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Love On the Line

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Zhu Yilong had just wrapped up a scene for his latest drama after several hours of uninterrupted filming.

Crew and cast alike had been at it since five o’clock that day, yet things hadn’t been going very well so far—there had been a number of mishaps with the props and the lightning, as well as some issues with the costumes, which had created additional delays in a schedule that was, much to Zhu Yilong’s dismay, already behind. As an actor, Zhu Yilong put a lot of pressure on himself and he had felt that he hadn’t performed to the best of his ability, which was why he hadn’t wanted to stop until he was satisfied with the result. Fortunately, they had managed to come through at last and were now taking a much-deserved break.

Having checked his schedule already, Zhu Yilong knew that he had a thirty-minute window until his next scene. However, he didn’t want to linger for too long for fear that he might lose his momentum, and besides, he would still need to go back for a wardrobe change, make-up touch-ups and the like, so he had decided to use this time to go down to the coffee shop right by their filming location and fetch some refreshments for everyone. After putting on a light coat, face mask and cap which he pushed low over his eyes to avoid being recognized, he went out into the cool weather and jogged over to the modest cafe, grateful for the fresh air and opportunity to stretch his limbs after sitting for a while.

Zhu Yilong made his order and, suddenly feeling his phone vibrate inside of his pocket, fished out the device to check it, only to find that he had gotten a message from Bai Yu. Zhu Yilong smiled at the familiar name—he had texted Bai Yu early in the morning to remind him to eat breakfast and to wish him well for his drama. Both of them were in the midst of filming for their new series and, as their respective shows’ male leads, they tended to have an early start to their days, which often stretched well into the evening. Zhu Yilong hadn’t received a reply until now, so he had figured that Bai Yu was busy and had not thought about it again as he, too, began his work.

While he waited for his order, Zhu Yilong opened the message, which was accompanied by a selfie of the famously mischievous man who, fresh-faced with his hair slightly tousled by what Zhu Yilong imagined was sleep rather than failure to style it appropriately for the circumstances, was smiling at the camera with a twinkle in his playful eyes. The message read:

[Bai Yu]

Morning~ Sorry, I just woke up... ><

Today’s shoot was pushed back due to the
weather and they moved my schedule
around. I don’t have any scenes this morning,
so I decided to sleep in a bit! Haha ^^

Zhu Yilong smiled again at the casual tone and cheerfulness of the message, which were so characteristic of the person behind it. He was glad that Bai Yu had been able to take it easy, even for a short while; as passionate as they both were about their job, there was no denying how exhausting it could get in the long run if one wasn’t careful.

                                                                                                                                                                     [Zhu Yilong]

                                                                                                                                                Oh, we’re filming inside today, so we
                                                                                                                                        don’t have that issue.The weather here is fine,
                                                                                                                                                     though.
Have you eaten yet?

[Bai Yu]

No, not yet. I’m not too hungry...

Frowning at the words, Zhu Yilong started typing “Just because I’m not here”, but before he could add “to check on you”, found that Bai Yu had already replied ahead of him, having guessed his intentions, none too surprisingly.

[Bai Yu]

I will, I will! Don’t worry, gege~ (^_−)

Satisfied by his reply, Zhu Yilong looked up from his phone just in time to see that his order was ready, and so he quickly wrote up an answer before he went to retrieve the trays.

[Zhu Yilong]

Get some rest okay? I have to get back to
the set now, but I’ll text you later.

[Bai Yu]

I’ll be waiting~ Good luck w/ filming!
Love you ( ˘ ³˘)~

Zhu Yilong felt his heart quaver at the ease with which Bai Yu had used the words, even if only in writing. Though the two of them had been seeing each other for a little over a year now, he still had a hard time expressing his feelings for the handsome and charming man who was always oozing with self-confidence. While his order sat on the counter and the lady watched him expectantly, Zhu Yilong hesitated, considered not replying, then began to type something to reciprocate the sentiment, before erasing it and settling on a single heart. He pressed ‘send’, stashed his phone away to free his hands to pick up the trays and, bowing and thanking the kind woman profusely, made his way back to the set.

