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Some days it seems that his hunger gets the better of him. 

It itches under his fingernails and curls around his core like a snake, making his blood run colder. It laps at his mood, makes him more irritable than normal. Makes his face sterner and more terrifying and tempts him to take more when the opportunity arises. 

When it is for blood or for power, it is a lot easier to sate. There is always someone deserving of his ire, someone encroaching on his territory, someone to deliver retribution unto. There is always Luo Binghe to fight beside; when the two of them take on an enemy together, the bloodshed is more than adequate. 

Violence is woven into his very being, finer than any silk. 

But when that hunger revolves around a man, one that’s rather nervous and mousy yet unnaturally knowledgeable and cunning, it’s different. It’s older in how long he’s felt it and newer in how much he can act on it. It’s strange how it will sneak up on him and bend him to its will. That hunger is the most persistent one. 

Mobei Jun does not know why he woke up in a mood today. It was eased in the morning when Shang Qinghua was more than amenable. Mobei Jun had woken up wanting and had rolled his hips against the man in his arms, rousing him from his sleep. Shang Qinghua had straddled Mobei Jun, lazily fulfilling the unspoken request as he chattered away about what he needed to do during the day. 

His self control did not last; it hadn’t taken long for Mobei Jun to flip Shang Qinghua onto his back and melt away any of the coherency in his words. It had been good, had left Mobei Jun feeling satisfied. 

But he still needs. Clearly, the morning hadn’t been enough. And much to his displeasure, Shang Qinghua has yet to join in court. 

In the morning, Shang Qinghua had muttered something about coming in later before rattling off a few critical pieces of information about the guests that had requested Mobei Jun’s attendance. As soon as they had properly risen, Shang Qinghua had started flitting about his day. Mobei Jun’s own grew busy and he found himself wishing at many points they had stayed longer in bed. 

Especially now. 

He watches the demon in front of him tremble as they continue to speak, carefully honeyed words requesting support against a crop of fire-ant demons in the southernmost reach of his kingdom. Mobei Jun already knows of the situation, knows that sending a few soldiers to the border will take care of the problem and result in a more bountiful harvest of an extremely rare and expensive crop. Shang Qinghua has told him this much.

But he likes watching others squirm. It is clear that it is the first time this demon and their retinue have managed to entertain an audience this important. A couple of other clans are there as well, each to lay out their problems that can’t be simply solved by bloodying hands.

A shame.

He makes a noise in acknowledgement, which leads the other demon to ramble on more. Mobei Jun allows his mind to wander in the meantime, settling on the low hunger that has yet to go away.

It waxes like the moon but it never wanes. It is not hard for his thoughts to drift towards warm brown eyes, messy hair, a mouth that never shuts up no matter how much Mobei Jun abuses its throat upon its request. It is not a stretch either, to remember the phantom press of blunt nails clawing down his back and legs squeezing around his waist as he takes more than his fill.

It perplexes him sometimes, how he can feel so much desire for a single person. But then he’ll take a look at Shang Qinghua’s eager face, his scholarly yet still clumsy hands, the soul-stirring curve of his rear. And it’ll make some sort of sense. 

The hunger stokes.

In the distance, a door opens. The demon speaking stutters.

“Continue,” Mobei Jun says, the first word he’s spoken in a while. It holds enough command that the demon shrinks on the spot before starting again.

Out of the corner of his eye Mobei Jun sees Shang Qinghua enter, exchanging a few words with the guards. 

Shang Qinghua looks rustled, tired. Whatever tasks he had for the day must have run him ragged. Yet he’s still animated as he has a hushed conversation and is pointed towards an empty seat. Only once has a guard tried to stop Shang Qinghua from entering late; Mobei Jun had made sure to make a very vivid example of the demon.

Mobei Jun wants him to sit at the empty desk beside him, wants to watch him chew on the end of his brush in thought instead of paying attention to those who’ve come to seek his audience. But Shang Qinghua says he likes being in the shadows as much as he likes being by his king’s side, so that he can see people before they strike.

And, he’s told Mobei Jun multiple times before, it would bring too much attention to him to stride up to the front if he’s late to court. Mobei Jun does not see a problem in that, but humans carry their shame differently. 

Shang Qinghua insists he can take notes from anywhere. Mobei Jun thinks it’s an excuse to be able to fall asleep without anyone noticing. But it has a low chance of working today. Mobei Jun is acutely honed in on him, moreso now that he’s spent some time revisiting the memory of Shang Qinghua astride him in the morning.

It’s how he notices that the demon that Shang Qinghua tries to sit beside, refuses. The conversation is hushed, but Shang Qinghua’s brows furrow as he gestures towards the seat.

Mobei Jun has not officially declared Shang Qinghua his consort yet. It is less to do with the cultivator and more to do with a blood ritual he must complete on a rare moon in order to have his ancestors favour their eventual marriage. But anyone who spends time in Mobei Jun’s court knows that the cultivator has been claimed in every way but formally. 

They can see it in the way that Mobei Jun protects him fiercely, can smell it on the human. A few unfortunate souls have even been able to hear it.

However, this demon is visiting the court for the first time. An upstart lord with a goat’s head and horns that Mobei Jun has never seen before, with burnt umber and gold robes billowing around him. Demons typically do not look kindly upon humans, and it looks like this young lord has not had someone brief him. Mobei Jun tunes out the speaker, and focuses on Shang Qinghua.

“I said scram!” The demon hisses. Shang Qinghua gives him an incredulous look and bites back with a “What, do you own this place?”

