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Zhao Yunlan is considerably more insufferable the next couple of days at the SID. He's positively shaking with anticipation, jumping at every notification on his phone, pacing around the office, going through lollipops at a rapid pace. Chu Shuzhi glares at him as he clicks a pen repeatedly, but he doesn't care. When Zhao Yunlan finally gets the call, he scrambles to his office and shuts the door in a rush. Doctor Liu greets him with a cheerful, "Congratulations!" and Zhao Yunlan's face hurts , he's smiling so wide. The call is short, just a quick confirmation that all his labs came back fine and that he is in fact pregnant, about a month along based on the hCG levels. Zhao Yunlan thanks the doctor and says goodbye, then as soon as the call ends, shouts in excitement.

When he walks out of his office, standing tall, the entire staff of the SID is staring directly at him, startled by his shout. Zhao Yunlan grins at them.

"I'm pregnant!" he announces. The office bursts into various degrees of excitement alongside him, congratulations being given left and right. Guo Changcheng looks about ready to start crying. Wang Zheng comes up to give Zhao Yunlan a hug, and Sang Zan pats his shoulder. Da Qing, in his cat form, walks up to rub against his ankles and purr loudly. Even Lao Chu is smiling, clapping his hands at the announcement. Lin Jing is calling Zhu Hong on his phone, telling her the situation, and she immediately demands to speak to Zhao Yunlan. She tells him the snake tribe has already made a supply of medicine for whenever he needs it, and that she'll come by the office to drop it off tomorrow and to "give him a damn hug".

"Alright, alright, that's enough time spent celebrating here," Zhao Yunlan, after a short while, tries to extract himself. "I have a spouse to inform and you have jobs to do. Goodbye!" 

Accompanied by the whines of his subordinates, Zhao Yunlan strolls to his car, keys in hand, and sets off for the University. He strolls to Shen Wei's office giddily, garnering amused looks from other professors in the department as he walks past. He knocks at Shen Wei's door and barely waits for a "come in" before he's pushing the door open, pleased by the way his spouse's face lights up at the sight of him.

"Ah-Lan," Shen Wei says, and gets up from his desk to cross the room. Zhao Yunlan closes the door behind himself with a grin. He grabs Shen Wei's face and pulls him in for a languorous kiss as soon as he gets close enough, and Shen Wei's hands hover in the air for a moment before settling on Zhao Yunlan's hips. They're both slightly disheveled when they seperate, and Zhao Yunlan smiles at him—Shen Wei raises an eyebrow in question.

"Oh Professor Shen, I just got a very important phone call with some interesting information," Zhao Yunlan starts, feigning nonchalance, but his grin betrays his excitement. "I thought you'd want to hear in person, so of course I had to come see you at work. I hope I'm not interrupting anything important—"

"Zhao Yunlan," Shen Wei's voice cuts him off.

"Alright, alright, I'll get on with it," Zhao Yunlan laughs, "Your hubby is pregnant! I'm one month along."

Shen Wei freezes for a moment, then tears up as he smiles. Zhao Yunlan hurries to push his glasses up and kiss his spouse's welling eyes.

"Aiyo, you cry too much, baobei…. If the baby cries a lot we know it's your side," he jokes. Shen Wei laughs and pushes him away to wipe his eyes and right his glasses.

"I never thought I'd have something like this," says Shen Wei. His eyes are still glossy as they meet Zhao Yunlan's. "After everything… A child with the man I love."

Zhao Yunlan smiles at him fondly. "I didn't think I'd ever want a kid in the first place… Xiao Wei, you really made an honest man out of me," he teases. Shen Wei sighs exasperatedly. His hands caress his husband's sides, before one reaches towards his midsection.

"How come you couldn't sense the baby's dark energy? I would have thought you'd have known sooner," Zhao Yunlan asks. Shen Wei shakes his head as his palm settles against the man's lower stomach.

"Dark energy doesn't manifest in full Dixingren until adolescence, let alone partial Dixingren," he explains. He briefly reaches out to see if he can feel a presence besides Zhao Yunlan, but there is nothing he would be able to sense without intense focus. The drumming of his husband's heart drowns out any possible sensation. "Besides, at this stage there's not much of a baby yet. It likely didn't have a heartbeat until very recently, it's hardly the size of a bean."

"So tiny!" Zhao Yunlan exclaims. "You can't sense it at all?" he pouts. Shen Wei kisses his downturned lips.

"I'm sure I will be able to detect something in another month, when the brain develops more. We'll have to be patient," Shen Wei tells him. Zhao Yunlan sighs.

"Fine," he huffs, "You better let me know when you can sense something."

"Of course, Ah-Lan," Shen Wei assures. He leans to kiss Zhao Yunlan once more, hands moving to hold the man's waist. Zhao Yunlan hums into it and plays with his hair.

"Mm… I'm sucking your dick when we get home," he murmurs against Shen Wei's lips, words muffled, not bothering to seperate to speak more clearly. The professor's face twitches and his fingers tighten against Zhao Yunlan's waist. "Need to thank you properly for your contribution to the baby," he smiles against his spouse's mouth as he speaks, and Shen Wei shushes him by pulling him bodily closer to deepen the kiss.

Shen Wei pulls away after a moment, their breaths mingling between them, and tells him, "You're truly shameless."

Zhao Yunlan smiles and laughs. "Aw, but you love it, don't you? Your shameless husband."

"I love you," says Shen Wei. Zhao Yunlan kisses him again.

"Love you too," Zhao Yunlan says, one of his hands drifting to his own stomach. "I love you."

 


 

"I always thought pregnancy went faster," Da Qing meows, curling up on top of Zhao Yunlan's stomach where he lies on the couch. "There's like nothing here yet."

"Of course you think that, you're a cat," Zhao Yunlan tells him and lazily runs a hand down the yashou's back. He's been damn tired lately. Thank god the office couch is good for naps, he praises. "Cats are pregnant for way shorter. Hey, is it the same for cat yashou? Was your mom pregnant in person-form or cat-form?"

Da Qing yowls. "How am I supposed to know? 10,000 years is a long time to remember everything. Do you remember when you were a newborn?" He grooms his paw indignantly. Zhao Yunlan half-heartedly swats the cat's stomach, and Da Qing tries to catch his hand between his paws and attack it.

