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Care and Feeding

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Dating a yao is a lot more mundane than some might imagine. Or, at least, less filled with danger. At least for Lan Zhan.

Of course, "dating" may be too strong of a word for it. Currently Lan Zhan is taking it day by day, as Wei Ying wishes, but he is biding his time until he can truly demonstrate to Wei Ying that they have nothing to worry about and that Wei Ying is safe with him.

Years of lonely hunting for scraps, however, have conditioned Wei Ying to be wary of even the most reliable of circumstances. Lan Zhan will not let that dissuade him. He will simply have to make himself more reliable.

The truth of it is, Lan Zhan might be falling in love with his yao, which is not a place he could have seen himself in even three months ago. He can hear his uncle's voice in the back of his mind, cautioning him against foolhardiness and rushing into the unknown, but Lan Zhan cannot change his heart.

It is possible he began falling in love while holding his sword against Wei Ying's throat as Wei Ying attempted to persuade him that Lan Zhan had the wrong man. Wei Ying turned out to be very persuasive. The first time Lan Zhan touched him on his lower dantian and felt all that yin energy, he had felt the pull of him. He had arrogantly told Wei Ying that Wei Ying couldn't compel him if he tried, but in reality, Lan Zhan had already been compelled. Just not by force.

Wei Ying bewitches him every day, has from the very start, from their very first time together. From the nervous way he had babbled, looking like a chaotic livewire among the orderly everyday of Lan Zhan's life, to the shocked, almost stricken expression on his face as Lan Zhan filled him with yang energy, as though he could never have predicted what it would mean to feast.

Every night that Wei Ying grants him, Lan Zhan cherishes. Wakes him up with a kiss to his naked shoulder, rolls him over, and touches him all over, gives his energy to him in every way he knows how. Wei Ying doesn't need to have sex every day now, not even every week—a single time with Lan Zhan could keep him fed for months at a time. But Lan Zhan—Lan Zhan wants it, every day. Wants him. Wants his skin and his mouth and his eyes, their beautiful depths glowing as he gives Wei Ying pleasure for pleasure's sake.

"Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan—" Wei Ying's gasps fill the air between them.

Lan Zhan rocks inside him, holding Wei Ying's soft, lovely ass in one hand, propping himself up on the other. He leans down and catches Wei Ying's lips with his own. Wei Ying opens up beautifully, his whole body straining towards Lan Zhan as a young tree strains towards the heavens. "Wei Ying," he whispers against his mouth.

"You're so good, Lan Zhan, so good to me," Wei Ying babbles, as is his wont. His hands have found purchase on Lan Zhan's chest and the heat of them feels like twin brands on his skin. Wei Ying is heat and fire, and Lan Zhan can never get close enough. He wants to melt into him, wants to give himself over completely. It's nonsensical and dangerous but he never feels in danger, only ever so slightly out of control. That is what Wei Ying does to him. "I'm so full, Lan Zhan." There's wonder in his voice as his eyes dance over Lan Zhan's face, lips bitten and red. "So full of you."

Lan Zhan gasps, dropping his face in the crook of Wei Ying's neck where his scent gathers, and goes faster, fucking him harder. "I am full of you," he mumbles against his skin.

He is. His body and mind are focused on one thing and one thing only, and if anybody had ever told him he would be a man to get lost so utterly in another, he would never have believed it. But Wei Ying has brought so much newness to his life that it has changed him irrevocably. Wei Ying has burrowed inside Lan Zhan's heart and made room for himself there, curling up as a cat does in the sunshine, without even knowing. Because Lan Zhan is convinced Wei Ying has no idea what he has done to Lan Zhan, and has from the very beginning.

"Keep going, Lan Zhan, keep—ah—keep fucking me, don't stop, don't ever stop—"

Wei Ying's hands have slid around his neck now, pulled him closer. Lan Zhan revels in his skin against Wei Ying's, his heart beating in a frantic rhythm. If he listens hard enough, Lan Zhan will be able to hear every single beat of Wei Ying's heart.

He comes with his mouth pressed up against the tender spot below Wei Ying's ear, where he can feel Wei Ying's energy coursing through him, feel the pulse of him, the very heart. Wei Ying cries out in a broken voice and spills between them the next moment—he always does. The yang energy that Lan Zhan gives him makes sure of that, makes sure they are never far behind each other, never far apart.

"Lan Zhan..."

Lan Zhan winds down his movements as he softens, pulls back and gives Wei Ying a kiss, one that Wei Ying returns with a satisfied sort of hum.

"We're so good at this," he whispers happily once they've broken apart. "How are we so good at this?"

We're meant for one another, Lan Zhan thinks, but doesn't say out loud. It would not do to scare Wei Ying away, showing him the depths of Lan Zhan's desires so early on. Lan Zhan can wait. And in the meantime, he can slide out and watch his seed spill from between Wei Ying's legs, a marking of their joining. Lan Zhan slides down the bed, leans in, and begins to lick. Wei Ying whines his name in mock complaint—"Lan Zhaaaan"—but Lan Zhan doesn't stop. He licks it up, all of it, as Wei Ying pants above him. Cleans him up with his tongue, then kisses the tender skin on his inner thighs before giving one spot a sucking, bruising kiss. Wei Ying cries out, beautifully, but doesn't stop him. He already has matching, fading marks there, and Lan Zhan will give him more tomorrow. If he could, he would live between Wei Ying's thighs, where he's the hottest.

Lan Zhan takes a deep, shuddering breath and collapses onto Wei Ying's stomach. Wei Ying reaches down and pets his head, fingers smoothing down his hair. "Lan Zhan...so good to me."

"Mmm. You deserve it."

Wei Ying makes a dismissive sound that makes Lan Zhan want to hunt down whoever had convinced Wei Ying otherwise, and continues to thread his fingers through Lan Zhan's hair. "You're so good. It feels incredible not to be starving all the time."

They lie there, breathing heavily, for a long while until he hears the rumble of Wei Ying's stomach, so close to his ear. Wei Ying laughs as Lan Zhan lifts his head. "Well, sexually, at least. Sorry, I totally skipped lunch today because I forgot. Whoops."

Lan Zhan sighs in exasperation. How has Wei Ying survived this long without someone to watch over him? Hungry in every sense of the word, he has come to Lan Zhan just in time.

"I will make us dinner," Lan Zhan says, then gives Wei Ying's hip a kiss because he cannot stop himself. "Stay here, relax."

Lan Zhan gets out of bed and pulls on his clothes while Wei Ying watches him with bright, satisfied eyes. They glow after sex, for hours. Lan Zhan wants to ensure that glow is never far from the surface. He will make sure of it.

"Do you want a hand?" Wei Ying asks without much conviction.

Lan Zhan shakes his head. "It is all right. Feel free to rest."

Wei Ying makes a satisfied sound, stretching. "I'll come out soon, I promise. But your bed is so comfortable, Lan Zhan." If he were a cat, Lan Zhan is fairly certain Wei Ying would be purring. It takes all of his willpower not to strip himself again and climb back into bed with him.

Instead, he makes his feet move and walks to the kitchen. He turns on the light, then flicks on the kettle. Tea never goes amiss. He prepares them a meal—mushroom ramen, as it has gotten quite chilly out this week—all the while listening for any sign of movement from Wei Ying.

Once the ramen is done, he pads into the bedroom, where he stops in the doorway. Wei Ying is fast asleep, his face looking even younger in sleep. He is curled up so only his face is visible peeking out from beneath the covers and Lan Zhan hates to wake him, but he really should eat.

Lan Zhan worries at the inside of his cheek for a moment, then strides decisively in, lowering himself until his knees hit the floor. He runs a soft hand over Wei Ying's shoulder, above the covers, until Wei Ying stirs and blinks open his eyes. Immediately, a smile transforms his face. "Lan Zhan. Sorry, did I—ugh, I drooled. Sorry."

"No need." Lan Zhan touches his cheek with his thumb, feeling the softness of his skin. "Are you up for dinner?"

"Am I ever." Wei Ying stretches again and the covers fall down his body, revealing its nudity. "Give me, like, a minute and I'll be ready."

Lan Zhan nods, then moves away, getting up. "I will be in the kitchen."

Wei Ying gives him a sleepy smile. Lan Zhan would walk through fire and over sharp ice to see that smile directed at him every morning and every night. He nods once more and exits.

True to his word, Wei Ying emerges not a minute later, looking rumpled with a crease down his cheek, still pulling on his worn sweater. It's a soft-looking thing with a stretched out collar that reveals his collarbone, and it makes him look young, vulnerable. Not at all like the yao that he is.

"Mmm, what is that? Is that soup?" Wei Ying sniffs the air theatrically, eyes bright. "Lan Zhan, you are too good to me."

"Don't be silly," Lan Zhan says as he ladles soup into two bowls. "Please, sit."

Obediently, Wei Ying sits, picking up the spoon Lan Zhan had laid out earlier and playing with it. "Well, silly or not, a boy could get used to this sort of treatment."

Something unfathomable tinges the words and makes Lan Zhan say, "Good. You should."

That makes Wei Ying blush and duck his head. His ears are pink where he's pushed his hair behind them, and he doesn't look him in the eye as Lan Zhan sets his bowl in front of him and invites him to eat.

"You too, right?" Wei Ying asks, not looking up.

"Of course." Lan Zhan sits down across from him and picks up his spoon. "Please, Wei Ying. Eat."

Wei Ying stops fiddling with his spoon and does as asked.

#

He does not see Wei Ying every day. Sometimes, it is due to his own work, which takes him all over and often out of town, and sometimes it is because Wei Ying is not around. What he does when he is away, Lan Zhan doesn't know. He has suspicions, but he would never press, and Wei Ying does not offer.

On those days—and nights—when Wei Ying isn't there to keep him company, Lan Zhan learns the meaning of loneliness. It is strange how a solitary person like him can so easily get used to company that its absence will leave an empty space. He fills his time well enough: he practices the guqin, spars with his brother, reads. He sits and meditates. He sleeps alone.

Sometimes, Wei Ying sends him a text—nothing terribly important, and often silly—and Lan Zhan stares at the message for much too long, willing its sender to be right next to him and not wherever it is that Wei Ying goes when he's not with Lan Zhan.

And then, Wei Ying returns and their reunion is marked by a joyful coming together that fills Lan Zhan to the brim.

Wei Ying looks good these days. Gone is the jittery, gaunt young man he had cornered outside a seedy club all those weeks ago. In his place is a beautiful youth, eyes shining and skin tinged with pink, marked with health. He's still jittery—he's still Wei Ying—but he has none of that edge of restless worry that marked the beginning of their relationship.

Lan Zhan knows it's simply the yang energy he now gets in abundance, but he wants to believe...he hopes...that it is also his own influence and care for Wei Ying that has helped bring this about.

