When Yunlan turns the key to his front door to his apartment, he finds that it clicks open without a full turn. Usually he’d immediately think that someone has broken into his house—not uncommon if he had to admit, because apparently being a private investigator makes lots of enemies—but when he sees a pair of leather shoes propped neatly at his shoe rack, a smile spreads to his lips. When he saunters in, dropping his keys off absentmindedly on the nearest table, he finds Shen Wei in the kitchen, back towards him.
The other is dressed up all formal as usual—crisp white shirt under a vest tapered nicely to his waist, along with sleeve garters around the biceps of his arms. He’s not super clear why Shen Wei chooses to dress like that considering the other is basically a home-writer…and he’s pretty sure Shen Wei didn’t have a stripping job today.
It’d been over three months since Yunlan sucked him off in this exact apartment, and also over three months that they’d been…dating. Like, the kind of sappy sucking faces couple that Yunlan thinks gross every time in the movie theatre. He can’t help it; Shen Wei just makes him happy, and that fucking little embarrassed smile of his turns Yunlan on so much.
Also the sex is great.
Yunlan steps close to Shen Wei, spying his deft hands rapidly slicing a carrot on the chopping board like a professional. He feels Shen Wei shiver at his touch when he places his hand on the curve of the other’s waist, pulling him close backwards to his chest.
“Hey,” he murmurs, brushing his mouth close to the edge of Shen Wei’s lips when he other turns at his presence. “What’re you making?”
“Dinner,” Shen Wei replies with a sunny smile. “How was your day, my Xiao Yunlan?”
At that, Yunlan freezes, dropping his hand from the other’s waist.
“…Weiwei,” he says, mouth curving with the endearment. “It was terrible without you.”
‘Shen Wei’’s hands stop for a moment and flicks his glance over. Yunlan has to hand it to him—it’s exactly how Shen Wei blushes when he’s embarrassed; the head duck, the gentle little bite to the bottom lip, but it’s the answer that makes Yunlan clear.
“I’m here now.”
This is not Shen Wei.
Yunlan smiles, holding up his feign so that he can reach over and pull the knife away from the other’s hands, keeping the motion gentle. And then he pauses, letting the tip of it jab sharp into the cutting board.
“Who the fuck are you?” he hisses, gripping tightening on the handle. “How did you get into my apartment?”
‘Shen Wei’ blinks, looking confused.
“What do you mean?” he asks, eyes wide. “You..y-you gave me the keys two months ago. Xiao Yunlan, are you feeling alright?”
“First off,” Yunlan snorts, raising an eyebrow. “Shen Wei doesn’t call me that. Secondly,” he continues, carelessly pointing the knife at the other while he gestures. “How the fuck do you look exactly like him?”
It’s really quite…scary…that this ‘Shen Wei’ looks like Shen Wei. The cut and colour of the hair, the figure, the clothes, the glasses—okay, they are definitely Shen Wei’s own clothes—but even the smell of him, Yunlan hates to admit, is Shen Wei. But it’s the eyes, the way this person looks at him, that conveys none of what he loves about when Shen Wei looks at him.
The same mouth quirks remarkably like how Yunlan has seen Shen Wei do a million times.
“Xiao Yunlan,” the other says, looking innocent. “I just thought I should try it. It suits you.”
“Uh no,” Yunlan replies, staring back at him blandly. “I hate it. I specifically told Shen Wei I hate it. And, for the record, he hates the name ‘Weiwei’,” he pauses. “…Seems like you don’t know everything about your brother, huh.”
There’s a twitch in the other’s facial muscles that doesn’t go unnoticed by Yunlan.
“Yunlan,” the other tries, “Are you sure you’re feeling alright?”
“Don’t gaslight me. I know it’s you, Ye Zun. Long time no see,” Yunlan rolls his eyes, slotting the knife he’d been waving around back into its block. “But seriously, what the fuck are you doing here? Does your brother know you’re here?”
“Don’t be silly, I’m not Ye Zun,” Ye Zun says—it’s obviously Shen Wei’s fucking little brother. “He has classes. How can he be here? I think you’ve worked too hard today.”
“Look,” Yunlan purses his lips. “You can’t fool me, so just drop this stupid farce. Where’s Shen Wei?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ye Zun denies, rounding on Yunlan like a predator, which perfectly makes Yunlan’s fucking point that this is not Shen Wei. “Do I need to remind you who I am?” he’s got Yunlan cornered against the wall now—fuck, he should not have stepped back. “Zhao Yunlan,” he whispers, voice going low and seductive. “Get ready to scream my name.”
“Woah, woah, woah—”
Yunlan winces and shuts his eyes when Ye Zun starts pulling off his vest and unbuttoning his shirt, dropping it carelessly to the floor.
“Yunlan…look at me…”
“Oh god, why the fuck are you so shameless?!” Yunlan demands, decidedly still looking away as he hears the sound of pants unzipping and more fabric falling to the floor. “Keep your clothes on! I don’t want to see it!”
“I’m a stripper,” Ye Zun says like he’s an idiot. “You’ve fucked me so many times—”
Yunlan clasps his hand over Ye Zun’s mouth, holding him away at arm’s length.
“Don’t insult me, you little shit,” he snorts, glaring. “I’d know the person I’ve been fucking for the past three months.”
It’s then, of course, that the real Shen Wei decides to make an appearance. Dressed in the exact same outfit except for the colour of his vest and pants, and, surprisingly a lack of glasses, Shen Wei holds a couple of grocery bags which he sets gently on top of the kitchen counter. It throws Yunlan just a bit off, to see double.
“Ye Zun,” the other says sternly, and Yunlan has to gape at how Ye Zun’s composure immediately crumbles at the voice. “Put your clothes on.”
“We’ll talk later,” Shen Wei says over the protest, looking unamused.
The innocence from Ye Zun’s expression immediately wipes off, and he tosses Yunlan the dirtiest scowl as he shucks his clothes back on. Yunlan just squints incredulously at him—like that’s his fucking fault?
“Did you slice the carrots like I’ve asked?”
“I was,” Ye Zun replies sulkily, “Until someone touched me and kissed me.”
“I did not!” Yunlan protests indignantly. “You’re the one who kept coming on to me!”
“You were the one who put your dirty hands on—”
“Di-di, enough. Slice the carrots,” Shen Wei sighs loudly, shutting his eyes briefly. “Zhao Yunlan. Can we talk?”
