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for sale: eboy bathwater, never used

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“I’ve got a plan,” says Wei Ying. On the table, he sets down an empty plastic jar, capable of carrying half a litre of liquid inside it. It’s modelled after a mason jar, so it looks boujee, but he actually bought it for ten bucks the lot, all one hundred units of them. (That was the minimum quantity, unfortunately.) 

 

“No,” says Jiang Cheng, because of course he knows. He’s heard the meme maybe twenty times too many and now his knee jerk reaction is to deny its existence as soon as it’s mentioned.

 

“What do you mean, no?” asks Wei Ying, grinning at Jiang Cheng’s scandalised face. “Don’t tell me there are lows I’ve yet to reach, I’m willing to reach them all. I’ve done more than just show my ass, what’s next?”

 

“And a peachy, bootylicious butt it is,” says Nie Huasiang after a long slurp of his milkshake. “Let the man speak!”

 

“Thank you,” says Wei Ying. “At least someone appreciates my ideas!”

 

Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes, leaning back into the cushioned seat. “What if some jealous simps are personally offended by your choice of joke and decide to attack you online?” 

 

Wei Ying leans forward, grinning as he taps on top of the plastic mason jar. “Awww, are you worried?” 

 

Jiang Cheng pointedly ignores him. 

 

“Look, I can’t just not post something. Besides, they’re always picking on something, what’s one more thing?” asks Wei Ying, shrugging. “At least my followers will find it funny.”

 

(Judging from the comments on his pictures, such as but not limited to: “please let me drink your pee;” “I would crawl 30 miles through glass to lick your feet;” and, “your sweat sir let me motorboat your sweaty armpit bussy,” he reckons he can sell a good two dozen or so of them.)

 

“Are you okay with the thought of some of them actually buying your bathwater for potentially nefarious purposes?” points out Nie Huaisang, wriggling his fingers at Wei Ying.

 

“It’s a risk I have to take,” jokes Wei Ying. “Will you have the solemn honour of assisting me?”

 

“Aye, I will!” says Nie Huaisang, saluting him. 

 

“Are you enabling him,” says Jiang Cheng in disbelief. 

 

“Why, of course,” says Nie Huaisang. “Are you in?” 

 

“Fuck no,” says Jiang Cheng.

 

***

 

On the day arranged for the photoshoot, Wei Ying and Jiang Cheng head to Nie Huaisang’s apartment, where he has a studio set up specifically for photos. In this case though, he has rearranged his kitchen so that there’s a plain paper backdrop at the back of it. He’s also connected a hose to the tap for easy water transport means. 

 

Makeshift shoots have always been Nie Huaisang’s specialty. He can turn any living environment into something photograph-worthy, and Wei Ying is one of his favourite models. The two simply understand each other’s needs and wants when it comes to photos. After approximately ten years of cosplaying, Wei Ying has not been able to find any other photographer who is not only not-creepy and reliable, but understands his vision. 

 

Jiang Cheng is currently acting as Nie Huaisang’s moveable light tripod, holding either a reflector or light around according to his direction, as Wei Ying poses and pouts for the camera. They start with a photoset that will be sold on Wei Ying’s Patreon set for the next month. Wei Ying also takes plenty of selfies and a few risky lewds to titillate his higher paying patrons (much to Jiang Cheng’s chagrin).

 

Then he works on the main show. He films a little video with Nie Huaisang’s help. It’s of him in a woman’s one piece swimsuit, and he’s sitting in a little blow-up swimming pool that he got for like twenty bucks from Kmart, writhing in a way that’s definitely not organic but he knows his patrons love to see. He shakes his ass at the camera, he positions the showerhead over his clavicles as drops of water slide all over his skin, and he bites his lip and winks. It’s a little absurd, but he’s allowed to poke fun at himself on April Fools, and he also knows that a lot of his patrons appreciate his quirky humour. 

 

He gets Nie Huaisang to also video him meticulously pouring the bathwater into a few of the plastic mason jar containers. It’s pretty much clean water, he showered before the shoot and as long as he puts a warning on the site and products (“do not drink, novelty gift only!”) he should be safe, really. And if someone is ridiculous enough to drink the bathwater, well, that’s on them , not him! 

bathwaterfinalpng

“YES king, secure the bag,” says Nie Huaisang, squatting to get the perfect waist-angle-upwards shot that will make Wei Ying’s already long legs look miles long. “We are going to milk the simps for all they’re worth!”

 

(Of course, the audio for this video would be edited out and replaced with cutesy music.) 

 

Wei Ying flutters his eyelashes at the camera coquettishly. It really is a blessing to have a friend as skilled at photography as Nie Huaisang helping him, because god knows how many guy-with-a-camera “photographers” he had to endure to get here. 

 

And then he’s finally done… for now. The shoot is over, he can wipe off his makeup, and prepares himself instead for the ordeal of editing photos and thinking up the most appealing captions he can that won’t be shadow banned by the algorithm.

 

When he uploads on 8pm, AEST, 31st March (because nobody posts April Fools posts on the actual day itself anymore) the video becomes one of his most interacted with posts on Instagram. As predicted, he starts getting a few sales. It’s all well and good and he and Nie Huaisang giggle over the fact that yes, someone really bought $50 e-boy bathwater. More than just one person, in fact. A few someones.

 

He wakes up on April Fools to someone called Hanguangjun from Canada buying 81 units of his e-boy bathwater. 

 

Wei Ying rubs his eyes and squints at his phone. Either someone is trying to make him out to be the April Fool or they have made a terrible, terrible mistake, because no one actually spends $4,050 plus shipping on e-boy bathwater. So, generous as Wei Ying is, he sends off a quick email. 

 

Hello Hanguangjun,

 

I noticed that you recently purchased 81 units of my product “e-boy bathwater” and just wanted to confirm if this was correct, or if you have made an error when selecting the number. 

 

If this is correct, I must inform you that shipping costs $692 to your location, with tracking and insurance. Without insurance, it’ll be $531. Please let me know which you prefer, however without insurance I will not be liable for any damage or loss due to the post.

 

If this is an error, I can rectify this. Just let me know how many units you intend to buy.

 

Kind regards,

 

Your friendly e-local e-boy,

Xianxian, aka @lilxianxian.

 

The email comes about ten minutes later. 

 

Hello Xianxian,

 

That is the correct order. Tracking with insurance is fine. 

 

Kind regards,

Hanguangjun.

 

Wei Ying blinks at this, because there’s really no other way to put it. 

 

“What the fuck?” 

 

Most e-boys and e-girls can give you stories upon stories of strange (though dedicated) fans, but hearing it is one thing and being on the receiving end of this attention, quite the other. 

 

Wei Ying posts in group chat.

 

gang gang

 

WY

Guys you’ll never guess what happened??

 

JC

It’s April Fools so anything you say will be taken with a grain of salt.

 

WY

Lmaoo well enjoy your salt because

Someone bought 81 units of bathwater

LOLLL

[image attached]

 

NHS

WHAT

WHAT???

 

JC

THAT’S FUCKING

BULLSHIT

Stop lying lmaoo

You edited this didn’t you

I’ve seen you edit ur face

 

WQ

How on earth.

Is this guy super rich and bored?

Like, does he not know How to spend his money or…?

 

WN

Wow congrats!! That’s amazing!

You’re doing so well!!

WY

Hope he doesn’t try to scam me

Thankfully with tracked mail I can report to Paypal

So if he tries any funny business

Nuh-uh

Hehe

NHS

He bought enough e-boy bathwater

To bathe in it himself

He’s gotta be a weird simp.

Imagine some stinky old man

Frothing as he lowers himself into a bath

Of your bathwater.

 

JC left the chat.

NHS added JC to the chat.

 

WY

Wh

Why would you say that

CURSED CONTENT

BEGONE

NHS

METHINKS IT’S POETRY

 

Wei Ying tweets “okay so who bought 81 bottles of my bathwater and why?” with a selfie of him pouting with a bottle, and a screenshot of the purchase with personal details edited out. His phone starts vibrating with Twitter notifications, an absolute frenzy as people bet it’s an April Fools joke, or suggest it’s photoshop, or tweet “simps are a mistake.”

 

He bumps his own tweet with a gif closeup of his butt bouncing and the caption “whoever you are, love you~” so that people understand he’s not exactly mad about it, and he logs off for the night.

 

* * *

 

The money is processed a few days later, so Wei Ying heads to the post office with three big heavy boxes filled with plastic bottles and wadding, because the limit per package is 20 kilograms, and the absolute madman really did buy 40+ kilos in bathwater

 

The thought flits through Wei Ying’s mind that maybe whoever bought these mistakenly thought that they might be able to resell the bottles at a higher price. He’d have to keep an eye out on eBay, but hey, combined with the other bottles he sold, he pretty much got rid of his stock just like that (except for one he was going to put on his table for the next convention as a joke). As if anyone would actually buy a bottle for higher than $50 plus shipping though. Seemed like it’d be a sunk investment. If a person really planned to resell for a profit, they’d be in for a hard time.

 

* * *

Intriguingly, Wei Ying’s follower count doubles as articles pick up on the fact that someone bought a ludicrous amount of his bathwater, and kindly post plenty of his pictures and links to his profiles. 

 

“‘Simp buys 81 units of e-boy bathwater,’” reads out Nie Huaisang from his phone, mouth filled with avocado toast, as they sit together with Wen Qing at their local cafe to discuss their online strategy for their respective online hustles for the next month. “Another article about you, incredible.

 

“‘The concept of e-boy or e-girl bathwater isn’t new, however when Sydney-based Patreon model and ‘erotic cosplayer’ @lilxianxian, known to his followers as Xianxian, put up a listing for e-boy bathwater for an April Fools’ gag, a patron of his bought a whopping 81 units of bathwater. That costs a sweet 4,050 AUD, not including shipping fees.

 

“Xianxian tweeted ‘okay, so who bought 81 bottles of my bathwater and why?’ a question that we’re all asking ourselves. He clarified with a follow up tweet that he was okay with this. This blogger would be more than okay with that!’ Free advertising! You went viral bro, that’s wild!” 

 

“We need to strike while the iron is hot,” says Wen Qing. “When are you hosting your next live stream?” 

 

It has been a while, actually. When Wei Ying had first lost his full-time job (his unceremonious firing for “not being a teamplayer,” and “verbal abuse,” aka he kinda told the CEO’s spoilt idiot of a son to “go fuck himself”) he had gone from doing cosplay part time to working on it full time while he looked for work. When he started getting an uptick from income when he did racy cosplays, and realised that it was a viable line of work, he decided to forego looking for a job and simply cosplay. There was a time when he had been pretty on top of things, between shooting cosplays, completing relevant administration tasks, live streaming, and making videos. 

 

However, ever since he had basically gone viral, it seemed that the only thing he had been doing was pretty much administration, with some cosplay and free time. 

