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if we lay a strong enough foundation

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The reality of KO moving in with him hasn’t really sank in with Hao Mei yet.

Granted, it literally just happened half an hour ago, over one of the best dinners of his life, but still.

When he’d asked if anyone wanted to move in together with him, Hao Mei had mostly meant it in jest. He didn’t think that anyone would take him up on it; most of his friends already had leases on apartments that they wouldn’t be able to get out of so easily.

Most of them, he now realises, except KO.

Hao Mei lets his lips curve up in a self-satisfied smile.

Even if he hadn’t intended for it to happen, he can’t deny that he’s pleased with how things have turned out.

He’s now gotten himself a clean house, well-stocked kitchen, the promise of as many home-cooked meals he can possibly eat, and best of all, he gets to keep KO all to himself.

They ride in to work together the next morning.

KO doesn’t fight Hao Mei when he insists on driving, doesn’t try to turn the radio channel to something that’s not so obnoxiously pop, doesn’t even bat an eye when Hao Mei loops his arm through KO’s when they both get off the car and make for the office.

Hao Mei’s grin has reached shit-eating levels by the time the elevator doors open to let them off at their floor.

Ban Shan does a double take when he sees them. “What is this?” he cries. “What is going on here?” He rushes to KO’s side and frees him from Hao Mei’s grasp. “Did he finally take advantage of you?” he stage-whispers to KO.

KO looks at him, face blank, and shakes his head.

Ban Shan’s eyes narrow. “Did you finally take advantage of him?” he asks KO.

Hao Mei snorts, and is about to tell Ban Shan to knock it off, when KO nods, and says, “Mmm.”

Ban Shan screeches as KO walks away, heading straight for Xiao Nai’s office.

“Don’t worry,” Ban Shan tells Hao Mei seriously, giving him a manly pat on the shoulder. “Ge will make sure he takes responsibility for what he’s done to you.” He pauses, and then, as though he’s just understanding the situation for the first time, “Wait. Does that mean that I can’t move into your apartment rent-free anymore? I just managed to convince everyone to let me have dibs on it!”

“Convince?” Yong Hou calls out from his desk. “Bribe, more like. Looks like KO definitely is smarter than you are, choosing to bribe Mei-Ge instead of everyone else.”

Hao Mei just keeps grinning even through the commotion that KO leaves in his wake.

All in all, KO is a very good flatmate to have. He bears with a lot of Hao Mei’s lesser qualities, and doesn’t complain! About anything at all!

Hao Mei decides to test how far he can stretch his boundaries one night. He tells himself as he makes his way to KO’s room that it’s only logical to see where KO’s limits are so that Hao Mei knows what not to do to keep KO and his magnificent culinary skills here forever.

“KO, I can’t sleep,” Hao Mei says, pushing pass KO when KO opens the door for him, flopping onto KO’s bed.

KO just turns and stares at him.

Hao Mei sighs, and pulls up his most pitiful expression. “You know how I was living in the dorms for so many years? It’s too quiet in my room now, and I can’t get comfortable.” He pouts at KO a little. “We’ve got so much work to do at the office tomorrow! I’ve got to be in my best form or you know Lao San will just be very upset at me.”

KO arches an eyebrow at him.

“I know, I know,” Hao Mei says. “You’re wondering how I’ve been falling asleep the previous nights.”

KO nods.

Hmm. Hao Mei hasn’t thought that far. He honestly hadn’t expected KO to put up any form of resistance.

“I’ve been…” Aha! “Drinking,” he declares cheerily. “Drinking a lot. So much that it must be very unhealthy. I could keep doing that if you want me to, I suppose. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a couple of years off my life if I keep having to drink myself unconscious just to get a good night’s sleep.”

“Mmm,” KO says. “What do you want me to do?”

Hao Mei perks up. “Can I sleep here tonight?” he asks, shifting to one side of the bed, leaving the right side clear for KO. “You can keep the lights on, and keep doing what you’re doing on your laptop. I don’t mind the typing. Type as loud as you need, it doesn’t bother me!”

“Mmm,” KO agrees, and settles down next to him, back against the headboard, going back to hacking into whichever high security website he does as a warm up for…whatever it is he’s doing.

Hao Mei doesn’t really want to know.

What Hao Mei wants is…

He stifles a laugh, and decides to go for it.

KO stiffens and stops typing when Hao Mei flips over and wraps himself around KO’s outstretched legs, pressing his face against KO’s thigh. Hao Mei holds his breath for a second, two, waiting for KO to shove him away, telling himself that he’s just trying out KO’s limits, that he’s going to roll away from KO in just another few seconds, but the moment passes and KO relaxes.

The typing starts up again, and Hao Mei lets himself be lulled to sleep by the sound, smiling slightly to himself.

He wakes up in his own room.

“Did I dream that up?” he murmurs to himself, before noticing that he’s bundled up in KO’s blanket. “Huh.”

KO is already serving up breakfast by the time Hao Mei is done washing up and dressing for work.

“How did I get back to my room last night?” Hao Mei asks.

