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Such Wonton, Wild and Usual Slips

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Wei Ying first meets Lan Zhan the same way he meets all of his friends: at the gym. 

Ah. Okay, to be explicitly accurate, Wei Ying has all of one friend whom he’s met at the gym. And even then, maybe it doesn’t technically count if Mo Xuanyu was already his friend and they simply reconnected at the gym. At an agreed upon time. Because they see each other regularly and have been friends since we were eighteen, what the fuck, A-Ying. 

Regardless. 

He’s really excited that he gets to say that he met his new friend, Lan Zhan, at the gym because man, has he always wanted to be one of those guys who can say that about a friend. What a statement! So powerful. Hey guys, this is my friend Lan Zhan, we met in the weight room. And then everyone says, hi, Lan Zhan, and someone or other pours them both some baijiu and then everyone clinks cold shot glasses and gets rip-roaring drunk. 

It’s basically the dream.

Of course, they’re not quite there yet, he and Lan Zhan. Technically, on a strictly reality-conforming basis, Lan Zhan isn’t really his friend friend. They’re friends-ish. Friend-adjacent! Pre-friends. 

Okay, so Wei Ying has bumped into Lan Zhan three times and the most they’ve said to each other was when Wei Ying ran into him that third time by the in-house juice bar where the visored teenage attendant was chopping apples, Lan Zhan clearly glistening with a post-workout sweat and with his hair brushed away from his forehead, and after the two of them had exchanged hello’s, Wei Ying had said, so...apples, huh?

And Lan Zhan had gone wide-eyed and a little alarmed-looking, which, fair, because what the fuck, but because he’s the perfect candidate for Wei Ying’s new best friend, he had responded politely with a nod, apples.

Wei Ying has sort of blacked out the rest of the interaction, only he absolutely hasn’t because he remembers with startling clarity that he had jerked his thumb at the juice-kiosk-person and said, is that what you’re getting? and Lan Zhan had gone, pardon? and Wei Ying, committed to the farce, had said, are you getting an apple smoothie? and Lan Zhan had smiled with a small perplexed quirk and said, yes, it’s called the iron core, you should try it if you don’t mind ginger, and then Wei Ying wishes he hadn’t but definitely had said, oh that’s funny, ‘cause apples have cores.

This is the part he really actually blacks out. He can’t be one hundred percent sure, but he thinks maybe Lan Zhan had blinked uncertainly back at him and made a non-committal noise, or maybe he’d murmured something half-hearted like, I never noticed, but all Wei Ying knows is one moment he was staring down the Stygian abyss of certain death and then the next, Lan Zhan had grabbed the juice from the kiosk-person and probably said goodbye, and Wei Ying had proceeded to punish himself on the treadmill with a twenty minute sprint at level 15. 

So, yeah. Not quite friends, but they’re definitely getting there.

“Wei Ying.”

He nearly drops the two kilogram weight he’s holding on his foot, but he catches it at the last moment. As it is, his sweaty grip fumbles hastily along the metal handle.

“Oh- I apologise, do you need me to help you put it back?” Lan Zhan asks, reaching out to take the dumbbell from him like he really actually genuinely thinks Wei Ying finds a two kilogram weight too heavy to put back alone.

“I’m fine!” Wei Ying sputters indignantly. His shoulder twitches as if to muscle Lan Zhan out of the way, and Lan Zhan steps back in surprise. “I’m fine,” he repeats, at a more sedate volume, and makes a show of very smoothly and effortlessly depositing the dumbbell back on the rack.

“You just caught me off guard, is all,” he adds. “I wasn’t even gonna use the two-kilo, I was just moving it aside to-” he glances at the rack, “-to get to the ten-kilo.”

He wasn’t. He’s sort of managed to stay fit-ish all his life by sheer willpower and luck alone, but his biceps are 98% show muscles and 2% utility muscles. 

“I see,” Lan Zhan says, looking for all intents and purposes like he’s really trying to believe Wei Ying. “I will leave you be, I merely wanted to say hello—”

“Hello,” Wei Ying interrupts, then cringes. 

Lan Zhan blinks, and then Wei Ying has the unique experience of a true, confirmed out-of-body experience because Lan Zhan’s face does this very cool thing that wouldn’t even really be called smiling on any other normal, un-majestic person but that on his face looks like the sun dawning over the horizon, or something of equal magnificence and Wei Ying is dying.

What an excellent best friend pick. 

“Hello,” Lan Zhan says again. “Did you just get here, Wei Ying?”

“Yep!” He rocks back on his heels and hopes he looks as good as Lan Zhan does grinning. “You wanna work on some reps together?”

Lan Zhan cocks his head. “Reps of...?”

Wei Ying blanks. “Uh, I dunno. Whatever you want! Squats? Or, like, curls? Curling?”

All he gets is a blank expression in response. “Are you new to the gym?” 

It’s a fucking Saturday morning, what is this, the Spanish Inquisition? Wei Ying glares then bites the inside of his cheek. So impolite.

“I work out, excuse you,” he huffs, blowing the hair out of his eyes. He gestures rudely at his headband. “Would someone who doesn’t work out wear this?

Lan Zhan’s eyes trail up to Wei Ying’s forehead and then back down again. “No, they would not. Apologies,” he says, with what clearly looks like mirth dancing in his gaze (although on Wei Ying’s face, he’s rather certain it would be an expression of unyielding subdue). Wei Ying rolls his eyes. “Would you like to spot me?” Lan Zhan asks, before turning on his heel to walk towards the bench press. 

“Oh, oh my god, yeah, okay,” Wei Ying says quickly, scuttling after him. This is great. They’re basically gym buddies now. 

Correction: gym BFFs. 

* * *

The jury is in and Wei Ying is a certified genius.

Lan Zhan is a complete home run. A hole in one. The VIP (MVP? Sports metaphors are not really his forte). 

He's fantastic. After Wei Ying spotted him as he bench pressed that first time they’d worked out together, Lan Zhan had offered to show him some exercises he liked to do when I first started exercising, even though you are, as you say, an old-timer at the gym, Wei Ying. Wei Ying had taken it all in stride, skipping rope and pumping iron, like a real guy’s guy. 

The best part of it all is that Lan Zhan really is the first guy’s guy Wei Ying has become friends with. Song Lan kind of counts, if not for the fact that he does calligraphy on the weekend (which, okay, Wei Ying likes doing calligraphy too, but not like Song Lan does), and forget about Xiao Xingchen. That man is halfway to becoming Chang’e with all the floaty white blouses he wears and his benevolent smiles. Mo Xuanyu would count too, except for how one time Wei Ying had called him my dude and Mo Xuanyu had grimaced and gone, ew. And then of course he can’t forget Jiang Cheng — Jiang Cheng’s definitely pretty manly if you look past all the purple he insists on wearing, but Lan Zhan?

Lan Zhan is a man. Like, a red-blooded, Michelangelo-sculpted man. One time, maybe a couple weeks into their newly instated regular workout sessions, Wei Ying had been struggling to do an overheard press, the kind those huge, oiled American men on TV do with the barbell lifted above their head, and Lan Zhan had come right up behind him, chest to back, and steadied Wei Ying’s hips with his enormous hands. 

Wei Ying had looked down to see the fucking size of Lan Zhan’s thighs next to his, rippling and boy oh boy, how do thighs have veins? That are visible? And talk about a solid pelvis. Wei Ying’s never felt a more solid pelvis pressed against his ass, like, ever.

After that session, Wei Ying had taken the extra towel Lan Zhan offered him - he brings him towels now! A whole spare towel for Wei Ying! - and asked admiringly, so you must get a lotta girls, huh, Lan Zhan? And Lan Zhan, the sly fucker, had had the gall to look surprised. Lan Zhan! He had slanted a look at Wei Ying for a long moment, long enough that Wei Ying felt suddenly hotter (probably because the blood was finally all rushing back up to his head, or endorphins, maybe) and then Lan Zhan had said nonchalantly, yes, sometimes women think to approach me.

And Wei Ying totally pulls. He does. He hooks up with pretty girls all the time, basically models with how tall they are and how statuesque they look in their power suits and leather jackets, and the only thing that’s better than gym best friends, he thinks, is gym best friends who go out on the town together meeting pretty girls like a couple of very sexy yet respectfully-allied-to-the-LGBTQ-community straight dudes.

(Wei Ying is a great ally. 

Well. Okay he’s a good ally, and mostly that just means attending Wen Qing and her girlfriend Mianmian’s fourth anniversary boozy brunch. He actually doesn’t have a tonne of gay friends. Song Lan and Xiao Xingchen have been single and living the bachelor life together for years now, and Nie Huaisang always says, I like the wine, not the label on the bottle, Wei xiong, which loosely translates to I’m a huge slut, I just wanna be baby, I don’t care who it is who’s babying me - Huaisang’s words, not Wei Ying’s - and so, yeah. Wei Ying is an okay ally. He just hasn’t had the chance to prove himself, y’know?)

Anyway, that could be them, a couple of hot sexy straight allies taking Shanghai’s pretty ladies by a polite and consensual storm. Him and Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan and he. A couple of buds, doing dude-bud things together, being dudes. 

So, yeah, Lan Zhan is all man, and Wei Ying is definitely a little bit more man by association. Leeching off some man energy by being man-adjacent. 

Oh, if Jiang Cheng could see him now. The poor thing’s probably as sour as the Zhenjiang vinegar the Jiang’s built their fortune on. 

“I don’t know why you’ve singled me out, but I physically could not care less,” his brother grumbles over the phone. It’s been a month since Wei Ying and Lan Zhan first started working out together, and they’ve decided on making it a regular thing. Regular like with exchanged phone numbers and a standing appointment for Wednesdays and Saturdays — that’s bi-weekly, baby.

Wei Ying splutters in protest, although the effect is diminished by the fact that his phone is squeezed unceremoniously between his ear and his shoulder as he wrestles with the takeout bags. “What do you mean you don’t care? This is great for me! You of all people should be thrilled. Or eating your words, I haven’t decided on a position yet.”

Jiang Cheng sighs, the long-suffering kind that makes him seem about two hundred instead of twenty four. “Why me, exactly?”

Wei Ying dumps the takeout bags in an undignified heap on the floor. “Why? Because! Aiyoh, Jiang Cheng, now who’s the one with the goldfish memory? Puddles for brains, didi! Remember—”

“I will hang up on you.”

Remember,” Wei Ying powers on. “When you were fifteen and I was seventeen and you had just gotten that awful haircut that made you look like Qin Shi Huang—”

“What the fuck does that even mean? We don’t know what his hair looked like! He’s always wearing that hat- mian thing in those paintings!”

“—And I had just kissed Nie Huaisang’s cousin thrice removed, and I was telling you all about it, flush with the thrill of my first kiss, and you said well, of course you had your first kiss earlier, you’re always hanging around girls doing girly things like a girl, and then—”

“Wei Ying,” Jiang Cheng honest to god snarls, and Wei Ying stops his gloat in its tracks. 

“What?”

“You know—” Jiang Cheng cuts off, sounding pained. “Wei Ying, you know I was just- I was just fucking talking shit, right? Blowing off steam? Because I was fifteen years old and you should not, with your goldfish brain, remember what I said a decade ago let alone have taken it so to heart that you’re off gallivanting at some gym ten fucking years later trying to convince some guy to be your new best friend because my fifteen year old self didn’t understand toxic masculinity? You know that, right? You are physically able to comprehend—

“Jiang Cheng!” Wei Ying whines. “Yes, my god, can we go one conversation without you denigrating my IQ?”

“Not if your IQ and alarmingly selective memory has fixated on my pre-pubescent self’s severe error in judgement,” Jiang Cheng bites back. “I don’t care if you’re jacked and can bench over two hundred. I don’t care if all of your friends, bar me, are women and your favourite drink to order even in the dead of night is a mimosa with a cute little lime wedge on the side. You know that, right? You know I don’t care? That none of that manly bullshit matters?”

Okay. So, Wei Ying knows, like, in theory that it doesn’t matter. Equal rights! Gender is a construct! But if he has to pretend that this little speech of Jiang Cheng’s hasn’t derailed a very central feature of his pre-adult and adult brain’s list of preoccupations? 

“Er,” Wei Ying says intelligently.

“I’m coming over.” The dial tone beeps forebodingly. 

Wei Ying looks down at his feet where he’d ordered only one serving of 20-pan fried dumplings, then sighs and pulls out the Meituan app. “Frickin’ Jiang Cheng,” he mumbles as he adds another forty dumplings to his cart. 

* * *

“Anyway, so he came over, purple all over - and Lan Zhan, seriously, when I say my brother likes purple, I mean he really likes purple - and spent ten minutes yelling at me about how I never listen at the right time and how I can’t go around living based on other people’s expectations and how it’s 2021, Wei Ying, I know you hate Western movies but how have you not gotten the memo on gender? With no thank you for the dumplings!”

“You hate Western movies?” Lan Zhan asks after swallowing his mouthful of mini-wonton in clear soup. 

Wei Ying shrugs and shoves his own full sized shrimp wonton into his mouth. “Yeah, I just think they’re kinda eh, y’know? Too Western.” 

Lan Zhan nods like Wei Ying has just given him a fully fleshed out explanation instead of his usual, veiled excuse that is actually code for I don’t have the attention span to sit through a full movie from any country but making it a commentary about the West sounds better.

“Your brother sounds brash,” he offers after a while. The overhead fan in the little wonton soup noodle shop has effectively dried any lingering sweat that had been hanging off his brow when he and Wei Ying had left the gym, and now Lan Zhan only looks rather handsomely flushed post-workout. “But he is right. About gender expression.”

Wei Ying stares at Lan Zhan and concertedly tries not to think about the part of the conversation with Jiang Cheng he’s omitting — the part where Jiang Cheng had pointed his chopsticks threateningly at Wei Ying’s face and said suspiciously, why’re you so obsessed with this Lan Zhan guy anyway.

The part where Wei Ying had turned red and sputtered and felt caught out for some weird reason even though this is a thing he does, get really excited about new friends and dump all of his energy into drawing them into his circle, and Jiang Cheng knows this, knows this about him but still, for some inane reason, is acting all skeptical and cynical when Wei Ying replies, he’s just cool! He’d be a cool new best friend, did you know he co-wrote the soundtrack for that Chen Kaige movie jiejie’s obsessed with?

Of course, part of Jiang Cheng’s cynicism had been a bone-deep feeling of offence; Wei Ying’s brother had scowled darkly and growled, new best friend? What, I’m not good enough now, is that what it is? And Wei Ying had laughed out loud and wrapped all of his limbs around Jiang Cheng on the sofa and shoved two whole dumplings into his mouth before Jiang Cheng had finally coughed like he was choking, just distracted enough for Wei Ying to plant a wet kiss on his cheek and declare, silly, you will always be my very best friend, Cheng-er! 

But Lan Zhan doesn’t care about this part of the story, surely, so Wei Ying omits it — the part where he got all red and blustery when prodded about his not-so-secret platonic infatuation with Lan Zhan and the part where Jiang Cheng had shoved him off and then stuffed a dumpling past Wei Ying’s laughing lips without making an iota of eye contact.

Wei Ying uses his tongue to shove the wonton in his mouth into his cheek. “I know!” 

He blushes when Lan Zhan stares, wide-eyed, at the half-masticated food that is undoubtedly visible in his open maw. Wei Ying swallows hastily and smiles. “Sorry, bad habit. I know, though, I guess I just didn’t know. I mean, Jiang Cheng’s always so traditional and worried about what his parents think, if being a doctor will make up for him abandoning the family business blah blah blah. I just didn’t expect him to come out and say something so— progressive?”

Wei Ying’s jiejie has always been the softer one about tradition. Of course, Wei Ying sort of wishes she wasn’t so soft about tradition that she had moved all the way to Canada for her sub-par husband’s business venture. Canada! Where’s the filial piety, Jin Zixuan? But Jiang Cheng has always been a little bit of a stickler for tradition.

“I wear a hair ribbon every day,” Lan Zhan says. “I only take it off to exercise. Also, when I have to meet artists or other producers, I wear lip gloss.”

Wei Ying’s mouth falls open. “Oh! So you get it, that’s such a relief!” Of course, Lan Zhan would be the kind of guy who knows about this sort of thing. Everyone’s always talking about how China is so steeped in its conservatism, but here Lan Zhan is — a shining beacon of hope! 

Lan Zhan nods, and lets his lips curl gently upwards. Wei Ying feels warm all over, pink as the skin of a dragonfruit. It had been Lan Zhan’s idea to get wontons after working out, and Wei Ying, can I take you out for lunch had barely left his lips before Wei Ying had turned bright red with pleasure and bat his eyelashes as he said, woh, Zhan ge, you really know how to treat a boy right. Is it possible to physically feel the colour pink? And how long is this condition meant to last?

“Yes, I understand,” Lan Zhan says, distracting him from his odd mental tangent. He carefully reaches out and takes Wei Ying’s hand that had been resting on the table into his. “It can be hard, when you already feel so different and indeed are made to feel so, to not conform to what society expects of you as a man.” 

