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summer skin

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It's too hot to move, too hot to go swimming, too hot to be alive. The air conditioning is broken and Wei Wuxian won’t replace it, something about not wanting to bother, since it’s not like he’ll still be here a month from now.

Jiang Cheng lays on his back on the floor of his brother’s apartment. Above him, even the ceiling seems to sweat. Humidity sticks to his skin like a flytrap. The radio plays something soft he doesn’t recognize. 

He’s been fantasizing about taking a cold shower for the past three hours but to get to the shower, first he’d have to stand up. He’d have to push against the oppressive heat, make himself move. He’d have to sweat.

Next to him, his brother sighs. As if he hasn’t created the situation they’re both in. As if he has no control over the temperature of his own apartment. 

Jiang Cheng-- doesn’t want to be angry. If he’s angry, he’ll be hotter, and if he gets any hotter, his skin will melt off onto the floor and trickle down to the apartment below them, like that horror movie Nie Huaisang made them watch when they were fourteen. 

He has to swallow twice before he can speak.


Wei Wuxian makes a questioning sound, like he didn’t just sigh dramatically instead of actually using his words. Like Jiang Cheng isn’t even worth the effort to fucking vocalize.

Jiang Cheng makes himself roll onto his side, even though his body feels like it’s sunken with lead weights. 

Wei Wuxian looks miserable. His long hair, which he refuses to cut even in the height of summer, is sweat soaked and sticking to his red face. He’s stripped down to just his boxer-briefs, sweat sticking to the jut of his hips. With every breath, his chest moves, nipples pink, skin flushed. His mouth is red. 

Even when he looks like shit, he’s still beautiful. It’s not fair.

Jiang Cheng scowls at him. Wei Wuxian isn’t even looking, Jiang Cheng is only doing it for himself. He will not think about what that suggests, what it means that even when Wei Wuxian isn’t paying attention, Jiang Cheng still acts as if he is, acts as if he isn’t beneath his brother’s notice. 

(He knows better. Wei Wuxian is not safe, isn’t stable . Jiang Cheng has known since childhood, from that very first night, that Wei Wuxian was too much for their household, for their little town, for the world, maybe. Certainly for Jiang Cheng.)

“Stop being sad,” he says.

One of Wei Wuxian’s eyes opens, just a tiny sliver. 

“I’m not sad,” he says, lying. Not even lying well. 

Jiang Cheng’s rage is always so close to the surface these days, has been since their-- since his parents died. Since the flood. Since his sister got married and left to go live with Jin Zixuan, leaving their family house so empty and quiet that Jiang Cheng spends six out of seven days in Wei Wuxian’s shitty fifth story apartment that traps heat like an oven.

“You are making the room hotter,” Jiang Cheng says.

Wei Wuxian smirks. 

“Ugh,” Jiang Cheng says, just to make Wei Wuxian’s smirk into more of a grin.

Jiang Cheng rolls onto his stomach, hiding his face in his arm, the back of his shirt unfortunately sweat soaked. He can feel it on his skin, the cotton sticking uncomfortable. 

He clenches a fist. If he reached out, he’d be able to touch Wei Wuxian, to press his fingers against the hard muscle of his stomach. To feel the twin dampness of his sweat, his skin, familiar and not all at once. He opens his fist, lets it rest on the bare floor. It’s too hot for this, for arguing, even the lighthearted bantering that doesn’t mean anything real.

Jiang Cheng wants, anyway. He wants to crawl into his brother’s skin and live inside him, to reach into Wei Wuxian’s chest and take his heart and hold it, keep it safe, to stop Wei Wuxian from doing stupid pointless, hurtful bullshit all the time. He wants it to be less than 90 degrees in this room.

“Just get a new air conditioner,” he says, into the floor. “Off of craigslist or whatever.”

Wei Wuxian huffs a sound that could almost be a laugh, but he doesn’t say anything. Sweat glistens on his skin, rolls down his neck, over his chest. Jiang Cheng squeezes his eyes shut. 

The song on the radio switches. 

Wei Wuxian sighs again.

Without thinking, Jiang Cheng hits him. Not hard, just loud, the smack of his palm against Wei Wuxian’s hip.

“Jiang Cheng,” Wei Wuxian groans, without moving. “Please, I’m dying, have mercy.”