A little after one o’clock, when the team stopped filming for lunch and decided to go out together to grab a bite at the nearby dim sum place, Zhu Yilong, though he was still a bit shy around most of the cast when the cameras weren’t rolling, decided to go in the hopes that spending time with his fellow actors outside of the work setting would help him warm up to them. While they were waiting on their food, Zhu Yilong’s phone vibrated in his pocket again. It was Bai Yu.

[Bai Yu]

Long ge... I’m bored... Entertain me?

Zhu Yilong blinked at the screen, unsure of how to reply. He felt bad for failing to honor his promise to get in touch later and, wanting to make up for it as soon as possible, was preparing to type up an apology when Bai Yu texted him again.

[Bai Yu]

I miss you, gege…
miss your hands and your lips on me…

There was a picture attached to the message again, but it was substantially different from the one that he had gotten in the morning, and showed the outline of a bare shoulder and neck so delicate it wasn’t clear whether their owner was a man or a woman, revealing an inviting stretch of milky skin peppered with moles. Clutching his phone tightly in his hand, Zhu Yilong lowered the device while he digested this information, smiling at his co-star who looked at him curiously from across the table, yet before he had had the time to figure out how to deal with this situation, for lack of a better word, his phone buzzed again.

With his heart in his throat and a growing throbbing in his lower body, Zhu Yilong peeked at his phone on his lap.

[Bai Yu]

Wish I could kiss you so bad right now...
feel gege’s strong body against mine...

This time, Bai Yu’s message had come with a photograph of him sitting on his knees, clad in a loose white sweater which barely reached below his buttocks, yet still left much to the imagination. Bai Yu’s face was outside the frame and thus hidden from his view, but Zhu Yilong could have recognized these pale, slender thighs with his eyes closed, for the phantom memory of how the supple flesh felt under his hands stayed in his mind at all times, even when Bai Yu and he were apart. Torn between an increasingly feverish curiosity and his conscience, which rattled at him how inappropriate this all was, Zhu Yilong took a sip from his glass of water while he debated his next course of action. As Zhu Yilong was mulling this over in his head, having lost track of what was happening around him, he received another message.

Zhu Yilong looked at his phone and jumped, nearly choking on his mouthful of water.

There was no message with the third picture, which was a close-up of someone’s torso, with a tiny waist, narrow hips and a smooth, flat stomach. If one’s gaze ventured down the trail connecting the perfectly round belly button to the thin elastic waistband of a pair of tight men’s briefs, tiny wisps of fine hairs could be made out, peeking out from underneath. While half of the person’s face had been cropped out again, there was no mistaking the distinctive mole and cherry lips. Zhu Yilong felt his desire swell at the sight, and he yearned for that which he desperately wanted, yet could not have. He and Bai Yu had been apart for weeks now, as they were too caught up with their work and forced to remain near their filming sites at night—far from home and each other. While it had not been an issue at first, the distance had soon become hard to bear and, from the looks of it, the tension created by the separation had now reached a critical point.

Aware that people were starting to throw strange looks at him, Zhu Yilong willed his facial features into a normal expression and casually typed away at his phone.

[Zhu Yilong]

I’m outside. We went out for lunch.
What if someone sees these?
It’s way too dangerous...

As he waited anxiously for a response, Zhu Yilong discreetly put away his phone, as he did not care to find out what his peers would think of his getting bombarded by erotic pictures of his former male co-star and present, secret lover. Although he tried to focus on the ongoing conversation around him, he was already much too hard for comfort, and it was getting difficult to ignore the burning heat in his groin. Zhu Yilong wanted to discreetly leave the table and take refuge in a private place to take care of his problem before his arousal became too apparent, which was why when his phone buzzed again with Bai Yu’s last message—a simple ‘Call me?’ with a wink—he seized the opportunity to get away.