“Uhhhh, okay,” Yunlan says, tucking his hands into his pockets as he strides out of the kitchen for them to converse in privacy.
Shen Wei takes the lead to bring them towards the other end of the apartment, into the room Yunlan uses for storage and gently clicks the door shut behind them.
“Look,” Yunlan starts when Shen Wei turns around. “I did not kiss—I mean, it was close but—”
“I’m sorry,” Shen Wei cuts him off, casting his gaze to the floor. “I…I-I should’ve asked before bringing Ye Zun over, but I couldn’t leave him alone at home, so I…I—”
Yunlan chuckles. “Yeah, you could’ve texted,” he pauses. “…He’s going to steal something from me, isn’t he?”
“Yunlan, he’s not like that,” Shen Wei sighs. “And even if he does, he’ll brag to me about it and I’ll tell him to put it back. Don’t worry.”
“That’s not super reassuring, you know.”
Shen Wei bites his bottom lip and looks up at him through his lashes. “I’m really sorry.”
“Hey, I’m not mad,” Yunlan says softly, taking his hand. “Just joking—"
“I mean about…my brother…pretending to be me and taking his clothes off.”
“Oh that,” Yunlan blinks.
“He’s just. Testing you out. It’s a…thing he does. It’s my fault, I didn’t…” Shen Wei swallows, and it’s probably the first time that Yunlan has ever seen him so distraught. “I didn’t tell him about us. I mean—I wanted to, I was just waiting for us to meet face to face to break the news but he, he dropped by suddenly yesterday and…he’s staying with me.”
“For the next three weeks.”
“Oh,” Yunlan says again. “Did he not bring any clothes with him? He’s clearly hijacking your closet.”
“Yunlan,” Shen Wei says exasperatedly, though there’s a small smile that comes to his lips. “I know we’re supposed to go trekking this weekend, but…” he shakes his head. “I can’t anymore. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”
Yunlan tilts his head. “Why not?”
“I can’t leave Ye Zun—”
“As in, why waste the trip?” Yunlan shrugs. “Bring him along. We can just book another room in the hotel, right?”
Shen Wei stares at him in bewilderment. “…Y-you want to take Ye Zun along?”
“What, you said you couldn’t leave him.”
“Well, yes, but I meant…” Shen Wei trails off, eyes searching his desperately. “Are, are you really okay with that?” he whispers. “I thought you’d be…angry…or disappointed…”
“You’ve made your choice,” Yunlan says. “I’m not going to fight you about it. Besides,” he sighs. “You don’t get to see him very often, do you? I know you miss him, even if I still think he’s absolutely batshit crazy—"
“Yunlan,” Shen Wei interrupts, face softening.
It makes Shen Wei look young, the way his eyes shimmer brightly. Yunlan lets him shuffle forward to place a kiss on his mouth, which he leans into eagerly.
“…Thank you,” Shen Wei murmurs against his lips. “You’re the best.”
Yunlan can’t wipe that dopey grin off his face when they part after another deeper kiss, this time with tongue, not even when they emerge from the room and Ye Zun’s eyes look like they want to murder him in cold blood.
Nothing will ruin this day for him, not even Shen Wei’s psychotic little brother.
It’s a routine that Shen Wei comes over almost every evening to make dinner for them both, unless he has a stripping job or a writing deadline. Usually Shen Wei sleeps over too, and by sleeping over Yunlan means they fuck, and it’s really good fucking too. Unfortunately, with Ye Zun around none of that comes to pass.
Shen Wei brings Ye Zun along for dinner, and then leaves with the said brother after eating when the other starts complaining about wanting to leave. There’s clearly something wrong with Ye Zun if Shen Wei doesn’t even trust the other to be left alone on his own anywhere—but Yunlan keeps his mouth shut about it, not wanting to judge their weird ass relationship.
He’s met Ye Zun that one time many years ago, which did not leave him with a good impression of the other. And now again, his impression hasn’t changed all that much. Ye Zun is…the carbon copy of Shen Wei physically, but his true mannerisms and behaviour are nothing like Shen Wei’s.
Ye Zun is childish, proud, easily jealous as fuck, petty and worst of all, manipulative.
Yunlan isn’t trying to be mean, but those are the words that come to mind when he thinks about Ye Zun. He’s an investigator, he’s got a sharp sense about people, and Ye Zun doesn’t give off the best. Or rather, he kind of gives off the worst.
Not that Yunlan is an angel himself, but as much as he’s seen Ye Zun listen to Shen Wei like a soldier on the battlefield, Shen Wei also lets the other get away with a lot. He’s always known Shen Wei loves his brother, but even brotherly love should have its limits, like when Shen Wei clearly knows he’s being guilt-tripped, but lets it be.
Case in point:
He overhears the twins arguing one night, when Yunlan excuses himself to use the loo and leaves the brothers lounging on the couch. He hasn’t heard either of them raise their voices at each other, so this is a first when he exits the toilet. He slinks back to the corridor when he hears them, not wanting to barge in an at awkward moment.
“I don’t want to go if he’s coming along!” Ye Zun is saying, and it’s kind of weird how his pretty face twists into an expression so full of dislike. “I only want to spend time with you! That’s what I came back for!”
“Di-di, Yunlan didn’t have to let you come—"
“Let me come?” Ye Zun barks a laugh, shaking his head. “Who the fuck does he think he is that I care whether he lets me do what I want—”
“Ye Zun!” Shen Wei snaps. “I know you don’t like him—”
“—I hate him—”
“—but I like him,” Shen Wei states firmly. “Di-di, please…come with us. Give him a chance. You’ll like him too, I promise.”
Ye Zun stares, swallowing after a while.
“…You would choose him over me,” he murmurs, sounding shaken. “He doesn’t love you, he only wants you for your face, all of them fucking assholes do, and I can prove it—I can fucking prove that he doesn’t love you—”
“I trust him!” Shen Wei interjects fiercely, and Ye Zun immediately snaps his mouth shut, shocked. “…Di-di,” he starts, softer this time. “For me. Please.”
Ye Zun’s eyes are red now, welling up with tears.
“…Because of him,” he sniffles when a tear rolls down. “You ask this of me?” he asks, voice hoarse. “Ge-ge, you know that I will do anything for you.”