“No,” Jiang Cheng says. Wei Wuxian groans again.

He hasn’t moved his hand from where it’s resting. It’s too hot for anything, he tells himself. His brain feels like every thought is wading through molasses. But he doesn’t move. 

The underwear Wei Wuxian is wearing are soft black cotton, clinging gently to his thighs, his hips, the outline of his soft dick.

Jiang Cheng presses down with his fingertips, drags them over Wei Wuxian’s hip, over the fabric, to his bare inner thigh. 

Both Wei Wuxian’s eyes are open now, half lidded. A question in the tilt of his mouth.

“Can I--” Jiang Cheng says. His fingers feel too-hot against Wei Wuxian’s skin. 

“Really? It’s so--” Wei Wuxian lifts a hand, as if to indicate the oppressive heat of the apartment, but is too lazy to actually gesture. Or speak. But-- it’s not a no.

Jiang Cheng swallows.

“You should-- let me,” he says, trying to ignore how hoarse his voice sounds. He won’t beg for it. He won’t--

“A-Cheng,” Wei Wuxian says. There’s something soft and awful in his gaze. Jiang Cheng looks away from it. 

Wei Wuxian smells like sweat and like skin. Jiang Cheng presses his nose to the crease of his hip. He can feel Wei Wuxian starting to harden against his cheek, fabric shifting against his face. He mouths at Wei Wuxian’s skin through the cotton.

The air is fucking swealtering, but it’s nothing compared to the heat of Wei Wuxian. This was an awful idea, Jiang Cheng is already so warm he’s nauseous, but he presses in closer.  Inhales, holds the scent of Wei Wuxian in his lungs. 

There are fingers in his hair, brushing against his sweaty scalp, gently pulling him back.

“You don’t have to,” Wei Wuxian says. There’s a strand of dark hair plastered to his face, almost in his mouth. 

Jiang Cheng’s face burns. Obviously he doesn’t have to. Is Wei Wuxian asking him to stop? Does he want Jiang Cheng to leave?

In answer, he lets his mouth graze against Wei Wuxian’s thigh, making him gasp, and then he bites down. Wei Wuxian goes tense under him, a whine in his throat, as Jiang Cheng sucks a bruise into his skin.

When he peels Wei Wuxian’s underwear back, they’re wet, practically soaked with sweat, and it should be disgusting. It should be. 

Jiang Cheng presses his cheek to Wei Wuxian’s half-hard cock. The skin there is soft, hot as a branding iron, softer even against his tongue. He tastes like how he always tastes, a little bitter, salty with sweat. It’s easy to take him into his mouth, to start sucking.

He likes this part the most, when Wei Wuxian is hardening more with every bob of his head. Physical proof of Jiang Cheng’s effect. The way his dick leaks precome over Jiang Cheng’s tongue, how Wei Wuxian gasps at the feel of his lips over the head.

He’s not as good at it as Wei Wuxian-- hasn’t had as much practice, an unkind part of himself hisses-- but he doesn’t need to be, with how easily he can make Wei Wuxian twitch and whine. 

“A-Cheng--” Wei Wuxian groans, when Jiang Cheng sucks at just the head. He’s fully hard now, dick just as flushed and red as his face.

Sweat drips down Jiang Cheng’s neck, his forehead. His shorts feel too tight.

“Hmm?” he hums, satisfaction curling in his chest when Wei Wuxian goes tense under his hands, mouth open.

He has Wei Wuxian’s full attention now, the full weight of his gaze. Good. 

It’s easy for Jiang Cheng to take the whole length into his mouth, the head pressing against his throat, once, then again, then over and over. He’s practiced this, relishes the feel of it.

Wei Wuxian’s head hits the floor as he groans, hips canting upward. Jiang Cheng pins them down with his forearm. In a real fight, they’re evenly matched, but here Wei Wuxian wants it, wants to be touched with hard, firm hands.

“So good,” he chokes out, as Jiang Cheng sucks faster. There’s spit dripping down Wei Wuxian’s balls, smearing against his thighs, and all down Jiang Cheng’s chin. It’s filthy. It’s obscene. Jiang Cheng grinds his tongue against the slit, tasting it.

