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hearts wrapped in blankets laying low

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Yibo spends most of the morning after the paddling laid out on his stomach in bed, wriggling naked across the rumpled sheets and demanding Xiao Zhan fetch him all manner of things: his Nike sidesling from where he'd dropped it unceremoniously at the front door the previous afternoon, a bag of the sweet corn puffs that he knows Xiao Zhan keeps stowed away in the pantry, a fresh pillow from the closet. "I see how it is," Xiao Zhan says, biting back a smile as he returns from refilling Yibo's thermos for the second time in an hour. "This was all just a ploy to get pampered."

"Caught me," Yibo says, arching up to guzzle a mouthful of hot water.

Xiao Zhan sits at the edge of the bed, one knee coming up to nudge against Yibo's ribs. He slides his eyes down the length of Yibo's spine and then drags his hand along the same trajectory, rubbing across the smooth expanse of Yibo's warm back. Yibo's legs are crossed daintily at the ankle, and the marks on his ass have turned a deeper purple overnight, stark against the rest of his pale skin. After dinner last night, they'd soaked in the bath until the water turned lukewarm, and Xiao Zhan had diligently rubbed more cream into Yibo's bruises, but they still look pretty damning. "There are less intense ways to get what you want, you know," Xiao Zhan murmurs. He pauses at Yibo's tailbone, the muscles there twitching beneath his gentle probing. "I like taking care of you."

Yibo tucks his face over his shoulder to gaze at him, fluffy bangs falling into his eyes. "I know," he says, mouth curving. "But this way is the most fun."

Xiao Zhan snorts, satisfied by the affirmation, and lets Yibo reach up and reel him in for a kiss. Xiao Zhan should help him apply a third layer of lotion soon, but that can wait. The brush of Yibo's mouth is always welcome, and he seems more pliant than usual today, humming into Xiao Zhan's mouth with a languid sloppiness instead of his customary impatience. Still, lazy making out inevitably turns into something filthier, as heated as the noonday sun filtering in through the curtains, Yibo crowding in and stealing his breath. Xiao Zhan ends up on his back, neck amply cushioned by a couple of pillows. Yibo grinds against his thigh, sinuous, and Xiao Zhan feels his own dick stir in answer.

After another protracted moment of kissing, Yibo crawls up, balancing carefully on his knees, and lowers himself onto Xiao Zhan's face. They've eaten each other out in various other configurations — Yibo on his hands and knees, Xiao Zhan with his legs thrown over Yibo's shoulders — and they were all good, to be sure, but Xiao Zhan thinks he likes this best: the immersiveness of Yibo's weight bearing down, his thighs boxing in around Xiao Zhan's ears, the bump of Yibo's leaking cock against Xiao Zhan's forehead. His own arousal is a slow-burning afterthought, twitching against his stomach. Yibo's soft balls roll against the bridge of Xiao Zhan's nose as he grinds down, and then all he can smell is the musky tang of sex paired with the clean sweetness of the residual lotion on Yibo's skin.

A long sigh drifts out of Yibo's mouth as Xiao Zhan stiffens his tongue and licks him open. He takes his time, getting Yibo wet and desperate, palms curled over the seams of his thighs. One particularly forceful rock nearly makes Yibo slide off, and without thinking, Xiao Zhan digs his fingers into the curves of Yibo's ass to hold him in place. Yibo jolts and gasps, legs spasming around Xiao Zhan's face. When Xiao Zhan tries to ease his grip toward Yibo's hips again, away from the skin that's more tender, Yibo's big hands wrap around Xiao Zhan's wrists to keep him where he is.

"No, no, keep doing that," Yibo says, thin and strained. "Feels — ahh — feels good. Oh, God, yes." Xiao Zhan dizzily continues, fucking up with his tongue as his nails press into the bruises, chin dripping with his own saliva. Above him, Yibo shudders, rolling his hips faster, and then he shifts back enough for Xiao Zhan to breathe properly again, enough for him to see the pretty flush down Yibo's neck and the labored heave of Yibo's chest before he touches a hand to his cock and comes all over Xiao Zhan's face. "Zhan-ge," Yibo groans. He wipes some of the mess off and shuffles down. Two pumps of his slick palm over Xiao Zhan's aching dick is all it takes for Xiao Zhan to jerk his hips and come too, panting like he's just run a marathon.

After they catch their breaths, Xiao Zhan finally coaxes Yibo off the bed and into the shower to rinse the sweat and jizz from their bodies. Yibo cops a feel every time Xiao Zhan turns around, because he's never known the meaning of moderation, but they manage to clean off in short order. Xiao Zhan does get sidetracked while brushing his teeth, though; Yibo starts shimmying with a towel to dry off, and Xiao Zhan nearly chokes when he inhales to keep a glob of foam from sliding out of his mouth and onto the floor. He spits into the sink before it can happen again, Yibo's wheezing laughter loud over the running tap. "You're terrible," Xiao Zhan mutters, smacking Yibo's arm as they jostle back out into the bedroom.

"It's flattering, ge," Yibo says, flopping on the bed so Xiao Zhan can bend over and rub lotion into his ass again. "We should do this more often if it means I get to lounge around with no clothes on all the time."

"I'd never get anything else done," Xiao Zhan counters, palms kneading across Yibo's pert muscles. Even now, the dimples in his back are distracting as hell. The shiny lotion lends his cheeks a glossy sheen, and Xiao Zhan barely shakes the urge to bend over and close his teeth over the cute swell. That would kind of defeat the purpose of the whole exercise.

"Exactly," Yibo says, smug as can be, and makes a little kissy face when Xiao Zhan lifts one hand off his butt to flip him off.

They shrug on a semblance of real clothing: boxer-briefs and a threadbare muscle tank for Xiao Zhan, a pilfered shirt for Yibo and loose boxers that don't chafe against his skin too much. Xiao Zhan calls in a late lunch delivered from the corner place with good dumplings, and they eat while flicking through TV programs in the living room. Yibo dozes off with his head cushioned in Xiao Zhan's lap, sagging into the impromptu scalp massage Xiao Zhan's giving him, the sound of the sports channel lulling him to sleep. When Yibo rouses around dinner time and slouches into the kitchen to find Xiao Zhan stirring tomato and egg with a spatula, he still looks pretty drowsy, eyes half-lidded, hair sticking up where it was smashed against the couch.

"What are you cooking?" he asks, hooking a chin over Xiao Zhan's shoulder.

"Nothing too fancy," Xiao Zhan says. He shakes the skillet and eyes the boiling pot behind it. "Just noodles."

