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After being alive for over 800 years, it can be said that Xie Lian stopped paying a lot of attention for his wellbeing at some point. 

Not that he started willingly putting himself in danger, but he knew his body could take it if he broke a leg or went days without eating. He wouldn’t do it on purpose - most of the time he didn’t have money to eat anyway. And if he ended up with a broken leg while trying to do odd jobs that would pay for his next meal, well.

Like he said, he knew his body.

Ever since he met Hua Cheng though, things have changed drastically. He had enough to eat every day, he had a place to sleep - well, more than one - and he didn’t have to put himself in danger anymore just to get a few coins.

That doesn’t mean he was perfectly fine all the time. Actually, he’d end up with bruises more often than not while helping the people of Puqi Village or trying to fix something on his shrine. Hua Cheng would just look at him with this distressed face and sigh, and sometimes ask him to be more careful.

So, it’s no wonder he got “poisoned” by the Land of the Tender flowers again at some point.

That wasn’t the first, or even the second, time it happened. He usually dealt with it just like he did in Xian Le all those years ago, a sword through his stomach while his whole body burned and trembled. It wasn’t pleasant of course, his face flushed every time because of how ashamed he was by the state of his body. Besides, he couldn’t move a lot for a few weeks after that because of the injury, so he’d have to stop all his work in the shrine during that time.

He doesn’t really know how he got poisoned. Probably while he was getting water from the river nearby earlier - part of him did notice those red flowers looked familiar but he didn’t pay attention to them at all. He’d have to get rid of them once he gets better, before someone else notices. 

He worries briefly about the “fruits” of the demon flowers but they could never pass through the array he set up around the shrine. He just hopes no one in the village sees those things.

By the time he gets inside, his legs are already giving out and his hands are trembling. The sensation is too unique so it doesn’t take long for him to realize what’s happening. He sits on his mat and tries to think of what he should do.

He could deal with it as he’s always done. He’s not happy about it but what’s done is done. He should be more careful with his body.

Or, he could give in.

He never touched himself before because of his cultivation methods, but that’s a moot point now. He’s slept with Hua Cheng countless times in the past few months so that ship has sailed already. 

He could deal with it alone but he doesn’t want to suffer through this alone. Still, his shame makes him hesitate. He knows the heat inside him will only get worse and make him lose all the control he carefully tries to keep in check. On the other hand, the one helping him would be Hua Cheng, who he loves and trusts with his life.

He can feel his face flushing from imagining Hua Cheng seeing him like this. Would he feel put off by how desperate Xie Lian looks? No, of course not. At most Hua Cheng would be worried and refuse to leave him alone.

He’s still trying to decide on what to do when he hears the sound of the shrine doors sliding open. He panics for a moment afraid that a villager will see him in this state but then he sees red robes fluttering through the door.

“Gege, I’m hom— Gege?”

Hua Cheng looks surprised to see him sitting down on this mat, trembling and out of breath.

"S-San Lang," Xie Lian says.

Hua Cheng moves to kneel down in front of him. "Is Gege hurt? What happened?" He touches his forehead. "You're burning up."

Xie Lian chuckles lightly. "Ah, this is embarrassing..."

Hua Cheng frowns. "Gege knows he can tell me anything, right?"

Xie Lian sighs and looks away. "There were some Land of the Tender flowers near the river, I guess I stood too close to them."

When he doesn't get a response immediately, Xie Lian looks up. Hua Cheng is looking at him with wide eyes. "Oh," he says eventually.

"Like I said, embarrassing," Xie Lian says. “I was thinking about dealing with it as usual when you showed up.”

Hua Cheng, knowing very well what he means by that, frowns and reaches for his hand. “Someone in the Ghost Realm might know of a cure, I’ll have it brought over as soon as possible.”

Xie Lian shakes his head. His skin burns where Hua Cheng is touching him and he’s starting to lose focus. “I doubt there’s one, and even if there was—,” he takes a deep breath to steady himself, “it wouldn’t be easy to get it. I don’t know how long I can wait.”

Hua Cheng looks away and Xie Lian can see his jaw set.

