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on the tip of my tongue

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*

The day is dry, and beautiful. Lan Zhan tips his head back against the car seat and closes his eyes, allowing the warm breeze to caress his face as Wei Ying hums along to the music, restless fingers drumming on the steering wheel. He feels as his shoulders relax the closer they get to their destination, the stress of yesterday receding to the background.

The day before they had stayed with Wei Ying's sister, a pit-stop as a treat for Wei Ying, and a somewhat less relaxed affair for Lan Zhan.

Wei Ying had been his usual grumpy self when Lan Zhan had gotten them up at five am yesterday—grumpy but malleable, allowing Lan Zhan to tow him along, from brushing their teeth to putting coffee in Wei Ying's hands, to giving him a bun to munch on, to shuffling them outside and into the waiting car.

Wei Ying had dozed off on the two-hour flight, head on Lan Zhan's shoulder, and Lan Zhan had allowed himself the luxury of simply sitting with his eyes closed and not thinking about much of anything, Wei Ying's scent tickling his nose and settling him.

This trip has been a long time coming. Lan Zhan has been busy, Wei Ying has been busy with planning out the next stage of his life. The day he paid off his last student loan, Wei Ying had treated Lan Zhan to a nice dinner, beaming with pride. Now, Wei Ying's school will start in just a few weeks, and this may be their last chance for a getaway for a while. Lan Zhan plans to enjoy it to its fullest.

"Hey, mind if we switch to my playlist for a bit?"

Lan Zhan opens his eyes and looks over at where Wei Ying is squinting behind his sunglasses. "Of course. Allow me to help."

"Thanks, babe."

Lan Zhan switches the car player from his phone connection to Wei Ying's. They have been together nearly a year—been in a relationship nearly a year; they have been together for quite a bit longer than that—and still, Wei Ying's easy pet names make his stomach churn. "Do you have a preference of a song?" Lan Zhan asks.

"Nah, you pick."

Lan Zhan does. Their musical tastes run in different directions, however there are certain artists that Wei Ying has introduced Lan Zhan to that he does enjoy. He puts on one of them, and the upbeat music fills the car, the sound traveling from the open windows out into the countryside. Wei Ying shoots him a happy grin and turns his eyes back on the road.

Lan Zhan enjoys California. He may even go as far as say that he loves it. It is a beautiful place, and he has never been north of San Francisco. It feels right, somehow, that they discover it together.

Lan Zhan thinks back to the previous day. Jiang Yanli had greeted them with a sweet smile and a toddler on her hip. Wei Ying had beamed. His face usually took on a soft quality whenever he mentioned his sister, and in her presence, he simply glowed. It was lovely to see, the affection between them easy and obvious. She had smiled softly at Lan Zhan as he went to shake her hand, and he is certain that the only reason she did not hug him was because she had had Jin Ling in her arms.

Her husband had been less effusive, but perfectly polite and unobjectionable, something Wei Ying had scoffed at when Lan Zhan had offered that opinion as they were going to bed in Jiang Yanli's guest room. "You just weren't there, Lan Zhan," he had said, slipping out of his shirt, then shucking his jeans. "It was horrible, he broke her heart."

"It does appear to be quite mended," Lan Zhan had noted. "He seems to adore her."

"Yeah, well…" Wei Ying had scowled. "I don't forgive that easily."

Lan Zhan had wanted to say, you forgave me, and you had much less reason to, back then. But he hadn't wanted to upset Wei Ying with old memories. Instead, he had pulled Wei Ying close, and they had had to be very quiet in their lovemaking. Lan Zhan had been impressed—he had believed that Wei Ying could never be quiet during sex, but he had been, for his sister's sake. Lan Zhan, for his part, had done everything in his power to ensure it would be otherwise. Being with Wei Ying has made him reckless from day one.

They had spent the day sightseeing, Wei Ying bounding between Jiang Yanli and Lan Zhan, exuberant and perfect in his joy. He had played with his nephew, regaled the family with stories, and only gotten shy when asked to tell the story of how the two of them met. They had come up with a viable alternative that would be palatable to their families, but Lan Zhan could see how uncomfortable lying to his sister made Wei Ying.

Now, Wei Ying watches the road as his fingers continue to drum a beat against the steering wheel, and occasionally reaches out to touch Lan Zhan's thigh, as though to make sure he's still there. Lan Zhan lays his hand over Wei Ying's and squeezes. He is here, and they are on vacation.

*

It is possible Lan Zhan had gone overboard in choosing their accommodations. He had simply wanted Wei Ying to have the best, most relaxing time, but as the two of them walk through the resort residence, he finds himself flushing. Wei Ying, on the contrary, is beaming.

"Lan Zhan, this is crazy! We should have come here with other people, look at how big this outdoor table is!"

It is, indeed, large enough for eight. The residence itself has two bedrooms, a full kitchen, two sets of living spaces, a bathroom with a tub (that had been a must for Lan Zhan), and outdoor entertaining space with another tub and a hot tub. Oh, and a covered roof deck.

"Holy shit. Lan Zhan." Wei Ying returns from exploring the space and snakes his arms around Lan Zhan's waist, pulling himself close. Lan Zhan watches him helplessly, tracing the beloved features of his smiling face with his eyes. He really is so very beautiful. "You didn't have to, like. Go this hard."

"I wanted to," he confesses.

Wei Ying gives him a light kiss. "Thank you."

A year in, they are still finding themselves in certain situations that make Wei Ying think Lan Zhan is still acting as his client, not lover. Lan Zhan does his best to dispel these beliefs—after all, he knows that he would have done this regardless of their origin story—and, most of the time, Wei Ying believes him. But that seed of doubt niggles at Lan Zhan.

Wei Ying is proud. He does not wish to be a kept man in a relationship, as he has put it time and again. He had insisted on treating everyone to lunch the day before and not allowed Lan Zhan to assist. In their everyday life, he often pays for the groceries, regardless of amount or cost, despite them not living together. He does allow Lan Zhan to spoil him, but there's a tinge of concern there that Lan Zhan wishes he could put to bed.

Now, Wei Ying takes his hand and leads him to what will be their bedroom for the next several days. "We can unpack later," he says, throwing a devastating smile over his shoulder. "Right now I need you to fuck me with all these windows open and the birds singing. Seriously, this is ridiculous."

Lan Zhan proceeds to do just that, and they lie there afterwards on the ruined sheets, sweat still cooling on their bodies, and Wei Ying runs his fingers against Lan Zhan's, their joined hands catching the streaming sunlight between the cracks. "This is like a fairytale. I didn't know beautiful places like this existed," he says quietly. "Well, no, I knew. I just didn't think I'd ever be in one."