Yibo hums into his neck, breath tickling. "Smells delicious. You're so talented, Xiao-laoshi."

"Shut up. It'll be ready in a sec," Xiao Zhan says. He chuckles when Yibo doesn't budge, arms winding tighter around Xiao Zhan's waist. His very own Yibo-shaped backpack. Would that Xiao Zhan could just carry him everywhere.

"What? Why are you laughing?"

"You're such a clingy little kid when you're sleepy." Xiao Zhan squirms when Yibo swats at his hip through the fabric of his shirt. "I like it though."

"You better," Yibo says, a paltry comeback by his standards, but Xiao Zhan lets it slide without comment. They eat in the kitchen standing up, slurping wide noodles and burning their tongues. Yibo does the dishes afterwards and then goes down on Xiao Zhan right there, knees against the tile, eyes dark and wide. A drawer handle digs a new divot into Xiao Zhan's lower back when he comes down Yibo's throat.



It's an excellent weekend, one of the best in recent memory. Xiao Zhan invariably sleeps better when Yibo is in his bed, and three nights in a row of that luxury is a rare and decadent treat. He hasn't felt this relaxed in quite some time, the waves of exhaustion that perpetually crowd in behind his eyelids finally receding. They do sheet masks together in the evening, wiping dollops of eye cream on each other's faces. The next morning, they order hot soy milk and youtiao delivered fresh to his door. After they've eaten their fill, Xiao Zhan gets through some of his backlog of reading while Yibo lies across his lap and noodles around on his Switch, playing through a shadily acquired copy of Breath of the Wild.

When he's bored of that, he pulls Xiao Zhan's cock over the waistband of his sweatpants and swirls his tongue around the head, nuzzles the shaft with his nose, swallows it soft. He holds his mouth there, warm and wet, until Xiao Zhan sets his iPad aside, sinks his hands into Yibo's hair, and finally pays Yibo the attention he so clearly wants.

After swapping blowjobs and napping through most of the afternoon, they do laundry, changing out Xiao Zhan's sheets for a fresh set. Yibo swats at Xiao Zhan with an empty pillowcase and then, after a pillow's been stuffed back inside it, with the full heft of dense cotton. He's cackling when Xiao Zhan tackles him into the half-stripped mattress and bites the back of his neck. It's all terribly, terrifically mundane.

Yibo doesn't manage to convince Xiao Zhan to use the paddle on him again — not so soon, and definitely not before his skin has healed properly — but that last night before Yibo has to fly out, Xiao Zhan massages his fingers into Yibo's bruises while fucking him into the bed, thumbs pushing into the mottled purple marks until Yibo grunts beneath him and squeezes tight around Xiao Zhan's cock. "Yes, yes, yes," Yibo chants, reaching behind himself to grab Xiao Zhan's thigh, trying to pull him deeper, like Xiao Zhan's balls aren't already slapping against him with every firm thrust. Like they aren't already as close as two people could possibly be.

Xiao Zhan slams in one more time and brings his hand down across Yibo's right cheek, along a particularly vivid bruise, the swing measured and precise. The crack of his palm rings in the quiet room. Yibo lets out a strangled noise and goes off like a shot, making a mess all over the top sheet. So much for the fresh set. Xiao Zhan rolls his hips and follows him over the edge, cradling Yibo's trembling body as he leans in to rest his forehead between Yibo's shoulder blades. "Sorry I didn't ask," he mumbles after a moment, slipping out to land on his side.

"Don't apologize," Yibo insists, bright-eyed and breathing hard. "That was so hot." He scoots closer and plasters himself against Xiao Zhan's sweaty torso. "Fuck, Zhan-ge. Every time I sit down I'm gonna be thinking about you."

"Wish you didn't have to go," Xiao Zhan blurts roughly, which he blames on the post-coital bliss. He hates saying it out loud, even though he knows they've both thought it. The words always seem so useless. It's not like either of them can make the world stand still.

Yibo seems to get it. He ducks his head, mouth curling up, and pecks Xiao Zhan's chin. "I'll text you pictures of the bruises changing color, okay? For research purposes."

"As if you ever need the excuse to send me nudes," Xiao Zhan says, wrinkling his nose, but he does feel better when he leans in to kiss Yibo for real.



Monday morning, Yibo does his level best to avoid packing until the very last minute, lingering at the dining table after a light breakfast of steamed buns and pickled mustard greens, his feet tucked in Xiao Zhan's lap. He's been living in Xiao Zhan's clothes all weekend anyway, so it's not like there's much to put back in his suitcase beyond some basic toiletries, the bruise lotion, and the freshly laundered outfit he arrived in. "Your airport outfit is gonna be a stolen shirt?" Xiao Zhan says, arching his eyebrows when Yibo refuses to shed an old Comme de Garcons tee he'd dug out of Xiao Zhan's closet.

"Smells like you," Yibo says, tucking his nose into the collar and shrugging easily. Xiao Zhan decides not to mention that he's also running late in favor of pushing Yibo against the wall and kissing him silly.

Things are just starting to get interesting when Yibo's phone buzzes. Yibo groans as he breaks away to check it. Xiao Zhan doesn't have to look at the screen to know it's probably his manager saying that his ride's just made it to the underground parking lot; the grumpy look that washes across Yibo's face is enough. "When are you back in town?" Xiao Zhan asks, following Yibo to the door.

"Two weeks," Yibo says. "I've got a thing in Xiamen, two cover shoots, Day Day Up. Maybe something for Oichi? It's so hard to keep track." He crouches down to slide his feet into his chunky sneakers before bouncing back up, suitcase handle clutched in one hand and Nike bag in the other.

"Okay," Xiao Zhan says, kissing him again, just a soft brush of lips. "I love you. I'll see you soon. Have a safe flight."

"Love you too," Yibo says, lower lip sucked between his teeth, and then he's gone. A moment later, Xiao Zhan's phone chirps jauntily. Haichen's pinging him about his afternoon schedules. Xiao Zhan pushes past the prickle of annoyance that fizzes up his spine, sets his shoulders, and unlocks his screen to respond.



It's not the first time they've had to abruptly unwind from each other to rejoin the real world. At this point, they've done this song and dance countless times, and it's as familiar to Xiao Zhan as the pattern of moles dotting Yibo's bare skin. The unfortunate truth is the nature of their jobs means that for most weeks of the year, they won't be able to see each other. And they've certainly gone longer than two weeks before; after promotions for The Untamed ended and one year turned into the next, they hadn't been able to meet up for almost two months, filming schedules and endorsement commitments and variety shows keeping them in different orbits, gliding right past each other.