“I’m... sorry, I have a bit of an emergency. I... should probably go—”

“Is there something we can do...?”

“No... No, thank you.” Zhu Yilong sputtered, fumbling with his words as he stood, and holding back a wince at the painful feeling of his erection pressing against his pants’ crotch. Ducking his head in rather obvious embarrassment, he took out his wallet and put money on the table for the food that had yet to arrive. “...Thank you. I will be back for the next take.” Zhu Yilong mumbled, smiling awkwardly as he excused himself from the table under his coworkers’ questioning stares, dearly hoping that their eyes would focus on his retreating back instead of down below.

Trying as much as possible not to bring attention to himself, Zhu Yilong rushed back to their filming location, going around the set and checking that no one had stayed behind instead of going out to eat with the others. Once he had made sure that he was alone, Zhu Yilong locked himself inside the private bathroom and put down the toilet lid to sit, taking out the set of earbuds that, as an artist and music enthusiast, he always carried around with his mobile device, and he promptly called his boyfriend with his heartbeat thundering wildly in his ears.

Bai Yu picked up on the first ring. [What are you wearing?] He asked languidly, cutting right to the chase.

Zhu Yilong frowned, as Bai Yu’s voice sounded strained, almost pained. “Xiao Bai—”

[I’m kidding… maybe.] Bai Yu laughed breathlessly, dismissing the joke that had fallen flat. [It’s nice to talk to you.]

Zhu Yilong’s gaze softened at the words, and he hummed in response. “...Yeah. I miss you, too, you know.” He murmured, echoing Bai Yu’s previous words. “But we’ll be together before long... We just have to work hard and be a little patient.”

Bai Yu chuckled lightly at this, pausing. [........That’s the thing, Long ge. I can’t wait. I want you now.]

If there had been a spark of desire in Zhu Yilong before the call, Bai Yu had just poured gasoline over it and set it aflame with possibilities. Zhu Yilong closed his eyes, knowing fully well that this was a fight he just couldn’t win. He could already feel his resolve going up in smoke. “You know we can’t…”

[Oh, I bet you we can.] Bai Yu retorted cheekily, as if he was challenging Zhu Yilong to prove him otherwise.

Zhu Yilong’s breath caught in his throat as Bai Yu’s intentions became clear. “You can’t be serious.”

[I’m always serious when it comes to you, Long ge.] Bai Yu retorted easily, his tone teasing and playful, yet the underlying meaning did not fall on deaf ears. Zhu Yilong knew that he was sincere—that the limbo they were caught in, this relationship that they had been slowly building, brick by brick, day by day, was real to him and not just a game—and Zhu Yilong felt his heart swell with immense affection for the man. And yet, no matter how much he wanted to give in to his urges, part of him—his sense of propriety, perhaps—couldn’t help but resist the temptation.

Taking a deep breath and trying to brace himself, Zhu Yilong said: “Xiao Bai… I really need to get back—”

[You’re turned on already, aren’t you? I can hear it in your voice.] Bai Yu shot out without hesitation, voicing out loud what Zhu Yilong had been trying so hard to keep quiet. Zhu Yilong froze, knowing that there was no fooling his lover—he would never let this go. Bai Yu continued, sounding increasingly out of breath as he spoke. [...I am, too, just thinking about you… Long ge, do you know how much I wish you were here with me?… touching me, claiming me as your own...] Bai Yu whispered with a strange edge to his voice, and with every insinuation or flirtatious comment from Bai Yu, Zhu Yilong could feel his need grow stronger. Biting his lip, Zhu Yilong balled the hand that was resting on his lap into a fist as desire flowed through him freely and culminated in his groin, where the faint licks of flames from earlier were turning into a full-blown wildfire fast.