“…Yes,” Shen Wei whispers.
“I said I would never leave you,” Ye Zun continues, face already dripping wet. “But you want to leave me, for him?”
Shen Wei trembles, reaching for his brother. “…No,” he shakes his head. “No, no, of course not,” he says furiously, pulling the other into a tight embrace. “I will never leave you. Never.”
Ye Zun buries his face into Shen Wei’s shoulder, sobbing with hiccups. “…N-not even for him?”
Shen Wei rubs his back in gentle circles. “It will never come to that,” he says finally. “Promise.”
Ye Zun snuffles loudly, but he raises his head just a little and stares towards the wall where Yunlan peeps at them, and it’s not Yunlan’s imagination that the little shit actually smirks when their eyes meet.
On that Friday morning Yunlan goes to Shen Wei’s apartment to pick the brothers up for their trip. It’ll be a five hour drive to a hotel—or rather a guest house—at the country side near a lake and some low mountains for trekking. The air has turned much colder in the week and the forecast threatens snow, which Yunlan initially didn’t mind. It was, after all, meant to be a romantic (sex-filled) getaway, but now with Ye Zun cockblocking every single moment, he isn’t sure he can stand to be in the same room with the other for more than an hour.
Shen Wei opens the door when he jabs the doorbell—actually it’s definitely Ye Zun, no matter how hard the other tries to act like his brother. Yunlan has to admit Ye Zun mimics Shen Wei well, but in Yunlan’s eyes, Shen Wei doesn’t ever look at him like he’s the scum of the earth behind that flash of forced smile.
“Yunlan, you’re early. I miss you,” Ye Zun coos, and steps forward like he’s going to kiss him.
Yunlan pushes him back with his pointer finger. “Nice try, ‘lil bro,” he snorts. “Where’s Shen Wei?”
“You can’t recognise me anymore?”
“Shen Wei!” Yunlan calls, ignoring the hurt look glossing over Ye Zun’s face. “Your brother is trying to seduce me again!”
Ye Zun immediately drops the faux pout on his face, lunging to claw at him, but luckily Shen Wei pops out from a room, frowning.
“I did not!” Ye Zun scowls, stomping towards Shen Wei. “How can you believe him over me?”
“Uh, pretty easily, I bet,” Yunlan sticks his hand into his pocket to pull out his lollipop, crinkling the wrapper out. He needs more glucose to deal with this headache on-coming. “I’m not a lying shit like you are.”
“Zhao Yunlan,” Shen Wei tosses his glare over, and Yunlan looks away with a shrug, sucking his lollipop. “Di-di, wear this,” he says when he turns back to his brother, pushing on a large down coat he was carrying on the other. “It’s going to be cold, you need to wrap up.”
“It makes me look fat,” Ye Zun grumbles, but he does let Shen Wei wrap a scarf around his neck too. “Why does this jacket look so ugly?”
“You didn’t bring any clothes with you, don’t complain,” Shen Wei huffs. “Alright. We’re ready.”
Ye Zun lights up, grabbing Shen Wei by the hand.
“Zhao Yunlan,” he addresses Yunlan for the first time ever, perhaps, tone rather flat. “Where’s your car?”
“In the parking lot down—" Yunlan never gets to finish his sentence, because Ye Zun drags his brother out the door in a breeze, ignoring the confused sounds Shen Wei makes.
Yunlan stares at the two bags the brothers left behind in the apartment, and sighs loudly. He knows exactly what the little shit is doing, that little shit.
The five hour drive is simultaneously better and worse than Yunlan expects. Ye Zun hustles his brother to sit with him in the backseat, and snuggles up to the other on the pretence of being cold—a fucking lie, because Yunlan is sweating from how high he’s turned the heating up. Ye Zun’s head is lolling on Shen Wei’s shoulder, feet up propped on the other end of the seat with his earbuds plugged in and playing some kind of handphone game obsessively. Shen Wei, on the other hand, just leans and looks at the scenery outside, unperturbed about his brother.
The only bright side in all this is that Ye Zun basically ignores Yunlan’s existence, plugged away into his own music, so Yunlan plays the radio and has a boring but comfortable drive. A couple of times, Yunlan catches Shen Wei’s eyes in the rear view mirror, and the soft smiles he gets in return reminds Yunlan that this trip is worth it.
They make one break for lunch, and by the time they pull up to their destination it’s already in the late afternoon, edging to the evening. Yunlan makes sure to dump Ye Zun’s bag on him before the other treats him like hotel service again, and they trudge into the reception—it’s snowing out here, albeit lightly.
Yunlan handles the checking in, nodding at the appropriate moments when he gets told about where their rooms are and where the breakfast will be served. Shen Wei is trying to stop his brother from poking at some miniatures on display when he comes back to them.
“So,” he coughs, getting their attention. “I know we booked a double and an extra bed, but they didn’t have one today for whatever reason—they put in a queen,” he pauses, looking at Ye Zun in particular when he says the next bit. “There’s also a couch.”
Ye Zun bares his teeth in response, but only a little because Shen Wei is beside him.
“It’s okay, we’ll figure it out,” Shen Wei says either oblivious or steadfastly ignoring them two. “Let’s go.”
The guest house is rather old fashioned; it’s clean and bright, but there isn’t central heating—it’s old school fireplaces and radiators, something which Ye Zun obviously feels kind of upset about, considering how much he’s shivering under that thick coat Shen Wei made him wear. Yunlan waits for Ye Zun to complain about it, like he’s complained about every aspect of Yunlan’s (not) shitty car, but the other says nothing, only flops onto the bed and squirms under the covers when they get to their room.
So much for being gracious and reading the damn mood and taking the couch, Yunlan thinks.
“Is he okay?” Yunlan whispers to Shen Wei while they’re putting their stuff away, eyeing Ye Zun huddled under the blanket uncharacteristically silent.
“He’s not good with the cold,” Shen Wei explains under his breath. “It um,” he hesitates. “Doesn’t bring good memories for him. He’ll feel better when the room warms up.”
Obviously Shen Wei does not want to elaborate more, so Yunlan leaves it at that. Yunlan adds more dry wood to the fireplace they have in the corner while Shen Wei brings over the radiator to make sure it’s right by Ye Zun’s bed side, kneeling down on the carpet and murmuring some soft words to the other that Yunlan can’t hear from where he’s from.