"I am seeing someone," he says to his brother one day, as Lan Huan sits down across from him at their favorite lunch spot.

Lan Huan's eyebrows climb to his hairline. "Oh?"

"Mn." He can feel his cheeks heat up and looks at his brother's chest.

"Well, that is certainly good news. Who is this person? And...are you...happy?"

"Mn. His name is Wei Ying," Lan Zhan tells him. "We have been seeing each other for several weeks." And will continue to do so until Wei Ying tires of him.

"Wei Ying...Wei—Lan Zhan!" Lan Huan exclaims, then lowers his voice. "Is that not the name of the yao we had suspected of killing all those women?"

"He was innocent," Lan Zhan says. "I did write that in my report."

"Well, yes, but—" Lan Huan looks bewildered. "How did...how did this happen? And he is still a yao—are you sure that this is safe for you?"

"Mn. We have found that we are...compatible. And enjoy each other's company." He knows his cheeks and ears are pink now, and he still cannot quite make himself meet his brother's eye, but. It feels good to share. To be open, like this.

Lan Huan is quiet for a long moment, studying him. "I hope you don't mind me saying so, A-Zhan, but...this isn't like you."

"I am aware," Lan Zhan responds, taking a sip of his tea. "I have found that Wei Ying is...unlike anybody I have ever met."

Lan Huan absorbs this, blushes around the ears a bit, and says, "And you are being...cautious...aren't you? With…" He squirms.

Lan Zhan decides to throw him a life preserver. "Yes. We are." He opens his mouth to add that his cultivation is high enough to withstand a yao's need, but decides against it. His brother does not need to know the particulars. "Anyway, I simply wanted to inform you."

Lan Huan takes a sip of his own tea, then sets down his cup. "I appreciate your openness, A-Zhan. And I am...happy for you. I hope that things work out."

"Me too," Lan Zhan agrees calmly, and just as calmly finishes his tea.

#

Wei Ying returns after several days away looking tired but still happy, so wherever it is he disappears to must not be dangerous. He greets Lan Zhan with a smile and a kiss that lingers, smelling of the outside and car exhaust, as though he's spent time on a bus.

He shucks off his shoes, then hangs up his threadbare jacket—Lan Zhan's fingers itch to get him a new, sturdier one that would keep the chill away—and rubs his hands together. "You wouldn't happen to have any tea or something ready, would you? I need to warm up."

Lan Zhan takes his hand and leads him to the kitchen. "I'll do you one better," he says quietly.

Emperor's Smile is already uncorked on the table, simply waiting for Wei Ying to appear and pour it into his glass.

"Lan Zhan!" Wei Ying's eyes light up, then almost disappear with his smile. "For me?"

"Of course. Please, sit."

Wei Ying drops down onto a chair and reaches for the jar, pouring a glass as soon as it's within reach. Lan Zhan watches him down the first one, then pour himself another. "Oh, this is so exactly what I needed. Lan Zhan, you are a genius." He looks up at where Lan Zhan is hovering over him and tilts his head. "Why don't you sit?"

Lan Zhan unfreezes and does so, feeling unaccountably nervous. He always feels a little nervous after they don't see each other for a few days, as though that absence is enough to throw things between them off-kilter. If it is, Wei Ying never shows it. Lan Zhan should really get used to that. He pours himself the prepared tea and takes a sip.

"How are you?" he asks. He doesn't normally ask where Wei Ying goes when he's away, and Wei Ying doesn't offer.

"Mmm, I'm good. A little lonely." Wei Ying leers over his glass, eyes dancing. "Didn't have Lan Zhan to keep me warm at night, you see." Under the table, his socked foot touches Lan Zhan's bare one, then rests lightly on top. "You miss me, Lan Zhan?"

He asks as though to tease, but Lan Zhan can only answer honestly. "Yes."

"Oh." Wei Ying's cheeks color and his gaze drops down to his glass. He drinks deeply before lowering it to the table. "Well. That's good."

Lan Zhan allows this with a tilt of his head. He wants to ask for himself, but something prevents him. Instead, he gets up and walks over to the fridge. "Are you hungry?"

"Starving," Wei Ying says happily. "Gonna feed me dinner, Lan Zhan?"

"Yes." Lan Zhan extracts some leftover stir fry with pressed tofu, as well as the roast duck breast he had bought earlier in the day specifically for Wei Ying, and goes about reheating them.

"Oh my god, is that meat? Are you cooking me meat?" Wei Ying drifts over to him, looking over his shoulder. "Lan Zhan! For me?"

"Yes," Lan Zhan responds, pleased to have surprised him. "I thought you might need the protein."

"Protein, huh?" Sly hands wrap around his torso, sliding all the way over to his stomach. "You know—"

Lan Zhan huffs out a laugh, but doesn't dare move for fear of stopping him. "I do," he says.

Wei Ying's arms squeeze him. "So smart, this Hanguang-jun. Who knew?" He laughs. "Besides the entire cultivation world, of course."

"Mn." Lan Zhan flips the meat so the other side can heat up.

Wei Ying sighs, squeezes his middle one more time, and moves away. Lan Zhan can hear the clink of the alcohol jar, then the sound of Wei Ying pouring himself another glass. He smiles. "There is another jar in the cabinet, should you wish it."

"Lan Zhan! Spoiling me like this. Careful, people might get the wrong idea." He sounds teasing, but there's an undercurrent there that Lan Zhan doesn't like.

He lowers the heat under the duck and turns around, taking a deep breath. "What if they got the right idea?"

Wei Ying's glass freezes halfway to his mouth. He looks caught out, eyes refusing to meet Lan Zhan's. Lan Zhan can feel his own heartbeat speeding up. Did he just… Wei Ying laughs, sounding only slightly nervous. "You're funny, Lan Zhan. Anyone ever tell you that?"

Lan Zhan breathes out, then abruptly turns back to the duck, lest it burn. "No."

"Well, they should." He's back to sounding normal, sounding like Wei Ying.

Lan Zhan shouldn't push. He shouldn't ask for more than what is on offer, and he definitely shouldn't make any more careless mistakes. He will take what Wei Ying gives him—nothing more, nothing less.

Once dinner is ready, he sets the bowls down on the table and invites Wei Ying to sit back down. They eat in silence, as is only proper, although Lan Zhan can tell the moments where Wei Ying wants to say something and stops himself. Lan Zhan almost says, go right ahead, but desists. Nothing more, nothing less.

"That was amazing," Wei Ying finally says, pushing away his empty bowl. "I was starving."

"I can tell," Lan Zhan says, pleased. "I am happy you enjoyed it." He puts the bowls in the sink, then gets out another jar of Emperor's Smile from the cabinet. "Would you like to join me in the living room?"

"A night cap? Don't mind if I do!" Wei Ying beams, hopping up.

They retire to the living room. Lan Zhan, in all honesty, has another thing in mind, but it won't do to pounce on Wei Ying like a man starved. Some days, he is honestly not sure which one of them is the actual sex demon.

Once in the living room, however, Wei Ying gets restless. He downs another glass of Emperor's Smile, his cheeks growing pink, eyes just a touch hazy. He can handle his liquor, Lan Zhan knows, but he isn't immune to it, either. Once he's downed the glass, he meets Lan Zhan's eye and then scrambles up and straddles him. "I can't believe we waited this long," he murmurs, his mouth a breath away from Lan Zhan's. "Didn't you say you missed me?"

Lan Zhan, feeling the heat of it in his stomach, wraps his hands around Wei Ying's narrow waist. "You were tired and hungry. I did not wish to—"

He doesn't get to finish the sentence—Wei Ying kisses him. It is a deep, heady kiss that tastes of liquor and Wei Ying. Wei Ying, Lan Zhan has found, tastes different from other people. More intoxicating. It could be his nature; it could just be that Lan Zhan enjoys kissing him more than he has anyone else.

Lan Zhan often cannot tell apart his own desires from what it is that Wei Ying puts out as a yao. Wei Ying hasn't ever tried to compel Lan Zhan—he's had no reason to. But there have been times when Lan Zhan has wondered if he's been compelled anyway, and a part of him thinks he would not actually mind it if he was. Of course, all it takes is a few days away for him to realize that, even not under Wei Ying's spell, he misses him. Wants him. Needs him. His hands tighten on Wei Ying's waist.

Wei Ying moans against him, sounding pleased, then pulls back from the kiss. His eyes are already slightly brighter, as though somebody has lit a candle behind them. They dance as they meet Lan Zhan's. "You really did miss me, didn't you?"

"I do not lie," Lan Zhan says simply. He runs his hands down over Wei Ying's ass and squeezes. He loves his ass. Wei Ying wriggles happily, arms resting over Lan Zhan's shoulders.

"No, and I love that about you," he sighs. Lan Zhan's movements stutter, just for a moment. Wei Ying, of course, does not mean it the way Lan Zhan wishes to hear it. Wei Ying doesn't notice Lan Zhan's imminent crisis and instead pushes back against his hands, insistent. "Wanna do it right here? We haven't done it on your couch yet." He leans in and gives the crook of Lan Zhan's neck a kiss. Lan Zhan shivers. Lips to Lan Zhan's ear, Wei Ying whispers, "It's been a few days, I need a refill." He pushes his hips up against Lan Zhan's where his erection is obvious and enticing. Lan Zhan wants his lips on it.

"I would rather we retire to bed," he says as calmly as possible. "More room to maneuver."

Wei Ying huffs out a laugh. "Big plans, huh? All right, I'm game." He tightens his arms around Lan Zhan's neck at the same time as Lan Zhan tightens his hold on his ass and begins to rise to his feet. Wei Ying whoops with delight as he gets airborne, and Lan Zhan drinks in his laughter as though it were nectar. He should really be looking to see where he's going but the look of naked joy on Wei Ying's face as he throws back his head and laughs is too lovely to ignore.

He carries Wei Ying, without incident, to the bedroom, and shuts the door with his foot as Wei Ying laughs. His laughter carries them all the way to the bed.

#

In the morning, Lan Zhan wakes up relaxed. He stretches, wondering why he's feeling so at peace, then turns over.

Of course. Wei Ying has returned. He looks peaceful in sleep, mouth slack, eyelashes fluttering with a dream. Lan Zhan watches him for a moment, prolonging the inevitable. He needs to get up, he needs to work out, he needs to shower. All of this is a daily routine he has not wavered from since he was a young boy, and yet whenever Wei Ying is in his orbit, it becomes difficult to convince himself to go through the motions. He has yet to break the routine, but he has wanted to, more than once.

