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They arrive fashionably late to the Heroes Conference. Fashionably late meaning just late enough that the majority of the attendees have likely breathed sighs of relief with the belief that they will not be attending at all. This is very intentional on their part, and just the kind of petty and mean they both think is hysterical. 

    Zhou Zishu can’t even pretend not to be amused by it, considering it was he who had laughingly proposed it when they’d been considering whether to attend at all. Lao Wen had laughed a deep belly laugh, and the decision had thus been made.

    So now here they sit in the inn they’d stayed the night at. The Conference has been on for a few days, and today they will make their appearance. 

    Lao Wen had insisted Zishu allow him to paint underneath his eyes with red just the same as Wen Kexing wears it. Zishu had refused. Lao Wen had pouted and whined, and Zhou Zishu had caved.

    In other words, he currently lays on his back with his zhiji straddling him to paint careful lines of red under and at the corners of his eyes. It is a completely unnecessary position, but there is a certain point at which arguing with Lao Wen is pointless and one should simply give in to his whims.

    He would be lying, of course, to say he doesn’t enjoy the closeness.

    Lao Wen leans back to admire his work and smiles slowly, humming a slow sound of appreciation. “A-Xu....even lovelier than I imagined.”

    “You look so pretty like this,” he purrs, leaning in close. “It makes me want you.”

    Zhou Zishu scoffs, deftly catching the wrist of the hand that has started sliding down his belly and towards unmentionable places.

    “Don’t try to pretend you’re not always looking for an excuse to fuck me,” he murmurs, smirking back up at the bastard.

    “Can you blame me, A-Xu?” Lao Wen asks in return, turning his captured hand to lace their fingers together and press the hand down next to Zishu’s head. “You’re just so beautiful. Would you really deny me a taste of you?”

    “Yes. Get off of me.”

    He doesn’t wait for a response, just bucks up and chucks the whining figure of the fearsome Ghost Valley Guzhu off of his lap and to the side.

    “A-Xu!” his Lao Wen wails, and he smiles while his back is turned. He doesn’t bother wiping it off of his face as he looks into the small mirror in the room, even though that means Lao Wen can see it. “How can you be so cruel to me?”

    “We’re fully dressed, and I’ve just let you paint me. You want to ruin all that now?

    He watches Wen Kexing behind him through the mirror, sees him pout, and then throw his arms up shortly and proclaim, “Yes!”

    He laughs, shaking his head as he puts the mirror down. He will reluctantly admit that the pigment looks good; Lao Wen knows what he’s doing with a makeup brush. 

    “Behave yourself, you pestilence,” he says, “And I might let you have your pleasure later.”

    It’s enough to get the nuisance he’s made the deeply questionable decision of marrying to behave. For now.




The shocked silence that falls in the banquet hall when they enter is everything they could have hoped for and more. Every eye in the hall is on them as they walk in arm in arm, looking as if they don’t have a care in the world.

    They are, as usual, an impressive pair. Two beautiful and powerful men, carrying themselves with confidence and not showing a sliver of shame for how loudly they proclaim their romantic ties to each other.

    Lao Wen is in his usual reds, rich and luxurious and imposing. The cut of his robes accentuates the broadness of his shoulders and the narrowness of his waist in a way that, admittedly, made it a tad difficult for Zishu to refuse him earlier. He never ceases to be startled by the appetite he has for his husband, after so many years with no interest in the same sex.

    Zhou Zishu is wearing flowing robes in whites and pale blues, pearly greys. Lao Wen had dressed him, cooing and waxing poetic over how beautiful he looked in light colors like these. Like something divine. Although he will never admit it, Zhou Zishu loves the way his husband talks about him. Loves being so adored.

    Holding Zishu’s hair back is the same white jade pin Lao Wen had gifted him a year ago now, just like it is every day. He thinks Wen Kexing doesn’t think he notices, but Zishu catches the soft, fond way that he looks at him when he does his hair with it in the morning. He may care far more for Zishu’s safety than the safety of the pin, but it clearly means something to him that Zhou Zishu values it so greatly. 

    Lao Wen’s hair is affixed with a pin too, though his is lacquered plum wood. He too rarely wears anything but this pin now; Zhou Zishu had carved it by hand, after all. Wen Kexing had nearly cried when he had presented it to him, a proper gift carefully crafted to show his affections.

    Zishu had felt a bittersweet longing while he was working on it; had wished Jiuxiao had been able to pluck it from his fingers and call it ugly. It would only have been fair.

