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the ways of my name

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It was a few days after Jingyan found out that Mei Changsu received the summons from the East Palace. Frankly, it surprised him. He’d thought that Jingyan would not wish for a private confrontation. There was something a little odd about the message as well, though he decided it was Jingyan being overly cautious in case someone else read the missive. 

He dressed carefully and rubbed a finger over his face as he sat for a long time over the pages of a book he had not turned in a while. Li Gang came to tell him the carriage was ready and waiting. He could feel them looking at him and Lin Chen was especially aggressive when he heard of the summons, though he covered his initial reaction in a loudly uncaring huff. They were concerned for him and rightly. He could feel his own skin fraying thinner, as if it would slide off his body entirely. 

It used to interest him when he was young to see the exact place a soldier collapsed in training and his father had even asked him to watch a time or two (not maliciously) but to show that there came a day when the body and mind couldn’t help except to falter.

He’d been brash enough to believe he was different before Meiling, but not afterwards.


“Sir Su,” Jingyan said soon after he walked into the lavish room. “Thank you for coming. I have a dilemma that only you can help me with.”

Mei Changsu kept his face still, even as his heart beat faster. He took his time sitting down and arranging his robes before looking across at Jingyan, who was dressed in rich silks the color of gold and cream. His guan shone in the sunshine-filled room.

“I am at your service,” he said finally. 

“I was hoping you would say that.” Jingyan looked down at Mei Changsu’s hands. “I would never compel you in this matter. It is only that I am desperate and do not know who else I can ask.” Jingyan glanced nervously at him through his eyelashes. “I don’t have many people I trust implicitly.”

Mei Changsu felt a pang go through him at the words, but nodded when Jingyan paused. There wasn’t enough information to come to any conclusions about this strange turn of events. He glanced again across to find Jingyan looking at him with clear eyes. His steady hands reached to take the cup when it was offered. 

Mei Changsu took a sip. “There is nothing too personal for an advisor.”

“I fear that you’ll come to regret those words.” Jingyan silenced his protest with a wave. He got up and closed the doors to the room. “I told Lie Zhanying to keep watch and I am confident that no one will overhear us and there’s only one way to say this.” Jingyan took a deep breath. “I'm afraid I will displease my bride.”

Mei Changsu pressed his hands together. It appeared highly likely that Jingyan had been drugged, despite his outward appearance.

“What do you mean?” he said after a moment.

Jingyan pursed his lips. “I tend to,” he paused delicately, “release too soon during sex.”

Mei Changsu froze. 

“I am,” Jingyan looked angry, “asking for Sir Su’s help in this matter because I cannot trust anyone else with the information.”

“And how does Your Highness believe that I can help?” Mei Changsu said in a low voice. He’d come here expecting to be ripped to shreds for his lies. 

“Sir Su is an expert at guiding me through hard lessons,” Jingyan said with his eyes lowered. “I hope he can take me in hand.”

“Your Highness,” Mei Changsu choked out. “Have you been unwell these last few days? Have you eaten any unusual food or drank an unknown—?”

Jingyan looked amused. “Do I look drugged to you?”

“Have you lost your—” mind. He took a deep breath. “Memories, perhaps.”

Jingyan slid an unreadable look his way. “I remember everything. Does Sir Su believe I am missing some crucial information?” 

Mei Changsu took a sip from his cup. "No," he said.


“Take off your clothes,” Mei Changsu said once they’d entered an unused bedchamber through a side door. He remembered many of the secrets of the East Palace from Prince Qi’s time, but didn’t recall these exact rooms. 

Jingyan surprised him yet again by obeying without question. Mei Changsu watched him dispassionately. He felt he was being toyed with. He hated the feeling, even if Jingyan was the one making him feel this way. The silken robes came off that body he’d dreamed of since he was a boy. He didn’t blink, but he also let nothing else show. There was a coolness enveloping him from head to toe. He’d known that Jingyan knew he’d wanted him in the years before Meiling and here was a confirmation. He swept his eyes up and down the dip in his back, his muscled thighs, and his long legs. “Turn around,” he said in a low voice. “Let me see you.”