Yunlan has never really thought about the twins’ childhoods, but it comes to him to wonder now. He pokes a bit more at the fireplace until Shen Wei comes back to squat beside him.
“He doesn’t want to eat dinner out, so let’s buy something back for him,” Shen Wei says. “Shall we?”
Yunlan doesn’t need to be told twice if this is the first opportunity he gets to have Shen Wei alone. They chat with the reception again to get a bearing on where to get food—either from the guest-house kitchen or several food options if they walk around the small town. Shen Wei decides for them by sliding his hand into Yunlan’s, gently tugging him outside into the gently falling snow.
“Fuck, it is cold,” Yunlan comments, shivering a little. “Are you sure you aren’t cold? You gave your brother your thicker jacket, didn’t you?”
“I’m good,” Shen Wei says with a smile. “He needs it more than me. Besides,” he casts a glance over. “You’re here.”
“…I can’t decide if you meant that to be sappy or sexy,” Yunlan says, grinning. “I really hope it’s the latter.”
Shen Wei abruptly stops in his steps, and Yunlan finds himself being kissed by a warm mouth.
“—…wait, you’re serious?” Yunlan says when Shen Wei pulls back with a suck to his bottom lip, voice gravely. “Because I really would fuck you right here.”
“I’m a stripper, not an exhibitionist,” Shen Wei chides him, a faint blush tainting his cheeks. “That was for…today. The week,” he corrects, his outbreath like wisps of smoke in the cold air. “I know this was supposed to be for us, and…and Ye Zun can be…difficult—”
“—but you’ve been patient. Mostly,” he adds. “I really appreciate this.”
Yunlan sighs. “…You know, I really do think your brother has issues,” he starts. “And you,” he says pointedly, “Enable his manipulative ass behaviour—”
“Yunlan—” Shen Wei looks rather upset.
“—let me finish,” he says firmly. “I don’t approve how he treats you—or me—but, I…get it.” he shrugs, clucking his tongue. “He’s your family.”
“He’s the only one I have,” Shen Wei whispers. “And I’m the only one he has.”
“I know,” Yunlan says. “But you can rely on me too, you know? Not to push him out of your life, but…I can care about who you care about too.”
Shen Wei stares at him, the whites of his eyes turning slightly red. Yunlan cringes at himself for all those sappy words—he doesn't do feelings properly, but with Shen Wei…
“Zhao Yunlan,” Shen Wei begins after a moment, voice cracking slightly. “I think I love you.”
Something in Yunlan’s heart feels like he’s going to die.
If they get back to the room late enough that Ye Zun falls asleep without them, it’s because they stood out in the cold kissing until neither of them could breathe.
Yunlan almost forgets that Ye Zun exists until the next morning when he has his hands all up Shen Wei’s shirt and his boner pressed against Shen Wei’s ass, and that’s when Ye Zun coughs extremely loudly from above them, looking displeased.
“I’m hungry,” Ye Zun says, pulling on Shen Wei’s arm. “Ge, let’s go eat.”
“Wait, wait,” Shen Wei sits up, and Yunlan bemoans the loss of his skin under his hands. “Why don’t you go to the dining area first? I’ll come after I’ve showered.”
Ye Zun tosses Yunlan a dirty look. “I don’t want to go there alone.”
“Okay, give me a moment,” Shen Wei says, sleepily sauntering toward his bag for his change of clothes.
When the toilet door clicks shut, Yunlan cracks open one of his eyes. “…How much do you need to be babied, you thirty year old baby?”
“Fuck off,” Ye Zun mutters, sliding himself under the covers next to Yunlan. “I don’t trust you alone with him.”
“Wow, I never would’ve guessed,” Yunlan says sarcastically. “Chill out. If you were any more jealous everyone will see it from outer space.”
“You don’t deserve him, Zhao Yunlan.”
Yunlan turns on his side to prop himself up. “And you think you do?”
“I would do anything for him,” Ye Zun says bluntly. “Can you say the same?”
“Like how you promised your brother that you would treat me nicely?” Yunlan grins. “Fucking bullshit, right?”
Ye Zun’s lips curl distastefully, glare sharp enough to cut. “…This is me being nice,” he says sourly. “If I wasn’t I’d cut your dick and leave you bleeding out in a cold dirty ditch.”
Even Yunlan has to wince at the image. “You really need to revise your definition of being nice,” he says finally. “Look. You’re an asshole, but most of my clients are assholes, so you’re not anything I can’t handle. For starters, can you stop pretending to be your brother? I’ve never once mistaken you for him, so I think it’s highly unlikely you will ever be able to trick me.”
Ye Zun purses his lips. “…Would you kiss me?”
“What?! No!” Yunlan sits up quickly in horror, pulling his knees to his chest.
“We have the same fucking face!”
“I dunno, it’s just the thought that it’s you makes me want to throw up,” Yunlan says honestly.
“Care to test that theory?” Ye Zun glances at him with a smirk and then turns his body to rest his weight on his knees.
Yunlan scoots out of the bed immediately. “Stay back—” he warns, brandishing the pillow he took along with him. “I’ll tell your brother you tried to seduce me again—”
“What are you two doing,” Shen Wei says, emerging from the bathroom with a towel around his neck.
“HE STARTED IT!”
In hindsight, Yunlan shouldn’t have yelled it as loudly as Ye Zun at the same time, because Shen Wei looks disappointed. Shen Wei only sighs, shaking his head.
“It’s like 9am in the morning,” Shen Wei purses his lips. “No fighting today, please?”
“Of course, ge-ge,” Ye Zun plasters on a brilliant innocent smile in 0.2 seconds flat. “Breakfast awaits, let’s go!”
Yunlan groans and flops onto the bed as Ye Zun drags Shen Wei out, leaving him alone in the empty room.
They do a light trek along the base of the mountain, and then after a picnic lunch, a slow walk back. It’d snowed a bit the night before, but the weather cleared up enough for them to explore, though the ground was still icy. Ye Zun is wrapped up like a fat dumpling—ear muffs, scarves to the nose, down jacket strapped to him tightly—which makes Yunlan grin like an idiot whenever Ye Zun’s back is turned towards him.
Shen Wei only rolls his eyes at him, but nonetheless lets him have that childish amusement.