Lan Zhan's heart clenches. This is why he does the things he does. To give Wei Ying these moments of wonder, of pleasure, of peace. He swallows. "I hope that you are able to enjoy it to the fullest." Do not hold back, he wants to say.

"Oh, I plan to," Wei Ying says with a smile in his voice, then shifts and winces. "Still wet," he says, and Lan Zhan squeezes his hand and extricates himself from under Wei Ying.

"I will be right back."

He finds a washcloth in the bathroom, wets it, comes back out to the bedroom.

"You're so hot after you fuck me," Wei Ying notes casually, and Lan Zhan knows the tips of his ears are going pink. "I mean, you're super hot no matter what, but it's like, extra. It's really unfair. Nobody should be this hot."

"Don't be silly," Lan Zhan says quietly as he reaches the bed and rolls Wei Ying onto his stomach. He cleans him up thoroughly, almost reverently. Wei Ying allows him to, every time. Knows that it brings Lan Zhan pleasure to tend to him. He puts the used washcloth on the floor, making a mental note to remember to grab it later, and settles back onto the bed. He had had vague thoughts of finding a meal, figuring out where to go first in their explorations, but Wei Ying is too tempting not to join. And they are, after all, on vacation. Their time is their own. They can do as they please.

And it pleases Lan Zhan to lie in this bed with Wei Ying pliant in his arms and not have to think about more than where they could find a late breakfast or an early lunch.

"Mmm, fuck, this is nice," Wei Ying murmurs, stretching against Lan Zhan. "You really know how to treat a boy."

Pleasure suffuses Lan Zhan's body. Wei Ying will allow this, then. Lan Zhan fully expects Wei Ying to want to pay for meals or tastings and Lan Zhan will have to be careful about his reactions. But Wei Ying will allow himself to enjoy this time, and that is all that Lan Zhan really wants from this. To give him enjoyment, in every way he knows how.

*

Their first meal they take at the resort restaurant, for convenience sake. It also gives Wei Ying a chance to note the pool, and marvel at the views.

"Fuck, this is like I imagine what Italy is like," he says, looking out at the wineries that stretch as far as the eye can see.

"We can find out how the two compare," Lan Zhan says casually, and Wei Ying just laughs, shaking his head.

"You're too much." There is only softness in his voice. After a while of being silent as they eat, Wei Ying pushes his plate away and sighs. "So, what's on the docket?"

Lan Zhan sets down his own fork and leans back in his chair. "I am not sure. I thought we could, perhaps, start our winery tour."

"You mean, you don't have an itinerary?" Wei Ying mock-gasps, hand going to his heart. "I am shocked. Appalled! Tell me you've at least researched for this."

Lan Zhan ignores the mocking tone, and says primly, "Don't be silly. Of course I have." He has mapped out their trajectory so it takes them to several wineries and ends them back up close to the resort. Of course, they do not have to follow his plan.

Wei Ying snuffles out a laugh and touches his foot to Lan Zhan's underneath the table. "I love you."

After all this time, Lan Zhan still gets a thrill at hearing those words, at how easily they slip from Wei Ying's lips. He pushes his foot against Wei Ying's and smiles. Wei Ying smiles back. He knows Lan Zhan cannot always express himself as well as he would like, and he also knows how Lan Zhan feels. And sometimes, that's enough.

*

The first winery they go to is located close enough that they walk there. It feels good to stretch their legs, and Wei Ying makes a joke about Lan Zhan not needing to be the designated driver. Lan Zhan knows there's no hidden implication there. Wei Ying won't be offended when Lan Zhan doesn't join him in the tasting portion of their visit. Lan Zhan will be more than happy to watch Wei Ying sample wine and decide whether or not he would like to purchase some to take home with them.

As Lan Zhan had expected, Wei Ying pays for the first tasting. The sommelier sits them down in a lovely outdoor space with a fountain and brings them four different bottles, explaining their origin, flavor profile, and the process of making each one. Lan Zhan listens with removed interest, while Wei Ying is rapt, asking questions and trying each wine in turn. Lan Zhan watches him with pleasure, knowing he must look lovestruck and not caring in the least. The sommelier looks between them, noting specifically Lan Zhan's untouched glass. Lan Zhan ignores him.

"Would you like a tour of the facilities?" he asks them after Wei Ying has tasted all four wines.

"Yes, please, I would love that!" Wei Ying says with full sincerity, and they are led towards one of several buildings on the winery property. The process is explained, more wine is tasted. Wei Ying looks on in fascination, occasionally catching Lan Zhan's eye and smiling, and asks periodic questions.

They emerge back out into sunlight, and Lan Zhan thinks about how lucky they got with the weather: it's absolutely perfect. Seattle is home, but it's a rather damp one. Here, at this moment, the sun is generous, the air perfectly dry. Lan Zhan finds himself uncomplicatedly happy. He holds Wei Ying's hand, marveling at how right it feels in his own, and stands by as Wei Ying buys two bottles of wine at the end of the tour: a pinot grigio and a chardonnay, despite regularly disparaging chardonnay as "fake wine." Apparently, this chardonnay is very good.

They walk back to their resort, Wei Ying merrily tipsy. "That was so nice," he tells Lan Zhan as he continues to hold his hand. They don't often allow themselves the indulgence of strolling like this—far too busy with their lives, often in different places for work. They come together most evenings, and don't spend them out walking. "And interesting! I just never really thought about how wine is made and, like, mass-produced, but that was cool." Lan Zhan can hear the bag with the wine beating low against Wei Ying's leg as he walks.

Wei Ying is on him the second they step through the door. He barely manages to set the wine down before backing Lan Zhan up through the place and into their bedroom. Lan Zhan really did go overboard with their accommodations, he thinks wildly, even as he's kissing Wei Ying for all he's worth. It's the sort of heated kiss that made Lan Zhan fall for him in the first place. Wei Ying doesn't do things by halves, be it kissing, sex, or life in general. Wei Ying goes all in.

Lan Zhan fucks him slow and hard, Wei Ying loud beneath him, his skin damp, with laughter in his voice. Lan Zhan thinks that the times Wei Ying laughs in bed are his favorite. His joy is always channeled through his laugh, and Lan Zhan drinks it in, allows it to infect him as well. Fingers intertwined, they fuck for a long time—past the moment of Wei Ying coming, enough that he begins to mock-complain about Lan Zhan being merciless on him, "So rough, what have I done to deserve this sort of handling?"

Lan Zhan, knowing the answer, checks in with him anyway. "Are you all right?"

