Wei Ying puts his hands together and inhales. “I’m sorry,” He says, maintaining his veneer of patience because poor sweet Wen Ning looks like he’s about to burst into tears. “I think I misheard you.”
He had not, it turns out. Wei Ying stands over the mermaid on the ship deck with his thumbs hooked into his own belt, coat swung back behind him. The mermaid looks at him like he’s a particularly pathetic bug, even though Wei Ying isn’t the one laying flat-out on the deck looking like a- well. A fish out of water, basically.
Wei Ying crouches in front of him and the mermaid bares his teeth, presumably to warn him off of touching or coming closer. Wei Ying holds his hands up, but frowns severely to establish dominance.
“Hey, buddy,” He says. “It’s not my fault you decided to bleed all over a lifeboat. We need those.”
The mermaid looks even more forbidding, somehow, even though his expression doesn’t actually change at all. He flicks his eyes away from Wei Ying to stare at the sky instead, jaw firmly set into something between bitchy and pugnacious. It’s kind of cute.
-- Threatening. It’s kind of threatening! Wei Ying has never thought of a fish as pretty in his life. Even a fish with a man’s shoulders and, like, shimmery white fluttery side fins. Bleeding, presently, but that’s not making him less pretty. Just slightly more dramatic and tragic. Which is sort of working for Wei Ying? He doesn’t want to examine it.
Wei Ying heaves a sigh and drops his face into his hands, drawing circles on his temples with his thumbs.
“Do you cry pearl tears?” He asks the mermaid. He receives a flat-eyed look in response, which he chooses to interpret as a ‘no’. “Uh- what about, like-- I mean, I’m supposed to say something about carrying your weight if you’re gonna stay onboard, but honestly, I sort of do all the work around here-”
He’s cut off with a sharp noise of indignation from Jiang Cheng, who Wen Ning holds back with both hands on his belt. Ah.
“Except you, Jiang Cheng,” He says, and Wen Ning gives him sad eyes. The mermaid is looking progressively less impressed by the moment. It’s pretty remarkable that his face can take a zero sum and go lower.
He also continues to bleed. There’s a gash on his tail, where thighs would be on a human man, and every time he twitches even a little bit it seeps crimson into the pool of sea water beneath him. It looks like it must hurt.
“Wen Qing,” Wei Ying says, giving up.
The woman in question, from behind him, says, “Fuck no.”
“Wen Qing,” Wei Ying whines. He is the captain of this ship. Why is he being questioned at every turn. “This is no way to treat a guest, Wen Qing. He’s bleeding all over my deck.”
“You’re the one who took him on board. Do you know where mermaids live, Wei Ying?”
Wei Ying says, carefully, “The ocean?”
“The ocean,” Wen Qing agrees. “The ocean on which we’re sailing. The ocean which surrounds us on all sides. Throw him overboard.”
“Please don’t.” The mermaid says, looking, for some reason, at Wei Ying. Wei Ying stares at him. His eyes are so gold. Why do mermaids need eyelashes? Wei Ying’s brain is going to melt out of his ears.
“You can talk,” Wei Ying says stupidly, and chews his thumb. “Of course you can talk. You don’t want to be in the ocean? Just- you know, clarifying.”
“I was in a lifeboat.” The mermaid replies, like the connection should be obvious. Well, when he puts it that way.
“Wen Qing,” Wei Ying says again, and turns to look at her with pleading eyes, which will surely influence her decision. She looks deeply annoyed, but disinclined to throw a mermaid back into an ocean which he has explicitly stated he’d rather avoid.
“Fine,” She says, after a long fraught moment. “Fine! This is going to bite you in the ass, and you know what? I’m going to say ‘I told you so’, and I’m going to laugh at you.”
“Thank you,” Wei Ying says, because he’d stopped listening after the second ‘fine’. “We’ll, ah- I suppose a tub? Oh, man, logistically, this is just a nightmare. A-Cheng, can you- aiyah, with the face, never mind! I’ll do it myself.”
Wei Ying glances down one last time to look at the mermaid, sprawled out in a sinuous curve across half the deck. His hair is saturated with water and blood, dark as the ocean, and he stares right back at Wei Ying with an unreadable expression. His eyes are- captivating. It’s probably mermaid magic, or something. Wei Ying is probably getting cursed as they speak.