    Gao Chong, Shen Shen, and Zhang Yusen sit at the head of the hall, along with Zhang Yusen’s sons. He had come to collect Chengling early so that he could arrive to the Conference on time with his family. They are the only ones who had known of this petty little plan. Judging by the look on the faces of Gao Chong and Shen Shen, they’d kept mum about it too.

    By the time they reach the head table to greet their hosts as is proper, Gao Chong and Shen Shen have pretty clearly realized this was a move designed just to fuck with the attendees. 

    Gao Chong stands and salutes them properly, thinly veiled exasperation and amusement in his eyes. “Wen-daren. Zhou-daren. A pleasure to have you; we had been under the impression that the Ghost Valley would not attend.”

    Lao Wen smiles, more of a smirk than anything. “My apologies for our lateness. Guzhu is here, and will attend the Conference.”

    Zishu nearly snorts at the echo of that first day. God, he loves this man. This awful, insufferable prick.

    Said awful, insufferable prick makes a point to echo things he said or call back to events of the last years Conference just to make people uncomfortable, and Zhou Zishu is enjoying it immensely. 

    He sees the young master who had painted him and brightens, loudly letting him know that he still has the lovely portrait he made for him. He asks the man who had had his knuckles rapped how his hand is doing. He sneaks up behind Wu-daren to pluck some pheasant off of his plate and scare the living daylights out of him, jovially thanking him for turning him on to such a delicious bird he had not previously eaten much of.

    He is petty and improper and borderline mean and not a single soul dares to call him out on it. A year is not nearly long enough to forget how insidious he’d been in playing them all, or how flippantly he’d killed two of his own ghosts in front of them all, or how he’d effortlessly dredged up Zhao Jing’s wrongdoings, humiliated, outmatched, and sentenced him to a fate worse than death.

    He is the boogeyman in their midst, although a gorgeous one that they all still can’t help but look at with a hint of wanting. Anyone who displays more than a hint is quickly cowed by the murder in Zhou Zishu’s face, of course.

    Zhou Zishu, who is frightening in his own right. The Ghost Valley Guzhu’s collared tiger, deadly enough to dispatch an entire group of Scorpion assassins without anyone realizing he’d been in a conflict the next day. The one who has spent a year in the Ghost Valley now and come out not only looking untraumatized, but thriving and holding his head high. 

    The jianghu perhaps has even less of an idea what to think of him than they do Lao Wen.

    He doesn’t realize exactly how true that is until they nearly bump into a man who balks at the realization that he’s come face to face with the Ghost Valley Guzhu and his pet, and has no way to escape without exchanging greetings properly. 

    “G-Guzhu,” he greets, saluting Wen Kexing. And then, eyes flicking over to Zhou Zishu, he hesitates. His throat works, his mouth opens and closes. Zhou Zishu quirks a brow and waits.

    The man falters, hesitates, false starts a few times. Then, as if the words are vomited more than consciously decided on, he says, “Guzhu-furen.”

    Zhou Zishu’s eyes go wide as saucers, absolutely floored. Lao Wen, on the other hand, seems to think it’s the best thing he’s ever heard. He descends into raucous laughter. Not the graceful laugh he laughs when he’s faking it for company, but the stomach deep cackles that very few outside of Zhou Zishu get to hear.

    It saves the pale and spluttering man who caused it from Zishu’s ire, because he turns immediately to glaring at his zhiji’s laughing figure.

    “What are you laughing at?” he barks, scowling. Lao Wen takes one look at the offense on his face and only laughs harder, getting smacked for his trouble.

    “You think this is funny? Huh?”

    “No, no,” Wen Kexing tries to say, turning his back just to try to stifle his amusement. He achieves nothing other than giving Zhou Zishu a good view of the way his shoulders shake as he presses his knuckles to his mouth in a desperate bid to suppress the laughter.

    Zishu shoves one of those shoulders roughly, and the sound spills from Lao Wen’s lips again. 

    “You like that, huh? You lunatic?” Zishu asks, face far more righteously offended than he actually is. He has a hard time being so when Lao Wen is so openly happy and tickled. He has it bad for Wen Kexing. Truly unfortunate.

    “Fine then!” Zishu finally proclaims, flicking his sleeve. “See if I let you in our room when you get back! Laugh and eat your fill, you pestilence!”

