now that he knew, he felt like he shouldn’t have used it. Using some normal ointment would have been alright as well. “I …”
Zhu Hong reached over and cupped his cheek, stopping him from saying what was on his mind. “Don’t forget what I just said: We are a family now. Seeing you in pain pains me as well. So don’t feel like this was wrong. I will be happier if you are well and don’t hurt.”
Zhen Zhu’s expression eased and a faint smile lit up his features. He arched his body and then gave Zhu Hong a kiss.
The dragon smiled and pushed him down in return, not thinking about either the ointment or the problems of their connection any longer. For now, he would just give in to his desire for the rest of the night and everything else would slowly come to them while they lived together.
One by one, he pulled the beautiful hairpins out of Zhen Zhu’s hair and used his fingers to gently undo the hairstyle he had created just a while ago, making the white hair fan out over the silken sheets. His own red hair was hanging down over his shoulders, a stark contrast to that of his spouse’s. He picked up a strand of both, and then smiled, kissing Zhen Zhu’s forehead.
The two of them would make for a beautiful couple. One gentle and soothing, the other like a burning fire, one exuding the charm of youth while the other was more mature … They complimented each other well.
He slowly opened the little phoenix’s robe, admiring the creamy skin below. He had already seen it before when Zhen Zhu took on his human form for the first time. But at that time, he had still held back. After all, while they had been promised to each other, they had not held the wedding yet. Now though, they already counted as a married couple. This was his person. Not to mention looking, it also wasn’t a problem to touch.
Zhu Hong trailed his fingers over his chest, feeling that even without that special connection, he definitely had an eye for whom to pick. He did not think that on the whole mountain, there was any phoenix more beautiful than Zhen Zhu.
Zhen Zhu looked up at him, his apricot-colored eyes shimmering in the warm light that fell in through the window. He directly requited Zhu Hong’s gaze and then also reached up, silently opening his husband’s robe. His fingertips brushed over his shoulders, down to his collarbone, and then even further down, gently caressing a few faint scars as if he was trying to feel out the history behind them and committing every single inch of his husband’s skin to memory at the same time.
Zhu Hong let him explore, finally pulling the robe off his own shoulders and putting it aside when Zhen Zhu’s fingers had reached below his navel. He leaned down to kiss him again, and then stripped the two of them of their pants, starting to explore his partner’s body himself.
He had wanted to give Zhen Zhu some time to get used to things first but looking at his eyes that were serious the whole time, he felt that he had thought too much. Even though Zhen Zhu had never experienced this before, he was an adult of the phoenix clan with all the memories of the clan inherited. While he had no personal experience, he knew about these matters. It did not come as a surprise to him. There was no reason to hold back.
Zhu Hong lightly kissed his cheek, his jaw, and the side of his neck while his palms brushed over his chest, down to his stomach and to the side, coming together behind his back. Pulling him up from the bed, he leaned down further, his lips brushing the skin of his torso until he reached the fine hair between his legs.
He glanced up but immediately retracted his gaze upon seeing Zhen Zhu’s expression. His breath trembled slightly and he couldn’t help but retract his hands from below Zhen Zhu’s body, starting to massage his thighs instead. His lips touched Zhen Zhu’s manhood and he slowly started to pleasure him.
Zhen Zhu reached out but didn’t quite know what to do. He knew what was supposed to happen on his wedding night but there were no details passed down in the memories of the phoenix clan. He did not know where to put his hands and finally, he could only grab onto one of the fiery red strands of hair.
Zhu Hong glanced up and the corners of his mouth curled up. He gave a faint hum and lowered his head again. Zhen Zhu’s hold on that strand of hair tightened, he even lightly tugged at it but thanks to the length, Zhu Hong didn’t even notice and just continued. Soon enough, Zhen Zhu’s skin had flushed red, and his eyelids lowered halfway, making his eyes look misty.
The light from outside receded, the twilight making the sounds of their ragged breath, the faint scent of their sweat, and the touch of skin on skin more prominent. The whole world only seemed to consist of these sensations of their proximity as if everything else had ceased to exist.
Zhen Zhu pulled the red hair to his chest and closed his eyes completely, his husband’s touch that had turned heavier with time threatening to steal his sanity away. “Zhu Hong.” His voice sounded choked as if he was holding back his emotions.
The dragon looked up, smiling faintly. “Don’t hold anything back. Just let go.”
His warm breath brushed Zhen Zhu’s wet skin, making him tremble, and soon, he was overwhelmed by the sensation and reached the climax with a yelp. Zhu Hong smiled with satisfaction and pulled himself up, wrapping Zhen Zhu in his arms and covering him with his body. His lips found back to his neck, kissing him again and again, with each subsequent one turning more urgent as if his own reason was fraying and he was about to give in to lust completely.
To be honest, that was not wrong. He had touched Zhen Zhu and kissed him, helping him to reach the height of passion and watched him release. The soft skin below his fingers and lips had excited him, the beautiful face at the moment of release seemed to be etched into his mind. How could he hold back any longer?
Making use of the opportunity when Zhen Zhu was still basking in the afterglow, he pushed his legs further apart, revealing his entrance. He kissed him again and then pushed inside, closing his own eyes with a sigh.
From the beginning of time, dragons and phoenixes had been destined to be one. This belief had been instilled in him since the day he was born and he had never questioned it. Now, at the moment when their bodies connected, he deeply felt the truth in those words.
Slowly moving his hips, he felt that this had been meant to be. Whether it had been dragons, other spiritual beasts, or humans, he had never felt like this before, as if all of it was natural and he could lose himself while connected to this person’s body, his every cell trembling in excitement.
Zhu Hong tilted his head, his lips taking possession of Zhen Zhu’s, making the young phoenix raise his arms and wrap them around his neck to hold on tighter and completely give in to him. Zhu Hong gave a grunt in return, his speed picking up and his hands starting to wander over the slender body beneath him once more.
Zhen Zhu’s gasps rang out next to his ear, following the rhythm of his thrusts. The sound excited him further and he turned his head, his lips brushing his spouse’s neck, feeling his rapid heartbeat when they passed by the faint blue line beneath his pearl-white skin.
Zhu Hong glanced up with his eyes closed halfway and took in the way how the beads of sweat on Zhen Zhu’s forehead shimmered in the cold light from the stars outside. He leaned up to kiss them away, all the while he continued to move, his own heartbeat accelerating. “Zhen Zhu.” He murmured his name and leaned down to his ear, letting him hear his own ragged breath.
When he felt him shiver below him in response, it felt as if a dam had broken. Grabbing the back of his head with one hand and pressing their bodies closer together with the other hand, he gave him a lingering kiss and released.
The two of them separated when they were breathless and Zhu Hong carefully pulled out of his spouse’s body, his gaze staying on his apricot-colored eyes. He turned onto his side, pulling Zhen Zhu with him, and wrapping him in his arms.
After a moment, the phoenix’s lips curved up into a beautiful smile. He dived into Zhu Hong’s arms and stayed close to his chest, almost as if he wanted to attach himself to it. Zhu Hong smiled as well and hugged him more tightly, a deep satisfaction spreading throughout his body. He kissed his husband’s temple and brushed through the white hair that was still wet with sweat. “Let’s sleep. Tomorrow is the first full day we will live as a married couple.”
Zhen Zhu gave a faint hum. “I am looking forward to it.”
Zhu Hong stayed quiet for a moment, his thoughts wandering, but in the end, he nodded faintly. “Me too.” And despite how everything had started, those words were not a lie.