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Strange New World

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Here’s the thing about silver linings: you have to know that circumstances have taken a turn for the worst before you can begin looking for them.

Lan Zhan knows this just as well as anyone else in the world. Once, it might have been tempting to assert that he knows the painful ache of searching for hope amongst ashes better than anyone else, but he has long since worked beyond this strange, piteous pride that followed him for so long. It has no place in his life and hasn’t for quite some time.

There is no room for such thoughts, not when Wei Ying is his—well. Whatever Wei Ying is to him.

They’re friends, yes. Without a doubt.

They’ve been friends for years, in the tumultuous keeping of high school and college, and they were almost roommates, once upon a time, before the itch under Wei Ying’s skin sent him packing, scattered across the country without a place to call home. He claims it’s better this way; Lan Zhan wants to ask, For whom?

They’re friends. Denying that would be foolish. They’ve known each other since the awkward days of puberty and the second-growth of coming out to themselves and the world at large. They’ve stuck together for years, even when it would have been better for them to part ways and come to terms with themselves and the independent natures of their lives. They’ve been together through thick and thin, and despite what their high school counterparts would have thought, they are friends.

They’re friends who fuck when Wei Ying is in San Francisco for the night, left to fend for himself during his layover between stewarding flights with corporations that don’t give a shit about him or anything that doesn’t directly impact their bottom line.

Wei Ying took the job for the money and stayed because he enjoys the places he visits and the stories he gathers. That’s what he says, anyway.

But when Wei Ying stops in San Francisco, Lan Zhan offers up his heart and his ear and a place in his bed, and tucked amongst the glut of knowledge he hoards about Wei Ying is this: his aimless wandering has nothing to do with a long-buried need to travel, and it certainly has nothing to do with a desire to collect stories or to make a career in the service industry. It’s never been about that.

It’s not Lan Zhan’s place to pry, though, so he lets it lie. Lets Wei Ying feed him lies, comfortable knowing that Wei Ying feels safer when his secrets are kept close to his chest.

It doesn’t matter how much Lan Zhan wants to know what keeps driving Wei Ying away from him—he’ll never ask. That’s not how it works, this thing between them.

So.

They’re friends. With benefits. Friends-with-benefits, and it doesn’t matter how Lan Zhan feels about this because, crude as the term may be, it’s accurate for what they are. Even if Lan Zhan doesn’t want it to be.

Ideally, he’d like their relationship to be more concrete—he’d like it to be something that lets him wrap his arm around Wei Ying’s waist in public, that allows him to bask in the curious looks and strangers’ realization that Wei Ying is his.

Ideally, Lan Zhan would like a lot of things.

He’d like Wei Ying to know exactly how much he means to him, to understand that when Lan Zhan says stay, he doesn’t just mean for the night. He’d like to wake up with Wei Ying in his bed every morning, every day, and he’d like to kiss Wei Ying awake before he starts his day, slow and lazy, filled with the delight of having him, of having Wei Ying with him. Of knowing that Wei Ying is here to stay.

The sheer weight of his want is a physical thing, sometimes.

Ideally, the enormity of Lan Zhan’s desire wouldn’t be an iron wall between them. Ideally, Lan Zhan could tell Wei Ying exactly how he feels without being suffocated by the fear of losing him. And, if not that, then Lan Zhan would settle for Wei Ying living with him. In the same apartment—if not the same bed, if that made him more comfortable—so that Lan Zhan wouldn’t have to ache and wish and wait for Wei Ying’s next layover in San Francisco, his next visit, the next time he can show Wei Ying how much he cares.

He wants, more than anything, for Wei Ying to live with him.

“Hey,” Wei Ying says, half-panting against the top of Lan Zhan’s head.

His breath is hot and wet against Lan Zhan’s scalp, intoxicating and grounding all at once. There’s no real need to show his hand, to scare Wei Ying away—especially not now.

Eyes closed, Lan Zhan sucks a mark into Wei Ying’s neck, hiding his groan in his skin, and Wei Ying’s hands fist against Lan Zhan’s shoulder blades, bunching the soft fabric of his shirt between his fingers as he pulls Lan Zhan closer. His hips roll, seeking the press of Lan Zhan’s body against his dick.

“Hey, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says, trying again. And, though his voice is strained, he keeps going. Says, “I never—never thanked you, for this.”

“There is no need,” Lan Zhan says, eyes flicking up to meet Wei Ying’s.

But Wei Ying’s lips purse into a frown, and he doesn’t stop—does just the opposite, in fact, as if he senses just how much Lan Zhan needs him to be quiet, to let this be, and cannot help but press against this part of him, too.

“Thanks for letting me stay,” Wei Ying says.

Lan Zhan shuts his eyes again. Rests his forehead against Wei Ying’s neck, acutely aware of the man beneath him, limbs wound around him. The tang of salt is heavy on his tongue, present and overwhelming enough that it’s hard to make sense of the rush of emotions hurricaning through Lan Zhan’s chest.

“Don’t thank me,” he says. Kisses Wei Ying’s pulse, punctuates his sincerity. “Not for this.”

“Ah, but Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says, squirming. “How could I not? You’re giving up your home for me! Letting me sleep in your bed, even though I said the couch would be fine—”

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan speaks sharply as he pulls away, leaning onto his heels, feeling the shift of the mattress beneath them as he kneels over Wei Ying’s thighs. He takes a deep breath, resolves himself to speak slowly, although he can’t articulate why he does this. Perhaps he’s afraid Wei Ying won’t understand if he doesn’t have enough time to let each word sink into that thick skull of his. “You are here,” he says, breathing modulated, “against your will. No one could have anticipated this.”

Wei Ying inhales sharply, not making eye contact, and Lan Zhan knows, knows that Wei Ying will try and fight him on this. That he’s going to point out that someone, somewhere, had been able to anticipate the arrival of a global pandemic—he’ll argue that he ought to be smart enough to outwit a virus, at the very least, as if this whole thing is just a game of chance and he’s a couple steps behind. If Lan Zhan lets him speak, he’ll say something stupid, act as if some amount of divine foresight could have prepared him for this strange new world they’ve been thrust into so that he could plan accordingly.

For years, Lan Zhan has wanted nothing but for Wei Ying to live with him.

This was not how he envisioned that particular wish coming to fruition.

“Do not,” Lan Zhan repeats, and it’s harder to speak this time. His throat is tight, suddenly. He’s not sure why. “Do not thank me.”

Wei Ying’s face shudders, blanks, before he joins Lan Zhan in the world of the sitting and smooths a knuckle across Lan Zhan’s cheek. The dry, cracked skin of his fingers comes away wet, and Lan Zhan realizes he’s crying.