This is probably the most Wei Ying has ever heard Lan Zhan say in one breath, but wow, what words. What a smart guy. How had he known that Wei Ying always felt different from the rest of his adopted family? Wow.

“Ah, you really get me, Lan Zhan,” he says happily, and the tips of Lan Zhan’s ears turn shell coloured. “You’re so great. I’m so glad we started seeing each other—”

His -at the gym is cut off when the waitress emerges at his elbow and smiles solicitously at them. “Do you guys need anything else?” she asks. This kind of service is sort of unprecedented in Shanghai’s more down to earth eateries, but trust Lan Zhan to know the matriarch of the wonton shop intimately. 

He smiles now at their server who also happens to be the restaurant owner’s granddaughter and shakes his head. “Just the bill please.” 

Wei Ying hurries to grab his wallet out of his sling bag. “Oh here, let me—”

“No need.” Lan Zhan already has perfectly pressed notes placed neatly in the exact amount on the table. “I asked you out, so I will pay.”

Wei Ying shrugs. “Okay, if you’re sure. I’ll get the next one!” 

Lan Zhan’s eyes go wide, and then the flush travels from his ears across his cheekbones and down his neck like spilled watercolour. Wei Ying notices that Lan Zhan’s lips move in the shape of the next one, looking terribly, awfully chuffed, and then he murmurs out loud, “Alright,” still sounding so very pleased. 

What a great guy.

When they leave the restaurant to go their separate ways - Wei Ying back home to look at the engine blueprint he’s puzzling over currently at work and Lan Zhan to his studio - Wei Ying smiles and waves at the waitress from behind the smudged glass door. Lan Zhan’s hand on the small of his back is a comforting, warm weight.

They should come back soon, he decides. Great shrimp.

* * *

The awkward thing is, Wei Ying doesn’t really know how they went from the first of hopefully many post-workout lunches at the wonton restaurant near the gym to—

To him staring with a dry mouth at Lan Zhan grunting as he does barbell hip thrusts? Which, for the layman, aka Nie Huaisang, aka Wei Ying’s only friend with whom he has an actual texting relationship because he hates texting on his old Nokia but Huaisang is irritatingly unreachable otherwise, looks like midair sex w a huge gym w8, wtf m I spposed 2 do??? do i make direct i-contact????

Huaisang writes back —

Lean into it dude, it sounds sexyyy  
Also haven’t we moved on as a society from 2000’s abbreviations 
Like, w8??? DO U MEAN WEIGHT, WEI XIONG?
“I-CONTACT”, WEI XIONG ??

Wei Ying really needs to figure out if there’s a way to download emojis onto his stupid brick phone. He’s not going back to smartphones, that’s for sure - who voluntarily signs up to be watched by Big Corps? - but the little blank boxes are vaguely infuriating. As is having to slam his thumb into a number key multiple times just to send a text. 

Whatever.

Wt emojis were dose I cnt c, he texts back. 

His phone buzzes with — 

Omfg I will SEND u a phone Wei xiong do u need me to send u a phone why are u poor dont u make bank  

And then subsequent messages — 

Those were eye roll emojis
My first emojis were eggplant and winking tongue

Just then, Lan Zhan makes a particularly shocking grunting noise, somewhere between a growl and a punched out groan, and Wei Ying feels his entire body jolt in response. What the fuck. 

From across the room, Lan Zhan glances over to where Wei Ying is lazily curling two kilo weights. Wei Ying waves quickly, trying his best not to stare at the way sweat has collected along Lan Zhan’s broad brow and the way his calves seem to strain under the glisten of moisture. 

Lan Zhan doesn’t wave back, but his mouth twitches in an approximation of a smile.

It’s devastating.

“What the fuck,” Wei Ying mutters to himself. He needs to get out more. He’d been so focused on getting Lan Zhan to be his friend that— oh wow, it’s been a full two months since he’s gone out or even looked twice at a girl. God, he needs to get his dick wet.

He grimaces at the slightly gross phrasing, but whatever, dudes will be dudes.

“Wei Ying.” He jumps and turns to see that Lan Zhan has magically appeared at his elbow. “Do you need help?”

Wei Ying glances down at the two kilo weight balanced precariously in one hand, Nokia brick in the other and then back at Lan Zhan. He absolutely does not need help.

“Yes,” he says instead. His mouth is dry, but he’s been drinking water non-stop for the last ten minutes since he first heard Lan Zhan’s grunt, had chugged like a parched camel from his bottle as he hurried away from the sight of Lan Zhan thrusting into the air with that ridiculously enormous weight balanced on his hipbones, the tight hemline of his sweat wicking shirt pulled taut against his muscles and riding up every time the long metal rod shoved against it—

“Yes. I’ve forgotten how to do a bicep curl, Zhan ge,” Wei Ying whines. 

He totally has not, there’s an alien controlling his mouth or, like, the id or ego or something (they didn’t really teach Freudian psychology in secondary school) but then Lan Zhan is wrapping a warm, slightly sweaty hand around Wei Ying’s wrist, his own longer arm balanced beneath Wei Ying’s and all Wei Ying can really focus on is the way Lan Zhan’s chest feels against his back, like the fucking base of an escarpment that a rabid wolf has backed him into. 

Yeah.

 

 

Okay, so Wei Ying sort of knows how they got from platonic wontons to- whatever this is. 

 

 

It started off reasonably innocuously — Lan Zhan had given Wei Ying his number after lunch and smiled ever so slightly (and it was still the most radiant thing Wei Ying has ever seen) at the chunky Nokia phone Wei Ying had pulled out of his pocket. I’m bad at texting, Wei Ying had warned him with a playful look, carefully neglecting to mention the fact that if Lan Zhan wants to text, he would absolutely beat those number keys into submission to get a not much wbu out into the cybernetic ether. 

Only, instead of rising to the bait or teasing him for his phone, Lan Zhan had pulled out his own new edition smartphone and said, casual as ever, then Wei Ying will have to call me instead. And what was Wei Ying supposed to say to that? No? Please.

So the innocuous start turned into calling. And also texting. 

Which was fine, except Lan Zhan’s voice always sounds weirdly rumbly and rich on the phone, like thick soup or something sexier than that because Wei Ying is categorically bad at metaphors. Sometimes Lan Zhan would call him just as Wei Ying was about to get in the bath, and of course he asked every time if Wei Ying wanted to be left alone, but because he isn’t the type to pass up a fun phone call with his BFF, he would make Lan Zhan stay on the phone with him while he paddled shallowly in his bathtub, that soothing baritone interjecting quietly with noises of interest as Wei Ying told him about his day or what he’d been thinking about or how the bath was going, and maybe that doesn’t sound very sexy but it kind of definitely was.

And then sometimes, Wei Ying would ask Lan Zhan to send him a picture of what he was doing because Lan Zhan composes music for movies, full on movies, only instead of getting a picture of Lan Zhan’s guqin or lunch or whatever, Lan Zhan would send him, like, photos of himself? 

Which Wei Ying totally welcomes ‘cause love yourself and all that, y’know, and also Lan Zhan’s photos are objectively really nice, like that one where he was sitting on his sofa and leaning back and it was a half-body shot with his face completely bathed in sunlight and maybe he had just taken a shower because his hair was a little wet where it clung to his temples and his sweatpants were sat low on his hips so that Wei Ying could kind of see the waistband of his graphite coloured boxer briefs and the V of his muscles peeking out from under his loose linen button up, and— yeah. 

Those types of photos always made him feel all hot and fuzzy inside, like the static of a poorly tuned in radio station. 

The worst part, though, was that the pictures always took forever to load, because of course Lan Zhan’s phone sent these multi megabyte sized files and Wei Ying’s Nokia is hanging on by a thread as it is, so Wei Ying just had to sit there, knee jiggling and entire thumbnail in his mouth every single time as the image downloaded, tortured pixel by tortured pixel — first Lan Zhan’s chest, and then his arms and the protruding veins running down them, and then his large hand resting nonchalantly on one of his spread knees. 

That had been a particularly wild photo. Wei Ying hadn’t even registered the bunny in Lan Zhan’s lap until his eyes had done a full minute just on the stretch of Lan Zhan’s sweatpants around his crotch, criminally tight and literally what the fuck all around.

When he had finally managed to yank his eyes away from the dip of fabric between Lan Zhan’s legs - it’s not weird to ogle your best bro’s crotch, okay, it’s politically liberal. Wei Ying is a progressive, evolved liberal - he had texted back, so cute!!!! Zhan ge ur bunny is da cutest pls send more pics wen u cn.

And Lan Zhan had texted back a really kind, polite invitation, you are welcome to come over and meet Bai Luobo any time — turnip! Lan Zhan called his pet rabbit turnip! And Wei Ying had one hundred percent planned on addressing this adorable new factoid, except Lan Zhan had then sent a subsequent text that read, He is not the only one who would be excited to have you over.

Which, excited was a totally normal word to describe rabbit-y emotions, right, so why shouldn’t Lan Zhan be excited too, and more importantly, why was Wei Ying’s breath suddenly short and coming out in these jagged, hysterical puffs? Rabbits are excited all the time, Wei Ying had screamed internally even as his pulse did a weird, punching thing in his veins, ‘cause rabbits are excitable animals, excitable when they hop around and excitable like the phrase fuck like rabbits— 

That specific thought had given Wei Ying such an intense head rush that he’d had to lie down for a bit, at which point Lan Zhan had called him five minutes after his last text and asked, in a regretful, quiet sort of way, was it too much, Wei Ying? You do not have to come over, I only wanted to extend the invitation—

So of course Wei Ying had interrupted, oh my god, Lan Zhan, no of course I want to come over, I just got distracted, please invite me over all the time, I’ll even stay the night, it’ll be so fun, because the last thing Wei Ying is going to do is reject a lovely invitation from his new BFF to meet his rabbit. 

The tree-punching onetwo-onetwo-onetwo of his pulse whenever Lan Zhan texted him or touched him or said his name like the characters had a weight and taste in his mouth, slow and resonant on his Suzhou tongue, was definitely not going to change that, but it certainly made Wei Ying wonder things — things about himself specifically. 

Anyway. 

 

 

So, yes, he has a vague sense of the trajectory they travelled from casual post-gym lunches to feeling like he’s being electrocuted every time Lan Zhan touches him. Not exactly why he feels that way, but a loose idea of the trend of events. Honestly, the why is probably: he needs to get laid soon. 

“Focus, Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says, and fucking hell, Wei Ying can feel his breath ghosting along the shell of his ear, cool and sharp from the cold water he’s been drinking out of his water bottle that costs more than Wei Ying’s phone. 

“What do you mean focus, Lan Zhan,” he sputters pathetically. “How am I supposed to focus when- when you’re all up in my business like this?”

Lan Zhan must misread the tone of his voice because he detaches himself from Wei Ying like Wei Ying’s body is a hot brand. 

“Oh, I—” He looks devastated, and Wei Ying, distracted by the sudden loss of contact and heat, drops the weight.

Fuck, that’s embarrassing. 

“No, no, I didn’t mean it like that!” he hurries to say as he reaches down for the weight. His ass accidentally brushes against Lan Zhan’s body and Lan Zhan honest-to-god flinches. “Aiyoh, so twitchy, Lan Zhan! Stop it, I didn’t mean it like that.”

“How did you mean it?” Lan Zhan asks warily. He has his arms folded tightly around his body, mouth set in a stressed, unhappy line.

Wei Ying, arms moving of their own volition, actually touches Lan Zhan’s pressed together lips, their elegant and poignant downturn, before he realises how flagrantly unhygienic it is and yanks his hand back. “Sorry, I—” he waves his hand, embarrassed. “I just meant- y’know! It’s hard to focus when you’re so—” he gestures at Lan Zhan’s body. “And I’m—” he gestures at his own.

Lan Zhan frowns. “I do not understand.” He’s starting to sound increasingly dejected and Wei Ying nervously hurries to explain.

“Okay, okay look. Just- I’m sorry, okay? This is- don’t laugh at me, but I haven’t—” Lan Zhan’s eyebrows twitch between confusion and concern, and Wei Ying blurts out, “I haven’t gotten laid in a while! Okay? So, y’know, with you touching me and all, the wires in my brain just got a little- look, do you want to go shower together? I’ll be right as rain after—”

He doesn’t want Lan Zhan to think he’s some touch-starved weirdo hanging onto any physical contact his friend might give him, but Lan Zhan seems to go in the complete opposite direction. 

His mouth falls open, and Wei Ying knows one should not be able to see pupils dilating in shitty gym overhead lighting, but Lan Zhan’s eye’s definitely do something, something that makes Wei Ying’s entire body lock up like caught prey. 

“You want to shower? With me?” he asks carefully, but not in a cautious way. In a jungle cat readying itself to pounce sort of way.

Wei Ying’s mind blanks. He had meant journeying to the showers together and then separating into different stalls, but the image of Lan Zhan with water sluicing down the rigid panes of his torso, the line of hair down from his navel, his— the multi-coloured error bars their TV used to get when the VCR was jammed or when Jiang Cheng clicked the remote one too many times flashes behind his eyes. 

“Yeah.” The word falls out from between his numb lips before he can consider what it all means for him. 

Lan Zhan’s nostrils flare, the scent of gazelle catching in the wind, dry brush giving way beneath silent paws. Ah.

“Come,” he says sharply. He doesn’t wait for Wei Ying to respond, just grabs him by the wrist and tugs.

Wei Ying’s tongue doesn’t unglue itself from the roof of his mouth until Lan Zhan has dragged him into the bathroom. No one is around in their immediate vicinity, although he can hear voices echoing around the tiles and the sound of the showers running as men shuffle around the space. 

“Lan Zhan, what—?”

He gets shoved promptly against a wall with a muted slapping sound, and then- and then— 

what the fuck what the fuck how what is oh fuck Lan Zhan’s lips are so soft what is happening why is he oh that’s nice what the fuck who kisses like this is this porn am I in a porn this must be a prank I think I’m dead how do I know if I’m dead is my tongue moving Lan Zhan’s gonna think I’m a horrible kisser oh my god move tongue move wait not so much is this too much tongue how do I know how much tongue he likes oh my g—

Lan Zhan’s mouth is- well, it’s unprecedented. Both because, wow, first boy kiss, and also because it’s the most singularly devastating thing Wei Ying has felt against his lips. Lan Zhan’s lips move, insistent yet gentle, against Wei Ying’s own, the swell of it catching his in sensual little presses. When Lan Zhan draws his teeth against Wei Ying’s bottom lip, a small, unseemly sound makes its way out of his chest cavity, desperate and wanting. 

When he goes to do it back, mindless and hazy with thrill, however, Lan Zhan pulls away. The unseemly noise Wei Ying makes then is not small at all. 

“Was that okay?” Lan Zhan breathes, chest heaving and eyes dark as they flicker over Wei Ying’s face. “I- I should have asked first, but you looked so—”

“Nope, fine, one hundred percent fine,” Wei Ying interrupts with a dazed shake of his head. It feels like his skull is one big pinball machine, lights pinging and tiny plastic balls knocking from coloured wall to coloured wall. “Wow.”

Lan Zhan huffs out a rueful chuckle and leans his forehead against Wei Ying’s. “Yes,” he agrees.

Wei Ying laughs nervously. “So, like, do you do this a lot Lan Zhan?” Maybe he isn’t as straight as Wei Ying had initially assumed? Somewhere in the tirade about dismantling the patriarchy and its heteronormative bullshit, Jiang Cheng had wagged a finger in Wei Ying’s face and said sexuality is a spectrum, got it? Blockhead. Maybe Lan Zhan is one of those people for whom sexuality is, in fact, a spectrum? God, Wei Ying clearly missed out a lot by not going for a semester abroad to the US.

“No,” Lan Zhan admits with an embarrassed smile. “This is new for me. Wei Ying is…the only one with whom I’ve done something like this.”

Even after a heated make out - god, he made out with Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan! - his grammar is unnecessarily perfect. Wei Ying smiles a wobbly smile back, feeling unfairly relieved to know that this is new, an experiment for Lan Zhan too. 

“Oh, that’s good,” he breathes out with a laugh. “This is crazy, huh, the two of us? I mean, this whole time I thought you were—”

The slap-slap-slap of wet flip flops against ceramic tile reverberates around them, and Lan Zhan jolts away from Wei Ying like he’s been electrocuted. For a second, Wei Ying is almost disappointed that this little experiment is coming to an end, but then Lan Zhan glances back at him with dark eyes and tugs meaningfully at his wrist. 

“Shower,” he says. 

And what is Wei Ying supposed to do with that if not follow him? With a very loose jaw, mind?

It’s a miracle that they don’t encounter anyone on the way into the showers, and an even greater one that they only run into one very disinterested shushu when they head back to the lockers because even though Wei Ying had said foot fungus is just a myth to get you to wear flip flops, Zhan ge, Lan Zhan, looking vaguely pained, only responded firmly, it very much is not.

Regardless, they make it to the shower, slippered and fully clothed, and Wei Ying isn’t really sure what’s about to go down except he’s following along anyway because it’s become abundantly clear at this point that Lan Zhan could point at a cliffside and say wouldn’t it be nice if we jumped and Wei Ying would say how much of a run up do we need, gege?