Xiao Zhan thought he'd adjusted well over the past year and a half of dealing with the ebb and flow of their relationship, but something about those three glorious days off makes going back to the daily grind of work especially unbearable. Perhaps it's because they just spent so long wrapped up in each other this time around, and Yibo has all but moved into Xiao Zhan's place, his own apartment across the city serving as a glorified storage unit for his Legos and skateboards and motorcycle paraphernalia. Of course reentry was going to be more brutal than usual. The comedown feels like a rough landing on the tarmac at the airport, chattering through Xiao Zhan's gritted teeth long after they've pulled up to the gate.

Whatever the reason, Xiao Zhan finds himself moody and irritable over the next several days, neck tight, shoulders drawn together. He doesn't have too much trouble looking the part for commercial shoots that need him to just smile and nod, but at the gate on the way to Hengdian on Friday, patience already worn thin from not being able to find the new travel-sized bottle of face cream he'd just bought for this trip, he snaps at one of the girls in his entourage for getting his Starbucks order wrong. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't be a big deal — any caffeine is good caffeine at five in the morning — but every little thing seems liable to set him off right now. The slow boil beneath his skin, the sickeningly sweet cold brew, the fact that the flight's been delayed due to turbulent weather. He feels even more awful a few minutes later when he notices her red-rimmed eyes, the thin press of her mouth.

"Hey," he says, abandoning his drink in favor of sliding into the seat next to hers, and she jumps, clearing her throat. "Liya, I'm sorry." He casts about for a suitable explanation and comes up kind of blank. What can he say? It's not like he can tell the whole truth, even if most of his staff know about Yibo. I hit my boyfriend and he liked it so much that we fucked all weekend about it, and now I can't stop thinking about how much I want to see him again. How much I want to do it again. Liya doesn't need that kind of oversharing in her life, and besides, Xiao Zhan would never be able to look her in the eye again. "It's just been a bad week," he continues lamely, shaking his head. "I shouldn't have taken it out on you."

"No, it's not — it's okay, laoban," she says, the corner of her mouth tilting up. "Don't worry. We're all tired. I get it."

"That's not an excuse," he says, flicking his gaze toward Haichen, who nods. "I think we're gonna be here for a while, so go get something nice to eat for breakfast, okay? It's on me. As thanks for putting up with such a demanding diva all the time."

"Laoban," Liya protests, but she's laughing a little as she goes.

The flight itself, once they get off the ground, is choppy as hell, which effectively kills any chance Xiao Zhan had to sleep on the plane, so he flips through the saved photos on his phone instead. At least Yibo seems to be doing okay, if all the mirror selfies and messages he's been sending over WeChat are any indication. The bruises on his butt have started turning interesting shades of yellow-green. Soon enough, they'll be completely gone. Xiao Zhan's chest twists as he swipes through the neat collection; in the latest picture, Yibo's sticking his tongue out over his shoulder and flashing a peace sign. It's an odd feeling, the sweet ache of affection mixing with the constant, low-grade misery of being apart. Xiao Zhan leans back in his seat, cracks open a script, and tries to immerse himself in the role he's reading for, but it doesn't really work. Every other page, his mind drifts back to the array of colors painted across Yibo's skin, the way he'd whined into the pillows as Xiao Zhan brought the paddle down, the dreamy silk of his low voice through the tail end of the scene. So good, and all for him.

Xiao Zhan doesn't pop a boner in first class, but it's a close call. He breathes in deep, lets the exhale out slowly, trying to shake it off. Part of Xiao Zhan feels like maybe this is like acting, like the residual feelings that linger after an intense sequence in front of the camera. Maybe he hasn't properly shed the version of himself that existed over the weekend. Maybe Xiao Zhan hasn't managed to extricate himself from the headspace, and now his mind is rebelling, trying to return. i miss you, he sends Yibo when he lands, and Yibo replies, without missing a beat: i miss you too 😭 pushing my own bruises just isn't the same, ge. In its own way, that helps ease the restless clench of Xiao Zhan's stomach, at least for a while.



The next week is a blur of Republic of China era costuming and sixteen hour days of filming. Xiao Zhan is playing an antihero in a new World War II drama, a spy feeding information about the Japanese to a group of rebels. He dies tragically about three quarters of the way into the show, but they haven't shot those parts yet. Even so, almost every other scene that Xiao Zhan is involved in is fraught, physically or emotionally or both, and he's exhausted by the time he gets back to Beijing Sunday afternoon.

Thankfully, the roads are mostly clear, and Driver Lu takes him straight from the airport to his apartment. Xiao Zhan doesn't even bother brushing his teeth or taking his contacts out before he sheds his clothes, crawls into bed, and passes out.

When he wakes up in the middle of the night, Yibo is climbing under the blankets with him, damp from a shower, hair dripping across Xiao Zhan's collarbone. Judging by the crazy line items in their synced calendars when Xiao Zhan last checked, they've only got about twelve hours of overlap before Yibo has to fly out again. It's not really enough time to do anything involved, but that's alright. For now, they can just rest.

Xiao Zhan sinks into the warm smell of Yibo's skin and awakens a couple hours later to the early dawn light trickling in through the curtains, casting a blue tinge over everything. Yibo's lying on his stomach, face turned away from Xiao Zhan, arms tucked beneath one of the lumpy pillows. For a moment, Xiao Zhan just watches the steady rise and fall of Yibo's back, runs his fingers down the ladder of Yibo's ribs. He could go back to sleep, but the tightness at his groin winds even tighter when he slides the covers down past Yibo's hips and sees the swell of his ass.

From this angle, it looks like the bruises are completely gone, Yibo's skin once again clear and unblemished. When Xiao Zhan pushes up on his elbows for a better view, he catches sight of an odd shadow tucked along Yibo's thigh. He leans in, squinting. That's — oh, that's definitely a plug inside him, its flared silicone handle gently nestled between his cheeks. A curl of heat unfurls in Xiao Zhan's stomach. Yibo must have prepped himself and worked it in during his shower. He must have assumed Xiao Zhan would wake up first. It's just like him to want to get a head start.

They've done this before too, though never with penetration. Xiao Zhan has woken up with his dick crammed halfway down Yibo's throat already, hard and leaking, and he's been subject to Yibo's wandering hands at varying stages of consciousness. He has curled a palm around Yibo's morning wood, thumb worrying at the vein running underneath it, until Yibo stopped pretending to be asleep and pounced on him — so it's not hard to guess why Yibo slept with a butt plug in.