 

“I should do an unboxing,” says Wei Ying.

 

“That’s boring,” says Wen Qing. “You need more oomph.”

 

“Like?”

 

“A mukbang,” says Wen Qing.

 

“I have a figure to maintain,” objects Wei Ying. 

 

“You could do more naughty things,” says Nie Huaisang. “Go full camboy, you’ll make an absolute killing.”

 

Wei Ying tweaks his chin. “I’m thinking.”

 

“Then you better think fast,” says Wen Qing. “Patrons are fickle, after all. 

 

When Wei Ying gets home, he changes into a hoodie with rabbit ears and checks that his boxers aren’t ratty, slicks on a little eyeliner, then opens his video camera to make a quick video recording himself opening the parcels first after all. Patrons like seeing him open the gifts and react to them, especially while he looks cute and isn’t dressed in much, but in a casual, boy-next-door way. A taste of the boyfriend experience, so to speak.

 

“Hello everyone, thanks for tuning in, it’s Xianxian, your friendly e-local e-boy!” Wei Ying waves at the lens with a big grin on his face. “I got a few parcels today in my P.O. Box, thanks so much! So I thought I’d do yet another unboxing video for your viewing pleasure!” 

 

wwxbunnysweatshirt

 

He opens the first box, a flat parcel that has a box covered with obnoxious cursive and badly Google translated sexy-adjacent language on it. 

 

“‘Good time can be had by wearing this,’” reads Wei Ying. “‘Lacy sensuous frills.’ Alright I think I know that I’m getting some racy lingerie, so let’s check out what it looks like!”

 

He holds up two g-strings, one in red and black, the other in pink, that look more like a sewn-together bunch of lace trimmings from a fabric store’s remnant basket. While the lingerie is not up to his standards for a shoot (and quite frankly, it’s garish and meant to titillate rather than actually be beautiful, though even by his titillation standards he finds it unattractive), he supposes he could use it for a phone shoot or for promo pics. Especially disposable ones he could post onto horny subreddits to funnel some more patrons in. 

 

“Perverted!” he giggles, stretching it slightly and holding it to his waist for the camera to capture. “Wow, this definitely doesn’t cover anything! Thanks ‘wc6969’ for the gift! I’ll think of you when I wear it!” 

 

He opens another box, this time it’s a large red dildo. He holds it up to his face before shaking it wildly so it wobbles furiously.

 

“Whoo hoo! Thank you ‘pervymanbythewindow’ for this, I’ve wanted it for ages! Lol, I hope I don’t get demonetised for showing this. Hey, it’s a health device, people! Prostate massages are really important for one’s health…” he starts cackling a little. “Okay, okay, I’ll calm down. So I’ve actually been thinking of making an OnlyFans lately. What do you guys think, should I do it? Let me know in the comments below! I could ride this one for the first video set!”

 

The final parcel is a “care package” from a Canadian address. It’s a familiar one, actually, and Wei Ying’s not sure why until he opens it. 

 

That’s right, not long ago, he had sent eighty-one bottles of bathwater to this address. 

 

“Ohhhh, my anon admirer and their quarterly care packages,” says Wei Ying, grinning. “What will I be gifted with this time? I’m so excited to find out!”

 

He opens the package, humming, while his heart is hammering. He simply refers to them as “anon,” since they always include a letter with no sender name (even their username and email has been simply “anon” with a string of numbers). Hanguangjun sent his purchase of bathwater from a different email address. In all honesty, Wei Ying should have recognised the postal address, but he hasn’t been paying that much attention to his patrons’ mailing addresses beyond creating address label stickers and double checking they matched the emails. Since they were often P.O. addresses, it also made it harder for him to remember them. Only recently, with Hanguangjun’s address in the forefront of his mind, did he realise that this person has been a long time patron of his.

 

Wei Ying opens the parcel to show off the items he gets. There’s always fancy stationery at the top of the package. This time, he has been gifted another fountain pen with plenty of ink, a pack of washi tape that he’ll probably be hoarding forever, and a beautifully bound notebook. He’s always checked the brands of the items he receives after his unboxing streams. While he knows they already look expensive and feel hefty, he’s always curious. And some of the prices are rather boggling, to be quite honest. 

 

His to include at least one wearable item. Previously, it was the bunny hoodie that he’s currently wearing. This time, it’s a Swarovski tennis bracelet. Rhodium plated, white. Worth $249. He knows this, because it’s an item that he had mentioned briefly once on Twitter wanting but did not add to his wishlist, thinking that he would just buy it someday (but never getting round to it).

 

He’s really rendered speechless. Thankfully, this is not a stream, so he can edit his reaction a little so he doesn’t look too ridiculous. 

 

“Oh wow,” he says. “This is gorgeous. Thank you so much for getting this for me, I’m so grateful!” He immediately puts it onto his wrist and shows it off to the camera, smiling widely.

 

There are also snacks, quinoa and seaweed chips. He had lied about loving them once and now the person sends them constantly. They taste like cardboard! Wei Ying pretends like he’s relieved to get them, but in the back of the mind he’s already messaging the group chat to dump them on Wen Ning, who for some bizarre reason absolutely loves them. Wei Ying picks up a wrapped object from the corner of the box, which turns out to be a tiny sculpted dizi. It’s rather skilfully made, and Wei Ying thanks his anon sender for them. He picks up a stuffed bunny that the anon sender had gifted him previously, pretending to make it play it.

 

“Some of you may not know but I do actually know how to play the dizi,” says Wei Ying into the camera. “Anyway the last thing we have is my letter, but as usual I won’t be reading these. If anyone else wants to send letters feel free to do so! And packages are most welcome too, hehe!” 

 

After stopping his recording and wiping off his makeup and settling into bed, Wei Ying reads the letter. 

 

Dear Xianxian,

 

Your photoset this month was beautiful. Oiled skin and leather suits you well. It is not a concept I had considered before. The video was also very enjoyable.

 

Thank you for the polaroid, I have added it to my collection. 

 

I hope you have been well. I saw you mentioned that you were considering this bracelet. Since you never followed up, I thought I would buy it for you. I hope I did not overstep boundaries. 

 

Kind regards,

Hanguangjun.

 

“Oh my god,” says Wei Ying. “It’s youuuuu!” 

 

Up until this letter, the mysterious sender had not named themselves, even by a nickname. To realise that the same person who had bought most of his bathwater is not only a patron but also the one behind his quarterly care packages… well, it’s quite the discovery. 

 

And what better way to ponder over his discovery that cannot be tweeted about than to talk about it in group chat?

 

gang gang

 

WY

Guys [pleading emoji]

[pleading emoji][pleading emoji][pleading emoji]

 

JC

What.

 

NHS

Some of us can’t speak bottom lmfaooo

So you’ll have to elaborate

 

WY

Wowwww okay [rolling eye emoji]

Anyway omg you’ll never guess what I found out 

The guy who bought the bathwater

Is one of my most DEDICATED patrons [heart emoji]

 

WQ

Okay cute story idea, creepy irl lol

 

WY

He’s the one who sends me the quarterly care packages!!

 

WQ

I mean get that bag but like 

Make it ~restraining order~

 

WY

He can restrain this ASS if you know what I mean!!

 

JC

Okay.

 

WY

In a platonic way of course

 

JC

PLATONIC BONDAGE?????

 

WY

Yuh

 

NHS

Oh I saw he bought you that Swarovski bracelet

$250 wew

Man’s got money…

 

JC

Is no one gonna question platonic bondage??

 

WQ

What, like it’s not platonic?

 

NHS

Who hasn’t done a little platonic bondage in their time?

 

JC

Not me tf

 

NHS

Wow yikes

Not something to be proud of, gamer boy ;(

[JC disliked this]

 

WY

Okay anyway back to ME.

He saw my wishlist....

I know he’s probably a creepy middle aged man

 

NHS

He talks like one

Milk him for all it’s worth tbh

But tread carefully xoxo

 

WY

But a part of my brain is being OPTIMISTIC

Maybe a little delusional idc! 

Like what if he looks ZADDY

 

WQ

Please don’t raise your expectations

 

WY

He buys me so much [pleading emoji]

Gives me attention and interaction...

He’s meeting ALL my expectations

 

WQ

OK NOT LIKE THAT

 

WY

Anyway I think I should thank him

But with like… what?

Your thoughts?

 

JC

Fansign?

WY

Too simple

 

JC

Jeeeez okay

 

NHS

Maybe do some research? 

Check his past letters/emails/etc to you

If he has a social media account too?

See what he likes

And besides you could always do a special one-on-one video call

 

WY

Ooooh okay [surprise emoji]

I’ll do some more research I think :]

Still need to research re: mukbang

Support me when I stream, OKAY??

[WQ liked this]

 

NHS

Of course :3

 

JC

Cringe

[WY heart reacted this]

 

***

 

He sets aside his little gratitude project for the time being, keeping it in the back of his mind. His best ideas tended to stew in his subconscious (success rate not truly guaranteed, but it would be more productive than doing nothing).

 

For homework, Wei Ying looks up mukbang videos, and he’s vaguely appalled by the amount of food people eat on camera where they straight up scarf down a table spread full of food. That can’t be healthy. And it also looks extremely unappetising. There were some videos where people ate a lot less and talked though, but it was still a fairly big amount. He wonders if maybe he could just bite some of the food and get away with that. Or maybe order a bunch of small things when he’s hungry and hope for the best. 

 

As for what he ate, while he absolutely loved Korean food, the amount he could eat pretty much was just a large bowl of stew and rice, maybe half of a plate of rice cakes or seafood pancake, and the side dishes. No way could he eat a table spread…

 

“I guess fast food might be an option,” says Wei Ying glumly. He swears the Bacon and Egg McMuffins get smaller every year there, and are currently smaller than his palm. He’s sure in the next few years they’ll be bite sized.

 

He could get a burger, nuggets, chips, something from the desserts bar, and a drink, and call it a day. It would look like a large spread but not actually be that much, maybe. It’d still be fairly obvious but hey, he has a figure to maintain you know! 

 

There was also the option of buying like, what, the five-packet of Mi Goreng and eating that in one go? He could add a hard-boiled egg and some cheese to make it look more appealing. Instant noodles would digest easier and be cheaper for sure, though he was unsure he would enjoy eating that much in one go. 

 

Wei Ying sighs, and decides to go with the first option this time, while trying to plan out a few topics that he could talk about while eating. While he would prepare some topics, he would also go along with the flow and see what questions people would ask him on stream, so that his audience could feel “involved.” 

 

The first thing he does, though, is prepare his social media posts. 

 

The more titillating the post, the better. He takes a selfie of himself and a cucumber, pretending to wolf it down, then blurs it out slightly. 

