They don’t really talk about it, before they get into separate cabs and head back to the hotel in Nanjing. They said their goodbyes at the venue, and maybe that could have been it, but Yibo texts his room number and Xiao Zhan comes down, no discussion needed, like it’s been all through the publicity tour this year. It’s different, though, because this is the last time.
“Hey,” Yibo says, opening the door. His voice is casual but his eyes are still red, and there’s something in his expression as he looks Xiao Zhan up and down, like he’s holding himself back. He catches his lip between his teeth, hand still on the doorframe.
“Are you going to let me in?” Xiao Zhan asks after a pause.
Yibo shakes his head, like he’s coming out of a daze. “Yeah.”
He only steps back a little way into the room, so Xiao Zhan has to crowd right into his space. Yibo shuts the door and they just stand there, warmth radiating between them. They’re close enough that Xiao Zhan has to look down at him, tilting his chin. Yibo’s bangs are messy on his forehead, and he’s taken off the wide hat and blazer but he’s still wearing those grey overalls, over a white shirt.
The moment is tense, but Xiao Zhan smiles suddenly, raising his hands to slip his fingers under the straps of Yibo’s overalls. “How do I even get these off you?”
Yibo smiles, a flash and then gone. “I don’t know, Xiao-laoshi, you figure it out.”
Xiao Zhan does, unhooking the buckles and letting the overalls pool at Yibo’s feet. He strokes Yibo’s hips, looking at him, and then Yibo reaches up and kisses him.
For a moment, it’s sweet. Xiao Zhan’s surprised and touched by the way Yibo does it, with just the soft pressure of his warm lips. It doesn’t feel like everything else has before, casually filthy, natural horniness and the stress of their work spilling over into these brief encounters. There’s something more here, something that’s always been thrumming beneath it all.
And then the mood shifts, real desire sweeping in, strong and compelling like it has to be big enough to cover what happened tonight. Last time, last time, he can’t stop thinking, and he kisses Yibo harder to make up for it.
They shove the mattress off its moorings, falling so roughly onto the bed. Pulled hair and bitten lips, tugging at clothing hard enough that threads snap, buttons flying. Xiao Zhan shoves Yibo’s bare thighs apart, spreading him, and then fills his mouth with Yibo’s dick, jaw aching with the thick length of it. They mess each other up, slick and disheveled, and Xiao Zhan thinks they’d mark each other too, if things were different. If a bruise on the neck could stay between them, if they belonged only to themselves.
“Fuck,” Xiao Zhan groans, head hanging off the bed, Yibo’s mouth at his throat. Yibo jacks him harder, lying half on top of him, and brings his knee up right against Xiao Zhan’s groin, pressing into his balls. “Oh, fuck,” Xiao Zhan says again, and his hips rise when he feels Yibo’s teeth drag across his neck.
He’s still half dressed, torn shirt hanging open. He feels wrecked after, storm-tossed and heavy with exhaustion. Everything is ending, the curtain drawing shut on this part of their lives. Xiao Zhan struggles up, collapsing on a pillow and curling on his side. He shouldn’t sleep here, because that’s not how they do this, but he couldn’t leave now if he wanted to.
And he doesn’t want to.
Yibo’s face appears in front of him, close. Yibo’s lips are so swollen and red, and Xiao Zhan did that but all he can think about is the way Yibo is looking at him, eyes dark beneath his straight heavy brows.
Xiao Zhan reaches out, cupping Yibo’s cheek, thumb brushing his lower lip. It seems strange that touching him like this is allowed when they’re having sex, but now that it’s only tender it feels transgressive, like Yibo might pull away at any second.
“I’m just gonna...” Xiao Zhan sighs, but he doesn’t finish. His eyes are falling shut on their own, and Yibo is close, warm, here.
Yibo watches Xiao Zhan sleep. He’s wiped out too, like he’d like to sleep for about a year, but at the same time he’s wide awake, emotions hammering through him.
He doesn’t know what he asked Xiao Zhan down here for. Sex, yeah, and maybe feeling like they should hang out on this last night, but things got dangerous the last few times, and it’s not like he didn’t know he was inviting that again.