As Bai Yu spoke in his seductive, honeyed voice, Zhu Yilong was able to make out noises in the background: a small click, then muffled sounds—shuffling—followed by the light squeaking of bed springs and the sound of a mattress sinking underneath a person’s weight. And then, a low moan, almost imperceptible over the phone. Eyes wide, Zhu Yilong held his breath as he strained to hear more and verify whether his suspicions were correct.

“Where are you right now? What are you—” Zhu Yilong inquired, bringing the phone closer to speak into the embedded microphone, but cut himself short when Bai Yu, having activated his camera, suddenly came into view.

Zhu Yilong felt his mind go blank.

His first reflex was to avert his gaze, for he knew that once he spared a look he would not be able to look away, but despite his weak attempts to ignore the scene playing out in front of him, he found his attention inevitably drawn to it.

Gently splayed out across a bed and delicately propped against the headboard was the most beautiful sight Zhu Yilong had ever set his eyes upon.

Bai Yu’s thick hair was mussed and wild, sticking up in place as if he had been tearing at it, and his lips, bright red and spit-slick under the artificial lighting of the hotel room, were parted in a silent gasp. As Bai Yu cocked his head back and looked straight at him through the camera, his dilated pupils shone with dark, unbridled passion, and though Bai Yu was still wearing the loose sweater from before, the oversized garment, which naturally fell down his shoulder, had since ridden up his stomach to display a wide expanse of flawless skin.

Zhu Yilong’s hungry eyes flitted over the tight ‘V’ of his abs before moving down to the curve of his ass, which only a flimsy pair of underwear shielded from his piercing gaze. Over the time that they had spent discovering each other and deepening their intimacy, Zhu Yilong had seen various faces of Bai Yu, but this was by far the most exquisite of them all.

[Gege…] Bai Yu huffed out as he leaned back against the pillows, making himself comfortable and offering him a better view as he brought up a knee and ran his beautiful fingers down the smooth silk of his inner thigh.

Zhu Yilong made a choked noise in his throat, his breathing getting heavier and shallower by the second. “Xiao Bai… you know I can’t do this right now… not here…” He protested feebly out of principle, but all the fight had gone out of him the moment Bai Yu had opened his pretty mouth, uttering the intimate nickname in an impossibly lewd way. He’s killing me. Zhu Yilong thought helplessly as he began to sweat, his body temperature going up at the indecent sight which was doing things to him that he dared not say out loud. Remembering how it was only a matter of time before his colleagues began returning to the set, Zhu Yilong opened his shirt collar and undid the first few buttons, which helped cool him down a bit.

[Long ge… Turn on your camera… I want to see you, too.] Bai Yu asked him, pulling him back to the surreal experience that the two of them were currently having, and Zhu Yilong complied despite himself, feeling a twinge of shame when his own flushed face appeared in a small square in the corner of the screen and stared back at him, vulnerable and exposed. [Are you alright over there? You look a bit bothered...] Bai Yu chuckled lightly—so unlike the hearty, booming laughter that he showed to the public. This laugh, Zhu Yilong thought with surprising possessiveness, Bai Yu kept for him only.

Zhu Yilong let out a small huff of indignation, although he wasn’t able to keep a smile from creeping onto his lips.

“And whose fault is that?”

Bai Yu chuckled again. [Seriously, stop denying yourself so much. If only you saw your face right now… You look like you want to eat me up.] Letting his words hang in the air, Bai Yu spread his thighs ever so slightly—just enough to give Zhu Yilong a taste of what he was missing, yet not enough for satisfaction—and slipped a hand underneath the waistband of his underwear gingerly, before wrapping it around himself. Zhu Yilong stared hungrily as Bai Yu arched his spine and threw back his head in ecstasy, covering his mouth with his fist to hold back his own moans.

There was no going back to the set like this…

He would have to handle this before he dared step outside again.

I can’t believe I’m doing this… Zhu Yilong thought in disbelief, reaching down to unbuckle his belt and unzip his pants, and sighing as the intense pressure he had felt was relieved instantly. Without pause, he mirrored Bai Yu’s actions, palming his aching erection carefully and beginning to stroke himself with trembling fingers. “Do you realize where I am right now...?” Zhu Yilong panted, trying to keep his voice down in case one of his co-stars finished lunch early and decided to come look for him. “Anyone could walk in or… or hear...”