 

“MUKBANG MONDAYS!!! Kicking off my fortnightly streams starting this coming Monday, 7pm AEST. Everyone come watch me eat!! I’m starting with a Maccas spread!” 

 

He reposts across his platforms, even as push notifications begin filling his screen. 

 

XIANXIAN=LOVE @xianxians_simp replied: LET’S GOOOOOO

 

thirsty hours @hornybastard6969 replied: eat my cock next please babey

 

Miss Jussy @jussypussy replied: omg how exciting luv can’t wait to see!

 

The notifications are a flurry across the different platforms, and sometimes he thanks his primary school for teaching him speed reading as he glances over the names, replying to a few familiar ones. Despite responding to only a fraction at most, and then sharing a few mutuals’ posts, Wei Ying sighs when he realises that an hour has already passed.

 

On the positive side, this is his job now, so he can justify to himself that he has to maintain his social media presence, and respond to people so they’re motivated to engage. Besides, there are really positive and nice comments, and sometimes particularly interesting ones, which he always enjoys reading.

 

Seeing as he’s already spent an hour on social media, he might as well spend the rest of the day by checking on some of his posts and comparing their engagement to previous ones. 

 

To his surprise, he only just notices on one of his favourite photos posted maybe two months ago, a “new” comment from a now-familiar username, @ hanguangjun. The photoset is of him in a sheer qipao that fits his slender form snugly, and thigh-high fishnet stockings that cling to his legs. His shoulder-length hair is tied up into a ponytail and he pouts at the camera, legs spread but feet still in the frame in the first photo, while his legs are straight up in the second, showing off the curve of his thighs and bottom.

 

His caption: Legs spread or legs high, which do you prefer? 

 

Here for Xianxian @hanguangjun replied: You are so gorgeous with your long legs spread like that. Though the second picture shows off your delicious rear better. 

 

A flush rises on Wei Ying’s face. Technically, it isn’t anything he hasn’t heard before, and in all honesty he doesn’t mind too much when people comment things like “I’m going to spread you open and fuck your brains out” but it kind of gets old, fast. Earnest commentary that treads the line between compliment and thirst is less common, for sure. 

 

He finds more comments when he looks through some of his other pictures. The user always seems to understand the photos that Wei Ying puts up... of which parts he tries to highlight in his photos or what feelings he wants viewers to experience when looking at them (beyond horniness, of course), which rather pleases him. It’s been years since anyone who’s not a fellow ero-cosplayer has been able to point out these kinds of things. He understands, of course, because people don’t really care that much about the artistic aspect in the photos, if there is any to begin with. Or if they do, they’re not the ones who monetarily support him, so that’s not what pays his bills. He does enjoy a good artistic shoot here and there, and when it’s a few times a year that seems to be the Goldilocks amount for customer satisfaction. It’s also simply not feasible to call Nie Huaisang over several times a month for shoots, and then have him edit several photosets. Nie Huaisang has his own artistic career and goals, and Wei Ying knows that even if he would be fine with it, he would be holding him back with such requests.

 

In the past, they used to tell stories with his cosplays, back before he did ero-cosplays, and while he lost money more or less trying to sell zines and photosets back then, the fans he did have were very dedicated. 

 

Sometimes he misses those days, especially when posting old photosets to reminisce generally causes him to lose followers and the occasional “when are u gonna take your clothes off again baby xoxo” comments that cause him to roll his eyes. 

 

He doesn’t miss his bank account being empty, though. He can still cosplay some of the things he wants to cosplay, as long as it fits with his overall plan, and if he also does a sexy shoot with it, he can still have some creative direction in general. He doesn’t have to drag himself to “nine to five” office jobs for the moment, jobs that require ridiculous amounts of overtime anyway while paying peanuts. And then he has to contend with having barely any energy for most of the week and even on the weekends which he would spend to do chores and recharge. He can control when he wants to do things (for the most part) as long as he keeps short and long term goals clear in his mind. All in all, it’s not too bad. Besides, he has so much potential to earn more thanks to that jump in followers, so he can definitely figure out a way to make his subscription posts more appealing.

 

It’s another two hours before he realises that he’s supposed to map out statistics for his posts and hone his strategy through that, rather than trawling his old posts to see if @ hanguangjun had commented anything new. At the least, he could justify his time sunk as “research” for how he’d show his gratitude.

 

“I’ll just do it tomorrow,” he groans, flopping onto his bed, covering his face. He goes to look at @hanguangjun’s Twitter and Instagram profiles. Unfortunately, on Instagram he’s just locked with the most bare minimum information (and a blank profile picture). On Twitter, he does have a little bit more leeway since the guy’s unlocked, mostly to reply to him. He feels like a bit of a stalker, lurking one of his follower’s profiles, but it’s not like he’s going to do anything about it! 

 

On both accounts, they only follow one account and have no followers, and that one account is Wei Ying’s profile. Perhaps this is the guy’s side account so that people wouldn’t be able to figure out who he is (...like he’s trying to figure out more information about the guy, right now.) Perhaps he isn’t out of the closet yet in real life, and doesn’t want to be outed. Which is totally fair, and wouldn’t be the first time he’s had fans in this kind of situation. 

 

Wei Ying hums as he scrolls through the guy’s replies, careful not to accidentally press the heart on any of them. Now that would be humiliating. Pretty much all of his replies are to Wei Ying’s posts anyway, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for him to, say, like a comment on his post. 

 

I like the way your lower back curves in this photo. I did not think that part could look beautiful until I saw you. 

 

Your smile is gorgeous. Your lips look so soft and kissable. 

 

Even the arches of your feet and toes are lovely. I would be grateful to massage them.

 

Your bottom is so voluptuous and this corset emphasises how slender your waist is. 

 

After scrolling through a few of his replies, he has a quick look over the media page, which doesn’t have anything, so he skips back to the main page and sees if there’s anything beyond retweets of his photos. There doesn’t seem to be anything.

 

“Ah, what am I doing, stalking one of my followers?” sighs Wei Ying, throwing his phone to the side and burying his face in the pillow. For all he knows, the guy’s a middle aged man with a family. He can’t possibly have a crush on some random dude who compliments him here and there just because they seemed to put a bit more thought into it than others. Whatever, it’s just curiosity, that’s all.  

 

He wonders if he’d watch him eat on the livestream, eyes burning into his lips through the screen from however many miles away.

 

***

 

“Good evening everyone, it’s Xianxian with my first ever mukbang livestream, how exciting!” says Wei Ying, looking into the camera and waving. He’s wearing only a sleeveless hoodie, zipped halfway up, and tiny shorts. “You’re probably wondering what I’m going to eat, right? Well I thought I’d start off with something yummy and simple. A Macca’s Mukbang!” 

 

The comments explode with comments. 

 

hahaha wtf is Macca’s

 

hug me to death with your arms pls

 

hiii fellow Aussie here I wanna eat Maccas rn too with you ;-;

 

pls notice me Xianxian

 

omg your titties Xianxian *slurps*

 

Wei Ying holds the large chopping board he bought from Ikea (which he had intended for fancy ~spreads~ should his friends ever come over. He had used it once only), and lifts it up to show two fish burgers, a chicken burger, a bacon and egg McMuffin, twenty nuggets, large fries, and a large Coke Zero. 

 

“I feel lowkey like it’s cheating cos the sizes of these burgers are tiny now,” he says, pretending to sound mournful. “But to be fair, I’m not sure I can finish off these nuggies, let’s see how it goes?”

 

Wei Ying picks up a fish burger, puts his other palm behind it, and shows it to the camera, swivelling it like he would a mascara.

 

“Look at this, two bites and it’s gone,” he says, before bringing it to his lips and sinking his teeth into it. It does taste good though, the oily deep fried fish, creamy cheese and sharp flavour of the tartar sauce bursting onto his taste buds. He moans softly as he chews, rolling his eyes slightly. “Mmmm… delicious!” 

 

Omg omg Xianxian ahegao ^q^ 

 

Wah king of fanservice for sure even way you eat food is sexy yum

 

fckkk I wanna be a burger so bad rn oh mygod 

 

“There’s more ahegao where that came from, baby,” says Wei Ying, rubbing his fingers over imaginary bank notes. “If you know what I mean…”

 

Donations come trickling in, and true to his word, Wei Ying takes another big bite of the burger before moaning loudly, lashes fluttering as he chews. 

 

He knows that he’ll probably get a few angry comments from people online, the same types who either call him “shameless” and continue jerking off to him, or are pent up and mad he charges them for fanservice so have projected onto him and extrapolated every action he does as Evil Slut Manipulation, but hey, that was a pretty quick and neat, what, seventy-one dollars or so he had just gotten? He’d already gotten the cost of his food back! 

 

Well, probably also because it’s the first few minutes into his first stream. He suspects that it’ll peter off shortly after he just talks, and in future streams unless he does more exciting or interesting things. 

 

“Okay so today I thought I’d talk about…” Wei Ying falters when he sees a notification pop up. 

 

Talk about what?

 

Clothes off please I’ll tip you haha

 

Lemme suck that ****

 

The chat doesn’t find out what Wei Ying wants to talk about. They also stop caring, when they notice the donation notification too, which has captured his attention.

 

Hanguangjun has donated $50 with the message: Looks delicious. Not enough vegetables though.

 

“Woah, thanks Hanguangjun for the donation!” says Wei Ying, amazed. In one go? Fifty dollars? Really?! 

 

The chat explodes.

 

WHAT here’s someone who’s rich wtfff

 

OMG IT’S THAT DUDE WHO BOUGHT THE BATHWATER ISN’T IT

 

$50??? Simps are unreal s m h [pog sticker]

 

[pog sticker][pogs sticker][pog sticker]

 

Um, who are you @hanguangjun to criticise what Xianxian eats? If he wants Macca’s, he can eat it. If he wants veggies, he can eat that. Just because you pay money doesn’t

 

Give you any right to imply he should “eat vegetables” when he WANTS to eat burgers. Maybe he eats healthy normally! Who are you to judge? 

 

Mmmm burg [burger sticker]

 

If you think that him eating unhealthy for ONE stream means he’s eating unhealthy all the time you’re clearly up your own *** and should just log off.

 

Leave Xianxian alone @hanguangjun

 

Lol check out the white knight upstream **** you idiot it’s just a comment who cares YOU log off YOU pay up [skull emoji]

 

Wei Ying keeps one eye on the arguments to ensure it doesn’t go south. 

 

“Look at this fish burger, I took two bites and there’s only a little bit left!” Wei Ying shakes his head exaggeratedly, before popping the little chunk left into his mouth and licking his fingers, pink tongue darting out to lap at the pads of them. “Ah, that really hit the spot though, what should I eat next?” 

 

Nuggiessss

 

Bacon and egg!! It’s morning here, I’m having one too!

 

Eat some chips and swig on the drink so you’re ready for more food

 

My **** please

 

I’ll eat your *** pls spare a crumb? 

