a few days late, but here we are! day 7 of Xichen Week, the free day (aka the worst for me; I struggle to come up with prompts a lot). have some soft beginnings for them, since I put Xichen through so much this week XD as for the title...

Yuánfèn describes the view that a relationship is predetermined or destined, and it tends to be used a lot as a proverb: 有緣無份 (yǒu yuán wú fèn), which translates to "have fate without destiny." Thus, staying on the topic of Romeo and Juliet, we can use this word when a couple is destined to come together but not destined to stay together.

so take that as you will :D

There's burning, screaming, crying, desperation, and Lan Xichen can't run fast enough to—


Escape? To save everyone? To do anything at all?

Meng Yao is crying bloody tears as he begs for forgiveness, golden robes forever stained with his sins. Someone is telling him to stop. Someone is telling the truth. Someone is lying. Someone is dying.

So, so many have died.

Faceless corpses burn around him. "You've failed! He's killed so many; sparing you means nothing!"

His brother looks at him with pity, empathy, sympathy. He isn't crying but Lan Xichen is about to be, desperation for a different ending bubbling up inside of him.

Meng Yao is clinging to him and his eyes are bloodshot. His eyes are nothing but blood, so much blood and death and needless destruction, and he wipes tears from Meng Yao's face as tenderly as he would a lover, and—

Shuoyue draws blood, too much blood, too much sickly bright red, and there is laughter ringing in his ears when Lan Xichen jolts awake.

"Gongzi? Are you alright?" Meng Yao asks, gently shaking him awake. Worry creases his brow and the soft shadows of early morning almost - but not quite - twist it into something sinister. Lan Xichen blinks a few times and it's gone.

"Yes, yes, I'm sorry for worrying you," he assures him. "Just…nightmares."

The worry on Meng Yao's face melts into a soft smile. "Of course. You just looked troubled," he explains, fingers entwining with Lan Xichen's for a second before quickly pulling back. How could someone so thoughtful and selfless grow up into someone capable of unspeakably horrible acts? Lan Xichen can't imagine it. Time can change people, but dreams aren't prophetic. He's sick with worry and slowly healing injuries; of course his dreams are a tangled mess of impossible anxieties.

Meng Yao steps back to give him some space in the cramped room they share now. "I'll go fetch breakfast," he offers.

Lan Xichen shakes his head. "Let me join you. I feel well enough to move around some."

"I insist. Gongzi shouldn't disturb his injuries."

"If I keep laying here, I'll never improve. Sitting in one place forever doesn't help," he says.

"But it does keep injuries from worsening," Meng Yao reminds him.

Lan Xichen smiles at him encouragingly. "You did such a good job tending to them. I'm sure a brief walk won't hurt."

Meng Yao sighs, but there's a fondness in his eyes that he can't quite hide. "You flatter me. Please be careful."

"Of course," he agrees. Getting out of this small room will help, and hopefully clear the last dredges of nightmares from his mind. It's not fair to his savior, who has been nothing but selflessly kind, to drag him into his nightmares.

He offers Lan Xichen a hand, smiling back brightly. "Then allow me to help gongzi up, if nothing else."

Lan Xichen takes his hand gratefully. "Thank you, Meng Yao," he says warmly, and something in the firm grasp solidifies their friendship; he's sure they have a bright future together.