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(our friendship) up against the ropes

Chapter Text

Wei Ying stares at the deep red oozing its way through the fluffy cream pattern of the carpet. Aunt Yu’s fancy, thousand-dollar carpet. Which sits right in the middle of the living room, right in the centre of the party, right in the middle of all the Jiang family’s guests. Right next to Aunt Yu herself.

Why is it that every time something goes right for Wei Ying, it’s always followed by a series of increasingly disastrous events?

(Arriving to class on time for the first time in weeks (weeks!) and what does he get in return? Forgetting his wallet and having to beg Huaisang for lunch, stepping in a puddle and soaking his ratty converse through all the way to bare skin, a text from tomorrow’s potential date cancelling on him with no suggestion of an alternative evening, remembering too late that he was meant to be at the party tonight and turning up in his stretched-out hoodie and still-damp shoes, earning him an incensed glare from Aunt Yu and a spiel of abuse from Jiang Cheng, and now—)

It wasn’t even his glass of wine.

“Wei Wuxian!”

Ah, courtesy name. This will not end well.

“You are a shame to our family! Do you lack the wherewithal to even think about how you are acting? No, of course you don’t, you infant! You are an embarrassment, a disgrace, to think I let that man take you in, we should have left you where we found you—”

“Yu-furen.” Jiang Fengmian’s voice comes through gritted teeth as he cautiously places a hand on his wife’s shoulder. The conversation around them has stopped. Wei Ying is incredibly aware of everyone staring at him.

“Think of your guests,” says Uncle Jiang in a low tone, and Aunt Yu turns her furious expression on him.

“You! Always ready to defend him! He can do nothing wrong in your eyes, can he?!”

Jiang Yanli, blessedly, picks up her wine glass from the carpet and steps into the middle of the argument. “It was just a glass of wine. A-Ying did not mean to knock it out of my hands. Did you, a-Ying?”

Wei Ying can’t shake his head fast enough, but Aunt Yu’s expression only worsens. “Get out,” she spits at him. Wei Ying would like nothing more. She grabs the arm of his hoodie and thrusts him towards the door. “Now. You’ll be paying for this.”

“I’m sorry—” tries Wei Ying, but she just marches him into the foyer with too much power for someone her size, turns on her heel, and slams the living room door behind her. The thud of the solid oak rattles through Wei Ying’s bones.

“Well, fuck me, I guess,” he mutters to himself, going to the coat rack before remembering that he had also forgotten his jacket today, excellent. He opens the door; the rain is still hammering on the driveway. Fuck him very much indeed. Maybe he can call an Uber.

“A-Ying. Are you alright?”

Jiang Yanli shuts the living room door behind her with complete softness, and Wei Ying feels a little bit closer to the verge of tears.

“Yeah, m’ fine,” he mumbles. The rain echoes through the marble and panelling of the foyer. “Don’t worry about it. It’s just another thing that happened.”

Jiang Yanli’s expression softens, and she comes towards him, places a hand on his arm. God, she’s so kind, he doesn’t understand how she came out of that woman. He doesn’t deserve her. None of them do.

The fucking peacock appears from the doorway. “A-Li? Are you—?”

A-Li. Wei Ying suppresses a shudder.

“It’s fine,” he tells her. “Go back to the party. Mom’ll want you there.”

She looks torn. “Will you be okay?”

“Yeah, jiejie, seriously. It was just a carpet. If she really does want me to pay I can—I can put an ad up on Fiverr or something. I make a great babysitter.”

Jiang Yanli smiles. “You do. I’ll give you a shining reference. But I won’t let her make you pay.” She rubs her thumb over his arm. A bit of wine had splashed there too, a dark smudge on faded red. Wei Ying doesn’t have the strength to care. “You’ll definitely be alright, right now, though?”

Yes, jiejie, I’m not a baby.”

“Hm.” She bops his nose gently. “I’ll believe that when you prove it. Will you get home okay?”

Wei Ying extracts himself from her grip with a pat. “I’ve called an Uber.” He hasn’t yet, but he doesn’t want her to worry. “Seriously. Go back and have fun. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“A-Li, let him be. Your mother is wondering where you are.”

Wei Ying flips the peacock off over Jiang Yanli’s shoulder, the arrogant prick, and his forehead reddens satisfyingly. He doesn’t wait any longer to hear his outburst. He presses a quick kiss to his jiejie’s cheek and steps outside, pulling the front door closed before she can protest.

He lingers in the light of the porch, gets out his phone and opens up the Uber app. His rating has yet to recover from the loudly drunken ride he had shared with Huaisang and Jiang Cheng last Saturday. He closes the app, presses the cool of his phone against the side of his face. He doesn’t particularly feel like returning to his cramped apartment and the nearly-empty box of dumplings in the fridge and he doesn’t particularly feel like going out to a bar and drowning his sorrows. He’s had enough sorrows for one day. He needs a distraction, maybe someone’s shoulder to cry on. He needs to be comforted, for fuck’s sake.

It’s maybe an hour’s walk through the rain from the Jiangs’ fancy townhouse to Lan Zhan’s apartment. Wei Ying doesn’t want to take an Uber. He wants to let the rain soak through the thinning fabric of his hoodie and make his shoes feel like puddles and his jeans stick to his thighs. He wants to focus on the cold and the wet and the discomfort so that he doesn’t have to focus on anything else.

It only occurs to him when he’s less than a block away that it’s generally considered polite to ask someone before coming over. He usually does, and Lan Zhan always says yes, so it’s not like it would be unexpected or anything—but it’s nearing 9pm, and Wei Ying knows how his best friend likes his early nights.

He stops under a dripping plastic awning and messages him.

 

Wei Ying

can I come over?

 

He waits for at least three minutes before Lan Zhan replies. It’s fine, he tells himself. He’s probably just brushing his teeth or feeding his rabbits or finishing his chapter like an old man. Adorable.

His phone pings.

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

Now?

Wei Ying

yes :(

 

The speech bubbles pop up and disappear a couple of times; Wei Ying pouts. He likes it when things go his way. Lan Zhan always lets him come over, and yes it’s late, but it’s not that late. He’ll still survive if he goes to bed at 9:30 instead of 9:00.

 

Wei Ying

won’t be long you can go to bed soon

just had a bad day :((((

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

Alright.

Wei Ying

:DDDD be there in three mins!

 

Wei Ying bounds out into the rain, renewed vigour in his steps. Lan Zhan will make it all okay. Lan Zhan will feed him tea and let him cuddle Tumbles and maybe even wrap him in his big fluffy blanket, the one that’s amazingly soft from use, if he’s lucky. He might (might) even play for him, if Wei Ying pouts enough.

He smashes the open doors button on the elevator, tries to find a dry bit of t-shirt to wipe his phone screen on. He’s dripping onto the smooth wooden floor, god, he’s gonna have to ask Lan Zhan for at least a spare pair of pants, he’s an idiot.

(He congratulates his self of one hour ago for making the decision to walk; if nothing else goes well today, at least Lan Zhan will lend him some of his own clothes, and any day that ends like that is a successful one in Wei Ying’s books.)

There’s a guy waiting to get in when Wei Ying reaches the top floor, which, okay, weird, he’s pretty sure Lan Zhan’s only neighbour is some fifty-year old woman who writes advice columns for a teen magazine, but hey, maybe he’s her visiting son or something. Wei Ying steps out of the way with a brief smile and catches sight of the blotchy hickey on the guy’s neck peeking out over his rumpled shirt. Wow, okay, maybe not her son. He tries not to think about the age difference implications, but the guy is halfway-decent looking, so he can’t blame her.

He drips outside Lan Zhan’s door and raises his fist to knock. Lan Zhan opens it before he has a chance.

In this moment, he decides after the fact, Wei Ying’s brain experiences a blue screen of death.

While his processing functions are still rebooting, Wei Ying takes note of several very important facts:

  1. Lan Zhan is shirtless.
  2. Lan Zhan’s hair is loose around his shoulders and looking decidedly messy.
  3. Lan Zhan’s pecs are beautiful.
  4. Lan Zhan’s abs are beautiful.
  5. Lan Zhan’s perfectly-sculpted V is beautiful.
  6. Lan Zhan has a watercolour tattoo of little purple flowers curving around his waist and dipping into that perfect V.
  7. Lan Zhan is wearing low-slung soft grey sweatpants that leave very little to the imagination.

The reboot completes, and Wei Ying’s brain smashes this information together into two mind-shattering thoughts. Number one, he knew very well already, and is now further seared by defined muscles and a mouth-watering tattoo into his every waking moment: Lan Zhan is the hottest fucking person on the planet.

Number two: that guy wasn’t visiting Lan Zhan’s neighbour, he was visiting Lan Zhan, which means:

Lan Zhan fucks.

Lan Zhan fucks.

Lan Zhan fucks.

Wei Ying realises that he has been staring for some time, and oh, yes, Lan Zhan is speaking to him. He drags his eyes back up to his face. He’s never seen him with hair this messy before. Oh god.

“Wei Ying, are you okay?”

“Huh—wha—yeah, hi, Lan Zhan.” He licks his lips, swallows. Behave, Wei Ying. Behave like a normal fucking human. “Yes, hello. Good evening. I am fine.” Lan Zhan gives him a strange look. Mission already failed, wow.

“Would you like to come in?”

“Er, yep, yep, would like to.”

Lan Zhan steps to the side, and Wei Ying remains frozen in place. “Wei Ying? Are you coming in?”

“Hah. Yes.” He does, but stops on the mat, once he realises he’s still dripping. “Um.”

Lan Zhan looks him up and down, and his lips do a funny little quirk. “There are towels in the guest bathroom,” he says. “I will leave you something to wear.”

“‘M sorry,” mumbles Wei Ying, crouching down in an attempt to peel himself out of his shoes; this brings him at eye-level with Lan Zhan’s crotch, and he tries very hard not to think about that. Not to think about the fact that Lan Zhan almost definitely isn’t wearing underwear and that the line of his dick in his sweatpants is very obvious and very sizeable. Thankfully Lan Zhan steps away before Wei Ying can do something wonderfully stupid like lean forward and put his mouth on it.

He gets his shoes off and follows Lan Zhan in sticky wet feet to the guest bathroom. (His back, holy shit.) He does not look in through Lan Zhan’s bedroom door as they pass and does not see the sheets hanging halfway off the bed, in case he had any doubts about what Lan Zhan and the guy were doing, and he certainly does not get turned on by the idea.

Lan Zhan fucks. Holy shit.

Lan Zhan kindly turns on the bathroom light for him and points out where the towels and various luxury shower products are, even though Wei Ying did also shower in this very same bathroom last time he showed up at Lan Zhan’s door totally drenched. (His and Huaisang’s prank wars do have a tendency to get out of hand, but the bucket of ice water over the top of the bathroom stall had just been lazy.)

“I will put some clothes outside the door,” says Lan Zhan, and leaves. Wei Ying stares at the fluffy white bathrobe hanging on the back of the door like it will unhook itself, give him a good shake, and tell him to pull himself together. It does not.

He vaguely registers pulling off his hoodie and t-shirt in a wet splat and peeling off his jeans and boxers. Steps under the warm flow of water and continues to stare unseeing at the glass of the door as it steams up. Absentmindedly grabs a fuzzy blue washcloth and squirts some high end shower gel onto it. Mentally, he is still staring at Lan Zhan’s flawless body and mussed up hair and floral tattoo and coming to terms with the fact that Lan Zhan fucks.

So like, he has known Lan Zhan for years. Literally years. They met as freshmen in high school. They groaned over AP chemistry homework together. (Wei Ying did all of the groaning). They graduated together and went out to a nice restaurant to celebrate and Lan Zhan paid and it was the most spoilt Wei Ying has ever felt. They applied for college together and went out for dinner again when Wei Ying got into NYU and Lan Zhan got into Manhattan School of Music. They kept each other going through sleepless nights of dissertation writing and Wei Ying losing his mind over his engineering final project. They went out for an incredibly fancy dinner when they both got honors with distinction, and Wei Ying cried the whole way through Lan Zhan’s first solo concert. They meet up for coffee every Tuesday and Friday. Wei Ying has a video of every performance Lan Zhan’s done saved into a folder on his phone. Lan Zhan sends him pictures of Tumbles and Humphrey and Bubbles and Wei Ying sends him memes.

And all this time, Lan Zhan has not made one (one!) mention of hook ups, or boyfriends, or dates. Oh, Wei Ying knew he was gay, has known since they watched Pride and Prejudice 2005 (dir. Joe Wright) together at the tender age of fifteen and he had teased Lan Zhan about having a crush on Keira Knightley and Lan Zhan’s ears had gone pink and he had muttered something under his breath and Wei Ying had annoyed him until he had finally spoken up and said Mr Darcy was more his type.

Wei Ying had thought that Lan Zhan would make an excellent Mr Darcy. He was more of an Elizabeth, himself.

But throughout high school and college Lan Zhan has never ever said anything about being involved. He’s listened at length to Wei Ying complain about how Rachel Newell had kissed him at prom and then had gone home in Greg Sullivan’s arms, has heard in too-great detail about Wei Ying’s tempestuous relationship with his first boyfriend in freshman year of college, has comforted him with home baking and more of Pride and Prejudice 2005 (dir. Joe Wright) after every messy break up and every failed attempt at a new start. In Wei Ying’s memory, he’s always been single, and perfect, and quite simply above the reach of mortal men.

How long has Lan Zhan been fucking? Why didn’t he tell Wei Ying? Why not even an off-hand comment? Has he dated without giving him any juicy deets? Does he just do one-night stands? Was that guy his boyfriend? Does he have a boyfriend that Wei Ying doesn’t know about?

The thought turns something in his chest, makes him feel a little bit sick, so he tries not to think about it and reverts to the glorious image of Lan Zhan’s naked chest. And also realises he has been standing under the shower with the washcloth hanging limp in his hand for what feels like twenty whole minutes. Whoops.

He finishes off (he does not touch himself, even though he’s been at half mast since Lan Zhan answered the door, because this is Lan Zhan’s shower, god, and what if he has a boyfriend—) and wraps himself in a towel to crack the door open. There is a little pile of clothes folded neatly outside. He grabs it and fights down the blush when he sees that his incredibly hot best friend has given him a pair of boxers as well. It’s just underwear. It’s normal.

They’re the same soft dark grey lounge pants and faded Batman t-shirt that Lan Zhan had lent him last time. The thought that Lan Zhan has a set of clothes that are specially Wei Ying’s makes him feel a tiny bit better about the fact that Lan Zhan might have a secret boyfriend.

(And why should he feel upset about that? Lan Zhan is an amazing person and deserves to be loved. He deserves a boyfriend. Someone who can be just as kind and caring and gentle and smart and talented and funny as him. Wei Ying should be happy for him. He wants to be happy for him. He’s not sure why he can’t.)

Lan Zhan is scrolling through an article on his tablet at the glossy granite counter separating the kitchen from the open living room. He looks up when Wei Ying enters. He’s showered too, still-damp hair trailing down the back of his pristine white sleep shirt. Wei Ying bemoans the loss of those glorious planes of skin.

“Better?” asks Lan Zhan, flipping his tablet shut.

“God, so much,” groans Wei Ying, and flings himself onto the couch. “Please don’t let me be an idiot and try to walk from the townhouse to here again.”

“You could have called an Uber,” Lan Zhan comments.

“My rating sucks.” Wei Ying rolls onto his side so that he can see him better. “Courtesy of Jiang Cheng and Huaisang. And just my general disaster-ness, I guess.”

“Wei Ying is not a disaster,” says Lan Zhan, which is kind, but not true. “Have you eaten?”

He thinks back over the day. His pastrami sandwich will cost him a valuable Sunday afternoon helping Huaisang with his lengthily ongoing pigeon photography project, which will mostly involve chasing pigeons around in various public parks until they fly at just the right angles for Huaisang’s camera. He’d managed about three canapes at the party before Aunt Yu had thrown him out.

“Nngh,” he says as a response.

Lan Zhan’s chair scrapes and he appears a minute later with a steaming bowl of tofu stir fry and egg noodles. He sets it down on the coffee table beside Wei Ying with a bottle of hot sauce.

“Eat.”

“What the fuck, Lan Zhan, you did not just make this while I was in the shower.”

“Mn. Reheated. Sorry there is no meat.”

Wei Ying will eat all the tofu in the world if it means Lan Zhan will ply him with food and kindness. “Mmf,” he manages through a mouthful. “‘S really good, Lan Zhan, thank you so much.”

“No need for thanks,” Lan Zhan says. He goes back to the kitchen and Wei Ying watches him pour two perfect cups of tea. He arranges them neatly on a small tray and brings them back with him. “Ginger and lemongrass. No caffeine before bed.”

“You’re a literal saint, Lan Zhan.” Wei Ying has already almost finished the noodles. He shovels the last few mouthfuls in and sets his chopsticks down over the bowl with a satisfying snick. “God, I don’t know where I’d be without you.”

“At home with your own reheated leftovers?” suggests Lan Zhan.

The sweet sarcasm stabs him straight in the heart. “Haha, very funny. Your leftovers are so much better than mine. I have like three soggy dumplings and two week-old pizza slices in my fridge. Your food is fresh and healthy. I get health benefits from being your friend, Lan Zhan.”

“Mn.” Lan Zhan watches him, then pulls The Blanket off an armchair and drapes it around Wei Ying’s shoulders. Wei Ying melts a little inside. Lan Zhan sits next to him on the couch and hands him his cup of tea. It’s perfect. He is perfect. “Tumbles is asleep, I’m sorry.” He turns and gives Wei Ying a steady, knowing look. “What happened?”

What happened? You had someone here having sex with you, Lan Zhan, literally two minutes before I arrived, and then you opened the door wearing only a hastily-thrown on pair of sweatpants and then you acted as if nothing was amiss and gave me a shower and food and tea—

“Your text. You had a bad day. Do you want to elaborate? It is fine if not.”

Oh. Oh. He had completely forgotten about his reason for visiting Lan Zhan in the first place.

“Oh yeah, that. Hah. It’s fine, really, nothing to worry about.” He sips his tea and glances at Lan Zhan over the top of the cup. Lan Zhan is looking at him like he just told him his real name was Tiffany and he’s saving himself for marriage. It is extremely effective. “Heh. Just a lot of stuff happened one on top of the other. Was getting to me.”

“Tell me.”

So he does, and Lan Zhan listens, because Lan Zhan is perfect like that. The wallet still lying at home on his kitchen counter and the puddle and the cancelled date and the party, god, the party, and then walking in the rain just because he needed to feel something physical and psychological to distract him from the overwhelming fragility of self. “It’s like the universe has a personal vendetta for me, Lan Zhan. To think I suffered this much just because I managed to drag myself out of bed ten minutes earlier than normal. Ugh. I’m never gonna be on time again.”

“Punctuality is important,” says Lan Zhan, who has pulled his knees up onto the couch to face him and always arrives everywhere exactly two minutes before time.

“Punctuality is for functioning adults, Lan Zhan, and that would describe Jin Ling better than me.”

“Perhaps you should try working those extra ten minutes into your morning routine.”

“Perhaps you should not give me advice that you know I won’t follow.”

“Perhaps you should learn some self-discipline.”

“Perhaps you should teach me.”

Wei Ying freezes. The words are out before he has time to stop them. Lan Zhan stares at him, ears turning a delicate crimson. Fuck, where had that come from? (Maybe from the fact that Lan Zhan fucks, holy shit.)

The tension drags, thick enough to smear over toast. A bunny shuffles in the cage across the room. Wei Ying is acutely aware of the press of his shins against Lan Zhan’s knees.

Lan Zhan clears his throat, sits back, and the tension is broken. Wei Ying tries to laugh it off. “Hah, Lan Zhan, you should have seen your face. It was just fli—joking. Your ears went red, oh my god.”

Lan Zhan stands up and clears the empty cups and noodles bowls. Wei Ying thinks he mutters something under his breath, but he doesn’t catch it.

He thinks the evening might be coming to an end. He checks his phone—10:36, yikes, Lan Zhan must be exhausted. He reluctantly shucks off the blanket and follows him into the kitchen.

“I should really be getting home,” he says, and receives the perfect response: Lan Zhan rounds on him with a withering look and scoffs, just very slightly. “It’s fine,” continues Wei Ying. “I’ll walk.”

“Stop being obtuse,” says Lan Zhan. He shuts the dishwasher and rinses his hands. “You know the guest bed is made up for you.”

“Lan Zhaaaaann, you can’t,” protests Wei Ying, but he’s grinning. Lan Zhan’s food, Lan Zhan’s clothes and Lan Zhan’s bed? (Kind of?) The perfect evening.

“Enough, Wei Ying. Bedtime.”

Wei Ying takes great delight in Lan Zhan ushering him out of the kitchen and down the corridor. “Can’t believe you always have a bed made up for me, Lan Zhan,” he says, stopping in the doorway and turning to face him. “We’re practically married.”

“Mn,” says Lan Zhan. His eyes flicker down briefly, and Wei Ying replays what he just said, and thinks, that is not the kind of thing you say to someone who maybe probably definitely has a secret boyfriend.

Wei Ying folds his arms over his chest. “Um, Lan Zhan.” Fuck. He’s really going to do this, he’s really gonna straight up ask, like this? He thinks of the nonchalance with which Lan Zhan had let him in, freshly-sexed and half-naked. Yes. Yes he is.

“Lan Zhan. Earlier, when I arrived, I um—you were—” He is certain his face is cherry-red, and is thankful for the dim lighting of the corridor. “You were with someone, yeah?”

Lan Zhan doesn’t even react. “Mn.”

Wei Ying hurries on, because if he doesn’t get this out now, he’s not sure he ever will. “Was he—um—was that your boyfriend?”

Lan Zhan stares at him. And stares. And stares. Wei Ying stares back. He’s dreading the answer.

Lan Zhan blinks and pulls his phone out of the pocket of his pyjama pants. “No,” he says, and Wei Ying almost collapses to the ground with relief. (Should he be relieved that Lan Zhan doesn’t have a boyfriend? Surely it would be good for Lan Zhan to have a boyfriend? Why does he feel like he might be floating on a sugar high?)

“No,” continues Lan Zhan. He’s flicking through his phone. “That was… hm. Alfredo. From Grindr.”

Wei Ying stares at the angle of his phone screen. Blue and yellow and grey. Holy shit, not only does Lan Zhan fuck, Lan Zhan is on Grindr.

“Did you—did you just have to look up his name?” he squeaks out.

Lan Zhan levels him with an even gaze. Totally unashamed that he has already forgotten the name of the guy he just slept with. “Yes,” he says simply. “Good night, Wei Ying.”

Wei Ying has to grip the door frame to stay upright. He’s still staring out into the corridor when the lights switch off. The unseeing gaze that seems to curse him when his brain has to process Lan Zhan fucking has returned.

He drifts to the bathroom and uses the same red toothbrush he did last time, drifts into bed and lifts his phone up over his face. He has three missed calls from Jiang Cheng. He dismisses them all and taps open Grindr.

Is this wise? This is probably not wise, right?