 

“That’s a good idea, @bananaboy,” says Wei Ying, picking up the Coke and sipping from it. “Feels like my throat’s been cleared, let’s move on!” 

 

He picks up the bacon and egg burger. Oh, that’s definitely oily. He bites into it, the saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the bun moulding together. Eating breakfast food at dinner really hits differently. He peels back the cover for a sweet and sour sauce, before dipping a nugget into it and biting into it. 

 

“Dual wielding food, haha. What’s everyone’s favourite nugget sauces? I have sweet and sour here, which they gave me as the default sauce...” 

 

Ketchup

 

Aioli!!!!! 

 

Toss up between tomato sauce and sweet and sour.

 

Sweet and sour!!

 

Your ***

 

Another ping.

 

Gusubunbun has donated $50 with the message: I don’t eat nuggets, but I like dipping carrot and egg dumplings in vinegar.

 

Fifty dollars again?! Wei Ying feels colour rising in his face. While he appreciates it a lot, hanguangjun supports him so much already, and he’s starting to feel a little guilty regarding these donations. Maybe he could pay him back with some exclusive content.

 

Um… read the room… it’s nuggets

 

Are you implying that dumplings are healthier than nuggets? @hanguangjun you’re being hateful and outrageous towards Xianxian, your arrogance is unparalleled

 

If Xianxian wants nuggets and sauce, that’s what he’s eating. You have no right to judge him, and I think you should take your judgemental attitude away from here

 

**** oh my god @hanguangjun can you stop donating with COMMENTS, my eyes are bleeding watching @sushi_moling’s stupid white knight comments [crying sticker][crying sticker]

 

“Oh, thank you @hanguangjun for the donation again! Dumplings huh, that’s a great idea for the next stream!” says Wei Ying, pretending not to see the arguments in the comments section. Maybe he should get a moderator for his streams, he doesn’t think that profanity filter alone wouldn’t be able to save his sanity. 

 

Okay, but dumplings is a good idea for a mukbang stream, Wei Ying hadn’t been lying about that. He could just get a few dozen, maybe along with other kinds of dumplings, some vinegar and chilli sauce, and just go at it on stream. Nice going, hanguangjun!

 

He takes another bite of the bacon and egg burger, chewing slowly and looking over the comments, hoping there’s a non-salty comment (that’s also not from @hanguangjun) that he can respond to. 

 

How has Xianxian been lately?

 

“I’ve been good lately,” says Wei Ying, before realising it is from @hanguangjun. Ah shit, he thinks. “Thanks for asking, @hanguangjun!”

 

Favouritism TT_TT this is p2w

 

MAYBE if yall stopped spamming idiotic shit… 

 

Obv Xianxian is running a business here so just donate something ya stingies~

 

Someone ask proper questions!!!

 

What’s your favourite burger? 

 

“I really like it when burgers have beetroot or pineapple in them, and then I’ll add chilli on top,” says Wei Ying. “Thanks… for asking, @sushi_moling!”

 

Oh my god they’re gonna start a war [laugh][laugh]

 

BRUH XIANXIAN IGNORE THEM

 

Did you like the panties I gifted you??!!?!

 

While it isn’t the most ideal question, at the least it’s not either party from before, who Wei Ying hopes will calm down before there’s an all out storm.

 

“Oh yes, @wc6969, thank you for those! I did really like them!” He doesn’t actually, but of course he won’t ever say that. “I made a video recently to unbox my gifts, everyone please do check it out on my Youtube channel when you have the time!” 

 

Time for emergency activation!

 

Wei Ying picks up a nugget and dips it in the sauce before taking a bite out of it. He then wiggles it at the camera. 

 

“Are you hungry? Let me feed you. Say ahhh!” he says with a wink. 

 

Omg omg I’m going to replay this foreverrrr

 

Fanservice!!!!!! FANSERVICE!!!!!!

 

I wouldn’t even eat the nugget I’ll just keep it framed forever~

 

Xianxian you sold bathwater now it’s time for your saliva

 

“Haha, what are you guys gonna do with my saliva?” laughs Wei Ying, swigging back some Coke and then finishing off the bacon and egg muffin.

 

Inject directly into my veins

 

DRINK IT!!! I’d pay you to spit in my mouth  

 

Hanguangjun has donated $100 with the message: Selling your saliva may cause identity theft issues. Do not worry though, I will buy it up all first to protect you from such things.

 

Wei Ying swallows hard, trying not to choke on the burger. Wow, that’d be a way to go, choking on a burger on livestream with hundreds of people watching. He’s shocked by the amount @hanguangjun has donated. That’s been a grand total of two hundred dollars from him alone so far. It seems like a lot. And even then, the message it’s accompanied by is thoughtful at heart, though Wei Ying knows the internet well enough that that’s not necessarily the way people will take it. The chat lights up as people see the donation.

 

WTFFFF STOP SHOWING OFF @HANGUANGJUN MEET ME AT GRANVILLE STATION IN 5

 

Who are you to tell Xianxian what he can or can’t do? If he wants to sell saliva, he can, if he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t need to.

 

Can someone shut up sushi dude I swear to god I’m gonna ****ing scream

 

Guys guys @hanguangjun is just trying to be thoughtful, they’re probably an awkward simp who means well LEAVE HIM ALONE

 

@sushi_moling has donated $50 with the message: Xianxian, do whatever you want

 

Lollll @sushi_moling you’re gonna have to donate $150+ more to outdo @hanguangjun lmaooooo

 

@sushi_moling has donated $180 with the message: I said, Xianxian, do whatever you want

 

@hanguangjun has donated $100 with the message: [bunny emoji]

 

BAHAHAHAHAHHA FCKING CACKLING @HANGUANGJUN YOU MADLAD

 

“Ah… ahhh…” says Wei Ying, lost for words for a moment. “Thanks so much @ hanguangjun and @sushi_moling for your donations! Don’t worry, I won’t do anything I don’t want to, let’s all calm down and continue eating. Uh…” 

 

He said @hanguangjun first wwww favouritism [laugh emoji][laugh emoji]

 

Poor sushi hahahah life as a simp and a white knight isn’t easy, huh? 

 

“...is anyone eating anything at the moment? Breakfast maybe, or a snack?”

 

Damn, he really needs a moderator, doesn’t he?

 

Wei Ying manages to reasonably get the chat more or less under control as he finishes off his fish burgers and the fries, though he leaves some nuggets behind. He feels like he’s about to roll off the chair and into the next room. He puts on a bright smile (though it’s a little pained) and waves goodbye to the audience, thanking them once more and asking them to tune into the stream again in a fortnight. Checking the donations tab he whistles lowly, before wincing as his dinner threatens to come up from the sheer effort of it. 

 

A sweet eight hundred plus dollars from the stream. That is pretty good, though his stomach feels like it’s about to burst. He stands up from his chair and stays there for a bit, hoping his food will digest faster that way. 



After that stream, Wei Ying feels there’s really no excuse. He has to thank Hanguangjun somehow, even if it's just a small token of his appreciation. Because Hanguangjun is one of his top Patrons, he already sends prints, polaroids, and his own merchandise to them each quarter. So far, he’s got fifteen of Patrons of this level, twelve of which have P.O. boxes, hence his lack of memory retention regarding Hanguangjun’s address, even with the quarterly care packages. It’s not like it would actually mean anything to him beyond being a top tier patron’s address, as much as he appreciated the support. Not until one bought a ridiculous amount of bathwater. 

 

“Hmm,” he says out loud. “What can you give someone who has enough money to pay for everything?” 

 

Well, simply put, the answer is time. Wei Ying is pretty confident that Hanguangjun would like a personal video call, as much as salty guys on the internet would scoff at such a notion. While most people might be reticent about charging for their own company, Wei Ying has no such qualms, especially for strangers on the internet and had even been considering it before but had no opportunity to trial. With some research, he could also have Hanguangjun’s session be a trial run while also giving the patron a feeling of some exclusivity. And, best of all, it won’t actually cost him anything except maybe half an hour or so of his time. 

 

And, to be honest, he’s a little curious about this patron too.

 

Dear Hanguangjun,

 

Thank you for your support these past few years! I really appreciate your heartfelt care packages each quarter as well as your love for my first ever livestream!! To show my appreciation, I’d like to give you early access to an exclusive upcoming feature for my most supportive patrons! 

 

A One-on-One video chat!

 

Chat for half an hour with me at a time suitable for both of us!! Whether it’s a chat about your day, a problem you want advice on, and/or questions you’ve been dying to ask me about, anything goes! 

 

Lots of love,

Your friendly e-local e-boy,

Xianxian, aka @lilxianxian.

 

Wei Ying wants to pat himself on the back as he stands up and stretches. 

 

“I’m a genius,” he says out loud, walking out of his room.

 

“You are,” agrees Wen Ning, who is holding a box of indigestion pills. “I watched your stream and thought these might help.”

 

From anyone else, having those two statements directly after each other would have sounded like sarcasm. From Wen Ning, though, it sounds genuine. 

 

“You’re so thoughtful,” says Wei Ying cheerfully, glad that he has Wen Ning as his housemate. He opens the box and pops the blister pack for a pill, swallowing it. “I’m thinking of thanking Hanguangjun with a video call.”

 

“That’s nice,” says Wen Ning. “Then you can know more about him too.”

 

“Haha, what are you saying?” asks Wei Ying, pretending to be shocked. “I’m just giving one of my top fans some special service!” 

 

“Oh, okay,” says Wen Ning, voice a little too surprised for Wei Ying’s liking. Before Wei Ying has a chance to question Wen Ning’s tone, his phone lights up with a notification. 

 

It’s an email back from Hanguangjun. 

 

Dear Xianxian,

 

It was no problem for me. I am happy to support you and your art. 

 

Thank you for the offer. I am happy to video call but I would prefer if it could be one-sided if possible, with only audio and no video from my side. 

 

Kind regards,

Hanguangjun.

 

Wei Ying doesn’t want to linger on why he feels mildly disappointed about that. 

 

Dear Hanguangjun,

 

That’s fine! Please let me know a time slot for when you’re free! I can do anytime between 12pm and 3am AEST :)

 

Where are you based in Canada? Wow the latest it could be over there is 7am, you’re up so early! Or did you pull an all-nighter?

 

Lots of love,

Your friendly e-local e-boy,

Xianxian, aka @lilxianxian.

 

Switching to messenger, Wei Ying sends a screenshot of part of Hanguangjun’s email, with the part where it’s one-sided highlighted.

 

gang gang

 

WY

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN

[Screenshot_2020_05_19_23:51.jpeg]

 

JC

He’s ugly.

 

NHS

He’s probably ugly~~

 

JYL

Maybe he’s just shy!