Mobei Jun feels another itch underneath his fingernails. This one doesn’t sink into his gut— this one stays at the tips of his fingers, twitches, yearns for the wet iron of blood. 

“The servants are in the back,” the demon replies, and Shang Qinghua scoffs.

“Are you saying I look like a servant? Why would I be allowed up here if I belonged back there!”

“You tell me!”

In his dull An Ding uniform, Shang Qinghua does look like a servant. Moreso now, since he’s forgone his peak lord crown in favour of a silver-plated hair ribbon around a poorly thrown up ponytail.

Mobei Jun has no idea why his most favoured retainer chooses to wear such things when he has Mobei Jun’s best tailors and money at his disposal. Shang Qinghua has been gifted many sets of beautiful robes suited to someone of a high stature. Most of the time he insists on wearing his peak’s clothes instead. 

The An Ding uniform is incredibly easy to take off though, so in this Mobei Jun has not staged too many complaints. Not yet. 

He raises an eyebrow, causing the speaker to stammer again and beg for forgiveness. Shang Qinghua is still too wrapped up in trying to get the goatheaded demon to move over and give him a seat to notice that Mobei Jun’s attention is on him.

It is only because Shang Qinghua has forbidden him from immediately resorting to violence that Mobei Jun hasn’t materialized an ice dagger and skewered the goatheaded demon. He reminds himself that Shang Qinghua isn’t too fond of Mobei Jun mutilating those who wrong him in a very public way. 

Shame.

“My lord—” the speaker from the southeastern border tries to start again, but Mobei Jun is completely distracted. They continue shakily and he pays no attention. 

“You think you’re special enough to be permitted two seats in this court?” Shang Qinghua asks, his voice ticking up in annoyance, loud enough to catch the ear of the few people seated around them. A few murmurs ripple through, and the courtier sitting to the left of the goatheaded demon inches away. 

“You think you’re special enough to be permitted in this court?” the goatheaded demon snaps back, and the court around them falls silent. Some of the courtiers give the goatheaded demon an extremely forlorn look.

Mobei Jun feels his hunger for blood stir further.

The two are back to arguing in hushed tones, not quite noticing that the focus has shifted to them. Mobei Jun taps his fingers on the armrest of his throne, and those who are extremely familiar with him start to wither in their seats. The demon from the southeastern border has broken out into a light, red-tinged sweat, having abandoned their rehearsed speech altogether.

Shang Qinghua straightens up with an incredulous look on his face, like he can’t quite believe someone is fighting him on this. It happens every now and then, much to Mobei Jun’s ire. He eagerly awaits the day when he is able to mark Shang Qinghua and make him sit on his own throne beside him, regardless of when he enters.

Mobei Jun catches his retainer’s tired gaze from across the hall. Shang Qinghua’s shoulders go rigid, and he bows low in the direction of the throne. Mobei Jun does not act out. Not yet. 

He has been told before that overprotective displays are not always appreciated, has been asked to not shed blood just in the name of the peak lord. It had been Shang Qinghua that had asked, and he is unfortunately the one person Mobei Jun has a hard time denying. 

So he leaves it up to Shang Qinghua. If Shang Qinghua stays, it will be a silent request to temper any sort of punishment Mobei Jun would deliver upon the demon for his impudence. At most, the demon will suffer some sort of public humiliation.

If he leaves, he will be granting Mobei Jun free reign to do as he pleases. Shang Qinghua is strangely attuned to the importance of others so the decision ultimately rests on him. 

Mobei Jun expects him to linger in the back of the room, a reminder of what Mobei Jun could be doing instead of listening to lesser demons drone on. Shang Qinghua straightens up, and Mobei Jun tips his head in return. He watches as Shang Qinghua turns on his heel and quietly stalks out of the hall, the tips of his ears red in embarrassment.

Very well then. Mobei Jun has his answer.

There is stark silence across the hall. Even the goatheaded demon seems to have caught on there is something wrong. The court has gone on long enough, so Mobei Jun does not bother dragging things out. 

“You,” Mobei Jun addresses the demon from the southeastern border, who has currently tried their best to cower away. “You will get what you require. Leave at dawn tomorrow; I will send some of my soldiers with you.”

They drop to their knees and bow with gratitude, but Mobei Jun has already moved on. He focuses his gaze upon the goatheaded demon and lets it sit there, boring into that thick skull. He lets a few moments idly roll by and watches the demon squirm.

“Was it your place to send him away?” Mobei Jun finally asks, voice cool. The demon stutters and Mobei Jun’s eyes narrow, instilling more fear into the room.

“Your highness,” he tries to reply. “This one was just— that is to say, to have a servant interrupt…”

The demon trails off, voice getting crushed under the weight of Mobei Jun’s gaze. 

He wants to behead the demon. He will, he thinks. But Mobei Jun’s power has long passed his need to publicly tear apart those who displease him as a warning to others, and there’s no need to get his clothes dirty in court. It is not a secret anyways, that this demon’s fate has been sealed.

“We are done,” Mobei Jun says. “Leave.”

Just like this, he dismisses the entire court.

Mobei Jun will let the stupid little demon have a head start. He will let him try to escape the palace of the king he offended, after someone in Mobei Jun’s retinue is kind enough to let him know just who he sent away. Maybe Mobei Jun will even let him make it to the wretched forests that surround the palace before he sets after him, a silent predator in the shadows.