“Aiyah, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says. “You could’ve just told me you were feeling soft today.”

“Not,” Lan Zhan says. After all, Wei Ying doesn’t have a monopoly on stubbornly denying his feelings.

“Yeah, sure,” he says. “Okay.”

Moving carefully, Wei Ying draws Lan Zhan into a hug, running his hand over his hair, fingers scraping pleasantly against his scalp, and they sit like this for a bit. A minute or two, maybe three. Not much longer.

“I am not—” Lan Zhan stops, hating this terrible insecurity he’s found himself wrought with. “Not soft,” he says, borrowing Wei Ying’s word for it. “Just. Tired.”

It’s been a month now, since Wei Ying moved in.

They hadn’t meant for it to happen this way—so far as he knows, Wei Ying had never meant for it to happen at all—but there’s no getting away from it now. Wei Ying is living with him for the foreseeable future—uncertain as it may be—because he’s been grounded indefinitely as the airlines stutter to a halt.

It’s been a month, and now they’re not just friends-with-benefits; they’re friends-with-benefits who are also roommates, and it’s getting so hard to keep track of that line, to recognize where the sex stops and the feelings begin.

Lan Zhan suspects that line blurred into oblivion long ago. Most likely, he’s only becoming aware of this blurring now that there is no more room for denial.

The point is, it’s been a month since Wei Ying moved in and three weeks since San Francisco’s mandatory quarantine began, and Lan Zhan is worn thin. He’s done his best to hold himself together, to adjust to the new routines he’s been presented with, but he’s just—he’s never been a fan of change. That’s part of it.

His eyes are tired, too. Even with the blue-light filtering glasses he invested in a couple of years ago, he ends his workday feeling as if his eyes have burrowed into the depths of his skull. He’s coming to learn just how much he hates technology, now that his business is conducted solely through emails and video chat.

There’s no escaping his work, either, now that it lives in his home.

Which brings him back to the point: Wei Ying lives in his apartment now, too. He putters about the apartment listlessly, anxiously searching for something to do, to keep his hands and mind occupied. And for all that Lan Zhan loves him, the constant motion has rubbed him thin. Like ill-fitting clothes worn to threads.

It’s not that he dislikes living with Wei Ying—quite the opposite—but there’s something about the unavoidable reality of the situation, of why Wei Ying is in his home, that sucks the joy from his bones. Every time he notices Wei Ying wandering the hall between their bedroom and the living room, looking lost, he remembers that this isn’t normal, that none of this is okay.

Wei Ying lives with him, but at what cost?

“It’s okay to be tired,” Wei Ying murmurs, like the hypocrite he is—he hasn’t slept for a couple of days at the very least. He’s awake through the night and all through the day, and even as exhaustion paints bags beneath his eyes, he continues to find things to do. Experiments, he says. Arts and crafts.

If anything, Wei Ying is adjusting to quarantine even worse than Lan Zhan.

Rather than respond, Lan Zhan lays a soft kiss on Wei Ying’s collarbone and lays them on their sides, cradling Wei Ying’s head as he curls around him. It’s okay to be tired, his actions echo, so let us sleep.

Wei Ying huffs out a laugh. He hasn’t been sleeping, and Lan Zhan’s not sure why he’s been avoiding it. Doesn’t know if he’s allowed to ask. “It’s the middle of the afternoon.”

“Mn.” An astute observation.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying whines, wiggling away from Lan Zhan, “you can’t take a nap.”

Lan Zhan holds him closer, an answer in and of itself. His eyelids are paper-thin, and every time his eyes fall shut, sunlight filters bold and red through them.

He has a meeting at three to review a custody agreement with a single mother and the estranged father; their standing agreement has not adapted well to quarantine, either, and they both seem torn between wanting their son and needing some time to themselves. He’ll have to keep that balance in mind while reviewing the terms of their agreement.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying repeats, louder this time. “You have work.”

“I have time.”

Wei Ying sighs, but he’s not resisting anymore. Instead, he worms his feet between Lan Zhan’s calves and presses his cold toes into the warm fuzz of his legs. “What’s this really about?”

Lan Zhan takes a moment to consider the question. The truth is innocent concern, but even that has a tendency to make Wei Ying skittish, so he’s careful when he says, “You.”

“Ah,” Wei Ying says. “I see.” He pauses. “You noticed?”

“Haven’t been in bed,” Lan Zhan says. It’s safer than saying what he means, which is, I do not sleep so easily anymore, when you’re not beside me.

His eyes stick shut, but he doesn’t bother trying to open them again; Wei Ying’s not the only one running on a deficit of sleep, and he stands to gain just as much from this nap as Wei Ying. Laying like this, wrapped around him, soothes Lan Zhan to the depths of his core. He usually adheres to a strict sleep schedule, unable to fall asleep outside of the designated hours, but his breathing steadies within minutes, his limbs heavy.

“I’ve been meaning to tell you,” Wei Ying murmurs, shifting in Lan Zhan’s arms, getting comfortable. “I’ve been looking for a job.”

Lan Zhan’s heart stutters. He grunts his acknowledgment, unsure where Wei Ying is taking this, unsure if this is a safe path to tread.

“It’s, you know, not great right now,” he says, “what with everything going on, but I’ve got an interview with Safeway coming up, so I figured I should let you know, y’know, in case…”

“In case?”

“You want me to move out,” Wei Ying says, so soft that Lan Zhan nearly misses it. “Or stay in the other room, or something. So that I don’t get you sick.”

Lan Zhan’s arms wrap tighter around Wei Ying, reflexive in a way he doesn’t care to think about. “You would be on the property?”

“Yeah. It’s cashier-work or—if I’m lucky—something in their food departments.” He scoffs. “So not exactly low-contact.”

“Not at all,” Lan Zhan agrees. He takes a moment to consider Wei Ying’s motivations here and feels the need to say, “You don’t have to.”

“What? Get a job?” Wei Ying pokes Lan Zhan’s forearm. “I’m pretty sure me not having anything to actually do has been driving us both crazy.”

“Hm.” He’s not wrong, exactly, but—“I make enough to cover rent and groceries; there is no obligation for you to take the first job that is offered.” Christ, is he saying too much? Not enough? It’s hard to read Wei Ying’s silence when all Lan Zhan has to go off of is Wei Ying’s hair in his face and the steady beat of his heart beneath his arm. “If you want to work,” he continues, “then do so. But, Wei Ying?”

“Yeah, Lan Zhan?”

Lan Zhan noses through Wei Ying’s shoulder-length hair and presses a kiss to the knob of his neck. “Do not settle. Prioritize your safety.” And then, because he can’t fucking stop, Lan Zhan adds, “I want you here. With me.”

