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A Lollipop and a Promise

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Cong Bo and Zhao Yunlan were ripping cables out of sockets, pulling power cords, not taking time to power anything down, when the Inspectorate’s phone rang through the still-connected audio bug. They stopped, darting glances at each other as Minster Guo’s voice gave curt acknowledgment of what couldn’t be good news.

“The IP address has been tracked.”

“Shit, shit, shit,” Cong Bo said, panicking. He gestured sharply at Zhao Yunlan and Shen Wei. “Get out, both of you. I’ll distract them when—”

“Shhhh!” Zhao Yunlan waved him into silence as he heard his father speak.

“—think they’ll wait around for you to arrest them?” Zhao Xinci’s voice continued. “Surely no need to waste your time on an unimportant sideshow.”

Zhao Yunlan caught Shen Wei’s glance as Cong Bo collapsed into his chair with relief. They listened until the conversation turned to the topic of the serum. Zhao Yunlan turned down the volume.

“Is your father protecting us?” asked Shen Wei.

“No idea. I don’t know if he’s covering for me or himself or what, but we’re gonna take advantage of it.”

Zhao Yunlan braced his arms against the back of a chair and leaned on it, head bowed. He just needed a moment to breathe. Everything was happening so fast. He was good under pressure, but these stakes were the highest he’d ever faced, and his current resources—present company excepted—were vanishingly small. There was a lot to deal with. Even if he hadn’t just made a criminal confession to the world, or if he hadn’t just returned from a ten-thousand-year journey, or if Shen Wei hadn’t been stiff and distant since he got back—it would have been a lot. He tried to convince himself it wasn’t the last one weighing on him the most.

They’d been so close, back then. That Shen Wei had trusted him, smiled at him all the time, left off his masks for Kunlun. This Shen Wei was so different. It had been millennia for Shen Wei, but just a few hours for Zhao Yunlan and the contrast stung like hell. He wanted his friend back.

Pull yourself together, Chief Zhao, he thought bitterly. You don’t have time for this.

Standing up on a strong inhale, he beamed a smile at both men in the room.

“And the first advantage we’re gonna take,” he said brightly, “is getting out of our whistle-blower’s hair.” He turned to Cong Bo, serious now, and grasped his shoulder. “Thank you for putting yourself in danger for this. We owe you.”

 “You and Professor Shen saved me from being as bad as the people I thought I was exposing.” Cong Bo replied. “You don’t owe me anything.”

He nodded in acknowledgement as Shen Wei rose from the chair where he’d sat, frozen, since the address. Shen Wei laid his hand on Cong Bo’s other shoulder and nodded once, solemnly, before turning to face Zhao Yunlan.

“Do you think it’s safe to return to our apartments? Will the Inspectorate have placed guards at our homes?”

“I don’t think so. Too obvious. At most they would’ve parked someone outside the building. Maybe in a car across the street. Can you get us home using your shortcut? Sneak us past?”

Shen Wei smiled tightly and nodded.

He needed to be home. He needed to think. He needed to process at least part of what had happened. He needed to figure out what was going on with Shen Wei. He needed to know he wasn’t leading them directly into a trap. Well. Only one way to do any of it.

“Okay, then, let’s go.”


They stepped out of the portal into Zhao Yunlan’s dim apartment that was, thankfully, empty. Neither turned on a light while Zhao Yunlan sidled toward a window to squint through the sheer curtain.

“I don’t see anything suspicious. I think we’re okay. But we should probably avoid the windows and leave the lights off.”

Shen Wei nodded and gestured to make another portal. “I’ll leave you to your privacy, then.”

He dove across the room to grab Shen Wei’s arm before he finished the sentence or the portal.

“Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” he hissed. “You’re staying right here. I’m not letting you out of my sight. Are you serious?”

Shen Wei looked at him, his eyes unreadable through the glasses and the early evening half-light, then turned away. Zhao Yunlan remembered a similar posture, it seemed like eons ago, sitting in Shen Wei’s apartment, grasping his arm and Shen Wei shaking him off. This time he didn’t let go. This time Shen Wei didn’t shake him off, but he spoke stiffly.

“You need to rest after spending so long…back then. I am sure you have a lot of thinking—”

“A lot of questions is what I’ve got, Brother Black. Anyway, you’re just gonna leave me locked up here in my apartment until you, what, come collect me later? Because you don’t want to be alone with me after I— after we—after that?”

He was pushing it. He knew he was pushing it, but he was nearly at his limit and he needed Shen Wei to fucking give a little bit already. Just a tiny budge. Something to reassure him they were still okay, still friends.

He’d given up pursuing Shen Wei a while ago. He didn’t know why Shen Wei had refused his flirtations—it was obvious the feeling was mutual—but he let it go because their friendship took priority. But damned if he’d let Shen Wei escape this. Shen Wei was going to step up now, at least offer him the intimacy of support.

“I need you here, Shen Wei,” he said, cracking himself open, demanding Shen Wei see him.  “I need you to stay here with me.” He squeezed Shen Wei’s arm gently before forcing himself to let go. “Please.”

Shen Wei nodded, briefly, and stepped toward the kitchen, shrugging out of his coat.

“Very well. I’ll make tea.”

Fine with that compromise, he nodded and crossed the apartment away from Shen Wei. He didn’t even indulge the frustrated huff that threatened, low in his lungs. Stripping off his jacket, he magnanimously hung it by the door without looking back for acknowledgement or approval. Then he locked himself in the bathroom, hoping Shen Wei wouldn’t take the opportunity to leave.

He only needed a little bit of privacy, a little time to get himself under control. It had been a long time since he’d allowed himself to need Shen Wei like that, and he’d never, ever, revealed it to anyone. He hadn’t meant to do it now, either. Not to that extent. He’d simply reached a limit and he needed…he just needed a moment.

He couldn’t remember exactly everything he’d said in the broadcast, but the memory of Shen Wei’s stunned silence was sharp as a knife. He hadn’t expected thanks at his declaration that Dixingren were people—gratitude for that wasn’t necessary or appropriate—but he hadn’t expected this awkward stiffness, either.

Taking a deep breath, he looked at his dim reflection in the mirror, lit only by the tiny night-light he told himself he left on for Da Qing. If he squinted, he could see the long hair, the fur collar, the person he’d been—the Kunlun Shen Wei had trusted—looking back at him. He wanted their closeness back. Shen Wei had never, would never, invite his body, but wouldn’t he even accept him as a confidant again?

“Pull yourself together, pull yourself together, pull yourself together,” he whispered to his reflection.

The emotional desire, the physical lust, the terrifying, consuming love—they all came crashing up from where he’d pushed them down for so long. He was tired, and lonely, and, yeah, a little frightened. Choking back a sob, he turned on the faucet, splashed his face.

He had to pull himself together, and then he had figure out how to fix…everything. He figured he had until the tea was done.

Small blessings, Shen Wei was still there when he came out of the bathroom. Small miracles, he was sitting on the bed. Tea and cups sat on the stool nearby. He approached slowly, waiting for an invitation, unable to bear a rejection of any sort at this point.

Sitting ramrod straight, hands folded in his lap, Shen Wei tilted his head down toward the mattress.

“Please. Sit.”

He sat a cautious few inches away, looked at Shen Wei’s profile, tried to read something, anything, in his shadowed face. The apartment was getting darker as the sun went down. He wished he could risk turning on a light. He waited until it was obvious he was going to have to speak first. “So. Time travel. That was interesting. I see why you couldn’t talk about that.”