There is no dearth of fights and challenges and battles. But it has been a while since Mobei Jun has hunted something more than a beast. Tonight, when the court reconvenes for the dinner feast, he’ll place the demon’s lifeless body back in his seat as a reminder.

As the courtiers make haste to leave, Mobei Jun looks at the squirming demon and idly wonders in which room he will mount his head. But he’ll shelve the thought for later; right now, there’s something clawing at his insides, telling him he has something more important to seek out.

 

 





It would be incredibly easy for Mobei Jun to send a summons and get Shang Qinghua in his room or in the small office Shang Qinghua has claimed as his. He would be able to take Shang Qinghua for himself, uninterrupted. He doubts that will be as satisfactory as hunting him down.

Shang Qinghua is not hard to find. Yet he still does not catch him immediately. Mobei Jun gets waylaid by one thing or another that requires his immediate attention, including a discussion with one of his generals that he cannot simply brush aside, no matter how much he wants to. The entire time, the itch beneath his skin grows. Sending his impatience, people keep their conversations concise with him. 

It takes Mobei Jun a lot longer to get to Shang Qinghua than he’d like. By the time he locates him in a long corridor, trying to convince two servants to sneak him some of the night’s dinner a little earlier, Mobei Jun’s patience has worn thin. 

Shang Qinghua has his back to him and Mobei Jun moves silently, so Shang Qinghua does not hear his king approach him. He does seem to notice how the two servants he has been prattling at have suddenly dropped their gaze and their heads in a soft bow.

“Leave us,” Mobei Jun commands, causing Shang Qinghua to startle and spin around. The servants scramble to obey and scurry away as Mobei Jun closes in on Shang Qinghua.

“My king!” Shang Qinghua exclaims, brandishing his hands. It is still rather strange, seeing how incredibly expressive the man is. Mobei Jun lets the frown on his face relax fractionally, earning him a grin from Shang Qinghua. “Ah, what do you need of this humble servant?”

Mobei Jun is about to answer rather bluntly, when something catches his eye over the top of Shang Qinghua’s head. At the end of the hall, there is a shadow where the wall gives way to a small recess for a storage room that was never completed. It gives Mobei Jun an idea, one that sounds a lot more time efficient to him than slinging Shang Qinghua over his shoulder and marching to their rooms.

There is no door, but it will afford them enough privacy. As long as no one comes down this hall again. He grabs a hold of Shang Qinghua’s wrist and starts to tug.

“My king, I need to– where are you– I still need to– ok, I’m coming, I’m coming!” 

Shang Qinghua makes a sound of surprise but follows, almost breaking out into a jog as Mobei Jun takes long and purposeful strides. He likes when Shang Qinghua has to hurry to keep up with him, and he hopes that Shang Qinghua will understand the urgency.

“Is everything ok— so sorry I was late to court, I swear I was working! If anyone told you about me napping it was only for a quarter hour! My lord, my king, if you could please slow down, this servant can only go so fast ah—”

By the time Shang Qinghua has completed his verbal journey, Mobei Jun has pulled them into the recess of the wall. The alcove is small, just enough to tuck the two of them out of immediate sight.

Mobei Jun wastes no time in pushing Shang Qinghua against the wall and kicking his ankles, forcing him to spread his legs. Shang Qinghua makes some kind of strange, incoherent sound, but Mobei Jun is used to those, and ignores it in favour of planting a hand beside Shang Qinghua’s head.

“You will let me claim you in front of my court,” Mobei Jun states. “Do not make me sit by anymore when someone disrespects you. I want to be able to demonstrate my displeasure again as immediately as it comes to me.”

“My king, I told you that the blood is hard to scrub out of the court’s— mph!” 

Mobei Jun cuts Shang Qinghua off with a firm kiss. He’s long learned how to make it imposing without smashing their mouths together, how to make it demanding without making it feel forceful. One hand curls into the fur that Mobei Jun has slung around his shoulders, and another pats his chest. Mobei Jun thinks he is being pushed a way, but he feels an impertinent tongue lick at the seam of his mouth. 

Mobei Jun slides both his hands down to Shang Qinghua’s waist, spanning his fingers over his ribcage as the kiss opens up. He nudges his thigh in between Shang Qinghua’s legs and crowds in on him properly, leaving no space between their bodies. It’s tame, for now, and he finds himself humming low in content.  

“My king,” Shang Qinghua pulls back with spit slick lips, letting his head thud against the wall. “Forgive my forwardness, but what has gotten into you?” 

There is no mincing words; his hunger is too great. The force of it would make a lesser man cower. Mobei Jun says— “Let‘s do it.”

Shang Qinghua exhales loudly through his nose and Mobei Jun gives him a nip on the corner of his jaw. Shang Qinghua tilts his head, and Mobei Jun feels his mouth go dry at the exposed neck. He licks his lips, unsure of where to go first. 

“So much for romance,” Shang Qinghua grumbles under his breath, and Mobei Jun narrows his eyes. There is no heat in Shang Qinghua’s words but Mobei Jun feels a crooked grin start to tug at the corner of his own mouth. It’s one he knows makes Shang Qinghua squirm. 

“My apologies,” Mobei Jun lowers his voice, and Shang Qinghua’s eyes widen. Mobei Jun would not be surprised if he hadn’t meant to speak out loud. 

He leans in and presses a wet kiss to Shang Qinghua’s cheek. If they weren’t in a hallway, he would have taken his time in teasing Shang Qinghua into incoherence. He almost wants to. It’s Shang Qinghua, not Mobei Jun that has any sort of shame at being caught. Mobei Jun has no compunction in letting others see how well he can claim what’s his. 