“Oh,” Wei Ying says. He doesn’t seem disgusted, which is probably a good sign, although he sounds a little winded, which could mean any number of things. Wei Ying wiggles again, maneuvers himself until he’s pressed chest to chest, nose to nose with Lan Zhan. Smiling shyly, Wei Ying kisses him.

It’s soft and chaste, but full of intent.

“You’re too good to me,” Wei Ying says, breath warm against Lan Zhan’s lips. “Just you wait, you’ll be hounding me to get the first job I can in a few weeks—I’ll be so fidgety, driving you up the walls! And that’s even assuming I can get a job. Competition is fierce right now.”

There’s an unspoken question hiding there, and it takes Lan Zhan a moment to find it. A moment longer to realize that nothing is not a suitable answer to this, to what Wei Ying is supposed to do with himself until he can find more work. He wonders, helplessly, if Wei Ying might find himself on a plane again soon; he fears that if not given some sense of purpose, Wei Ying will launch himself at the first opportunity to leave.

“You will find something,” Lan Zhan promises. “And if you cannot, then I’m sure I can find something.”

“Is that so?” Wei Ying’s eyes are gleefully wicked as he raises his eyebrows and says, “You could find something for me to do?”

Lan Zhan growls, pushes Wei Ying into the bed, pinning his wrists above his head.

“I did not mean this,” he says, rolling his hips pointedly into Wei Ying’s, drawing a gasp out of him at the suddenness of it all, of the unexpected pressure against his soft dick.

“What—” Wei Ying’s head falls back when Lan Zhan thrusts against him again “—what’d you have in mind, then?”

“Cooking,” Lan Zhan says, drawing a startled laugh out of Wei Ying. “Cleaning. General maintenance.”

“The sink could use some work,” Wei Ying agrees. Then: “Fuck, do that again—”

Lan Zhan does. Rolls their hips together until he can feel the undeniable press of Wei Ying’s dick against his stomach, sucks Wei Ying’s lip between his teeth and relishes the heat building in his gut. Wei Ying pushes into him, shoulders pressing into the mattress, arms wrapped around Lan Zhan’s neck, putting his chest and abs and neck on display, and Lan Zhan can’t help the sound that escapes him, or the scrape of his teeth against Wei Ying’s collarbone.

In a few awkward, shambling motions, they manage to free themselves from their clothes. Pressed skin to skin, cock to cock, laying in bed in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. Theoretically, Lan Zhan should be working. Checking emails, making arrangements, plans, reviewing paperwork and contracts and preparing negotiations with other attorneys. But Wei Ying is right here, pressed against him, hard and eager.

He’s right here.

Lan Zhan takes advantage of this, of his nearness. He kisses Wei Ying’s neck, strokes the planes of his back, finds a nipple with his fingers. Wei Ying, to his credit, isn’t wasting any time, either.

His hand, however, goes straight to Wei Ying’s cock.

“Wei Ying,” he gasps, a soft, whining moan slipping free of his lips. Wei Ying runs his hand over his length, his clever fingers alighting on each nerve ending, on each of his most sensitive spots, pulling and twisting and stroking until Lan Zhan’s groin pulls tight and his breathing stutters.

Then Wei Ying stops, hand moving to Lan Zhan’s chest instead.

“Wha—” Lan Zhan bites his lip. Starts again, once he trusts his voice not to crack. “What do you want?”

Wei Ying’s eyes flash, something unspoken hanging in the silence between words. Then he grins and tweaks Lan Zhan’s nipple—more schoolyard tomfoolery than sexy teasing—patting his side. “Wanna blow you.”

Lan Zhan’s lungs are void of air. He does manage to say, “Then by all means,” with some modicum of dignity, but the sly grin on Wei Ying’s face means that he didn’t do a good enough job to smother the slight wheeze that came along with it.

Wei Ying kisses him again, a hungry pull of lips, before making his way down Lan Zhan’s body. He mouths at Lan Zhan’s skin at his leisure, taking his time. If Lan Zhan didn’t know any better, he’d think Wei Ying is trying to make this last as long as possible so he can avoid sleeping, but that’s ridiculous. Mere speculation without substance, considering that Wei Ying likes to do this, to take his time with Lan Zhan’s body, to kiss and lick and bite until Lan Zhan is sure he’ll come out of his skin before Wei Ying touches him where it counts.

But he doesn’t. Doesn’t fall out of his skin or come with nothing but the promise of Wei Ying’s mouth on his cock.

When Wei Ying takes him in hand, Lan Zhan props himself up on his elbows, watches Wei Ying’s lithe form as he arranges himself, getting comfortable with their placement and the general heft of Lan Zhan’s cock. Lan Zhan considers the ways he’ll touch Wei Ying, how his fingers will skim over Wei Ying’s shoulders, his back, his face.

Wei Ying spits in his hand, stroking Lan Zhan with a firm grip. He mouths at the tip of Lan Zhan’s cock, his tongue light and teasing against the sensitive skin, before wrapping his lips around Lan Zhan’s shaft and taking as much of him in as he can.

Lan Zhan groans, focuses on keeping his hips planted firmly on the mattress, and lets Wei Ying take him apart at the seams.

They miss the window for a long, leisurely nap.

Lan Zhan goes into his meeting with a hickey darkening on his throat, but he doesn’t mind, not when Wei Ying is laying fucked-out on their bed, halfway to sleep before Lan Zhan’s even managed to boot up his monitors.

Hours well spent, indeed.

— — —

Over the course of a week, Wei Ying takes charge of their daily lives, detailing his plans for a small garden on the balcony and entertaining himself with finding innovative ways to clean the apartment, only some of which are mildly horrifying to watch. Lan Zhan lets him work and offers items that need attention—the grout in the bathroom, for instance—whenever he notices Wei Ying beginning to wander again.

Another month passes like this, until the new rhythm comes so naturally to them that Lan Zhan can’t imagine having lived any other way before.

In the mornings, Lan Zhan puts together breakfast, does some cardio, showers, and logs into his work-computer. Wei Ying wakes up closer to the afternoon, at which point he eyes his scribbled to-do list from the night before while waiting for his coffee to brew. From there, it’s something of a scatter of activity, depending on the day and their shared inclinations toward productivity, but Lan Zhan always slips out of his office near noon for a light lunch, and today is no different.

Soft music thrums through the hall, leading him into the kitchen, where Wei Ying is elbow-deep in dishwater, humming and bobbing his head in time to the beat. Wisps of hair have slipped loose from his ponytail, curling around his neck and framing his face. Lan Zhan can’t see much from the hall, but what he does see fills him with the most effusive warmth.