A slight twitch turned up the corner of Shen Wei’s mouth. Relieved, Zhao Yunlan leaned back, propping himself up on his elbows.

“Any other secrets about your past—well, our past—that you still can’t share?”

Shen Wei turned to face him. His head tracked up Zhao Yunlan’s sprawled body, and turned away.

“I believe the timeline is safe now.”

“Well, I’m glad something’s safe, anyway.”

That got him another tight smile but no additional information. He again tried to outlast the awkward pause, but Shen Wei was stubbornly silent. Resigned, he let himself crack open again, and didn’t feign the break in his voice when he asked, “Am I still your friend?”

Shen Wei twisted back to face him and his hand landed on Zhao Yunlan’s thigh with a reassuring squeeze.

“Yes! Yes, of course. That will never change.”

He didn’t know if Shen Wei was even aware of the touch, but Zhao Yunlan sure was. It felt like it was burning a hole through his jeans. He struggled not to look, to make sure he wasn’t actually on fire. He wished he wasn’t half-prone on the bed. He felt uncomfortably vulnerable but there was no way he was doing anything to dislodge that physical connection.

“Then what did change? You were different when I came back and you’ve been weird since the speech. And I get that it’s weird. I get it, this whole thing is weird. But we were good before I went back, yeah? And when I was there, we were…we were really good. I want to be friends like that again. Now. I need—” his voice started to tremble. I need you, he wanted to say, and didn’t.

Shen Wei looked down where his hand rested. He didn’t look up when he spoke, but he didn’t move his hand, either.

“Friends. Friends like that?”

Nope, he was not having any more of this conversation lying down. Sitting up as gently as possible, he spoke at the top of Shen Wei’s head, still bent over his hand on Zhao Yunlan's thigh.

“Look. I know you’re not into…anything else. And that’s, well, it’s not fine, but it’s okay. I can survive not having sex with you. Barely.” He smiled around the word, hoping Shen Wei could hear it, then turned solemn again. “But I don’t how I’ll survive what’s coming without your trusting me again.”

“I never stopped trusting you, Zhao Yunlan.” Shen Wei continued speaking to his hand on Zhao Yunlan's thigh. “It’s not you that I don’t…”

The grip on his thigh tightened, and he didn’t know how he could have been so wrong for so long.

He’d been so wrong, oblivious, stupid, and slow. Shen Wei never did anything without a reason. Zhao Yunlan had known the attraction was mutual—probably everyone did. He should have also known there was something else going on. Just like there were a lot of things going on right now but at the moment he didn’t give a shit about anything outside this apartment. This was it. This was the moment things were going to change for them—or not.

Shen Wei finally raised his head. His glasses reflected the half light, shielding his eyes with an opaque mask. Zhao Yunlan reached up, slowly, broadcasting his movements, and touched the edge of the frames. Shen Wei was motionless—was he even breathing?—as Zhao Yunlan pulled the glasses off. He held a finger up to his lips, an echo of a motion made ten thousand years ago.

“Shh shh shhhh...”

He placed his hand over Shen Wei’s on his thigh, folded the glasses one-handed, reached over to the stool, and set them by the teapot. Taking Shen Wei’s other hand he interlaced their fingers. Shen Wei’s eyes were huge and dark and open—open like he was finally letting Zhao Yunlan see him again.

“You were waiting, weren’t you,” he asked, not really asking. He knew. “You weren’t refusing me. You were just waiting.”

“I was hoping.”

“You were waiting. For me.” He grinned, giddy, relief and anticipation pumping through him. The vast emotional shift from when they’d first arrived back at the apartment made him dizzy.

Shen Wei ducked his head, hiding a smile. “For you to know enough that this would be an equitable relationship.”

Zhao Yunlan raised their laced fingers to his mouth and tried to kiss them through his grin. He couldn’t stop smiling long enough to purse his lips, though, and wound up just holding them to his mouth while he chuckled softly. “Waiting for me!”

Shen Wei snorted and tried to pull his fingers away. “I should have known you’d be smug about it.”

“Well of course! The most beautiful, powerful man in the world waited ten thousand years for—” his gloating was cut off by a sudden realization. “Wait a minute. While you were waiting for me…was there ever anyone else?”

Shen Wei glared at him, the answer too obvious to need a verbal response.

He was on a delirium-fueled roll, though, and couldn’t resist pushing again. This time from a different, vastly more enjoyable angle. “Was there? Ever?”

Sighing in defeat, Shen Wei surrendered with a voice that sounded like he was reciting scientific formulas. “No, Zhao Yunlan, there was never anyone else. Yes, Zhao Yunlan, I waited for you.”

The sarcasm couldn’t touch his delight.

“You really did. You went all in on a lollipop and a promise.”

“I am beginning to question the wisdom of that choice.”

He was too happy at having their banter back to hold back another dig.

“Oh, you know I’m the best thing that could happen to you. I mean, I know more about Haixing and Dixing relations than probably anyone else alive now, besides you.”

“You implied that a trait we all share is the ability to lose our virginities. Really, Zhao Yunlan?”

“Well, don’t you?”

“I couldn’t say. Obviously I have no personal experience with the subject.”

They started to laugh when the realization of what was going to happen, now, at last, despite every other issue pressing on them, hit with full force. The giddiness that had been stirring Zhao Yunlan’s heart clenched into a solemnity that took his breath.

They faced each other in silence. His heart pounded in his ears, his throat, his stomach. Months of frustrated fantasies and repressed desire were unspooling low in his belly. He squeezed their hands, wondering if it would mask his trembling. His eyes flicked down to Shen Wei’s mouth, his own suddenly dry. When he looked back up, Shen Wei’s eyes were open wide, the pupils enormous from lust and low light.

Zhao Yunlan licked his lips and his voice came out a raspy croak. “So I should probably ask, just in case. This, uh…you’re into this now, right? You’re…” he attempted to regain some levity, “you’re up for getting some, uh, personal experience?”

Shen Wei huffed through his nose. “It might be now or never.”

“Oh, I am definitely not good with never,” he said, and hauled himself up over Shen Wei’s lap.

He was already half-hard and let go one of Shen Wei’s hands to adjust himself. The slight touch was enough to make his hips jerk, just once, just a little, but the movement brought a small sound from Shen Wei’s parted lips. He bit his lip and pressed his palm lightly on the front of Shen Wei’s trousers. Shen Wei gasped as his cock twitched and grew under the soft, stroking touch. He ground his ass down into Shen Wei’s lap and grabbed the sweater vest in both hands.

He curled down to murmur in Shen Wei’s ear, still holding on, rocking his hips. “Let me hear you say it. Tell me.”

Shen Wei groaned into his shoulder as he pulled them tight together. “Yes, yes. I am. I’m—” He gasped out a short laugh. “I am very much up for this.”

He crushed their mouths together almost before Shen Wei was done speaking. The angle was awkward—he was already a little taller and being in Shen Wei’s lap increased the distance—but he grabbed handfuls of hair at the back of Shen Wei’s head and held him exactly where he wanted him. It didn’t matter if Shen Wei was an inexperienced kisser. This wasn’t even kissing so much as it was a rough, wet meeting of lips and teeth and tongues. Shen Wei’s breath was hot on his face, puffing in gasps over his cheeks and into his mouth. His hips stuttered under Zhao Yunlan’s weight.

