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Unexpected Benefits

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An unanticipated (though very welcome) benefit of Shang Qinghua's new situation in life is that, more days than not, he wakes up well-rested and comfortable. Any discomfort he does occasionally feel is only the lingering ache of well-used body parts, and while the soreness can be inconvenient it also leaves him feeling smug and self-satisfied and tingly-warm all over, which in his opinion makes the trouble more than worth it.

 

No more enduring shitty mattresses in mildewed box apartments! No more sharing cramped bunks with fellow disciples who bully him! No more slaving away for days on end to ensure Qing Jing has enough guqin strings, Bai Zhan has enough training dummies, Qian Cao has enough splints and bandages and poultice ingredients, etc etc etc, all while balancing the books to keep every member of the Sect clothed and fed and watered without sacrificing any of the lofty lifestyle these immortals are accustomed to, only to fall asleep at his desk and wake with a headache and a crick in his neck that not even cultivation as strong as Yue Qingyuan's would be able to shake-- no! No more! Those days are long behind him!

 

...Okay, so the other Peaks are still as demanding as ever, and since he was reinstated in his position as An Ding Peak Lord he still has to deal with them... but it isn't so bad. After all, by now he's honed An Ding Peak into such a well-oiled machine it could probably keep running under its own steam for years, even if he disappeared from this world entirely! Not that he has any intention to. Not anymore.

 

The point is, it doesn't matter if Shang Qinghua falls asleep at his desk. If he does, he now has someone who will notice his absence, who will object to it, who will always come find him and carry him off to bed.

 

And then he'll wake up like this. Comfortable.

 

He nuzzles into the smooth, cool skin beneath his cheek and smiles. It took a few weeks of trial and error but they've finally gotten the blanket ratios just right: one large, thin sheet for them both to share, while on his side of the bed Shang Qinghua also has a pile of blankets and furs to burrow into that keep him snug and toasty. Cuddling with his king means he never overheats, and he always wakes fresh-faced and clear-headed, because his king's chest – firm and strong but with just enough squishy give to the muscle – makes the perfect pillow.

 

A densely muscled arm is curled around his back in a loose embrace, a heavy, comforting weight that keeps him tucked into his king's side. The tips of sharp claws tickle where they're barely skimming the small of his back. Mobei-Jun's other hand is resting on his stomach, cupping the elbow of the arm Shang Qinghua has slung over his king's broad chest. His heart beats slow and steady beneath his palm.

 

This was another unforeseen benefit of their new nightime arrangement: getting to watch the arrogant, aloof, badass Ice King Mobei-Jun when he's softened and vulnerable, before he wakes in the morning.

 

Of course Shang Qinghua has seen his king sleep before – from the very first time they met, in fact! – but most of those times Shang Qinghua's headspace had been teetering about on a range from stressed to annoyed to being terrified out of his wits, so he hadn't really been in the right mindset to, you know, make the most of the opportunities presented to him. To really take in the view. Not that he'd ogle someone without their permission, haha, no way!! Even if that someone was the most handsome person ever conceived in an entire multiverse of trashy harem novels come to life! ...Alright, so maybe he'd taken a couple of peeks, once or twice. But he'd always felt sort of guilty afterwards, and definitely nervous Mobei-Jun would wake and catch him in the act of, um, admiring him, and beat him up for the insolence.

 

Things are different nowadays. Now Shang Qinghua knows Mobei-Jun likes it when Shang Qinghua looks at him. Wants him to look. It's funny, and honestly a little bit cute; Mobei-Jun isn't a vain person, not really, at least when it comes to his appearance, but recently he's started puffing up like some courting bird whenever he catches Shang Qinghua staring, proud and insufferably pleased with himself. He usually wastes no time in dragging Shang Qinghua somewhere private to ravage the last scraps of sense out of him with a demanding kiss. And maybe Shang Qinghua might end up getting mauled a bit. In a good way. Heh.

