“Why should we wait until after the wedding?” Xie Lian asked curiously. His face was bright red and his eyes were focused somewhere off over Hua Cheng’s shoulder, yet he had the audacity to still sound genuinely puzzled.
“I’m – gege,” Hua Cheng said helplessly, which he thought was frankly exceedingly eloquent of him. He’d barely come to terms with Xie Lian being in his lap, kissing him with increasingly deadly depth. At one point, he’d gently nipped Hua Cheng’s lower lip, and Hua Cheng’s soul had nearly left his body, which, as he’d only just managed to get it back, would have been an enormous waste. And that was before his highness the crown prince had strongly suggested he wanted Hua Cheng to relieve him of his virginity. Hua Cheng was relatively certain his body was dissolving into phosphorescence. Words were difficult to find. “You – I won’t, you deserve – ”
“San Lang,” Xie Lian laughed, finally meeting Hua Cheng’s eyes. “Are you so fond of tradition, suddenly? Don’t tell me you think I’ll be dishonored? I don’t care what others think, only you. Ah, San Lang.” He shivered suddenly and dipped back in for a kiss, his hips rocking and Hua Cheng could feel a burning heat pushing against his abdomen – still a mind-meltingly impossible concept, an aroused Xie Lian in his arms, making little pleading sounds. “San Lang, I’ve waited so long, I – please. You don’t – I trust you, you can – ”
“Beloved,” Hua Cheng said thickly, amidst scorching kisses, and Xie Lian was grinding down now, breathing out in shocked, helpless pants, and Hua Cheng wasn’t ready for the hotness, of any of this. “I – I don’t – I haven’t – Stop!”
Xie Lian froze and Hua Cheng clutched at his shoulders, burying his face in the firmness of one and panting while he tried to control his own arousal, throbbing dangerously close to the edge against his prince’s hips.
“San Lang, were you about to – ” Xie Lian ventured, sounding shocked and delighted. “I hadn’t thought – I thought it usually took more?” Then said reproachfully, a laugh in his voice, “San Lang!”
Hua Cheng kissed the shoulder he’d bitten, and then leaned in despite himself to nuzzle the silken softness of Xie Lian’s throat. Xie Lian instantly tipped back his head, giving him more room, and Hua Cheng was incapable of not accepting the invitation, pressing his teeth reverently to the hot pulse, tugging gently.
“Is his highness doubting my stamina?” Hua Cheng asked between kisses, having severe doubts himself. “And what do you know about it? I’m gone not even a year, and I come back to my gege, having pursued sexual education without me?”
“San Lang,” Xie Lian huffed, and then seemed to realize he was rocking his hips down again against Hua Cheng’s and with visible effort held himself still. “Don’t tease. I did ask for advice, but it wasn’t exactly… useful.”
Hua Cheng’s head snapped up. “Who?” he snarled, before calming himself. His Highness could ask whomever he chose and talk of sexual matters with anyone. It was fine. Hua Cheng absolutely was fine with this.
Xie Lian shrugged a little, pink cheeks reddening again. “It doesn’t matter. I realized I only wanted to talk to San Lang about it, anyway.”
Hua Cheng felt a low curl of smug delight unwind in his belly, and pressed his forehead against Xie Lian’s. “Good,” he purred, and then subtly attempted to adjust himself. A foolish endeavor; Xie Lian noticed everything, even when he didn’t entirely understand what he was observing. He cocked his head thoughtfully.
“So San Lang is interested, then?” he asked, sounding a little pleased, in a way that made Hua Cheng’s stomach contract sharply.
“That wasn’t in question. But I didn’t expect his highness to be interested in fucking,” he said frankly, and laughed when Xie Lian squirmed, ignoring his own urge to hide his face – how could he talk like this in front of his prince? His prince, who had just been furtively sneaking a look down at Hua Cheng’s lap, and licking his lips in a way that was frankly more indecent than anything Hua Cheng had seen in the depths of his city. “What? I thought we were talking about it.”