Then Shen Wei’s hand was in his hair, tugging his head back while his other hand cupped his jaw. He gasped and ground down harder into Shen Wei’s lap as his mouth trailed hard, biting kisses across Zhao Yunlan’s neck. He was light-headed, dizzy from finally getting those lips on his skin, having this man in his arms, wanting him. He needed to touch all of him, feel the skin hidden under so many layers. Before he could move, though, Shen Wei’s hands were under his thighs and they rose off the bed, Shen Wei standing to lift him up as if he weighed nothing.

He didn’t think it was possible for him to get any harder, but now his hard-on hurt against his jeans. It was agony, but his body couldn’t resist grinding into the pressure. Groaning, he clutched at Shen Wei with his arms and legs, not letting go as Shen Wei turned around to deposit him on the bed. He tipped himself backward, and Shen Wei let them fall together onto the mattress. Their combined weight forced the air out of his lungs. The pressure of Shen Wei’s body was exquisite. He grasped at his hair, face, shoulders, trying to touch everywhere at once.

Shen Wei pulled away, panting, just far enough that in the dim light Zhao Yunlan could see an expression he’d fantasized about—not the intensity of anger or distress, but one of desire that hit him in the pit of his stomach. He squeezed his legs, still wrapped around Shen Wei, and rolled his hips in encouragement.

“That was so hot,” he whispered. “Fuck, you’re strong.” He narrowed his eyes and licked his lips, unable to turn off the flirting, even this far into the game. “What other Dixing abilities you got for me?”

Shen Wei gripped his thighs, hard, before sliding his hands over his hips and waist to press his shoulders deep into the mattress. His lips curled in a dangerous smile. “Do you want me to tell you or show you?”

He groaned softly, a wealth of delightful scenarios flashing through his imagination—Shen Wei’s powers seemed limitless. He’d let Shen Wei do any and all of them. Hold him down with dark energy while Shen Wei’s hands explored his body? Trace electric currents of energy over and into his skin? Look into his mind to seek out his dirtiest fantasies? Keep him from coming for hours as they teased and tortured each other? Hours… Wait. How long…

He groaned again, this time in frustration, hating his brain for spinning off in a decidedly nonerotic direction. “Damn it. Damn it. Hang on a second.”

Shen Wei stilled, miraculously patient and trusting—waiting further instruction even as his breath came in shallow pants.

“So you said now or never, yeah?”

Shen Wei shrugged one shoulder, rolled off him, and spread a comforting hand across his chest. “I’m still not psychic. You remember what it is to be at war. Tomorrow might be…” He trailed off.

“Okay, um. This is really not the conversation I wanted to have with you in bed, but…how much now do you think we have?”

 Shen Wei’s hand smoothed down Zhao Yunlan’s soft, blue sweater with gentle strokes as he considered.

“We’re safe until morning. Ye Zun isn’t so foolish as to show his hand until he knows how much of a fight to expect. He’ll send a powerful group or two first, to test Haixing’s preparedness. They’ll ascertain the threat of resistance and report back.” Shen Wei paused and turned his face back to him. “We need to make sure as few as possible return with that information.”

He nodded, grasped Shen Wei’s hand, pulled it slowly down his belly to rest just above the button on his jeans. Best to make the most of what they knew they had. “So,” he murmured, “at least we’ve got all night.”

Shen Wei huffed a laugh even as he slipped the button undone and dipped his fingers below the waistband. “You must sleep at least a little. You need to rest, recover your strength.”

He couldn’t help lifting his hips slightly, encouraging the further downward movement of Shen Wei’s hand. His heart started to pound again, his breath getting faster and shallower as he reached under Shen Wei’s sweater vest. He tugged the button-down shirt loose from the trousers, slid his fingers between it and the undershirt—so many layers, all of them his to remove.

“We might’ve only been gone for two days here, but I spent a while there adjusting to a soldier’s life. And I can guarantee you I’m not gonna be able to sleep tonight.”

Even in the dim light he could see the predatory expression spread over Shen Wei’s face. “I can guarantee you will,” he said, pulling down the zipper.

He groaned in relief at the small release of pressure. His cock twitched, now aching for the touch of Shen Wei’s hands, or mouth, or their bodies pressing into each other again. He grabbed at Shen Wei’s undershirt, wanting skin under his hands. Shen Wei’s belly was surprisingly cool, the flesh firm and smooth. He needed to see, he needed Shen Wei exposed, he needed the last of these barriers between them removed immediately. He started to fumble with the damned layers, cursing under his breath at the darkness and his shaking fingers.

Shen Wei gently grabbed his hand and brought it up to his lips, kissed his fingers. “Let me,” he murmured. “Let me undress you.”

Mouth dry, he nodded. He’d let Shen Wei do anything to him at this point. But when Shen Wei moved off the bed, he couldn’t hold back the slight, high, whine of loss.  He caught a flash of smile before Shen Wei kissed him, lightly.

Seeing Shen Wei smile at him, rising from his bed, disheveled and aroused, was more than he ever thought he could have. It felt like his heart was expanding past the limits of his chest. He scooted back on the bed. Shen Wei made quick work of his shoes and socks, pausing only briefly to press a quick kiss on the inside of each ankle. He crawled up the bed to peel him out of the blue sweater and then pulled off his jeans and underwear together in increasingly frantic tugs.

Shen Wei stood, dropping the clothes to the floor in a shockingly casual manner. All his attention was fastened on Zhao Yunlan, naked on the bed. Rushed and messy Shen Wei was so damned sexy. He squirmed in surprised delight under Shen Wei’s gaze, licked his lips, and firmly resisted the urge to squeeze his hand around himself. “Now you,” he managed to whisper.

Then Shen Wei’s clothes were just gone and he crawled up the bed, looking, frankly, terrifyingly intense. Zhao Yunlan was as thoroughly pinned under that look as he would have been with physical bonds. He could feel his heart beating in his dick. He started to clutch at himself when Shen Wei stopped halfway up and oh swallowed him down like a fucking porn star.

He barked out a choking cry and couldn’t help the instinctive thrust of his hips. His hands flailed as he resisted grabbing Shen Wei’s hair. He settled them on Shen Wei’s shoulders instead and gripped hard, knowing he couldn’t bruise that skin even if he wanted to. Panting, he concentrated on not losing it right then and there. Shen Wei’s tongue felt like it was everywhere at once, suction constant and just how he liked it. Fuck, this was so good, so perfect—where the hell had he learned how to do this?

“Where the hell did you learn how to do this?”

Shen Wei pulled off him to answer, his voice rough, sounding embarrassed. “I…saw some things.”

He couldn’t help the laugh that escaped as he thought about Shen Wei, what, watching porn? Reading articles about blow job techniques?

“What…how?” He wanted that mouth back on him, but was also supremely, annoyingly curious—his dick and his brain in conflict.

Shen Wei paused before taking a deep breath and licking a fat, wet stripe up the underside of his cock. He continued to lick and kiss as he spoke, lips moving softly against him in confession. “I shouldn’t have. I know that. I was… I was in here, cleaning, and I…was weak. I picked up a pillow on your bed. I had Ding Dun’s power and I… I saw, I felt, what you did… when you…” His voice trailed off as he kissed an apology up to the tip.

Zhao Yunlan gasped, and had to grasp himself, hard, at his base. The thought of Shen Wei literally seeing his fantasy life, then secretly carrying that knowledge for so long was mind-meltingly hot. He looked down at Shen Wei who waited for his reaction to the admission.