He struggles to look away, though. Even knowing he’s probably getting cursed.
The thing is that the mermaid is beautiful and Wei Ying has a soft, stupid spot for beautiful things. He coils up into the tub that Wei Ying provides for him and watches Wei Ying with his bright golden eyes, his chin resting on his folded forearms. They don’t talk- or, no, Wei Ying talks, and the mermaid does not. But he listens, and so few people really listen to Wei Ying that he finds himself-- talking more.
He finds himself making excuses to be in the mermaid’s space, even if the mermaid would probably prefer he go anywhere else. Eventually he runs out of excuses and just- sits there, babbling while the mermaid coils his wet, heavy hair into complicated, beautiful braids.
“Do mermaids have names?” Wei Ying asks one day, distracting himself away from balancing sums and supplies in the ship’s log. The answer is that there are too few to go around, as there always have been. They’re too far from the next port and even if they weren’t, there’s no money with which to buy supplies.
“Not like humans.” The mermaid replies, and then doesn’t elaborate.
“What if I gave you a name,” Wei Ying asks, smiling when the mermaid looks up. “I’d give you a good one, I promise. I just think we should be able to call you something other tha-”
“You may,” The mermaid interrupts, and puts the final twist into his hair. It stays as it is without a pin, but Wei Ying imagines him with beautiful ribbons and pearl clasps. He wonders if mermaids decorate themselves as humans do, with pretty little baubles and chains. He feels like he’s pushing his luck, already, with responses, so he doesn’t ask. “Pick a name, if you’d like. It does not matter.”
“Well-” Wei Ying flounders. He hadn’t expected permission. “Do you have a family name?”
The mermaid looks at him, too perceptive, before tipping his head. “Not like humans,” He says again, and Wei Ying deflates. He doesn’t know what he’d expected. Information? A life story? He scribbles in the margin of the log that they have ten days of jerky left, maybe less, and twenty days to port.
“Lan,” The mermaid says suddenly. “We are ‘Lan’.”
Wei Ying goggles at him. The mermaid- the Lan mermaid, Wei Ying wonders if they have tribes or clans or dynasties or what- doesn’t look back. He examines his fingers, instead, glimmering in the candle light. He has translucent webbing in between his fingers, so sheer it’s almost like lace.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says stupidly. “You can be Lan Zhan.”
The mermaid tilts his head. All of his pretty, heavy hair shifts over his shoulder and pools in the water around his waist. “Lan Zhan,” He agrees. “And you are Wei Ying.”
“Yeah,” Wei Ying says, breathless. Wen Qing must have told him, at some point. Probably while bitching under her breath about how stupid Wei Ying is. “That’s, uh. Me.”
“Hm.” The mermaid- Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan says. It sounds almost like he wants to add something, but in the end, they subside into silence. Lan Zhan thinks about whatever mermaids trapped in captain’s cabins think about while Wei Ying logs empty spaces that he doesn’t know how to fill.
It turns out that having a mermaid on board is? Very inconvenient? He needs water. He needs food. His food needs to be fresh, because when they give Lan Zhan a round of hardtack he tries valiantly to choke it down but ultimately ends up getting so sick he can’t even keep water down, which is not great, because good water is in limited supply.
“I told you so,” Wen Qing says when Wei Ying comes to her for advice, because she’s the one who’d stitched the gash on Lan Zhan’s tail closed and tended it ever since. “I told you that it would bite you in the ass, but you just had to play the hero about it.”
“Oh, come on,” Wei Ying says, dragging his hand through his hair. They’re squished together in one of the dark galley corners, where no one can overhear them without being spotted first. Wei Ying doesn’t know why he feels the need to keep the inconvenience of Lan Zhan’s continued residence a secret. “You saw his sad baby deer eyes, how’m I supposed to throw him overboard like that? After he begged to stay?”
Wen Qing stares at him for a long moment before lifting a hand to set the backs of her fingers to his forehead like she’s checking for a temperature. At his confused little noise, she says, serenely, “Delusions are a sign of a high fever. Are you feeling alright?”
He slaps her away indignantly, but chooses not to defend himself; he’d been maybe a little hyperbolic. “Okay, fine. I’ll figure it out.”