Xiao Zhan pushes the covers all the way down and eases Yibo's legs a bit wider. He balances over Yibo's thighs, knees splayed out, trying not to put too much weight on him. Yibo twitches when Xiao Zhan reaches down and eases the plug out with a quiet, slick sound, but his eyes stay closed, his breathing still even. Xiao Zhan hooks a thumb past Yibo's rim to test the give, and then he pauses for another moment just to burn the image into his memory, so he can remember what it feels like to be so trusted and so lucky. When the zing in his gut becomes too much to bear, he licks his palm so he can slick himself up, shifts Yibo's knees further apart, and runs the tip of his dick down the cleft of Yibo's ass just to feel that friction.

Yibo's pretty tight when Xiao Zhan finally starts nudging in, but the plug did its work; it's kept Yibo open enough that the clench is delicious instead of suffocating. Xiao Zhan inches most of the way in, as steady as he can manage, before Yibo shivers and lets out a jaw-cracking yawn. His knuckles knock into the headboard as he stretches, spine twisting.

"Morning, sweetheart," Xiao Zhan rasps. He hitches his hips, hands braced against Yibo's waist. "Is this what you wanted to wake up to?"

Yibo's face is half-buried in the pillow, but Xiao Zhan can see the curve of his smile. "I'd wake up to this every day if I could," he murmurs. "Much better than an alarm." He reaches back, making grabbing motions with his hands. Xiao Zhan tangles their fingers together over the swell of Yibo's butt as he rocks deeper, slow and unhurried. There's no rush like this, nowhere for Yibo to go and no way for him to urge the pace along. Xiao Zhan can watch himself sink in and draw back, can catalogue every flex of Yibo's back muscles, can enjoy the pink flush creeping across his skin. Can bend down and kiss the knob of Yibo's spine, the dark mole on his neck, the lighter speck at the hinge of his jaw. Can inhale and take in the soft scent of the body wash Yibo borrowed, the smell of Xiao Zhan's shampoo in his hair.

The inevitable creeps up on Xiao Zhan eventually, washing over him like the tide. It happens on the upstroke, in between breaths, as Xiao Zhan pulls out of the hot clutch of Yibo's body. He ends up coming across Yibo's lower back, jizz dripping down his crack, and Yibo takes that opportunity to squirm out from beneath Xiao Zhan and turn over, legs parting. He's hard, dick twitching against his stomach, toes curling in the sheets.

"Zhan-ge," Yibo sighs. "Please, I need—"

"I got you," Xiao Zhan says, settling between Yibo's thighs. He relaxes and swallows as much of Yibo as he can, gagging a little when the tip of Yibo's cock bumps against the back of his throat. Three long, wet sucks and Yibo bucks up and releases in his mouth, fingers twisting in Xiao Zhan's hair.

They wind around each other in the afterglow, Yibo brushing his lips across Xiao Zhan's Adam's apple, Xiao Zhan's hands reaching to grope Yibo's ass. "Are you gonna leave new marks on me now that the old ones are gone?" Yibo murmurs, wriggling into his grip.

"No time today," Xiao Zhan says, regretful. "You have a longer gap in your schedule coming up soon?"

"I had Guoqiang-ge move a few things around. I'm all yours at the beginning of June." That's in two weeks, give or take. Xiao Zhan can make it through one more fortnight. Yibo drops another delicate kiss against the pulse in Xiao Zhan's throat, and then he adds with relish, "I ordered us more stuff, in case you wanted to try something different. Everything should be here by then."

Xiao Zhan rears back and raises his eyebrows. "Do tell."

"Like hell I'm going to ruin the surprise," Yibo says primly, sticking his nose in the air, and grins when Xiao Zhan rolls his eyes.

Xiao Zhan cooks lunch for them, chives and egg in the wok and pepper chicken stir fry over steaming white rice, before Yibo has to leave for Hainan. "Surf show?" Xiao Zhan inquires, smirking when Yibo nods. "If you're going to be changing in and out of wetsuits for four days, maybe it's a good thing the obvious marks are gone."

Yibo lifts his chin, says, "I wouldn't have cared, let them know I belong to somebody," and Xiao Zhan has to lean over the table and kiss him again for that.



The rest of the month is easier to get through than the first half. Xiao Zhan spends a lot of time working out, films a new set of commercials for Kai Xiao Zao in which he gets to show off his knife skills, and flies back to Hengdian for another stretch of drama shoots. Yibo messages him clips of the beach, his toes disappearing into hot sand and crisp waves, and then later, when he flies to Shanghai, pictures of the Street Dance of China set that definitely violate some sort of NDA.

say hi to yixing for me, Xiao Zhan replies in between takes. A few hours later, he gets a selfie of the two of them sitting cross-legged on the ground, backlit by the bright lights flooding whatever stage they're filming on. Yibo's hair is crimped; Yixing's eyes have disappeared with the force of his smile. Jackson's photobombing in the background, tongue hanging out as he holds up double shakas, which makes Xiao Zhan laugh. It's good to know they're having fun.

The last day of May, Xiao Zhan has a long night shoot with a bunch of extras. It's an extended chase scene through the streets of old Shanghai, one continuous shot from beginning to end, and they run through blocking three times before the camera even starts rolling. Xiao Zhan sneaks a snap of the downtown set while Director Yang yells at the lighting guys to replace a blown out bulb. He puts the photo in their WeChat thread, along with a message that says wrong time period, but it's kind of like i'm with you, hoping it's not too cheesy.

When Xiao Zhan gets a chance to check his phone again, sweating through his makeup after the fourth take, Yibo's sent back a long string of heart emojis, and soon.



Xiao Zhan gets back in town on a noon flight two days later, too hopped up to sleep and too distracted to do more than pick at his in-flight meal, shredding his roll into neat pieces before Haichen slides the tray away. He's never been happier to look out the window and see the layout of PEK peeking through the lowest cloud layer, welcoming him home.

Beijing traffic is as horrible as it usually is, but he manages to make it to his apartment within the hour. Yibo must hear him coming down the hallway, because he flings the door wide open just as Xiao Zhan steps up to the threshold. "When'd you get in?" Xiao Zhan says, wheeling his suitcase in and immediately losing his grip on the handle as Yibo crowds him into the wall, breath hot against his lips.

"This morning," Yibo says, rising up on his toes to press their mouths together, brief but searing. "Been waiting all day. Your flight was late."

