During that final week together, the two of them had started out with so many plans. Movies to watch and parks to visit. Friends to visit and dishes to sample.
They’d jokingly made a schedule for sex, too, of course. Even then they’d assumed it would command a significant portion of their time. Tang Yi had made the fatal error of jokingly adding those blocks of time - under code terms, of course - to his mostly defunct work calendar. He’d made the even more fatal error of showing his calendar to Shao Fei. Unsurprisingly, Shao Fei had laughed so hard he’d doubled over. Tang Yi had bent down and wrapped his arms around Shao Fei, mostly to feel that beloved laughter reverberating through his own body.
“It’s so weird to see it written out like that,” Shao Fei had said once he’d been able to speak again. “It all seems so, I dunno, mathematical?”
“I can delete it.” Although, if asked, Tang Yi probably wouldn’t get around to it for a while. He already had his arms wrapped around Shao Fei’s waist. From there, it became logical to kiss the back of Shao Fei’s neck.
“No, no, now I can't stop thinking about the numbers behind it all. What if we’d been doing that from the start? Let’s say we fucked every day for four years, from the moment we met. How many times would that be?”
Tang Yi really couldn’t care less in that particular moment. He was more interested in reaching down into Shao Fei's pants and reminding him of the here and now. Admittedly, it had been funny to see Shao Fei dig his phone out of his pocket and run his question through the calculator. His hands had already started shaking, much to Tang Yi’s satisfaction.
“Fourteen hundred and sixty times,” Shao Fei had said, just before Tang Yi had gently pushed him face down onto the kitchen table.
Tang Yi is learning they both talk about a lot of nonsensical things before, during, and after sex. (Kissing covered in frosting should have been some sort of foreshadowing of their inherent ridiculousness.) Sometimes these things don’t make any particular impression. Somehow, though, Shao Fei’s nonsense bit of math gets under skin as surely as they leave scratch and bite marks all over each other.
For a while they keep track of how many times they can make each other come. Thoughts of restaurants and parks vanish into some mysterious ether, as they get their hands and mouths all over each other. They order takeout and then make a game of seeing how many times they can get each other off before the food arrives. This particular game necessitates one of them being mostly clothed (so that they can run to get the takeout with all due haste), and, in the mean time, Tang Yi discovers he rather likes the feeling of Shao Fei’s t-shirt rubbing up against his skin.
Eventually, though, they lose track of the numbers. Tang Yi won’t remember exactly when this happened. Sometimes they have barely-there orgasms, and they debate over whether that counts. Maybe that's when they’d stopped counting.
Or, maybe, they had stopped counting at a different point. Hours after midnight on the second (or maybe the third?) day, they’d both agreed they’d both been fucked dry for the meantime. They’d put on a random inoffensive documentary from Netflix, and then thirty minutes into they’d started kissing. Several minutes after that, Shao Fei had been inside Tang Yi. The whole thing had been comfortable and casual, and Tang Yi still can't quite believe his own luck.
Maybe the need to calculate had disappeared then and there. For hours he’d been bone-tired in a way that - for the first time in ages - has nothing to do with illness, injury, or grief. Right now, nothing seems to matter save for being as close to Shao Fei for as long as possible. His thoughts aimlessly, contentedly cycle back to this thought long after he, himself, comes. His body welcomes Shao Fei deep inside him, like they truly have been doing this for four years. Numbers seem pointless in light of this.
After Shao Fei finishes he falls down onto Tang Yi, collapsing like a rag doll.
“Why do we need to sleep?” He complains around a yawn.
Tang Yi just laughs, soundlessly. Speech seems to be beyond him. The documentary is still playing, casting faint light over their bodies like sunlight reflecting off the surface of the ocean. He feels so full of Shao Fei right now; full of Shao Fei's cock, full of Shao Fei's come, and full of Shao Fei's seemingly boundless regard for Tang Yi.
“Suppose I should pull out, huh?” Despite this declaration, Shao Fei seems to be in no particular hurry to move. Tang Yi is inclined to agree with that unspoken sentiment.
“No.” Tang Yi musters up enough energy to say this. “Stay where you are. We’ll sleep like this.”
His eyelids fall shut, inexorably. Tang Yi won’t lift them no matter how many times Shao Fei pokes at him.
“And if I get hard?”