Wei Ying radiates heat in sleep. His eyes had burned last night after they'd had sex as though it were not merely a single candle lighting them up but an entire sun. Lan Zhan never feels weak after sex with Wei Ying—he knows how to hold back from giving himself away completely. But the temptation to do so—to give Wei Ying everything—is always there.

Now, Lan Zhan rubs his face and makes himself get up. The air is cool around his naked body and his skin goes up in goosebumps. Attempting to be as quiet as possible, he reaches for his underwear, then grabs his joggers. He is just pulling them on when there's a muffled, bitten-off noise from the bed and Wei Ying's morning raspy voice says, "No, come back to bed, Lan Zhan...too early…"

Lan Zhan twists around. Wei Ying is blinking at him sleepily, lower lip caught in his teeth, a slight smile escaping. "I always get up at this time," Lan Zhan tells him reasonably.

"I knooooow, and it's always early. Just this once...stay with me?" He pulls back the covers, revealing his naked body and patting the spot Lan Zhan had just vacated with his hand. "Please?"

Lan Zhan's traitorous heart turns over. He pulls off his joggers, then his underwear. He crawls back into bed only to be immediately covered in Wei Ying, who rolls on top of him and presses his morning erection against his hip. "See?" he breathes, fitting his finger in the groove between Lan Zhan's mouth and chin. "Isn't this so much better than exercise?"

Lan Zhan brings that finger up to his mouth and gives it a kiss. "I will still need to exercise."

"What if," Wei Ying says, a grin beginning to show, "we do some cardio together?" He rises up until he's straddling Lan Zhan, the covers slipping off to reveal him. He really is absolutely beautiful. Lan Zhan wonders if all yao are beautiful, or if it's simply that Wei Ying is. He would be beautiful as a human, as well.

"Are you planning on doing all the work?" Lan Zhan inquires. "I would get cheated out of my workout." And then he's grabbing Wei Ying by the waist and rolling them over so he ends up trapped between Wei Ying's thighs, hovering over him. Wei Ying throws back his head and laughs.

"I don't mind letting you do the work, Lan Zhan," he says, delight lacing his words. "As long as you get inside me already."

Lan Zhan leans down and kisses him. Wei Ying moans and melts against him.

A little morning sex never hurt, Lan Zhan decides.

#

Afterwards, he does get up and work out while Wei Ying sleeps some more. Later, Lan Zhan decides, he will bring him coffee in bed. Wei Ying can have it while Lan Zhan makes them breakfast. Maybe he'll bring him breakfast in bed as well, or maybe—

His phone pings with a message. He frowns—it's still early by most people's standards.

It is Lan Huan. A-Zhan, I apologize for disrupting your morning, but a case has come in that cannot wait. Can you meet at this address? He has sent a pin on a map.

Lan Zhan swallows and tamps down his unreasonable irritation. This is, after all, his job. He has had to change plans countless times in order to save someone or bring someone else to justice. This is what he does. He cannot help but feel slight disappointment at being cheated of a nice morning with Wei Ying.

He showers quickly, dries himself off, goes into the bedroom. Wei Ying's peaceful breathing fills the room, and the last thing Lan Zhan wants is to wake him. But he has no choice—he doesn't want to do something so impersonal as to leave a note.

He sits down on the bed and touches his hand to Wei Ying's shoulder. "Wei Ying?" he says softly. "Wei Ying, wake up."

"Mmmph." Wei Ying shifts on the pillow and then blinks open his eyes. "Lan Zhan? Is it really late?"

He shakes his head. "Not at all. I apologize for waking you. I...have to go. Work. Something has come up."

Something like disappointment passes over Wei Ying's face, but it's so fleeting, Lan Zhan wonders if he imagined it. "I understand."

Lan Zhan smooths the shoulder beneath his hand with his thumb. "Please stay as long as you like. I don't know when I'll be back, but it will most likely be this evening." He hesitates. "If you want, you can spend the day here. Of course, it is up to you. But…" He pauses, collecting his words. Nothing more, nothing less. "I would like to see you this evening, if you would be amenable."

Wei Ying bites his lip. "Sure. Let me see what I've got going on and I'll text you?"

It isn't an unqualified yes, and Lan Zhan tamps down the slight disappointment. "Of course." He will not make himself an obligation. "Let me know."

Wei Ying clears his throat and rises up onto one elbow. "Okay. Give me a kiss, please."

Lan Zhan leans in instantly, catching Wei Ying's lips with his own. Wei Ying makes a pleased noise, presses up closer. Pulling back is one of the hardest things Lan Zhan has ever had to do. "Please keep sleeping as long as you like. The kitchen is at your disposal, as is the shower."

"Okay." Wei Ying smiles sleepily. "Be safe, all right? Not every person you pursue is as much of a delight as me."

Lan Zhan can't stop himself from smiling. "This is very true."

#

He ends up spending his day chasing down a Jiangshi. They finally corner him in a dirty alleyway behind a hotpot restaurant in between two overflowing dumpsters. They immobilize him and then put him in their car, rigged up for this purpose, and drive him to the office holding cell.

"You know, I just can't help it," the guy whines from the backseat. "It's who I am, how are you going to blame me for what I do when this is who I am?"

Lan Zhan, inordinately irritated after having spent the entire day on this guy's heels, says, "You can choose not to do the things you do."

"Impossible," the guy spits. "Are you gonna tell me you can choose not to be a cultivator, oh righteous Hanguang-jun?"

Lan Zhan does not deign to respond and the rest of the ride passes in silence.

He has had an uneasy feeling all day, and it is only now that he stops and thinks about it that he realizes why. He has yet to hear from Wei Ying. It is already six o'clock and still, there is nothing. He must have decided to spend his evening elsewhere. An irrational jealousy takes root and he has to work to weed it out. Why would Wei Ying go back to his seedy clubs, looking for the barest of pleasures, when he can come to Lan Zhan and be fed for a month at a time?

But, a small voice tells him, what if he misses that lifestyle? Or perhaps he doesn't miss it, because he's still engaging in it. After all, Lan Zhan has no idea where he goes when he's away. It could be anywhere, with anyone.

Just ask him. He can't bring himself to. If Wei Ying wanted to share, he would have done so already. Lan Zhan will not pry or ask for more than what has been offered.

"A-Zhan? Are you all right?" Lan Huan asks as they pull up to the office.

Lan Huan has always known him best. "Hmm? Oh, yes. Of course." His brother will know he's lying, but he also will not pry. That simply isn't what they do.

By the time he is at his own door, it is seven o'clock, and he is tired and hungry and a little bit sad. He'll need to spend the evening meditating to get back on an even keel. Well. If that is how it will be, he will do it.

He unlocks and opens his door only to find—

"Wei Ying?"

The lights are on, and there are enticing smells wafting through the air. His heart starts beating twice as fast.

"You're home!" Wei Ying calls out. "I'm in the kitchen, come through!"

Lan Zhan shucks off his shoes and, without bothering to put them in their proper place, pads over to the kitchen. He comes up short and just watches for a moment, unable to really take in what he's seeing.

It is an incongruous sight—Wei Ying, in an apron, standing over his stove. His hair is pulled back into a messy ponytail and he's wearing one of Lan Zhan's lounging shirts and a pair of his joggers. The bottoms are tucked under his heels—they are too long for him.

Wei Ying turns around and breaks into a smile. "Lan Zhan! You're finally back."

"Mn." He moves until he's standing behind Wei Ying, and cannot stop himself from wrapping his arms behind him in a strange echo of last night. He inhales his scent. Wei Ying smells like his shampoo. Something primal and possessive rises inside him that he has to tame immediately. "What are you making?"

"Well, okay, so I sort of experimented. And I promise—it isn't spicy. I've left out the chili oil and everything. By the way, you're almost out. Sorry about that, I didn't realize I've already used so much."

Lan Zhan hooks his chin over Wei Ying's shoulder. His heart has still not calmed from the initial shock and now beats hard and heavy in his chest. "I will buy you more."

"Aww, Lan Zhan. So sweet to me." Wei Ying turns his head and pecks his cheek before turning back to the stove. "So, this. Is some sort of a tofu dish with the vegetables I found in your crisper. You're so well-stocked, Lan Zhan. You're like a proper adult."

"Are you not an adult?" he asks, amused.

"I am a disaster," Wei Ying responds easily and with humor. "Look, I just—I let stuff go to waste, so I've mostly stopped getting produce and whatnot because I never manage to cook it all."

Lan Zhan frowns. "Then what do you eat?" he asks, afraid of the answer.

"Oh, canned stuff, premade meals, that sort of thing. It's easy to store and doesn't spoil."

Lan Zhan bites his tongue and doesn't comment. The idea of Wei Ying subsisting only on premade meals fills him with an urge to keep him in his kitchen forever, feeding him well-balanced meals and making him drink enough water. It is a silly, unbecoming thought, but he cannot help himself.

"Are you judging me?" Wei Ying asks curiously.

"No," he says in all honesty. "I simply…" Worry about you. "Have some concerns about your nutritional intake."

Wei Ying laughs, flipping the tofu and stirring the vegetables. "You and—well, yeah. That's a fair hit. But I haven't keeled over yet, have I? And look, I've made us a nutritious dinner."

Lan Zhan wonders what Wei Ying had cut himself off about, but leaves it be. "So you have," he agrees instead and can't stop himself from giving Wei Ying's cheek a kiss.

Wei Ying bumps his ass back against him. "Get us bowls and chopsticks, please. This is nearly done."

With some reluctance, Lan Zhan pulls away and does as bidden. He sets the table, then gets out yet another jar of Emperor's Smile and sets that on the table, as well, along with a glass.

The meal is good, if a bit salty. Wei Ying takes a bite and scrunches up his face. "Sorry about that."

Lan Zhan shakes his head. "It's delicious," he says and takes in a big mouthful.

"You're just saying that," Wei Ying says, looking a bit dejected. "Next time I cook for you, I'll cool it on the salt. Sorry."

Lan Zhan sets down his chopsticks. "Wei Ying. Thank you for the dinner I did not have to make. It's very good. Really." And it is. The vegetables are tender, the tofu soft.

Wei Ying nods and shoves a mouthful in. They eat in silence for the rest of the meal.

Afterwards, as Wei Ying grabs the Emperor's Smile and Lan Zhan's hand and leads them into the living room, he babbles about his day. "I hope you meant it when you said to stay, because I figured, why go back to my drafty little place when I can have a nice quiet day here? You've got everything a boy could want, Lan Zhan."

Lan Zhan feels the words warm him down to his toes. The idea of Wei Ying making use of his things, of spending time here even without Lan Zhan to keep him company, delights him. "I am...very glad you stayed."

They lower themselves onto the couch and Wei Ying takes a big sip of his drink. Lan Zhan watches his throat move and wants to lick every single inch of him. His hands itch to touch him all over, to make Wei Ying understand, to make him his.

