Naturally, Qiu Ling’s lack of physical closeness wasn’t due to the fact that he didn’t want to. It was just … for once, he felt somewhat overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do.
On the one hand, there was Jing He’s current situation. He had just started to remember the trial and had likely been deeply affected by it. Not to mention that the Heavenly Empress had said so and the God of War also insinuated something similar, just a look at his pale complexion told the same story. So he didn’t dare to go overboard and make him worry about other random things.
On the other hand, he felt troubled himself as well. The past one thousand years had been spent with Jing Yi who had grown up among humans and had been rather open. Casually hugging and kissing hadn’t been a problem at all. Of course, he would have loved to continue doing so when it came to Jing He but he also knew that this kind of behavior wouldn’t be acceptable in the eyes of the crown prince of the Nine Heavens. He wasn’t sure if he wouldn’t accidentally slip up and go too far though. Then what kind of mess would he find himself in?
On top of all of that, there was also the fact that, to be honest, he had a guilty conscience. He hadn’t stayed to guard Jing He’s body during the trial as he had promised, instead going to accompany his mortal self. Then, he had made a row of bad decisions that negatively affected said trial, almost jeopardizing the whole thing.
Furthermore, his relationship with Jing Yi … it might have gone too far. Even at the times when it hadn’t yet, he had been flip-flopping between allowing or not allowing it to happen. As soon as Jing He remembered, he would be thinking about that a lot and the result of those thoughts … Qiu Ling didn’t dare to imagine.
He lowered his head and silently cursed his own stupidity. This trial had taught him a lot of things and had opened his eyes in ways he had never thought to be possible. Unfortunately, even though he had always stated that he would explain matters clearly to Jing He after he woke up, it hadn’t prepared him for this moment. His heart was beating anxiously and even his palms started sweating. In short, he had never felt this nervous. And the worst part was that he didn’t know how to get out of this unscathed.
Qiu Ling gulped and finally forced himself to not think too far ahead. Anyway, Jing He had just woken up a week ago and only now remembered the last part of his trial. To remember a full millennium, it was safe to say that it should take several weeks at the very least, maybe even a few months. So, while he couldn’t rest easy, he also didn’t have to solve this mess today.
Reassuring himself, Qiu Ling took a deep breath and then took a few steps until he arrived in front of Jing He. He didn’t take his hands for fear of going too far but still looked at his face. “I’m glad you’re awake again. Both … after going through the trial and also today. I was worried when I heard that you collapsed.”
Jing He raised his head again, his gaze careful. “I’m sorry for making you worry.”
“It’s nothing, don’t mention it. Your uncle said you were doing well?”
Jing He nodded faintly. “Yes, it was just unexpected. The memories from the trial … there isn’t much of a warning before we regain them.”
Qiu Ling nodded and finally reached out. Once again, he kept himself from touching Jing He though. His hand merely lingered close to his shoulder while he motioned over to the table with the other hand. “Why don’t you sit down again? You must still be exhausted if nothing else.”
Jing He inclined his head and followed his invitation. He had gotten up almost as soon as Qiu Ling appeared at the door. Even though he wasn’t actually that exhausted, sitting still helped with keeping his bearing right now. Not to mention that it also seemed to indicate Qiu Ling’s attitude that he would think of this. Thus, he naturally felt grateful.
Qiu Ling watched him and then sat opposite him. He opened his mouth but finally didn’t speak up immediately. Instead, he picked up the lone teacup that had survived Jing He’s previous fall and pondered for a moment.
He didn’t know how to untangle everything but he needed to do something. The more Jing He remembered, the more worried he would become. After all, there was the wedding with Jing Yi, the fact that he had let his mortal reincarnation ascend, the curse on the dragon race that Jing He likely didn’t know enough about, his family, and finally even the information regarding his parentage. Each of these would be a blow to Jing He. With his personality, he would absolutely end up as an anxious mess by the end of it if nobody paid attention and reassured him.
How to reassure him? Of course, the first step should be to reaffirm his feelings. Making him wait a whole week before coming to see him definitely hadn’t been a smart move in that regard but it couldn’t be changed any longer. So … he should probably explain.
Qiu Ling put down the teacup and instead pulled two new ones out of his spatial ring. He picked up the teapot and poured two cups, handing one of them to Jing He with a smile. “Before I say anything else, I believe I owe you an apology.”
Jing He had just taken the teacup and now looked at Qiu Ling with an expression that seemed somewhat torn. “I wouldn’t know what you had to apologize for.” Well, he could imagine what Qiu Ling might want to apologize for but he still felt that there was no need.
Anyway, he couldn’t expect it. He wasn’t the only important person in Qiu Ling’s life, probably not even the most important one. So how could he expect him to apologize just for not coming to see him for a few days after losing someone more important? That … really didn’t seem right.
Although he had to admit that, in his heart, he naturally hoped for Qiu Ling to still do so. Even if it was a lie, as long as Qiu Ling was willing to take the time to deceive him like that, it was already very good. At least it could prove that he occupied a small corner of his heart and mind no matter what else had happened.