So he lets Lan Zhan shove him into a stall and draw the curtain, the two of them entirely clothed, Lan Zhan still sweaty from his workout and Wei Ying…lightly glazed, to put it generously, so close to Lan Zhan that he can see the peach fuzz dusting his forehead and the way his eyelashes actually touch his upper eyelid when his eyes are open, that’s how long they are.

“What are we doing?” He chances an ask, quietly because the stalls adjacent to them are occupied. 

Lan Zhan shrugs and crowds him against the wall, pressing his hot mouth against Wei Ying’s once more. Wei Ying squawks in protest.

“Lan Zhan, you—mrphf!” 

Lan Zhan has his hand shoved unceremoniously over Wei Ying’s face and he glares down at him (when the fuck did Lan Zhan get so tall? He was not this tall last week), then says lowly, “Be quiet. There are others here.”

Wei Ying glares as hard as he can but nods in acquiescence anyway. When he’s released, he whispers furiously, “I was only going to say you’re getting my shirt all wet.”

Lan Zhan looks appraisingly at him. “So take it off.”

You take it off!” Wei Ying hisses back, and okay, he did not mean to say that, not like the way it came out anyway. It’s only a relic of a reflexive response from his days squabbling with Jiang Cheng — Ge, hand me the remote- You get the remote! 

But the words, the explanation, they get stuck in Wei Ying’s throat when Lan Zhan’s large hands skate down the planes of his hips and slip underneath the hem of his T-shirt, and before Wei Ying can protest - and of course, he really does want to protest! How uncouth! For friends, no less! - Lan Zhan is already pulling, tugging the fabric off of Wei Ying’s body, the hot steam of the nearby showers hitting his stomach and nipples all at once, and Wei Ying just lets him, lets Lan Zhan look at him half naked with that heated, curious gaze and only shivers in response with nary a rebuke.

“Lan Zhan,” he whispers instead, every inch of him thrumming with anticipation. Blood is rushing all around his body, like it doesn’t know whether to go to his cheeks or his brain or- or possibly farther down south, maybe, down to Wei Ying’s gut and then his—

“You are very beautiful,” Lan Zhan informs him solemnly, before dragging him back by the waist to kiss him fully on the mouth once more. Wei Ying whines softly and lets himself be manhandled, ‘cause it’s still manly, right, if the person manhandling you is the manliest person in the world? 

As he winds his arms around Lan Zhan’s neck, he’s startled to find that the material of Lan Zhan’s sweat wicking shirt chafes against his skin, his nipples, really, in the most shocking way — rougher than one would expect somehow, rubbing hard because Lan Zhan is yanking and groping at him with those enormous hands, like he can’t quite get their bodies close enough together. 

“Lan Zhan, Zhan ge, what- what’re we doing?” Wei Ying mumbles in between having his ass gripped like a stress ball and his mouth plundered like Lan Zhan is testing out the strength of Wei Ying’s molars with his tongue. In a hot way.

Lan Zhan pulls back, lips slick and eyes glazed. “I’d like to suck you off,” he says, and the fucker sounds hopeful, like it would be an honour to suck Wei Ying off, and Wei Ying hasn’t spent upwards of twenty years dealing with his self-esteem issues to have all his hard work turned on its head by some god amongst men asking politely if he can give him head like it’s something he actually genuinely wants to do.

“Fuck you,” Wei Ying says. “Fuck you, yeah okay, Lan Zhan. What the fuck.”

Lan Zhan smiles then, a grin, really, that shows all his incisors and perfectly even white teeth, and Wei Ying swallows noisily. Yeah, that blood’s definitely down south now. 

Without any warning, Lan Zhan slips his hand into Wei Ying’s basketball shorts and fucking squeezes. Wei Ying’s dick throws a wet tantrum in response.

“Oh-!” His gasp is cut off by Lan Zhan digging a thumb into his mouth. What kind of girls has Lan Zhan been sleeping with who let him pull this kind of utter filth? Wei Ying’s eyes flutter shut when Lan Zhan slides his hand firmly all the way down to the root of Wei Ying’s cock and the thumb in his mouth drives correspondingly deeper. 

“I will take your shorts off now,” Lan Zhan murmurs against the column of his bared neck, using far more teeth and tongue than is strictly necessary to be a gentle, giving lover. Jesus Christ, is Lan Zhan his lover? Wei Ying just referred to Lan Zhan, a person with a penis (presumably, if that absolute monster poking him in the hip is anything to go by) as his lover. And he doesn’t even feel that fazed by it! Not a bit! He really is the epitome of a 21st century man.

“Okay,” he mumbles back dopily, and Lan Zhan flashes him a smile that can only be called fond as he pulls his thumb out and then divests Wei Ying of his pants. Wei Ying snickers a little when one of the leg holes gets caught on his flip flop, and Lan Zhan flashes him an amused look from where he’s knelt on the ground, which, fuck, that’s an image alright. “You too, you too,” Wei Ying leans forward to haul Lan Zhan up so that he can scrabble at his clothes. “Can’t be the only one naked, Lan Zhan, how shameless.”

“Mm,” Lan Zhan hums in agreement. He tugs his own shirt and shorts off, along with the leggings he wears underneath, and Wei Ying’s eyes bug out of his head.

“You work out commando!” he yelps as quietly as he can. And then— “Your dick is huge! And you work out commando! This is a lot of information all at once, Lan Zhan—”

“You talk so much,” Lan Zhan notes casually as he gracefully reaches an arm out of the shower curtain to hang their clothes on the hook attached to the wall, still absolutely butt naked. His cock twitches when Wei Ying reaches out to thumb at the leaking head, and then the fucker actually jerks and gets bigger. 

“That’s not the whole thing?” Wei Ying whispers, horrified. Lan Zhan slants him a look that is exactly the same as his normal expression with an additional crinkle at the corner of his eyes. Wei Ying purses his mouth. He knows when he’s being uproariously laughed at. The nerve of some people.

“Size is not important,” Lan Zhan says, and then, because he’s the rudest person in the world, engulfs Wei Ying’s entire cock in his hand so that only the barest edge of his cockhead is peaking out of his closed fist.

“Fuck you,” Wei Ying chokes out weakly, even though Lan Zhan isn’t even pumping his hand, he’s just holding Wei Ying’s dick like it’s a half-sized youtiao, the kind he used to wheedle from the youtiao shushu on his way back from school with Jiang Cheng and jiejie, and how dare Lan Zhan presume that his medieval monster of a cock is normal, especially when he’s probably only ever seen his own dick and no others? “Your hand’s huge, I’m average sized. What do you know? Fuck you.”

“Mm,” Lan Zhan hums. He releases Wei Ying’s cock and turns on the water, but not before angling the spray away from their bodies so that they aren’t caught in the frigid first few seconds. “Maybe next time.” 

Once it’s clear that the shower has heat up, hazy steam billowing from the spray, Lan Zhan redirects the shower head back at them. He manoeuvres Wei Ying so that he has his back to it, dick frightfully cold compared to his spine and ass — Wei Ying is about to level hearty protest at the rough treatment when Lan Zhan spits in his hand. 

It’s obscene and filthy and Wei Ying’s eyes blow wide open because that should not have been as hot as it was. 

“Come here,” Lan Zhan commands, and then drags his warm (clean) hand behind Wei Ying’s ass and pulls him, dick first, into his spit covered palm. 

“You’re insane,” Wei Ying breathes out, terrified and turned on. “Where did you- what porn are you watching?” He has a lot of sex, okay, and it’s good too, but this? Where the hell does Lan Zhan come up with this shit?

Instead of a response, all he gets from Lan Zhan is a quizzical look that quickly changes to delight when Wei Ying lets out a sharp, reedy keen when his hand catches over the swollen crown of Wei Ying’s cock. 

“You’re so sensitive,” he marvels softly. 

Wei Ying looks down, and then immediately throws his head back with a sharp crack! against the bathroom wall tiles because he’s only just realised how close their dicks are together, and that really isn’t the kind of thing he thought he’d enjoy the sight of - Lan Zhan’s flushed cock looking imposing and jerking next to Wei Ying’s smaller, equally red one - as a straight guy, and yet here he is. 

Lan Zhan twists his hand in an absolutely magical tug up and down Wei Ying’s length, his free hand gently rolling Wei Ying’s balls, and Wei Ying’s legs nearly give out underneath him. He jerks off as much as any other dude in his twenties, but it’s never felt like this before. 

Man, some guys really are glued to their own dicks, he thinks dimly. Lan Zhan must spend hours with his hands in his pants — how else would he have gotten this good? 

“How are you so good at this?” he asks hoarsely. “You animal, Lan Zhan, do you masturbate all day?”

“You give very odd compliments,” Lan Zhan says, sounding way too amused for the way his hand is firmly jacking Wei Ying’s dick off. He leans forward to skate his lips around the crenate of Wei Ying’s ear and then down his neck to gnaw solicitously at the skin stretched around his shoulder bone. “Good boy, Wei Ying,” he rumbles when Wei Ying’s legs fall open at a particularly determined ball-tug. His dick jumps at the compliment. “So pretty, good boy.”

“What the fuck,” Wei Ying whispers stupidly.

Lan Zhan kisses downwards, lips dancing over Wei Ying’s chest and then biting gently down at his nipple, eliciting a soft hiss, and then he sinks slowly to his knees. “Did you bring a condom from your locker?” he asks, from where his face is directly in front of Wei Ying’s dick.

“No,” is the dazed answer. “What? Condom?”

Lan Zhan looks patiently up at him. “For me to suck you off. Protection is important. Are you tested?”

Wei Ying blinks back silently, mesmerised for a brief moment by the sight of Lan Zhan’s red mouth and how close it is to the leaking head of his cock. God, Lan Zhan is handsome, and he’s (hopefully) going to suck Wei Ying’s dick. With that mouth. Wei Ying’s straight but this counts as a huge fucking pull.

“Sorry?” he blurts out, when he realises Lan Zhan is still waiting for him to respond. His brain almost short circuits when he realises Lan Zhan is lazily stroking his own cock, but he wrenches it back into focus. “What?”

“I was asking about a condom and if you had been tested recently.”

Oh, crap. 

“I have,” Wei Ying says, feeling defeated already. “Two months ago, and I haven’t had sex since we met, Lan Zhan, but you shouldn’t take my word for it. For all you know, I could be teeming with illness and secrets.”

Lan Zhan seems to sidestep that last comment quite easily, given that he flushes and gives Wei Ying a satisfied smile. “Since we met?”

Wei Ying shrugs bashfully. He’s been so focused on making Lan Zhan his new best friend that he hasn’t really had time to go on dating apps or meet girls at his usual haunts — bars, and clubs, and wine tastings. Anywhere where there’s booze, really. 

Lan Zhan strokes his fingers gently over Wei Ying’s dick, and he jolts at the sensation.

“No, Lan Zhan, really it’s fine, it’s totally unsafe, you shouldn’t take a person’s word for it when they tell you they’re tested. I’ll be fine,” Wei Ying says quickly, errant penis still twitching like it’s having a seizure in the warm circle of Lan Zhan’s hand.

It’s true. He’ll be fine if Lan Zhan doesn’t suck his dick. He might cry and then die from blue balls, but he’ll be fine because Lan Zhan is his friend and unsafe dick sucking is really a lot to ask of your new (and straight) best friend who has no physical proof that you’ve been tested for STDs recently. 

Lan Zhan stares discerningly at Wei Ying’s cock for a moment, a breathless, hysterical moment for Wei Ying who feels like he’s left his body somehow at the sharp scrutiny that Lan Zhan is paying his dick. 

“This is very imprudent,” Lan Zhan says, before sliding his mouth down the entire length of it and then swallowing.

Wei Ying bites his fist so hard he bleeds.

“Shh, easy,” Lan Zhan croons when he pulls off. His hand continues working mercilessly near the head of Wei Ying’s dick, thumb running over the weeping slit each time he jacks upwards. “Don’t hurt yourself.”

Wei Ying tries, really he does, but the sound he makes is absolutely pitiful. Lan Zhan groans softly and lifts Wei Ying’s cock to suck gently at one of his balls. The girls he hooks up with must be wicked with their mouths; where the fuck is he getting all these ideas? 

“Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying mumbles deliriously. “You- you have to slow down,” he gasps as Lan Zhan takes him back into his mouth. His tongue runs insidious lines up and down the twitching underbelly of Wei Ying’s dick even as his head bobs steadily along its length. 

“You’re wet,” Lan Zhan comments casually when he next pulls off to catch a breath. His voice is delightfully hoarse.

Wei Ying squawks. “No shit, asshole, we’re in a shower!” he hisses furiously. 

In retaliation, Lan Zhan grips his dick extra hard at the base, and Wei Ying’s cock blurts out a thick drool of pre-come. Oh. “I meant your cock,” he says, like he hadn’t already proved his point. Like he isn’t talking about Wei Ying’s dick the way he’d talk about a—

“Shut up,” Wei Ying wheezes, hands tangling helplessly in Lan Zhan’s hair. It’s long enough that he can grab good fistfuls of it, until he remembers that that’s bad etiquette. He lets go immediately, but Lan Zhan makes a noise of discontent around Wei Ying’s length where he’s lapping hungrily.

“You can pull,” he says lowly, pink tongue laving firmly over Wei Ying’s drawn up balls.

“Huh?” Wei Ying sounds dumb even to his own ears. 

“You can pull my hair,” Lan Zhan says again. “You do not have to be gentle. I like it.”

And that’s really the crux of the matter, isn’t it, Wei Ying realises hazily as his fingers re-work themselves back into Lan Zhan’s dark hair. Lan Zhan can take pushing around (not that Wei Ying’s doing much pushing; he’s pretty grateful that Lan Zhan has taken the reigns on their shared first time). Lan Zhan is a solid, immovable weight in front of Wei Ying, all thick muscles and deep baritone, and for once, Wei Ying feels small, really truly small in a way he doesn’t feel even when the girl he’s seeing is a whole hand taller than him, and the feeling is exhilarating.

Lan Zhan’s mouth is hot and punishing against Wei Ying’s cock, sucking and licking in a way that would otherwise make the most appalling noises if not for the fact that Lan Zhan is actively swallowing around him like he wants Wei Ying to blow his load. 

That thought, the mental image of Lan Zhan’s tongue covered in white while Wei Ying’s cock twitches helplessly in his grasp, makes his brain feel like it got elbowed in the face. 

Oh, he’s going to come. And Lan Zhan, sweet, generous Lan Zhan shouldn’t get a faceful of Wei Ying’s come, not on the first try and definitely not when this is already probably bizarre and confusing for him. Wei Ying feels like his head’s spinning and he’s not even the one with a dick in his mouth, Lan Zhan is.

He lets out a sucker-punched noise. “Fuck,” he gasps, wriggling a little. Lan Zhan’s left hand that had been kneading Wei Ying’s ass in a continuous, almost proprietary motion, slides forward to press his hips back, to hold him still. 

“Fuck, Lan Zhan, you gotta—” Wei Ying wriggles harder, and Lan Zhan’s mouth around his dick gets tighter, somehow, like that’s possible. “Get off- Zhan ge, I’ll come!” Wei Ying wheezes shrilly. 

Lan Zhan thankfully obeys this time and pulls off, looking very disgruntled as he does so. “So come,” he says with a frown.

Wei Ying has his dick in a vice grip, and even so, another drool of milky pre-come dribbles out, a thick drop and then a long, silky string as it gets pulled inexorably down by its own weight and gravity. 

“No, you—” Wei Ying tries to regulate his breathing. “It’s fine, I’ll just- jack off into the drain. You turn around, don’t look.”

Lan Zhan makes a noise of profound disgust. “Why would you do that?” he asks. Then his brow clears and he suddenly looks worried. “Oh, I- apologies. That was close-minded of me. Would you prefer to do it this way?” He glances sheepishly down at Wei Ying’s rapidly purpling cock.

Wei Ying stares back at him with wild eyes. “Prefer-? No, I- I mean, I just thought for your first time- it just felt like a lot to ask, my- y’know, in your mouth.” He gestures flaccidly at his distinctly un-flaccid dick.

Lan Zhan’s expression softens out into a benign sort of amusement. “Wei Ying.” He shuffles closer on his knees - and oh god, he’s still on his knees on that grimy tile floor, wonderful, wonderful human - then licks a broad stripe up Wei Ying’s painfully hard cock. “Don’t you think it would be very unseemly of us to dirty this shower for the next person?”

Wei Ying gazes back at him, slack-jawed. 

Lan Zhan’s long fingers gently curl around Wei Ying’s white-knuckled ones and he peels his hand away from his body. “I think it would be, too,” Lan Zhan continues, like Wei Ying had responded to his question. He sucks gently on the tip of Wei Ying’s dick, tongue swirling over the slit as if to clean off the pre-come that had gathered there. 

“I would very much like it if you came in my mouth,” Lan Zhan says, a little lofty and formal and a lot brain-obliteratingly sexy. “Can you do that for me, Wei Ying?”