Admittedly, it’s nice when Ye Zun keeps his mouth shut—the three of them just admire the scenery in companionable silence, and Yunlan even gets them in the same photo once. Ye Zun can really act when he wants to because he doesn’t say a single insulting thing since the morning. They even have a nice dinner at a diner nearby recommended by the locals, and putting Shen Wei in a good mood that they’re finally all getting along, Ye Zun convinces them to get a bit of wine to go with the meal.
Yunlan really should’ve known that Ye Zun is a manipulative little shit and that is never going to change.
A thing about Shen Wei is that he can’t handle alcohol.
Not even a sip. Shen Wei has always declined to drink when Yunlan offers, and the one time Shen Wei did accept was because Yunlan put on his flirt game and begged really hard (he just wanted to see what kind of cute drunk Shen Wei would be), and then got the shock of his life when Shen Wei just passed out cold in his arms.
So they end up half carrying Shen Wei back to the guest-house together—more like Yunlan, because Ye Zun waddles in his overstuffed jacket—and lays him on the bed. Ye Zun pushes Yunlan away grumbling like it’s his fault after he sheds the fat coat, and proceeds to undress his brother right there.
“Um, are you sure you should—”
“Be useful and get his pyjamas, you idiot,” Ye Zun snaps, already pulling off Shen Wei’s shirt. “If he catches a cold I’ll kill you.”
Yunlan decides not to grace that absurd comment and tosses Shen Wei’s sleeping clothes over. He hangs back just so he can observe Ye Zun. It’s a bit strange seeing Ye Zun fussing over Shen Wei like this, when the reverse image is the norm over the past week. Ye Zun’s eyes are fond when he smooths back Shen Wei’s hair from his face. In Yunlan’s opinion, Ye Zun is touching his brother is many places that are completely unnecessary, but what does he know about brotherly love, huh.
“I’m gonna take a quick shower,” Yunlan says anyway to the air, knowing that he’s being ignored.
When he comes back, hair sticking wetly to his forehead despite his efforts towel it dry, it is to Ye Zun kissing his asleep brother.
On the mouth.
Yunlan won’t lie—he’d suspected but he never thought it was true. Ye Zun is stroking Shen Wei’s cheek, smiling softly and peppering little kisses all over, finally placing one lingering one to the forehead. Yunlan doesn’t think he’s ever seen Ye Zun looking like that ever; it’s…vulnerable, the way he smiles and his eyes glimmer.
When Ye Zun looks like he’s going to French his brother again, Yunlan chooses that moment to rap his knuckles loudly on the bathroom door, causing the other to scramble back in panic.
“Can you not do that?” Yunlan says blandly. “He’s my boyfriend, you know.”
Ye Zun’s stricken expression immediately morphs into a sneer. “He’s my brother.”
“My point exactly,” Yunlan raises and eyebrow, somehow sounding much more casual than shaken up. When he flops onto the space next to Ye Zun, Ye Zun actually flinches, palms gripped into fists defensively. “Is there something you need to tell Shen Wei?”
“He knows I love him,” Ye Zun snaps.
“Like that?” Yunlan gestures vaguely.
At that, Ye Zun has no answer, curling his feet up to the bed to huddle his knees close.
“…Fuck off,” he says finally, sounding miserable.
“I said fuck off!” Ye Zun shouts, and Yunlan is glad that Shen Wei isn’t going to wake from this inevitable fight they’re going to have (again). “So fucking what?!” he demands angrily, eyes blazing. “I love him more than you ever will, you, you—greasy dirtbag—”
“—you don’t understand him, you don't understand us,” Ye Zun spits, looking absolutely spiteful. “He thinks he likes you, but when you break his heart, and I know you will, he will choose me. He will always choose me.”
“Back the fuck up—just give me credit, here, alright,” Yunlan mutters, turning his glare onto the other. “I didn’t give you shit when I see how you manipulate and guilt-trip your brother and I didn’t give you shit about kissing your goddamn blood brother in front of me, because I know you’re important to Shen Wei. That’s how much I value him.”
Ye Zun’s lips are trembling. “It disgusts you, just fucking say it—”
“I’m saying I don’t care!” Yunlan retorts loudly. “This is between you and your brother, I’m not going to barge in and judge you for it,” he pauses. “.…And it’s not like you’d change your feelings because I hate it,” he adds moodily.
Ye Zun shifts his gaze between Yunlan and the sheets with a sulk evident in his jaw. “...Are you going to tell him?”
“No,” Yunlan says, but, “But one condition. Two, actually,” he continues when Ye Zun just stares back at him impassively. “First, go and take a shower. Cool off your head,” he flings his damp towel at the other, and smirks when it smacks flat into Ye Zun’s face. “Second, I’m sleeping in the middle tonight. No funny business under the covers.”
Ye Zun considers his offer, wrinkles his nose at the towel, but eventually does storm off to the bathroom. Yunlan lets himself fall backward onto the bed next to Shen Wei, dozing off obliviously to the events. He sighs, props Shen Wei into the crook of his shoulder, and wonders if Shen Wei would praise him for his patience.
The next day they trek around the lake, which has been frozen over a little at the edges, given that it snowed heavily again. Ye Zun is unusually quiet, choosing instead to walk ahead with his phone camera like a tourist, and Shen Wei definitely notices the behaviour.
“Did something happen?” Shen Wei whispers when they lag behind Ye Zun enough paces to keep them from being overheard.
“Hm?” Yunlan blinks, feigning innocence. “Maybe he realised how much he’s been cockblocking us.”
“Yunlan,” Shen Wei says exasperatedly. “Did you two fight last night?”
“Not really,” Yunlan shrugs. “Had a talk—of sorts.”
“…I see,” Shen Wei says finally. “You won’t lie to me, would you?”
Yunlan open and closes his mouth a couple of times before deciding to laugh nervously. “Shen Wei, please don’t do this to me.”
Shen Wei smiles, eyes crinkling at the corners. “Alright, I won’t push. It is nice to have some space,” he confesses, fingers naturally linking together with Yunlan’s as their gloved hands brush together.
“Admit it,” Yunlan grins, “You miss my cock.”
“I miss you,” Shen Wei scowls, just slightly, though his ears are pink. “I was going to ask Ye Zun if he would mind giving us an hour in the evening to ourselves but I’ve changed my mind—”
“No, no, no, come back,” Yunlan grips him tightly before the other can swivel heel to leave. “Xiao Wei, I love you?”