"Yes, yes, yes," Wei Ying chants and moans against the soft sheets, bumping his ass for a different angle.

Afterwards, after Lan Zhan has gotten up and cleaned him up, after Wei Ying has demanded more cuddles ("for my suffering"), Lan Zhan takes his hand and brushes his thumb over Wei Ying's prominent knuckles, feeling the softness of his skin.

Wei Ying hums, cuddling closer against his chest. "Are you happy, Lan Zhan?"

"Mn." Lan Zhan is. Happy. Happier than he could have ever imagined himself being, in such a situation. After Jonathan, he found himself in a curious position of wanting to spend his life alone, as it seemed far less complicated than allowing another to dictate it. Wei Ying had come as a complete surprise, blowing into Lan Zhan's life with exuberance and suggestive smiles. Lan Zhan hadn't meant to let him in. Hadn't meant to fall in love. Hadn't meant for any of it, but it happened despite his misgivings. "Always happy with you," Lan Zhan murmurs, feeling Wei Ying's weight against him.

Wei Ying makes an unintelligible noise and buries his face against Lan Zhan's neck, hiding. He's so very warm.

"Are you?" Lan Zhan ventures, allowing himself yet another indulgence. He does not often seek validation—and this isn't validation, not exactly. He simply wants Wei Ying to be happy always. If it involves Lan Zhan, well, that is simply Lan Zhan's good luck.

Another noise, satisfied this time, and Wei Ying emerges, lifting his head so he can look Lan Zhan in the eye. "Yeah. Of course I'm happy. I'm with you."

This kiss is unhurried, sweet, tasting of sex and the two of them. They're late to make their dinner reservation, and as it's Napa and in high demand, they lose their table. Wei Ying laughs and leads Lan Zhan to the bar, where they get appetizers to share and Wei Ying has more wine. "I'll probably be sick of wine by the end of this trip, but for now…" He ends up ordering three glasses. Lan Zhan drives them home.

*

Lan Zhan hadn't meant to fall in love, but he hadn't defended himself against it, either. He hadn't known that it would happen. He'd chosen Wei Ying based on his looks and the write-up he had on the website. Lan Zhan liked that he was Chinese, liked that he was beautiful, seemed clever. He wasn't even certain what it was that made him go that route in the first place, except that there was something inside him that longed for uncomplicated companionship. Wei Ying had given him that.

Their first time together had been intoxicating. Lan Zhan had immediately wanted more. It had been no hardship to go out and find those earrings for Wei Ying, the ones he had wanted to replace the pair given to Wei Ying by some nameless man who had come before Lan Zhan. It hadn't exactly been jealousy. More like…a sense of ownership. Not over Wei Ying, but perhaps over the situation.

He had never wanted to own Wei Ying. He had simply wanted the two of them to enjoy one another's company.

He hadn't meant to fall in love, but the realization had been a sharp slice through the stomach: the moment Wei Ying had called him out on his transgression in New York. The idea that Wei Ying might drop him as a client had gutted Lan Zhan. He hadn't known how to make himself forgivable. To this day, he thinks it was Wei Ying's forgiving nature more than anything else that had allowed them to get through it.

That, and Wei Ying had begun to fall in love himself.

"What the hell, this is a whole-ass castle!" Wei Ying exclaims as they drive up to another winery the next day. "Are you seeing this?"

Lan Zhan is. They park and head up the long, grand staircase leading up to the mansion—truly, a palace—that houses the winery. People are seated on the enormous balcony overlooking the gardens and the vineyards, drinking and eating. Wei Ying watches it all with a complicated expression on his face, and once they're seated, Lan Zhan asks, "Are you all right?"

Wei Ying, looking all around himself, nods distractedly. "Yeah, yeah, I'm." He pauses and turns back to Lan Zhan, giving him a small smile. "It's just. Really beautiful here."

Lan Zhan doesn't quite see the problem, and ventures, "And that's…a good thing, isn't it?"

This time, Wei Ying's laugh is genuine. "Yeah, Lan Zhan. Yeah. It's a good thing." He casts his gaze down at their table, looking thoughtful. "I just…I never imagined I could have a life that included something like this."

"I'm more than happy to—"

Wei Ying lifts his gaze and says, "I don't know if I could have done this on my own. Is the thing."

That pulls Lan Zhan up short. He needs to tread carefully here. Wei Ying has sore spots, and the last thing Lan Zhan wants is to press on any of them. "Do you not?" he says, feeling his way.

Wei Ying scrunches up his face and looks out into the distance. "Probably, eventually. I mean, I paid off my debts on my own, right?" He gives Lan Zhan a quick glance.

Lan Zhan nods.

"Right, but…it wouldn't have occurred to me to go on vacation in wine country," Wei Ying continues. "Or at all, maybe. I…let's be honest, if I went back to school on my own, without you, my life would look very different."

Lan Zhan waits. He isn't certain that anything he could say would be the right thing.

"Eh," Wei Ying finally says and waves his hands around. "It's stupid, I just…I never want you to feel like I'm taking advantage of you and your…generosity."

Lan Zhan's stomach lurches. "Wei Ying…I never think that. It never occurs to me to think that at all."

Wei Ying's gaze on his is searching. "No?"

Lan Zhan shakes his head. He extends a hand hopefully and feels something inside him settle as Wei Ying takes it in his. "This is what a relationship should be—beneficial to both parties." He takes a steadying breath. "It gives me…more pleasure than I can describe, to do this for you. For us. I'm not suffering, either, Wei Ying."

Wei Ying laughs and squeezes his hand before letting go. "Good. Because that would be tragic."

That's when a sommelier appears to tell them all about their wines and Lan Zhan settles more deeply into his chair, enjoying the sunshine, the shade provided by the generous umbrella overhead, and the air, perfumed as it is by flowers.

*

"Do you wanna take a drive?" Wei Ying asks afterwards. They'd gone down to the gardens to walk around, Wei Ying hamming it up by taking Lan Zhan's elbow and pretending to be a Victorian lady.

"That sounds lovely," Lan Zhan responds. He hadn't been lying when he'd told Wei Ying he didn't truly have an agenda, merely a list of places they could go. He doesn't wish to be beholden to anything, this trip, apart from their own whims. "Where could we go?"

Wei Ying opens up his phone and searches, looking almost serious. "Hmm. I know it's a bit far, but jiejie told me about this place in Sonoma—there's a river and, like, mountains, and a little café in the middle of nowhere. It sounds…really nice. It might be a bit of a hike."

"Let's go there," Lan Zhan agrees immediately. "It sounds lovely."