“I carried you,” KO says easily, and dumps a generous portion of chive pancakes onto Hao Mei’s plate. “Did you wash your hand?”

“Yes, I did,” Hao Mei huffs. “No-one believes me when I tell them that you’re so naggy.” And then, “Why did you carry me back to my room? I thought you said I could sleep in your room for the night?”

KO shrugs. “Your bed was more comfortable.”

Oh. “And…where did you sleep last night?”

“In my room,” KO says, and the ’obviously’ is evident from his tone even if he’s too nice to say it. “I didn’t think my presence mattered. You were already asleep.”

Hao Mei frowns. “Do you find your bed uncomfortable?” he demands. “Why didn’t you say anything? We’ll go get you a new bed today!”

“It doesn’t matter,” KO says.

“But-”

KO shrugs. “I don’t sleep much anyway.”

“Then…” A stray idea comes to Hao Mei, and he’s already beaming before the train of thought completes itself. “You should come share my bed with me!” he declares. “I’m used to sleeping on a single bed anyway, and suddenly having such a big bed to myself is really weird. You said my bed was more comfortable anyway, right?”

KO is frowning when Hao Mei ends his spiel, but Hao Mei will not have that.

“You said it yourself that you don’t sleep much, so you don’t have to worry about bothering me,” he tells KO. “Unless… You don’t like being around me?”

“No.”

Hao Mei smiles. “Then there’s no problem?”

“Mmm,” KO agrees, and then goes straight back to eating.

Hao Mei is such a genius. Definitely comparable to Lao San in the love department, if not better, considering how even the great Xiao Nai doesn’t have unimpeded access to Wei Wei 24/7.

Unlike him and KO.

He goes to work with KO, goes home with KO, and now he gets to sleep with KO.

They really need to give him an award for being so brilliant.

KO is normally up and out of bed by the time Hao Mei is awake. The man doesn’t seem to need much sleep; he goes to bed so much later (although Hao Mei is making it a point to make KO fiddle around with programs on his laptop in bed instead of in the other room), and wakes up way too early to start making breakfast.

It takes him almost two weeks of sleeping in the same bed with KO for him to finally get to wake up before KO does.

For a long moment, Hao Mei does nothing except to just stare at KO.

His lips are parted slightly, his breath comes out evenly, KO looks so soft and gentle in his sleep, and Hao Mei is so suddenly hit with an urge to…steal a kiss.

He feels his cheeks heat, and knows that he must be blushing furiously.

It’s not the first time he’s had this thought, not even close, but it is the first time he’s had the chance to act on it. He could just lean in, could just ghost his lips over KO’s, it could be over in a second, KO would never have to know, and maybe then Hao Mei would find it easier to function like a normal human being around KO.

Exactly.

Maybe…he just needs to kiss KO to keep his crush on KO in control?

No.

He squeezes his eyes shut, and wills himself not to look at KO. Maybe if he stops looking at KO, he’ll stop thinking about kissing KO, then he won’t try to kiss KO in his sleep like the creep that he apparently is, and ruin one of the best relationship in his life all because he can’t keep his urges in check.

Yes. He’ll just…keep being happy with what he has right now.

What does it matter if KO likes him, or if KO is only in this for the free rent? Hao Mei will have KO to himself, that’s enough for him for now.

“What are you doing?” KO murmurs, voice scratchy with sleep, drawing Hao Mei out of his reverie.

He blinks his eyes open only to see KO staring at him intensely.

“What?” Hao Mei breathes. “I was just…” He swallows. “I just wanted to…”

He doesn’t finish his sentence, can’t find the words to when KO is looking at him like that. KO’s arm is still looped around Hao Mei’s waist, and Hao Mei is acutely aware of how KO hasn’t let go yet.

Do they wake up like that every morning? Is this something that Hao Mei has been missing out on because he can never wake up early enough to match KO?

“You just wanted to?” KO prompts.

“What?” Hao Mei says, distracted again, this time by the twinkle of gentle amusement in KO’s eyes, and by what looks like the beginnings of a smile on the corner of KO’s lips.

“You just wanted to?” KO says again. “To what, Hao Mei? To…kiss me?”

Hao Mei’s eyes go wide. “What?” He forces out a laugh. “Why would I- What makes you say that?”

KO’s lips curve up. “So you’re saying you don’t want to?” he asks.

“I…” Hao Mei doesn’t really know what is happening right now. Maybe, with some luck, this will all turn out to be a dream?

“I want to,” KO says. “Let you kiss me, I mean. If you want to?”

Hao Mei blinks. And then, “Are you teasing me? You’re staying in my house! For free!”

KO’s tightens his grip on Hao Mei’s waist. “I’m warming your bed,” he says, too smoothly, Hao Mei’s never even known him to say so many words at one time, much less be capable of so much sass, “also for free. I think that cancels the rent out, doesn’t it?”

Hao Mei splutters, and then pushes KO away from him. “You… You!”

“That’s a no to the kissing, then?” KO says, and then moves to slide out of bed. “I’ll just go start making breakfast.”

Hao Mei seriously considers his options — he can either keep his dignity, or have his man.

It’s really not too hard of a choice.