"Hey! You're attacking a pregnant person! What's wrong with you?" he scolds, smirk on his face, and Da Qing hisses at him.

"You're insufferable," he meows, fixing Zhao Yunlan with a venomous stare. "I knew you'd pull shit like this. I don't know why I put up with you." 

"See if I let you hold the baby then," Zhao Yunlan mutters. Da Qing looks at him with wide eyes and meows sweetly, butting his head into the man's hand. Zhao Yunlan rolls his eyes but scratches the cat's head regardless. "Who's insufferable now? Hypocrite." 

Da Qing licks at his palm in response.

 

Zhao Yunlan is about 2 months in, and he's still not really showing, even with his slim frame. Shen Wei told him the baby's presence is, in fact, detectable now, but there's still not very much to detect—just a faint heartbeat and the occasional minute wiggle. The professor has been a total worrywart over ensuring Zhao Yunlan is doing well, even though the effects of the pregnancy thus far have been minimal. Zhu Hong's medicine has worked like a treat, much to everyone's delight. (A nauseous or, god forbid, vomiting Zhao Yunlan is something no one in the office is prepared to deal with on a regular basis.) Shen Wei is studying new, milder recipes for whenever Zhao Yunlan does have morning sickness the medicine can't seem to totally alleviate.

The SID team, thankfully, hasn't really been treating Zhao Yunlan any differently than before. It likely helps that yes, their cases are few and far between these days, and highly intensive ones even less common (who would have thought, access to schooling and hospitals and mental health resources and basic necessities will help a population do less crime?), but he's grateful regardless. 

They've only had one real case since his big announcement, most of the other work in the office has been managing paperwork for the Bureau and helping out new Dixingren immigrants. It's not what Zhao Yunlan went into this job expecting to be doing, but he didn't expect to meet the love of his life and get married and eventually want a kid when he started there, either. He supposes he can't complain, anyway. Office work will be much safer and easier to deal with a pregnancy in, he knows. He'll trust the team to keep things entertaining in the office in place of intense investigations every week.

The more vigilant students who enter Professor Shen's office will occasionally spot a pile of books and papers stacked on the side of his desk, with themes varying from parenthood to transmasc autobiographies to managing overprotectiveness. (Ye Zun's therapist had pulled him aside after his twin's latest appointment to recommend the last one. He has intently tried to internalize the contents.) Shen Wei often notices their questioning glances, the burning questions on their tongues held back out of respect for him and his privacy. He's sure fierce rumors must be spreading among the student body, but he tries not to dwell on that. He realizes that the facts will come out eventually, that someone will corner him with a question—a tenacious student or one of his colleagues, perhaps—but the entire student body doesn't need to know his husband is pregnant before he even informs the dean.

After both of their days are done and they're finally in bed, Shen Wei takes the time every night to lay a hand on his husband's abdomen and feel . The presence—their future child —is hardly there as of yet, unbelievably small, but is still there regardless. The pittering of its soon-to-be heart under the pound of Zhao Yunlan's own is simply incredible to him. Zhao Yunlan indulges him and caresses his hair, peppers Shen Wei's enamored face with kisses until the Dixingren is content and pulls away to kiss him proper. 

"It's still so small," Shen Wei murmurs as they settle under the covers and curl against each other.

"There's still a long time to go," Zhao Yunlan sighs and holds him close. "I'm keeping it safe in there, baobei. Don't worry," he reassures, and Shen Wei nods against him. Zhao Yunlan thinks for a moment, then asks, "Can you tell me about Dixing gender traditions? Are babies still gendered so strictly at birth down there?" 

Shen Wei leans into him. "The Dixing concept of 'gender' is tied greatly to dark energy and the onset of powers," he answers. Zhao Yunlan makes a noise of interest. "There is still note taken of body parts, but considering there are more variations than the two Haixingren consider 'sex' to generally mean, people are not divided so harshly."

"Sounds nice," Zhao Yunlan says. "So kids aren't pushed so much into roles at birth?"

Shen Wei hums. "Dixing is more focused about the onset of powers. You could never know the power of a Dixingren by just looking at their body. Trying to group and 'prepare' children based on anatomy would prove unhelpful to the world at large."

Zhao Yunlan huffs. "Aiyo, you're telling me," he grumbles. Shen Wei smiles against his skin and presses a kiss to his shoulder. "Sounds like something Haixing should learn from Dixing. People have a stick in their ass up here about that kind of thing." Shen Wei silently agrees with him. 

"Have you thought about how you want us to raise our child?" Shen Wei asks, tentatively. Zhao Yunlan laughs against him.

"You sold me already, we'll do it your way," he chuckles. "It's only right, anyway. It's the baby of the great Hei Pao Shi and Lord Guardian. They're bound to be so powerful and beautiful like you, charming like me. Why burden them with silly gender roles?"

Shen Wei shakes his head and suppresses a laugh. "Don't put such high expectations on the baby. It's only half Dixingren, we can't know whether it will inherit my level of power," he chides halfheartedly. Zhao Yunlan snickers.

"It's not high expectations, it's just a fact. Any baby with material from you will be perfect," he coos. He can feel Shen Wei's face heat up slightly where it's pressed against his neck. "And having us as parents is powerful enough already. Who else can say their dads saved the worlds?" he asks, and then yawns.

Shen Wei squeezes him tighter and kisses his neck. "Go to sleep, Ah Lan. You're tired."

Zhao Yunlan groans. "I'm so sick of being tired all the time. I wanna have more sex with my husband," he pouts, but his eyelids sag sleepily despite his protests. Shen Wei strokes his back.

"Doctor Liu said fatigue often lessens during the second trimester," he says lowly, the rumble of his voice lulling Zhao Yunlan closer to sleep. "In a couple of weeks it will likely improve."

"Wish it would come faster," he mumbles. 

Shen Wei hums and holds his husband close as the man drifts asleep.

 


 

They get to go in for an ultrasound a couple of weeks later. Doctor Liu is grinning from ear to ear as they set up the machine. As the wand touches Zhao Yunlan's lower stomach and the image comes on the screen, Shen Wei smiles brightly at the black and white picture.

"It must be nice to finally see the baby rather than just sense its existence," Zhao Yunlan jokes to his spouse. The picture isn't doing much for him, personally. It's really blurry and he's distracted by the fact there's cold gel on his stomach. Shen Wei strokes his hand.