The homescreen greets him with the expected array of perfectly sculpted naked torsos and bedroom-eyes selfies. He barely uses it; the layout has updated since he last did. He taps on the red-dotted messages icon, but then immediately goes back to the homescreen. That’s not what he’s here for.

He scrolls unsuccessfully through the Who’s Nearby section. Maybe Lan Zhan keeps his distance on private. He’s almost certainly offline. (Maybe he’s one of these perfect torsos with an emoji or number as a display name—but no, his perfect torso is seared onto the inside of Wei Ying’s eyelids, and it’s not one of these.) He opens up filters. In for a penny, in for a pound.

He taps done and returns to the homescreen.

Oh. Oh.

Third row, second column. It’s a tasteful photo, softly lit: Lan Zhan’s chin and collarbone, a white sleeveless tee that perfectly shows off his shoulder and upper bicep. Wei Ying realises with a flush that he’s smirking, although it’s one of Lan Zhan’s expressions so tiny that he prides himself on thinking that others browsing might not notice it. His username is hanguang-jun. The nickname that he got on that camping trip in the Catskills during freshman year of college. Wei Ying can’t remember if it was him or Huaisang that gave it to him, only Lan Zhan’s slight amused frown in the glow of the only charged flashlight they had left.

He taps on it without taking the time to stop himself.

 

hanguang-jun 23

○ Online 4 hours ago

Don’t.

 

Wei Ying has to restrain a splutter of laughter. Don’t. It’s so perfectly Lan Zhan—simple, to the point, with an edge of inherent sexiness—

He scrolls through the rest of Lan Zhan’s profile. Height. Weight. Build. Ethnicity.

Position: Top.

Wei Ying feels his face flush. He scrolls back up to Lan Zhan’s profile picture. The curve of his jaw is just asking him to drag his teeth over it. His collarbone is demanding to be licked. His shoulder—god, Wei Ying wants to scrape his fingers down it until the marks last till morning.

Holy shit, I want Lan Zhan to fuck me.

This is not necessarily news to him; Wei Ying has known that Lan Zhan is hotness incarnate since he sprang out of puberty six feet tall. He’s wanted for a long time. But it’s always been in the undercurrent, just simmering under his skin and never coming to the surface: Lan Zhan has been untouchably perfect since they first met. But now that he knows that Lan Zhan’s abs are like that—that he has a tattoo curling over his hip—that he’s on Grindr—that Lan Zhan fucks

Wei Ying’s hand is down his pants before he can stop it. He bites back a groan, cradles his fingers around his length, pulling his dick out over his waistband; he’s been hard since Lan Zhan left him in the doorway with a simple yes. He strokes himself four times before he realises what he’s doing—is he actually going to do this? Is he actually going to jerk himself off to his best friend’s Grindr profile while lying in said best friend’s guest bed?

He actually is.

Shameless. He hears it in Lan Zhan’s voice. The thought makes him whimper and tighten his fist.

He fucks up into his sweaty palm, curling his fingers around the tip, spreading precome down his length. It’s still too hot, too dry, but he’s not about to go asking Lan Zhan for lube. (The thought makes his hips buck.) He licks his palm; it’ll have to do.

He stares at Lan Zhan’s little smirk, just visible in the corner of the photo. Imagines Lan Zhan giving it to him as he pushes him to his knees, cards his fingers into Wei Ying’s hair, pulls at the roots. Tips his head back to bare his throat, presses a finger at the seam of Wei Ying’s lips. Wei Ying would accept it eagerly, suck it in and get it wet, and Lan Zhan would stick in another one for him to lave over until saliva was dripping down his chin, then he would force his mouth open further, smirking. Fuck, what if he were wearing those low-slung grey sweatpants again, his cock a perfect hard line behind the soft fabric—

Wei Ying has to bite down on his lip, hard, to avoid keening at the image. He wants that cock in his mouth. He wants it in his hole. He wants Lan Zhan over him, caging him in, his broad shoulders and perfect arms, his tattoo, god, he wants Lan Zhan to hold him down and stuff him full—

He spits on his palm again, and his hand flies over his cock, sticky and hot with sweat and saliva and precome, catching on the head and sending jolts of need up his spine. Any of the restraint he had been feeling in the shower earlier is gone. He holds his phone over his head, grip slipping in his fingers, stares at that photo, the implications of it—suddenly realises that he wants nothing more than to know what Lan Zhan looks like when he comes, on his knees and fucking into a faceless body, hair plastered with sweat to his neck and chest—

Wei Ying drops his phone onto his face. He gasps, shuddering, pulling himself through the orgasm with a moan that is definitely not quiet enough to be anything but loud. Lan Zhan is asleep in the room next door. The knowledge makes him feel dirty, makes him come harder. It drags, an extended wave of pleasure coursing through him like an adrenaline rush; it takes him some time to come back to himself. His phone slides down into the crook of his neck as he breathes through the aftershocks. He feels wrung-out, boneless. He hasn’t come this hard with just his hand on himself in a long while. Hell, he hasn’t come this hard in months, period.

He does his best to ignore the feeling of shame that descends once he starts to regain his senses. It’s totally normal to think your best friend is hot, okay. Objectively, Lan Zhan would be the object of anyone’s fantasy. Objectively, anyone would want Lan Zhan to fuck them. Objectively, Wei Ying would very much like Lan Zhan to fuck him.

(Subjectively as well.)

He managed to catch most of the mess in his hand, but there’s definitely some come splattered over the Batman logo, shit. He rolls off the bed and stumbles into the bathroom. He cleans himself off and shucks the faded t-shirt into the laundry hamper. He does not make eye contact with himself in the mirror.

Wei Ying is feeling mostly relaxed once he settles back under the covers; yeah, he just did that and he feels a little bit gross about it, but also he just had a really good orgasm, okay? He’s allowed to feel all nice and loose and satisfied. He fumbles for his phone. It’s still open to Lan Zhan’s profile. God, he’s hot.

Wei Ying spends so long staring at Lan Zhan’s shoulder again that he only notices that the little flames icon has lit up once it’s far, far too late.

His heart does some kind of funny jolt—no, no that can’t be right, he did not just send Lan Zhan a tap, fuck fuck fuck—

He taps the icon frantically. Nothing changes. The little flames stay determinedly orange. He flicks back to his homescreen, opens google, panic types: Grindr undo tap. There’s a reddit discussion and someone suggesting it as a feature to the official Grindr help page. No sign of how to ctrl-z dropping your phone on your face and potentially destroying your best relationship.

Wei Ying swaps back to the app, goes to his own profile. It’s out of date; the last time he used it was probably last year. He never met up with anyone. His heart won’t let him do one-night stands.

He goes to the edit screen, hovers his thumb over his username (wwxxx), and thinks—he can’t just be a blank profile sending Lan Zhan a tap. One, that’s super annoying, and two, Lan Zhan deserves better. wwxxx is pretty cryptic. His pic is of his face, grinning. He scrolls through his gallery until he finds the shot Huaisang had taken of his ass in his “eat me for breakfast” booty shorts, swaps it immediately. There. Now he could just be some random horny bottom annoyingly tapping someone and not messaging them.

(He is just a horny bottom tapping someone and not following it up with a message, but he’s not about to start messaging Lan Zhan on Grindr. Yikes.)

In order to get to sleep, he tells himself that Lan Zhan definitely gets so many taps that he just deletes them all immediately, and there’s no way he will see or investigate Wei Ying’s. He’s fine. Everything’s going to be fine. This is just another normal night crashing at Lan Zhan’s, his good friend Lan Zhan who got laid this evening and has a Grindr profile which Wei Ying just got off to and accidentally sent a tap to and who fucks and everything. is. FINE.

Chapter Text

Everything is not fine.

Wei Ying sits at Lan Zhan’s bar stool in the harsh light of morning and stares at his empty plate. He’s finished his breakfast, but he keeps staring at it, because if he looks up he’s going to have to make eye contact with Lan Zhan and he just can’t do that anymore. Ever.

It’s fine, he tells himself. It’s gonna be fine. He hasn’t said anything yet about the tap. He almost certainly hasn’t noticed it. Lan Zhan doesn’t know what he did (even though his laundry hamper had been empty this morning, yesterday’s wet clothes folded warm and dry on the dresser, the come-y batman shirt no doubt clean and back in Lan Zhan’s closet, isn’t that a thought). Wei Ying stares at his plate and rethinks the life choices that have got him to this point.

“Are you meeting your friends today?” asks Lan Zhan from the other side of the kitchen island, chopping vegetables for the bunnies. His fingers are deft and quick with the knife. Wei Ying shifts his stare to them. “It is nearly 11am.”

“Huh?”

“You normally meet your brother and friends for lunch on a Saturday. I do not wish to keep you and make you late.”

Wei Ying almost accidentally glances up at him, but catches himself at the last moment, keeps his eyes fixed instead on Lan Zhan’s jaw. It’s beautifully clean-cut and crisp. Wei Ying is wracked by another round of memories of his actions, and blushes anyway.

“Yeah—yeah, you’re right. I should probably get going.” He slides off the stool and takes his plate round to the sink. “Thanks for breakfast. You’re really the best, Lan Zhan.”

“Mn.”

Wei Ying ignores the way Lan Zhan watches him collect his meagre belongings—belonging, singular, just his phone on the breakfast bar—he really had just turned up at his best friend’s house drenched and empty-handed—and slides it into his pocket. God, he never feels this awkward around Lan Zhan. He hates it. “Well. I’ll be off then.”

“Mn.”

Lan Zhan sets down his knife and comes towards him, and for a terrifying and thrilling moment Wei Ying thinks he might do something like hug him—but he just reaches past him to grab his phone instead. “I will call you a cab.”

“Ahaa, Lan Zhan, no! You really don’t need to do that, it’s not long on the subway, seriously—”

Lan Zhan doesn’t respond. He’s staring at his phone screen, unmoving. The tips of his ears are red.

Wei Ying’s stomach drops out through his feet.

He grabs Lan Zhan’s phone out of his hand and dances away with it, holding it above his head; turns out thinking “it’ll be fine” while drifting off to sleep transforms into it very much not being fine in the morning. Even if he did change his profile pic. He’s not risking it.

It’s still unlocked; he barely has time to flick away from the homescreen in search of where Lan Zhan might hide his Grindr app before a tight fist wraps around his wrist, pulling the phone away from him. Wei Ying laughs in panic. “Seriously, Lan Zhan, no cabs! I will take the subway, and you will stay here and feed your bunnies, and I’ll see you on Tuesday!”

Lan Zhan tugs at his wrist again, his grip a vice. He doesn't say anything, just presses his lips together and glares at Wei Ying. Wei Ying swallows and it's loud in the silence of the room. He uncurls his fingers, dropping the phone into Lan Zhan's outstretched palm, but Lan Zhan doesn’t let go of his arm. Wei Ying is suddenly very aware of how close they’re stood, of how Lan Zhan has him cornered against the back of the couch, of the warm tightness of Lan Zhan’s fingers around his wrist. Lan Zhan is staring at him with an unreadable expression, his ears still red. Wei Ying's heart is thudding in his skull. He unwillingly drops his gaze to Lan Zhan’s mouth, and maybe he hallucinates it, but he's pretty sure Lan Zhan sucks in a breath, a quiet shudder. His lips are pink and full and slightly parted. Wei Ying wants to taste them.

His phone buzzes loudly in his hoodie pocket, angry thunder cracking the electric tension. Ah, Jiang Cheng must have woken up. Lan Zhan clears his throat and steps back. Wei Ying has to actively force himself to move.

“No cabs,” Lan Zhan says. “If you insist.”

“Mm, yep,” squeaks Wei Ying, still fixed in place, acutely aware of how much bigger Lan Zhan feels than him. He can’t be one hundred percent certain that it was the tap notification that Lan Zhan saw. But the red ears. His one giveaway. (A little part of him wishes it was, that he might recognise him, take action. Oh god, he wants him to rail him through to next Sunday.) His phone buzzes again. Lunch. Right.

He checks his messages from Jiang Cheng—mostly just asking him why the fuck he hasn’t decided on a place for lunch yet (Wei Ying thinks the “the fuck” might be a little unnecessary, but then Jiang Cheng still lives with his parents, so he’s no doubt already absorbed some of Aunt Yu’s bad morning mood. On top of his own.)—and a message from Wen Ning, reminding him to bring Coup because he’s a good friend who buys his other friends board games for their birthdays so that they can play them together at lunches. He shoots off an affirmative to Wen Ning and sends the group chat the location of the same cafe they go to every fourth week anyway. He doesn’t see why they need to ask anymore.

“Will you get home alright?” asks Lan Zhan. He’s fiddling uncharacteristically with his phone. Wei Ying would think it was almost adorable, if he wasn’t feeling such lingering mortification.

“Yeah. I’ll get the subway. Thanks.”

“Mn.” Lan Zhan sees him to the door, hands him his dry converse. “I hope they are not too wet,” he says, even though Wei Ying is sure he left them on their own personal heater overnight. He’s too good. Too good and too hot.

“You’re amazing, Lan Zhan,” he says as he slides them on. Toasty and dry. “I don’t deserve you.”

“Wei Ying deserves to be looked after,” Lan Zhan counters. He folds his arms across his chest, and Wei Ying tries not to stare at them. “Are you sure you are alright?”

“I’m fine.”

“You have not made eye contact with me since last night.”

Wei Ying swallows, laughs sheepishly. His gaze flits up to Lan Zhan’s face, across it, doesn’t settle. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Wei Ying. Look at me.”

The commanding tone of his voice sends a frisson down Wei Ying’s spine; he obeys with little hesitation. Lan Zhan’s gorgeous eyes are staring him down with—what is that? Concern? Resignation?

“Have my activities of yesterday offended you?” asks Lan Zhan, simply. Too simply.

Wei Ying isn’t sure how to explain that they offended him so little that he got off on the thought of Lan Zhan having a sex life, of including him in that sex life, of his fucking Grindr profile smirk, so he shakes his head quickly. He still feels trapped by Lan Zhan’s gaze. Pinned down. “Nope, no, not at all. I mean—I didn’t, um, expect that, but I’m really happy for you?” Is that a weird thing to say? It feels like a weird thing to say. Maybe not entirely truthful, either; he would be a lot happier if he were the person Lan Zhan was fucking on a Friday evening.

Lan Zhan’s expression doesn’t change, but he nods and mns in a neutral manner. He doesn’t move or say anything further. God, Wei Ying hates feeling awkward around him. “Okay,” he chirps, opening the door. “Okay, I’ll see you on Tuesday then. Lunch as usual?” Please, let the awkwardness be over by then. Let them just go back to normal. Let Lan Zhan be his best friend, who is incredibly attractive and whose sex life he does not think about in any way at all.

“Mn. Tuesday. Have a good weekend, Wei Ying.”

“You too!”

Wei Ying flees like his life depends on it.

 

*

 

“You’re a fucking liar, don’t even deny it.” Jiang Cheng slams his card down on the table, making their glasses clink with the force of it. “Blocked. With my Contessa.”

“Pfft, always with the fucking Contessa,” groans Wei Ying, and flips over his Assassin. “I wasn’t lying though.”

“You definitely don’t have a Duke, though,” says Wen Ning, taking three coins like he’s not also lying about his own Dukes. “I have two and Huaisang has one.”

“You’re all fucking liars,” Jiang Cheng grumbles. “Huaisang, I’m Inquisiting you.”

“Ugh.”

Wei Ying leans back against his chair, tipping it onto its back legs. The cafe is pretty chill for a Saturday lunch time; he can see the barista cleaning the same patch of countertop that she just cleaned five minutes ago. They’re a bit out of the way of the main city thoroughfare, near enough to his apartment to be in walking distance, and while their muffins are pretty good, their coffee leaves something to be desired.

“Hey, idiot, it’s your turn.” Jiang Cheng kicks his chair and sends him slamming back down into the table. “What’s gotten into you? Head in the fucking clouds.”

“You usually enjoy Coup,” comments Wen Ning. “We could play a different game next time, if you like.”

Wei Ying sighs and takes three coins. Huaisang glares at him but doesn’t challenge. “I dunno,” says Wei Ying. “‘M fine.”

“You really upset Mom last night,” snarks Jiang Cheng, taking his single, innocent coin. He’s nearly got coup money. Wei Ying hears the concern in his intent behind the sharp tone of his words. “She wouldn’t stop going on about her ruined rug all morning.”

“She can afford a new one,” Wei Ying mutters. “Besides! I got to have a fun evening at Lan Zhan’s instead, which is way better than any family party.”

Jiang Cheng mimes retching, and Wen Ning giggles. Huaisang leans forward across the table. “Wei-xiong,” he says conversationally, “you do realise what everyone thinks about you and Lan Wangji, right?”

Wei Ying frowns. “Uh, yeah, we’re best friends, and?”

Huaisang smirks, and wiggles his eyebrows. “Are you sure?”

Wei Ying panics for a moment, thinking he might somehow have found out what he did—oh no, what if Lan Zhan knew and told him—what if he doesn’t want to be friends anymore—

That, he thinks, is an unhealthy train of thought. “Yes, I’m sure. What does it matter to you, anyway? You jealous?”

They all snigger, and Wei Ying feels like he’s the butt of a joke he isn’t quite following. “Nope, not jealous,” says Huaisang, returning to his cards. Wei Ying realises he’s got coup money. Huaisang always wins and it’s not fair. “You’re sure you just went over to hang out?”

“Yeah? Although—”

“Ooh, do tell,” says Huisang, leaning in again, sliding his seven coins into the middle of the table. “I’m coup-ing you, by the way. You’re out.”

Wei Ying grumbles and flips up his final Contessa. There’s some griping about him always lying about having a Duke, but Huisang is sure to steer them back to the subject at hand. “Although what?”

“Well.” Wei Ying shuffles in his chair, sitting forwards. He can feel his cheeks heating up. “Well, he, um.”

“Oh my god, please tell me you didn’t.” Jiang Cheng tips his head back in despair.

“Didn’t what? No, I was gonna say. When I got there, he—he had just had—”

“Go on,” urges Wen Ning.

“He had just had someone over,” squeaks out Wei Ying. He’s pretty sure his face is aflame. “You know. For—that.”

Jiang Cheng drops his forehead onto the table with a bang. “You’re allowed to say the word sex,” he mumbles.

Wei Ying looks at Huaisang and Wen Ning. They are both looking severely unimpressed. What the fuck? Lan Zhan actually fucks, why are they not responding with more shock, more disbelief?

“Guys? Guys. Lan Zhan had someone over for sex. You guys. Lan Zhan fucks.”

“O...kay?” Huaisang is looking at him like he just told them the sky is blue. Wen Ning doesn’t look much different. “And?”

“And? And?! Do you not realise how shocking this is? He’s literally—he’s like a perfect deity, I don’t know, he doesn’t fuck, at least he didn’t, not until last night—”

“Oh my god,” says Wen Ning. “Oh, you poor sweet boy.”

“What.”

“Wei-xiong....” Huaisang sighs. “You’re really not on the scene much, are you?”

Scene? What scene? Huaisang must read the confusion on his face. Jiang Cheng just shakes his head and pushes his chair out with a loud claim of needing more coffee.

“What do you mean?” asks Wei Ying. He feels a little bit like he doesn’t want to know the answer.

“Wei-xiong. Wei Ying. Lan Wangji is like, the hottest guy in the gay scene in the city. You get a night with him, you’re like, elite ranks.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, he slept with someone from the animal clinic,” says Wen Ning, as if they’re discussing the weather, “and the guy bragged about it and got like, six dates within the next week.”

Wei Ying feels adrift. They all knew, and no one thought to tell him?

“He has rules though, you know,” Huaisang says conspiratorially. “So I hear. No overnights, no cuddling. And definitely no seconds.”

Wei Ying stares at the pile of fake coins in the middle of the table. Lan Zhan fucks enough, is well-known enough, is desired enough, to have rules? To have rules like no seconds?

Wei Ying examines how he feels about this. Shock, mostly. It’s like his best friend has had this whole secret going on behind his back that he hasn’t even been privy to, but he’s not mad at him for it. It doesn’t change how he thinks of him, doesn’t change how Lan Zhan is still incredibly Lan Zhan, with his tea selection and his carefully curated playlists and his bunnies. He’s all that—with a very active sex life. Wei Ying realises, with some more shock, that he’s jealous.

(Jealous of Lan Zhan, of course, for being able to get laid whenever he wants, to be so desired, to be sought after; he can’t be jealous of the people Lan Zhan sleeps with, because then he will sink into a unending pit of despair and never return to the surface. Even if he very much wants Lan Zhan to sleep with him.)

Well. Who knew Mr Darcy would be such a rake.

Wei Ying smirks to himself. Okay, he thinks. Okay. He can have fun with this. He can tease and flirt and pester Lan Zhan about having rules for everything, and it will be just fine. Lan Zhan will still get delightfully pissed at him and tell him off for being ridiculous and glare at him fondly and maybe if he’s provoked enough he might just be kind enough to pin Wei Ying against the nearest surface and tell him off more thoroughly—

Wei Ying decides that just a touch of jealousy is good for the health.

 

*

 

He calls jiejie and complains about everything (although he leaves out the most worldchanging fact of his weekend, and certainly leaves out his actions upon it that had happened on Friday night), and she reassures him and tells him he’s being silly and promises to deliver him a big pot of soup tomorrow, as if she doesn’t do so every Sunday lunch time. He half-heartedly tidies his kitchenette, but then gets distracted for a while because Bet On It comes on the motivational playlist he’s listening to and he very enthusiastically lip-syncs along to it with a wooden spoon microphone, and then reorganises his fridge magnets to spell out the titles of High School Musical songs. He does a bit of work, gets bored, watches six episodes of Binging with Babish, decides he wants to try and make some actual food for dinner, remembers the state of his refrigerator and cupboards, and orders a takeout instead from the Turkish place up the street.

He’s lounging on his bed, half-finished box of lamb iskender and bulgar wheat tipping dangerously close to his knees, when his phone pings. He pauses his episode of The Great British Baking Show and fishes it out from the mess of pillows and the little bunny plushie Lan Zhan had given him as a graduation gift.

It’s a Tinder match. He flicks it open lazily, scanning over the guy’s profile—he’s cute, but like, only cute. His jawline has nothing on Lan Zhan’s.

Hey 😏, the guy has sent, and Wei Ying stares at it morosely for a while. A part of him wishes he could be like Lan Zhan, with a single word as his Grindr bio, being lusted over by guys all over the city, having the pick of the crop. No overnights, no cuddling, no seconds. No risk of getting feelings involved and tearing himself to shreds in the process.

His last relationship ended six months ago in a maelstrom of tears, shouting, and eleven viewings of Pride and Prejudice 2005 (dir. Joe Wright). He barely left the comfort of Lan Zhan’s couch for two weeks afterwards. He doesn’t know if he’s ready to go through that again.

He locks and unlocks his phone. Maybe he doesn’t have to. Maybe he can be like Lan Zhan, and just fuck the guy because it feels good, and he can feel wanted, and distract himself from thinking about that curve of purple watercolour flowers that he is never going to be able to taste.

why hello, he sends back, and pushes down the hollow feeling pressing send echoes through his chest.