Bai Yu wet his dried lips again on the other side of the screen, smirking at the way Zhu Yilong’s cloudy eyes lingered on his pink tongue as it darted out of his mouth. [Right. Isn’t it thrilling?]

“Why do you sound so proud of yourself?” Zhu Yilong asked, fondly exasperated at the younger man’s antics.

[I am. Gege, you need to enjoy yourself more—let loose a bit. It’s okay, it’s just us... relax.]

“The others… They could come back any minute—” Zhu Yilong began to protest.

[Shhhh.]

Zhu Yilong gulped and closed his mouth, reduced to silence by the shushing sound.

Bai Yu seemed to notice something and propped himself up to peer a little more closely at the screen. [Wait a minute… Are you wearing my underwear?] Bai Yu marveled, and Zhu Yilong’s eyes fell to his lap where the hot pink briefs lied forgotten, pooled around his knees. At first, he wanted to deny the fact or blame it on negligence and pretend that he had picked whatever had fallen on his hands when he had rifled through his drawer and packed his things in a hurry, but instead, he nodded once, watching closely for Bai Yu’s reaction, which did not disappoint. [It’s like I’m there with you.] The younger man purred, visibly turned on by this exciting discovery. [I mean, I’ve been known to wear that kind of thing, but it’s quite uncharacteristic of you. Is this your way of showing everyone that I’m yours, hm? Dropping hints about us?]

“That’s right. I want the whole world to know.” Zhu Yilong declared unfalteringly, watching as Bai Yu’s free hand—the one that wasn’t driving Zhu Yilong mad as it moved to and fro along Bai Yu’s member, drawing smalls sighs out of him and making him tremble with need—slipped under the snowy sweater, lifting it up to his shoulders and tucking it around his neck before snaking back down to his chest to tease at the rosy buds there, rolling the pert nipples between his fingers and pinching them exactly the way that Zhu Yilong liked to do to him. Bai Yu gasped, sending a rush of blood down to Zhu Yilong’s own quivering organ as, eyes riveted on Bai Yu’s writhing form, Zhu Yilong continued pumping his fist around his stiff shaft, thinking of what he would do to his lover if only he could reach through the screen and pleasure him himself.

Suddenly, Zhu Yilong, who had been so effortlessly dragged by Bai Yu into these shameless acts of debauchery, felt an irresistible urge to take control of the situation. “...I... Pretend I’m over there with you. Fuck yourself with your fingers.” He said in a low, hoarse voice, inwardly mortified at the obscene words that had just come out of his mouth, and frankly baffled at how steady his voice sounded as he uttered them. But Zhu Yilong wasn’t thinking clearly anymore and was merely acting on whims, instinct and just pure, raw lust.

[Long ge… I thought you’d be new to this, but you’re holding your own pretty well…] Bai Yu moaned in reply and did as Zhu Yilong had instructed him, sitting up a little to get better leverage and sliding a hand down his stomach to his slick member, where he coated his hand with precum before prodding at his entrance with his index and forefinger. Bai Yu’s eyelashes fluttered shut as he pushed inside of him slowly, and he sucked in a sharp intake of breath, followed by a faint whine as he began to build a slow rhythm. [Long ge… Long ge…]

Drunk with the power he suddenly held over this beautiful man who always made him lose all his bearings, Zhu Yilong watched with bated breath as Bai Yu’s fingers worked at the rim, their owner chanting Zhu Yilong’s name over and over like a song. “Well, what about you? You seem to know what you’re doing. Have you done this with others?” Zhu Yilong whispered back, definitely not liking the thought of that.

Bai Yu was panting heavily by then, his whole body burning up with heat.

[Are you jealous? Fuck, that’s so hot… Nah, I’ve only done this with you, baby—it’s the first time for me, too.]