Wei Ying is gone. The second his chin bobs downwards in a jelly-limbed nod, Lan Zhan’s mouth is back in full force on him, sucking with a sort of feverish focus, wet and sloppy. Wei Ying can hardly appreciate the way Lan Zhan looks, one hand on Wei Ying’s drawn up balls and the other pressed to his own straining erection, long eyelashes fluttering against his cheek as he takes Wei Ying’s dick deeper and deeper into his throat.

The thing is, Wei Ying’s kind of a talker usually. It goes down with varying success — most women like it well enough, but some get a little squirmy and alarmed looking and Wei Ying will have to backtrack quickly. 

He thinks Lan Zhan, the absolute freak he’s turning out to be, would probably be into Wei Ying running his mouth, but the exact location of their- their tryst, if you will, doesn’t make it conducive for talking. In fact, the shower head in the stall one over just turned on, and Wei Ying makes a low, pained noise in the back of his throat as he shoves his hand back into his mouth.

“What’s wrong, baobei?” Lan Zhan’s voice is a low coo and it vibrates against Wei Ying’s thigh where his mouth is pressed. He bites down gently, and Wei Ying jerks upwards in shock.

“Stop that,” he hisses desperately, eyes wet with how badly he needs to come and how fucking humiliating this all is. “They’ll- someone will hear!”

“So come quietly,” Lan Zhan, the rude little beast, orders. He drops his head back down, then groans throatily, like he’s making a point, when he palms his own cock. 

Wei Ying can’t really help it then, not quite, when Lan Zhan makes a noise like that followed shortly by an appalling slurping sound as he deep-throats Wei Ying’s dick - where is his gag reflex? What the fucking fuck - and his thighs lock up underneath Lan Zhan’s face as he keens, high and pathetic—

“Hey man, are you okay?” 

The stranger’s voice cuts through the fog of desperation just enough for Wei Ying to register the question, and he’s about to push Lan Zhan off when, with his hand firmly jacking up and down Wei Ying’s dick, Lan Zhan murmurs darkly, “Let him hear you come, Wei Ying-ah.”

It’s very possible that Wei Ying shrieks, or at the very least sobs, when the first shot of come spurts out onto Lan Zhan’s face, but then Lan Zhan’s mouth is back on his cock and his throat is working and working around him, and Wei Ying’s skull hurts with how hard he slams it back into the tile as his back arches, his cock jerking like his balls are trying to empty themselves into Lan Zhan’s hot throat.

He makes a low, pathetic noise the starts all the way in his chest, and gives in to the pulsing and somehow violent haziness gripping his eyeballs — since when have orgasms felt like this? He thinks he’s making a low and steady anxious noise between his nose and throat, but it’s hard to tell with the single source of sensation that is his dick convulsing into Lan Zhan’s mouth. 

“Do you need me to call a medic?” comes the voice again, just as Wei Ying’s cock twitches limply for the last time. The stranger sounds a little more concerned now, his own shower turned off. 

Lan Zhan pulls off of him, hand stroking him gently through the last of the aftershocks with his free palm pressed firmly into his own crotch. He jerks his chin in the direction of the voice, then nips Wei Ying’s thigh when Wei Ying doesn’t respond. 

Feeling rather comatose, Wei Ying hardly reacts to the sharpness of Lan Zhan’s teeth, but he’s had enough propriety drilled into him by his adoptive mother to respond dazedly, “M’fine, man, thanks.”

The guy on the other side pauses, then says, “Are you sure? Dude, are you high?”

Lan Zhan’s eyes are dark as they stare up at him, now concertedly fucking into his own fist. He bites down, harder this time, on Wei Ying’s thigh, and his voice sounds fucked out and extremely raw when he whispers, “Answer him.”

“Nope, not high!” Wei Ying yelps, his skin stinging where Lan Zhan had bitten down. “Just- ow, stubbed my toe. I’m fine, you can go back to your shower now!”

The man grumbles something under his breath that sounds like then stop making so much fucking noise, and then the water thankfully turns back on. Wei Ying’s brain sinks back into porny-afterglow mode, and he stares with wide eyes at the way Lan Zhan’s gaze tracks the motion of his hand back down to his still-hard dick.

Later, Wei Ying will decide that an alien possessed him in this moment, or perhaps the spirit of a particularly malevolent deceased porn star. Regardless, it definitely wasn’t him, Wei Ying, first of his name, adopted son of the esteemed Jiang family, who took his own still sensitive cock and traced it around the seam of Lan Zhan’s lips.

It wasn’t him who groaned softly and watched as it left a trail of moisture against the bitten red opening of Lan Zhan’s mouth, and it definitely wasn’t him who pushed it - fed it - past Lan Zhan’s lips when his jaw fell a little slack.

It may not have been him who did all those things, but it definitely seemed like Lan Zhan when he wrapped his lips tight around the twitching crown of Wei Ying’s dick, sucked, and then came with a hoarse grunt, ungh, around the weight of it on his tongue, loud enough that Wei Ying could feel the vibration of his pitched-low voice all the way up to the tips of his ears. 

The white splatter of Lan Zhan’s come gets all over his hand, thick and clinging in obscene globules. 

When Lan Zhan stops shuddering and panting wetly with Wei Ying’s cock still in his mouth, he looks up with hazy eyes. They stare at each other for a moment like they can’t quite believe what they just did. And then, because malevolent porn spirits harness powerful resentful energy, Wei Ying reaches down and takes Lan Zhan’s soiled hand in his, then puts his fingers in his mouth. 

Because the horny ghost made him.

“What.” Lan Zhan for the first time sounds completely and utterly blindsided, pupils blown wide open.

Wei Ying looks back at him, equally wide-eyed. “You said,” he mumbles around the fingers. Ah, hard to talk. He sucks them clean, firmly ignoring and simultaneously drinking in the little whimper Lan Zhan makes, before pulling them out of his mouth. “You said,” he says, clearer this time, “That it would be unseemly of us to dirty the shower for the next person.”

He puts another two dirty fingers in his mouth. 

“I...see.” Lan Zhan sounds like he’s about to have a pulmonary embolism. “That makes sense,” he croaks.

Wei Ying nods, very, very slowly. “I concur.” His mouth tastes like Lan Zhan’s come.

What the fuck.

* * *

Obviously, they don’t get wontons afterwards. Obviously, Wei Ying scarpers out of there real fast and makes an excuse, I have to- my brother locked- he fell into a pool and I have to go get him, and does his best to forget the unacceptably adorable expression of confusion on Lan Zhan’s face as he waves Wei Ying’s retreating form goodbye. 

(The fact that all of this happens after Wei Ying lets Lan Zhan kiss him softly under the shower spray, lets Lan Zhan run large soapy hands over his arms and torso, giggles and twitches when Lan Zhan touches his still sensitive cock and sinks into another kiss when Lan Zhan’s eyes darken at Wei Ying’s little squirm, is immaterial. Not pertinent to the case. Objection, your honour, on the grounds of irrelevance! Sustained.)

Wei Ying bursts through his front door and collapses onto the floor. The sun is high in the sky, no swooping down the horizon in rusty, crimson bursts, which is a shame because then at least Wei Ying could beg an insanity plea on the basis of evening sexy energy. 

He groans against the cool floorboards. Even his internal monologue has started to sound like that ridiculous legal drama Lan Zhan had composed the opening credits for. Lan Zhan himself hasn’t even watched it, but Wei Ying had bought a whole season of it online and said stoutly when Lan Zhan had protested, I have to support all your endeavours, this is a partnership, Lan Zhan, don’t throw a strop now, it was hardly any money anyway! And Lan Zhan had flushed quietly and said, then allow me to take you out for dinner, and Wei Ying had laughed and said, d’oy, you can take me out whenever, Zhan ge.

So now Wei Ying has a head full of courtroom quotes and the knowledge of how heavy Lan Zhan’s come feels on his tongue. 

His eyes flutter shut at the thought, and really, who would’ve thought getting blown in a bathroom by your gym buddy would leave one so tired? It’s still early, barely even 1 PM, and it can’t possibly hurt for him to shut his eyes just for a little. 

The weight in his limbs and the buzzing in his brain drag him down, down, down into sleep.

* * *


He wakes to a dimming sky outside the window, a vile little puddle of drool and floorboard marks on his face. His body feels like it’s been run over, and every limb hurts when he unglues himself from the floor. 

Wei Ying groans, then pulls his phone out of his pocket. He has a couple missed calls from Jiang Cheng, many more texts (one of which reads reply to jiejie’s email jackass if you’re not gonna get a smartphone the least you could do is check your fucking email) from that same delightful brother and a couple more from Huaisang. 

Most notably, however, there’s a text from Lan Zhan, received at 2:34 PM.

Are we still on for Wednesday? 

Wei Ying frowns, and then, on impulse, hits the green call button. 

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan answers on the first ring. How great is he.

“Lan Zhaaan,” he whines. “Zhan ge.” 

Lan Zhan shuffles around, the fabric of his clothes making a pleasant swishing sound over the receiver. It’s around six at night according to his dingy Astro Boy analog clock, which means that Lan Zhan has probably just finished eating dinner and is cleaning up around the house. The thought of Lan Zhan puttering around in loose sweatpants and bamboo house-slippers makes Wei Ying smile.

“Are you alright?” Lan Zhan asks. “You- I was worried. You normally do not take so long to respond, and I wasn’t sure if…” He trails off sounding embarrassed, and Wei Ying’s heart does a stupid, limp flop in his chest.

“Oh, Lan Zhan,” he breathes, sitting up so fast his head spins. “Oh f- okay, ow. Sorry. No, aiyoh, Lan Zhan, I passed out on the floor when I got home, I only just woke up.”

“On the floor?” Lan Zhan sounds alarmed. “Wei Ying, do you need medical attention?”

“No, oh my god. What, you’ve never fallen asleep on the floor?” Wei Ying asks, wincing when his spine cracks noisily. 

Lan Zhan doesn’t respond for a moment, and he pulls his phone away from his ear to check that it hasn’t died. “Lan Zhan?”

“No,” Lan Zhan says dryly. “I cannot say I’ve ever fallen asleep on the floor.”

“You should try it sometime,” Wei Ying responds tartly. He crawls up into a sitting position and takes stock of his body. His limbs feel like they’ve been remade in osmanthus jelly, his head feels achey the way it does when he hasn’t had enough water and has been standing under the sun for three hours straight - that one time was a test day for one of the engines he’d designed, and Wei Ying has never resented cars nor his job more than he did standing out in that ridiculously hot lot - and his dick feels like it’ll never get hard again.

“Are you a succubus?” he asks heedlessly. He slams his mouth shut the second the words leave his lips, but it’s too late.

“Pardon?” Lan Zhan sounds…well. Sort of the same as he always does, flat and even and without any inflexion, but there’s a kernel of panic there, Wei Ying thinks, in the level intonation.

“Sorry,” he cringes. “I just- sorry. My.” He coughs. “I feel like my life was sucked out of my dick, is all.”

It’s Lan Zhan’s turn to cough, a dainty sound immediate cut off, but Wei Ying can tell he’s flustered. He’s never even heard Lan Zhan so much as sneeze. He must be mortified.

“I…apologise?” He sounds uncertain, and there’s more awkward shuffling in the background. Wei Ying snickers into his hand.

“I accept, it is entirely your fault that I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck,” he says cheerfully.

Lan Zhan clears his throat. “Perhaps it was the eighty hour work week you had,” he points out delicately. “And not the…blowjob.”

Oh yeah. Wei Ying had forgotten about that, about how he had been worked till past midnight every evening, eyes burning and mouth dry as he sat in his dark little office space with only the blue light of his computer to comfort him. 

Lan Zhan had delivered him beef noodle soup using Meituan without telling him first, and then woken up an hour early at 4 AM in the god damn morning to check that Wei Ying had gotten home okay and Wei Ying had just been climbing out of his taxi and was actually kind of concerned because there were a couple of burly looking men loitering around the street corner, so Lan Zhan had stayed on the phone with him and said, do not worry, I have the emergency number ready on my landline, if anything happens to you I will hit call immediately, because he has a landline in 2021 like a little old grandpa and Wei Ying was so grateful and tired and yuck in the brain that all he could say was Lan Zhan, you’re never allowed to leave me, okay, you’re mine now do you understand.

Lan Zhan hadn’t said anything for a second, but then he had hummed, sotto voce and rumbling and Wei Ying had smiled to himself, inexplicably fond in spite of his exhaustion. 

“Right,” he says now, rubbing his eyes. “Eighty hour work week. No, yeah, that tracks. The blowjob was fine. You didn’t suck my life out through my penis, capitalism did.”

Lan Zhan makes a casual scoffing noise. “I’m glad you found my skills adequate,” he says pointedly. 

“Ai, Lan Zhan, no need to get all huffy,” Wei Ying teases with a broad grin on his face. He drags himself over to his kitchen counter and pours out some questionably old water from his kettle into a glass and downs it whole. Now that he’s no longer on the brink of passing out from dehydration, he can feel his errant tongue gearing up to say more inappropriate things in aid of embarrassing sweet, lovely Lan Zhan. 

“It was an excellent blowjob! Really! The best I’ve ever had, even. Wow. Your tongue on my balls? Inspired! You know, I’ve never had anyone do that, it was very thrilling, gege.”

“Licking your partner’s testicles is an arguably standard part of oral sex,” Lan Zhan says, sounding like he’s fighting back amusement.

“Uh, says who?” Wei Ying sputters. “I’ve never had any of my partners do that to me.”

Lan Zhan’s voice is carefully polite when he asks, “How many partners has Wei Ying had?” 

The subtext is as comprehensible as a message printed on a blimp floating through the city with loud speakers on. 

Excuse you,” Wei Ying exclaims, indignant as all get out. “How dare you insinuate- I pull, Lan Zhan. Pull! How churlish and insubordinate of you! The cheek of some people, my god, I’ll have you know that I have had shed loads of—”

“Would Wei Ying care to share a number with this insubordinate disciple?” Lan Zhan’s voice has never been wryer. 

“Like, five, Lan Zhan! Five,” Wei Ying announces. (Okay, it’s four and a half. He never did anything more than kissing with Nie Huaisang’s cousin thrice removed, aka Wei Ying’s first kiss, but he thinks she counts. Kinda.) 

Lan Zhan is very, very, very silent for a long while. At first, Wei Ying thinks he must’ve impressed him speechless, but then around twenty seconds pass and there’s still no sound on the other side. Not even static or background noise. 

“Did you mute yourself?” he asks, affronted.

The static picks back up and Lan Zhan answers immediately, “No.” Then, “Yes. I was having- I needed a private moment.” He sounds strangled, a little wet maybe.

“What, were you taking a piss?” Wei Ying asks. He roots through his fridge to find something that isn’t lao gan ma chilli or a really mouldy lemon but comes up empty. 

“No. It is irrelevant,” Lan Zhan says, still sounding ever so slightly hysterical (or, as hysterical as stoic Lan Zhan can sound). “I apologise. I have to go, Wei Ying, I need to begin my evening meditation.”

“Oh, okay,” Wei Ying says, deflating a little. No matter, Lan Zhan has his life to live, and it’s not like he’s beholden to Wei Ying or anything, not like a boyfriend, or— “Yes! I’ll talk to you soon!” he cuts his own brain off determinedly. “This was a great- I mean, I’m glad this first- what we did, that was crazy, huh? First time for the both of us!”

“Yes,” Lan Zhan agrees, sounding less croaky and more like his normal self. “I also enjoyed myself.” 

“Cool,” Wei Ying says, with a relieved smile. He doesn’t know how he’d feel if Lan Zhan felt all weird and uncomfortable after it — it’s not like a blowjob between buddies should change anything. Just one dude bro helping out another dude bro. “Have a good night, Zhan ge.”

“Goodnight, Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says, and if he lets himself imagine or hope, even, he can almost hear the smile in Lan Zhan’s voice when he says Wei Ying’s name. 

When the line goes dead, his chest feels a little hollowed out. 

Probably just hunger, he thinks.

* * *

One morning later, bright and early on a crisp summer Sunday, Wei Ying wakes up with fucking come in his pants. Like a teenager. 

He doesn’t even have the dignity of waking up completely oblivious, because when he does twitch into consciousness, it’s to a gasp and the memory of a hot mouth and dark, commanding eyes looking up at him from a very distinct shower tile pattern. 

He scrubs his face as he sinks back down to his pillow, sweaty and cock spasming desperately in his sleep pants. Fuck. It’s just like him to get all attached and weird after a casual shower blowjob between friends. 

He glares up at his ceiling then pulls his pants down to glower at his dick. 

“This is not happening again, do you hear me?” he asks fiercely. 

His dick just gives a pathetic little jerk, then oozes out another dribble of come, like it’s been embarrassed and schooled into submission. Good. Wei Ying shoves his pants back up and hobbles out of bed. 

* * *

Only, um. 

Only the weird thing is, it keeps happening?

Not the shower blowjob-related wet dreams specifically. But shower blowjob-related wet dream-esque things. 

Like, the following day, on Monday, the first day of the work week for God’s sake, Wei Ying wakes up hard and aching from a dream of Lan Zhan murmuring obscenities in his ear while Wei Ying fucked his loose fist, needy and whining. 