“Then you have permission to fuck me. You know what I like by now.”
Somehow that gets Shao Fei to blush. Tang Yi doesn’t have to look to know. He can feel the sudden warmth of Shao Fei’s face against his neck. Their beating hearts seem so much more tangible than the chatter of talking heads from the documentary.
“Well, fine. But we probably should turn this off unless we want to have dreams about… huh, it autoplayed to something about bottoom of the ocean?” Shao Fei says, reaching around in the blankets for the remote. “Should we put on music?”
Tang Yi shifts around, faintly amazed that he gets to fall asleep like this; with Shao Fei buried inside of him. “Hmmm, one of those ‘ten hours of classical music’ videos maybe?”
“You old, old man,” Shao Fei says. But he does what Tang Yi suggests.
Tang Yi wanders an eerie dreamscape during those quiet hours before dawn. He rarely has nightmares, but his dreams are never particularly pleasant, either. They’re always just on the edge of being lucid. He’s aware he could wake up at any moment and banish everything. For some reason this is as unsettling as the rare times when he does feel trapped in a nightmare.
He’s endlessly walking the path to Li Li Zhen’s graveyard, but never quite making it there even though he aches like he’s been walking for days. The seasons change, and the snow sparkles in a rainbow of neon hues. It seems to burn his skin everywhere he lands. The sky has become the sea, and the clouds are all vaguely shaped like jellyfish. There’s the sound of violins underpinning it at all; mournful and distant.
Then Tang Yi hears Shao Fei calling his name. The breeze seems to be carrying his voice from far away, and it tickles against his ears, lips, and neck. The gusts of wind grow so strong that they hold him in place. Rather than feeling trapped, he reaches for the wind and tries to grab onto it. He tries to use it to pull Shao Fei closer.
Then - just as abruptly as the dream had seemed endless - he’s in bed. Shao Fei is still inside of him, lazily thrusting in and out, moaning Tang Yi’s name. How many times has he said Tang Yi’s name over the past four years? It’s pointless to try to calculate that. It’s much better to pull Shao Fei down into a graceless, sloppy kiss. It’s better to wrap his legs around Shao Fei and pull him in deeper.
‘You know what I like by now.’ Tang Yi had said that as a joke. Maybe even a bit of a dare. Shao Fei seems intent on proving Tang Yi right. Every movement is carefully calibrated, clearly intent on dragging against Tang Yi’s prostate. Shao Fei’s come from last night is still in there. Did he feel it? Is that why he gasps so hard? Is that why he drives in even deeper?
The bright red light of dawn stings his eyes, and Tang Yi wonders what it would be like to wake up this way every morning. The music video from a few hours ago is still playing (it promised ten hours, and clearly it meant to deliver.) It’s some baroque era piece; one of those ones where all the parts seem to slot together like clockwork. Tang Yi can hear their seconds together counting down, running out.
He opens his mouth in order to tell his phone to play something else. Then he remembers that it’s Shao Fei’s phone and - much like its owner - it probably won’t listen to him. So, instead, he lets out a deep moan.
“Good morning,” Shao Fei murmurs against his lips. And there’s so, so much love in his voice that time stops.
There’s a few hours of respite after this. They eat breakfast like starving animals. They shower, and miraculously manage to avoid hand jobs. Tang Yi puts the much-abused sheets in the washing machine, while Shao Fei lays down some clean ones.
Tang Yi even manages to play solitaire on his phone for a little while, while Shao Fei naps beside him. He matches his breaths to Shao Fei’s until he, too, dozes off.
This time Shao Fei wakes him up with a question rather than his cock.
“Found your sex toys,” he says. Shao Fei is crouched down on the floor beside Tang Yi’s bed, rifling through the lowest drawer.
“You’ve found out everything else about me.” Tang Yi reaches over to pat Shao Fei’s shoulder.
“Hmmm, lots of standard stuff. Except for … wait, what’s this?” He holds a thin metal rod out.
“Guess.” In the past he might have worried about Shao Fei being perturbed by this. Today, though, Tang Yi is almost impossibly secure in the strength of their trust.
“Uhh, for whipping maybe?”
“Do you want to get whipped?”
Shao Fei’s silence says it all, and Tang Yi’s face hurts from grinning. “I should have guessed with how much you liked pain from spicy food.”