Without thinking, Lan Zhan steps into the kitchen and wraps his arms around Wei Ying’s waist, burying his face in his neck, enjoying the lingering scent of his shampoo. There’s a general musk to him, grown familiar in their time together, that settles Lan Zhan, puts him firmly back into his body.

“Hey there,” Wei Ying says, slightly amused. This is new to them, Lan Zhan realizes; they’re not in the habit of doing this. But Wei Ying doesn’t seem upset when he tilts his head back and leans on Lan Zhan a little.

Lan Zhan makes a small noise of greeting, of contentment. It’s strange how easy this is when he’s wanted it for so long, but in a good way, like puzzle pieces slotting together.

“Have any plans for the evening?” Wei Ying asks, returning his attention to the dishes. It’s amazingly domestic, peaceful, and Lan Zhan could stay just like this forever, if only Wei Ying let him.

“Mn,” he says, when his mind gets around to processing the fact that Wei Ying asked him a question.

“Cool,” Wei Ying says, rinsing his arms off and turning around in Lan Zhan’s arms, leaning on the sink in such a way that the graceful arc of his neck is on display even while his hips press against Lan Zhan’s. It can’t possibly be comfortable, and Lan Zhan takes the hint, wrapping his hands around Wei Ying’s hips and holding him there. Grinning, Wei Ying raises his eyebrows salaciously and asks, “Think you can make time for your Wei Ying?”

Lan Zhan’s grip tightens against his will. Your Wei Ying.

Does he know? He can’t possibly, except—well, for all that Wei Ying’s a hyper-social, emotionally inept idiot, he has his moments. Sometimes looking at him feels like stepping into a vise, like all of his secrets will spill out of him if he doesn’t step away soon enough.

No time to consider, though, because Wei Ying notices Lan Zhan’s reaction and—somehow—grows even brighter, a live wire beneath him.

“Lan Zhan, Lan-er-gege,” Wei Ying says, wrapping his arms around Lan Zhan’s neck. “Fuck me?”

And so he does, vigorously and at length. Through it all, he cannot help but wonder what it would be like if Wei Ying had meant it, if he was really and truly Lan Zhan’s.

He thinks about it for the rest of the day, long after they’ve sanitized the kitchen counter. It follows him, and he lets it.

— — —

Time keeps going, as it always does. The seasons shift and the time changes, and Lan Zhan checks in with the couple to ensure their contract works. He’s pleased to find that it is, that everyone’s beginning to adjust to the extended quarantine, and leaves that meeting feeling lighter than he has in days.

Stretching, Lan Zhan luxuriates in the pop of his back, the crack of his neck. Smiles when the door opens, and Wei Ying slips inside.

He’s been incredibly horny lately—enough to rival even Lan Zhan’s insatiable hunger—and he wastes no time before straddling Lan Zhan’s lap and digging his fingers into the soft layer of fat building atop Lan Zhan’s ribs. Lan Zhan huffs fondly and wraps his hand around Wei Ying’s neck, holding him steady with a hand under his thigh. He’s warm, muscles tightening as he thrusts lazily against Lan Zhan, eyes fluttering shut as he gives his dick the attention it craves.

Perhaps a weird way to think about it, but whatever. Lan Zhan’s not exactly focused on waxing poetic right now.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying gasps when Lan Zhan’s fingers tighten around his neck. “Oh fuck, right here, let’s—here.”

“Yes,” Lan Zhan growls, cock stiffening at the prospect of mixing business with pleasure, of fucking Wei Ying here, on his desk, in his chair. Indulging his desires, embracing Wei Ying, merging him with every part of his life. He tugs on Wei Ying’s pants, drawing a whine out of him. “Off.”

“Yeah, fuck, okay,” Wei Ying says, scrambling off of Lan Zhan’s lap and yanking his pants down his thighs, kicking them into a corner of the room.

Lan Zhan considers the logistics here, and—being unwilling to leave and find lube elsewhere—makes plans to give Wei Ying the best handjob he’s ever had. Except—except.

When he grabs Wei Ying’s ass to pull him back into his lap, the tips of Lan Zhan’s fingers find his hole already wet and open.

Breath stuttering, Lan Zhan pushes a finger inside, groans into Wei Ying’s chest. He’d prepared for this, known what he wanted, and taken steps to get it, and it’s probably the hottest thing that’s happened to Lan Zhan. Either that or the moment is amplified by the added tension of Quarantine Horn™. Both options are plausible.

“Wei Ying,” he says, finding his dick hot and hard already, tip slick with precum. “You…?”

“Yeah,” Wei Ying gasps, thrusting into Lan Zhan’s grip. “You were- were busy, and all, and I—fuck, do that again—I couldn’t wait, so—”

“You prepared yourself.”

Yeah.

Wei Ying is too good to be real, absolutely perfect. “Such restraint,” Lan Zhan murmurs, stroking his dick leisurely. “Waiting for me to get out of my meeting.”

“It was hard,” Wei Ying agrees. “Wanted you there, opening me up yourself.”

It’s—god, it’s hot when Wei Ying tells him this, reminds him that he thinks of him while jacking off. Opening himself up for Lan Zhan, pulling his dick and stopping before he comes, saving the height of his pleasure for Lan Zhan, only for Lan Zhan. It’s intoxicating.

“Need you to fuck me now,” Wei Ying says, wriggling back enough to open the front of Lan Zhan’s linen pants and work his cock into the open. He doesn’t bother with the pretense of playing with Lan Zhan’s cock, just lines him up and sinks onto him with a satisfying groan.

Lan Zhan’s head falls back as he adjusts to Wei Ying’s warmth around him. There’s a tightening, a subtle shift, and he grabs Wei Ying’s thighs, his back, and asks, “Are you clenching?”

Nodding, Wei Ying kisses him furiously, rocking himself onto Lan Zhan, taking him to the root before drawing up again. His brow beads with sweat, hair sticking to his face, and Lan Zhan kisses him. His lips, his jaw, his neck. Wei Ying pauses when he mouths at his shoulder, hands clenching on Lan Zhan’s shoulders, and Lan Zhan takes that as an opportunity to thrust into him, hard and deep, enough to make Wei Ying keen into him.

His cock throbs with need, with passion, and he fucks Wei Ying like this alone might be enough to let him know—

No. That doesn’t matter here.

What matters is Wei Ying around him, gasping and moaning, riding Lan Zhan like it’s the last thing he’ll ever do. Like it’s the best thing to happen to him, an opportunity that he intends to milk dry. What matters is his heat, his tongue delving into Lan Zhan’s mouth.