He can have fun. He can keep his feelings out of it; it’s not like he even wants a relationship right now, what would Lan Zhan say if they had to cancel their coffee dates because he had a boyfriend or something, no. He just needs to get laid. That’s all.

He settles down into his pillows, takes a swig of beer from the bottle, and gets flirting.

 

*

 

Lan Zhan is already installed when he arrives at Buns and Beans at 12:37pm on Tuesday, a book propped open on the table in front of him and a small porcelain tea set steaming in the midday sun. November is late in the year to still be sitting outside, but he’s wrapped in his long grey wool coat and a soft knitted scarf. Wei Ying grins at the sight of him. It’s hard to feel awkward when Lan Zhan is just out here looking like that.

“Hellooooo,” he sing-songs, dropping down into the chair opposite him and pulling his thin jacket tighter around himself. At least he remembered to bring one this time. “Have you ordered?”

“Mn.” Lan Zhan puts in his bookmark (it’s embossed leather) and sets his book down to look at him. “Hello. Yes, I have.”

“Okay, cool.” Wei Ying pushes his chair back to go order his own lunch, but Lan Zhan stops him with a hand on his forearm.

“Wei Ying. I ordered for both of us.”

He freezes, and then pulls his chair back in, patting the back of Lan Zhan’s hand. “Aha, Lan Zhan, thanks! You’re the best. Did you get me spicy chick—”

“—Chicken and chorizo paella. Yes.” Lan Zhan removes his hand and sips his tea. “Your coffee should be on its way shortly.”

Wei Ying enjoys the warmth that spreads through his chest at that. He bumps his foot against Lan Zhan’s under the table. “You’re too good to me, Lan Zhan.”

Lan Zhan’s eyes dip away silently. He’s wearing that tiny smile that Wei Ying knows means he’s delighted. “Didn’t want you to have to wait.”

Wei Ying beams at him. He’s so glad their awkward spell is over. Lan Zhan hasn’t mentioned Friday night or the tap at all, and Wei Ying has been perfectly normal and only thought about his naked torso approximately every nine minutes instead of nonstop. He only had to step out of the lab he was TA’ing yesterday twice.

Maybe Lan Zhan didn’t even notice the tap. Maybe he just deleted the notification along with the hundreds of others he must receive on a daily basis. Wei Ying is not going to stress about it now.

“So. How was your morning?”

“Hm. My ten am went well. She will be applying for her grade 8 exams soon.”

“Nice, nice.” Wei Ying’s black coffee arrives and he grins up at the server with a thank you. “She’s the one doing that piece I really like, yeah?”

“Mn. Liszt, Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat major. She expresses the emotion of it well.”

Wei Ying smiles at him over his coffee. It’s so nice, listening to Lan Zhan talk about music. Whether it’s one of his piano or cello students, or his own explorations of traditional Chinese guqin pieces. Wei Ying stopped playing the flute once high school ended, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy Lan Zhan’s knowledge.

His eleven am had not been as successful, arriving late and under-practised, but Lan Zhan is nothing if not patient, even as he frowns about them over his oolong. Wei Ying tells him about his morning spent flicking between grading and researching kinetic wind sculptures, and only stops swooning over Anthony Howe’s work when their lunch arrives and he has to pause the video he’s making Lan Zhan watch so that the server can set it down.

Lan Zhan has ordered squash and lentil soup. Wei Ying heaps a spoonful of chilli flakes onto his paella. Their tastes are too wildly different to offer any invitations to share, but they might get a slice of carrot cake with two forks later on.

Wei Ying likes this. The ease between them, grown from years of friendship, of falling back on each other, of being there for every up and down and moment in between. It’s nice. Lan Zhan lets him ramble about whatever he likes as they eat, filling the gaps with mns and single-syllable answers. It’s so nice. Wei Ying never wants it to change.

They finish lunch with a full thirty minutes to spare before Wei Ying has to think about walking back to his afternoon lab. Lan Zhan’s next student isn’t till 3pm. He gets out his book again, and because Wei Ying only manages to read via audiobook on his morning runs, he gets out his phone. There’s an unspoken agreement between them that they might as well spend the rest of the lunch break here, enjoying the watery November sun together, even if they’re not conversing.

He scrolls through Instagram for a while, mindlessly double tapping, and checks his email. He thinks about messaging the Tinder guy about their “date” this evening, to check that it’s still happening (especially after getting cancelled on last week, he just needs to get laid, please) but it feels weird to do that when he’s sat here with Lan Zhan.

He’s saved the dilemma. On cue, his phone vibrates with a new Tinder message notification.

He ignores the nervous little flip in his stomach (nerves because of the date? Or nerves because he’s texting someone he’s planning to have sex with later while he’s sat with Lan Zhan?) and opens it.

Hey dude sorry but I’m gonna have to bail on tonight I have to take my cat to the vet

Right. Of course. The universe’s personal vendetta against him.

He groans and slams his phone face down on the table, because this is the second person to cancel on him in less than a week, and is he not cute? Is he not sexy? Is he not fuckable?

“Lan Zhaaan,” he whines, burying his face in his arms, “why does no one want to fuck me?”

Lan Zhan turns the page of his book, says in a casual tone, “I would.”

Wei Ying freezes. Did he—he did not—did he just hear that correctly?

He lifts his head slowly. Lan Zhan is staring, unmoving, at his book. His glass of water is halfway to his mouth. His ears are pink.

“Um. What?”

Lan Zhan blinks several times. He sets his water down carefully on the table. Swallows. Takes a deep breath. Meets Wei Ying’s eyes.

“I said. I would. If you asked me to.”

Wei Ying stares back. He’s not quite sure if this is actually happening right now. Lan Zhan did not just say that he, literal sex god, would fuck him. He’s pretty sure he’s gawping. This kind of thing does not happen to him. He’s loud and whiny and annoying and yes he was just complaining about no one finding him fuckable but like, genuinely, he is not up to Lan Zhan’s standards. Even if the only judge of his standards Wei Ying has is fucking Alfredo from Grindr. No. No, this must be a joke, or a mistake, or—

He’s panicking. Lan Zhan is looking at him with an impassable blank expression. His face only ever gets that blank when he’s actively making it. Wei Ying is somewhere near whistling like a kettle, but whether it’s from nerves or shock or arousal he doesn’t know.

“Um,” he says again. He’s vaguely aware of the fact that all his blood seems to be rushing south. It is not making processing this any easier. “I.”

He needs to escape, like, now. He needs to escape so that he doesn’t do something incredibly stupid like say yes, okay, and crawl over the table straight onto Lan Zhan’s dick.

“I have to get to my lab,” he squeaks out, and crashes out of his seat, grabbing his bag and slapping a haphazard stack of bills on the table. He doesn’t make further eye contact with Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan, who hasn’t moved since setting down his glass. Wei Ying does not want to look at him and see the regretful look of a joke gone wrong he will no doubt find in his features.

“Bye!” he exclaims, and flees.

His afternoon labs are nothing short of disastrous. One of his students has to pull him aside and ask if he’s okay, which is the most embarrassing thing ever, and although she looks dubious when he says he’s fine he can’t really just tell her oh my insanely hot best friend told me over lunch that he would happily fuck me and I still haven’t processed it, can he?

He goes to Huaisang’s after his labs, lounges on his couch groaning until Jiang Cheng and Wen Ning arrive with pizzas in tow and he begs them for a slice. He kind of doesn’t want another repeat of Saturday right now, but he also can’t bear the idea of being left alone with his traitorous thoughts, so he lets them drag him into a game of Mario Party and thoroughly dismisses the lunch-time conversation from his mind through sheer competitive fury.

(Wen Ning wins. Wen Ning always wins at Mario Party. Wei Ying comes third, but at least he beats Jiang Cheng.)

It’s only when he stumbles into his apartment at 11:49pm that he’s finally, properly alone. He drops his stuff and heads straight for his room, landing face first on the bed with a loud groan. It has been a day. Hell, it’s been a week.

He lies there for some godforsaken amount of time, nose smushed sideways onto the unmade sheets, thinking about what he did in a previous life to be going through it like this, when his phone buzzes. He flaps his hand around on the mattress until he finds it, and rolls onto his back with bleary eyes. If it’s that Tinder guy wanting to try it again after his vet excuse (he doesn’t have pets; Wei Ying always asks it as one of his first questions, in case they have a dog), well, he’s got a whole other thing coming for him.

It’s not the Tinder guy. It’s Lan Zhan.

Wei Ying fumbles his phone open. What the fuck, it’s midnight on the dot, what is Lan Zhan doing up this late? Unless—

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

Wei Ying. I am sorry for making you uncomfortable today. Please forgive me.

I hope that we can move past this and still be friends?

 

Wei Ying has to reread it twice. Oh no. Nonononono. Lan Zhan regrets it. He wasn’t joking, but he wants to move past it. He thinks he made him uncomfortable.

(He did, but in an entirely physical way. Wei Ying was never happier to have worn a long flannel that could cover any… misfortunes.)

He pulls his lip in between his teeth, worries it there. What does he do? Even if it wasn’t a joke (and of course it wasn’t, Lan Zhan is too good for that) Lan Zhan probably just said it to comfort him, and now he regrets it, and Wei Ying ran away almost immediately—great fucking move, idiot, way to give him the wrong impression. He’s still not fully over the fact that those words came out of Lan Zhan’s mouth. He does not want to ruin things between them, and this very well might.

Here’s the thing though: he really, really wants Lan Zhan to fuck him.

Hesitantly, he types out a reply.

 

Wei Ying

did you mean it? what you said?

 

He’s kind of not expecting a reply, cause it’s late and Lan Zhan is obviously not feeling great about this (and to be perfectly honest, he’s not sure he wants a reply, because he doesn’t know what he will do with the answer either way), but what comes back makes him nearly drop his phone again.

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

Yes.

 

Holy shit. Oh, fucking god. Holy shit. Wei Ying screams and throws his phone across the room.

Once he’s recovered and sent a silent apology to his neighbour—the building’s walls are not thick—he forces himself off his bed and fumbles through the pile of clothes by the wall in semi-darkness. His phone lights up with another message, and he grabs it, heart hammering in his throat.

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

If you asked me.

 

Wei Ying drops down onto his mattress, his legs giving out beneath him. Lan Zhan actually means it. Holy fuck. His mind is desperately full of his torso again, his mussed hair, his tattoo curving enticingly towards the line of him in his sweatpants. Wei Ying swallows, his mouth dry. He’s vaguely aware of the fact that he’s pressing up against his zipper, body thrumming with anticipation.

 

Wei Ying

um. oh my god?

 

He palms himself over his jeans, the pressure only slight relief. He imagines Lan Zhan’s broad, string-callused hand in place of his own. He whimpers, quiet in the half-darkness, and replies with fumbling fingers.

 

Wei Ying

lan zhan

im asking

 

He falls over and presses his face sideways into the mattress at his own shamelessness, squirming, simmering. He should probably clarify.

 

Wei Ying

please fuck me?

 

The little tick goes blue. Lan Zhan doesn’t reply, not yet. Wei Ying is pretty sure he’s about to have a heart attack from how quickly his pulse is hammering in his ears. His arousal is washing over him in steady waves, trickling hot and heavy like mercury through his veins, his balls, his dick. If he can get this worked up just texting Lan Zhan, just imagining

His phone buzzes. His fingers tighten over his crotch, a pavlovian response, shooting a spark of pleasure up his spine. It’s all he can do not to come in his pants when he reads the response.

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

What are you doing tomorrow evening?

 

 

Chapter Text

If Wei Ying thought it was difficult to concentrate on Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday is a whole different story.

He’s got class in the morning; as usual, he arrives late. He hides at the back of the theatre and zones out for the entire lecture, taking a grand total of three lines of notes. He only realises the class has ended when students start stuffing things away and standing up around him with a chatter. He’ll have to ask someone if they recorded it. He’s meant to be a responsible TA. What a concept.

Grading does not go any better, nor does the vain attempt he makes at working on his never-dwindling pile of assignments. By the time lunch rolls around, the words I would and tomorrow evening have circled around in his brain so many times that Wei Ying is quite certain they will be permanently imprinted on the end of any thought. I would. Tomorrow evening.

Except that tomorrow evening is now this evening, a fact Wei Ying becomes increasingly aware of as he stumbles through afternoon labs (the same student who asked him how he was yesterday watching him the whole time with increasing concern, until they’d finally finished up and she’d very gently set a paper bag on his desk with a quiet, I really hope you’re okay, and he’d realised he’d just been given a free donut by a student purely because he’s still not quite believed the fact that this is actually happening). He’s thrumming the entire subway ride home, staring mindlessly at the join of the doors, and thrumming still as he fumbles with his keys and lets himself into his apartment.

He checks his phone. It’s 6:32pm. Lan Zhan had told him to come over by 8. The trip back out to Manhattan will take at least half an hour. Which means he only has 58 minutes to get ready. Fuck.

His brain kicks into overdrive, fuelled by nervous excitement and adrenaline and a hefty amount of fear (Lan Zhan is so far out of his league he’s on another plane of existence, and Wei Ying might flirt like he knows his stuff but his bedroom experience is mediocre at best), and he barrels through his apartment. He showers thoroughly, does his best to blowdry his hair while also brushing his teeth and buzzing his face with the electric razor, which is difficult, but he’s never backed down from a challenge. He stands in his room stark naked and looks at the various piles of clothes on the floor, the empty spaces in his open closet, and thinks once again, fuck.

He’s never given this much thought to what underwear to wear before. Lan Zhan probably wears designer-only brand new perfect white briefs everyday. The last time Wei Ying bought new boxers was over a year ago.

He checks his phone again, sees with a panic that it says 7:13pm, and throws on his best pair of plain black boxer briefs. Not very exciting but if they’re just gonna end on up Lan Zhan’s floor anyway—

He flushes at the thought and stumbles as he’s pulling on his jeans. His tightest pair, the ones that hug his thighs perfectly. The last time he’d worn them Lan Zhan had spent the entire day at Coney Island staring at him with a disapproving frown. Probably because of all the kids around. It wasn’t his fault they framed his assets so well.

The shirt is the hardest decision, and he dithers back and forth between his favourite tight red button down and a wide-necked cropped black sweater. He settles on the sweater, even though his stomach might get a bit cold, because the shirt definitely screams date and this is not a date. This is not a date. Lan Zhan just offered to fuck him because he was whiny and horny and no way is Wei Ying passing up on that offer. Lan Zhan probably just likes having sex. It’s just friends helping each other out. Or whatever.

He does his best to ignore the slowly-growing ache somewhere in his stomach whenever he thinks about it that way.

His phone buzzes as he’s attempting to rub away an excess of eyeliner—he’d just wanted a subtle hint, just to make his eyes look bigger, and now he’s starting to look like a panda—and he fumbles, nearly dropping it in the bathroom sink.

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

I am assuming you have not eaten yet. I have ordered Thai.

See you soon.

 

Wei Ying scrambles to reply. Omg you didn’t have to tysm!!!! See you soon!!! He hesitates, and adds a winky face. A simple emoji should not be making him want to vibrate out of his skin.

It’s 7:38pm by the time he leaves his apartment, which is not ideal, but Lan Zhan is perfect in every way and will almost definitely have ordered the food for an 8:15 delivery rather than 8. Wei Ying smiles at the thought as he hops onto the subway, hands in the pockets of his old fleece-lined jacket.

He stares once again at the doorway and attempts a breathing exercise. It doesn’t work very well, but he finds repeating the mantra Lan Zhan is going to fuck me in his head isn’t much of any option either, not when there are people nearby who could see him keel over and pass out, so it’s his best bet.

The elevator ride up to Lan Zhan’s apartment is familiar and strange at the same time. The last time he was here Lan Zhan’s Grindr hookup (Alfredo, he thinks, mentally growling at him) had just been leaving. Now Wei Ying is the hookup on his way up to get his brains fucked out. He hopes.

(He tries, once again, to ignore the fact that to Lan Zhan he is probably just another eager body, and while it’s very kind of Lan Zhan to help him out like this, he knows that it doesn’t mean anything. He sincerely hopes it’s not going to change anything. Much.)

The elevator dings and he steps out into the hallway. Takes a deep breath. Once he knocks on that door, there’s no going back, no chickening out.

He is confident and sexy and fuckable. The fact alone that Lan Zhan, sex god of NYC—lusted over by every gay man in the city, no cuddling and no seconds, Lan Zhan—is willing to fuck him, should be proof enough. Even if it might just be a pity fuck. At least it’s happening.

He collects himself. Takes another deep breath. Walks right up to Lan Zhan’s door and knocks before he has time to run away screaming.

The nine seconds it takes Lan Zhan to open the door are the most agonising of Wei Ying’s life.

It swings open, and there is Lan Zhan, and Wei Ying’s mouth doesn’t know whether to start drooling like a hungry puppy’s or dry up like the desert.

“Good evening,” Lan Zhan says, and Wei Ying squeaks.

His hair is still up, a neat bun revealing his undercut, bangs framing his face. He’s wearing a dark blue henley and grey linen pants. The top button of the henley is undone, displaying a tiny sliver of chest. Wei Ying wants to lick it. He might get to, later.

“Hi,” he eventually manages to reply, and Lan Zhan steps aside to let him in. It’s a weird echo of Friday night, when Wei Ying crouches down to unlace his converse, only this time—

“Dinner arrived just before you did,” says Lan Zhan, stepping back as Wei Ying stands and removes his jacket. Lan Zhan’s eyes flick to his stomach. Linger there. “We should eat.”

Wei Ying doesn’t know what to do with his hands. He settles on sliding them into his back pockets. “Erm, yep, we should—do that.”

Lan Zhan’s gaze returns to his, and it is searing, hot, his pupils wide. Wei Ying feels a heady swoop in his belly. Neither of them move, the moment dragging on for too long, caught in each other, and Wei Ying wonders if he should just lean forward and—

Lan Zhan clears his throat and steps away. Wei Ying rocks back on the balls of his feet. Okay. Not quite yet, then.

“I ordered you a panang curry,” Lan Zhan says, moving towards the kitchen. Wei Ying follows him like a lost child. “There are beers in the fridge.”

“Oh my god, Lan Zhan, you are literally the best,” Wei Ying sighs, helping himself to a beer. Lan Zhan doesn’t drink, himself. Wei Ying wonders if he offers them to his other hookups.

They sit on the sofa with take out boxes and their feet tucked up (if Lan Zhan’s uncle could see him now, thinks Wei Ying), and just like that it’s a normal midweek evening at Lan Zhan’s, eating on the couch together and complaining about work. At least, Wei Ying complains. Lan Zhan listens. He even nods in a conciliatory way when Wei Ying tells him about his student and her donut offering, how embarrassing it is to have to be looked after by the people you’re meant to teach. Wei Ying laughs and presses his toes into the bottom of Lan Zhan’s feet, teasing him about how he’s never received a donut from one of his students.

Wordlessly, Lan Zhan reaches over and takes the almost empty takeout container from his hands, sets it down on the coffee table. He sits up straighter and looks at Wei Ying with a serious expression.

“Um, Lan Zhan?”

The only give that Lan Zhan is not fully composed is the way that his thumb presses into the back of his hand, folded together in his lap. “Wei Ying,” he starts. Swallows. Wei Ying watches the bob of his adam’s apple. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Do what? supplies Wei Ying’s brain, like an idiot, as if he hasn’t been on edge since he stepped off the subway car. The fact that Lan Zhan is asking, though, that he’s checking—

Wei Ying has never wanted to do anything more in his life.

“Hah. Lan Zhan. Are you really asking me that right now?”

Lan Zhan nods, solemn. Wei Ying throws his head back against the arm of the couch with a groan. “Oh my god, Lan Zhan, seriously. Of course I fucking want to do this. I’ve been wanting to do this since—”

He catches himself. Since when? Since seeing Lan Zhan’s toned chest on Friday, since discovering that he fucks, that’s hes a sex god, or since before? Since Lan Zhan played for him on the night of his very first breakup, long fingers dancing elegantly over the ivory keys, soothing Wei Ying’s soul and putting ideas into his mind, or since he got back from his summer trip to China in their last year of highschool, suddenly tall and broad and eye-catching?

He has wanted Lan Zhan for a long time, even if he never let himself admit it.

He looks at Lan Zhan through his knees. “Yes, Lan Zhan. I do. Definitely. Please.”

Lan Zhan nods, and for a wild moment Wei Ying thinks he sees nerves in his expression, but then he says, “Good,” simple and clear, and climbs over Wei Ying and kisses him.

Wei Ying lets out a muffled mmfph of surprise, but it’s short-lived. Lan Zhan’s mouth is soft and hot against his, just the right amount of pressure, steady, searching. He kisses like he knows what he’s doing. He does know what he’s doing. Wei Ying is too caught up in the Lan Zhan is kissing me of it all to do anything but let him lead. Lan Zhan hums quietly and opens his mouth, tongue flicking against the seam of Wei Ying’s lips, searing. He’s only too happy to oblige, and Lan Zhan leans further over him, deepening the kiss, wet and heady.

Wei Ying squeaks as the hand that isn’t propping him up on the couch arm lands right on his bare waist, gasps softly as it travels up his side, under his sweater. His hands aren’t cold, per se, but his skin reacts with goosebumps nonetheless, sensitive. He breaks the kiss, gasps against Lan Zhan’s mouth, a breathless laugh, “Ah, Lan Zhan, I’m ticklish! Careful—mm—”

Lan Zhan’s hand tightens around his rib cage. He drags Wei Ying’s bottom lip down between his teeth, sucks on it, and Wei Ying whimpers. Lan Zhan bites down on his lip harder, then releases it, presses open-mouthed kisses down his chin, over his jaw, onto the tender flesh of his neck, his mouth spilling red hot fire over Wei Ying’s skin.

Wei Ying gasps and rolls his head back as Lan Zhan bites down over his adam’s apple, the pain thudding in a dull wave of pleasure right down into his veins. He squirms, wraps a leg tight around Lan Zhan’s thigh, drags his nails over the bristly hair of his undercut and holds him there. Lan Zhan licks over the bite, then attaches his lips and sucks, and Wei Ying keens, high and needy.

He’s still trying to process the fact that it is Lan Zhan lying on top of him, bruising his neck with teeth and tongue, when Lan Zhan shifts and presses down right where Wei Ying is starting to strain against his zipper.

He sucks in a ragged breath, tightens his leg around Lan Zhan, pulls him closer to feel him through his jeans. Lan Zhan licks a wet path across his jaw and kisses him again, just as his hand slides all the way down Wei Ying’s side and settles right on the curve of his ass.

“Oh, Lan Zhan, how very forward of you,” Wei Ying gasps, squirming his butt down against Lan Zhan’s broad palm. “You gonna grope me like I’m just there for the taking, huh—”

He chokes off as Lan Zhan closes his teeth around the top of his ear, sharp pain sending shivers down his back. Lan Zhan’s breath is hot against his skin, his voice low. “You are just here for the taking,” he purrs, and Wei Ying honest to God moans.

