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Nothing But Trouble

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He gets the biggest coffee they will sell him from the nearest coffee shop, even though it's the expensive one. He drinks the whole thing by the time he gets to the cheap coffee place by their apartment and he buys another one for himself and one for Jiang Cheng as well, because he's a nice brother who does nice things.

And maybe because it will offset the inadvertent—and unearned—walk of shame he's doing.

He shuts the door to the apartment carefully behind himself and leans against it for a moment, both cups of coffee clutched against his chest. The place is quiet—he's pretty sure he hasn't exactly gotten away with it, but if Jiang Cheng is still asleep, maybe Wei Ying can sell it like he came home just real late up early to get coffee? That doesn't make any sense. Should he just drink both their coffees before Jiang Cheng wakes up? That might be his best plan.

The door shoves open behind him and he doesn't drop the coffees, but that's only because he clutches them against his chest hard enough that they both overflow onto his shirt. He stumbles forward, yelping, as Jiang Cheng pushes in through the door.

"What the hell?" Jiang Cheng demands. He looks flushed and his eyes are shifty. "What are you doing? Why are you here?"

"I got coffee." Wei Ying gingerly pushes one of the cups at his brother—the lid is half off now, and dripping down his hand, but it's still more full than not. "Now you say thank you."

Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes instead of saying thank you, but he does take the cup, frowning as it drips down his fingers. "Why are you in the doorway? Why are you even up, it's—"'

"I'm not, I'm not." Wei Ying starts to beat a hasty retreat to his bedroom. "I just wanted coffee, I have so much homework to do, I decided to get a hard start."

"Why are you in last night's—" Jiang Cheng cuts himself off and focuses down on his coffee instead, as he bangs the door shut behind him and starts to toe his shoes off. "Fine, go."

Wei Ying breathes a sigh of relief and then stops, and about-faces in the hallway. "Wait. Wait. Why are you just getting home? You're just getting home? Where were you? Wait, dumb question, oh my god." He can't stop the wide smile that spreads across his face. "Jiang Cheng," he breathes. "Tell me everything."

"I'm not telling you anything." Jiang Cheng is fixing his coffee lid, using every bit of focus he has on it apparently, refusing to look at Wei Ying. "Nothing happened, I just—nothing happened, we were just—"

Wei Ying is so happy. He can't stop beaming.

"Stop making that face." Jiang Cheng looks up at him, finally, glowering. "Why are you in last night's clothes, why are you up, did you—"

"I just pulled them on when I went to get coffee," Wei Ying says cheerfully. "And now I'm covered it in, because you banged the door into me. I smell like a coffee shop. I don't hate it."

Jiang Cheng just looks at him.

Wei Ying makes steady eye contact and Jiang Cheng finally blows his breath out through his nose and says, "I'm going back to bed."

"Back to bed?" Wei Ying says archly.

"Shut up," Jiang Cheng shoves past him in the hall.

"Okay." Wei Ying is still grinning as Jiang Cheng slams the door to his room shut. Jiang Cheng spent the night with Wen Qing. Sounds like their third date went exactly like it was supposed to. And Jiang Cheng will tell him everything. Wei Ying will make it happen.

He heads, whistling, to his own room, to peel off his coffee-soaked shirt and hey, he might actually get some homework done. He went to sleep earlier last night than he has in...possibly ever. He feels pretty good about it, all things considered. He really does, he tells himself again, have the best plans.


"So he did get laid, or he didn't?" Nie Huaisang is studying the contents of his refrigerator carefully as he asks the question over his shoulder.

Wei Ying wraps his feet around the legs of the stool he's sitting in at the big island in the kitchen. "Uncertain. Depends on the definition of getting laid."

"Hmm." Nie Huisang seems uninspired by the possible snacks in the fridge and comes back empty-handed to drape himself in the stool next to Wei Ying. "Say more about that."

Wei Ying sighs, and feels like it echoes in the huge kitchen. Nie Huaisang's brother must be rolling in it, to afford this place. It's easily three times the size of the apartment Wei Ying shares with Jiang Cheng, and Wei Ying happens to know that Nie Mingjue owns it. He's such a grown-up.

"He could still form coherent sentences," Wei Ying explains. "Don't you think that being with Wen Qing would leave you unable to even speak?"

Nie Huaisang nods thoughtfully. "When you're right, you're right."

"I know it." Wei Ying rests his chin on his hands. "It's only a matter of time, though. He spent the night with her. He told me they kissed for hours."

"Just kissed?" Nie Huaisang asks.

"I asked the same thing, but he just smacked me, hard, and wouldn't give me any more details." He'd blushed, though, hugely, and that means...

"Handjob?" Nie Huaisang says after a thoughtful silence.

"I'm guessing," Wei Ying agrees.

They sit quietly for a moment, then Nie Huaisang's expression grows focused. "I heard somebody say something, though," he says.

"Oh?" Wei Ying leans forward a little.

"I heard somewhere, I can't remember from who, but that someone saw you doing what can only be described as a walk of shame the other morning." He gets off his stool, sliding to the floor with a thump. "From the dorm room belonging to none other than Lan Zhan. Do you want some tea? I'm going to make some tea." He flips on the electric kettle.

"It wasn't a walk of shame, oh my god!" Wei Ying bursts out, just as Nie Mingjue walks into the kitchen. "Oh, hi," he says.

Nie Mingjue completely ignores both of them. He grabs a bottle of water out of the fridge and stands there, drinking the whole thing in several long swallows, his head tilted back as he does so. He's in workout clothes, and still sweaty, clearly having come from the workout room he's set up in the basement. He finishes the bottle, puts it by the sink, and ruffles Nie Huaisang's hair as he heads back out, saying, "Hey" to Wei Ying as he does so.

"Stop!" Nie Huaisang fretfully pets his hair back into place, then looks at Wei Ying. "Oh my god," he says to him. "I can't believe you're cheating on Lan Zhan already."

"I'm not!" Wei Ying says. "I'm not—hey, we're not dating, so it's not cheating, but also, I was just...looking." He clears his throat. "Respectfully."

"I hate you." Nie Huaisang says it matter of factly. "So much. Also, if you want someone to toss you around, Lan Zhan can definitely toss you around. I've been in a yoga class with him. He's strong as fuck."

"You've been in yoga class with him?" Wei Ying asks. That's interesting. That's just. Very interesting. "What does he wear? What do you mean, strong? What does he do? Wait. You do yoga?"

Nie Huaisang shrugs a little. "I said I've been in a yoga class, not that I 'do' yoga. I got all sweaty. I didn't like it."

Wei Ying waits for a beat. "Okay, I don't care about that, tell me the Lan Zhan stuff."

"He wears shorts that fit him like a glove, and a sleeveless top." Nie Huaisang ticks off the points on his fingers. "He can do a headstand like it's nothing. I've even seen him do a handstand like it's nothing." He gets up as the kettle finishes heating up with a click. "His shirt slips up when he does it," he says over his shoulder. "Caf or decaf?"

"Caf," Wei Ying says faintly. He can't believe he's spent the night with Lan Zhan and still Nie Huaisang has seen his abs before Wei Ying has. He knows Lan Zhan has muscles, he's felt them when they've been...practicing, but he hasn't seen them. "He's one of those guys who looks like he could be soft, you know? Those clothes he wears, how they make him look like some kind of...angel. But underneath it all—"

"A six-pack," Nie Huaisang confirms.

Wei Ying makes a small noise in his throat.

"Exactly." Nie Huaisang sets a cup of tea down in front of Wei Ying. "I'm telling you."


Wei Ying hasn't exactly been avoiding Lan Zhan, but he also hasn't seen him since he'd left him in his dorm room way too early on Sunday morning. He knows he has to see him again—they have three dates to go and Jiang Cheng is holding him to that—but also he feels a little weird about how they left it. Lan Zhan had seemed embarrassed, and Lan Zhan should never have to feel that way.

He doesn't want to wait until after class on Thursday. He doesn't want to let it linger. He feels like he needs to take care of it now.

He texts him without letting himself think about it. Lan Zhan! Are you busy?

Lan Zhan texts back almost immediately. What do you need?

Which is fair. Wei Ying respects him not committing to anything before he knows what it is. A third date," he types back.

Noted, Lan Zhan responds. When is a good time?

I'm outside your dorm. Wei Ying attaches a sticker of a cat peering through binoculars. Are you home? He's pretty sure he's home. He's got a copy of Lan Zhan's schedule. Nie Huaisang had sent it to him when he mentioned wishing he knew it. He doesn't want to know how Nie Huaisang got it.

There's a somewhat longer pause before Lan Zhan responds. I'll meet you at the front door.

Wei Ying grins and shoves his phone in his pocket. He arranges the tray from the bakery carefully, holding it in front of himself, and places himself to good advantage near the front door, so that Lan Zhan will spot him right away.

Lan Zhan's eyebrow goes up when he sees him, and he holds the door open so Wei Ying can scoot by. "I brought snacks," Wei Ying explains as they head up to Lan Zhan's room. "I wasn't sure what you liked, but I took a guess."

Lan Zhan is silent on the way up, and holds open the door to his dorm room just as he did the front door, so Wei Ying can ease in.

"Here." Wei Ying clears a space on Lan Zhan's desk with his elbow so he can put the tray down. Lan Zhan moves forward and stacks the papers he'd pushed aside more neatly before tucking them away. "Oh fuck, sorry," Wei Ying says. "I didn't mean to mess up your system."

"It's fine." Lan Zhan is watching him curiously. "You brought...snacks."

"Oh right!" Wei Ying refocuses. "Okay, look, I have a green tea for you—it's cold out today, so I got it hot instead of iced, I hope that's okay. And I went to that Chinese bakery, you know the one, just off of campus? I got all the best-looking pastries from the display. Here, look!" He holds the bag open so Lan Zhan can peek in. "You pick first, I got these for you."

Lan Zhan reaches for the bag, and Wei Ying hands it over, leaning back against Lan Zhan's desk and cracking open his own coffee so he can take a sip. He watches as Lan Zhan looks into the bag for...longer than it should take to pick out a pastry before he slowly reaches in and extracts one.

"Oh, good," Wei Ying nods encouragingly. "Honestly, their steamed buns are the best. They're so light. So many other places get them all dense and chewy. You should try it." He slides out of his coat and puts it over Lan Zhan's desk chair.

Lan Zhan holds the bun in his hand and passes the bag back to Wei Ying. Wei Ying grabs a mango roll cake out of it and holds it up to Lan Zhan like a toast.

Lan Zhan gravely holds his bun up for Wei Ying to bump against, and then takes a bite. "It's very good," he says.

"Ah, good." Wei Ying starts in on the mango roll. "Anyway," he says. "So, look. It's you and me, and," he gestures at the bag of pastries, and at their two drinks, "a meal." He looks at Lan Zhan meaningfully. "This might just count as a date, right? A third date?"

"Ah." Lan Zhan takes another careful bite of his bun and chews it slowly. "Is that the criteria?"

"Well." Wei Ying finishes his roll and brushes off his hands on his jeans. "I mean, basically. Dates can be at—" He glances down at his phone. "Two thirty in the afternoon. And dates can be casual." He gestures at his outfit, which consists of jeans that probably could have used a wash two wears ago and a hoodie that is, in fact, freshly cleaned, zipped over a t-shirt. "And you always look like you're ready for a date."

Lan Zhan looks down at himself and then up at Wei Ying. "This is extremely casual." He sounds almost offended. It's really cute.

"It is one hundred percent not." Lan Zhan has on a hoodie in this light blue color that looks like the late fall sky. It's a little oversized, so it goes down to nearly his thighs. It's pullover, not zip-up, and it looks incredibly soft, and the hood of it falls in neat curves behind his head like he's been styled that way. He's got jogging pants on, deep grey, that fit him perfectly. It is exactly what Lan Zhan would consider casual. It probably cost more than Wei YIng's rent. He looks like a model.

"It's loungewear." Lan Zhan eats the rest of his bun in three quick bites and takes a sip of his tea.

Wei Ying has never heard anyone say loungewear in such an exasperated tone. He grins. "I bet it is," he says in agreement. "Anyway, my point is, you look great—and comfortable," he adds quickly. "And I look, well, okay, by the third date, I'd probably want you to get used to me as I am, so I look like this, so this counts, okay?"

Lan Zhan takes another sip of tea. "It counts," he agrees.

"Great." Lan Zhan looks at him. "Do you want to sit down?" They're both sort of just hovering where they are—Wei Ying is leaning back against Lan Zhan's desk, still, and Lan Zhan is in the middle of the room, tea in his hands, looking—

"Is that hoodie as soft as it looks?" Wei Ying demands. "It looks like a cloud."

Lan Zhan glances down at the hoodie, then back up, holding out his arm towards Wei Ying.

Wei Ying sets down his coffee and wipes his hands off on his jeans before touching it. He moans. "Oh my god, it is. It is as soft as it looks. What the fuck." He's got his hand wrapped around Lan Zhan's arm, and the sleeve is so, so soft, it's ridiculous, how do they even make clothes this soft? "This is impossible," he says, moving closer. "I want to wrap myself in it. How much did this cost? No, don't tell me, it'll just make me want to go buy a knock-off and then I'll be disappointed for the rest of my life." Lan Zhan's lips quirk a little. Wei Ying grins up at him. "You think I'm joking."

"No," Lan Zhan says. "I know you're serious."

"I'm a very serious person, Lan Zhan," Wei Ying says. "I'm glad you know that about me. Listen, hear me out: can you hug me in this ridiculous hoodie for a minute? Just for a minute. I've always wondered what it would be like to be wrapped in a cloud."

Lan Zhan hesitates.

"It's a third date, Lan Zhan," Wei Ying says firmly. "Technically."

"Technically," Lan Zhan echoes. He sets down his tea and wraps his arms around Wei Ying.

"Oh no," Wei Ying moans, pressing his face against the softness, resting it against Lan Zhan's shoulder. "I can never unknow this."

"Mn." Lan Zhan's arms are firmly around him, holding him close. It's...a really good hug. All of the muscles in Wei Ying's back untense at the same time and he can't help the tiny shudder that goes through his body as they do so. "Sorry," he mumbles against Lan Zhan's chest. "This is warm and. So good. Do it tighter."

Lan Zhan hesitates again, but when Wei Ying begs, "Please," he does it. His arms wrap around Wei Ying's shoulders more tightly and bring him closer into the cloud hug, and then he's pulling Wei Ying forward and drawing him down until—oh, he's sitting his his big, soft chair, in his big, soft hoodie, and he's tugging Wei Ying into his lap and— "Okay, that's good," Wei Ying moans. "This is good."

"Mn," Lan Zhan says again. He's looking up at Wei Ying and he still looks slightly hesitant.

"Honestly," Wei Ying assures him, sitting back a little so he can be sure Lan Zhan understands. "It's really..."

Lan Zhan is just looking at him. He's so beautiful, how did Wei Ying ever swing this deal? He's so beautiful, and so warm underneath Wei Ying's hands, his thighs, everywhere he's pressed against Lan Zhan's stupid, soft, expensive outfit.

"This is just really..." Wei Ying tries again, but he has to stop and swallow before he can continue. "So soft and." He's looking at Lan Zhan's mouth. "And."

"And," Lan Zhan says.

"And," Wei Ying says helplessly, and then he's kissing him. Fuck. Fuck, that's so much. Lan Zhan is wrapping his arms around him and pulling him forward and he's holding him close but it's not like the way they were hugging. It's heated and intense, and it tastes like green tea and pastries. The kisses are as soft as the touch of the hoodie underneath Wei Ying's hands until they aren't, until they turn harder, fiercer. Wei Ying thinks he's the one who does that, he doesn't know, he's dizzy with it. He's hitching himself forward, sliding closer, losing himself in it. Lan Zhan's holding him so tight and oh, fuck, he's making these small sounds in between the kisses that are just sending shots of heat through Wei Ying's entire body.

Wei Ying pulls back, panting for breath, looking down at Lan Zhan. "I," he says. "Can we—" He should shut up. He needs to shut up. "There's." He gulps, and shuts himself up by kissing Lan Zhan again, falling into it. It cycles back up again, hot and real and desperate and. "Bed," Wei Ying says, pulling back again. "Can we—your bed, it's right there, and I want—"

Lan Zhan nods, several times. On anyone else, it would be frantic. Wei Ying starts to scramble backwards off of Lan Zhan's lap, but Lan Zhan just hitches him closer—Wei Ying's eyes flutter shut at the feel of that—and lifts him, standing up and taking three short steps before tumbling him to the bed.

Wei Ying's heart is beating so hard he thinks he might die from it. That was so hot. Lan Zhan had lifted him like he was nothing. "Yes." Wei Ying drags Lan Zhan down on top of him. "Yes." He can't stop saying it. "Come here, come closer, I want—" He kisses Lan Zhan again, hard, and opens himself up to Lan Zhan's tongue, to Lan Zhan's hot, wet kisses. This is why people date, Wei Ying thinks dizzily. If it comes along with this, why do people ever do anything else?

He spreads his legs around Lan Zhan, dragging Lan Zhan closer by draping his thighs over his hip. It's a big mistake. Lan Zhan is right up against him and Wei Ying is harder than he's ever been in his life. He's gotten hard with Lan Zhan before, of course he has, but he's managed to—mostly—keep from pressing it against him, keeping things relatively appropriate. With Lan Zhan's hot weight against him and Wei Ying somehow just wrapping both thighs around him as tight as he can—he can't seem to stop—this has skidded way, way past appropriate.