“I have thought of you all day,” Mobei Jun murmurs, sliding one of his hands down. It skims over Shang Qinghua’s flank before tracing the curve of his rear. Mobei Jun squeezes purposefully, lets his fingers dig into the muscles. “I have been thinking of how you tasted when I last took you. But this morning was not enough.”

“Not enough— you kept going and going!” Shang Qinghua hisses, and ah. Yes. That was the most pleasant part of the morning. Shang Qinghua looking like a total wreck as he tried to diligently serve his lord however he could, long after he had been wrung dry. 

“And yet I am still not satisfied,” Mobei Jun replies, his other hand dropping down to knead at Shang Qinghua’s ass. It’s plush and soft and Mobei Jun hears himself making some sort of involuntary guttural rumble at the feeling of it under his hands. Shang Qinghua groans and his hips tick forward, much to Mobei Jun’s pleasure. “Allow this one to indulge. He will try to be quick.”

Shang Qinghua’s eyes widen, and something seems to click. “Wait, here? My king, at least a room—“

“Shang Qinghua,” Mobei Jun draws out his full name, enunciating the syllables. He makes sure to let the words sound sharp, following them with a press of his mouth against Shang Qinghua’s. 

Mobei Jun presses his partner further into the wall, doing his best to convey that he has no intentions to leave this alcove if Shang Qinghua grants him permission to do what he wants them to do. 

He’s incredibly hard, with no shame as to how quickly his body has decided to stand to attention. Mobei Jun rolls his hips just enough to feel Shang Qinghua’s interest growing under his robes. What has been simmering within Mobei Jun all day is now boiling, demanding that it gets sated immediately.

In the past, Mobei Jun would be suspicious of such hunger, thinking someone has tried to poison him with an aphrodisiac. After having Shang Qinghua an innumerate amount of times, Mobei Jun has realized this is just how his unassuming retainer makes him feel. 

He sucks on Shang Qinghua’s lower lip and gives a particularly hard squeeze. Shang Qinghua yelps and Mobei Jun uses that opportunity to lick into his mouth. He feels arms loop around his shoulders and pull. He follows easily, letting his body completely engulf Shang Qinghua’s. 

“I want you,” Mobei Jun whispers against his lips. He’s made sure the pitch of his voice is unfairly low, feels Shang Qinghua squirm as he smoothens the edges of his words. “Let me have you.” 

He lets some of his energy flow between them as they kiss, lets the ice curl around Shang Qinghua’s golden core and feed it. Shang Qinghua makes another one of his indescribable sounds. 

“My king,” Shang Qinghua gasps. “This is—?”

A rhetorical question. Mobei Jun knows that Shang Qinghua knows what it means when this happens, when he’s fed the type of spiritual energy that overflows his own, that knits his body back faster, that eases away any kind of side effect he’ll feel if and when Mobei Jun gets too greedy. 

“Are you unwilling?”

No!” Shang Qinghua’s voice cracks over the words as he replies immediately. “This servant is willing, this servant is very, very willing my lord, beyond words. Let me get on my knees and show you how much.”

Shang Qinghua emphasizes his words by fiddling with Mobei Jun’s furs, unhooking the chain that connects them across a broad chest. He bites his lip as he looks down between them, the fur dropping to the floor. 

Mobei Jun raises an eyebrow; the thought is appealing, of having Shang Qinghua’s reddened mouth stretched around him, of holding his head still while Mobei Jun uses it to his heart’s content. But he will save it for when they retire in the night; right now, he craves more. 

He steps back to make room, but just as Shang Qinghua sways, Mobei Jun grabs him by the elbow and flips him. 

There’s a soft thud as Mobei Jun pushes Shang Qinghua against the wall. Shang Qinghua immediately brings his hands up beside him and Mobei Jun pins him against the dark stone by his wrists. 

“Let me be the one to demonstrate my desire,” Mobei Jun all but rumbles as he rocks his hips forward, eliciting a whimper from Shang Qinghua. He starts to pat down one of Shang Qinghua’s sleeves and dutifully, Shang Qinghua lets a small vial fall out. 

Before Mobei Jun can command or tear the clothing himself, Shang Qinghua is already wriggling his pants and underclothes halfway down his thighs. Shang Qinghua decides to unhook his sash and shuck off his outermost robe off as well while Mobei Jun rucks the rest of his upper robes out of the way. 

Shang Qinghua is still marked from the morning, soft red dots littering the dimple of his back. The sight of the bare skin makes Mobei Jun’s blood thunder. 

There is not a lot of space to manoeuvre but there is enough space to look. It’s a shame they’re limited in their movement; Mobei Jun wants to do nothing more than bend down and bite the soft curve of muscle. 

As a compromise, Mobei Jun keeps his gaze planted firmly between them as he starts to trail slick fingers between Shang Qinghua’s legs.

He has to remind himself to take some ceremony while preparing the man beneath him, even if he cannot take his time. He uses extra salve, makes sure to crook his fingers in the different ways that he’s memorized, makes sure to kiss the bare patch of skin between Shang Qinghua’s hair and his collar as much as he just wants to watch as Shang Qinghua takes him in. 

Shang Qinghua has moved one of his forearms in front of him so that he can bite and muffle his sounds into his bracer as Mobei Jun works him on his hand. Mobei Jun uses his free hand to press down on Shang Qinghua’s lower back to ground himself and remind himself when to be gentle. 

