“Okay, I’ve closed the poll now,” Lin Jing declares, “and the viewers have spoken. I now declare that our next video will feature...”
“Not the parkour, not the parkour, not the parkour,” Guo Changcheng mutters under his breath.
“It’s got to be Chu-ge doing ballet,” Zhu Hong says.
“Ditto,” Zhao Yunlan says. “I can’t see why anyone would want to miss that.”
“I’ve already put a threatening message up on Weibo telling everyone not to vote for that, or else,” Chu Shuzhi says dismissively. “It’s going to be the parkour.”
“It’s not,” Lin Jing says, patting Changcheng on his arm assuringly. “It did come very close, though. You were only 0.3% away from winning the poll.”
“Thank you, Buddha,” Changcheng says, slumping back on the couch, tension leaving his body. “I would’ve probably died doing the challenge. Or at least broken a few bones.”
“So what is it?” Chu Shuzhi asks.
“Why are you guys even guessing?” Da Qing asks, rolling his eyes. “After that whole fiasco with Lao Zhao posting that five-second video of himself half-naked in the kitchen, it’s got to be him. The fans are clearly very easy to please.”
“Bingo!” Lin Jing crows, and Yunlan preens.
“Really? Out of all the options, they want to see Zhao Yunlan cooking the most?” Chu asks. “That’s the most boring option.”
“The activity can be boring,” Yunlan says wisely, “if the star of the show isn’t.”
Da Qing dumps his laptop onto Yunlan’s bed rather unceremoniously. “Here,” he says. “Watch this video and learn how to make ramen.”
“I know how to make ramen,” Yunlan says, shooting Da Qing a dirty look. “It’s the thing I can cook the best.”
“You can’t cook anything else,” Da Qing reminds him.
“Which makes ramen the thing I can cook the best,” Yunlan tells him. “That’s my point exactly!”
Da Qing sighs. He honestly feels he’s too old to have to deal with Zhao Yunlan on a daily basis. “Just. Watch the video,” he says. “You’re not making cup noodles, for fuck’s sake. You’re making ramen. From scratch.”
Yunlan makes a face. “But why?”
“It’s for the video,” Da Qing grits out. “Just do it. No more questions. I’ve already found you the easiest instructional video.”
Yunlan glimpses down at the screen.
“TLGK’s Chef Shen does Ramen” the caption declares. Admittedly, the ramen in the thumbnail on the video looks positively delicious, but Jesus, even making oatmeal is sort of a hit-and-miss thing for Yunlan, how does the crew think he can manage making ramen from scratch?
“Can’t we pick something easier?” Yunlan whines.
“Nope,” Da Qing says, popping his ‘p’, and backing out of Yunlan’s room. “Mostly because Zhu Hong says it’s incredibly hard to get a reservation at Chef’s Shen’s restaurant, The Little Ghost King, and she really wants you to succeed in making this ramen so we can at least get something out of making this video. I think Lin Jing also said something about him having been on the waiting list for the restaurant for over two months now, so now I’m curious.”
“I hate all of you,” Yunlan laments, but reaches for the notebook he keeps on his bedside table as Da Qing closes his bedroom door.
If Yunlan is going to learn how to make actual food that requires more effort than just boiling water and putting hot water into stuff, he’s going to have to take all the notes.
“Right,” he says to himself. “How hard can it be?”
He clicks into the video.
He watches all twenty-two minutes and fourteen seconds of the video without fastforwarding. When it comes to an end, he clicks on the replay button without hesitation.
He ends up taking zero notes, and the only thing he manages to learn from the whole exercise is that Chef Shen -Shen Wei- is really fucking beautiful when he smiles.
Have…...you guys ever seen a man so beautiful you started crying?
oh no, not again
Yunlan doesn’t obsess over Shen Wei.
Anyone who says otherwise is lying.
He’s just...found a new appreciation for cooking videos, is all. He goes through all twenty-four videos on Shen Wei’s page, listens to his soothing voice talk through recipes that Yunlan doesn’t comprehend or really give a shit about, and watches his very, very capable hands as they go through the motions of prepping the food.