So why was Yibo the one being awkward at the door, and why is he the one who’s lying here now, after a fun, fast hookup that should have been the end to all this? He could have kicked Xiao Zhan out. He still could.
He doesn’t. Yibo’s never really had to think about this before, because the few times they’ve done it in his room Xiao Zhan never passed out after, hand curled near his face and his mouth partway open, looking totally done in. He left, politely, and every other time Yibo’s been on his way out Xiao Zhan’s door before there was time to think.
Almost every time.
He remembers; he can’t help thinking about it; he thinks about it all the time. Saying Zhan-ge with no real intent, just moaning it to make Xiao Zhan’s eyes fly open, and how Xiao Zhan turned that around on him the next time, all that sweet filth coming out of his mouth. They’ve been trying to rile each other up the whole time they’ve known each other, but it’s never gotten under Yibo’s skin this way before, a hot tight feeling he can’t ever shake.
This is over. They haven’t talked about it, but it has to be. It was for the show and then the tour, having each other’s backs through the wild storm of notoriety and all the demands on them, the transition to a new life. They’re spinning apart now, and it won’t ever be the same.
An aching kind of possessiveness sweeps over Yibo, though; a desire to have this while he still can. He reaches out and strokes Xiao Zhan’s cheek with his knuckles, ghosting a touch over his lips, his throat. Xiao Zhan breathes deep and slow. Yibo touches his chest, the curve of his waist where his ruined shirt is pulled up, and then curls his hand loosely around the back of Xiao Zhan’s neck where it’s damp, hair soft against his fingers.
“I wish,” Yibo says, quietly, and stops. “I wish we had more time.”
Xiao Zhan sleeps, side still rising and falling. Yibo speaks again, boldly.
“I wanna do stuff with you. Take you places. I wish it didn’t have to just be this.”
He didn’t even know he’d been thinking any of that until it comes out of his mouth, a flow of revealing words he can’t stop. “You look so good, Zhan-ge. I like being with you so much. I wish this was real.”
Even saying it to Xiao Zhan’s sleeping face is too much, and Yibo shuts his eyes. “I wanna fuck you,” he says, his face going hot as he lets himself really feel it for the first time. With the way he’s built, it always takes too much time for a casual encounter, so they’ve never done it and he hasn’t even asked. He likes what they’ve been doing, but suddenly he wants so much for it to have been different. He wish they’d been able to take their time.
Yibo opens his eyes, regret bitter in his mouth, and a painful jolt goes through him when he meets Xiao Zhan’s gaze, drowsy but alert.
They stare at each other. Xiao Zhan licks his lips. “OK,” he says, voice rough with sleep. “Do it, then.”
He blinks once at Yibo, slow, and then rolls over onto his stomach, head resting on his arms. All Yibo can see are his eyes, watching, waiting.
Xiao Zhan’s bare from the waist down and he’s spreading his legs and Yibo has never backed down from a challenge in his life, not once, but for a terrible, freefalling moment, he thinks about running out of his own hotel room and never coming back — because what does it mean that Xiao Zhan is looking at him like that, offering him this? What did he hear?
Yibo doesn’t know any of the answers, but he’s already getting up on his knees, reaching into the bag on his nightstand. He wanted more time, and he’s going to take it.
He strips first, throwing his shirt onto the floor. He runs his hands up Xiao Zhan’s calves, the muscle and coarse hair delicious against his palms, and then his fingertips over the insides of Xiao Xhan’s thighs, where the skin is soft and delicate. Xiao Zhan arches his back at that, hips rocking up, but he doesn’t make a sound, just buries his face in his arms.
Yibo gets his fingers wet, hurrying. He shouldn’t rush this part, he knows, but Xiao Zhan’s so warm to the touch, taking him easily. There’s the slick sound as he works his fingers, and that intimate heat of Xiao Zhan against him, drawing him in. It’s fucking hot, and Yibo can’t wait anymore.
It takes a while to ease himself in, and he thinks he’s going to lose his mind, doing it slow. Beneath him Xiao Zhan is still quiet, letting out a sharp breath every so often, but Yibo can feel him pushing back, all the ways he’s shifting to make himself more open. They’re working together, and when Yibo finally slides all the way in he can’t help letting out a deep groan.