"Fuck," Wei Ying says, pushing his hands into Lan Zhan's hair. "Fuck, fuck, you're—" Lan Zhan is hard, too, and he's not trying to hide it either. Not that he stands any chance of that from the way Wei Ying has him trapped between his legs. He's rocking forward against Wei Ying, or Wei Ying is rocking up against him, he doesn't know. Maybe both, maybe it's both of them. It's the best Wei Ying has ever felt in his life, he wants to stay lost in this, wants to live the rest of his life here with Lan Zhan between his thighs, moaning against his mouth.

He rolls them over, he can't help it, his whole body just wants to move, wants more. He's on top of Lan Zhan and fuck, Lan Zhan is hard against him, in his soft, expensive sweatpants. Wei Ying slides off to the side a little, so he can just—he wants to just— He brings his hand down to press against Lan Zhan through the soft fabric of his pants. Lan Zhan gasps, loud, and his hips go up, pressing his dick—that's Lan Zhan's dick—against Wei Ying's hand.

"Fuck." It comes out on nearly a whine, but Wei Ying can't control that. "You're so hard, it feels so good, I'm—sorry, this is—" It's so much more intimate, somehow, than the way they had been rutting against each other, but. "I can't stop, I don't want to—"

Throughout it all, they haven't stopped kissing, these frantic, messy kisses, Wei Ying hitching himself forward against Lan Zhan's hip, grinding his dick against him there as he moves his hand against Lan Zhan. He's big, and he's so hard, and Wei Ying wants—he shouldn't do this, but he wants to.

"Can I," he manages, breathless, lips against Lan Zhan's lips, his cheek, his neck. "Can I—" He moves his hand up to the top of Lan Zhan's pants, pushing up the hoodie so he can tuck his fingers into the stretchy waist of them, Lan Zhan's stomach hot against his fingers. He makes himself wait, makes himself, and in the long stretch of that liminal moment is the most turned on he's ever been in his life.

"Yes." Lan Zhan hitches his hips up. His dick is pressed up against the pants, hard and obvious against the soft material, absolutely obscene, absolutely perfect. "Please—"

Wei Ying pushes his hand down the front of Lan Zhan's pants and underwear, manages it in one movement, and then he's got Lan Zhan's dick against his palm. He's holding it in his hand and it's so slick and wet, drenched, everything damp and hot around Wei Ying's hand. "Fuck," he whimpers against Lan Zhan's neck, pressing himself hard up against Lan Zhan's hip in three short thrusts, he can't stop the staccato move of his hips. "It's so wet, you're so wet, it's so hot, fuck."

Lan Zhan is moving his hips into it, and his dick is slip-sliding against the clutch of Wei Ying's hand. Wei Ying slings his leg over Lan Zhan's thighs—he wants to feel that movement, it feels like fucking, like how Lan Zhan would move if they were actually doing it, if they were—

"Fuck." He can't stop cursing, can't stop moving his hips. He's got his eyes clenched shut, his mouth against any piece of hot skin he can reach—Lan Zhan's cheek, his neck, back to his mouth, reaching up to pull his head around so he can kiss him again, dragging his mouth against his as he—fuck, he's going to—he can't stop, he should stop, but—

He shoves his hips forward again, once, twice, and cries out, fuck, it's so loud, muffled only a little against Lan Zhan's mouth, as he comes in his jeans, pressed up against Lan Zhan's hip. His head is filled with white noise, his brain going entirely offline for a handful of moments as he comes harder than he ever has in his life.

When he comes back to himself, Lan Zhan's dick is still in his hand, still hard, and when he blinks his eyes open, the look Lan Zhan is giving him is...broken-open, is the only way Wei Ying can describe it, his eyes pure pupil, his mouth open, wet, wrecked, his expression—

Wei Ying moves his hand on Lan Zhan, and Lan Zhan's eyes fall shut, his hips moving with Wei Ying, a perfect rhythm against Wei Ying's hand. It's slick and it's smooth and Lan Zhan is so hard, and it's the hottest thing that's ever, ever happened to Wei Ying. "You're so hard," he whispers, watching Lan Zhan's face. "You're so hard, I didn't know it could get so hard, does it hurt? It feels like it could hurt. You should come. You should come. Let me make you come, I want to, I want—"

He can't stop talking and Lan Zhan isn't saying a single word, but he's gasping, his mouth open, his face lost in it, and he's hitching his hips up harder with every word that Wei Ying says. And then he's coming, fuck. Wei Ying can feel the jerk of Lan Zhan's dick in the palm of his hand as he comes against Wei Ying's wrist, his fingers, Lan Zhan's own stomach, coming endlessly, it feels like, pulse after pulse of it, like he's being wrung out.

When Lan Zhan is done, he collapses, boneless, against the bed. His breathing sounds loud in the room. Wei Wuxian knows he should tug his hand out of Lan Zhan's pants, should take it off his dick. He does so, regretfully, and when he pauses, looking for something to wipe his hand off on, Lan Zhan takes him by the wrist and draws his hand down, wiping it off against the hip of his sweatpants.

Wei Ying buries his face against Lan Zhan's shoulder, laughing a little unevenly. "Sorry," he says. "Sorry, I keep coming over and making a mess of all your stuff." He laughs harder now, keeping his hot face against the softness of Lan Zhan's hoodie, his leg still hooked over Lan Zhan's thighs. "Making you do so much laundry. First the sheets, and now this."

Lan Zhan is quiet underneath him. He's gotten his breathing under control and Wei Ying makes himself take a peek up at his face. He looks...relaxed? Wei Ying thinks that look is relaxed. He's never seen Lan Zhan look relaxed before. Do they talk about this now? Maybe they should talk about this. Maybe...not. Maybe it's just— "I guess this really was a third date."

Lan Zhan looks at him. He has two spots of color, burning high in his cheeks. His mouth is so kissed it looks almost bruised with it. Wei Ying's come is getting tacky in his underwear and he's just wiped his hand off on Lan Zhan's expensive sweatpants. They've just— Both of them, they've just— Together, they've—

"I didn't even get to see your abs," Wei Ying says helplessly. Fuck. His head is still full of bouncing, flickering brain cells, just clanging around in there.

Lan Zhan's still looking at him. "Did you want to?" He asks it so purely, not even a hint of smugness or conceit, just slight confusion.

Wei Ying nods, because, well, yeah, and also because he's trying to keep his mouth shut so he doesn't keep saying every single thing that skids across his brain.

Lan Zhan, still looking at him, nudges Wei Ying's hand out of the way and draws his hoodie up to his chest.

"Oh." Wei Ying pushes himself halfway to sitting without even intending to. "Oh, will you look at that." Fuck. Nie Huaisang was right, that sure is a six-pack right there. Those are muscles right there. He reaches one hand out to touch, then snatches it back. "Sorry, I just wanted to—"

Lan Zhan's lips quirk the tiniest amount and again, he wraps one hand around Wei Ying's wrist and tugs it forward until Wei Ying rests it tentatively on his stomach, stroking up over his abs and then back down, because he can't help it, he's never seen anything like it, not in real life.

"Just so you know, I don't have this." He's watching his hand rest against Lan Zhan. "I mean, there are probably abs there somewhere, but they're padded a little more than yours." He's just talking, he's not even paying attention to the words coming out. He wants to push Lan Zhan's hoodie further up. He wants to straddle Lan Zhan again. He wants to get his dick out and he wants to jerk off over Lan Zhan's abs. He can see it, in living color, what it would look like if his abs were streaked with Wei Ying's come.

Fuck. Fuck, he's going to jerk off about that later and there is just nothing anybody can do about it.

Lan Zhan gives a little shiver and Wei Ying glances up at him, startled out of his reverie. "Sorry," he says, hastily tugging Lan Zhan's hoodie down again. "You must be cold and my hand is still a little...sticky, and—sorry."

He makes himself sit up, wincing a little at the tug in his jeans. He crosses his legs, sitting sideways next to Lan Zhan on the bed. Lan Zhan pushes himself to sitting as well, and it seems to take a little effort, despite those abs. He sits against the headboard, one knee propped up.

"It's gotten dark around us again," Wei Ying says, peering out the window.

Lan Zhan nods. "We do seem to keep losing track of time."

Wei Ying gives him a startled grin. "You're not wrong." He should go. He knows he should go. It would be weird to stay. "I should—"

"Are you hungry?" Lan Zhan asks. "Pastries will only take you so far. We could...I could order us dinner."

Dinner. Wei Ying bites the inside of his lip a little, trying not to smile, and failing. "You don't have to do that," he protests. "I just descended on you, probably screwed up your schedule and everything..."

The look Lan Zhan gives him at that is just—it's full of heat and also a bit amused, and Wei Ying can't help but grin as Lan Zhan says, "Wei Ying. I did not mind." He's smiling, actually smiling, not a big, huge grin, because Lan Zhan doesn't do that, but it's a definite smile.

Wei Ying smiles back helplessly. "Good," he says. He can't stop smiling, either. He must look like an idiot. He doesn't care. "But listen, I can just get out of your hair, I—" His stomach growls, loud, like the traitor that it is. He laughs, burying his face in his hands. "Okay, maybe, if you're sure."

"I'm sure." Lan Zhan sits there for another moment, watching Wei Ying in the dimness of the dorm room. He's painted all over in shadows and Wei Ying can't quite see his eyes now, can't see what he's thinking.

"Okay," Wei Ying says softly. "Okay, me too."


Lan Zhan suggests dumplings, and Wei Ying is always on board for dumplings. Lan Zhan places the order then directs him to the small bathroom just off of his room that he shares with the double next door, and Wei Ying's face gets hot, again, wondering if his suitemates are in, if they heard anything. He locks himself in and fixes the situation in his pants, swiping away the worst of the mess with some damp paper towels. "It's not perfect," he mutters to himself in the mirror, "but it will do." He studies himself for a moment. "Story of my life," he adds.

His hair is a disaster and he finger-combs it and pulls it into a messy ponytail to get it out of the way. His lips look well-kissed, too, and he presses his fingers against them, thinking about third dates. He shakes his head, finally. He washes his hands—thoroughly—and splashes water on his face for good measure. This is as good as it's going to get.

They eat dumplings together, Wei Ying on the big chair, Lan Zhan sitting in his desk chair. Wei Ying convinces Lan Zhan to let him pull up a movie on his laptop and it's very much like a date. Lan Zhan has turned on the lamp in the corner that casts a golden light through the room, and Wei Ying's legs are curled up under him, and they eat together in companionable silence.

They move to the bed when they're done eating—Lan Zhan had stacked the take-out containers and put the leftovers in the minifridge, cleaning up with neat efficiency. Wei Ying had stood, thinking he should maybe leave, but Lan Zhan had said, "I would like to see the end of the film."

"Oh, good," Wei Ying had said, and it had come out way too quiet and happy, but Lan Zhan hadn't seemed to notice. He'd moved the computer to the foot of the bed and climbed back onto it, sitting neatly against the headboard with his legs crossed. He'd looked at Wei Ying expectantly and Wei Ying had climbed up beside him.

It's not late when the movie ends, but Lan Zhan's eyes are a little heavy when the credits start running and he's more relaxed, leaning back against the headboard. He'd shifted, his legs stretched out in front of him. He's lounging, is what he's doing, looking loose and warm and—

"I should go," Wei Ying says softly. "It's late."

"Mn." Lan Zhan doesn't move.

"I don't want to fall asleep in your bed again." He's also not moving. He really needs to go. He needs to get up and just go.

"I didn't mind," Lan Zhan says.

"You didn't?" Wei Ying asks. "Are you sure? I'm glad. I worried."

Lan Zhan looks at him. "You shouldn't have."

"Ah, well." Wei Ying shakes his head, trying to give a normal grin. Why is his heart beating so hard? "It's better that I worry. Keeps me in line."

Lan Zhan just keeps looking at him. Wei Ying's heart is going to beat out of his chest. "Okay, so—"

Lan Zhan reaches out and rests his hand on his wrist. "Wei Ying," he says. "If this were a date..." His hand is scorchingly hot against Wei Ying's skin. "If this were a date," he says again, more firmly, "then I would kiss you goodnight."

"Oh," Wei Ying says faintly. He can't move. He's frozen in place, except for how he's swaying closer to Lan Zhan without meaning to. "Well, then, I guess...I guess you better do that. For the sake of..."

"Veracity," Lan Zhan says, shifting closer, his hand closing fully over Wei Ying's wrist before moving up his arm to tug at him.

"Veracity," Wei Ying echoes, and then Lan Zhan is kissing him. He's kissing him and it's not a simple good night kiss, but maybe good night kisses aren't ever actually simple. Maybe they're all like this: hot and deep and full of some very real intention. It's becoming remarkably clear that Wei Ying actually understands fuck-all about dating.

Lan Zhan kisses him there on the bed until Wei Ying is slouching back against the headboard and possibly making little sounds every time Lan Zhan finds a new angle for his mouth. He kisses him until Wei Ying is trembling and he wants to—

"I have to go." He forces himself to draw away. "I have to—if I don't go now, I won't—I mean—" He shakes his head. "I have to go."

Lan Zhan nods. He doesn't seem breathless. He waits for Wei Ying to get up from the bed—it takes Wei Ying a moment to get his feet under himself—and then gets up too, waiting patiently as Wei Ying fumbles to get his shoes back on. Wei Ying finds his coat and starts to shrug it on, startling just a little as Lan Zhan, closer behind him than he'd thought, helps him into it, going so far as to untuck his long ponytail from the collar. Why does that make Wei Ying flush even harder? His body is out of control.

"Okay, I'm going to head home," he says, turning around.

Lan Zhan is right there. He's so close to him. Wei Ying's stupid heart still doesn't know how fake dating works, it's trying to pound right out of his chest. "Okay," Lan Zhan says.

"I'm heading out." Wei Ying is looking at Lan Zhan. They're not touching, but they're so close. Wei Ying wants Lan Zhan to grab him, to just shove him up against the door. He wants— "Okay," he says again. "I guess...good night."

"Good night." Lan Zhan looks, for just a second, like he might kiss Wei Ying again, another devastating good night kiss that will absolutely destroy any self-control Wei Ying has, so he just darts forward and presses a swift kiss against Lan Zhan's cheek (and even that is enough to make Wei Ying's knees feel weak) and heads out the door.

He keeps up the momentum until he gets downstairs, and outside, and halfway down the path in the general direction of his bus stop before he lets his bag fall to the ground with a thump. He sinks down onto his haunches, presses his face into his hands and curses silently to himself.

"You okay, bro?" Some dude walking by pauses briefly.

"Oh yeah," Wei Ying says against his hands. "I'm, like, so good. Just perfect."

"Take care?" the dude offers hesitantly. It's kind of sweet.

Wei Ying pushes himself to standing and gives the guy a thumbs up. "I'm fine," he calls, as the guy heads away. He is. He just needs to get to his bus, and get home, and possibly jerk off. He's fine.


Jiang Cheng is home when Wei Ying lets himself in. He's in his room, but the door is half open, so Wei Ying nudges it open further and leans in the doorway. "Hey," he says.

Jiang Cheng looks up from his computer. He's at his desk—what is it with all of these people in Wei Ying's life who do their homework at an actual desk, instead of sprawled out on the bed giving yourself back problems like god intended?—and he's got music playing, something with a driving beat that he says helps him focus when he has a paper due. "I'm busy," he says immediately, then narrows his eyes. "What? What is it? You look weird. Did something happen?"

He actually starts to get up, looking like he's ready right now to go fight someone on Wei Ying's behalf.

Wei Ying waves him back. "No, no, nothing, I'm just tired. Stayed up too late last night."

"Oh." Jiang Cheng settles back down. "Well, you look like shit."

"Yeah, I know." Wei Ying chews on his lip a little. "Listen, we can quit the pact, okay? It was a dumb idea. We're both full adults. We can date or not date who we want. I'm sorry I was so pushy."

"No," Jiang Cheng says, before the words are fully out of Wei Ying's mouth. "No. Uh-uh. You're just trying to get out of it."

"I'm not," Wei Ying says. "I'm not, that's not it."

"That is it," Jiang Cheng says. "It's because you're behind on dates. You can't stand to lose." He sounds...super intent. Almost frantic. He's got a little bit of whirly eyes going on.

"I'm not behind on dates," Wei Ying says miserably. "We just had our third date. We're even now."

"A third date," Jiang Cheng says flatly. "On a Tuesday. Does what you did even count as a date? Don't cheat."

"We had drinks," Wei Ying says. He's getting a headache. "Well, coffee. And tea. And we had dinner. Together. And." He stops.

Jiang Cheng is still staring at him. "And?" he demands. "And what?"

"And," Wei Ying says, and then stops again. He can't...there is just no way he can tell Jiang Cheng that they...

"We are completing this pact," Jiang Cheng says firmly. "There is no way we are not completing it. You said five dates. Minimum."

"Minimum," Wei Ying echoes faintly.

"Minimum," Jiang Cheng says again. He's still got that slightly frantic tone to his voice, and a kind of wild look to his eyes. "We're—you said we'd both do it. That we'd go through with it. I want—" He clamps his lips together and glares at Wei Ying, and oh. Oh, Wei Ying gets it. It's what he's always known, what got him to start this whole thing, but it's possible that he'd sort of lost focus as this has gone along. Jiang Cheng needs this to be a challenge, something he can win, or else he's going to lose his nerve.

It would be cute, if Wei Ying could stop being a total idiot about every aspect of this.

"Right," he says, sagging against the doorway. "Right, you're right. Okay. Right. Not giving up."

"Okay, well." Jiang Cheng turns back to his laptop, letting out the breath he'd clearly been holding. "I have work to do. Get out."

"Right." Wei Ying pushes himself off the doorframe and heads to his room. He needs a shower. He really needs to get out of these clothes. He needs to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling for an hour. Possibly two.