 

Anyway. What this means is Shang Qinghua can take as much time as he pleases, entirely guilt free, to relish in the experience of his king at rest. He can take it all in: the gentle rise and fall of Mobei-Jun's ribs as he breathes; his pulse, beating beneath Shang Qinghua's hand, visible under the thin skin in the hollow of his throat; the faintest blue freckles dotted on his shoulders; the pale column of his neck, the bold angle of his jaw, the tiny crystals of frost that form in his long, dark eyelashes.

 

Beautiful, all of it.

 

And all of it, somehow, inexplicably, incredibly, given to Shang Qinghua.

 

In his previous life he wrote a lot about romance. Not just the endless papapa of Proud Immortal Demon Way, where the character relationships got shafted for, well, Bing-ge's shaft – none of that had been what he'd set out to write! The thing is you have to write what the people want or no one will pay you any attention – or any money, for that matter – and then you might as well be shouting into the void. You won't even hear an echo back! And you'll be utterly penniless to boot! But Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky wasn't his only penname; he'd written other stories too. Love stories. Mostly ones that didn't work out in the end, that were one-sided or futile or where the love simply faded away, because when it came to sustained, long-term relationships, that was the reality he knew.

 

And sometimes he wrote stories that did work out, that did have a happy ending, because he was lonely, and despite himself he couldn't help but wish...

 

He hadn't worked up the nerve to post most of those. The happy ones. They felt too personal. Too revealing, maybe. It wasn't like he'd ever had a relationship of his own. He never thought he would, either.

 

But here he is. It always comes when you least expect it, isn't that what they say?

 

Feeling a bit giddy he nestles in closer to his king's side and drops a kiss to the thick swell of pectoral muscle beneath his cheek. He glances up at his king's face, slackened with sleep, and his lungs stutter around a breath.

 

This was his favourite character, the person he'd created to be his ideal of a man – and he got to meet him! For real! He still gets a bit awestruck when he stops to think about it. And it's not like he just saw Mobei-Jun once in passing; he's built a whole life for himself with Mobei-Jun at its core, actually gotten to know this person he dreamt up properly. And there's so much more to him than he ever imagined! So handsome! So manly!! So... unexpectedly sweet, sleeping peacefully like this.

 

Ah, his Mobei-Jun... really is his favourite.

 

Even more amazing, this ideal, favourite person of his cherishes him back.

 

He ducks his head, suddenly bashful. Lucky for him Mobei-Jun isn't awake to see him like this; recently he's started teasing in his own stoic kind of way whenever he picks up on the fact he's flustered Shang Qinghua. He's gotten much better at recognising the difference between Shang Qinghua's harmless embarrassment and when he's genuinely anxious or agitated. He's been... paying a lot of attention. And he's been using what he's learned at Shang Qinghua's expense! The first time Mobei-Jun teased him, Shang Qinghua almost went into qi deviation! Having his king look down at him like that, with a smirk curving his lips and amusement glittering warm in his eyes-- It's a lot to deal with, okay! There's only so much Shang Qinghua's poor heart can take!

 

His cheek is blushing so hot it's heated up Mobei-Jun's chest beneath him. He strokes his hand over the contour of Mobei-Jun's chest and shuffles over to a cooler spot, glad they've taken to sleeping in the nude. Mobei-Jun has a tendency to rip when he gets riled up – bye bye clothes, hello piles of shreds – and it's a hassle to have to keep ordering new sleeping robes for the both of them, so why bother? Better to be done with the things in the first place. Besides, who's going to complain about having six-foot-plus of sexy demon king curled up naked in their bed? Not Shang Qinghua, that's for sure! Talking of unexpected benefits, that's the biggest one right there!

 

And all this skin-to-skin contact, down the whole length of his body, is... nice. Really nice. Not even in a sexual way, just – comforting. He'd never known it could be like this.

 

His fingers brush over a soft, dark nipple, and he can't help himself; he rubs a slow circle around it, once, twice, then pinches the bud. It pebbles and stiffens under his touch.

 

Cute.