“Fuck, Lan Zhan,” he stuttuers, scraping his hand down Lan Zhan’s back, rucking up his pristine henley and dragging his fingers across firm skin. He’s like a solid, immovable object on top of him; no matter how much Wei Ying squirms and tugs and thrusts Lan Zhan keeps himself steady, smooth, relaxed. It’s incredibly hot.

Lan Zhan’s hand kneads at his buttock, pushing his leg up higher, and then he drags a thumb right along the seam of Wei Ying’s jeans, right over his—

“Holy shit, Lan Zhan, ah, that’s—”

Lan Zhan presses down again, right on top of his entrance, and Wei Ying moans, low and filthy. “Lan Zhan, please, do something, give me—” He thrusts his hips up again, pressing himself against Lan Zhan’s stomach, gasping when he feels the responding hardness in Lan Zhan’s pristine linen pants graze against his balls. “Give me, something, Lan Zhan.”

Lan Zhan woefully, horribly, cruelly detaches himself from Wei Ying’s neck and sits up on his knees. His lips are red and slick with saliva, his bangs messy, but otherwise his appearance is mostly unaffected. Wei Ying keens, because it’s not fair, he already feels like an absolute mess and they haven’t even taken any clothes off, and Lan Zhan is so perfect and if Wei Ying had known that he could kiss like that he doesn’t know why he didn’t ask him to do it years ago—

“Wei Ying,” says Lan Zhan, voice gravelly, gently pushing back at Wei Ying’s shoulders. He hadn’t even noticed himself try to sit up and follow him. “Lie down.”

Wei Ying pouts, falls back against the cushioned arm of the sofa, reaches out and trails a hand down Lan Zhan’s stomach, catching on the waistband above the thick shape of him outlined in his pants. “Wanna feel you,” he says with a half-hearted thrust of hips, bracketed as they are around Lan Zhan’s waist, but all he gets in return is a smirk and two hands on his thighs, holding him down, thumbs pressing too close and too high on his inseam for much more coherent thought.

“You will feel me,” Lan Zhan says matter-of-factly, “later. For now, I am going to suck your cock.”

“Oh my god,” whines Wei Ying, because hearing Lan Zhan, his perfect once-innocent over-polite and utterly unphasable best friend say the words suck your cock is way, way hotter than he would ever have expected it could be.

Lan Zhan’s hands slide down his thighs, thumbs meeting over the tight fabric of his jeans. Wei Ying gasps. Lan Zhan drags a thumb up the line of his dick through the fabric, light, teasing. Wei Ying bucks his hips up against it, needing more, but Lan Zhan shoots him a stern look and presses him down against the couch. Wei Ying wants him to give him that look again, and again, and again.

Lan Zhan does not have mercy on him. By the time he has finished the agonisingly light, teasing drags over his clothed cock, Wei Ying is panting and squirming against the couch cushion, a hand in his hair and the other spasming on Lan Zhan’s waist.

“Please, please, Lan Zhan, need you to, need it to be—more—”

Lan Zhan hums and flicks the button of his jeans open. “Wei Ying will have more,” he says, and even though his voice is low it’s like every word echoes through the room as clear as a note on his cello, “if he stops squirming.”

Wei Ying does his absolute best to still his hips, his hands, his head. “I’m not, I’m not, Lan Zhan please—”

“Hm,” says Lan Zhan again, and undoes his zipper agonisingly slowly. Wei Ying whines. Lan Zhan’s long and elegant fingers dance feather-like over his length, just barely grazing the black cotton of his underwear. Wei Ying is going to go insane. He is going insane. Lan Zhan is just watching him, eyes dark and hungry, the tiniest smirk adorning his lips as he teases.

Wei Ying realises he is talking. “Lan Zhan, ah, please, you can’t, please, Lan Zhan, I can’t—”

And just from the simple brush of fingers over his dick and the little curl of Lan Zhan’s lips. He is not going to survive this. He simply will not.

“Stop squirming,” Lan Zhan says again, lifting his hand. Wei Ying’s hips buck after it. “Wei Ying. Be good.”

“I’m being good, Lan Zhan, I will be very good if you would just hurry the fuck up and put you mouth on me—”

Lan Zhan pulls him out of his underwear in one swift motion, hand around the base of his dick, red and wet-tipped. Wei Ying grunts and squirms in Lan Zhan’s grip. Earns another dark-eyed glare in response. His cock twitches in response.

Lan Zhan flicks a finger over the tip of his cock, rubbing it through the precome spilling out of his slit, spreading it around the head. He doesn’t break eye contact. Wei Ying wonders with a pang somewhere between jealousy and arousal whether he teases all his hookups like this. They’ve been making out for what feels like hours, and Lan Zhan only just got his hand on his dick. He lets himself hope that he doesn’t.

Lan Zhan shuffles backwards a bit, hand twisting skillfully up his length as he settles himself between Wei Ying’s thighs. He glances up at him through lidded eyes and long eyelashes. He’s fucking beautiful.

Lan Zhan presses a kiss to the tip of Wei Ying’s dick, chaste. Wei Ying lets out a little high-pitched noise, but Lan Zhan doesn’t take him into his mouth yet, just continues to press tiny chaste kisses around the head of his cock, up and down the length. Still teasing. His other hand is still holding Wei Ying’s hips pressed down against the couch.

He pauses, and looks up at Wei Ying again, suddenly serious. “Have you been with anyone since—May?”

Wei Ying frowns. Why is he—oh. Oh. Lan Zhan is so considerate to use a timeframe instead of his ex’s name. Wei Ying doesn’t like thinking about him, or the way it had ended, or the fact that he had been cheated on by him with three other people.

Despite the avid Tinder swiping, his only sexual partners for the past six months have been his right hand and his neon pink dildo. He shakes his head. “Um, no?”

“Mn.” Lan Zhan kisses the tip of his dick again. “You tested clean afterwards,” he says. It’s not a question. Lan Zhan had come to the clinic with him, had held his hand while Wei Ying sat waiting for the results in an absolute panic.

“Yep,” replies Wei Ying, his voice stuttering upwards as Lan Zhan’s tongue flicks over his slit.

“Good,” says Lan Zhan, deep and satisfied, and sinks his mouth down Wei Ying’s cock.

Wei Ying moans, high-pitched and breathy, hands shooting down to Lan Zhan’s hair, fingers digging into his scalp. His mouth is wet and warm and hot around him, exquisite. Lan Zhan pulls back, sucking, and swirls his tongue around his tip. Wei Ying groans and twitches his hips involuntarily.

Ohhhh my god, Lan Zhan, you are so good at that—fuck—oh, please, Lan Zhan, so good, ah—”

He gasps the words out like a prayer, barely any volume behind them, squeezes his eyes shut. Need is twisting in his gut like a knife of pleasure, thrumming in time with the bobbing of Lan Zhan’s head, the slick chase of his tongue, the filthy popping sound when he pulls off so that Wei Ying can shuffle out of his jeans and boxers and kick his leg out against the back of the sofa with a cry of delight. Wei Ying thought he was good at sucking dick, but as Lan Zhan sinks his head back all the way down, taking him into his throat, he’s absolutely certain he could do with some lessons.

“Holy shit, Lan Zhan, that’s—so fucking hot.”

Lan Zhan hums around his dick before sliding back up, cheeks hollowed, and Wei Ying is nearing the edge now, holy fuck, will Lan Zhan let him—

Two fingers press at his bottom lip. Lan Zhan pulls off, lips swollen and puffy, and straight up commands him, “Suck.”

“Oh my god,” whispers Wei Ying against his fingers before Lan Zhan shoves them in his mouth.

He whines around the intrusion as Lan Zhan deepthroats him again, laving over his fingers, suckling on them as Lan Zhan fucks them in and out in time with the bobbing of his head. Holy shit, he is going to come, he is going to come, the feeling of Lan Zhan’s throat and mouth around his cock and his fingers between his lips and his other hand rolling his balls and trailing lines of fire down the insides of his thighs and over his perineum—

Lan Zhan pulls his fingers out of Wei Ying’s mouth, wet with spit, drags them for a moment over his lip. Wei Ying flicks at them with his tongue, tilts his head forwards to try and get them back in, because he really liked that actually Lan Zhan, please—

Lan Zhan fixes him with an admonishing gaze—incredibly, really, how he can tell Wei Ying exactly what to do with just his eyes, lips still wet and stretched around Wei Ying’s length—and drags his spit-slicked fingers between Wei Ying’s legs, right over his entrance.

Oh my god,” gasps Wei Ying, voice stuttering, hips stuttering, heartbeat stuttering, rolling his head back against the arm of the couch. “Holy fucking shit.”

“Mn,” says Lan Zhan around his cock, and presses a finger just in to the first knuckle, just a small stretch.

Wei Ying comes.

Lan Zhan doesn’t pull off, doesn’t appear to want to, and Wei Ying shudders harder, muscles spasming and sending shivers of electricity cascading across his skin, into his veins, through the most sensitive part of him held heavy and hot in Lan Zhan’s mouth. There’s a weird, high-pitched noise filling the air, and then Wei Ying realises that it’s his own whining.

He collapses against the couch, muscles turned to jelly. Lan Zhan releases his dick with a wet, slick noise, and sits up. Aside from the shine of his swollen lips and the henley rucked up around his waist, he still looks almost as perfect as he did when he answered the door. It’s not fair.

He leans forwards, bracing himself over Wei Ying, and he can feel the hard press of Lan Zhan’s dick against the back of his thigh—he should return the favour, he really wants to return the favour.

Lan Zhan drags a finger over his chin, swipes it across his bottom lip. Wei Ying hums in a question, head still fuzzy with orgasm, but then Lan Zhan’s finger is in his mouth again, pulling it open, and Wei Ying drops his jaw obediently even though he’s not quite sure what’s going on—

Lan Zhan spits his own come into his mouth.

Wei Ying whimpers.

His dick gives a half-hearted twitch, because holy fuck that’s hot, the taste of himself and Lan Zhan’s spit on his tongue, sharp and salty, he would never have even thought about something like this being hot, but Lan Zhan just spat in his mouth and apparently it very much is.

Lan Zhan follows it with an open-mouthed kiss, deep and dirty, and Wei Ying licks more of himself from Lan Zhan’s mouth, passes it back to him, moans desperately into it. Lan Zhan’s hands are tight in his hair, tilting his head back for better access, his breath coming short and fast too, and Wei Ying is still very aware of where his cock is basically pressed against his ass.

He detaches from Lan Zhan with reluctance, stares up at him, eyes blown and dark with arousal. “Holy shit, Lan Zhan,” he mumbles. “Holy shit.”

“Mn.” Lan Zhan’s eyes flick down to his lips again.

“Lan Zhan, you haven’t—I can suck you off too. Make a mess of both of us. Please. Want you—want your cock—” He wants to taste Lan Zhan. Wants the mingled flavour of them both on his lips, on his tongue.

Lan Zhan kisses him again, filthily, all tongue and teeth, and rocks his hips against Wei Ying’s ass. Wei Ying moans and tightens his legs around Lan Zhan’s hips, crossing them over his back, arms wrapped around his shoulders, holding him desperately on top of him.

Lan Zhan pulls back from the kiss. A string of spit follows him, glistening between their two lips, and wow, Wei Ying is glad he’s still young, because his dick is already making a valiant effort at swelling up again.

“Not here,” says Lan Zhan, voice husky and low. “Bedroom.”

“Yeah, yeah, okay.” Wei Ying starts to scramble upwards, excitement thrilling in him at the sound of Lan Zhan saying bedroom in that tone, but Lan Zhan seems to have other plans. He sits up, pulls Wei Ying with him, and deadlifts him off the sofa.

Wei Ying squeaks and wraps his legs tight around Lan Zhan’s waist. “Holy fuck, Lan Zhan! Give a man a warning!”

Lan Zhan’s hands cup his ass perfectly as he carries him across the apartment. “Would you like to walk?”

“Er, no, obviously not?” Wei Ying laughs against Lan Zhan’s ear. “You are so fucking hot, oh my god.”

“Mn,” replies Lan Zhan, backing his bedroom door open. “Wei Ying is hot too.”

Wei Ying flushes with heat, his stomach making some kind of terrible swooping sensation that has nothing to do with arousal. He buries his face against Lan Zhan’s neck, where he smells amazing, sandalwood cologne and chamomile body lotion and just a hint of sweat. Wei Ying inhales roughly, chuckles against his collar, and then Lan Zhan throws him down onto the bed.

Wei Ying bounces, laughing, and starts shuffling up towards the headboard. Lan Zhan kneels on the bed, wraps a warm hand around his bare thigh and yanks him back towards him. Wei Ying yelps and spreads his legs open, an invitation.

My, Lan Zhan, you’re eager, and you’ve already got me right where you want me,” he purrs, fluttering his lashes at him. Wei Ying is hot too, in Lan Zhan’s growl of arousal, will keep him horny for the next month. Right now all he wants is Lan Zhan on him, above him, in him, in his mouth or in his ass whatever comes first—

“Shut up,” mutters Lan Zhan, pressing his knees open, spreading him like the pages of a book; Wei Ying shuts up and wants nothing more than to be read. “Hm,” continues Lan Zhan, dragging a palm down the inside of his thigh, tickling sensitive skin. He presses his thumb, dry, against Wei Ying’s rim. “Such a pretty little hole.”

“Oh my fucking god, Lan Zhan,” he chokes.

Lan Zhan presses his thumb right against his entrance, the pad of it coarse with calluses left by instrument strings; Wei Ying can feel it in exquisite detail all the way to his bones. He holds it there for a moment, not moving, his eyes hot on Wei Ying’s, and if Wei Ying hadn’t just come five minutes ago he certainly would be edging there now. His breath is coming way too fast, his dick already flushed and starting to ooze precome again. He feels like he’s living out one of the wild fantasies he created to get himself through those first lonely nights in college; even his partner bears the same broad shoulders, same tiny but lethal smirk. He’s finding it harder and harder to believe that it’s a coincidence.

Only this is not a fantasy. Lan Zhan removes his thumb and stands up. Wei Ying whines, the sound escaping him loud and needy, and grabs towards Lan Zhan.

“Please, Lan Zhan, come back, put your hands on me again, this is cruelty, Lan Zhan—”

“Remove your sweater,” says Lan Zhan, undoing the other two buttons on his henley. “Now.”

Wei Ying’s mouth goes dry; he scrambles into a sitting position, shucks off his top, launches it across the room. He’s naked on Lan Zhan’s bed. (You’re naked on Lan Zhan’s bed, his brain repeats. Fuck it, this is beyond fantasy, this is wildest-dreams you-never-knew-you-had material. He swallows.)

Lan Zhan’s lips curl into the slightest smile, softening his features, and Wei Ying smirks at him in return. There’s a weird stab of dissonance, when he thinks about being here naked on Lan Zhan’s bed, about the fact that this is his very same best friend forever Lan Zhan, who knows him so thoroughly inside and out, who just spit his come into his mouth and pressed his dry thumb against his asshole and is looking at him like that.

He realises that he wants both. He wants his gentle and caring, softly smiling, best friend Lan Zhan. He wants commanding and dark-eyed and filthy-mouthed sex god Lan Zhan.

He is not sure if he is allowed both.

Lan Zhan slides his henley off in a smooth movement, and Wei Ying is once again blessed with the divine vision of his naked chest, his shoulders, his pecs, his abs, his tattoo. His fingers reach out toward it before he can stop himself, brushing over warm, delicate lines, the soft splash of colour against his skin; he drags his fingers down the entrancing shape of it, the curve of muscle that dips under the waistband of his linen pants. Wei Ying stops his fingers there, stares at the outline of Lan Zhan through the fabric, swallows.

He thinks about how he’d wanted to lean forward and put his mouth on it when Lan Zhan had first opened the door to him last week, how close he had been. How close he is now.

“Can you take them off?” he whispers, voice strained, and dips a finger into Lan Zhan’s waistband.

“Tell me what you want,” says Lan Zhan.

Wei Ying glances up at him, and he’s giving him that look again, the one he had given him when he had Wei Ying’s cock deep in his throat and Wei Ying’s spit soaking his fingers. Wei Ying shudders. “I want,” he starts, and it comes out high and barely audible, not at all sexy and confident. He tries again. “I want to see your cock.”

Lan Zhan covers his hand with his, gives it the smallest squeeze, and says, “Good boy.”

Wei Ying feels it all the way down to his toes.

He removes Wei Ying’s hand and unbuttons the side opening of his pants, pulling them off smoothly and folding them carefully on the dresser with his henley. Wei Ying stares at his ass in, yes, designer white briefs. Then Lan Zhan turns back to him and Wei Ying lets out a whimper.

The briefs do nothing to hide his cock, the shape of it, the size of it, god, straining against the fabric, thick and hard. Wei Ying cannot stop staring. Lan Zhan simply watches him, silent, as he drags a hand over the shape of himself, hums softly.

“Please,” whispers Wei Ying.

Lan Zhan is so kind. So, so kind. He reaches into his briefs and pulls out his cock.

Wei Ying swallows again. Holy shit. Lan Zhan is—not small. He’s probably actually bigger than Wei Ying’s neon pink dildo. Holy shit. His mouth is watering.

“Can—can I—”

Lan Zhan doesn’t reply, instead taps his shoulder and urges him back onto the bed, shucking off his underwear properly as he follows him. Lan Zhan settles back against the headboard, one leg folded, watches Wei Ying with a lidded gaze. His cock lies heavy and dark against his stomach. “You can touch,” he says quietly.

Wei Ying does. He kneels over Lan Zhan’s lap, catching his breath as Lan Zhan’s dick brushes the curve of his ass. He alights his hands, gentle, on Lan Zhan’s shoulders, smooths them over the solid jut of his collarbone, down the firm expanse of his chest. Brushes over a nipple, which elicits the softest breath of air from Lan Zhan. Wei Ying does it again, firmer, and Lan Zhan licks his lips, eyes dark and heavy. Wei Ying smirks.

His hands continue their journey southward, learning the planes of his stomach, the valleys of his waist, the sharp peaked mountains of his hip bones. He drags his fingers over his tattoo again, follows the way the flowing brook of flowers curves elegantly towards his crotch. Stutters his movement as they graze the soft hair surrounding Lan Zhan’s dick.

“Wei Ying,” says Lan Zhan, voice low. “It’s okay.” Wei Ying looks up at him, and Lan Zhan is gazing at him gently, almost—fondly. No, just gently, Wei Ying thinks, because he knows he’s reacting like he’s never had sex before and Lan Zhan is the kind of sexual partner who notices that and acts accordingly, checking in on him—

“Wei Ying.” Wei Ying realises he’s been staring silently at him. “Do you wish to carry on?”

Wei Ying’s brain kicks back into gear, as does his dick; he shakes himself and nods eagerly. “Yes, yes, please, Lan Zhan.”

He gets over whatever—that was, and wraps his hand around Lan Zhan’s cock with delight, stroking him over. The silky softness of it, the veins that snake up towards the head, the little bubble of precome forming on the slit. Wei Ying has given more thought to Lan Zhan’s dick in the last week than he would like to admit (and certainly some before that, but at least this time he had an excuse).

He wants to put it in his mouth.

“Can I suck you off?” he asks, already shuffling back down the bed.

“Do you want to suck my cock or do you want me to fuck you?” Lan Zhan asks. He folds his hand over Wei Ying’s. “I’d like you to choose.”

Wei Ying shivers at the sound of the word fuck coming from Lan Zhan’s mouth, then moans and buries his face in Lan Zhan’s hip. This is cruelty. “Noooo, Lan Zhan, please, I want both.”

“Mn,” Lan Zhan replies unhelpfully. Wei Ying pouts and nuzzles closer to their joined hands. Noses along the tattoo, flicks at it with his tongue. Lan Zhan doesn’t react, just watches him with the slightest raise of his eyebrow. He shuffles closer. Presses a tiny kiss to the base of Lan Zhan’s dick. He knows he’s pushing his luck.

“Wei Ying.”

Please, Lan Zhan, I just want you in my mouth and then in my ass, is that too much to ask—”

Lan Zhan strokes their hands over his cock, nudges at Wei Ying’s shoulder with his knee. “Will you be good? Do what I tell you to do?”

Wei Ying’s erection is back with full force now. He nods frantically, props himself up carefully over Lan Zhan’s lap, kisses the precome at the tip of his dick. “I’ll be good, I’ll be so good Lan Zhan—”

“Okay.” Lan Zhan’s hand settles on his head, his fingers threading into his hair. “Then be a good boy and suck.”

Wei Ying moans, drops his mouth open, takes the head of Lan Zhan’s cock between his lips. He’s big, he’s so big, god, but Wei Ying is a champion at giving blowjobs, can suck a dick like he was born for it. He swirls his tongue around the tip, gathering precome, salty and bitter, dipping it into the slit. He pulls off again, licks his lips, saliva and precome a silvery string hanging from the head. Glances up at Lan Zhan. He’s watching him with hunger in his eyes.

Wei Ying smirks and drops his mouth over Lan Zhan’s cock again, letting it rest heavy and thick on his tongue. His lips have to stretch around it; the feeling makes him weak with arousal. He dips his head, sucks hard as he pulls back, repeats. The smell of him—god, sweet soap and sweat—Wei Ying wants to bury his nose in it and stay there forever. He does his best, opening up his throat, taking Lan Zhan as far as he’s able; his lips meet his hand when the head bumps the back of his throat. He squeezes his eyes closed, breathes through the desire to gag, takes him deeper. Swallows around him. Lan Zhan’s hand is tight in his hair, tugging at the roots, every twitch of his fingers sending shocks of heat straight to Wei Ying’s cock.

Wei Ying bobs his head, because he wants to be good for Lan Zhan, wants to make this good for Lan Zhan, wants to make him remember it. Even if they can never make eye contact again after this. At least it will have been good.

“Wei Ying,” says Lan Zhan, and it’s breathier, rasping; Lan Zhan is flushed red down to his nipples. He tugs at Wei Ying’s hair and Wei Ying moans at the sensation. “Wei Ying, enough.”

Wei Ying whines, keeps sucking, his hand wet with saliva now as he works it over the length that won’t fit in his mouth; he feels perfect like this, mind a little fuzzy and mouth completely full. He loves Lan Zhan’s cock, he decides. He never wants to let it go.

“Wei Ying,” repeats Lan Zhan with force, and pulls him upwards by the hair; the pleasure-pain of it makes Wei Ying gasp. He hovers above Lan Zhan’s wet dick, flicks his tongue at the head, and whines again when Lan Zhan pulls him further away.

“But please, Lan Zhan, wanna taste you, wanna feel you come in my mouth—”

Lan Zhan drags him up to kiss him. Wei Ying responds eagerly, lips still tender from being stretched around Lan Zhan’s cock, licking into his mouth and moaning loudly when their hips brush together. Lan Zhan’s hand spreads over his ass, squeezes his buttock, kneads it with pressure. Wei Ying gasps against his lips as he feels his fingers trailing down his crack, brushing over his entrance again.