They go. It's not a short drive, but it is truly beautiful. They pass more vineyards, the rolling hills of them picturesque. Mountains, a river. The café is easy enough to find, in the end—it's no more than a blue shack on a bend in the road, and Lan Zhan pulls into one of three parking spots available before cutting the engine.

Wei Ying hops out of the car with a grin, and Lan Zhan follows, taking his proffered hand. Together they walk up to the café. There's barely room enough for the two of them, but the barista smiles at them and asks what they would like. It's cooler out here, so Wei Ying orders a hot coffee, while Lan Zhan sticks with tea. He pays when Wei Ying isn't paying attention, and all Wei Ying does when he realizes is roll his eyes and give him a peck on the nose.

They take their drinks outside, where there's a seating area behind the café. Wei Ying is looking around himself—at the river calmly flowing by, the bank across it and its rolling hills, the mountains on the other side. He looks happy. When he notices Lan Zhan watching him, he cocks his head and says, "What?"

"Nothing," Lan Zhan tells him, then takes a bit of a breath. "It's good to see you relaxed."

Wei Ying ducks his head and takes a sip of his coffee. "You've seen me relaxed plenty."

"Not like this," Lan Zhan says. It's true: Wei Ying has been busy getting ready for school—first applying, then going into a frenzy of talking to the bursar, the registrar, figuring out loans, which he jokingly complains about but Lan Zhan knows is taking on very willingly. There are days when Lan Zhan doesn't see him at all, days when Wei Ying is tired enough from his day that he doesn't make it to Lan Zhan's but collapses at home, instead.

Lan Zhan has been thinking about that. It's not an easy subject to broach. It could backfire. For all that they spend more nights together than apart, what he's considering…is a big step. But one he wants to take, desperately. He just needs Wei Ying to be ready for it.

Wei Ying gives him an expansive smile and tilts his head, squinting at the sun. "Yeah, you're right. I haven't felt very relaxed recently."

"You've been busy," Lan Zhan agrees.

"Yeah." Wei Ying looks away again, as though he can't help it—the landscape is drawing his eye. Lan Zhan can't look anywhere but at Wei Ying. The sun agrees with him, pinkening his cheeks, painting him in hues of gold. To Lan Zhan, he glows brighter than anything ever has. He knows he's being ridiculous, but there's a feeling in his chest that won't be suppressed. Love is peculiar that way. It really had snuck up on him, taking the shape of Wei Ying's smile, his eyes, the lines of his body as he trembles beneath him.

They finish their drinks and Wei Ying decides he wants to walk down a ways, studying where the river flows into the bay. The breeze feels good, Wei Ying's hand in his feels good. Lan Zhan wants to turn to him now and say, come live with me. We don't need the thin pretense of your largely unoccupied room. But he knows—it isn't the right time, not yet. Lan Zhan is patient. He can wait.

*

"What if," Wei Ying says over breakfast the next day, which they are taking at the resort itself. "What if…"

"Yes?" Lan Zhan asks.

Wei Ying looks almost shy, hesitant, as he says, "What if we didn't go anywhere today? I know we're here for, like, winery tours, blah blah blah, but the place is so nice…what if we just stayed here instead?"

"I would like that," Lan Zhan agrees instantly.

"Really? You wouldn't mind?"

"Wei Ying. Of course not."

And so they stay. After breakfast, despite the universal rule of no swimming at least an hour after eating, Wei Ying drags them to the pool. "Come on, we can't not, and besides, there's no one around right now."

And it's true: the pool is empty of other guests, as though waiting just for them. They settle onto two loungers, Wei Ying with his phone, Lan Zhan with a book, but it doesn't take Wei Ying long to get into the pool. "Come on, the water's nice!" he calls to Lan Zhan.

Lan Zhan, who had been enjoying the view of Wei Ying in his red swimming trunks, his skin glistening from having dunked himself immediately into the deep end, puts down his book, takes off his sunglasses, and walks over as though Wei Ying has reeled him in with a hook in his chest. He lowers himself down the steps, and the minute he's close enough, Wei Ying jumps him. They're up to their shoulders, and Wei Ying winds his cool arms around Lan Zhan's neck and kisses him. Deeply, hungrily. No one tastes quite as good as Wei Ying. Lan Zhan grows hard almost immediately, recalling their first time in a pool—New York, the hotel, waking Wei Ying up at the crack of dawn just to get the place all to themselves. Wei Ying had been about as happy about it as a cat being forced into a bath, but he had relaxed, in the end, and allowed Lan Zhan his indulgence.

This time, Wei Ying bounces once and floats up until his legs are wrapped firmly around Lan Zhan's hips. Lan Zhan's hands go automatically to his ass to hold up his weightless form. It's not necessary, but Lan Zhan squeezes, anyway, presses them closer to one another. Wei Ying is hard, too. Lan Zhan breaks off the kiss and looks around them. Wei Ying looks knowing when he glances back at him. "There's no one around," he notes in a whisper. "What if we went for it?"

Lan Zhan is quite tempted, but…it would be unhygienic. He wouldn't want to ruin the pool for the other guests. However, that doesn't mean he can't have his fun. "Very well," he says in a low voice, and walks them towards the edge of the pool where they're up to their necks. Wei Ying's back hits the wall and he laughs, tilting his head back.

"Lan Zhan," he says with not a small amount of glee, "I can't believe you're actually doing it."

Lan Zhan doesn't dignify that with a response, ducking his head to kiss below Wei Ying's ear. It's difficult to move underwater, but he snaps his hips forward even as he brings Wei Ying towards himself, and it feels good, though not good enough. He continues to move like this, teasing them both more than anything else, but soon enough, Wei Ying's breathing changes. He begins to pant, growing more desperate. "Yeah," he breathes, and Lan Zhan latches onto the side of his neck where Wei Ying is most sensitive and moves one hand in between them. He finds Wei Ying's cock and begins to pump him through his shorts—so much more effective than humping.

He wants to get him on edge, desperate enough that he'll lose all composure. He loves it when Wei Ying tips into that knife's edge of pleasure—so close, but not close enough.

It happens in quick order this time, and just as Wei Ying begins chanting, "Yeah, yeah, just like that, make me—make me come—" Lan Zhan lets go and pushes his hips away enough that their cocks are no longer touching. "Lan Zhan!" Wei Ying's eyes fly open. "What the—"

"I wouldn't want to dirty the pool," Lan Zhan says calmly. "How about we swim a few laps?"

Understanding dawns on Wei Ying and he unwinds his arms from around Lan Zhan's neck and deliberately lays them on the edge of the pool, adopting an insouciant sort of posture against the wall. "You dick."

Lan Zhan doesn't allow himself to smirk. "It's only polite to the other guests."

