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a king under your control

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It’s not often that Xie Lian accompanies Hua Cheng to the Gambler's Den, but he’s starting to think that he should tag along more. He’s seen many sides to his husband—he’s seen him angry, upset, and so happy that he could cry. He’s seen him in a plethora of forms and genders. He’s seen him create delicate pieces of artwork and then, with those same hands, wield fearsome weapons and shed blood. Everything that his San Lang is and has been and will ever be, Xie Lian sees it all.

But there’s just something different about him, like this. In Puji Shrine, he is a teenager beloved by the entire village. In Paradise Manor, he is Xie Lian’s husband. And in the Gambler’s Den, he is a king.

Xie Lian is reminded of the first time he’d ever stepped foot into the establishment; when Hua Cheng had cupped his hands and guided them up, down, up, down, agonisingly slowly, skin burning hot at each point of contact. It was the first time Xie Lian had seen his true form—the sheer power of it, the magnificence of his robes and the strength of his body and the incomparable beauty of his face. For the first time in his life, Xie Lian had felt vulnerable. It wasn’t because he thought that Hua Cheng would do anything to him. It was because Xie Lian knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he’d let him.

Hua Cheng is in his element, like this. It’s his most natural state. The tantalising stretch of his limbs as he leans backwards, the arrogant smirk on his lips, the tap, tap, tap of his nails against the wooden arm of his chair. Xie Lian shivers at the thought of those nails dragging slowly, gently, along his skin.

“I like watching you like this, San Lang,” he says. He watches Hua Cheng’s expression shift into something softer as their eyes meet.

“You do?”

Xie Lian nods. He twists in his seat, running the tip of his index finger along the carvings in the back of his chair. His nail—clack, clack, clack—dips into every groove and crevice, catches on the features of a dragon jutting out from the wood. He doesn’t have to glance up at Hua Cheng to know that he’s already following the movement with that piercing gaze of his. Alas, Xie Lian can never look away from his husband for too long, especially when he’s as tempting as this, so he looks anyway.

“I like watching you act cocky, and hearing you boss everyone round,” he says. He leans closer, stretching across the chasm-like gap between their chairs. (They don’t need one each, he thinks. He’d happily sit on Hua Cheng’s lap, instead). “It’s sexy,” he adds.

Hua Cheng chokes, then attempts to cover up the sound with a laugh.

“Gege, you shouldn’t say things like that,” he says.

“Why not?” Xie Lian frowns. “Should I not call my husband sexy? It’s the truth, San Lang.”

It should be impossible for a ghost to flush so red, Xie Lian thinks. But Hua Cheng has always defied all laws of possibility.

“I just mean— Here. You shouldn’t say that stuff here.”


“Because,” Hua Cheng says, hands twitching in his lap, “it makes me want to fuck you.”

The admission summons a satisfied grin to Xie Lian’s lips. “I am your husband,” he says. “Are you not allowed to fuck me?”

“Gege!” Hua Cheng protests, but his eye shines with glee and mischief.

“Nobody can see us, San Lang,” Xie Lian whispers conspiratorially. “Nobody would know.”

Something darker flashes in Hua Cheng’s eye this time, and he heaves in a shaky breath. With a trembling hand, he reaches out to cup Xie Lian’s cheek.

“Are you sure?” he croaks. “You really want it here? Now?”

Xie Lian huffs in a mixture of fondness and exasperation. “Yes, San Lang. Your husband wants you to fuck him, right here and right now.”

In a flash, Hua Cheng yanks him from his seat. Xie Lian crawls into his husband’s lap, humming happily as their lips crash together. Fingers rake through his hair, brush along the line of his neck, palm at his chest. He nips at Hua Cheng’s lips and smiles when his husband moans quietly into the kiss.

Just as quickly as it had begun, the kiss comes to a crashing halt. Xie Lian wrenches himself backwards, eyes widening.

“San Lang, I forgot. We need—”

He doesn’t have the chance to finish speaking before Hua Cheng is placing a cool finger over his lips. With his other hand, he draws a small vial of liquid from beneath his robes.

“Gege is impulsive, sometimes,” he says, which Xie Lian certainly can’t deny now. “This San Lang likes to be prepared.”

He wonders what else Hua Cheng must secretly carry around with him on a daily basis, just in case Xie Lian is ever in need of something. The thought brings a giddy smile to his lips. However, it quickly fades when the tip of Hua Cheng’s finger slips between his lips. He senses Hua Cheng beginning to pull away, so Xie Lian leans forward and sucks his finger into his mouth before he has the chance to escape. Hua Cheng makes an almost wounded noise in the back of his throat.