WY

[pleading emoji]

I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN HERE FOR WEEKS HI

Glad someone in this groupchat isn't SHALLOW

 

WQ

So what if he’s ugly? He’s rich 

 

WY

I would NEVER use a man for his money.

 

WQ

Hmmm… 

[doubtful emoji]

WY

hOWEVER... [clown emoji]

Let a man dream okay ;(

 

NHS

Looks are just a bonus… get him for the money

You better milk him for all he’s got

When he flies you out for a holiday 

I’m your bestie okay :^)

 

When the notification pops up for another reply from Hanguangjun, Wei Ying switches back to the email app. It would be bad to accidentally send something in chat into the body of the email. 

 

Dear Xianxian, 

 

7am is a normal time to be awake at. I wake up at 5am. 

 

You should sleep before 12am, it is not healthy to go to bed after that. 

 

I am based in Toronto. The best time for both of us would be 9pm-9.30pm AEST, which is 6-6.30am EST. Is there a day you prefer? 

 

Kind regards,

Hanguangjun

 

Wei Ying is impressed. That is the best time for him to do any kind of video call. 

 

gang gang

 

WY

[Screenshot_2020_05_19_23:58.jpeg]

Guys he’s so thoughtful [pleading emoji]

 

JC

Not you falling for the first person who shows you affection

You don’t even know what he looks like

Have we even established that they’re a he????

 

WY

I'M NOT IN LOVE SILLY just commenting how amazing my fans are!!!

You’re right I never met a man this thoughtful ;/

Anyway maybe I just like his MONEY

And him complimenting me.

And what of it??

 

Wei Ying absentmindedly switches out to the email app and begins writing his reply. 

 

Dear Hanguangjun,

 

Sounds good, let’s go with this coming Friday your time, Saturday my time! Gives you something to look forward to for the end of a busy work week ;) Add me on Google Hangouts haha I’ll send you a request.

 

AWAKE AT 5AM??? That’s my bedtime sometimes haha amazing.

 

Lots of love,

Your friendly e-local e-boy,

Xianxian, aka @lilxianxian.

 

Honestly, the last person Wei Ying would date would be someone with a 5am rise and shine time. There genuinely never has been a day he had to wake up that early. His previous job with its 9am starts and his 8.45am wakeup times was truly the pits, and he would always roll in by a hair's breadth. Good thing he lived close by or he would have always been late, not that he needed to care about it anymore.

 

While contemplating this, Hanguangjun's reply comes through.

 

Dear Xianxian, 

 

Then we will lock this in. Thank you. I am very much looking forward to talking to you. 

 

Please try to sleep earlier than 5am. Goodnight.

 

Kind regards,

Hanguangjun

 

gang gang

 

WY

[Screenshot_2020_05_20_00:13.jpeg]

He’s kinda POSSESSIVE mmmm

 

WQ

Or he’s just stating facts

5am IS a bad time to sleep

 

WY

Not Miss ICU Doctor lecturing me!!!

 

WQ

You have no idea how lucky you are to have the chance to sleep early

IF YOU WANTED TO

 

WY

Anyway it’s kinda sexy of him like

I can SENSE the zaddy energy

[thirst emoji]

 

JC

I hope he’s ugly. 

 

WY

JEALOUS ARE WE???

Try wearing some eyeliner and a maid costume while streaming a League game

Guaranteed views smh

 

JC

I’m not doing that wtf

 

WY

Don’t come to me crying in 5 months when it’s too late to hop on the trend :^)

 

Wei Ying's already made and posted maid videos onto Tiktok, the ones where he drops onto the floor dressed normally and then suddenly transitions into wearing a maid costume. He only really posts on Tiktok to advertise for his Patreon and his currently empty Onlyfans, though it's proved massively effective.

 

The week crawls by. He finds himself lurking almost daily through Hanguangjun's socials. If only he had a first name to go off of and a small snippet of detail regarding what industry. Wei Ying is certain if he knew that, he'd be able to find the man on LinkedIn or something. Not for bad reasons or anything… just to know.  

 

When the day finally rolls round, Wei Ying prepares himself eagerly. With a leather harness under Hanguangjun's bunny hoodie and tiny shorts, some black eyeliner smudged onto his lower lashline, and his hair tied up into a high ponytail, he knows he's dressed to appeal, and then some. Patrons love seeing their favourite creator wear their gifts. It's a form of acknowledgement.

 

That reminds him to put the Swarovski bracelet on his wrist, partially hidden under his sleeve. 

 

Opening his link, he waits. Not for long, either, because Hanguangjun is punctual, switching into the link five minutes before the start time.

 

"Hello!" says Wei Ying cheerfully, waving at his webcam. "You're here!"

 

There's a slight shifting sound from the other side before Hanguangjun speaks. 

 

"Yes, I am," he says, and Wei Ying's eyes widen. Hanguangjun's voice is low and smooth, and when it sounds through his headphones right into his ears (almost as if Hanguangjun is right there, whispering into his ear), he feels his nape tingle. He's never cursed his own obsession for quality headphones until now.

 

Until now, he didn't think this might be a difficult half hour to endure. He’s suddenly self-conscious that maybe this won’t go smoothly, Hanguangjun would think he’s a total imposter, and unsubscribe. Reminding himself that’s ridiculous, he tells himself to answer instead of having an awkward pause.

 

"Wow, you've got a really nice voice," says Wei Ying cheerfully, coughing slightly to try to recover. "Anyway, how's your week been?"

 

"Thank you,” says Hanguanjun, hesitating slightly. “My week has been fine. What about yours?” 

 

“Oh it’s been great,” Wei Ying says casually. “You work usually, right? Is it interesting?” 

 

It could have been the worst week ever (it was just very uneventful, really) but he’d still have to lie through his teeth. And he’d do it again for the bag if he has to. More importantly, he wants to know what job this man has. Probing gently for now is probably the best way to go. He unconsciously touches the Swarovski bracelet under his sleeve. 

 

There’s a pause and Wei Ying briefly wonders if he’s misstepped, before Hanguangjun speaks again. 

 

“I work as a surgeon,” he says. 

 

“Oh wow, those hours must be tough,” says Wei Ying cheerfully, resisting the urge to Google ‘surgeon Australia median salary,’ which is definitely going to be high anyway. “So you’re good with your hands, eh?” 

 

“You could say that,” he says, the barest lilt of a smile at the end of his words. 

 

Taken aback and wanting to recover the upper hand, Wei Ying stretches slightly, giving Hanguangjun a peek of his flat tummy. He hears a slightly sharp breath in his ears and smirks slightly. 

 

“What made you choose to become a surgeon?” asks Wei Ying, feigning innocence.

 

Hanguangjun hums momentarily, and it’s a delightfully low tone, warming Wei Ying’s abdomen. “I wanted a job that was meaningful.” 

 

“Wow, that’s really wonderful,” says Wei Ying, and he tries not to flinch at how he had inadvertently switched to his customer service voice to shield his thoughts, even though he does think it’s amazing. He just doesn’t want Hanguangjun to think he’s salivating over his money or something. (Even though he kinda is. And maybe with a bit of a “momentarily in love with a stranger” type emotion.) Imagine enjoying a job with hours like that. Couldn’t be him.

 

“And... I am good with my hands,” continues Hanguangjun.

 

Wei Ying pauses for a second, trying not to panic. Flirting? Flirting with him? Normally he’d flirt back easily, but he suddenly doesn’t want to give the wrong impression. Like he’s leading the guy on? Even though he’s a patron, that’s what he’s expecting, so just give him that service. 

 

Who cares what some probably old fuddy duddy man thinks of me, anyway? Even if he does have a sexy voice, goddamn. If that’s a silver fox, I’ll still ride… haha… 

 

“Hmm, shame I can’t see them,” jokes Wei Ying. 

 

“Hm.”

 

Okay, fine.

 

“So, what do you do in your spare time?” Wei Ying doesn’t feel too ashamed of bringing out his classic Tinder icebreakers now. It’s a fairly normal question, after all.

 

“I take care of my bunnies. Exercise. Play music,” he lists off. 

 

“Ahh, yes, you and your bunnies. They’re so cute! How many do you have?” asks Wei Ying, toying with the fabric of his hoodie. “I love this hoodie by the way. I wear it all the time.” 

 

“It looks good on you,” says Hanguangjun. 

 

“Thank you! Do your bunnies have names, or…?” prods Wei Ying. Oh, no. Now he’s going to think I feel uncomfortable with compliments or something.

 

“I have six,” he says. “Milk Candy, Cabbage, Property, Moonlight, Bean, Old White.” 

 

“Those are interesting names,” says Wei Ying. “Did you name them yourself?” 

 

“My little cousin did. They are actually in Mandarin. Are you…?” asks Hanguangjun, hesitantly. 

 

“Oh? Yeah, I’m not really fluent in Mandarin,” lies Wei Ying, because he wants to hear Hanguangjun speak in Mandarin. “Refresher please?” 

 

Hanguangjun indulges him, repeating their names in Mandarin. Wei Ying smiles and nods, agreeing that the names are so cute. 

 

He might as well have been reading a grocery list, and Wei Ying would still eat it up. Hell, if Hanguangjun started an Onlyfans for his voice, he’d probably rake in quite the money. An alternative if he ever wants to quit surgery, though Wei Ying is sure that Hanguangjun probably isn’t the type. Most unfortunate, because Wei Ying would be the first subscriber.

 

“I don’t have any pets,” says Wei Ying. “I’d love a cat though. Definitely a cat person and not a dog person.” 

 

“What would you name it?” asks Hanguangjun politely. 

 

“Oh, I don’t know. How about Hanguangjun?” asks Wei Ying cheekily. “Then I’d own you forever as my pet.” 

 

“You could,” says Hanguangjun. 

 

Suddenly, Wei Ying’s not sure if he means the cat or himself, or if he’s just reading into subtext too much.

 

“So you said you play music… anything in particular?” asks Wei Ying. “You know I play a bit of the dizi myself, no biggie.”

 

“Yes... I also play a traditional instrument, the guqin,” replies Hanguangjun.

 

“Oh we should totally have a duet together through video!” says Wei Ying, propping up his face on one hand and smiling brightly into the webcam. He hears Hanguangjun cough slightly. 

 

Maybe not then? Maybe he’s a snob about music.

 

“Hmm, uh… you go to the gym for exercise, or do you play a sport?” asks Wei Ying, trying to change the subject. 

 

“My workout is a combination of both,” he says. 

 

Maybe it’s not farfetched to think that Hanguangjun is a zaddy after all. 

 

“Honestly I need to exercise more,” says Wei Ying. “I jog and do yoga and strength training but that’s pretty much it. Do you have any tips for your routine?” 

 

There’s a brief pause. 

 

“Yoga is excellent for building strength. I practise it too. The headstand exercises are particularly beneficial. Otherwise, your routine is very sound.” 

