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stay together, you make me better

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By the time Haikuan arrives, Zanjin has commandeered a table on the sidewalk and comfortably settled down. Teeny and Wooly are sitting quietly on the chair next to his, Zanjin's sunglasses case rests on the table along with his black leather Balenciaga belt bag. He sets his phone on the table alongside the rest of his belongings when he spots Haikuan arriving and waits.

He knows how he looks: like hot stuff, like he owns the place and shouldn't be disturbed under any circumstances. Ji Li had told him about it, once: the way people emitted energies and vibes, and how most often Zanjin apparently emits hot, rich spouse vibes. Ji Li's own vibes are a carefully crafted mix of twink and hypebeast, apparently — his own words, because Zanjin isn't an expert in vibes and can't be expected to parse whatever is Ji Li's deal.

Zanjin has made some people turn and stare today — something about the bright lime green shirt he's layered over a pastel sweatshirt probably, the color drawing people's attention like moths to a flame — and it's not like he minds the attention, just that it's different when it's directly directed at him and his appearance and not at his dogs, which is usually the case and why he ends up being late to places. Teeny and Wooly are attention hogs and extremely well-behaved when they receive the coos and pets of strangers, which makes going anywhere with them when on a strict schedule a bit of a nightmare. An adorable nightmare. Today, though, Zanjin seems to be holding center stage and stealing the show from them which is a pleasing surprise, even though there's always the slightest hint of worry scratching at the back of his mind about being recognized and— swarmed, bothered, harassed, or any other unpleasant things he's heard happening to peers in the industry.

Getting attention is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing when he can comfortably bask in it and appreciate how far he's come that people on the street can put a name to his face and ask him for a signature. A curse when he's just trying to mind his own business at the grocery store and he feels eyes staring at the back of his skull, a presence following him like a shadow, badly concealed smartphone cameras aimed at his face.

A blessing when Haikuan walks up to him, clad in his overpriced biking shorts and jersey with his bike helmet in one hand and the other dropping on Zanjin's shoulder, the softest of squeezes as he stares right into his eyes and smiles. Zanjin wishes that Haikuan could bend down and kiss his forehead in lieu of hello, or perhaps even his cheek, a sort of tenderness he always craves from Haikuan. In this moment, attention is swiftly back to being a curse to Zanjin: preventing him from getting a kiss hello from his boyfriend is a real outrage to his basic needs.

"Hey," Haikuan says instead as a greeting, "did you already order?"

Zanjin tries not to get too sidetracked by the movement of his lips. "Hmm, no, didn't know what you'd feel like drinking."

Haikuan nods at his reply and leaves his helmet on the table before he turns around and steps into the café. Zanjin does get sidetracked by the way his ass looks in those tight biking shorts. He wonders where Haikuan left his bike. Perhaps he's stopped by his apartment to drop it off and then went to meet him here, since it wasn't too far. Haikuan had to know what he looked like, in tight-fitting clothing, and what that would elicit in Zanjin. That was probably all carefully planned out, actually, but Haikuan would be mortified to admit it. Zanjin wouldn't make him do that. He'll quietly reap the benefits of his boyfriend's unassuming seductive ways instead.

Haikuan comes back out of the café minutes later, holding a drink in each hand.

"Iced jasmine tea for you." Haikuan says as he deposits both drinks on the table. "I ordered some mini pastries to share, they'll be ready in a bit."

Zanjin frowns and takes on a faux disapproving scowl. "Pastries? Before lunch? Who are you and what you done to my gege?"

Haikuan smiles fondly at the endearment. "I just biked 30km, I feel like I deserve a little indulgence." Zanjin opens his mouth to interject but Haikuan carries on. "If I need another justification though, can I just say that I wanted to treat my boyfriend?"

Zanjin's faux disapproval turns to genuine astonishment. "Gege is so forward and daring." He swats playfully at Haikuan's arm before taking a sip of his iced tea. Unsweetened and exactly to his taste, because Haikuan is the most attentive boyfriend ever, truly. Zanjin is never letting him go — not that he has ever had any plans to, but it is great to remind both himself and Haikuan of the fact sometimes, an affirmation, a reassurance that his love is here to stay.

"I learned from the best," Haikuan replies easily, all mirth and pretend coyness, "and it's not like I can be expected to ignore my boyfriend when he is dressed like a very bright piece of candy. I'm not a monster, and I'm certainly not blind."

"This is the worst possible way you could have worded this. What is this, a back-handed compliment?"

