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It is 10 PM, and Yunlan’s eyes are burning from the glare of his laptop screen. His neck aches from being hunched over it for so long, and his belly’s  discontented rumble reminds him he hasn’t eaten anything since the steamed bun Zhu Hong had gotten the department for breakfast. He pays attention to none of those, however, far too riveted to the image on-screen.

Precisely, the image of Professor Shen.

His new neighbour had come home late from the university. Yunlan had been playing a game on his phone while waiting for him to arrive, Da Qing having slinked off gods-knew-where. When he heard the steady, measured footsteps and the sound of the door opening, he’d tossed his phone aside and jammed his headphones on.

That had been two and a half hours ago. Yunlan hasn’t gotten up once in all that time.

(The fact that this is the fifth night in a row that he’s done this should probably be taken into account.)

Shen Wei, Yunlan notes absently, keeps a fairly regular schedule. He comes in from the office at 8PM or 8:30, then sets his briefcase on his workdesk and goes about making dinner. The professor always cooks for himself alone. Usually he makes enough to last him two days. He cooks for fifteen minutes and eats for another twenty, then he brews a pot of tea and takes it with him to his office.

(He’s a lonely figure, seated by himself in his small dining room. Yunlan wonders why he doesn’t have anyone to share his life with, wishing he doesn’t feel that stab of sympathy whenever he sees him eating alone.)

Shen Wei usually works until the pot of tea is finished, anywhere between forty-five minutes to an hour. Admin work from the university, Yunlan guesses as Shen Wei pores over documents he’d taken out of his briefcase, a frown of concentration wrinkling his smooth forehead. (Yunlan notes with some bemusement that Shen Wei uses a brush of all things to write with.) Then when he’s done, he packs all his documents in his briefcase and takes the tea set to the kitchen. He washes the pot and cup, puts them in the dishrack.

Afterwards. Well. Afterwards….

Yunlan’s breath quickens, and he leans closer to the screen. Anticipation making his toes curl, guilt and a hefty amount of shame and self-disgust burning low in his belly as he bites his lip, hips shifting restlessly in his office chair. Shen Wei, unknowing, removes his glasses.

He always takes his glasses off first. Yunlan has watched him enough times to note, taking in the soft sweep of his dark lashes, the pale slope of his cheeks. Shen Wei sighs, giving his forehead a light massage. He’s wearing his sweater vest today, and Shen Wei tugs it over his head. With the other hand he loosens his tie, tugging it off and hanging it over his arm, making sure it doesn’t get creased.  A small soft exhale escapes Yunlan’s mouth as Shen Wei’s milky-white throat is exposed. Shen Wei folds the sweater vest carefully before heading for his room. And Yunlan hesitates only for a moment before he’s pressing ‘zoom’.

 (The first time Yunlan had seen this – completely by accident, he hadn’t known Lin Jing’s camera would offer that wide a sweep of the apartment - he’d slammed his laptop shut, breathing hard, resolutely ignoring how his cock was twitching in his pants. When he dared switch his laptop on again, Shen Wei was already dressed in pajamas, switching off his bedside lamp before he went to bed.)

Shen Wei places his sweater vest in the hamper beside his bed. His tie he puts in the tierack beside his dresser. His glasses he puts on the night table, within reaching distance. Then his long, elegant fingers start unbuttoning his shirt.

(The second night, Yunlan’s had moved to shut his laptop lid closed, but to his horror his hand had frozen, seemingly of its own accord. Unable to move, like he’d been bound by Dixing’s dark energy, and he’d frantically told himself that that this is wrong, that Lin Jing wouldn’t want his tech misused in this way, that this is sheer abuse of the power of his office, what he promised to never do, that this is a unforgivable betrayal of someone he was beginning to think of as a close friend, possibly the best friend he ever had. Then all coherent thought fled his mind as Shen Wei began to strip.

The laptop stayed open for the rest of the night.)

The more of Shen Wei’s pale chest is exposed, the harder Yunlan gets. Yunlan ignores the discomfort in his pants, so close to the laptop screen the tip of his nose is almost touching it. A memory of a childhood sweet fills Yunlan’s mind as Shen Wei turns away from the camera so that only his back is visible. The image of a silver and blue wrapper around a milky piece of candy, as Shen Wei tugs his shirt all the way off.

Shen Wei’s bare back is lithe, lightly muscled. Slender, Shen Wei thinks, his mouth gone dry, his fingers shaking as he unwraps a lollipop and shoves it in his own mouth, just so the sweet milky flavour of the candy can silence the guilt, mingled with the deep animal craving in his gut. His impeccable suits disguise the strength of his arms, but Yunlan had already felt that, when Shen Wei had dragged him back from the brink of death. He’s pale, pale everywhere. Perfect and porcelain and Yunlan scrabbles for his belt buckle as Shen Wei folds his shirt, then unzips his own slacks. Letting them fall to the floor along with his underwear.

Yunlan’s breathing is harsh as he unbuttons his jeans. Already half-hard, underwear damp with precome as he unzips, pushes his pants down. Gasping when he springs free, balls drawn up tight, and Yunlan takes himself in one shaking hand as Shen Wei leans down, busies himself with fixing his clothes. His perfect, perfect ass in full view of the cameras as he shakes the creases out of his pants, folds them too. Places them in the hamper.

(This is when reality ends and fantasy begins, because Shen Wei, after putting his clothes in the hamper, usually goes to the bathroom, closing the door behind him. Yunlan would stroke himself to completion to the sound of the shower running, painfully aware of Shen Wei’s nude body, just out of reach across a short corridor and two wooden doors. Yunlan would pump himself to hardness, and as soon as the shower stops running and Shen Wei comes out, vigorously rubbing himself dry with a towel, Yunlan would splatter all over his chest and belly as he catches sight of Shen Wei’s cock hanging between his legs, the ivory skin of his thighs in stark contrast to his inky-black pubes.