“Fuck, you feel good, Zhan-ge.”
The corner of Xiao Zhan’s mouth tucks up in a small smile, and then he pushes his face back onto his folded arms. “Come on,” he says, a little breathless.
Yibo’s exhausted, from the event tonight and the quick, rough sex they just had, but nothing could hold him back now. He braces his hands on the bed, spread wide on either side, and fucks in fast, breathing hard. Long strokes, and then shallower ones, hitching his hips up, trying to see what Xiao Zhan likes. He pushes in deep, and Xiao Zhan finally moans, a soft, surprised-sounding cry that pierces Yibo’s chest. He picks up the pace, trying to make it happen again.
“Slow down,” Xiao Zhan says, panting. He reaches back, gripping Yibo’s thigh. “You don’t have to go so fast.”
He keeps a hold on Yibo, guiding him, and melting heat flows through Yibo. He does it like Xiao Zhan wants, snapping his hips slow and smooth, until Xiao Zhan moans, “oh yeah, baby, right there.” Yibo has to bite his lip over a gasped breath, with Xiao Zhan’s fingers so tight on him, sounding like that.
Finally Xiao Zhan lets go, arching into Yibo’s thrusts as much as he can. Yibo’s got it now, the rhythm Xiao Zhan likes, making him moan with his face muffled against the bed. Yibo’s heart is pounding, but his own pleasure almost feels distant compared to this, giving Xiao Zhan what he wants.
“That’s it,” Yibo breathes, sweat breaking out on his forehead, running down the back of his neck. He’s beyond tired, like he’s pushed himself into another existence, and he rocks in deep, rolling his hips and snapping them hard. “Lemme see you come.”
Xiao Zhan hunches his shoulders and grips the sheets, looking desperate as he rubs his face back and forth against them. He tips his head down, holding a big breath, and then lets it out in a loud, frustrated groan.
“Not like this,” he gasps, turning to the side. “I can’t —” He shakes his head, and then shifts beneath Yibo, getting up.
Yibo leans back onto his knees, thinking that’s what Xiao Zhan wants, but instead Xiao Zhan rolls over onto his back. His face is sweaty too, and there’s something so heart-stoppingly erotic in the way he sprawls there, flushed mouth open as he pants, tucking up his long legs. Hair tousled, gaze dimmed with desire, sensitive fingers tangled in the sheets again.
Xiao Zhan’s dark eyes are so expressive, and Yibo has seen a thousand emotions in them, usually just part of a performance. Or maybe not; sometimes on set after a crying scene he’s seen how hard it hits Xiao Zhan, red eyes and shaking shoulders, like he made it so real he even convinced himself.
This is real, or it isn’t; Yibo’s never known, or he’s tried never to know. Xiao Zhan can make his eyes say whatever he wants, but he’s been looking at Yibo like this the whole time, like he means it.
Yibo lets his mouth fall open, dumbstruck, and he feels a shiver run up his spine as he pushes in again, as Xiao Zhan touches his face, as they look at each other. He’s afraid of what Xiao Zhan will see, but he’s even more afraid of it staying inside him, a feeling without words, hidden too deep for even him to find.
He can’t speak, but he meets Xiao Zhan’s eyes, a fierce, yearning heat rushing through him, and hopes Xiao Zhan knows what he means.
Xiao Zhan feels everything.
The change between them, building slow all this while and suddenly enormous, filling the spaces that were quiet and unsure before. Yibo doesn’t say anything but it’s so loud, the longing on his face, with no distant calm or teasing smile now. It sounds like a heartbeat, pulsing all around them.
The joy in himself, the relief of meeting halfway, being in the same place at last. Xiao Zhan doesn’t have to hide what he feels, and it opens before him, a wide deep sea.
And fuck, Yibo inside him.
Xiao Zhan lies on his back, knees tucked around Yibo’s sides, and loses himself in it as Yibo slides in over and over, mouth hanging open like he can’t believe Xiao Zhan is letting him do this. His rhythm is jerky, still too fast, and Xiao Zhan reaches up to hold his hips, guiding him the way he wants. Yibo’s eyes roll back in his head at that and he shudders, like being touched right now is more than he can stand.