What matters is the way Wei Ying’s dick twitches when Lan Zhan tweaks his nipple, taking the nub between fingers that are wet with his pre-cum. Lan Zhan wishes their position was slightly different, wishes he could curl in on himself just enough to put his mouth on Wei Ying’s nipples, but—but, like this, the only thing he can do is hold Wei Ying’s ass aloft when he fucks into him.

Wei Ying leans back, suddenly, hands scrabbling with the edge of Lan Zhan’s desk. He knocks the mouse askew with his fumbling, bringing Lan Zhan’s monitor to life, and he snorts at his clumsiness. Manages to get a proper grip on the edge, effectively changing their position, and—

Oh, that’s good.

Grinning, Wei Ying tilts his hips, draws them in a teasing circle, clearly enjoying the groans and bitten-back moans he’s pulling from the depths of Lan Zhan’s gut. He tries to fuck up into Wei Ying like this, but it’s hard, a little too unstable in their current position to thrust into him effectively.

“Stay put,” Wei Ying growls, knuckles going white as he tightens his grip. His biceps flex wonderfully, and Lan Zhan can feel the pull of his abs, even if he can’t see them through Wei Ying’s ratty black tee.

Lan Zhan groans and lets his head fall back, squeezing his eyes shut as his balls begin to tighten. There’s something about this angle, about Wei Ying taking control like this, that leaves him breathless, thighs trembling as Wei Ying works him, wraps a hand around his dick.

Hearing the slick sounds of Wei Ying jacking off, Lan Zhan perks up, lifts his head for the sole purpose of watching Wei Ying’s chest flush and his hips jerk. It’s just—the way that Wei Ying palms himself, then twists his hand over the head, squeezes his shaft as he works. All of it’s so incredibly, impossibly hot, and Lan Zhan—he can’t, not like this.

He manages to get out a weak, “Wei Ying,” before he comes, cock twitching inside Wei Ying’s ass as it fills him with heat.

“Hell,” Wei Ying says, pushing off the desk and propping himself up on Lan Zhan again. “That was—hot.”

“Yes,” Lan Zhan agrees, for obvious reasons.

Wei Ying snorts. “Think you can keep going?”

Lan Zhan raises an eyebrow, but he knows that Wei Ying doesn’t mean, Can you get hard again? because that’ll take a hot minute that they don’t really have. What he means is, Is it okay if I keep fucking you like this? and, really, Lan Zhan isn’t equipped to deal with this.

“Yes,” he says, voice hoarse, and Wei Ying grins.

He keeps fucking Lan Zhan even as his cock starts to go soft, holding him in deeper to accommodate the change, and Lan Zhan obligingly fucks up into him with small thrusts, pressing the head of his soft cock against Wei Ying’s prostate as much as possible.

It’s different, fucking Wei Ying while overstimulation sets in, but not bad, exactly. Just… a different kind of intensity.

Like this, Lan Zhan can watch with eager, hungry eyes as Wei Ying takes his pleasure, whimpers soft, “Oh, fucks,” as he gets close. His voice pitches higher, his words a little weaker, but the real tell is his hand on his dick: his hand circles the head almost exclusively, absolutely slick with precum.

Tilting Wei Ying back, Lan Zhan watches as Wei Ying comes, chest flooding with fond heat and latent arousal as his balls tighten. Wei Ying catches most of his cum in his hand, draws it down his dick in an absolutely filthy display of self-indulgence.

Lan Zhan loves it, loves him.

When he’s done, Wei Ying collapses, boneless, onto him, chest heaving. Lan Zhan rubs his back and kisses the top of his head, tells him how good this was, how much he liked it, and he doesn’t really think about how Wei Ying is holding him until he pats Lan Zhan’s shoulder and says something about checking on one of his (many) ongoing experiments.

Having taken up freelancing, Wei Ying’s snagged a client running a blogging site that is, for some inexplicable reason (read: that Wei Ying is amazing and perfect and one of the most skilled men Lan Zhan knows) absolutely smitten with Wei Ying and his strange experiments on all manner of things. He’s getting paid top-dollar to do the most bizarre things, “All in the name of science, Lan Zhan!”

Wei Ying is thriving.

Lan Zhan loves him so much, even if their living room has become a veritable war zone.

By the time Lan Zhan manages to pull himself back together, Wei Ying is gone, disappeared to do precisely what he said he was going to do. Interestingly, his pants are still on the floor.

Which reminds him—the wet spot on his shoulder.

Sighing, Lan Zhan resolves himself to doing a fair bit of laundry over the next few days. And if he doesn’t change out of his pants, even with the spot of cum drying by his fly, well, that’s his business.

— — —

As the holidays grow near, Wei Ying’s anxious energy permeates every inch of the apartment.

He’s officially taking a leave of absence, cashing in the PTO and vacation hours that have gone unused for so long. It’s safer this way, Lan Zhan reminds himself; it’s not like he’s forcing Wei Ying to stay. If anything, he met Wei Ying’s proclamation—”I got approved for leave!”—with a series of questions that assured him that this was what Wei Ying wanted, that he wasn’t doing this because of some pressure Lan Zhan’s put on him.

“Besides,” he’d said, “I’ve been in the plane game for so long, you know? It’s about time to start branching out.”

Lan Zhan had let the conversation end there, startled by the realization that Wei Ying isn’t leaving, hasn’t even offered to find a new apartment or to ‘get out of Lan Zhan’s hair,’ as he’d been so fond of saying for so many years. He’s here, and for the first time, his presence does not have an expiry date attached to it.

Wei Ying bucks against his fingers, whining low in his throat. “Are you gonna fuck me or not?”

“Hm,” Lan Zhan says. “Remains to be seen.”

Guffawing, Wei Ying pinches Lan Zhan’s nipple and pulls him closer with his heels, until their cocks brush against each other. It’s certainly tempting, but—

“Don’t be a brat,” Lan Zhan says, withdrawing his fingers fully from Wei Ying. He’s loose enough, with more than enough lube inside to be fucked comfortably, but it’s fun to tease Wei Ying until he begs for it.

So, rather than getting on with it, fuck, Lan Zhan, he takes Wei Ying’s nipple into his mouth and sucks, tongues at the sensitive tip. Keeps going until Wei Ying’s protests turn into frustrated groans, and then he switches to the other one. Repeats the process, grabs Wei Ying’s dick to feel exactly how wet he’s gotten.

Not remarkably, which isn’t surprising considering that they haven’t done much yet, but Lan Zhan had hoped.

Lacking enough precum to be able to stroke Wei Ying comfortably, Lan Zhan settles for the next best thing and spits into his hand before wrapping it around Wei Ying’s dick and stroking his shaft, fondling his balls, and lavishing him with such attention that he’s keening with it, all the while knowing it’s not the kind of pleasure Wei Ying’s been gunning for.