The rest of the week goes by slow like molasses. Wednesday lasts for approximately three years. Wei Ying knows he goes to classes, knows he studies, a little, knows he does desultory work on a paper that's due next week, knows he gets his ass kicked at Super Smash Brothers by Jiang Cheng, but looming over it all is the fact that he needs to set up a fourth date with Lan Zhan. Fourth date is the drumming pattern of his headache that won't quit. Fourth date, fourth date. Fourth date feels like this is getting serious, or would be, if they were real dates.

Why had he said five whole dates? Three dates are something you could shake off, say you gave it a shot but it didn't really work. Five dates is a lot.

But, he tells himself grimly, that's the whole point, isn't it? He'd wanted Jiang Cheng to get in deep. He'd wanted him not to be able to shake it off.

He stays up too late on Wednesday night—the buzzing of his brain won't let him sleep, so he gives into it, finally, grabbing his laptop and finishing the paper that's not due for five whole days in one fell rush of possibly incomprehensible writing. It doesn't make him sleepy but when he's done, it's after three in the morning and his limbs won't work anymore. All he can do is lie down and shut off the light and let himself vibrate there in the darkness.

He must doze at some point, because the alarm from his phone jerks him awake in time to get to his morning class. He drags himself through it, fueled by caffeine and a sugary bun, and then he gets through the next class, and the next one, and then it's sociology with Lan Zhan and he's not ready but what choice does he have?

He drags himself in thirty whole seconds before the professor gets there. He drops into his seat next to Lan Zhan—no one ever tries to sit there anymore—with another coffee clutched in his hand. "Hi," he says, smiling at him normally.

He must miss the mark, because Lan Zhan looks concerned. "Wei Ying," he says. "Are you all right?"

Wei Ying tries to rearrange his smile into something that looks comforting. "Totally," he says.

Lan Zhan's eyes widen a little—fuck, Wei Ying is really off his game—but the professor walks in and Lan Zhan presses his lips together and turns to face her. He shoots Wei Ying another concerned look out of the corner of his eye. Wei Ying has never seen him not pay full attention to the professor at the start of class ever before in his life. Wei Ying must really be a disaster.

He stays awake through the whole class by dint of finishing the extra-large coffee, and when it's over his stomach hurts from too much caffeine and his head hurts from too little sleep and his eyes feel like they're filled with sand. He pushes himself up from his desk and feels himself sway a little in place.

Lan Zhan catches his arm because of course he does. "Wei Ying."

"I'm okay." Wei Ying doesn't try for another smile, because apparently he's bad at those today. "I didn't sleep much. That's all." He slings his bag over his shoulder and fidgets with the strap. Just say it. "We have to make a plan," he says, trying for a cheerful tone.

Lan Zhan puts his own bag on his shoulder, one hand sort of hovering near Wei Ying like he thinks he's going to topple over. He looks at him curiously as he starts to guide him out. Wei Ying allows it, because they should have this conversation. The only way out is through and all that. "Fourth date," he explains.

"Ah." Lan Zhan holds open the classroom door for him and they start heading down the hall. Lan Zhan has still got his hand near the small of Wei Ying's back, not touching him, but nearly, and Wei Ying is hyperaware of it. "We can discuss."

"Yeah." Wei Ying waits as Lan Zhan holds open the building door for him, as well, then follows him through. "We can. We should. We have to." The sun is brilliant as they go through the door and Wei Ying clutches at his face. "Ow." The whole day has been one of those ridiculously warm fall days, like somehow summer forgot that it's been over for a long time. It had been so cold yesterday that Wei Ying had wished he had gloves and today, it's unseasonably warm, the sun looming overhead, the air rich and warm with it. He just wishes it wasn't so bright.

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says. He sounds worried. It's weird.

"Do you know you say that a lot?" Wei Ying asks, dropping his hands from his face. "My name. You say it like fourteen different ways. And it's hilarious, because I always know what you mean. You pack a lot into my name. It's funny." It isn't funny. It's something different from funny.

"Let's—" Lan Zhan seems to be looking for something, casting his eyes around. "Here. There's shade."

He guides Wei Ying, actually touching him now, his hand a light pressure at the small of his back, to a tree in the middle of the grassy area near their classroom building. The leaves have all turned, all different shades of red and orange and brown, but they have only just started falling, the ground underneath scattered with a light layer of them.

Lan Zhan puts his bag down on the ground and tugs Wei Ying's off his shoulder. He takes the jacket he's wearing—wait, that's not a jacket, it's all flowy fabric, fuck, is it a sort of cloak?—and spreads it on the ground. It's as broad as a blanket all laid out like that. "Sit down," he says.

Wei Ying does. He sort of doesn't have a choice. His stomach still hurts—he really shouldn't have had that last coffee—and his head aches and he's looking up at Lan Zhan standing over him, blocking the sunlight from Wei Ying's eyes, and that hurts, too, in a different way.

Lan Zhan sits down neatly next to him. "Don't you have class now?" Wei Ying says. He can't remember Lan Zhan's schedule over the ache in his head.

Lan Zhan ignores the question. "Come here," he says. He settles his back against the tree and holds out one arm.

Wei Ying stares at him. What is he...

Lan Zhan's hand lands on his arm and tugs him forward. Wei Ying is too tired to resist. He ends up right up against Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan's arm a heavy weight across his shoulders. He's tucked up against him, his head resting on his chest, pretty much. He knows that this is something they maybe shouldn't be doing. He'd meant for them to have a conversation about a fourth fake date, about getting through this intact, about...

"Rest," Lan Zhan says, very quietly from somewhere above him.

"No." Wei Ying shifts a little, moving closer. "I'm fine, I just need to close my eyes for a second. Just. Give me, like, three minutes and I'll be—" He yawns against Lan Zhan's chest. "I'll be..."

He wakes up slowly. He can't open his eyes for a long handful of seconds—he's drifting back and forth between waking and sleeping, still half in a dream state where he's in a sort of cocoon. Not trapped, just safe. His head is resting on something soft but his hip hurts a little where he's curled up on it. Not enough for him to move yet, though—he's too comfortable. There's a gentle rhythm keeping him here in his half-asleep state and it takes him longer than it should to realize that it's someone running their fingers through his hair, right over his ear, a soft, steady movement. It's lulling him, drawing him nearly back to sleep over and over again.

It takes an enormous effort to shift over onto his back and open his eyes.

"Ah." Lan Zhan is studying him from up above. "You look...better."

Wei Ying's head is resting on Lan Zhan's thigh. Lan Zhan's hand is still in his hair. Lan Zhan has a book in his other hand, his place held with one finger between the pages.

"I feel better," Wei Ying confesses. He yawns, directly into Lan Zhan's face, then claps a hand over his mouth. "Sorry," he says. He pushes himself up, finally. Lan Zhan's hand slips from his hair as he does so and Wei Ying tells himself he doesn't care. "I didn't mean to fall asleep."

"You were nearly asleep on your feet already." Lan Zhan looks amused. "It was better that you did it lying down."

Wei Ying makes a face at him as he runs his fingers through his hair, pulling it back into a ponytail with the elastic from his wrist. "I didn't get enough sleep last night, I guess. Thanks for..." He gestures at Lan Zhan. "...that." He makes an apologetic face. He can't believe he fell asleep in Lan Zhan's lap. Did he drool? He hopes he didn't drool.

"It was no trouble," Lan Zhan says, and seems to mean it. He pauses, then says, "You seemed concerned about scheduling a time for our fourth date."

"Oh." Wei Ying nods several times. "Right. We have to—"

"I believe," Lan Zhan says, "that this could, conceivably, count."

Wei Ying looks up at him, startled.

"We were together," Lan Zhan says. "You were asleep for...quite a while. Many people saw us here." He pauses again. "Including your brother."

"Oh," Wei Ying says. "Fuck, how long did I sleep for? Wait, my brother saw us?"

"If the goal is to show people that we are, in fact, continuing to see each other," Lan Zhan says like Wei Ying had not spoken, "I believe we've accomplished that."

Wei Ying feels himself blushing, for no reason at all. What is his face getting all hot for? He's fallen asleep in much more embarrassing situations before. Nie Huaisang will never let him forget the time he fell asleep right in the middle of a party, curled up on the floor while everyone continued playing spin the bottle around him. "Ha," he says. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for you to have to, like, flaunt it."

Lan Zhan looks at him. "I do not mind...flaunting it."

Wei Ying blushes harder. "Ah, Lan Zhan, you can't just say things like that."

"Why not?" Lan Zhan asks curiously.

Wei Ying ignores the question. "Besides, this isn't a date. Falling asleep on someone isn't a date. It' imposition."

Lan Zhan gets that little line between his eyebrows, but something about it looks put-on, like he's teasing. "What would constitute a date, then?"

"Well, a meal, usually." Wei Ying looks at Lan Zhan. "Or snacks, or something."

"Hm." Lan Zhan shifts a little closer. "But not always."

"No," Wei Ying says. He's sweating. Is it even warm enough to be sweating? "Not always. Sometimes it's just a drink. Or coffee."

"Ah." Lan Zhan studies him. "I don't think you need more coffee just now."

"No," Wei Ying says. "I really don't." His heart is beating too fast as it is.

"So, a meal, or a snack," Lan Zhan says slowly. He's looking at Wei Ying—he hasn't taken his eyes off of him this whole time. "Or a drink, or coffee. These would make it a date. Is there anything else?"

Wei Ying can't look at his eyes anymore, it's too much. His gaze drops but it's caught on Lan Zhan's mouth. He swallows. "Sometimes there's...kissing."

"Hm," Lan Zhan says again. "I would say that there's usually kissing. Not just sometimes." His face is really very close to Wei Ying's now. "When one is on a date," he clarifies.

"Right," Wei Ying says weakly. "Yeah, I mean—"

Lan Zhan kisses him. His lips are soft and Wei Ying opens up to him right away. He couldn't stop himself if he tried. He knows he should try. But Lan Zhan's slipping his tongue into his mouth and tilting his head just right, and it's not frantic the way it had been in Lan Zhan's room, it's just deep. Intense. It makes Wei Ying want to climb into Lan Zhan's lap. Not even to grind against him, though he wants that, too, but just to get closer to him, to sink into this. He's dizzy with it, thinks he could let Lan Zhan kiss him here under this tree for hours, let him just—

Lan Zhan pulls back. His breath is coming a little fast and his lips are wet and red. Wei Ying clenches his fists tightly in his lap to keep himself from dragging him back into the kiss. "So," Lan Zhan says. His voice sounds a little tight, too—just a little, the smallest bit off of his usual control. "Does that make this a date?"

Wei Ying gives a short nod. Fuck. "It does," he says. "I think it does. I think..." He stops talking. He doesn't know what he thinks. He doesn't know what he's doing. Is this the fourth date? If this is the fourth date, and now it's over, then there's only one more to go. One more and then Lan Zhan will be off the hook and they can go back to being...whatever it is they were before. Not friends. You couldn't really have called them friends. Classmates? They'll go back to being classmates.

Lan Zhan's watching him. "Wei Ying?"

Classmates. Lan Zhan will be the classmate who Wei Ying has jerked off. The classmate who Wei Ying knows gets seriously wet when he gets turned on. The classmate who has trembled in Wei Ying's arms and come against his palm.

"Wei Ying?" Lan Zhan says it again. His name. Right. He's—right.

"Yeah," Wei Ying says, pulling up a grin from somewhere deep inside himself. "Fourth date, absolutely. Talk to me again about seeing my brother? What did he do?"

If it's a fourth date, it wouldn't end after a stupid nap and a stupid kiss. It would keep going. Wei Ying made a commitment and Jiang Cheng is holding him to it and he's not going to fuck this up.

Lan Zhan settles back against the tree, his back straight but looking a little more relaxed. "He was passing by," he says, gesturing the path. "He was with Wen Qing. He stopped in the middle of the path, right there." He points this time, and it's cute, Wei Ying thinks with despair. Lan Zhan pointing at the path, just a simple, human gesture, and it's so cute that Wei Ying's stomach starts hurting again, just a little. "He stared at us and he was, I think, about to come over to say something." The corners of his lips turn up just the slightest amount and Wei Ying feels that in his spine. Fuck. Fuck. "Wen Qing stopped him."

"She did?" Wei Ying manages to say. He swallows around his suddenly dry throat. "How? Jiang Cheng is like a battering ram usually."

Lan Zhan looks quietly amused. "She just put her hand on his arm."

"Wow." Wei Ying knew he was right about Wen Qing. "Powerful."

Lan Zhan nods. "Your brother blushed when she did it."

"He did?" Wei Ying grins despite himself. "Oh, that's good. Oh, he's so in. Oh, man."

Lan Zhan nods. "They seemed very close when they walked off together."

"I wish I could have seen it." Wei Ying fiddles with the laces on his boots, his legs crossed in front of him. "Instead of being dead-ass asleep and drooling on you."

"It was a moment only," Lan Zhan says. "You needed the rest more than you needed to tease your brother."

Tease. Wei Ying wants to crumple up in a ball and roll away, he finds that so cute. Lan Zhan knowing that Wei Ying would definitely have wanted to tease his brother. He can't take this. He can't. He's going to fuck this up. He should just go. He should go.

"Here." Lan Zhan gets to his feet in one smooth motion, and reaches a hand down for Wei Ying. "We should get something to eat."

Wei Ying puts his hand into Lan Zhan's—it's so warm and so soft and Wei Ying wants to be dead - and lets Lan Zhan haul him off the ground. "Something to eat," he repeats.

Lan Zhan is picking up his cloak from the ground—fuck, Wei Ying had almost forgotten about the cloak. Fuck, Lan Zhan has a cloak. And wears it. Like it's normal. "Your stomach was growling," he says, "while you were sleeping."

"Well, that's embarrassing," Wei Ying mutters. His face gets hot again. Why is he like this?

"Besides," Lan Zhan continues, and from here, it looks like his eyes are dancing with amusement. Just a little. Just a smidge. How does he do that? "If we want to ensure this meets the parameters for a date, we should have a meal. Just to be certain."

"You really don't have to—" Wei YIng is saying, but Lan Zhan is tucking the cloak over his arm and reaching down to pick up both of their bags. He puts them both over his own shoulder—is he carrying Wei Ying's books for him? Like this is high school and also, like, a TV drama? And then he reaches out and takes Wei Ying's hand.

"I'm hungry, too," he says, and tugs Wei Ying towards the path. The day has gotten colder as the afternoon has worn on. Lan Zhan's hand encompasses his own, huge and so warm that the heat floods Wei Ying's whole body. He feels it in his chest, and in his stomach, and he can't bring himself to pull his hand away. To say no, to take himself home, to call this fourth fake-date done, and then just have to grit his teeth and get through the fifth one.

He stumbles down the path next to Lan Zhan instead, their shoulders bumping against each other, holding hands where everybody can see.


Lan Zhan takes them to a hole in the wall place, a Chinese restaurant with dumplings and noodles and hot pot that Wei Ying is helpless to resist. He is, suddenly, aware of how starving he is, now that his body is no longer running on caffeine and sugar. "My body is desperate for nutrients," he says, looking across the table at Lan Zhan. "Doesn't know when it last saw a vegetable."

He's just talking for the sake of talking, because he can't stop looking at Lan Zhan and maybe, if he just keeps chattering, Lan Zhan won't notice. Lan Zhan looks good even tucked in the corner of this restaurant—it only has ten tables and they were lucky to snag one. He's a little flushed from the heat of the hot pot in front of them. They'd gotten a dual-sided bowl—Lan Zhan's got mushroom broth, with Wei Ying's spicy broth a bubbling cloud beside it. He keeps losing his pieces in it and having to swirl it around to hunt them out.

"It's delicious," he says, desperately talking and wishing he could stop. "I can feel my cells expanding as I eat. I can't remember the last time I ate something that wasn't made of pastry." But of course he can—it was the dumplings at Lan Zhan's, eaten in Lan Zhan's room, their knees bumping up against each other as they ate, right before they—

He stuffs a piece of bok choy into his mouth after dipping it in chili paste. He should just keep eating. That will take care of the talking problem.

"Pastry is not a food group," Lan Zhan says mildly, selecting a piece of tofu and delicately placing it into the steaming mushroom broth. "You do need actual food on a fairly regular basis." He's studying the tofu as he says it, watching it bob in the broth. The steam is making the small hairs around his face curl up and that plus the flush of his cheeks is really just so deeply—

Wei Ying stuffs a piece of shrimp into his mouth as soon as it's done cooking. It's too hot and it burns the roof of his mouth and he has to pant, waving his hands in front of his face. It's better than thinking cute again. Fuck.

Lan Zhan is watching him with concern and he pushes Wei Ying's water glass closer to him. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." Wei Ying gulps water, which doesn't really help but at least gives him something to do. "I'm totally fine."

"Mn." Lan Zhan selects a dumpling with his chopsticks and drops it into Wei Ying's side of the broth. They both watch quietly as it bobs in the frothing liquid. When Lan Zhan scoops it out with a spoon, it looks like it's cooked perfectly. He deposits it on the small plate in front of Wei Ying, like a gift, or an offering, the way a date would do something, to be—fuck—cute.

Wei Ying stares down at the dumpling for a moment then sighs and eats it. He really is starving, still.

By the time they've worked their way through all of the food, his brain has stopped buzzing quite so much. He's full, in a good way, and his mouth is alive with the flavors, and heat, and only slightly singed from his scalding shrimp mistake. He'd ordered a beer halfway through and he takes another sip of it, letting the coolness of it offset the heat. "This was a good call, Lan Zhan."

"It seems so." Lan Zhan studies the table in front of them, seeming pleased at how thoroughly they've gone through the food.

"The double pot was a good idea. I didn't think we could ever agree on anything to share but this worked perfectly for us." He didn't know why he hadn't thought of it himself—he knows he likes pretty much everything hotter than most, but usually he just bullies Jiang Cheng into suffering through spicy broth for him.