"It's—" his voice is slightly choked up, and he pauses to collect himself, "It's more proof this is all real," Shen Wei says. He turns to look into Zhao Yunlan's eyes. "That you're here with me. That we've made a life."

"Aiyo, so sappy. Of course I'm here, baobei." 

Doctor Liu takes a measurement of the baby using the console. "Growth is looking right on track for 13 weeks, 7.6 centimeters long. I don't see any anomalies anywhere, the baby looks healthy. I know you don't want to know the sex, but would the two of you like to hear the heartbeat?"

Shen Wei looks to Zhao Yunlan, who nods. Doctor Liu adjusts the wand's position and fiddles with the console for a moment, and the sound of the heartbeat fills the room for a few moments.

"Wow, that's fast," Zhao Yunlan says. "Is this how it sounds when you sense it?" he asks Shen Wei. His spouse shakes his head lightly.

"It's much quieter. It can be hard sometimes for me to differentiate from your heartbeat and other bodily functions."

"You're telling me my beloved spouse isn't a perfect ultrasound machine?" Zhao Yunlan acts affronted. Shen Wei squeezes his hand and gives him a look. 

Dr. Liu smiles at the couple's antics as they remove the wand and go to clean off Zhao Yunlan's stomach.

They finish off the rest of the visit pretty quickly after that, with the doctor printing a guide for what to expect for the second trimester for them to take home, and an appointment for another ultrasound scheduled in a month and a half.

 

Zhao Yunlan is just showing a bit now. Of course, with his loose and layered clothes, it's not visible at all to anyone who doesn't know him well. (What can he say, wearing loose clothes and layers has done wonders for making him look bulkier. It was a big help early in his transition.) He really just looks like he finally put on a little bit of weight on his stomach. Da Qing complains to him about the change in one of his napping spots, but Zhao Yunlan finds the damn cat napping on his stomach more often than before.

Shen Wei has started studying up on sewing and tailoring during his free time, so that he may ensure his husband isn't discomfited by having to shop in the overwhelmingly gendered "maternity" section of stores in the somewhat near future. One of his students notices the new pile of books on his desk, and offers to give him a sewing machine that's sitting around at their family's house collecting dust. Shen Wei is incredibly grateful for it, even if the machine baffles him greatly. He had been planning to sew by hand, something he knows from his days mending tears on the battlefield, but he does realize that would take a considerable amount of time. He supposes he'll have to figure it out one way or another.

Ye Zun, despite all xyr griping and bickering with Zhao Yunlan on the day-to-day, eagerly helps xyr twin pick out base clothes to get that would fit the man's style. His twin seems to have a lot of enjoyment for fashion and clothing, and Shen Wei is very pleased to have this as a bonding activity with xem. Ye Zun, unlike himself, is not so technologically-challenged, and finds the new sewing machine to be something very fun to play around with. Da Qing tries to make some fashion suggestions (namely overalls) during the times that he's lounging in the same room as the twins while they work, but Ye Zun is always quick to shut him down. Shen Wei tries to keep it all a surprise, but he is quite the awful liar, and Da Qing snitches to his boss about the twins' work on one of their light jogs, complaining that they keep refusing his brilliant ideas. Zhao Yunlan insists to see what they've made so far as soon as he gets home.

"We altered this leather jacket to have expanding zippers on the sides, so you can unzip it for extra space for your midsection," Shen Wei shows him one of the pieces they recently finished. Zhao Yunlan starts to tear up as the twins show him what they've made and planned for. His sniffle garners a jump of surprise and eyes drawn to him from the rest of the room.

"Aiyo, ignore it, ignore it," he waves them off, rubbing his eyes and blinking to try and clear the tears. "I'm fine, I'm not crying," he denies. Shen Wei looks concerned. Zhao Yunlan smiles at them. "It's just so... Who said I deserve all this? Spending all this time making clothes for me. I'm sure I could've made do with what clothes I have," he says.

Shen Wei approaches him and looks him in the eyes. His voice is low and serious as he speaks. "You deserve to be as comfortable as possible. You deserve to feel euphoric in your body. You deserve this and more. I want to do everything I can for you."

Zhao Yunlan's tears well up again. He laughs halfheartedly. "Being so emotional is awful. 6 more months of this, how will I survive?" he complains. "Ah, I can't refuse such a sweet gift from my perfect spouse. So worried about my comfort," he coos, and leans in to give his spouse a kiss. After they part, Zhao Yunlan turns to look at Ye Zun and grin. "And my sibling-in-law helping so much! You really do care!" he says, and xe rolls xyr eyes.

"Please. I just like designing clothes, and I don't want to see you wearing exclusively baggy sweats all day for months on end. I think I would die," Ye Zun says, and Zhao Yunlan laughs. He can tell from the way xe is smiling that Ye Zun is just being prickly on purpose. Shen Wei smiles widely at the sight of his twin and husband getting along.

Zhao Yunlan's fatigue has, much to his appreciation, lessened quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. He's been using the new found energy to look into ways of getting some exercise during the pregnancy. He and Da Qing had already kept up their walks every morning, but looking at the booklet Dr. Liu printed says yoga is a good activity too (which, in all honesty, he mostly starts just to mess with Shen Wei). He ends up finding it kind of fun anyway, seductions aside, and much more difficult than he expected. His spouse, though often flustered during the process, is eager to lend a hand if he needs help with certain poses… even though that hand sometimes wanders. Shen Wei sometimes joins in so they can do partner poses, too, if he has time, though he has a seemingly endless stack of papers and assignments to grade more often than not. He knows, however, that he'll get distracted by the sight of Zhao Yunlan practicing if they're in the same room, so he tends to just give up on grading when his husband sets up the mat.

Zhao Yunlan's libido, likewise, has had quite the surge from its already rather high place alongside his rising energy levels. And with the energy to actually accommodate his desires, well...

 

One day, as soon as Shen Wei enters their front door after the short walk home from the university, he is met with Zhao Yunlan pulling him close desperately for a kiss. After a moment of surprise, his briefcase falling to the floor unceremoniously and his eyes widening, Shen Wei leans into his husband and allows the man to deepen the kiss. As their lips entangle, standing together in the entryway of the house, Shen Wei reaches back with dark energy to actually close the door behind them, to keep the chill early spring breeze out. Zhao Yunlan breaks apart their kiss after a short while to kiss along his jaw and whine into his ear.

