Li Xueyue could do nothing but blush at his suggestive words. She wanted to tease the beast, believing victory was hers. But yet again, he dominated her.
She watched with curious eyes as he smiled down at her and kissed her hair that he held in between his fingers.
He released it a second later, reaching down to caress her face. His fingers traced over her features as if he was trying to memorize every inch of her. He stared at her so deeply as if he wanted to capture this moment while he could, before she would disappear into thin air.
Li Xueyue reached up and cupped his chiseled face.
He leaned into her touch, his upper body coming down on her hand. Her thumbs rubbed circles upon his cheeks. His eyes fluttered shut, his long lashes framing his cheekbones. Everything about him was pure perfection—even the worst parts about him.
"Stay," he softly commanded. "Stay with me."
Li Xueyue blinked in confusion. His voice was a silent plea. He leaned down and rested his head upon her chest. It was something she had never experienced before.
Instinctively, her arms circled around him. One rested upon his shoulder, her fingers lightly dancing upon the chords of his muscles. Her other hand weaved into his hair, caressing the luscious locks.
Li Xueyue could feel his exhaustion before seeing it on his face. He had merely laid down for less than a second, but his breathing became shallow.
Yu Zhen had fallen asleep on top of her.
Li Xueyue smiled at this. She continued to fondly stroke his hair, hoping to lull him into a blissful dream.
"If only you knew," she whispered. "If I were to live a thousand lifetimes, it would always be with you."
Li Xueyue glanced up at the ceiling. "By your side is the only place that I'm willing to stay."
- - - - -
Yu Zhen was startled when something whacked him in the head. He shot up in confusion. He was instantly on high alert, a vicious expression on his face. Who the hell interrupted his sleep? Did that person have a death wish?
But his rage dispersed upon seeing her.
Yu Zhen had finally registered his environment. Without knowing it, he had fallen asleep on top of her. How was that even possible? He had never fallen asleep so quickly.
But none of that was his concern. She held the center of his attention.
Li Xueyue was in tears. They trickled down the sides of her head whilst she thrashed and cried. She was experiencing a nightmare. This behavior of hers felt all too familiar. He had recalled the night he had trespassed into her room.
"Oh, love," he muttered under his breath.
Yu Zhen didn't waste any more time. He reached down to touch her, but that single caress startled her.
Li Xueyue's moist eyes shot open in fear. A scream rippled through her but he reflexively covered her mouth with his hand, muffling the sound.
Yu Zhen lifted her onto his lap. Whether it was by instinct or pure fear, she wrapped her arms around him tightly. He was caught off guard by how quickly she grasped onto him. Her legs rested on either side of him and she held onto him for dear life.
"Shhhh," he comforted.
Li Xueyue shook in his arms. Sobs wracked her body and she couldn't even breathe. Her chest struggled with each panicked gasps for air. "N-no more…" she begged him.
"Never again," Yu Zhen firmly said, even though he didn't know what she was referring to. He rubbed her trembling back up and down to soothe her. His other hand rested on the back of her head.
Her face rested upon his broad shoulders. She cried into his clothes, her tears never stopping.
"It's going to be okay," Yu Zhen promised her.
"I'm scared…" she blurted out amidst her frenzy for sanity.
Yu Zhen stiffened at her words, but continued to soothe her. "I've sworn to you before, my Little Sunshine."
Yu Zhen shifted his head to press a loving kiss upon the side of her temple. He tightened his hold of her.
"As long as I am with you, all of your monsters will be slain," he vowed.
Yu Zhen leaned his face upon her head. He comforted her to the best of his abilities.
Yu Zhen was unfamiliar with this behavior and action. No one in his life had comforted him the way he was comforting her. Not even as a child, when he ended up with scrapes and bruises from training. Or when he struggled with the demons under his bed.
"Please don't leave me," she pleaded.
Yu Zhen's heart was painfully squeezed by her words. He let out a small, humorless chuckle. She hugged him tighter upon hearing the sound.
"Oh love," Yu Zhen mused. "I'd never leave you. Not even death will do us part."
Whether or not the words registered in her head, she buried herself within his embrace. He was warm. His arms were comforting. His voice was soothing. Everything about him was enough to slow down her rapid heartbeats.
Yu Zhen continued to pat her upper back. He hadn't realized how tiny she was until now. She fitted in his arms perfectly, as if the spot was made for her.
"Do you promise?" she asked. Her voice was meek and tiny like that of a hesitant child.
Yu Zhen gently smiled at her words though she wouldn't be able to see it. His hardened eyes softened for her—and only her.
"No, my Little Sunshine. Promises are meant to be broken," Yu Zhen said. "But I can swear to you."
Li Xueyue felt like she was floating upon a cloud. She wondered how her nightmare became a daydream. Everything was a haze. But she felt safe, as if nothing in this world could hurt her.
She felt her hand being moved as her fingers interlocked with ones much longer than hers. She shifted her head to rest her cheek upon the 'cloud'. Through her blurry, moisten eyes, she saw their entwined hands.
"I swear to you, Li Xueyue, I'll never leave you," Yu Zhen stated. "I won't accept immortality, unless it's spent with you."
Li Xueyue smiled at his words. She finally realized it wasn't a cloud she was resting upon. It was Yu Zhen. His soft, husky voice was a lullaby to her ears.
She hugged him dearly and continued to do so. His fingers worked wonders upon her hair. A comfortable silence fell over them. Eventually, she was being soothed to sleep by him.
"Good night, my Little Sun," Yu Zhen murmured. He pressed a final kiss upon the back of her head.
He continued to hold her. When the moon disappeared behind the clouds, and the sun rose from the east, he remained in that position. He never stopped comforting her.
Even when she was deep asleep.
Even when his hands were sore from touching her.
Even when the entire palace panicked at his disappearance.
Yu Zhen remained seated. He'd stay as long as she wanted him to—forever and always by her side. Just as she had sworn him a thousand lifetimes. He would take her word to heart. And if Heaven dared to object, he'll wreak havoc. All to obtain the little ray of sunshine in his dark, depressing world.
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