"So, how did you spend your time?"

Wei Ying gives him a sheepish smile. "Hope you don't mind, but I borrowed your laptop to watch stuff. I looked through your books, too."

"I don't mind at all. I'm glad you did." Lan Zhan pats his lap and Wei Ying, understanding, swings his feet up onto it. Lan Zhan settles back and begins to massage them. "Are you staying the night?" He wishes he sounded less trepidatious, but it can't be helped.

Wei Ying, eyes closed in bliss and a smile spread across his face, says, "I would like to. Is that okay?"

Lan Zhan gives his feet a light squeeze. "Of course. I—I enjoy it when you spend the night, Wei Ying."

Wei Ying's eyes flutter open. He bites his lip, looking at Lan Zhan through his eyelashes, and says, "I like spending the night." Then he gives a short moan at Lan Zhan's hands working his feet. "This is a full service operation."

Lan Zhan huffs out a sound of amusement. "Mn."

Wei Ying takes his feet gently from Lan Zhan's grasp and slides them against his thighs. The intent in his eyes is unmistakable. Desire flares in Lan Zhan and he stills Wei Ying's legs with his hands on his ankles. Wei Ying watches him in silence. Lan Zhan takes his ankles, twists so his body is facing Wei Ying's, and moves until he's caught between Wei Ying's slender legs, looming over him. Wei Ying's mouth drops open, his eyes are hooded. He looks seductive, beautiful, with a touch of innocence ready to be debauched, exactly like the demon that he is. Lan Zhan couldn't resist him if he tried—and he doesn't want to try.

Their kiss is slow, filled with heat and the sounds of their heartbeats. Lan Zhan feels Wei Ying wrap his legs around him all the way and then Wei Ying is pulling him in, pulling Lan Zhan against him until their hips align.

"Mmm. I keep trying to get you to fuck me here," he murmurs against Lan Zhan's lips. "But no success so far."

"Keep trying," Lan Zhan says, nodding.

Wei Ying huffs out a laugh. "One of these days?"

"Something like that." Lan Zhan runs his hand down the side of Wei Ying's face, feeling the tender skin against his own. His thumb, he runs along Wei Ying's defined cheekbone. "Why do you want to fuck on this couch so much?"

Wei Ying turns his head and gives his palm a kiss, then a flick of his tongue, amusement radiating from his entire being. "It's so pristine here. I kind of want to mess it up a bit. Not permanently, of course," he rushes on. "Just, like. For a little while."

Lan Zhan takes in a deep breath, says, "Very well," and slides down. Wei Ying gasps softly above him as Lan Zhan flicks open his button, then pulls down his zip. Wei Ying is half-hard already. Lan Zhan leans down and breathes against the cotton of his underwear as Wei Ying squirms.

"Are you—are you sure, Lan Zhan, I don't—we don't have to—"

Lan Zhan gives him a nip in response. Then he hooks his fingers inside Wei Ying's underwear and pulls them down. Wei Ying is uncharacteristically silent above him, allowing this to happen. He's tense, Lan Zhan can feel it, can see it in the line of his hips, the feel of his stomach.

Lan Zhan takes him in his mouth. He's so warm, and he tastes incredible. Once more Lan Zhan can't differentiate between what is part of Wei Ying's nature and what would be there even if Wei Ying were human. He supposes there is no answer—Wei Ying is what he is. And Lan Zhan loves all of him.

He sucks him to full hardness, reveling in how Wei Ying's dick begins to fill his mouth the longer he goes. It's proportionate to the rest of his body, and just as pretty. Lan Zhan allows his eyes to slide closed as he moves up and down. Wei Ying is already leaking, a salty fluid that dances along Lan Zhan's tongue, teasing. It makes the slide of it better. Lan Zhan's spit makes the slide of it better, too. Everything feels good, down to his own growing erection, pressed up against his zipper.

Wei Ying's moans are satisfaction itself. His fingers running along the top of Lan Zhan's head are soft, careful. Lan Zhan doesn't know how to tell him he can be a lot less careful, and he can't bring himself to stop long enough to do so. He sucks him off for what feels like a long time, the air around them quiet but charged, anticipation rolling between them.

"Lan—Lan Zhan—ah—that's so good, you're so good," Wei Ying mumbles, arching his body beneath him. He is the most sensuous person Lan Zhan has ever been with, every movement fluid, unconsciously so—this is not for show. His moans are soft, pleased, growing in intensity the longer Lan Zhan blows him. "Ah, fuck—oh, I'm close, I'm getting—too close, Lan Zhan—"

Lan Zhan doesn't stop, but redoubles his efforts. He goes faster, using his hand to pump him at the base to a faster rhythm. His other hand is pinning Wei Ying's hip down, reveling in the smoothness of his skin and the strength of the muscle there.

He knows Wei Ying can get hard again, it's happened before. The advantage of dating a yao.

He gets him there in short order, Wei Ying crying out brokenly and pumping his hips as he climaxes. Lan Zhan swallows every last drop of him, tasting the bitter-sourness of his coming. Wei Ying trembles beneath him, and it feels as though the whole world trembles with him.

Afterwards, they are quiet for a long moment, then Lan Zhan lifts himself up, moves Wei Ying's legs together, and flips him over. Wei Ying yelps, then begins to laugh, the sound of it full of joyful surprise. "I think I see where this is go—oh."

Lan Zhan has spread him open with his thumbs and the first touch of his tongue against Wei Ying's hole has Wei Ying scrambling, looking for purchase. Lan Zhan can't tell where he finds it, but Wei Ying stills, the line of him tense. Lan Zhan licks him up and down, using the tip of his tongue to drive him crazy. They've only done this a handful of times, but each time, Wei Ying has been driven nearly mad with pleasure. Lan Zhan gives it to him now, laves at him, the intimate core of him, tasting skin and musk and Wei Ying.

Wei Ying is whimpering, babbling uncomplicated, wanton words. Lan Zhan's name. Pleas, of all sorts. "I can't—too much, fuck, no, don't stop, don't stop, Lan Zhan, I—I can't, it's—"

Lan Zhan keeps going. With one hand, he rolls Wei Ying's balls in his hand, feeling them tighten, then runs his fingers along the length of him. He had been right—Wei Ying has grown hard again already. He hisses at the contact. "Ah, Lan Zhan—"

Lan Zhan hums in response and Wei Ying trembles.

Finally, when he has gotten him wet enough that the slide of it should be easier, he opens him up with a single finger. Wei Ying cries out. "Yes, fuck, yes, please, please, just—do it, yes, just like that—"

With one hand, Lan Zhan reaches for the coffee table drawer and extracts the lube he had stashed there in a fit of optimism. Wei Ying, hearing the sound of it uncapping, laughs. "Always prepared, Lan Zhan."

"Mn." He squirts out the lube onto his fingers and returns with two, grazing Wei Ying's prostate and reveling in his broken voice. He leans in and gives his ass a kiss, then a gentle bite; then a not-so-gentle one. Wei Ying shudders. Lan Zhan does it again, loving the feel of skin and muscle against his teeth. He sucks and hopes that he'll leave bruises.

Wei Ying tosses his head from side to side and moans continuously now, not bothering to be quiet. "Oh, fuck, Lan Zhan, that's—that's so much, that's so good, you should—you should fuck me already, I'm there, I want it, please—"

Lan Zhan scissors his fingers inside him, then pulls out. With shaking hands, he undoes his own zipper, rolls down his pants, then frees his dick. He slicks himself up, giving it a squeeze just to relieve the need, and lines up. Wei Ying's hips are tense beneath his hands. "Ready?"

"Born ready," Wei Ying mumbles with no sense of irony, and then Lan Zhan is sliding home.

It feels incredible every time. Wei Ying is tight, even after the prep, and Lan Zhan's breath catches, as it does each time they do this. He attempts to find an even keel, to stop himself from mindlessly rutting, but then Wei Ying bumps his hips, back arching, and Lan Zhan forgets to stop himself. He fucks him hard and fast, hands digging into flesh, as he zones out on where Wei Ying's shirt has rucked up and shown him the twin winks of the dimples at the base of Wei Ying's spine. Lan Zhan wants to put his tongue on them, wants to lick him all over, bite and suck on his skin until he is covered in Lan Zhan-shaped bruises.

Wei Ying's voice fills the room, shifting the air and making the hair on the back of Lan Zhan's neck stand up. He sounds so good when he's getting fucked. High and desperate, keening. Lan Zhan revels in that, as well.

He leans over and drapes himself across Wei Ying's back, the contact between their skin electrifying. He wishes he had gotten them entirely naked, but he will enjoy this, as well, even through two layers of shirt. Wei Ying is taut as a bowstring beneath him, panting into the decorative pillow Lan Zhan's brother had gotten him when he had first moved in here. "Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, ah—"

"Wei Ying," he manages. "Do you—does it feel good?"

"Fuck. Fuck." Wei Ying makes a sound like laughing. "It's so good, Lan Zhan, can't you tell? You're fucking me so well, I want—"

Lan Zhan knows how to hold himself back, how not to give himself away completely. His golden core protects him from Wei Ying's natural tendency to take-take-take until there's nothing more to give, but there are times. There are times when he doesn't want it to. Times when he wants to offer himself up completely—he is Wei Ying's to take. Wei Ying's to do with as he pleases.

"Wei Ying—"

"I'm here, Lan Zhan, keep—just keep fucking me, I'm—"

Lan Zhan reaches around and takes a hold of Wei Ying's hard dick, gives it a few tugs. Wei Ying whines, bumps his hips back, trapped between Lan Zhan's dick and his hand. He is, ironically, at Lan Zhan's mercy.

Lan Zhan will give him none.

He jerks Wei Ying off even as he continues to fuck him, fast and hard, and Wei Ying's voice reaches new heights of broken pleasure. It doesn't take long for it to crescendo completely and then he's coming, spilling over Lan Zhan's fist and the couch, trembling so hard Lan Zhan feels it in his toes.

He continues to fuck Wei Ying, going faster, harder, chasing his own pleasure. It doesn't take long for him, either. He comes inside him, filling Wei Ying with his seed and his energy. If he looks hard enough, he can see that Wei Ying's skin has a faint glow to it where it is exposed. He has been fed, and fed well.

Heart beating twice as hard, Lan Zhan comes to a stop, still buried to the hilt inside him.

Wei Ying laughs, moaning. "Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck, that was so good. Oh, Lan Zhan…"

Lan Zhan cannot speak, but he squeezes Wei Ying's hip with his clean hand in response.

As careful as he is when pulling out, he makes a mess anyway. It slides down Wei Ying's balls, his thighs. Lan Zhan watches it happen with unembarrassed hunger.