"Take it up with air traffic control, we were circling for half an hour," Xiao Zhan murmurs, but he wraps his arms securely around Yibo's waist and kisses the pout off Yibo's face. For a while, Xiao Zhan just lets him take what he wants, the comfortable brush of their tongues enough, but eventually the slow churn in his stomach grows too insistent to ignore. He pulls back panting. "Show me what you bought?"

Yibo's expression turns downright filthy. "Okay," he says, too keen to be anything but obedient, and yanks Xiao Zhan toward the bedroom.

The first thing he notices is the new Gudetama plush perched on top of Yibo's suitcase next to the end table. The little yolk is wearing a chef's hat and holding a spatula while lounging across a pillow of egg white, and the material is soft when Xiao Zhan squeezes his fingers around it.

"Saw that at the airport on my way back and thought of you," Yibo explains, lips quirking. "Couldn't resist."

"You're sweet," Xiao Zhan says, allowing himself a moment to feel faintly touched beneath the quiet buzz of his arousal.

Yibo lets him tuck the plush among the others in his collection, piled on top of his dresser. Then he hooks an arm around Xiao Zhan's elbow, drags him over to the bed, and gestures with a dramatic flourish. "Here's the important stuff."

Everything is already unboxed and laid out at the end of the mattress. There's a gleaming silver cock cage, which piques Xiao Zhan's interest, along with a dark suede collar and attached leash, an unbuckled ball-gag, and a red leather flogger. "Was there a discount code?" Xiao Zhan says, softening the joke with a smile. "This is very ambitious, even for you."

"We don't have to use them all at once," Yibo says, climbing up to sit cross-legged on the bed. "They're just options."

Xiao Zhan picks up the ball-gag, pursing his lips. "You love talking during sex, though," he points out. "And you love kissing. Would you really enjoy being gagged?"

"Won't know unless we try," Yibo says, shrugging, which is fair enough.

Xiao Zhan hums. After another moment of thought, he lifts the cock cage in his free hand, walks both toys to his bedside drawer, and tucks them in next to the paddle from last month. When he straightens up, Yibo's holding the collar, thumb rubbing across the thick material. Xiao Zhan slides back toward him and grabs the flogger. The handle is ridged, a pleasant texture against his palm, and the weight feels nice in his hand. The falls sprouting from one end are each about as long as Xiao Zhan's forearm. He runs his fingers through the individual strands, and for now, the leather is whisper-soft against his skin.

When Xiao Zhan did his research the first time, he'd scrolled through several different lists of toys commonly used for impact play. Floggers came up a lot, usually sandwiched in between whips and riding crops. In the privacy of a hotel room on the other side of the country, Xiao Zhan had even watched a few videos about how to use them: the proper way to strike, the best parts of the body to aim for. It wasn't that he hadn't been interested — far from it. He'd just figured the paddle would be easiest to start with, simple and straightforward, a good option to test the waters and see if they even liked it.

Now that he knows what Yibo looks like on his hands and knees, dark red marks blooming across his ass, sweaty and panting for more — well. Whether they like it or not appears self evident. Xiao Zhan runs his fingers through the leather again, grips the ends of the strands and pulls until they're taut, feeling the heft of the handle in his steady grip. Yes, this is what he wants. Yibo makes a rough, low noise in the back of his throat when Xiao Zhan rolls his wrist and lets the tails sing through the air, so. This must be what Yibo wants, too.

"I tested it out on my thigh before you got home," Yibo offers, voice coming out a little thick. "Feels good."

"You did well," Xiao Zhan tells him, because Yibo likes hearing the truth as often as Xiao Zhan likes to say it. As he rolls his shirt sleeves up to his elbows, he lifts his eyes to meet Yibo's penetrating gaze. "Take your clothes off, and put the collar and leash in the cabinet. Then grab the firm pillow."

Yibo scrambles off the bed to comply, nearly tripping over his own feet in the process. His clothes land in a heap on the floor. The drawer opens with a squeak, thud, thud, then shuts with a scrape and a bang. Yibo moves to lie on his stomach, pillow positioned under his crotch, but Xiao Zhan leans in and pulls him back into a seated position at the end of the bed, legs dangling off the edge of the mattress.

"No, like this," Xiao Zhan says. "Hold it up and out. Hands firm around the middle." The corner of his mouth rises at the confused look that passes over Yibo's face. "I need to practice. You still have to dance, right? Don't wanna hurt you."

"I thought that was the point, Zhan-ge," Yibo replies, cheeky.

Xiao Zhan shakes his head, huffing. "I've done some reading. Trust me, there's a right way and a wrong way to do this."

Yibo arches a skeptical eyebrow, but he stays put, feet sinking into the plush carpet. Xiao Zhan whips the flogger through the air a few more times, watching the strands blur on the arcing downswing and sway into the follow-through. A soothing calm settles over him as he starts figuring out how the physics works, how to use his momentum to his advantage, the best technique for continuous engagement. He wants the ends of the falls to make contact; he doesn't want the strands to wrap around. He wants to hit precisely where he means to, every single time.

Once the flogger feels more like an extension of his arm, he turns to the pillow Yibo's holding aloft. Xiao Zhan starts with easy pinwheels, the kind that smack against the cotton sham but don't really leave an indentation, before moving on to the figure-eights he'd seen in one of the videos he'd watched, loosening his wrist as each swing bleeds into the next. It doesn't take him long to get the hang of it; even though the heft of the flogger is different, it reminds him of the exercises they had to do with swords on set two summers ago. After a few more rounds of that, he hones in on the top right corner. Gaze trained on that spot, he brings his right arm up over his head, thumb tucked around the tails, and lets gravity carry him forward. The first real hit thuds a little high and too close to the center. If that piece of the pillow was Yibo's shoulder blade, the falls would've wrapped around the curve and whipped his neck; if it was his ass, they would have stung his hip. No good. The second hit Xiao Zhan angles further down, and the ends of the strands land closer to his mark. There's less wraparound this time, but the dent is still close to where Yibo's spine would be. The third hit is almost perfect, though it isn't quite hard enough, so Xiao Zhan internalizes the motion and tries to replicate it with more force.

It works. The leather ends crack against the corner of the pillow and then trail down. Xiao Zhan feels hyper-focused in a way that magnifies every sensation tenfold, so alert that it seems like he can register every single skinny tail that he tucks against his left thumb, every ridge in the handle as his right palm flexes around it. His heart thumps in time with each blow, strong in his throat. Once he gets into it, the rhythm is easy to manage: thumb tuck, arms back, swing down, follow through, rinse and repeat. He doesn't realize he's already worked up a sweat until he has to blink moisture out of his eyes. He's soaked clean through his undershirt. There's no soreness in his arm yet, but if he keeps going he thinks he could build a nice, clean burn up the length of his bicep from the repetitive motion.

