Warnings/Tags: Dystopian Hellscape, Alpha/Beta/Omega dynamics, Alpha Jacques, Omega Liu Siyuan, Rule 63, Gender Changes, Genderbending, Cisswapping, Soulmates, Soulmate Bonds, Soulmate Marks, Red String of Fate, Dictators, Customs, Immigration, Nature Documentaries, Natural Instincts, Rutting, Petting, Pets, The Sunflower Official, Sunflowers, Sentient Flowers, Talking Flowers, Audrey II, Antifa, The Multiverse Monitor, Newspapers, Magazines, Books and Publishing, Bathrobes, Somnophilia, Dream Sex, Dragons, Dragon Anatomy, Bad Dragon, Dubious Consent, Ejaculation, Teenagers, Child Labour, Coffeeshop AU, Meet-Cute, Idols, Boybands, BTS, My Immortal, The Simarillion, High King Fingon, Latte Art, Secret Codes, Paparazzi, Secret Identity, Identity Reveal, English Names, Name Changes, High School AU, Love Confession, Japanese Culture, Taiko Drum, Senpai/Kouhai, Catgirl, Catgirl Dawn McKenna, First Kiss, Blushing, Shy, Resistance Fighters, Infinity Stones, Infinity Gauntlet, Metatextual Dialogue, ((actual warnings for BL2, 4, 10, 11; the latter two are for the teenage barista/idol and high school AUs))
Notes: UR ALL SO LUCKY I AM WRITING THIS 4 MYSELF AND NOT 4 ANY OF U LOSERS. STOP ASKING ABOUT THE TAGS. I WILL NOT B SPLITTING THINGS INTO SEPARATE FICS. I WILL NOT TAG THINGS JUST BC U WANT THEM >:(( THIS IS FFV NOT COMNOMNOMNOMUNISM!
Chapter Three: Creating Our Perfect Happiness Together
“Welcome to the Bonneverse,” announced the automated voice over the loudspeakers as the ship began to descend into the hangar of what was formerly the Protectors of the Plot Continuum Headquarters but was now the Headquarters of Jieyuan Co. Ltd. “Today’s forecast calls for cloudy skies with a chance of space-time bubbles. All Siyuan-kin are to present themselves to Personnel to be tagged and fitted with their Red Collar of Fate. All hail the Master, the Deathless Lover, First in Our Hearts!”
“Ooh, whatchu readin?” asked a new voice from over Liu Siyuan’s shoulder.
The cultivator jerked away on instinct, before turning around to fix the full brunt of his glare on the intruder. “Lux-qianbei,” he said, stiffly, clutching the tablet to his chest.
“You’re really not going to let me see what you’re reading?” wondered Lux with a pout, slinking onto the couch beside him. Liu Siyuan inched back a little. “Come on, Lulu, I wanna see!”
“Lulu?” echoed Liu Siyuan incredulously. “Is that not a dog’s name?”
“What? I thought you said you were a lonely dog.” Lux nudged him, grinning. She then snatched the tablet away before he had a chance to protest, scrolling down the page. “Ooh! ‘Over to the left is Response Centre 5242, once the RC of our Master the Deathless Lover. It is now a shrine we make our yearly pilgrimages to, to pray for fertility and mind-blowing sex’. Siyuan! I had no idea you read this sort of stuff! I could’ve given you so many recommendations!”
“No, thank you!” exclaimed Liu Siyuan a little too hastily. He took the tablet back and clutched it to his chest. “I merely lost a bet to Bo-qianbei. He said if the story updated, I would have to read the entire thing or else,” his expression wrinkled, “be forced to wear a t-shirt to the next mahjong game that says ‘bawk bawk bitch’ on it.”
Lux laughed at that. “Lulu in a t-shirt is a tempting situation,” she remarked thoughtfully, “but Lulu trying to read badfic about himself is priceless!” She settled down fully onto the couch. “Come on, do your worst.”