And then on Tuesday morning, Wei Ying finds that he had skipped the bit where he woke up hard and went straight to the bit where he woke up with come in his pants and Lan Zhan’s name on his lips. He can’t quite remember how that dream had gone, but if he closes his eyes, he can see flashes of wet bottom lips and the gossamer string of spit or pre-come trailing from a lolled out tongue.

And then, on Wednesday, the day he’s supposed to see Lan Zhan for their bi-weekly gym session, he has a full on pornographic dream of Lan Zhan fucking his face with his massive dick, crooning and telling Wei Ying he’s such a good boy and that he takes it so prettily and, like, what the fuck, Wei Ying doesn’t even watch porn this dirty so where the fuck did this come from?

He stares down and the soiled patch in his boxer briefs and swears. 

Zhan ge im rly busy 2day got a huge dedline cn we resched? ill c u saturday promise!!!!

Wei Ying stares gloomily out of the window after he hits send and prays for Shanghai’s smog to suffocate him to death.

* * * 

“I have a problem,” he announces the second he walks through the door. 

“How lovely,” Wen Qing deadpans to her girlfriend. She still steps aside though so Wei Ying can toe his sneakers off. “Babe, wasn’t I just complaining about how people don’t bring gifts when they visit other people’s apartments anymore? And look what Wei Ying brought us. So thoughtful.” 

“Qing jie,” Wei Ying whines before kissing her quickly on the cheek and then Mianmian too. “Seriously, I’m in a crisis! You’re very funny, but you gotta help me.”

He must look particularly pitiful because Mianmian gives him one look before she sheep-herds him over to the dining table. “Sit, sit,” she says, patting his head patronisingly. “You look like shit. Have you had dinner? We’re eating now, so you’re eating too. Why do you look like you got run over?”

Ten minutes later, Wei Ying has been smothered in Wen Qing’s capable arms and Mianmian has pulled out a pot of slow-cooked pork belly and deposited it in front of the Wei-Ying-Wen-Qing pretzel.

Wei Ying pats Wen Qing’s hand gently and she untangles herself, the three of them comfortably silent as Wen Qing drops little pieces of meat and vegetable into Mianmian and then Wei Ying’s bowls.

“You should eat—”

“Have you eaten in forty eight hours? Worry about yourself.” Mianmian flicks Wei Ying’s knuckles with her chopsticks. “And get your elbows off, what were you, raised in a barn?”

Wei Ying grumbles half-heartedly but follows suit anyway. “Qing jie, where’s A-Ning? I miss my sweet little mantou. Is he coming over?” he asks, talking to just talk, to fill the silence that otherwise makes his waterlogged brain feel like it’s folding in on itself. 

Wen Qing slants him a sharp look that feels, he imagines, akin to being under the surgeon’s scalpel. It says, I know what you’re doing and you won’t get away with it, and we are going to talk about this later. 

But for now, because she’s kind and because she takes Jiang Yanli’s request to take care of her didi unnecessarily seriously, Wen Qing just shakes her head. “A-Ning’s at the library, he ate before he left,” she says. “I think he wants to make some headway into his research — something about deadlines and getting ahead of the stress.”

Wei Ying nods, mulling it over. 

It’s nice being here. Wen Qing and Mianmian have been friends of his since they were all scrawny teenagers running around the basketball court together after school, but they’d lost touch in university. Wen Qing had gone inland for college, somewhere in Shaanxi where her family were from originally, and Mianmian had disappeared somewhere down south to one of the coastal cities. It took years for them to reconnect here in Shanghai, but even after all that time apart, things still feel the same.

Knowable, and known. 

They finish the meal in silence, and Wei Ying hardly even notices the increasing frequency with which Wen Qing and Mianmian exchange looks of concern as his silence drags on. It’s only when Wen Qing has started clearing the table and Mianmian is saying something off-hand about pirating a movie on the laptop that Wei Ying finally breaks. 

“Hey,” he says suddenly. “You guys- you’re in the lifestyle, right?”

Wen Qing and Mianmian frown and exchange a look. 

“Uh, what lifestyle exactly are you referring to?” Wen Qing sits back down and Mianmian, with her singular capacity to make PDA look completely banal, sits on her lap. 

Wei Ying gestures vaguely with his chopsticks. “Y’know. The, uh- the LGBTQ-plus lifestyle.”

He didn’t think it was possible for a person to blink so hard, but Wen Qing manages. On top of her, Mianmian raises a fist to her pressed-tight lips, and the two of them stare at Wei Ying for a long while, mixtures of confusion and amusement and sheer disbelief on their faces.

“Yes,” Wen Qing enunciates slowly. “I guess given that you were at our four year anniversary brunch a few months ago, you could definitely say we are in the LGBTQ lifestyle.

“Right, right,” Wei Ying says distractedly. He pushes a stray dried beancurd slice around his bowl and contemplates whether it’d be worth jeopardising his stomach’s wellbeing by eating one more bite. “So, I mean, how did you guys know? That you were LGBTQ-plus?”

“You know you’re allowed to say gay, right?” Mianmian interjects placidly. 

Wei Ying’s lips part. “Oh! Alright, yeah, cool. I wasn’t sure, but yeah, okay. Gay. Gay!” 

“Don’t wear it out, now,” Wen Qing says dryly. Mianmian lays a hand on her girlfriend’s arm and says gently, “Wei Ying-ah, why’re you asking?” 

“What, I can’t inquire after my friends’ respective sexualities for no reason?”

“No, no,” Mianmian says gently. “I’m just asking ‘cause it’d help to know how to answer your question, but I guess it doesn’t matter too much. I figured out I was bi around the time we were starting uni—”

“And I’ve known since birth,” Wen Qing adds around a stolen bite of rice from Wei Ying’s bowl. “How are you so oblivious to this?”

Wei Ying splutters indignantly. “What? What do you mean how? It’s not like anyone’s ever brought this up to me, and since I stopped using smart technology in 2010 - because they’re watching us, by the way, they’re fucking watching - I’ve just, I dunno. It hasn’t come up. How is this on me?!”

“Technically, education is always on the privileged person if they have the means to access it,” Wen Qing says.

“But,” Mianmian cuts in loudly with a quirked look at her girlfriend, “But...if I’m honest? We kinda just...assumed.”

Wei Ying decides to commit to being overly full and shoves another pork belly chunk into his mouth. It’s not quite the way jiejie makes it, a little more vinegar than Wei Ying is used to on account of the Shandong palette that Mianmian cooks with, but it’s still very excellent. “Assumed what?” he asks, eyes wide.

Wen Qing and Mianmian exchange looks. “That you were...not straight.”

Wei Ying’s mouth falls open. “W—”

“Wei Ying, my god, there’s a whole masticated sow in your mouth,” Wen Qing groans. She buries her face in Mianmian’s shoulder blades that are shaking with silent laughter. 

Wei Ying chews as quickly as he can, then swallows. “What do you mean?” he asks, hushed and horrified.

Mianmian sighs and fiddles with a strand of her girlfriend’s hair. “Look. Ugh. Honestly, Wen Qing and I kinda knew when we were kids that we…y’know. Liked each other. And we took a while to tell you ‘cause we assumed you were going through the same thing, and we didn’t want to put that on your plate. But then we got older and we moved away, and when we all got in contact again, we thought you’d say something! And then you didn’t, but by then, we were, what, twenty two, and we assumed you’d gotten the sexuality talk.” 

She heaves a deep breath. “Which, all of this is to say, sorry for—”

“No,” Wei Ying cuts her off, incredibly impolite but sort of unable to process etiquette at this precise moment. “I meant why did you assume I wasn’t straight?”

“Are you?” Wen Qing asks. 

Her tone isn’t brusque or cutting, not even a little, but it still feels like a punch to the gut.

Wei Ying pauses then weighs the words in his mouth. It’s not…it’s not that he doesn’t have a complex about it. The very revealing talk with Jiang Cheng wherein his little brother had berated him for holding onto a flyaway comment about heteronormativity and performative masculinity demonstrated that clearly enough. But more than anything, it’s really that Wei Ying hadn’t considered he could be not-straight.

Not in a scary, my-adoptive-parents-will-disown-me sort of way. Auntie Yu is harsh and exacting, but when Wei Ying had tried to run away when he was thirteen, she had found him wandering a park at some time around 2 AM and stormed out of her car to grab him by the collar and say fiercely Wei Ying, I did not raise you to run away from your family in the dead of the night like some forlorn rodent, do you hear me?

So not in that way, and not in a scared-he’ll-get-socially-persecuted way, even though it’s a very real possibility in this political climate and the overt Confucianism that still dominates Chinese society.

More in a…it-had-never-occurred-to-him kind of way. In a huh, I thought gum only came in peppermint, what do you mean there’s strawberry and cherry and cola too? kind of way. He had assumed that because he liked women, liked them a lot in fact, that that was it. The end. The be all end all of his identity.

And now.

Wei Ying blinks. “I don’t…know?” 

Wen Qing’s face clears and she nods encouragingly. “Okay. That’s okay! Alright. You- babe, my leg is falling asleep,” she turns to Mianmian, who shuffles to the other thigh. She gets a kiss on her bare arm for her trouble, and Wen Qing turns back, “Yes, this is all okay.”

“Right.” Wei Ying nods. 

Mianmian nods too. Then — silence.

“What, you guys aren’t gonna ask me how I figured?” Wei Ying asks, almost offended. 

Mianmian shrugs. “It’s usually best to let the person figuring things out come to you first,” she says. “Which is exactly what you did, so please,” she gestures, “Tell us how you figured.”

“I got a blowjob.” Wei Ying pauses, frowns, and then says, “And a number of…subsequent biological deposits, shall we say, following that suggested to me it was not an anomalous event. Deposits? Emissions. You’re a doctor, Wen Qing, you get it.”

Wen Qing and Mianmian both make twin noises of extreme disgust. “Of course you did,” Wen Qing sighs. 

Wei Ying grins. “Yeah I did,” he says suggestively, waggling his eyebrows. Mianmian flattens out her expression and glares at him.

“Sometimes I forget how much of a virgin you are when you look the way you do,” she mutters, picking at her nails. Wen Qing snorts into her shoulder, and Mianmian leans back to exchange a delighted kiss, the brazen harlots. 

“Hey! Stop that, stop kissing in my presence, I’m having a crisis here,” Wei Ying complains, brandishing his finger. “Also excuse you, I’ve had sex with, like, four people, so.” When he gets little response other than mildly suppressed amusement and disdain, he says weakly, “Playaaa.”

“So you got your dick sucked,” Wen Qing says loudly. “I assume by a non-cis woman.”

“Yes!” Wei Ying seizes the thread of conversation that had been rapidly slipping away from him. “He was very manly. The most man.”

Mianmian gets an evil glint in her eyes. “Technically, gender is a construct—”

Babe,” Wen Qing sounds like she’s holding back laughter even as she pinches Mianmian in the side. “Look at him, he can’t handle that right now.” 

Which, in any other situation, would be kind of demeaning and patronising, but Wei Ying does sort of feel like he has the mental clarity of a skull full of opaque custard, so he only nods pitifully and groans. 

“But- guys, how do you know if- what if...I mean, y’know. A mouth is a mouth, right?”

Mianmian’s jaw goes slack. “Oh.” She blinks, hard. “Oh no.” Wei Ying stares at her. Then shifts his gaze to Wen Qing, who has her cheeks sucked in so intensely that he can see the place where her teeth are biting down on the inside. He reaches out, very slowly, just to touch—

“Don’t.” Wen Qing stops cheek-sucking to say. “Do. Not.”

“Okay,” Wei Ying whispers meekly, slowly retracting his hand. “Are you guys mad at me?” He feels like a small child under their appalled gazes.

“No-o,” Mianmian says, but she doesn’t sound certain. Then she exhales, long and slow, and takes Wei Ying’s hand in hers. “I guess, in theory, it is...possible. That a mouth is just- a mouth.” She sounds pained even as she says it, but then her gaze grows kind. “Do you think of your experience with this person as a mouth being a mouth? It’s okay if you do. But do you?”

Wei Ying’s lips do a wobbly, quivering thing. “No.” He huffs out a heavy breath. 

Wen Qing leans her chin on Mianmian’s shoulder and looks at him with sympathetic eyes. “Wei Ying-ah,” she says gently. God, Wei Ying hates how gentle she sounds — he’s an adult! With a full on job and a good family and- and he doesn’t deserve or need to be handled with kid gloves. He should be boxed around the ears or told off for being a close-minded douchebag. 

“I can literally see you beating yourself up,” Wen Qing says dryly. Wei Ying opens his eyes - when had he squeezed them shut? he wonders dimly - and makes a stupid face. He feels stupid. “Look, you’re not a bad person for not having everything completely figured out. You’re allowed to try new things and you’re allowed to ask questions. Anyone who tries to give you a hard time for not knowing everything about yourself at the ripe old age of twenty six is a dick and Mianmian will kill them.”

Mianmian nods. “I will,” she affirms solemnly.

“But not you, Qing jie?” Wei Ying asks, feeling a muted, pathetic tickle of amusement. 

Wen Qing shrugs. “Hippocratic oath.”

Wei Ying grins, but it fades a little when he asks, “But what if I never figure it out? What if I never have, I dunno, a label or- or a clear idea? And I confuse everyone around me ‘cause I keep changing my mind?”

Mianmian frowns. “Who’s going to be confused? Are you deeply, profoundly confused every time Mo Xuanyu changes careers?”

“No, but—”

“Exactly,” Mianmian sounds awfully self-satisfied. (“Good metaphor, babe,” Wen Qing whispers. “Thanks, babe,” Mianmian grins back. “...You guys know I’m still here, right, babes?” Wei Ying hisses.) “And anyway, who says you have to announce it every time you change your mind? Labels serve you, not the other way around. If they make you feel better, great. If they don’t or it changes from one day to the next, that’s great too. You don’t owe it to anyone to condense yourself into one thing, this isn’t the decennial census.”

Decennial, Wei Ying mouths to himself. Mianmian squeezes his hand. “Seriously, Wei Ying. It doesn’t matter. If you like someone, you like them. If you don’t, you don’t. Don’t go making yourself small or a different shape just to suit others’ hypothetical convenience.”

Wei Ying nods, the pork belly warm in his stomach and a weird pressure in the back of his throat. “Yeah. Okay.” Wen Qing shoots him a sympathetic smile, and Mianmian leans back against her. “This is really cute,” he says, gesturing vaguely at their faces, speaking just so he doesn’t have to focus on how blanched of words he feels. 

“Thanks, it’s been four years,” Wen Qing intones with a snort. 

Wei Ying smiles. His heart feels like it’s been pickled — in a good way. Pickled in love. God, he’s bad at these. Wen Qing and Mianmian look back at him with warm eyes. 

“Movie?” he asks.

* * *

Wei Ying doesn’t see Lan Zhan again until Saturday.

It’s enough time - two whole days - to get his affairs in order. Actually, in retrospect, that sounds kind of ominous. What he really does is he asks Jiang Cheng over for dinner, an invite to which his little brother reacts with an offensive amount of suspicion, and then gently breaks the news to him.

He orders Jiang Cheng’s favourite pizza, Hawaiian with pepperoni, sausage, chicken and beef crumbles (?), and a side of lotus pork rib soup. The soup is undeniably a pale imitation of what jiejie can achieve with a wonky pot and old bone marrow alone, but it’ll do. Wei Ying just hopes that she’s been gone long enough and Jiang Cheng is feeling emotionally bereft enough not to notice.

Of course, then, he does. 

“This soup sucks. I’m gonna kill Jin Zixuan,” he grumbles. His purple - aubergine, you uncultured animal, he had said without heat when Wei Ying had commented on it earlier - hoodie seems to suck in all the light from Wei Ying’s feeble overhead lamp. 

“I’m not straight,” Wei Ying says. 

Jiang Cheng glances up at him then picks a piece of pizza with the most visible cheese. “Alright. You forgot the shrimp, by the way,” he says, mouth covered in grease. 

Wei Ying gapes at him. “That’s all you have to say?” he croaks. 

Jiang Cheng frowns. “You forgot the squid too but you seem like you’re going through something,” he mutters. Then he knocks his ankle against Wei Ying’s. “If anyone gives you a hard time, I’ll dump their bodies in the Huangpu.” 

Wei Ying smiles a wobbly smile. “Jiang Cheng...”

His brother turns bright red and glares wetly at him. “Don’t forget the squid next time.” 

“I don’t know why you eat this shit, it’s not even pizza at this point,” Wei Ying swipes half-heartedly.

“Fuck you,” Jiang Cheng says evenly as he dumps a pepperoni - Wei Ying’s favourite topping - loaded slice onto Wei Ying’s plate. “I’ll be there if you tell niang and a-die. If you want,” he says, quieter.

Wei Ying hiccups. 

“Shut up,” Jiang Cheng says, but his hand on Wei Ying’s wrist is warm and heavy anyway.

(On Thursday evening, Wei Ying emails his jiejie — jiejie, can’t believe you’re bringing new life into this world in TWO MONTHS, what a medical miracle it is that your baby - my nephew!!! - is the first child ever to be born with 100% his mother’s DNA??? Insane!!! You’re basically modern day Chinese Mary, and he will be the new messiah. Also, no biggie, please don’t stress, but I think I’m not straight. I hope it’s okay, jiejie. Love you, don’t let Jin Zixuan make you lift a single finger !!!!! 