“Want to feel me come in your mouth, want me to touch your hole—you’re indecisive, aren’t you?” murmurs Lan Zhan into the space between them.

Wei Ying whines against his lips, rocks his hips back against Lan Zhan’s hand, brushing their dicks together. “Just want you,” he says. “Wanna feel you everywhere. Want you to rail me through to next Sunday.”

“Mn,” says Lan Zhan. “Okay.”

Lan Zhan’s hands are hot on his waist, and then Wei Ying is on his back again, panting up at Lan Zhan with a surprised giggle. He only whines a little bit when Lan Zhan moves away to reach for the bedside table, but the click of the lid of the lube bottle is enough to send a thrill of anticipation up his spine.

He gasps at the finger that circles his rim, wet and slightly cool, and it turns into a moan when Lan Zhan slides it inside. He leans forward on the other arm over Wei Ying, looking down at him. Wei Ying feels perfectly trapped. It’s everything.

Lan Zhan has gorgeous fingers. Wei Ying has thought about them a lot. Long, elegant, sharp-knuckled and delicate. No less strong, no less able to draw music from any instrument set before them, to pluck strings or caress ivory or cradle the steady handle of a bow. Skilled and capable. He adds a second finger, a gentle stretch, and Wei Ying could write a scientific research paper about their talents in detail.

“Oh, oh my god, Lan Zhan,” he groans, tossing an arm over his face as Lan Zhan presses down on his prostate. Shivers of pleasure wrack their way up his thighs. “Yes, right there, fuck, need—more—”

Lan Zhan presses an open mouthed kiss over his nipple as he slides in a third, and Wei Ying can’t help but writhe under his tongue, heels digging into sheets, hand coming down to circle his neglected cock. Lan Zhan swats it away easily.

“No,” he breathes against Wei Ying’s chest, licking his way over to the other nipple. “Do not touch yourself.”

“Oh, holy fuck, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying moans raggedly, twisting his hand into the bedsheets instead. He’s so into this. He’s so, so into this. “Please, please, I’m ready, put it in.”

Lan Zhan hums around his nipple, but keeps fucking him with his fingers, steady and solid. Wei Ying is panting by the time he eventually slides them out, sits up. Tears open the condom packet.

“Turn over,” says Lan Zhan, and Wei Ying scrambles onto his belly, folding his knees under and sticking his ass up in the air. “Good boy.” That’s the third time he’s said those words now, and Wei Ying thrums with it, with the thought of being good for Lan Zhan. He’s a little disappointed that he can’t see Lan Zhan’s face, but—

“Look at you, presenting to me like you’re in heat.” Lan Zhan’s voice is low and rough. He slips a finger back inside, dragging on his rim. Wei Ying presses his face into his folded arm and whines. “So hungry for my cock,” Lan Zhan continues. There’s an edge of awe in his tone. “Do you want it?”

“Yes, yes, please Lan Zhan, want your cock, so hungry for it, want it to fill me up, please—”

Wei Ying is babbling. He doesn’t care. He rocks back against empty air at the loss of Lan Zhan’s finger. A hand steadies his waist. He feels the blunt press of Lan Zhan’s cockhead against his entrance.

Wei Ying groans, gasping into the crook of his elbow as Lan Zhan breaches him. He’s huge. Wei Ying had thought he was ready, but the way Lan Zhan is filling him, right into every nook and cranny, stuffing him to the brim, completely full—he is bigger than his neon pink dildo, he’s bigger than anything Wei Ying’s had inside him before.

“Holy shit,” he squeaks when Lan Zhan bottoms out. “Holy shit. Ah. Ah, Lan Zhan.”

“Mn,” agrees Lan Zhan, and fucks him.

He moves slowly at first, the drag of his cock a wonder, but it’s not enough, and Wei Ying thrusts his hips back to meet him desperately. Lan Zhan’s hand tightens on his hips. “Please, please, please, please,” pants Wei Ying. “Lan Zhan. Give it to me. Give it to me.”

Lan Zhan hums in response. “I am giving it to you,” he says.

Wei Ying twists his head round to glare at him. Lan Zhan’s lips are just slightly parted as he grinds back into him, dragging a hand down his side, kneading into the meat of his ass. “Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying whines, pouting. “You know what I mean. Harder. Please.”

Lan Zhan raises an eyebrow at him, face impassive, then slides in and slams back in with such force that Wei Ying is shoved up the bed.

Ye-s,” he groans, burying his face again. Every thrust of Lan Zhan inside him shocks him right to his core. “Yes, like that, fuck.”

Lan Zhan picks up the pace, his balls slapping against Wei Ying’s ass with an obscene noise. His hands are bruising on his hips; he will have marks in the morning, Wei Ying thinks. Lan Zhan fucks like he does everything else: precisely, with dedication. Wei Ying scrunches his eyes shut at the force of him, the feeling of him, inside and on him and everywhere. He’s still babbling into the pillow, mostly just profanities and Lan Zhan’s name. His cock is hard, leaking between his legs, but he can’t touch it, Lan Zhan told him he wasn’t allowed to—

Lan Zhan pulls out of him entirely, and Wei Ying wails at the loss, his hips bucking back automatically. Lan Zhan grunts and manhandles him onto his back, pulls his legs up to sit over his shoulders, and sinks back in.

Wei Ying sobs. It’s the perfect angle, hitting him right where he feels it most, sending waves of need coursing through his skin, rendering him thoughtless. Lan Zhan pulls him up into his lap, leans forward to mouth at Wei Ying’s ear, folding him fully in half. Wei Ying is gasping for air as he fucks into him harder, faster, hips snapping. And all he can do is lie there and take it.

“How does it feel?” pants Lan Zhan in his ear. “How does it feel, my fat cock fucking into your tight hole?”

Wei Ying’s eyes are wet with the feel of it. He’s actually crying. God. Lan Zhan’s words light him on fire. “Feels so good, Lan Zhan, so fucking good, fuck, so big, harder, yes, Lan Zhan, oh my god, feels amazing—”

“Taking it so well for me, Wei Ying. I want you to feel me till next week,” says Lan Zhan, and bites his ear hard.

Wei Ying is sobbing, useless, used, he’s so close, has been on the edge for so long, his cock weeping precome between their bellies, and he’s not allowed to touch himself, he can’t, he’s not gonna—

“Lan Zhan,” he gasps, “Lan Zhan, I can’t last, I’m gonna, gonna, please—”

Lan Zhan presses impossibly closer, grinding into his ass, right over his prostate. Wei Ying is curled up like an apostrophe, ass in the air for him, knees by his ears, and it feels so good, he feels so good, so good for Lan Zhan—

He must have babbled that last bit out loud, because Lan Zhan licks down his jaw, says against his neck, “Yes, Wei Ying, you are good. So good. Doing so well for me.”

“Please,” Wei Ying sobs.

Lan Zhan’s hand circles his dripping cock. He kisses him, brief, open mouthed. Wei Ying can’t hold it back any longer.

“Come for me, Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says, and strokes him twice, and he does.

Wei Ying thinks he might black out; certainly there is a moment when he is right on the edge, and the next thing he is aware of, he’s shuddering against the pillows, hips jerking helplessly through the aftershocks. His breath goes completely. He thinks some come might splatter on his chin, mingle wet with the tears there. His muscles give out completely. He’s boneless.

He’s never come so hard in his entire life.

Lan Zhan fucks him through it, gasping into his collarbone, and Wei Ying is physically incapable of doing anything other than lying there pliant like a ragdoll and letting him, whimpering. Lan Zhan’s hips stutter against his ass, grinding into oversensitivity, and Wei Ying hisses with it. Lan Zhan grunts, thrusts deep into him, and comes.

His face is a glory. Better than anything image he could have drawn up in the horniest depths of his mind. He comes for a long time, shuddering against Wei Ying, eyes closed with the force of it, mouth caught open in a gasp. Wei Ying likes to imagine that he can feel the heat of it spurting inside him, hot, possessive. Thinks about Lan Zhan fucking him without a condom.

Lan Zhan collapses on top of him, spent. His legs slide weakly down Lan Zhan’s arms, sliding back down onto the bed. They lie there, panting into sweaty skin, until things are starting to feel sticky. Lan Zhan groans quietly and slips out of him, soft, clumsily tying off the condom before toppling next to Wei Ying, chest heaving.

“That was,” he starts after a while, and Wei Ying nods. “Wei Ying. Are you alright?”

“Nngh,” replies Wei Ying.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” says Lan Zhan with a small huff. Wei Ying nods. The ceiling is slowly coming back into focus. He wipes his eyes.

“Think you made me forget my own name,” he manages. His voice is wobbly. Lan Zhan laughs again, softly. “That was—the best I have ever been fucked. Holy shit, Lan Zhan.”

Lan Zhan hums and props himself up onto an elbow, facing him. He finally looks like he’s been a little wrecked too, hair falling out of its bun and sticking to his forehead with sweat, collarbone glistening, some of Wei Ying’s come drying on his abs. Wei Ying licks his lips. He doesn’t know if he wants to cuddle him or go for another round.

The rational part of his mind, conveniently switched off for most of the evening, hisses in the back of his brain. No cuddling. No overnights. No seconds.

Lan Zhan leans forward a little, looking at Wei Ying’s lips, but then he rocks back and swings himself off the bed. Wei Ying’s stomach drops. Not in the fun way.

He gets himself into a sitting position, still feeling completely loose-limbed and floppy, and gets his feet onto the soft white carpet on the floor. He feels a bit cold. Not in a physical way, just—empty. He’d been so focused on the main purpose of their evening together that he’d forgotten what came after.

His sweater is balled up in the corner by the closet. He stumbles over to it, shakes it out to the right way round. He’s feeling increasingly weird. Like he shouldn’t be here. He needs to get out, now, in fact, needs to go home and stuff himself silly with frozen waffles and wrap himself in his duvet and maybe—maybe watch—

“Wei Ying?” Lan Zhan sounds concerned. Wei Ying spins to face him, holding the sweater up in front of himself; he shouldn’t feel embarrassed to be stood naked in Lan Zhan’s room after everything they’ve just done together, but he does. Lan Zhan is still fully nude, holding a damp towel, looking a little fresher and a lot confused. “What are you doing?”

“Um,” says Wei Ying, feels like he might have missed something. “I thought. I should—um—”

“Let me clean you up,” says Lan Zhan, and it’s soft, way softer than anything else he’s said this evening. It’s the voice he uses when Wei Ying shows up at his door crying, when he wakes him up with a call at 2am because he can’t sleep.

Wei Ying holds onto the sweater for safety, and he can feel the slight edge of panic coming on, because what if Lan Zhan thinks he’s weird, what if Lan Zhan softly offers to clean up all his partners afterwards and he’s just going to think Wei Ying is a heartless bastard who only wanted him for his body—

Lan Zhan’s hand is warm on his elbow. “Wei Ying. It’s okay. Come here.”

He pulls him in to his chest, and Wei Ying goes, only letting out the very slightest little noise. Lan Zhan guides them back to the bed, gets Wei Ying sat down against the pillows, shuffles up beside him and wipes him down. He murmurs in his ear as he does, soft words, tells him he did so well and that he was so good and that he made Lan Zhan feel so good. Wei Ying is silent, as he curls into him, because it’s so nice, it feels so good to be looked after by Lan Zhan, but he doesn’t know if he’s allowed.

“It’s alright,” says Lan Zhan, tossing the towel in the direction of the laundry hamper and pulling the covers back up the bed. Over Wei Ying’s lap. Wei Ying looks down at them. Is this—

“What about,” he whispers, hands skimming over the dark grey sheets. “What about your rules?”

Lan Zhan leans over him to switch off the bedside lamp. Presses a kiss to Wei Ying’s shoulder on his way back over. Shuffles down onto his back. Pulls Wei Ying over on top of him. Doesn’t reply.

“Lan Zhan?”

“Shh. Go to sleep, Wei Ying.”

Wei Ying lies frozen against his chest. Lan Zhan’s arm is warm around his back, his breath evening out in little puffs in his hair. He swallows. They are cuddling. They are overnighting. Two rules, broken. This goes against everything he’s been told.

But maybe this is what he always wanted.

He looks up at Lan Zhan’s face in the darkness. He can barely make out his features, but he already knows them like his own. His perfectly-shaped eyebrows. The high cut of his cheekbones. The angular curve of his jaw. The plushness of his lips. He is the most beautiful person Wei Ying has ever met.

His heart pulses against his ribcage. Shit. This is why he doesn’t do one night stands. This is why he is going to ruin everything. This is why he can’t just have what he wants.

Because what he wants more than anything right now is Lan Zhan. Again and again, like this, lost in each other, and in the little moments, catching his eye across the room, whispering sweet nothings into his ear, and in the passionate declarations in rain and wind and soft misty mornings that speak of promises. He wants him in a way that goes beyond friendship, goes beyond bodies moving together to seek climax. He wants everything.

Fuck. Wei Ying has caught feelings.

 

 

Chapter Text

Perhaps, Wei Ying thinks at 12:56pm the following day in the cafeteria, perhaps he should have seen it sooner.

He knows—he knows he’s not the best at knowing, okay, he’s been studying engineering for nearly five years now and he’s still not sure if it’s what he wants to spend the rest of his life doing. Some days it’s easier to just not think about all that stuff. Some days it’s just easier to get on with it, get on with life, without thinking about any of the deeper implications. They tell you to live in the present. They seem to forget to remind you that the future is always coming, and then you end up drifting because the future is here, and you’re still stood in the present, without any sense of control over what happens next.

Know yourself, they say. Sometimes he can’t even decide whether to wear his hair in a bun or in a ponytail.

He does know himself, Wei Ying insists to the last elusive noodle in his soup, but it’s easier to know some parts of yourself than others. Some parts are not easy to look at. Some parts require carefully ignoring and shutting away in a box in the back of your mind because if you start thinking about them you will never, ever be able to stop.

The possibility of Lan Zhan being anything other than his best friend is certainly one of those.

The thing is—Wei Ying didn’t want this to change things, but he was expecting it. He was expecting awkwardness and stiffness and fleeing into the night and never looking back, treasuring every memory and every moment, replaying each touch in his mind, but forbidden from ever feeling them again. He was expecting a swift, sterile goodbye, a stinging press of iodine shining pink on a wound that would likely hurt far more than any others he’d sustained long after the bruise had faded. He was expecting the empty unease after an explosion too big and too messy to control.

He was not expecting November sun washing through a window, painting dark grey sheets bright, dust motes hanging like the stillness of the room. He was not expecting to find his clothes, folded and neat, sitting on the dresser with a pair of clean underwear tucked on top. He was not expecting sizzling eggs and the bottle of hot sauce that will soon need replacing, even though its owner never uses it.

Wei Ying had sat at Lan Zhan’s kitchen bar with bite marks on his neck and bruises on his thighs and a delightful soreness deep inside him, and had not expected to be feeling this way.

Here’s the thing: he knew things would change. He just didn’t know that his own stupid, disastrous heart would be the thing changing.

Lan Zhan hadn’t kissed him again. Because Lan Zhan is not stupid, and is not disastrous, and maintains perfect control over his heart and Wei Ying can ache for him all he wants but Lan Zhan has never once expressed an interest in him beyond his kind, gentle friendship and the even kinder offer to fuck him cause no one else would.

(And, well, Wei Ying is hot too. And his filthy mouth. Wei Ying’s cheeks heat even thinking about it; the cafeteria is warm with bodies and food but this is a different kind of warmth. But—aren’t those the things you would expect a sex god to say?)

He hadn’t kissed him again, but he had placed a warm hand at the base of Wei Ying’s back on his way out the door this morning. He was still wearing the same cropped sweater; Lan Zhan’s fingers had dipped into the waistband of his jeans. He can’t get his mind off the memory of them there.

“Wei Ying!”

Wen Qing snaps her fingers in front of his face, and he looks up, startled. She’s scowling at him like she wants to slap him, rather than just snap at him. He’s surprised she didn’t.

“Will you please wake up? What the fuck has gotten into you?”

Wei Ying glances down at his smoothie; he would have a clever answer, but Wen Qing would definitely smack him for it.

“Nothing,” he mumbles instead. “Keep telling me about your—your neuroscience?”

Wen Qing shoots him a withering look. “It’s neurology, thanks. But no, there’s something far more interesting going on here”—she gestures at him— “and I think, as your queer ally who only sometimes hates you, I deserve to know what it is.”

Wei ying blinks. He doesn’t like the way she’s waving her chopsticks at him. “Um. Nothing’s going on.”

“Wei Ying. Your neck looks like it was attacked by an octopus and you barely made it over from the food counter without wincing.” She leans forward and pokes his chest with the chopsticks. Wei Ying swallows. “You had a good time last night, and you haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.” She leans back, clearly smug. “Who wrecked you like this? I thought you didn’t do casual. Unless it’s not casual?” She smirks.

Wei Ying is going to sink through the chair, through the floor, and bury himself in the earth below. “Why do you want to know?” he mutters.

“You’ve literally been thinking about it non stop since we sat down. You haven’t taken in a word of what I’ve said. And frankly, I don’t deserve to be treated like this. So tell me whose ass I need to beat.”

He can’t just tell her, he’ll never hear the end of it. “It was nothing,” he says, pushing confidence into his voice. “Just casual, like you said.”

She looks at him with a raised eyebrow. “Uh-huh. Sure. Casual enough to have you gazing love-stricken into space for a full twenty minutes. I get it.”

“Wen Qing!” he exclaims. “You’re bullying me. This is biphobia. I’m calling Mianmian.”

“Do not bring my girlfriend into this,” snaps Wen Qing, and Wei Ying flinches back, because she is terrifying when she glares like that. “Anyway. She’s morally obligated to take my side. Who fucked you well enough that you’re already thinking about baby names?”

Wei Ying scoffs, outraged, because it not like he’s already decided on a yellow and purple colour scheme for the nursery with a bunny rabbit mobile over the crib, lightweight curtains fluttering in the breeze, Lan Zhan’s gentle smile as he glances up at him from the chair, a little bundle in his arms—

“You—I have no obligation to tell you! Besides, how do you even know I got fucked? Maybe I just—fell down three flights of stairs?”

Wen Qing folds her arms dispassionately. “How kind of the stairs to give you such a defined bite mark right over your jugular.” Her tone couldn’t be any drier.

“Wen Qing,” moans Wei Ying, collapsing onto the table and looking at her through his lashes. “You can’t. I can’t tell you. It’s a secret. Shh.”

Her lips flicker, quizzically; he’s never been one to hold back on his sexual encounters and she knows this. He bats his eyelashes some more. Maybe she’ll just leave it and go away.

“And why are you so happy—oh. Oh no.” Wen Qing stops in her tracks, staring at him. “You didn’t.”

He pouts. “Didn’t what?”

“Wei Ying!” She smacks him on the arm, rather hard, and that definitely wasn’t warranted. “Tell me you did not sleep with Lan Zhan last night.”

Oh. Oh dear. Oh shit. He wasn’t that obvious, was he?

Wei Ying doesn’t reply, and buries his face in his arms instead.

“Oh my god,” says Wen Qing, and he’s kind of offended that she sounds shocked about it, because is it really that unlikely that Lan Zhan would want to sleep with him? Maybe it is. “Thank fuck. It was about time.”

Wei Ying sits up. “What?”

She just shakes her head and starts packing up her lunch tray. “No, you know what, I’ve decided I definitely don’t want to know. The thought of what you might get up now that you’ve finally—no. No thank you. Goodbye.”

“Wen Qing, wait—”

But she’s gone, striding across the cafeteria all of 5’5” like she’s on her way to murder someone.

Wei Ying sinks back down into his seat and looks at the soup starting to go cold and oily in its polystyrene cup. It was about time. About time for what? What the fuck?

His phone chimes with an email alert from a tutor asking if he has finished setting the weekend homework plan yet, jolting him from his thoughts. He knows very well that he hasn’t and that class starts again in 24 minutes, so he puts Wen Qing’s words far at the back of his mind and scrambles to his office.

 

*

 

Wei Ying texts him that evening, squashed onto the couch under the oversized blanket Wen Ning knitted him three birthdays ago. It’s seen far too much use over the years. It has square patches, each a different skein of wool, a confusing meld of colours and patterns that somehow melt into an overarching sense of green; it smells a bit of the couch, but it’s very cosy.

 

Wei Ying

Hey, just wanted to check if we’re still good for lunch tmrw? I know we couldnt do last week cause of your student’s recital thingie but do you have one this week too?

 

He knows Lan Zhan doesn’t have one this week. Last Friday—the Friday, the one that had kickstarted all this—had been a one-off cancellation, Lan Zhan had apologised profusely (“Wei Ying. I am sorry.” Sincere eyes.), and Wei Ying had accepted with a wave of his hand and a laughing assurance that it was completely fine. He’s not actually asking about whether he’s got another recital. Of course Lan Zhan can do tomorrow, in theory, but what if he doesn’t… want to, anymore?

The thought makes Wei Ying’s heart sting. He presses send, waits anxiously for a reply. It follows within a minute.

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

Of course. Last week was an unusual occurrence. I hope it does not have to happen again.

I look forward to seeing you.

 

Wei Ying lets out a breath; so far, everything seems normal. Right? Lan Zhan and his usual formal way of texting, sincere and to the point, just another message. I look forward to seeing you. What does that mean? Is he just saying it to make Wei Ying feel better about how he had been a blushy stumbling mess throughout all of breakfast? Has he seen through Wei Ying’s thinly veiled attempt at checking whether everything is still okay between them? Does he actually mean it?

Wei Ying pushes through the overthinking and forces himself to reply.

 

Wei Ying

Nice! I’ll try not to be late this time lol you shouldn't have to order for me 😅

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

I do not mind.

 

Wei Ying

Lan Zhan pls

Anyway I found more pictures of wind sculptures I wanna show you they’re so fucking cool

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

I thought they were interesting as well.

Wei Ying.

 

Wei Ying

That’s me! Hehe what

 

The typing bubbles appear and disappear a couple of times. Wei Ying pulls his blanket closer up around his ears and buries his nose in it. At least after last night he can’t excuse Lan Zhan for being shy anymore, not when he’s capable of saying things like pretty little hole.

Wei Ying flushes at the thought. His dick definitely isn’t going to forget that any time soon.

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

I wanted to discuss this over lunch tomorrow, but I feel it would perhaps be easier to make a decision now.

I very much enjoyed last night.

 

Heat rushes down his neck, down his spine, right to his cock. He had—he had hoped, at least, that it had been okay for Lan Zhan, but he knows he’s not—not the most experienced. His last two partners had been somewhat boring in the bedroom. Not that he’d known it at the time, but after last night. Well.

Lan Zhan enjoyed it. Wei Ying presses his knuckles into his mouth to fight back his grin. Very much enjoyed it. Wei Ying can overthink all he wants, but he knows Lan Zhan doesn’t like lying. Maybe if he could just get over himself and accept the fact that yeah, he did make it good for Lan Zhan, then he won’t feel quite so panicky. The knowledge that Lan Zhan doesn’t regret it warms his cheeks.