“There’s still time to just let him go,” Wen Qing says, crossing her arms. Wei Ying sways back on his heels, pressing his lips together. “He’s dead weight, Wei Ying, and we can’t afford it. You have people relying on you.”
“I know,” Wei Ying says, rubbing his nose. He avoids her eyes, because they hold the weight of forty-plus people who are not cargo. “I know that. I’ll- I’ll figure it out, okay? You don’t have to worry about it.”
“I’m not worrying about it,” Wen Qing says, reaching to pat him on the shoulder as she slips past him. “I’m worrying about you.”
They spend hours together, because Lan Zhan doesn’t seem to need sleep and Wei Ying doesn’t have time to. It always devolves, somehow, into- not working. They’re not friends, because Lan Zhan doesn’t really seem to know what friendship is, but they end up- close. Lan Zhan seems curious about humanity, but instead of ever asking he just draws Wei Ying’s hands into his own and examines him.
It’s strangely intimate. Ticklish, when Lan Zhan runs the little claws at the tips of his fingers along the heart-life-fate lines of Wei Ying's palm.
“They wrinkle,” Lan Zhan notes, sounding focused. “Here.”
“To hold things.” Wei Ying says, brushing the raisined pads of his fingertips against Lan Zhan’s slippery skin. He has tiny scales everywhere that make him oddly slick.
“Hm,” Lan Zhan says, and twines their fingers together.
“Not quite,” Wei Ying says, but doesn’t shake him off. They end up sitting like that, Wei Ying jotting notes with his still-free hand and Lan Zhan caressing the knob of his wrist with his thumb.
“We’re out,” Wen Ning says, wringing his hands. He stands in front of Wei Ying’s desk, looking very small and nervous with how hunched-in his shoulders are. “Of, um. Apples. And everything, almost. But especially apples.”
“Okay,” Wei Ying says, looking up at the ceiling so he doesn’t start to cry. He’ll figure it out, he’ll figure it out. “Okay, uh- we’ll. We’ll have the uncles cast nets, and see what we can haul up. Seaweed is- some seaweed is edible, have your sister, uh. Figure that out. Please.”
“Um,” Wen Ning says, soft, and Wei Ying pushes the heels of his hands into his eyes. He doesn’t know what to do.
“People don’t need apples to live, A-Ning,” He says after a moment, even though it’s not true. Something about scurvy, something about sunlight. It’s been raining for days. Lan Zhan is on the deck, face tipped up to the sky and mouth slightly open to catch drops of fresh water on his tongue.
He looks beautiful. Wei Ying thinks about how they’re all going to die tragically of starvation and wonders how much worse Lan Zhan’s life might be, once there’s no one to haul him up water.
Wen Ning bobs a little bow and ducks out into the rain, leaving Wei Ying alone with his thoughts and the candle light. He writes in his logbook, maybe a little shaky. Four days to port, out of jerky for eight.
“They are hungry,” Lan Zhan says, and it’s so unusual for him to start a conversation that Wei Ying stares at him for a long moment before he remembers words. They’re sitting together on the deck, where the rain has finally petered out into a dull, miserable sort of mist that reflects the moonlight in a haze of creamy white.
“Who?” Wei Ying asks, looking down at the ocean where it cuts a rough chop against the hull of the ship.
“Your people. The crew. The child.” Lan Zhan’s diction is neat and precise but there’s something sibilant underneath it, like he’s trying to navigate the language with a tongue that doesn’t quite fit. Sometimes, when he thinks that Wei Ying isn’t looking, he only blinks with one set of his eyelids, the clear ones a flicker across his golden iris.
“Ah,” Wei Ying says, and doesn’t say anything more, because it’s true. “Yes. Our nets aren’t good for fishing. They’re old.”
“Hm.” Lan Zhan says. He doesn’t frown, but he gives off the air of someone who’s frowning. They’re only a day out from port, but Wei Ying hasn’t made any motions to put in. There’s nowhere for them to go, and they can’t afford to buy what they need, anyway.
It’s dangerous for them to be off the open sea, because there are eyes looking for them. For him, for the dread-pirate Laozu of the ghost ship Yiling and his forty-odd demon passengers, never mind that one of them is barely toddling. Stories don’t care about the reality of the thing.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says. He has a tone that suggests he’s said it multiple times, trying to catch Wei Ying’s attention, and Wei Ying drags his eyes up from where they’d caught on the filmy edge of one of Lan Zhan’s feathery fins.