It’s hypnotising, almost, watching Shen Wei’s videos. Yunlan never really thought he could find so much joy in watching someone cook, but watching that pleased smile of Shen Wei’s unfurl whenever a dish turns out particularly well, watching the embarrassed little laugh Shen Wei lets out and the reddening of the tips of his ears when he fumbled on one of his tosses in that one video that Yunlan must’ve replayed at least twenty times by now, watching Shen Wei wink into the camera when he’s imparting one of his kitchen tips? Yunlan honestly feels blessed by the gods.
So, no. He’s not obsessed with Shen Wei or anything.
He’s just maybe a little bit in love.
“You have a problem,” Lin Jing tells him matter-of-factly.
Yunlan sulks. “It’s not a problem.”
“I’m not here to judge you,” Lin Jing says. “Not that there’s any lack of material to judge you on, because it looks to me that you’ve gone into his video list seventy-two times in the last two days.”
“You said you weren’t here to judge,” Yunlan says snarkily.
“I’m not,” Lin Jing says evenly. “I’m here as the SID’s representative to remind you that we are filming your video tomorrow, and that you absolutely need to know enough to at least go through the motions of making ramen, okay? We have to keep to schedule so we can upload that video on Saturday.”
Yunlan groans. Figuring out how to make ramen is the least of his problems right now.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Lin Jing asks with a sigh.
“He just. So beautiful,” Yunlan sighs. “His voice is so- And his face is so-” He’s absolutely struggling for words. “I honestly feel like if he asked me to die for him, I would.”
“Ugh.” Lin Jing makes a face. “Forget it. I don’t want to listen to this. Just remember to go through the ramen video and actually focus on the ramen instead of Chef Shen!”
Yunlan groans again.
SID Challenge #49 - ZYL vs. Ramen: Who Will Win?
“Okay, so,” Yunlan says into Da Qing’s camera. “Those of you who follow me on other social media platforms know that I am absolutely useless in the kitchen. I can make hot water, and through that one very valuable skill, I can make cup noodles and, uh, sometimes oatmeal. Emphasis on the sometimes, because even that is a gamble sometimes. What else will shock you guys? I can’t make rice without a rice cooker! I’m pretty sure I’m only still alive at this point because of food delivery services.”
The camera pans away from Yunlan’s face and to the kitchen bench, where all the ingredients are laid out.
“So yeah, I’m making ramen today, from scratch,” Yunlan says. “Or well, at least I’ll be trying to. You guys don’t know how big a deal that is for me.” He lets out a self-deprecating laugh. “Again, I haven’t even attempted to rehearse this, so this is going to be the first time ever I’m attempting this recipe.”
“There’s a link down in the description of the video that will take you to Chef Shen’s instructional ramen video, which is what we’ve based this whole cooking episode on. His videos are…” He pauses, and then decides against letting his Thirst™ for Shen Wei show on camera. “Very educational,” he finishes weakly.
Even Da Qing can’t hold the snort that escapes him at Yunlan’s words.
“Anyway, Chef Shen said that he took twenty minutes to finish the recipe, so I’m going to consider this challenge a success if I can finish it in an hour,” Yunlan declares. “Okay, this is Zhao Yunlan from the SID versus Ramen, let’s get the challenge started!”
The video, much to Yunlan’s chagrin and everyone else’s amusement, goes viral.
Not because he’s made a very good ramen, or because his anecdotes in the video were particularly good.
Yunlan almost sets the kitchen on fire.
Within the first four minutes of the video.
“I’m never going to live this down,” Yunlan groans into Changcheng’s shoulder.
Changcheng, bless the kid, says, “I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
“We’re at six million views now,” Lin Jing reports. “Almost catching up to your lollipop video, Chief! You might break your personal record today.”
“Almost forty-five thousand likes,” Zhu Hong adds.
“The gifs they’re making of you screaming as you realised the kitchen towel was on fire are hilarious,” Chu Shuzhi chimes in.
Da Qing nudges Chu Shuzhi. “Have you seen the memes on Weibo?”
He watches Shen Wei’s ramen video again.
This time for research, he swears. He can’t have been that far off what Shen Wei was doing, so how come his attempt was such a disaster?
