Wei Ying had fallen asleep quickly in Lan Zhan's bed. Although Lan Zhan had spell-bound his body, Wei Ying hadn't even spoken much less protested. Lan Zhan put Wei Ying's disturbing silence aside for the moment. He'd never expected to have a chance to hold his beloved in his arms. He felt slightly guilty for trapping Wei Ying in his bed but put that aside as well. He would make the most of this unexpected opportunity. He would hold Wei Ying through the night. He would create memories that, while not blissful, would at least be less bittersweet than those from their past.

Lan Zhan stared at the man sleeping beside him. When awake, such a whirlwind and yet now he lay so still. Each snore sounded softly but fiercely, like the growl of a kitten. Hidden by the dark, Lan Zhan dared to reach out and run his fingers through his beloved's hair. He'd imagined this many times but still … Wei Ying's hair was softer than he'd expected, as soft as Snow Dancer's fur. Lan Zhan blushed at the thought and vowed that Wei Ying would never learn he'd named the rabbits.

As Wei Ying wriggled next to him, Lan Zhan drew his hand away. Had he woken? But Wei Ying merely snuggled in closer. The breath tickling against his neck reminded Lan Zhan that this wasn't Wei Ying's original body. It didn't mater. The caterpillar may be reborn as the butterfly and the snake may shed its skin, but their essential natures do not change.

Wei Ying's tiny kitten snores gave way to quiet grumbles and his shoulders started twitching as if he were trying to escape. Lan Zhan drew away but Wie Ying mumbled "Don't go." Lan Zhan carefully inched in closer, afraid to wake him. Wei Ying grabbed his zhong yi by the collar but his frown did not ease. Uncertain how to tame this tiger, Lan Zhan ran a gentle hand down Wie Ying's hair. As Wei Ying stilled again, his frown gave way to a contented grin. Lan Zhan continued to pet his hair and wondered how Wei Ying had been brought back.

Even if the Zidian hadn't revealed it, Lan Zhan would have known that Mo Xuanyu's body hadn't been stolen. Wei Ying wouldn't do such a thing. That left only one option. Mo Xuanyu, driven insane by his family's abuse, had called upon the Yiling Patriarch to extract his revenge, offering his own body in payment. The technique was forbidden. Someone like Mo Xuanyu shouldn't even be aware of the spell much less know its incantations. The situation felt complex, bringing to mind how many strings will sing in harmony when one is plucked. The present reverberated with the past: the body transfer had brought Wei Ying back, the Goddess statue they'd bound together had been released, Wen Ning had returned. It troubled Lan Zhan that he didn't know who had plucked those strings.

"Lan Zhan." He'd once been privileged to hear Flight of the Partridges played by a Grand Master of the erhu, but hearing his own name mumbled in sleep was far sweeter. He was an idiot, wasting this precious time worrying about Mo Xuanyu. He would never have another chance to hold Wei Ying. His lips rose into a smile as he stared at his beloved but thoughts still crested the surface of his mind.

When Wei Ying had straddled him, he'd effective trapped Lan Zhan on the bed. Had he known what he was doing? Their lips had been so close. No, this was madness. Wei Ying had never shown any signs of being a cut sleeves. If Lan Zhan had raised his head to join their lips, wouldn't Wei Ying have drawn away? If Lan Zhan had wrestled himself to the top and held Wei Ying until his desire had become evident, wouldn't Wei Ying have run off in disgust? Lan Zhan couldn't allow him to leave. Too many wanted him dead. No one could leave Cloud Recesses without a token, but Lan Zhan was certain no cage could hold Wei Ying. He couldn't allow Wei Ying to run off alone. Lan Zhan hadn't stood with him thirteen years ago, but he would not make that same mistake again. He would not let Wei Ying fall a second time.

So, for now, Lan Zhan did what he could. As Wei Ying slept through the night, he ran his fingers through hair as soft as rabbit's fur.