"It did." Lan Zhan looks happy, relaxed. He's not quite smiling as he looks at Wei Ying across the table, but Wei Ying knows his contented look. "You look like you feel better."

Wei Ying grins and takes another sip of beer. "You mean now that I'm not strung out on caffeine?"

"Yes," Lan Zhan says in solemn agreement. "And now that your body has been properly introduced to the concept of vegetables."

Wei Ying laughs out loud; he can't help it. This is easy. Now that he's been fed, he can see that clearly. He doesn't need to make this more complicated than it is. They'd hung out, they'd gone to get dinner, and that's fine. It's good. They're making their way through this dumb pact Wei Ying has going on and when it's done, it's done. One step closer is good, really. It's excellent. They're nearly there.

It's fully dark when they emerge from the restaurant and any lingering warmth of the day has been stripped away. It feels like winter again now, particularly after the heat of the restaurant, the cold hitting them with a smack that takes Wei Ying's breath away. "Whoa," he says, zipping his jacket up quickly and tucking his hands in his pockets. "That's a tone change."

Lan Zhan has swung his cloak on and it's swirling gently around him as it settles into place. "I've got to tell you," Wei Ying says, watching him. "Not everyone can pull off a look like you do."

Lan Zhan looks down at himself, "Hm?"

"The whole...cloak...thing." Wei Ying gestures at him. "I'm just saying it works for you."

Lan Zhan shrugs his shoulders a little, setting the cloak to swirling again, just a bit, at the ends. "Thank you. It was a gift from my brother."

"My brother never gives me cool gifts like that." Wei Ying nudges Lan Zhan's shoulder with his own and they start walking back towards campus. "He just gives me a hard time."

"You love your brother very much, don't you?" Lan Zhan asks. He's not looking at Wei Ying, he's watching the path ahead of them.

"Well, yeah," Wei Ying says in surprise. "I mean, of course I do, he's...Jiang Cheng. I know he can be kind of a lot but he's honestly one of the best people I know. He just—he's a lot of bluster, you know?"

Lan Zhan slants a look at him. "I don't know him very well," he says. "He seems But I believe you." They walk for several paces before Lan Zhan says, "The fact that you'd do all of this to bring about a circumstance that you believe would make your brother happy speaks to the depth of your relationship with him." He's quiet for another few steps. "I admire it."

Wei Ying is quiet too, a little dumbstruck. He doesn't think about it like that. "It's just that Jiang Cheng deserves nice things," he explains. "And he doesn't always know how to get there. This isn't—I'm not out here saving lives, you know? Besides." He lets his shoulder brush against Lan Zhan's as they walk. "This isn't exactly a hardship, spending time with you."

He says it lightly, because he means it. This has been nice and if he can do a good job not making it weird, maybe they can be friends, going forward. Not just classmates. Or whatever.

"Mn," Lan Zhan says, and there's this depth of warmth to the sound. How does he do that? "I'm glad."

"So." Wei Ying says cheerfully, tucking his hands more deeply into his pockets. "Fuck, it's cold. Okay, so I should walk you home now—just like if this was a date!"

"I need to go to the library, actually," Lan Zhan says, sounding a little regretful.

"Got it!" Wei Ying reorients them so they're heading towards the path that leads to the library. "I guess it's not actually that late, it just feels late. It gets dark so early now. I've got to figure out what jacket I left my gloves in last year, my hands are freezing."

Lan Zhan wraps an arm around him easily. Wei Ying startles a little, and thinks about pulling away, but Lan Zhan's hand rests firmly on his shoulder and the cloak really is big enough for two. Besides, this is the end of the fourth date and there's only one more to go, to wrap this whole thing up, so what can it hurt?

He's quiet the rest of the way to the library, caught up in the rhythm of walking with Lan Zhan's arm around him, matching his pace to Lan Zhan's. They come up along the path next to the big, stately library building, up to the intimidating front steps that sap Wei Ying's will, whenever he has to come here, before he even manages to go in. "Well," he says brightly, slipping his arm out of the curve of Lan Zhan's. "Here you are, safe and sound."

"Wei Ying." That's all Lan Zhan says, but it shuts Wei Ying up, stops him in his tracks. In the next moment, Lan Zhan is tugging him into the shadow of the library building, a spot tucked just next to the stairs. He's turning him, pushing him up against the wall there, and kissing him. Wei Ying's hands are caught in the folds of Lan Zhan's cloak and he's going to push him away, laugh it off, tell him it's not a real date, explain that good night kisses aren't required when you're only fake dating.

But Lan Zhan is against him and he's got one hand on Wei Ying's face, his thumb stroking his cheek as he kisses him. Wei Ying kisses him back; he's helpless not to. His hands slide up until he's got his arms looped around Lan Zhan's neck. Lan Zhan is making soft, intent sounds into his mouth, pressing against him harder. Wei Ying tightens his arms, drags Lan Zhan's head down so he can change the angle, and god, he's so fucked. He can't breathe. He can't stop kissing Lan Zhan. He can't. He wants to swallow those noises Lan Zhan is making, wants Lan Zhan to never stop stroking his cheek like he's the most precious thing Lan Zhan has ever touched. He wants to live in this, right here, this kiss and this date and this thing he has going with Lan Zhan. He wants it. He wants it.

Lan Zhan pulls away, finally, reluctantly. Wei Ying can't stop himself from chasing his mouth this time, going for one last, lingering kiss.

"I—" Lan Zhan has to stop for a second, catch his breath, and oh, Wei Ying likes that, likes that Lan Zhan is breathless from kissing him. "I really do need to do research." He's still got his thumb on Wei Ying's cheekbone, tracing up and down.

"Right." Wei Ying looks up at him. "You should do that. That's important. Research is—"

"Important," Lan Zhan finishes for him. He pauses, his eyes tracing over his face, then kisses him again, lightly, before pulling away for real, his thumb tracing over Wei Ying's cheek one last time just as he steps back.

The cold seeps in shockingly fast when Lan Zhan isn't touching him anymore. Wei Ying takes a breath and then has to take another before he can step forward, shaking his arms out, then wrapping them around himself. He's fine. It's fine. This is fine. "Okay," he says. It comes out a little too loud. He makes himself grin. "Go do research," he says. "You have a paper due?"

Lan Zhan closes his eyes for slightly longer than a blink. "Wei Ying," he says, when he opens them again. "We have a paper due. For sociology."

"Oh," Wei Ying says, frowning. "Oh, that's what you're working on? That's not due until next week."

"It's Thursday," Lan Zhan says, sounding pained.

"Right," Wei Ying says. "We have so much time."

Lan Zhan opens his mouth and closes it again. "I'm...going to go do research."

"Okay," Wei Ying says. "You go. Work hard. And listen, I'll text you about, you know."

Lan Zhan looks at him inquiringly.

"Our fifth date." Wei Ying's throat hurts as he says it. Too much hot pot, probably. Too much spice.

"Ah." Lan Zhan's lips are doing that almost-smile thing. "I will await word from you."

Wei Ying nods. It's all he can do. His throat feels too tight. He watches as Lan Zhan walks away, pushes off the wall to look around the corner so he can watch Lan Zhan head up the library stairs. He takes them steadily, his back a long, straight line under the cloak.

Wei Ying watches until he disappears through the doors. He sags backwards then, the cement of the library wall rough under his head. One more date. One more.


"It's just one more date." Wei Ying rolls over onto his stomach so he can bury his face in Nie Huaisang's pillow. "It doesn't even matter," he tells it. "It's almost over."

"You know I can't hear you when you do that," Nie Huaisang says.

When Wei Ying turns his head a little to peek out at him, Nie Huaisang is intently playing a game on his phone. "You aren't even listening to me," Wei Ying accuses.

"I'm listening." Nie Huaisang's thumbs are still moving swiftly over his phone. "But you keep saying the same thing over and over again. It's a little boring."

"You're a little boring," Wei Ying says before stuffing his face back into the pillow.

"That's true," Nie Huaisang says. "I'm deeply boring. Boring is good. Boring means I don't create all sorts of drama and then have to run and hide in my best friend's bedroom."

"I'm not creating drama." Wei Ying pushes himself to sitting, offended. "I'm helping my brother."

"Sure you are." Nie Huaisang's phone makes a winning chime and he smiles, looking satisfied, and finally looks at Wei Ying. "I made it to the next level," he explains.

"Now will you pay attention to me?" Wei Ying gives him the most pathetic look he can manage.

"Yes," Nie Huaisang says. "Come here, tell me your woes."

Wei Ying flops over onto his back with a sigh, lacing his hands and staring up at the ceiling. Nie Huaisang companionably assumes the same position, lying down next to him.

"It's not drama," Wei Ying says glumly. "It's just stupid."

"Ah," Nie Huaisang says. "Are those two things mutually exclusive?"

"If you're not going to help me, because you enjoy teasing me so much, I'll just—" Wei Ying starts to roll off the bed but Nie Huaisang grabs him and pulls him back onto the bed.

"I'm sorry," he says contritely. "I'm here, I'm focused. Tell me about the stupid thing."

Wei Ying studies his face for a moment before settling back against the pillow grudgingly. "It's just one more date. One more fake date. And then it's done and hopefully Jiang Cheng has been well and truly destroyed by Wen Qing and will be too far in it to fuck it up—they really like each other, did I tell you? He's been walking around all starry-eyed for days now—and then I'm done and free."

"Okay, but that sounds like a good thing," Nie Huaisang says. "Why are you this?"

Wei Ying flings one arm over his face. "It is a good thing," he says. "It's all going like I planned it. For Jiang Cheng."

"Right." Nie Huaisang is quiet for a moment. "And on the flip side of things?"

Wei Ying doesn't move his arm from his face. It's comforting.

"The flip side," Nie Huaisang says again, "meaning your side of things. You know. With Lan Zhan."

Wei Ying groans a little against his arm. "That's the stupid part," he says finally.

"Ah." Nie Huaisang shifts next to Wei Ying, rolling up on his side next to him. "I sort of figured." He pokes at Wei Ying's arm a little. "Come on, tell me. This sounds like the interesting part."

"Shut up, shut up," Wei Ying says. He doesn't want to talk about this. He doesn't want to talk about any of this. But if he can't tell Nie Huaisang, who can he tell? He needs advice. "Just. Okay. Fuck." He scrubs his hands over his eyes. "There is a possibility that somehow Lan Zhan is, like, an overachiever."

"Surprising to whom," Nie Huaisang murmurs.

"No, I know, but even when it comes to fake dating. He's giving it his all, and he's really good at it—"

"Again, as to be expected," Nie Huaisang says.

"I know." Wei Ying drops his hands from his face so he can stare up at the ceiling some more. "I should have known that. I should have figured that he'd be good at it, because he's good at everything. He's not a slacker."

"Master of the understatement." Nie Huaisang wiggles closer to Wei Ying. "Tell me how he's good at it."

"Augh." Wei Ying shakes his head. "It's like...okay. He's so good at making sure it all looks real. And feels real. When he kissed me outside the library last night—"

"He kissed you?" Nie Huaisang breathes. "In public?"

"Yeah," Wei Ying says miserably. "He does that."

"Okay, that's unexpected," Nie Huaisang says.

"He does it in private, too," Wei Ying says.

Nie Huaisang's eyes get a little wider.

"I told you," Wei Ying says impatiently. "He's really giving this the full treatment. He's so good at it."

"At kissing?"

"No—well, I mean, yeah, that too, but at fake-dating. He's really...taken to the role."

Nie Huaisang looks at him. "Say more about that."

"So when it started, it was just practice, right?"

"Practice kissing," Nie Huaisang says. "Ohhhh, Wei Ying. That's quite the idea."

"I know." Wei Ying sits up. "I know. I'm so dumb. But it was fine, when it was just practice." He chews on his lip a little. "Mostly. But then it sort of—like, it keeps getting more..."

Nie Huaisang nods encouragingly.

"I jerked him off," Wei Ying admits. His face is so hot he feels like he's going to burn up. "We were kissing, and then we were on his bed, and then we just sort of—things got a little bit more, and somehow I just..."

"Had your hand on his dick," Nie Huaisang says. "Say more. About that."

"You're so shameless," Wei Ying says, but there's no heat behind it.

"How can I help you if you don't tell me everything?" Nie Huaisang looks offended.

"I'm not telling you everything," he says. "He' was...I don't know, it was really good." He stops and then mumbles, "I never even got to see everything, but it felt...good." He stops talking. He can't think about Lan Zhan's dick right now. He's never going to get to see it. This is all almost over.

"You didn't see it," Nie Huaisang says slowly, "but you definitely...touched it."

"Yeah," Wei Ying says sadly.

"Oh wow." Nie Huaisang looks at him for a moment. "And you made out with him."

"Like." Wei Ying takes in a breath and lets it out again in a rush. "A lot."

"Hm. Okay, we are definitely going to circle back to that. But for now, if I put together what you're being an incredible sad sack about correctly, the problem is that all of what you did—including jerking him off—is fake-dating stuff. And that you have another date to get through, which, phew, after everything you just told me, who knows how that's going to go. Do we have to have a talk, by the way? A safe sex talk?"

"Please don't." Wei Ying pushes himself up on his elbows. "Please. Can you just—"

"Right." Nie Huaisang looks like he's pondering. Wei Ying waits. Finally, Nie Huaisang says, "It would be incredibly off base for me to suggest that you might have somehow gotten the lines crossed and grown feelings about the dude you're fake-dating, right?"

Wei Ying just looks at him.

"Because if you did that," Nie Huaisang continues, "then you'd be in one hell of a spot, since the guy—Lan Zhan—is doing this as a favor. Right?"

Wei Ying slumps back on the bed.

"And you wouldn't want to be in that spot, right?"

"Definitely not." Wei Ying is studying the ceiling again, carefully. "And also he—Lan Zhan—definitely wouldn't want to be in that spot."

"Definitely?" Nie Huaisang asks.

"Definitely." Wei Ying shuts his eyes.

"Oh, buddy." Nie Huaisang lies down beside him. "That's rough."

"It's just this one last date that's making everything complicated." When Wei Ying rolls towards him, Nie Huaisang lifts his arm so Wei Ying can press his face against his chest, Nie Huaisang's arm a comforting weight over his shoulders. "Other than that, it's all totally fine, actually," he says, muffled against Nie Huaisang's chest.

"Of course it is." Nie Huaisang pets his shoulder a little. "You're fine."

"Totally." Wei Ying takes a shaky breath. They lie there like that for a while. Even when Nie Huaisang picks up his phone and starts playing the game again, one-handed, it's still kind of comforting. Wei Ying keeps his face pressed against his chest and thinks that, after this final date, he's never going to go out with anyone ever again. He's very bad at it.


When he gets home, he jerks off. He keeps it hard, and fast, and tries to make it mindless, not thinking about anything at all. When he's done, he lies there with his hand still wrapped around his softening dick, his come cooling on his belly, for what feels like a long time before he can bring himself to fumble for the box of tissues on his bedside table. He wipes his hand and cleans himself off, then does up his jeans. He picks up his phone and swipes it open.

Saturday night, he types. It's the last time you have to do this, so might as well do it right. Saturday nights are the true date nights and if he needs to close the door on this, he's not going to do it like a coward. They'll go through all the motions and wrap this thing up.

I am available, Lan Zhan texts back just a few moments later.

"Great," Wei Ying says, looking at the message. "That's just so great. I'm so ready." He is. The only way out is through.


They meet up on Saturday evening. Wei Ying had had vague thoughts about finding someplace for dinner, keeping it simple, but when he gets off the bus at the stop near campus, Lan Zhan is waiting for him. When Wei Ying says, "Sorry, sorry, I know I'm late, the bus was stupid," Lan Zhan hands him a flower wrapped in tissue paper.

It takes Wei Ying several moments of blinking down at it before he can look up at Lan Zhan. "You brought me flowers?"

"I did." Lan Zhan's watching him.

"It's...pretty," Wei Ying says. It is. It's a small, curled-up rose, nestled against the protective paper, but it's simple, too. A bouquet would have been a little funny. This is sweet and it makes his chest hurt. "Thank you."

"Flowers, you said," Lan Zhan says, as they head down the street, "are part of dating."

Wei Ying nods, trying not to stumble over his own feet as he looks down at the rose in his hand. "I don't want to wreck it," he says, trying to hold it as lightly as possible.

"Ah," Lan Zhan turns and draws him over to the side of the sidewalk, where they won't be in anyone's way. "I had thought—" He straightens the collar of Wei Ying's coat—it's cold enough tonight that he's worn his winter one, worn black wool that still serves to keep him warm. Lan Zhan tucks Wei Ying's scarf more fully around his neck and Wei Ying makes himself hold still, like this is normal, like this is something that happens every day. Like Lan Zhan's fingers brushing his jaw doesn't send shivers down his spine. "Here." Lan Zhan plucks the rose from the paper and Wei Ying sees the stem has been wrapped so it's reinforced. Lan Zhan carefully tucks the stem through Wei Ying's top buttonhole. "It will be secure." he says as he does it.

"Great," Wei Ying says faintly.

"There." Lan Zhan stands back and looks at him.

"Thank you." Wei Ying takes a breath, letting the cold air cut into his lungs. "Do you want to—are you hungry? We could get something to eat or we could just—" He can't do it. He can't sit across the table from Lan Zhan and watch him and let the minutes tick away until the date is over. He can't do it. "Do you want to just take a walk, maybe?" he says finally, frantically. "I know it's cold, but I just need to walk. Is that okay?"

"Yes," Lan Zhan says. "I would like that."