 

Grinning, he takes a good handful of Mobei-Jun's pec and kneads, admiring the heavy weight of the muscle, the perfect fit of it in the cup of his palm. There's another nipple right there by his mouth. It would be a shame to leave it ignored, right? Shang Qinghua's in a generous mood, so he touches it with the tip of his tongue, flicks over the soft bud and pinches it between his lips.

 

Mobei-Jun's breath hitches. He doesn't come round, but he's sensitive here and the sensation must feel good. A subaudible growl starts up deep in his chest, too low to hear, though Shang Qinghua can feel the vibration of it beneath his cheek. A nip and a suck makes Mobei-Jun sigh and shift, spreading his legs wider – he always does this, sprawling out over the whole damn bed! It's a good job the bed is so big and both of them like snuggling! – and Shang Qinghua shifts with him, lifting his leg over Mobei-Jun's hip to half-straddle one of those delicious shapely thighs he's become so well acquainted with. He squeezes, hums happily as the movement squishes him into Mobei-Jun's hip.

 

Mmm... His Mobei-Jun is so big... so nice to hold...

 

...Wait.

 

Um. Is that..?

 

He pushes his knee up again, carefully. Ah. Mobei-Jun is. Not completely asleep, it seems. Yep. That sure is a penis.

 

Well! Okay!! He's never initiated anything without already having Mobei-Jun's full attention, but... Never let it be said Shang Qinghua doesn't know how to take advantage of circumstances! He's not completely hopeless!

 

He palms down the centre of Mobei-Jun's chest, over the crest of his ribcage, trails down the bumps of his chiseled abs to scratch his blunt nails into the fine dark hair low on his abdomen. The back of his wrist bumps into the heft of Mobei-Jun's cock, tucked in the defined crease between his torso and thigh. It's just as cold as the rest of him, half-hard and still rousing with blood; the whole considerable length of it twitches and plumps further with the caress of his fingers.

 

Shang Qinghua props himself up on his elbow to follow the path of his hand with his lips. These days Mobei-Jun sleeps deeper than he used to; he's become accustomed to Shang Qinghua's presence, doesn't startle awake in the middle of the night like he used to when they first started properly sharing a bed. He grumbles and shifts a bit when Shang Qinghua crawls down his body, but doesn't wake.

 

A heady mix of excitement and affection fizzes in Shang Qinghua's veins. He dips his head and lays more kisses down Mobei-Jun's stomach, nuzzles into Mobei-Jun's hip when he reaches it. His king's scent is crisp and clean, the first crunch of fresh snow under a boot; vaguely metallic, a hint of mint, and a just little bit sweet, like a pine forest. Right now the scent is tinged faintly with the lingering musk of their sex from last night. It's soothing. Shang Qinghua rests his cheek low on Mobei-Jun's stomach to better breathe it in.

 

He wraps his hand around the base of Mobei-Jun's cock and pumps slowly, up to the swollen tip. His king fills up his palm so well here, too. He fits his tongue to the curve of him, the icy tingle of cold, cold flesh refreshing against the sensitive nerves in his tongue. It really does feel like he's running a popsicle across his lips, except for the unmistakable silken softness of skin. So like a popsicle that was wrapped in fine satin after it came out the freezer? Or is it only his king who feels so addictively smooth? Shang Qinghua wouldn't know – it's not like he's ever done this with anyone else. Ah, it's irrelevant anyway. He doesn't want to do this with anyone else.

 

He rubs a tiny, tight circle under head with his thumb and cushions the tip against his lips. Swirling his tongue beneath the foreskin he slowly eases it down past the head. Mobei-Jun's pulse picks up in the vein under Shang Qinghua's fingers; he grows even harder in his grasp as Shang Qinghua slips the spongy flesh into his mouth.

 

Mobei-Jun tenses, every muscle in his impressive torso flexing. He lets out a cute, quiet hum, kind of inquisitive but definitely pleased. Shang Qinghua sinks a little further, lets the cool, thick girth prise open a space for itself, cupped snug between his tongue and the roof of his mouth. He stays there for a minute to savour the fullness, then pulls up with a long, slow suck.