He makes it to the seven-minute mark before he gets distracted by that bead of sweat travelling down Shen Wei’s neck.
“Goddammit,” he groans, but gives in to the urge to trace the path of that bead of sweat instead of paying attention to Shen Wei talking about the ratio of mirin to soy sauce.
“We’ve got to do another cooking video,” Lin Jing says. “Our stats are off the charts now, thanks to our Chief here.”
Yunlan shoots him a dirty look. “I’m cool with it as long as I don’t have to be the one cooking.”
“You have to, though,” Zhu Hong says. “Everyone wants to know how close you can get to burning the kitchen down without actually burning it down.”
“Did you know they also started a drinking game?” Da Qing asks. “Take one shot if Zhao Yunlan looks like he’s thinking ‘Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing?’, take two if Zhao Yunlan screams.”
“Fuck,” Yunlan curses, thinking about the hella cool bad boy reputation he’s tried to build up on the channel over the past year. “I’m going to have to do it, and do it absolutely right this time so I can clear my name.”
“That’s the spirit!” Lin Jing says.
SID Challenge #50 - ZYL vs. French Toast: Will Our Kitchen Survive?
“I’m honestly beginning to think this kitchen is cursed,” Yunlan grits out, covering the burning pan with a lid, only because Zhu Hong is screaming (while also cackling? God, he hates his friends sometimes) from the other end of the room for him not to douse it in water. “Either that, or Chef Shen’s videos are clearly missing some very crucial steps, for example, what to do when I set my toast on fire? Tsk. Chef Shen, you might want to address that for us really, really amateur cooks.”
He rubs a hand over his face. “I am clearly not very good at this whole cooking thing, am I?” he asks into the camera, laughing. “I think we can safely say that I’ll be better off just sticking to making cup noodles for now. For, y’know, the sake of my physical wellbeing.”
“So, Ye Zun showed me a video the other day,” Shen Wei starts off in his new video.
Today’s video has only been titled PRO-TIP, but not with a dish name, which is quite unusual for Shen Wei. Yunlan’d immediately clicked on the link once he received the notification of Shen Wei’s new video.
“And he figured that since I’ve been effectively ‘called out’, I should address it.” Shen Wei looks into the camera and smiles. “So, Zhao Yunlan from the SID-”
Yunlan sits upright so fast he’s pretty sure he’s pulled a muscle.
“-this is how you put a fire out, even though I have no idea how you could start a grease fire making french toast of all things.”
“Holy fuck,” Yunlan whispers. “Holy fuck.”
He should leave a comment.
He wants to leave a comment.
But it’s almost ninety minutes to the dot now since the cursor’s been blinking on the still empty comment box under Shen Wei’s latest video.
I think I love you, he tries typing, and then immediately deletes the words, cringing hard, because even he can tell how creepy that sounds.
Hahaha thanks dude, he tries again, and also deletes that, because that just sounds insincere. That doesn’t tell Shen Wei that he wants to keep a channel of communication open between them.
He ends up calling Da Qing. “What do I do?”
Da Qing laughs. “I can’t believe you’re resorting to asking me.”
“Well, you have a girlfriend, don’t you?” Yunlan asks.
“Yes, but Chef Shen isn’t your girlfriend,” Da Qing tells him, amusement evident in his voice.
“Yes, I know that,” Yunlan grits out. “But there must’ve been a point in time before Da Ji was your girlfriend, and you liked her but couldn’t say it because technically you still didn’t know each other, but you still had to talk to her, maybe not in person but like over the internet, and hopefully charmingly enough that she would want to keep talking to you, yes?”
“That’s incredibly specific and not at all relatable to my experience with Da Ji,” Da Qing says.
“Da Qing, please.” And there, he’s actually desperate enough to beg Da Qing for relationship advice now, what in the fuck has Shen Wei done to him?
“Don’t freak out and overthink things,” Da Qing says, eventually. “You’re good at being approachable and charming without having to try. Just reply with the first thing that comes to you.”
“That was something along the lines of I love you,” Yunlan admits, honestly reconsidering whether he should just go with that.