A sigh drifts over from behind the pillow. Xiao Zhan rolls his shoulders, eyes flicking up to look at Yibo, and finds him — squirming against the sheets, face red, erect and leaking in his lap. He hasn't dropped the pillow or reached down to palm himself, but his legs are pressed tight together, and his breath is coming out faster than normal. "Yibo," Xiao Zhan exhales, sounding calmer than he feels. "I haven't even hit you yet."

"I know," Yibo stutters, "I know," that misty quality already starting to wind through his voice. "You're just so — fuck — watching you — please." He fidgets again, slouching, precome smearing across his thigh. One of his hands creeps off the pillow and down toward his crotch.

"Don't," Xiao Zhan says sharply, and Yibo snaps upright again, spine straight, eyes huge. "Not until I tell you to."

"Aren't you done practicing?" Yibo wheedles, fingers squeezing restlessly around the cotton. His stiff cock bobs up toward his stomach. "You look ready to me."

Xiao Zhan licks his lips, scalp tingling, and smiles when Yibo's gaze drops to his mouth. "Alright," he says. "Turn around, sweetheart. Elbows to the mattress, clasp your hands behind your neck. You can put the pillow between your legs."

Yibo always takes direction beautifully when he gets like this, eager to please. He rearranges himself in the space between two breaths, grinding against the pillow like he can't help himself. Xiao Zhan does a lazy loop with the flogger, the tails brushing the curve of Yibo's right asscheek, and Yibo's whole body spasms, a gorgeous shiver from the top of his head to the curl of his toes. "Zhan-ge," he croaks, wiggling. "Come on. Give it to me. I want more."

"So needy." Just looking at Yibo makes Xiao Zhan feel a little dizzy, but he pushes past the sparking heat in his gut and takes a step closer, swallowing around the hammer of his pulse. Thumb tuck, arm up, swing down — he can do this. He exhales with the first direct hit, which lands with a crisp crack against Yibo's left cheek. The muscle ripples from the impact; Yibo's back bends as he groans loudly. "Count," Xiao Zhan says, surprised at how even the command comes out.

Yibo does, breathy and low, as Xiao Zhan pivots on his heel and repeats the motion. "Two," he says. "Ah, fuck, three. Four." When Xiao Zhan steps to the left of the bed and aims at Yibo's shoulder, he jolts and blows out a long breath, arms flexing. "Five."

Everything else in the world seems to drop out of existence; all that's left is the delicate arch of Yibo's spine, the stains across his ass and his shoulders deepening from pink to red, the wobble in his voice as he reaches double digits and collapses with his face pushed into the bed. The sound of the flogger whistling through the air, the tense and release of his own arm, the rush of blood in his ears. Xiao Zhan could stay here for hours just doing this, circling around and watching Yibo fall apart.

"Ge," Yibo gasps, jolting forward when Xiao Zhan aims a blow across the meat of his thigh. "Wait, I can't, I'm going to—"

"I thought you wanted more," Xiao Zhan says, laughing, but he runs his left palm across Yibo's lower back, firm and indulgent. Yibo bucks up into the touch, spine rounding out, a guttural noise falling from his mouth. "It's okay, Yibo. You can come."

He trails the leather along Yibo's ribs and then up to tickle Yibo's nape, and that's all it takes. Yibo quivers in place, rubbing his face into the crumpled sheets. His knees push him up against the pillow between his legs, and he comes with a long groan, sagging forward. He twitches when Xiao Zhan's hand brushes down the lines intersecting across his ass. Yibo's skin is hot to the touch, and some of the marks are puffy and raised, but he still shoves into the press of Xiao Zhan's palm. "Zhan-ge," he says, choked and urgent, "you have to — please, could you, I need—" His thighs splay out, and he looks over his shoulder, lashes wet. "I need you."

"Oh, honey, look at you," Xiao Zhan says, throat constricting. The insistent wash of his own arousal finally breaks through his fraying concentration and sweeps through him in a rush of heat. "You did so well. You're the most perfect thing I've ever seen in my life."

He lets the flogger fall to the mattress and runs his index finger down the cleft of Yibo's ass, gently probing the rim of his hole. Yibo must have already worked himself part of the way open before Xiao Zhan got home, because the tip slides with little resistance, all the way past the first knuckle. Yibo jerks like a live wire, hips tilting back as Xiao Zhan slowly fingers him loose again, every exhale carrying a rough whine out of his mouth.

Xiao Zhan somehow finds the coordination to unbutton his slacks with his other hand. He kneewalks onto the bed and pulls his cock over the waistband of his underwear. "What do you want, Yibo? Tell me. Like this?"

"Please," he repeats, hissing as Xiao Zhan retracts his fingers, grips both red cheeks in his hands, and spreads them apart. "Just need you inside me, Zhan-ge, please—"

"Whatever you want, baby," Xiao Zhan says, hauling Yibo up by the hips and nudging his cock against Yibo's rim. Yibo cries out as Xiao Zhan pushes in, one fluid thrust from tip to root, sinking into the tight squeeze of Yibo's body. The fraying ends of Xiao Zhan's restraint fall away, leaving only the crackling desire to press so deeply into Yibo that it's impossible to tell where one of them ends and the other begins, until they're moving in flawless harmony. He pulls out and drives in even harder, over and over again, sharp grunts wrenched out of him with each stroke, eyes roving across Yibo's red shoulders and his buckling back, the elegant twist of his waist, the fine tapestry of marks on his skin.

It takes Xiao Zhan a long moment to notice that Yibo's crying in earnest now, heaving big, wet breaths into the sheets as Xiao Zhan fucks into him. That's happened before when he's overwhelmed, tears trickling from the corners of his eyes, but it's never wracked through his whole body like this. He shakes harder when Xiao Zhan reaches around to palm his slick cock, stiff and leaking again.

"Yibo, sweetheart," Xiao Zhan murmurs, chest seizing a little. He draws close, feeling the tremor all along his front, brushing his mouth across the shell of Yibo's ear. "Are you okay? Do you need me to stop?"