“Mm? Sorry, say it again.” Wei Ying says, trying to shake the fog out of his head. He’s hungry.
“I would catch fish for you,” Lan Zhan says. He sounds very determined. It’s cute.
“I couldn’t ask that of you, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying replies, shaking his head. “It’s dangerous in the ocean for you, isn’t it? You never said, but- well.” He gestures. There’s still a scar across the flesh of Lan Zhan’s tail, a sharp delineation where the scales don’t meet up properly.
Wei Ying’s not an idiot. Mermaids have to be at the top of the food chain, strong and large as they are. Lan Zhan doesn’t seem like the kind of person to get injured from nothing.
“Nevertheless.” Lan Zhan says, and uses his frankly very impressive arm strength to lever himself up so he’s seated at the edge of the tub. Like this, water sheeting off him, Wei Ying can see in perfect detail the ripple of his abdominals, the cut of his hips, the fine ridges of his ribs. There are lines that band around his sides that Wei Ying thinks must be gills, but he’s never seen open to anything of the sort. He just- assumes.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says, trying not to sound as despairing as he feels. He can hear little A-Yuan crying somewhere below deck, because he’s hungry and they’re out of everything but the worst of the hardtack. “It’s so- it’s so sweet of you to want to help, it really is, I’d kiss you if I didn’t think you’d bite my tongue off, but it’s really not enough, anymore. Humans can’t live on fish. We’re just delaying the inevitable. It’s not- it’s not worth your safety, you know?”
Lan Zhan frowns with his eyebrows, this time. It makes him look deeply distressed. “Would you keep me here?” He asks after a moment. His eyes reflect the stars. “If I wanted to go?”
“Of course not,” Wei Ying says, alarmed. “You’ve never been a prisoner. Is that- do you feel like-?”
“No,” Lan Zhan says calmly. When he braids his hair this time, he pulls it back tightly- it looks severe on him, putting his cheekbones into sharp relief. He looks like a warrior, with all his muscle, rather than the lovely lounging thing that Wei Ying admires when no one is watching. “I will go now, then.”
“Oh.” Wei Ying says numbly. He doesn’t know why he hadn’t thought of this possibility. Of Lan Zhan leaving before they all got captured or died. “Oh, um.”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan catches Wei Ying around the wrist before he can actually turn and leave. “I would not bite you.”
He’s gone over the side before Wei Ying can think of a reply. It doesn’t even splash.
“He left?” Jiang Cheng asks. They’re so close to port now that they can hear the bustle of it, raucous and inviting and terrifying all at once. “Just like that?”
“He’s always been allowed,” Wei Ying says wearily, trying not to sound as hollowed-out as he feels. He doesn’t know how he can simultaneously expect nothing in return for a good deed and be miserable when he receives it. “No obligations, no debts.”
“He was our friend,” Jiang Cheng says, sounding more shocked than bitter. “He played with A-Yuan. Why-?”
“Leave it, Jiang Cheng,” Wei Ying snaps. He doesn’t want to think about it. Examining the ache inside himself that Lan Zhan has left behind is unthinkable when there is nothing to be done about it. “Just leave it. Who can go to port without being noticed?”
“Not you,” Jiang Cheng says immediately. “Not me, not Wen Qing. Not Wen Ning. Maybe one of the uncles. One without scars.”
No one. Wei Ying closes his eyes. “You and me,” He says, because at least he can be confident that they can get away. “We don’t need much. Just enough to get by.”
“You’re terrible at stealing,” Jiang Cheng says. The light of the port flickers in the whites of his eyes, dancing and strange. “If you get caught, we’re all fucked.”
“Yeah, well,” Wei Ying says. “It is what it is.”
It is what it is, he thinks, until he picks up the purse that’s been empty for months and finds it heavy with pearls in varying sizes, so many that they spill over his hands and ping off his cabin floor. They roll all over, catching the candle light, and he’s forced to scrabble after them because each one is worth more than its weight in gold.
Wen Qing finds him like that, hands and knees, staring at the soft luminescence of pearls worth more than his ship, his crew, his own life.
“Fuck.” She says, putting her hands on her hips.
“Yeah,” Wei Ying agrees blankly. “Fuck.”