Jiang Yanli, the saint of a woman she is, responds as soon as she wakes up. 

Yingying, you always make me laugh! Thank you for emailing me even with your busy schedule - here, Wei Ying lets out a dry sob, for no reason whatsoever - I hope you’re taking care of yourself properly even with all the work you keep taking on. A-Cheng sent me a photo of the pizza and soup you guys had, how sweet of you to order his favourite pizza! You are both the best brothers. 

Also, I’m so proud and happy for you, my A-Ying. Never ask me if stuff like this is okay! It is wonderful!! Has anyone said it’s not okay? :) You should let your jiejie know, if so. :) It is important to tell your jiejie of the pertinent individuals in your acquaintance with whom she should speak. :) 

I love you! Write back when you can xxxx

Wei Ying shudders at the very threatening smiley faces, then texts Jiang Cheng to see if the medical journal at his school would like to publish a paper on the Immaculate Conception of their nephew. Jiang Cheng texts back two minutes later — I’ll ask my attending.)

(The last day before he has to see Lan Zhan, Friday, is dedicated to breaking the news to Nie Huaisang. Which, really, Wei Ying didn’t need the whole of Friday, because he only had to text Nie xiong, life update: [insert two men kissing emoji] and Huaisang had immediately responded, welcome to the prostate path, knew you had it in you. So, like, a thirty seconds tops interaction.)

* * *

On Saturday, bright and early, Wei Ying shows up at the gym. 

The thing is, he knows that it’s not fair to have expectations. Lan Zhan made it pretty clear that this was new for him, and although he seemed to have enjoyed their somewhat al fresco dalliance - Wei Ying can still conjure up the taste of Lan Zhan’s come in his mouth, and what is with that - there’s no reason for him to think that Lan Zhan wants it to go any further.

Like, a second hook up further. Or, y’know, buying a small house in the Taiwanese countryside and growing potatoes and various citrus fruits in their backyard that Lan Zhan’s rabbit can frolic about in while Lan Zhan makes tea and Wei Ying drinks cold, imported beer, further.

Wen Qing called him a U-haul lesbian when he told her he had no expectations. Wei Ying shouted, we get it, you did a semester abroad in America, you know what a U-haul is!!! into his phone until she stopped cackling, but the point stands. 

Wei Ying is cool. Chill. No expectations! 

“Would you like to have lunch at my apartment after the gym?” Lan Zhan asks when he shows up (Wei Ying had gotten there an uncharacteristic twenty minutes early, beating out Lan Zhan by five whole minutes). Wei Ying’s mouth falls open in surprise. 

“Oh, like a friendly, bros’ chill—”

“For a non-platonic, romantic date,” Lan Zhan clarifies. 

So everything is very, extremely cool.

* * *


Unlike their third conversation with the apple smoothie and the asinine joke about the cores - I thought you were very humorous, Wei Ying, Lan Zhan had said a few weeks after when Wei Ying had confessed how embarrassed he’d been at the time - Wei Ying does actually feel like he blacks out the entire one hour gym session.

He has some vague impression of Lan Zhan physically moving him around constantly, like when he’d been standing ten steps away from the weights but Lan Zhan had still touched him on the shoulders and casually shifted him out of his walking path even though he could have just walked around, but that’s all Wei Ying really remembers. 

Maybe a fleeting smile over the pull-up bar, and Jesus, Lan Zhan has those shoulder muscle things that make the line between his neck and his shoulder bone look like Wutai Mountain instead of Wei Ying’s flat Manchurian grassland, why is being queer so hard?

Wei Ying shudders at the memory. 

“Cold?” Lan Zhan asks. He pulls a light windbreaker out of his sports bag and drapes it over Wei Ying’s shoulders even though it’s August in Shanghai. “Just a couple more blocks.”

“Should’ve known you’d live in such a fancy area,” Wei Ying teases. “The former French concession? What’re you, surrounded by expats all day? Do you buy imported groceries? Unpatriotic, Lan Zhan, completely terrible.” 

Lan Zhan’s mouth twitches, but he nods anyway. “My uncle lived here before he retired from Shanghai. I inherited his apartment after my brother moved out.”

Wei Ying nods sagely, shoes scuffing along the street. It’s a pretty part of the city, the roads lined with overhanging trees so that the sunlight spills in dappled freckles all over the walkway. “Thanks for having me over, Zhan ge. I know this is…new. For both of us,” he says shyly. 

Lan Zhan looks startled for a moment before he, too, smiles. “Yes,” he says, sounding rueful. “I have never done this before.” And then, because Lan Zhan is world’s bravest person, he holds his hand out for Wei Ying to take.

It’s mortifying how thrilled he is folding their fingers together, how completely and utterly whole holding hands with Lan Zhan makes him feel. 

“Argh,” Wei Ying groans into his spare hand. His face is probably vermillion. “You are so categorically overwhelming as a person, Lan Zhan. I feel like Bai Suzhen falling haplessly into Xu Xian’s arms.” He glares at Lan Zhan between his fingers, scowling heavily when Lan Zhan squeezes their entwined hands. “Tell me, are you doing this on purpose? I’ll know if you’re lying.”

Lan Zhan deigns to chuckle, then gently pulls Wei Ying’s left hand away from his face. “Did you ever do theatre in school?” he asks.

“Rude,” Wei Ying retorts, even though he absolutely had. Was the lead role in Journey to the West, thank you very much, made a very convincing Monkey King, please and welcome to you. Jiejie called his acting inspired.

“Here,” Lan Zhan says, voice coloured with a smile. The two of them turn down the street and walk into a shockingly pretty courtyard. “I live here.” He looks content, glad, almost, to have Wei Ying peering around the well manicured flower bushes with open-eyed wonder.

“Bai Luobo may be sleeping,” he warns when they get upstairs. Wei Ying waits for him to open the front door, his shoes already toed half off, heel shoved unceremoniously down into the worn back. 

“I will be replacing you with him, just so you know,” Wei Ying informs him, rocking back and forth in excitement as Lan Zhan fiddles with the key. “We’re going to be so close. Best friends.”

Lan Zhan huffs out a quick succession of breaths - laughter, Wei Ying made him laugh, has been making him laugh, and God if that isn’t like swallowing liquid gold - before pushing the door open. 

Lan Zhan’s apartment looks exactly as Wei Ying had imagined it and also nothing like it at all. Based on Lan Zhan’s descriptions of his own lifestyle, there had definitely been some vague notion of asceticism surrounding the whole thing — maybe a set of bamboo rods set against the wall for when Lan Zhan felt himself due for discipline, or a thin roll on the floor for a bed. Instead, it’s—

Tasteful. Elegant, even, in a simple way. Old furniture, well loved and well cared for, in dark woods that Wei Ying is not fancy enough to know the names of, and pale fabrics — cream linen curtains and beige sofa cushions and a neatly folded loose-weave cornflower throw on the armchair. 

Lan Zhan fidgets beside Wei Ying, a tiny movement that draws his attention away from the way light  from the large windows settles in familiar blankets all over the furniture. He turns, surprised, to see Lan Zhan schooling his expression fiercely down into something as neutral as the colour of the cushions on his high-backed dining chairs.

“Are you nervous, Lan Zhan?” Wei Ying asks gleefully, a small grin tugging cheerfully at the corners of his mouth.

“No,” Lan Zhan says quickly. Too quickly. Wei Ying gives in to the grin.

“I like your home so much, Zhan ge,” Wei Ying coos, looping an arm through Lan Zhan’s limp one. “Really, it’s completely great, such a soothing place to be!” Lan Zhan blinks down at him doubtfully, so Wei Ying adds, “Now that I know how nice your place is, you won’t be able to get me out of here!”

Lan Zhan’s ears redden and he finally does smile then, pleased. “Good,” he hums. 

Wei Ying’s heartbeat stutters awkwardly. Oh, he had forgotten this was a date. Ah.

“You’re doing this on purpose,” he mutters irritably. It’s not him leaning into Lan Zhan’s chest and hooking his face into the graceful inflection of Lan Zhan’s neck, it’s gravity. Wei Ying is merely an impervious, helpless particle in Mr. Newton’s seminal discovery of the laws of physics and motion.

His face burns with the force of a thousand suns. Where’s his Hou Yi to shoot a couple of those infernos down? Fucking hell.

“No,” Lan Zhan says gently, even as he snakes his hands down the knobs of Wei Ying’s spine to rest at the small of his waist. “Although I am certainly reaping the benefits,” he muses, a curl of amusement crimping the ends of his words. 

“Get off,” Wei Ying groans, but he makes no move to unlatch his hands around the fists they’ve made in Lan Zhan’s T-shirt, and he grumbles when Lan Zhan does indeed comply. 

“You can put your shoes in my cupboard,” Lan Zhan says before taking his wallet and keys out and putting them into a dish decorated with water dragons in lapis blue. 

Wei Ying toes his shoes off properly and mentally pats himself on the back for hardly working out today — god, how mortifying would it be if his feet reeked in Lan Zhan’s perfect apartment next to Lan Zhan’s own perfect looking trainers? 

“So I was thinking, I play with Bai Luobo for the next hour while we wait for food to arrive, and then I play with Bai Luobo as we’re eating so as to solidify our life-long bond, and then when you’re done eating and have to go about your day, I’ll take Bai Luobo home with me and reappropriate him as my own fuzzy little companion,” Wei Ying rambles. 

He bends and pushes his shoes as neatly as he can into the free spot beside Lan Zhan’s running shoes on the bottom shelf, lingering for just a second to see what else he has in his cupboard. When Wei Ying stands, however, ready to ask Lan Zhan if those are, in fact, brown lambskin leather Gucci loafers with a gold horse-bit detail tucked behind a spare pair of house slippers, he turns to find Lan Zhan staring down at him with an expression that his Korean-drama-watching-brain can only describe as molten.

Lan Zhan’s jaw twitches as he continues taking Wei Ying apart with his eyes.

“Uh,” Wei Ying says intelligently.

One moment, he’s standing near a shoe cupboard with the door ajar, and the next, he’s being crowded into the wall by Lan Zhan’s excessively overwhelming presence and broad shoulders, being kissed like he’s some fainting maiden whose sweetheart has just come back from the war. 

“Lan Zhan,” he whines softly, and Lan Zhan makes a low sound directly into his mouth before biting down hard on his bottom lip. “Lan Zhan, what—”

He gets his answer in the form of Lan Zhan’s two enormous hands palming his ass to the point of pain. Wei Ying yelps, then gasps when he gets pushed farther into the wall, the heavy weight of Lan Zhan’s erection digging into Wei Ying’s rapidly hardening dick with such an obscene amount of implication that he is rather lightheaded with it. 

“You are-” Lan Zhan grunts, then forcefully bumps Wei Ying’s head to the side with his nose so that he can gnaw on the space under Wei Ying’s ear, “-indecent in these running shorts.”

“This is not happening to me,” Wei Ying wheezes back, scrabbling under Lan Zhan’s touch as those large palms pull and squeeze his ass in rough circles. “Tell me what you mean, say- Lan Zhan, ge, you gotta tell me.”

“I have been staring at your ass for the last month and a half,” Lan Zhan says, and he sounds furious, angry, about the fact. “Every time you leaned down to pick up the barbells, I—”

“You what, you what?” Wei Ying demands breathlessly, head fuzzy with the praise and the feeling of Lan Zhan’s hot tongue licking broad stripes along his shoulder between kisses. 

“Felt like I was losing my mind.” Lan Zhan does this thing with his hips that is more or less a thrust, a sharp dig into Wei Ying’s crotch, and Wei Ying really wants to be good and helpful to Lan Zhan who has just confessed how confused he felt, how scary it must have been to not know what he wanted, but the friction is too good, and Lan Zhan is so—

“What’re we doing?” he asks between messily kissing Lan Zhan’s bitten lips. “Are we- what—”

“Bedroom,” Lan Zhan grits out as he kisses Wei Ying with equal fervour but a lot more teeth.

“But.” Wei Ying sounds helpless even to his own ears. “But Bai Luobo—”

“Disregard him,” Lan Zhan grunts, and then immediately looks adorably, unbearably guilty. He shakes his head a little, like he’s clearing the haze from his eyes, and clarifies, “He is sleeping.” And then, like it’s a completely reasonable thing to do, he grabs Wei Ying by the thighs and Wei Ying finds himself airborne.

He shrieks, legs wrapping frantically around Lan Zhan’s tapered hips in an effort not to fall, and Lan Zhan says into the crook of Wei Ying’s neck, “Rabbits need adequate sleep to grow.”

“You’re so right, best rabbit dad, so good, Zhan ge,” Wei Ying agrees weakly, shuddering when Lan Zhan’s teeth scrape over a particularly sensitive part of his skin. 

Lan Zhan doesn’t so much walk through his bedroom door as he does burst through it, back first and with Wei Ying clinging onto him and mauling his mouth very enthusiastically. It’s only when he drops Wei Ying, squealing happily, onto the bed that he stops and an uncertain expression crosses his face.

“Should—” He pauses awkwardly. It would be an endearing sight if not for the fact that Wei Ying can feel himself leaking through his boxer briefs and his mouth is full of saliva when he eyes the very distinct bulge in Lan Zhan’s shorts. “I- am I rushing you? I do not want you to think that this is merely sexual for me,” he says haltingly.

Wei Ying shuffles up so that he’s no longer spread, limbs akimbo, over Lan Zhan’s cool duvet. He sits up and says seriously, “Is it rushing for you?” Of course, he can’t expect Lan Zhan to push himself to do anything, painfully hard erection or not. Wei Ying will take this as slowly as Lan Zhan needs — not everyone has their fingers on the pulse of their own sexuality the way he does. 

“No,” Lan Zhan grimaces. His hand clenches by his side and his hips twitch uncomfortably. Wei Ying’s eyes are drawn inexorably down to the still very prominent tent in his pants. “I have been thinking about- about Wei Ying since last week.”

Wei Ying grins then, as satisfied as the cat that got the cream. He wriggles forward onto his knees and peers coquettishly (he thinks, at least, it’s hard to tell when he’s so hard he might die) up at Lan Zhan before taking a leap of faith and nudging gently at Lan Zhan’s clothed cock with his nose. 

Lan Zhan makes a noise that sounds like he’s gurgling on his own blood.

“Zhan ge,” Wei Ying whispers, blinking and smiling. “You should take your shirt off and tell me what you were thinking about all last week.”

Lan Zhan’s eyes are glazed over, limpid and empty all at once. “Mm,” he hums, gaze tracking hungrily over the way Wei Ying’s tongue darts over his now-dry lips, and Wei Ying has never felt so completely wanted, so entirely devoured by one person’s desire that he half feels the heady rush of power through his veins. 

“Ge, your shirt,” he wheedles teasingly. His hands snake up Lan Zhan’s legs, feeling the smattering of hairs that prickle against his palms and relishing in the short, aborted shudder Lan Zhan allows himself when Wei Ying gets to the crook of his thighs. Lan Zhan tears his T-shirt off hurriedly, and Wei Ying sighs happily when he sees the ridged expanse of his stomach and the tautness of his chest. 

Drunk on the naked heat in Lan Zhan’s face, Wei Ying strokes upwards to gently palm his balls, watching in fascination as Lan Zhan’s red mouth falls open at the prolonged contact. 

“I—” Lan Zhan cuts off with a small grunt when Wei Ying tugs a little. “Wanted to pull you into my lap. Make you come on my cock. Hear those noises- ngh - you made last time,” he gasps, cut off in the middle, when Wei Ying mouths hotly at his cock through the rapidly wetting fabric.

“More,” he demands, finally pulling Lan Zhan’s shorts down to stare fitfully at the bob of Lan Zhan’s dick when it springs out. He savours the punched out noise Lan Zhan makes when his cock hits the cool air of the bedroom, admires the bead of pre-come welling in the tip.

“Wanted to- Wei Ying, please,” Lan Zhan breathes when Wei Ying buries his nose in his short, coarse hair— god, is he a pervert for liking the way Lan Zhan smells here, clean from the post-gym shower but still a little musky from the walk home? Lan Zhan fixes his large hand at the base of Wei Ying’s neck and pulls him back. “Wanted to kiss you all over,” he says, eyelids hooded but so tender and ardent that Wei Ying’s mouth falls slack.

“You- huh?” he intones. 

“Thought about kissing you all over,” Lan Zhan repeats. He lets his shorts fall to the floor from where they had been, stretched around the width of his thighs, then leans forward and presses Wei Ying back into the mattress. 

Wei Ying’s lizard brain struggles valiantly between focusing on the sweetness of Lan Zhan’s lips as he kisses him and the fact that Lan Zhan’s dick is leaking all over his thigh. He settles for whining into Lan Zhan’s mouth and wriggling, trying to pull him closer, to pull Lan Zhan on top of him so that he can feel his weight like an overbearing lover.

“You should- you should do that,” Wei Ying instructs pathetically. Lan Zhan hikes his tank top up and thumbs at his nipples, eliciting a reedy little noise from the back of his throat. 