He can’t let Lan Zhan find out how he really feels about that though, so he stays on brand and flirts back shamelessly.

 

Wei Ying

I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lan-er-gege ;) I enjoyed it a whole lot too

 

He pauses. He’s not sure if this is a direction Lan Zhan intended to take this conversation in. Make a decision, whatever that’s about. Still. Honest communication is vital to any relationship.

 

Wei Ying

My ass has been so sore today that Wen Qing said I was walking funny 😔 hope you’re proud 😔

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

Wei Ying.

Have you got laboratory classes tomorrow afternoon?

 

Wei Ying frowns. Lan Zhan knows his schedule, why is he asking—

 

Wei Ying

No tomorrow just loads of grading

Why?

 

Lan Zhan 🐰😍✨

Hm.

I would like to fuck you again.

But we can have lunch first.

 

Wei Ying’s neighbours are going to put in a formal complaint soon, the volume of the shriek that comes out of him. At least he manages not to fling his phone across the room.

 

*

 

It is Wei Ying who arrives at their Friday lunchtime bistro first this time—while Tuesday’s Buns and Beans is cosy and cute and has the distinct feeling of being in a close relative’s kitchen, Filigree is all exposed brick and high ceilings and barely two matching pieces of furniture. He sets himself up at one of the high tables, legs tucked under the bar of the stool, and only realises too late that he’s facing away from the door.

He’s feeling delightfully jittery again, aware of every inch of his own skin: where it’s exposed to the air, where it brushes against his t-shirt, where his jeans press tight over his knees. The restaurant is warm despite the cool weather outside; condensation drips down his glass of water, pools on the dark wood of the table. Wei Ying walked here too fast, bundled up in his scarf and jacket, and sweat is sticking his hair to his nape.

He’s doing his very best not to overthink the fact that Lan Zhan seems determined to go against all his rules for him. Perhaps Huaisang had just made them up for dramatic effect. Perhaps this is a common happenstance: when Lan Zhan enjoys himself, then he’ll cuddle you and make you breakfast and fuck you again not two days later. It’s just appreciative. It doesn’t mean anything.

Wei Ying really, really wants it to mean something.

But, he tells himself, he didn’t tell you about the hookups. He didn’t let you know about his Grindr profile. Maybe this was all a mistake and he’s just going along with it, making the most out of the situation until this finally breaks and they have to go their separate ways, forever schismed by Wei Ying’s stupid inability to keep his feelings under control—

A warm hand on his lower back jerks him out of his thoughts, sends a thrill of excitement up his spine.

“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan greets him in a low, somewhat surprised voice. “You got here first.”

Enough stressing about how this is all going to end. All that matters is the here and now, thinking only about what’s happening in the present: Wei Ying’s speciality. (And maybe thinking about what’s going to happen in the next couple of hours as well. Wei Ying’s pulse flutters with anticipation.)

“Lan Zhan! Hey.” Lan Zhan’s hand catches on his waist before he settles on the stool opposite Wei Ying, a spark of heat on electric skin. “Yeah, look at me, being on time and everything! I haven’t ordered yet though.”

“Mn,” says Lan Zhan, and meets his gaze.

Wei Ying flushes. He feels like he could be knocked off his stool with the intensity of it. His eyes are dark, heavy, completely inappropriate for such a public place. His gaze dips, lingering on Wei Ying’s lips, lower. He knows the bite marks Lan Zhan gave him on Wednesday are still visible.

“Lan Zhan!” he hisses, leaning forward. “Why do I feel like you want to eat me instead of some real food?” He laughs sheepishly, but Lan Zhan just meets his eyes again, syrup and honey and thick, dark treacle. Wei Ying’s stomach swoops.

“Oh my god,” he mutters, burying his hands in his face. “You were the one who said you wanted to get lunch first.”

“Lunch first. Wei Ying later,” Lan Zhan replies, but he still hasn’t taken his eyes off him.

It’s the most sexually charged meal Wei Ying has ever had. He barely even notices what he orders, and when the server brings them their—hot salads, maybe?—Lan Zhan barely acknowledges it. (Which, rude, Lan Zhan, just because you’re a fucking hot sex god who’s gonna fuck me later doesn’t mean you get to be rude to waitstaff.) Wei Ying smiles widely enough at him for both of them, and Lan Zhan hooks his heel around the bar of Wei Ying’s stool and drags him closer under the table.

This is not the right place for games of footsie, not at a high table in an open room with bright lighting and wide, ceiling-height windows, but Wei Ying presses his ankle against Lan Zhan’s anyway and smirks at him over his couscous.

“You jealous, Lan Zhan? Thought I was gonna ditch you for the waiter?”

Lan Zhan frowns and cuts a glance down at his food, the tips of his ears pink.

“Oh my god! You actually are!” Wei Ying can’t help the giggle that erupts from him. “Lan Zhan. Do you seriously think I’m about to go chasing after some server who is forced to be polite to us to keep his job rather than let you fuck me speechless again?”

Lan Zhan actually has the courtesy to blush, just a very light dusting of colour high on his cheeks. He doesn’t reply, just carefully eats another cherry tomato, still not looking at him. A mix of juice and balsamic vinegar lingers on his lower lip until his tongue darts out to lick it up. Wei Ying realises he is staring.

Lan Zhan meets his gaze, a flash of heady eyes, and Wei Ying suddenly doesn’t feel at all hungry anymore.

“I think I’m finished,” he blurts out, despite the fact that his couscous is still steaming and he’s barely made a dent in it.

Lan Zhan glances at his bowl and raises an eyebrow. “Eat your food,” he says calmly, no-discussion, and Wei Ying pouts.

He does eat his food, finishes it, because he’s helpless to do anything but with Lan Zhan’s steady eyes on him like that and their ankles still hooked together under the table. There’s a tense moment when they’re both finished and neither of them move to pay: caught in each other’s eyes, the steamy warmth of the bistro, the buzz of conversation around them faded. Wei Ying’s can feel every inch of himself that is resting under Lan Zhan’s gaze, pressing hot hot hot out against his skin, wanting to burst. Arousal is a familiar and unavoidable reaction to his presence.

Lan Zhan goes to the counter, reluctantly taking Wei Ying’s cash—they’ve been doing this for years and he still protests, every time—and Wei Ying leans nervously against the table and admires the view. Lan Zhan’s long grey coat does wonders for his shoulders. His hair is neatly braided over his undercut, white ribbon twisted through the plait like a secret. He doesn’t often accessorise his hair, only really for formal events and the occasional party Wei Ying manages to drag him to. It’s a different kind of beautiful from his every day hotness, softer, more vulnerable. It makes something move in Wei Ying that has nothing to do with the half-hard press of his dick against his jeans.

Lan Zhan comes back and Wei Ying’s attention is immediately returned to said half-hard press of his dick against his jeans. “Well,” he starts. “Um. Let’s go?”

Lan Zhan nods, and follows him out of the restaurant. His hand settles again at Wei Ying’s lower back. Under his jacket. Wei Ying’s t-shirt may be old, but it’s never felt this thin. He nearly trips over the lintel onto the street.

One of the best things about Filigree, Wei Ying decides over the course of the next seven-minute walk, is how close it is to Lan Zhan’s apartment.

There is someone else in the elevator when they get in, which is both a blessing and a curse, because Wei Ying is not sure if he wants to find out whether he’s hungry enough for his best friend’s dick to suck him off in an elevator. (He fears the answer may be yes.) They get off after a few floors, and Lan Zhan’s hand creeps around his waist, not doing anything, just resting there. Wei Ying is going to vibrate out of his skin. Every touch is edging him closer to being too turned on to stand.

The doors ping and Wei Ying experiences a physical reaction. Lan Zhan’s hand tightens on his waist as he guides him out of the elevator, down the corridor (and Wei Ying only has a glancing thought for fucking Alfredo this time, because it’s a week later and guess who’s getting Lan Zhan’s dick twice in three days? Not Alfredo, that’s for sure), and stops outside his door.

The time it takes him to get his keys out of his pocket and into the lock is pure, unbridled agony. The hallway is empty, so Wei Ying dares to press himself close to Lan Zhan’s back, snakes his fingers around his waist, starts unbuttoning his coat. He curses the high collar that is standing firm between his seeking lips and the delicious expanse of Lan Zhan’s neck.

“Wei Ying,” scolds Lan Zhan softly, but then the mechanism clicks, and they’re stumbling into his apartment.

They barely have time to shut the door again behind them; Wei Ying pushes him up against it, bold, heart thrumming hot and excited under his skin. Lan Zhan’s lips are just as soft and eager as they had been on Wednesday night. He delves into him, the slick hot fervour of his mouth, takes and takes and takes and Lan Zhan makes no move to stop him. He kisses back with just as much urgency, tongue persistent, demanding.

“Off, off, off,” pants Wei Ying, pawing at his coat. It lands somewhere on the doormat as they stumble back through the entrance way into the kitchen, Wei Ying’s jacket and scarf abandoned in the process, shoes lost somewhere along the way. Wei Ying grabs at him desperately, needily; Lan Zhan’s hands are firm and confident. He’s already most of the way out of his t-shirt by the time they crash into the kitchen island. Wei Ying can’t wait much longer.

He drags his lips away from Lan Zhan’s, sucks messy kisses down his neck, fumbling with the buttons of his cardigan. It’s a real-life, grandpa cardigan, complete with elbow patches. It’s unfair how hot it is on him. He can’t get it off fast enough.

Lan Zhan’s belt is a hindrance, but Wei Ying has already sunk to his knees before it’s undone, mouthing at the prominent bulge in Lan Zhan’s pants. Right now, nothing else matters except getting mouth on Lan Zhan’s cock as soon as physically possible.

The belt is gone with a clatter, and Wei Ying’s fingers tremble with the thrill of it as he fights with the buttons of Lan Zhan’s fly. There’s a hand in his hair, a pressure, asking, inviting. He finally manages to get Lan Zhan out of his underwear and is once again greeted by the sight of his gorgeous cock, half-hard and steadily filling.

The air around him feels like it’s on fire. He looks up at Lan Zhan before he does anything, licks his lips, because he needs to be sure that he definitely wants this—

Lan Zhan is a picture, lips parted and eyes glossy, his hairstyle doing nothing to hide how red his ears are. “Are you sure?” whispers Wei Ying, the words catching in his throat, dripping into the tense space between them.

Lan Zhan’s eyes close briefly. The bob of his throat is entrancing. “Wei Ying. Yes. I am sure.”

The words are a release, permission granted: Wei Ying does not hesitate to take full advantage. The taste of precome on his tongue is bitter and addictive. The softness of his skin is compelling, the girth of him delicious, the way he fills his mouth a wonder. Lan Zhan’s hand in his hair is just tight enough to cause shivers of pleasure-pain to tingle with every bob of his head, guiding, controlling even; Wei Ying strains even harder against his jeans with the feel of it. He presses a hand over his demanding cock, seeking friction, moans loudly when Lan Zhan knocks it out of the way with his foot.

He breathes through the discomfort of taking him into his throat, but the way Lan Zhan’s breathing goes fast and guttural when he does it is the best reward he could ask for. He swallows around him, and the fingers of Lan Zhan’s other hand brush over his throat, and Wei Ying wonders if he can feel himself through the fragile skin. The thought only makes his moan louder.

When Lan Zhan comes, jaw slack and eyes closed and hand tight in Wei Ying’s hair, he doesn’t hesitate to swallow every last drop.

They both sink to the floor, a mess of limbs and half-worn clothes and teeth and tongues and hands. Wei Ying kisses Lan Zhan deep and dirty until he flips them and makes Wei Ying come with clever fingers and filthy words in his ear.

After, Wei Ying pants up at the stove hood and blindly reaches out for Lan Zhan, palm landing somewhere on soft skin and fine hair. He rolls over and presses his lips to the nearest bit of him he can find—he thinks it’s an elbow but he’s still busy coming down from his high and really doesn’t care. Lan Zhan hums and covers Wei Ying’s hand with his, drags it up his chest and kisses it gently.

The feeling from before that has nothing to do with arousal returns. Wei Ying buries his face in his side so that Lan Zhan won’t see the emotion written clearly all over it.

“Wei Ying.” It’s more of a rumble through the skin his nose is pressed into rather than actual, distinct words. Wei Ying makes a little noise in response.

“Do you.” Lan Zhan pauses, which is unlike him, and Wei Ying dares to peek over his ribcage at him. There is a little furrow between his eyebrows; Wei Ying wants to reach up and smooth it out. He doesn’t. “Do you want to.” His voice has gone very quiet. Wei Ying is glad his ear is pressed against his chest, because if he had missed the next words he would never forgive himself. “Do you want to keep doing this?”

Wei Ying squeaks, and Lan Zhan looks at him, concerned, pushing himself up and pulling Wei Ying up with him. “Wei Ying, it is fine if you do not. I was merely suggesting—”

A shocked laugh bursts out of him, and Wei Ying slaps a hand to his mouth. If only his stupid brain would behave, sometimes. Lan Zhan looks nervous. Oh, god. No, this is—

“Aha. Lan Zhan. Are you really saying you want to—to keep fucking me?”

There’s a little shift in Lan Zhan’s expression. Wei Ying doesn’t know what it means, because he’s still caught up on the fact that Lan Zhan just suggested that they keep doing this, which are words he’d never expect to hear him say, not in regards to whatever this is.

“To keep fucking you,” Lan Zhan says, and Wei Ying chooses to ignore the little tinge of disappointment it seems to be flavoured with in favour of the fact that Lan Zhan immediately follows it with, “Yes. I would like that.”

Wei Ying’s pulse is careening through his veins, and he’s pretty sure it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that they’re both naked and talking about sex. Lan Zhan wants to keep fucking him. Lan Zhan, who fucks, who is an absolute god in bed, who could have anyone he wanted. Lan Zhan wants to keep fucking him.

A little high-pitched giggle manages to escape his throat. “Okay,” he says. “Okay. Yeah. Let’s do this.”

Lan Zhan meets his eyes with that defense-shattering sincerity that Wei Ying is completely helpless to. “Mn,” he says. “Let’s do this.”

 

*

 

So. So this.

At brunch on Saturday, he desperately hopes that everyone is too involved in their game of Dominion to realise that he’s wearing a dark grey turtleneck that is slightly too big for him and far too expensive. It’s mostly hidden under his scarf and jacket, and he plays unobtrusively and keeps mostly quiet. Which is definitely out of character, but he can’t help it if his brain is still stuck on how Lan Zhan had fucked him against the cold tiles of the shower this morning. It’s only when Jiang Cheng aggressively attacks them with his Witch for the third time running (Wei Ying, of course, being the only one without any Moats to defend himself with) that he drags himself away from the thought of water dripping down Lan Zhan’s chest and catching on his nipples and throws himself back into the game properly.

Aside from the bed, kitchen floor, and shower, it turns out that there are a lot more places in Lan Zhan’s apartment in which to fuck than Wei Ying had initially realised. They map them studiously over the course of the next few weeks. His couch, of course, is an obvious contender, but it’s not until Lan Zhan’s got one knee propped up on the cushion, other foot planted firm on the rug, and Wei Ying folded in half over the arm, head brushing the floor with each thrust, that he realises just how versatile it is.

The kitchen counter is a natural location for fucking, and Wei Ying takes great delight in teasing Lan Zhan about food safety while he’s bracing himself against his fancy butcher’s block. That just earns him a slap to the ass, and oh, hello, new kink. He manages to moan out something about how this is not the right way to make salad dressing before Lan Zhan presses his head down against the well-worn wood and pounds into him hard enough to make the cutlery drawer rattle.

The piano is a revelation. Wei Ying feels foolish for not having fantasised about it before, the way his hands slam down on the keys when Lan Zhan thrusts right into the spot that sends heavy pleasure rocketing through his muscles. Lan Zhan had been playing something far too gentle and quiet for the way he flipped Wei Ying round in his lap, still wet and open after his shower, and fucked him fully clothed with his teeth on his neck.

There are other places too: Wei Ying is delighted to discover that Lan Zhan is strong enough to completely support him while he rails him against the wall, and the plush armchair that is The Blanket’s home is exceptionally good for riding. Wei Ying insists that they throw the bunnies’ cage cover on whenever they fuck in the living room. He can’t bear the thought of little baby Humphrey’s eyes being tainted at such a tender age. Their little bunny ears are no doubt already ruined by Lan Zhan’s filthy mouth; they have to prevent any more corruption from occurring.

(The bed, of course, sees its fair share of use too. It is very large, and very comfortable, and does not creak in the slightest.)

So this. They fuck. A lot. Several times a week, usually, except when Wei Ying gets swamped by exams in the first week of December and only manages to get to Lan Zhan’s on Friday night, exhausted, and falls asleep starfished across his bed before they can even do anything. He wakes up to find his phone fully charged and a fresh change of clothes on the dresser. He hadn’t even realised he’d started leaving stuff at Lan Zhan’s, but he’s barely seen his own pillow in nearly a month.

He lies on his back and stares up at the clean white of Lan Zhan’s ceiling, the thin layer of dust on the light fitting. The blinds are shuttered, pale sunlight dappled in thin lines across the sheets. There’s an abstract painting that Lan Zhan bought two years ago at an auction supporting trans artists hanging on the wall. The door is slightly ajar; he can hear the soft sound of Lan Zhan warming up on his guqin coming from the living room. He strains his ears to pick up the notes. It’s familiar, but not something that he could name. Lan Zhan plays it a lot. Wei Ying has asked him what it is, but he’s never got a solid answer. He wonders if Lan Zhan composed it himself.

Lan Zhan. Who plays soft, eloquent melodies on his guqin and then fucks him silly over his baby grand. Who makes him hot food for breakfast every morning and kisses him filthily every night. Who has been here, solidly, through every moment of their friendship, not wavering, not letting him go, who hasn’t even faltered in his attention even now that things have changed between them, even now that they’re doing this.

They haven’t talked about what this even is, not really. Their friendship has continued as normal, lunchtimes twice a week and griping about students and Wei Ying falling asleep on Lan Zhan’s couch under The Blanket as they watch Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet fall in love for what must be at least the seventieth time.

It’s the same, really. Just now interspersed with a lot more… fucking.

(The last viewing of Pride and Prejudice 2005 (dir. Joe Wright) had resulted in a delightful bout of couch sex. Wei Ying had only made Lan Zhan pause in his mission to pound him right through the cushions and into the floor below for long enough for them both to look up and watch The Hand Flex, and then they’d got back right to it.)

Well, a lot more fucking, and the fact that Wei Ying is pretty sure he’s in love with Lan Zhan.

This is a problem, you see, because they are not in a relationship. They are friends, who fuck. Best friends, yes, but the whole point of a friends-with-benefits arrangement is that the benefits are purely sexual. What Wei Ying feels towards Lan Zhan is—not.

You should tell him, a little voice in the back of his head whispers. He’s never rejected you before, why would he do so now?

But he can’t tell him. He can’t. Because if Lan Zhan felt anything like this in return, he would have done something about it by now, right? Said something about it? And he hasn’t. So Wei Ying can’t. Because what they have right now is good, really good, and Wei Ying has never had such a good sexual relationship before, not even close. And if he says something and it goes wrong, then everything will be ruined.

You don’t know that, says the little voice. It sounds a bit like jiejie. Wei Ying doesn’t like telling her to shut up.

It’s nearing 10am, so he hauls himself out of bed and showers in a daze, mind still stuck thinking through the outcomes of what might happen if he tells Lan Zhan. Over 80% of them are negative. Those are not good chances.

Lan Zhan doesn’t look up from his guqin when Wei Ying wanders into the living room. His eyes are closed, the sun casting a silvery outline around him through the tall windows. His hair is down and loose around his shoulders, and he’s wearing a plain t-shirt and neat pair of sweatpants. Wei Ying’s heart pangs at the way Lan Zhan can so comfortably embrace both the hot, sharp lines of his sexuality, confident and unashamed, and the soft, gentle curves of music on a Saturday morning.

He gets his breakfast quietly—Lan Zhan has left him congee on the stove, and while Lan Zhan is a good cook, he’s not very adventurous, so Wei Ying douses it heavily in hot sauce and sits to watch him at the breakfast bar. Really, he thinks, there aren’t many better ways to start the day than this.

The music eventually draws to an end, just as Wei Ying is finishing. Lan Zhan’s face flickers with a smile when he opens his eyes and sees Wei Ying.

“Is it wise to eat shortly before your Saturday brunch?” he asks, coming over and moving the empty pan to the sink. His hand brushes Wei Ying’s waist on the way by. He imagines that it’s a possessive touch. The thought pools in his lower belly with pleasure.

“Says the man who specifically made me food, knowing I was going out to brunch shortly after.” Wei Ying flings him a smirk over his spoon. “What? Tryna stop me from going? Keep me here so you can have your wicked way with me?”

Lan Zhan dries his hands off and looks at him across the counter. He suddenly feels much too far away. Wei Ying downs the last spoonful quickly.

Lan Zhan glances at his empty bowl. “Do you have—”

“Time? Yeah, abso-fucking-lutely.”

Up against the fridge is not somewhere they’ve tried yet. It’s mostly successful, until Wei Ying is so desperate to come that he accidentally activates the ice dispenser with a flailing hand, and they both end up giggling on the floor, a bit wet and a bit cold but mostly just very amused. It’s still a pretty damn good orgasm.

Dry and warm again, Wei Ying lets Lan Zhan press him into the wall of the entranceway and fuck his mouth with his tongue while he’s trying to do up the buttons of his jacket. It takes much longer than it should, considering there are only four of them.

He takes secret delight in the knowledge that behind his perfect, neat and polite exterior, Lan Zhan is probably the horniest person he has ever met. It’s a delightful piece of information to add to his steadily-growing collection cautiously titled Reasons Why I Am Probably In Love With My Best Friend.

Oh right. That.

Tell him, says the little voice. Tell him now and then run away before you can get a reaction. What’s the worst that can happen?

80% of the scenarios, Wei Ying thinks.

He detaches himself from Lan Zhan’s lips, pushes a little against his chest to get him to step back. His heartbeat is fluttering under his collar.

“Lan Zhan,” he says into the gap between them, still catching his breath. “Lan Zhan. I—I wanted to talk to you about something.”

Lan Zhan’s hands still on his waist. “Okay,” he says softly.

Wei Ying can’t meet his eyes. It’s that first Saturday morning all over again.

“Well, I—I just thought I should tell you—um.” He pauses, licks his lips. Risks a glance at Lan Zhan, who is looking at him openly, welcoming expression ready to receive whatever bombshell Wei Ying’s about to drop on him. He imagines himself saying those words, how they would feel in his mouth, where Lan Zhan’s tongue has just been. The thing is, Lan Zhan, I love you.

He flushes at the thought.

“Wei Ying?” Lan Zhan’s hand strokes his cheekbone. “What is it? You are not looking at me again.”

“No, I know, I. Hah.” He takes a deep breath, steadies himself. He can do this. He can do this.

“I just wanted to say. I really like it when you’re bossy with me. I want to try—more of that. Maybe you could tie me up?”

He cannot do this. Fuck, fuck, fuck. He’s a coward. What he said wasn’t a lie—he very much does want to try those things with Lan Zhan, but—it wasn’t what he wanted to come out of his mouth. Idiot. The jiejie-shaped voice is frowning at him.

But, he tells himself, it’s better this way. This way, you don’t break things, and you don’t have to risk those 20% odds, and you get to get nice and kinky in the meantime. Win-win situation.

Lan Zhan takes a moment to respond. “Okay,” he says evenly. “I would like that too. I would like to discuss it some more first, but I am very warm towards the idea. Will you be returning this evening?”

He asks like he doesn’t already know the answer. Wei Ying nods, because he’s not sure if he can trust anything that comes out of his mouth right now.

A silence stretches between them, too obviously filled with what has gone unsaid. Wei Ying stares solidy at Lan Zhan’s chin and tries very hard about anything other than the unease roiling in his gut. He can’t tell him, jiejie. He just can’t.

“Okay,” Lan Zhan says again, softer, and smooths over the shoulder of Wei Ying’s coat. “Then I shall see you later.”

Wei Ying forces himself to meet his eyes and desperately hopes that his own are dry. “Yep!” he replies. “Yep. Yeah. Looking forward to it. See ya, Lan Zhan.”

They don’t kiss again. To kiss now would be beyond the boundaries of this. So instead Wei Ying just ducks out into the hallway, waits for Lan Zhan to close the door behind him, and sinks down against the wall. Maybe if he buries his face in his hands out here for a little while, everything will get better. Maybe all he needs is to catch his breath, then go thrash Jiang Cheng at Exploding Kittens, and then get thrashed himself by Lan Zhan this evening and just, not say anything about how he feels ever. Let Lan Zhan rail him so hard he can’t even think silly thoughts like I’m in love with you anymore. Yes. Yes, he thinks, that sounds like an excellent plan.

 

 

Chapter Text

Wei Ying joins his friends for brunch, and does not like how it immediately feels like he’s just walked in on some secret discussion that he isn’t privy to. The look he receives from his brother is scathing at best, but he’s come to expect that from Jiang Cheng; what’s more concerning is the way Nie Huaisang hides a smirk behind his coffee, and the fact that Wen Ning won’t meet his eyes.

“What.” He drops into a chair, shrugs off his jacket, goes for his scarf—remembers he isn’t wearing a turtleneck today and keeps it on. “Why do I feel like I just intruded on a conversation that was definitely about me?”

“Don’t be stupid,” snaps Jiang Cheng. “We don’t like spending any more time discussing you than strictly necessary.”

“Wow, thanks.” It’s hard not to notice the way Wen Ning is blushing and staring very hard at his orange juice. Wei Ying leans across the table at him. “You definitely were, though. Wen Ning? Come on, I know I can trust you, what slander were they throwing at more poor, unprotected behind?”

Nie Huaisang giggles, and Wen Ning just blushes further, averting his eyes. “I can’t tell you, Wei-xiong,” he mutters. “It—it’s fine, though, don’t worry.”

Wei Ying rocks back into his chair with a cry of anguish. “Betrayed! Betrayed, by the only one I thought I could trust! Oh, my poor, poor unprotected a—”

“It’s your poor unprotected ass we’re worried about,” sniggers Huaisang, and Jiang Cheng throws his hands up in exasperation. “What?!” Huaisang continues. “You’re the one who said we need to confront him about this—”

“Yeah, but not when he’s being an asshole—”

“You always think he’s an asshole, a-Cheng—”

“I am right here!” Wei Ying slaps a hand down on the table, making a couple of people in the next booth over shoot him a concerned look. “Will one of you please tell me what the fuck is going on?”

The three of them exchange glances. Wei Ying glares at each of them individually. Silence. A thread of tension spools across the table, taut. Wei Ying is not going to move until he finds out what’s going on.

Wen Ning is, bless him, the first to break. “Um,” he says, and Huaisang and Jiang Cheng simultaneously shoot him murderous looks. “Sorry! I just—I mean, a-jie told me what he’d said so I assumed—”

“Wait,” interrupts Wei Ying, holding up a hand. “What does Wen Qing have to do with this?”

Jiang Cheng sighs and drops his head forward into his hands. Huaisang gives him a sympathetic glance before directing his attention to Wei Ying. “Well,” he starts. He’s looking unusually coy. “She told our dear friend here some rather juicy facts about what you’ve been up to.”

“They weren’t juicy facts,” protests Wen Ning, eyes wide. “She just mentioned it in passing! I really didn’t want to know, but Huaisang could tell I knew something, he wheedled it out of me, I’m sorry Wei-xiong—”

“Wheedled what out of you?” He’s barely spoken to Wen Qing in the past few weeks, what with her placement and his workload and—well, everything else—the last time they even sat down together was—oh shit

“Wait! No, wait a minute, it’s not what you—”

Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes and rather ungently yanks Wei Ying’s scarf off. His neck suddenly feels very, very exposed, and very, very telling.

“How long have you and Lan Wangji been a thing?”

Wei Ying freezes.

“Um. What?”

The table goes quiet, and Wei Ying can feel the edges of his friends’ exasperation like a buzz of static electricity. “No, really!” he insists. “What are you talking about? Lan Zhan and I aren’t a thing. Haha. Hah.”

“For fuck’s sake,” Jiang Cheng mutters, and shoves his scarf back into his chest. He sighs heavily in Huaisang’s direction. “I told you it was pointless, dude. He wouldn’t even notice he had a face until someone slapped him around it.”

“Wei-xiong.” Huaisang raises an eyebrow at him. “You have been fucking Lan Wangji, correct?”

Oh, shit. He should have tried to deny it to Wen Qing back in the cafeteria, should have stopped this conversation before it got any further. She would have seen through him anyway. This conversation would have happened regardless.

“I—I don’t think—”

“Wei Ying, we want to help you,” says Wen Ning genuinely, and Wei Ying loves him very, very dearly but right now he knows he’s not using those sympathetic eyes to make him feel comfortable. No, Wen Ning is in on this too. “We’re your best friends. You can talk to us.”

Wei Ying feels a little panic bell ringing in his ears, because yeah that’s true, but just because he can talk to them doesn’t mean he should.

“I don’t think now is the best time to have this discussion,” he hisses.

“Oh, I think now is the perfect time.” Huaisang reaches over the table and pokes his neck before he has time to duck away. “Seems like you’ve been having a lot of fun.”

This is ridiculous. They are not entitled to—he shouldn’t have to—fine. Fine. What does it matter anyway, what they think.

“Yes, okay, fine. I fucked Lan Zhan. Or, well—anyway, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change anything. We’re still best friends.”

Huaisang shoots him an unimpressed stare. “Uh huh. Sure.”

“What?! Am I not allowed to have sex with my best friend? He’s the one that offered, anyway.”

Jiang Cheng rounds on him with disbelief. “What the fuck? No fucking way you didn’t just annoy him into banging you.”

“I will have you know that I am perfectly cute and fuckable and a catch in bed! Lan Zhan even said—”

“Yeah, okay, you can stop there, reminder that I am your brother and I absolutely do not want to know—”

“Children!” Huaisang slaps his palm down on the table with a bang. They all jump, their rather over-invested neighbours glancing at them again. “We’re here to have a serious discussion, remember?”

“Are we?” Wei Ying scoffs. “I’m here to eat a stack of pancakes and win. You guys are the ones who all pounced with have you been fucking Lan Wangji when I arrived. What is this? Some kind of intervention?”

Huaisang smirks. “Actually, yes. That’s precisely what this is.”

Oh. Wei Ying sits back in his chair and eyes them all warily. An intervention, huh. What does he even need intervening—

“You can’t keep doing this to him, Wei-xiong,” says Wen Ning softly. He looks deeply apologetic. Wei Ying’s panic alarm is ringing louder.

“Doing what?” It comes out far too high-pitched for his liking, and no, he is not about to get all mushy and emotional again, not when he’s sat in a public cafe with his very non-emotional friends and the rawness of what he had almost said this morning still scratching at his heart. “We’re just fucking. It’s fine. We’re fine.”

Jiang Cheng sighs heavily and drops his forehead down onto the table. Huaisang pats the the top of his head kindly.

“Are you, Wei Ying?” he asks.

His tone is too casual to be anything but serious. Huaisang uses drama and exaggeration as an everyday mask so well that it’s fused to him; underneath he’s quietly dangerous. Wei Ying certainly feels in peril, uneasy eye contact over the salt and pepper shakers.

He swallows. Ugh, fuck being perceived. This isn’t fair. Real friends would let him get on with his life and tear everything apart as much as he damn well pleases.

(Deep down, something twitches in his heart about the tone of Huaisang’s voice, the gentle concern in Wen Ning’s eyes, even Jiang Cheng’s badly-hidden gaze over the crook of his elbow. He loves them all so, so much.)

“I,” he starts, because Huaisang had asked if things were fine and—well. It’s never just that simple, is it?

“I’m.” He tries to swallow again, but his throat has dried up. Jiang Cheng protests when Wei Ying takes a draught of his coffee. It’s way too milky and sugary, still a bit of cream floating on top, but it does the trick. “I’m, um.” Okay. He couldn’t do it for Lan Zhan. But maybe he can do it here, where the circumstances are less life-or-death. “I’m so fucking in love with him, you guys.”

The tension breaks. They all react, one way or another, but Wei Ying doesn’t even notice, because, holy shit. He’s never said it out loud before. It feels—it feels like something inside him has been released, like a dam that was straining against a too powerful tide of emotion has finally cracked, finally been knocked down by the force of it. The current rushes through him, loud and swift and consuming. He lets out a shocked laugh. “Oh my god. I love him. I love him.”

He says it to himself more than anyone else, just to hear those words again, to know the truth of them. Jiang Cheng is groaning about having an idiot for a brother and Huaisang is singgering and Wen Ning is giggling quietly too.

“Wait,” he says, because no one seems surprised by the news, or shocked at the fact that Wei Ying actually managed to say the words out loud! No, they’re all just enjoying watching him suffer. “Wait. Is that the intervention?”

Huaisang gets his giggles under control and taps his well-manicured fingernails on the table. The sparkly silver on his accent nail catches the light. “Not really, no. You’ve been moping about him for years.”

“Wha—no I haven’t!” Moping. Wei Ying doesn’t mope. “I’ll have you know I only managed to catch these stupid feelings the first time he fuck—”

Jiang Cheng’s hand slams over his mouth. “Please,” he hisses, brow tight, “spare me the details.”

Wei Ying licks his hand so that he’ll let go, and he does, disgusted, making a great show of wiping it on Wei Ying’s shoulder.

“You know what you need to do, right?” Huaisang asks him, gently condescending, the corners of his lips twitching. “Gonna be a big boy about it?”

“Of course he’s fucking not, just watch him sit on this for another five years, silently pining in self-punishment—not that I care, anyway,” Jiang Cheng hastens to add. Cute.

“You have to talk to him, Wei-xiong,” says Wen Ning. “For both of your sakes. Communication is the key to any healthy relationship.”

Even when he’s in on the whole intervention thing, Wen Ning still manages to sound sincere and genuine in everything he says. He would make an excellent therapist.

“I—yeah, so about that—”

Huaisang freezes. “Have you told him?”

Crowded against the wall, his heart beating rabbit-fast in his chest, the words still lingering after Lan Zhan’s tongue had left his mouth. The weird twist in his stomach.

“I tried?” he says sheepishly, and Jiang Cheng really should get an award for the most groans within a single ten minutes, wow. “I mean, I was going to, I wanted to, but then I chickened out and asked him to tie me up instead.”

There is something quite thrilling about that way the words make his poor brother slide almost all the way off his chair. “Are we nearly done?” Jiang Cheng grouses. “Please?”

“Yeah, yeah, just—a-Ying. Listen. Here’s what you’re gonna do, okay? You’re going to order your stack of pancakes, and then cry over losing Exploding Kittens, and then you’re gonna—call him or go over there or whatever, and you’re gonna sit him down, and tell him the truth. Okay? Because right now, carrying on like this is just going to end up hurting both of you.”

Wei Ying feels very small, suddenly, like he could disappear under the table and never resurface. Huaisang is still staring at him way, way too seriously for comfort. It’s disarming. He’s not like—scared of him, but he knows that none of the people sitting round this table would shy away from a bit of arm-wrenching, if it came to it. Huaisang’s brother is best friends with Lan Zhan’s brother. He’s the one with the power here.

“Okay,” he mumbles, and receives a smack from Jiang Cheng, so he repeats it again louder. “Okay! Yes, fuck, I’ll fucking talk to him. God. Can we order pancakes now?”

Huaisang smirks, and Wen Ning nods, and Jiang Cheng even relaxes his shoulders a little, and Wei Ying hopes none of them hear the thank you whispered under his breath.

 

*

 

He goes home after, because he does actually have some work to do. He’s not been in his apartment since Tuesday morning. Lan Zhan’s is just closer to college. And he only has one toothbrush, and it’s there now anyway.

The first thing he does when he gets through the door is flop onto the couch and bury his face in his hands. He just got an intervention. Is he really that bad? Did that really just happen?

After he’s finished processing his friends being equally the absolute worst and the absolute best, he calls jiejie.

She picks up on the second ring. “A-Ying? Hello! To what do I owe this lovely surprise?”

He closes his eyes and tips his hand back against the cushions, immensely glad that she can’t see how much he’s blushing. “Jiejie,” he whines. “I’m in love with Lan Zhan.”

To her credit, she doesn’t go quiet, or sound surprised, or any of those things. He can hear her gentle smile down the phone. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Wei Ying could cry. “Yes.”

His sister is so, so good. She lets him ramble, doesn’t interrupt him even when he does actually tear up, doesn’t get disgusted like Jiang Cheng when he has to mention some of the details—and he does his best to keep it vague, but it’s still hard not to say he fits inside me so well that I feel perfectly complete when she asks him why he loves him. It’s okay though, because the list keeps stretching out the longer he talks, so he doesn’t have to.

“Oh, a-Ying,” she says when he finally reaches a stopping point—only because he checked the call time and they’re at an hour and twelve minutes. He could go on. “A-Ying. Sweetheart.”

“So I just don’t know what to do,” he moans, blowing his nose again. “Because I, like, want to tell him because it’s—it’s so much, you know? And Huaisang basically threatened me into doing it this morning. I got an intervention. But it’s so much, jiejie, and I’m just really fucking scared that it’s gonna be too much, and that I’m gonna ruin the one good thing I had going just because I can’t keep control of my own stupid emotions.”

Jiang Yanli is quiet, a little hum of understanding. Then, “Do you trust him?”

“What?”

“Do you trust him?” she repeats, kind but firm.

“I—yes. Of course. I’d trust him with my life.”

“Okay,” she says. “He’s always been there to catch you before, hasn’t he?”

It had been the first thing on his list. “Yes.”

“So why would this time be any different?”

Oh.

It unlocks something in his chest; if saying the words out loud was the breaking of the dam, this realisation—that Lan Zhan will still be there for him no matter what—is the river reaching the sea. Spreading fresh, clear water through the murky depths of his doubt. Stabilising the current. A single, gentle wave, washing right to the fringes of him.

He hiccups. A tear drips off his chin. “Thank you, jiejie.”

“I’m proud of you, a-Ying. It takes a lot of courage to open up the very deepest parts of you.”

He sniffles. “You’re the best sister in the whole wide world.”

“And you’re the best a-Ying. Are you seeing him today?”

“Mhm.”

“Okay. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, love. You’ll find the right time, but it might just need a little push to get there. Remember what I said. You’re so brave.”

“Mhm.”

A faint crying noise starts up on the other end of the phone, and Jiang Yanli sighs. “A-Ling has woken up from his afternoon nap. I’ll see you tomorrow with lunch, okay?”

“Mhm. ‘K. Bye bye, jiejie.”

“I love you. Bye bye.”

The phone beeps and he drops it onto the couch beside him. Stares blearily at the pile of old Xbox 360 games slipping over sideways on the TV cabinet. Why would this time be any different. He hasn’t played Halo since July.

He fumbles for the controller, realises the TV is still unplugged from his attempts at soldering the insides of the broken remote back together. He sits down heavily on the edge of the coffee table and blinks at the flashing green light around the home button. Another tear drips off his chin and lands on the plastic casing next to the right joystick. He doesn’t want to be here right now. There’s only one place he wants to be, and suddenly his apartment feels freezing and vast and empty despite it’s busyness and cramped rooms and only-sometimes-functional AC.

He throws some things into a bag; half his closet seems to be at Lan Zhan’s anyway. It’s been just over four weeks. What the fuck.

He loses himself in the familiarity of walking > subway > walking > lobby > elevator > hallway. Mind-numbing travel. The feel of concrete under his feet or the soft light of the building. It’s barely 4pm when he is once more stood here, outside Lan Zhan’s door. The Friday night that had started everything. The Wednesday evening that broke his every expectation. Dim fall light on a Saturday afternoon. Why would this time be any different.

Lan Zhan looks a little confused when he answers, but Wei Ying just brushes past him, into the apartment, and stands awkwardly at the kitchen island. He still hasn’t taken his shoes off. He appreciates Lan Zhan not frowning at him.

“Wei Ying? Are you alright?”

Is he? He doesn’t know. The gentle assurance of jiejie’s wave is washing through him, but there’s a difference between knowing something might be okay in the indistinct future, and feeling that it’s okay in the very real present. He rubs a hand over his elbow. The bunnies are out of their cage, hopping about in their indoor run by the windows. Saturday is Lan Zhan’s relaxing day: guqin. Bunnies. Yoga. Hate-watching Dance Moms with takeout.

“Wei Ying?”

Oh yeah, he still hasn’t replied. Lan Zhan is a lot closer now, a hand hovering with concern near his shoulder. “I. Um.”

“May I touch you?” asks Lan Zhan, and it might be that that sends him, asking for permission even though Lan Zhan has already touched him everywhere, that knocks him tumbling off the cliff and falling, falling, falling.

He cries as Lan Zhan hugs him, tucks his nose into the soft cotton of Lan Zhan’s shirt and shudders against his chest. At some point they move onto the sofa, Wei Ying’s feet tucked up in a ball, shoes be damned. Lan Zhan threads his fingers through his hair and doesn’t say anything and just holds him and it’s everything, he’s everything, and Wei Ying is weak with it.

After several loud sniffles Lan Zhan presents him with a pressed handkerchief from somewhere, and Wei Ying sits up and makes good use of it. Lan Zhan rests a careful hand on his back and strokes it up and down, once, twice.

“Do you need The Blanket? Tumbles?”

Wei Ying snorts and shakes his head. He thinks about what Jiang Yanli had said, about finding the right time, about maybe needing to push. He thinks about Huaisang without his mask on. He thinks about how he feels, a little bit adrift on his nice, clear ocean, and rests a hand on Lan Zhan’s knee.

“What I said this morning,” he starts. “About—about you—”

“Mn.” Lan Zhan takes his dirty handkerchief and sits up properly to face him. “You would like to explore bondage and power dynamics.”

He’s heard Lan Zhan say a lot of things he would never expect to hear, but the smart-casual way that his mouth fits around bondage and power dynamics sends heat flushing to his cheeks. “I—yes. I know I’m like, a fucking mess right now, I’m sorry. Nothing’s happened, don’t worry, just. Weird day.”

“Mn. Okay,” replies Lan Zhan, a little warily.

Wei Ying continues. “Well. I can’t imagine you want to fuck me when I look like—this, but I can clean myself up, and then, do you think we could—? That?”

“We should discuss first.”

Yes! Excellent idea, talking about something completely different. “Okay. Yeah, yeah, let’s discuss now. You can, right?”

Lan Zhan’s eyes flick to the bunnies then back to Wei Ying. “Mn.”

“Cool!” Yeah, this is definitely working, no new tears at all. “Okay. Well. You know I like it when you knock me around and tell me what to do, yeah?”

“You respond well to it, yes.”

“So what if it was like… more. Like you could tie me up and do things to me and I wouldn’t be able to stop you. Like, giving up control. I don’t know. Would you be into that?”

Lan Zhan’s ears are a light blush, his eyes darkened amber. His gaze drops down to Wei Ying’s chest then back up. “Yes. I would.”

Wei Ying beams. “Awesome. Nice. Cool. Can I go wash my face now?”

He’s off the sofa before Lan Zhan has time to respond, darting away across the apartment in case he slips up and tacks something on about l*ve.

Of course, when he looks up from the sink, water dripping down his face, Lan Zhan is standing in the doorway of the bathroom, gaze heavy. “Wei Ying. We did not finish our discussion.”

Wei Ying pats his face dry on the hand towel and spins to face him. “Haha, look, Lan Zhan. You know what you’re doing. I trust you. What more is there?”

The weirdly fragile feeling has still not gone away, even though his face is dry. Lan Zhan raises an eyebrow skeptically.

“There is a significant amount more,” he says.

Wei Ying sighs, and crosses his arms over his stomach. He stares up at the LED ceiling lights so he doesn’t have to look at Lan Zhan when he says it. “I just—I’ve had a really weird day, okay, and I just need you to make me not think for a while.”

Lan Zhan is quiet. Wei Ying risks a glance at him, and is struck; it’s that same dark treacly look that he’d pinned him with in Filigree last month, the one that means I’m going to fuck you through the floor. “Are you sure,” says Lan Zhan, barely a question. “I—I too, am not—it has not been a normal Saturday.”

Wei Ying swallows. He sees Lan Zhan’s gaze dip to the curve of his throat. The bathroom suddenly feels far too big and far too small. “Can we just—even if it’s just, I don’t know, a tie or something—”

Lan Zhan’s fingers twitch on the doorframe. Wei Ying can see him processing, face carefully straightened, still. Then he nods, once.

“Mn. Wei Ying, strip and get on the bed.”

The words rip through him like a lightning bolt, sending a rush of endorships shocking down his spine, freezing him to the spot. Lan Zhan’s eyebrows twitch. “Wei Ying. I will not ask again. Strip. Bed. Now.”

“Yes, yep, yeah, yeah,” breathes Wei Ying, startling into action, his shirt landing somewhere in the vicinity of the laundry hamper. He sort of hop-walks into the bedroom, one hand on the laces of his converse, the other fumbling with his belt, and lands face-first onto the bed before he can even wriggle out of them. His shoes clunk to the floor, his jeans kicked off and flying towards the dresser. Lan Zhan only moves to turn and watch him. His steady gaze sends Wei Ying’s pulse into a frenzy.

He slides his boxers off with a groan of relief, goes to take himself in hand, already half-hard and excited.

“Stop.” Lan Zhan’s voice is no-nonsense, sharp. Wei Ying freezes, fingers limp around his dick. “Do not touch yourself,” says Lan Zhan.

Wei Ying lets out an unsteady breath and rests his hand back on the mattress, kneeling awkwardly in the middle of the bed, fully on display. Lan Zhan finally moves away from the bathroom door, striding across the room with ease and purpose towards the closet. “Are you aware of the traffic light system?” he asks, not looking at him.

“Uh, I don’t know?”

Lan Zhan slides open one of the lower drawers in the closet. “It is a basic safewording system. Green for go, yellow for slow down or pause, red for stop. Understood?”

“Yeah.” Wei Ying is transfixed by the contents of the drawer. There’s—there’s a lot, all perfectly stacked or folded or tucked away. He doesn’t have time to look properly before it’s closed again but—lengths of rope. Leather. Some weird, shiny metal things.

Oh, god. Lan Zhan really does know what he’s doing. His cock stands at full attention at the knowledge.

Lan Zhan stops beside the bed, still fully dressed, and holds up a pair of black leather cuffs. “Color?”

Wei Ying works his throat, but his mouth is dry. “Uh, green, yeah, definitely green.”

Lan Zhan climbs onto the bed and jerks his chin at him. “Lie down. Facing the headboard.”

“Okay,” breathes Wei Ying, and shuffles round, gets on his hands and knees, lowers himself onto his stomach. The soft sheets don’t provide much friction, but it does feel good to have something pressed against his cock.

A pillow disappears from under his arms, and then Lan Zhan is hoisting his hips up, sliding it underneath, maneuvering him into position. Lan Zhan is not gentle, which is excellent, because this particular brand of Wei Ying’s fragility does not want careful handling. He needs Lan Zhan to take him apart and put him back together again.

The insides of the cuffs are padded with something lovely and soft. Lan Zhan straps them around his wrists, slips a pinky finger under to check the tightness. “How is that?”

Wei Ying thinks about the last time he was in cuffs, over two years ago. They’d been cheap, metal ones, part of his then-boyfriend’s cop halloween costume. They hadn’t even fucked in them, just made out for a bit until Wei Ying’s wrists had started hurting and he’d made him take them off. He didn’t know what he was thinking. Dating someone who dresses as a cop for halloween. ACAB. Gross.

This is infinitely, gloriously, wonderfully better.

“Yeah, so good, Lan Zhan,” he says.

Lan Zhan’s headboard is smooth grey hardwood, so Wei Ying is definitely pretty impressed when he moves a couple of cushions aside and pushes the mattress down a little to reveal a solid U-ring bolted onto the wood.

The cuffs clip to it easily, and Wei Ying gives an experimental tug. The pull against his wrists is delightful. He hums. “Yeah, yeah, like that a lot.”

“Mn,” says Lan Zhan, and pushes him down flat to the bed.

Lan Zhan preps him quickly, perfunctorily. The lube bottle is pump action, and lives brazenly on the bedside cabinet. Wei Ying watches him reach for it only after the first finger is in, a stretch on both their behalfs.

They haven’t used a condom since that first night. It became pretty clear pretty early on that Wei Ying was Lan Zhan’s only partner, and they were both clean, so. He likes it. He likes it a lot.

Lan Zhan’s thick cock is a delicious breach, pressing hot and demanding at his rim. He fucks into him shallowly, slowly, and Wei Ying whines, pushing his hips back into it. Lan Zhan’s thumbs caress down his crack, palms spread across his cheeks.

“Do you want it, Wei Ying?” Lan Zhan’s voice is soft, but no less powerful. “Do you want my cock?”

Wei Ying hums into the pillow under his head. “Mm, yes, yes, Lan Zhan, want it inside me.”

Lan Zhan’s nails drag across the mound of his ass. “How much?”

“So much, ah, please.”

“Hm.” Lan Zhan’s shallow thrusting stops, his hands stilling. “Show me.”

“What?”

“I said.” He spanks him, once, hard, sending a shocked gasp through Wei Ying. “Show me.”

“Ohh,” breathes Wei Ying. He starts to leverage himself backward, but then realises that he can’t, because of how his arms are stretched out in front of him, pulling him forward. He rocks his ass back a little. Lan Zhan’s dick is still only really brushing at his hole, barely fucking into him—fuck. This is. He rocks his hips harder. Strains backwards. He still can’t feel more than the tip.

“Ah, ah, Lan Zhan, I—I can’t, please, can you—”

Another slap, right over the first one, perfect shocking pain. He groans, high-pitched and desperate. The pillow below him is soft, too soft to give any kind of relief, and he thrusts his hips back harder, trying, straining—

“Please, please, Lan Zhan, put it in.” God, barely a few minutes into this and he’s already begging. He needs—he needs—

“Lan Zhan, I need your cock, please, I need it so bad, please fill me up.” He buries his face in his arms, hips rocking backward weakly, and either he’s already flagging or Lan Zhan has moved further away because he can’t feel anything, just the warm spread of his hand on his ass. He’s stretched across the mattress like a bowstring, pulled tight, muscles protesting.

“Do you want my cock?” Lan Zhan repeats, dragging a nail down his crack and over his rim. Wei Ying feels him shuffle on the bed behind him.

Yes, Lan Zhan, I want it, I want it, I want it—”

“Then take it,” Lan Zhan says darkly, and thrusts all the way in in one go.

Wei Ying moans, loud and shameless, as Lan Zhan immediately starts pounding into him, fast and rough. His hands are vices on Wei Ying’s waist, shoving his ass back against him with each merciless snap of his hips. Every jolt tugs against the cuffs, strains Wei Ying’s muscles further before releasing them again, over and over like the taut pull and release of elastic. Lan Zhan has him angled to perfectly slam into his prostate every time, and each shock of it sends pressure building in his balls, pooling in his belly.

His cock is still untouched, sliding damp through precome on the pillow, barely even friction, just a reminder that he can’t touch it and he can’t make Lan Zhan touch it and Lan Zhan is definitely not going to let him come until he wants him to.

Lan Zhan hooks his hands around his hips, pulls them up higher, changes the angle; Wei Ying groans raggedly into his arms, the skin there wet with spit. He’s still chanting mindlessly, a chorus of Lan Zhan Lan Zhan Lan Zhan with every thrust. Another smack across his ass cheek. His eyes sting.

There’s a hand in his hair, still tied up in its ponytail, and then—oh, oh, he did not know he could curve like this, he cannot curve like this, arms pulled down and taut and throat stretched and bare and head tilted back to the ceiling and back an impossible U. His breath comes shorter. The dull pain of Lan Zhan’s tight grip on his hair goes straight to his cock. He feels like Lan Zhan could snap him in two. He thinks he might want him to.

Lan Zhan’s pace quickens, urgent and seeking, his little grunts barely audibly over Wei Ying’s wailing. “Are you happy now?” he gasps out between thrusts, yanking on Wei Ying’s hair again, leaning forward so that he can breathe the words right into his ear. “You finally got what you wanted.”

“Yes, so so happy,” Wei Ying cries, and squeezes his eyes shut against the intensity of it all, because it’s so good, it’s so good, Lan Zhan always knows exactly what he needs, fuck, he’s so in love with him. “‘S perfect, Lan Zhan. You’re perfect.”

“Good boy.” Lan Zhan bites his earlobe, and Wei Ying thinks he might come untouched.

“Lan Zhan, please, I’m close, I’m so close, gonna—”

“You will not come until I allow it,” breathes Lan Zhan hot over his ear. “You’ll take what I give you.”

Holy fuck, holy fuck, holy fuck, he is not going to survive the night, and it’s barely gone 5pm. Lan Zhan is using him, using his ass like he’s just a channel for him to get off into, and it’s so hot, and he loves it, loves. Him.

Please,” he sobs, and Lan Zhan slaps his ass again.

He takes it, like Lan Zhan told him to, because it’s what he needs. He needs to be used and split in two and broken into a spray of seafoam over the breaker of Lan Zhan’s guard. He takes it because he will take everything Lan Zhan will give him, now, tomorrow, the next day and the next day and the next. You finally got what you wanted. But Lan Zhan doesn’t know, doesn’t know that there’s one more thing he wants, doesn’t know because Wei Ying won’t fucking tell him

“Oh my god,” he gasps, “Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan, I—I—lo—oh my god—”

Lan Zhan’s hand twists once, clever, around his weeping cock. “Come for me, Wei Ying.”

He breaks. Perfect, beautiful agony, a wave crashing loud and messy onto rocks, and it spills out of him, unbidden, trickling clear and wet with tears down his face, into the mess of the sheets beneath his arms.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

He can feel the words escaping his lips, restrained for so long that they can only burst free in fizzes and sparks, gasps and sobs, but they’re there: out in the open, laid bare, vulnerable. The naked truth of Wei Ying’s heart.

Breath returns to him gasping, catching at his insides as his outsides shudder brokenly under Lan Zhan’s hands. He’s stopped moving, panting hot into Wei Ying’s hair, and Wei Ying thinks he might have come too. Might have heard. Might have heard. Oh, fuck.

“Lan Zhan?”

It’s quiet, barely more than a whisper. But Lan Zhan has his nose pressed to Wei Ying’s hair, and his chest spread across Wei Ying’s back, and his still-hard cock in Wei Ying’s ass, and they are as close as two people can be.

“Mn.”

Wei Ying takes a deep, shaky breath. “You, um. You heard that, huh.”

Lan Zhan doesn’t say anything. Just kisses the back of his neck gently as he slides his dick out, breathes against his skin. A hand traces up Wei Ying’s side. Oh, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

“I—I’m sorry, Lan Zhan.” Wei Ying is trembling. “I—I should have—I’m sor—”

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan’s voice is firm, an anchor, but achingly tender, and it’s so cruel of him to reject him in such a soft and caring voice, but Wei Ying won’t hold it against him, because he’s perfect. “Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan repeats, more sigh than words. He kisses his neck again, then his shoulder, the dip between his blades. “Wei Ying.”

“I’m sorry,” Wei Ying gasps through silent tears. “I—”

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan nips at his back. “Stop.”

“I’m sor—” Wei Ying catches himself and takes a deep, wobbly breath. “Okay.”

Lan Zhan’s lips catch at his earlobe. “Wei Ying,” he murmurs. “Wei Ying, you have bewitched me.” He kisses the tender skin behind his ear. “Body and soul.” The juncture where his neck meets his shoulder. “And I love.” The top of his spine. “I love.” His nape, sweaty and warm, a trickle of nerves. “I love you.”

Oh.

Oh.

What?

“Really?”

Lan Zhan sighs heavily into his hair. “Yes. Really.”

“Oh my god.” Wei Ying is—Wei Ying is—hah. Haaahhh. Holy shit.

“Wei Ying? You are not breathing correctly.”

“I. Uh. Hah. Oh my god.” He manages to get a deep breath in. “Lan Zhan, did you just confess to me using a Pride and Prejudice quote?”

Lan Zhan is quiet. Very quiet. Too quiet. A giggle bursts out of Wei Ying, unexpected, shocking. Then another. And then he’s laughing, full on belly laughs, snorting into his still-bound arms, and he doesn’t even know why, only that—this is what it feels like.

For everything to finally go right, for once.

“Oh my god, Lan Zhan. Oh my god. Please get me out of these things immediately so I can kiss you properly.”

“Ah.” Lan Zhan, hottest guy in New York Lan Zhan, sex god Lan Zhan, with a closet full of kinky secrets, has forgotten that Wei Ying is still tied up. The laughter starts up all over again.

Lan Zhan gets off his back quickly, shuffles up to undo the straps, helps Wei Ying up into a slumped sitting position against his chest. He’s still giggling. He’s still giggling, fuck, tears and snot streaming down his face, unable to stop, and he feels fucking amazing.

Lan Zhan gets something from the bedside cabinet and starts rubbing it into the faint bruises on Wei Ying’s wrists while he snorts into his chest. It smells really nice. Wei Ying tells him so. Oh god. Lan Zhan loves him. Lan Zhan loves him. Lan Zhan loves him, in all his disaster and foolishness and his stupid, unbearable, wonderful emotions.

He twists until he’s straddling Lan Zhan, pushing him back against the headboard, and wipes his giggles and nose and tears into his arm. Lan Zhan steadies him with careful hands on his waist.

“Wei Ying? Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah, Lan Zhan,” he gasps, still catching his breath. “Yeah, I’m fucking brilliant.” He finally manages another deep breath, pushes himself back so that he can look at him properly. Lan Zhan is flushed, his hair loose around his shoulders, his eyes soft like melted butter. He’s still mostly dressed, his sweatpants pushed down around his thighs, cock softening against his belly. He’s beautiful. He’s everything.

Wei Ying kisses him. He can’t not. He sighs into his mouth, curls his sore arms around his shoulders, breathes in the sweet scent of tasting someone you love, who loves you back. Who loves you back. He had never dared hope. He kisses him like he needs it like air, like the very oxygen in his lungs. Desperately. Hopelessly. Head over heels. In love.

When they finally part, hot puffs of breath mingling between their lips, he smirks. “Lan Zhan.” He sits back so that he can see his reaction. Fights down the curling corners of his lips. “Lan Zhan.” Inhale. Terrible British accent. Sincere eye contact. “I love you. Most ardently.”

He just, just about manages to hold it together and not burst into another round of giggles.

Lan Zhan, on the other hand.

His lips twitch. Then part. Then he huffs, and then—

Lan Zhan is laughing, face scrunched, beaming, toothy and breathless. Holy shit. Wei Ying has never seen him laugh laugh before. It’s the most beautiful sight he’s ever laid eyes on.

And of course, he’s unable to resist joining in.

They fall into each other, snorting, gasping for air, full tear-inducing laughter. Lan Zhan repeats his awful British accent back to him. Wei Ying swats him and clutches his stomach.

After they eventually calm down, Lan Zhan settles down onto the bed and pulls Wei Ying on top of him. He tucks himself tight against him. Wei Ying is never going to let him go.

“You really love me, huh,” he mumbles into his neck, follows it with a little peck. “I’m sorry for crying on you.”

“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan admonishes him gently. “You may cry on me whenever you want. I love you. Very much.”

Wei Ying sighs, basks in the mind-shattering warmth of those words. “Still can’t believe you fucking confessed with a Pride and Prejudice quote. I always thought you would make a good Mr. Darcy.”

Lan Zhan’s hand strokes over his back, warm, comforting. “Sometimes it is easier to let others’ words speak. And,” he pauses, and smirks at him. “I know the true way to Wei Ying’s heart.”

Wei Ying snorts and props himself up on his chest. He stares into Lan Zhan’s honeyed gaze for a while, luxuriating in it. He loves him. “How long?”

“Hm?”

“How long have you known?”

Lan Zhan’s gaze dips away, shy. “Since we were fifteen.”

Stop. Pause. Record scratch.

Since we were fifteen?

Uh.

That’s. A long time. A very, very long time.

“Uh. Lan Zhan. Um. You mean—”

“Yes. I fell in love with you within a month of our acquaintance.” Lan Zhan still isn’t looking at him, his ears bright pink. It’s really cute, actually.

“A month—Lan Zhan, we weren’t even friends back then! I thought you hated me!”

Lan Zhan sighs through his nose. “I did not.”

“But then, you—we—I thought I was bad enough for continuing to fuck you even though I had feelings for you! And you—this whole time—you’ve been—”

“Wei Ying. Shh.” Lan Zhan tugs him up to kiss him again. “I think we have both acted somewhat irresponsibly.”

“Hah. You mean we’re both idiots, Lan Zhan. We could have been dating for years.” Wait. He pauses, hovering above Lan Zhan’s lips. “Wait. Does this mean we’re—like, boyfriends, now? I would like that. A lot.”

Lan Zhan smiles, and licks over his bottom lip again. “Mn. Yes. Dating. Boyfriends. Together. I would like that too.”

Boyfriends. It settles like a cosy blanket around Wei Ying’s heart. He grins and hides it in the curve of Lan Zhan’s neck. His boyfriend’s neck.

He shivers a little, suddenly aware of the fact that he’s still fully naked with Lan Zhan’s come dripping out of his ass and his own smeared across the bed beneath them. “Uh, Lan Zhan, I know I said I was feeling fucking brilliant back there, but that was on more of a mental, pyschological and spiritual level? Cause I’m starting to feel pretty gross, sweetheart.”

“Mn. Let us clean up.”

Lan Zhan runs them a bath, even though it’s only 5:34pm, and Wei Ying makes him fill it with nice smelling bath oils and bubbles. Lan Zhan’s bathtub is amazing. Wide enough for him to easily snuggle back between his boyfriend’s legs and let himself drift for a little while.

“Can’t believe I snagged the hottest guy in the city,” he says, dragging a finger through the bubbles, splashing it to make little puffs of them float off into the air. “Hah. If fucking Alfredo could see me now.”

“Alfredo?”

“He was the guy you were fucking when I first turned up and realised you, well, fucked.” Wei Ying pauses, tilts his head back so that he can press a kiss to the underside of Lan Zhan’s jaw. “Can I ask you something?”

Lan Zhan’s hand curls over his chest, warm atop his heart. “Anything.”

Wei Ying hums thoughtfully. He just—has a lot of questions, actually, but he’s never felt like he’s been allowed to ask them before. “You’ve been in love with me since we were teenagers. Which, wow, by the way.”

“Mn.”

“Why did—I mean, when did you start. Um. Hooking up?”

Lan Zhan’s thumb flicks over his nipple, a little burst of sensation. He kisses the back of Wei Ying’s ear. “The first year of college. When you started dating Chris. I didn’t—hm. Jealousy is hard to be rid of.”

Oh. Jealousy. And all that time, Wei Ying had been squealing to him about his first date, and describing their first time in detail, and going on and on non stop about Chris this and Chris that—and all that time every word must have been a stab right to the wound of Lan Zhan’s heart.

“Oh my god, Lan Zhan. I’m so sorry. I—I shouldn’t have—”

“Wei Ying. It is fine.” Lan Zhan takes his hand in his, rubs his thumb over his knuckles. “I was glad you were happy. If anything, that was the most important.”

“But you had to watch me go through all those horrible break ups and—and the whole time you were there loving me and I never—I never even realised—”

Wei Ying is glad Lan Zhan is holding him, keeping him together, because he’s done enough crying today for a week.

“I should have told you,” Lan Zhan says. “I am sorry I did not.”

Wei Ying makes a sympathetic noise and tucks himself closer into him. “I would probably have been too dense to realise what you were saying, anyway. Apparently I can’t even work out what’s going on with me most of the time, let alone other people. Like the fact that this whole time you’ve been fucking and I never knew! Where’s the fun in that, huh?”

Lan Zhan goes very still.

“Lan Zhan? What is it? Did I say something?”

He shakes his head, nose brushing Wei Ying’s hair. “No. It is not your fault.”

“What?”

“I did not wish for you to find out. I actively sought for you not to find out.”

“Oh.”

The words sting a little, because he’s always thought Lan Zhan told him everything, just like he told Lan Zhan everything, but then he supposes that’s not always true, and he supposes it’s not like he had a right to all of Lan Zhan’s life anyway—

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan seems to sense that he’s going all small and inside himself, because he maneuvers Wei Ying round to face him, water sloshing, and cups his jaw. “Wei Ying. I am sorry. I did not intend to hurt you.”

Wei Ying shakes his head, because he couldn’t, Lan Zhan could never hurt him, but—

“Wei Ying. Baobei. Listen to me.”

He lets Lan Zhan tug his chin up until he’s forced to make eye contact. Ah, shit, it’s the intense staring-right-into-your-soul gaze.

“I am sorry I did not tell you. I had my reasons, at first, because you were with Chris and I was doing it out of anger and jealousy, and it was not healthy. And then you broke up with Chris, and I continued because I enjoyed it, and it felt good, and distracted me enough from you that I could continue to support you in the way you needed.” He reaches down for Wei Ying’s hand and brings it to his lips, kisses the palm gently. “And I still did not tell you, because—my heart was already so desperately yours. I—I did not wish for you to find out and think less of me.”

It’s the most he’s heard Lan Zhan say in one go. Wei Ying’s chest pangs. “Oh no, Lan Zhan, never, never sweetheart, I would never think less of you for it.” He cradles Lan Zhan’s jaw, kisses him on the forehead. “Never, my love. In fact, when I found it, it only improved my opinion of you. Sweet and caring and always there Lan Zhan is now also a fucking hot sex god? It just made you even more perfect, in my opinion.”

“You did not feel that I had betrayed your affections?”

Lan Zhan’s voice is small, so small, and Wei Ying wants to scoop him up and hold him like one of his little, trembling bunnies. “No, I didn’t. You could never.” He takes a deep breath, makes sure he means the next words. “You could… you could keep doing it, if you wanted, and it wouldn’t change the way I feel about you.”

No.” It’s a growl, Lan Zhan’s grip tightening on his wrist and waist. “I cannot—I will not—Wei Ying—”

“Hey, hey! It’s okay! I just wanted to, you know, put the option out there—”

Lan Zhan tugs him in and kisses him roughly, possessively. “Never. Only you for me, Wei Ying. Only you.”

Wei Ying laughs wetly against his mouth. “Okay. Yes. Only you for me too, Lan Zhan.”

Turns out having sex in the bath is not as easy as it seems. Still, Wei Ying gets Lan Zhan off with his hand on his dick and messy kisses to his neck and whispered words of affection in his ear. His heart thrills with it, the sight of him, here and beautiful and vulnerable and his.

Wei Ying is left hard and aching in return, so when Lan Zhan stands up and gets out, dripping onto the bathmat, he whines in confusion. Lan Zhan wraps a fluffy towel around his waist (a shame, really) and nods his head towards the bedroom.

“Come. I am going to eat you out.”

Oh yes, that is definitely the opposite of disappointing. Wei Ying scrambles out of the water and nearly slips and cracks his head on the bathroom tiles. Thank god Lan Zhan is there to catch him. Is always there to catch him.

The sheets of Lan Zhan’s bed are still messy and gross, so they go next door into the guest room, and Wei Ying settles on his stomach against the pillows and presents his ass for Lan Zhan’s tongue.

Hah. To think that the last time he’d slept in here had been—oh, fuck. The tap.

“Uh, Lan Zhan,” he starts as his boyfriend settles on the bed behind him, smooths his hands over the globes of his ass. “You know back when—back when I found out.”

“Mn,” says Lan Zhan, spreading his cheeks, breath hot over his hole. Wei Ying sucks in a breath. “Go on.”

“Did you—um—so, that night, I may or may not have—gotten off to your Grindr profile? And then I, uh, dropped my phone, and accidentally—um. Sent you a tap. Sorry.”

Lan Zhan presses a kiss to his entrance. “You did.”

“But—Saturday morning?”

“I appreciated it, Wei Ying. If anything, it gave me confidence that perhaps my cause was not as lost as I feared.”

Wei Ying holds in a moan as Lan Zhan licks all the way up his crack. “Bu—ahh—but, Lan Zhan, you had no way of knowing it was me, hah.”

Lan Zhan huffs a laugh against the flesh of his cheek. “Wei Ying. My love.” He kisses him again, breath warm, tender. “I would recognise your ass anywhere.”

Wei Ying snorts, relaxed, happy, in love, the ocean of his feelings finally encompassed by the vast horizon of Lan Zhan’s love. He rocks his hips back against his face. “Then prove it to me, baobei.”

Lan Zhan gets to work.

 

 

-fin-