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Seas of Misunderstanding

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"Are you coming with me tomorrow?" Zhao Yunlan asks casually, as he dips his hand into the bag of snacks that Da Qing had left right there. The cat doesn't even stir, and Zhao Yunlan grins slightly. He'd prefer a lollipop, but that would mean moving and he's good where he is.

He doesn't bother to look up from his phone as he reads the message from Wang Zheng and tries to decide if it warrants an answer or if it's something he can deal with tomorrow. Shen Wei's days usually start later on Wednesdays, unless he's agreed to meet one of his students. Or he has something else university related to attend to.

Or sometimes Shen Wei will spend that time on his own research, which Zhao Yunlan knows he does, but that's also pretty much the extent of his knowledge regarding that subject. It's not like Shen Wei isn't happy to talk about it, it's just that Zhao Yunlan is pretty much lost two sentences into any explanation Shen Wei offers. Still, it makes Shen Wei all happy and excited so Zhao Yunlan likes listening anyway.

But the point is, just because Shen Wei isn't teaching a class doesn't mean he's necessarily free to spend the time with Zhao Yunlan.

Shen Wei doesn't answer him for a moment and Zhao Yunlan glances up from his phone, just as Shen Wei says, "No, I need to visit Dixing." There's a hint of an apology in his tone, like he's reluctant to say no to Zhao Yunlan, which never fails to warm Zhao Yunlan's heart.

"Ah, okay," he says and looks back down before— His brain suddenly catches up to what Shen Wei actually said. His head jerks back up and he stares at Shen Wei. After a moment of staring, Shen Wei looks away from the journal he's reading like he can feel Zhao Yunlan's eyes on him. He looks faintly bewildered as he looks back at Zhao Yunlan.

"Why do you need to go to Dixing? You're a dragon!" Zhao Yunlan exclaims. He's not exactly sure how that's related, but… Dixing doesn't seem like a place for a dragon. Not that Zhao Yunlan has ever visited, so how would he know dragons don't live in Dixing. Except Shen Wei had said there aren't any other dragons anymore, so there can't be any in Dixing either. Unless Shen Wei had just been talking about Haixing, and the fact that there are no other dragons in Haixing.

Maybe that's why Chu Shuzhi is so respectful towards Shen Wei, maybe there's a whole dragon community down there that Zhao Yunlan has never heard of.

"Because I'm Dixingren," Shen Wei says very slowly. He looks at Zhao Yunlan like… like he's not entirely sure what's going on here. Well, there's two of them then!

"You are?" Zhao Yunlan asks, somewhat flabbergasted. He blinks and tries to poke at his brain to get it going again, it seems to be stuck on Shen Wei's last words. "You're Dixingren," Zhao Yunlan repeats slowly, like that will make it make sense.

"Wait… you actually don't know?" Da Qing suddenly pipes up. The cat had been sleeping, wedged between them on the couch. Or at least Zhao Yunlan had thought he was sleeping.

Now, Da Qing squirms slightly, righting himself and then pressing his paws against Zhao Yunlan's thigh as he lifts himself up to peer quizzically at his face.

Zhao Yunlan looks at the cat, feeling like he's definitely still missing something. "What?" he demands and it comes out sounding a bit more snappish than he might have meant it to, but he might be feeling just a bit stupid at the moment and it doesn't leave him at his best.

"That he's Heipaoshi!" Da Qing says and Zhao Yunlan's mind kind of blanks out. There's just static for a moment. "Oh god, I've raised an idiot," Da Qing moans, flopping down against Zhao Yunlan's thigh dramatically.

"Zhao Yunlan?" Shen Wei asks carefully and now there's a worried little dragon hovering in front of him. Zhao Yunlan hadn't even noticed him changing. Shen Wei's eyes are huge and Zhao Yunlan thinks there might be tears glittering in them and he doesn't even know if dragons can cry. "I thought you knew," Shen Wei says in a small voice.

"No, I…" Zhao Yunlan says, his brain struggling to catch up with things. Shen Wei's whole body sort of droops, while he still hovers there in mid-air. Zhao Yunlan's heart lurches and he holds out a hand, his fingers brushing lightly against Shen Wei's cheek. "Xiao Wei," he whispers.

With a small, wordless chirp, Shen Wei quickly wraps himself around Zhao Yunlan's arm, his head ending up flat against Zhao Yunlan's palm.

"I'm sorry." Shen Wei's voice is still so very small it makes Zhao Yunlan's heart ache.

"Oh, Shen Wei, it's not… I don't… I'm not angry at you," Zhao Yunlan somehow manages to get out, dragging his brain into gear so he can reassure Shen Wei.

"How could you not know, Lao Zhao?" Da Qing asks, in a tone that says exactly what he thinks of Zhao Yunlan's intelligence at the moment.

"How would I?" Zhao Yunlan asks indignantly. So, sure, some things are starting to make a bit more sense now, but it's not like anyone had even hinted at Shen Wei being the Black Cloaked Envoy before!

Shen Wei makes a very small distressed noise and Zhao Yunlan pets him gently and then scratches the top of his head.

"Heipaoshi is a dragon! It's not like there are any other dragons around," Da Qing says disparagingly.

"Well, how would I know that about Heipaoshi?" Zhao Yunlan asks, patting Shen Wei reassuringly. He's very sure no one's ever said one word about the Black Cloaked Envoy being a dragon.

That shuts Da Qing up for a moment. He opens his mouth to say something and then seems to change his mind. His tail swishes once in annoyance.

"How do you know anyway, damn cat?" Zhao Yunlan asks, genuinely curious. Da Qing's tail swishes a few times and he makes a small dissatisfied noise, his claws pressing lightly against Zhao Yunlan's thigh for a moment before retracting.

"Ah," Zhao Yunlan says in quiet realisation. Da Qing probably doesn't remember how he knows and Zhao Yunlan is probably not going to get anything more out of him right now. Da Qing doesn't particularly like running headfirst into his memory issues.

"Everyone in Dixing knows," Shen Wei says quietly, his tail coiling tighter around Zhao Yunlan's arm.

Zhao Yunlan hums quietly petting Shen Wei until he relaxes a little. No Dixingren Zhao Yunlan has ever met has so much as hinted at anything like that, not that Zhao Yunlan spent time chatting with them, he supposes. Except Chu Shuzhi maybe and he never volunteers information at all, if he can avoid it. But it kind of makes sense that Shen Wei would assume Zhao Yunlan knows too if it really is common knowledge in Dixing.

Zhao Yunlan strokes Shen Wei's back quietly. And then reaches out to pat Da Qing a few times too. He might need a moment or two to wrap his head around this information. At least it'll make working with the Black Cloaked Envoy a lot easier.

"Huh, so I'm fucking a dragon and Heipaoshi," Zhao Yunlan says a few moments later, smirking slightly.

Shen Wei squeaks in protest, apparently, that statement was too audacious for words. Zhao Yunlan smiles as Shen Wei lifts his head to glare at him, and then takes the opportunity to scratch Shen Wei under his chin.