"What if I get myself off, right now?"

"Hmm." Lan Zhan tilts his head, considering. The trick is, always, to mean what you say. As much as he would hate the outcome, he means it when he says, "No sex for the rest of the trip." He leans in and whispers in Wei Ying's ear. "Worthy trade-off?"

Wei Ying's legs drop away from around Lan Zhan's waist and the next moment, Wei Ying is lightly pushing him away with his feet at Lan Zhan's stomach. "Fine," he says. "Five laps, then I'm getting out."

Lan Zhan nods. "Very well."

Five laps is enough for his erection to wilt, and it feels good to move. He hadn't gone for his usual run this morning, nor the day before, preferring to indulge in bed, instead. Pushing his body to move faster through the water feels invigorating. He swims and imagines tying Wei Ying to the bed and fucking him until he cries. It's happened on occasion. Lan Zhan does his very best to make it happen every time.

They get out and dry themselves off with the fluffy resort-provided towels. Wei Ying throws a grin over his shoulder as he leads the way back to their house, having forgone his t-shirt. His skin is lightly pink in the shoulders, his wet swim trunks cling to his form, outlining his lovely ass as he moves. Soon enough, Lan Zhan will be inside him. He thinks he'll start off with his tongue.

The bed doesn't have slats to tie Wei Ying to, however, it does have four posts, and Lan Zhan had packed a restraint kit, complete with handcuffs and ties. Wei Ying lies naked and spread-eagled on the bed, watching as Lan Zhan secures the ties at either end (his legs, he's left free of ties).

"How is that?" Lan Zhan asks.

Wei Ying tugs on the ties. "Mm. Good. Secure."

"Good."

Wei Ying is hard already, and Lan Zhan will get there momentarily. He settles in between Wei Ying's legs and begins by kissing him. Wei Ying responds beautifully, humming with pleasure beneath him. Lan Zhan runs his hands down Wei Ying's flank, beneath his ass, over his thighs. His skin is still cool from the water, supple and lovely under his touch. He slides down and kisses Wei Ying's sternum, collarbone, the side of his neck. The bruises he'd left there a few days ago have begun to fade, so he takes care of that, as well. Wei Ying hisses and moans as Lan Zhan sucks the skin in, his cock jumping between them. He loves the bruises, Lan Zhan knows. He's bought foundation to conceal them when necessary, but Lan Zhan has caught him staring at his own reflection thoughtfully on more than one occasion, fingers pressing on the spots Lan Zhan had marked.

His job done, Lan Zhan slides down lower, running his hands lightly over Wei Ying's ribs, down the cuts of his hips. He bites the muscle there, earning himself a light slap on the cheek with Wei Ying's responsive cock, then sucks the skin in. It takes a lot to make the blood come to the surface, he knows this from experience. He's become very good at it, and Wei Ying—Wei Ying is very good at taking the biting pain of it. Lan Zhan moans as Wei Ying begins to writhe beneath him, gasping. When he looks up, Lan Zhan sees him tugging on the ties, head thrown back, mouth open, eyes closed. He looks stunning like this. Lan Zhan slips his eyes closed and bites down. Wei Ying cries out. He does it again.

Afterwards, he sucks his cock for a bit. No true aim here—he simply enjoys it. He won't allow Wei Ying to come from it, holding the base of his cock tight in the ring of his fingers, but he will take him nearly to the edge. Wei Ying groans with pleasure as Lan Zhan builds up a quick rhythm. He loves Wei Ying's cock, loves how wet he gets, loves the taste and weight of it in his mouth. He pulls almost all the way off and tongues at the slit. Wei Ying's voice grows high, breathy. He's never quiet in bed. Lan Zhan drinks the sounds in as he teases him, sucking in the head, then laving the shaft with his tongue, enjoying the velvety soft texture of it over the hardness.

"Lan Zhan, fuck, you're so—so mean, so cruel—just let me—I'll get it up again, you know I will—"

Lan Zhan hums, then pulls off entirely. "Not yet." Then he leaves Wei Ying's cock alone, catching Wei Ying's eye.

Wei Ying pouts. "Mean. So mean, Lan Zhan, denying me twice now."

"You can wait. I know you can." The longer Wei Ying waits, the more intense his orgasm. They both know this. It's simply that Lan Zhan is more patient in this endeavor. "You're being a very good boy," he adds in a low voice.

Wei Ying's gaze darkens, his face grows slightly slack, just as Lan Zhan had intended. "Yeah," he agrees in a hoarse voice. "I am."

"You are." Lan Zhan kisses the smooth inside of his thigh. "You're being very good for me." He kisses the other thigh, then sucks the skin in there, as well. This is the hardest spot to get a good bruise, for all that the skin is thin and sensitive. Lan Zhan is more than up for the job. Above him, Wei Ying curses and pants as Lan Zhan bites and sucks, wanting to eat Wei Ying whole, cover him with bruises, all shaped like Lan Zhan's mouth. He moans in response, eyes shut, pleasure suffusing his entire body. His cock is hard, weighing him down, and Lan Zhan revels in the want of it, the need of it. Soon enough, he'll get his own pleasure. For now, it's Wei Ying's turn.

He leaves his thighs with twinned sets of bruises, Wei Ying wrung out already. He's sensitive there, the pain keen. Lan Zhan looks at his handiwork with pleasure, then takes Wei Ying by the backs of his thighs and spreads him open for his primary goal.

"Now will you finally fuck me?" Wei Ying pants, his hands curled into fists around the ties binding him.

"Mn," Lan Zhan says, having no intention of it. Not yet. He leans in and licks his pretty hole. It's close, intimate, and he shuts his eyes as he begins to eat Wei Ying out. Wei Ying's thighs tremble beneath his grip. Wei Ying grows helpless in the face of this particular act. The first time Lan Zhan had done this had also been in New York, but that hadn't been the first time he had wanted to. It had taken some time and a considerable amount of courage to introduce it, but in the end, Wei Ying had had no objections. He loves this. Loves the attention, loves how it feels. Lan Zhan loves everything about it.

"Relax, sweetheart," he whispers, tonguing his way in. "Relax for me."

It takes visible effort on Wei Ying's part, but he does. He always does. Wei Ying loves getting fucked, for all that his body fights the intrusion at first. He doesn't need a lot of prep, but Lan Zhan loves to give it to him, anyway. Loves to tease. He does it now with relish, licking all around Wei Ying's hole, then tipping inside as Wei Ying relaxes. He slips a thumb in alongside his tongue. Wei Ying makes a high sound, an aborted sort of sigh, and Lan Zhan slips his thumb further in. Wei Ying's thighs tremble around him, but he's beginning to allow the intrusion, relaxing further, opening up for Lan Zhan.