"Want you so bad, Xiao Wei," he says, voice low and charged, breath brushing hot over Shen Wei's ear. Shen Wei shivers at the sensation and swallows, throat bobbing. "Could barely focus at work thinking about you. I was hard in my pants all day. Need you, need you to touch me, I need it, please. " His hands paw at Shen Wei, tugging his shirt untucked and splaying fingers underneath.

Shen Wei runs a hand down Zhao Yunlan's back and under the back waistband of his pants, groping lightly at his ass. "I'm here, Ah-Lan," he murmurs. Seeing his husband so desperate gets Shen Wei's blood rushing like nothing else. He aches to take him apart, to bring him pleasure. He uses his grip to pull the man fully flush and rejoin their lips, and Zhao Yunlan's groan is muffled both by their kiss and the sound of a portal whisking them into their bedroom. 

Zhao Yunlan tugs on Shen Wei's belt loops and stumbles backwards until he falls on their bed, Shen Wei quickly following. Zhao Yunlan is so tense beneath him, so pent up, that Shen Wei doesn't even bother to undo his pants. He just wrestles his hand under the front of his jeans and strokes his fingers desperately at the organs there, grinding his palm against Zhao Yunlan's cock as his fingers press and rub across his entrance, spreading wetness. Zhao Yunlan lets out a punched breath against him and puts a hand on top of Shen Wei's over his crotch and pushes it closer , bucks his hips and holds Shen Wei's hand hot against his skin. Shen Wei gets the message and curls the tip of a finger inside his hole, uses his palm to squeeze Zhao Yunlan's dick against his groin, and the man seizes up against him and keens—Shen Wei feels him twitching, feels the gush against the tips of his fingers, trapped under layers of clothes, and looks at Zhao Yunlan in startled awe. 

Zhao Yunlan chuckles against him breathlessly, squeezes at his hand through his pants. "Told you it's been all day, wanted you so bad," he wheedles. Shen Wei stares at him with dark, intense eyes. "Don't stop, please."

Zhao Yunlan shivers as a cool feeling rushes over himself and Shen Wei, their clothes swept away using the same power the Envoy robes are removed, seemingly evaporated into a chilling cloud of dark mist. Shen Wei's hand takes the now-free range of movement to spread the gathered wetness up and across Zhao Yunlan's dick, grinding his hand against the man in firm slides. Zhao Yunlan clutches at his hand as it moves to encourage him further, to feel his spouse's strong hand work. 

Shen Wei ducks his head to mouth at Zhao Yunlan's collarbone, to suck bruises against his shoulders. Zhao Yunlan breathes and bites at his ear in return, raises a hand to tug at his hair, pull him lower. Shen Wei kisses down his chest, down his waist, and presses a single kiss to the slightly raised portion of his lower abdomen before moving lower. His mouth meets where their hands have been sliding, and he exhales across the slickened area, sending a chill down Zhao Yunlan's spine. Shen Wei splays his tongue wide and licks over the man's dick through the gaps of their joined fingers—Zhao Yunlan's hand fumbles away and joins the other, sliding through his spouse's hair, getting traces of saliva and slick in the strands. Shen Wei lifts his other hand to Zhao Yunlan's far inner thigh, stroking his thumb over the man's pubic hair as he leans to kiss the side of his dick. At his husband's impatient hair-tugging, Shen Wei takes him into his mouth fully, presses the head up against the roof of his mouth with his tongue, and hums. His other hand continues to caress over his entrance, not entering, just rubbing. Zhao Yunlan moans lowly and trembles underneath his touch.

"Shen Wei, fuck," he gasps. Shen Wei gazes up at him in response, pushes a finger up to the first knuckle into his hole. Zhao Yunlan is so lively, so perfect beneath him, it sets a fire in his veins, makes his dark energy surge under his skin. His husband.

I want to make you come, and come, and come. Shen Wei's dick twitches at the thought.

Zhao Yunlan moans and Shen Wei slides the finger in further, presses another just at the entrance beside it, strokes his insides and sucks at his cockhead like that lollipop so long ago. Zhao Yunlan quakes from his ministrations, pulses in waves around his finger with impending orgasm, and Shen Wei curls his finger to rub against his sweet spot purposefully. Zhao Yunlan's cock twitches strongly in his mouth, his thighs tremble and spasm as he falls over the edge. Shen Wei pushes the second finger in as Zhao Yunlan's walls clench, drops the oversensitive cock from his mouth to drive his tongue in alongside the pair of fingers. 

"Baobei, ah—" Zhao Yunlan cries, voice wavering. Shen Wei spreads his fingers, shoves his tongue deep inside between them with a single-minded determination. His husband's moan breaks off into a whimper as he peaks again. "Fuck, fuck, please, Shen Wei," he babbles, pulling at his hair desperately with shaking hands.

Shen Wei acquiesces, lets his head be tugged away from his husband's crotch and up to Zhao Yunlan's face. Zhao Yunlan immediately pulls him for a wet, sloppy kiss, heedless of the mess on his spouse's chin wetting his own beard, eager to taste himself on the other's tongue. Shen Wei's hand lazily continues its fingering, making Zhao Yunlan groan and twitch into their kiss. He drops a hand to push Shen Wei's cruel hand away before he gets carried away again.

"Come on," Zhao Yunlan breathes, barely breaking their lips for a second to egg his spouse on. Their tongues intertwine again immediately, and Shen Wei lowers his slick-covered hand to wet his own erection, sighs at the contact to his straining arousal. He keeps the touch brief, to not push himself any further than necessary—the touch is nice, of course, but he desires to feel his husband come around him more than anything else. 

Without breaking their kiss, Shen Wei slides an arm under Zhao Yunlan's back and draws him close, lifts his upper half off the bed, coaxes his arms around his shoulders. He leans back and sits on his heels, bringing Zhao Yunlan with him as he goes—Zhao Yunlan gets the picture quickly and kneels with his thighs spread around Shen Wei's, hovers with their dicks just coming in contact. Shen Wei's hand strokes down his back in encouragement, and Zhao Yunlan is quick to reach and line them up, eager to feel his spouse at last.