“Yes,” Lan Zhan agrees, kissing his way down Wei Ying’s jaw and neck, tonguing into the hollow of his collarbone and then meandering past his sternum. Wei Ying shivers under the painful juxtaposition of his touch — soft lips, demanding teeth, manhandling grip. 

And then, Lan Zhan, sweet, formal, has a landline and will use it Lan Zhan, dips his fucking tongue directly into Wei Ying’s navel.

Wei Ying shrieks, convulses, then grabs his cock fully by the base to stop himself from doing something mortifying.

“What the f- Lan Zhan!” he squawks wildly. “What on God’s green earth possessed you to do that?!” 

Lan Zhan cocks his head. He eyes Wei Ying curiously and the way his hand his still wrapped punishingly tight around his dick. “Did you not like it?”  

Wei Ying splutters. “I mean- I didn’t not- Lan Zhan, who does that? Where did you- explain yourself! How base!” 

Lan Zhan props his chin up on Wei Ying’s knee, kneeling supplicant in front of him on the floor. “It is quite normal,” he offers casually. “Has Wei Ying never done a body shot before?”

A body- Wei Ying is going to pass out. Lan Zhan is asking him if he’s ever done a body shot. Trained at the Shanghai conservatory in guqin and piano, never drinks alcohol, from an old money Chinese family that somehow survived the Communist era purge of the intelligentsia and the bourgeoise with his former French concession bay windowed flat with its chevron dark wood floorboards Lan Zhan is asking him if he’s ever done a body shot.

“You don’t even drink alcohol,” Wei Ying says limply.

Lan Zhan shrugs and smiles placidly back. “It works with mineral water. Even juice, if you do not mind being sticky.” 

“Gross,” Wei Ying whispers. Lan Zhan snorts and kisses him on the knee.

“Would you like me to do it again?” 

Wei Ying blinks fretfully back at him. “No. Yes. I don’t- yeah.” 

Lan Zhan smiles to himself and trails his nose up the line of hair along Wei Ying’s abdomen, chuckling in a manner that can only be fond when Wei Ying squirms and shivers underneath him. He drags his tongue, almost dry, along the edge of Wei Ying’s bellybutton, then dips, lightning quick and suddenly wet, into it. 

“This is- the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me,” Wei Ying rasps into the rapidly moistening air. “Why does it feel so good? Are you- what sort of sex magic—?”

“Arms up,” Lan Zhan murmurs, eyes crinkled. Wei Ying complies dumbly and lets Lan Zhan tug his shirt off his limp body. “Good boy.” 

“Shut your mouth,” Wei Ying says, knees knocking together like some anime school girl at the bolt of heat that rushes up his spine. “Say it again.”

“My good boy.” Lan Zhan manages to sound condescending and fond and like he’s laughing all at once in those three words. “Lift up,” he says, but before Wei Ying can comply, one enormous hand is propped up under him and then Wei Ying’s naked ass is exposed, as bare as the day he was born. 

“You can’t just—!” Wei Ying screeches, scrambling to cover up the comical bob of his erection. Lan Zhan eyes it with interest, then picks him up like he weighs no more than a two kilo sack of rice, sits, and deposits him on his lap.

“Mm,” he hums, contentedly. “This is what I was thinking about.”

“You’re the most incorrigible creature alive, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying scowls. He buries his face in Lan Zhan’s chest when all he gets is a muted chuckle in response. “What’re we even doing, I know you said- how does lap stuff turn into sex? I’ll tell you right now, I did not stretch my asshole and I am ninety eight percent certain asshole stretching needs to happen for anal—”

Lan Zhan kisses him so soundly he feels it all the way down to his toes, all the way to the tips of his hair, in every inch of his very naked being.

“—sex,” he breathes when they finally detach. “For anal sex. What’s your lotion situation?”

Lan Zhan chucks him gently on the chin with his knuckle. “Top drawer,” he says fondly. 

Wei Ying, hyperaware of the fact that the heads of their dicks are basically kissing each other - he’s a romantic, okay - shudders and balances precariously on Lan Zhan’s lap in order to reach over to his bedside table. If he were less naked and less violently aroused, he might have admired the craftsmanship of the rich wood, the table legs that look like vines sprouting up from the ground and the careful cloud carving hollowed out along the brim. 

As it is, however, he hastily pulls the drawer open and grabs—

“Oh wow, you have, like, full on lube,” Wei Ying remarks, dick momentarily forgotten. “Fancy.”

He turns back to see Lan zhan blinking confusedly up at him. “Do you…not?” Lan Zhan asks carefully. 

Wei Ying shrugs, distracted by the soothing green packaging and white writing on Lan Zhan’s lube. Vegan, paraben-free, cruelty-free water based lubricant — formulated with aloe vera and anti-inflammatory green tea! 

“Uh, yeah, no,” he says, still reading the very short list of ingredients. Huh, organic. “I do have this little thing of hand lotion that I stole from the Holiday Inn once when I snuck in to try their continental breakfast.” He makes a face and looks up. “Speaking of which, did you know that a continental breakfast is just some sad American cereal and fruit? I thought there’d at least be a sausage or two, or a noodle bar.”

Lan Zhan stares up at him with a distinctly panicked look in his eyes.

“What?” Wei Ying asks. He looks down. Their erections look fine, although Lan Zhan’s looks a little softer. He wriggles, curious, and is delighted to hear the soft grunt Lan Zhan makes when their cocks press up against each other again. 

“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan groans, hands tightening on his hips. 

“What?” Wei Ying asks again with a hint of a whine in his voice this time. “C’mon, Lan Zhan, show me what you do with your fancy lube.”

Lan Zhan bites him directly above his nipple in retaliation then takes the lube from Wei Ying, stoutly ignoring his (valid) outrage. He slicks his palm up with a generous dollop.

When Lan Zhan grabs his dick, Wei Ying is in the middle of a and you have to ask before you do things like that, don’t you know not everyone will like being gnawed on, you’re lucky I do Lan Zhan tirade, and the sound he makes when he’s cut off is both pitiful and pornographic. 

“A-ah!” he gasps, brain immediately refocused on his straining erection. He can feel Lan Zhan’s eyes on him, intent and watchful as Wei Ying squirms in his lap. “No fair,” he groans, twitching when Lan Zhan runs a calloused thumb over the sensitive head of his cock. 

Impulsively, Wei Ying grabs the lube and squeezes out far too large a handful. With more zeal than technique, he fists Lan Zhan’s cock, feeling the heft of it in his wet palm. Lan Zhan hisses and Wei Ying watches, enthralled, by the way his brow furrows and his hand goes slightly limp against Wei Ying’s dick. 

“You’re pretty,” Wei Ying breathes. 

Lan Zhan kisses him on the collarbone and wipes his own hand clean on the edge of the duvet, and then knocks Wei Ying’s hand off of his dick. “Hey—!” he gawks, but then Lan Zhan’s hands are affixing themselves on his lower back and Wei Ying—

Wei Ying’s dick is sliding against Lan Zhan’s, hot and slick from the lube or the steadily spurting pre-come, it’s hard to tell, their hips rutting together in an awkward yet perfect tandem as he uses Lan Zhan’s cock to get himself off.

“Oh- shit,” he wheezes. Lan Zhan grunts in response, moving Wei Ying’s entire body like he’s a limp rag-doll on his lap. Wei Ying’s brain is getting barely enough oxygen to remember to breathe let alone grind down like he wants to, so he just watches in helpless transfixion as Lan Zhan slides their bodies against one another, little zings of friction and sensation pooling in his gut.

Wei Ying has never had a complex about his dick before, but right now, in Lan Zhan’s lap, the sight of it next to Lan Zhan’s almost brutishly large one makes something illicit and violent inside him curl up in pleasure. 

“Wei Ying is pretty,” Lan Zhan rasps, panting harshly through his nose. He unlatches one hand and reaches between them to jack both their dicks at the same time, and Wei Ying’s back snaps upwards when he yowls. “Just needs a firm hand,” he says, the smug fucker. 

It feels like a sordid loss for the liberals that that comment makes Wei Ying shudder and fall forward, the knot in his stomach tightening dangerously fast, faster than it’s ever been and god, they’ve only been grinding and touching for short of a few minutes and how can he- how embarrassing would it be if— “I’ll come,” he threatens weakly. 

“Already?” Lan Zhan sounds amused as he licks up the rim of Wei Ying’s ear. 

“Lan Zhan!” he keens, knees aching from being bent for so long and thighs slick with a combination of his and Lan Zhan’s sweat and the excess lube that has dribbled down his ass. “Be nice to me, you gotta- s’too much, gege, you—”

"Pretty little cock too,” Lan Zhan murmurs, sounding pleased. He drags his hand up firmly and digs his thumb into the weeping slit that’s turned a rather appalling swollen red.

Wei Ying abruptly and without pre-amble comes. 

Every joint in his body locks up and his breath stutters out of his mouth with a hurt, sobbing noise. He doesn’t even notice the way Lan Zhan freezes briefly in surprise, too caught up in the unyielding spasms gripping his lower abdomen as his cock attempts to empty itself onto Lan Zhan’s own twitching dick. 

“Ge,” Wei Ying whimpers, hands clutching fretfully at Lan Zhan’s sweaty shoulder blades and face buried into the unpleasantly hot crook of Lan Zhan’s neck. “I—” he convulses when Lan Zhan runs his fingernail, feather-light, along the shaft of his dick.

“Shh, good boy,” Lan Zhan says softly, crooning. 

Perhaps a full minute or an entire civilisation’s collapse later, Wei Ying unearths himself, spent and drowsy and mortified. “If you say anything,” he threatens feebly. “If you say anything about- about how fast I was, I will cry. Right here on your lap, Lan Zhan.” 

Lan Zhan makes a low, interested noise, and Wei Ying feels his brain bleed out of his ears. 

“You’re disgusting,” he says, still sweaty and shaky. Lan Zhan catches a trickle of sweat meandering down from his temple with his tongue, then kisses him on the cheek.

“Think Wei Ying would look cute crying,” he admits with a small smile. 

“I get no respect in this house,” Wei Ying grumbles. He looks down, and oh that’s his come all over Lan Zhan’s still very incredibly super hard cock and- and he needs to look away, stat. He squeezes his eyes shut and stares concertedly at the ceiling. “So…can I suck your dick?”

Wei Ying feels Lan Zhan’s cock jerk underneath him.

“Mm,” Lan Zhan hums. He wraps his arms properly around Wei Ying’s back and then stands - Wei Ying squawks, but he’s realising that that’s going to become sort of a commonplace reaction at this point around Lan Zhan so it’s not worth commenting on - in order to deposit him down on the bed. 

“Stop- what are you doing! Your bed,” Wei Ying groans, trying to catch any stray streaks of come and lube with his hands. “Gross.”

“Lie back,” Lan Zhan orders him patiently. Wei Ying gives him the stink eye with a hand covered in unseemly deposits and complies. “If you’re amenable, I’d like to fuck your thighs,” Lan Zhan says as he strokes his own cock with a loose fist. 

Wei Ying’s mouth falls open. “You know,” he says slowly. “You know, every time I think this is it, I know Lan Zhan completely and wholly, there is nothing else that could possibly surprise me, I am proven relentlessly wrong. It’s exhausting, frankly.” 

Lan Zhan’s eyes crinkle into pretty crescents with how hard he smiles.

Wei Ying sighs. “Have at it, big guy.” Lan Zhan’s cock twitches again like it’s responding to the moniker, which is a cute albeit slightly chauvinistic reaction.

Lan Zhan pushes him gently down onto his back with his legs still hanging off the side of the bed, then, with the gentlest hands, lubes up the sensitive skin of Wei Ying’s inner thighs. “Cold?” he asks softly when Wei Ying shivers.

“No,” Wei Ying responds hazily. “Feels kinda nice,” he slurs. 

Lan Zhan’s chuckle is dulcet and sweet. 

“Ankles,” he instructs, then crosses Wei Ying’s ankles for him and pulls them up so that Wei Ying is balanced entirely on his back with the base of his calves resting on Lan Zhan’s left shoulder for support. 

“C’mon,” Wei Ying blinks up at him, hoping his eyes look wide and glossy. “Fuck my thighs, Zhan ge.”

Lan Zhan shoots him a heated look, the colour having rushed back to his face and the tips of his delightful little ears, then pushes his cock between Wei Ying’s squeezed tight legs.

It’s an odd sensation, for the most part. Odd in that, while sensitive, it’s not like Wei Ying is deriving much sexual pleasure out of having Lan Zhan rut his cock against his legs. It would stay firmly in the realm of odd if not for the obscene sounds Lan Zhan is making - low, reverberating groans and the slick noise of his cock sliding through the hot crevice between Wei Ying’s thighs - and the occasional spark that shoots directly up his spine every time Lan Zhan’s thick cockhead catches on Wei Ying’s spent dick.

It makes him gasp wetly every time, squirming and biting his lip so hard that Lan Zhan leans forward to pull his bottom lip out from between his teeth.

“You’ll hurt yourself,” he says, sounding ragged and hoarse, before kissing Wei Ying so soundly that their teeth rattle against one another. He stays there, still fucking Wei Ying - fucking him, god, Lan Zhan is fucking him - rutting into him like they’re animals as sweat drips steadily from his brow and down the curve of his throat, mouth held right by Wei Ying’s so that there’s no real way to tell where the seam of Wei Ying’s lips end and the swell of Lan Zhan’s begin. 

“You feel good, gege,” Wei Ying whispers, eyes tracking hungrily over the intensity of Lan Zhan’s brow and the shine of Wei Ying’s saliva on his lips. His neck is straining with the effort of keeping his head lifted to kiss Lan Zhan, but it’s hard to focus on that twinge at the base of his shoulders when Lan Zhan looks and sounds and feels the way he does, his hips stuttering and rhythm turning sloppy as he gets closer and closer to the edge. “S’so big, Lan Zhan, you think your cock’ll fit in me? You wanna fuck me right, gege? Dunno how it’ll fit, but I’d let you, let you come in me, wherever you want.”

Lan Zhan’s groan is helpless and his strokes punishing, mean almost, even though Wei Ying is the one who’s taking him apart.

He grins, drunk on the power and the stain of Lan Zhan’s blush. “You like that, don’t you? Lan Zhan, you liked that — you wanna mark me up with your come. Gonna come on your Wei Ying, ge?”

“A-Ying,” Lan Zhan grits out helplessly, his jaw working as he grinds his teeth. The grip he has on Wei Ying’s calves is iron tight, so hard that the flesh under his fingertips has turned ivory, and when Wei Ying coos want you to come, Lan Zhan, wanna feel you, you fuck me so good, Zhan ge he lets out a choked noise and squeezes his eyes shut, thrusts stuttering against the back of Wei Ying’s thighs, so hard that his hips make a muted clapping noise in contact with Wei Ying’s ass even as he begins to come.

Lan Zhan comes a lot. It’s hot and messy and Wei Ying watches in lurid fascination at the way Lan Zhan grunts low each time his cock jerks and spits out another thick spurt of come onto Wei Ying’s own half-hard dick. Now that the haze of his own orgasm has fully faded, Wei Ying can appreciate, from a purely aesthetic and only slightly homoerotic standpoint, the way Lan Zhan’s cock looks — flushed red and the skin only slightly darker than the rest of his perfectly porcelain body, whereas Wei Ying’s own cock is a considerable few shades deeper than his own skin. 

It’s nice, getting to appreciate Lan Zhan without the weird, swirling messiness in his own head. He’s so caught up enjoying how nice it is that he almost doesn’t notice when Lan Zhan’s cock gives a last little kick, just a small blurt of white come, before Lan Zhan lowers Wei Ying’s legs from his shoulder and collapses on top of him.

“You did not talk this much last time,” Lan Zhan accuses, in short order. He sounds grumpy, and Wei Ying can’t help his breathless snicker into Lan Zhan’s mouth when their lips meet. 

Lan Zhan kisses him the same way Wei Ying’s engines drive down an empty road — full throttle and all consuming, incomprehensible horsepower and the whole world rushing past the window in smudges instead of shapes.

When he pulls back, Wei Ying can feel the way his eyes are glazed over and drooping slightly in a drunk sort of ardour. “Ah,” he says dimly. “You’re so good at that.”

Lan Zhan huffs a fond laugh, then rolls over so that he can tug Wei Ying into his chest, which he normally would be all for if not for—

“I am literally covered in come,” he announces, peering down at himself. The sight is half sexy, half repulsive — his general crotch area is so entirely blanketed in his own and Lan Zhan’s come that he can only see parts of his wiry thatch of hair peeking out from underneath all the white. And Wei Ying does not trim.

Huh. Should he trim? 

“Should I trim?” he asks. 

Lan Zhan stares at him. Opens his mouth, then shuts it again. “If you want. I will get a wash towel.”

Wei Ying smiles dopily. “‘Kay.” Maybe he’ll trim. Or he’ll get Lan Zhan to help him — that’s kind of sexy, right? Like, a sexy sensual pubic grooming thing. He pins that thought for later.