Haikuan puts his foot in his mouth a lot, but not so often when it comes to complimenting Zanjin. On the rare occasions when it happens, Zanjin feels inexplicably fond: maybe because it's proof that his boyfriend is human, after all, and not an unwavering perfect man specifically engineered in a lab to be Zanjin's betrothed — a joke he often makes and to which Haikuan always replies: "Well I could say the same about you, so maybe we were made in the same test tube, uh?"

"I just wanted to say you look cute." Haikuan grumbles, pink blush spreading on his cheeks as he takes a sip of his drink to hide his embarrassment. "Like a cute piece of candy I want to devour."

"Oh?" Zanjin perks up. Haikuan looks extremely embarrassed at his own words. "Tell me more about that?"


*

It is a shame, truly, that they leave the café before the pastries even arrive. Zanjin very much wants to grab Haikuan's hand into his and drag him into a cab but he can't so he settles for the next best thing, which is to press his thigh against his in the backseat and try not to combust out of sheer horniness.

There is a switch in Zanjin's brain from fine, casuallyto horny, extremely that is easily activated in the presence of Haikuan. Today's combination of boyfriend in tight-fitting clothing + weird but sexy candy comment had proven lethal and Zanjin had to kiss his boyfriend about it, there was simply no other way.

In the safety of Haikuan's apartment — and Zanjin's suspicions were correct, his bike is right there in the entryway, so this was all a ploy to see if Zanjin was capable of self-control in the face of thin fabric tight against Haikuan's chest and crotch, which, he most definitely isn't — Zanjin gets on his tiptoes to kiss him and exhales when Haikuan wraps his arms around his waist and hoists him up a little, enough for the strain on Zanjin's neck to be a little less awful.

"You said something about devouring me?" Zanjin breathes, a stupid question in itself because Haikuan has already resolutely busied himself with devouring his mouth.

Haikuan hums against his mouth in reply as he continues kissing him senseless. Not that Zanjin really wants a reply, anyway, it just felt good to say those words again, to remind Haikuan about his promise and make sure he follows through.

"You're not cutting your hair anytime soon, right?" Haikuan asks moments later.

Zanjin's lime green shirt has been taken off, carefully folded and set on the back of the couch. Haikuan's hands are warm on his sides after he'd crept them up the bottom hem of his sweatshirt. Zanjin shakes his head, some of his hair falling in front of his face. He likes the current length and how he looks with it, the versatility it offers him when it comes to styling, the way it frames his face and just looks good with his features. He'd wanted to grow it out for a while, but the timing had never been right. It feels so right, now, to finally be able to do it.

Zanjin hums in assent. "Not that I know of. Why?"

Haikuan cards a hand through Zanjin's hair, lets his fingers slide against the side of Zanjin's head and behind his ear, tucking back some of the strands that had fallen loose. He reaches up, fingers closing around the hair tie in Zanjin's hair and pulls gently, Zanjin's half-ponytail unraveling and his hair falling down against the skin of his neck.

The moment feels so intimate that Zanjin feels hot all over, his dick stirring in his jeans now even though minutes prior he'd been making out with Haikuan on the couch, rutting against his muscular thigh like an hormonal teenager, not hard yet but steadily getting there and now—

"You seem to enjoy it as much as I do." Haikuan says, the picture of innocence.

Zanjin kisses the filthy implications out of his mouth, lest his boyfriend dares to say anything else of the sort. There is an urge inside of him now, even stronger than before, to get Haikuan out of his stupid biking outfit and get absolutely ravished on this couch. There is no time. Zanjin cannot possibly be expected to wait and carry over the tenderness with which Haikuan had touched his hair. He tells Haikuan as much. Haikuan splutters.

"The dogs." Haikuan has the presence of mind to say, reminding Zanjin about his two furry daughters who are very much in the same room, quietly napping near the window.

With an over-exaggerated sigh, Zanjin lifts himself from Haikuan's lap and goes to retrieve his dogs. They're small enough that he can hold both of them in the crook of his left arm as he pushes the bedroom door open, drops them on the floor carefully and shuts the door closed. He repositions himself on Haikuan's lap, licks his lips and makes a big show of putting a stray strand of hair behind his ear. Haikuan shakes beneath him and Zanjin leans down, kissing him as he snakes a hand inside Haikuan's offending shorts.

"I won't cut my hair if you promise not to wear these again in public when I'm with you and can't do anything about it. I only have so much self-control and these really push my limits."

Haikuan lets out a laugh that gets cut short when Zanjin wraps a hand around his dick. "Yeah, fair, anything you want."