Liu Siyuan looked down at the lack of proximity between them, and then at all the space extending to the other armrest of the couch. “Are you not a little too close?”
“Nope!” trilled Lux, now half-squished into his lap as she took the tablet from him and scrolled on.
All Siyuan-kin when they are born are naturally predisposed to look for a Jacques-kin, their soulmate. The majority of Siyuan-kin are grown in vats located in the former Department of Dead Author Electricity Generation (the goo they’re grown in has a double effect of powering Headquarters more efficiently than the constant spinning of JRR Tolkien) and upon decanting, they would immediately be fitted with their Red Collar of Fate which had a red leash that connected them to their destined Jacques-kin.
Other Siyuan-kin were captured feral from other parts of the Bonneverse. These were usually the varietal sorts of Siyuan-kin, who exhibit different traits based on the different space-time bubble settings they were in. Those captured Siyuan-kin were fitted with their Red Collars of Fate upon processing at Jieyuan Co. Ltd. Headquarters.
Life is very nice for the majority of Siyuan-kin, who are treated like pampered pets and given everything they desire by their Jacques-kin masters. Most of the time, all they desire is to be stuffed full of their Jacques-kin’s Love Power until they’re bursting with more Siyuan-and-Jacques-kins —
Lux scoffed. “This Lilith Wydenbrooke is a hack and a plagiarist,” she sniffed. “This worldbuilding was taken directly from the seminal masterpiece ‘Taming Agent Supernumerary’!”
Liu Siyuan stared oddly at her. “Do I even want to know how you can recall that off of the top of your head?” he wondered.
“I told you! I’m a fount of reading recommendations!” Lux grinned from ear to ear. “Basically in that fic, Numey has a collar that glows when he meets his soulmate, Ilraen, and then Ilraen spends the next eighty chapters teaching him how to love through tender, kinky —”
“I would like to not think about Yile-qianbei in such a context, thank you,” interjected Liu Siyuan. Lux pouted at him, but subsided quickly and continued to read.
In another space-time bubble in the Bonneverse, another Jacques Bonnefoy lived a very simple, happy life in his little cottage on the outskirts of town. He had a job at the local Jieyuan Co. Ltd. factory, assessing newly-decanted Siyuan-kin for their abilities to please and breed with their new masters.
Good morning, Mr Bonnefoy! said a passing Sunflower as Jacques was standing out in the morning sun with a mug of coffee and this week’s edition of the Bonneverse Monitor. The cover story was something about an explosion at a Jieyuan Co. Ltd. factory on the planet Shan Shen, potentially rigged by members of a resistance organisation of Siyuan-kin that the Non-Propaganda Communications Division had dubbed ‘Siyuantifa’. Jacques shook his head at the idea that Siyuan-kin would even wish to flee from their pampered lives.
“Good morning, Mr Sunflower!” he replied cheerfully. “You seem to be in a good mood!”
The Master has seen fit to replace my malfunctioning A-Wang unit, said the Sunflower, preening its fronds. The one I have currently is too mouthy, and not even in a fun way.
Liu Siyuan grimaced. “Is that… the Sunflower that runs the Department of Mary Sues?”
Lux shrugged, examining her nails. “Yeah, a lot of people like to pair up the SO with people,” she explained. “I mean, I guess there’s just something about those fronds, you know.”
“I do not know, and would like to continue not knowing,” deadpanned Liu Siyuan.
“Well, personally, I think the SO/human thing is a bit overdone and trite,” said Lux, tapping at the tablet thoughtfully. “I mean, we get it, everyone just wants to copy Jaycacia Thornbyrd! There’s no heart in it! And certainly not enough love for any of the other Flowers…”
Leave it to Lux to see fanfiction involving the Flowers and decide the one major flaw was that everyone went for the Sunflower Official. Liu Siyuan shook his head, not exactly sure what else he expected, before reaching over to scroll down a bit more:
After bidding the Sunflower goodbye, Jacques finished his coffee and the Bonneverse Monitor
during his commute to the Jieyuan Co. Ltd. factory. Here as a citizen of the Bonneverse, he wanted for nothing. Money would only procure him premium upgrades for his Siyuan-kin soulmate, whenever he found his; all of his basic needs were tended to by a bevy of robots (invented by Makes-Things, obviously, who was secretly a Siyuan-kin because he was just that awesome) and plotholes.