“Lan Zhan,” he whines, abs jumping as Lan Zhan runs a finger across the slit of his dick. “Please, just fuck me—with your cock, don’t you fucking try that with me right now—”

“Try what?” Lan Zhan asks, innocent.

Wei Ying gives him such a dirty look that Lan Zhan concedes the point, humbly bowing his head. “Cock,” Wei Ying says, “in my ass. Now.”

His eyebrows are getting a workout today, apparently. “Demanding.”

“You’ve been making me wait.”

Ah, so he has. Can you blame him, though, when Wei Ying looks so good like this?

“I will fuck you,” he promises, taking his cock in hand and drawing the head over Wei Ying’s hole. Steadying himself, Lan Zhan ensures that his cock is slick, then pushes inside in one smooth motion.

Wei Ying gasps beneath him, wraps his arms around Lan Zhan’s shoulders, holding on tight as Lan Zhan works his way deeper with tight, carefully controlled motions. Not too much, not all at once; he knows he’s big, and they’ve made the mistake of doing too much too soon before. No matter what Wei Ying says, Lan Zhan takes his time at first. Lets him adjust.

The adjustment goes both ways, honestly.

Because it’s different, being inside of Wei Ying. Hot and tight, a sensation unlike any other, and if he tries to do too much too soon—well. Let’s just say that calling the show early is disappointing for both of them, even if Lan Zhan does have very talented hands and an even more talented mouth.

Once he’s sure he’s not going to blow his load the moment he picks up the pace, Lan Zhan strokes Wei Ying’s side and makes an inquisitive noise.

“I’m fine,” Wei Ying says. His voice is a little tight, but that’s likely related to anticipation more than it is to pain. They’ve been through this bit often enough to know the difference and understand how critical communication is.

Lan Zhan kisses Wei Ying once, slow and messy, before drawing Wei Ying’s legs around his hips. Holding onto his thighs, Lan Zhan bottoms out, grinds his hips against Wei Ying’s ass, knowing full damn well the sort of response that gets out of him.

Namely, a stuttering gasp and a muffled curse.

It’s divine.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying gasps, head falling against the pillows, back arching when Lan Zhan finds his prostate.

He adjusts accordingly, fascinated by how such a simple change in angle seems to change so much about how he needs to fuck Wei Ying. It takes some doing and a lot of concentration, but he pulls it off, manages to drag his cock against Wei Ying’s prostate with every thrust.

It draws the loveliest sounds from him, fills him with a trembling sort of pleasure that burns through Lan Zhan, like a spark in an oxygen chamber. Wei Ying gasps and moans and babbles nonsense about how good Lan Zhan is, how well he fucks him, why the fuck don’t they do this more often—never mind that they fuck at least once a day, usually more now that things are, well. The way they are.

Lan Zhan loses himself in it, the methodical give and take and the heat that builds in his gut. There’s nothing but this, just them, the bed beneath them.

Wei Ying’s thighs slip through Lan Zhan’s grasp, skin slick with sweat, and he giggles helplessly, scrabbles for purchase against Lan Zhan’s shoulders. More than willing to oblige him, Lan Zhan sets his thighs down, wraps an arm around Wei Ying’s shoulders, and hoists him upright. It’s an awkward transition, and it takes Wei Ying a long moment to get his knees beneath him. Lan Zhan’s cock slips out of his ass while they get everything sorted, and Wei Ying groans, mouths hungrily at Lan Zhan’s neck.

Lan Zhan’s heart stutters when he takes his cock in hand, slick and warm, and it hits him, again, that he’s been trusted to see Wei Ying like this, to touch and hold him at his most vulnerable. Sweat and lube mix in the cleft of his ass, sticking to Lan Zhan’s skin as he positions himself, pushes back in.

Hand cupping Wei Ying’s neck, Lan Zhan fucks him. Slow, steady, methodical, and all the while, Wei Ying’s mouth is on his neck.

A hint of teeth scrapes over Lan Zhan’s pulse, and he knows, knows what Wei Ying is planning, and it’s good, has Lan Zhan growling even before he sinks his teeth into soft flesh and sucks.

“Wei Ying,” he groans, fisting his hand in Wei Ying’s hair.

There’s a huff, some pleased laughter against his skin, followed by a contrite kiss that’ll do nothing to mediate the coming bruise. It feels good, exhilarating, and Lan Zhan feels drunk on it, on how fucking good they are at this, so he hardly thinks before he pulls out and lets Wei Ying fall back onto the bed.

“Ack!” Wei Ying says, eloquent as always. He laughs, breathless, and flutters his eyelashes at Lan Zhan. “Really? You’re drawing the line at a little bit of biting today?”

“No,” Lan Zhan says. Then, cock in hand, he adds, “Turn over.”

“Oh god,” Wei Ying says, scrambling to obey. “You gonna fuck me like this, too?”

“Quiet.”

Wei Ying isn’t, keeps talking while Lan Zhan takes hold of his hip, appreciates the curve of his spine and the muscles shifting as he lowers himself to his elbows and pushes his ass toward Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan appreciates the aesthetic of his form, absorbs the loosely connected lines of his self-stimulating chatter. Usually, Lan Zhan would be more appreciative of what Wei Ying has to say, but right now he’s a little too focused on gripping the base of his cock, on keeping himself on the right side of the edge.

“Lan Zhan, er-gege, please—”

Lan Zhan blinks, shakes himself out of it. Between one breath and the next, he’s inside again, fucking, moving, and it’s better like this, with his chest pressed against Wei Ying’s back, balls slapping against his taint with each thrust. It’s—so much, so much stimulus, so much to process, and Lan Zhan just. Doesn’t. For a bit.

For the moment, it’s just this. Just the slap of flesh against flesh, the drip of sweat down his spine, and Wei Ying’s incredible, keening moans. A blissful eternity of sex and sweat.

But the moment can’t last—never can, time being the linear thing it is—and Lan Zhan finds himself again with his hand wrapped around Wei Ying’s dick. There’s a particular hitch to his voice when he gets like this, when his dick is hard and leaking, that indicates exactly how close to the edge he is, and Lan Zhan hears that now. Hears it, and feels his own gut tightening as his orgasm approaches.

He bites Wei Ying’s shoulder as they spill over the edge in tandem, holding the firm flesh between his teeth as if he’ll float away if he doesn’t. Illogical, definitely, but so are most things in the throes of passion.

“Fuck,” Wei Ying says, voice breathy and hoarse. He pats Lan Zhan’s arm as he falls onto his side, eyes lidded, bones loose, and smiles fondly up at him.