"Oh, fuck, we made a mess," Wei Ying says, sounding almost upset. "You were right, bed would have been better."

"It is all right," he reassures him. "I don't care about the mess or the couch, Wei Ying." He pulls back enough to reach for the box of tissues on the coffee table, grabs a handful, and catches the drop of his spunk with it. He cleans Wei Ying up as much as he is able, then does the same to himself, until all that remains to do is take a shower to get the rest off.

Wei Ying collapses, face mashed into the pillow. He mumbles something unintelligible into it, then rolls over onto his side, then his back. His cheeks are flushed bright pink, his eyes glowing with it. They're nearly amber in their brightness. His lips spread in a lazy smile. "Lan Zhan. You fucked me so well, I don't think I can move."

"No need," Lan Zhan says, pulling up his underwear and pants, tucking himself back in. Then he reaches for Wei Ying's pants and tugs at them until they're sliding all the way off. Wei Ying gives him a raised eyebrow, but doesn't comment for once. His underwear is next. Once that's done, Lan Zhan takes Wei Ying's hands and pulls him up to sitting. He takes off his shirt, and Wei Ying is left naked and curious on his couch.

"Big plans, Lan Zhan?"

"Shower." Then he levers himself up off the couch, leans down, and grabs Wei Ying underneath his legs and back. "Wrap your arm around my neck," he suggests, and once Wei Ying does, lifts him up.

Wei Ying yelps. Lan Zhan doesn't know why he's surprised—Lan Zhan had telegraphed his intentions pretty clearly. Wei Ying groans and buries his face in the crook of Lan Zhan's neck. "Lan Zhaaaaan," he complains. "You're so embarrassing, this is so embarrassing. I could have walked. Probably."

Lan Zhan can feel himself color slightly, but he doesn't stop. He carries Wei Ying to the bathroom, where he sets him down, then disrobes himself. He turns the shower up to the hottest temperature either one of them can stand, and ushers Wei Ying into the tub.

Wei Ying goes without comment, then tips his head back and allows the water to beat down on his face. Lan Zhan watches him as he runs his hands back over his hair until it's saturated, eyes closed. He is beautiful. Lan Zhan allows himself the pleasure of simply looking, until Wei Ying moves aside, blinks open his eyes, and catches him at it.

His lips quirk into a smile. "Enjoying the view?"

"Yes." Lan Zhan pulls him in by the waist, then moves until the water is beating down on both of them. Wei Ying's hands find his chest. They should be getting clean—the entire point of the shower—but maybe kissing first will not go amiss.

Wei Ying does not argue.

#

And then, Wei Ying disappears again. Lan Zhan does his best not to be concerned. Wei Ying must know that if he gets into trouble, he can call Lan Zhan, and Lan Zhan will find him. He simply wishes that...that he knew. Where it is that Wei Ying goes. Why he doesn't contact Lan Zhan when he's away. What it is he does when he isn't with Lan Zhan.

He's in the office he shares with his brother, catching up on paperwork, when Lan Huan clears his throat and, looking supremely uncomfortable, asks, "So how are things? Between you and your...person."

Lan Zhan lowers his gaze back down to his paperwork. "I believe things are going well." Except that he isn't certain. He never is, when Wei Ying isn't there. He sighs, putting down his pen, and leans back in his seat. "In truth," he says carefully, "I do not know. He...tends to leave for days at a time without letting me know where he is. It...concerns me."

Lan Huan's eyebrows draw together. "Are you worried that he is...feeding?"

Lan Zhan's turn to be surprised. "No. He is—we—no. That is not what worries me." Maybe a little bit. "I simply wonder...how much of a commitment this is for him."

"Ah." Lan Huan nods. "You don't know where you stand."

"Precisely." Lan Zhan smooths his hands over the piece of paper in front of him. "I am...committed. To this...relationship." He clears his throat. "I believe that he enjoys my company."

Lan Huan, looking very uncomfortable, says, "Are you concerned that he is...using you?"

Lan Zhan's gaze flies up. "Using me—? No, I—" He had never thought that, but. Should he have? Has he been naive to think that Wei Ying is in it for more than satisfying his hunger? "I never—"

"I'm sorry, I did not mean to upset you," Lan Huan says in a rush. "Please, forget what I said."

But it's impossible to pour back spilled milk. The thought settles in his mind and immediately begins to fester. The thing of it is, Wei Ying has never given him any indication this could be the case, but—a small voice that sounds like his uncle's prods—how well does he really know Wei Ying? Wei Ying does not give much away. In fact, Lan Zhan, in his desire not to pry or ask for too much, has never managed to find out anything about him other than the crumbs Wei Ying offers up himself.

What was his upbringing like? Where did he grow up? Who made Wei Ying into the young man that he is today?

Where does he even live?

Lan Zhan stews on these thoughts for the rest of the day as he writes up report after report, and goes home in a dark mood. He meditates to dispel it, and it takes much longer than he likes to get on an even keel. He goes to bed alone, and wakes up to no messages.

#

Lan Zhan begins to worry seriously when he doesn't hear from Wei Ying by day five. Ordinarily, Wei Ying would have already popped up by now, even if via text, letting him know he'd like to see Lan Zhan. He rakes over their last time together, attempting to find any reason that Wei Ying would not return to him, and finds nothing that stands out. They'd had a lovely night together, and Wei Ying had kissed him goodbye in the morning with a smile on his face.

Lan Zhan goes through his morning in a fog of concern. He and Lan Huan are called in to investigate a series of unusual murders on the south side of town. They don't find the perpetrator, but do see several clues that could lead to them. Lan Zhan goes back to the office to research while Lan Huan follows one of the clues to a nearby hotel.

Lan Zhan is knee-deep in ancient scrolls when somebody taps on his desk to get his attention. "Hanguang-jun."

Lan Zhan looks up. It's Mo Xuanyu, a young man who is new but has already proven himself to be quite capable and intelligent. "Yes, Mo Xuanyu?"

Mo Xuanyu's face is creased with some concern. "I am very sorry to bother you, but I just—Su She has apprehended someone I believe to be innocent, and I tried to discuss the matter with him, but he is...not very open to discussion."

Lan Zhan frowns, putting down the bamboo scroll in his hands. "How do you know them to be innocent?"

Mo Xuanyu chews on his lip. "The guy is insisting and what he is saying makes sense. But that's not the only reason!" he rushes on. "The thing is, you've met him before and let him go, as well. He's a yao and his name is—"

Lan Zhan is up out of his seat the next moment. "How long has Su She been holding him?"

"—ei Ying. Two days, sir, and I was hoping—"

"Where are they?" He's already walking out into the hallway, Mo Xuanyu on his heels.

"Downstairs, sir."

In a holding cell, then. Wei Ying has been here for two days and nobody had alerted Lan Zhan. He has been sitting there, most likely without food and possibly even water, because Su She's brand of interrogation dates back to ancient times. Lan Zhan runs down the stairs, hearing Mo Xuanyu panting behind him as he tries to keep up.

"Which room?"

"Room number three, Hanguang-jun."

Lan Zhan grabs the handle and throws open the door.

The first thing he notices is a figure huddled in a corner. There is only one chair in the room and it's occupied by Su She, who is drinking tea and tapping his toes. At the intrusion, he twists around and his mouth turns into a sneer. "I see you went to gege," he sneers, looking behind Lan Zhan. "Typical."

Mo Xuanyu makes a quiet strangled noise but Lan Zhan gestures for him to be quiet. "Su She," he says, all the while looking at Wei Ying, who has looked up and seen him. He looks—miserable, and he looks hurt. His lip is split, there are dark circles under his eyes. Blood turns to lava in Lan Zhan's veins. "Why did you not file a report?"

All reports are supposed to cross Lan Zhan's desk on day one. He should have known about this from the start.

"I wasn't done with my interrogation," Su She says in his simpering voice. "As you can see, this creature has been quite reluctant to confess."

"That is because he is innocent," Lan Zhan grinds out, teeth clenched. "What basis are you holding him on?"

"Didn't you hear?" Su She's eyes grow big, a picture of mock-innocence. "Four women killed at nightclubs, all the same MO. Sucked dry of their yin energy. Just like by a yao."

Lan Zhan advances on him until Su She has no choice but to crane his neck. "And did you check to see what sort of energy this man needs?"

Su She's eyebrows draw together. "What? That's ridiculous, why would I? Just because he says—"

"He is correct." Lan Zhan remembers Mo Xuanyu and turns towards him. "Please find Lan Huan and bring him down here." Mo Xuanyu immediately runs off to do as bid.

Su She scoffs. "You're really not going to let me do my job?"

"Your job," Lan Zhan hisses, "is not to keep innocent people for two days without basis." He turns towards Wei Ying and walks over slowly, so he doesn't spook him. Wei Ying watches him the entire time. He doesn't look relieved. He looks lost and unhappy. Lan Zhan squats down and meets his eye. "Wei Ying. Have you had any food or water?"

Wei Ying bites his lip and looks away. "He surprised me," he rasps. "You know me, I can defend myself. Have done for years."

Behind Lan Zhan, Su She sputters. "What is the meaning of this—"

Lan Zhan ignores him. "I know. What happened?"

Wei Ying swallows and Lan Zhan hears the dry click of his throat. He's going to kill Su She, Lan Zhan thinks serenely. He is going to tear his tongue from his mouth to start, and then he's going to slap him several times until his smirk falls off. "I was just getting back from—well, I was just coming back, and he accosted me at my apartment building. There were people around so I couldn't—I didn't want anyone to get caught in the crossfire, and he..."

"I see." Lan Zhan is surprised by how calm his voice is. "Can you stand up, do you think?"

Wei Ying nods a few times. "I think so."

Lan Zhan holds out his hand for Wei Ying to take and even like this, even with everything that's gone on, his hand feels so good in Lan Zhan's. Feels so right. Lan Zhan helps him rise to his feet until they're nearly face to face again, and studies him for more injuries. "Are you hurt anywhere besides…" He gestures at his own mouth.

Wei Ying shakes his head. "No, I mean. He got a few good kicks in, but I'm fine. I'm hearty, you know?" Just then his stomach gives a growl. "I haven't eaten in a while, sorry." He wraps his arms around his middle.

"Hanguang-jun," Su She says, finally breaking his apparently stunned silence. "What is the meaning of this? You know this—this—creature?"

Lan Zhan puts a hand on Wei Ying's wrist for a moment in a gesture he hopes is comforting, then turns back towards Su She. "You have apprehended an innocent man, and I will have to file a report. And he is coming with me."

"You can't do that, it's my case—"

"It is your mistake," Lan Zhan says as calmly as he can manage.