“Reply with the first non-creepy thing that comes to you,” Da Qing amends his statement with. “Seriously, it’s not that hard.”
“Okay,” Yunlan murmurs to himself, after Da Qing hangs up. “It’s not that hard, it’s not that hard, it’s not that hard.”
Thanks for the tips, Chef Shen! :) I’d honestly say that I’ll try not to ever be in a position to put those tips to good use in the kitchen, but I know my skills, so I’ll preemptively thank you for saving my kitchen from burning down. ;)
TLGK’s Chef Shen does No-Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake
“We’ve been trying to come up with new dishes for the dessert menu at the restaurant the last couple of days, and while the peanut butter cheesecake got vetoed in the end, I still enjoyed it pretty much, so.” Shen Wei smiles a little. “It should only take about twenty minutes to prep, and the rest of it is just waiting.”
The camera turns to show the ingredients required, and Shen Wei talks through each item and its substitutes the way he usually does.
And then, the camera turns to him again, and that is definitely amusement in his eyes when he says, “There is absolutely no fire-risk in this recipe, so if you’re still looking to successfully complete your cooking challenge, Zhao Yunlan from the SID, this is the recipe you should go for. I’ve made a couple of adjustments to the recipe to make it extra amateur-cook-friendly, just for you.”
SID Challenge #52 - ZYL vs. No-Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake: Can He Start A Fire Anyway?
“Now, our favourite Chef Shen has promised that there is no fire-risk involved in this recipe,” Yunlan says, grinning a little, just because he can’t stop the excitement he feels inside him, “so I’m going to hold him to his word and attempt another cooking video, even though I know I said in that French Toast video that I would be sticking to just making cup noodles for now.”
Yunlan honestly feels like he’s floating.
Just the thought that Shen Wei had refined a recipe just for him to try to make has his heart feeling like it could burst right out of his chest.
He’s always loved making videos, loved completing challenges that their fans and viewers set for the SID, but the idea that he’s essentially making this video in reply to Shen Wei’s, that they’re...talking to each other through these videos, just makes his grin grow even wider.
This has to be his favourite filming session of all time.
He could honestly set the kitchen on fire today, and he wouldn’t care.
Yunlan goes through the motions the way Shen Wei did in his video, and everything actually progresses really well.
“Well, well, well, it looks like I might be able to turn up something edible for the crew today,” Yunlan says into the camera, grinning widely at it before he turns to set the stick of butter in his hand into the microwave.
A minute later, the microwave honest to god starts smoking.
Yunlan stares at the microwave, and then turns to look into the camera. “What do I do now, Chef Shen?”
It’s about three hours after they put that video up when Yunlan gets a friend request from Ye Zun, Shen Wei’s fashion blogger twin brother.
He accepts the request.
Almost immediately after accepting the request, he receives a voice call from Ye Zun.
“How much do you want to fuck my brother?” Ye Zun opens with, when Yunlan picks up, which just makes Yunlan choke on air.
“Shen Wei,” Ye Zun clarifies. “How much do you want to fuck him? And don’t even pretend that you don’t want to, because I’ve seen your videos, and my dude, you really have to tone the thirst down.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Yunlan says defensively. “I don’t have any untoward feelings for Chef Shen. I respect him as a chef and a content creator-”
“If you’re honest with me, I can get you a table at The Little Ghost King tonight,” Ye Zun tells him. “I just think it’s about time he got laid.”
“So much,” Yunlan breathes out. “God, I want him so much.”
Ye Zun cackles into the phone for a good minute. “7:30pm tonight,” he says, when he’s done laughing at Yunlan. “I’ll get you a table for two, so bring someone that can take care of you in case you see my brother in person and swoon like a Victorian maiden or something.”
“I think I love you,” Yunlan tells Ye Zun.
“Save it for Shen Wei,” Ye Zun says. “You’re so not my type.”
He ends up taking Lin Jing with him, because Lin Jing threatened to disclose his search history to the world if he took anyone else.
“Can I video this?” Lin Jing asks, when they’re both seated. “I mean, can you imagine the hits we’ll get if you meet Chef Shen and you get a nosebleed or something?”