When he elicits his first choked out sob of the afternoon, it becomes harder. 

“We’ll get caught if you don’t hurry up,” Shang Qinghua says, and Mobei Jun grunts in return. As if anyone would dare say anything to him. 

But Shang Qinghua cares about these kinds of things, and Mobei Jun does not want a repeat of what happened when they had been caught by an attendant in a courtyard. Mobei Jun had not minded but Shang Qinghua had fled in embarrassment, straight back to An Ding peak, and had squawked angrily for days. 

Mobei Jun withdraws his hands and wraps them around heated skin. He sees the way his hands encircle Shang Qinghua’s waist, dwarfing it, and contemplates what kind of ache he would like to inspire in him. 

“My looord,” Shang Qinghua half hisses, half whines as Mobei Jun reaches down to undo his own pants. “Someone could come here any moment!”

Really, this human sense of shame could get kind of entertaining. 

“Let them,” Mobei Jun says as he reaches down with a slick hand to coat himself. He spans a hand down the length of Shang Qinghua’s back, marvelling at the amount of space his fingers take up when they’re spread. 

Mobei Jun can push Shang Qinghua into the wall and take him till he drags his nails down the surface and squeals to the high heavens. That is his initial plan of action, the mere thought of it sending a sharp pulse through his spine. But he inhales and focuses. Rutting against Shang Qinghua won’t quite satisfy him; it won’t be merely enough to fuck him. Mobei Jun needs the satisfaction of feeling him, hearing him, and seeing the way Shang Qinghua comes apart under his hands. 

In the tight space of the alcove, Mobei Jun turns Shang Qinghua around again. It is a beautiful decision. He’s able to see Shang Qinghua’s flushed face, the way he has chewed his own lip a deep red colour. His eyes gleam and his hair falls in loose wisps around his face as he looks up. 

Mobei Jun cannot control himself anymore. 

Shang Qinghua’s eyes widen as Mobei Jun reaches down and grabs Shang Qinghua’s thighs. Shang Qinghua yelps as he gets hoisted up against the wall, and immediately throws his arms around Mobei Jun’s shoulders. There’s a sound of an inseam tearing as Shang Qinghua automatically wraps his legs around Mobei Jun’s waist and squeezes. 

Before Shang Qinghua can start spouting nonsense like he is so wont to do, Mobei Jun captures his lips in a biting kiss. Shang Qinghua makes a series of noises against him and tries to pull him closer as the kiss turns sloppy. Mobei Jun shifts Shang Qinghua’s weight onto one of his hands, and takes himself in hand. 

“My king, ah your strength is truly unmatched,” Shang Qinghua babbles in between the kiss, his fingers digging into Mobei Jun’s shoulder blades. Mobei Jun buries a smile against the crook of Shang Qinghua’s neck, then bares his teeth. 

He lets his fangs graze over the heated skin, just as he starts to push in. It takes an inhuman amount of effort not to bite through, knowing it’d be more pain than his human can handle. For now. 

Shang Qinghua pants as Mobei Jun eases in, half cursing and half moaning. Mobei Jun groans himself as he feels the heat surround him, as Shang Qinghua’s body welcomes him in. The hunger that’s been churning tumultuously in him starts to overflow, starts to flood all his senses. 

He leans in and feeds a little more spiritual energy to Shang Qinghua as he pulls out by a fraction. Shang Qinghua’s eyes widen and he slaps a hand over his mouth. It makes Mobei Jun smirk, and it muffles the loud sound Shang Qinghua makes when Mobei Jun rocks on his heels and buries himself in one fell swoop.

Mobei Jun kisses Shang Qinghua’s temple as he manhandles him, hooking Shang Qinghua’s calves over the crook of his elbows and folding him in half as he scoops his rear into his hands again. Shang Qinghua sucks his breath in and Mobei Jun finally pauses to let him adjust. He presses him further into the wall and kisses his forehead, his cheeks, the tip of his nose. 

Words do not come as frequently to Mobei Jun as they do to Shang Qinghua but nonetheless, they’ve developed a sort of language between them. Shang Qinghua’s eyes are scrunched shut and he exhales through his nose as he tries to get used to the feeling. 

He kisses the corner of Shang Qinghua’s mouth, and Shang Qinghua tilts his head to meet him in a chaste kiss. Mobei Jun understands and moves slightly, earning a groan. It’s a good one that he wants to hear again so he rocks his hips gently. It is slow and measured, and Mobei Jun is nothing but attentive as the crease between Shang Qinghua’s eyebrows starts to relax. 

Mobei Jun is searing in his own skin but he’s learned that this is one of the more crucial moments for patience. If he takes his time now, the reward will be boundless. 

A demon like him should loathe the heat but the warmth around him feels luxurious, far better than anything he’s ever felt. It’s the only heat he trusts too. He carefully thrusts, reveling in the soft groans Shang Qinghua gives every time he drags out, the ah ah ah’s that fill the air. Mobei Jun squeezes with his hands, just to feel how pliable the flesh underneath is.

He enjoys the small space of the alcove; the walls feel like they’re pulling in on them and trapping them even closer together. The lack of room feels incredibly intimate and there’s nothing Mobei Jun wants to do more than to melt into Shang Qinghua’s body. 

Patience. Patience. He will know when he will be able to take more, Mobei Jun tells himself. The measure for that is when Shang Qinghua starts to talk again. Coherently, that is. 