 

Just casually doing headstands like it’s nothing of course.  

 

“Maybe I want to up my training and get stronger like you,” says Wei Ying, wiggling in his seat a little. 

 

“Practice and patience is key,” says Hanguangjun seriously. 

 

Wei Ying had intended that to be flirting but being validated is good too.

 

There’s something about Hanguangjun’s voice that scratches an itch in the back of Wei Ying’s mind. He’s not sure exactly what, because it’s not like he’s met the guy before. 

 

“You really do have an amazing voice,” says Wei Ying. “You could totally start an Onlyfans for your voice, you know? Plenty of girls would pay to hear you recite blueberry muffin recipes, or something. Sexy voice ASMR.” 

 

“Hm,” says Hanguangjun. Wei Ying thinks that he has to be doing that on purpose. If his own cock twitched slightly from the low rumbling of it, well, no one would know except him.

 

“Yeah, like that!” says Wei Ying. “Just need some marketing know-how, but I’m sure you’d be a star if you wanted to quit being a surgeon.”

 

“Would you support me?” asks Hanguangjun with a trace of amusement. 

 

“Of course!” says Wei Ying. Honestly that’s actually a fifty-fifty chance. He’d love to hear it, but he also might not be able to afford it.

 

“I think I will stay as a surgeon so I can support Xianxian instead,” says Hanguangjun. “You can hear my voice as often as you would like. I would pay for it.” 

 

Wei Ying is grinning wildly, cheeks warm. The way Hanguangjun says his persona's name has no business being that cute either, and he shouldn’t feel this pleased by a grown man calling him by such a cutesy pseudonym… and yet.

 

“Thank you for your most generous support,” he says, throwing up a peace sign, giddiness definitely only from the potential amount of money he could make. Clients like this are a dream come true. 

 

“Naturally. Do you have anything you are saving up for?” 

 

Wei Ying thinks carefully. In all honesty, he's been more or less too preoccupied with bills to think about anything else. It's not recommended to say such things to clients because it isn't considered sexy, but Wei Ying figures that a little bit of truth might not be a problem here.

 

"Actually, apart from my wishlist, I'm mostly worried about monthly bills," he admits. "Rent, utilities, groceries… it's not sexy, but it is what it is, hahaha…"

 

"I see," says Hanguangjun. An awkward pause hangs between them.

 

"Have anything planned for the weekend?" says Wei Ying suddenly. 

 

A soft breath. "In the mornings I exercise and then play the guqin. My brother and I will meet for lunch on Saturday." 

 

"Oh that sounds wonderful!" says Wei Ying, though it doesn't really. Who wakes up on a Saturday before twelve? And to exercise and play on an instrument? Not him, that's for sure.

 

"What do you normally do on the weekends?" asks Hanguangjun. 

 

"Oh, you know. Sleep in, check for any work correspondence or things like that, and go out with friends…" says Wei Ying, trailing off. He's not sure how Hanguangjun would take it if he bragged about being able to weasel free drinks by flirting with random older men. Wen Qing often did it too depending on which bar they went to. 

 

"You work on the weekends?" Hanguangjun sounds surprised. 

 

"Just a little bit of email checking and if I have any ideas I note them down," Wei Ying laughs nervously. "Downsides of being your own boss, haha."

 

"Hm. You have an impressive work ethic," says Hanguangjun and Wei Ying has to resist choking on his own tongue. Sure, he has to work a lot harder than people might assume, but he has never heard his work ethic being praised. (Assuming that that is a compliment, of course, but it sounds more or less like it.) 

 

"Thank you," says Wei Ying sweetly, filing the compliment away for later next time Jiang Cheng complains about him stressing over procrastinating. 

 

Despite the rather awkward back-and-forth (in Wei Ying's mind), the video call with Hanguangjun is cordial, if only a little insightful, and finishes quicker than Wei Ying anticipates.

 

"Thank you so much for the chat," says Wei Ying. "It's so lovely to know more about you."

 

"Thank you, likewise," says Hanguangjun. "I am already looking forward to our next call."

 

How sweet, though a part of Wei Ying is suddenly wary that Hanguangjun is one of those men who pay up first then decide to push boundaries and take advantage of freebies. He quashes that down, reminding himself to be polite but outline boundaries as need be later.

 

"Same," says Wei Ying. "We can organise it through Patreon later, so no worries! I'll see you next time! Hope you have a good weekend."

 

"Thank you. You too." 

 

Hanguangjun hangs up, and Wei Ying is worried that he's pissed off his best patron despite it being exactly thirty-two minutes. He thinks to himself that it's fine, he doesn't need Hanguangjun, when his phone gets an email notification. 

 

It's from Onlyfans, letting him know that user Hanguangjun has sent him a thousand dollars. (Honestly, the tip system was the reason he had opened it despite not uploading anything.) It's then followed up with an email from Amazon informing that someone had bought items off his Wishlist. 

 

No, wait, the entire wishlist. 

 

"What?" asks Wei Ying out loud, dumbfounded. 

 

gang gang

 

WY

YOU GUYS SEEING THIS WTF

 

JC

 

NHS

MILK HIM

MILK THE CASHCOW

Okay but seriously first the Swarovski now this like

CERTIFIED SIMP

Love that for you

 

When it comes to receiving more thoughtful or expensive gifts, Wei Ying likes to post separate photos of himself on Instagram wearing or holding them. For patrons it's about being recognised, and for him, it's a chance to link his unboxing videos or remind people of his wishlist. Because his wishlist is now empty, he advertises his previous unboxing once more with a picture of himself subtly showing off his wrist.

 

He already has ideas for his next video. He can use a clickbait title for this one. 

 

"Patron bought ALL my wishlist items: unboxing!" Now that would be an algorithm hit. He has to thank Hanguangjun somehow… and realises this sure is going to be a cycle of gifting and thanking via video.

 

Wei Ying also suddenly realises that despite the leather harness peeking through his hoodie, Hanguangjun never once asked him to take his clothes off. He would have been quite happy to if he requested it, but something about not being asked to strip has him wondering.

 

***

"That's amazing," says Wen Ning, hands cupping his glass as he sips on his peach ice tea. "I'm happy for you."

 

"Thanks," says Wei Ying. “Yes it’s crazy rich people behaviour, yes it’s lowkey a little wild, but yes I’m going to keep these video chats up. He never even asked me to take my clothes off, isn’t that amazing?” 

 

“Money aside, your standards are low,” says Wen Qing. “That’s the bare minimum.”

 

“Listen,” says Wei Ying. “He’s different. He’s respectful.”

 

Wen Qing looks at Wei Ying with a funny expression. “Aren’t most of your high paying patrons respectful anyway?” 

 

“But they’re different,” he says. “He’s been with me for a while.”

 

"Why do you look like that," says Wen Qing.

 

"Why do I what…" says Wei Ying, moving his facial muscles so his expression is perfectly neutral. 

 

Wen Qing gives Wei Ying a disapproving look. "Don't get attached to him."

 

"I'm not!" objects Wei Ying. 

 

"Put your eggs in more than one basket," says Wen Qing. "You're gonna milk him and every other simp." 

 

"I'm not in love with him, what are you talking about," objects Wei Ying. Just because he's happy about a quality patron and intent on giving him some extra service doesn't mean anything. He's just a good businessman, that's all.

 

Wen Qing tilts her head innocently. "I never said that. Why would you be?"

 

“Ugh, I can’t believe this! The mind games at this table!” Wei Ying shakes his head in mock frustration, smacking the table gently with one palm.

 

“Have you finished organising your table and cosplay for the upcoming convention?” asks Wen Ning quickly, fiddling nervously with his straw. 

 

“More or less,” says Wei Ying. “The tip from Hanguangjun really helped pay for some final items for my line up.”

 

While he tends to complete his costumes in the last minute, his planning for his table sales is pretty good, if he says so himself. Starting from two months ago, he had organised calendars, zines, and prints. Now, he’s able to finish his order for specific charms and get a larger quantity. This time tabling would be a scale up since the last time, which was a few years ago. It had been less of a tabling experience and more of “using the corner of Wen Ning’s table for some sales and promotion.” While it had proved not too bad at the time, he still made a loss from the quantity he had ordered. And the overall convention experience had been marred by a not so great encounter from his end, which he had more or less repressed. 

 

“Good thing this con is an 18+ event,” says Wen Qing. 

 

“Makes my marketing a whole lot easier,” agrees Wei Ying. “And I’m definitely checking out the monster dildo stalls.” 

 

“Ha, ha,” says Wen Qing. “Louder for the people in the back of the cafe, please.”

 

Wei Ying feints standing up, before cackling at Wen Qing’s glare. 

 

“Con crunch on the Thursday before the weekend?” asks Wei Ying.

 

“Oh good, you’ve learned from previous experiences to do con crunch a day earlier than normal,” says Wen Qing sarcastically. “But yes, absolutely.”

 

“Sweet, I’m just modifying a costume I bought online this time,” says Wei Ying. “Can’t believe I used to make whole costumes the week before the con then rock up to said con on three hours sleep. I’m getting old.”

 

“No more partying hard for us elderly folk,” says Wen Qing. 

 

This time round, Wen Qing’s going over to their place as it’s bigger than her small apartment. Wen Qing has been able to tick off one of her dream cosplays now that she’s on a full time salary. Wei Ying admires her ability to sew and do detailed work after a long week at the hospital (she says it’s therapeutic.) Wen Ning ordered a cosplay as well because one of his hobbies had to give after he started working in animation full time. 

 

“Oh, Sizhui’s coming to Sydney again,” says Wen Ning. “He’ll join us for this convention, too, but he’s not tabling this time.”

 

“Right,” says Wei Ying, thinking he remembers that name from somewhere, but unable to recall it. Wen Ning gives him a slightly perturbed look, and it’s times like these that he can see that the Wens are truly siblings despite their different demeanours.



After the drinks and doing a little bit of window shopping in the area (or as Wei Ying likes to call it, loitering), Wen Qing bids them farewell as she has to leave early to rest before her next shift. Wen Ning walks beside Wei Ying, trying not to look too obviously at him from his peripheral vision.

 

“What’s up,” says Wei Ying. “I know I’m handsome, come on, make a line for my autograph…”

 

“You are,” agrees Wen Ning. “But I wanted to ask if you’re okay with Sizhui’s friend...?” 

 

“What do you mean?” asks Wei Ying. What does Sizhui’s friend have anything to do with him? “Of course it’s fine!” 

 

“...of course,” says Wen Ning, clearing his throat slightly. The rest of the trip back to their place is in slightly uncomfortable silence. 

 

That night, Wei Ying goes to bed feeling slightly uneasy, like he’s forgotten something important.

 

***

Five years ago.