“Gege,” he gasps.

Xie Lian draws back slowly until Hua Cheng’s nail catches on his lower lip, then whispers, “I like your hands. San Lang, I’ve been thinking about them all night. I could’ve sworn that you were drawing my attention to them on purpose.”

Hua Cheng smirks, but it’s obvious from the faint glimmer of bemusement in his eye that it’s a show of faux confidence. It baffles Xie Lian that Hua Cheng still so often considers it a miracle that Xie Lian is attracted to him. Hua Cheng doesn’t even have to try. How ironic that Hua Cheng has always kneeled for him in the past, when one look from him now is all it takes to have Xie Lian willing to serve him on his knees.

After setting aside the vial for later, they kiss again. It’s hungrier than before. Xie Lian can still hear the sound of rolling dice and maniacal laughter from beyond the curtain, but it’s fainter now, as if muffled by a layer of fog. It’s enough to remind him that they aren’t alone; only a thin sheet of red separates them from the rest of the room. Out there, the world is full of people who cower beneath Hua Cheng’s gaze and quake at the sound of his voice. Out there, people fear and respect Hua Cheng like the king he is.

Xie Lian breaks the kiss, panting. He’s already burning from head to toe, out of his mind with want. He rolls his hips down once, experimentally, then leans back to catch his breath.

“You can boss me around a bit, if you want,” he says, when he can finally trust himself to speak again. He swallows thickly, ducking his head in embarrassment. “I meant what I said—I really like it.”

The bout of contemplative silence that follows tells Xie Lian that his husband is still hesitant, a little unsure. He has spent almost his entire life—certainly, their entire marriage—doing whatever Xie Lian wishes of him. He would never dare to order Xie Lian around as if he is but a servant for his pleasure.

But Xie Lian wants him to. He wants Hua Cheng to make demands of his own, to have whatever he wants. Xie Lian wants to give him that.

“Please, San Lang. It’s alright. It’s what I want.”

Hua Cheng releases a breath, running a hand along Xie Lian’s spine as he nods. “As gege is begging so nicely,” he says. “Let’s get those pesky robes off of you, then, hm?”

He laughs at Xie Lian’s eager nod, hands already working to loosen Xie Lian’s belt. When he’s succeeded in untying it, Xie Lian impatiently pushes the robe off of his own shoulders. Hua Cheng clicks his tongue and grabs onto both of his wrists, then holds them in one hand as he uses the other to settle Xie Lian’s outer robe back over his shoulders.

“Gege is impatient,” he says. “Let me.”

It takes a lot of effort to sit still while Hua Cheng strips him of his clothes. He does it excruciatingly slowly, letting his hands roam over Xie Lian’s back and shoulders, then down his sides and up again, across his chest, until his hands finally settle over Xie Lian’s stomach. It is now, thankfully, bare—his skin tingles where each of Hua Cheng’s palms lie flat against his abs.

Xie Lian whines when one of Hua Cheng’s hands dips lower, rubbing him through his trousers. He attempts to grind up into his husband’s hand, but Hua Cheng pulls further away with each shift of his hips.

“Stay still.” His voice is firm, but not unkind. It sends heat swooping through Xie Lian’s abdomen, and he groans.

“San Lang.”

“Hush, gege,” Hua Cheng scolds. “With all the noise you’re making, it might be better to gag you.”

Xie Lian chokes on another moan, then slaps his hand over his mouth as his eyes widen. Hua Cheng gapes at him for a moment, then huffs a laugh.

“Okay, we’ll definitely try that another time. I don’t have anything to gag you with right now, though. And I don’t particularly want to use Ruoye.”

No, that certainly wouldn’t do. Xie Lian glances down at the pile of his robes on the floor to see Ruoye peeking out of his sleeve, clearly having heard its name. It scuttles back into the robes as soon as it realises the situation at hand, and Xie Lian snorts.

“Next time,” he agrees, as he turns to face Hua Cheng once more.

“You’ll just have to be quieter for now, gege,” Hua Cheng says, rubbing his thumb over Xie Lian’s nipple and making him shiver. “You can do that for me, can’t you?”

And Xie Lian finds himself thinking, Anything. I can—I will—do anything for you.