Lan Zhan slips out and sits up abruptly, ready for his next step.

"Wha— Lan Zhan!"

"One moment," he says, then leans over to where he'd put the bottle of lube at the foot of the bed. "Just one moment." He slicks up a finger, then leans back in and slips it easily home. Wei Ying moans, hips lifting. Lan Zhan begins to fuck him with it—slowly, torturously so. He watches Wei Ying's face the whole time.

It's slack with pleasure now, no tension at all. With his bright eyes closed, Lan Zhan zeroes in on Wei Ying's mouth—open, relaxed, a hint of tongue behind his plush lips. Lan Zhan can't help it—he leans over and captures his mouth in a kiss, tastes the inside of him as he fucks him with his finger. He's starting to tremble himself. Perhaps it's time to—

He slips out, hands shaky, and squirts out more lube into his hand. He takes a hold of his own cock, slicking it up, and gives himself a few strokes, just for relief. He's hard, needy. Not long now. Wei Ying watches him silently, gaze avid, lower lip caught in his teeth.

"Ready?" Lan Zhan asks. It's unnecessary—Wei Ying is more than ready. But Lan Zhan loves this, loves to tease and prolong the inevitable.

"Fuck off," Wei Ying says with a laugh. "Just get inside me already."

"Very well." Lan Zhan leans over him and lines up. Wei Ying is open, his hole pink, inviting. Lan Zhan clenches his jaw as he slides home, bottoming out. Wei Ying makes a high ah sound, head tilting back. Lan Zhan, as always, has to take a deep breath or two, to regain control. The squeeze of Wei Ying around him undoes him every time.

Then he begins to fuck him. He starts off slow—more so for himself than Wei Ying, if he's truthful. He needs the time to get used to the feel of him, needs to hold off. Wei Ying is straining against his bonds, legs wrapped tight around Lan Zhan's back. His cock is hard, precome streaming out steadily. Lan Zhan can tell when pleasure begins to build for Wei Ying, when his expression changes from somewhat strained to blissful. Lan Zhan knows he isn't small, and it takes a lot of relaxation on Wei Ying's part to take him, but they're both used to it by now. Lan Zhan knows Wei Ying's body as well as his own, knows when to speed up, when to slow down. He runs a hand up and down his torso, pressing down on his stomach as though he could feel himself from the outside. Wei Ying catches his gaze and gives him a soft sort of grin: he knows. Knows Lan Zhan's possessive side, knows the ways in which he can make Lan Zhan fall apart.

"Come on," Wei Ying whispers. "Fuck me already."

"I thought," Lan Zhan says evenly, snapping his hips forward, "that's what I was doing."

"No, you're being too nice about it," Wei Ying declares. "When I say fuck me, I mean fuck me."

"Very well," Lan Zhan says. He's amazed how calm his voice comes out, when he's anything but. He leans back, grabs Wei Ying by the backs of his thighs, and begins to pound into him. There's no finesse here, no sweetness. He fucks him hard, raw, fucks him the way Wei Ying loves to be fucked: into near oblivion. Wei Ying is crying out steadily now, head thrown back, eyes squeezed shut, thighs trembling. Lan Zhan watches him the entire time he fucks him, studying every twitch, every movement. Wei Ying's knuckles are white from how hard he's squeezing the ties binding him, his jaw is clenched, tight groans escaping. Lan Zhan goes faster, pleasure overtaking everything else. His body is lit up with it, he feels electric, as though he were made of sparks.

"Lan Zhan— Lan Zhan, fuck—"

Lan Zhan hums in response, feeling sweat trickling down the back of his neck, down his chest. He can go for a long time like this, hold off until Wei Ying is boneless with it. He hasn't given him permission to come, and he can't really, it's very difficult for Wei Ying to come untouched. His cock is dark, vivid, begging for touch. Lan Zhan refuses to. He wants them to go for a while, go for so long, they'll forget their own names.

Wei Ying is whining, his neck and chest flushed, glistening with sweat. "Yeah, yeah—fuck, keep—keep going, you're—keep fucking me—"

Lan Zhan does. They fuck for so long, Lan Zhan's entire body begins to tremble with the effort of not coming. Still, he holds off. He waits until Wei Ying can take no more, and then he keeps going through Wei Ying's pleading. "Please, fuck, just—just touch me, please, please Lan Zhan, I can't—I can't—"

And there it is: a wetness escaping from the corner of Wei Ying's eyes, a sob ripped from his chest. Lan Zhan switches angles, leans over him, and wipes the tear with his thumb, watches as more trickles out. He rubs his thumb against Wei Ying's lips, then feeds it to him, gives Wei Ying his own taste back. Wei Ying takes it in mindlessly, sucking hard, biting down. His eyes are closed, a hard line between his eyebrows. Lan Zhan sits back, and with his free hand, finally takes a hold of Wei Ying's cock. It takes a single stroke for Wei Ying to shoot off with a sharp sound emitted around Lan Zhan's thumb. He comes for a long time, shuddering beneath him. Lan Zhan endures the squeeze of it, the unrelenting pressure, and then he bends Wei Ying in half and pounds into him to his own completion, tasting Wei Ying's tears on his own lips. He shudders with it, the pleasure overwhelming, and nearly whites out. Wei Ying is still trembling beneath him, making mindless noises.

Lan Zhan collapses on top of him and buries his flaming face in the crook of Wei Ying's neck. He inhales the scent there—Wei Ying and sweat and sex. Wei Ying's come smears between them.

The sound of their hard breathing fills the airy room. Lan Zhan marshals every bit of strength he's got and makes himself move, slipping out of Wei Ying and sitting back on his haunches. He watches as his come seeps out of Wei Ying's hole, feeling that satisfaction of it settle in his chest. When he catches Wei Ying's eye, Wei Ying is watching him with a knowing smile. His eyes are red-rimmed. Lan Zhan takes in a long breath, then gets up off the bed, his legs still shaky.

He walks over to where he had tied Wei Ying's left wrist and undoes the handcuff. Then he walks over to the other side, and undoes that one, as well. He takes Wei Ying's wrist and begins to massage it. Wei Ying makes a pleased little noise, eyes closed. Lan Zhan gathers his other wrist, and massages that, as well.

"Would you like some water?" he asks quietly.

Wei Ying visibly thinks about it, then shakes his head. "Nah, later. I'm good."

Lan Zhan nods. "I'll be right back."

"You know," Wei Ying calls after him. "I can do this part myself sometime! You don't have to run to do it every time, I won't melt from a little come in my ass."