 

Every cosplay guide for beginners recommends that one should start their costume early. Plenty of months ahead of the convention, along with a costest (or makeup and dress rehearsal), so that the cosplayer could comfortably make their costume and style their wig, and not engage in the dreaded practice of cosplay convention crunch.

 

After five years of cosplaying, Wei Ying has long since been embroiled in this behaviour. The last-minute rush, that is.

 

At the least after several years his costumes don’t look too bad when he makes them. If he knows it’s out of his skill zone, he’ll buy it online. Plus he’s pretty good at styling wigs and making props now. He prides himself on doing the work himself, or if he does require help from Wen Qing they swap costumes and work together on them. Wen Qing usually would do the sewing, and he would do the prop making. It’s good that way - he knows that many male cosplayers are notorious within circles for mooching off cosplay girls to make their costumes, and so on and so forth.

 

“You won’t believe what some guy messaged me the other day,” complains Wen Qing as she begins to embroider a leaf on a piece of fabric that’s to become a sleeve. 

 

“Can I guess?” asks Wei Ying, placing a stencil over a curved pauldron. “Which type of guy this time, was it ‘feet pics pls’ or ‘let’s cosplay together I’ll be so good’ moocher-type?”

 

Wen Qing rolls her eyes, but she’s smirking at the accuracy of the statement. 

 

“Yet another guy who has cosplayed maybe twice in his life, who wants me to make him his next cosplay from scratch because cosplaying with him would apparently give me so much exposure,” says Wen Qing, stabbing the needle into cotton. “Unbelievable.”

 

“The sheer audacity,” agrees Wei Ying, peering over her shoulder when she unlocks her phone and shows him the conversation. “Did he even offer to pay for materials at least?”

 

“Nope,” shakes Wen Qing’s head. “He really thinks I would spend several hundred dollars and several weeks of my time to make him, a stranger, a cosplay for something I don’t even want to cosplay. Seriously...” 

 

Wei Ying shakes his head before returning to painting details over the primed foam. “Mute him so he can talk to a brick wall. He sounds like an idiot.”

 

The air is filled with just the jangling rumble of the sewing machine for a few minutes as Wen Qing presses her foot down on the pedal harder than necessary. In the pause that follows she returns to her embroidery.

 

“Heard there was a commotion this morning in group chat?” 

 

Wei Ying thinks for a bit. “Oh yeah! I woke up to some guy crying in my comments about how I tricked him.”

 

Her eyebrow arches, voice sarcastic. “Oh no, Wei Ying. How did you trick him?”

 

Wei Ying giggles. “He saw my Ahri cosplay in the tag and followed me, spammed like on my recent photos thinking I was a crossplaying girl, then got really aggravated when he saw my shirtless photo from a few weeks back.”

 

wwxahripng

 

“Christ,” says Wen Qing. “Hope you don’t get cancelled for this one.” 

 

Wei Ying sounds aggrieved. “Oh, he made an account alright. “Xianxian is a scammer,” and he’s been harassing my mutuals and followers all morning.”

 

“I’ll block him,” says Wen Qing. “Been sewing this all morning so I only briefly checked Instagram. Could you hand me the royal blue thread, please?”

 

Wei Ying shuffles back a little and peers over at the previously-neat, now chaotic, pile of spools of thread. He picks up two of the darker blues. Neither are labelled, so he passes them both to Wen Qing. She picks them both up, holds them to the light, before selecting the one that does not have a purple tint to it.

 

“Alright, I’ll finish this leaf, and you finish the pauldron this hour, and we’ll order take out,” she says. “Wen Ning says he’s going to eat out after setting the table so not to worry about him. Is Thai okay? I’m just going to order a beef salad and pray that I don’t break out overnight.”

 

“More than okay,” replies Wei Ying with a grin. 

 

The time is 6:23pm, the night before the convention. The cosplay progress: 90% complete.

 

***

 

The morning of the first day of a convention weekend is always a mad rush. It’s a blur of beauty blenders dabbing foundation into the skin, puffs of powder billowing in the air, the sweep of brushes over eyelids and jawlines and cheekbones and the nose bridge, the rustle of fabric as cosplayers squeeze into their costumes, the clinking of accessories and the zip and click of fastenings. Wei Ying straps on his pauldron to his shoulder, secures his gauntlets around his arms and slides on his wig. In the background, looking like an egg with a full face of makeup and only a wig net on, Wen Qing fusses over Wen Ning’s costume. 

 

“Do you need any help?” asks Wei Ying, once he’s done.

 

“Not here, no, just organise the bags and make sure we haven’t left anything behind,” says Wen Qing around three safety pins in her teeth as she secures some draped fabric around Wen Ning’s shoulders. 

 

Wei Ying takes inventory of their bags, which would be kept under Wen Ning’s table. Wen Ning was going to table with an online friend of his, the two of them selling their art, and Wen Qing and Wei Ying would also assist in shifts. In exchange, Wei Ying had some of his cosplay prints on the table as well should anyone want to buy any. 

 

The time is 8:24am, Saturday morning.

 

The three of them rush out of the hotel room they had booked, and as they make their way to the convention centre they stop by a cafe. Wen Ning picks up a bacon and egg roll and a coffee, while both Wei Ying and Wen Qing only pick up coffees. 

 

Wen Ning had assisted with some final touches to the costumes before clocking out for the night, while Wei Ying and Wen Qing continued until one in the morning. To Wei Ying’s credit, that’s a time a few hours earlier than when he usually finishes. 

 

The three of them make their way to the table, waving to a few familiar faces. There’s a figure already seated at their table. He has delicate features and is clad in long robes. 

 

“Hello,” he greets them, a little shyly. “I’m Sizhui, a friend of Wen Ning’s.”

 

“I’ve heard so much about you,” says Wen Qing, setting down her bag in the corner. “Lovely to meet you.”

 

“Awww you’re adorable!” says Wei Ying. “Whatcha cosplaying?” 

 

Sizhui smiles up serenely at Wei Ying. “I’m cosplaying a character called Runyu from the Chinese novel Heavy Sweetness, Ash-Like Frost. His backstory is very tragic, but he’s an interesting one. What about you?”

 

“Hey, neat! I love characters like that,” says Wei Ying, pointing to himself. “I’m just cosplaying my League main, but sexy. You know Talon?” 

 

Sizhui tilts his head, shakes it gently. “I know of League of Legends, but not really about the characters.” His voice is apologetic.

 

“Aw, don’t worry about it!” says Wei Ying. “He’s usually got a hoodie on but I thought I’d cosplay him with it down, and like, as a bishounen. You know? His Japanese voice actor’s a guest, and also the League concept artist is attending too, so I thought, might as well!”

Sizhui nods, smiling. 

 

Normally, people who table together might choose to cosplay the same series, however Wen Ning and Sizhui sell very different art styles, so they just went with whatever they felt like. It didn’t look too out of place though, surprisingly. With Wen Ning dressed as Masrur from Magi next to him, they almost looked like they were cosplaying characters from different factions but from the same series.

 

Wei Ying pockets his coscards, phone, and debit card, and heads over to the token booth to get a few so that he and the others could book slots to meet their favourite guests. Wei Ying plans to meet the concept artist from League of Legends and the voice actor for Talon. Wen Qing is only interested in meeting the cosplayer, while Sizhui wants a token for the voice actor for his family friend, and Wen Ning wants to meet the concept artist as well. 

 

He goes back to the table to hand over the tokens, and then he’s free to do whatever he wants for the next two hours. After that, he’ll be taking over Sizhui’s shift, and the rest of the day he’ll be free to attend panels and meet guests. Usually, if he doesn’t have any guests he wanted to meet, he would be able to do some photoshoots for the rest of the day, but if he times it right he can probably do it right before the concept artist.

 

The morning more or less passes by in a blur, with people often stopping Wei Ying for photos. He takes the chance to hand out his coscards and socials. He also takes a few selfies, some for posting later, and posts one with just his eyes showing and his hand pointing at the banner above his head, with details to advertise for Wen Ning’s table.

 

When Wei Ying returns to the table to take over Sizhui’s shift, he sees another man hovering nearby. He immediately attracts Wei Ying’s attention, and he notices that he’s not the only one looking. Plenty of people sneak a few furtive looks and whispers in their direction. The man’s not in cosplay, wearing a simple button down and slacks, but he’s rather tall, and his features are handsome and clean yet slightly delicate, as if he were carved from jade. 

 

“Oh, this is my family friend,” says Sizhui. “We’re just going to have a quick lunch at the cafe down the corner.” 

 

“Awesome,” says Wei Ying, which sounds a little more sarcastic than he intends. He points a thumb over his shoulder. “I’m Wei Ying, just met Sizhui today, am friends with Wen Ning and Wen Qing, so we’re all friends by extension.” 

 

“He helped with getting the token,” says Sizhui as if to assure the man, who remains expressionless. 

 

“I’m Lan Zhan,” he says. His voice is deep but gentle, and Wei Ying blinks briefly. “Thanks for looking after Sizhui.” 

 

“Oh nooo,” says Wei Ying, laughing. “Just a little errand like that was barely anything! The responsible one of this group is definitely Wen Ning, by the way. I’m the trouble maker.”

 

“Now that’s the truth,” mutters Wen Qing with a small smile on her face. Wei Ying lightly jabs her side, causing her to slap his elbow in retaliation. 

 

“Are you two…?” Lan Zhan asks suddenly with his brows furrowed slightly, before cutting off, as if he realises it might be a bit too personal of a question for people who have just met. 

 

“Wen Qing is a lovely girl and a CATCH but unfortunately, or fortunately for you, we are not dating,” says Wei Ying, winking. “Why, are you interested in this lovely lady? Well, you’re in luck! You just have to gain the approval of both her little brother and I. Wen Ning is easy to please as long as you’re nice. Me, on the other hand? I have high standards. Very high standards!” 

 

From Wei Ying’s peripheral, he can tell that Wen Qing is looking at him incredulously. Lan Zhan looks mildly put out but changes the subject.

 

“Your cosplay is very good,” says Lan Zhan, eyes still on Wei Ying.

 

Wei Ying pats his chest, tilting his head in a mock-show of arrogance. “Trying to butter me up, huh? Why, thank you! Made all by myself. And with Wen Qing’s help, of course. Mostly done last night. Very last minute. Lan Zhan, if you ever cosplay, don’t do it last minute, okay!? It’s a nightmare!” 

 

“Understood,” he says, ghost of a smile on his lips. “Have you been cosplaying for long?”

 

Wei Ying takes the chance to grab one of his coscards with one hand and takes Lan Zhan’s with the other, before pressing the card into his palm. “It’s been five years now actually! If you want to see more of my cosplays, please do check out my socials!”

 

“Sizhui, better get going to lunch,” says Wen Qing. “Before Wei Ying talks your friend into buying all his prints on their first meeting.” 