Thankfully, it only takes a few more expertly angled thrusts. Mobei Jun has an inkling that Shang Qinghua can get just as greedy as him. 

“My lord, how will I go about the rest of my day now?” Shang Qinghua asks him, and Mobei Jun levels him with an amused look as he withdraws a quarter of the way. 

“What day?” he asks, punctuating his words with another thrust and Shang Qinghua gives him a beleaguered look. 

“Ah— contrar - oh, contrary to popular belief, I do a lot around here,” Shang Qinghua tries to grumble, tugging indignantly at Mobei Jun’s hair. Mobei Jun has no doubt about it; still, he likes to tease Shang Qinghua. “Are you going to keep going this time too?!”

Maybe. The thought of whisking them back to their room so that he can lay siege is appealing. But so is the thought of being able to watch Shang Qinghua stumble around his daily duties, bow legged and never properly able to fix his hair or clothes, clear markings of their tryst. 

“For someone who wishes to not get caught, you speak a lot,” he purrs in response. Shang Qinghua makes an indignant sound and sticks out his tongue, which earns him a nip on it. 

Mobei Jun pushes him up the wall by a fraction as he continues to move. He tests the waters, rolling his hips forward harder, and it’s worth the way Shang Qinghua’s mouth goes slack for a second before he uses it again. 

“What have I done to earn such cruelty?” Shang Qinghua persists, and Mobei Jun lets out a soft ha. Shang Qinghua’s eyes widen at the sound and he clumsily surges upward; Mobei Jun grants his request and captures him in a sloppy kiss, pushing him up even further so that he can reach.  

He can feel the ways with which Shang Qinghua is trying to make him forget what he just said, down to him trying to wriggle against Mobei Jun. It’s as enticing as Shang Qinghua thinks it is, but he does not need to know. 

Mobei Jun snaps his hips forward, swallowing down the sounds, feels Shang Qinghua pulse in the kiss as he clings onto Mobei Jun. The smell of sandalwood and ink and sweat is suffocating in the small space, and Mobei Jun finds it incredibly intoxicating. 

“Cruelty?” Mobei Jun murmurs against Shang Qinghua’s lips, utterly pleased. “Would you like to see cruelty?”

Without any preamble he drops Shang Qinghua’s weight down the same time he thrusts up, just to amplify the intensity. It punches out a sharp cry from Shang Qinghua, which he immediately tries to bury against Mobei Jun’s chest. Shang Qinghua goes easily when Mobei Jun lifts him up and repeats the bruising action, again and again and again. Mobei Jun drives forward with more intent, starts to really fuck him now. 

Shang Qinghua whimpers and whines and moans and does a terrible job of muffling it into Mobei Jun’s chest. Not that anyone will hear; the servants sent away would have warned anyone else from coming by. And if they don’t, then the demonic energy that rolls off Mobei Jun in waves will serve as enough of a warning. 

“My lord- my king!” Shang Qinghua chokes out after a particularly hard thrust. “Someone will hear us!”

But Mobei Jun likes seeing Shang Qinghua struggle to control himself, so he doesn’t tell him that there is a slim chance anyone will be brave enough to walk down here. 

“Then be quiet,” Mobei Jun says bluntly and Shang Qinghua whines before clamping his mouth shut. His bottom lip goes white from how hard he bites it, clearly doing his best to hold back his sounds. 

Because Mobei Jun is not utterly and entirely cruel, he leans down to give Shang Qinghua another kiss as he continues to fuck into him with purpose. He can feel the rabbit-quick beat of Shang Qinghua’s heart, feels his own pulse hard. It is maddening, and Mobei Jun allows himself to get lost in it. 

Shang Qinghua clings on to him, arms thrown around his shoulder as he’s slowly unraveled. Mobei Jun wishes he could touch and taste more of his skin, but that too will be left for later in the night. Mobei Jun has already thought about the different ways in which he wants to bed Shang Qinghua tonight, has already secretly shifted most of their duties so that they can stay in bed for longer tomorrow.

It’s incredibly addictive. 

Mobei Jun squeezes his hips and reangles him before he rocks his hips again. It’s true to his aim; Shang Qinghua’s eyes scrunch shut and he pants harder, sounds of his ragged breathing filling the hallway. Truly, Mobei Jun does not think he himself should be blamed if they are found; the only time Shang Qinghua is ever quiet is if he’s gagged, and wouldn’t that have made a beautiful sight?

A small thud catches his attention and Mobei Jun sees that Shang Qinghua has thrown his hand back, using the wall as a support. 

This will not do. 

Rationally, Mobei Jun knows what he’s doing to Shang Qinghua is making the other man turn weak like a jelly sweet. The hungrier, more feral part of him tells him he needs to truly display his strength in order to completely consume his partner. Not that stepping back off the wall to fully support Shang Qinghua’s weight is any great physical exertion for him; one of Shang Qinghua’s favourite hobbies is clinging off his bicep like a monkey. 

(Though, Mobei Jun is sure he can lift a mountain with the amount of strength that courses through him right now.)

Mobei Jun moves backwards, holding tight as he removes Shang Qinghua’s source of support. 

“Wo-oh- ah,” Shang Qinghua babbles as he realizes that he’s being held up in the air. He tries to cling closer and wrap his legs tighter around Mobei Jun, and Mobei Jun starts to move again. 