At the factory, Jacques was instructed to take off his clothes. He was then given a velvet bathrobe and led to the post-decanting quality check room. A line of Siyuan-kin were lying there, still fast asleep from their vat-induced dreams. They were, of course, completely naked, but also completely slicked up from the vat goo and ready to be tested.
Jacques could feel his inner dragon rising to the occasion. Scales popped up on his face and arms in excitement at seeing the beautiful naked forms of the sleeping Siyuan-kin. “Good morning, beautiful,” he told them, walking over the very first one who was only faintly starting to stir. He could see that this model actually was fitted with breasts and other female parts. “Oh look at you, you’re going to be amazing.”
Jacques leaned in to kiss the sleeping Siyuan-kin, who moaned into the kiss on instinct. This aroused Jacques even more, his double-headed piston of love now standing at full attention. He was very regretful that this Siyuan-kin was not his soulmate, or else her Red Collar of Fate would have glowed. But still, just because she wasn’t his, didn’t mean he wasn’t allowed to sample the goods. It was his job, after all.
Jacques quickly spread the Siyuan-kin’s legs, and —
Lux yawned and scrolled down.
Liu Siyuan blinked at her. “You have no interest in this?” he wondered.
“I’ve read better,” replied Lux, examining her nails idly. “‘Ilraen’s Vacation’ had hotter sex.”
Liu Siyuan spluttered. “How many of these fanfics does Yile-qianbei have?”
“A good amount!” Lux grinned at him. “He’s an Andalite, which makes him pretty exotic! And he used to work with Numey.”
Liu Siyuan nodded. “The, er, Agent Supernumerary that was… tamed? In your previous recommendation?”
“Yup!” Lux nodded happily. “I haven’t seen him around in a while, Numey. I guess he finally snapped and went off on a long-expected vacation! Shame you never got to meet him. You two could’ve helped each other pull the sticks out of your asses.” She winked, clearly implying she would not object to witnessing such a situation.
Liu Siyuan glowered at her. “Compared to you, anyone with a sense of decency or personal boundaries would look as if they had a branch in their backside.”
“Everyone boring, you mean,” retorted Lux.
Liu Siyuan raised an eyebrow. “If I am so boring, you are perfectly welcome to leave me alone.”
“But how can I resist this? Lulu’s so cute when he’s clutching his pearls at boring kinkfic,” tittered Lux, wriggling happily. Liu Siyuan looked up at the rafters in exasperation before shoving the blonde out of his lap.
“Oh, Siyuan, ah, Siyuan,” panted Jacques, his warm dragon breath tickling at the Siyuan-kin’s rosy-cream neck. “I’m so close, sweet little meimei, you feel so good when you take me…”
“Jacques-gege!” squealed the Siyuan-kin in her sleep, her hands clutching wildly at him. Jacques wondered if her dreams were as good as his reality, where he could put each of his love rods into a warm and slippery environment, squeezed in on all sides by her inner muscles. Maybe she was dreaming of two Jacques-kin when it was just him. He wishes he could join her in her dreams and fill her up with his superior Jieyuan Co. Ltd. brand Man-Cream™.
told you,” said Lux smugly. “It’s actually kinda impressive that Lilith’s able to make Jaq-Jaq having a double-headed ding-dong be a completely boring detail.”
Liu Siyuan tilted his head at the tablet in consternation. “Did… did he trademark his —”
“Yup!” Lux shook her head. “Like I said, I’ve read better. Heck, I’ve written better. My comprehensive how-to guide on defloration was better than this!”