"Zhao Yunlan," Shen Wei groans as the man sinks onto him smoothly. Shen Wei's hands drop to caress his lean, strong thighs where they're braced above his own, and Zhao Yunlan grins at him as he rises and drops again, just a couple of inches. Shen Wei lets him control the pace fully at first, hands just resting, squeezing at his thighs with every movement. Zhao Yunlan quickly grows frustrated at the shallow range of motion the position provides, and pushes Shen Wei back so that he can unfold his legs from underneath him. As he sinks further onto his spouse, Zhao Yunlan grabs and squeezes at his forearms to entice Shen Wei to help the movement along. Shen Wei's hands rise to grab him at his hips and coax the man up and down on himself, pace quickening as Zhao Yunlan clenches on him whenever he's fully buried. 

He leans back further until his head hits the mattress, Zhao Yunlan leaning forward to chase him, their torsos close to flush. With the new angle he can hold Zhao Yunlan braced above him and buck into him from below, the man eagerly rocking into his movements. Zhao Yunlan bites at his ear, breathes moans against him, and Shen Wei's grip tightens. His thrusts gain speed, hips pistoning faster, faster, fueled by the sounds of his husband. Zhao Yunlan's moans escalate as he slides a hand between them to squeeze at his own dick, since Shen Wei's hands are occupied.

"Ah-Lan," Shen Wei breathes in his ear, hoping to help Zhao Yunlan along. "You're so incredible, my husband, the father of our child." His voice is only slightly labored. Zhao Yunlan shivers at his words, tries to hide his reddening face against Shen Wei's neck. Shen Wei continues, rumbles into his ear, "So strong. And handsome, gorgeous." 

"That's you, not me," Zhao Yunlan whines, muffled. Shen Wei's grip tightens on his hips, tugs him down just that much harder.

"You're the most handsome man I've ever seen, or ever will see," Shen Wei stresses, voice low and charged. "The sight of you… Seeing you climax heats me like nothing else."

Zhao Yunlan pants and kisses at his neck, broken groans vibrating against his skin. His hand works his dick frantically, his hips shake with the impact of every thrust. "Make me come, wanna come again, Xiao Wei, baobei…" he pleads.

Shen Wei shifts his grip on Zhao Yunlan, tilts his hips back minutely so his cock can catch his sweet spot more directly. Zhao Yunlan wavers, shakes in his grasp and contracts around him harder. Shen Wei bites down on his neck, thrusts up hard, pulls the man close, buries himself deep . Zhao Yunlan quakes atop him, mouth hung open, struck silent by the force of his orgasm. Shen Wei watches the way his husband's body quivers, hears his labored breath and aborted moans, feels him clamp down in strong waves, and follows Zhao Yunlan over the edge with a muffled groan.

He hadn't… intended to climax, at that moment, but the sensations proved too arousing to stop it. He nonetheless rocks them together during the ebbing waves to try to prolong the sensation for his husband. Zhao Yunlan pants against him, lifts a hand to tug at his hair and align their mouths for a lazy kiss. 

Zhao Yunlan strokes a hand up Shen Wei's chest, uses it to brace himself and sit up a bit. He stares at his spouse with a loving gaze.

"Baobei, why are you pouting?" he asks, runs his thumb over Shen Wei's chin.

Shen Wei frowns proper. "I'm not pouting," he denies.

"You so were." Zhao Yunlan grins at him. "Tell your hubby what's the matter," he says.

Shen Wei sighs, looks to the side. His face grows red, more than their activities already had. "I wanted to make you come one more time," he admits. Zhao Yunlan bursts into laughter, braces his thighs to roll up and off Shen Wei and lay beside him. He simmers down after a moment and leans to kiss Shen Wei's cheek.

"Shen Wei-ah, so silly. You made me feel so good, don't worry," he reassures, then gives Shen Wei a sultry look. "If Professor Shen is so dedicated, he can give me a massage and try for more after dinner," he proposes. Shen Wei's eyes darken again, and his eyes lower to stare at Zhao Yunlan's lips hungrily, like they didn't just have sex for the past hour. Zhao Yunlan snickers. "But dinner first! I'm so hungry. Shen Wei, can you make egg drop soup?"

Shen Wei's eyes clear up and snap back to his. He processes the question and smiles. "Of course, Ah-Lan," he says, and Zhao Yunlan grins.

"Perfect! And can you put a can of tuna in my serving? The whole can," he says, and Shen Wei just looks at him, slightly pained. Zhao Yunlan continues, "and some chili paste. And—"

"Of course, Ah-Lan," Shen Wei cuts him off, voice sounding slightly strained. Zhao Yunlan squints at him knowingly.

"I know you want to judge my tastes so bad," he teases, "but you can't because I'm pregnant." 

Shen Wei closes his eyes and breathes.

"Put peanut butter in it too, thank youuu!" Zhao Yunlan sing-songs, and presses a kiss on his spouse's nose. 

Shen Wei tightens his jaw and pushes off the bed to get dressed and make his husband something that will only vaguely count as soup.

 


 

Zhao Yunlan stops taking his motorcycle to work at about 4 months. It's both because of Shen Wei's worrying, and that he's started having to piss all the time, which the bike does not help. He trusts himself to drive a bike safely—he's been driving it since he was still a teen, he knows what he's doing—but Shen Wei has a point that other drivers can be crazy. Not that the streets of Dragon City are bustling with traffic, but there's enough that Shen Wei's concern is fair. Plus, he doesn't like to needlessly worry his spouse—it just happens sometimes.

Shen Wei has been worrying over a lot of things, probably because Zhao Yunlan's showing more now. He and Ye Zun have managed to make good progress on Zhao Yunlan's paternity wardrobe (though his twin may be getting slightly carried away with the amount of clothes to produce), so the man has plenty of clothes, but Shen Wei worries about rumors and safety and everything that could possibly go wrong. He desperately tries to avoid hovering over his husband, but he knows that others can see how he's been twitchier than usual. (Ye Zun's therapist, once again, recommends a book on anxiety management to him.)

They get a second ultrasound from Doctor Liu in the middle of the 2nd trimester, just to check that everything's progressing as normal. Zhao Yunlan notices the baby… still looks blurry and weird, but at least it's more identifiable now. Shen Wei's hand often gravitates to rest on the bump while they're sleeping, subconsciously sensing the baby's presence. Rather than just watching his husband sleep for hours every night, he finds himself sleeping more often than he really needs, lulled under by the soothing beat of both Zhao Yunlan's and the baby's hearts. Zhao Yunlan even wakes up earlier than him some days and stares at him instead. 