 

Large hands weave into his hair and tug lightly. Shang Qinghua pulls off with a wet pop and grins up at Mobei-Jun. “Good morning, my king.”

 

Mobei-Jun rumbles a sleepy noise, not unlike a dragon from a fantasy film except about ten thousand times sexier, and lifts his head. Midnight blue eyes squint down at him blearily under heavy lids. His sleek black hair is tousled from sleep, draped artfully over one shoulder and spread out around him on the sheets and pillows. The scene could be a painted ink illustration from a page of top quality erotica.

 

Shang Qinghua's heart flutters. Gods, such a beautiful man. How did a canon fodder like Shang Qinghua get so lucky?

 

Mobei-Jun blinks slowly at him, then his eyes narrow into fond crescents. He wraps his long legs around Shang Qinghua and drags him close, rolls his hips in a silent demand. Shang Qinghua laughs softly. He pecks a kiss to the blue freckle on the crest of Mobei-Jun's hipbone and gets back to business. Mobei-Jun flops back into the pillows with a grunt.

 

Shang Qinghua can get away with his own teasing when Mobei-Jun is still waking up, and he takes full advantage. He takes his time, enjoying the stretch in his jaw, the scent of his king, the taste of his arousal, the salty bitterness masked by the cool temperature. The first few times they tried this the cold made his teeth hurt, but it's become unconscious habit for Mobei-Jun to share energy with Shang Qinghua whenever they curl up close to sleep, so he's not so easily affected anymore. Shang Qinghua spends all night surrounded by his king's energy, wakes with it flowing through his meridians, a barrier against the cold as effective as any fur-lined cloak. Better even than central heating! He could spend hours licking Mobei-Jun all over and not have to worry a bit about brain freeze.

 

He wishes he could spend hours, an entire day, licking Mobei-Jun all over. Maybe he should ask on his birthday..?

 

Mobei-Jun is tense, his hips shifting minutely, but he keeps obediently restrained and still under Shang Qinghua's grip even though it would take nothing to throw him off. It never fails to send a thrill racing through Shang Qinghua's blood. Such a powerful, dangerous, imperious creature as Mobei-Jun willingly, willfully, laying back in offering for Shang Qinghua? Letting Shang Qinghua hold him down? That's...

 

A demon never submits to their lessers. To do so is debasing. Seen as weakness. It's a fundamental facet of their social hierarchy, and maintaining that hierarchy – especially for the ancient houses like Mobei-Jun's – is a matter of great pride and importance. That Mobei-Jun likes to submit, even in this small way, to Shang Qinghua...

 

Would he submit in other ways, if Shang Qinghua asked for it?

 

A wave of heat rushes through him at the thought. He shuffles about a bit, leaning his weight down on Mobei-Jun's thigh and tilting his head back to open his throat. He takes his king as deep as he can go, breathes through the instinctive clench of panic when Mobei-Jun slides into the opening of his throat. And success! No choking or spluttering this time! Take that, gag reflex!

 

The cold pressure is almost soothing on the back of his throat. He swallows reflexively around the intrusion, a hot rush of pride stoking the heat in him higher at Mobei-Jun's shuddering exhale. His technique has gotten much better too – practice makes perfect! And if you can't achieve perfection then you can win points with enthusiasm instead!

 

One large, elegant hand lifts from the bedsheets to sweep Shang Qinghua's hair back from his face. Mobei-Jun cups his cheek, claws scritching into the loose hair behind his ear, then strokes down further, tracing feather-light over the bulge in Shang Qinghua's throat. He pets over it for a minute, fascinated, then gently presses down.