Xie Lian moves closer and cups his face. “San Lang, it’s fine. I’m pretty much used to it by now.”

Before he can move his hand away Hua Cheng covers it with his own, keeping him close. “Let me help, then.”

Xie Lian blinks a few times. “I—”

“If gege wants, of course,” Hua Cheng continues. “It’s your decision in the end but I can’t let you hurt yourself without offering.”

His voice is so tight and hesitant, like just the idea of Xie Lian using a sword to stop the poison pains him, but he still can’t possibly take away Xie Lian’s choice.

“Okay.”

Hua Cheng sucks in a breath. “Gege, are you sur—”

Xie Lian surges up and kisses him. The skin to skin contact feels so good he can’t help but let out a small whimper. He moves away after a second, his whole body screaming at him to not stop, but he needs to make sure Hua Cheng understands. “Yes, I’m sure. I didn’t want to trouble you by asking but…”

Hua Cheng is the one who kisses him this time, hard and urgent. “Gege could never trouble me.”

Xie Lian smiles fondly. He’s about to start removing Hua Cheng’s robes when suddenly his vision tilts and his feet are off the floor. He holds onto Hua Cheng’s neck once he realizes he picked him up.

“Maybe we should go somewhere more comfortable for this?”

He blinks and feels the air shifting around them. Suddenly, they're inside their room in Paradise Manor. Hua Cheng places him sitting on their large bed. 

“Okay?” Hua Cheng asks.

Xie Lian nods. He feels completely safe in Hua Cheng’s care. Embarrassment and self-consciousness are still on the back of his mind, but he decides to ignore them.

Hua Cheng undoes the knot keeping his robes together and slides them off Xie Lian’s shoulder. Xie Lian gasps when the cool air touches his warm skin. He closes his eyes and throws his head back, exposing more of his neck. He feels a cold hand being placed on the side of his jaw, a thumb caressing his cheek gently.

“Good?” 

Xie Lian hums. “Yes.”

Xie Lian can feel the poison is really starting to take effect now. His body feels completely numb by now, his insides on fire. The only thing keeping him sitting up is Hua Cheng’s hands on him.

“San Lang…” He says.

“I’ve got you, gege” Hua Cheng says.

Hua Cheng helps him lie down and then removes the rest of his clothes, throwing them somewhere on the floor. Xie Lian’s face burns, he wants to cover himself and for Hua Cheng to touch him everywhere at the same time.

“How are you feeling?” Hua Cheng asks, hovering over him on the bed, still completely dressed.

Xie Lian licks his lips. “Hot,” he says. “Too hot.”

Hua Cheng kisses his forehead. “If gege wants me to stop at any moment, just say it. We’ll figure something else out, okay?”

Xie Lian nods. “It’s okay. I trust San Lang.”

Speaking is getting harder now, his thoughts fogged and his tongue feeling too heavy in his mouth. Hua Cheng keeps caressing his cheek, searching for any fear or doubt in his eyes. When he finds none, he says, his voice low and gravely, “Can I kiss you?”

“Please,” Xie Lian whispers.

Their mouths meet and Xie Lian can’t help but moan, his whole body coming alive now that he’s being touched. He doesn’t know what will happen to him from now on, since he never succumbed to the Land of the Tender’s desires, if it’ll pass faster or if the poison will take more time to get out of his system, but he finds that part of him doesn’t really care as long as he’s worth Hua Cheng. 

Hua Cheng licks the seam of his lips before sliding his tongue against Xie Lian’s. He knows how Xie Lian likes being kissed by now, demanding and with a scrape of teeth. 

They kiss until Xie Lian has to separate their lips to breathe and Hua Cheng moves to suck on his neck instead. His skin feels so hot where Hua Cheng touches him, his heart won’t stop beating frantically in his chest. He pushes at the robes around Hua Cheng’s shoulders, trying to get them off his frame. He hears Hua Cheng chuckling lightly as he finally starts taking his clothes off. 