“Please tell me that is a gardening guide,” grumbled Liu Siyuan.
“It’s not!” Lux grinned from ear to ear. “I mean, it could be, if you wanted to give some Flowers some love —”
“Xing-qianbei!” exclaimed Liu Siyuan loudly, as the door to the PPC Lounge opened again to admit a distraction in the form of three new people. “Lin-qianbei! Did you require more help in clearing out the…” he sighed, “Chinese food?”
“That’s why we brought backup of our own!” chirped Mandy Singh, waving at him. She then nudged said backup, who appeared to be an elf of a similar build and handsomeness as Naergondir, with a similar light in his eyes. “Huinesoron, say hi to Agent Liu!”
Agent Huinesoron regarded Liu Siyuan with a wary coolness as he put a hand to his chest. “Well met,” he said, a little stiffly. “Agent Huinesoron of DOGA and DAS, at your service.”
“Liu Siyuan of DBS at yours,” replied Liu Siyuan, with a bow of his head. It was difficult to appear dignified with Lux of all people inching back into his personal space.
Agent Huinesoron seemed to have noticed that as well. “We’re not interrupting anything, are we?” he asked, arching an eyebrow.
“Just some badfic!” interjected Lux, turning around to stick her legs across Liu Siyuan’s lap. “Lulu here is the star of it! Sort of. His clones have taken over Headquarters!”
“She is talking about the events in the fic,” appended Liu Siyuan quickly, moving her legs away.
“Ooh, this I gotta see.” Mandy bounded over to the couch, leaning over one armrest to read the tablet over Liu Siyuan’s shoulder. “I am Ryan. I am fifteen,” she read, “I am fifteen and I am the newest barista at Cafe Jenny Obsquo! This is my new job and I am so excited!”
“Mandy,” chided Lin Wei-ting from Agent Huinesoron’s other side. “We still need to move the kung pao chicken and egg drop soup, remember?”
“Wait, this is funny!” Mandy quickly took a seat on the couch next to Lux, gesturing for her colleagues to join them. “Come on, just a little bit of badfic? As a treat?”
“Since when is badfic considered a treat?” wondered Agent Huinesoron, long-suffering.
“Since when it’s funny and clearly not affecting us!” chirped Mandy. “You should consider this bonding time!”
“I have been here longer than you,” pointed out Agent Huinesoron. “I have plenty of close acquaintances that I have bonded with, nay, even friends.”
“We’re not friends?” Mandy gasped in mock affront, before looking over at Lin Wei-ting. “Did you hear that, Wei-ting? We’re not even close acquaintances. Oh, my heart! My poor mortal heart!”
“How will we ever carry on?” agreed Lin Wei-ting with similar levels of pathos.
Agent Huinesoron audibly exhaled and sent a look of commiseration at Liu Siyuan. “These two and Naergondir have spoken of you,” he said. “It almost seems inevitable that our paths would cross. As if certain Narrative Laws have had a hand in our fates.”
“The Narrative Gods do have a certain sense of humour,” agreed Liu Siyuan.
“See, I told you.” Mandy smirked knowingly at Lin Wei-ting. “Let’s stay a little bit. I want to know more about this fifteen-year-old barista.”
In another space-time bubble in the Bonneverse:
I am Ryan. I am fifteen! I am fifteen and I am the newest barista at Cafe Jenny Obsquo! This is my new job and I am so excited!
I have long black hair like undulating midnight waves that reach my mid-back and sparkling dark-brown eyes like rich burnt umber. I am tall, and I am willowy, and I have abs in all the right places.
“You can have abs in other places?” wondered Lin Wei-ting in tones of mild horror. He and Agent Huinesoron had joined Mandy on the couch, where he had taken Mandy’s previous spot on the armrest next to Liu Siyuan.
Agent Huinesoron frowned from the other armrest, well away from both Mandy and Lux. “Who is this… Ryan?”