 

Shang Qinghua moans around the constriction. Mobei-Jun cups his full hand around his neck, the satisfied vibration in his chest heightening to an audible rumble. The sound is so distinct from his myriad of growls Shang Qinghua's started thinking of it more like purring. A giant cat's purr. It's a comforting sound; Shang Qinghua loves it, knowing it means that Mobei-Jun is content, that he's feeling relaxed. Shang Qinghua wants to make him feel this good all the time. He wants to hear that sound every morning, every night. Ah, he wants to make Mobei-Jun so happy...

 

Working the fat shaft with both hands he rocks up, and back down, starting a rhythm that has Mobei-Jun pushing deep into him, a slick, thick slide into his throat and out, deeper and deeper until he's cutting off his air. He sucks hard on each pull up, running his tongue over the veins, lapping wet over the tip and dipping into his slit. His jaw hurts, but – mm, he's so full, so satisfied. He loves this too, he really does. One hand leaves Mobei-Jun's cock to stroke across the crease of Mobei-Jun's hips. He scrapes his nails over the thin, delicate skin, and Mobei-Jun's thighs clench around him. He slips his hand lower to fondle the soft weight of Mobei-Jun's balls in his palm, tucks his fingers underneath to massage his perineum – and does gag this time as a sudden unconscious hitch of Mobei-Jun's hips pushes him right down to the hilt, so Shang Qinghua's nose is pressing into his crotch.

 

Eyes watering he rests his hands on Mobei-Jun's thighs, takes a few deep breaths through his nose to calm. He blinks the tears away and glances up.

 

Mobei-Jun squirms, panting. The hand on Shang Qinghua's neck has migrated to grip his hair tight, and his other fist is clenched tight in the sheets – he's probably poked his claws through already. The stretch of his stunning body tenses and contracts as his hips undulate. He's worked up, Shang Qinghua can tell; he wants to roll them over and pound Shang Qinghua into the mattress, but he's holding himself back. It would be easy to finish him off now, to get his king to come down his throat – ah, Shang Qinghua wants to taste him, to feel him pulse under his tongue, but – he wants to kiss him, too. He wants to hold his face in his hands, to feel that restrained strength beneath him, the velvet touch of all that skin against his own.

 

Sparks ignite and burst into flames in his gut. He pulls off, coughs, tries to catch his breath.

 

Mobei-Jun growls in protest, his eyes snapping open and flashing electric blue. The slits of his pupils are blown wide. “Shang Qinghua-”

 

“Yes, yes, I know-” Shang Qinghua scrambles to clamber up over him. “I know, I know-”

 

The instant Mobei-Jun realises Shang Qinghua's intent he grabs him under the arms and yanks him up to devour his mouth. He plunges his long, cool, prehensile tongue between Shang Qinghua's lips, sweeps inside his mouth to twine with his own. Shang Qinghua sucks around the slippery length of it and moans. His hands grope for leverage on Mobei-Jun's chest. They're both slick with sweat, and Shang Qinghua's body heat is condensing in the icy air, forming water droplets on Mobei-Jun's cold skin that glisten across his collarbones and between his pecs. Mobei-Jun leans up to reach better, holding his upper body upright with just the strength of his core, and adjusts Shang Qinghua to sit more comfortably in his lap.

 

Shang Qinghua fumbles to line them both up and – oh – yes, like that –

 

They both break the kiss to gasp. Mobei-Jun is so cold, so so cold, but he feels so good, both the temperature difference and the friction blissful. Shang Qinghua grips them tight together as much as he can – Mobei-Jun alone is almost too big to wrap his hand around! – and tilts his hips, gives a shaking thrust.

 

He slides up, up, up the length of Mobei-Jun's cock. Ah, it's so – so burning cold, so thick and hard, throbbing against him. So many years in the frigid Northern Kingdom must have miswired something twisted in Shang Qinghua's brain, because the bite of the chill only gets him hotter. Mobei-Jun groans into Shang Qinghua's mouth and falls back, bends in a wanton arch. His hands grip Shang Qinghua's waist and pull him down, squeezing them tight at the hips to trap their cocks together between their stomachs. Shang Qinghua pushes up on his hands and glances down. Mobei-Jun is flushed purple, and he's so wet – they both are – the slick all over his stomach shining in the low morning light that glitters through the icy walls of their room. He gets wetter as Shang Qinghua watches, a steady stream of precome dripping over his abs.