He leaves only his inner robes on and Xie Lian can’t help but pout when he sees he didn’t undress completely. Hua Cheng kisses his cheek, then his jaw and his neck. He starts moving down Xie Lian’s body, kissing and licking as much of his skin as possible. Hua Cheng takes a nipple into his mouth, sucking on it lightly, the sensation making Xie Lian arch his back, a jolt of electricity going through his veins. He whines as Hua Cheng moves to do the same on the other side.

“San Lang,” Xie Lian gasps.

Hua Cheng doesn’t pay him any attention, moving to the other nipple. He nibbles at it, looking up at his face from under his lashes, until Xie Lian is so sensitive he tries to push him away. Once both nipples are wet and pink he starts moving downwards again. He kisses his stomach and his navel, passing his cock — hard and leaking at this point — and going directly for the inner part of his thighs. He laps at it, still kissing and sucking, leaving faint red marks all over him. Xie Lian’s whole body feels like lava, waves of heat passing through his limbs.

He’s starting to feel slightly out of it so he barely notices Hua Cheng speaking to him. When he feels nice, cool hands touching his face, he tries to focus.

“Can you turn around for me, gege?” Hua Cheng repeats.

Xie Lian nods but when he tries to sit up his arms give up underneath him. “Ah, I don’t know if I can…”

Hua Cheng then helps him turn around, puts a pillow under his head and tries to make him as comfortable as possible. He kisses his back the same way he did with his front. Xie Lian would be happy to let him do it for as long as possible any other day, but now he can’t stay still. 

“San Lang,” Xie Lian lets out a pitiful whimper. “Please, hurry.”

Hua Cheng hums and moves to start kissing his lower back. His cool lips against his heated skin feel wonderful, but they don’t really do much to stop the shaking.

It’s not long before Hua Cheng moves lower, kissing the top of his cheeks. Xie Lian bites his bottom lip and buries his face in the pillow. He can feel Hua Cheng parting his cheeks, his breath ghosting against his hole.

Hua Cheng places a kiss on his entrance before circling it with his tongue. Xie Lian can’t stop himself from whimpering, heat pooling directly in his navel. He grinds down into the bed and then back against Hua Cheng’s mouth, unconsciously.

Hua Cheng slides his arms around his thighs, keeping him still. He spreads Xie Lian open with his thumbs and moves his tongue, the noises he makes absolutely obscene. Xie Lian tries to bite his lips to stop his moans but Hua Cheng suddenly stops what he’s doing to say, “Let me hear you, gege. There’s only the two of us here.”

Hua Cheng goes back to licking him open, this time fucking him with his tongue. Xie Lian almost screams, “Ah— San Lang! I can’t—can’t wait anymore.”

Hua Cheng doesn’t stop though, going as deep as he can. Xie Lian grips the pillow so hard he almost tears it, fire burning inside his body. 

Suddenly, Hua Cheng’s mouth is gone, and before Xie Lian can process what’s happening, he’s sliding a finger inside him, finding almost no resistance. Xie Lian’s broken moans fill the room. Hua Cheng doesn’t stop, pressing against his prostate and licking around his finger once again. 

“Please,” Xie Lian moans. 

Hua Cheng says from behind him, “Do you think you can come like this, gege?”

Xie Lian rocks his hips slightly. “Probably.”

“Good.” 

He slips another finger inside. The combination of Hua Cheng’s dexterous hands and tongue reduces Xie Lian to a shaking mess underneath him. The heat builds and builds inside him until it suddenly snaps, pleasure taking over his body. 

It’s definitely much better than using a sword. 

He relaxes into the mattress, his limbs tired and his head fuzzy. Surprisingly, the heat inside him died down a bit with his orgasm, but doesn’t seem completely gone. He groans, confused, and stretches his arm to feel for Hua Cheng. 

Their hands meet and their fingers interlock. Hua Cheng moves closer and says from beside him, “Better?”

Xie Lian licks his lips. “I’m not sure. The other times—it was completely gone after…” After I hurt myself , he doesn’t say.  

Hua Cheng frowns and reaches over to turn him over on his back and touch his cheeks, feeling how warm they still are. 