    He whirls and marches towards the doors, people scattering before him like mice. Lao Wen’s laughing voice sets to calling after him immediately, the whines of ‘A-Xu’ cut through with giggles as he pursues Zhou Zishu out of the hall. 

    Zishu marches straight out the doors and through the courtyard, until he finds a nice pavilion on the west side of the manor to sit in. He crosses his legs and tilts his chin up imperiously as he watches Lao Wen’s grinning figure approach. 

    He is carrying a wine jug and a handful of cups; he must have plucked them hurriedly from someone’s table on the way out to use as a bribe.

    “A-Xuuuu,” Lao Wen plies him, not even bothering to wipe the grin off of his face as he sits down. “I didn’t mean to laugh. Truly!”

    “Bullshit,” Zishu says, pouring himself a cup of wine.

    “It’s true! It caught me off guard, that’s all!”

    “Well you best not be caught off guard by being made to sleep on the floor tonight. Perhaps I’ll even sleep in the nude; make sure you know what you’re missing.”

    Lao Wen makes a crushed sound, hissing in a breath as if pained. “A-Xu. The venom on your tongue, it burns so deeply.”

    Zhou Zishu huffs a laugh through his nose, smiling and leaning closer, playful. “Is there venom on my tongue? I do know my poisons well.”

    Wen Kexing suppresses the flicker of a smile to look pathetic, seeming magnetized as always by Zhou Zishu’s proximity. “It is a powerful toxin indeed, A-Xu. I know not if I’ll survive.”

    Zishu huffs, admiring Wen Kexing’s beautiful face and allowing himself to give in to the pull, to let them gravitate towards each other until they’re so close their noses nearly touch. “I think I know what poison you’ve been afflicted with, Lao Wen.”

    “Do you? Will I live, A-Xu?”

    “Hmmmm,” he hums, tilting his head and letting his eyes flicker to Lao Wen’s mouth. “Perhaps. I may have an antidote for you.”

    Lao Wen is positively lost in him, he can see it. His eyes are growing dark, his voice growing quieter. He is hanging on the edge of Zishu’s tongue, waiting for permission to take his mouth with his own.

    “What would you have me do, A-Xu, to remedy this cruel poison of yours?”

    “I don’t know if you can manage it, Lao Wen. It is a simple cure, but I fear it will be difficult for you.”

    “I can do it, A-Xu. Anything.”


    “Anything. Tell me what you would have me do.”

    Poor, insatiable Lao Wen. Zishu almost feels bad for him when he pushes him away with a firm shove to the chest and replies, “Stop being such a fucking nuisance, and my tongue will need not poison you.”

    He can’t help the belly laugh he gives as Lao Wen reels back with righteous offense and faux hurt, momentarily thrown by the change in what he thought was a lustful atmosphere but quickly cottoning on and making an almighty fuss about how mean his A-Xu is to him. 

    His eyes shine with delight, watching Zhou Zishu laugh at him. That is, perhaps, one of the things about Wen Kexing that overwhelms Zhou Zishu the most; the pure joy he seems to derive from seeing Zhou Zishu happy. 

    As Lao Wen crows and complains and makes a nuisance of himself, Zishu catches sight of a figure in his periphery as he’s lifting his cup to his lips. He turns his head. 

    Standing a distance away in the courtyard is one young man, looking like he’s just arrived at the manor itself. He stands still, staring at the two of them with a wide open expression. That alone is not strange, considering how visibly close and intimate and improper they were just being. 

    What is out of the ordinary is that the expression the young man holds is not one of disgust or shock or morbid fascination. It’s…

    “Lao Wen,” he murmurs. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”

    Wen Kexing blinks, turns to look at the young man. He’s silent for a moment, before he makes a disbelieving sound of amusement and says, “Puppy love. Hmph. Understandable, of course; my A-Xu’s beauty is unparalleled.”

    “Funny,” Zishu says, knocking a cup of liquor back. “I thought it was you he must be mooning over.”

    Lao Wen scoffs. “Nonsense. Who could pay any attention to me, with your radiance sitting right here?”

    Zhou Zishu chuckles, closing his eyes and shaking his head. There is only one occasion under which Lao Wen downplays his own beauty in order to pay Zishu compliments. 

    “Don’t think you can butter me up, you pestilence. There’s no sweet talking your way out of sleeping on the floor tonight.”

    Lao Wen pouts, whines. “Can I at least sweet talk you into sleeping on the floor with me? It’s fine if you still choose to do so nude.”