 

Shang Qinghua chokes on air.

 

His mouth starts running without him. “My king, so gorgeous, so handsome and clever and strong,” he babbles, half-delirious. Mobei-Jun's eyes slit open at him, a glowing icy ring around blown-wide black pupils. Shang Qinghua shivers. “Ah – You – You look so good under me like this, my king, you don't even know – you feel so good, make me feel so – I'm so – oh– I'm so lucky, I want to make you feel good too, my king, my Mobei-Jun, mine--

 

Mobei-Jun's eyes widen. He shakes beneath Shang Qinghua, moans his name. Gaze locked with Shang Qinghua he tips his noble head back into the pillows so his neck is arched back in a graceful curve, the long line of it totally, deliberately, exposed. “Yours,” he gasps, in a voice like rough waves rolling over glacier rocks, and those blue, blue eyes slip closed.

 

Each beat of Shang Qinghua's heart aches sweetly.

 

Every time he and Mobei-Jun get... intimate, there's part of him that can't help but wonder, can't stop the doubts. Despite the fact he can trace the course of their relationship right from the beginning – or, with hindsight he can, now he and Mobei-Jun have made the effort to understand one another – that one persistent part of him still panics. How is this happening? How did they get here? It must be a mistake, must be, he'll say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time and it will all get taken away– How can he bear to hope–

 

That voice grows quieter by the day. Easier to cast aside.

 

He's mine. He trusts me. He wants me. And I...

 

The last whispers of anxiety flitter away from his mind. He feels no hesitance, no self-doubt as he bends down and licks a stripe up Mobei-Jun's chest, tastes the salt of their mingled sweat. He doesn't linger – he wants to take the offer before Mobei-Jun gets impatient and rescinds it – but he does take a second to bite Mobei-Jun's nipple, which gets him a sharp grunt and a roll so hard it almost throws him off balance. He huffs a laugh and continues on to Mobei-Jun's collarbones, up the straining tendons in his neck to reach the pulse hammering under his jaw. He seals his lips over it, sucks hard enough to leave a bruise. Mobei-Jun whines. The entire long length of his body draws taut when Shang Qinghua scrapes his teeth over the sensitive spot. He crushes Shang Qinghua close to him, digs his long fingers into Shang Qinghua's flanks.

 

The prick of his claws sets Shang Qinghua's blood on fire. He sinks his blunt teeth into Mobei-Jun's throat and bites.

 

A strangled noise bursts from Mobei-Jun's throat. He keens, grinds up with such force Shang Qinghua can barely hold on. He actually does unbalance when Mobei-Jun lifts his leg higher and pulls him in, all hunger and with none of his usual grace and coordination. Shang Qinghua tries to correct, to match Mobei-Jun's enthusiasm, but the uneven rhythm throws him off and he slips, pushing underneath Mobei-Jun instead. Momentum drags his cock along Mobei-Jun's undercarriage, behind his balls and along his – between his –

 

Mobei-Jun isn't the most vocal, in bed as with everywhere else, but he lets out the loudest, filthiest moan Shang Qinghua's ever heard.

 

“Oh, shit,” Shang Qinghua gasps, “my king, did – did you like that? Is that good?”

 

Mobei-Jun slits his eyes open just enough to glare ferociously at him. “Yes,” he hisses.