Lan Zhan comes back with more fish than anyone could possibly eat and his hair bound up in a ribbon that trails its ends down the length of his back. His gills splay open when he hauls himself up out of the water into the lifeboat that they lower for him, pale blue insides with frilly edges all on display until they seal themselves off and he starts breathing air instead of water.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying calls down, his chin on his hand. “You were gone so long I thought you might have forgotten about us.” He doesn’t want to put into words that he’d thought that Lan Zhan was gone-gone. It’s easier to make it into a joke, as if A-Yuan hadn’t cried and asked for his Lan-gege.
“Impossible.” Lan Zhan says, and lifts himself out of the lifeboat and into Wei Ying’s waiting arms once he and his fish are pulled up. He’s cool from the ocean and very strong and very heavy. His mouth is cool and sweet when Wei Ying presses a kiss to his bottom lip.
“Gross,” Jiang Cheng says, not looking up from organizing the fish into what can be eaten fresh as opposed to what should be dried. “You have a cabin.”
“I do have a cabin!” Wei Ying says delightedly. “How convenient is that?”
It’s pretty convenient. The cabin still has a tub of water in it, relatively fresh because hope springs eternal, and Lan Zhan still fits into it with a curl of his tail.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says in the private quiet of the cabin, dark without the ever-present candles. “Lan Zhan, you’re back.”
Lan Zhan gives him a look that says obviously and gestures for Wei Ying imperiously, to which there is no answer other than to get into the tub with him fully clothed and slosh water all over the floor. Wei Ying puts his face into the crook of Lan Zhan’s neck and breathes in the cool salt of him, breath shuddering out when Lan Zhan skims his little claws up the ridge of Wei Ying’s spine beneath his shirt.
“Lan Zhan,” He says. “I didn’t know.”
“As intended,” Lan Zhan says calmly. “You are no longer hungry.”
“No,” Wei Ying agrees, helpless. “And we don’t have to run anymore. You gave us so much.”
“Hm,” Lan Zhan says, sounding pleased. “No debts between us.”
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying protests, and wheezes when Lan Zhan curls his fingers into the tender flesh of his waist. “Ow- fine. I don’t have anything to pay you back with, anyway.”
“Mn,” Lan Zhan says, suddenly sounding thoughtful, and tucks his webbed fingertips into the gap between Wei Ying’s pants and his waist. His hands are cool even in the sea water, sharp when his thumbs press into Wei Ying’s hip bones. Wei Ying makes a vaguely bewildered little noise, thighs going tight around the hard muscle of Lan Zhan’s tail, and suddenly things feel a little bit- close and intimate and real.
“Uh, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says, voice skewing a little high, and Lan Zhan makes a vague noise of agreement and starts taking off Wei Ying’s pants, which, um. Um!
He doesn’t know why he’d assumed Lan Zhan was a sexless creature. Maybe it was his apparent lack of genitalia. Maybe it was his noble brow line. Maybe it was the way he’d genuinely never touched Wei Ying before in any way past vaguely exploratory.
Whatever it was, it’s clearly not the case, because Lan Zhan is sort of touching him in a very, uh, sex-forward way, undulating up between Wei Ying’s legs and holding his hips down when he arches away. Wei Ying’s pants are caught around his thighs and the salt water is sloshing between them and he is really, really, very embarrassingly hard.
Lan Zhan looks down between their bodies with something like avarice, carefully drawing his knuckle up the underside of Wei Ying’s cock. Wei Ying traps a whine between his teeth (poorly) and jerks up for the pressure.
“Uh,” Wei Ying says, shifting his hips anxiously. “Okay, um.”
Lan Zhan peels Wei Ying out of his wet shirt in response, dropping it to the side of the tub with a wet slap that’s strangely embarrassing, considering it’s not really-- anything. Wei Ying skates his fingers along the closed-off lines of Lan Zhan’s gills and they flutter open in response, like an involuntary gasp. They’re all blue and strange inside. Wei Ying wonders, abstractly, if it would hurt if he put his fingers there, where they certainly don’t belong.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying wheezes, and Lan Zhan licks into Wei Ying’s mouth at the same time that he curls a hand around his cock. Wei Ying makes a frankly embarrassing noise against Lan Zhan’s tongue, because his hand is cold and silky-wet and not Wei Ying’s, which is a pretty key component. “No one’s- I’ve never- Lan Zhan-”
“Mm,” Lan Zhan says smugly, and sort of coils beneath Wei Ying to angle him properly. It turns out that Wei Ying has been wrong about a lot of mermaid things, because Lan Zhan definitely has genitalia and it’s definitely pressing against Wei Ying’s belly. It is- it is very big. It’s very, um. Wet. And. Sinuous.