Grunting in reply, Zhu Yilong felt his cock twitch at the declaration, and he almost came on the spot at the prospect that Bai Yu was his, and his only, for Zhu Yilong was a man who loved passionately, with all his heart, and Bai Yu was someone he hadn’t been planning to share. He wouldn’t settle for less than complete exclusivity.

“Faster... louder... let me hear you...” Zhu Yilong croaked, his voice breaking as Bai Yu’s moans escalated, and the man, chest heaving and covered in a thin film of sweat, threw his head back in abandon. Nearing his limit, Zhu Yilong continued to increase the speed of his strokes around his aching member while he watched his partner who was now thrashing around from the multiple stimuli, lost in his euphoria, and he drank in the delicious noises that were coming out of the earpiece and into his very soul, keeping at it until everything became a blur of sensations and sounds. While pleasure pooled in his groin and threatened to explode, Zhu Yilong, who was balancing precariously on the edge of orgasm, found that it was becoming harder and harder to keep his voice down.

“X-Xiao Bai… I’m almost... there…!” Zhu Yilong hissed as a warning to Bai Yu, who blurted something unintelligible in response.

Not long after, Bai Yu cried out blissfully into Zhu Yilong’s ears as he reached his climax, taking Zhu Yilong along with him as the two of them tumbled down into complete and utter fulfillment.

For a minute or so, the two fought to regain their breaths and resurface from their daze.

In the aftermath of their distant lovemaking, Bai Yu peered at Zhu Yilong sluggishly and sighed. “I guess cuddles are out of the question, huh…” He lamented, pouting slightly.

Zhu Yilong smiled at him fondly, feeling his heart ache at the veiled sadness in Bai Yu’s eyes. “Soon.”

Bai Yu seemed to like his answer. “I gotta get to the set soon. I’m up in about an hour.” He grinned, his eyes crinkling mischievously.

Zhu Yilong nodded in understanding. “I have to go back, too. Give it all you got, okay? I’ll talk to you later.”

“Always.” Bai Yu beamed at him, waving cheerfully before reaching forward to turn off his camera. “Later, Long ge.”

After Bai Yu had hung up, Zhu Yilong took a moment to compose himself, then picked himself up and went to wash up. When he was done, he mustered enough courage to peek outside the door and venture out of the room, just in time to see his peers start to file back into the building and busy themselves with a variety of tasks.

Stepping forward, he joined them, preparing himself mentally for his next scene.

*******

Filming dragged late into the evening and it was almost ten o’clock when cast and crew bade good night to each other and retreated to their respective rooms until the following morning. Not even stopping to grab a bite, Zhu Yilong climbed into his car and disappeared into the night, driving for about an hour until he finally reached his destination. Despite the late hour, he checked in the rearview mirror that his disguise sufficed to conceal his identity, in case reporters or fans might be lying in wait, then got out of his car and walked into the hotel, stopping by reception where a middle-aged man who was keeping watch and knew him—for Zhu Yilong was a regular here—was kind enough to let him in to visit his ‘friend’.

Zhu Yilong quickly made his way up to the fourteenth floor, climbing the steps four at a time instead of waiting for the elevator. Finally, he stopped in front of the room numbered ‘1412’ and took out his phone to send a text message.

[Zhu Yilong]

Check outside your door
when you get this.

Zhu Yilong waited anxiously in the dim-lighted corridor, hoping that the person he had come to visit hadn’t already gone to sleep, which was a fair assumption to make. It was just that, he hadn’t wanted to make his visit known in advance and spoil the surprise. Fortunately, the door opened precisely five seconds after he had pressed ‘send’, a clear indication that the recipient had been staring at their phone, waiting to hear from someone. Bai Yu’s blinding smile and delighted expression alone at finding him outside his door were worth coming all the way here after the day’s exhaustion.