 

“Okay! Okay, okay- oh, fuck-

 

Swearing under his breath – oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck – Shang Qinghua does it again, again, again, driving into his king in mimicry of the way Mobei-Jun takes him. He picks up force, thrusts harder, harder, shoving Mobei-Jun up the mattress. Mobei-Jun growls and whimpers. He tosses his head, throwing ribbons of inky hair strewn over the pillows, as Shang Qinghua sinks into his cleft. In, out, in, he grinds against him, really with no skill or finesse at all but it feels – it feels so good, so good, and look at his king! The unmistakable bliss on his face! Who could deny Mobei-Jun loves it! And in this position it really does feel like – like Shang Qinghua is – is f-fucking him--

 

Mobei-Jun grunts in surprise, speeds up for a frantic second before he freezes, spasms, comes in a cold rush between them. The sight alone would be enough to finish Shang Qinghua off if he wasn't already there. A couple more desperate thrusts and he follows his king over the edge.

 

He swims for a while. When he comes round, Mobei-Jun is dragging some of the blankets that had been kicked aside and folding them around his body, shielding him from the cold air. When Shang Qinghua is covered shoulders to toes Mobei-Jun gathers him into his arms and rolls them over. He yawns wide, showing off sharp fangs, and settles, tucking his head under Shang Qinghua's chin.

 

In the still silence of their room it's easy to hear when Mobei-Jun starts purring. Shang Qinghua can feel it too, soothing and soft, a deep thrum rolling from Mobei-Jun's chest into his.

 

Shang Qinghua lies there dazed. His whole body is weightless, buzzing with elation, as if he could float away were it not for the couple hundred pounds of happily purring ice demon cuddled up on his chest. He tilts his head to look down at Mobei-Jun; at this angle he can only make out the corner of an elegant brow, a sharply chiseled cheekbone, a pointed, blue-flushed ear and the slightest curve of parted lips. So little of that lovely face and it's still enough for his lungs to feel tight with affection.

 

It's still early enough that no one is likely to come bother them for a while, so he'll enjoy the peace while he can. He wiggles his arms free of the blankets and lifts a shaky hand to Mobei-Jun's cheek. Mobei-Jun leans into the touch, his purr rumbling louder. He pushes against Shang Qinghua's wrist, shifts the blankets apart enough for him to rub his cheek against Shang Qinghua's chest. Shang Qinghua's weak human nose can't smell it but he knows Mobei-Jun is scenting him, leaving an invisible mark and laying his claim, a demonstration of his care and protection. Really it just feels like his king is nuzzling into him. Maybe he is, and the scent thing is just an excuse.

 

When Mobei-Jun is satisfied he hums quietly and falls still again, his nose pressed into the side of Shang Qinghua's neck. The puff of his breath is cool on his collar, his eyelashes tickling his skin.

 

Shang Qinghua drapes his arms around him and stares up at the ceiling. His breath fogs in the air, drifting up in little clouds before it dissipates. At certain times of day the sunlight filtering through the narrow windows reflects and refracts through the ice in such a way to scatter rainbows over the walls and ceiling of their room. Drops of colours shine in the spill of Mobei-Jun's dark hair.

 

It all makes his fingers crave for paper and brush. But his supplies are on his desk, all the way across the other side of the room – he'd have to move Mobei-Jun to get them. He really ought to start keeping a writing set next to the bed, within arm's reach...

 

He composes a couple of paragraphs in his head, an establishing scene, and commits them to memory. After a few minutes the restlessness he always feels in the morning starts creeping up on him, all the things he needs to do jostling for space in his thoughts. Not to mention they both need a bath; there's come drying all over Mobei-Jun's stomach and chest, on Shang Qinghua too where they were pressed together. If they leave it too long it'll begin to itch.

 

He combs his fingers through Mobei-Jun's hair one last time – when had he started doing that..? – and pats him on the meat of his bicep.

 

“Time to get up, my king.”

 

Mobei-Jun makes a noise of complaint. “No,” he mutters into Shang Qinghua's neck, in the drowzy, petulant tone of someone who's almost drifted off again and does not appreciate being disturbed. “Later. Rest now.”

 

“My king-”

 

Mobei-Jun says nothing. He tightens his arm around Shang Qinghua and refuses to budge.