Shen Wei bursts out laughing and Yunlan joins him for a couple of seconds before leaning in close to seal with mouths together. Shen Wei kisses him back eagerly, warm breath meeting his, and they get so into it that they completely forget about Ye Zun, who watches them ten meters away and walks on with his fists clenched tightly.
Yunlan bites a mark deep enough on Shen Wei’s neck that Ye Zun will never be able to replicate. He kisses the nape with teeth, scraping the sensitive skin and drawing out moans—the louder the better. He doesn’t care if it’s technically still daytime, but he hasn’t fucked Shen Wei for a week and the desire accumulates.
Shen Wei’s back arches sharply when Yunlan thrusts his cock into his tight hole, ignoring the lube he’d spilled all over their thighs in haste previously. Yunlan cups his hand over Shen Wei’s balls, fondling them in the way he knows drives Shen Wei crazy.
“—ngh, Yunlan, fuck—” Shen Wei gasps, slamming his hips down harder. “Don’t be a tease—”
“You are the tease,” Yunlan pants hotly against the other’s ear. “You got me hard an hour ago, when your brother was glaring at me because he knew we were going to fuck—”
“Well,” Shen Wei says breathlessly, sweat beading down his throat. “I did miss your cock.”
Yunlan bites his ear in response, and makes sure that Shen Wei comes without once having his cock touched. While they soak in post orgasm bliss, Yunlan savours the feeling of Shen Wei wrapping one arm around him and the soft contented breaths he sighs against Yunlan’s arm.
It passes by all too soon when Shen Wei’s phone alarm rings.
“It’s time to wash up,” Shen Wei says, nudging him. “Ye Zun is waiting for us at the diner.”
“You learnt how to set an alarm for that?” Yunlan groans. “Fine, fine,” he relents when Shen Wei pulls at his arm, only because he knows if he doesn’t get into the shower now he’ll miss out getting into he shower with Shen Wei.
They’re about ten minutes late as the agreed time when they get to the diner because they had to delicately request for a change of sheets for the bed, but Ye Zun is nowhere in sight. Shen Wei looks worried—though Yunlan can’t see why ten minutes would be a big deal.
“You got to admit his track record of responsibility isn’t the best,” he reminds Shen Wei. “When did he tell you he was going to come over to your place again? Oh right, he never did.”
Shen Wei sighs. “Let’s get a table. I’ll call him.”
When Ye Zun doesn’t pick up on the third try, Shen Wei is visibly uncomfortable. “Yunlan, I—I’m going to look for him.”
“Shen Wei, relax. He can’t be lost, we just came here yesterday.”
“No, you don’t—” Shen Wei swallows, standing up. “You don’t understand. Ye Zun would never miss my calls.”
Yunlan curses when Shen Wei grabs his coat and strides out of the establishment quickly, ignoring that he walks straight into a pile of snow. It’s started snowing again, making it rather difficult to see especially since the sun had already set.
“DI-DI!” Shen Wei yells, blindly going forward in some random direction.
“Shen Wei, Shen Wei,” Yunlan catches up to him, grabbing him by the elbow. “Calm down, alright?” he says, looking at the other straight in the eyes. “Maybe he went back to the hotel. Let’s go there first before you think the worst.”
Shen Wei nods mutely, and clings on to Yunlan as they trudge back to the building. Their room is in the midst of room service, so Ye Zun is definitely not in there, and there’s no sign of the other twin in the entire guest-house either. The receptionist tells them she hasn’t seen Ye Zun in the past hour either; Yunlan has to press if she meant Shen Wei or Ye Zun—you know, the one with the fat coat.
Shen Wei is outright distressed by now, face going very pale.
“I shouldn’t have left him alone…” he swallows. “It’s my fault, it’s my—”
“Don’t be stupid, your brother is an adult,” Yunlan cuts in. “He’s the one who chose to disappear—”
“Zhao Yunlan,” Shen Wei snaps, and when he stares at Yunlan, his eyes are brimming wet. “You—you have no right to talk about Ye Zun like that, he, he’s—he’s the one who saved me, he would never leave me!”
Yunlan swallows, wincing. “Shen Wei…I didn’t…”
“Don’t,” Shen Wei slaps his reaching hand away, turning on his heel. “I’m going to find him. You can do whatever you want.”
Yunlan would be dammed if this is what their first fight is going to be about—he hadn’t suffered Ye Zun for an entire week for a stupid blunder of his to get in the way.
“Shen Wei,” he grabs the other harshly, almost shaking him in the motion. “I’m sorry. I’m fucking sorry, okay? I shouldn’t have said that. I’m coming with you to find him,” he says, and then in a softer tone. “Please let me come with you to find him.”
Shen Wei nods reluctantly after a while. They backtrack a couple of routes they’d taken over the past two days, round the base of the mountain that was still open passage, and then around the lake. It’s unfortunately a huge area, and Shen Wei suggests they split up to cover more ground.
“Keep your phone close to you,” Yunlan advises. “Let’s meet back in the hotel in one hour, even if you haven’t found him. Alright?” he has to cup Shen Wei’s cheek when he repeats it. “Alright?”
“I can’t leave him—”
“You’re not leaving him,” Yunlan assures him. “One hour, and then we’re going back to get a proper search team. We’re not abandoning him.”
Shen Wei meets his eyes, and nods. “Okay. One hour. Please call me immediately if you find him.”
“Of course,” Yunlan murmurs to Shen Wei’s hurriedly disappearing back into the trail on the left side of the lake.
Yunlan takes the right. It’s gotten so fucking cold that Yunlan feels his nose start to hurt from the wind, but he ploughs on for that one miserable little troublemaker. Okay, maybe Ye Zun got into trouble unexpectedly not of his own doing, but given the little faith he has in the other, it’s not Yunlan’s fault that he immediately pushes the blame on the twin.
Patience…has it limits.
He’d thought Ye Zun might have settled into some sort of begrudging understanding last night, but of course, Yunlan is a fool to think Ye Zun would ever settle for anything he wants. The other is likely sulking out here somewhere, making Shen Wei worry out of his mind because the little shit knows Shen Wei would freak out.
Okay, maybe Yunlan is throwing harsh bombs here out of annoyance. Maybe he’s just being irrationally biased against Ye Zun (for good reason).
