123. Take It to My Grave
YiHan glanced at his fingers but his focus was the complete opposite of JingYuan’s. “My hands are fine,” he said. “I don’t need to go to the hospital. JingYuan, don’t…don’t be angry with me. I…”
“How can you not care about your own body?” JingYuan nearly shouted in rage. “Your fingers are all bleeding! Your nails are cracked and split open! The ten fingers lead to the heart. Yet it doesn’t hurt? How could I have the time and energy to be angry when your fingers are this badly injured?”
JingYuan hated himself so much right now. He knew YiHan was depressed. The younger man was even suicidal. He actually interrogated the young man over something so frivolous! He didn’t even notice YiHan hurting himself under his very nose! If he hadn’t walked over and just sat there like a fool, how badly hurt would YiHan’s hands be?
He had sworn to protect YiHan, yet YiHan was hurt this time because of him. There was no way JingYuan could accept that. How he wished he could punch himself!
Despite JingYuan’s words, YiHan was afraid the other man’s suspicion of him would grow because of his self-inflicted injuries. But upon hearing the anger in JingYuan’s voice, he lost the courage to speak further.
“I’m really fine,” YiHan eventually said. “Why don’t we just call Dr Chen and have him discreetly come over to treat them? Let’s not disturb the others.”
JingYuan had no choice but to call Dr Chen and ask him to come over, with an additional order to be careful and not to let the other family members know.
JingYuan then embraced YiHan from behind. His hands carefully held YiHan’s. He was so sombre and silent that YiHan dared not make a sound. A heavy silence fell upon the room.
The hush in the room lasted until Aunt Yang cautiously led Dr Chen in.
Aunt Yang’s immediate reaction upon noticing the state of YiHan’s hands was to gasp loudly in shock. Just before the yelp left her throat, she clasped her hands over it. Her heart raced and her mind panicked.
“How did this happen?” she softly muttered. “It must hurt a lot.”
Dr Chen didn’t dare dilly-dally. He hurriedly placed his kit down and started cleaning YiHan’s wounds.
“Are they serious?” JingYuan asked in a deep voice. “Do we need to go to the hospital?”
The doctor could feel an immense pressure looming over him. “They should be fine,” he warily said. “I’ll clean and dress them. If it hurts a lot, he can take some painkillers.”
JingYuan hummed in response and spoke no more. YiHan also didn’t dare to speak as he noticed JingYuan’s face had gone terrifyingly dark. He didn’t make a single noise and let Dr Chen do as he pleased with his fingers.
“Dr Chen,” Aunt Yang spoke from the side, “please get some painkillers for Little Master later. He’s very sensitive to pain.”
Pain struck JingYuan’s heart. The sight of YiHan bearing the pain with nary a complaint made the expression on his face worsen.
Finally, Dr Chen and the constantly chattering Aunt Yang was sent out of the room. Before YiHan could say “I’m sorry”, he was locked in JingYuan’s embrace.
“HanHan, I’m sorry,” YiHan heard JingYuan say. “I’ve said I would protect you but I ended up bringing harm to you. It’s my bad. Does it hurt a lot? How about some painkillers now?”
“I’m fine. It doesn’t hurt that much,” YiHan murmured. Upon seeing JingYuan’s face turn gloomy at his words, he immediately changed his mind and said, “Erm, well, it does hurt a little. I think I’ll have some.”
JingYuan quickly poured out a pill from the bottle of painkillers he had nearby and poured him a glass of water for YiHan to down the pill with.
After the entire ordeal was done and over with, the two laid down in bed. Lying on their sides, JingYuan held YiHan in his arms, being careful not to touch YiHan’s hands. JingYuan gently patted YiHan on the back as the younger man laid there in silence.
Just when JingYuan thought the younger man had fallen asleep, he heard YiHan whisper, “JingYuan, it’s not that I want to keep secrets from you. I just don’t know how to tell you about it.”
“If you’re not done thinking, you don’t have to tell me,” JingYuan warmly replied, kissing YiHan on the forehead. “You can tell me once you know how to tell me about it and when you feel like telling me.”
“I don’t want there to be a barrier between us,” YiHan said, shaking his head. “JingYuan, do you believe in past lives and destiny?”
“How so?” JingYuan asked, lowering his voice.
YiHan snuggled closer into JingYuan’s embrace until his head was right against the man’s chest, and said, “I had a dream before. It’s after we last argued and before the old Mr Yan’s birthday party.”
“I know,” JingYuan said with a smile, his fingers curling and uncurling. “Your mother told me. You had a nightmare and was frightened to tears by it.”
YiHan’s hand rose instinctively to scratch his face in embarrassment but was caught by JingYuan’s swift hand. YiHan pushed aside the urge and continued his story, “I dreamed that you and XueQing would get engaged and I’d throw a big tantrum until the engagement had to be called off. You two then distanced yourselves from me. Afterwards, I gave up on life and made many mistakes. I thought doing all the wrong things would attract your attention. You’d come to stop me and I’d argue with you. Eventually, I made you so angry that you ran away. After you left, I foolishly listened to Feng Qun and bankrupted the Bai Group. To pay back our debts, we had to sell off everything we could. Our whole family moved into a tiny apartment. I thought I could compensate for my crimes by getting a job behind my family’s backs. But I was useless. I knew nothing. I was a pianist at the Blue Court. Feng Qun would often lead a gang of his friends in to harass me. I didn’t dare to talk back at all. Then…then, a lot of things happened. Grandpa was getting old. His body wasn’t as healthy as it should be. After going through blow after blow and I…I misbehaved again. He collapsed from anger. We couldn’t save him. Grandpa passed away and I was too afraid to go home. I just hid in our secret base. Feng Qun found me and he brought some men to…to beat me to death.”