“Shut up,” Yunlan hisses. “You’re supposed to be here as my moral support.”
Lin Jing snorts. “Yeah, nah.”
“Hello, Zhao Yunlan,” Ye Zun says from behind Yunlan, startling him. He looks at Lin Jing, and his smile grows. “And friend,” he purrs. “Lin Jing, wasn’t it? That cyber prank challenge you did? Genius.”
“Ha,” Lin Jing says, beaming. “Did you hear that, Zhao Yunlan? Genius. Finally, someone appreciates my skills.”
“Oh, I appreciate more than just your skills,” Ye Zun tells him in a low voice. “The outfit looks good on you. I kind of just want to…eat you up.”
Yunlan chokes on his water. “Can you guys do this literally anywhere else?”
“Is this how you’re supposed to speak to your benefactor?” Ye Zun asks, turning to look at Yunlan. And then he scrunches his nose. “Pop some buttons open on your shirt, for Christ’s sake. How are you going to seduce my brother like this?”
Yunlan looks down at his shirt. “What’s wrong with my shirt?” he asks, suddenly worried. He’d ended up picking something smarter-looking than his usual look, because The Little Ghost King is, after all, a fine-dining restaurant, and Yunlan really wants to leave a good first impression on Shen Wei.
Ye Zun sighs. “Trust me, I’m an expert,” he says, and undoes Yunlan’s buttons for him. “Don’t bother ordering. I’ll go let my brother know that his biggest fan is dining tonight, and have him whip up something special. I’ll also talk him into serving the dishes himself, so make sure you’re prepared to not make a fool out of yourself. And at least try to impress him, won’t you, my Xiao Yunlan?”
“How am I supposed to do that?” Yunlan hisses loudly at Ye Zun’s retreating back.
Yunlan groans. He is clearly so underprepared for this meeting.
“I am so going to have to video this,” Lin Jing says. “I don’t even care if you won’t allow me to post it anywhere. At least the team will be able to see this.”
“Good evening, gentlemen,” Shen Wei says, when he comes by later to serve them their entree. “It’s nice to finally see you in person, Zhao Yunlan.”
Yunlan’s stomach churns from his nerves. “You as well, Chef Shen.”
Shen Wei smiles, and Yunlan wants to die.
If he’d thought that seeing Shen Wei smile in his videos was life-changing, then having the smile directed at him and in person is basically earth-moving.
He knows Ye Zun was joking about him fainting like a Victorian maiden, but he actually does feel a little faint.
“I hope you managed to sort that microwave thing out in the end,” Shen Wei says.
Yunlan makes a face. “We still don’t know why it started smoking, but I swear I did everything I was supposed to,” he tells Shen Wei. “I watched your video almost fifty times. I remember every single detail about it.”
Lin Jing slaps a hand to his own mouth to keep his laughter in, and Yunlan spares half a second to berate himself because why would he say that to Shen Wei.
Shen Wei, bless him, seems rather unperturbed by Yunlan’s awkwardness. “I’ll just have to find you a simpler recipe next time, won’t I?”
Yunlan has already sworn to the crew that he will never do another cooking challenge video again, and they are definitely going to make fun of him if he reneges on that, but fuck, if Shen Wei wants him to, then he’s sure as fuck going to.
Hell, he’ll start a fucking cooking channel just for Shen Wei.
“Actually,” Lin Jing says suddenly, and Shen Wei turns away from Yunlan to look at Lin Jing, “we were wondering if you would agreed to give Yunlan some sort of assistance? Like, maybe a private class? If we’re going to keep up with the cooking videos, I think it’ll just be more reassuring for all of us if we know he’s not going to actually burn the kitchen down.”
Ye Zun appears from out of nowhere, slinging an arm over Shen Wei's shoulders. “That’s a great idea,” he says. “Think of it as community service,” he tells Shen Wei.
Shen Wei stares at Ye Zun, and some form of silent communication happens between them, before he turns back to Lin Jing and Yunlan, and says, “Yeah, I’d be happy to help.”