Lan Zhan runs warm water over a washcloth, then wrings it out. "I know," he says as he comes back from the bathroom. "But it gives me pleasure to tend to you," he says with unreserved honesty.

"And you're kind of a neatfreak," Wei Ying says without heat, his eyes crinkled with his smile, eyelashes still wet.

Lan Zhan chooses not to respond. Instead, he gets in between Wei Ying's legs and begins to clean him up. Then he swipes at Wei Ying's stomach before doing his own. He throws the washcloth onto the floor, and only then does he join Wei Ying back in bed, pulling him into his arms, the way Wei Ying likes, with his head pillowed on Lan Zhan's chest.

"Mmm, this is nice." Wei Ying says that every time. Lan Zhan smiles where Wei Ying can't see him. "What should we do after this?"

"If you wanted to, you could take a mid-morning nap," Lan Zhan suggests.

Wei Ying mock-gasps. "A nap? At ten in the morning? How indulgent of you, Mr. Lan."

"Isn't that what vacation is for?" Lan Zhan asks quietly, and Wei Ying lifts up and looks at him.

"What will you do?"

Lan Zhan shrugs, gently sweeping Wei Ying's hair away from his forehead. "I have a few books I could choose from."

"Will you stay in bed?" Wei Ying asks curiously.

"Would you like me to?"

"I would." He grins. "For the sheer novelty of it."

"Then I will." He can't help answering Wei Ying's bright smile, and then he can't help leaning in and kissing that smile right off of his face.

Wei Ying makes a pleased noise, then pulls away and rolls off of him. He stretches expansively, his pleasure evident, then turns onto his side, facing Lan Zhan. He'd once told Lan Zhan that he didn't used to be able to sleep facing another person—it made him feel too vulnerable. He can do it with Lan Zhan. The simple confession had all but undone Lan Zhan at the time, and now he notices every time Wei Ying falls asleep facing him.

Wei Ying gives him a lazy smile, eyes already fluttering shut.

"Sleep well," Lan Zhan says quietly, and Wei Ying gives him one last smile before pulling the sheets over himself and dropping off to sleep.

*

While Wei Ying sleeps, Lan Zhan picks up the room a little bit. He knows he'd promised to stay in bed, but it feels unnatural. He tells himself he will be in bed by the time Wei Ying wakes up.

He puts away yesterday's clothing, straightens up the pillows on the couch in the living room. He pads into the kitchen and pours two glasses of water, carries them back into the bedroom. He sets one down on Wei Ying's bedside table, brings the other one to his own. Finally, he goes over to one of his bags and pulls out a book. Being as careful as possible, he gets back in bed and cracks it open. Nominally, he reads, but he barely pays attention to the words over his own ruminating thoughts.

If he wants Wei Ying to live with him, he must make it an equal proposition. He simply doesn't know how. The condo is paid off—there is no mortgage. They could split the bills—Wei Ying might like that. Most importantly, he wants to make space for Wei Ying and his things. He doesn't want it to be his own place where Wei Ying also lives. He wants it to be theirs. The easiest way to achieve that would be to move into a new place together, but…he's loath to do that. They both love his place, and it's his home.

It occurs to him that he's doing what Wei Ying wouldn't want him to: making unilateral decisions before consulting him at all. That won't do.

Lan Zhan turns the page and goes backwards: how to ask? Gathering courage has been his primary issue. He doesn't want to upset Wei Ying, to push a button inadvertently that shouldn't be pushed. He wants the moment to be right. He wants—he wants.

He gives up the pretense and closes his book. He's just about to get up again when Wei Ying stirs and slowly blinks awake. A languid smile spreads across his face. "You stayed," he says.

Lan Zhan's heart lurches in his chest. He will never get tired of Wei Ying's smile whenever it's turned towards him. "I stayed," he responds. "Did you sleep well?"

"Mmph. Time's it?"

"Half past eleven."

"Almost lunchtime," Wei Ying notes, then stretches. "What a lazy day."

"You've earned it."

He's rewarded with another smile, this one sly. Wei Ying rolls over onto his belly and reaches out, running a warm hand down Lan Zhan's chest and stomach. "You're so hot."

"So you've said," Lan Zhan says not without some amusement. Wei Ying shares this particular revelation with him at least twice a day.

"Yeah, but you continue to be hot, so I have to keep reminding you." He shuffles closer. They kiss. "Wanna have a quickie?" Wei Ying asks, pulling back.

Lan Zhan's pulse kicks up. "Are you certain you're up for it?"

"Hell yeah. Maybe not, like, full-on fucking. You could fuck my thighs?"

Lan Zhan drops his book on the floor and rolls him over as Wei Ying's giggles fill the room.

*

Afterwards, they order lunch, continuing with their day of indulgence. Wei Ying adds on a bottle of wine, and allows Lan Zhan to charge it all to the room. They eat outdoors, at the table big enough for eight, surrounded by lush plants and a fence tall enough to hide a giant, and Lan Zhan watches Wei Ying's sun-dappled face and thinks, what about now? But it doesn't feel quite right. He hasn't yet lined up the words, not yet thought of the perfect way to ask, a way that would ensure Wei Ying's positive response.

Instead, he suggests a bath—in the outdoor tub.

"I still can't believe there's a tub outside," Wei Ying says as he watches the water fill up, wearing nothing but a resort-provided fluffy robe. The tub itself is a rather large white porcelain affair, all clean lines and modern minimalism.

"Everything is very well thought-out," Lan Zhan notes.

"For maximum indulgence," Wei Ying adds, shutting off the water. "You're coming in with me, right?"

"Of course."

Wei Ying gives him a smile before shucking off his robe and climbing in. With pleasure, Lan Zhan notes all the marks on his body that Lan Zhan has left on him, the darkest ones on the insides of his thighs. He also notes all the places he has yet to cover. There are many.

"Get in here," Wei Ying says, turning towards him. "It's fucking perfect."

The tub is big enough that when Wei Ying spreads his legs, Lan Zhan fits easily in between, and is even able to extend his legs somewhat. The water is warm, but not overwhelmingly hot, and pleasant. The best part, however, is Wei Ying at his back, running his hands up and down Lan Zhan's sides before leaving them high on his thighs.

"Good?"

"Mn," Lan Zhan agrees. He lays his head back against Wei Ying's shoulder. It's rare for them to be in this configuration—most of the time, it happens in a bath.

Wei Ying had rigged up a little table next to the tub where he'd left a glass of wine for himself. He reaches for it now and takes a sip, humming. "Fuck, this is nice. I can't believe how nice this is. I'm so glad we decided to just hang out here today."