"But the yin energy, and he's a yao, and when I met him, he looked—he looked like he had fed, and recently. I've seen a hungry yao before, and this one—"

"Is still innocent."

"How the hell would you know that!" Su She shouts, losing the last of his performative cool. "And why are you so friendly? And what—"

"He is not hungry, because he has been fed," Lan Zhan interrupts. He takes a moment for a deep, meditative breath. "By me."

Su She's mouth shuts with a click. Behind Lan Zhan, Wei Ying makes a strangled noise not unlike the one uttered by Mo Xuanyu earlier. Su She stares at Lan Zhan, then bursts out, "What? What are you saying?"

"Wei Ying is my—we are seeing each other. And I know he is innocent, because he has been with me. And if he had, in fact, attempted to kill even one of those women, he would have gone into qi deviation. He needs yang energy, Su She. Not yin. You would have known that," he continues, only now realizing he's been advancing on him, "if you had bothered to check."

"You—you're dating a yao?!"

Lan Zhan blinks slowly. Su She really is the most unpleasant man of his acquaintance. "Yes."

"Oh, I can't wait to—"

"I do not care if you tell anybody else. It is none of your business, of course, nor is it anyone else's, but it is not a secret, either."

"Lan Zhan…"

Lan Zhan turns around. Wei Ying is watching him with wide eyes, eyebrows raised. It occurs to Lan Zhan that Wei Ying might see their relationship differently. He attempts to keep himself on an even keel and not give into the sick panic slowly rising inside him. "Yes, Wei Ying?"

Wei Ying shakes his head, looking down at the floor. Lan Zhan's panic rises further, but just then there's a sound of rushed footsteps and Lan Zhan turns around in time to see Lan Huan stride in with Mo Xuanyu on his heels. Lan Huan takes in the scene in front of him with a raise of his eyebrows. "Lan Zhan? What, exactly, is going on?"

"What's going on is, Hanguang-jun is interfering in my business, and he is—did you know about this?" He waves his hands in the direction of Lan Zhan and Wei Ying. Lan Zhan turns back to his brother.

"Lan Zhan, is that—"

"Yes, Brother. Meet Wei Ying. Wei Ying, this is my brother, Lan Huan."

Wei Ying gives an aborted wave. "Oh, uh, hi." He ducks his head. "This is a bit weird," he mutters.

"It is not how I would have chosen for the two of you to meet," Lan Zhan agrees, willing for his heart to stop pounding quite so loudly. "Su She apprehended Wei Ying outside his home two days ago and failed to file a report. I am planning to file a disciplinary action against him."

"You can't fucking do that!"

Lan Zhan ignores him. "Now, I wanted you to be a witness," he tells his brother. "I am going to take Wei Ying home now. Do you agree he is free to leave?"

Lan Huan, looking slightly concerned, moves out of the way. "Of course. I hope you are all right, Mr. Wei," he says to Wei Ying.

Wei Ying shifts from foot to foot. "I'm fine. Thanks."

"Good. Lan Zhan, I will have a conversation with Mr. Su, you go ahead. I'll await your report in the morning." Only Lan Zhan understands the meaning in his brother's eyes. He nods, then takes Wei Ying's hand and leads him out of the holding cell.

They're almost to the door when Wei Ying stops and turns, catching Lan Zhan's eye. "You didn't...you didn't have to do that," he says. "I mean...tell him."

"I am...sorry if you feel like I have betrayed your confidence," Lan Zhan says, feeling his throat closing up. "I acted rashly."

"No, no," Wei Ying says, waving his hands. Some of the light has returned to his eyes and he no longer looks like a spooked animal. The sight of that loosens something in Lan Zhan's heart. "It isn't that, at all, it's just—are you sure you want people to know?"

Lan Zhan swallows. "Why would I not want people to know?"

Wei Ying looks away. "You're...Hanguang-jun. Surely you…"

"Can date whoever I want," Lan Zhan says quietly, willing Wei Ying to understand. "Wei Ying, I…"

Wei Ying cuts him off. "All right." He's chewing on his lip and Lan Zhan can't bring himself to ask.

Instead, he says, "Are you really all right?"

Wei Ying looks haggard under the bright lights—the holding cell had been fairly dark, illuminated only by a single lamp. Out here, it's the bags under his eyes and the cut on his lip look stark. Nevertheless, he says, "Really, Lan Zhan, I'm fine."

Lan Zhan purses his lips but is forced to believe him, for now. "Let's get you to my place. Unless...you would rather go to your own home?"

Wei Ying huffs out a laugh. "My home is, like, four walls of sadness, Lan Zhan. All things being equal, if you really don't mind, I'd rather go to yours."

"Very well." Lan Zhan attempts to hide his relief. "Let's go."

#

He ushers Wei Ying inside, then locks the door behind them. He turns on the lights, takes off his shoes, sets them down onto their mat. Wei Ying takes a while to shuck his off, swaying on his feet. Lan Zhan is there the next moment, holding him up.

"Sorry," Wei Ying says with a crooked grin. "Just a bit woozy, that's all."

"You must be starving," Lan Zhan says. "I will order in, but for now, I would like you to drink as much water as you can. And tea, as well. Is that all right?"

"Don't mind if I do," Wei Ying mumbles. He allows Lan Zhan to support his weight as he finally slides off his boots, then follows Lan Zhan easily enough into the kitchen.

"Please sit," Lan Zhan says, pulling out a chair. "I'll be just a moment." He opens the delivery app on his phone, pulling up a place Wei Ying has praised before. He orders three main dishes and a few appetizers, just in case, then sets his phone down. He goes about the business of pouring water, then putting on the kettle for tea.

Wei Ying drinks deeply, draining the whole glass. Lan Zhan pours him another, but cautions, "Go easy on this one, I don't want you to get sick."

Wei Ying nods his agreement. He's already looking a bit more relaxed than before, but his mouth is still pinched and Lan Zhan wonders, not for the first time, what other injuries he might be hiding. He will have to investigate.

Once the tea is ready, he pours him that, as well. Wei Ying inhales deeply as he brings the cup to his face, steam rising up. "I love this tea," he murmurs. "Don't worry, I'll take it slow."

Lan Zhan leans against the counter and watches him drink in silence. After the tea is gone, he ventures, "The food will take a little while to get here. Can I get you anything in the meantime?"

Wei Ying scrunches up his nose, then shakes his head. "Nah, I'll wait."

"In that case...would you like to take a shower and change your clothes?"

Wei Ying looks surprised by the offer, but says, "Sure. If you're okay with that."

"Of course. Here, come with me."

Wei Ying already has a towel hanging from a hook in the bathroom, a byproduct of the day he had stayed at Lan Zhan's by himself. Lan Zhan had been unable to make himself put it in the hamper, something he now realizes is quite silly. Nevertheless, he says, "Here's your towel. If you don't mind...I would like to keep you company."

Wei Ying bites his lip and attempts a leer, which falls a bit flat with the haunted misery still hiding in his eyes. "You just want to see me naked sooner."

Lan Zhan doesn't respond, simply watches Wei Ying begin to disrobe. As Wei Ying shucks his shirt, Lan Zhan sucks in his breath. He is covered in deep purple bruises on both sides, as though someone had meticulously used his ribs for soccer practice.

Wei Ying frowns, looks down, and then wraps his arms around himself, avoiding Lan Zhan's eye. "Oh. Didn't realize those were there."

"Wei Ying…" He takes a step closer slowly, not wanting to spook. "Did he break any ribs?"

"I don't think so…"

"Would you allow me to ascertain that?"

Wei Ying sighs, then slowly drops his arms. "I don't know, I really don't think…just a pulled muscle..."

"Please."

"All right. Fine. You can look."

"I'm sorry if I hurt you," Lan Zhan says quietly, then puts his hands as gently as possible on Wei Ying's sides and extends his spiritual energy to feel his bones. There is a fracture, he realizes, on the left side. He shuts his eyes and feels his energy wrapping around it, knitting the bone back together. He is no healer, but he has treated his fair share of injuries before, including his own. Wei Ying gasps and sways against him. "Are you all right?"

"How the fuck—how did you do that? It stopped hurting."

Lan Zhan can't help the soft kiss he gives Wei Ying's naked shoulder. "I have some experience in these matters."

Wei Ying shivers and shakes his head. "Unbelievable. You heal, too?"

"Only the most rudimentary of injuries, I assure you."

"Lan Zhan…"

"Hm?"

He still has his hands around Wei Ying's sides, feeling the goosebumps on his skin. He turns his head a fraction and their mouths are a breath apart now. Wei Ying is watching him with a wary, worried gaze. "You didn't—you didn't have to tell him we're together."

Lan Zhan's heart sinks. "I am sorry to have made that choice for you. I...should have thought."

"No, no, it's not that." Wei Ying's gaze flickers between his eyes and his mouth, as though not knowing where to land. "It's just that...everybody knows what I am, and I come with a reputation. Just by, you know, being myself. You...you're Hanguang-jun. Above reproach. Doesn't it...make you look bad, to be openly seen with me?"

Lan Zhan blinks, then blinks again. He pulls back so he can see Wei Ying's face better. "Are you—Wei Ying, are you saying I shouldn't tell people we're together to protect my reputation?"

"Well...yeah." Wei Ying shrugs. "I mean, we're new, right, and—"

"Wei Ying." Lan Zhan takes one hand off Wei Ying's ribs and touches his chin with it. "Unless you do not wish to be open, or do not...wish to be with me in any serious way...I would never disavow you." Wei Ying visibly swallows, his eyes huge and trained on Lan Zhan's. "Wei Ying. I like you," he confesses. "So much. And unless you say otherwise, I would like to consider us together. And not just casually."

There. With his heart out in the open, Lan Zhan waits for the verdict.

Wei Ying blinks and then his cheeks fill with color. He scrunches up his nose, then takes Lan Zhan's hand away from his chin, but doesn't let it go. Instead, he ducks his head and butts it against Lan Zhan's shoulder. "Lan Zhaaaaan," he whines. "You can't just say things like that, it'll break me."

His hand automatically comes up to cradle the back of Wei Ying's head. "Wei Ying?"

"I've been, like, trying to give you space and not spook you too much with how much I like you and now you're saying this and I'm only one yao, you know? This is too much."

Lan Zhan, understanding beginning to dawn, feels the start of a smile on his lips. "Do you mean it?"

Wei Ying pulls back, eyebrows drawn. "Mean what?"

"That you...want this. With me."

Wei Ying rolls his eyes, a smile growing on his face. "Ugh, yes. Of course I mean it. Couldn't you tell?"

Lan Zhan, a feeling of something fizzy bubbling over in his chest, takes Wei Ying's face in between his hands, looking him in the eye. "I did not wish to assume."