“It’s okay, it’s…I mean, that maybe shouldn’t be okay, but,” he couldn’t stop his hips from making tiny thrusts in an attempt to get Shen Wei’s mouth back on him. His cock twitched enough to barely brush the lips hovering over it. “It’s really hot.” In the streetlight filtering through the window, he saw the plea for forgiveness in Shen Wei’s eyes, and he reached down to wrap his hands in his hair. He tugged gently, guiding Shen Wei’s mouth back to his cock. “And you never—ah!” He gasped as Shen Wei let himself be guided back down. He held his body completely still as Shen Wei’s mouth closed over him again, but couldn’t stop from voicing his own confessions.

“You never said why—oh—why you turned me down and I never asked—because I didn’t want to know if it was—oh fuck—if it was that you didn’t want to want me—but you did, and you—you wanted me so much you—you—you saw, you felt—” Oh fuck he’d felt.

Shen Wei had known all this time it wasn’t just lust. He’d felt the immense, indescribable love that Zhao Yunlan had trouble admitting even to himself. Shen Wei paused, his lips framing the head of his cock, and gave a small nod before closing his eyes and swallowing him down again to resume that perfect rhythm and pressure.

Every bit of desire and affection he’d been holding back for months came out of him with a gasp and a barely choked-back cry. He couldn’t stop his orgasm, couldn’t even give a warning beyond tightening his already considerable grip in Shen Wei’s hair. Shen Wei didn’t pause for a moment, letting him thrust and pulse with all his desires, all his secrets laid bare and open between them. It was intense and overwhelming and he couldn’t stop coming. He was going to pass out from the best and most frustratingly early orgasm of his life.

When his brain came back online, Shen Wei was slowly crawling up the bed toward him. Zhao Yunlan pulled them together in a hard kiss and wormed his hand between them to find…a sticky mess. Breaking off the kiss, he tried to tip up Shen Wei’s face, hiding between Zhao Yunlan’s neck and the pillow.

“Did you…?” he asked, feeling less embarrassed about his own lack of control.

Shen Wei burrowed deeper and sighed into his shoulder.

“Wow, okay. Well. That wasn’t the performance I’d hoped for your, uh, deflowering, sorry.” He pulled Shen Wei close and chuckled into his hair. “At least we both had a good time. Give me about half an hour and I promise next time I’ll do more than just lie there.”

Shen Wei snorted a quiet laugh but didn’t speak. His head felt good on Zhao Yunlan’s shoulder. He breathed in the scent of Shen Wei’s hair, luxuriating in the sensation of their naked bodies pressed alongside each other. Shen Wei’s hand spread out on his chest. The fingers twitched, then pushed firmly against his skin, as if Shen Wei wanted to hold him down.

“Yunlan,” Shen Wei murmured, cautious.

His heart started pounding again, hard enough he knew Shen Wei could feel it. Right. There was that last revelation he’d had, right before... He made himself stay relaxed and still, fought every instinct to leap out of bed and break the quiet intimacy. At least this was easier in the dusky twilight. Everything was a dark shade of blue now, touched by the glare of streetlights. He took as deep a breath as he could.

“It’s still true,” he said. “I still do.”

Shen Wei pushed himself up on his elbow and Zhao Yunlan fixed his gaze solidly on Shen Wei’s dark eyes, unwavering. The hand on his chest stayed, still softly pressing down. Shen Wei nodded, gently.

“I feel the same. I have for…” His mouth quirked up. “Long enough that I can say I always will.”

The air punched out of him in a quick sigh. It was a lot. Today, these months, this year…all of it, and now this. His heart could burst from the love and the fear and the touch of anger that they couldn’t, wouldn’t, just fucking run away from it all together. That one of the things he loved about Shen Wei was his dedication to doing right, whatever the cost—and that Shen Wei probably felt the same way about him.

He had to laugh. “All in, huh?”

Shen Wei smiled and brought his mouth down, murmured against his lips, “All in.”

This was a new sort of kiss between them, sweet and slow. He tasted himself on Shen Wei’s lips and he traced it with his tongue. Shen Wei held mostly still and quiet while Zhao Yunlan gently mouthed and licked his lips, sometimes putting his teeth into them, softly. Occasionally Shen Wei’s lips would move lightly against his, the tip of his tongue just barely coming out to lick at the inside of Zhao Yunlan’s mouth before shyly retreating back to stillness. A wave of lust flooded his low belly and his body surged upward. That kiss was magnitudes hotter than it had any right to be and his thirty-minute estimate might have been unnecessarily generous. He grabbed at Shen Wei’s hips, pulling them up and over so Shen Wei lay on top of him, their legs intertwining. He squirmed, enjoying the full-body friction.

“So, uh, when d’you think you’ll be ready to go again?” he asked, rolling his hips a couple times.

Shen Wei stilled in thought, as if formulating some scientific hypothesis.

Zhao Yunlan’s stomach did a little flip. He loved his super-powered professor so damn much, and now he could allow himself to admit that. He pecked a quick kiss on the corner of his mouth.

Shen Wei focused back on him and smiled. “I’ve never tried it, but I think I could use a facet of my healing ability to speed that process along. It should be repeatable until exhaustion or discomfort becomes an issue.”

Zhao Yunlan’s brain ceased rational thought and started to play a highly detailed loop of every sexual position he’d ever dreamed of trying. He was quiet long enough that Shen Wei shifted next to him in the bed.

“Or we can wait. I didn’t—”

“For both of us?” he interrupted.

“For…?”

“Can you do that multiple-time thing for both of us?”

“Oh!” Shen Wei glanced briefly to the side in a heartwarmingly familiar manner. “Yes, of course. It would seem rather unfair otherwise.”

This was possibly, despite everything else, the best day of his life. “We are definitely not sleeping tonight, baby,” he said, gripping the back of Shen Wei’s neck to pull him down into a hard, deep kiss.

Shen Wei hrmmed a disagreement but didn’t offer other resistance, melting into the kiss to press him solidly back into the mattress. Zhao Yunlan ran his hands along every inch of Shen Wei’s back and ass that he could reach, kneading the muscles that lay, deceptively smooth, under perfectly soft, unmarked skin. Shen Wei sighed into his mouth, for once completely pliant and accepting under his hands.

After a few minutes, though, the sticky and now-cold mess between them was distracting. He wanted a shower and the idea of Shen Wei’s soapy, wet skin under his hands was outrageously appealing. He pulled away from the kiss and was hit with a thrill of delight as Shen Wei tried to chase his lips.

“Hey,” he murmured against Shen Wei’s still-searching mouth. “Let’s go get cleaned up for the next round, yeah?”

Shen Wei wordlessly demanded one more thorough kiss before pushing himself up and off the bed. He stood waiting, but Zhao Yunlan couldn’t move. It was the first time he’d had a chance to look at Shen Wei’s naked body. Even in the blue duotone light he was, objectively, stunningly beautiful. The silver-white light from the streetlamps outlined the muscles curving over his shoulders, chest, and arms. His belly dipped down into shadow, broken by a dim highlight over his hip bone. Zhao Yunlan managed to prop himself up so he could continue letting his gaze track down slim but solid legs then, slowly, back up. He’d been with some very pretty people in his time, but Shen Wei actually looked divine, like an ancient god—which, Zhao Yunlan realized, he kind of was.

He was, shockingly and thoroughly, in love with a god. Even more astounding, the god loved him back. He had no idea what he’d done to deserve this but he hoped some day he’d be worthy of it. The god stretched an impossibly-graceful arm toward him and held out his hand. Feeling very human, he scooted his way off the bed and followed as Shen Wei unerringly led them across the dark and cluttered room to the bath.