“Maybe we should try again,” he says. 

Xie Lian notices he’s still half hard then. He shifts uncomfortably, the sheets starting to stick to his damp skin.

“Okay.” 

The thing is, this isn’t like the other times he got poisoned. Sure, he’d like to feel better soon but engaging in these activities with Hua Cheng is hardly a chore. 

Hua Cheng kisses his forehead. “I’ll make sure you’re okay, gege.” 

Hua Cheng takes off the rest of his clothes and their lips meet once more. Xie Lian opens his mouth, inviting him inside. Hua Cheng brushes their tongues together, making Xie Lian moan into it, his hips bucking up searching for some friction. Xie Lian’s head is spinning, still feeling oversensitive. Hua Cheng sucks his bottom lip into his mouth and kisses him one last time before moving away to look for the supplies they keep close to the bed. 

Once he has what he was looking for Hua Cheng says, “Turn around for me again, gege.”

Hua Cheng helps him get into the same position as before, this time with a pillow under his hips too. The pressure on his cock feels wonderful but Xie Lian tries to remain still. 

He feels two fingers back at his entrance, slick and cold. He shivers and Hua Cheng apologizes from behind him before sliding them inside. They go in without any resistance. Hua Cheng pumps his hand a few times before scissoring his fingers, making Xie Lian cry out. 

“Just—Just do it,” Xie Lian says. “I’m ready, it’s fine.”

Hua Cheng doesn’t listen to him and continues what he’s doing. He makes a point of avoiding his prostate, only doing the necessary to stretch Xie Lian enough to take him. 

Xie Lian groans and grips the pillow hard. He can’t stop his hips from fucking back into Hua Cheng’s fingers. His body is burning up again, like liquid fire is pumping through his veins. 

When Hua Cheng finally slides a third finger into him, Xie Lian almost sobs. He can’t wait to feel Hua Cheng sliding into him, stretching him open, filling him up. He wants to be so full he can’t think about anything else.

Xie Lian can feel himself close to tears when Hua Cheng finally removes his fingers.

Please please please , his mind is just a litany of thoughts begging for Hua Cheng to fuck him already. 

“Shhh.” Hua Cheng slides his fingers through his hair, leaning over to whisper on his ear. “I’ll take care of you. I’ll give Dianxia what he wants.”

Xie Lian moans lightly and feels Hua Cheng kneading his cheeks, spreading them apart. Xie Lian is about to ask him to hurry when he feels the blunt head of Hua Cheng’s cock against his entrance. 

He gasps. Hua Cheng slides the head inside before taking it out and repeating the motion. 

“San Lang,” he moans. “Gege—Mercy, please”

He hears Hua Cheng chuckling behind him. “As Dianxia wishes.”

He slides his cock the rest of the way inside in a single movement then, burying it to the hilt. Xie Lian can’t help the shiver running down his spine once he’s finally full, his mind going blissfully blank. 

He doesn’t even register the little sounds coming out of his mouth until Hua Cheng covers his back with his body, kissing the back of his ear. “Is this what Dianxia wanted?”

Xie Lian can only nod. His body still feels too hot and his head too fuzzy, the sound of his heart pumping on his ears. 

Hua Cheng stays still for a while so he can get used to the feeling of being full. Instead of starting to fuck him in earnest, he shoves his knees between Xie Lian’s thighs, spreading them apart even more, and then pulls Xie Lian’s body up so that both of them are now kneeling on the bed. 

Xie Lian screams when all the shifting makes Hua Cheng’s cock press right against his prostate.

“Good?” Hua Cheng asks, smugly. 

Xie Lian feels so full he can’t help but look down and touch his own stomach. Sure enough, he can feel Hua Cheng’s cock stretching his skin slightly. Hua Cheng must notice it because he moves his hips slightly, making the bump on Xie Lian’s belly more pronounced. Xie Lian whimpers half in a daze.

Hua Cheng slides his hand around Xie Lian’s neck, pulling him back against his chest, while he draws his hips back until only his cockhead is inside Xie Lian and then snapping it forward. 