    Zishu smacks him even as he laughs. They’re so easily drawn back into each other that they almost forget the boy is there, until he begins to move towards them. 

    The expression on his face is a mixture of nerves and determination, and Zishu has a sudden realization. He doesn’t know. He has no idea the two men he’s currently approaching with an air that is reminiscent of poor dumb Cao Weining are the current Guzhus of Ghost Valley, the two most feared men in Yueyang. The two monsters who strike fear in the hearts of the jianghu. 

    “Oh dear,” Lao Wen murmurs next to him. “This should be fun.”

    Zhou Zishu elbows him, but does not refute the statement.

    As the young man climbs the few stairs into the pavilion, he clears his throat and puts forward a nervous but bright smile. “Forgive me for intruding, my Lords. I see that you are enjoying the evening with some good wine. Would it be terribly unwelcome of me to ask to join you?”

    Lao Wen smirks and leans back in his seat, making a show of sizing the poor young man up. “I’ll allow it.”

    The poor kid lights up at the welcome, sitting with a straight back and shining eyes. He is every bit a young man with a crush, though his moon eyes do not seem to be reserved for either one of them more than the other. 

    Ah, Zishu thinks. What ambition this little lamb has, to set his sights on the both of them at once.

    “Have you only just arrived?” Lao Wen asks him, pouring him a cup of wine that he accepts with a grateful smile. Zhou Zishu can practically see the butterflies in his stomach, the little fool.

    “Ah, y-yes. It is my first Heroes Conference, but I stayed behind for a few days to tend to matters with some of the younger disciples of my sect. And you gentlemen?”

    “It is not our first Conference,” Lao Wen replies easily, filling Zishu’s and his own cup as well. “But we have also just arrived today. How serendipitous.”

    The young man smiles, drinking his wine. “Serendipitous indeed. Forgive my boldness, but you two are very admirable in your...openness.”

    Lao Wen smirks, taking the excuse to wrap his arm around Zishu’s waist and tug him close. “I see. So that is why you’ve approached us, is it? Not used to seeing cutsleeves out of hiding?”

    The young man laughs, a little awkward and shy, but not uncomfortable. It’s just new to him, to be able to speak so openly about such things.

    “Ah, n-no, I suppose not. I have only just recently come to terms with being...inclined that way myself, instead of trying to pretend I’m like everyone else. I can only hope to some day be as comfortable with myself as you two seem to be.”

    He clears his throat, looking between them with an earnest face. Poor kid, Zishu thinks. He has no idea that Lao Wen is playing with him like a cat with a mouse for nothing more than amusement.

    “Might I ask,” he says, “when you gentlemen became comfortable with it? Being how we are.”

    Wen Kexing hums, fanning himself thoughtfully. “Myself? I’ve known for as long as I can remember, and never really bothered to hide it or try to change it. If someone has a problem, they learn quickly to keep it to themselves.”

    Lao Wen gives a shark like grin as he professes this; Zishu has no doubt it only took one or two corpses when he was still quite young for people in the Valley to realize that this cutsleeve was not one who could be bullied.

    The young man’s eyes turn to Zishu, who clicks his tongue and averts his eyes. This kid, he muses with a hint of embarrassment, has probably known he likes men for longer than Zhou Zishu has.

    “Wasn’t into men,” he grumbles, not looking at either of them. “Not until him.”

    The boy is startled, though he laughs good naturedly and glances back at Wen Kexing with those pathetic moon eyes. “I see. Well, it’s certainly understandable. I’m sure you are not the first man someone of his calibre has swayed from women.”

    Lao Wen laughs, bright and loud. “Ah, a flatterer! Truly he claims I won him over, and yet would you believe it? He refused me this afternoon! A heartless creature he is, my A-Xu.”

    Zhou Zishu snorts and rolls his eyes, elbowing his zhiji roughly. “If I didn’t make a habit of refusing you, you’d never let me out of bed, you pest.”

    Lao Wen pouts, putting those awful puppy eyes on. “A-Xu. It’s not my fault; anyone would want to keep you in bed, so lovely as you are! Don’t you agree, daren?”

    The young man flushes, sputtering but laughing and seeming delighted by their easy teasing back and forth. “Ah, are both indeed quite beautiful, it is no wonder you’ve ended up together. I didn’t know there were any other people in the jianghu who were openly cutsleeves. Other know.”

    Almost in sync, Zhou Zishu and Wen Kexing each raise a single eyebrow.

