Counting Sheep

Xiao Yan Zi had an elaborate baby plan, but the best laid plans often go awry.

Fanfic © dreamlinks_211, originally posted in Vietnamese at AlecHeart. Com (Kế hoạch sinh con của Tiểu Yến Tử)

Translated by Ruan Chun Xian at Fanfiction. Net

I wish I wrote these two pieces of genius (this fic and When There's Fate), but unfortunately I didn't. But I couldn't let these wonderful fics go without sharing it with my wonderful readers who have followed my own fics for a long, long time; some of them have been with me since 2007. So enjoy. All credit to these squee-worthy stories goes to my fellow Yong Qi fangirl dreamlinks_211.

To tell this story, we have to go back in time to about four years after the wedding of our two favourite couples.

It was a beautiful morning, and the sun was high in the sky, Jing Yang Gong was full of the sound of a child's sweet laughter. But don't misunderstand; the adorable child wasn't the product of love between Yong Qi and Xiao Yan Zi, but a true xiao Kang Wei, the Fu family's greatest treasure, and also Er Kang's greatest rival in the battle to gain Ming Zhu Ge Ge's affections. It wasn't clear since when that Zi Wei went everywhere telling everyone about Dong Er this and Dong Er that. Once, Xiao Yan Zi even overheard Fu Shi wei complaining to Yong Qi.

"Until mountain fail to peak, until heaven and earth collide, all lies. Only one Dong Er had appeared and she suddenly doesn't care to look at me anymore."

Yong Qi laughed. "Fu Da Shao ye, once so arrogant and magnificent, how the mighty have fallen, all because of a not-yet-three-year-old child. Oh, where had the glorious days gone."

The teasing tone in his voice made Fu Da ye's blood boil and he snapped back, "Yong Qi, you jest at scars that haven't felt a wound. Just you wait, when you have a xiao Yong Yan, you'll be pushed aside just like that." He seemed to be lost in the dream when his friend would have to share his fate and it managed to make his anger reduce in half.

"That's why I'm not like you, I don't let the enemy appear too quickly, just enjoying the world with the two of us for a few more years. Look at us, we are always together, it's a sight that others can only dream of."

"Just because that's what you want doesn't mean that your Huan Zhu Ge Ge also wants it. What I see is that her eyes light up every time she sees Dong Er, she keeps hugging and kissing him, the only thing missing is she hasn't devour him yet."

That Er Kang, does he know what he's talking about? He talks as if I'm some demon!

But thinking about it, Xiao Yan Zi had to admit he didn't say anything wrong. She really did love children, just that her stomach hadn't decided to oblige her yet, and also there is some insecurity. What if the child turned out a copy of her? If it was naughty then that would be a small problem, but what if it can't learn anything properly like her? That would be the big problem.

Looking at Dong Er reciting the Three Character Classic in that childish, lovable voice, it was clear that he had inherited good genes from his parents. Both of them were brilliant and smart, no wonder the child was intelligent as well. Zi Wei was listening to Dong Er's recitation, her eyes nearly brimming over with tears of pride, it almost made Xiao Yan Zi feel scared.

"Dong Er is so smart, quick and cute, in the future he'll definitely be even more brilliant than your already brilliant husband. But you're so lucky, you had him only after a year of marriage. Really I'm in awe," Xiao Yan Zi said, her voice full of mixed feelings.

"Why do you need to be in awe of me, just have one yourself," Zi Wei said, smiling.

"You think I don't want? But what can I do if nothing happens? And the important thing is that I don't trust…" The sentence was halted by a longing sigh.

"What are you afraid of?"

"Looking at Dong Er, it's obvious a case of good genes, the parents are brilliant, so the child is too. I'm different, if I have a child, it'll definitely inherit at least half my stupidity and laziness, how could it look up at other people?"

"You're at it again. You're not so bad, everyone have their good points, don't be so insecure."

"Well, it's better to be aware of oneself and honest admit one's shortcomings," Xiao Yan Zi said, closing the matter with this emotional statement.

"It's not exactly genes, you know, there are some tricks involved." Zi Wei winked at her and lowered her voice. "It's just between the two of us all right? It's like this, when we were first married, I don't know how Er Kang managed it but he found an old book, with lots of instructions on 'married life'. There was a trick from people of old days pass back, that if you want a smart child, the husband and wife should only do it on the full moon." Her last few words were only barely louder than the sound of a mosquito, so Xiao Yan Zi had had strain to hear them. Both of them had reddened by the time Zi Wei finished.