It’s thrilling, knowing that they have this. That Wei Ying might stay, that there is no set date for his departure.

It makes Lan Zhan brave, knowing what he does now. A little over seven months together has given him a wealth of experience, of knowledge to draw from, so it is easy, in the afterglow, to draw his hand over Wei Ying’s flank and say:

“My lease is up for renewal soon.”

Wei Ying is quiet for a long, breathless moment. Then he rolls over, so they’re facing each other, guiding Lan Zhan’s hand back to his side and holding it there. Carefully, he asks, “Would it be okay? If I stayed?”

This is, of course, a ridiculous question, and Lan Zhan illustrates this by raising an eyebrow and glancing at Wei Ying’s pile of laundry in the corner of the room. (It is, technically, in a hamper; he just hasn’t gotten around to washing it for a while now.) Wei Ying has been here for the better part of a year now, and their lives have folded together until it’s difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends.

“It is more than fine,” Lan Zhan says, because sometimes Wei Ying needs to hear these things before he truly believes them.

Wei Ying’s face softens, turns shy, and he hides his face in his pillow before asking, “What do you want? Out of—” he gestures vaguely “—this?”

Once, Lan Zhan would have stopped here. Backtracked, stayed silent, and allowed Wei Ying to draw his own conclusions—but like he said, these past few months have made him brave. He’s seen his fondness reflected in Wei Ying’s eyes, and he’s sure it’s not just his imagination, or wishful thinking, or any of the things he would have told himself before.

So he tells Wei Ying, “I will have you for as long as you’re willing to stay,” and kisses him chastely, and adds, “because I love you.”

Wei Ying whines, melts into his chest, and in between the kisses he lays on Lan Zhan’s neck, he manages to convey that the feeling is mutual.

The holidays come and go, and somehow, they make it work.

Wei Ying insists on sending out a Christmas card—complete with horrible sweaters and garish colors—even though they don’t celebrate, specifically so he can inform their families of their relationship in the most dramatic way possible. And, well, Lan Zhan doesn’t exactly fight him on it. It’s a good opportunity. Also, he loves Wei Ying, which means he’s willing to do just about anything to please him.

The card works, technically.

Jiang Yanli calls Wei Ying when she gets the card, demands she be put on speaker, and commences to tell Wei Ying how proud she is of him while simultaneously getting a feel for Lan Zhan. Seeing as he leaves that conversation with several new recipes to try and without an incredibly polite shovel talk, Lan Zhan thinks he did well.

A few days later, Wei Ying’s phone lights up with a video call, revealing Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang crowded around the phone. Lan Zhan is not totally up to date with their relationship’s status, but he vaguely recalls them moving in with their queer-platonic partner, Wen Qing, a few months ago. Although Wen Qing doesn’t come into frame, she does pound on the wall at one point and shout, “Is that Wei Ying?” followed by, “Fucking finally!” when she gets confirmation.

It seems that Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang share that attitude, which is fine, he supposes. A little awkward when Nie Huaisang zeroes in on a hickey on Lan Zhan’s neck and asks, unsubtly, what happened. A touch uncomfortable when Wei Ying and Jiang Cheng get into an affectionate shouting match about their prowess in the bedroom (Lan Zhan vouches for Wei Ying’s skills, which puts an end to that argument, for several reasons). But, all in all, it’s good. Fond.

That evening, Lan Zhan gets a text from Lan Huan that consists of a photo of their card and a lone question mark. Understanding his confusion, Lan Zhan explains that no, he’s not absorbing euro-centric Christian ideals into his day-to-day and that yes, this had been Wei Ying’s idea. (The, ‘and I love him very much,’ goes without saying. Lan Huan seems pleased for him.)

It’s nice, knowing that their friends are happy for them.

On the lunar new year, Wei Ying sets up a video call with their immediate friends and family, and this, too, is good.

Wei Ying drinks mediocre champagne and buzzes with life as their friends’ distorted voices echo through the room. Even though they haven’t really left their apartment in what’s beginning to feel like an eternity, he bounces from room to room as if it’s a new space, as if every nook and cranny needs to be explored and showed off, as if this is a novel thing to do.

When the clock strikes twelve, they kiss. Two minutes later, they remember that they have an audience and say their hasty goodbyes.

Five minutes into the new year, they fall into bed together, and it’s sweet. Soft. Just them together, kissing and touching and fucking as they welcome a new era that somehow manages to feel much the same as the one they’ve just left.

That’s fine, though. So long as Wei Ying is with him, Lan Zhan can face anything.

— — —

At long last, the pandemic is under control. It’s been long enough that Lan Zhan—vaccinated recently enough that he’s still masked, even though the majority of their community is safely ensconced in the vaccine’s protection, just to be safe—feels slightly guilty to be going out for the sheer hell of it, and not because it cannot be avoided.

Slowly but surely, life returns to normal.

A few months after widespread vaccination efforts came to a close, Lan Zhan returns to his office. Wei Ying’s blogging gig scores him a ‘grown-up’ journalist position in San Francisco, and he’s nearly as smitten with the red ribbon of his lanyard as he is with Lan Zhan.

“I can’t believe they call these Dickies,” Wei Ying says, unbuttoning his black work pants—the aforementioned Dickies—and shaking his head at them, an amused scowl on his lips. “Like, I get it’s a brand name and all, but come on! Dickies! Who says that!”

“Apparently you,” Lan Zhan says, but he’s too endeared to sound properly annoyed. Standing behind Wei Ying, hands dipping below the waist of his pants, there’s not much to be annoyed about; Wei Ying is, as he’s always been, perfect.

“Of course you would say that,” Wei Ying scoffs, rubbing the knobs of Lan Zhan’s wrists, playing with the soft, wiry hair of his arms. “You’re my boyfriend—you have to! It’s the law.”

“Is it now,” Lan Zhan huffs, delighting in the shiver his words send down Wei Ying’s spine. He kisses the soft skin behind his ear. “I’ll bear that in mind.”

“Yeah,” Wei Ying says. He swallows thickly, grip tightening on Lan Zhan’s wrists. “You do that.”

It’s odd, sometimes, this ongoing exploration into what turns Wei Ying on, gets him hot and heavy in Lan Zhan’s arms, but not bad, not terrible. Just another pleasant surprise around every corner, new fantasies and desires to indulge in as they embrace domestic bliss.

He drags his hand from Wei Ying’s hip, stroking his dick through the cotton of his briefs, as he contemplates what’s gotten Wei Ying to this place this time. It seems unlikely that the Dickies play into it, although there is some merit in the idea that the concept behind the Dickies plays into this, and it’s not like Lan Zhan rarely holds Wei Ying from behind. Perhaps he’s gotten into his own head again?