Wei Ying doesn't want to be near people, doesn't want to deal with the swirl of downtown, or the crowd of campus on a Saturday night. He tucks his hands deep into the pockets of his coat and leads them away from the bustle of the street, skirting along the edge of campus. There's a path there and they walk along it as the evening gets darker. They're mostly quiet—it's rare that Wei Ying can let a silence hold, but tonight it feels like just being together is enough, possibly too much, for his brain to process. He keeps his hands in his pockets, so he's not tempted to let one tangle with Lan Zhan's, and he doesn't let himself nudge against Lan Zhan's shoulder as they walk.

This path leads down to the river that runs alongside the campus. It's one of Wei Ying's favorite spots. The sound of the water is a soothing white noise and there are benches along the bank and sometimes he comes here when his brain is too loud just so he can take a break from thinking.

It doesn't seem to be working tonight. "Fifth date," he says, without meaning to, as they walk slowly along the river. "Last one."

"Ah," Lan Zhan says. Is he matching his pace to Wei Ying's, or have they just fallen into stride together? "Right." He draws to a stop on the path, turning to look at the water.

Wei Ying stops and turns as well. He's tired. Why is he so tired? He wants to lean his head on Lan Zhan's shoulder, maybe wants Lan Zhan to put his arm around him for just a couple of minutes, hold him up. Just for a little bit.

He pushes his hands deeper into his pockets and hunches his shoulders, instead. "Sorry this date is such a dud," he says, trying for cheerful. "I promise we can go get something to eat, after, or I can get you tea, or—" He looks at Lan Zhan, the cut of his jaw, how his eyes catch the glow of the streetlights lining the path.

Lan Zhan is just watching the water. "Did it work, do you think?" He asks it in the same studious tone he uses in class, when he's working through a question. "The...premise." He tilts his head to look at Wei Ying. "The pact you made."

"Oh." Wei Ying can't stop looking at him. He should watch the water, instead. The water is safe. "Oh, yeah, it totally did. It was—you were great. It was so nice of you to help me out." The words are coming out strangled no matter how hard he tries. He shakes his head, rocking back on his heels, still looking at Lan Zhan. "So good. You're just really good. At this."

Lan Zhan hesitates for a moment, then he nods. "I'm glad," he says. "I'm happy to have been a help to you."

"Oh," Wei Ying says. "Big help. Huge help. Really good." They've turned towards each other on the path, somehow, and Lan Zhan is studying his face.

Wei Ying swallows.

"Fifth date," Lan Zhan says, reaching forward and gently straightening the flower in Wei Ying's buttonhole.

"Right," Wei Ying says. He can't stop watching him.

"Last one," Lan Zhan says then. His hand is still on Wei Ying's collar. He moves his fingers up to brush against his jaw.

"Last one," Wei Ying agrees desperately. His breath is caught in his chest. It's too cold along the river. Why did he ever suggest this? Lan Zhan must be freezing. They should just—

Lan Zhan kisses him. He kisses him soft and slow. He's bending forward, his hands resting lightly on Wei Ying's sides. His breath is hot against Wei Ying's mouth and his lips are so soft, and that thing happens where Wei Ying's knees feel weak, just from this, the brush of their lips together.

They stay like that, trading quiet kisses in the chilly air off of the river, until Wei Ying has to pull back to take a shuddering breath. He's freezing all over except for where Lan Zhan's hands are resting on his hips.

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says. He's still so close, his breath warm against Wei Ying's mouth. "Do you want to come back to my place?"

Wei Ying is clinging to Lan Zhan's arms. He's not sure when that happened. His fingers are freezing cold and holding on so tightly it almost hurts. "Yes," he says, fiercely, instead of laughing it off the way his whole brain is telling him to. "Yes, I want—yes."

Lan Zhan eyes get darker, hotter, and Wei Ying can feel how his hands tighten just a bit against his hips. He steps back and takes Wei Ying's hand in his own, and the warmth of it makes his fingers tingle. "Let's go," he says.


The door to Lan Zhan's room has barely closed before Lan Zhan is pressing Wei Ying up against it, unwinding his scarf and shoving his jacket down and off. He kisses him feverishly, his hands on Wei Ying's face belying the way they'd walked back to his dorm together, not touching, not even a little bit. Wei Ying had been vibrating with tension and he'd felt like if he gave into it, he wouldn't have been able to stop, like if he just brushed Lan Zhan's fingers with his own, that would have been enough to light him up inside and he would have had to kiss him, right there on the street.

Now, Lan Zhan has him pressed up so hard against the door he can barely breathe, but he doesn't feel like he even has to. He's crushed against Lan Zhan and kissing him back just as frantically. Lan Zhan's hands keep moving—his thumbs up against Wei Ying's cheekbones, then down to stroke his neck. Wei Ying can't stop clutching at Lan Zhan, dragging him closer, closer. When Lan Zhan pulls his mouth away, Wei Ying whimpers. Lan Zhan is dragging his mouth along his jaw, down his neck, hot and wet and dangerous. "Please," Wei Ying is saying. He tries to clamp his mouth shut, swallow the words, but they keep escaping. "Please. Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan."

It feels like his words echoes in the room and Wei Ying could cry from how desperate he sounds, but Lan Zhan just presses his mouth against Wei Ying's neck, his tongue a brand against his skin. "Yes," he's saying, pressing the words against Wei Ying's skin, so that he feels it rumble through him. "Yes," and "Yes."

Wei Ying surges up against him, dragging his face back so he can kiss him again. When Lan Zhan moans, Wei Ying feels it right down to his toes. Lan Zhan's hands are tight against his shoulders, then against his sides, his hips, and oh, oh, he's dragging him forward, pulling him closer and turning them both around.

Wei Ying stumbles backwards—he can't stop kissing Lan Zhan, he can't—and when the back of his knees hit the bed, he sprawls backwards. He's toeing his sneakers off with the tiny part of his brain that still works, and Lan Zhan is kicking off his own nice dress shoes—one goes flying and knocks over a pile of books with a crash and Lan Zhan doesn't even turn his head. He just climbs on top of Wei Ying on the bed, following him as Wei Ying frantically scoots himself backwards, dragging Lan Zhan with him by the hips.

Lan Zhan's good, he's so good, he lands with one leg sliding between Wei Ying's thighs and the sound Wei Ying makes when he presses up against him would probably be embarrassing if he had any thoughts in his brain other than how bad he wants Lan Zhan to fuck him. He's so hard. He'd been half-hard since they'd kissed on the river bank, his body thrumming with it. Lan Zhan is rocking up against him and the noises he's making are rough, and needy. Wei Ying's whole body is zinging with how much he wants to hear more.

"Come here," he's saying, even though Lan Zhan is pressed up against him as close as he can possibly get. "Come here, I want—I need—" Shut up, Wei Ying, shut up, shut up. "Please," he says, his hands somehow working to pull Lan Zhan's shirt out of his trousers, then pushing his hands up underneath, the smooth skin of Lan Zhan's back hot underneath his fingers.

"Wei Ying." Lan Zhan rocks forward against him like he can't stop. He's panting too, breathless, and Wei Ying's so glad he's not the only one losing it, he can't be the only one, not right now. "Wei Ying, let me. Let me."

Wei Ying nods frantically, not caring what he's agreeing to. He wants it. He wants it any way Lan Zhan wants to give it to him.

Lan Zhan's hand is in his hair, using Wei Ying's loose ponytail to tug his head back. Wei Ying moans deep in his throat, a startled sound. Fuck, he liked that. Fuck, he's screwed. Lan Zhan knows it, too—Wei Ying sees his eyes go dark in the glow of the streetlamps outside his window. He keeps his hand in Wei Ying's hair as he kisses his way down his neck, long, lingering kisses that make Wei Ying hitch his hips up against Lan Zhan's thigh, rocking his dick against him. When Lan Zhan digs his teeth in, all of the air leaves Wei Ying's lungs in a gasp and he thinks for one frantic moment that he might come from it, might come in his pants again just from how Lan Zhan's teeth and tongue are holding him here, against Lan Zhan's bed, sending shots of lightning through his whole body.

Lan Zhan pulls away with a wet, obscene noise and Wei Ying's cursing breathlessly into the darkness. Lan Zhan moves, unbuttoning Wei Ying's shirt with careful fingers—Wei Ying doesn't know how he has the control, he thinks he'd need to just tear Lan Zhan's shirt off like in the movies, he gets that, finally, how the idea of having enough motor control to undo buttons when his entire body just wants to fuck is utterly impossible.

His brain goes offline again as Lan Zhan's mouth moves over his chest, his tongue flickering lightly over one nipple in a way that makes Wei Ying's whole body go tight and hot. Further, down to his stomach, lingering there as he thumbs open the button on Wei Ying's jeans and eases the zipper down and Wei Ying is going to die. He's going to die. He'd known that this was where they were headed, but he'd both known and hadn't known, hadn't fucking thought this through, not really, because he never thinks anything through. Not even the important stuff, like this.

Lan Zhan's tongue is tracing an achingly slow line just below his belly button along the top of his underwear. When Lan Zhan's hands catch on the sides of his jeans, tugging at them, Wei Ying moves, helping him, lifting his hips and shoving them down his thighs. "I want," he gasps before he can stop himself, then brings his hand to his mouth, like he can shut himself up, hold everything in.

Lan Zhan doesn't notice. Lan Zhan is focused on tugging his jeans the rest of the way off, his socks going with them. Lan Zhan is easing his underwear over his dick, and the intake of breath Lan Zhan gives when he sees Wei Ying's dick is something that resonates in Wei Ying's brain. Lan Zhan shoves the underwear off Wei Ying's ankles and closes his eyes, running his mouth over the length of Wei Ying's dick.

Wei Ying groans, way too loud, even with his fist pressed against his mouth. It's too much—Lan Zhan isn't exactly licking him, he's using his whole mouth to run up the length of his dick, hot and wet and beyond anything Wei Ying has ever felt in his human lifetime. He'd thought about having his dick sucked, who hasn't thought about having their dick sucked, but this isn't anything like he'd thought. He wasn't prepared. He didn't know.

"Oh, fuck, Lan Zhan." It comes out muffled against his hand, but he can't stop talking. "Your mouth, fuck, your mouth, I want—it, I want it, I want—" He cries out when Lan Zhan wraps a hand around him and takes him in, going slow, almost studious, which is a weird way to think about your dick getting sucked, but it's true. He's working the head of it, tracing over the shape of it with his tongue and Wei Ying's hips want to come off the bed, but they can't, because Lan Zhan is holding him down with one huge, hot hand. He likes that, so much, too much, he might die from it?

Lan Zhan goes down deeper and Wei Ying has both hands pressed against his face now. It's an achingly slow press as Lan Zhan seems to learn the shape and size of him. Wei Ying can't feel his hands, can't stop the moans pouring out of him, can't stop his hips from trying to hitch up, the press of Lan Zhan's hand against them a counterpoint to Lan Zhan's hot mouth taking him all the way in.

When Lan Zhan moves, sucking Wei Ying with purpose, Wei Ying gets lost in the rhythm of it. Somehow he's got one hand tangled in Lan Zhan's hair, holding on as Lan Zhan moves. He's trembling, his whole body shaking, as his hips keep trying to move up, as everything in his body centers in on his dick in Lan Zhan's mouth. Every muscle is tense, and he's got his face pressed sideways against Lan Zhan's pillow, whimpering desperately. Lan Zhan swallows around him, he's got him in deep, so fucking deep. Wei Ying hears himself make a frantic, warning noise, and then his body goes taut and he's coming, a rush throughout his entire body, white light suffusing his brain as he arches up against the bed and shakes through it.

He can't move. He can't open his eyes. He can't feel his hands. He doesn't know his own name. He—

"Wei Ying." Lan Zhan is crawling up over him again. When Wei Ying manages to blink his eyes open, Lan Zhan is wiping his face with the back of his hand. His mouth looks wrecked, used, and Wei Ying can't stand how fucking into that he is. He drags Lan Zhan closer, kissing him, hard, and fuck, everything in Wei Ying's body is winding up again, even as the last thrum of his orgasm is still rocking through him.

"Take it off," Wei Ying says against Lan Zhan's mouth, trying to wrench Lan Zhan's shirt off. "Please, please, I can't—" He can't be the only one nearly naked, his shirt still hanging off his shoulders, scrunched up sweaty underneath him. Lan Zhan's still fully dressed and Wei Ying can't take it, he can't, he wants— "Please," he says again, desperate.

Lan Zhan tugs his shirt off over his head without unbuttoning it, and kneels up over Wei Ying to undo his pants and Wei Ying is getting hard again, watching this.

Lan Zhan has to roll to the side to push his trousers down and off, removing his underwear along with it in one smooth motion. Even the few seconds that takes is too much for Wei Ying, and he pushes up onto his side so he can run his hand down Lan Zhan's hip as soon as it's exposed. His eyes fall to Lan Zhan's cock. Finally. He's hard and it looks as big as it felt, jutting out from his body, glistening at the head. Wei Ying has to swallow; why does he like that so much, how wet Lan Zhan gets? He likes knowing that, like that he gets to know that.

He tugs on Lan Zhan's hip, bringing him in for a kiss, and Lan Zhan melts against him, one hand coming up to push into Wei Ying's hair as he moves. Wei Ying groans into the kiss as Lan Zhan's cock drags against his hip. "Oh," he says faintly. "Oh, fuck."

Lan Zhan's hand fists in his hair and Wei Ying's hips jerk forward without his volition. "Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says, his voice tight. "I—oh."

Wei Ying has wrapped his hand around Lan Zhan's cock. It's slick from the get-go and Lan Zhan has his face buried in Wei Ying's shoulder as he pushes into Wei Ying's fist. Something about this, about Lan Zhan trusting him like this, trusting him to stroke him off, trusting him to swallow the sounds he's making—somehow all of that hits him hard. Even though he'd just come in Lan Zhan's mouth this more.

"Can I—" Lan Zhan's hips move forward, Wei Ying doing nothing to stop them, loving the uneven thrusts, loving how Lan Zhan has to stop talking as his voice breaks when Wei Ying moves his hand on him, stroking up over the head where he's leaking, hot and wet against Wei Ying's wrist. "I want to feel you," Lan Zhan says finally. He's pressing the words against Wei Ying's skin, his breath hot against Wei Ying's chest. "Like this."

"Yes," Wei Ying says. He's dizzy, his dick getting hard again so soon that it nearly hurts. A good hurt, as he rubs it up against Lan Zhan's hip. "Like how? Tell me, Lan Zhan, I'll—yes, yes."

He'd say yes to anything Lan Zhan wants right now. He knows he's an idiot and he absolutely doesn't care. He knows they wouldn't be doing this if Lan Zhan didn't—if he didn't somehow, in some way—

Lan Zhan is moving him, shifting him, and Wei Ying is letting him, fuck, he's being manhandled, Lan Zhan's huge hands moving him so easily and he's as shockingly into it as he was into Lan Zhan's hand tugging at his hair. He moans as Lan Zhan turns him around—is Lan Zhan asking to fuck him? Would Wei Ying let him? He might. Fuck, he might.

Lan Zhan is mouthing at the back of his neck, pushing his hair out of the way so he can kiss him there, open-mouthed and hot, sending shudders down Wei Ying's spine. His cock is up against Wei Ying, so hard and so wet, dripping against him. "Just—" Lan Zhan says. "I just want to feel you, want to feel—this." He pushes between Wei Ying's thighs with his cock and, oh. Oh, that was not what Wei Ying had been expecting but fuck, it feels good. Lan Zhan's cock is right in between there, and the head is bumping against Wei Ying's balls every time he shifts forward and that, too, is sending sparks through Wei Ying's entire body like he's been, he doesn't even know, rewired so everything Lan Zhan does to him just lights him up inside.

"Please," he's saying—again. Still. Begging for it. "Please, yeah, you can—like that, I want it—"

Lan Zhan's moving, and he's slick, but it's not quite enough, Wei Ying wants the slide of it, wants to feel it, enough that he's saying, "Wait, wait, lube? Lan Zhan, lube?"

And Lan Zhan lifts his head from where he's been mouthing at Wei Ying's shoulder to say, his voice hazy, "Yes, that's—yes, please, it's there. The drawer."

Wei Ying fumbles for the bedside table, having to pull away from Lan Zhan a little to do so. He hates it but oh, it's so worth it when he yanks the drawer open and spots the flip-top bottle of lube, lined up neatly there alongside—oh, god, he's going to be thinking about Lan Zhan opening himself up with that slim blue dildo for the rest of his life and there is no one on earth who can stop him. He slams the drawer shut and pushes himself back against Lan Zhan, his face burning so hot. Fuck, what a vivid image. He might die from it, and he doesn't want to, not yet, not before he gets Lan Zhan to come between his thighs.

"Here," he pants out, pressing the bottle back into Lan Zhan's hand. "Now, I—"

He's shaking like he's the one who hasn't already come, like he's the one who's slicked up, god, the slide is so much better now, it's so good, the feel of Lan Zhan's cock moving smooth and hot, the way Lan Zhan is panting for breath against his shoulder, holding him tight and close, thrusting again, harder, his teeth digging against Wei Ying's shoulder.

"It's so good," Wei Ying moans, pushing his hand back to hold onto Lan Zhan's head, keeping it there. "Please, fuck, please."

He'd just meant he'd wanted Lan Zhan to keep going but Lan Zhan does him one better, and with the next thrust, he brings his arm around Wei Ying's waist, reaching down and unerringly grabbing his dick, wrapping it in his slick hand and jerking him off. It doesn't even matter that the rhythm is uneven, Wei Ying is caught up in the damp, desperate sounds Lan Zhan is making behind him, how he's driving forward again and again, how he's clearly going to come any second now. Wei Ying wants it, he wants it.