There were multiple times JingYuan wanted to get YiHan to stop. What the younger man said, just the mere flat descriptions, were enough to make JingYuan’s breath catch. However, YiHan went through all that effort to gather his courage to speak. JingYuan could only grit his teeth and listen without uttering a single interruption.
YiHan paused and contemplated a moment before saying, “That dream just felt too real. It felt like it was a life I had lived through. Even now, I can recall every single detail. Then, you announced your engagement with XueQing. So many things I’d dreamed about came true. I wondered if that dream was perhaps my past life.
“When we saw Tao Qi, a lot of what she said was similar to what happened in my dream. I was terrified. I wanted to ask her about them. I wanted to know more. I knew you wouldn’t want me to see her alone but these weren’t things that could be spoken of before other people. So I gave you some pills that’d help you sleep and I snuck out to talk to her.”
“And the results?” JingYuan softly prompted, suppressing his breaths into shallow inhales.
“She said this world is a novel and she’s a transmigrator from real life,” Yihan continued. “Before she came here, she’d just finished reading this book. She told me everything she read. They were exactly as I’d dreamed. She even said…she said after my death, you’d marry her. You’ll have a child. It’s why she was so confident you and she are an official couple. As for me, I was just the name of a dead man.”
JingYuan immediately sat up at that. “Utter nonsense!” he barked. “It’s absolutely impossible! Not unless I’d been taken over by another transmigrator!”
YiHan was shocked. “What she said,” he dazedly said, “matched my dream. I thought that what she described might be true. Only, after I had that horrifying nightmare, I didn’t follow the so-called plot. That’s why we have a different reality now. Perhaps what I dreamed about truly happened in another incarnation. That dream was a prophecy.”
“Impossible!” JingYuan snapped, infuriated. “It’s impossible no matter in the past life or the next! It was all just drivel born from her wishful thinking!” He jumped out of the bed and began pacing in circles, hand pressed against his head. “HanHan, this is just a question of whether it’s a man dreaming of being a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming of being a man. Who could tell what’s real and what’s not? To us, the world we grew up in, the world we live in now, is the real world. Our feelings are real. She said she’s someone from the real world but who knows if her so-called real world is just another book?”
YiHan’s mouth opened and closed. He didn’t know what to say.
JingYuan sat back down on the bed, gently held YiHan’s head and said, “No matter if what she said was true or false, the ‘plot’ she speaks of and the dream you had would never happen. I will never leave you. I’ll stay by your side. I’ll protect you and I’ll love you until my last breath.”
YiHan’s arms wrapped around the older man’s waist as he buried his face into the man’s abdomen. “You truly believe me?” he glumly asked. “It’s rather insane. I never dared to say anything about it. I was afraid you’d think of me as crazy.”
“Little fool,” JingYuan whispered, hand stroking YiHan’s hair. “Is this your secret? Just what goes on in that little mind of yours? How could I think you crazy? While it’s mind-boggling, there’s nothing that can truly be impossible across the entire multiverse. There’s nothing to be shocked at. Look at us now. Look at how incredibly different our situation is now compared to your dream. This means that nightmare isn’t a prophecy. It’s a warning. It’s here to help us avoid danger and walk down the right path. HanHan, this is a gift from the gods to you. We must be thankful for it. Let’s stop worrying over it, okay?”
YiHan’s eyes slid shut. He rubbed his cheek against the other man’s belly as he let out a soft hum in assent. Forgive me, JingYuan. I still can’t be completely honest with you. What I kept from you, I’d keep a secret forever. I want it to…rot in my belly. I’ll take it to my grave.
JingYuan twined a finger through YiHan’s soft hair as he “harshly” said, “Alright. Now it’s time for you to explain about the other issue.”
YiHan looked up at the man, confusion plastered all over his face.
“Little one,” JingYuan said, a finger poking at YiHan’s forehead, “you think you can get past me by feigning innocence? Tell me! Why are there drugs to ‘help you sleep’ in your room?”
YiHan buried his face back into JingYuan’s body. “It’s just…” he murmured. “When I had that dream, it was so real that it upset me a lot. I couldn’t sleep at night from fear. I had no choice but to secretly buy some sleeping pills. Then, we started dating. I never used them since.”
JingYuan let out a heavy sigh and fervently ruffled YiHan’s hair. “You silly fool,” he said. “How should I get through to you? When you encounter a problem, you’d keep silent about it and secretly distress yourself over it. What are we, your family, for?”
YiHan hurriedly dodged away from those demonic claws. “I know,” he said, covering his head with his arms. “I’m telling you about it now, aren’t I?”