“Judging by the contents of the past,” Liu Siyuan resignedly glanced at the tablet, “sixty-three chapters, probably some younger variant of me.”
Agent Huinesoron considered him, probably taking in the dark robes and general not-from-the-era-of-Starbucks atmosphere. “I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you’ve never worked as a… ‘barista’, then?”
“I have no idea what a ‘barista’ is,” confirmed Liu Siyuan.
“It’s like the people that work at PPTea,” said Lin Wei-ting quickly. “They make drinks. Mostly coffee drinks, though.”
“Ah.” Liu Siyuan nodded. “I have tea-serving experience, but that may be a given considering where I hail from.”
“Eeh, not always.” Lin Wei-ting shrugged. “I prefer using tea bags, myself.”
Liu Siyuan sent him an abject look of betrayal.
I’m a cultivator, so that means I’m immortal and gorgeous, and I like to wear long flowing robes of blue-green silk embroidered with cranes. A lot of people say I look like High King Fingon (A/N:
If you don’t know who he is get da heck outta here)!
“So, Huinesoron,” said Mandy, turning to the elf, “you’ve probably met Fingon, right?”
“He was cousin to my king,” replied Agent Huinesoron, and, having apparently sussed out the implications in Mandy’s question, added, “I can see a light resemblance, but Agent… Liu? Is not of the Quendi.”
Mandy giggled. “No shit, Sherlock,” she said, “but he is a cultivator.”
Agent Huinesoron looked over at Liu Siyuan. “Yes, the Eldar are fond of growing things, but I fail to see how that makes Agent Liu qualify.”
“He’s not growing things,” protested Mandy. “He’s growing a golden core. From where he gets special powers. And good looks. And immortality.”
“Just because someone is handsome and immortal doesn’t make them an elf,” countered Agent Huinesoron. “Elves are distinct from Men. Men cannot become Elves.”
“The term ‘cultivator’ is a translation,” Lin Wei-ting pointed out. “The original Chinese character is xian, 仙, which is also used to describe elves and fairies.”
“An imprecise umbrella term doesn’t make someone an elf, either,” grumbled Agent Huinesoron.
“Aren’t elves in some continua short little mischief-makers?” Mandy grinned. “So isn’t the term ‘elf’ also imprecise?”
“Well, it doesn’t matter whether or not Lulu counts as an elf,” declared Lux, sprawling herself out on both Liu Siyuan and Mandy’s laps so that she could ogle Agent Huinesoron upside-down. “The point is, he’s a long-haired immortal pretty boy who makes bad decisions. He’d fit right in with you guys.” She winked.
Agent Huinesoron and Liu Siyuan shared matching looks of scepticism, before Liu Siyuan took the tablet from Lux and continued to read:
Today I was gracefully making latte hearts in people’s cups! I was very good at it because I am a cultivator. But even though I was happy to see other people happy with my drinks, I was also very sad. I wanted to know who my soulmate was. For as long as I could remember, and ever since I was born, I had a red collar on my neck. The collar was supposed to glow the moment I met my soulmate.
“One cup of Love Power Latte, please!” said a handsome baritone voice from behind while I was frothing my milk. I turned around, and all of a sudden my neck felt very warm. I gasped, looking into a pair of deep cerulean orbs.
Those were the eyes of my soulmate! I shivered. “Who are you?” I asked.
“Yofennob Seuqcaj,” said my soulmate with a smile. He had hair the colour of burnt honey amber and eyes the colour of a cornflower pond. He smelt of coffee, cocaine, and a whiff of byronic despair.
Lux started to laugh. “Yofennob Seuqcaj? Gee, I wonder who
that is.” She sent Agent Huinesoron an upside-down wink.
The Noldo considered the name for a moment, and then asked (with clear dread in his voice), “Is it… Vorindo?”
Liu Siyuan raised an eyebrow. “You are familiar with Bo-qianbei?”