The last few days had been a sweet, unending series of kisses – the first a press to Xie Lian’s hair in the lantern light, throat tight and hands tighter in Xie Lian’s robes. Here, here, here, at last they were both here. And then Xie Lien had tackled him into the grass, tear-stained face gleaming, and kissed Hua Cheng until he had to stop for breath. Hua Cheng had rolled them over eventually, overwhelmed with the hot wet warmth of Xie Lian’s mouth, and cupped the beloved face in his hands and peppered soft kisses all over it.
Sex, at that moment, had been the furthest thing from Hua Cheng’s mind; he could think only of the incandescent joy on Xie Lian’s face, the tender bruising kisses he shared with his beloved as they curled together in the cool night, watching the lanterns rise until the sun followed them in the dew-drenched morning light.
But then the rest of their lives had begun, and Hua Cheng, who had previously considered his willpower stronger than any temptation, was confronted with a Xie Lian who actively nuzzled into him in bed, who sighed and stretched deliciously after working in the fields and and farms, and asked hopefully for back rubs, and for Hua Cheng to help with his robe, and who kept running his hands over Hua Cheng’s arms and humming interestedly and squeezing at his muscles. A demon could get ideas, Hua Cheng has thought, bemused but still not entirely on the same page, apparently, as his beloved.
Except then Xie Lian’s kisses went from something sweet and enthusiastic to something that nearly sent Hua Cheng over the edge multiple times, until finally he’d had to gasp out a request for a break. Upon which Xie Lian had cocked his head, and then firmly broken Hua Cheng’s brain when his eyes landed on Hua Cheng’s considerable arousal that Hua Cheng was doing his level best to tamp down, and instead of the expected stammering, Xie Lian brightened, face pink and delighted.
Then he’d climbed in Hua Cheng’s lap and everything became terrifyingly hot and confusing all at once. Also, he was pretty sure that at some point in this delightful mess, Xie Lian had proposed to him, possibly without realizing it, which was so delightful and vexing Hua Cheng wasn’t sure what to do with himself. His own carefully considered proposal plan would probably still work, he thought. But it would take time to set up, and the wedding, even longer to do properly.
“I wasn’t interested,” Xie Lian said now, arms around Hua Cheng’s neck, looking up at him earnestly, wincing a little at the awkwardness but muddling on. “Not – I don’t think I ever was, until I knew San Lang.”
“Gege,” Hua Cheng breathed, and had to think very intensely for a moment about Qi Rong’s horrible face, He Xuan eating, those two idiot generals in general - in order not to simply tackle Xie Lian to the bed.
“I still don’t know much about it,” Xie Lian continued shyly. “But I – thought of it, and – dreamed, a great deal, this year. About you.”
“I – we should, still – there’s no rush,” Hua Cheng said, hands flexing on Xie Lian’s waist. Xie Lian’s eyes went a little glassy, and he shivered all over before stilling once more. Hua Cheng couldn’t ask for more details now, or he’d die again, but he also deeply, profoundly needed to know what Xie Lian had dreamed about, thought about. “We can wait. It’s not important,”
“I would wait eight hundred years, if that’s what San Lang wants,” Xie Lian agreed and inched back on Hua Cheng’s lap, so that they were no longer quite so obscenely pressed together. Hua Cheng didn’t let himself look down at Xie Lian’s arousal; if he saw his beloved aching for him, how could he not relieve it? But Xie Lian deserved better, more, than Hua Cheng tackling and devouring him. “But that waiting would not be on my account.”
“Oh?” Hua Cheng managed; he realized his hands were trembling on Xie Lian’s thighs, and attempted to still them. “Interesting. I see. Right.”
Xie Lian was starting to look a little pleased with himself, and there was basically nothing Hua Cheng loved more in life than seeing Xie Lian pleased with himself. Add in the subject matter at hand and Hua Cheng was like putty in his beloved’s hands. “Does San Lang want to wait? I have learned to entertain myself, a bit. I can – ”
“His highness will be arrested for murder soon,” Hua Cheng laughed, feeling a bubbling wildness and growing delight. He abandoned sense and tugged Xie Lian closer in. “Tell me, what did his highness dream of? Have I been neglecting you, these past days? What do you need?”
“Ahh, it’s too embarrassing to say,” Xie Lian said, and hid his face in his hands.
“How can I fuck my prince the way he deserves,” Hua Cheng said, dizzy with delight and nerves, and kissed the backs of Xie Lian’s fingers until an eye peeked out at him, and then he kissed the lashes of that, too. “If he doesn’t share his hopes and dreams?”
Xie Lian made a fizzing sound, not unlike a firecracker about to go off, and then said, face still half-hidden: “I would like to fuck my San Lang the way he deserves, too.” Hua Cheng, embarrassingly sincerely, swooned a little to hear that word spoken by that voice. “What does San Lang like?”
“You say first,” Hua Cheng insisted, and then promptly ruined his own demand by claiming a hot kiss - Xie Lian was always so warm that just to touch him felt like being alive again, the heat bleeding into him, and now he drank in that heat in a wave that curled his toes and flooded his veins.
“That was me first!” Xie Lian protested in between kisses, his mouth red and slick, and words mumbled.
“Gege wants to fuck me?” Hua Cheng managed to say, in a semi-steady voice. “This San Lang would be - very - that would be extremely welcomed. If so.”
“No!!! I mean, yes, actually - oh,” Xie Lian cut himself off, eyes big and the color high in his cheeks deepening. Hua Cheng's hands ached for a paintbrush, to capture the moment, but who could capture this? Xie Lian's robes had slipped half off his shoulder by now, and the rosy flush had spread across his collarbones. Hua Cheng couldn’t resist leaning over and nibbling one, shuddering at the sound provoked by his mouth on that divine skin.
“San Lang,” Xie Lian said, voice low, and pulled Hua Cheng up by the chin and stared him in the eye. Somehow - it should be impossible in his true form - but somehow, still, Hua Cheng felt his long-dead heart thud. “San Lang would like that? You want that from me? You want me to have you?”
“Yes, your highness,” Hua Cheng managed, and his vision whited out for a moment as Xie Lian bent to devour his mouth, deep, vast kisses that ached and sounded filthy in a way Hua Cheng had guiltily, furtively dreamed about, a long time ago.
“My San Lang,” Xie Lian said, eyes bright, and pressed Hua Cheng back into the bed with ease, a single finger pressed against this sternum.
“Yours,” Hua Cheng said thickly, and tilted his chin up to bare his throat.
“Oh,” Xie Lian said softly, then lowered his head and put his perfect teeth on Hua Cheng’s jugular and bit, precisely and perfectly, with slowly increasing pressure until Hua Cheng’s back bowed and Xie Lian let go with a gasp, pushing his own hips down. The shock of deliberate connection rolled through the both of them like a wave. His hair fell in black waves around them and his eyes were glassy and bright.
“This, I wanted this too,” Xie Lian whispered, and then laughed.
“Huh?” Hua Cheng said, and stroked his hands along Xie Lian’s sides, burrowing them through layers of cloth until he finally found hot, smooth skin. They weren’t even undressed yet - this was entirely, completely un-according to plan, but as ever he was willing to take Xie Lian’s lead.
“In the coffin,” Xie Lian continued, still holding Hua Cheng down, staring at him as he tried not to come, or make a face that was too pathetic, or cry with how much he felt, just now - skin beneath his fingers, Xie Lian’s strength effortless against his chest, the unmistakable press of Xie Lian, hard against him.
“What?” Hua Cheng asked, registering suddenly the strangeness of Xie Lian’s comment, and absolutely did not yelp as Xie Lian abruptly rolled them and then grinned up at him.
“I wanted you so badly, then, in that coffin! San Lang was so - is so - so attractive, I was so embarrassed,” Xie Lian laughed, and it was honestly a good thing Hua Cheng didn’t need to breathe, because Xie Lian beneath him, disheveled and laughing, one perfect pink nipple peeking out of his loosened robes, would have robbed him of air unto death with ease.
“Oh,” Hua Cheng said, a little high, and then settled his full weight over Xie Lian, watching with dazed interest as Xie Lian’s eyes grew even darker, his soft, reddened lips parting in a soundless, round O. “Gege, I didn’t realize we had so much to talk about. Is it coffins you like? Dead men? Is this a fetish?”
“San Lang!” Xie Lian’s smack was just on the side of not too hard, leaving a lingering tingle that Hua Cheng honestly adored. Then he wrapped his long legs around Hua Cheng’s waist and arched his back and Hua Cheng, for a moment, felt time slow and at the very last second, vision sparkling, manage to grab the base of his own cock and stave off orgasm tooth and nail.
“Ohh,” he heard Xie Lian say. “Beautiful, my San Lang, why did you stop? I want to see, please, beloved. Ah, I see now - I want to call you my husband, but I can't yet, can I? Is that why people wait until after the wedding?”
Sometime after hearing the word 'husband,' Hua Cheng made a completely undignified noise and came over his own fingers in hot pulses, dazedly accepting Xie Lian’s subsequent kisses, mouth too blissful to be anything but clumsy.
“Ah, San Lang is so perfect,” Xie Lian was praising. “That’s just what I wanted, oh. That’s it. So good, oh - so good for me, my San Lang.”
Hua Cheng struggled briefly with the urge to curl into a panicked ball over his embarrassing and not unanticipated lack of stamina, except then he realized Xie Lian’s hand was on himself right now, tugging away urgently as he murmured encouragements to Hua Cheng, and that was entirely unacceptable.
“Please permit this unworthy one to assist,” he panted, and then ripped Xie Lian’s robes apart, baring him on the bed. Xie Lian stared up at him: long-legged perfection, his cock a perfect pink arch, his neck bruised and mouth red. A masterpiece in the living flesh, impossible to capture and almost too obscenely beautiful to touch. Almost. “Please?”
Xie Lian blinked at him, seeming deeply distracted, and then casually ripped Hua Cheng’s clothes off with a delicately arched foot, gripping the fabric between two toes and pulling, which was a perfectly Xie Lian mix of absolutely weird and strange, endearing and hot.
“I’ll fix those,” he said absently, staring at the naked Hua Cheng, they were both so very naked, now, together. Xie Lian’s eyes moved down, found Hua Cheng’s embarrassingly damp abdomen, his still hard and hardening ever more, even still, cock. “In the morning. Many apologies, what was the question?”
“I love you,” Hua Cheng said, careful to enunciate precisely. “I love you, I love you.”
He saw Xie Lian’s shiver travel down his body, curling his toes. He pressed a kiss to the tip of one, and Xie Lian gave a mangled moan mixed with protest. Hua Cheng felt his power flare in silvery coils of wind and light around him, stirring his hair, too much for his body to hold. “My god, my prince. May I worship you?”
“San Lang,” Xie Lian whispered, and startled them both by coming the second Hua Cheng tongued at the beautiful, perfect arch of his ankle. He was laughing as he came, almost hiccuping, saying San Lang, San Lang, his body a perfect curve as his head tossed. He moaned out a last gasp of Hua Cheng’s name before collapsing, still giggling and covering his face with one arm.
“That wasn’t what you dreamed,” Hua Cheng guessed, laughing too, and began kissing his way further up, firm enough not to tickle, with a little teeth here and there to make Xie Lian’s breath hitch.
“It was better,” Xie Lian laughed back. “Wasn’t it?”
“Gege is perfect,” Hua Cheng informed the glorious cut of Xie Lian’s hipbone, and, interested to see if a repeat performance could be coaxed so soon, mouthed at it until Xie Lian writhed, until a bruise bloomed in the shape of his smirk, right there.
“That’s it,” Xie Lian gasped. “I want - that, oh, oh.”
“His highness wants to wear my marks?” Hua Cheng managed to ask, and dragged a thoughtful nail down the curve of Xie Lien’s side and thought that any being lesser than a Supreme would probably lose consciousness at the whimper that produced.
“Yesss,” Xie Lian hissed, and Hua Cheng rewarded them both by sucking biting kisses across the planes of Xie Lian’s belly, digging his fingers into the softer curves of his thighs.