Lan Zhan thrusts in and holds himself there, shaking as he spills between Wei Ying's thighs. He's groaning with his mouth against Wei Ying's shoulder and trembling behind him, so hard Wei Ying feels as though he might shake apart. Wei Ying feels caught up in it, shaking nearly as much. Lan Zhan draws in a breath against his shoulder, and then another, and then he starts moving his hand on Wei Ying's dick again. "Oh fuck," Wei Ying pants. He'd almost forgotten his own arousal, so caught up in Lan Zhan's, but it slams back into him now. "Please, I have to—please make me come, please." Which is obviously what Lan Zhan is very intently doing at this very moment, even, but Wei Ying is fuck-dumb. His thighs are sliding against each other with Lan Zhan's come and it's both gross and also incredibly, deeply hot, and honestly he needs to be excused from having to control whatever it is that comes out of his mouth right now.

"I've got you," Lan Zhan murmurs, and if that doesn't send one hell of a zing through Wei Ying in a way that's going to be a very real problem for him... "I've got you, I've..." His mouth is back against Wei Ying's neck, mouthing at it as he moves his hand on Wei Ying's dick in the perfect rhythm, the best possible rhythm, fuck, he's going to come, he's going to come again, he's going to come again in about ten seconds and—

"Oh," he gasps, his hand flying back to grab Lan Zhan's hip, hanging on, holding him close. "You're so good at this, you're so good, you're too good, Lan Zhan, I—"

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says, like a command, like a direct order, and Wei Ying shakes apart in his arms. He's coming hot and hard, spilling all over Lan Zhan's fist, all over his bed. He's got his head thrown back against Lan Zhan's shoulder, his arm still clutching at his hip, and he can't get enough breath in his body.

He collapses forward when he's finished, his entire body going limp and boneless. He definitely lands in his own wet spot and he definitely doesn't care. "Hhnnrgh," he says against the covers. He tries again. "Hhhnn—that dirty, Lan Zhan."

Lan Zhan's hand is on his hip, and he's pressed up against Wei Ying's back. It's a pleasant weight, a good weight. He feels like he'd maybe float up towards the ceiling without Lan Zhan anchoring him here. He can feel Lan Zhan's heart still beating hard and fast against his back and that feels grounding too, a counterpoint to the thundering in his own chest. He can feel Lan Zhan's lips move against his shoulder when he says, "Not so dirty."

Wei Ying uses a great deal of energy so he can twist around and look up at him. Lan Zhan's face is flushed and his eyes are dark and he looks...

Wei Ying shuts his eyes, hitching himself over more so he can press his face against Lan Zhan's chest. Lan Zhan takes a breath when he does it and his arm comes over Wei Ying's shoulder, warm against the air of the room, air that feels chilly now as the sweat dries on their skin. "Ha," Wei Ying says. "Then you must have much dirtier thoughts than I do." He can't just stay here and, what, cuddle? Fall asleep in Lan Zhan's bed again? He can't. He can't.

He sits up slowly, extracting himself from Lan Zhan's arms. Lan Zhan's hand falls to Wei Ying's thigh. He's pushed himself to sitting, as well, and he looks completely at ease, even though he's as naked as Wei Ying is—or nearly so, since Wei Ying's shirt is still half on, twisted around his arms and shoulders now. Lan Zhan's hair is a tumbled mess, falling in waves over his bare shoulders like he's the cover of a book, a romance novel where the hero comes and sweeps the girl off her feet.

It makes Wei Ying fumble with his own hair, which has almost completely lost its ponytail, his hair elastic having disappeared somewhere in the tangle of it. "I'm a disaster. Look at you, you're perfection and I'm—" He laughs, trying to extract his hair elastic and Lan Zhan's hands move to his hair, gently pushing Wei Ying’s aside and working out the elastic carefully.

Still, it tugs, and when Wei Ying winces, Lan Zhan murmurs, "I'm sorry, does it hurt?" and drops another soft kiss to Wei Ying's shoulder as he hands him the elastic.

Wei Ying bites the inside of his lip, hard, and takes the elastic, flashing Lan Zhan a grin. "I'm good," he says. He claws his hair back into what is probably a really insane ponytail—he can feel how lumpy it is, but it's fine, it's fine.

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says, and oh, Wei Ying can't talk about this. He can't. His heart is beating even harder now, but in a weird, unsteady rhythm, off-kilter and unhappy. If they talk about this, then it's over, it's well and truly over, and he can't sit here and listen to Lan Zhan explain that. He can't. He knows.

"Oh, look at that, it's late, it's so—you've got to be so glad I won't be keeping you up late anymore. I'm like that, I mess up schedules and plans. Nie Huaisang is always telling me that." He's scrambling off the bed as he talks, desperately searching for his underwear. It feels like a miracle when he finds it flung to the floor at the foot of the bed. "He doesn't mind it, of course, you know Nie Huaisang—wait, do you know Nie Huaisang? You do, right?"

"I do." Lan Zhan is watching him scramble into his clothes. He slides to the foot of the bed, gracefully scoops his own underwear off of the floor. "I am acquainted with his brother and they are both...well known amidst my circles on campus."

"Right." Wei Ying is doing up his jeans, wondering where his socks are, questioning if he even needs socks. Maybe he should start leading a sock-free lifestyle. It would mean sweaty feet, but less laundry, and he wouldn't have to find them, and—

Lan Zhan hands Wei Ying his socks.

Why is that the thing that makes Wei Ying blush? His thighs are still tacky with Lan Zhan's come. "Thanks!" he says, sitting down to tug them on. "Right, you would know them, obviously, not, like, 'oh, ha, all Chinese people on campus know each other,' but, like." He stops with one sock on. "You know what I mean."

"I do." Lan Zhan says. He's pulled his trousers back on and he's just there, with his slim hips and his ridiculous abs and he's looking at Wei Ying. He opens his mouth and Wei Ying leaps to his feet.

"I should go," he says. "It's late. It's—so late, and we, well." He shoves his feet into his sneakers, grabs his coat from the floor. The rose is still in the buttonhole, a little worse for being flung on the floor, but still intact. Wei Ying stares at it for a second before shrugging the coat back on. "Thank you," he says, pausing with his hand on the doorknob. "Thank you for helping me, know, the dates. The five dates. It was—" Devastating. "A lot less work than I thought it would be. Sorry I put you through that. That's me, always needing saving from myself. My brother tells me that all the time." Stop talking. "Okay. I—"

He darts forward, leaning in to press a kiss against Lan Zhan's cheek. He lets his hand rest on Lan Zhan's side as he does so, just for a moment, the skin warm under his fingers. "See you in class, right?"

He spins and leaves before Lan Zhan can respond. The door bangs shut too loudly behind him and he has to make an effort not to collapse back against it. He grimly moves forward, in a fugue state. A step at a time and he'll be home, and then he can crawl under the covers and—possibly—never come out.


"Is it going to be like this for the rest of our lives?" Jiang Cheng demands. "I don't want that."

"Like what?" Wei Ying doesn't bother to push the blanket off of his face from where he's curled up under it on the couch. Jiang Cheng can hear him. It's fine.

"You." Jiang Cheng shoves Wei Ying's feet out of the way and sits down on the couch next to him. "Moping. Dragging yourself around like it's the end of the world."

"I'm not moping," Wei Ying protests. He pushes his feet into Jiang Cheng's lap, twisting around on the couch so he can stare at the ceiling. "Shut up. You're moping."

"I most definitely am not." Jiang Cheng pinches his ankle, and Wei Ying whines at him until he pets at the spot. "You haven't left the house in three days. You haven't showered in three days, either, it smells like."

Wei Ying gives him a sad look from his end of the couch. "Why are you being so mean to me," he asks. "I'm a nice brother."

"You're a sad brother," Jiang Cheng shoots back, but he's not rolling his eyes, he's just looking at Wei Ying. He's still got his hand on Wei Ying's ankle and he gives it a little shake. "What is up with you?"

"Nothing." Wei Ying sighs. It's really true. There's nothing.

"That is a lie." Jiang Cheng says it flatly. "You're the one who said we should make a pact. You're the one who said it. And then you just—" He clamps his mouth shut and shakes his head.

"What?" Wei Ying blinks at him. When Jiang Cheng doesn't say anything, he pushes himself to sitting, pushing aside the blanket. "I just what?"

"You didn't even ask," Jiang Cheng bursts out. "About me and—" He cuts himself off, breathing angrily through his nose. His face is flushed red all over. "About the pact. About the...fifth date."

Is the phrase 'fifth date' ever not going to sound like the end of the world to Wei Ying? It cuts through him, his stomach giving a lurch. He shakes his head, and pushes the blanket to the floor so he can scoot closer to Jiang Cheng on the couch. "Fifth date," he says like it doesn't hurt. "Right! You and Wen Qing went out, right? On Saturday?"

Jiang Cheng says, "I'm not sure if it counts, if we didn't...go out." He's flushing harder and oh. Oh, Wei Ying has been caught up in his own misery, but does that mean...?

"Jiang Cheng!" He puts a hand on Jiang Cheng's shoulder. "Did you and Wen Qing—did you guys—oh my god, you did!"

Jiang Cheng's blushing so hard Wei Ying's worried he might catch fire. "Shut up," he says gruffly, but he looks pleased, he looks...happy.

"Tell me," Wei Ying demands. "Tell me everything. I want details."

"I am absolutely not telling you everything," Jiang Cheng says flatly. "That's weird."

"Fine, whatever," Wei Ying says, inching closer. "But tell me something."

Jiang Cheng looks away. His hands are clenched in fists on his lap, but he's also got this small smile playing across his lips. "You were right," he says. "She likes me. She's liked me. She said she didn't want to play any games. Like, from step one, she made it really clear that this was—more." He looks at Wei Ying.

Oh, he's been dying to tell someone, and who is he going to tell, other than Wei Ying? But Wei Ying has—he's not wrong—been dragging himself around the apartment and not even noticing Jiang Cheng. "More," Wei Ying says. "That's good, right?"

"It is." Jiang Cheng presses his lips together then bursts out with, "She's so tiny, right, but she's the one in charge, and it's...nice, not to have to wonder. She tells me. She lets me know. She—"

Wei Ying watches as his blush gets even deeper. "You like her?"

Jiang Cheng gives a short, sharp nod. "Wei Ying, I think I love her." He looks immediately alarmed, like he's startled himself. "Oh, fuck."

Wei Ying smiles and slumps against Jiang Cheng's shoulder. "Good for you," he says. It is. It is so, so good for Jiang Cheng. That was the whole point, actually, of the pact, and it worked. He wasn't sure it was going to, but it had, it worked just the way he'd planned. This was so good. Exactly what he'd hoped. "So good."

"I guess?" Jiang Cheng sounds a little dismayed. "Fuck," he says again, with feeling. He slants a glare at Wei Ying. "Now you," he demands.

Wei Ying blinks at him. "Now me what?"

"Now you tell me what's going on with you." Jiang Cheng frowns. "You and Lan Zhan."

"Nothing." Wei Ying says, pressing his face against Jiang Cheng's shoulder. "There isn't—it didn't work out."

Jiang Cheng knocks his head off his shoulder with the flat of one palm.

"Ow." Wei Ying slumps back on his side of the couch, staring at Jiang Cheng reproachfully.

"You're such an idiot." Jiang Cheng sighs. "You are the smartest complete moron I've ever met."

"Hey," Wei Ying says, staring at him.

"I'm not kidding about that. What is actually wrong with you?" Jiang Cheng says.

Jiang Cheng isn't even being nice about Wei Ying being a pile of sadness on the couch. He's not even trying. Wei Ying pouts at him and Jiang Cheng just rolls his eyes. "It didn't work out," he says, mimicking Wei Ying's sad tone, wow, way too meanly. "He is clearly into you. What the fuck do you mean, it didn't work out?"

"He isn't." Wei Ying drags the blanket back into his lap.

Jiang Cheng's nostrils flare. Wei Ying doesn't think he's ever actually seen that happen in real life. "He is," he says flatly. "He looks at you like you're the moon and the stars."

"That's not true," Wei Ying starts, but Jiang Cheng cuts him off.

"He likes you," he says flatly. "He's into you. Five dates, Wei Ying. You don't say yes to five dates with someone you don't like."

Wei Ying drops his gaze miserably to the blanket in his lap. He contemplates pulling it over his head again. Jiang Cheng would probably get mad—madder—if he did that. "Maybe they would," he mutters. "Maybe if they were being nice."

Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes. "No one is five-dates nice."

Lan Zhan is. Even if they were fake dates, five is a lot. Lan Zhan is five-dates nice. "I told you," Wei Ying says, wrapping his hands up in the blanket and tugging it up to his chin. "I told you I'd find someone high-stakes to ask. Lan Zhan was high-stakes. High-stakes doesn't always work out."

Jiang Cheng tugs at the end of the blanket, trying to pull it away. Wei Ying clutches at it. "Don't, I'm cold."

"You're not cold, you're pathetic," Jiang Cheng says, not unkindly.

"I can be both," Wei Ying mutters.

"Wei Ying." Jiang Cheng lets go of the blanket and presses his fingers against his temples, rubbing like he's got a headache. "You're my brother and I need you to listen to me."

Wei Ying looks up at him tentatively.

"You are not right about Lan Zhan." Jiang Cheng drops his hand from his temples, looking sternly over at Wei Ying. "I promise you. Anyone with eyes can see that he's into you."

Wei Ying thinks about the practice kissing. About falling asleep in Lan Zhan's bed. Thinks about Lan Zhan's mouth against his shoulder, his cock between his thighs. Thinks about Lan Zhan's sweater, the one he never gave back, the one he's wearing right now under the blanket. And he thinks about Lan Zhan saying, "I can pretend to date you." Jiang Cheng's right: he is the dumbest smart person ever. Why would he choose someone this high-stakes to fake date?

"You have got to get out of your own way," Jiang Cheng says.

Wei Ying frowns. "Not everyone can fall in love like you have. Not everyone gets that."

Jiang Cheng's expression turns alarmed. "Fuck," he says. "I—I almost forgot. I do. I love her."

Wei Ying looks at him across the couch, at his brother's startled expression and soft, totally-in-love eyes. "You should call her," he says.

"I should call her. I should—I'm going to call her." Jiang Cheng pushes himself off the couch.

Wei Ying lets himself fall over, slumping down against the couch where Jiang Cheng had been sitting. Oh wait, there had, in fact, been another point to the pact. He's pretty sure he knows, but. "Jiang Cheng," he calls out, before Jiang Cheng leaves the room.

"Hmm?" Jiang Cheng has his phone in his hand and is staring down at it distractedly, his thumb poised over the screen.

"Did she wreck you?" Wei Ying asks, propping his chin up on a hand. "Sexually?"

Jiang Cheng's face goes as red as he's ever seen it. His mouth opens and shuts, then opens again. "Shut up," he says, going for gruff, Wei Ying can tell, but missing the mark by miles. He sounds like he's trying to bite back a smile, a grin, possibly even an hysterical laugh. "Just—stop talking forever." He spins on his heel and leaves the room.

"Ah." Wei Ying flops onto his back on the couch. "She did. Good." He tucks his face into Lan Zhan's sweater and goes back to brooding. He's good at brooding. He should have made a pact about brooding.


Wei Ying skids into class late on Thursday afternoon with an extra-large coffee clutched against his chest and his bag falling off his shoulder. He'd strongly considered skipping it, but he actually likes this class. He's not going to let an ill-advised decision to fake-date and make out with and hook up with a classmate change that. He's not. So instead, he's his normal amount of late and makes an apologetic face at the professor as he looks around for a seat. He's deliberately not looking at his usual spot by Lan Zhan, because that's a good spot and even though he'd taken it over for a few weeks, for as long as five dates took, that's over. He can't assume it'll be open for him, late as he is.

But when his gaze—inexorably, inescapably—is drawn towards Lan Zhan, the seat next to him is empty. And Lan Zhan is looking at him. Not at the professor, not his usual stern, focused, 'Lan Zhan is In Class and Learning' look, but at Wei Ying. Looking at him, and gesturing delicately to the seat beside him.

Wei Ying takes a breath then slouches over quickly and drops into the seat.

The professor continues lecturing and Wei Ying digs around in his bag, pulling out his laptop, which is—of course—completely dead when he opens it. He rummages around in his bag. He has to have his power cord with him. He has to. Come on, let one thing go right today. He digs deeper, sweeping his hand around. Nothing.

From the corner of his eye, he sees Lan Zhan slide a power cord, neatly wrapped around itself, onto his desk.

Wei Ying glances over at him but Lan Zhan is paying attention to the professor, steadily typing notes in his own laptop.

Wei Ying sits up with a soft sigh and plugs in his laptop.

The professor is talking about the chapter that Wei Ying had honestly meant to read last night, but he had, instead, fallen asleep on the couch and woken up at 1:27 in the morning and wretchedly not been able to go back to sleep after. He tries to pay attention, typing a phrase she says here or there, but mostly jittering in place and trying to figure out how normal breathing works.

He jumps a little when something brushes against his foot. His heart is beating a mile a minute when he glances down to where Lan Zhan has slid his own foot across the space between their seats and is nudging it against his. Wei Ying looks up in surprise—he hadn't meant to look at Lan Zhan again, definitely wasn't going to look at Lan Zhan again—and Lan Zhan doesn't have his eyes on the professor this time. He's looking at Wei Ying.

Wei Ying goes hot all over and he drops his gaze back to his notes. His incomprehensible notes. He grabs his coffee and takes a gulp, but caffeine can't help him with this. He has no idea what's going on here. They're done. He knows they're done. He spent all week telling himself they're done, that he's got to be done with this. Is this a friendship thing? Friends lend each other power cords. Friends, maybe, nudge you in class when you look like you're vibrating into another plane of existence.

"Mr. Wei," comes the professor's voice. He looks up at her over the rim of his coffee cup. "Can you tell us your thoughts on this?"