 

"Shen Wei," Zhao Yunlan comes to him excited one day, interrupting Shen Wei's reading and pushing his chair back to sit on the desk in front of him. "Can you sense and tell me whether my gut's acting up or the baby's moving?"

Shen Wei puts a hand on him and closes his eyes, focuses, reaches out with dark energy, and finds that their baby is, in fact, moving around. He opens his eyes and smiles brightly at his husband. "It's the baby."

Zhao Yunlan grins at him in return. "I thought it felt different, but I wanted to make sure." He looks giddy with the confirmation, and Shen Wei feels much the same. 

 

Their meeting with Minister Guo to share the news goes well. The man congratulates them and assures them that of course a healthy paternity leave can be arranged for his nephew's and their worlds' saviors. The meeting with the dean is… cringeworthy, with the old man trying to pressure Shen Wei into just working through it—as if he should just work through their baby's birth and his husband's recovery and be fine with it—but Ye Zun, who Shen Wei brought along on xyr insistence, chews the man out and threatens to report him to the college board for everything he's done wrong if he doesn't respect Shen Wei, who saved the worlds, thank you very much. The dean, encouraged by such cunning persuasion, agrees to let Shen Wei take the fall semester off completely without any risk of being laid off. When Zhao Yunlan hears what Ye Zun said to the dean that night over dinner, he cackles.

Summer break comes around at the university, and Shen Wei is able to dote on his husband more with the reduced workload the opt-in summer semester entails. He is still, however, one of the most popular professors on campus, and his summer classes are far from empty. Whenever Zhao Yunlan grows excruciatingly bored from the masses of paperwork his higher ups push on him in lieu of their former physically intensive cases, the man sicks the work on someone else and goes to sit in on one of his spouse's summer lectures. If his motivation is more to tease and rile up Shen Wei than to learn anything, no one has to know. Though, if the whispers of students when he gets up to embrace the professor after class are any indication, they probably already suspect as much. 

Shen Wei tells his repeat students that he's taking the fall semester off for personal reasons. He has yet to actually announce to any of his students that they're expecting, but with his husband coming in more often to see him, more vigilant ones may have already pieced it together.

The SID team, under otherwise normal appearances, is thrilled at the upcoming baby. Wang Zheng floats around and dotes on Zhao Yunlan whenever he's there, eager to support the man through something she could never experience for herself due to a multitude of reasons.

"Chief, what if we build a section for the baby here at the office?" she asks.

"Where? Ah, should we replace the lab?" Zhao Yunlan suggests, raising his voice and grinning cheekily. Lin Jing squawks from the other room.

"Like we need half this decor," Chu Shuzhi huffs. "Why not get rid of the giant dilapidated bird cage, or the weird pipe sculpture."

"And ruin the atmosphere? Lao Chu, I couldn't dare!" Zhao Yunlan says.

"As if having a fire pole is safe for a baby," Chu Shuzhi deadpans, "And why do we keep bikes in here anyway? You have a huge house now. Do you need to use your workplace as a garage?"

Zhao Yunlan squints at him. "Who's the boss here? I can do what I want with my office," he grumbles. "The bikes are for if people need to dispatch to seperate places." 

"You're the only one with a motorcycle license," Da Qing meows.

"Teaming up on me! I feel attacked!" exclaims Zhao Yunlan. "I can't move them now anyway, give me a break."

"What if we got rid of the gym?" Guo Changcheng pipes in. Chu Shuzhi slaps the back of his head.

"Don't suggest something I actually use, dumbass," he says in a brotherly way.

"Does anyone even use the dining tables upstairs? What about those?" Wang Zheng suggests. Zhao Yunlan looks at it appraisingly.

"Could be a good option. We always just eat down here or at our desks anyway," he reasons. "Xiao Guo could still journal up there if he wants even if it's a play area. And that's close to the library, so Sang Zan would always be in close reach." 

"Good thinking, Wang-Jie!" Guo Changcheng praises.

"You don't worry about the baby being up on a balcony?" asks Chu Shuzhi. He doesn't look like he hates the location, at least.

"I'll make Lin Jing put up a forcefield or something," Zhao Yunlan says.

Lin Jing cranes his neck over his monitor in the lab. "Why are we planning to let a baby stay in our dangerous police station anyway? Can't you reason with Professor Shen to have him take it to class?" he complains. 

"As if our office has been remotely busy or dangerous after everything. Why do you hate babies so much?" Zhao Yunlan rebuts. 

Lin Jing scratches the back of his head. "They're creepy and weird and small."

Zhao Yunlan glares at him. "Call my baby weird or creepy when they're born and I'm cutting your hourly for real."

Lin Jing turns pale. "Of course not, Chief. Your baby will be unlike all the rest," he assures, voice strained.

"Damn right they will be," Zhao Yunlan declares. He puts a hand on his stomach and pats it.

Da Qing bats a paw at him. "If you pet the bump so much, the baby will be spoiled."

"They're gonna be spoiled regardless," Zhao Yunlan tells him. "The whole office is gonna love this baby, and I have shit to prove about being a good dad," he explains. He turns to give Da Qing a sideways look. "You just want me to pet you instead, Damn Cat."

Da Qing meows innocently. Zhao Yunlan reaches a hand to scratch his chin anyway.

 


 

"Xiao Wei, my back is killing me," Zhao Yunlan whines around a cookie. 

At the start of the third trimester, the fatigue starts to come back. Shen Wei's summer semester wraps up without much trouble and he's able to take care of his husband with the newfound free time. He finds stuffed animals, baked goods, and cards from his repeat students in his office on the last day of the semester, both out of appreciation and from those who gathered what the situation was. He sets the plushies aside for later and presents the baked goods to Zhao Yunlan, who is thrilled at the sweets to knock his cravings down. Shen Wei just tries to make sure he's getting actual nutrients and meals in as well between all those cravings.

"Do you want a massage after dinner, Ah-Lan?" Shen Wei offers, and sidles up next to Zhao Yunlan on the couch.

"I want the baby to hurry," the man grumbles and leans against him. "But yes to the massage."

Shen Wei lifts a hand to stroke his hair. "Just a couple more months," he murmurs.

Zhao Yunlan hums. "A couple more months," he says sleepily. Da Qing jumps up on his lap to nestle between the bump and his legs for a nap. "Come on, baby."