Lan Zhan considers this, and finds the idea compelling; Wei Ying always falls to pieces when they put a name to their relationship.

Wei Ying’s stomach tightens when Lan Zhan dips beneath his briefs and takes his dick in hand, encircling the sensitive head and toying with the foreskin that remains stubbornly hooded. Lan Zhan—who’s more of a shower than he is a grower—remains fascinated by this, by the way Wei Ying’s dick grows as it stiffens. He could entertain himself with his hand on Wei Ying’s dick alone, but the separation of their re-integrated workdays leaves Lan Zhan feeling lonely, desperate for every second of Wei Ying’s time available to him.

Holding him like this is soft, gentle, and easily domestic. It leads to careful fantasies of pushing Wei Ying’s pants around his thighs and fucking him right here, like this, standing pressed together, lazily thrusting his cock between Wei Ying’s thighs, against his taint. They’ve done it before, and Lan Zhan has fond memories of the head of his cock shoved against Wei Ying’s tight, throbbing balls as he comes, but today—

Today, Lan Zhan wants something different.

It pains him to unwrap himself from Wei Ying, but it’s the price he must pay if he wants Wei Ying’s dick in his mouth. Hm. A worthy cause. He’ll simply have to hold Wei Ying tighter later to make up for it.

Wei Ying whines when he lets go, quieting only when Lan Zhan cradles his face and kisses him deeply, tenderly. His tongue traces the seam of Wei Ying’s lips, seeking the wet heat of him. It’s thrilling, how easily Wei Ying opens for him, hands tangling in his hair as they indulge this wet slide of mouths.

But that’s not what he’s here for.

In a few steps, Lan Zhan pins Wei Ying against the wall, enjoying the press of their bodies against the unyielding surface. With a parting nibble to Wei Ying’s lip, Lan Zhan goes to his knees, sliding his hands down Wei Ying’s sides as he goes.

Nosing Wei Ying’s dick, Lan Zhan closes his eyes, inhales the musky, sweaty smell of him, and pulls Wei Ying’s pants down to his knees. His mouth waters, and he wastes no time before kissing the base of his dick and laving his tongue across his length. Wei Ying’s thighs tense, quiver against Lan Zhan’s shoulders. His hands tighten in Lan Zhan’s hair, tugging his scalp, and it’s lovely, wonderful.

Lan Zhan wants more.

Securing Wei Ying with his hands wrapped around the back of his thighs, just beneath the swell of his ass, Lan Zhan nips the soft, tender skin above his stomach. Then he takes a deep breath, steadying himself, and takes Wei Ying’s dick into his mouth.

Above him, Wei Ying tightens and lets out a tiny gasp of pleasure. A good sound.

Lan Zhan swirls his tongue around the head, dipping beneath the crown of his dick, attending to all of Wei Ying’s most sensitive places, and as he does so, he prods at the new, quiet heat that ensconced Wei Ying earlier.

It started with the pants, which he wore to work. Thick red ribbon hangs from the front pocket, attached to his badge, textured and just casual enough that Wei Ying still seems himself while dressed in office attire. It started with the pants and grew into a full-bodied thing when he called Lan Zhan his boyfriend. Not a new development by any means, but… perhaps it means something.

Humming, Lan Zhan takes Wei Ying to the root. Enjoys the pleased moan that draws out of him, the stutter of his hips.

For a week now, Wei Ying has attended work in a corporate office, complete with cubicles and offices and a high-rise building that sways nigh-imperceptibly beneath his feet. For a week, he’s grown into this new space, coming to terms with the atmosphere and expectations. For a week, he’s found a concrete place of belonging outside of their apartment.

Lan Zhan tightens his grip on Wei Ying’s thighs, pulls him closer until Wei Ying’s hips are flush with his face, his dick sliding into Lan Zhan’s throat. Wei Ying’s wiry pubic hair tickles his nose, but it’s good, worth it for the whine he elicits, the slight breathlessness of holding Wei Ying this deep for as long as he can manage.

He pulls off with a lewd sound, spit on his chin and making its way down his throat. He gasps a bit when his throat is vacated, but it’s good. Pleasant.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says, awestruck and fond all at once. He strokes Lan Zhan’s face with a knuckle while he clears his throat, gets his breathing back in order.

Wei Ying’s face is… perfect, really, serene and sharp and filled with adoration, and Lan Zhan gets caught up in that for a moment before remembering that he’s doing something here. He palms Wei Ying’s ass, massages the muscle there, and smirks openly.

Wei Ying squints, immediately on guard.

“You love me,” Lan Zhan says. This is common knowledge; Wei Ying doesn’t bother to confirm. He’s not sure why he starts with this observation, only that it’s necessary, somehow, for what he says next. “What are you thinking about?”

“Right now?” Wei Ying asks, brows furrowing in confusion. He glances at his dick, then Lan Zhan’s lips, very unsubtly, and then he laughs, adjusts his weight on the wall. “Do you really have to ask?”

“Not now,” Lan Zhan says. “Earlier. With the Dickies.”

“What—why would I—?” Wei Ying stumbles on the words, suddenly unable to hold eye contact. “What makes you think I was thinking of something?”

“You softened.”

“I—” Wei Ying pats his head and laughs, a bit surprised. “Was just thinking about how real this all feels, now that we’re both doing the nine to five.”

“Hm,” Lan Zhan says. “That appeals to you?”

“Not the hours, obviously,” Wei Ying says. “But… I was thinking about my parents, how they’d orbit around each other whenever they got home from work.”

“And you want that?”

“Yeah.” Wei Ying smiles, threads his fingers through Lan Zhan’s hair, massaging his scalp. “It made me think—ah, it’s silly, but it made me think about coming home to you in the evenings. Dancing with you in the kitchen, cooking dinner…”

“Fucking in the entryway.”

Wei Ying laughs. “That too.”

Lan Zhan considers this. “And the Dickies?”

“What about them?”

“Where do they come in?”

Wei Ying snorts, shoves Lan Zhan’s shoulder with his thigh. “Just thought it’d be hot if you fucked me in your office.”

That—yes. That would be hot, incredibly so. He makes a mental note to check the lock on his door before the next office party.

“Wei Ying is full of good ideas,” Lan Zhan says. Then he takes Wei Ying’s dick back into his mouth and sucks him to completion.

A year later, they go to a nice restaurant to celebrate their anniversary, and a small velvet box burns a hole in Lan Zhan’s jacket pocket.

Life goes on.

He can’t wait to spend the rest of his with Wei Ying.