Xie Lian cries out. Hua Cheng continues fucking him while kissing the exposed side of his neck. It’s overwhelming — the heat inside him, the feeling of Hua Cheng’s sliding in and out, over and over.

He tries to move his hips but the position they’re in doesn’t give him enough leverage, so he’s only able to kneel on Hua Cheng’s lap while he does all the work. His cock is hard and leaking against his stomach, smearing precome against his hot skin. 

He holds onto Hua Cheng’s arm around him and the wrist of the hand around his neck. “San Lang, you feel—”

Hua Cheng groans and noses at his jaw. “What is it, gege?”

A gasp escapes Xie Lian’s lips.  “Good—ah! S-so good” 

Hua Cheng snaps his hips harder. 

In reality, Xie Lian is ruined. The moment Hua Cheng touched him, loved him, ravished him, he knew he’d only crave it more and more. He spent so long without a loving touch, a caress, or any intimate relationship, that Hua Cheng’s love feels like a ray of sunshine after a storm. Every second they’re not together feels like another lifetime away from Hua Cheng and Xie Lian can’t live through that again. He doesn’t want to.

He can’t control the noises he’s making anymore, all he can do is grip Hua Cheng’s arm while he drives into Xie Lian’s body relentlessly. Xie Lian throws his head back against Hua Cheng’s shoulder, his mouth agape and his eyes rolling into his head. 

Part of his delirious brain thinks they should try doing this again some other time. 

His release hits him like a jolt of electricity, his whole body shaking while Hua Cheng fucks him through it, holding him in place by the hips and the neck. He falls bonelessly against Hua Cheng’s chest, who keeps whispering praises to him his overwhelmed brain can barely understand. With a groan of frustration, he realizes he’s still feeling too hot and his cock is still hard. 

“San Lang,” he almost sobs. “It still— I’m still—“

Hua Cheng sets him down on the bed again and kisses his forehead. “I’m right here, gege. I’m not going anywhere until you’re okay.”

Xie Lian wants to start crying but he knows Hua Cheng will take it the wrong way. He doesn’t want him to stop touching him — quite the opposite. Every second Hua Cheng’s body isn’t pressing against his feels like torture. 

“I think,” he licks his dry lips, “I think you have t-to come. With me.”

Hua Cheng tucks a strand of hair behind his ear. “Okay, I can do that.”

“And,” Xie Lian says, “you have to come inside.” 

If he wasn’t burning up he’s sure he’d be blushing right now. Hua Cheng kisses him lightly. “Of course.”

They go back to kissing for a while, Hua Cheng probably giving his body some time to calm down before the next round. It feels intimate, and, with his senses heightened because of the poison, Xie Lian’s heart feels tight inside his chest and tears start gathering in his eyes. 

It doesn’t last long, Xie Lian starts feeling too restless soon. His muscles feel tired after two orgasms, so he can’t do much but lie there while Hua Cheng kneels between his legs. He pushes Xie Lian’s legs apart and up by the back of his knees, lines himself up and slides back inside him in a single smooth movement.

Xie Lian’s back arches, desperate noises leaving his mouth without any filter. He keeps chanting San Lang, San Lang, San Lang as if he’s praying and Hua Cheng is the only deity capable of answering him.

Hua Cheng doesn’t hold back this time, driving his hips hard and fast. Xie Lian reaches up until Hua Cheng lowers himself on top of him. Xie Lian folds his legs around Hua Cheng’s waist so they can stay as close as possible. His pace is merciless, the feeling of Hua Cheng’s cock dragging on his inner walls making him cry out. Hua Cheng tucks his face on the curve of his neck, groaning and gasping against his skin.

“Is this what you want, Dianxia?” Hua Cheng’s voice is low next to his ear. “Is it good?”

Xie Lian nods, holding onto Hua Cheng’s strong shoulders. “So good...”

Hua Cheng’s thrusts are angled perfectly so his dick hits his prostate every time. Xie Lian grip on him tightens, his nails leaving marks on his back. Hua Cheng starts kissing and sucking on his neck. “Gege, I can’t wait anymore.”