The shift into the rosy glow from the bathroom night-light allowed him to appreciate Shen Wei’s backside, which was absolutely delicious. Shen Wei reached up, ridiculously graceful and gorgeous, to pull the shower curtain aside. He marveled at the soft flex of muscles as Shen Wei reached to turn on the shower. He drank in the sight of Shen Wei, exposed and unashamed, his hand in the spray, waiting for it to warm.

When they were both in the shower, Shen Wei pulled the curtain closed, cutting off almost all the light. Zhao Yunlan stepped into his space, pulled them close, and just held him. The warm water splashed and pooled between their chests as they pressed tight against each other, and he breathed in the last scent of their sex before it washed away. Shen Wei seemed to understand—or share—his need for simple, quiet closeness. For a while they breathed together, eyes closed in the dark, foreheads gently touching.

Their closeness eventually stirred things low in Zhao Yunlan’s belly, and his dick started to rally for the second round. He chuckled softly and pressed it into Shen Wei’s groin. “Might not need that power, yet,” he muttered into Shen Wei’s ear.

Shen Wei responded by cupping his hand behind Zhao Yunlan’s head, then slamming him hard against the shower wall. He caught Zhao Yunlan’s exhalation in his mouth as he pressed his hand into his chest, holding him steady and still. He slid his hands rapidly down to Zhao Yunlan’s wrists and hauled them, dripping, above his head. His body, magnitudes stronger, pressed into him with enough force to drive the air from his lungs again and fuck, yeah, they were both definitely hard again.

He whimpered against Shen Wei’s mouth, still locked onto his, limiting his inhalation. He tried to shift against the unyielding barrier of Shen Wei’s body and groaned at his failure. He thought he was going to combust, despite being under a flow of water. Was Shen Wei into this sort of thing, too? How did—oh. He was struck with an insight that made his knees go weak. Shen Wei hadn’t read him on the pillow just that one time. He’d come back for more—possibly lots more. Zhao Yunlan had put many ideas into those sheets.

As soon as Shen Wei allowed him a breath he gasped out the question. “So what else did you see?”

Shen Wei didn’t try to pretend he didn’t know exactly what he was asking. Instead, he just pressed his wrists a tiny bit harder against the shower wall and ground their hips together in a slow circle.

“Do you want me to tell you or show you?”

This was the hottest thing that had ever happened to him. “Show me,” he breathed, not sure his voice was even audible over the water.

But Shen Wei responded immediately, letting go of his wrists, grabbing his shoulders to turn him. He roughly pushed his front against the wall, pressed one hand firmly in the middle of Zhao Yunlan’s back, and said “stay,” in his Envoy voice.

Zhao Yunlan pressed his burning face into the still-cool shower wall and held his hands flat against it, shoulder-height, as if he were getting frisked. He spread his legs a little more and took a shallow breath, fascinated and massively turned on.

Shen Wei had found a washcloth and soap in the dark. Starting at the nape of Zhao Yunlan’s neck, he gently washed his back, skimming over his ass to travel down the backs of his legs then circling around to wash their fronts. When he stood back up, he wrapped a hand around Zhao Yunlan’s shoulder to gently peel him away from the wall a few inches—just enough to run the soapy cloth over his chest and belly. He leaned forward to murmur, “Step into the water to rinse, but do not move otherwise. Don’t touch yourself. Or me.”

Obediently, he held himself, trembling, under the spray. He felt Shen Wei’s movements, close behind him, washing himself. When Shen Wei’s hands returned, the washcloth was gone and soapy fingers grasped his shoulders to pull him out of the water. They gently guided him to face the wall but didn’t press him up against it. Instead, Shen Wei tugged him back so he leaned against his chest. One hand reached down to grasp his erection, and the other slid down his ass, between his cheeks, to rub softly at his hole.

He inhaled sharply, and his hands shot out to press against the shower wall for support.

“Is this good?” Shen Wei breathed into his ear.

“Yeah,” he managed to pant out. Then, roughly, “You know it is.”

Shen Wei whimpered and briefly squeezed him just a touch too hard, but Zhao Yunlan was way too turned on to do more than groan and thrust into it. He let his head fall back on Shen Wei’s shoulder. The shower spray soaked his hair and ran into his open mouth. Every nerve ending in his body was alight, firing frantic shocks. The hand on his cock moved in slow, steady strokes while the fingers behind him brushed against his entrance in a matching rhythm. His hips pulsed in time with the movements and his knees started to shake. Shen Wei wouldn’t let him fall, but…he shifted his head to beg into Shen Wei’s ear.

“Can I hold onto you? Please?”

Shen Wei touched a soft, awkward kiss to his lips. “Yes.”

Grateful, he reached up to wrap one hand around the back of Shen Wei’s neck and held Shen Wei’s hip with the other. Knowing he couldn’t possibly injure, he gripped both, hard, and took whatever Shen Wei wanted to give. He rocked his hips, achingly aware of each inch of their bodies in contact. The falling water muffled any sound except their labored breathing. The small amount of light that crept over the shower curtain didn’t even illuminate the ceiling above. All his senses focused solely on what Shen Wei was doing to him. Every time he thought he was at his height of arousal, Shen Wei paused, then pushed him higher until he was gasping and shaking on unsteady legs. Shen Wei nosed at his ear, breathing rough and uneven, but didn’t deviate from the smooth, strong pace on his cock and hole.

“Will you come for me, Ah-Lan? Let me see it? Show me how good this is for you?”

He couldn’t hold back a whining moan, and his hips snapped faster in a frantic rhythm. The hand behind him slid to grab his ass, adding a point of stability as he hung more of his weight on the arm holding desperately to the back of Shen Wei’s neck. His eyes opened wide into darkness as the first surge of his orgasm hit. Squeezing them shut again against the spray of water, he rode it, gasping. Shen Wei held him tight, moaning softly with him as he shuddered through his climax and the aftershocks.

Wrung out and trembling, he realized Shen Wei was murmuring loving nonsense into his neck. He gathered what little strength remained to turn around. Wrapping his arms around his exquisite, perfect lover, he caught their mouths together in a breathy, open-mouthed kiss.

“So good. Xiao Wei, you’re so good to me. Let me suck you, please,” he begged, already dropping to his knees.

Shen Wei groaned, fingers catching in his soaking wet hair, squeezed it hard enough that water dripped down his cheeks. He took it as a yes. Shen Wei braced a hand on the shower wall. On his knees in the wet and darkness he slid his hands over Shen Wei’s thighs, letting them guide him up to the cock he urgently needed in his mouth. He wrapped a hand around the base and ran its water-slick length along his cheek.

“I wish I could see you,” he murmured, lips brushing the head.

Shen Wei made a soft sound and started to…glow?

He watched, fascinated, as a soft, iridescent light spread across Shen Wei’s low belly and traveled up his body, down his legs, and over the erection he held, still pressed softly against his lips. In a few moments, Shen Wei’s gorgeous form was gently illuminated from within by a prismatic shimmer. He gazed at the perfection of Shen Wei’s body and it took his breath away. He looked up into Shen Wei’s face and saw the unmasked desire and need pouring from his eyes.

“You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life,” he said, before finally, finally, wrapping his lips around Shen Wei’s perfect, softly glowing erection.

He wished the soap and shower hadn’t already washed away Shen Wei’s scent. Next round, he thought delightedly, as he slid his mouth around the head. He resolved to make this the best blow job he’d ever given, and sucking cock was one of his specialties. Holding the head in his mouth, he pressed the top against his soft palate and ran his tongue along the ridge underneath several times before inching his lips down further, continuing to make tiny, pointed licks along the underside until he had swallowed nearly all of Shen Wei’s length. He stayed there, cheeks hollowed, keeping the suction constant and swallowing against his minimal gag reflex. Shen Wei whimpered above him, trembling, his hips making short, aborted thrusts. The hand in his hair was tight enough to make his eyes water. He could barely breathe, his knees were starting to ache, but there was nowhere else he would rather be. Maintaining the suction but pulling back just enough, he looked up into Shen Wei’s wide eyes.