Wei Ying sifts through the background noise of his brain to what she'd been lecturing about. "Right. Right. Urbanization. Listen, I've been thinking about it and the thing is, economic development is all well and good, but..." He looks at her and rolls the dice. "Like you said, the stresses on existing social services mean that the bad usually ends up outweighing the good." He's...pretty sure she said that.

"Hmm," she says, raising an eyebrow. "Yes. Anyone else?"

Her attention turns back to the rest of the class. Wei Ying sighs in relief and glances over at Lan Zhan without meaning to.

Lan Zhan is looking at him again. Lan Zhan's face itself is expressionless, but if you know him—and Wei Ying thinks that he may know him better than most—he's giving off pure heat in how he's looking at Wei Ying. His eyes flicker, dark and intense. His mouth does that soft thing it does just when he's about to kiss Wei Ying, and then he takes a breath and looks away.

Wei Ying drags his gaze back down to his laptop. Do friends look at you the way Lan Zhan was just looking at him?

Class finally ends, and Wei Ying is up like a shot the second they're dismissed. "Thanks, Lan Zhan," he says, unplugging the charger and shoving it towards him. "Ha, who comes to class without a dead laptop? I'm such an idiot, thanks for saving me." He stuffs his laptop into his bag and drags his coat off the back of the chair. "Anyway, okay, bye!"

"Wei Ying." Lan Zhan is keeping pace with him as he hurries out of the classroom. "Can you—do you have a moment?"

Lan Zhan rarely stumbles over his words, he always has the words lined up in his head before he says them, it seems like. For him to fumble there, even for a moment—even Wei Ying's sense of self-preservation won't let him say no. "Yeah," he says instead, after a long second. "I mean. Of course."

Lan Zhan pulls him into the same nearby classroom where he'd kissed him before—kissed him because he'd seen Jiang Cheng, Wei Ying desperately reminds himself. Kissed him because he'd agreed to the favor. The pact.

The sounds of the hallway fall away as Lan Zhan closes the door behind them. He looks at Wei Ying. "I texted," he says quietly. "You did not text back."

"Oh," Wei Ying says brightly. "Did you? I didn't get it. My phone does that sometimes. I really need to restart it, I keep not letting it run the update, and it does things like that." He'd read Lan Zhan's text over and over again, trying to make himself delete it. It wasn't much; it wasn't anything. It wasn't even anything you could read anything into. It was just his name. Just Wei Ying. But every time he looked at it, he could hear it in Lan Zhan's voice.

"I called," Lan Zhan says then.

"I'm bad at phone calls," Wei YIng says. He's got sweat pooling at the small of his back, even though the classroom is chilly. His voice echoes in the room.

"Wei Ying." Lan Zhan's moving closer to him and he's putting his hand on Wei Ying's arm.

Wei Ying is going to spontaneously combust in this classroom which, hey, might solve his problems, actually. His throat is too dry to say anything. All he can do is look at Lan Zhan.

"On Saturday," Lan Zhan says slowly.

Wei Ying so very desperately, with all of his heart and his soul, does not want to talk about Saturday.

"You left quickly." Lan Zhan looks at him. "I hope that you do not regret what...we did." There's the smallest of pauses there, something you might not even notice, but Wei Ying hears it. Wei Ying sees the light pink blush rising in Lan Zhan's cheeks. It's cute, he thinks miserably. It's so cute.

"I don't regret it!" He's going for cheerful but it comes out...insane. "I don't," he says again, more quietly, less manically. "I appreciate it."

Lan Zhan's eyes flicker up to his. "You...appreciate it."

"Not the—" Wei Ying stops, flustered. "I meant know. The help you gave me. The fifth date. Five whole dates. That's a lot of dates with someone you don't even like! Jiang Cheng said no one is five-dates nice, but you are. You really are."

How many things, Wei Ying wonders, would be better in his life if he could ever just figure out how to stop talking?

"Five-dates nice," Lan Zhan echoes. He's studying Wei Ying. "I don't understand what that means."

"Oh," Wei Ying says, "you know, it's just—"

"I like you." Lan Zhan cuts him off. He says it firmly, with quiet intensity.

Wei Ying feels dizzy. Is he going to faint? Is this what it feels like when you're going to faint? He might faint. "Ha ha," he says weakly. "I like you, too."

"You said that's a lot of dates." Lan Zhan is advancing on him, moving closer.

Wei Ying holds his ground. "It is," he says. "Five dates is objectively a lot of dates."

"You said that's a lot of dates with someone I don't even like." Lan Zhan is very close to him now.

If Wei Ying backs away, he feels like he'd be admitting something so he just...stands there. Lifts his chin a little. Smiles, the best he knows how. "Right!"

"I like you." Lan Zhan really, really needs to stop saying that. "I like you. I would not go on five dates with someone I don't like."

"Five fake dates," Wei Ying corrects. "For a favor."

"Five dates," Lan Zhan says again, and fuck, when his voice gets like that, all deep and intense, Wei Ying feels it in his knees. "Not a favor."

"It was a favor." Wei Ying can't move, can't back away, not with Lan Zhan looming over him like this, looking at him like this. "You said."

"I lied." Wei Ying's brain can't process what's more shocking, the concept of Lan Zhan lying, or the fact that Lan Zhan kisses him right after he says it. Kisses him hard, one arm going around the small of Wei Ying's back, crushing him against Lan Zhan even as he brings his hand up to Wei Ying's face, cupping his cheek and tracing his thumb over it the way Wei Ying has definitely not been thinking about for days.

He makes a small sound in his throat and lets his knees go weak. Lan Zhan holds him. Lan Zhan holds him up, won't let him fall. "It was a pact," he says against Lan Zhan's lips. "That's all it was."

"I know about the pact." Lan Zhan kisses him again, softer this time but no less intense. "The pact is over now, correct?"

"Yeah." Wei Ying trembles a little as Lan Zhan kisses the corner of his mouth. "I—yeah, five dates. That was all."

"Mm." Lan Zhan moves up, kissing his cheek where it's burning so hotly, then the corner of his eye. Wei Ying's knees are shaking. "Well, then." Lan Zhan pulls back, just a little bit, looking at Wei Ying. "Will you go out with me?"

"You want me to go out with you," Wei Ying repeats dumbly.

Lan Zhan gives a short, careful nod. His hand is still tracing slowly over Wei Ying's cheekbone.

"You want me to go out with you," Wei Ying says again, because his brain has gone entirely offline, just offering him staticy noises when he tries to comprehend Lan Zhan's words. "On a date."

"Yes," Lan Zhan says, then pauses. "Well, actually, no."

Wei Ying's heart drops. "Oh, yeah, I mean, I didn't—"

"Could we stay in, perhaps?" Lan Zhan's voice is—there isn't another word for it, Wei Ying's brain won't give him another word for it—smoky. "On our date. In lieu of...going out?"

Wei Ying thinks his mouth is open a bit. He thinks he must look like a carp, stunned by a fisherman on the dock. He closes it, but it falls open again. "I—" he manages after a moment, "I—yes. I would like that. Yes."

Lan Zhan is smiling now, a pleased look on his face. Wei Ying doesn't care. Lan Zhan can think he's ridiculous. He's fine with it. Lan Zhan likes him. He wants to go out—stay in on a date with him. He— "Not a fake date," Wei Ying says then, just making sure. "A real one."

"A real date," Lan Zhan assures him. "I bought a bottle of wine." He kisses Wei Ying, lingering. "We can order food." He kisses him again, like he can't stop himself. "We can...continue this, but with privacy." He moves his mouth down to kiss Wei Ying's jaw, hot and damp, then moves up a little higher. "I have it on good authority," he murmurs against Wei Ying's ear, "that these are the things that make up the pertinent aspects of a date." He draws Wei Ying's earlobe into his mouth.

"Hahhh," Wei Ying pants out intelligently. His breath comes out in a gasp when Lan Zhan releases his ear, finally. "You've gotten good dating advice."

"Mm." Lan Zhan lifts his head, looking at him. "Wei Ying," he says. "Can we have our date now?"

"Yes," Wei Ying says fervently.

"Good." Lan Zhan kisses his forehead then, which absolutely should not send a shudder down Wei Ying's spine and absolutely does. "Let's go."

Wei Ying lets Lan Zhan take his hand and pull him, stumbling, out of the classroom, towards their first—sixth?—date.


"Then what happened?" Nie Huaisang demands.

Wei Ying shrugs a little, pulling his hoodie sleeves down over his hands. "I mean, you know."

"I very much do not know," Nie Huaisang responds. "That's why I'm asking."

"We went back to his place." Wei Ying tucks his grin into the neck of his hoodie. "We...hung out."

"You hung out," Nie Huaisang says flatly, and then makes a buzzing noise. "Sorry, friend, the judges have ruled we're going to need more of an answer than that."

Wei Ying keeps his face tucked into his hoodie. He can't hide his smile, he just can't. He thinks about Lan Zhan, resolutely tugging him across campus to his dorm, growling a little every time Wei Ying had tried to drag him to a stop and kiss him. "Inside," he'd kept saying. "When we're there, I'll—" He'd cut himself off every time and Wei Ying had been burning up with ideas about what Lan Zhan had been planning to do.

"Nothing," he says to Nie Huaisang. "Nothing, we just..." They hadn't just anything. He'd say it was all a blur, but he'd been tracing over every detail since the day it had happened. Lan Zhan kissing him the second they were in his room, lifting him up and carrying him to the bed. The shocking drop onto the bed that took Wei Ying's breath away, but not as much as when Lan Zhan crawled on top of him.

How Lan Zhan had gotten them both naked, with an economy of movement that makes Wei Ying feel like Lan Zhan could do anything to him that he wants. Shoving the covers back and getting Wei Ying spread out on his bed. How his fingers had felt as he'd opened Wei Ying up, god, god, is he ever going to be the same again? He doesn't think so. Even now, in the well-known, easy comfort of Nie Huaisang's bedroom, he feels the echo of the ache as Lan Zhan had pressed inside him. It had felt like Wei Ying's body had been made for this, made for taking Lan Zhan.

"What did you do?" Nie Huaisang demands. "To make you blush this bad, it must have been truly something."

Wei Ying shakes his head, but his brain puts the memory of them rolling over, of him climbing on top of Lan Zhan, of riding him, his dick leaking a puddle down onto Lan Zhan's stomach, sinking back onto Lan Zhan again, and again, and—

"Holy fuck, look at your face," Nie Huaisang says, staring at him. "What didn't you do?"

Wei Ying leans down to bury his face in his hands. "My friend," he says, muffled against his own palms. "We did everything."

He peeks through his fingers. Nie Huaisang is making a 'keep going' gesture.

"I let him fuck me," Wei Ying confesses, dropping his hands to his lap.

"Good boy," Nie Huaisang says. "And?"

"Fuck." Wei Ying slumps back against Nie Huaisang's pillows. "It was so good. It was so good." Lan Zhan had let him come all over his hand and he'd fucked him through it, Wei Ying a mess of dizzying, aching pulses of coming, over and over and over again.

"Lan Zhan's a good boy, too," Nie Huaisang says decisively.

"You're not wrong." Wei Ying looks down at his phone as it buzzes. It's a text from Lan Zhan.

"Stop doing that," Nie Huaisang orders.

"What?" Wei Ying looks up at him, then back down at his phone. He can't believe he gets to see Lan Zhan tonight, finally. He'd been pulled away on a family thing on Sunday and Wei Ying hasn't seen him since they— Well, he hasn't seen him all week.

"You're overflowing with affection," Nie Huaisang says. "It's gross. Stop doing it on my bed."

Wei Ying grins up at him and rolls over, pressing his face against the pillow. "Not stopping," he says. "I can't." I love him, Wei Ying thinks, the smell of Nie Huaisang's hair product surrounding him. I love Lan Zhan. Fuck. Fuck. He really can't stop it.

"Oh my god, my pillow." Nie Huaisang sounds dismayed. "Why am I even friends with you?"

Wei Ying lifts his face. "Because I'm awesome."

"You're a disaster," Nie Huaisang nudges him with his foot.

"An awesome disaster," Wei Ying corrects. "Okay." He rolls to his feet. "I have to go."

"Booty call?" Nie Huaisang asks.

"No!" Well. "I mean. Sort of. Well. Yes. But we planned it." It's Jiang Cheng's late class night. He won't be home until after nine. "Lan Zhan's meeting me at my place in twenty minutes."

"Ah." Nie Huaisang nods sadly. "Forsaking your friend for dick. I see how it is."

"I'm glad." Wei Ying drops a quick, smacking kiss on Nie Huaisang's cheek. "Bye!"

He gets to his place a full five minutes early, but of course Lan Zhan is already outside. "Hi," Wei Ying says with what he's pretty sure is a goofy smile.

"Wei Ying." Lan Zhan is wearing snug white pants that make his legs look a thousand feet long. He's got a flowy white winter coat over it that sort of wraps around him? It has a long scarf-type thing, too, and he looks like a prince from a fairy tale. Wei Ying just likes him (loves, his brain reminds him) so much.

Lan Zhan is looking at him like he wants to eat him. Wei Ying would kiss him right here, but Lan Zhan has that guarded look that says don't start anything right here or I absolutely won't be able to hold back. Instead, Wei Ying brushes his fingers against Lan Zhan's shoulder as he lets them into the building. Lan Zhan follows close behind him as they make their way up to his apartment.

He lets them in, toeing off his shoes in the hallway. Lan Zhan has to bend down to unzip his calf-length boots—also white, a bold choice in a city in the winter. When he stands up, Wei Ying captures his hand in his own and tugs him in for a kiss. Lan Zhan makes a small sound in his throat as Wei Ying crowds him up against the door. "I couldn't wait another second," he explains as he comes up for air. "It's been a long week."

Lan Zhan nods and kisses him again. "Since Thursday. I missed you."

Wei Ying flushes. Lan Zhan just says things like that, without any embarrassment or self-preservation instincts. "So," he says. "Here we are. Our sixth date."

"Thursday was our sixth date." Lan Zhan says it gravely, his hands winding around Wei Ying's waist, bringing him even closer.

"That wasn't so much a date as..." Wei Ying doesn't know if he can say 'sex fest' out loud to Lan Zhan.

"It was a date." Lan Zhan's voice is low, and he bends in, tracing his lips up Wei Ying's neck, sending a shudder down his spine. "And after six dates, I can say with fair confidence that we'" He takes Wei Ying's earlobe into his mouth, digs his teeth in just a little. "Don't you agree?"

Wei Ying whimpers a little. In agreement. He does. He really, really does.

"Hey," he says, after some more kissing—fuck, Lan Zhan is good at kissing. "Hey, hey, come in. I promised to show you the rest of the apartment. Look, I cleaned up!" He had. He'd cleaned and set mood lighting and everything, and then immediately left to hang out at Nie Huaisang's so he wouldn't mess everything up. He draws Lan Zhan down the hall to the living room. He'd straightened all the piles of books, tucking most of them into corners or under the coffee table. The blanket is folded neatly and hanging over the back of the couch like they're in a catalogue or something. He'd turned on the side lamps, even replacing the bulb in the one that had blown out weeks ago.

Lan Zhan is, in fact, looking around with interest. He paces into the room, his eyes running over the over-packed bookshelf in the corner, the television (the whole stand still messy with controllers and games and boxes, but hey, at least they're not scattered across the coffee table the way they usually are), and his finger running down the spines of a couple of stacks of books, his neck tilting as he reads the titles.

"You're so cute," Wei Ying says, bursting out with it. If Lan Zhan can say true stuff, so can he. "I can't take it. I can't believe you're here."

Lan Zhan looks over at him. His smile is small and tender and Wei Ying wants to kiss it so badly. "I've been here before."

"Yeah, but not here-here," Wei Ying says. "Just my bedroom." He flushes, then, remembering that day of practice in the bedroom, like they haven't done a dozen filthier things than that since.

"Mm," Lan Zhan says, like he's remembering it too.

"Sit down, sit down." Wei Ying says it too quickly, trying to stick to his plan for the night. He was going to make it a real date, a nice, normal, at-home date. "Here, do you want something to drink?"

Lan Zhan shakes his head, sitting neatly on the couch where Wei Ying has indicated. "You sit as well," he says, his hand resting on the couch beside him.

Wei Ying does, sinking down next to him. "Hi," he says, his mouth going dry, because Lan Zhan is just looking at him, that hot, wanting look that Wei Ying recognizes so well because he'd seen it, oh, so many times over their fake dates. Which were real dates. Apparently. "Hi, I like you."

Lan Zhan's lips curve into a smile, a real smile. "And I, you," he says, and draws Wei Ying into his arms.

The thing about Lan Zhan is that he kisses with his whole body. This is maybe why he doesn't generally want to start things in public: it swiftly goes from them trading kisses curled up next to each other on the couch to Lan Zhan making a sort of growling noise and tugging Wei Ying into his lap so he's straddling him. "You really like me on top, huh?" Wei Ying says. The escalation is perfect—Wei Ying slides forward against him and it doesn't matter that he's hard, that he's been halfway there since Lan Zhan had given him that look in front of the building. Lan Zhan makes a pleased noise of agreement and rocks up against him, his hands on Wei Ying's hips, and he's hard as well. It's becoming startlingly clear to Wei Ying that somehow Lan Zhan is stealth-horny pretty much all the time. He doesn't know how he missed that for so long.

They kiss until Wei Ying is breathless, so hard, aching, frantically wondering if they could just rub up against each other here on the couch until they both come, thinking he'd be okay with that, he'd be so okay with that. Only—wait, fuck, he'd had a plan.

He pulls his mouth away from Lan Zhan, tries to sit back a little. Lan Zhan moves a hand up his back to drag him closer again. "Wait," Wei Ying says. "Hang on, just a second, wait."