“Like that,” Xiao Zhan says, very softly. “Perfect.”
Yibo shudders again, biting his lip this time, hard enough to leave a little red mark. He keeps it up, exactly like Xiao Zhan told him to, brows drawn in concentration. His eyes are shut now, and Xiao Zhan doesn’t want that. He clasps the back of Yibo’s neck, and then higher, cradling his face, bringing him in.
“Yibo,” he says, hardly more than a whisper. “Look at me.”
It’s almost too much closeness to bear as Yibo opens his eyes, slow, panting open-mouthed like he’s scared or overwhelmed. He does it, though, and lets out a little moan before closing them again, pressing his forehead to Xiao Zhan’s and starting to thrust in hard.
Something snaps, wild electricity crackling. Xiao Zhan gasps, his fingers closing over a tight handful of Yibo’s hair, keeping his head still. Yibo fucks him deep, hips slapping against him, and fuck it’s not enough but it’s good, it’s so good. Xiao Zhan shoves his hand between them to close over his own cock, squeezing hard.
“Fuck me, yeah,” Xiao Zhan groans, letting go of Yibo’s hair and scratching over his back and shoulder, trying to find a grip. He drops his head, arching his neck, and Yibo gets his mouth on his throat, biting like he did earlier tonight. Biting hard, enough to hurt, and Xiao Zhan wants it like that, with Yibo so big inside him and so desperate for him, slamming thrusts rocking his cock up into his own hand.
They’re past words now, everything hot and bright, and Yibo’s mouth is so wet all over his neck, spit sliding down, that it’s a shock when Yibo suddenly lifts up to kiss him roughly, teeth catching his lip, more of a sloppy collision than anything else. Xiao Zhan kisses back, clutching the back of Yibo’s neck, and lets out a cry against Yibo’s mouth as a wave of ecstasy that’s almost too huge and sharp to stand rolls through him.
He doesn’t even do anything, Yibo’s frantic movements carrying him through as he comes, spilling over his hand and clenching around Yibo’s thick length. Yibo never stops kissing him, hungry and unrestrained, and Xiao Zhan pushes up into it, anchoring himself with the animal desire of their mouths moving together. He’s just gasping for breath, the shocks finally ending, when Yibo bites down on his shoulder and shifts to quick, shorter thrusts, making guttural moans in his throat before he goes still.
It feels like a long time goes by, after. Dizzy, untethered, the hot weight of their bodies lying together, the way Yibo’s face is still tucked against his neck. Xiao Zhan loses the plot for a while, drifting in and out of awareness. The sound of his own deep breathing echoes loud in his ears before he comes back to himself.
The show is over, and the tour is over, and they’re still here.
His arms are still around Yibo, and Yibo’s straightening up now, lifting his head. He keeps his eyes lowered at first, not meeting Xiao Zhan’s gaze, but then he flicks them up and Xiao Zhan can tell he’s being brave, taking the risk just by not looking away.
“What did you hear?” Yibo asks, blunt, like he has to know.
Xiao Zhan was dozing when Yibo was talking to him before, only half-hearing his words, but he knows what Yibo means. “Enough,” he says, and adds, “You really think I look good? You want to take me places?”
Yibo stares at him, eyes furiously wide, and a grin spreads across Xiao Zhan’s face, wild affection coursing warm and bubbly through him. He feels triumphant, like they’ve fought a battle together, or like he’s made the world change by wanting it enough. Maybe he’s been brave too.
He takes Yibo’s face in his hands, thumbs stroking his cheeks. “Hey. We did it.”
“Did what?” Yibo says, his voice low and scratchy.
Xiao Zhan laughs. “All of it,” he says.
Yibo frowns, brows drawing together, eyes uncertain. He looks so young. “So now what.”
For a moment, Xiao Zhan doesn’t answer. What’s between them seems tender and new, a little green tendril of life that could grow in so many directions. But he doesn’t feel like he did before, that it’s wrong to want it at all.
“You tell me,” Xiao Zhan says, softly, and he grins again, making it easy, light.
Yibo’s frown lifts like clouds passing, changing his face. The smile spreads to him, slow but infectious, and as he looks down, considering, Xiao Zhan thinks that this is only the beginning of everything.