“Ah-Lan, please,” Shen Wei keened, sounding desperate and broken. “Please, I—” His eyes squeezed shut and he shuddered. The hand in Zhao Yunlan’s hair jerked away, carelessly pulling several strands with it, to clamp around the base of his own cock. Shen Wei’s legs were shaking and his mouth hung open with fast, gulping breaths.

Zhao Yunlan had never seen him reduced to such helplessness, so near loss of control. It was intoxicating, but he didn’t have sufficient restraint to tease any longer. He gently placed Shen Wei’s hand back on his head and wrapped his own hand around Shen Wei’s base. He grabbed Shen Wei’s hip and pulled in short, sharp jerks hoping Shen Wei would take the hint.

Shen Wei cried out and leaned heavily into the arm braced on the shower wall. He began thrusting, but shallow and still restrained. Zhao Yunlan moaned his appreciation and bobbed his head in encouragement, wanting Shen Wei to just let go already. Wanted him to fuck his mouth, his throat, use him and lose himself like he’d allowed Zhao Yunlan to do.

Then, brilliantly, he did. It was like a switch. The hard grip returned in his hair, and Shen Wei’s legs flexed slightly to support the harder, aggressive thrusts. He thickened, just slightly, and Zhao Yunlan groaned, sending encouraging vibrations, before he opened his throat as Shen Wei came. He was spinning, lost in sensation as if it were his own orgasm. He barely registered Shen Wei pulling away. Then they were together on the shower floor, bodies pressed from knees to shoulders. Shen Wei’s mouth was on his before he could even finish swallowing.

After a few moments of messy kissing, the water finally started to run cold. He pulled away, laughing shakily, and reached over Shen Wei’s shoulder to turn off the water. Shen Wei was still glowing—dimmer than before, but enough that Zhao Yunlan could see the slightly confused look of contentment on his face. He cupped it in both his hands, leaned forward for a light kiss, and pressed their foreheads together.

“I think we’re getting pretty good at this,” he said, voice hoarse from abuse and his own panting. “Wanna try something else, now?”

Shen Wei smiled and ducked his head, nodding, adorably shy again after all that.

He laughed again and stood on unsteady legs to step out of the shower and get towels.

Clean and dried, they climbed back into the rumpled bedclothes which still smelled wonderfully of their first time. Zhao Yunlan squirmed around in them on his belly, burying his nose in a particularly-fragrant pillow. Silent, Shen Wei trailed fingers along his spine and over his hip, then spread his palm wide across one of his ass cheeks, ran the thumb along his crack. He smiled into the pillow and wiggled his bottom under the touch.

“Stuff’s in the top drawer, there,” he said, slightly spreading his legs apart. “Whenever you’re ready.”

Shen Wei’s sharp breath sent a thrill to his belly but the bed shifted with the disappearance of his weight. Zhao Yunlan propped himself up to look over his shoulder.

“Everything okay?” he asked.

Shen Wei’s form, barely visible, retreated to the kitchen. He heard some clinking, and then the faucet, filling two glasses. Leave it to his benevolent god to think of everything. He gratefully accepted his glass when Shen Wei returned and gulped it all down.

“So, how does the…” He waved his hand over his flaccid dick. “How does that work? ‘Cos I’m definitely not coming back from that last one on my own anytime soon.”

“Well,” Shen Wei said, settling down with his own glass of water, “I could explain the biological details for you or I can just try it. Which would you rather?”

He stretched out luxuriously, knowing now that Shen Wei could see him perfectly well. “Mmm,” he hummed, reaching up to the headboard. “Let’s just do it.”

Shen Wei huffed out an amused laugh and held his hand over Zhao Yunlan’s groin. A tingling warmth blossomed around his pubic bone. It traveled up his belly and spine, down into his balls, and finally spread gently to the tip of his cock. He stayed soft, though, and felt a little stab of sadness.

“Oh,” he said, trying not to sound disappointed. “Well, it was worth a try.”

Shen Wei snorted again. “Don’t be so impatient. I only reset your chemical balance and autonomic feedback system to a preorgasmic state. I suppose I could take it further and force you into an erection, but I thought you’d rather achieve that the regular way.”

His heart jumped into his throat at the idea of being forced into an erection, but that was something for another day. Shen Wei’s breath was soft and controlled as he repeated the process on himself, and sure enough, Zhao Yunlan’s cock gave an interested twitch just watching Shen Wei’s hand passing over his own body. His mouth went dry and he wanted another glass of water but damned if he was letting Shen Wei go anywhere right now other than between his legs. He slid back down into the sheets and grabbed the bar of his headboard.

“So,” he purred, swaying his hips a bit, “like I said, stuff’s in the top drawer.”

He could almost feel the air in the room change with Shen Wei’s inhalation. But instead of reaching for the drawer, he tugged gently at Zhao Yunlan’s hip. “Turn around,” Shen Wei said, voice unsteady and rough.

Holding Shen Wei’s gaze, he rolled over, maintaining eye contact until he finally turned his face and pressed it back into his now-favorite pillow. Yeah, Shen Wei’s magic trick was definitely working. He spread his legs and lifted his hips to adjust himself and found a pillow gently pushed under him. His heart doubled time and he bit back a needy whine. Shen Wei settled behind him and gently pulled his cheeks apart. He felt Shen Wei’s breath on him a moment before a curious tongue touched his hole, too briefly, then retreated. Helpless, he choked out Shen Wei’s name and gripped the pillow.

Shen Wei hummed and then just fucking pressed his entire tongue flat against him. Zhao Yunlan was lost. It was the most maddeningly pleasurable tease he’d ever experienced. Shen Wei’s tongue rolled in impossible, flickering waves against him—sometimes barely dipping in, sometimes massaging the outside—and fuck. His thighs ached and shook from resisting the desire to grind himself into Shen Wei’s face. It was gorgeous and intense and Zhao Yunlan barely heard himself shouting full-throated cries into the pillow.

It went on forever. Zhao Yunlan was so full of endorphins he wouldn’t have noticed a gunshot wound. The pillow under his face was damp with saliva and tears and Shen Wei wasn’t stopping. He wasn’t even slowing down—except when he did, only to speed up again. Zhao Yunlan had to finally admit defeat and surrender. He lifted his face from the pillow. “Fuck me,” he gasped out. “Xiao Wei, fuck me, fuck me, please, fuck me.”

The room spun and suddenly he was on his back, staring up with wide open mouth. Shen Wei adjusted the pillow under his hips and reached for the bedside table. He desperately needed to see his face. Reaching out a shaking hand to touch the arm dipping into the drawer, he whispered past dry lips. “Can you…I want to see. I want to see you again.”

Shen Wei shot a quick glance at the window.

“Please. Just a little,” he begged.

He tracked the growing shimmer up Shen Wei’s torso with greedy eyes, grateful that Shen Wei was already hard and ready for him. He gasped as the soft glow revealed Shen Wei’s wet, slack mouth. But when it lit the heavily-hooded eyes, the air left his body as if he’d been punched. Shen Wei’s desire and devotion, thousands of years’ worth, flowed out and cascaded over him.