“Yeah, yeah, or maybe I just like spicy food for no reason,” Shao Fei says, flustered. “Come on, what’s it for?”
Tang Yi slides down on the floor to sit across from Shao Fei. He lifts him into his folded legs, and slips his hand in-between Shao Fei’s thighs.
“Are you trying to distract me?” Shao Fei asks as Tang Yi strokes him into hardness. “It might be working.”
“You’re holding onto a sound,” Tang Yi explains, finally. “It goes in there.”
“Ah, yeah,” Shao Fei nods and gasps, distractedly. Then he understands, his eyes going even wider than normal. “Into mycock?”
“Mmhmm.” Tang Yi loves sucking on Shao Fei’s ears. He always melts against him.
“That feels good?”
“It’s another way to get at the prostate. So, yes.”
Somehow, just talking about these things with Tang Yi is enough to get him all worked up. He’d have happily topped Shao Fei down onto the ground and forget all about the sound. Shao Fei has other ideas, though.
“Okay, show me. Use it on me.”
Now Tang Yi might be the one with comically large eyes. “Seriously?” He stops stroking Shao Fei.
Shao Fei twirls the sound between his fingers and doesn’t bother to hide his look of curious apprehension. “I want to know you in every possible way,” he says, unabashedly frank. “Especially since I’m sure you’ve used everything in this drawer while thinking of me.”
Tang Yi is about to protest, even though that’s the truth. Shao Fei gets their first, though, kissing him deeply before ending it with a light bite to Tang Yi’s lower lip.
And so it’s settled. Shao Fei settles even further into Tang Yi’s lap, his arms wrapped tight around Tang Yi’s shoulders. There’s no music to mark the passage of time. There’s just the way Tang Yi’s pulse pounds inside his ears. Somehow, though, this doesn’t make him think of the seconds running away from them. There’s nothing at all but this moment. There’s just his fingers coating the head of Shao Fei’s cock with the proper kind lube, before doing the same to the sound.
“I’ll be careful,” Tang Yi vows.
“I know.” Shao Fei’s hands find their way up into Tang Yi’s hair. “I know. Show me.”
Tang Yi does. They both stare, transfixed by the sight of the sound slowly disappearing into Shao Fei’s cock.
“Does it hurt?” Tang Yi whispers. It’s never hurt him before, but he has to make sure.
“Do I look like I’m in pain?” Shao Fei’s hands tighten slightly in Tang Yi’s hair but that’s all.
Tang Yi is implacable on this matter. He’s seen Shao Fei’s strangely indifferent attitude to bullets and fevers. He will not introduce more pain into this man’s life. He thins out his lips and stops the sound’s slow descent.
“Does it hurt?” he repeats.
“No,” Shao Fei says, understanding. His eyes soften as they both stare at one another. Then he looks down at his cock and shudders from pleasure. “It’s cold. It feels like a lot. But it’s … I don’t know. It’s fine, it's you. Please, keep going.”
And so Tang Yi does, slowly pushing the sound further into Shao Fei. In truth, for most of its journey it barely needs any encouragement from Tang Yi, save for a few careful nudges toward the end. A moment or two after that, he’s rewarded with the sound of Shao Fei’s keening moans.
“Is it good?”
Shao Fei just nods and kisses Tang Yi deeply.
Tang Yi cradles Shao Fei close after that. He slicks up his fingers with lube and works them into Shao Fei. This isn’t particularly difficult to do after all their energetic activities over the past few days. When Shao Fei’s prostate is being worked at from multiple angles, his face becomes a veritable work of art. The sounds he makes are far more beautiful than any of the sonatas that Tang Yi had been hearing in his dreams.
Sounds always felt almost a little bit too much to Tang Yi, and he’d rarely experimented with it. He remembers this as he lifts Shao Fei up by the hips before pulling him down onto Tang Yi’s cock. Being inside Shao Fei also always feels a little bit too much. Too unlikely, too fulfilling, too perfect.
“Four hundred and sixty-one times,” Shao Fei says, as they both lie wrapped up in each other on the floor.
“There would have been a leap year at some point in there.”
Tang Yi has happily given up on counting. Every second with Shao Fei is like a perfect eternity in and of itself.
Still, he pulls Shao Fei even closer and kisses him on the forehead. “We really have our work cut out for us.”
“That’s fine. I have faith in us!”