“Fantastic!” Ye Zun winks at Yunlan. “I’ll text you Shen Wei’s address later tonight. Come by say, this Saturday? Before lunch. No point in wasting a trip to a chef’s home by coming on a full stomach. Shen Wei will make you lunch,” he declares, and then leads Shen Wei back to the kitchen before either of them have a chance to even think about saying no.
“Wow,” Lin Jing says.
Yunlan blinks. “Yeah.”
“If this whole thing works out between you and Shen Wei, you’re going to have to send Ye Zun such a big hongbao.”
In his defence, he really doesn’t mean to.
Masturbate to Shen Wei, that is.
He was just rewatching one of Shen Wei’s videos and...appreciating Shen Wei’s- Well, everything about Shen Wei! And then one thing led to another! And then the next thing he knew, he was already palming himself through his pyjamas pants, and it seemed rude to stop, so he just kept going?
“You really have to make sure not to stir the pot at this point,” Shen Wei is saying, and Yunlan closes his eyes, reaches into his pants to close his fingers around his cock, sighing when he does. “What we want to make sure is that we manage to remove all the scum from the soup, and stirring will make that all sink to the bottom.”
He thrusts into his hand, thinks about the way Shen Wei had smiled at him, the way his hands had felt when he shook Yunlan’s hand, the way Shen Wei’d said ‘I’ll see you this Saturday’ softly.
“Fuck,” he pants, tightening his grip on himself.
“Now that we’re done with that, we’ll leave the soup to simmer, and prepare the other ingredients,” Shen Wei is still saying on the video. “Because someone asked me to in the comments on the last video, I’ll show you guys how to very easily and very quickly dice some onions.”
Yunlan opens his eyes.
This is the part where the video closes up on Shen Wei’s hands. It’s Yunlan’s favourite bit.
“The first couple of times you do this, make sure to take it slow. Don’t try to match my speed, because that comes with some experience,” Shen Wei says. “Do it slowly,” he instructs.
Yunlan’s strokes instinctively slow down before he even realises what he’s doing.
“Like this,” Shen Wei murmurs. “Can you feel the rhythm? Slow and methodical. Just follow this pace.”
Yunlan moans, and does as Shen Wei says, closing his eyes again, and sinking into the sensation of his hand on his cock.
He comes to Shen Wei’s voice saying, “If you’ve manage to do that in a minute, then good job.”
I will never be able to look at an onion the same way again.
i…….genuinely don’t want to know
“Sorry again, for the trouble,” Yunlan says, when Shen Wei lets Yunlan into his apartment. “You really didn’t have to let Lin Jing or Ye Zun talk you into doing this.”
He’d begged for one of the other SID members to join him and keep him from embarrassing himself in front of Shen Wei, but they’d all made up excuses. And it wasn’t like Yunlan could -would- cancel on Shen Wei.
“Don’t worry about it,” Shen Wei says, flashing a small smile at him. “I’m not the kind of person who’ll say yes because I feel obliged to. I genuinely wanted to help.”
Yunlan grins. “You’ll probably feel a lot better if I didn’t cause a fire trying out one of your recipes, hmm?”
“There’s a little bit of that as well,” Shen Wei fake-whispers. “But mostly because I don’t want you to accidentally get hurt.”
He’s just putting it out here now that he, Zhao Yunlan, has found the love of his life, and he’s definitely going to marry Shen Wei one day.
He doesn’t say any of that to Shen Wei, because that’ll only serve to scare Shen Wei away.
He says, instead, “So, what are we making today?”
“I was thinking about it all week,” Shen Wei says, and that warmth in Yunlan’s chest grows again at the thought of Shen Wei putting so much thought into this, “and I figured we’d stick to dessert. I mean, barring that incident with the microwave-”
“Which was not my fault,” Yunlan chimes.
Shen Wei smiles. “Which was not your fault,” he concedes. “You were almost three quarters of the way done with the recipe.”
“It was going so well,” Yunlan laments. “I honestly thought I was going to make it all the way to the end.”
“You will today,” Shen Wei promises. “I’ll teach you how to make a simple chocolate parfait. Are you okay with that?”
Yunlan nods eagerly. “I’ll watch and take notes the first time?”