Xie Lian searches for his eyes. He reaches up to cup Hua Cheng’s cheek, licking his dry lips before saying, “Come for me, San Lang.”

Hua Cheng whimpers above him, his thrusts going erratic before his hips still and Xie Lian feels him coming. Xie Lian is so exhausted he can only moan softly before coming for a third time, this time the waves of pleasure rushing through his body for what feels like hours before he finally calms down. 

He distantly feels Hua Cheng pulling out and moving away, his come trickling down his hole. He feels weak and spent and just wants to sleep for the next three days.

He slowly opens his eyes and realizes Hua Cheng isn’t around. He frowns, panic rising in his throat. He’s about to call out to him, but soon Hua Cheng comes out of the bathroom with a wet cloth in hand.

Hua Cheng walks towards him, sitting on the edge of the bed. He kisses Xie Lian on the forehead and starts cleaning him up. “How is gege feeling?” 

Xie Lian takes a deep breath and lets Hua Cheng wipe away his release from his stomach. “Better. Very tired.”

Hua Cheng chuckles. “Did I tire you out?”

“You did,” Xie Lian says, his cheeks burning. “Thank you for saving me.”

Hua Cheng leans down to kiss him. “My pleasure.” He winks.

The poison is out of his system, but Xie Lian still feels out of it for the most part. He’s shaking slightly and his heart is beating rapidly on his chest. He can’t look Hua Cheng in the eye.

When Hua Cheng starts cleaning the come between his legs, he says, “San Lang…”

Hua Cheng turns to look at him and something about his expression makes him frown. “What is it, gege?” 

Xie Lian bites his lip and looks away. “I’m sorry I got poisoned and lost control like that.”

Hua Cheng’s expression softens and he cups Xie Lian’s face. “I did get worried at first but the other part was hardly a problem.” 

Xie Lian looks up at him and forces himself to meet his eye. When he speaks, his voice is barely above a whisper, “Was I… too much?”

Concern spreads through Hua Cheng’s face. “Is that what gege is worried about?”

Xie Lian looks away.

It’s not like anything they’ve done was new. Hua Cheng has taken him in every way possible by now and Xie Lian will never regret or feel guilty about it. He loves Hua Cheng and trusts him with his life — he said so earlier. But part of him can’t help but feel like tonight was different. Like he was too…

Desperate?

Realistically he knows Hua Cheng would never think less of him for what he did but sometimes brains are weird.

“Will you hold me?” Xie Lian asks softly.

Hua Cheng gets rid of the wet cloth and immediately gets on the bed. He pulls Xie Lian towards his chest and rakes his fingers through his hair. “Like this?”

“Yes,” Xie Lian says. “Exactly like this.”

Hua Cheng continues to caress him while Xie Lian draws random patterns with his finger on his chest. After a while, Xie Lian notices his heartbeat slowing down and his eyelids starting to drop. Hua Cheng must notice he’s about to fall asleep so he asks, “Better?”

“Mhm,” Xie Lian hums.

He feels Hua Cheng’s lips lightly moving against his skin. “You’ll never be too much for me, gege. Anything you want from me I’ll give to you.”

Xie Lian doesn’t say anything but his hand on Hua Cheng’s chest moves to rest above his heart.

“Besides,” Hua Cheng continues, “I love seeing gege losing control like that.”

Xie Lian grunts and hides his face on Hua Cheng’s neck.

“But I do wish gege would be more careful,” Hua Cheng says. “I’m glad I could help this time, but I worry…”

Hearing his voice so full of worry makes Xie Lian surge up to kiss him firmly on the lips. “I’m sorry, I’ll be more careful.”

Hua Cheng kisses him back. Before they get too carried away though, Hua Cheng breaks the kiss. “Gege should rest now.”

Xie Lian yawns as if prompted. “I do need to rest.” He smiles softly.

Hua Cheng holds him for the rest of the night. He remembers his desire filled thoughts about using the Land of the Tender flowers again, and concludes he’ll have to talk to Hua Cheng later about it. 

For now, he’s happy just lying in his arms.