He’s put to the test when Hua Cheng leans in to wrap his lips around one of his nipples, dragging his tongue over it before sucking harshly. Xie Lian is forced to raise his hand to his lips again so that he can bite down on the flesh of his palm, eyes watering at the resulting combination of pain and pleasure. His hips jerk when Hua Cheng resumes rubbing his dick through his clothes with his other hand, but his husband doesn’t pull back this time. He allows Xie Lian to chase that frisson of pleasure, although they both know that it isn’t enough. With another whine, Xie Lian glares pointedly into Hua Cheng’s single, gleaming eye.

Hua Cheng backs away and grins. “Alright, gege. Go ahead.”

Xie Lian wastes no time in removing his trousers, kicking them away to join the rest of his clothes before straddling Hua Cheng’s thighs again. His husband has already retrieved the vial of liquid he’d set aside earlier, and Xie Lian stares intently as he pours some of it over his fingers, rubbing them together to warm it through.

“Come here,” Hua Cheng says, and Xie Lian is powerless to do anything but obey. He creeps closer, letting himself be pulled into another feverish kiss.

The first of Hua Cheng’s fingers slips in easily. Xie Lian’s body is used to this, now. It had taken him a while to adjust, the first few times—it was a challenge to relax, both mentally and physically. But his husband has made it so easy to grow accustomed to the way this all works. The push and pull, the butterfly kisses along his neck, the hand rubbing circles into his hip—it all serves to melt him down into something more pliant, more willing to be manipulated.

As Hua Cheng’s second finger pushes inside, Xie Lian sighs and feels himself become completely boneless. He wraps his arms around Hua Cheng’s neck and shifts closer, until Hua Cheng can surely feel Xie Lian’s heartbeat rattling about in his own chest.

“You’re doing so well, gege,” Hua Cheng mutters, fucking into him with his fingers at a faster pace. “You’re so good at this. The best.”

“For San Lang.” Xie Lian huffs, hips shifting forward with each thrust. “Only the best for San Lang. My husband.”

He feels the tremor of Hua Cheng’s groan against his lips as he mouths at his husband’s throat. A third finger pushes into him suddenly, and he buries his face into Hua Cheng’s shoulder to stop himself from crying out.

“Relax, gege. You’re almost ready.”

Xie Lian wants to argue that he’s ready now. He was ready an hour ago. He’s been ready, always, since the very first time they were in this room together. But his words fail him completely.

“San Lang, please,” is all he can say, garbled and desperate. “I— Please.”

Hua Cheng removes his fingers, and Xie Lian whines at the loss. Lips press against his forehead, before Hua Cheng is quietly ordering, “Stand up, gege.”

That deep voice of his leaves no room for argument, so Xie Lian stands on shaky legs and waits patiently as Hua Cheng shifts his own outer robe to the side. He doesn’t bother to fully remove any of his clothing, instead simply freeing his cock from his trousers. Xie Lian licks his lips, but before he has the chance to sink down onto his knees like he wants to, Hua Cheng says, “Turn around.”

He obeys, reluctantly turning away from the alluring sight of his husband to instead face the red curtain. If he squints, he can see the shadows of patrons through it. He wonders whether they’d be able to see him and Hua Cheng, if they tried hard enough. The thought leaves him feeling both curious and mortified.

For a moment, all he can hear is the telltale sound of Hua Cheng slicking up his cock. Then, hands land over Xie Lian’s hips. He startles before quickly relaxing in his husband’s comforting grip. Hua Cheng presses a kiss against the small of his back, nibbles at his left ass cheek, then chuckles when Xie Lian wiggles his hips in protest. And then, finally, his husband is guiding him backwards until he’s sitting on his knees over Hua Cheng’s lap, and the tip of his dick is pressing into him.

“Slowly, gege,” he says as Xie Lian groans. “We don’t want to make too much noise now, do we?”

Xie Lian shakes his head, sinking down slowly until his ass finally rests flush against Hua Cheng’s hips. He’s felt a lot of different things throughout his life, but nothing will ever come close to the feeling of having his husband inside him, completely filling him up as if he was made to be there. It’s overwhelming and everything Xie Lian has ever needed all at once, and it never fails to make him feel amazing.

“San Lang,” he breathes, laying his hands over Hua Cheng’s where they still rest against his hips. “Husband. Beloved.”

“My gege,” Hua Cheng whispers back, reverent as ever. “Good?”

Xie Lian nods. How could he be anything but good?

The next part comes naturally to him now. He lifts himself up until he’s almost pulled off completely, then sinks back down. He has to bite his tongue so as to not moan out loud, and he feels Hua Cheng’s hands squeeze at his hips as he is similarly affected. Xie Lian repeats the motion again, faster this time, and he can’t help but release a soft sigh of pleasure.