“Oh stars, no,” said Agent Huinesoron, shaking his head a little too emphatically. “Naergondir is his friend — somehow — so everything I know about him, I have learnt against my will.”
I wrote down my soulmate’s name, and then gasped when I realised the truth. It was a code name, of course! And it stood for… Jacques Bonnefoy!
I was so starstruck! I am biggest fan! He is the lead singer of BTS (Bonnefoy The Star), and everyone in the Bonneverse loved him. His videos on BonneBonne (A/N: like BiliBili lol) are the highest-rated ones ever, because his voice was like liquid sex!
“Jacques!” I gasped, and then quickly put my hands over my Red Collar of Fate, which was still glowing. I was very self-conscious about my collar. It’s my biggest insecurity.
My soulmate put a finger to his lips. “Please don’t tell anyone else. This is just our little secret.” He winked at me. “I have to use a secret codename every time I go out, so the paparazzi won’t notice me. But you’re right, I’m Jacques.”
“Here’s your latte,” I said with shaking hands and a quivering voice. I pushed the cup of latte at him. “I know you probably have a lot of people whose collars light up when they see you, but —”
Jacques shook his head. “No, actually, I know none of them really love me for who I really am, on the inside. I know they adore me but I am so lonely sometimes. The other band members are nice, but I need true love.”
“I just gave you some,” I joked, gesturing towards the latte. He sipped it and smiled.
“Perfect,” he said. “I’ve been watching you for a while, you know. You have the cutest smile and I’m so glad you’re my soulmate. What’s your name?”
“Ryan,” I said shyly. “Ryan Liu.” (A/N: so his English name is Ryan lol! What a twist!)
“Ryan,” said Jacques seriously. “Would you like to go on tour with me?”
“Lilith needs to find her own material,” said Lux, shaking her head. “This is just blatant plagiarism of ‘A Lion’s Pride’.”
“…Is that also a fic starring Yile-qianbei?” asked Liu Siyuan.
“No, actually.” Lux sat back up — or was pushed back up by Mandy — and shifted so that her legs were dangling over the back of the couch. This had the unfortunate side effect of making her skirt fly up, causing Liu Siyuan to politely avert his gaze. “It stars Jaq-Jaq and Zebby! Literally, because Jacques is a Broadway actor in it. And he meets Zeb in a coffee shop.”
Liu Siyuan really needed to leave his RC more. He had only some idea who Zeb was, and that was mostly because Dawn McKenna had mentioned him a couple times before.
“I thought coffee shops were a popular place for fanfiction meet-cutes,” remarked Mandy.
“Sure, they’re practically archetypal at this point,” agreed Lux, “but this particular combination of coffee shop meet-cute plus Jaq-Jaq being a musical star is a little suspect, isn’t it?”
“Says the person who once staged a musical with him involving a cardboard cutout of Dafydd Illian and a boar’s head,” grumbled Agent Huinesoron.
Luxury pouted at him. “It was avant-garde! You wouldn’t understand.”
“And I’m all the better for it,” agreed Agent Huinesoron.
In a different space-time bubble, but at the same time:
Jieke-chan was sitting across the table in the cafeteria at PPC High from his senpai Siyuan-kun.
Liu Siyuan put his head in his hands. Lin Wei-ting gingerly patted his back.
“There, there,” said the scientist. “At least they got the vague geographical region right?”
“The Celestial Empire and Dongying are not the same!” hissed Liu Siyuan.
“The whatsits?” asked Mandy.
“Ancient China and Ancient Japan,” said Lin Wei-ting quickly.
“Oh, yeah.” Mandy shook her head, and then turned and grinned at Agent Huinesoron. “It’s like the Noldor versus the Sindar.”
Agent Huinesoron raised an eyebrow. “So… a band of seven people from Ancient China and their followers immigrate to Ancient Japan and eventually end up causing the downfall of Ancient Japan because of their father’s shiny?”
