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If you're near, it's quiet

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They have the late evening off, which happens rarely enough, and they're back at the hotel where they technically have two separate rooms, not like Zhu Yilong has seen much of his. Bai Yu has already flopped down on the couch and is channel surfing, in the careless sprawl that Zhu Yilong has come to associate with Zhao Yunlan even though it's all Bai Yu.

He knows Bai Yu just likes making things difficult for him, wants Zhu Yilong to swat at his legs and appeal to his manners until he makes room. It's not cruel, it's never that, but it draws Zhu Yilong out of his own head in a way he can privately appreciate, most of the time. It has made things easier on set, once he caught on.

Tonight, he is exhausted and doesn't feel like bickering, so the floor will do. He folds himself down in front of the couch and leans his head back until he can feel the warmth of Bai Yu's body. Bai Yu doesn't say anything, but Zhu Yilong can hear his soft snort of amusement. After a moment, he feels Bai Yu's fingers pushing into his hair and then he's petting him, just running his fingertips over his scalp, and it feels nice. It feels really nice.

They haven't yet defined what this thing is between them, if it's anything definable at all.

One day, it was Zhao Yunlan who was eyeing him up and down, a daring grin on his face, and then the scene ended and it was Bai Yu, holding his gaze.

He kept challenging him after that, improvising ways for Zhao Yunlan to get close to Shen Wei, making Zhu Yilong work to keep up with him. He always seemed delighted by Shen Wei's put-upon sighs, the endless push and pull between them.

They were going over lines in his hotel room when Bai Yu said, "I can mean it if you want me to," watching Zhu Yilong's face the whole time.

"I kind of want to ask what you mean, to see how you'll laugh it off," Zhu Yilong said, his heart in his throat, carefully calibrated amusement in his voice. Bai Yu laughed, as expected, and then leaned in closer. As close as Zhao Yunlan had been earlier that day, while they were surrounded by a dozen people and camera equipment and cheap props.

Don't wink now, Zhu Yilong thought, nothing but hotel room furniture and dim lighting around them. Don't wink now, please don't wink, and something must have shown on his face, something that made Bai Yu lean in all the way and kiss him. More gently than he would have expected, if he had expected anything at all.

Bai Yu's still stroking his hair, in a slow rhythm that traces a line from his temple to where his head almost meets Bai Yu's thigh on the couch. Someone's singing a pop song on TV that he vaguely recognizes. He tunes it out, takes a long, deep breath and consciously loosens his shoulders, his arms. He can feel some of the tension of the day leave his body.

Bai Yu's hand stills for a moment and Zhu Yilong almost opens his eyes, but then Bai Yu is stroking his hair again, same as before, and he relaxes back into it. "Want me to turn off the TV?" Bai Yu asks quietly and it takes him a moment to process the question. He shakes his head, feeling Bai Yu's hand slide over his hair. "All right," Bai Yu says.

He doesn't know how much time has passed when he hears Bai Yu's voice next, but it doesn't feel like a lot. It feels like it's barely been a minute, like he's not quite ready to open his eyes again. "Long-ge," Bai Yu says, and he turns his head towards the voice. There's movement, a soft rustle, and then Bai Yu's hand shifts and comes to rest against his cheek. "Wake up."

He wants to say he wasn't asleep, but his tongue is heavy in his mouth. When he finally blinks his eyes open, Bai Yu is looking down at him, his hand still cupping Zhu Yilong's face. He's watching him, but Zhu Yilong isn't aware of much more than that. The room is swimming slowly back into focus.

Bai Yu strokes his thumb over his cheek and Zhu Yilong leans into the touch, presses his lips against Bai Yu's palm, his eyes slipping closed again. Everywhere feels warm. He can hear Bai Yu inhale, and somehow that makes him want to lean into his touch even more. He rubs his face into Bai Yu's palm, bows his head until Bai Yu's hand is sliding into his hair again, further, further, and he wants-- god, he wants.

When Bai Yu curls his fingers around the nape of his neck, he can feel the warmth of it spreading through his whole body.

"Where did you go," Bai Yu asks him later, when he's made it into bed and is halfway to falling asleep. He reaches out to brush his fingertips against Zhu Yilong's temple, as if he wants to say, in here.

"Somewhere quiet," he says, and he can see Bai Yu studying his face, but he doesn't ask any more questions.

"Go to sleep," Bai Yu says softly, and so he does.