Snatching his wrist, Bai Yu pulled him inside and caught him in a bear hug, wrapping him up into a tight embrace as soon as the door had closed behind them and they were finally alone and away from prying eyes.

The two of them stayed like this for a full minute without saying anything, as Bai Yu buried his face in Zhu Yilong’s neck, holding his strong torso against his own slender frame. Zhu Yilong hugged him back with equal fervor, relishing in the much-welcomed contact and breathing in the scent of Bai Yu’s recently shampooed hair, but he soon picked up another familiar scent. “You smell like cigarettes. I thought we’d talked about that...” Zhu Yilong remarked with a frown, simply stating the fact and not reprimanding the other, as he too had been down this road before. Really, it wasn’t that he was disappointed as much as that he was worried for the other’s health.

Bai Yu peeled himself off of Zhu Yilong’s body and grinned sheepishly. “Long ge, I know… It’s just that I’ve been a bit stressed lately. Also, I was thinking of you and I couldn’t sleep, so this led to that…”

“Well, I’m here now.” Zhu Yilong answered with a soft, indulgent smile.

Over Bai Yu’s shoulder, Zhu Yulong saw that the door leading to the balcony was open, and so he shuffled over to close the glass panels and pull the curtains, successfully shutting out the cool air wafting in from outside. Now wasn’t a good time to catch a cold for either of them. Having done that, Zhu Yilong returned to Bai Yu’s side and took his arm, pulling him along to sit down with him on the mattress. “I have to leave in a few hours.” He said regretfully, reaching up to cup Bai Yu’s face and stroke his smooth, beardless cheek. “...Sorry, I’m too tired to do anything.”

Bai Yu shook his head and smiled. “It’s okay—me too. Let’s just lie down a bit.”

The two of them lowered themselves onto their sides and stared at each other for a while in comfortable silence. Then, Bai Yu shuffled over, closing the distance between them by snaking his lanky arms around Zhu Yilong’s waist and resting his head over his heart. Feeling a lump in his throat for some reason, Zhu Yilong tightened his hold around Bai Yu’s too-thin shoulders, holding him against his chest as the other’s fluffy hair tickled his chin, his soft lips brushing against his collarbone. Sighing happily, Bai Yu entwined his legs with his and closed his eyes, and Zhu Yilong did the same.

“I can’t believe you came all the way here for me…” Bai Yu whispered against his shirt after a while, fighting sleep despite being half gone already. “You spoil me so much, Long ge.”

“It’s nothing.” Zhu Yilong murmured groggily, pressing a small kiss to the crown of Bai Yu’s head. “I wanted to.”

Deep in a dull, numb stupor, Zhu Yilong and Bai Yu lied on the bed with their limbs tangled and their heartbeats in sync, struggling to stay awake and enjoy the time they had left together before dawn, but the call of sleep was hard to resist, and before long, morning had come.

Zhu Yilong opened his eyes and found that Bai Yu had rolled over to the side, though he remained caged within his arms. Trying hard not to wake him, he unwrapped himself from around him, freezing when Bai Yu whined softly in his sleep, and feeling a pang in his heart when he hugged his arms around himself in the absence of Zhu Yilong’s body pressed against his own. Reaching down to pull the covers higher over him, Zhu Yilong walked over to the desk, where he scribbled a quick message on the notepad bearing the hotel’s letterhead, and tiptoed back to the bed, placing the piece of paper on the pillow that had been previously occupied by his head.

Zhu Yilong watched Bai Yu sleep peacefully for a while in all his youthful liveliness yet undeniable frailty, feeling an overwhelming need to protect this man with everything that he had, until he finally tore his gaze away and slipped out of the room quietly, closing the door behind him without a sound and returning to his car, where he prepared for the long drive ahead. While leaving Bai Yu’s side so soon after reuniting with him was painful, Zhu Yilong knew that they would be together again in the near future.

Now, all he could do was the only thing that he knew how to, and that was to act.

They would have all their lives to make up for lost time.

******

Based on this picture of gege: