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The Thousand Gods’ Cave is dark and gloomy as always when Xie Lian steps into it, palm torch held high to lighten his surroundings. Mindful of what he likes to refer to as the statue incident, he reigns in his spiritual energy, allowing just a little part of it to trickle into the nearby chambers. Heavy steps begin to resonate in the empty corridors almost immediately, calm and unhurried. Xie Lian smiles when a statue of the Crown Prince Who Pleased The Gods walks out of its niche with a tiny child in its arms, and nods politely in its direction. The statue returns the greeting with a countenance that Xie Lian hasn’t had in centuries, before wandering off somewhere in the dark. Amused, Xie Lian follows behind it.

 

He isn’t worried about any of the statues escaping - they have shown no interest in it ever since they got their own Hua Cheng companion, a fact that still endears Xie Lian to no end. Besides, the power he let loose is just enough to animate them for a short time. 

 

Without a clear direction to follow, Xie Lian lets his steps carry him deeper into the maze. The small flame in his hand paints strange shadows on the walls, and barely manages to stave off the humid coldness of the place. Despite the unwelcoming atmosphere, he likes to come to the Cave once in a while, when his duties as a god leave him more free than usual. It simply feels like a waste to leave the fruit of Hua Cheng’s endless hours of solitary work in the darkness, never to be admired by anyone. Xie Lian has never been a particularly vain person, and what entitlement he possessed was lost long ago, but he never fails to look at each of these statues with something akin to awe. Hua Cheng’s craftsmanship is unparalleled, of course, but more than that it’s the devotion chiseled in every smiling, crying or serene feature that gets to him, the deep-seated knowledge that even at his lowest, somewhere Hua Cheng was thinking about him, believing in him.

 

He wants to repay that kind of sentiment with equal fervor, day after day of their new life. 

 

A statue in the shape of a young soldier comes out of a chamber, a stony flower held in its hands, and hurries behind his own Xie Lian - a tall depiction of a young and proud martial god. Xie Lian smiles again and lets them be, taking a different turn at the next junction. He wonders idly what kind of statues this part of the maze holds. He doesn't remember coming in this particular section during his previous visits, but then the entirety of the cave looks the same, so he might as well be wrong. 

 

Several chambers open in the walls on either side of the tunnel. There’s a pair of armed statues in the first one, currently locked in a heated and friendly fight. A stony E-ming cuts through the air with the same precision of the original, promptly blocked by a long, elegant sword. Xie Lian stops by longer than usual, admiring the motions and feeling his own blood start to stir: it’s been a while since he last sparred, which is honestly a pity when he has an amazing and available partner. Perhaps once he comes back he will ask Hua Cheng if he’s up to it. He doubts he would refuse, if only because their sparring sessions frequently end with… other kinds of activities. 

 

Blushing slightly at his own excitement, Xie Lian moves on to look at the next alcoves. 

 

There’s a statue of himself as a general, another one with its eyes closed in meditation, and even one busy practicing calligraphy - each of them with their own Hua Cheng to keep them company. Each is a work of art, their features so life-like they’re almost unsettling.

 

Xie Lian is so busy admiring them that he misses the differences in the last chamber at the end of the tunnel, and almost falls right into a pit. He catches himself in time, realizing as he regains his balance where he ended up. No wonder he didn’t recognize the statues in this particular part of the cave: the last time he was here he was running like mad, too busy following voices and wondering what was going on to take proper notice of his surroundings. 

 

The butterflies’ silk nest is as dark as the last time he saw it, and apparently motionless. There isn’t much to look at, and it’s not like XIe Lian can throw a flame down to get some light, so he turns to enter the next tunnel. If he remembers right, the area with the painted walls shouldn’t be that far away, and he hasn’t seen those ever since the first time he was here. Mu Qing and Feng Xin even prevented him to look at all of them! This might be the right occasion to rectify that, especially since Hua Cheng isn’t with him either. His silly husband - husband! - still gets self-conscious about the things he created in this Cave sometimes. Curiosity piqued, Xie Lian walks away from the edge of the pit.

 

He manages exactly two steps before his bad luck strikes again.

 

Something thin and sturdy wraps around his ankles and tugs , hard. Xie Lian startles - and then falls. It happens quickly, and he barely manages to extinguish his palm torch in time before landing on a smooth surface. Threads of silk wrap around his body, exceedingly gentle, binding his arms together behind his back. The strands that caught him shift slightly, running up his legs and intertwining with each other. 

 

Squirming and trying to shy away from the ticklish sensations, Xie Lian laughs, exasperated. 

 

Not again!

 

The silk doesn’t give off any malicious intent, content to just hold Xie Lian in its gentle grasp like the last time, which is probably why he didn’t feel the sneak attack coming. Oh, but he should have expected this. Like everything that is somehow related to Hua Cheng - E-Ming, his butterflies - the silk threads seems to like him a lot . Xie Lian tests his restraints, and finds them as sturdy as he remembered. He could probably break them with the power he wields now, but he doesn’t want to ruin them, not when they mean him no harm. Plus, he doesn’t really want to release that much energy in this cave, least he prompts the statues to go wild. 

 

With some awkward shifting, he manages at least to get up on his knees. The silk loosens to accommodate his movements only to wrap around him more snugly afterwards. Sighing, Xie Lian resolves to wait. 

 

Hua Cheng knows he came to the Thousands Gods’ Cave today, and will likely contact him if he isn't back to Paradise Minor on time. At worst, Xie Lian could reach out to him, even if the idea of reciting his private communication array’s password still makes him blush. 

 

The pit is so dark Xie Lian could very well close his eyes and it wouldn’t make a difference. He can hear the faint steps of the statues coming from the nearby tunnels and, softer, the whisper of sliding silk. It should feel unsettling given his current position but, strangely, it doesn’t. This nest is linked to Hua Cheng, and as such it will never cause him harm. Ruoye trembles lightly where it’s wrapped around Xie Lian’s body though, scared like it was last time, and Xie Lian coos softly to reassure it.  

 

Waiting shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Xie Lian is used to staying perfectly still for extended periods of time thanks to all the training and meditation he did throughout the centuries. Still, his current obligated position feels weird, with his arms stretched taut behind his back. He squirms, trying to adapt - and then his breath abruptly catches. The silk threads slide against the inner part of his thighs, inadvertently pressing over a sensitive area that still bears the marks of Hua Cheng’s love. The flash of memory in Xie Lian’s mind is so stark that he has to bite back an embarrassing noise.

 

The silk seems to catch on to the fact that the gesture was pleasurable for him, and starts to move again with more purpose. 

 

Oh no, Xie Lian thinks, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. 

 

After that, preventing his mind from wandering to the previous night’s activities proves nearly impossible. The pitch black of the pit does nothing to help, providing a blank canvas over which Xie Lian can perfectly visualize Hua Cheng’s mischievous eye, the blissed out expression that he always wears whenever he gets to bury his head in between Xie Lian’s thighs. 

 

Xie Lian feels the first signs of arousal light up in his body, fueled by the slide of silk getting increasingly closer to his groin. His restrained position is too reminiscent of those times Hua Cheng used a ribbon to tie his wrists together, laying him bare to his worship. Too similar, even, to that one instance when he made Ruoye wrap around Hua Cheng’s forearm to keep him from distracting Xie Lian with his touches. 

 

He jolts with the realization that Hua Cheng can likely control this silk like he controls Ruoye. How would it feel, then, to be completely bound in something that is, essentially, part of Hua Cheng?

 

His mouth is suddenly very, very dry.

 

Gege?

 

Xie Lian jolts, making a truly embarrassing sound as that deep, familiar voice breaks through the fog in his mind at the worst possible moment , doing absolutely nothing to quell down his traitorous arousal. Quite the opposite, actually. Glad that Hua Cheng reached out to him on his private array and is not there in person, thus sparing him the embarrassment of explaining what that squeak even was, Xie Lian forces his racing heartbeat to calm down.  

 

“San Lang!” He chirps, probably a little bit too cheerfully if the amused noise he gets in return is of any indication. “I have run into a small problem.” 

 

“I could tell,” Hua Cheng replies, sounding amused. “It seems that gege fell into quite a predicament.” 

 

“You already knew?” 

 

“I sensed it.”

 

Curiosity piqued, as it always happens when he encounters something about his husband that he still doesn’t know, Xie Lian almost forgets about his position. “Are you connected to this silk nest, San Lang?”

 

“Something like that. Does gege need me to get him out of there?” 

 

“Yes, please. I would hate to ruin this fine silk.” 

 

Hua Cheng makes a soft noise that trails down Xie Lian’s spine, as if it was whispered right against his ear. It takes a lot of willpower not to shiver. 

 

“Gege could destroy it all, I wouldn’t mind. I can just build it again.” 

 

Xie Lian blinks, then sighs. Hua Cheng’s self-sacrificing attitude when it comes to Xie Lian extends to everything he owns and is: Xie Lian doesn’t know how else to tell him that he is worthy of care and protection too, except to show him with his actions time and time again. Be it by shouldering a part of his worries or refusing to break his wraith butterflies’ nest. 

 

“I would never mean harm to anything that is San Lang’s.” He says then, gentle but firm. 

 

There’s a brief pause on the other side of the communication array, followed by a chuckle.



“As dianxia wishes. I’ll be right there.” Hua Cheng whispers it like a promise, and then his voice is gone. 

 

Xie Lian manages to relax for the entirety of a moment before truly, horribly realizing the embarrassing position he will be found in. Blushing furiously, unable to forget the things the thought before, he tries - and fails - to rearrange himself in a more dignified position. 

 

There’s no time, however. Activating the shortening distance array takes but a moment, and it isn’t long before the tinkling of silver chains announces Hua Cheng’s arrival from up above. Suppressing a frustrated groan, Xie Lian blinks his eyes against the faint light coming from the edge of the pit.

 

“I’m down here, San Lang!” 

 

He shouts, even if Hua Cheng obviously knows. The silk threads that had been quiet for a while start to stir again as soon as Hua Cheng lands softly upon them, surrounded by the silver light of his butterflies. 

 

“You wandered quite far this time, gege.” He says, amused, then raises his head to look at him - and freezes. His single eye widens slightly, obviously taking in Xie Lian’s appearance.

 

Xie Lian can feel the blush spread hotly down his neck. Hua Cheng is unfairly handsome as usual, his features made even sharper by the harsh contrast of darkness and cold light. It’s difficult not to think about every single image his mind conjured in the short time he’s been alone down in that pit. He can only be grateful that his momentary panic of before has somehow tamed his arousal, so that he doesn’t have to explain an erection on top of it all. 

 

He absentmindedly wets his dry lips, and Hua Cheng’s eye immediately snap down to track the movement. 

 

Oh. Oh. 

 

He is aware, theoretically, of the picture he must paint. He wasn’t expecting, however, Hua Cheng to be this affected. He stands as still as a statue, all of his attention focused on Xie Lian, eye roaming hungrily over his body. There’s no mistaking that kind of stare. The tension in the air is suddenly so thick that Xie Lian has to muster all of his willpower just to keep his breathing steady.  

 

Then Hua Cheng takes a step towards him as if entranced, and Xie Lian can’t help the new wave of arousal that shoots down his spine. There’s a hint of danger in the collected way Hua Cheng moves, not directed towards Xie Lian but present nonetheless. It’s written in the purposeful gestures, the sure way in which he moves in almost complete darkness. Xie Lian has always been weak to the effortless way in which Hua Cheng wields his power. 

 

“S-san Lang?” He calls, voice hoarse, trying to awake Hua Cheng from his stupor. 

 

Hua Cheng snaps out of it so fast it’s almost dazzling. He stops abruptly, then blinks and motions the silk to free Xie Lian’s limbs with a casual gesture. Xie Lian doesn’t even have the time to adjust to his newfound freedom when Hua Cheng is already in front of him, helping him to his feet with his usual care. The atmosphere in the pit is back to normal again as if nothing has happened, all the tension dissipated in an instant. 

 

Xie Lian is almost… disappointed. 

 

“Forgive me for taking so long, dianxia.” Hua Cheng says, massaging the tension out of Xie Lian’s forearms. Then glares at the nervously shifting silk in the pit. “It seems my silk likes you a bit too much.”

 

Xie Lian leans gratefully in his embrace and shakes his head, smiling up at him. “Don’t scold it. It meant me no harm, and I’m fine now.”

 

The look in Hua Cheng’s eye is soft and loving, and makes something inside Xie Lian melt like every single time before this. He can’t help, however, but miss that heated gaze he got a taste of before, especially now that they are so close. He gets up on his tiptoes to press a soft kiss against Hua Cheng’s cheek. 

 

“Take us home?”

 

Two dice are already in Hua Cheng’s hand. 

 

“Of course, gege.”

 

*



Hua Cheng fucks him hard and perfect that night. 

 

Xie Lian lays spent afterwards, Hua Cheng’s defined chest pressed snugly to his back and arms encircling him in a gently possessive hold. Xie Lian hums happily, idly playing with the red ribbon that Hua Cheng just used - oh so predictably - to tie him to the headboard. His body is still thrumming with the last vestiges of pleasure, and he melts even more into the embrace when Hua Cheng presses a wet kiss to his nape. 

 

There is something, however, that has been going around his mind all day. Xie Lian is glad that Hua Cheng can’t see his face now, because the mere thought of what he wants to ask is enough to make his cheeks flush. He stalls now like he stalled all day, unsure of the right way to bring it up - but what moment would be better than now, with them both so relaxed and still wrapped in each other? Their current position even spares Xie Lian from having to look at Hua Cheng while his cheeks are acquiring the same color of his tunic. Embarrassing! 

 

“San Lang,” he calls, both to break the silence and to prevent himself from chickening out. 

 

“Yes, gege?”

 

“I’ve meant to ask for a while. The silk pit in Mount Tonglu… is it your butterflies’ nest?” 

 

Well, that’s not really what he was thinking about, but since they have time he might as well sate some of his curiosity. Xie Lian is always greedy for every bit of information that concerns the man he chose to marry. 

 

“Basically,” comes the lazy reply. “Is gege curious?”

 

“Of course. I’m always curious about you.” Hua Cheng hums, content, absentmindedly stroking over Xie Lian’s hip and making him shiver. Xie Lian presses on. “Can you control it however you want, like your butterflies?” 

 

“Yes.”

 

He takes a moment to let the reply sink in, even if he already supposed that. He strokes Hua Cheng’s forearm, where Xie Lian’s own name is etched onto the skin in indecipherable characters. Then, “And you were aware I was there. Can you feel what that silk does?”

 

There’s a slight pause behind him, and when the replies comes it carries the first traces of hesitation in it. “It’s complex, and a difficult sensation to describe.”

 

Xie Lian braces himself, and then lets out the next question in a single breath. 

 

“Could you feel me wrapped up in it, today?”

 

Hua Cheng inhales sharply before going completely still, a perfect line of warmth and immobility against Xie Lian’s back.

 

“Gege? What-”

 

Before Hua Cheng can inquire further about his line of thought - or worse, try to blame himself for his slip of control that morning in the pit - Xie Lian turns around in his arms to meet a worried and unsure eye. Hua Cheng allows the movement easily, adjusting his hold without never letting go. Xie Lian’s face is on fire, but he is not about to back down. 

 

He does, however, look away for the briefest of seconds, embarrassment making his tongue weigh a ton.

 

“I can’t stop thinking about it, San Lang.” He confesses. “About how it would feel to be… intimate with you while being restrained like that.” 

 

Hua Cheng takes one of Xie Lian’s hands to press a kiss on its palm. The gesture is careful, the look that he gives him afterwards even more so. 

 

“Is this because of how I behaved this morning?”

 

“No,” Xie Lian assures, cupping Hua Cheng’s cheek and stroking a thumb just below the empty socket of his right eye. He smiles, traces of embarrassment still dancing on his face, but so irrelevant in the face of reassuring his husband. “I liked that. And I was already thinking about it before you showed up. I want it.” 

 

As desire and doubts war over his beloved’s face, Xie Lian shifts closer to press a chaste kiss over his lips. Like this, he can use the excuse to close his own eyes, to gather the courage to whisper the next words. 

 

“It will be like having you all around me, San Lang. Against me. Inside me.” 

 

Hua Cheng groans at that, rolling them over until he’s pressing Xie Lian into the mattress, face hidden in the crook of Xie Lian’s neck. He takes a deep breath, and Xie Lian tries not to smile when he feels against his hip how much the mere thought has affected him. 

 

“Dianxia, you’ll really be the death of me.”

 

Xie Lian laughs, bright and happy, wrapping Hua Cheng into a hug and pressing a kiss to the side of his head. He nudges him until he gets up on his elbows, then cups his cheeks to smile up at him. 

 

“No more dying, San Lang. I made you promise.” He chides. “Do I take that as a yes, then?”

 

Hua Cheng dips down to peck Xie Lian’s lips. “Is gege sure? It will be different than using a simple ribbon.”

 

“It’s you,” Xie Lian replies simply, disarmingly. “I trust you.”

 

The sigh breathed against his lips is as much of a confirmation as the next words. 

 

“Then yes. Whatever dianxia wishes.”

 

Xie Lian frowns, interrupting the new kiss before he can get too distracted. 

 

“Do you want it, San Lang?” 

 

He doesn’t really have doubts, not after having seen the way Hua Cheng looked at him in the pit that very morning, but he needs to be sure. Hua Cheng is always too ready to cater to Xie Lian’s wishes, never daring to voice his own unless they’re coaxed out of him. 

 

Hua Cheng blinks slowly down at him, and then gives him a smile that Xie Lian knows all too well. It’s the one that means they’re not gonna get any sleep any time soon, and it makes his heart flutter and his spent body stir again with arousal. 

 

“Trust me, gege. I more than want this.”



*



They don’t get right to it, because Hua Cheng has to make preparations. When Xie Lian inquires about it, puzzled, Hua Cheng simply says that he isn’t going to bed him in a dark and gloomy cave, no matter how convenient the presence of the nest is. 

 

Xie Lian knows better than to try to talk Hua Cheng out of it.

 

Which is how he ends up walking down a hallway in Paradise Manor almost a week later, vibrating out of his skin with excitement. Hua Cheng squeezes his hand as they stop in front of a regular door.

 

"Did you change your mind?" he asks, his own hesitation hidden behind a sweet smile. 

 

"No," Xie Lian shakes his head, pressing closer to his husband. "Did you?"

 

Hua Cheng's smile turns sharper, and he raises Xie Lian's hand to leave a fleeting kiss on his knuckles. "Definitely not," he murmurs, and then slides the door open.

 

What greets them is a surreal view. 

 

There is definitely a regular room inside - intricately chiseled furniture arranged with taste, a divan on the side, a pile of cushions in the middle. There are even paintings decorating the walls, human figures and geometric ones alternating without being overwhelming; Xie Lian can't really make out the subjects, however, because white silk cascades all over the walls like water, hiding the majority of the drawings. It curves gently over the furniture, tangles above the expensive carpets until the place looks like something out of a dream. Everything is washed in the silver light of Hua Cheng's wraith butterflies, silently perched on the silk threads. The lazy flickering of their wings creates ripples of shadows all across the room.

 

Overall, it's something between unsettling and hauntingly beautiful.

 

Xie Lian can't help but stare in wonder. He's torn between hilarity and fondness, loving the way Hua Cheng can never do anything half-assed. 

 

"What do you think, gege?"

 

The words, whispered directly against his ear, jolt Xie Lian out of his stupor. Hua Cheng presses closer to his back, gently nudging him into the room. He goes willingly, exhaling a breath heavy with anticipation.

 

"It's beautiful."

 

"I'm glad." 

 

Hua Cheng’s hands settle on Xie Lian’s hips as the door closes behind them, trailing slowly upward until they can slither under the hem on Xie Lian’s outer robe. It’s a delicate tease, accompanied by the brushing of lips to the hollow of his throat. Xie Lian turns into the embrace just to hook his arms around Hua Cheng’s neck, coaxing him down into a proper, long kiss. He doesn’t know when he will get the chance to do it again once they start on their play, after all - might as well get the most of it. 

 

When they part, Hua Cheng’s single eye is dark with intentions. 

 

Xie Lian’s clothes fall to the ground like leaves, each of them accompanied by fleeting touches on the newly exposed skin. When Hua Cheng kneels to help him step out of his pants, he shivers. 

 

“Gege, are you cold?” Hua Cheng asks, ever the attentive lover. 

 

Xie Lian strokes his cheek and gives him a small smile, shaking his head. He’s acutely aware of his state of undress, of the position they’re both in. There’s embarrassment drawn in the pink flush of his cheeks, but it’s irrelevant in the face of his desire. 

 

Hua Cheng nuzzles into his hand, then leaves a wet kiss on the crease on his hip. Xie Lian’s breath itches when silky strands of hair brush against his half hard cock. Then Hua Cheng is standing again, crowding against him and walking him back towards the middle of the room, where the pile of cushions awaits. 

 

“You know how to stop this,” he murmurs against Xie Lian’s lips, still so careful. Xie Lian wants nothing more to see that control gone, to be consumed by the passion underneath. “And you can also break the threads, if you need it.”

 

“San Lang,” he chastises, half fond and half exasperated. “I told you I want- ah!” 

 

His eyes widen as something smooth twines around his ankles, slowly slithering up towards his thighs. Hua Cheng’s smile turns sharper as he brushes a thumb against damp lips. 

 

“I know.” More strands drop down from the ceiling and drag over Xie Lian’s back. They reach for his wrists and raise his arms up, up , until he’s almost on his tiptoes, bound on both ends. 

 

There’s a single moment of panic at the helplessness of his position, fueled by how exposed he feels, so naked and shameless, but it’s immediately tamed by the attentive way in which Hua Cheng is looking at him. He stands still, trying to gauge Xie Lian’s reactions, and Xie Lian feels sudden warmth bloom in his chest. He gives an encouraging nod, and it’s only then that Hua Cheng smiles, nodding in return. 

 

Then he takes a step back, and looks .

 

Xie Lian thinks about how he must look, flushed and erect and completely naked except for the ring dangling from his neck, threads of white painting thin lines all over his body. He squirms, caught between arousal and self-consciousness, but his next breath gets caught in his throat when he feels the silk slide further over his body. It wraps around his thighs, sliding in between where he’s most sensitive, pressing down and then letting up in a perfect mimicry of Hua Cheng’s hands. His pulse speeds up. The threads, controlled by his husband’s thoughts, know exactly where and how to touch him. 

 

Hua Cheng exhales a heavy breath, looking on the right side of overwhelmed, and strips out of his red tunic with quick, familiar gestures. Xie Lian’s mouth is dry as Hua Chengs slowly approaches him, every fiber of his body screaming for a single touch. When it comes, it’s just the lightest brushing of fingertips against his torso, barely catching on his nipples, but it feels like an electric current shooting down his body. 

 

He can’t help it - he moans. The sound gets swallowed immediately by Hua Cheng’s lips, greedy for everything that Xie Lian can give him. It’s a deep, consuming kiss that leaves him breathless and hopelessly aroused afterwards, a promise of things to come. 

 

“San Lang,” he calls, and Hua Cheng dips down to peck him again. 

 

“You’re breathtaking, dianxia.” 

 

Xie Lian wants to protest, but gets distracted when Hua Cheng nuzzles his neck, sucking wet marks all over the skin. A bite on Xie Lian’s collarbone makes him gasp, and his cock twitches where it raised to full hardness between his legs.

 

As Hua Cheng moves lower and lower, mouth following the path of his hands with a care not dissimilar from reverence, Xie Lian‘s body starts to tremble. Hua Cheng’s touches are like prayers drawn on his skin, overwhelming in their sincerity.

 

Thumbs brush over Xie Lian’s nipples, making him arch to chase the touch, and Hua Cheng places a last kiss on the ring that always rests on Xie Lian’s chest.

 

“Dianxia,” Hua Cheng breathes as he falls to his knees. No matter how many times they do this, his tone always holds a quiet sort of wonder that never fails to squeeze Xie Lian’s heart painfully. His hands rub soothing circles on Xie Lian’s hips, only managing to stoke his desire higher and higher - but Hua Cheng is looking up at him with a dark, intent eye, and touching everywhere but where Xie Lian wants him most. 

 

“San Lang,” he calls back, and it comes out so similar to a whine that his face flushes in embarrassment. He bites his lips, and looks down, and all the air leaves his lungs in a breath at the sight of Hua Cheng kneeling between his bound legs. “Won’t you touch me?” he asks, a touch of shyness in his voice.

 

“But I am touching you,” comes the witty, predictable reply. Hua Cheng’s lips curl up in a delighted smirk as he trails his hands down the inner side of Xie Lian’s thighs. It’s a strange sensation, warm skin on skin contact interrupted by smooth silk. It tingles, overly sensitive. 

 

Then, without warning, Hua Cheng bends and bites down on the exposed meat of Xie Lian’s thigh. The sting is minimal, and the pleasure so sudden that Xie Lian cries out. A warm tongue swipes over the mark to soothe it, reverently.

 

“What-” Xie Lian starts, but gets interrupted again as Hua Cheng finally noses the base of his cock, inhaling deeply. 

 

“I want to savor the moment.” Hua Cheng says, blinking his good eye up at him. It’s an unfairly good look. “I promise I will make it good for you, gege.” 

 

Xie Lian smiles, fond. As if he ever doubted that. Anticipation runs through his veins like an electric current, amplifying the smallest sensations. The threads of silk dig slightly into his skin, stretch his arms above just a little bit more. He nods, breathless.

 

And, finally, Hua Cheng wraps his lips around Xie Lian’s achingly hard cock.

 

It’s so sudden and good that Xie Lian’s mind blanks out. He doesn’t realize he’s moaning loudly until his breath stutters as he hits the back of Hua Cheng’s throat, sliding further down with ease. The heat is scorching, consuming every coherent thought aside from the need to get more, more, more

 

Hua Cheng is only happy to oblige, not doing anything to prevent the instinctive, sharp thrusts of Xie Lian’s hips. He moans around him like having his mouth used for Xie Lian’s pleasure is the best thing that could happen to him, and Xie Lian is too far gone after all the teasing and anticipation to find it anything but hot . His husband has gotten far too skilled at this, managing to press his tongue against his most sensitive parts every time Xie Lian withdraws from his throat. 

 

When Hua Cheng sighs, adding gentle suction into the mix, Xie Lian’s entire body goes taut, already embarrassingly close to release.

 

“San Lang,” he pants, unable to stop the frantic movement of his hips. The look he receives in return is ravenous.

 

It’s a strange sensation. He’s used to feel more in control when Hua Cheng lets him do this, hands threading between silky hair and strength carefully measured until he can no longer think. Like this, however, bound tight at both ends, he can’t get any leverage at all, can’t manage anything but short, uncoordinated thrusts. 

 

He’s acutely aware of how much his pleasure is in Hua Cheng’s hands.

 

And, as if on cue, Hua Cheng hums one last time around him before withdrawing completely just out of reach. Xie Lian sags, letting his bindings hold more of his weight, and bites back a truly embarrassing noise at the loss. The abrupt change in temperature on such a sensitive part of himself sparks another wave of pleasure, but it’s not enough to get him over the edge. The silk slides against him in a soothing caress, brushing against his nipples. 

 

“Gege looks stunning,” comes Hua Cheng’s rough voice, and Xie Lian blinks his eyes open to look at him as soon as he regains some coherency. He looks disheveled, lips red from the rough treatment and what is clearly an erection still hidden below his pants. Xie Lian wants them gone, but he’s not the one making the decisions tonight, and Hua Cheng seems perfectly fine ignoring it for now.

 

Xie Lian knows what he’s trying to do - no sense in asking him why he stopped. His throat is so dry he has to swallow before replying. “Will my San Lang touch me more?”

 

Hua Cheng smiles, leaning forward to breathe against Xie Lian’s cock. It twitches, overly sensitive, dribbling a drop of precome that Hua Cheng collects with a flick of his tongue. 

 

“I plan to,” he hums, calm like he isn’t trying to drive Xie Lian mad. His hands might be placed on his own thighs, but the silk threads keep rippling in measured movements, turning Xie Lian’s skin into an overly sensitive canvas. “I always want to touch you.” 

 

“Then- ah!

 

Hua Cheng is evidently fond of shutting him up with unexpected pleasure today, or maybe he just wants to hear Xie Lian’s moans, now that he can’t use his hands to muffle them. His lips are already red from where he’s bitten them in a feeble attempt at restraint. He doesn’t even know why he does that at this point, except that no matter how comfortable he’s gotten with his husband in the bedroom, he still feels self-conscious of how much he likes it. 

 

A bruise flourishes where Hua Cheng’s has been working Xie Lian’s skin over his hip. He soothes it with a gentle kiss, and then draws a trail of them back to Xie Lian’s cock. This time, however, he keeps him still, unable to thrust into that maddeningly delicious heat. 

 

Xie Lian loses track of time.

 

All his world narrows to physical sensation, to the pleasure building steadily in his groin until it’s almost ready to burst, only to be denied again and again. Hua Cheng could easily wrap some additional silk around the base of Xie Lian’s cock, but he doesn’t need to - he knows Xie Lian’s body too well to need something like that. It’s heady, to be known that intimately, to have all that focused attention directed only on him. 

 

Then his legs are drawn further apart, and a slick finger rubs over his entrance. Xie Lian opens his eyes, only to realize that Hua Cheng has disrobed too, and is now kneeling entirely naked at his feet. He has no idea how he did that, since he doesn’t remember a moment when Hua Cheng’s lips or hands weren’t on his body, but he doesn’t question it. It isn’t the strangest thing Hua Cheng has ever done, and the picture he paints is too good to leave Xie Lian anything but hungry.  

 

Xie Lian exhales heavily as the first finger sinks in. It goes easily, his body by now used to the stretch and the intrusion, leaving in its wake only the familiar sensation of pleasure. Hua Cheng pumps it slowly, seemingly content in torturing him with a degree of preparation they both know is entirely unnecessary. When he adds a second finger, ages later, Xie Lian is so strung up he lets out a relieved sob. 

 

Hua Cheng soothes him, pressing a wet kiss on the crease of his hip, and whispers, “I am the luckiest man in the world.”

 

As Hua Cheng keeps murmuring praises, Xie Lian thinks deliriously that it’s the other way around - that despite Xie Lian’s own horrible luck, he is the one who somehow managed to marry such a wonderful man. He doesn’t know what he did to deserve someone as Hua Cheng at his side. 

 

The feeling of a second finger joining the first scatters his remaining thoughts, leaving him a squirming, moaning mess, fighting futilely against his bonds. Hua Cheng’s clever tongue flicks out from time to time, collecting the precome that’s all but leaking from his cock, coaxed by the unrelenting pressure against that spot inside him. It’s entirely too much and not enough. He needs Hua Cheng in him like he needs air to breathe. 

 

The thought of stopping this sweet torture, however, doesn’t cross Xie Lian’s mind for an instant. He strains in his bindings, getting up on his tiptoes to try to chase Hua Cheng’s mouth, only to be denied again. The sting of the silk digging into his skin is just enough to keep him there and aware of the rest of his body. 

 

It feels like an eternity later when Hua Cheng withdraws his fingers, using both of his hands to steady Xie Lian’s hips as the silk shifts again, lowering him to the ground. More strands drop from the ceiling, wrapping around his knees and raising them, depriving Xie Lian from even the slightest leverage he had before. 

 

Basically perched above his husband’s lap, unable to move even an inch, Xie Lian just wishes he could at least kiss him. As if reading his mind, Hua Cheng wraps his arms around his chest, hugging him close and claiming his mouth in a kiss that betrays all of his impatience. The skin on skin contact is so much after being denied for so long that Xie Lian feels like a drowning man being offered salvation.

 

He whines when Hua Cheng’s erection slides against the cleft of his ass, already slick with oil.

 

“Please,” Xie Lian whispers against wet lips, all inhibitions forgotten in the face of his need. He kisses him again, chasing Hua Cheng’s taste under the bitterness of his own precome. 

 

Hua Cheng groans, then curses softly as the last remnant of his control snaps. He maneuvers Xie Lian easily, suspended as he is, and Xie Lian feels tears of relief well into his eyes at the first press of Hua Cheng’s cock inside him. He goes slowly, still, making him feel everything and watching with hungry eyes as Xie Lian pants and moans , until they’re flushed against each other.

 

The first real thrust makes Xie Lian shout, pleasure and relief flooding him immediately. Hua Cheng’s hands burn against his skin as he kisses away the trail of his tears. 

 

It’s all greed and desperation after that. Xie Lian’s back arches, head lolling back and exposing his neck to Hua Cheng’s hungry kisses. He can feel the bruises bloom in their wake, but even that gets tangled up in the mix of  sensations that is wiping his mind of everything else. 

 

He has been teased for so long, brought to the brink of release only to be left hanging again and again, that it doesn’t take much for him to reach that precipice again. This time, however, Hua Cheng is right there with him, thrusting roughly into his body even as he holds Xie Lian’s hips steady with a surprisingly gentle grip. This time, when he feels the telltale pressure in his groin, Hua Cheng kisses him one more time and wraps one of his hands around Xie Lian’s cock. 

 

The effect is immediate. Xie Lian’s whole body goes taut and his lips open in a wordless cry as he releases between their bodies. Hua Cheng’s pace doesn’t falter, fucking him through it all until he comes too with a strangled noise, buried deep within Xie Lian’s body. The sudden feeling of warmth wrenches another, fucked-out moan from Xie Lian’s swollen lips. 

 

Heavy pants echo through the otherwise silent room, as they both try to catch their breaths. Hua Cheng raises his face from where he’s buried it into the crook of Xie Lian’s neck, blinking up at him with complete adoration. He looks ruined, but Xie Lian doubts he is in much better conditions.

 

Before he can even mention the building discomfort in his shoulders, the silk threads lower him completely to the ground, effectively seating him more firmly on Hua Cheng’s softening cock. They leave him with a last, lingering caress. Hua Cheng takes his hands in his own and gently presses his lips against the red marks on his wrists. 

 

“How are you feeling, gege?” He asks, kissing his fingertips next and then his lips. Xie Lian’s body is still trembling in aftershocks but he smiles, content, and wraps his arms around Hua Cheng’s shoulders, hugging him close. 

 

“I feel wonderful. That was…” despite everything, he feels a light blush rising on his cheeks. He clears his throat, realising how hoarse his voice is. “You were amazing. Thank you.”

 

“Mmh, it was my pleasure.” Hua Cheng’s eye twinkle in mischief, as he rearranges them on the cushions until they’re both lying down, entangled in each other. 

 

Xie Lian sighs at the sudden sensation of emptiness, clenching instinctively and blushing ever harder as he feels wetness slide down his thighs. He dips his head down to place a grateful kiss on the hollow of Hua Cheng’s collarbone, smiling at the rumbling hum he receives in response. A slow caress down his spine makes him shiver, and he tucks his body more comfortably against his husband’s side.

 

The night is still long, and definitely far from over. But the room is bathed in the gentle, silver light of the butterflies, and Hua Cheng’s presence as his side is safe and comfortable, lulling him to sleep with the gentlest of touches. 

 

Xie Lian supposes he can indulge a bit more, tonight, and closes his eyes with nothing but perfect white noise in his mind.