Wei Ying's eyelashes flutter as he looks down. "Well, you can. Assume. Or not, I guess, since you already know. I," he says pointing at his own chest, "like you." He points at Lan Zhan. "A lot, Lan Zhan."

"Wei Ying…" He doesn't know if it's too soon, and too presumptuous, but… "You tend to disappear. Is that you giving me space, or...is there more to it?"

Wei Ying looks down again, then pulls back so there is more distance between them. "I mean...partly, yeah, I didn't want you to get sick of me. Keep the mystery, you know?"

"Hmm." Lan Zhan studies Wei Ying's face, which is showing the beginnings of a blush.

"Buuuut...okay, so partly, I didn't want to, like, discuss my very unsexy job as a cashier with you. Not exactly attractive."

"Wei Ying—"

Wei Ying holds up a hand. "But also, I do tend to go out of town from time to time." He looks Lan Zhan in the eye, as though studying him in turn. Then he takes a breath, lets it out, and says, "I visit the Wens. I'm not—I'm not going to tell you where they are, I'm not ready. Not that I don't trust you, I really do." He raises his hand and puts it on Lan Zhan's chest. Lan Zhan can't stop himself from folding his own hand over it, holding on. "But it's not just about me, you know?"

Lan Zhan nods. "I understand."

Wei Ying nods in turn. "Good. But...I'll tell you where I'm going from now on, all right? I won't disappear again, I promise."

Lan Zhan squeezes the hand underneath his. "I would appreciate that."

Wei Ying gives him a shy smile, and then sways on his feet a little bit. That's when Lan Zhan remembers he hasn't had anything to eat yet, and must be absolutely exhausted. He holds him up and looks him in the eye. "Why don't I draw you a bath instead of a shower. It might help."

"Mmm, bath." Wei Ying blinks up at him, smiling. "That does sound nice."

Lan Zhan gently leads him to sit down on the toilet, then goes about turning on the water and filling the tub. In the time it takes for it to fill, their food arrives.

"Eat first or bathe?" Lan Zhan asks.

Wei Ying scrunches up his face. "Won't the water get cold?"

"I can keep it hot for you."

Wei Ying tilts his head. "Talisman?"

"Talisman."

Wei Ying nods. "Then food first. I'm fucking starving."

They eat in the living room where Wei Ying can relax as he does it, and Lan Zhan watches him with pleasure as he takes bites of his own food. Once Wei Ying is done, some more color returns to his face, and the bags under his eyes pale.

Lan Zhan leads him to the bathroom, where he helps him strip—"I can take my own clothes off, you know." "I understand."—and then helps him into the tub. Wei Ying sinks down with evident pleasure, his eyes fluttering closed as he lays back. "Oh fuck, that's the stuff. Oh, you're so good to me, Lan Zhan."

Lan Zhan hovers, unsure of what to do next. "Would you like privacy?" he finally asks.

"Oh, no, stay!" Wei Ying's eyes fly open. "If you want. Like. I would like you to stay."

"Very well." Lan Zhan lowers himself onto the floor, folding his legs. Wei Ying gives him a lazy smile and shuts his eyes again. Lan Zhan does his best not to look below the surface, where Wei Ying's naked body teases him, the outline of his soft cock an intimate peek. "How do you feel?"

"Mmm. Like I've died and gone to heaven. I feel so good. And my ribs barely hurt anymore. How did you do that?"

Lan Zhan drops his gaze to his own feet. "It's fairly rudimentary, if you know the basics."

"Well, I appreciate not having to wait to see Wen Qing to get healed up."

Lan Zhan makes an inquiring noise.

"She's usually the one to patch me up if I get into a scrape or whatever." Wei Ying runs his fingers along the surface of the water, then takes in a deep breath, letting out a satisfying moan. "God, this feels good."

"I am glad," Lan Zhan says, hearing the warmth in his own voice. It is only slightly discomfiting. "I will get you some clean pajamas for when you're done. Excuse me."

He gets up and leaves for his bedroom, Wei Ying's Hurry back! echoing in his ears.

As he sifts through the most appropriate options for Wei Ying, Lan Zhan attempts to tamp down his growing excitement, mingled with not a small amount of relief. Wei Ying wants to be here, wants to be with him. He won't disappear again.

Lan Zhan finally decides on a soft sweater and pair of joggers that is slightly too small for him but will be perfect for Wei Ying, not bothering with underwear, and takes the bundle into the bathroom. Wei Ying gives him a brilliant smile as he walks in. Lan Zhan nearly stumbles over his own feet.

"Ohhh, those look so nice. And expensive. Lan Zhan, your shit is always so nice, I feel inadequate."

Lan Zhan frowns, setting the clothes onto the closed hamper. "Why?"

Wei Ying shrugs, looking down at the water. "Dunno, I'm—you know. Just a poor sex demon, not a lot to my name."

"Wei Ying, that...that does not matter to me. All that matters is you."

Wei Ying groans and covers his face with his hands. "Oh my God, you have got to stop doing that," he mumbles.

Lan Zhan feels his lips quirking into the ghost of a smile. "I am sorry to inform you of this, but I do not plan to."

"Aughhhhh." Wei Ying finally lowers his hands and looks at him, lips caught in his teeth. "Fine. But give me some warning, all right?"

Lan Zhan nods solemnly then daringly leans in. Wei Ying catches on quickly and meets him halfway. The kiss is soft, sweet, lingering. Wei Ying gives a quiet moan as they pull apart.

"I know I'm tired and all, but…"

"You should rest. Your ribs—"

"Are fine, just a bit bruised now. Trust me, I won't break." He leers.

Lan Zhan worries at the inside of his cheek. "Nevertheless—"

Wei Ying doesn't wait to hear out his argument and rises from the water, shamelessly nude and dripping. It puts his dick at eye-level with Lan Zhan and Lan Zhan's words immediately dry up. He rakes his gaze upward until their eyes meet. Wei Ying smirks. He's already getting hard. "Would you hand me that towel?"

Lan Zhan rises to his feet and reaches for it.

The only thing they both have a presence of mind to do is unstopper the tub so the water drains, and then they're stumbling down the hall. Wei Ying is still damp and warm from his bath, his skin pressing up against Lan Zhan's clothed body in an intoxicating, sensuous rush. The kiss is heavy, hot. Wei Ying flicks his tongue against Lan Zhan's and his moans get lost in Lan Zhan's throat.

Just as they're stumbling through the bedroom doorway, Wei Ying stops with his hand on Lan Zhan's chest, wraps his arms around his neck, and hops up. Lan Zhan catches him immediately, hands digging into the meat of Wei Ying’s flank. He presses his thumbs against the yielding flesh of it and gets fully hard. "Wei Ying—"

"Carry me to bed, Lan Zhan," Wei Ying whispers, and even though it's a mere three steps, Lan Zhan does it.

"Let go," he murmurs and Wei Ying drops do the bed with a whoop. His joyful laughter makes something inside Lan Zhan loosen, makes it nearly impossible not to smile in return.

"Get naked, baby," Wei Ying commands. "I want you all over me."

Lan Zhan obeys, undoing his cuffs, then tearing his shirt off as quickly as he can manage. He goes for his fly, and Wei Ying watches him with a hunger that is true to his nature. Suddenly Lan Zhan doesn't care how much of himself he gives, how much of him Wei Ying takes. He will give himself over completely if it means Wei Ying will continue watching him with that burning gaze.

Wei Ying begins to run a loose fist over his own erection and Lan Zhan fumbles with his trousers. He steps out of them, then swipes off his socks. Underwear is last and then he's advancing on Wei Ying, ready to eat him alive.

They meet in another deep kiss as they crawl up the bed, Lan Zhan hovering over Wei Ying, knees knocking together.

"Here, here, come here," Wei Ying whispers in his ear after pulling back from the kiss. "Want you right here." He pulls Lan Zhan down until they're pressed up skin to skin, and Lan Zhan moans from the feel of it, from how much of Wei Ying he gets to experience this way.

There's nothing like touching the skin of your lover, and Lan Zhan loses himself in the feel of Wei Ying beneath him. Their cocks aligned, they roll their hips against one another with no particular goal, no particular rhythm, but doing it just to feel as they kiss and kiss and kiss. Lan Zhan pulls back to catch his breath to find that Wei Ying's eyes are already lit up, a gorgeous golden glow that pulls you in and doesn't let go.

Sweeping Wei Ying's hair from his cheeks with his thumbs, Lan Zhan says, "You're so beautiful like this."

Wei Ying's eyes widen and he bites his lip, eyelashes fluttering. "Shut up," he mumbles, then attempts to pull Lan Zhan back in for a kiss.

Lan Zhan resists. "Your eyes," he says, not to be deterred, "did you know they glow when you're feeding?"

"Uhm—"

"Beautiful," Lan Zhan whispers and only then does he kiss Wei Ying's slack mouth, tangles their legs together.

"Lan Zhan," Wei Ying mumbles against his mouth. "Lan Zhan, won't you fuck me?"

Lan Zhan continues kissing him on the chin, his cheek, below his jaw. "Is that what you want?" he asks the fluttering pulse point in Wei Ying's neck.

"Yes, yes, God, a thousand times yes." Wei Ying wraps his legs around Lan Zhan's hips and presses up closer. "Want you to wreck me."

Lan Zhan gives an aborted moan and proceeds to kiss his way down to Wei Ying's clavicle, where it stands out in a play of light and shadow, tantalizing. He kisses down Wei Ying's chest, flicks his tongue against one nipple, then the other, and Wei Ying, hands tangled in Lan Zhan's loosened hair, hisses from the touch, hips rising. Lan Zhan bestows kisses on every bit of skin he encounters on his way down, ending with the tender spot next to where Wei Ying's dick is nestled in a thatch of hair.

He hooks his hands beneath Wei Ying's thighs and spreads him open. Wei Ying's moans fill the bedroom, the sound reverberating in Lan Zhan's veins. He loses himself in the taste and feel of him, making it wet and good for them both. Wei Ying's got one hand fisted in his hair, which he uses to neither pull him back nor pull him in, but simply to hold on.

Finally, Lan Zhan pulls back and takes in a deep, shuddering breath. "Do you still want me to fuck you?"

"Yes, yes, please—"

Lan Zhan nods, moves upward, and with a shaky hand, opens the bedside drawer, getting out a bottle of lube. He returns between Wei Ying's legs and prepares him, bit by bit. They watch one another the whole time, color standing high on Wei Ying's cheeks, the bags under his eyes nearly gone. With his lip caught in his teeth and his burning gaze, he looks like sin personified. As Lan Zhan slips out his fingers, he feels the sudden impulse to touch his hand to Wei Ying's lower dantian, to feel where they fit one another so well. Wei Ying's gaze widens as Lan Zhan spans his clean hand low on his belly, feeling all that yin energy swirling where his golden core would be if he were human. "Beautiful," Lan Zhan murmurs, catching his eye. "Let me make you feel good."

