Qiu Ling furrowed his brows. “So this might happen again?” He had thought it would have only been the first time around because Jing He was unsuspecting. Now hearing that he might lose consciousness again in the next days or even weeks make him wary. Maybe somebody should stay with Jing He at all times until at least half of his memories had returned.
Jing He nodded, lowering his head in the process. “That could be the case, yes. There is really no way to say ahead of time because it depends on the content of what we remember and how much it will be.” He hesitated for a moment, not sure how to continue so it would make the most sense for Qiu Ling.
Qiu Ling didn’t rush him. He just gently held him in his arms, waiting for Jing He to make up his mind. Anyway, the current situation had its advantages for him. He glanced at Jing He’s beautiful hair that was hanging over his shoulders only to brush over his hands further down, the small space between them that could easily be bridged if either of them leaned forward ever so slightly, and he naturally also noticed the warmth coming from his own back where Jing He’s hands were still lying.
To be honest, unless Jing He moved to get away or mentioned that he was uncomfortable, he definitely wouldn’t change a thing about their current posture. Why not give him half an hour more time to gather his thoughts?
Jing He didn’t notice that his lover’s thoughts had flown away. He finally came to a conclusion to his dilemma and started to explain from a different direction. “Usually, you can say that there are patterns in how our memories return. There might be many smaller ones in short succession, big ones spaced out over several days or sometimes even weeks, or sometimes a mixture of both with big and small periods appearing in our minds in succession.
“Which it will be is usually tied to the content because different memories will be easier or more difficult to come to terms with. For example, a big life event would usually be covered in one sequence where all of it from beginning to end will be remembered in one go. But there might be an exception if the memory is tough to bear.”
Qiu Ling pulled himself out of his thoughts when Jing He picked up his explanation and nodded. “That is to say, if something traumatizing had happened, you might only receive part of the memory first instead of the whole one. After a break to give you time to adjust, the rest would follow.”
Jing He nodded. “Yes, just like that.”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling thought about what Jing He should have remembered. “Then today … you saw what led to your death. It must have been … terrifying.” He wasn’t surprised. Jing He’s reaction while dreaming — or rather remembering — had been telling. He had clearly been suffering.
Qiu Ling closed his eyes and finally leaned closer, embracing Jing He tightly. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”
Jing He blinked his eyes in surprise before allowing himself to melt into Qiu Ling’s arms. “You were there when I woke up. That did help me calm down a lot faster than it might have happened otherwise.”
Qiu Ling kept quiet for a moment but then shook his head. “I didn’t mean that. I just … I didn’t want you to die like that. I … didn’t want you to have that kind of memory.” He slightly pulled back his head but still kept Jing He closely wrapped in his arms. “I know your mortal self had to die but I wanted it to be a better death than that. A peaceful one, you know?”
Jing He nodded. Even though he couldn’t remember his trial yet and only knew that they had gotten married in that lifetime, his knowledge of Qiu Ling naturally wouldn’t make him believe anything else. How could Qiu Ling want him to die a violent death? That wouldn’t make sense.
His fingers absentmindedly rubbed the fabric beneath them while he looked up into Qiu Ling’s eyes. “If I understood correctly, the battle was already ongoing and you had your duties to take care of. I … was going somewhere, a place to see the battlefield from, if I understood correctly. Naturally, you couldn’t have been there.” In fact, he felt that it was his own fault that death had found him. With his own experience, he was able to see that the man who suddenly appeared in the empty streets during the battle couldn’t be trusted. But his mortal self apparently couldn’t see that and thus, he found his doom.
Jing He faintly pursed his lips and lowered his head until it came to lie on Qiu Ling’s shoulder. He knew he shouldn’t since nothing had changed about their relationship just yet but right now, he just wanted to indulge himself. “Anyway, it is a trial. The harsher it is, the better. It will help me … grow as a person.”
Qiu Ling gave a hum and reached up, his hand slowly brushing over Jing He’s back. “I’d rather not see you suffer though. Whether it’s in this life or any other, you simply don’t deserve this.”
Jing He smiled to himself. Naturally, he was more than happy to hear Qiu Ling say such words even though he knew that it would be irresponsible if he dared to agree. “I am not sure how many trials I managed to pass this time. If it was a lot, maybe I’ll only have to return to the mortal realm one more time.”
Qiu Ling’s brows twitched. He really wasn’t sure if he would be able to take it if Jing He descended again. After all, he had barely survived the first time and that literally. If this happened again …
He cleared his throat and leaned down, kissing the top of Jing He’s head. “I’m sure there are ways to find out. Let’s check later. I’d prefer it if you could just stay here. It’s … much better like this.”