He’s gone three fourths of the trail in half an hour, squinting about in the dark, the only light from his phone and the moonlight that shines through after it’d stopped snowing. He yells Ye Zun’s name for the millionth time—though he thinks Ye Zun might just hide from him to be spiteful—and nearly trips on his foot when he spies a familiar figure sitting dangerously on the edge of the frozen lake, tossing chipped ice across the water surface.
It’s hard to miss how round Ye Zun is in his coat.
“Ye Zun,” Yunlan pants when he crosses off the trail into the vegetation to get close to him. “Where the hell have you been?!”
“Here, where else,” Ye Zun doesn’t even turn his head, voice sulky as he throws another tiny chip of ice.
“Why didn’t you meet us at the diner? Your brother is worried sick about you.”
“I’m not hungry,” he says blandly. “And I don’t want to smell your stink on him.”
“Now you’re just being petty as fuck,” Yunlan says, grinding his teeth. “Come on. Let’s go.”
“I don’t wanna,” Ye Zun says, mouth curving into a sneer. “Ge doesn’t want me around. What’s the point?”
“Ye Zun—” Yunlan starts impatiently, but the tone makes Ye Zun vicious.
“You already have him, what more do you fucking want?!” Ye Zun snarls, throwing ice at Yunlan instead.
“Fuck—you, ugh!” Yunlan slaps off the cold water, rubbing his face where the ice cut him.
“Just fuck off and leave me alone!”
Yunlan clenches his fists and forces himself to relax. Relax. He’s the better person here. “Ye Zun—”
“I hate you—"
Ye Zun doesn’t get to finish that sentence, because the ice that he was sitting on cracks loudly and Yunlan just witnesses the other fall straight into the freezing lake.
“Oh shit,” Yunlan curses, eyes wide as he scrambles forward as far as he can, stretching out his arm. “Ye Zun, take my hand!”
To Ye Zun’s credit, the other does try, but he’s thrashing too hard in the water in panic. It’s a split-second decision—Yunlan says fuck it and slides his entire torso onto the thin ice, far enough that his entire chest and arms dive into the water for him to grab the other firmly.
Ye Zun grabs his neck blindly, and Yunlan loudly swears at how fucking cold it is.
“Fuck, I hate you too,” Yunlan says when he’s successfully dragged the other off to the bank with much squirming and heaving and his entire front arms are covered with mud and scrapes from the ground.
Ye Zun doesn’t answer, curling up into a ball. It takes Yunlan two seconds for him to catch his breath and realise that the silence is not good.
“Ye Zun?” he prods the other.
Ye Zun’s body is shivering very, very badly, and Yunlan hurries to get his soaked coat off. Yunlan picks up his neglected phone he’d dropped somewhere on the bank, and flashes the light at Ye Zun’s face. The other only looks up at him for a short moment, and then his breathing starts to get laboured.
“Fuck, okay, fuck,” Yunlan mutters. “Can you stand?” When there’s no answer again, he groans. “God, I really hate you.”
He doesn’t care if Ye Zun attempts to moan in protest. He gets into squatting position and yanks Ye Zun by the arms over his shoulder and lifts him off piggyback style.
“Don’t pass out on me, you little shit,” Yunlan warns as he tries to hurry back as fast as he can, for both Ye Zun’s and his sake.
Ye Zun buries his face into Yunlan’s neck, pressing his cold nose into the bare skin and making Yunlan curse at him for close to an entire ten minutes. When Yunlan bursts into the reception area, Shen Wei is already there, mouth open to berate him for being late—until he sees Ye Zun slumped over his back.
“Di-di,” Shen Wei breathes, both relief and worry mixing tight on his features. “What happened?”
“He fell into the fucking lake,” Yunlan mutters as he sets Ye Zun down to the ground. “Can we get some blankets over here?” he calls loudly. “I’m freezing my ass off!”
Ye Zun curls up in his wet clothes, struggling to stop his entire frame from shaking. His lips have gone white, looking absolutely agonised.
“No,” Ye Zun murmurs softly, head lolling. “Please, no, I’ll be good, I won’t do it again—”
“Di-di,” Shen Wei cuddles him close, pulling him in tight. “It’s okay, I’m here. Ge is here. Shhh, Ge is here.”
Yunlan keeps quiet, grabbing the blankets that the staff have hurried over. They wrap Ye Zun like a burrito, and once the other has stopped shaking too badly, one of the staff hands over a mug of warm water and tells them that they’ve called the emergency clinic and will have a doctor soon. Ye Zun sips the warm water the best he can, occasionally zoning out and clutching onto Shen Wei.
The nearest hospital is several hours away in this snow, so the doctor checks over Ye Zun when they help him back to their room, changed into dry clothes. He tells them to use a warm compress on his neck or chest, nowhere else, and to keep watch. It’s only when the doctor leaves that Shen Wei casts his glance towards Yunlan and freezes.
“You’re hurt,” Shen Wei says, gently reaching for his arm. “Y-you’re cold,” he says, looking up with pursed lips. “Lie down next to Ye Zun.”
“Strip. Then lie down,” Shen Wei repeats, tone commanding no argument.
Yunlan does as he’s told, shucking his wet shirt off and tries to wipe as much of the mud off his arm, wincing when it brushes over the cuts he’d gained. Shen Wei digs into his luggage and pulls out a first aid kit, at which Yunlan raises an eyebrow at.
“Seriously? You brought that?”
“I was worried you two were going to fight,” Shen Wei admits honestly. “It was just a precaution.”
Shen Wei cleans the cuts along his arm after cleaning him down with a warm towel, and takes extra care to bandage him. Ye Zun just watches them silently, body turned and curled into fetal position under the covers. No one says anything until Shen Wei bustles around and comes back with three bowls of soup, which they eat sitting side by side on the bed, feet tucked under the blankets.
Ye Zun doesn’t manage half before he dozes off, head on Shen Wei’s lap and arms clutching his entire leg.
“Yunlan,” Shen Wei speaks, stroking Ye Zun’s hair softly. “Thank you.”
“I wasn’t going to let him drown,” Yunlan says, chewing the bread hungrily that came with the soup. “Even if I was tempted to.”
Shen Wei glances at him with a smile. “I know that didn’t even cross your mind,” he says, leaning forward until their lips brush. “I know you.”
“I may want a reward,” Yunlan says lowly, edges of his mouth curving into a grin.