It’s clear that Shang Qinghua is holding back on all the sounds he wants to make, all the nonsense he wants to say, allowing only small whimpers to escape. It’s an impressive feat, given his propensity to never stay quiet. Mobei Jun cannot wait to get him in their chambers so that he can make him scream loud enough for all three realms to hear. The ability to draw that out of the human is a point of pride of his. 

Shang Qinghua reaches a shaking hand in between them to stroke himself, shivering around Mobei Jun. Normally he likes being told when to touch himself, but Shang Qinghua’s face easily shows a need that is bursting and perhaps beyond command.

Still, Mobei Jun frowns down at him, no real anger behind it. It only makes Shang Qinghua stroke faster. Mobei Jun gives an amused huff and takes it as a signal. 

He picks up speed and Shang Qinghua buries his face against Mobei Jun’s neck. He kisses his own wet, uncoordinated trail along the line of Mobei Jun’s neck, choking back fucked-out sounds, driving Mobei Jun to feel wilder. Mobei Jun is close, but he knows it’s going to be a long time before he’s properly done taking what he wants from Shang Qinghua. 

The pace is unrelenting now, Mobei Jun on a war path to consume as much as he can. The hunger devours him from the inside, engulfing him as he gets greedy with the pliant heat around him. He revels in the feeling of being able to claim Shang Qinghua, over and over again. His hips bruise against Shang Qinghua’s thighs as he fucks him mid-air, and he feels the telltale clench in his core. 

Shang Qinghua comes first, easily. He catches it in his hand, but some spills onto his robes in between them. Shang Qinghua surrenders to his inability to stay quiet and makes an unrestrained, low, sobbing noise as he reaches his finish, whole body shaking and his face a visible red. Thick locks of hair stick to his temples, plastered in sweat, and he looks completely wrecked. The sight of it soothes Mobei Jun. 

Dutifully, Shang Qinghua holds on to Mobei Jun as he works towards his own end. Mobei Jun watches Shang Qinghua’s eyes roll back before he closes them, overstimulated but still willing to give Mobei Jun what he needs. Shang Qinghua lets go with one hand and stuffs it in his mouth, a last ditch effort to save some face. But that too doesn’t last, because the hand drops away a few moments later to dig through Mobei Jun’s hair. 

Satisfied, Mobei Jun finally allows himself to give in. 

He slams Shang Qinghua back against the wall, looking for leverage again. He pins him as he rides out his end, Shang Qinghua getting pushed up the wall with each thrust. Mobei Jun comes and lets it roll through him like a storm, lets it consume him and take over his actions. Shang Qinghua does not even bother hiding the sweet and quiet “oh, oh, oh”s that spill out; there is a chance that he is too dazed to know that he is even making them. 

Mobei Jun can feel himself stirring again at those sounds and knows that despite this, he still craves more. But for now, wrecking Shang Qinghua in a hidden away alcove is enough.

He lets the undertow of it drag him down, continuing to move against Shang Qinghua. A heady feeling spreads through him as he finishes, spreading all the way down to his calves. His spine tingles with the force of it and for good measure, he keeps canting his hips, determined to make sure Shang Qinghua gets filled up.

The feeling lasts for many moments, and Mobei Jun groans with it. Shang Qinghua’s name falls from his lips, mixing in with the indescribable feeling that comes with his finish. 

It takes some time before Mobei Jun finally stutters to a halt, satisfied with what he’s rung out from Shang Qinghua. They pant out of sync, Shang Qinghua’s breath especially ragged with all the strain he put into being quiet. Mobei Jun drops his head, closing his eyes as their foreheads touch. He inhales sharply, taking in the scent, enjoying the overwhelming presence of what they’ve done. 

It’s not till a few moments later Mobei Jun realizes Shang Qinghua is mumbling nonsense. He opens his eyes to see Shang Qinghua looking at him with a dazed and rather fond expression. 

There are not many things Mobei Jun would call endearing; but the things that he would all involve this one man. 

Mobei Jun brings himself back to the moment by dipping down for another kiss, keeping it soft and measured. It does not do much to slow the beat of his heart down, but the haze in his head does start to slowly dissipate. 

Mobei Jun pulls Shang Qinghua off of him slowly and hears his breath hitch as he slides out. He sets Shang Qinghua down with care, keeping a hand on the small of his back to keep him stable. It brings him no small amount of gratification to see the man’s legs tremble as he pulls his pants up hurriedly. 

He allows Shang Qinghua to tie his belt back, to rearrange his robes. He picks up his own fur cloak and Shang Qinghua’s outer coat, and Shang Qinghua mutters about the mess that’s all over the front of his robes. It’s all for naught; Mobei Jun has seen the cultivator idly wick away blood off his clothes after many a demonic conference gone awry and knows if anything, Shang Qinghua will use the excuse of changing his robes to sneak in another nap.

Shang Qinghua tries to take a step forward and his legs quiver. He catches Mobei Jun’s expression at it, and huffs.

“No need to look so smug,” Shang Qinghua says, and Mobei Jun pointedly ignores him. He reaches over to fix Shang Qinghua’s crooked ponytail while Shang Qinghua fusses with the clasp of his furs for him. Mobei Jun ends up pulling on the hair a little hard, just to hear Shang Qinghua let out an indignant squeak.

“We are done for now,” Mobei Jun informs him. “But I am not done with you. Understand?”

“Eh? How many times—actually, don’t answer that,” Shang Qinghua says, patting down Mobei Jun’s cloak as he finishes fastening it. Mobei Jun raises an eyebrow. “You’re going to kill me, my king.”