“Oh, wait, I’ll,” Xie Lian panted, and Hua Cheng said, in tones of deepest, most adoring mockery, “Oh? You’ll?” and pressed a softer version of that kiss to the tip of Xie Lien’s erection, which had previously been painting hot smears across his cheek. Then he nipped, very, very gently. Xie Lian’s second orgasm was longer than the first, and he thrashed with it, delightful and nonverbal, and Hua Cheng permitted himself the audacity of licking his god clean, leisurely, while said god whined and praised him, petting his hair.
Eventually, Xie Lian looked down the length of his flushed body at Hua Cheng, peeking out from under his arm. “I want an awful lot of things,” he said, with an air of confession. “As it turns out. I didn’t even know I wanted - to, with you. I thought it was - I only thought of it, the other way. And I don’t even really - I don’t even really know how it works!” He laughed again, and somehow, Hua Cheng had never expected, dreamed, hoped for this - his sticky, beautiful god, laughing and spent, with him. “I want so much, all at once!”
“Me too,” Hua Cheng confessed back, and was tugged effortlessly up into a truly filthy kiss, despite his half-hearted efforts to stop Xie Lian. “I - not tonight, but - I do want, I want to be inside you, I want - I’ve thought about - ” He was going hot and embarrassed now, trying to duck his head. Xie Lian’s hand had found him now, rough, sword-calloused and so firm and precise and perfect. He was stroking deftly, eyes flickering everywhere and taking everything in, adjusting in minute, impossibly good ways. After a moment, looking terribly nervous and intent, Xie Lian rearranged them, and then - and then one hand pressed gently, teasingly, against the opening to Hua Cheng’s body. That strong touch, just barely dipping in, while the other hand kept its relentless pace on Hua Cheng's cock, and Hua Cheng felt caught between the two, held in place deftly and securely. Tears gathered at the corner of Hua Cheng’s eye, and he found himself gasping, breathing air he didn’t need. Hua Cheng found himself undone yet again by his love, before he could even articulate an adequate plea for Xie Lian to give him more, please, more.
Xie Lian teasing him, for once, he teased breathlessly afterward as Xie Lian blushed and kissed his damp cheek, then his eyepatch. His non-functional heart rolled over again. Mutually wrung out, sweetly exhausted, Hua Cheng exerted all his strength and skill to ensure the both of them were relatively clean before collapsing back on top of his love, limbs still trembling faintly.
"Heavy," Xie Lian complained happily, then began to pet Hua Cheng's hair again, strokes increasingly clumsy as his yawns began reaching greater and greater lengths. Hua Cheng was pretty sure at any second, he was going to start purring.
“You know,” he said into Xie Lian’s chest. “This may shock your highness, but I don’t really know what I’m doing in bed, either."
"Unsurprising that as ever, San Lang is a prodigy," Xie Lian mumbled appreciatively. "Handsome. Talented."
"Mn, well," Hua Cheng coughed, flushing. "I know the theory, but the application is - " so much more. "It is my privilege to learn this with you, gege.” Understating his feelings considerably.
“Hm. Can we be married tomorrow?” Xie Lian asked, a yawn splitting the question in two, and he mumbled the next sentence between kisses to the top of Hua Cheng’s head. “I know I’m already yours, but,” he yawned again, sprawling out. “I want you to call me husband.”
Hua Cheng, recently incorporeal, set adrift in the world to doggedly coalesce back into being out of pure, adoring persistence, has never felt so light.
“Husband,” he said, softly, into the softness of pre-dawn, and felt Xie Lian smile.
“That’s it,” he said, and pressed a last sleepy kiss to Hua Cheng’s head and curling around him like a vine, limbs intertwined, the way he'd done each night since Hua Cheng’s return. “That’s it exactly. That’s exactly what I want.”
Well, that's that, then, Hua Cheng mused a few minutes later, and began mentally rearranging a few plans and plotting for the necessary hostages to be taken. Next to him, Xie Lian began, very softly, adorably, to snore.
What's the point of being a Supreme Ghost King if you can't get a wedding together in half a day, anyway?