Wei Ying's nod is shaky, looking slightly off-kilter.

Lan Zhan takes his hand away and then he's slicking up his own dick, hands trembling slightly, and Wei Ying is stuffing a pillow beneath his ass to make it easier to join. Lan Zhan pulls him in, lines himself up, and slides home. He looks Wei Ying in the eye as he does it, sees the moment when pleasure takes over, Wei Ying welcoming him inside his body with a hunger.

Wei Ying hisses and his eyes flutter closed as Lan Zhan slides in to the hilt, falling forward. He buries his face in the crook of Wei Ying's neck and feels Wei Ying wrap his arms around his shoulders, one hand going to the back of his head where he threads his fingers through Lan Zhan's hair. "God, you're so deep inside me," he whispers. "Move, Lan Zhan. Need you to move."

Lan Zhan begins to move. They move together, in fact, Wei Ying meeting him thrust for thrust, a gorgeous dance of pleasure that fogs all of his higher faculties and makes it impossible to think of anything else. It's luscious, this pleasure; dangerous even. Lan Zhan doesn't care. He moves and Wei Ying moves with him, and together, they groan from how good it feels, how much they both need it, even if each of them has his own reasons.

Lan Zhan has learned to pull himself back from Wei Ying, to keep his powers to himself lest Wei Ying accidentally drain them with his need. He doesn't want to pull back tonight. He wants Wei Ying to take more, take what Lan Zhan has to offer, and feast, feel the wildness of Lan Zhan's desire.

He stops resisting the pull and Wei Ying gasps as he continues to move. "Lan Zhan?"

Lan Zhan moans and buries his face in Wei Ying's neck again, leaves open-mouthed kisses as though in answer.

"Lan Zhan, you can't—Lan Zhan, I—it's too dangerous, please, I don't want—"

"There's plenty," Lan Zhan says, then pulls back so he can meet his gaze. "Take what you need, Wei Ying."

"No, no, I—fuck—" His glowing eyes slide closed and he—he looks like he's glowing all over, skin taking on a gorgeous sheen, a wild, unrestrained being caught in Lan Zhan's bed. "Oh, fuck, that feels—Lan Zhan, no—I won't be able to stop, you have to—"

"Take what you need," he repeats, even as he feels himself growing weaker in small increments the longer they go. He knows when to stop, he'll know the moment it becomes too much, but for now, he will feed Wei Ying enough to last him half a year, a year—whatever it is Wei Ying will need, Lan Zhan will give him. "You feel so good, Wei Ying," he whispers, even as his arms shake. "So good like this."

"Lan—Lan Zhan—" Wei Ying cuts himself off with a moan and they speed up, going faster and harder, Wei Ying's voice rising. When he opens his eyes, they are bright glowing amber, little flecks of black illuminated as though caught in thousand-year old sap. Wei Ying cries out one more time and comes, trapping Lan Zhan in his hold. He's strong, stronger than he looks, and Lan Zhan is immobilized as he rides out Wei Ying's pleasure. He's close himself, he's nearly there, and he trembles in Wei Ying's hold until Wei Ying is done and his arms go slack.

"Lan Zhan, fuck, just—I can't believe..."

Lan Zhan continues to fuck him, hard and fast, until pleasure gathers at the base of his spine and tingles his fingers and makes him go weak with it, until it peaks and then he's falling, coming inside Wei Ying's yielding body and shaking apart. Wei Ying cries out with him, full to the brim with all the energy Lan Zhan has given him, and when Lan Zhan collapses on top of him, he feels a wandering, tiny smile stretching his lips. Even slightly weakened, he feels the pleasure of it in his bones.

They lay like that for one long moment, hearts beating in double-time, until Wei Ying squeezes Lan Zhan in his hold and releases him. Lan Zhan takes a deep breath and forces himself to lift up. He looks down between their bodies as he pulls out as gently as he can manage. Wei Ying whimpers as Lan Zhan feels his come spill out between them.

"Oh, fuck." Wei Ying throws an arm over his eyes, his mouth parted to reveal white teeth and a hint of tongue. Lan Zhan resists the urge to kiss him. "Oh, fuck, Lan Zhan, what did you do…"

"Nothing that I couldn't handle," he responds as he sits back on his haunches.

They've made a mess of the pillow, but the sheets survived. Good thing he has more pillows. He feels as though the room is shaking—no, that's just himself, trembling. He is definitely weakened, but nothing that a good night's sleep and meditation won't fix. There is something dreamlike about it. He thinks he almost likes it.

"Lan Zhan, you can't…" Wei Ying lifts up his arm and rests it above his head. With his wide amber eyes he watches Lan Zhan intently. "You shouldn't...don't do that, okay? It scared me."

Lan Zhan reaches out and runs a gentle hand over his cheek, sweeping the gorgeous line of his cheekbone with his thumb. "I did not give what I couldn't get back. I promise."

"Still, you...you don't know, what if I snap and accidentally drain you?"

"I won't let that happen, I promise. I know my limit."

Wei Ying still looks slightly upset, something Lan Zhan wishes he could take away. "But you don't know mine," he insists, catching Lan Zhan's wrist and stilling it.

"I know you," Lan Zhan responds.

Wei Ying bites his lip. "Just...warn me next time. Maybe this can be like a...once in a long while sort of thing, all right? Just in case. Just because...it's dangerous. I don't know what I would do with myself if I accidentally lost my shit and drained you."

Lan Zhan nods his agreement. "Very well. We'll...negotiate it, next time."

"Good." Wei Ying shuts his eyes for a moment, and then a slow, sensuous smile appears on his face. "Fuck, that did feel...I have never felt this full. This good. I didn't even know I could feel like this."

Lan Zhan smiles. "Good. I am glad."

Wei Ying opens his eyes and meets his gaze. "You're dangerous, Hanguang-jun. A boy could get used to this treatment, you know."

Lan Zhan leans down and kisses him. "A boy should, then," he murmurs. "Because this won't be the last time this happens."

Wei Ying takes a deep breath—Lan Zhan feels it against his own chest—and lets it out. "Like I said. Dangerous."

Another kiss, longer this time. They both could use a shower, or at least a wipe-down, but for now—for now, Lan Zhan will lie here in the cocoon of Wei Ying's arms and feels his heartbeat slow to its regular rhythm as their skin cools.

 

Three Weeks Later

"Are you ready?" Lan Zhan asks, watching Wei Ying carefully.

Wei Ying nods, a little shaky. "Yeah. I think so." Lan Zhan takes a step towards the door, but Wei Ying stills him with a hand to his arm. "Wait. I just...are you totally sure? I know he wasn't happy when you told him, maybe it's better that I...don't."

Wei Ying isn't wrong—Lan Zhan's uncle hadn't taken too kindly to finding out that his nephew has been romantically involved with a yao for over three months. The conversation went something like, "Uncle, do you remember the innocent yao I nearly apprehended some time back?" Lan Qiren had grunted in response, and Lan Zhan had taken a deep breath and said, "We're dating."

Lan Zhan thinks Wei Ying would actually have appreciated seeing the shade of puce his uncle had turned as he'd sputtered. Once he was able to actually speak, Lan Zhan had been subjected to a lecture about propriety and morality, including but not limited to appeals about considerations for his dead parents and what they would have thought about this "frankly appalling and incongruous decision. Are you so dissatisfied with your life that you would throw it away so easily?"

Lan Zhan had allowed Uncle to tire himself out, then said, "Wei Ying is perfectly safe for me, as my cultivation is strong enough to withstand any attempts to suck out my yang energy. And Wei Ying would never do that."

"Wei Ying...who is this Wei Ying, anyway? Where did he come from?"

By then Lan Zhan had already learned the answers to that—raised by the Jiang Clan after the passing of his parents, Wei Ying had left home at sixteen after his hunger had manifested and made it impossible to stay. Lan Zhan knows that Wei Ying has suffered ever since, going through the world alone and yet still miraculously able to become the remarkable man he is today, brimming over with life and its possibilities.

"Wei Ying is safe, Uncle," he had said again, and eventually, not even his desire to be filial could withstand yet another tirade about the evils of carnality, and he had let his uncle know in no uncertain terms that Wei Ying was here to stay regardless of Lan Qiren's opinion. "This is someone I love," he had said quietly. His uncle had looked at him, beard quivering, and shut his eyes in resignation.

Now, Wei Ying is jittering in place next to Lan Zhan, worrying his lip with his teeth. Lan Zhan squeezes his hand. "You are more than welcome here, Wei Ying. My brother has made that clear. This is…" Important to me. "Simply a lunch."

"A family lunch," Wei Ying mumbles, then squares his shoulders. "All right. Okay. I'm ready."

Lan Zhan searches his face for any sign of true distress. "You are certain?"

"Yeah." A sideways grin and a squeeze to his hand. "This is important to you. So it's important to me."

Lan Zhan kisses him—he can't help it—then pulls back. "Very well." He rings the doorbell.

He hears footsteps a moment later, then the door opens and reveals his uncle's face. "A-Zhan. You're right on time." Then his gaze lands on the figure next to Lan Zhan. His face visibly sours, but he opens the door all the way and steps back. "I see you chose to bring your...guest. Very well. Come in."

They walk through, Wei Ying's hand sweating in Lan Zhan's. Before his uncle has even had a chance to shut the door, Wei Ying turns to him and says, "Thank you for allowing me into your home. I...I promise, your nephew is safe with me."

Uncle's jaw works until he says, "I certainly hope this to be the case."

"Lan Zhan! Mr. Wei! You made it." Lan Zhan's brother walks in from the kitchen, drying his hands on a dish towel. "Mr. Wei, you are most welcome."

Lan Zhan feels his shoulders loosen. "Brother. Hello."

"Hello," Wei Ying echoes, Lan Zhan's hand gripped in his. “Please, call me Wei Ying.”

Lan Huan smiles at them both, then gestures towards the dining room. "The food is ready. Please, come through." He begins to lead the way. Their uncle sullenly follows, hands clasped behind his back.

Lan Zhan waits a beat, then looks at Wei Ying, who is watching him back. Lan Zhan gives his hand a reassuring squeeze. "Are you all right?"

"Mmhmm." Wei Ying blows out a breath. "Not a great first impression, but it's not...the worst, is it?"

"Not by any means," Lan Zhan tells him, then brings Wei Ying's hand up for a kiss. "You heard my brother. You are welcome here."

Wei Ying bites his lip, takes a deep breath and allows it to shudder out of him. They separate long enough to take off their shoes, and then together, they walk through to the dining room.

###