“Are you gonna fuck me,” Wei Ying blurts stupidly, and Lan Zhan looks down at him with consideration.
“You may be too small,” Lan Zhan says thoughtfully, and gives Wei Ying’s cock a slow, exploratory jerk. Something inside Wei Ying goes hot and wanting, all down his spine and pooling in his belly. Small. “Slowly. Yes. Do you want that?”
Wei Ying hadn’t known until right this instant that he had, but- “ Yes, ” He says, desperate. Too loud. Lan Zhan kisses Wei Ying again and lifts him, like it’s easy, like he’s not a full-grown adult man. Lan Zhan’s cock is wet and slippery and sort of- it’s kind of curling against itself, and when Lan Zhan lines them up it doesn’t even seem like it’s effort to start slipping into Wei Ying.
It starts small. It feels weird but not painful, not really good but not bad, either, but then it’s not small anymore and suddenly Wei Ying is feeling- a lot. Too much. He jerks forward, breath hitching, and Lan Zhan catches him before he can pull away. He holds Wei Ying still, claws digging into the meat of Wei Ying’s hips while he feeds his cock in-in-in in a slick, crawling slide.
It should feel gross. It should feel alien. It does, in some way, it feels intensely strange and almost cramping as it slips in deeper and deeper, until Wei Ying’s certain he’s going to die with Lan Zhan’s cock halfway up his throat, but it’s so fucking good. He’s nearly crying with it, even as his body clamors no no no stop, and he clutches at Lan Zhan’s shoulders for support.
“Is- Lan Zhan, it’s, is it, are you-”
“Half,” Lan Zhan grits out, claws pressing deeply enough into Wei Ying’s hips that they draw little prickles of blood. “Hush.”
Wei Ying can’t hush. He shoves his face into the crook of Lan Zhan’s throat and bites the meat of his shoulder because otherwise he’s going to scream. Lan Zhan’s cock stretches him so deep that it doesn’t even hurt because there aren’t even nerves where he’s touching. It’s all pressure and hitching breaths, like Wei Ying’s too full to get his lungs to fully expand.
“Here,” Lan Zhan says, and presses his palm to Wei Ying’s belly, where his cock shifts beneath Wei Ying’s skin. Wei Ying hiccups and curls forward, around Lan Zhan’s palm, and comes without a hand on his cock. He can feel the way he tries to clench around Lan Zhan and fails, because Lan Zhan is pinning him too wide for his muscle to do more than flutter helplessly, and it makes Wei Ying want to come again, almost.
“Hurts,” Wei Ying garbles, except it doesn’t, it’s so good he thinks he might actually die from it. He sets his palm on top of Lan Zhan’s and they feel together when Lan Zhan shifts deeper, and Wei Ying is finally flush with his lap and there’s no more cock for him to take. “Fuck, oh, fuck. Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan.”
“Yes,” Lan Zhan says, and kisses the words out of Wei Ying’s mouth. “Good. Yes.”
He doesn’t fuck like Wei Ying’s been given to understand that humans fuck. He writhes inside Wei Ying, pressing him open and spearing him through instead of in-out-in. He’s everywhere inside, coiling against the boundaries of Wei Ying’s insides, and Wei Ying sobs into his mouth and comes again, too fast and achingly good.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying sobs, and Lan Zhan bites him and shoves impossibly deeper and- comes, he must be coming, tail looping into a tense coil that means Wei Ying can’t jerk himself up and off. He’s so deep it doesn’t even feel like pressure, and it’s only the way that he shudders that gives Wei Ying cause to think that he’s coming at all. “Fuck, fuck, fu-uck.”
“Mm,” Lan Zhan agrees, and draws his claws ever-so-carefully along the wings of Wei Ying’s shoulder blades. “Again?”
“No!” Wei Ying squawks, and drops his forehead against Lan Zhan’s shoulder when Lan Zhan shudders with a silent laugh.