“Sure,” Shen Wei says, and then gets started.
Watching Shen Wei cook in person, it’s even easier for Yunlan to get distracted.
He honestly means to pay attention to Shen Wei, but the moment he decides to try to estimate the length of Shen Wei’s eyelashes, he’s pretty much a goner.
“You’re not taking notes,” Shen Wei observes when he’s putting the finishing touches on the parfait, the look in his eyes knowing, and Yunlan scrambles to open his notebook, which makes Shen Wei laugh. “Don’t worry. I know I can get a little boring sometimes when I’m cooking.”
What the fuck?
“What the fuck?” Yunlan says, because he has no brain-to-mouth filter around Shen Wei, apparently.
“It’s okay,” Shen Wei says goodnaturedly. “I don’t mind-”
“No, no, no,” Yunlan cuts him off. “You’re the farthest thing from boring. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, and that’s why it’s so easy to get distracted? I may not really understand what it is you’re doing sometimes, but I like watching you cook. I like watching you enjoy yourself in the kitchen, as I am sure many other people do as well, and it’s so ridiculous a notion that you might not know that.”
Shen Wei’s eyes are wide with what seems like surprise, and Yunlan sighs mentally, because he’d really wanted to be low-key with his crush on Shen Wei.
“No-one’s ever said that before,” Shen Wei tells him quietly. The smile on his face is soft and almost tentative. “Thanks, Yunlan.”
“God,” Yunlan sighs. “I’m going to have to start a fanclub for you,” he tells Shen Wei, because if he can’t be low-key, then at least he can switch tactics and be Extra™. “I’ll make all your fans write about how much they like watching you cook, and then print it all out and bind it into a book for you. I’m estimating that there’ll at least be fifty tomes.”
That, at least, coaxes a laugh out of Shen Wei.
Yunlan is so thrown by the urge to kiss Shen Wei that he has to quickly change the subject.
He eyes the chocolate parfait, set in a dainty-looking clear glass, and asks, “Can I take some photos? Lin Jing says I need to write a blog post about this, but honestly, I think I’ll just slap some photos on Instagram and call it a day. Changcheng is the one who is good at writing.”
Shen Wei shrugs. “Go for it,” he says, and then takes a couple of steps back to allow Yunlan space to do his thing.
When Yunlan turns back to look at Shen Wei after he’s done capturing the dessert from all possible angles, Shen Wei is leaning against the countertop, eating the rest of the parfait that didn’t make its way into the glass out of a bowl.
Yunlan smiles. “Good?”
Shen Wei gestures to the parfait Yunlan was taking photos of. “Help yourself to some,” he tells Yunlan. “You can decide if it’s good.”
Yunlan honestly doesn’t know why he does it.
It could’ve been the look of casual affection in Shen Wei’s eyes. Or, the way Shen Wei looked so relaxed in Yunlan’s company. Or, even that stray bit of parfait at the corner of Shen Wei’s lips.
Point is, there is no singular reason that Yunlan can pinpoint to for the way he sets his camera down, closes the distance between the both of them in two large strides, and then kisses Shen Wei, tasting the rich chocolate parfait from his mouth.
Shen Wei’s eyes are closed when Yunlan pulls away, glasses slightly fogged up.
Yunlan swallows the urge to kiss him again. Swallows the equally pressing urge to bolt.
“Delicious,” he settles for saying, backing away from Shen Wei, his brain running at full speed trying to figure out a way he could play this off as a joke.
Shen Wei’s eyes open slowly. “Zhao Yunlan,” he says gravely. “You-”
Yunlan is glad for how Shen Wei cuts himself off, because he doesn’t think that he wants to know what the second half of that sentence is.
He watches as Shen Wei slowly and carefully sets the bowl of parfait in his hands down, and braces himself to be punched by Shen Wei, or at least severely reprimanded for his actions.
Whatever he’s expecting doesn’t come.
What Shen Wei does is this—
Says, taking a step closer to Yunlan, “Do you even know what you’re doing to me?”
Says, bracketing Yunlan against the kitchen counter, “Do you know how many times I’ve thought about kissing you in the past week?”