Wei Wuxian’s cock twitches in his mouth. He’s close, he’s got to be close. He’s flushed all the way down his chest, is gasping.

Jiang Cheng digs his nails into the flesh of Wei Wuxian’s thigh. 

“A-Cheng,” Wei Wuxian chokes on the word. “Fuck--” His hips shake as he comes, filling Jiang Cheng’s mouth. It’s hot, it shouldn’t be so fucking hot. Jiang Cheng can only swallow part of it; he lets Wei Wuxian finish on his face, the wet stripes covering his cheekbones. 

Wei Wuxian pants, after, the loudest thing in the room. Jiang Cheng rests his forehead against his thigh. He can feel his pulse in his dick. He wants-- he wants but he won’t beg for it.

"Can I--" Wei Wuxian's fingers press against his lips. 

Jiang Cheng opens his mouth, tastes the pads of Wei Wuxian's fingers as they drag over his tongue. Wei Wuxian’s eyes are impossibly dark.

It’s a lot, the weight of that attention. It sends heat through his face, into his chest, and then lower. He’s been leaking in his underwear since-- since before he even touched Wei Wuxian, if he’s being honest. He sucks at Wei Wuxian’s fingers, and sneaks a hand into his shorts.

He grabs himself with a rough grip, fucking into his fist too fast, too hard without lube to ease the way. It hurts. He wants it to hurt, wants to just do it and have it be over and--

“A-Cheng, c’mere, come-- here,” Wei Wuxian stutters out. He’s pulling away and Jiang Cheng squeezes his hand around himself, stomach dropping. He wants to stop? “Here,” Wei Wuxian says, again, fingers pulling insistently at Jiang Cheng’s shirt.

Jiang Cheng goes. 

His mouth must taste like Wei Wuxian, like come and sweat, but Wei Wuxian presses against him almost sweetly.

“Here,” he says, into Jiang Cheng’s mouth. He slides a hand down Jiang Cheng’s front until he can wrap his fingers around Jiang Cheng’s dick.

He knows how Jiang Cheng likes it, the easiest way to make him shake, how to be soft with him, precise, firm-but-not-too-firm.

Jiang Cheng hides his face in Wei Wuxian’s neck, mouth open in a gasp. He must look stupid, his face bright red, but he can only feel the heat in him and around him, of his brother’s skin against his, his breath in Jiang Cheng’s ear.

It doesn’t take long before Jiang Cheng comes, dick pulsing in Wei Wuxian’s grip, come covering his fingers and forearm and his own underwear, the heat coursing through him in waves. 

He forces himself to breathe, after. The room smells like sex, now, like sweat and come. It’s fine, it’s okay. 

Wei Wuxian pulls his hand back slowly. He wipes it on Jiang Cheng’s hip, because he’s immature and disgusting (which, what does that say about Jiang Cheng, then, and how badly he wants Wei Wuxian to keep touching him?).

“You started it,” Wei Wuxian says, when Jiang Cheng makes a sound of protest. He pats at his hip though, as if apologizing. Or trying to soothe him. If it was too hot to argue before, it is definitely too hot now, and Jiang Cheng too exhausted.

It’s Jiang Cheng’s turn to sigh. He rests his forehead against Wei Wuxian’s shoulder, unwilling to move now more than ever. He has to shower. He should borrow clothes. He should get in his car and drive home and sit in his own room, in his own house, which has perfectly functional air conditioning. He should’ve done that from the beginning. He needs to learn how to do things by himself.

The radio is playing something familiar now, something his mother liked.

Under him, Wei Wuxian shifts, muscles in his shoulder flexing against Jiang Cheng’s cheek. Jiang Cheng’s breath catches. 

Wei Wuxian twines his fingers through Jiang Cheng’s hair, pulling absently at the short strands. It’s something he does almost without thinking, whenever Jiang Cheng is close enough for it. Digging his fingertips into the base of Jiang Cheng’s skull, petting him back and forth.

Something in his chest fractures.

Jiang Cheng keeps his eyes closed, squeezed tight. It’s just sweat. There’s sweat on his face. 

“A-Cheng,” Wei Wuxian says, but Jiang Cheng just turns over. Sunlight streams into the room, despite the blinds, making it even warmer. 

It’s too hot to be so close. It’s too hot to do anything.