He did as he was told. Mei Changsu drank him in. His thick cock was hard and desperate already. His face was lowered, and he looked young and shy.

“Your Highness,” said Mei Changsu. “Lie down.”

Jingyan lay on the bed. Mei Changsu sat down at his feet and assessed him. He was running his hands restlessly on the bed. Mei Changsu pinched him hard on his thigh. “Focus,” he said, and watched Jingyan clench his teeth. He slapped him as hard as he could, which wasn’t as hard as he wished. “You’re eager, aren’t you? And all I’ve done is hurt you.”

Jingyan looked stricken. 

Mei Changsu pushed up his sleeve and fisted him. “Is this what you wanted? For me to take you in hand?”

Jingyan moaned and rutted into his hand. 

“I’ll teach you one last thing,” Mei Changsu said maliciously, and stroked him slowly. “Now tell me about the first time you embarrassed yourself in bed.”

“I was nineteen,” he said and looked to the side. His confession didn’t seem to make him less desperate for Mei Changsu’s touch. He rolled his hips. “She was surprised when she touched me and I—” Jingyan blushed. "I couldn't help myself."

Mei Changsu chuckled. “How about the second time? I fear I must know all I can of this particular dilemma.”

“He—” said Jingyan and yelped when Mei Changsu squeezed his cock too hard. “He opened me with his fingers and that was enough,” and yes he’d brought this on himself, but the pain was acute nonetheless. He hated the thought of anyone touching him. 

“Go on,” Mei Changsu said in a silken voice. “What did he do next?”

“He laughed at me,” Jingyan said with his face burning.

Mei Changsu slid a hand down to his balls and cupped him. “Who was he? Tell me his name.”

“Why?” said Jingyan without looking at him.

“I’ll cut out his throat and see if he can laugh then,” Mei Changsu said calmly, and noted only a moment later what he’d said.

“He’s dead already,” Jingyan moved restlessly as Mei Changsu slowed down and took a breath. He felt deeply disoriented. How had they gotten here? What had possessed him to come to this room? He was about to move away when Jingyan slid a hand up to his nipple and thumbed a nub. The sight mesmerized him enough that he stayed still and breathless. “We were fighting pirates—“

“—was it Ban Xin?” he said. 

“Lin Shu,” murmured Jingyan. “Lin Shu.” 

“You always.” He watched his hands move as if in a trance. Jingyan panted open-mouthed and dazed. “You liked him.”

“I was young, and he payed attention to me.”

I paid attention to you.”

Jingyan gasped as he stroked him. “I’m close.”

“Jingyan,” he said, and pulled his hands off him. “You need to be patient.”

Jingyan moaned. “Don't make me wait.”

He started taking off his clothes with shaking fingers. “Just until I’m in you,” he said.

“Yes, yes," said Jingyan. 

“You know how long I’ve wanted this?” he said.

“How long?” murmured Jingyan.

He was very young, just a boy, and he didn’t know how bodies worked.

“Lin Shu,” Jingyan said as he poured oil on him and pushed in a finger. “Hurry.”

It took him long moments to work in a finger and then another.

“You want me to fuck you,” he said as he stroked inside. “You want this.”

“I want you.” Jingyan nodded. 

“Since when?”

Jingyan laughed. “You haven’t changed.”

He felt a little shaken by the claim. “I’m,” he pulled his fingers out. He watched as Jingyan pulled up his legs and spread himself obscenely. He felt dazed as he lined himself up and pushed inside. It was tight enough to almost be painful as he worked himself in by inches. Jingyan had his face turned away, but he felt him deliberately ease his body further. He pushed in deeper and gasped. “You know what I want,” he said, and felt his legs tremble at the wave of lust that rocked through him at the way Jingyan blushed. “Say it again. Say my name.”

“Lin Shu,” he gasped.

“Say it. Please.”

“Lin Shu, Lin Shu.”

He kissed his skin and fucked him until Jingyan spilled with a frantic groan.

“I love you,” he said deliriously afterwards. “That’s why I lied.”

 Jingyan held him as he shook loose in his arms.