“Okay, more just ‘two completely different languages that everyone assumes are mutually intelligible because they’re spoken by people of a certain race’,” amended Mandy.
Today was the day he had to ask his senpai to notice him. Siyuan-kun was so elegant it made Jieke-chan’s heart skip a beat. He was so in love and needed to make sure his feelings were returned.
Also with Jieke-chan was his best friend Dawn-chan (A/N: I know it’s bad to have a self-insert so this is my friend instead!). She was a neko girl. She had kawaii nekomimi desu.
The cherry blossoms were falling outside. It was so beautiful and pink. Siyuan-kun should have a Red Collar of Fate, but it wasn’t visible underneath his gakuran. Jieke-chan wondered if he could make Siyuan-kun reveal the collar just to see if it’s him. He had to come up with a plan.
“You can do this!” cheered Dawn-chan. She started to beat a taiko drum. (A/N: I don’t know how they cheer in China but that’s how it is Japan so close enough right?)
Jieke-chan girded his lions. “Siyuan-kun,” he said, approaching the taller senpai, blushing with a letter and homemade chocolates, “please take care of me.”
Siyuan-kun took the letter. It was a hart felt confession. It said:
Will you go to prom? With me???
Siyuan-kun gasped, one tear falling from his eyes onto the letter. He suddenly remembered how the two of them had grown up together. How Jieke-chan was always there for him. His heart swelled in his chest. He dropped the letter and took Jieke-chan’s hand with one of his hands. The other one undid a button on his gakuran and gave it to Jieke-chan.
“EHHHH? YABAI!” screamed Dawn-chan. (A/N: Yabai is just oy vey in Japanese!)
Jieke-chan’s eyes went wide and he blushed. “Siyuan-kun?” he gasped. He blushed.
Siyuan-kun opened the collar of his gakuran to reveal a soft red glow. His Red Collar of Fate was glowing! Jieke-chan couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Senpai’s collar has been glowing ever since we met in elementary school,” said Siyuan-kun, as he pressed the button into Jieke-chan’s hands. “Senpai hopes Jieke-chan will take care of him, too.”
“Jieke-chan love-loves Siyuan-kun!” exclaimed Jieke-chan, and then he leaned up and KISSEDhim (A/N: omg!!) and the cherry blossom petals fell into Siyuan-kun’s long ebony hair. It was so beautiful.
Siyuan-kun blushed when they pulled apart with just a small string of saliva hanging in the air as a sign of their connection. “My heart is on fire, Jieke-chan,” he breathed dramatically. “I need to take a bath and cool down…”
Lux, who had slid off the couch and was now curled up near Liu Siyuan’s shins, poked her chin up onto his lap with a frown.
Liu Siyuan raised the tablet to look down at her. “And which PPC fanfic is Lilith copying now?”
“Well, with the love confession and the friend helping with said love confession,” mused Lux, “I would have to say ‘Should U, Wuld U, Kudzu B Mine?’. Not as clear-cut as the segment ripping off of ‘A Lion’s Pride’, but ‘Should U, Wuld U, Kudzu B Mine?’ is already a Brechtian deconstruction of PPC fanfiction, with all of the classic hallmarks: overpowered original agents, romance involving Flowers, non-diegetic audience apostrophe…”
“You mean in-text author’s notes?” asked Mandy.
Lux’s nose wrinkled. “‘Should U, Wuld U, Kudzu B Mine?’ is a masterpiece,” she declared. “This is just the cheap Chinese knock-off!”
The three agents of Chinese descent in the room raised their eyebrows.
Lux laughed sheepishly. “Whoops, sorry!” She then sent a wide-eyed look over at Agent Huinesoron, who grimaced at her in a ‘better you than me’ sort of way.
“Since the fic mentions factory clones of myself, I guess the comparison was warranted,” muttered Liu Siyuan as he continued to scroll.