"Other than who?" Lao Wen asks, just to make him say it. Zishu admits it is amusing that the young man skirted around it as if mention of the Ghost Valley Guzhus may summon them.

"Ah, were here last year, right? So you know that the Ghost Valley attended."

"Indeed," Lao Wen replies, playing flawlessly dumb with those big guileless eyes. "What of them?"

The young man balks. "Well, he is the only other man I know of in or around the jianghu who is so openly like us."

"Who?" Lao Wen asks, and Zhou Zishu nearly loses the tenuous grip he has on a straight face.

"T-the Guzhu!"

Wen Kexing opens his mouth and eyes with an exaggerated, 'ohhhhh' that makes Zishu hide his smile behind his wine cup.

"Well why didn't you just say so, silly thing?"

The young man flushes at the address. "I suppose I thought it obvious. All the same, it is good he stayed away this time; for a man like that to be the example of cutsleeves in the public eye...well, I just think handsome and refined gentlemen such as yourselves put forth a better image."

Zishu chokes around a mouthful of wine on his laugh, waving the concerned boy off as he bangs on his own chest and coughs his airways clear.

Lao Wen just smirks, considering he knows exactly why Zishu inhaled his liquor. 

"Is the Ghost Valley Guzhu truly such a bad example of cutsleeves?" Wen Kexing asks, tilting his head and eyes dancing. "He has quite improved the relationship between the Alliance and the Valley, hasn't he?"

The young man blinks, not expecting such a thing to be questioned. "Well yes, but...certainly you wouldn't want a violent and unhinged man to be what the public thinks cutsleeves are like. Why, by all accounts he took one of the attendees back as a slave last year! My-my shifu says there's word that he keeps the poor man chained to his bed!"

Zishu can't help it. He laughs, despite the flabbergasted look the young man gives him for it.

"I think your shifu is too fond of shocking rumors," he chuckles, shaking his head. "We were here last year, remember? The Ghost Valley Guzhu's pet is no unwilling damsel."

"As a matter of fact," Lao Wen cuts in, glancing at Zhou Zishu with a sly smirk. "I'd wager a bet the vixen made a pet out of the Guzhu, contrary to popular belief."

Zhou Zishu snorts, shaking his head and drinking. "Nonsense, Lao Wen. They both wear collars; they simply hold each other's leash."

Predictably, he feels Lao Wen's large, graceful hand slide onto his upper thigh and give it a squeeze. 

"Hmmm, now isn't that a picture, A-Xu," he purrs. "I think I'd quite like to see such a thing."

He rolls his eyes, about to rebuke his zhiji as if he too wouldn't like to put a collar on this walking nuisance. He does not get the chance to say anything disparaging.

"Xuan'er!" a voice calls, slightly behind and to the right of he and Lao Wen. When they turn, it's apparent that this is a group of older martial artists from the young man's sect out to look for him. They surely knew he was supposed to be arriving soon, and wondered what was holding him up.

Evidently, they weren't expecting that to be the Guzhus of Ghost Valley.

They all stop dead in their tracks and turn pale as their ignorant compatriot calls, "Ah, shifu! My apologies, I got lost in conversation."

"Shifu!" Lao Wen crows, eyes alight with mischief. "Why, we were just talking about you!"

The man in question visibly flinches, the beginnings of a nervous sweat starting to crest his brow. Fool. Showing such signs of fear only sharpen the predator’s delight in his Lao Wen’s eyes. 

He has to admit, the look of a predator is an attractive look indeed on Wen Kexing.

“Xuan’er,” the older man says in a weak, thready voice. “I see you have met the Guzhus of Ghost Valley.”

Zishu glances back at the young man they’ve been conversing with with a sly smirk on his face, eyes dancing and bouncing his brow at the poor bastard while he watches realization slowly dawn across his face.

Next to him, Wen Kexing tilts his head dangerously. Only Zhou Zishu would be able to tell he’s playing; the difference between Wen Kexing getting this dangerous look on his face just to scare someone for his own amusement and Wen Kexing getting this dangerous look on his face because he actually intends to cause harm is nearly imperceptible.

Right now, Lao Wen is playing. He’s playing as he tilts his head in something like disbelief and says, “Surely you don’t mean to simply ignore me?”

If possible, the group goes even paler. Especially the man this Xuan’er calls shifu. “N-no, of course n-”

Wen Kexing rises languidly from where he’s seated next to Zhou Zishu, and Zhou ZIshu smiles into his wine and watches his husband’s tall figure take the stairs in a slow, confident gait. 