 


 

"Those clothes are fitting you well, Boss," Da Qing tells him one day while they're lounging in the office snacking.

"You calling me fat? Like you can speak," Zhao Yunlan gripes.

"I'm not calling you fat, shut up," Da Qing says. "The clothes the twins made fit you nicely. You've always been too skinny. Total twig. It's just weird to see you put on weight."

Zhao Yunlan gives him a look. "Yeah, it's almost like being pregnant makes you gain weight."

"Other than the baby, damn you. You're such an asshole," Da Qing tells him.

"Hey, the baby can hear you now, you know! Watch your language," Zhao Yunlan scolds, and puts a hand on his stomach as if to block the words from reaching. Da Qing hisses at him.

"You're gonna last like 5 minutes not swearing in front of them," he mutters. Zhao Yunlan flicks a chip at him, causing the yashou to yowl. "Whatever! I was gonna say, maybe now you'll actually have an ass."

"Hey!" Zhao Yunlan exclaims.

"What, your ass is flat. It's flatter than mine. Definitely flatter than Professor Shen's," Da Qing meows cheekily. 

"Why are you looking at my husband's ass? You want me to tell him?" Zhao Yunlan threatens, and jerks forward as if to grab him. Da Qing's ears go back. "Doesn't matter if it's flat or not, Xiao Wei loves it. I don't need a fat ass to have awesome sex," he declares. Da Qing makes a face.

"I don't want to hear anything pertaining to you and sex," Chu Shuzhi pipes up from his desk, where he'd been playing minesweeper and willfully ignoring the Chief and Deputy's antics. Zhao Yunlan laughs.

Shen Wei, who's upstairs working on planning out the baby-proofing of the balcony, shakes his head at their bickering. The SID employees are enjoying having the Professor back at the office again all the time, just like before the connection. Shen Wei is a welcome presence, helping plan for the changes, brainstorming with Lin Jing on ways to make things safer in the office, bringing meals and snacks for everyone. He relishes in being able to be so close to his husband all day, and spending time with their little found family at the SID. Zhu Hong makes time from her tribely duties to stop by more often as Zhao Yunlan gets further along, to offer gifts and blessings on behalf of the Yashou tribes (and just to spend time with them, of course). Zhu Hong's former unfortunate feelings toward the man have fully abated, so thankfully there's no longer bad blood between her and Shen Wei. He respects her complicated feelings, and is glad she has found herself more in her time being a leader. 

Zhao Yunlan, of course, appreciates having his spouse so close all day as well. He often pulls the Professor away from whoever he's helping so they can canoodle in his office upon a whim, spurred by overwhelming affection brimming under his skin. The reality of their situation, that they're here and fine and together and having a baby (!!) brings Zhao Yunlan to the verge of tears (much to his chagrin). Shen Wei, when he tells him this, goes much further than the verge of tears, however. 

 

Their future is bright, so bright, and coming so soon. If Zhao Yunlan tears up at the brightness, no one can judge him.

 


 

Their baby is born via C-section on a cool, early November day. The day and procedure had been planned far ahead of time, by choice of Zhao Yunlan and support from Doctor Liu. (He had wanted a C-section from the start, both because of his thin frame and because of personal comfort.) It's a little past noon when the baby is declared born, weighing in at 3.6 kilograms and measuring at 52 centimeters long. The baby lets out a cry as the doctor holds them up over the curtain for Zhao Yunlan to see. He grins at the sound and the sight.

Shen Wei, where he's stuck in the waiting room, shakes in his seat. Other expecting parents in the room give him empathetic looks. He positively jumps when his name is called—if he moves slightly faster than a Haixingren would be able to on the way towards the door, no one points it out.

He enters the room where Zhao Yunlan is and immediately tears up. Zhao Yunlan is reclining on the bed holding their swaddled baby and smiling at him.

"They have your eyelashes," Zhao Yunlan tells him with a chuckle. Shen Wei bursts into tears. He approaches the bed and leans over his husband, reaches a hand to rub a thumb over the baby's cheek. The baby turns its head to mouth at it. Zhao Yunlan laughs.

"Must be hungry already," he says, "Sorry, he can't make milk for you. Neither can I. Baobei, can you call the nurse? We need a bottle."

Shen Wei manages to get the attention of a nurse, and a bottle of formula is delivered to their room quickly. Shen Wei shows Zhao Yunlan the way to hold the bottle (as he studied intensively beforehand), and soon the baby is having its first meal.

"Xiao Wei," Zhao Yunlan says, and Shen Wei lifts his eyes away from the baby to meet his husband's. The man gives him a giddy smile. "We have a baby."

Shen Wei's eyes are full of love and heavy with emotion. "We have a baby," he echoes. He leans to give Zhao Yunlan a kiss.

 

Zhao Yunlan's hospital stay is blessedly short, only two days, helped along by Shen Wei sneaking a healing hand over his abdomen here or there. Zhao Yunlan allows it, but only because he hates being in the hospital and wants to get home with their baby already. But he stresses to his spouse not to overdo it and hurt himself, or else . Shen Wei knows better now than to push the subject, but he still puts as much of his energy as he can towards helping his husband along. 

 

Their next days at home are spent dealing with a newborn. The sound of a crying baby echoes often in the house. Shen Wei makes sure Zhao Yunlan is getting his bedrest after the surgery (in lieu of healing it all for him, which the man refused) and insists on taking every night shift for dealing with the baby, but Zhao Yunlan doesn't put up with it for long.

"Shen Wei, are you kidding me? When was the last time you got more than an hour of sleep?" Zhao Yunlan scolds him a couple of days in, after Shen Wei starts noticeably slowing down from exhaustion. "Just because I'm recovering from the surgery doesn't mean I can't help with the baby."

"Ah-Lan, I'm fine," he reassures. "I don't need as much sleep as you do, especially now. Your recovery comes first."

"You look like you're about to pass out, you can't seriously tell me you don't need sleep," Zhao Yunlan sighs, and moves to get up off the bed, wincing as he does. "Give me the baby. I'll feed it tonight."

"No," Shen Wei says. "You need to rest."

Zhao Yunlan seethes. " You need to rest. I need to feel like an actual father to our baby."

Shen Wei freezes. His back is turned to Zhao Yunlan.