Xiao Yan Zi answered in a mocking voice, "Oh, so it turns out that you two follow the rules so well."

"It's just some words from random men."

"Your Er Kang has such discipline," Xiao Yan Zi said, covering a smile with her hand. But then she sounded worried again, "But it won't work. Yong Qi, he…"

"He what?"

"He is totally undisciplined and I…I don't have any way to deal with him. Even if I told him this, he won't listen, he'll just laugh at us, saying we are ignorant females."

"What ignorant females," Zi Wei said, sounding annoyed. It wasn't as if she came up with this. The person to tell her of this long-passed-down secret was, after all, her brilliant husband. How could her brother actually talk badly of him? Well, she'd show him. "Well, couldn't you just lock him in the study?"

"Really?" Xiao Yan Zi was half disbelieving, half didn't have the heart to do this.

Zi Wei nodded vigorously and Xiao Yan Zi felt as if she put all her strengths into that nod.


"Do you want a child who is smart and brilliant and have a bright future?" Zi Wei asked, winking.

Xiao Yan Zi nodded.

"So trust me, do as I said. The only thing is that you must be determined, and it is done."

That evening, as usual, after dinner, Yong Qi went into the study to work. After a while, suddenly Ming Yue and Cai Xia came in with a mass of pillows and blankets.

"What's going on?"

"Answering Wu Ah Ge, Ge Ge asked us to do this. Ge Ge said that from now until the full moon, Wu Ah Ge please take the trouble to sleep here." The two girls were hesitant, and it was obvious that they didn't understand any more than he did, so he didn't bother asking for a reason.

Sighing, Yong Qi walked out of the room. Xiao Yan Zi was getting out hand, didn't even leave him any face in front of the two maids? It was clear that he'd spoiled her.

The bedroom door was locked. What, she's locking me out? Yong Qi swallowed his anger and said in a calm voice.

"Xiao Yan Zi, what's going on? Why did you ask Ming Yue Cai Xia to bring my blanket to the study?

"Because I only want the best for the Great Qing Empire, for your Ai Xin Jue Luo clan," Xiao Yan Zi said, sighing. She wasn't lying. It was true, though she didn't want it to be this way.

Yong Qi didn't understand what she was on about. "What on earth are you talking about?"

Xiao Yan Zi sighed again. Did her husband have to put her in a difficult place? She steeled herself and leaned close to door, whispering, "Zi Wei told me that if I want to have a smart child, we have to wait until the full moon to do it."

"Do what?"

People say anger blocked blood access to the brain, was this what it meant? How could her normally smarter-than-everyone husband suddenly get so dense? How infuriating!

"Do the thing between husband and wife," she snapped, not even skirting around the issue.

She didn't know that Ming Yue and Cai Xia were still nearby and they suddenly burst out into giggles. Yong Qi felt his blood boil at the sound, and turned around, glaring at them.

"Why are you still here? It's late, go away."

Looking at their master's face, the two maids disappeared right away.

Swallowing his anger again, Yong Qi knew that it was useless to lose his temper. He knew his wife too well, she only reacted to soft words, not harsh ones. He tried to lower his voice. "There isn't too much basis in such things. We are both intelligent people, how could you believe in that? Come on, let me in."

"I'm ignorant like that, all right? Anyway, I would rather kill the wrong person than let the wrong one go."

"Kill the wrong one rather than let them slip through," Yong Qi corrected, wondering how he got the heart to correct her chengyu now.

The correction was like a gush of water, clearing Xiao Yan Zi's head. She couldn't let their child be like her. She bit her lip and took a deep breath, gathering her determination.

"No, I've decided, you've got to sleep outside tonight. Please, Yong Qi, just indulge me just this once."

She was begging and his heart was automatically turning into jelly.

He grasped for a reason. "It's cold out here."

"I'll tell Xiao Deng Zi to get you another blanket."

"The floor is hard."

"I'll tell him to get you another mattress."

"You'll be afraid of ghost and have nightmares."

"No, not listening, not listening." Xiao Yan Zi took both hands and blocked her ears because this time Yong Qi had hit her weak spot. It wasn't cold but she shivered. She raised her voice to hide her nervousness. "If you don't agree, I'll go back to Shu Fang Zhai."

This had more effect that all the previous arguments combined and Yong Qi finally shut up and returned to the study.

Sorry Yong Qi, I don't want this either. I just hope it's effective. Oh, how great is our sacrifice!

There had never been a night when Xiao Yan Zi found it more difficult to sleep. She tossed and turned and couldn't help but remember that she should be deep in dreams in Yong Qi's warm arms. The cold bed was making her uncomfortable and there was something creepy about the room. In any other nights, Yong Qi's comforting presence would be there, luring her to an unworried sleep.

This is ridiculous. Hateful Yong Qi, he gave me this bad habit. I've survived 19 years alone in the world, not caring about anything, but suddenly became afraid of ghosts when I married him. It was only a white lie in the beginning so that he would hold me, now I've really scared myself.

Before, Liu Hong used to teach me to count sheep if I can't sleep. I can use that trick now.

One sheep, two sheep… one thousand two hundred and thirty-three sheep… Each sheep passed in front of her face, but she wasn't the least bit sleepy, just staring at the ceiling…

A gush of wind blew in, making goosebumps raise on her arms, making the sheep in front of her suddenly turning into a demented, bloody monster…

She tried to calm herself, and got out of bed to close the window. She suddenly found that the cold was cutting to the bone, and suddenly her heart ached to remember Yong Qi lying on the floor of the study. It was damp and cold down there, what if he caught cold? She went to the bed and picked up a blanket, heading towards the study.

Carefully and silent she opened the door. It was a good thing that she had practiced sneaking around for so many years, so her footstep was used to stepping light. She couldn't help but smile silently to herself.

Her husband was lying on the floor, thought there was thick mattress underneath him, but it must be so cold. She couldn't help but feel pained for him and gently placed the blanket on him, tucking it around his shoulder. His soft breath was blowing against her cheeks. Under the dim light, his brows were pursed together, looking uncomfortable. Her heart gave a twinge and she lifted a hand to smooth out the crease. She stroke the contour of his handsome face and whispered.

"I'm sorry, Yong Qi, you're suffering for me again. It's all my fault, that I'm so bad at learning, I can't let our children be like me, so even if this trick is rubbish I still have to try. Just wish that our children will be like you."

She leaned down to kiss him gently on the cheek and turned to go, but a hand already reached out swiftly and pulled her into his arms. Then he grinned at her.

"You tricked me, you pretended to sleep, let me go!" she blushed and struggled, but he didn't let her go so easily, and just held on tighter.

"You think I'd let you go?" he asked with an evil smile.

"You're bullying me again, I won't talk to you anymore," she pouted, glaring at him.

"I'm bullying you or are you seducing me?" he asked.

She tried to push him away. "When did I seduce you?"

"So who came in in the middle of the night, stroking my face and kissing me?" he whispered, pulling her into his arms.

If it was lighter, he'd see that her face was bright red. Her embarrassment turned into anger and she started hitting him.

"Hateful, hateful, you pretended to sleep to trick me."

He laughed and let her hit him, then he held her tight and started to sweet-talk her. "I'm sorry, I'm wrong, I shouldn't pretend to sleep, shouldn't tease you, it's my fault. But if I wasn't pretending to sleep, I wouldn't know that you have so many things on your mind. Why didn't you tell me? It's my fault, I haven't been good to you, I haven't gotten rid of your insecurity and yet my family is still making so many demands on you."

His voice was warm and soft, each word sinking in her heart, making her heart melt.

"It's not you, it's me, I'm stupid…"

She couldn't say anything more than this because his fingers have pressed against her lips. "Silly, who said so? Our child will have to be as cute and lovable as you, and have to be as generous and kind as you. Xiao Yan Zi, no matter what anyone say, to me, you are the brightest light, no one can compare to you."

"I'm just afraid our child won't be able to learn anything like me."

"We'll teach him together, so you'll have to take effort to learn, so you can teach him later, all right?"

His gentle gaze was as bright as two stars in the night, how could she refuse? So she nodded. He smiled and swept her hair away from her face.

"So the deed is done, I've set your feelings at ease, can we get rid of our little embargo? Do you have any rewards for me?"