“I’ll suck you off everyday for a month,” Shen Wei whispers. “…When my brother’s not here.”
“…You fucking tease,” Yunlan snorts, crossing his legs because it’s not his fault his cock swelled at the thought.
“Seriously, Yunlan,” Shen Wei says, and his eyes are glossy. “Thank you. I…I—can’t ask for more from you.”
“Can I ask, then,” Yunlan says, cocking his head towards the sleeping figure. “He’s physically strong, but the cold…?”
Shen Wei hesitates, enough that Yunlan almost retracts his question. “…During the winter,” he says quietly. “If Ye Zun played truant, our father would make him kneel outside the apartment block. For hours. Without a coat.”
“It’s,” Shen Wei swallows. “His body, it reacts…back to that time…”
“It’s okay,” Yunlan whispers, and Shen Wei finds that Yunlan is wiping his tears away.
“Yunlan,” Shen Wei sobs, squeezing his eyes shut tightly. “It should’ve been me. It should’ve been me.”
Yunlan squeezes the warm body wrapped in his arms, pressing his mouth against the slip of skin peeking from beneath the collar. Shen Wei smells deliciously soft all the time, and Yunlan snuggles closer, soaking in the good scent. He cracks his eye just open a little bit, because the sunlight streams in, and blinks when he realises this is not the same shirt Shen Wei wore to sleep last night.
“Why did you stop?” comes a mocking voice from the body.
Yunlan groans, turning away immediately. “Fuck you.”
“I felt your boner against my ass,” Ye Zun says in like a triumphant tone. “So much for not mistaking me as my brother, you fucking pervert.”
“Shut up,” Yunlan elbows him painfully. “You’re the fucking asshole who came in between us, on purpose.”
“I roll in my sleep,” Ye Zun says nonchalantly. “And stop poking me, you’ll wake ge-ge.”
“I am awake,” Shen Wei says, with his eyes closed. “You two, please shut up for ten more minutes. Let me sleep.”
Both of them fall silent, until Yunlan shudders at the thought of mistakenly spooning Ye Zun and makes himself head for the shower. He hears Ye Zun snickering and Shen Wei chiding him when he closes the door on them. When he opens the door, freshly dressed, he isn’t prepared to see Ye Zun kissing Shen Wei again.
Except this time, Shen Wei is awake, eyes wide in shock.
Yunlan has no idea what the hell he just missed while blasting the hot water in the shower, and maybe he doesn’t want to know. But Ye Zun is outright shoving his tongue into his brother’s mouth—hands desperately clutching the front of Shen Wei’s shirt tight.
“—Y-yunlan,” Shen Wei jerks, pushing Ye Zun away when he spies Yunlan gaping at them. “T-this is…this—I…”
“Ge-ge,” Ye Zun breathes, the flicker of hurt so stark on his face that Yunlan can’t classify it anything but heartbroken. “I love you.”
Shen Wei swallows, staring at his brother, and then glancing at Yunlan, and then back at his brother. “Ye Zun…”
“I love you,” Ye Zun repeats, eyes watery and pleading.
When Shen Wei doesn’t respond, Yunlan clears his throat awkwardly. “So…I’m just gonna…” he gestures vaguely to the door. “Call me when you’re…done.”
It’s Shen Wei’s voice that stop Yunlan in his tracks.
“I mean, just two days ago, when he uh…” Yunlan handwaves at Ye Zun, and then sighs. “What the hell, it’s so fucking obvious he hates me because he’s jealous as hell. I don’t want to get involved,” he raises his hands. “…Please don’t drag me into this.”
“Yunlan,” Shen Wei says, voice shaking. “If you love me, you’re involved.”
“That’s—that’s not how I meant it,” Yunlan says immediately jabbing his finger at him. “I’m not going anywhere. But he’s your brother—and your choice,” he says slowly. “And I…will respect any choice you make.”
Ye Zun scoffs, but the effect is ruined by how much he’s crying, wiping snot over his hands. He bites his lips hard, climbing off the bed to storm to the door but Yunlan gets there first, and he leans his weight on it.
“You are not running away from something you started,” Yunlan says flatly. “I don’t want to pick you out from a frozen lake again.”
“I didn’t ask you to!” Ye Zun snarls, hands shaking in anger. “Because of you,” his face twists again into pain. “Ge hates me—"
“Don’t be a fucking idiot, Ye Zun!” Yunlan snaps, his boiling point reached. “If you saw how your brother panicked just because you turned up ten fucking minutes late or how he yelled at me because I said something bad about you or how he stayed up the entire night to make sure that you didn’t get hypo-fucking-thermia, you would never say that that he hates you!” he swallows, reigning his temper in. “…He won’t hate you. If you really knew your brother, you’d know that.”
Ye Zun cries so hard that he trembles as violently as he did last night, but Yunlan makes no move to comfort him—he doubts Ye Zun would want that either. Instead, Yunlan shuffles towards a stone-still Shen Wei and prods him off the bed. Shen Wei still looks lost as to how to react, but when he watches Ye Zun cry for a couple of seconds more, he gently pulls the other into an embrace.
“Di-di…” Shen Wei whispers, cradling his head. “I will never hate you…”
“But you don’t love me,” Ye Zun sniffs, wailing into his shoulder. “What don’t I have? Why do choose him over me?”
“I do love you,” Shen Wei murmurs against his temple. “I’m not choosing anyone over anyone.”
“You don’t love me,” Ye Zun insists. “Not like how I love you.”
At this, Shen Wei swallows. “…I…” he sighs softly. “…Give me some time to think, please?”
Ye Zun clutches Shen Wei’s shirt tightly.
“…For me,” Shen Wei whispers, and Ye Zun lets go with a scowl after a while.
“For you,” Ye Zun agrees moodily, wiping his face vigorously.
Yunlan sighs in relief when it seems like the tension has calmed down, but he speaks too soon—Ye Zun stares at Shen Wei for a moment before deciding to kiss the other again, hard, lips smacking apart when he pulls back, leaving Shen Wei in another shocked daze.
“But I won’t stop loving you, ge,” he says defiantly.
Ye Zun glares at Yunlan and practically shoves him out of the way before stalking into the bathroom and slamming the door shut behind him.
Yunlan purses his lips, because he knows that kiss is deliberate to piss him off specifically—that pesky little shit.