“Chengzhu,” a voice suddenly calls from behind the curtain.

Xie Lian stills his hips, letting his head drop until his chin touches his chest as he fights to calm his breathing. He intends to keep still until the person outside leaves, but Hua Cheng moves his hands up to Xie Lian’s waist and, with an iron grip, begins bouncing him up and down on his cock. He smiles against Xie Lian’s shoulder at the sound of his quiet, desperate moans.

“What is it?” Hua Cheng snaps. The sound of his voice taking on such a venomous tone goes straight to Xie Lian’s dick, and he shifts to clutch onto the arms of their shared chair for dear life as Hua Cheng fucks into him at a steady pace.

“A new bet has been made. The stakes are high—would you like to play?”

Hua Cheng hums, tapping his fingers over Xie Lian’s skin as he considers the question. He leans in closer, ghosting his breath over Xie Lian’s ear before whispering, “Bear with it, gege. I’m going to play for a while.”

With that, he abruptly stops moving. Xie Lian almost releases a sob of despair, but he remains still as Hua Cheng rubs the pads of his fingers soothingly over his stomach.

“I’ll play,” he calls out to the croupier behind the curtain. “But only for one round. I don’t have much patience tonight.”

On the contrary, Xie Lian thinks he has a little too much patience. Hua Cheng huffs a laugh behind him.

“Feisty, gege,” he says, which means that Xie Lian must have spoken his last thought aloud. However, he doesn’t even have the energy to feel embarrassed.

“San Lang,” he complains, wiggling his hips. It earns him a sharp nip to his shoulder.

“I won’t be long. Besides, if I lose,” Hua Cheng mumbles into his nape, “I’ll let gege come.”

Xie Lian whimpers and grinds his hips down instinctively. The hands around his waist tighten, and he bites his lip to stifle a gasp.

“San Lang, that’s unfair,” he complains. “You never lose.”

He feels Hua Cheng’s chuckle more than he hears it—a low rumble against his skin which seeps into his veins and lights up every nerve in his body.

“I lost against you once, didn’t I?” he asks.

The memory of a stale steamed bun rises to the surface of Xie Lian’s mind, and he buries his face into his hands. Hua Cheng laughs and reaches up to pull Xie Lian’s hands away, settling them back at his sides.

“None of that. You said you like watching and listening to me like this, so watch and listen.”

There’s commotion on the other side of the curtain as Hua Cheng’s opponent shakes their dice. Xie Lian can hear the click, clack of the little white cubes in the person’s cup, and he focuses on the sound as best as he can to distract himself from his mounting frustration. He tries not to move too much, but even the most miniscule shifts of his or Hua Cheng’s hips sends small bursts of pleasure along his spine. There’s a cheer from outside as the opponent’s dice are revealed, and Xie Lian rolls his hips once as Hua Cheng prepares to take his turn.

“They rolled seven, gege,” Hua Cheng informs him, ghosting his hand further down his body before squeezing his thigh in warning. “Do you think I’ll roll higher?”

Xie Lian throws his head back against Hua Cheng’s shoulder, then glares up at his husband’s face.

“San Lang, please just roll. Please.”

Hua Cheng laughs once more and leans down to press a sweet kiss against his lips. It dispels some of his pent-up frustration, and he sighs happily as Hua Cheng pulls away.

He peels one of his hands away from Xie Lian to summon a familiar pair of dice, then begins moving those pretty fingers of his this way and that as Xie Lian watches, enthralled. It takes him a few seconds to realise that Hua Cheng is currently using the same hand as he used to—

“San Lang!” he hisses, lightly smacking his arm. “That’s— You can’t—”

“Hm? What’s wrong, gege?” Hua Cheng asks, even though the shit-eating grin on his lips gives him away. “Oh, I see. Are you worried that this hand, which has been oh-so thoroughly blessed by a god, will make my throw biased?”

Xie Lian turns his face away to hide his blush. “You say such absurd things, sometimes.”

Hua Cheng hums. He plays with the dice for a while longer, then finally takes pity on Xie Lian and tosses them into the air. They fall to the ground with a resounding clatter, then bounce several times until they disappear behind the curtain.

There’s a brief pause, before the croupier outside gravely announces, “It’s a six, my lord.”

“Oh, look at that,” Hua Cheng mutters as chaos descends upon the rest of the room. “I lost again.”

“Silly,” Xie Lian huffs.