Says, lips mere inches away from Yunlan’s, “Do you know how much I want you?”
Yunlan kisses him again, messy and desperate.
After, when he’s splayed out across Shen Wei’s bed, head cushioned on Shen Wei’s chest, Yunlan says, “Can I tell you something?”
“Mm hmm,” Shen Wei hums in assent.
“I totally jerked off to one of your videos,” he tells Shen Wei. “It was that video where you were making the pork bone soup, and you were dicing onions? You weren’t even really doing anything, just...teaching us how to fucking dice onions slowly, but fuck, it was hot. I think I have a thing for your voice. You should call me with masturbation instructions next time so we can test out my hypothesis.”
Shen Wei laughs.
“Don’t laugh at me,” Yunlan says sulkily, pulling away from Shen Wei.
“I’ll tell you something that’ll make you feel better,” Shen Wei says, pushing himself up to press a kiss to Yunlan’s shoulder. “You know that lollipop challenge you did?”
Yunlan perks up. “Yeah?”
“I started touching myself when you were on your third lollipop,” Shen Wei confesses, reaching up to trace his thumb over Yunlan’s mouth. “I came when you were on your sixth.”
“Fuck,” Yunlan curses. They were too riled up just now to do anything more than just get each other off with their hands; Yunlan wants to know right now how Shen Wei would react to having his cock in Yunlan’s mouth. “How soon can you go again?”
Shen Wei smirks. “Let’s find out?”
“Lao Zhao?” Da Qing calls out, letting himself into Yunlan’s apartment. “Your Lord and Saviour Chef Shen just uploaded a new video!”
Huh, Yunlan hadn’t said that he was going to be out, but no matter, Da Qing has all the time in the world to wait for Yunlan. He wants to be here for when Yunlan loses his shit over Chef Shen’s video again.
Not because he’s going to record it and blackmail Yunlan with it some day, of course not.
He’s just trying to be a good friend.
Da Qing rummages through Yunlan’s cupboards for the fried fish snack he keeps, and then makes himself comfortable on Yunlan’s couch.
He might as well use the time to watch Chef Shen’s video first. Pinpoint all the parts where Yunlan is likely to lose it so that he knows when to be ready with his camera.
"TLGK’s Chef Shen does Eggs Benedict"
“If you’re wondering why I don’t post more breakfast-friendly instructional videos, it’s because I don’t make breakfast foods very often,” Chef Shen starts. “If it’s just me alone at home on a weekday, it’s pretty easy to whip up a smoothie or eat some overnight oats I prepared the night before. But it’s Sunday today, and I got a request this morning for eggs benedict, so who am I to say no?”
Da Qing blinks at the screen, and then clicks on the fullscreen button. Chef Shen looks different today. Slightly...cheerier. Well-rested.
It’s the look of someone who got laid -and laid well- last night.
Holy fuck, Lao Zhao is going to lose his shit for real this time.
“If I had more time, I would bake my own English muffins,” Chef Shen says. “Next time, I’ll know to be more prepared.”
Da Qing almost hacks a lung out when he chokes on his fried fish snack.
He spares a moment to wonder if Lao Zhao has already seen this video and gone to throw himself off a cliff.
Just as he’s about to exit out of Shen Wei’s video in favour of sending a message on the SID chat group, fucking Zhao Yunlan shows up on screen, hair an absolute mess, shirt riding up indecently, pants slung low enough to show his hip.
Da Qing watches, in barely concealed horror, as Lao Zhao plasters himself to Chef Shen’s back, arms circling his waist.
“I’m filming,” Chef Shen says softly.
“Mm,” Yunlan hums sleepily, nuzzling against Chef Shen’s neck. “Keep filming. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be here.”
Chef Shen dips his head at that, but it’s not enough to hide the soft smile that blooms across his face.
“As I was saying,” Chef Shen continues smoothly, “I’ll be using store-bought English muffins for this, but I’ll put a link in the description to the recipe I use when I do make my own as well, so that you lot who want to try to really impress your significant other can give it a shot…”
Da Qing blinks at the screen.
“Holy shit,” he murmurs to himself. “Lao Zhao actually did it.”