“I will make it a sweet death,” Mobei Jun says, and pulls Shang Qinghua in for another kiss.

This one is encompassing but not demanding. Mobei Jun slides one arm around Shang Qinghua’s back and one around his shoulders. Shang Qinghua eagerly reciprocates, and the urge to lift him up and carry him back to their rooms is so strong.

It would be so easy to whisk him away, to close them off from the rest of the world save for a few attendants who he’ll make bring both their meals and the honeyed seeds Shang Qinghua likes to eat. Mobei Jun seriously considers absconding from his duties just to do that. But in the end, it’s Shang Qinghua that puts a pin in it by breaking the kiss and straightening out the front of his robes.

“My king, I still have a lot I need to complete for the rest of the day,” he says, like he can read Mobei Jun’s mind. Shang Qinghua tells him he’s not as hard to read anymore as he used to be, but Mobei Jun has not had as much to hide from him. Shang Qinghua presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth, and Mobei Jun tries to chase it for another proper kiss.

He feels a little put out when he’s denied, and it makes Shang Qinghua snicker.

Mobei Jun brings his hand against the wall, trying to bar Shang Qinghua from leaving but the other man ducks under him as he steps out into the hall, looking around. His shoulders relax significantly when he sees it’s still empty. 

“Thank you, my king,” Shang Qinghua does a little bow, and Mobei Jun resists the urge to roll his eyes. Shang Qinghua straightens up and winces with the action. “I will see you at the dinner feast.”

“You will sit beside me,” Mobei Jun says. “You will not think about sitting anywhere else. You will not be late.”

“Understood, my king,” Shang Qinghua nods in deference, but Mobei Jun catches the twinkle in his eye. Before he can do anything else, Shang Qinghua turns on his heel and marches off down the hall.

Well. March is a strong word. Shang Qinghua walks like a newborn deer down the hall, ears and neck pinkening again as he stumbles over nothing and he places a palm over the middle of his back. 

The sight of it is enough to make being left alone in the hall tolerable.

 

 


 

 

Predictably, Shang Qinghua ends up coming late anyways. It is understandable, given that he is the one pulling strings, coordinating efforts between the kitchens and the servants and the dancers and musicians and everyone in between. Mobei Jun still gives him a stern look as he catches his eye from across the hall, but Shang Qinghua has become impervious to him.

Shang Qinghua’s gaze darts around, watching the feast that is in full swing. Mobei Jun is fully prepared to have his guards haul Shang Qinghua up to the front if Shang Qinghua decides to try and sit elsewhere. But Shang Qinghua most likely knows this, and it isn’t long before he is scuttering over to Mobei Jun’s side.

He finds some comfort in Shang Qinghua sidling up beside him, but he keeps his expression taciturn as always. Everyone is focused on a show of strength that has broken out in the middle of the hall, so no one notices the way Mobei Jun tips his head in Shang Qinghua’s direction. He barely has to lift a finger to signal before attendants are placing fresh plates of food in front of Shang Qinghua.

“A fight already?” Shang Qinghua complains as he settles down. “But I spent so long trying to find the best dancers, where will they perform now?

For a change, he is dressed in dark blue and silver clothes that are more suited for a member of the Northern Palace than some puny peak lord. Shang Qinghua’s peak lord crown still adorns the half-bun he has up, but it’s held in place by an onyx hairpin Mobei Jun had gifted him so Mobei Jun is willing to overlook it.

“It is the sign of a good banquet,” Mobei Jun says. The compliment is beyond excessive, but he is in a good mood despite not being fond of events like this. 

Before the feast, he had a satisfactorily bloody hunt. The body of the goatheaded demon has been wrapped up in all its finery and has been set at a table as a clear reminder. The chest the demon had been travelling with had revealed several vials of incredibly unique and fiery poisons, but even if it had simply been filled with sweets, Mobei Jun would have still felt appeased with the hunt.

“My king, are you feeling alright?” Shang Qinghua asks slowly. Mobei Jun raises an eyebrow in his direction. “For a moment there, I thought you complimented me.”

“You thought wrong,” Mobei Jun replies bluntly, and Shang Qinghua grins.

“My king! Really, I worked so hard for you in so many ways today!” Shang Qinghua protests, clearly thinking he’s being clever with his turn of phrase. “Does this one not deserve at least a small ounce of praise?”

Under the table, Shang Qinghua takes his hand and runs his thumb over the back of it as he speaks. It’s a warm, absent-minded gesture and Mobei Jun turns his hand over. He curls his fingers but Shang Qinghua tugs his hand away with a playful glint in his eye. Shang Qinghua gives Mobei Jun’s thigh a quick squeeze before folding his hands back into his own lap.

Oh, so Shang Qinghua wants to be like this.

“Careful,” Mobei Jun warns, but Shang Qinghua looks back at him with feigned innocence. It’s so blatant that it feels like a challenge to Mobei Jun, to come wipe it off his face. If that is what Shang Qinghua wishes for, then Mobei Jun will be more than happy to fulfill it. 

Not immediately though. 

Mobei Jun knows what his presence does to Shang Qinghua, especially when he is dressed up in his formal attire. He knows that it will take just a gentle brush of his hand against Shang Qinghua’s side and a stern glare to get Shang Qinghua tugging at his sleeve. Which he will then of course ignore in a way that will work Shang Qinghua up more, until the hunger gets the better of both of them.

But for now, he’s happy to sit back and enjoy his meal.