Nobody had ever, ever looked at him like that—like he was the only thing that mattered in the world. Like he was worth dying for.

He wrapped his legs around Shen Wei, encouraging, tilting his hips up from the pillow. “Come on, come on,” he whispered.

Shen Wei opened the lube with shaking fingers, poured some onto his cock, then on his hand and oh yeah, oh finally, started pressing it into him.

“Okay, that’s good, it’s good, c’mon, please, now,” he pleaded, and pulled harder with his leg.

Shen Wei groaned and gripped Zhao Yunlan’s hip with his dry hand. The other one moved to align himself and—oh—oh—started to press his way past the initial resistance. It had been a long time since Zhao Yunlan had done this with anyone but he was beyond ready from Shen Wei’s tongue. Shen Wei’s wide eyes didn’t waver from his as he slid in, slowly and completely. He stopped once he was fully seated, trembling, lips bitten shut.

He was completely, beautifully open, perfectly seen. Shen Wei’s cock filled him while his eyes consumed him. He wanted Shen Wei to know all his secrets, all his desires—every single thing he’d fantasized about on all those lonely nights. He wanted Shen Wei to expose him, devour him.

Lost in the fog of want, he forgot how to breathe. When Shen Wei tried a cautious, gentle  thrust, intently watching his face, his deep and frantic inhale made him light-headed. Overwhelmed, he looked away from Shen Wei’s face, reveling in the sight of the softly-illuminated body, connected with his. The glow from Shen Wei’s skin lit his own body where they touched. They looked like magic.

After that single, exploratory movement, Shen Wei remained still, waiting, trembling. Zhao Yunlan looked back up into his beautiful, glowing face, reached up to lightly touch his cheek. Rolling his hips, he traced his thumb over Shen Wei’s lips then slipped it past them to press against that incredibly talented and generous tongue.

“I’m good,” he whispered. “You can move. I’m ready.”

Shen Wei groaned and began thrusting in earnest. Zhao Yunlan reached back to the headboard, grabbed the bar and held on. They rocked back and forth in an exquisite, intimate rhythm, Shen Wei’s cock at the perfect angle, strong and careful. He was so fucking good at this, at all of this.

No virgin had any business being so good at this. How many times had Shen Wei replayed those stolen fantasies, the ones where Shen Wei knew exactly what to do to him? It was like Zhao Yunlan had given him an instructional guide to his id. And Shen Wei was a very good learner. He must have known how much it would turn Zhao Yunlan on to be seen like that. He pictured Shen Wei, alone, touching himself in his apartment across the hall, hoping for this to happen someday, waiting but unable to resist immediate relief. Zhao Yunlan could picture it vividly now that he’d seen Shen Wei’s body pressed up against his. The image of that magnificent form, straining, hips arched upward, as he brought himself off to Zhao Yunlan’s fantasies…

He didn’t know when he’d let go of the headboard, but he was squeezing his cock with one hand as the other held onto Shen Wei’s shoulder. He forced his eyes open. The weight and focus of Shen Wei’s gaze was magnificent and intense—like he’d looked as Zhao Yunlan knelt at his feet to defuse a bomb. Absolute devotion, absolute trust. He slid his hand up to Shen Wei’s neck and tugged him down for a kiss.

Of course Shen Wei didn’t even break their rhythm as he closed his eyes and let himself be pulled close. Zhao Yunlan licked at his lips, biting gently, sucking in labored breaths. The closer angle and Shen Wei’s weight caused a spark low in Zhao Yunlan’s belly. He wanted to chase the orgasm he could feel building, but…

“Shen Wei, let me watch you come. Let me hear you. I want to see it.”

Shen Wei’s eyes flew open and his hips stuttered, sudden and unmeasured. Inches away, his eyes flickered over Zhao Yunlan’s face, searching, confirming. Zhao Yunlan bit his lip, closed his eyes to slits, and arched up as best he could under Shen Wei’s weight. “Come on. Show me.”

“Yunlan,” Shen Wei’s breath puffed into his mouth. “Yunlan. Zhao Yunlan.” He kept repeating his name until the syllables blurred into moans and gasps. Zhao Yunlan had never fought so hard to keep from climaxing, but he needed to see this, needed to be present for it, not lost in his own bliss. He was close, though, close, and Shen Wei was pounding into him now, hard and fast and so very good. He started to glow just a bit brighter, the blissful astonishment on his face gorgeously illuminated. His hips snapped in a series of short, sharp jerks, and that was it. Zhao Yunlan closed his eyes and fell over the edge with him.

He grabbed Shen Wei’s face and kissed him through the last of their trembling spasms, kissed his cheeks, his chin, his beautiful eyes as the luminescence faded. He pulled him close, needing the soothing comfort of his weight holding him down. Shen Wei nestled his face into his neck and pressed a soft kiss there. They lay silent in the darkness, breath and hearts slowly returning to normal.

He sighed when Shen Wei started to soften and pull away. “I’m going to get a washcloth,” Shen Wei murmured against his shoulder. “I’ll be right back.”

He nodded, sleepy, and waited for him to return. He chuckled. They never had gotten around to drinking the tea.

He woke in gray, early morning light to the sound of Shen Wei quietly moving around the kitchen. He sat up too fast, regretted it, and lay back down with a groan. Shen Wei must have cleaned him up after he passed out but he was still tender in a few spots.

“You let me fall asleep,” he reprimanded.

Shen Wei crossed the apartment, holding two bowls and…wearing a pair of sweatpants and an oversized, stretched-out T-shirt? He handed him one of the bowls and sat down on the bed.

“I did give you a guarantee about that.”

He accepted the bowl but gave Shen Wei a look of mostly playful disappointment.

“Shen Wei,” he whined. “We could have done it so many more times.”

Shen Wei smiled and kissed the frown between his eyebrows.

“You needed to sleep. Eat your congee. We still have some time this morning.”

He turned his attention to the food, eating as fast as possible without burning his mouth. Shen Wei snorted and shook his head but didn’t reprimand him. They finished breakfast quickly and quietly. He tried to hide the huge smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Shen Wei wasn’t exactly lingering over breakfast either.

Taking advantage of Shen Wei’s returning the bowls to the kitchen, he visited the bathroom. As he hurriedly brushed his teeth he looked over at the shower and smiled. He was building all sorts of new memories in the apartment. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to take a shower here ever again without thinking of last night.

Shen Wei was curled up in the bed when he came out of the bathroom. He took a moment to absorb the vision of him, wearing Zhao Yunlan’s comfy, ratty clothes, nestled down in the messy sheets. He looked happy, soft. Zhao Yunlan didn’t know how there was enough room in his chest for his heart. He crossed the room, climbed into bed, and slid his naked body against the soft jersey fabric. He slid his hand along Shen Wei’s belly and tugged gently at the T-shirt.

“These are my clothes,” he whispered, leaning in close.

 “I didn’t want to walk around nude,” Shen Wei whispered back. “But I didn’t want to leave you, either.”

“I like you in my clothes,” he murmured. “I like you in my bed. I like you.”

Shen Wei hummed in agreement and acceptance as they kissed, softly, almost shyly. Zhao Yunlan would have liked to get at least one more round in last night. This morning’s soft mood was a fine compensation, though. The predawn light was different from last night’s streetlight illumination. He rolled away to get one more look at Shen Wei in his ratty lounge wear and grinned at the tent already forming in the sweatpants.

“Don’t need your magic trick this morning, I see.”

“It’s not magic, Yunlan,” chided Shen Wei, trying to sound stern.