“As a matter of fact,” Lao Wen purrs, snapping his fan open and sauntering slowly towards the quivering man, “I hear that you’ve been telling lies about the way I treat my husband. Is that true?”

The man splutters, frozen in place. They all are, as Lao Wen circles them slowly like a shark. 

He’s stunning like this, Zishu thinks as he drinks his figure in. The graceful curve of his wrist as he fans himself leisurely, the breadth of his shoulders and the narrowness of his waist, the way the cut of his robes accentuates his figure. The sinuous predation in his every step, in the flutter of his lashes and the curl of his just does something for Zhou Zishu. There’s no other way to explain it.

“Because if that were the case,” his Lao Wen purrs, “it wouldn’t be very nice, would it? Especially considering how dear my A-Xu is to me.”

Lao Wen turns in his slow circling when he rounds behind them again to step towards the target of his faux ire, and the others in the group scatter away like they may as well be strangers. Every man for themselves.

It’s sexy, how Lao Wen inspires that feeling in people.

His zhiji pulls up behind the poor quivering sap, nearly flush to his back and breathing on his neck and ear. The man looks like he may well piss himself soon, but does not move. Is it that he can’t, ZIshu wonders, or that he doesn’t dare?

“Well?” Lao Wen nearly whispers. “Haven’t you anything to say to me?”

Zishu smiles and sighs, shaking his head before he stands up and calls, “Lao Wen.”

Lao Wen raises his eyes to meet Zhou Zishu’s, curious. 

Zhou Zishu gives him a heated look and quirks one brow, drinking the last of the wine in his cup before he sets it down and descends the stairs of the pavilion, never looking away from those dark eyes.

“I’m bored.”

He doesn’t need to say anything else; Wen Kexing knows the look on his face well, and lights up with a less than innocent delight.

“Oh dear,” he croons, sliding out from behind his trembling victim and approaching Zhou Zishu to loop an arm around his waist.

He glances back over and smiles at the man as if they’d just been having a pleasant conversation, chiming. “It would seem we have to cut this short; marital duties call. You know how it is when they get needy. Well…”

He gives the man a pointed once over just to add insult to injury and says, “...maybe.”




They barely make it through the door.

    Zhou Zishu doubts either of them could pinpoint who crashes into who, only that there’s the wild clashing of tongues and teeth and grabbing hands. 

    He barely manages to kick the door shut before he’s being slammed into the table, grunting at the hard impact but kissing Wen Kexing back with just as much viciousness as he’s being kissed.

    Half of the things on the table are knocked off as Zhou Zishu is slammed onto his back onto it, half of them are swept off by Lao Wen’s sleeve.

    Lao Wen is heavy where he shoves himself between Zhou Zishu’s legs and lays against him, devouring his mouth like a starved animal. It’s maddeningly arousing, to be kissed with such raw desire. To hear the desperate, hungry sounds Lao Wen makes into his mouth, the ones he makes in return. 

    Their hands grab and pull and push at the ties and belts and lapels of their robes without any rhyme or reason, two people reduced to the basest of instinct to strip, kiss, touch, fuck.

    Their hips crash and grind together, hard enough that it hurts as much as it feels good, but they just can’t stop . As long as it’s Lao Wen who’s doing it, the hurt is okay. The hurt is good.

    Even when Lao Wen pulls away from their kiss to sink his teeth into the bared flesh of Zhou Zishu’s shoulder, the hurt is good. He cries out and arches and grinds back into his zhiji’s insistent hips and it’s good.

    Fuck, Lao Wen,” he gasps breathlessly, head rolling back with the pleasure of their grinding. He’s so intoxicated he lets himself whine in complaint when the pressure and friction stops.

    In answer to his wordless complaint, Lao Wen pulls him up, murmuring an equally breathless, “Bed, bed.”

    Zishu laughs as he’s hoisted bodily from the table, wrapping his legs around Lao Wen’s waist. “So romantic, Lao Wen, refusing to fuck me on the table.”

    Lao Wen laughs back, stumbling across the room and nothing short of throwing him onto the bed. He’s reaching out for his zhiji before he’s even stopped bouncing from the impact.