He leaned down to kiss her, but she pushed him away with both her hands. She was smiling, however.

"You pretended to sleep and still want a reward?"

"Who said I was pretending? The truth is, without you, I couldn't sleep…"

His words threw her heart into chaos and her mind was tossed up in the air. She wasn't aware but only heard herself saying, "Me too."

She only remembered that after that, his lips descended on hers, heated and passionate…

"Wait, it's the wrong day."

"I'll take responsibility."

"What if…"

"I'll take responsibility."

"Zi Wei will scold me."

"I'll take responsibility."

"This is the study."

"Who cares?"

"I'm sleepy."

"If you're going to be torturing me like this on a regular basis then can't we just get all the children we need to have over with? I'll sing you to sleep, later, all right?"

She was only stunned for about two seconds.

"You're evil."

"Only to you."

She couldn't remember anymore, only because there were no words anymore. Her husband had grown tired of her rambling and had decided to shut her up.

When she woke up, the sun was high in the sky. She reached over to an emptiness, which meant that Yong Qi had left for the early court audience. She looked at the two blankets wrapped carefully around her, in her heart rose an intense pleasure of being loved. There was a note on the table from Yong Qi.

Xiao Yan Zi, I have to leave early but will return to have lunch with you. Be good, if you need anything, call for Ming Yue and the others. Don't climb on anything higher than your head. All night sleeping on the cold floor, I've asked Ming Yue to prepare a pot of ginger tea for you, you must drink it all. I'll check when I get back.

She burst out laughing and shaking her head. Obviously Yong Qi was ready to be a parent and was already practicing on her. These four years even Xiao Jian had to praise him for keeping her plump and white (as if she was a pig); she never got so much as a headcold ever since she married him.

She snuck out the door, keeping her steps light, looking here and there, clutching the blankets and pillows in her arms. She'd probably want to sink into the grounds if the servants caught her like this.

She only took three steps before Ming Yue's voice rang out.

"Ge Ge, you've woke, let me bring you water to wash your face. Why are you bringing those back…" She trailed off and seemed to understand, because she turned away, giggling and headed towards the kitchen.

"Humiliating, how very humiliating! Hateful, hateful Yong Qi, it's all your fault. If Zi Wei know, I can only bash my head on the pillow and kill myself…"

Silently cursing to herself, suddenly Xiao Yan Zi spied a shadow near her. It couldn't be that unlucky, surely? Talk of Cao Cao and Cao Cao arrives…Yes, it was definitely the one and only Ming Zhu Ge Ge. The look on her sister-in-law's face this time was impossible to describe in a few words. It could only be described as her eyes were round and her mouth slack, looking utterly betrayed because her disciple had obviously not heed a word of the master.

"Zi Wei, you've arrived," Xiao Yan Zi said, smiling awkwardly.

Zi Wei didn't need any of the pitiful look Xiao Yan Zi was sending her but she just snapped, "What have I told you? Why couldn't you bear it for just one night?"

"I did lock him in the study," Xiao Yan Zi whined.

"Then you snuck out later," Zi Wei sighed.

"Don't say that, Zi Wei. It's not what you think…It's just…I was just…he tricked me!"

Zi Wei stared. "What?"

"He…he seduced me."

It was Zi Wei's turn to feel like bashing her head against the pillow to kill herself. Since when did her brother turn from a perfect gentleman into a wolf, and since when did her sworn sister turn from an infamous tricker in the capital to this silly, stupid little piglet?

Three months later, Hu Tai yi confirmed that Wu Fu Jin was indeed with child, the whole palace rejoiced, possibly even more than she. Wu Ah Ge was grinning non-stop and yet she was pelting him with punches

"It's all your fault, you were bad, now all my plans went down the drain, it's not fair."

"Don't, don't," he grinned, grabbing her hands. "You don't want our child to lose his father before he's even born, do you? All right, I'll make it up to you, whatever you want, I'll give you, all right?" Then he leaned in close to her.

As if sensing danger, she pulled away.

"No, not all right."

"It won't be good for the child to see his parents being so cool with each other, he'll feel guilty forever, it's not good."

"Zi Wei was right, you've become a wolf and I'm a stupid little piglet!"

"Then let the wolf love the piglet a little more!"