“Mmmm,” he murmured, kissing down Shen Wei’s cheek, jaw, and chin as he tugged the sweatpants down. “Everything you do to me is magic.”

Shen Wei’s derisive snort ended on a gasp as Zhao Yunlan exposed his erection and softly kissed the tip. He lifted his hips and then legs to help remove the pants, but when Zhao Yunlan tried to pull off the shirt, he stopped him. “I’d like to…keep this on. If you don’t mind?”

He’d never even thought of Shen Wei wanting to wear an item of his clothing while they made love. He couldn’t deny it was pretty hot, and his cock started to harden.

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s okay. That’s good,” he whispered, bunching the fabric high up on Shen Wei’s chest, kissing up his belly. Shen Wei’s skin was impossibly perfect, gloriously smooth under his lips.

He leaned back to take in the sight of Shen Wei, finally fully visible to him in the morning’s light. He lay on his back in Zhao Yunlan’s bed, breath already rapid and shallow, eyes gazing up in lust and trust, cock hard and waiting for him.

“You really are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said, running his hand from Shen Wei’s jersey-covered shoulder to the top of his thigh. “I can’t believe I get to have you. I…” Actually saying “I love you” was too much, too early, wasn’t it, even if they already knew the truth between them? He bit his lips and swallowed, gave Shen Wei’s thigh a light squeeze.

Shen Wei’s gaze on him was intense and understanding. His mouth was set in that firm line, with his jaw slightly working, an expression Zhao Yunlan had seen so many times. The look that meant he barely held back what he wanted to say. It broke Zhao Yunlan’s heart and mended it at the same time.

“I know,” Shen Wei said softly, gently. “And you know I feel the same way.”

He needed them as close as possible, instantly. He pulled their bodies together and wrapped his arms around Shen Wei, gripping him tight. He would never ever let this go. He’d rather die. Pressing their mouths together, a little harder and more desperately than he intended, he slid a hand to grab Shen Wei’s ass. Shen Wei’s hips were already pulsing in small thrusts against him. He sat up, reached for the lube that Shen Wei had responsibly returned to the top of the bedside table, popped the cap, and poured some into his palm. He rolled them over so they were on their sides, aligned from lips to thighs. Clasping their erections together, he began to rock against Shen Wei, matching his slow, undemanding rhythm.

They kissed for a long time, lips and tongues meeting, then traveling up and down each other’s necks and shoulders as far as they could reach without breaking the contact of their hips. Shen Wei’s hand gripped his biceps, then slid to cup the back of his head. The gesture was tender at first, comforting and sweet, but as their breath and movements sped up, the fingers wound in his hair, holding him firmly.

Zhao Yunlan broke the kiss, panting. He pressed their foreheads together and stole a glance at their cocks, sliding against each other. He groaned with the pleasure of it, dragging his gaze to Shen Wei’s closed eyes.

“Hey,” he whispered, hoarse. “Look at us. Look at us together.”

Shen Wei’s eyes shot open. He blinked, slowly looked down, and gasped at the sight. His eyes squeezed shut as his entire body shuddered and Zhao Yunlan stopped the slide of his hand, briefly gripping their cocks tight, just in case. Shen Wei panted out a laugh.

“It’s okay,” he gasped. “I’m not…it’s just…we look…”

Zhao Yunlan couldn’t hold back his grin. “Hot?”

Another panting laugh and a nod.

Thoroughly pleased at discovering one of Shen Wei’s turn-ons, he waited for Shen Wei’s eyes to open again, then resumed the slick slide of his hand around them. It was a gorgeous sight, the hard, flushed heads sliding against each other, in and out of the circle of his fist. It was silky perfection, that intoxicating sensation of their being held together, bodies aligned and moving in unison. They had started slow and were building to a chase toward a glorious, shared fall off a precipice.

It was difficult to keep his eyes open, but Shen Wei’s focus was still directed down, locked on them, and he wanted to fully share this experience with him. He couldn’t stop his hips and hand from speeding up, racing toward the finish he craved. Shen Wei groaned at the increased intensity and began whispering “Yunlan, Ah-Lan, Ah-Lan,” a reverent chant punctuated by filthy whines and groans.

The sound of him, the smell and sight of them, the feel of them together was too erotic a combination to hold back much longer. “Xiao Wei,” he managed to choke out, “I’m…I’m—are you…”

Shen Wei answered with a final, long groan and pulsed in his hand, the wetness spilling over their fingers, covering their bellies, and spattering his wrist. The additional wetness and warmth triggered his own release, and he locked his eyes with Shen Wei’s as their climaxes mingled. So beautiful, so perfect.

Panting, Shen Wei loosened his fingers from their tangled grip in his hair and they rolled apart. Zhao Yunlan lolled his head to the side, appreciating the slack, relaxed set of Shen Wei’s face in profile.

“We’re gonna need another shower before we go fight bad guys,” he sighed.

Eyes still closed, Shen Wei nodded but didn’t move further.

He looked down his own body, swirled the tips of his fingers in the pool of come on his belly, brought them up to his face, sniffed, and slipped them into his mouth. When he looked at Shen Wei, he was looking back, eyes wide and heated. He pulled his hand from his own mouth to press his fingers against Shen Wei’s lips. They parted, then sucked all four of his fingers down, Shen Wei’s tongue sliding between each digit.

“Fuck,” Zhao Yunlan groaned. “Do we have time to go again? Maybe in the shower? Do two things at once?”

Tragically, Shen Wei pulled his mouth away and shook his head. “Probably not. We should start…preparing.”

For battle. Zhao Yunlan heard the unspoken end to the sentence and silently followed Shen Wei to the shower.

This morning’s ablutions weren’t the same dark, steamy experience of the previous night, but he was grateful and pleased that Shen Wei indulged his frequent kisses and his insistence on their carefully bathing every inch of the other. After drying off, he picked some clothes from the probably-not-dirty pile by his closet and was surprised to see Shen Wei pulling his sweatpants and T-shirt back on.

“You’re planning to wear those all day?”

Shen Wei ducked his head in a wry smile. “I’m going to get clothes from my apartment. On the chance that an uninvited guest is waiting there, I’d rather be…not naked.”

The truth of their situation came crashing back into Zhao Yunlan’s carefully compartmentalized reality and he hated it. He looked away and nodded as Shen Wei silently slipped from of the apartment.

He was dressed and starting to unwrap a lollipop when Shen Wei returned. He wore dark trousers, the light blue trench coat, and the T-shirt. The one he had insisted on wearing while they made love. Barely outlined under it was the bump and shadow of the pendant.

Zhao Yunlan hadn’t seen the pendant at all last night. Shen Wei must have disappeared it with his clothes. He stood up and placed his palm on Shen Wei’s chest.

“You’re still wearing my clothes.”

“Yes.”

“But your pendant is back.”

Shen Wei reached up to clutch it through the shirt. “I didn’t…” he paused, avoiding Zhao Yunlan’s eyes. “I didn’t need it last night.”

So there were still secrets. Okay, he could deal with that. They’d had several revelations in the past twenty-four hours. He wasn’t going to push it. He moved close and tipped Shen Wei’s face up to meet his eyes.

“It’s okay,” he said, and leaned close for a soft kiss. “You’ll tell me one day, right?”

Shen Wei met his eyes with an expression he couldn’t read, but he nodded.

Zhao Yunlan tossed the unwrapped lollipop onto the bed. He’d be back for it later. He turned to Shen Wei, still close to him, still beautiful, still his. He forced a smile and tapped his finger an inch below the bottom of the pendant.

“You promise?”

“I promise.”