    Wen Kexing crashes into him just as brutally as he had at the door and on the table, and he loves it. Loves that now that he’s healthy and whole, Lao Wen isn’t afraid to be rough like this when he’s so desperate with desire. He knows now that he won’t hurt Zishu so easily, and that Zishu is just as capable and strong as he is.

    They’re probably going to have to hunt for their layers after this, with how they fling each piece of clothing they manage to yank off of each other. They break into breathless laughter more than once at seeing each other struggle with fabric or swear at a garment. 

    It is not graceful, it is not seductive, but it is absolutely perfect. As long as it’s Lao Wen, it’s perfect.

    The moment Lao Wen wraps his hand around the both of them, skin against skin, and starts stroking is absolute bliss. Zishu groans, head falling back and eyes fluttering shut.

    “Fuck yes, Lao Wen. Just like that.”

    “Just like that?” Wen Kexing asks breathlessly. “Are you sure, A-Xu? I had something tighter than my hand in mind for you, you know.”

    Zishu hisses, shivers. “God, yeah. That sounds good. Do you want me to-”

    “I don’t want you to do a thing,” Lao Wen tells him, kissing him firmly and searching him blind for the jar of oil they never leave far from their pillows. 

    When he finds it he sits up triumphantly, straddling Zhou Zishu’s lap and looking like a vision from heaven. Nude and flushed, his cock hard and standing at attention. He’s beautiful, grinning down at Zishu as he smears oil over his fingers and reaches behind himself.

    He makes a show of himself, his Lao Wen. Rolls his head and his hips, parts his lips just so and makes the sweetest sounds. Presses fingers into himself one by one, only the catch of his breath and the flutter of his eyelashes telling Zishu what he’s doing or when he finds a good angle.

    It’s maddening. He thinks Lao Wen is waiting for him to show it or say something, because he grins in a triumphant, euphoric way when Zishu grabs his hips tight enough to bruise, rocking his hips up under him in a silent plea.

    As usual, Lao Wen gives him his way. He pulls his fingers free from himself, guides Zishu’s cock into place, and sinks down with slow, even pressure that steals the breath from Zhou Zishu’s lungs.

    He groans, the whole world narrowing to the feeling of Lao Wen under his hands and around his cock.

    The squeeze is overwhelming, but he forces himself to open his eyes anyway. He knows that a true vision awaits him, after all. 

    Lao Wen is stunning. Lean muscle and soft skin, hair spilling over his shoulders like ink and chest expanding with the little gasps that his lips part so prettily around. He’s gorgeous like this, aroused and stuffed full.

    It’s truly all Zishu can do to watch him and hold on for the ride once Lao Wen adjusts and starts to move. When Wen Kexing rides him, it’s like being consumed by a natural disaster. 

    “A-Xu,” Lao Wen gasps, biting his lips and rocking back and forth with the kind of practice and skill that can drive a man mad. “A-Xu, A-Xu…”

    This is one of Zishu’s favorite parts of having Lao Wen on top of him like this; watching him lose his mask. He knows that Zishu likes to hear him, and at first he always puts on a show. His moans are sultry and calculated, his movements seductive. What Zishu loves more than anything is watching him lose himself in the pleasure. Hearing his cries become raw and unrestrained, forced from his throat instead of intentionally given. Watching his face crumble from seduction into wanton pleasure, seeing his movements change from calculated and pretty to whatever feels good, whatever makes him cry and shudder.

    He loves seeing Lao Wen stripped down to this purely base creature, chasing his pleasure and unable to string a coherent thought together. Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

    And through the whole process, through every stage of Wen Kexing breaking down under the pleasure and letting himself just be , he gasps Zishu’s name like it’s the only thing that’s keeping him tethered to Earth. 

    “A-Xu,” he whines, cock leaking and movements becoming frantic. “A-Xu, A-Xu! Gonna come!”

    “No you’re not,” he answers, and Lao Wen whines a loud, pitiful sound.

    Every now and then, they’re mean like this to each other. Every now and then, someone approaches their peak and their lover denies them, makes them squirm and beg and cry before they give them release.

    Lao Wen knows it’s a command. He knows it’s his job to still his hips himself and sit there, tremble and beg and wait for permission. He doesn’t. Instead, he lifts his hips and bounces harder, frantic.

    This brat, Zishu realizes with disbelief, is trying to chase his orgasm before Zishu can stop him. He should know better.

    Wen Kexing cries out as he’s pushed over and off of his zhiji, pressed onto his back and reentered in one rough motion.