Hua Cheng hums. Without any more preamble, he resumes his rhythm from before. Xie Lian doesn’t need to ask why Hua Cheng let his opponent win, for his answer comes in the harsh snap of his hips and the hand kneading at his inner thigh, so close to his aching cock. It doesn’t take long for Hua Cheng to find that spot deep inside him that has tears forming at the corners of his eyes and his breaths catching in his throat.

“San Lang, don’t stop,” Xie Lian pants, trying his best to remain quiet despite the lewd noises he can hear clearly from where they meet. “Don’t st— Ah!”

The noise beyond the curtain pauses, before one particularly ballsy ghost gathers the courage to shout, “Was that Grand Un— I mean, was that His Highness?”

“Chengzhu, is His Highness alright?” someone else shouts.

“Yeah, is he hurt?”

“Do you need us to come back there?”

There’s a brief scuffle, before a distinctively feminine voice says, “It didn’t sound like that gege was in pain, though?”

The silence that follows is so intense that Xie Lian thinks he’d be able to hear a pin drop. A moment later, Hua Cheng laughs silently into his shoulder.

Oh dear, gege, he says into their private communication array. It appears they know exactly what we’re doing back here.

A fresh spark of arousal blooms hot and heavy in the pit of Xie Lian’s stomach, and he bites his bottom lip hard enough to spill blood in his attempt to keep quiet. He can’t, however, hide the twitch of his cock and the shudder which rolls down his spine.

Does gege like them knowing? Hua Cheng asks, surprise evident in his voice. He punctuates the question by lightly nibbling Xie Lian’s ear lobe. Does His Highness want them to know that I’m fucking you?

Xie Lian clenches around the dick inside him, drawing a sharp gasp from Hua Cheng.

“Shit, gege,” he says aloud, which promptly sends the room into chaos again.

But Xie Lian can’t find it in himself to care about the panicked shuffling and shouting of the Den’s patrons, nor the giggling of lingering ghost ladies. He can’t possibly focus on anything else when his husband begins fucking into him with fervour, wrapping one arm around his waist and using his other hand to stroke his cock.

“San Lang—!”

“Is this what you wanted, gege?” Hua Cheng asks, voice trembling. “Did you want everyone to hear how good I make you feel? Did you want everyone to know that you’re mine?”

Xie Lian sobs, hands scrabbling for purchase on something, anything, until he finds Hua Cheng’s arm around his body and grips onto it hard enough for his nails to break skin.

“Yes, San Lang!” he shouts. “You— Oh, oh! Wanted everyone to know… I-I’m yours, and you’re mine…”

With a groan, Hua Cheng releases inside him. The movement of his hips becomes frantic, random, but never slows. Xie Lian finally begins to moan with abandon, no longer caring if anyone hears him.

He is Hua Cheng’s god, and Hua Cheng is his king.

Stars cloud his vision as he comes, painting his own stomach and Hua Cheng’s hand white. It takes him a while to come back to his senses; when he does, he feels Hua Cheng muttering sweet nothings into his neck.

“San Lang,” he sighs, turning to press a kiss against Hua Cheng’s temple.

Hua Cheng nuzzles further into his neck and mumbles, “Sorry, gege. I was a little rough there, at the end.”

“I loved it, San Lang. I love you.”

He feels his husband smile into his neck, before a gentle kiss is being pressed into the skin behind his ear.

“Come,” Xie Lian says. “Let’s get cleaned up, and then we’ll go home.”

Hua Cheng hums. “Home sounds nice.”


(“We should switch roles, next time,” Hua Cheng says as the two of them leave the Gambler’s Den. The building is emptier than Xie Lian has ever seen it before, and he has no doubt that it’s their fault. Only a few ghosts still mill about, cleaning up the mess left behind while carefully avoiding eye contact with Xie Lian and Hua Cheng.

“Ah?” Xie Lian tilts his head, staring incredulously up at his husband.

“I like it when gege bosses me around, too,” Hua Cheng explains with a grin. “I’ll be your humble servant, and you can fu—”

“Alright! I get it!” Xie Lian shouts, desperately waving his hands at Hua Cheng to get him to stop speaking. He doesn’t think his cheeks have ever been this red in his life.

Hua Cheng throws his head back and laughs. He wraps an arm around Xie Lian’s waist and pulls him closer as they walk in the direction of home.

“So, what do you say?”

Xie Lian feels heat sizzling beneath his skin at the thought, and he bites his lip.

“I’ll think about it,” he says, which they both know already means an enthusiastic yes.)