 

Shang Qinghua pokes Mobei-Jun's head, pulls at the tip of a pointed ear. It flicks, but otherwise Mobei-Jun ignores him in favour of sucking wet kisses up Shang Qinghua's neck and under his jaw. One large hand strokes down his side. He quivers.

 

Shang Qinghua knows exactly what his king is doing. He thinks Shang Qinghua is so easy, that a little bit of kissing and petting is all it takes to entice Shang Qinghua into letting them stay in bed longer. He sighs when Mobei-Jun exhales cool air into his neck, scrapes his fangs against sensitive skin. ...Erm. What was he thinking about? Oh, right, his king trying to be sneaky... plying him with affection so he can indulge in being lazy... maybe fit in another round...

 

Ah! No! Resist! He's spoiled enough as it is, don't give in! Be strong Airplane!

 

He thumps Mobei-Jun on the shoulder and yanks harder on his ear.

 

“Mobei-Jun.”

 

His king raises his fearsome, noble face, and pouts at him like the pampered prince he used to be. Or maybe a disgruntled housecat. Shang Qinghua puts on a frown. “We really do have to get up soon, my king,” he says, as stern as he can manage. “The delegation from the Eastern Kingdom is arriving today, remember? They're still after your territory in the eastern plateau, we need to be prepared.”

 

“Get someone else to deal with them,” Mobei-Jun grumbles.

 

“I would if I could, believe me! That ambassador they're sending is so arrogant, always strutting around and posturing and being disrespectful, like he can even come close to measuring up to you.” Shang Qinghua huffs. “But we can't ignore them; you know such an insult would only cause us more trouble than it's worth.”

 

Mobei-Jun narrows his eyes for moment. “I disagree,” he pronounces, and simply lies back down again! My king, did you not hear anything this one just said to you?!

 

Shang Qinghua is so stunned by this display of cheek he doesn't protest as Mobei-Jun settles more of his weight on to him, pinning him down. He buries his head back into Shang Qinghua's chest, heaves a sigh, and then – then he lets out a quiet snore.

 

Shang Qinghua blinks.

 

Is he... pretending to have fallen back to sleep? Honestly, this man...

 

“Oh well, I suppose if my king is determined to sleep this one will have to bathe by himself,” he says ruefully, making to wiggle out from Mobei-Jun's arms. Shang Qinghua has finally convinced him of the joy of hot baths – rather, he's convinced Mobei-Jun to put up with the heat for the benefit of getting Shang Qinghua naked and wet. If there's anything that will persuade his king to get up--

 

Alas, the allure of a lie-in wins out. Mobei-Jun only holds him closer. “Mn. Stay.”

 

“So you are awake.”

 

“...Hn.”

 

The wide smile Shang Qinghua's been trying to hold back slips free and he breaks out into giggles. He's bubbling with lightness, full of tender feeling. He laughs at Mobei-Jun's petulance, his clinginess, his silliness, laughs until his stomach muscles start to hurt, and when he looks down again Mobei-Jun is...

 

Oh. He has his chin propped up on Shang Qinghua's sternum, and he's... smiling.

 

Really, truly smiling, broad and soft and warm.

 

Sudden, breathless emotion seizes Shang Qinghua, like a fist has wrapped around his heart and squeezed. He's still reeling as Mobei-Jun leans up to kiss him.

 

Back when he first realised he'd transmigrated, his only goal was to survive. That he ended up actually managing to succeed in that goal was a surprise. The story becoming more like his original drafts was a surprise. Everything to do with Cucumber-bro and Bing-mei was a total surprise. And as for Mobei-Jun...

 

Shang Qinghua wraps his arms around those broad shoulders, easing deeper into their kiss. Okay, maybe he can let Mobei-Jun win this time. Another half hour in bed won't hurt, right? The delegation won't arrive for another few hours, and if anything urgent comes up and neither of them are around to deal with it... well, that can be a problem for future Shang Qinghua. Right now, the day ahead of him looks bright. He's looking forward to it. What a novel feeling.

 

He never expected any of this, but... He's happy. He's really, really happy. Huh. How about that.