    Zishu can tell by the way he throws his head back and shouts, by the way his body tenses and his lashes flutter, that the rough penetration drives him within a hairs breadth of the orgasm he so desperately wants. And then, when he starts to slide back from the edge, he whines and comes alive.

    He starts to writhe, rolling his hips desperately in an attempt to fuck himself back on Zishu’s cock and find his climax. It is unfortunate, then, that Zishu expected as much and sets quickly to tangling their legs in such a way that he can get no leverage. 

Lao Wen whines, gasps, pinned like a butterfly beneath Zishu’s body. His hand darts towards his cock like he thinks he can jerk himself to orgasm instead, only to have his wrist caught and both hands pinned.

“A-Xu! A-Xu, please, please, I need it! I need it, I need it…!”

“Shhh,” Zishu soothes him, mouthing at his throat and delighting in the way his lover shivers beneath him. “You don’t need it. You want it. Be a good boy and wait.”

    Whining and trying fruitlessly to buck, Wen Kexing complains, “I’m not a good boy.”

    Zishu laughs, Lao Wen shivering and biting his lip at the way it jostles them where they’re slotted together. “No,” he agrees. “You’re not. I wouldn’t have to pin you like this if you were.”

    He tries a few slow, deep thrusts. Almost immediately Lao Wen is gasping and jerking his hands free to cling to Zishu’s shoulders. Hm. Too soon, then.

    The sob his zhiji lets out when he stops moving is music to his ears. 

    “A-Xu. A-Xu, please. Please, I’m begging you. I’m so close, A-Xu.”

    “I know,” he murmurs soothingly, “I know. That’s why I’m waiting; so you won’t be so close.”

    Wen Kexing makes a low, mournful sound and surrenders. He trembles with the need to move and try to chase his pleasure, but he forces his body to go lax inside the cage of his husband’s arms and wait for his climax to escape his clutches.

    “A-Xu,” he moans pitifully. “A-Xu, it hurts.”

    It certainly looks like it hurts, he thinks as he peers down at Lao Wen’s cock where it’s trapped between them. Flushed and red and leaking. Gorgeous. He reaches down to ghost his fingers over the tip just to watch it jump and hear Lao Wen gasp.

    “Please,” he whispers, big dark eyes wet and pitiful. “Please, A-Xu.”

    Zhou Zishu caves. He adjusts his position, pulls Lao Wen’s hips more firmly into his lap, and starts a deep, rolling rhythm he knows from past experience drags against his zhiji’s sweet spot in brutal grinds that drive him absolutely insane.

    True to expectation, Lao Wen throws his head back and cries out, eyes wide and chest heaving for breath. “Oh! Oh, A-Xu! A-Xu! Don’t stop! Please don’t stop!”

    The tears spill over Lao Wen’s lashes; a sign of a job well done, Zishu thinks as he feels those graceful fingers rake trails down his back. He can track how close Lao Wen is by the gradual increase in pitch his frantic cries take, music like nothing else in this world.

    “A-Xu! A-Xu, please, please, please, I’m-”

    “Shhhh,” he soothes, petting dark hair and kissing a trail along Lao Wen’s jaw. “I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”

    Lao Wen shouts, rakes his nails down his back hard enough to draw blood, and tightens like a vice around Zishu’s cock.

    It’s enough to roll his eyes back in his head and make him come on the spot, stars behind his eyelids and body wracked with pleasure. It’s always so good when he’s first gotten to watch Lao Wen shake apart.

    They’re left limp and gasping for breath in the aftermath, tangled together in that easy, intimate way that always leaves Zhou Zishu wondering what he did to deserve such profound bliss. Such love.

    “Okay?” he manages to slur, and Lao Wen rumbles with laughter beneath him. 

    So okay. Never been more okay. God, A-Xu...I love it when you’re mean to me.”

    “Mnnnnn,” he replies. “I love you .”

    Lao Wen’s breath catches. Even a year in, it never fails to provoke such a reaction from him when Zishu tells him honestly how he feels. “I love you you so much, A-Xu.”

    He hums, more than willing to fall asleep now and wake up sticky. “Good. You’re stuck with me.”

    “Stuck with you…” Lao Wen murmurs, almost like it’s an epiphany. “A sweeter sentence I’ve never heard.”

    They need not say anything more on their love; they simply trace it into each other’s skin with their fingers, like if they try hard enough they can wear scars into the flesh in the exact shape of their adoration. 

    It is slow going, but they have a lifetime left to try.