"Don't," Yibo gasps, and Xiao Zhan's stomach drops out for a split second before Yibo continues, gasping, "don't you — fucking dare — stop. I'll kill you." Xiao Zhan laughs as he rolls his hips, relief making his limbs feel like jelly. It won't take much longer now, not with the way Yibo's clenching around him, driving back to meet every jerk of Xiao Zhan's hips, crumbling to pieces beneath him. Yibo turns his head, damp face sliding against Xiao Zhan's cheek, and tries to kiss him clumsily. The sweet press of his mouth is what does it; Xiao Zhan falls forward, bearing them both down into the bed, releasing with a loud cry as Yibo milks him dry.

For a while, Xiao Zhan's head fuzzes out, white noise filtering in to replace the sound of his heartbeat, his harsh breathing. Yibo wiggles beneath him as he drifts, strong fingers petting Xiao Zhan's damp hair. Sensation returns to Xiao Zhan's heavy limbs first, and he slips out of Yibo and flops onto his side, clothes sticking to his skin. God, he's a mess. "Yibo," he mumbles, tongue thick, watching Yibo turn onto his back. He gasps as his weight lands on his butt, legs spreading apart so he can curl a hand around his erection. Xiao Zhan summons the coordination to shift down, bending over Yibo's lap and curling his arms around his thighs. He sucks dark bruises into Yibo's pale legs as Yibo brings himself off again.

"Ah, Zhan-ge," Yibo sighs. His eyes flutter shut as he comes, jizz dripping down the shaft and onto his knuckles. Xiao Zhan drags his mouth up the length of Yibo's dick, cleaning him off through the aftershocks. Yibo runs his fingers restlessly through Xiao Zhan's hair, groaning when Xiao Zhan pushes Yibo's knees up toward his chest and gently licks his ass clean, too. By the time, Xiao Zhan lifts up onto his haunches and lets Yibo's feet drop to the bed again, Yibo looks thoroughly debauched, hair sticking in every direction, skin glistening with sweat, rib cage expanding and contracting.

"On your stomach, Yibo," Xiao Zhan says, and Yibo flips over gracefully, stretching his arms up above his head and pointing his toes. The skin on his ass looks a bit puffier now after dragging across the sheets. There's a different cream for more surface-level marks that came with the bruise lotion; Xiao Zhan rolls off the bed and finally sheds his damp clothing before rummaging through the cabinet for the right container.

As Xiao Zhan scoops some cream up and warms it between his palms, Yibo's breath evens out, head pillowed on his arms. His muscles tense at first beneath Xiao Zhan's hands when he starts rubbing the lotion into his shoulders, but he relaxes as Xiao Zhan systematically works his way down his spine. It's good to be able to do this for Yibo after he performed so beautifully. It's good to be able to touch him like this, without expectation of reciprocation, and soothe the angry red marks on his skin. Clean-up and aftercare always help Xiao Zhan wind down from the shock of adrenaline, the cocktail of endorphins buzzing through his blood.

When he's finished with Yibo's back, he scoops more cream into his hands and kneads it into the blotchy swell of Yibo's ass. Yibo exhales into the pillow, hips rising against Xiao Zhan's palms. "Still good?" Xiao Zhan says, swallowing around the sudden scratchiness in his throat.

"Mm," Yibo murmurs, rumbly and satisfied. "Always."

Xiao Zhan doesn't realize his hands have started trembling until he climbs to his feet to twist the cap back on the container and drops the damn thing on the floor. It rolls away across the carpet, and Xiao Zhan's head swims when he bends down to pick it up. He staggers against the cabinet, palm slapping against the cool wood to keep from falling right over. He blinks spots out of his vision, dimly aware of Yibo scrambling off the bed to support him.

"Zhan-ge?" he says, voice sounding like it's drifting down the end of a very long tunnel. "Zhan-ge. Hey. You're alright. Come up here. That's it."

Yibo leans him against the headboard, arranging his legs neatly across the sheets, and hauls a thick blanket over his lap. Xiao Zhan tries to shake the feeling back into his fingers, to grab hold of the runaway train of his spiraling panic. "Sorry," he says, or thinks he says. "I don't know what's going on."

"Don't try to talk," Yibo says, measured and even. "Just breathe with me."

Xiao Zhan sucks in a mouthful of air, lets it out. Gradually, the tightness in his chest abates, but he's still quivering every few heartbeats, and when he tries to turn his head, the whole world spins again.

"When was the last time you ate?" Yibo asks intently, and it occurs to Xiao Zhan that he can't actually remember. Maybe a day ago, on set? Though he vaguely recalls the boxed lunch having eggplant in it, so it's possible he just skipped that meal too, thinking he could snack later. Xiao Zhan blinks, and Yibo's eyes narrow. "You always forget, Zhan-ge. And I read that sometimes a blood sugar crash can really mess with you after an intense scene."

"You read?" Xiao Zhan wants to joke, but his teeth are chattering too much to get the words out.

Still, something of his surprise must show on his face, because Yibo rolls his eyes, smirking smugly. "You're not the only one with access to the internet, you know." He runs his big hands across Xiao Zhan's face, palms hot against the sudden clamminess of Xiao Zhan's skin, and leans in to press his mouth to the center of Xiao Zhan's forehead. "I'll go make you some ramen. It'll only take like five minutes."

"Don't burn the apartment down," Xiao Zhan manages in between shallow breaths as Yibo tugs his loose boxers back on. The dependable warble of Yibo's laugh makes warmth settle in Xiao Zhan's rib cage.

"Here," Yibo says, grabbing the Gudetama from the dresser and depositing it in Xiao Zhan's lap. "For while I'm gone."

Xiao Zhan closes his arms around the plush and sags back into the headboard. His eyes slide shut as he tries to empty his mind, willing his heart to slow down, incrementally marshalling the energy to stop shaking. With some effort, his breathing restabilizes. He doesn't know how long Yibo takes, but soon enough he returns holding a bed tray, upon which sit two bottles of water, a saucer of freshly brewed tea, and a steaming bowl of noodles. There's an egg cracked in the ramen, lovingly poached, along with a generous swirl of chili oil.

Yibo eases the plush out of Xiao Zhan's tight grasp and sets the platter down over his thighs. Then he clambers into bed, warm and solid, and props his chin on Xiao Zhan's shoulder. "Tell me I did a good job."