"It's a lovely spot," Lan Zhan agrees. "I'm…happy you wanted to come."

Wei Ying snorts inelegantly. "Are you kidding? Of course. And I wasn't even expecting this."

He doesn't sound on edge. He sounds relaxed, content. "I'm glad," Lan Zhan murmurs, running a hand over Wei Ying's shin.

They stay in the bath for a long time, chatting on occasion, until the water cools completely. Afterwards, Wei Ying, the waterbaby that he is, asks Lan Zhan if he hasn't pruned completely yet. Then he says, "Hot tub?"

They go into the hot tub. It's infinitely more spacious than the tub had been, and Wei Ying takes advantage of this and climbs into Lan Zhan's lap. They kiss—hot, hungry kisses, Lan Zhan's hands running all over his skin: his limbs, his back, his ass, every place he knows and loves, everywhere Wei Ying loves to be touched. He makes them climb out before things go too far, and fucks Wei Ying bent over the couch, the slider open to the fresh air. California living is very agreeable, Lan Zhan decides.

The rest of the day is spent lounging. They read, they kiss, then read some more. Wei Ying announces that he is off social media, despite wanting to post pictures to Instagram to make all of his friends jealous. "Fuck it, I like this being a separate world for now. I'll post the pictures afterwards."

They greet the evening up on the covered roof deck, Wei Ying's back to Lan Zhan's front on the couch. "I could stay here forever," Wei Ying says quietly. Then adds after a moment, "Thank you."

Lan Zhan, his heart beating a hard, slow rhythm against his ribcage, kisses the crown of his head. "It's my pleasure, Wei Ying." He wants to add, anything for you, but desists.

"I can't believe we get to stay here for like three more days," Wei Ying adds, his tone dreamy. "So much wine to try."

"We could, if you wanted, extend the trip, as well. I can rearrange my meetings."

Wei Ying considers this silently, then sighs. "Nah. Can't actually stay here forever. This way, we won't get tired of it, you know?"

"Mn. I agree."

Say it now, a voice says in the back of his mind. There will never be a more perfect moment than this. And there will never be the perfect words. Simply the feeling behind them.

Lan Zhan waits until the sun begins to set, painting everything in sight—the vineyards, the creamy covering of the roof, Wei Ying's skin—gold. He takes a deep breath, he lets it out. He covers Wei Ying's hand with his own, entwining their fingers together, and he says, "I'd like to ask you something."

"Mn? What is it?" Wei Ying sounds almost distracted.

Lan Zhan hesitates, but he has already started. He can't think of what else to do except plow on. "I have been thinking about it for a while."

Wei Ying must hear something in his voice, because he shifts until he can turn towards Lan Zhan and face him. His gaze is searching. "Yeah?" The brown of his eyes is nearly amber in this light, his irises nearly disappearing the longer he looks at Lan Zhan.

"Mn," Lan Zhan says, then clears his throat. "I wondered if…if you would like to…" Say it already. "Move in with me. To live together." He exhales shakily. There. He's done it.

Wei Ying's eyes widen a fraction, eyebrows drawing in minutely. "Lan Zhan…"

"You don't have to respond yet, and you don't have to say yes simply because I asked," Lan Zhan says as evenly as he can manage over the hollow beating of his heart. "It is what I want, but I wouldn't want to pressure you into anything you may not be ready for. And you may never want to take this step, and that is all right, as well, I simply—" His torrent of words is mercifully cut off by Wei Ying's lips over his own. He sighs with relief, something loosening in his chest.

Wei Ying pulls back. He's smiling—shyly, sweetly. "Lan Zhan. Of course I want to live together. I hate having to leave every time. I just…I didn't realize you wanted that too."

His pulse picks up, the relief of it buoyant, heady. "I do. Of course I do."

Wei Ying's smile widens, takes on a playful edge. "Have you been sitting on this?"

Wei Ying knows him after all. "Mn."

"And worrying about it?"

He hesitates. "Mn."

"Lan Zhan!" Playfully, Wei Ying slaps his chest. "Of course I want to live with you. Come on."

Lan Zhan pulls his thoughts together over the uncomplicated joy of hearing those words. "I simply…didn't want you to feel pressured. Or as though my place is not yours, either." He pauses, swallowing. "If you wanted…we could find another place. One that would be new to us both."

Wei Ying's eyebrows fly up. "And leave yours?"

"Mn."

"Fuck no!"

Lan Zhan breathes out and waits.

"Lan Zhan, I really appreciate you thinking that, but no." Wei Ying moves until he's sitting cross-legged across from him, looking Lan Zhan in the eye. "You love your place. I love your place. I can make it my own, too. I—look, I trust you not to be a dick about it."

Another painful swallow against his tightening throat. "Thank you."

A grin. "Do I get to pay rent?"

Lan Zhan hesitates. "There is no mortgage." Wei Ying's eyes widen. "We can, if you would like, split the utility bills."

"Done." He holds out his hand. Lan Zhan takes it. Instead of shaking it, Wei Ying brings it to his lips and gives it a lingering kiss, eyelashes fluttering closed. Lan Zhan loves him. Finally, Wei Ying lifts his gaze, leaving Lan Zhan's hand in his own. "We're gonna live together?"

"It would appear so," Lan Zhan says evenly.

"Go to bed together every night?"

"Wake up together every morning."

Wei Ying laughs, throwing back his head. "Nah. I'm never waking up at five am. You should know this by now."

Lan Zhan feels his lips twitching. "Fair enough." Unless, of course, Lan Zhan wakes him up with a mouth on his cock. He's fairly certain Wei Ying would not object then.

"You have to let me split the bills evenly, all right?"

Lan Zhan nods. "All right."

"Good." Wei Ying pitches forward, their hands still entwined, and catches Lan Zhan's mouth in a kiss. The sun has almost set, the sky a darkening blue. It's a clear night. It's still warm, though a breeze picks up and surrounds them, fluttering the fabric covering the deck. Lan Zhan thinks he could stay here all night, if Wei Ying wanted to. Fall asleep on this couch, wake up with Wei Ying covering his chest.

Wei Ying pulls back. He looks serious for once and Lan Zhan's heart twitches nervously. But what Wei Ying says is, "I love you. Thank you for asking."

Lan Zhan reaches out and cups the back of his head, bringing him back in. "It was never a question of if. It was simply a matter of when." And then, "I love you, too."

Wei Ying's smile is an uncomplicated, joyful thing.

There is another question Lan Zhan would like to ask him, one that has been tugging at him for a while now. But that question will keep for now. One thing at a time, he thinks. They have time. They have nothing but time now.

*