Lan Zhan emerges from the en suite bathroom with a small square of damp terry cloth and gently wipes Wei Ying down, and then, in an unprecedented feat of masculine disregard, tosses the soiled towel haphazardly onto the floor. Wei Ying has seen this man wipe down barbells twice - first with dry towel to scrub off any “clotted grime” and then with an antibacterial spray on a second towel because apparently the gym is a cess pool for disease, Wei Ying, you really should be more mindful about touching your face after using the weights and machines - and then he goes and does this with a towel covered in come.

“Are you secretly gross?” he asks drowsily as he snuggles into the crook of Lan Zhan’s arm. They’ve been repositioned on the bed so that their bodies are actually on the mattress and far away from the vaguely moist part that they’d been fucking on. 

“Mm?” Lan Zhan hums in a question. His arm that he’s using to hook Wei Ying in close is a pleasant weight on his chest.

“You just tossed a towel covered in come on the floor.” 

“Come is not that gross,” Lan Zhan rumbles out, sounding very dozy himself. As someone who once found a crusty sock next to Jiang Cheng’s bed when he’d snuck into his brother’s room to look for snacks, Wei Ying respectfully disagrees.

“Sounds good,” he yawns. “Hey,” he says suddenly. “My dick isn’t actually that small right?” 

He wriggles away in time to catch Lan Zhan cracking one eye open. 

“No,” Lan Zhan says with an affectionate yet put-upon sigh. “That was only sex talk. Did it upset you?” He watches Wei Ying with a sharpness that reminds him just a little too much of Wen Qing, and then says slowly, “I won’t say it again if you don’t like it, of course.”

The distinct sensation of a cold egg being cracked on his head, trickling and slipping down his spine assaults him then. The sensation of being caught out, of being known. “No…” he says slowly, face hot and eyes shifty. “It’s…fine. You can say what you want.” He goes for flippant but it comes out sort of needy and pathetic anyway.

Lan Zhan doesn’t so much make a sound as he does emanate an intense pulse of self-satisfaction into the atmosphere. “Mm,” is all he says.

Mm, indeed. Bastard.

“I will get out of this bed,” Wei Ying threatens.

Lan Zhan’s arm immediately tightens around him. “Don’t,” he mumbles, snuffling into the nape of Wei Ying’s neck. “Stay.” 

The cold trickle promptly melts away into a warm puddle of lemon curd-like sunshine in his stomach, sweet and blissful. Wei Ying lets himself get tucked into Lan Zhan’s hold, feeling small and dear and at ease. Had it always been so easy to let himself have things? He doesn’t know.

A flurry of gratitude settles over him like pristine snow, then. Gratitude for Jiang Cheng and Wen Qing and Mianmian, and his sister and Huaisang, too, for making it so easy to simply be. 

He’s heard how painful coming out can be, of course. Wen Qing still doesn’t talk to her parents, and Huaisang’s older brother, to hear Huaisang tell it, had a very angry throw-down with their entire family when their father caught Huaisang messing around with a boy in secondary school. That, coupled with the undoubtedly painful confusion of feeling things you’re told are abnormal— well. 

It makes it all the more precious, he thinks, that coming out didn’t really feel like coming out so much as it felt like stepping in — stepping into a room he hadn’t known about, hadn’t even noticed a door to, but that still smells and feels and looks inexplicably like his home and that belongs to him regardless. 

As easy as falling into like with a handsome stranger at the gym. 

Had Lan Zhan been afforded the same ease? Wei Ying’s heart clenches minutely in his ribcage. 

“You’re being very chill about this all,” he says softly. Lan Zhan, so cute and sleepy after fucking, buries his nose deeper into Wei Ying’s hair and hums. 

“No, really.” Wei Ying sits up, starting to feel a little concerned. “I mean, I know you’re very evolved and all, but this must be confusing for you, right? Do you have anyone to talk to? You can talk to me if you like, I obviously know hardly anything, but still.”

Lan Zhan frowns, and then, with what seems to be a great amount of effort, wrenches his eyes open. “I do not understand.”

Wei Ying huffs and swats Lan Zhan’s naked pec, which, woah, is that hard. “I mean this! The sexuality thing! Coming out, realising you aren’t straight — you don’t have to be so stoic all the time, you know, Lan Zhan. Toxic masculinity. Boys have feelings too.”

Suddenly, Lan Zhan seems wide awake. He bolts upright and stares unblinkingly at Wei Ying. “Pardon?” he says, very, very slowly.

Wei Ying stares back at him. “What?”

Lan Zhan closes his eyes very purposefully and then opens them again. Far too purposeful to be called a blink. “What did you just say?” he asks again.

Wei Ying glances awkwardly around the room. “Aiya,” he deflects uncomfortably. “Look, I’m sorry I brought it up, okay, I should’ve waited for you to say something but I was just worried about you! I didn’t know if you were out to your brother or if you even had anyone to talk to about exploring your sexuality- wha—!”

Lan Zhan has grabbed him by the wrist in a shocking feat of impulsiveness.

“Wei Ying,” he says. “Wei Ying, I am not straight.”

“Well, I figured that, Lan Zhan, jeez, talk about dense—”

“No,” Lan Zhan interrupts. “No, I have known I was not straight since I was ten. I have not pretended to be nor alluded to being nor pantomimed being straight since I was thirteen.” 

It’s Wei Ying’s turn to blink very hard.

“Sorry?” he croaks. “But you’re—” He too, bolts up now and sits, gaping, across from Lan Zhan. He pulls the blanket up to his chest, a maiden covering her nipples. “So this isn’t—? I thought- is this not new for you too? This isn’t your first time?”

Lan Zhan squints. “No.” And then, with dawning horror, he asks, “Is this yours?” 

“No!” Wei Ying yelps. Then, “Yes! Kind of. Not in general, Lan Zhan, I pull, okay, but yes! With a person with a penis, yes! Up until, like, two weeks ago, I thought I was straight. You said this was new for you too! Multiple times, in the gym before you- y’know, and just now! You literally said it again just an hour ago!”

Lan Zhan looks awfully pained when he enunciates carefully, “New to public fornication at a gym. New to seeking a relationship with a stranger with whom I have no prior acquaintanceship.”

Wei Ying splutters unattractively. “What!” he exclaims thunderously. “You- those are very specific, Lan Zhan, how could you possibly have thought—”

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan’s face is white and he swallows thickly. “I thought we were...” he trails off. He looks agitatedly around the room and then back at Wei Ying who’s watching him with a slack mouth and a rapidly sinking stomach. God, Lan Zhan looks so crushed. “If this- I apologise. I was not aware. Clearly there has been some miscommunication. You are absolutely entitled to experiment as you please, and your friends and loved ones should support you. I support you, regardless, with anything you need answering or help with. But I…I cannot be here- in a romantic capacity, if this is all temporary. For you.” 

He grimaces, like the admission scrapes the insides of his mouth. 

“What do you mean?” Wei Ying asks around the dryness in his throat. 

Lan Zhan seems to deflate before him, and he’s uncharacteristically uncertain as he picks at a corner of the duvet. “This is...entirely self-serving. I apologise. We can remain friends, of course. But if Wei Ying changed his mind about me, or walked away later, it would leave a mark,” he mumbles. “You have already left your mark. Indelibly.” Lan Zhan’s eyes trail upwards to meet Wei Ying’s with an aching sort of solemnity.

Oh, Lan Zhan is the best person. He’s the best person in the whole world and Wei Ying is going to cuddle him to death. 

Granted, he should’ve given a little warning before throwing himself into Lan Zhan’s body, but the guy works out. So what if he grunts a little in surprise and so what if he lets out a winded wheeze when Wei Ying squeezes. He’ll recover, Wei Ying thinks, as he koalas his arms and legs around Lan Zhan’s entire body. 

“Who even says stuff like indelibly out loud? You absolute twerp,” he says, directly into Lan Zhan’s cheek and squeezing so hard his biceps ache. “This isn’t an experiment for me.” Lan Zhan, in spite of his steadily reddening face, opens his mouth like he’s about to interject, and Wei Ying cuts in quickly, “Don’t say I’m allowed to experiment, obviously I know that, but this isn’t one. You’ve left your mark on me too, okay? I like you to absolute bits, Lan Zhan.”

Lan Zhan, breathless and only losing more oxygen by the second as Wei Ying wounds his arms tighter, gasps out a, “Wei Ying—!”

“Oops, sorry,” Wei Ying says cheerfully. He releases Lan Zhan, who immediately goes from puce to red as the blood rushes back down his face. “Woh, ge, those bicep curls are really working, huh? I’m, like, so strong now!” 

Lan Zhan coughs and looks at him with fond admonishment. “You are absurd,” he says, eyes somehow wild and alight in a singularly spectacular way, before drawing Wei Ying down for a kiss. Wei Ying’s protest gets lost in the warm seam of Lan Zhan’s lips. 

They stay like this for a while, kissing and touching gently without the rush of something more urgent. It’s lovely, frankly, feeling the weight of Lan Zhan on top of him as he rolls Wei Ying onto his back, the calloused coasting of Lan Zhan’s fingertips down his sides as his tongue does wicked things in Wei Ying’s mouth.

“You—” Wei Ying stutters out between kisses. “You kiss all the pretty boys like that, Lan Zhan?”

He feels more than sees Lan Zhan’s answering smile. “Mm,” he hums against Wei Ying’s mouth, and Wei Ying makes a noise of affront. “Only you, now,” Lan Zhan clarifies. “Since our first date- since the first lunch at the wonton shop.”

Wei Ying yanks his face away in time to see Lan Zhan blushing up to the roots of his hair even though he tries to hide it by turning his face away when he rolls off of Wei Ying’s pliant body. “Zhan ge,” Wei Ying intones delightedly. “You thought- oh my god, you long-suffering hero! Lan Zhan, how tenderly you grip my heart! All this time you’ve cherished the memory—”

“This is why I misunderstood you,” Lan Zhan interrupts him with a mulish expression, gesturing at Wei Ying’s hand pawing at his chest. 

Wei Ying frowns then pokes him in the shoulder. “What, ‘cause I’m an incorrigible flirt? I’m like a sexy tomcat, you can’t control these wily ways.”

“No,” Lan Zhan says flatly. “Wei Ying is very…queer-coded.”

Wei Ying’s mouth falls right open. “What.

Lan Zhan shrugs and looks away, for all intents and purposes appearing like he’s fighting back a smile. “You are…dramatic.”

“Greta Garbo was dramatic and you don’t see anyone calling her—

“The theatre references, too, did not help your case,” Lan Zhan points out. When Wei Ying struggles like a fish on land for words, Lan Zhan gathers him up into his capable arms. “It is alright. I am thankful for the misunderstanding.”

Wei Ying smacks him firmly on the chest. “Stop it! I am very- Lan Zhan, you’re so rude, I’m very manly, I’ll have you know!” 

Lan Zhan hums. “Yes. I noticed because I am gay, Wei Ying.”

Wei Ying doesn’t know whether to snort with delight or shove Lan Zhan off the bed. He settles for burrowing deeper into his arms, though, because then Lan Zhan noses against the juncture at Wei Ying’s neck, placing little kisses there as he explores the sensitive skin, and it’s completely wonderful. 

“Gege, Zhan ge, are you telling me this whole time you thought we were going on dates? And I was hitting on you?” Wei Ying mumbles between small breathy sighs. Lan Zhan unlatches himself from Wei Ying’s neck and gives him a long-suffering look.

“You kept approaching me. And touching my arm.”

Wei Ying chokes. “I was being friendly! Which, okay, in hindsight had some homoerotic Freudian-slip-y undertones but still. What, you just assume every guy who approaches you at the gym wants you? That’s awfully arrogant, Lan Zhan.”

Lan Zhan sighs. “You said you were so glad we started seeing each other in the wonton restaurant.”

“Wha- no, Lan Zhan, the waitress cut me off! I meant that I was glad we started seeing each other at the gym! At the gym!

“When I stood behind you to support your weight when you were struggling with the overhead press, you touched my thigh and said, wah, Zhan ge, I bet you could crush my head between these.” The way he imitates Wei Ying, high and breathy and unnecessarily flirtatious, is incredibly offensive.

Wei Ying bah’s with a wide-berthed hand wave. “That was just friendly banter! I was hyping you up! You should- wait.” He stops short, eyes widening as the memory replays in his head. “You,” he wags his finger in Lan Zhan’s face that has suddenly adopted a shifty expression. “You scoundrel! You totally got all up in my business! You pressed your- you parked your lorry right up against my garage — full pelvic contact!”

“I am tired,” Lan Zhan announces loudly. “I will sleep.” He yawns convincingly, and when Wei Ying snickers gleefully into his palms, Lan Zhan frowns, then grabs him and pulls him down to lay flat on the bed. Still, he softens the manhandling with a, “Stay. I will make you food after our nap.” 

Wei Ying grins and nods. “Okay!” he chirps. He raises his palm. “Gym bro five.” Lan Zhan grimaces, glancing between Wei Ying’s flagging smile and his hand, and Wei Ying frowns. “No, I guess you’re right. So, what — what are we then?” 

Lan Zhan blinks phlegmatically back at him, and he tugs Wei Ying down to his chest. As nice as his chest is, however, - and it’s really, really nice actually, like, man, what a chest - Wei Ying has trouble sleeping on a surface so rigidly solid. 

“Okay, so not gym bros, gym buddies with benefits? Too casual. Gym bros who are hoes for each other?” Wei Ying rambles as he wriggles into a small spoon position. He tugs at Lan Zhan’s arm, and Lan Zhan comes to wrap around him, easy as anything. “Gym exclusive sexy time havers? Just exclusive sexy time havers, no ‘gym’? But I’m really getting into the gym, Lan Zhan, so—”

“Wei Ying, sleep. We can talk about this when we wake up,” Lan Zhan rumbles out.

“Oh, no, good call, I was just thinking now, y’know, but- mrphf.” Lan Zhan’s enormous hand covers about the entire bottom half of Wei Ying’s face with his palm alone and, wow, are they going to have to explore that later. 

“Rest.”

“MmfL’nZhrn- Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying gasps when Lan Zhan finally releases him. “You’re a brute.” Lan Zhan hums and Wei Ying snuggles in tighter into the warm comma of the body behind him. 

There’s a moment of even silence, sort of idyllic and downy in a way, like the whole world had turned drowsy and lavender. 

Then—

“Hey, gym lovers? What do you think of that?” Lan Zhan doesn’t deign to respond but his dick twitches against Wei Ying’s back. Wei Ying gasps. “Oooh, Lan Zhan, you liked that, didn’t you? You wanna ravish me sooo bad!” he crows.

Lan Zhan doesn’t say anything for a moment, but then he shifts and nuzzles his nose deep against Wei Ying’s hair. “Mm,” he hums vaguely. “It is enjoyable ravishing Wei Ying.”

The only thing keeping him from whipping around in affront is the shocking weight of Lan Zhan’s arm. Even so, his face positively burns. 

Enjoy— Lan Zhan, without a ring or anything? Shameless!”

Lan Zhan sinks his teeth into Wei Ying’s shoulder and sucks. Hard. 

“Ow!”

“Sleep, Wei Ying.” 

Wei Ying huffs irritably and wriggles away from Lan Zhan’s hot, wet mouth. He would protest further, but there’s an expansion of warmth threatening to pop like an over-ambitious soap bubble in his chest, and he’s rather scared he’ll say something absolutely awful if he opens his mouth. 

Almost like he knows what’s happening inside of Wei Ying, Lan Zhan pulls him back, closer still, arms and legs and lips touching Wei Ying’s skin like a particularly amorous anaconda or- or possibly a very imminent boyfriend to be. Maybe. Wei Ying will have to discuss this with Lan Zhan later, even though it feels completely juvenile to say are we boyfriends at the ripe age of twenty six. 

Juvenile and awful and also maybe kind of nice and sweet and everything Wei Ying has been gearing himself up to be allowed to want. 

Sleep and something sweeter than that envelop him like a heavy blanket.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying mumbles urgently, before he slips under. “Lan Zhan, I have to tell you something.”

Lan Zhan’s exhale of breath against the first notch of Wei Ying’s spine is delightful. “Mm?”

“Lan Zhan, I’m glad it was you. I’m glad I figured- it out with you,” Wei Ying says, feeling for once like the world is slow enough, still enough to say something as solemn as that. 

He must be imagining it, but he rather thinks he can feel Lan Zhan smile against his neck. “I am glad, too.” He kisses Wei Ying’s skin, dragonfly-skimming-water light. “Sleep well, Wei Ying.”

Wei Ying sighs and lets his eyes flutter shut finally. “Goodnight, Lan Zhan.”

 

 

 

Three days later, when Wei Ying has his bare feet in Lan Zhan’s lap and his hair smells of Lan Zhan’s shampoo - a distinctly soul-satisfying sensation of feeling marked and owned that he will later have to examine, possibly with his therapist or with a lot of online kink forums - his boyfriend turns to him with slightly wide eyes and says, “So that’s why you didn’t own lubricant.”

Wei Ying blushes all the way up to his hairline, and then loudly demands that Lan Zhan re-demonstrate, in great detail and on Wei Ying himself, the myriad uses of the rapidly depleting bottle of water-based, organic aloe-infused lube in his drawer.