"You did a good job," Xiao Zhan says dutifully, turning his face into Yibo's hair and breathing in for a moment. It can't be comfortable sitting like this so soon after being flogged, but Yibo stays pressed close as Xiao Zhan gazes down at the tray. His hands have steadied enough that he can lift the saucer; he takes a long sip of tea, heat sliding down his throat and pooling in his stomach, and then downs half a bottle of water. "Sorry," Xiao Zhan says again, a weird sort of guilt throbbing at his temples, prickling behind his eyes. He picks up the chopsticks and swirls them in the ramen. "I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm not even the one that got hit, I should be—"

"There's nothing wrong with you," Yibo interrupts, pinching Xiao Zhan's hip. "You just forgot to eat."

Xiao Zhan takes a bite, chewing on the noodles, and does have to admit that the mere smell of real food is making him feel a lot more human. "Still," he says, worrying his lip between his teeth.

"Still nothing." A beat of quiet contemplation, and then Yibo continues, adamant, "You don't have to apologize, Zhan-ge. I like taking care of you too. You deserve nice things that aren't just, you know, me."

Xiao Zhan turns to stare at him. "Yibo," he says, heart clenching.

"Though, of course, I'm obviously the nicest thing," Yibo says, tossing his head, always wholly himself. He reaches down to clasp Xiao Zhan's free hand in both of his, the corners of his mouth rising. There's not a fraction of guile on his face; he looks utterly sincere, which is also when he's most dangerous. "I wanna tell you how perfect you are for me all the time, but you get embarrassed so easily."

"I," Xiao Zhan says, face flushing. He doesn't know how to finish the sentence, so he tucks back into the bowl of ramen. He inhales half of the noodles in one go, burning the roof of his mouth, nose running a little from the spice. As he chews, he thinks — maybe he does want to be told that he's doing the right thing for Yibo. Maybe it would be okay to hear it out loud. They can both take what they need from each other, and they can keep figuring out the rhythm of this together, piece by piece. Xiao Zhan thinks about how hard it was to detach a month ago, thinks about the two weeks of agitation, feeling disconnected and short-fused and out-of-sorts in his own skin. He thinks about how Yibo helped him find his way back that time, too, just by being there when Xiao Zhan reached out. Simple. Xiao Zhan swallows around a piece of poached egg, the rest of the golden yolk oozing into the rich soup, and carefully asks, "It was a good scene?"

Yibo grins wider, tucking his face into Xiao Zhan's neck. "It was the best," he murmurs, lips brushing Xiao Zhan's throat, thumbs kneading into Xiao Zhan's palm. "You're the best. Let's do it again tomorrow."

"I don't know if your ass could handle that, but you should fuck me," Xiao Zhan says, chuckling when Yibo drapes himself closer and tilts his chin up. "It's been a while."

"Oh, yes please," Yibo says. He presses their mouths together, licking past Xiao Zhan's lips. "Ah, spicy."

"You like it," Xiao Zhan points out, nipping Yibo's nose, and then ducks down to finish his food. Yibo made it for him, after all. It deserves his full attention.



Xiao Zhan wakes up the next morning with less of a dehydration hangover than he was expecting. Yibo's spooning him from behind, breath still deep and even, arm heavy around his waist. He stirs when Xiao Zhan turns to face him, lips turning up when Xiao Zhan pecks him on the mouth. "Morning," Yibo croaks, stretching out beneath the comforter and tangling their legs together.

They make out like that, intertwined, and jerk each other off in the warm cavern of their blanket cocoon. Xiao Zhan's panting a little as they roll into the bathroom; he soaps up, lathering shampoo into his hair, and swats at Yibo's hip when Yibo flicks suds into his face. They order lunch from the dumpling place again, pot stickers this time. When they're done eating, Yibo tips Xiao Zhan against the couch and pulls what little clothing they'd managed to put on back off. He tastes like soy sauce and vinegar, greasy and perfect, and the bottle of lube Yibo once wedged between two boxes beneath the coffee table ("For emergencies!" he said, waggling his eyebrows) finally gets its time to shine.

"Told you this would come in handy one day," Yibo says, sounding smug as he slicks himself up.

"You're never going to convince me being messy is a good thing," Xiao Zhan replies, but he's laughing when he spreads his legs. Yibo slides two fingers inside him and the laugh morphs into a sigh. As Yibo lines himself and sinks in, Xiao Zhan hooks his calves behind Yibo's thighs, the delicious press of Yibo's body weighing him down into the sofa.

Yibo groans when Xiao Zhan reaches around to grab his ass, nails digging into tender flesh. "Yeees, Zhan-ge," he mutters, exhaling hot and wet against Xiao Zhan's throat, hips pumping. "You feel so good. So fucking tight."

"Mm," Xiao Zhan says, heat bursting in his chest. He rides the wave of pleasure as Yibo fumbles a hand between them to jerk him off, leftover lube easing the glide. His back twinges a little from the position, but it doesn't matter, not when he can focus on Yibo sliding deep inside him, rubbing all the places no one else can reach. He squeezes his fingers and clenches around Yibo's dick, holding Yibo as he shakes through his orgasm. "Gorgeous boy," Xiao Zhan mumbles, arching his back as Yibo's grip tightens around him, and comes with a choked cry.

Yibo presses their sweaty foreheads together and says, "That's my line," but he's grinning when Xiao Zhan tips his chin up to kiss the corner of his mouth, so he can't be too mad about it.



A week later, Xiao Zhan is in the middle of a photoshoot for Luckin Tea when he gets a text from Yibo. rehearsing our water choreo on sdoc3 today, he's sent, along with several pictures of his team members frolicking across the stage, splashing each other and playing with the fountains. all the other guys are taking their shirts off as part of the routine, but not me.

what happened to letting people know you belong to someone? Xiao Zhan teases, though he gets why. Yibo had convinced him to use the flogger again at the end of their time together; he's the most shameless person Xiao Zhan has ever met, but it would still be pretty hard to explain the criss-crossing pattern on his shoulders.

After the shoot has wrapped, when Xiao Zhan is on his way to the airport, he gets another message. some things are just for you 💚, Yibo has responded. Attached is another mirror selfie taken in his hotel room, showing off his back and his ass, the healing marks. Yibo's looking coyly over his shoulder, and his hand is pressed down against his crotch so Xiao Zhan can see a tantalizing peek of his hard-on dangling between his thighs.

Xiao Zhan clenches a loose fist in his lap and breathes out through his nose. you're a monster sometimes, you know that? he returns, angling his phone away from Haichen and tapping to save the photo. don't jerk off till i tell you to.

okay, zhan-ge~ Yibo says without missing a beat. video call tonight?

obviously, Xiao Zhan replies, locking his phone and biting around a smile, tamping down on the simmer of anticipation spreading out from his stomach. He can't fucking wait.