“It’s like a trainwreck. A slow-moving trainwreck of awfulness,” said Dawn McKenna as the group examined the video footage of various points in the Bonneverse. There were the cloning and decanting factories where Siyuan-kin were made and prepared to be sent to Jacques-kin and other citizens of the Bonneverse. There were glimpses into preserves modelled after Liuying Valley, where Siyuan-kin of all sorts happily mated with their soulmate Jacques-kin. There was footage of a younger barista!Siyuan-kin blushing at an older idol!Jacques-kin, as well as a young high school student!Jacques-kin blushing at an older student!Siyuan-kin.
“Great. The Multiverse can’t take this much critical instability,” said Lori Starrett. “We’re going to have to do something about this. What do you think, Siyuan?”
The original Liu Siyuan, along with his younger A-Wang and Yuanyuan counterparts, slammed a hand on the table. “First, we have to rescue Sect Leader Liu,” he said. “He’s the one who created Bobby; he’ll know all of Bobby’s weaknesses.”
“Part of the power that Bobby wields is the Key to Bonnefoy,” added A-Wang, pulling up a picture. The Key looked like Jack Harkness’s wrist strap, but there were glowing stones inside. “We have to get that off of him too before we can destroy him.”
“Okay,” said Dawn, “but should we do that first or rescue Sect Leader Liu first?”
“What in the what-the-heck-a-hedron is happening?” Mandy made a face at the tablet. “I thought we were at a high school? Or a coffee shop? Maybe the coffee shop was across the street from the high school?”
“Oh, you missed a lot of the earlier bits!” said Lux, still leaning against Liu Siyuan’s knee. “Basically one of Lulu’s clones made an Urple tentacle monster that possessed Jacques and made him take over the Multiverse.”
“You were not here for that,” Liu Siyuan pointed out. “Did you read the earlier chapters, too?”
“What, like it’s hard?” scoffed Lux, blinking innocently up at him.
Liu Siyuan shook his head. “I cannot think of anyone who would willingly want to read this monstrosity.”
“Aren’t we doing that right now?” wondered Mandy.
“I lost a bet,” said Liu Siyuan. “The rest of you are here of your own volition.”
“And with that reminder, I think maybe it’s time I attempted exiting stage left,” announced Agent Huinesoron, rising to his feet. He looked at his colleagues, then gestured towards a tray of kung pao chicken and a large container of egg drop soup. “Shouldn’t we be getting these back to DAS before they get too cold to salvage?”
Lin Wei-ting sighed, clambering off of the armrest. “Yeah, probably,” he agreed. “Come on, Mandy.”
Mandy scrunched up her nose. “You’ll be okay, right, Siyuan?” she asked. “You know you don’t have to finish, either.”
“No, my honour hangs in the balance,” stated Liu Siyuan with a comically grave expression. “I refuse to let Bo-qianbei win. I do not want to wear a t-shirt to mahjong.”
Lin Wei-ting snorted. “I’m sure you could pull off a t-shirt,” he said.
Liu Siyuan blinked. He was pretty sure the scientist did not actually mean to encourage him to undress; that sounded more like something Lux would do. “I thank you for your faith in me,” he said, “but I would rather keep my clothes as they are.”
“Bo~ring,” teased Lux, finally getting back onto the couch as Mandy vacated it. This time, she sat atop the backrest, perched like a scantily-clad bird. As Agent Huinesoron helped Mandy and Lin Wei-ting carry out the very last trays of Chinese takeout, Lux caught the elf’s eye from across the room and blew a kiss at him.
Agent Huinesoron sent a commiserating look at Liu Siyuan, before he pointedly turned away and headed out of the Lounge.
Lux sighed. “It’s always the prissy ones.”
Liu Siyuan had no idea what to say to that, so he held up the tablet. “Moving on?” he asked.
That cheered her up immediately. “Moving on!” agreed Lux brightly, before nudging his shoulder with her shin. “Lulu’s being so nice to me all of a sudden!”
“I would prefer not to go blind alone,” replied Liu Siyuan, and pulled up the next chapter.