And then Shen Wei would hang his towel in the peg by the bathroom door, then head for his closet to take out his pajamas. He would put them on while Yunlan lazed, softened cock still in his fist, and he would only move when Shen Wei pulls the blanket over his shoulders and closes his eyes.)

Today is different, though. Today Shen Wei takes something out of his pocket. Holding it for a long moment before placing his pants in the hamper. Yunlan frowns, eyes almost crossing as he strains to see. When he realizes what it is, the heat rushing down his body and into his cock has him completely hard even before he starts pumping.

 A lollipop. Shen Wei is holding a lollipop. The same flavour lollipop, Yunlan thinks dazedly, as the one in his own mouth.

Shen Wei looks at it for a long moment. Holds it like it’s something of reverence. His face is turned half-away, so Yunlan can’t quite see his expression. But then his fingers tighten around it like he’s made a decision. The lollipop falls out of Yunlan’s mouth as Shen Wei unwraps his, puts it in his mouth.

One kitten-lick. Then another. Shen Wei’s lips are pink, the color of rosebuds, and so is his tongue. His lips part in an “O” as he rolls the sweet on his tongue, and Yunlan curses, his hips thrusting up almost of their own accord. His hand, warm and sticky with lube, gliding against his length as he starts to fuck himself into his fist.

Shen Wei’s eyes are half-lidded. His cheeks are dusted with pink. Through the mirror, Yunlan notes with stuttering breaths that Shen Wei’s chest is heaving. And like the idiot he is, he wonders why, until Shen Wei turns and Yunlan’s treated to the sight of Shen Wei’s erect cock.

Yunlan curses, biting his lip so hard he almost breaks it. Shen Wei is still rolling the lollipop in his mouth with one hand, the other he’s palming himself. And it must be uncomfortable because he’s dry but you wouldn’t know it from the look on Shen Wei’s face. That look of pure ecstasy as plays with himself, fingers stroking lightly up and down, squeezing his balls. Yunlan gasping and he barely notices himself timing his own thrusts to Shen Wei’s strokes. Imagining it’s those clever fingers on his cock.

Shen Wei stops, and Yunlan whines, his pace stuttering. Yunlan’s eyes are dilated, so black that a thrill races up Yunlan’s spine. For a brief moment he thinks of the Black Cloak Envoy for some reason, and then all thought is knocked out of his brain as Shen Wei lays himself out on the bed, hand swiping for something on the nightstand.

A bottle of lotion.

Shen Wei is a stickler for neatness, but he squeezes the lotion onto his fingers, the liquid dribbling onto his sheets with abandon just like the precome smeared against his belly. He strokes his cock once, twice, then sighs. Yunlan really does bite through his lip this time when Shen Wei spreads his legs, tilts his hips up. Reaches down for his pink hole.

The camera angle shows Yunlan in excruciating detail how Shen Wei plunges into himself, slowly sinking in one finger two knuckles deep, then adding another. Pulling in and out, his lips parted and his eyes closed. The lollipop hangs from Shen Wei’s lips at a comically precarious angle, and Yunlan stifles a near-hysterical laugh at the sight. Painfully aware that his mouth tastes of vanilla cream, and that Shen Wei’s mouth tastes the same way, that Shen Wei is busy fucking himself across the corridor, sighing every time his fingers sink into himself. Naked, his skin tasting of sweat, and his mouth of candy. Yunlan’s breath goes out of him in a low groan, and he redoubles his efforts. Pumping into the slippery circle of his fingers at the same pace as Shen Wei thrusts up into his. And it’s easy, so easy to imagine he’s in there with him, that Yunlan is panting into Shen Wei’s ear instead of over his laptop, that he’s fucking him, sinking into the tight heat of him, their bodies moving together until they forgot where one ended and the other began-

“Zhao Yunlan!” Shen Wei’s cry has Yunlan finally doubling over, coming so hard he almost whites out. He comes to himself in increments, gasping, his skin tingling. Come hot and sticky on his belly, staining his shirt.

Shen Wei comes just moments after, spilling between his trembling fingers. The lollipop falls out of his mouth as he rasps out Yunlan’s name a second time.

Yunlan is literally unable to move for several minutes. Sitting sprawled on his chair while his heart still does its damnedest to race out of his chest. For a dazed moment he wonders if he’d accidentally turned the volume all the way up, the way his ears are ringing with the sound of his own name, torn from Shen Wei’s lips.

 Shen Wei is out like a light. Curled up on his side, arms loosely sprawled in front of him. The lollipop lies on the mattress where it’s fallen. He is, Yunlan notes absently, going to have one hell of a sore throat tomorrow, and a chuckle escapes Yunlan’s lips, rising into a laugh before fading, the longer he stares at Shen Wei’s face, unguarded with sleep. His beautiful face calm, soft, and completely at peace. No trace of the raw longing Yunlan had heard in his cry.

Yunlan’s legs tremble as he sits up. His (clean) hand reaches for the screen. After a few moments, he drops it. Come drying on his skin as he watches Shen Wei sleep.

Daqing returns at 3AM. Yunlan is already decent by then, having wiped down his seat and removed all incriminating evidence. Da Qing eyes his laptop suspiciously as he jumps up on the unoccupied bed.

“Anything interesting happen?” He yawns, switching into his cat form so he can better stretch out. Yunlan grunts.

“Not really.” He answers. Da Qing is already asleep on his pillow. Yunlan carefully makes sure he won’t wake again before flipping back into the camera screen. Then, he leans back against his chair. Watching Shen Wei dream alone, listening to him breathe.

He doesn’t sleep all night.