"Will you let me help, please," Zhao Yunlan says, softly. Shen Wei turns to look him in the eyes.

"I…" he trails off, pauses for a moment. "…Alright."

"Alright?" Zhao Yunlan confirms.

"Yes."

"Great," he says, and gets up. He walks over and grabs the baby from Shen Wei's arms, met with only slight resistance. The baby rouses slightly at the change in holder, but keeps feeding regardless. "Now go to bed. If you're not asleep in 5 minutes, I'm gonna kick your ass."

"...Yes, Ah-Lan."

 

Ye Zun and Da Qing help care for the baby on occasions when both Zhao Yunlan and Shen Wei tire out. Ye Zun, despite xyr nerves, proves good at entertaining the baby. Probably confusing them, as well, having the same face as one of their parents, but that's something they'll just have to manage—Ye Zun at least starts wearing makeup to try and help differenciate. Da Qing brags about how knowledgeable and experienced he is with childcare, but half the things he suggests end up being only applicable to kittens, not babies. He lets the baby grab at his fur and tail without much complaint, regardless.

 

The baby's one month celebration is pretty informal. Zhao Yunlan dresses the baby in a little bear onesie for it, which makes Shen Wei break into a smile every time he looks at it. Shen Wei studies up and tries to cook a traditional meal according to the ceremony for the occasion, but Zhao Yunlan insists he add things like popcorn and dried fish and candy to the spread, to "account for differing tastes". Apart from the SID team, several of Shen Wei's colleagues attend, as well as Zhao Yunlan's estranged father. The man looks happy for once, at least.

The baby's name is announced to be Shen Li-Yan, to great applause. Zhao Yunlan didn't want to bother continuing his father's name out of spite, and his late mother shared the same surname as Shen Wei, so it felt right to use Shen instead. Zhao Xinci does not protest this, to his son's slight surprise.

Amongst the eating and celebration after the announcement, everyone comes by to offer gifts and visit the baby. 

Guo Changcheng presents a pair of mediocrely knitted booties in jade green yarn with teary eyes. 

Lao Chu falls to a knee in front of them, against Shen Wei's half-hearted envoy-voiced protest, and swears the child of the great Hei Pao Shi and Lord Guardian is under his protection.

Likewise, Zhu Hong promises the baby full security and welcome with all the Yashou tribes.

Lin Jing wearily stares at the baby for a moment before declaring that "huh, it actually is kind of cute".

Da Qing declares he will be the greatest uncle-brother-grandpa-cat the baby could ever hope for, and that he will teach them everything about being feline. Zhao Yunlan pokes the cat's saggy belly in retort and they quickly start bickering. Shen Wei sighs.

Ye Zun approaches while the man and cat are still catfighting, and promises both xyr twin and Shen Li-Yan that xe will try to do everything xe can to help make this baby feel loved. Shen Wei hugs his twin tightly at that.

Zhao Xinci wordlessly hands his son a red envelope, which Zhao Yunlan accepts respectfully.

Gifts are given, food is eaten, and photos are taken. After everyone gets a chance to meet Xiao Yan, they're passed off to Wang Zheng and Sang Zan, who are the most eager to spend time with the newborn.

Zhao Yunlan watches the couple play with his child, and can't help but grin. The baby certainly won't lack loving relatives.

He pulls Shen Wei, who is watching with him, into a kiss.

 

Their family is beautiful.




EPILOGUE



"Xiao Wei, can you take YanYan to work today?" Zhao Yunlan calls to him from the bathroom, sounding annoyed. "The bureau just called and said there's a major case we need to help on, everyone at the office is going to be busy all day."

Shen Wei freezes where he's cooking their breakfast. 

"I have two lectures and a meeting with the King and Regent today," he calls back.

"I'm sure your students would love to see the baby. Xiao Yan is well-behaved. I doubt they'll cause trouble," Zhao Yunlan responds with a toothbrush in his mouth. "And you can wear a harness, dress them up in that tiny robe your twin made. Creep the Regent out with a mini-me," he laughs.

Shen Wei cringes at the reminder of Ye Zun's latest dress-up project. "Yunlan, I'm not sure…" he starts, but Zhao Yunlan peeks his head out the bathroom door to look at him.

"It's either you take them, or Ye Zun has the chance to make YanYan a cosplay of xemself," he says. Shen Wei looks pained.

 


 

"Professor Shen, your baby is so cute!" His teacher's assistant coos as he prepares for class, watching Li-Yan play with a set of blocks in the pop-up playpen he set up behind his desk in the lecture hall. Shen Wei sighs.

"Yes, I know. Please try to get ready for the lecture," he reminds her.

"I don't know if today will be the most productive lecture, Professor…" she intones. He grimaces and pushes his glasses up.

"I had to take them for the day. We'll have to make do."

The class, as his TA predicts, is a mess. He has to stop several of his students from whispering to each other about the baby, and at one point Xiao Yan starts crying and he has to step out to change their diaper. Eventually Xiao Yan won't stop crying, and only calms down when he sets up the harness and carries them on his chest. After that, he has to derail the lecture several times to stop his students from getting out their phones and taking pictures.

In the end he gets through about one quarter of the material he intended to, and resigns to just get more in during the next lecture. He indulges his students and answers their questions about the baby near the end of class, since none of them can seem to focus. They ask him several things—how old are they? (4 months), where did you get their outfit? (My sibling made it), have they said any words yet? (Not yet, but my husband assures me this is normal)—but eventually the end of the lecture period rolls around, and he has to coerce his students out of the class so he can prepare for the next one.

He feeds Li-Yan during the downtime between classes, and they mercifully fall into a nap. He's able to get through his second lecture with only minimal interruption (though part of that is likely that his second lecture is a course for seniors, unlike his earlier first year course), but he still has to answer a few prodding questions from students lingering to speak with him after class.




He arrives at his meeting in Dixing with his usual flourish, dark smoke billowing out around him as he walks toward the meeting table. The Regent and King bow their heads in respect as he approaches, but the Regent double-takes upon raising his.

"Hei Pao Daren," he fumbles, "I see you have brought… a guest?"

"Pay no mind," he commands, envoy-voice in full swing. Li-Yan gurgles and flaps their black-cloaked arms from where they're suspended in the harness. The King bows his head to hide the smile on his face. "Xiao Hei will not interfere with the proceedings."

 

'Xiao Hei' coos.