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When Zhao Yunlan wakes up, there’s sunlight filtering through the blinds, and a quiet, almost pensive noise of clutter being shifted around coming from the direction of the kitchen.

There’s a smell too, of something frying on the stove, something that makes him think of the home-cooking he hasn’t had in ages. A leftover from the pleasant dream he’d been having? Maybe…

Zhao Yunlan sits up abruptly in bed, and hisses sharply at how it makes his sore body twinge. The noise from the kitchen pauses for the briefest of seconds before restarting, somehow more carefully deliberate than before. The smell isn’t his imagination. There is someone cooking real food in his kitchen, right now .

He gingerly lifts the covers, and raises his eyebrows in disbelief. The fact that he’s naked isn’t a surprise—he may be feeling hungover, but not enough to forget exactly what he got up to last night—but the bruises and purpling bitemarks littering his thighs are certainly a surprise. In the heat of the moment, he didn’t think they would mark up that badly.

He debates, for a moment, just getting up like this and walking into the kitchen. After all, given that the man in the kitchen bruised him worse than an overripe peach, that wouldn’t be too shameless, right? But then again, maybe he should remember that for when he actually remembers his mystery lover’s name.

Instead, Zhao Yunlan roots around the blankets until he finally unearths a pair of boxers (not his own, he notes delightedly) and slips them on. Then he clambers around the corner of the bed until he can face the kitchen.

The man cooking him breakfast is already dressed, Zhao Yunlan notes. It gives him a mixed feeling. On the one hand, Zhao Yunlan would have liked to see that glorious body on full display in his apartment. The idea of someone cooking him breakfast naked definitely hit some choice buttons. On the other hand, that tight-fitting shirt, still wrinkled from their activities last night, those even tighter trousers (was he wearing a pair of Zhao Yunlan’s underwear? Or was he going commando underneath? Both thoughts made his mouth water) and those sleeve garters back on his well-muscled arms? Zhao Yunlan wants to mess him up all over again. 

But first—

“Good morning!” Zhao Yunlan greets cheerily. The man freezes slightly, even though he must have surely heard Zhao Yunlan’s graceless escape from bed. Slowly the man turns around, and his reaction to Zhao Yunlan is so visceral that Zhao Yunlan almost preens in glee.

He swallows, his throat bobbing with an audible click, and his ears color bright red. But despite the apparent embarrassment, his eyes trace over the marks he left on Zhao Yunlan’s body, lingering on his throat, his hips. Dark. Possessive. Desire flares hot all over. Maybe he could convince the man to flip him over the table right now for one more—

“Food first,” the man says, as if guessing what’s on Zhao Yunlan’s mind. Zhao Yunlan grins.

“Not even a quickie?”

The man makes an attempt at a stern expression, even with the flush on his cheeks. “Food first,” he insists firmly, and sets down a bowl of wheat noodles on the countertop. Zhao Yunlan’s stomach takes the time to conveniently grumble.

He knows for a fact that his fridge was empty yesterday, so did the man go shopping in the early morning? In fact—Zhao Yunlan looks around the suspiciously clean kitchen, the lack of clutter in his living room—did he clean Zhao Yunlan’s whole house? All while Zhao Yunlan was still asleep?

…Was it too late to ask him for his name now?

The man pointedly slides a pair of chopsticks over the countertop and Zhao Yunlan happily takes them. “Did you make these from scratch?”

“Yes,” he admits, taking a pair of chopsticks in hand as well.

“Well, I have to admit, I knew you would be good with your hands but—” 

His companion taps the side of his bowls firmly with his chopsticks, the silent reprimand clear. Belatedly, Zhao Yunlan remembers that the man is a professor, remembers the way he stuttered it out last night at the bar, eyes blown wide like a deer caught in headlights, when Zhao Yunlan tipsily asked for his name.

Zhao Yunlan drags the bowl towards himself, smiling to himself. The noodles are delicious, spicy and flavorful, without being overly greasy. He doesn’t think he’s had a meal this good in years. The company is fascinating too, the contrast between the shy blush, the stern composure and the mauling Zhao Yunlan received last night.  

It’s…surprisingly domestic. Unexpectedly comfortable. Zhao Yunlan slurps on the noodles and decides, then and there, that he wants this for longer.

“You really cleaned up my house,” he says.

The professor’s face morphs into an expression of reproach. “You need to take better care of yourself.”

“By myself?” Zhao Yunlan pouts. “The good and capable professor should help me out.”

The professor swallows, and Zhao Yunlan notices how his eyes linger on Zhao Yunlan’s lips. 

“How about it? Can we do this another time? The professor can teach me everything I need to know. I have to return the favor, after all.” 

“There’s no need for any repayment—” 

“Well, if you’d rather be altruistic in my re-education, I won’t say no,” he winks. ‘Please take care of me!’ is not a very good come on, but the shy, pleased smile on the professor’s face tells him it's working anyway. He decides to be forward and take the leap. “Can I have your number?”

“I don’t have a cell phone.”

Zhao Yunlan gapes for a moment. “A landline?” When all he gets is a shy duck of the head, he continues incredulously, “Email?”

The professor stands up for a moment to fumble with something in his back pocket, before sliding a business card across the counter.

“I have an office phone?” he offers sheepishly and Zhao Yunlan laughs, enamored despite himself. He reads the card.

Shen Wei. Professor of Biology at Dragon City University.

Good name, Zhao Yunlan thinks to himself.