Lan Zhan does so. He's still holding Wei Ying close, but he's looking up at him expectantly.

Fuck, he's gorgeous. He's so—

Focus up, Wei Ying. "Do you want something to eat? We should order dinner. I had this whole plan. I've got, like, menus and..."

Lan Zhan is shaking his head slowly. "Later," he says, giving Wei Ying another honey-rich kiss, short this time. He sits back again afterwards, looking at Wei Ying.

"Oh," Wei Ying says, caught up in the heat in Lan Zhan's eyes. "Oh, right, later. So. Now, do you want..."

Lan Zhan just looks at him.

"Okay, bedroom." Wei Ying scrambles off his lap, almost falling as he does so. "Fuck, bedroom, now."

Lan Zhan, it turns out, had plans as well. In the bedroom—Wei Ying had cleaned up in there, too, and changed the sheets and everything—he takes Wei Ying apart, piece by piece. He gets them onto the bed, shoving the covers back, and he's kissing Wei Ying again even as he's undoing his jeans, getting his hand in around his dick like it's been something he'd been thinking about for days, for weeks. Wei Ying is hard as a rock and leaking nearly as much as Lan Zhan does. It should be embarrassing, how slick he is just from making out, but Lan Zhan's gaze has dropped down, is staring at his dick as he lets it slide in and out of his hand, so maybe...not embarrassing.

They make short work of their clothes, because they can, because they're dating, and this isn't a short, frantic session, this is more than that.

"I want to see you," Wei Ying pants. "Come here, please, I never got to really see you, I want—" Even last time, even the sex fest, that had still been frantic and he hadn't been able to slow it down, hadn't been able to linger.

Lan Zhan is making agreeable noises, but he doesn't seem to be able to stop touching Wei Ying, running his mouth down his chest, over his stomach, pausing to lick the drop welling up at the tip of his dick, and then doing it again, and again, until Wei Ying is shuddering underneath him. "You will," Lan Zhan murmurs distractedly. "You can see me, I'm right here. I just want to..."

He trails off, because his mouth is busy. He's mouthing at the line where Wei Ying's thigh meets his body, running his tongue down it after, and Wei Ying sure as hell has never been touched there. It's like Lan Zhan is waking up new zones in his body that have never mattered before but seem really fucking important now. He keeps moving, leaning in to suck at the inside of Wei Ying's thigh, softly at first and then harder, then harder still, until Wei Ying is keening above him and scrambling at the sheets, for something to hold onto.

"Fuuuuck," he breathes out when Lan Zhan releases him. "That's going to leave a mark." Fuck. He can't wait to see it.

"Mm," Lan Zhan says, his gaze flickering up to Wei Ying's before he brings his mouth to suck at the base of Wei Ying's dick.

Wei Ying makes a strangled sound. He's going to die, right here, and he's pretty okay with it.

When Lan Zhan moves again, Wei Ying's breath is caught in his chest. What's next runs through his brain to the pace of the beating of his heart. What's next.

Lan Zhan rolls him over, his strong hands maneuvering him easily, and before Wei Ying can react with more than a flail, he's spreading Wei Ying open and his tongue is.

His tongue. Is.

Wei Ying's hands are fisted in the sheets and his eyes are screwed shut and his body is suffused with heat and wet and he can't stop rocking back against Lan Zhan's mouth where he's licking him with what feels like great concentration. "Fuck," Wei Ying pants. "Fuck, you're. You."

Lan Zhan rumbles something deep in his throat, and Wei Ying's breath comes out as a squeak. He is definitely going to die here. Or maybe come. Is he going to come? He can feel it mounting, his whole body on fire, even before Lan Zhan's tongue changes the rhythm, pauses, works its way in, just the tip.

Wei Ying's hips do move back then as he curses against his pillow, his breath coming in near-sobs as he—fuck, he's going to—

Lan Zhan pulls back slowly, lingering just a little. He gives one more lap against Wei Ying, right...there, and then he moves back. Wei Ying feels his lips press against the curve of his ass, right where it meets his thighs. Then Lan Zhan's hands are on his hips, turning him back over.

Wei Ying gapes up at him, his hand moving to his dick without his volition. "Fuck," he moans. "That was so filthy, Lan Zhan, that was—I was so close, I am so close, I might—fuck, stop looking at me, you'll make me come, you'll—" He wants to fling his arm over his face, hide from the look Lan Zhan is giving him. He looks soft and turned on and his mouth is wet and red and he'd just been...

"Wei Ying." Lan Zhan is straddling him, sitting back on his heels. His dick is so hard, harder even than before, just from doing...that to Wei Ying. Wei Ying can't stop himself from rolling Lan Zhan over—he has some moves, too. Lan Zhan is so beautiful like this, as he's coming undone. His hair is messy and his lips are still so red—he has his teeth sunk into one corner of his mouth, and it makes him look younger than he is.

"I thought about coming on you," Wei Ying says without meaning to. "I thought about pushing up your shirt and jerking off on you. How it would feel. How it would look, your stomach spattered with my come." His accidental honesty when he's horny is problematic. "I thought about it a lot," he confesses. He has. So many times.

Lan Zhan's gaze goes sharp. He moves his hands to Wei Ying's hips.

Wei Ying takes a breath. He wraps a hand around his dick. "I thought about how I wouldn't be able to hold back," he says, looking down at Lan Zhan, spread out before him. At the cut of his abs, at the line of his waist, at the curve of his cock, hard and flushed dark, the head of it resting nearly against his stomach: fuck, it's so hot. "Looking down at you," he manages, moving his hand over himself. Jerking himself off. "Watching you like that, just, how it would be so much." He's breathing hard and he's close, fuck, that's fast, that's so fast. "About how I'd need to just—" He groans, working his hand up over the head of his dick, and back down. "I'd try to take it slow but I'd have to—fuck." He breathes out hard, leaning back, resting his free hand on his thigh. Lan Zhan's eyes are riveted to Wei Ying's dick and that's not helping, fuck, he doesn't want to come yet.

"You'd have to..." Lan Zhan prompts him, his voice thick and heated.

"I'd—" Wei Ying swallows, trying to slow his strokes. "I'd have to just, fuck, go for it, like. Hard." He groans, his thigh tense under his palm. "Like this, with me just so close to losing it, so close to just coming all over you, so close, I—"

Lan Zhan's hands are tight on Wei Ying's hips and Wei Ying is stroking himself fast and hard. Lan Zhan's cock has leaked a slick puddle onto his belly and Wei Ying can't stop watching as it gives a little jerk, more precome welling up on the tip. "Do you know what you look like?" he pants out. "It's pornographic, you can't blame me for losing it, you can't blame me for having to—fuck." He's going to come. "For having to just, oh fuck, I'm—"

He can't stop it, can't hold back, and it hits him like a punch, as he spills all over Lan Zhan's stomach, nearly up to his chest, shooting again and again. Did he ever come this much, this hard before Lan Zhan, when he was by himself? He doesn't think so; he thinks this is another way Lan Zhan has reworked him, made him more than he had been.

When he's finished, finally, he slumps back on his heels. "Fuck," he says, with feeling, and watches as Lan Zhan moves his fingers through Wei Ying's come on his stomach, rubbing it over his skin. "Lan Zhan, I—"

Lan Zhan pushes him backwards onto his back, moving so smoothly that Wei Ying doesn't even know how he does it, doesn't actually care. "Wei Ying," Lan Zhan growls. His fingers are already between Wei Ying's legs, pressing against where he's still wet from Lan Zhan's tongue.

"Lube," Wei Ying pants, flinging his arm towards the bedside table.

Lan Zhan finds the lube, and the condoms. Lan Zhan opens him up, shockingly fast, easy as anything. Lan Zhan pushes his thighs back and looms over him like a god, sinking inside him like he belongs there. Maybe he does; Wei Ying's body opens for him like he's made for this.

Lan Zhan fucks him hard and fast and nearly graceless, chasing his own orgasm, lost in the need for it in a way that makes Wei Ying's toes curl, makes him dig his teeth against Lan Zhan's shoulder and mutter filthy, senseless things as he fucks into him. "Please," and "You're so fucking hot" and "I want it, I want it, do it, you've got to—I need you to—I need you to." And as Lan Zhan slams home and stays there, shuddering so hard that it feels like a little earthquake in Wei Ying's bones, he says, "I love it, this, you, I—"

Lan Zhan collapses on top of him and Wei Ying clutches him close. His heart is pounding, or maybe that's Lan Zhan's, maybe both. He doesn't know, or care, he's dizzy with happiness, dizzy and fucked out. He... Oh shit, what has he just said. Out loud. While Lan Zhan was coming inside him?

Lan Zhan's weight on top of him is a perfect, heady thing, even as his heart beats in his ears and he presses his hot cheek against Lan Zhan's shoulder. When Lan Zhan takes a breath and eases back, pulling out carefully, Wei Ying has to make a concerted effort not to cling and try to keep him there.

He rolls over on his side as Lan Zhan deals with the condom. His head is at the foot of the bed, his feet tangled with the pillows, and his breath is still coming fast. "Hi," he says, as Lan Zhan slides back into bed with him. He goes in right side up, so Wei Ying has no choice but to scramble sideways, making it far enough that he can rest his head on Lan Zhan's hip. It's a little bony, and his face is pretty close to Lan Zhan's dick, but he likes it, likes seeing how it rests, soft against Lan Zhan's thigh.

"Hello," Lan Zhan replies. He's not even breathing hard anymore, though he's still flushed, all the way down to his chest. He's relaxed, comfortable in his nudity, lounging on Wei Ying's bed.

"If you had told Wei Ying of two weeks ago that I'd have you here, like this, all to myself, he'd have told you you were crazy." He's gazing at Lan Zhan as he says it and he's grinning. He thinks, sometimes, he's never going to stop grinning. He can't stop it from sliding across his face, even as he wonders if Lan Zhan had heard him, had heard what he'd said while Lan Zhan had been...

"You could have had me here," Lan Zhan says. "All to yourself. Two weeks ago."

"Shut up." Wei Ying presses his face against Lan Zhan's thigh, his own cheeks going hot. "That's not true, there's no way that's true."

"Had we shed the pretense of fake-dating," Lan Zhan says. "It very much would have been true."

"Two weeks ago?" Wei Ying starts to sit up, but Lan Zhan reaches for him and draws him down next to him, right-side up this time, tangling together in the bed.

"Two weeks ago," Lan Zhan confirmed, drawing one warm hand down Wei Ying's side. "I knew then."

"You knew...what, then?" Wei Ying shivers, even though Lan Zhan's hand is so warm, and Lan Zhan wraps himself more fully around him, pulls him closer.

"How I felt," Lan Zhan says against his neck. "How I felt about you."

Wei Ying's fingers tingle. "How you..."

"Mn." Lan Zhan kisses his neck, then moves up to kiss his cheek, so sweetly that Wei Ying's breath gets caught in his throat. "I was waiting for you to catch up."

Wei Ying's heart bangs in his chest and he presses his grin against Lan Zhan's shoulder, feeling like he could crack in two from it all. "Oh," he says, muffled against Lan Zhan.

Lan Zhan strokes his shoulder. "Mn," he says again, sounding deeply amused.

Wei Ying presses closer, trying to bury himself against Lan Zhan so he doesn't have to look at him. Lan Zhan rolls him over with ease, capturing his wrists and pinning them against the bed, gazing down at him.

Wei Ying looks up at him, his cheeks still burning, that grin still not shutting down even a little bit.

"You mentioned something about dinner, I believe," Lan Zhan says conversationally, his thumbs stroking over the inside of Wei Ying's wrists.

"Oh, now you're hungry?" Wei Ying says. "I guess you did work up quite the appetite."

"We both did," Lan Zhan murmurs, kissing the corner of his mouth. His stomach grumbles just then.

Wei Ying can't help but dissolve into giggles. "Okay, okay." He sits up, pulling out his hair elastic, trying to finger comb his hair back into a ponytail. "I guess I'm going to order us some food."

"I have been told," Lan Zhan says gravely, "that it is required in order for this to be a real date."

Wei Ying smacks his beautiful face with a pillow. He can't help it. Lan Zhan definitely deserves it.


Wei Ying is on the couch when Jiang Cheng comes home. Wei Ying had, in fact, ordered food, and after they'd eaten (at the kitchen table, like a real date) they'd gone back to Wei Ying's room, watching some dumb show on his laptop while wrapped up together in his blankets. They'd snuggled—and again, had you told Wei Ying of two weeks ago he'd be snuggling with Lan Zhan, he can't even imagine what he'd have done—and made it maybe halfway through the second episode before Lan Zhan's hand started tracing the waistline of Wei Ying's sweatpants. "Oh," Wei Ying had said, "Hello."

"Mm." Lan Zhan had tugged him closer, his eyes still on the laptop screen even as his hand was easing its way into Wei Ying's pants, slowly and surely, wrapping it around Wei Ying's dick. He'd stroked him to hardness, saying, "No, I'm watching," every time Wei Ying breathlessly suggested that they pause the show.

He'd nudged Wei Ying's waistband down lower, after a while, easing it over Wei Ying's desperately hard dick, while Wei Ying tried to keep paying attention to the show. When Lan Zhan had moved, pushing back the covers, sidling down so he could kiss Wei Ying's hip, soft and wet, Wei Ying had said, "Okay, I'm going to just hit pause, we can come back to it, we—"

Lan Zhan had taken his dick in his mouth before Wei Ying could reach the laptop. He'd sucked him off, moving his mouth slowly over his dick, taking him down deep, his hand wrapped around the base, going so slow that Wei Ying hadn't been able to help whimpering, spreading his legs as far as they can go and trying not to kick the laptop off the bed.

Lan Zhan had kept him there, bringing him to the edge again, and again, Wei Ying tense as a bowstring on the bed. He'd sucked him until Wei Ying had been begging, his hand wrapped desperately in Lan Zhan's hair.

Lan Zhan had pulled off, and Wei Ying had nearly sobbed; he'd been close, he'd been so close, he'd— Lan Zhan had been sucking two fingers into his mouth, then pulling them out, and when he'd taken Wei Ying in again, he'd pressed his fingers into his ass at the same time. Wei Ying had come immediately, clenching around Lan Zhan's fingers and bucking up into his mouth and making so much noise he wasn't going to be able to look his neighbors in the eye for a week.

He'd had nothing left afterwards, just lay there dazed, a spent puddle on the bed, as Lan Zhan had jerked off onto his thighs with a look of intense satisfaction on his face.

It had been late then, for Lan Zhan—fuck, he had been sucking Wei Ying off for so long, and he'd started blinking sleepily. He'd gone to brush his teeth and slid into bed right afterwards, falling asleep almost immediately. It had been so cute. And if Wei Ying had watched him sleeping for a minute or two, well, who could blame him?

Wei Ying had made his way out to the couch then—'late' for Lan Zhan was still 'nine-fifteen at night' for everyone else. He'd meant to flip the television on but he'd wrapped himself in the blanket instead, so it's not until he hears Jiang Cheng come in that he realizes he's just been staring into space for this whole time, thinking about Lan Zhan. And how they're...

"Hey," Jiang Cheng says from the hallway. Wei Ying hears him tossing his keys down, toeing his shoes off. He pads into the living room. "How was your—what the hell happened to you?"

Wei Ying looks at him, reaching up as he realizes he still has sex hair, all messed up in the back and tumbling down over his shoulders. His cheeks are still hot, too, and he thinks he must look moony-eyed, he can't help it, he hasn't come back down to earth yet, and kind of doesn't want to.

"Nothing," he says, but fuck, there goes that grin again, sliding across his face, he really needs to get that under control. "I'm fine."

Jiang Cheng drops down to the couch beside him. "You look like you've been freshly fucked in a field," he says.

Wei Ying does his best to bury his grin in the blanket. He'd let Lan Zhan fuck him in a field. He would. It would be like a romance novel. He's get dirt in his hair and Lan Zhan would press him against the grass and he'd—

"You have to stop that," Jiang Cheng demands. "Stop looking like that. All soft and...horny."

Wei Ying shakes his head. "I wish I could promise you that I'll stop," he says. "But I really don't think I can." He can feel the stupid, sexed-out look on his face. "I'm sorry?"

"You are not."

"I'm really not." Wei Ying pokes at Jiang Cheng with his foot. "I told you he's staying over, right?"

"You did. And if you wake me up with your...activities, I will murder both of you."

"You can't murder Lan Zhan," Wei Ying says reasonably. "He'd definitely win that fight."

Jiang Cheng looks at him. "Just don't do it," he says. "I'm asking nicely."

"I'll try." Wei Ying pokes Jiang Cheng with his foot again. "I promise."

Jiang Cheng blows his breath out. "I'm just glad you're not dragging yourself all over the house like a sad clown anymore. You figured it out?"

Wei Ying nods. "We did. We...figured it out."

"Well, good, I guess." Jiang Cheng pushes himself to standing. "I'm getting a beer. Do you want a beer?"

"I do." Wei Ying pulls the blanket closer.

"If I get you a beer, you have to play Super Smash Brothers with me," Jiang Cheng says.

"I'm terrible at Super Smash Brothers," Wei Ying protests.

"I know." Jiang Cheng heads towards the kitchen, then pauses, looking back at Wei Ying. "I think I know the answer to this, but I have to ask. Did he wreck you?" He looks at Wei Ying. "Sexually?"

Wei Ying feels himself blush all the way to the roots of his hair.

Jiang Cheng shakes his head at him, but he has a small smile playing around his lips as he does so. "I'm getting beer," he says. "Let's never speak of this again."

Wei Ying wriggles to a more comfortable position on the couch. "No promises," he calls after his brother.

"I hate you," Jiang Cheng calls back.

"Liar," Wei Ying says softly to himself, grinning once more as he reaches for the controllers.