MDZS + TGCF crossover
A silver butterfly landed on WWX's hand, just as he was about to take a drink of Emperor's Smile. He blinked at it, something in the fluttering wings hitting a chord deep inside of him
Like a fond memory just out of your grasp
He was waiting at an inn for LWJ to finish off some kind of business with some merchants (his husband was being deliberately vague about it, but WWX knew he'd find out sooner or later)
Normally he's wait for LWJ to return before doing an investigation, but this...
He wasn't sure what to expect, wasn't sure how to explain this feeling to his husband, wasn't sure he could even put this need to find out into words...
Maybe he could look into it, and when he knew what he was dealing with, he could talk about it
Setting the jar of Emperor's Smile on the table - gently so he didn't dislodge the butterfly - he leaned forward and carefully iunspected the little spiritual being
It made him feel... content, bittersweet, like he wanted to smile, all at once
Like the memory of an old friend
An old, fond friend
He sighed, a long, drawn out breath. "What are you?" he murmured
As if that was it's cue to do something, the butterfly fluttered into the air and floated through the inn, weaving between servers and patrons, a spark of silver amongst the colour
WWX being WWX, he followed. The butterfly was like a lure, and he wasn't going to ignore it. He'd explain everything to LWJ later. When he knew more
The butterfly flew out of the inn and into the street. Even in the sunshine it shone brightly enough for him to follow it easily
It flew and flew, it's path happily meandering, making WWX smile. This butterfly clearly had time enough to spare
He didn't mind. He liked walking through town anyway, liked the lively atmosphere, the colours and the sounds
Then the butterfly abruptly changed direction and sped up, heading down a narrow street, as if it had been pulled in that direction. WWX picked up his pace, jogging after the butterfly through narrower and narrower streets and alleys
And then it just... stopped
Right in the middle of a dark alley, it stopped and fluttered in the air
WWX squinted one eye, suspicious. He couldn't feel any demonic cultivation or any other bad energy...
An elegant, pale hand reached out of the shadows for the butterfly
It was quickly followed by a person, garbed in the red of autumn maple leaves and silver jewellery that tinkled gently with each movement
WWX blinked. His mind swirled and vertigo made him sway
He shook his head, trying to rattle the disorientation away. Think think think
What - who - think think think
He forced his mind to work, to pull itself from the vortex of emotion
From memories - yes, they were memories, even if they were half realised, hiding somewhere in his mind, behind a door he didn't know had been there this whole time
"It's been a while," Crimson Rain Sought Flower - Ghost King, Hua Cheng - said in his smooth voice
WWX shook his head again, finally clearing it, finally settling those forgotten memories in their right places
When they settled, he huffed a laugh, half relieved, half surprised. "Don't you have statues to carve?"
HC smiled, the gesture sharp, but ever so slightly fond
"Why carve statues when I've found the real thing?" HC asked
It took him a moment, but then he burst into a bright smile. "You found your Dianxia!"
HC inclined his head. "And you found your Lan Zhan."
They looked at each other, WWX smiling, HC's eyes knowing
Here they were, two lonely souls who had loved and lost, and now... now they had found everything they wanted. WWX didn't feel like he needed to fill the space with chatter. In the ghost realm, he'd done that often enough. There wasn't anything that remained unsaid
HC knew him, and he knew HC, friends and confidants, however unlikely that was
WWC was happy - so happy - for his friend. Why wouldn't he be? He'd heard all about Dianxia in his time in Ghost City, admired everything he knew about the god. HC deserved to find happiness with him
"So when are you bringing him around to meet me and Lan Zhan?" WWX asked cheekily. "Don't you think I need to vet him for you? Make sure it's a good match?"
When HC's air turned cool, WWX waved his words away. "Joking, joking! I know you're the perfect match! Well, maybe not -"
HC narrowed his eyes. "Do you really want to say that?"
WWX puffed up. "I'll have you know that Lan Zhan is the most perfect man!"
HC relaxed. "Dianxia is the most perfect god."
"See! We can both have the best husbands!"
The curl at the corner of HC's lips indicated agreement
Oh, it was definitely a snarky agreement, but WWX would take it. "Bring him to dinner! I'll cook! We can catch up!"
HC seemed to think about it, as if wondering whether he wanted to subject Dianxia to WWX and WWX's cooking. But he nodded. "Next week."
He turned to head back to the inn, but paused. Gave a sincere smile to HC. "It's... good to see you again."
HC seemed to relax minutely, as much as a ghost king could. "And you," he said ever so quietly. But WWX heard the sincerity in the words
When he returned to the inn, LWJ was waiting there for him. To anyone who saw him, they wouldn't think anything bothered HGJ. But to WWX, he saw the tightness in his mouth and eyes
He rushed up to his husband and embraced him. "Aiya, I'm here, I'm okay!"
LWJ buried his face in WWX's hair and sighed. His arms were tight around WWX, a comforting strength. "Mn," he agreed after long moments
When WWX eventually pulled away, he said, "We're having guests for dinner next week!"
LWJ didn't even question him. He nodded
His husband really was the best of men. WWX pressed a kiss to LWJ's lips. "Let's go home! I'll tell you all about my adventure on the way!"