 

“I am sure that if he did, it’s because he loves Ying-ge’s cosplays,” Sizhui laughs softly, before turning to Lan Zhan. “We do have a reservation at the cafe soon. Would you like to join us for dinner tonight as well?” 

 

“I cannot attend,” says Lan Zhan. “I had to change my flight to tonight, work wants me back early on Monday.”

 

“That soon?” asks Sizhui in surprise. “Oh no…”

 

“We can chat after lunch!” says Wei Ying, waving to him. “Go eat your food or you’ll get hungry, you know?”

 

“What about you?” asks Lan Zhan. 

 

Wei Ying holds up a box of hot chips that Jiang Cheng had dropped off. “I can’t stomach much more than this, but I’m fine!” 

 

Lan Zhan’s gaze lingers on Wei Ying momentarily before nodding, and then he turns, hand gripping the card. 

 

***

 

Wei Ying has a packed day, after all, and after his shift (which so far was better than he expected as he made some decent sales and had many of his followers drop by to talk with him) he heads off to do a photoshoot. Nie Huaisang hangs around the top deck of the convention hall, as he often does, as it has good lighting and foot traffic. He can quickly ask cosplayers of series he is interested in for shoots at that location. Being Wei Ying’s good friend (who would also reciprocate shoots when he wanted to cosplay), he was happy to take photos of Wei Ying. 

 

When he comes back so that Wen Qing can go for the cosplay guest panel, Sizhui is also seated at the table, while Wen Ning shuffles around, looking for his artbook.

 

“Oh, Ying-ge,” he says. “I hope you don’t mind, but Zhan-ge bought some of your prints. I made a list of the prints he bought. Right now, he’s just taking a look around the Artist Alley.”

 

Wei Ying grins. “Oh wow, no, that’s great! Really nice of him, haha. Thanks!”

 

“You should thank him in person,” says Sizhui, smiling serenely.

 

Wen Qing raises her eyebrows. “Let’s get going! Panel’s starting in five, lover boy!”

 

“Hey,” objects Wei Ying. “Who are you calling lover boy?” 

 

Wen Qing pointedly ignores him, walking ahead so that he and Wen Ning have no choice but to follow after her. 

 

“You don’t mean me, right? Where’s Lan Zhan, it’s clearly him, right? He’s totally into you!” Wei Ying calls after her, trying to move as quickly as he can in his bulky costume. He’s not sure how Wen Qing can move so gracefully in her costume.

 

“I’m gonna lose you in the crowd on purpose!” she says, tilting her head slightly back at him.

 

The cosplayer and concept artist panels are on at the same time, so the three of them head to the same area before splitting off into the two rooms. Wei Ying selects a double seat as close to the stage as he can, which unfortunately, due to how late they are, is closer to the back of the audience. The two of them take their seats and watch the panel. It’s followed by a Q&A session, where the concept artist will sign some items. As Wen Ning wanted to pursue concept art, he had brought the artist’s book to sign, as well as a few pieces of his own art to gift them. Hopefully, they’ll accept.

 

After this, the three of them meet outside again. Wen Ning seems a little giddy because the concept artist praised him and said he definitely has promise, and he excitedly retells this to his sister, who has an indulgent smile on her face as she listens. 

 

“No, seriously, about earlier,” says Wei Ying, under his voice. Wen Ning had returned to his table while Wen Qing wanted to take a quick look around Artist Alley, so Wei Ying decided to accompany her. “What do you mean by ‘lover boy’? It’s Lan Zhan, right? Or do you have a crush on me?”  

 

Wen Qing turns to Wei Ying with an incredulous expression. “What the heck are you thinking about? Instead of hanging around, shouldn’t you be looking for Lan Zhan?”

 

Wei Ying looks puzzled. “Why should I be looking for him? I only met the guy today.”

 

Wen Qing jerks her head back, the accessories balanced on her wig jingling. She looks positively affronted. 

 

“He’s really interested in your cosplays and you should thank him for buying.”

 

“So? My cosplays are good. And sure, I’ll thank him, no rush.”

 

“They’re good, but I think he’s more interested in the cosplayer.”

 

“Yeah, that’s because I, the cosplayer, made the cosplays.”

 

“You’re really testing my patience right now,” says Wen Qing, with her tone of voice sounding like she’s saying ‘are you a dumb fucking bitch or what?”

 

“What? Are you saying he wants to, what, bang me?” asks Wei Ying, tone joking as he winks. “Mad I can steal your mans?” 

 

Wen Qing rubs her temples. Wei Ying laughs.

 

“Bro, don’t worry, I’m just kidding. He’s just being polite.” 

 

“How is eyefucking an attractive stranger then buying his cosplay prints ‘just being polite’?”

 

Wei Ying looks unbearably smug. “So you admit I’m attractive?”

 

“Yes, I have eyes and can see,” says Wen Qing, rolling said eyes.

 

“Wow, a couple fighting in front of an Artist Alley table? Get a room,” mutters some dude in an ahegao shirt to his friend. 

 

“We’re not a couple!” The two of them turn to the man with the combined annoyance of experiencing someone who has butted into a conversation without understanding the situation at all. The two of them round the nearest corner as the dude mutters something salty about cosplayers (Wei Ying’s sure he’s going to get some rude comments about him on /cgl/) and turn into the next corridor. 

 

“Listen, for real, has a straight guy ever shown this much interest in a man’s bishounen cosplays, huh?” asks Wen Qing, as she looks over the keychains displayed on the table. 

 

“Well yeah, lots of guys admire the skill set required to make armour and add LED lights and stuff,” says Wei Ying. 

 

“You’re only wearing some armour,” says Wen Qing. “And it’s not even made that well.”

 

“Ouch,” says Wei Ying. “Hit me where it hurts, will you?”

 

“I’m just saying that you should go find him and ask if he wants to walk around the con together,” says Wen Qing. “And you’re both going to meet the voice actor, right? Use that as an excuse too. Get to know him. You know?” 

 

“And then what?” says Wei Ying, buying a keychain. “He’s going to fly off back to wherever and that’s it.”

 

Wen Qing looks at him, eyes tinged with something Wei Ying doesn’t want to think about. “Don’t you want to at least try? And weren’t you begging for a hookup the other day?”

 

He shrugs, turning back to talk to the girl running the table. Talking about it is one thing, and doing it without catching it is quite another. Sure, he can try, of course he can. But the thing about trying is that when there’s a sure chance that it won’t end up the way you want it to end up, maybe it’s better not to try at all. He’s resilient when it comes to any problem that’s not about his romantic life, but when it comes to things like that… sometimes, the consequences aren’t worth the journey. Especially not when he has a tendency to fall too fast and too hard. 

 

Wen Qing sighs as he ruminates, crossing her arms and looking to the side in annoyance. 

 

“I’m going to go get some shoots done,” she says, checking her phone for the time. “You go ahead to the panel, alright?”

 

Wei Ying smiles and nods, though it doesn’t quite reach his eyes. When he leaves the table, he heads in the general direction of where the panel is being held in Theatre C. A few people stop and ask for photos, and he lets them with a smile. It’s always nice bonding with people over favourite series and characters. The compliments are really nice, too.

 

He slides into one of the seats at the back as he enters the theatre. It’s not like he’s really thinking about what Wen Qing said, but he glances over the heads in the audience before him. Just to see where Lan Zhan is, really. He catches sight of the back of the man’s form in the front row, and a smile tugs at his lips before he turns his eyes to the stage again. Occasionally, he feels his eyes drift towards the man’s figure. Lan Zhan’s back is straight and his shoulders are broad, and his eyes can’t help but linger over them. 

 

Wen Qing was right. He could at least have a little fun, right?

 

When the crowd disperses so that they could line up for signings, Lan Zhan finds that Wei Ying is waiting for him at the entrance.

 

“Hey, Lan Zhan, was it?” asks Wei Ying with a wink. 

 

“Mn.” He nods.

 

“How’d you find the panel?” he asks, bumping Lan Zhan in the side as they line up. 

 

“Interesting.” 

 

“Didn’t clock you the type to watch anime, you know,” Wei Ying gestures up and down Lan Zhan’s form, purposely giving him a slow once over. When he looks back up with a half-smirk, his own gaze meeting Lan Zhan’s, he notices the other man’s eyes are slightly narrowed and his face is impassive. Despite this, he feels that those eyes of his burn a little warmer as they keep eye contact. Perhaps he’s just being delusional, though, he’s not entirely certain. 

 

“Next in line, please,” calls the staff, and Wei Ying breaks the gaze before ducking his head under the curtain as he heads into the room to meet the voice actor. He greets him with a smile and a wave.

 

“Oh, Talon! Nice cosplay,” he says.

 

“Thank you,” says Wei Ying, a big smile on his face. They get a photo taken together and he has a gauntlet signed by the voice actor before he heads back outside, waiting for Lan Zhan.

 

His heart hammers in his chest. What if he misjudged the situation? Maybe Lan Zhan isn’t really interested in him, and he’s going to upset someone who has been so nice as to support his work. What if Lan Zhan spreads rumours of him online?

 

When Lan Zhan comes out of the room, Wei Ying sticks closely to his side. Lan Zhan isn’t making excuses to leave, so Wei Ying takes that as a good sign. 

 

“Do you want to go somewhere?” asks Wei Ying softly, looking up at Lan Zhan through his lashes.

 

Lan Zhan hesitates.

 

Ah.

 

Stupid me, thinks Wei Ying. He feels briefly annoyed at Wen Qing, and sick to the stomach about himself and what he’s done. If there’s anything worse than something fizzling out, it’s reading someone wrong. Despite what he says, Wei Ying has never done a hook up in his entire life, and the whole “game” and “culture” surrounding it is filled with rules he doesn’t know. He’s completely out of his depth, and so he does what he’s best at when it comes to defusing a situation like this.

 

“Never mind,” says Wei Ying quickly, turning away. 

 

“Wei Ying,” says Lan Zhan.

 

Of course. He’s in over his head to think that Lan Zhan would be interested in that kind of thing, after all. Cheeks heating up in embarrassment, he strides away, ignoring Lan Zhan’s calls of his names as he runs off. He doesn’t want to hear half-hearted excuses, it’ll only make the rejection burn worse. Who is he, he thinks bitterly, to think that he can interest and seduce anyone? Who is he, to misunderstand someone’s support and twist it to mean something more? 

 

On what basis? 

 

He sits on the deck, watching people in costume pass by. Nie Huaisang is herding a group into formation before he runs back a few steps to snap a few photos. When he’s done, he turns to Wei Ying.

 

“What, want some more photos?” grins Nie Huaisang as he lowers his camera. 

 

Wei Ying shakes his head. Nie Huaisang’s smile falters.

 

“What happened? Wanna talk about it?” 

 

“Just me being stupid, overthinking how someone feels towards me,” grumbles Wei Ying. The words spill out. “A guy showed me one modicum of affection and I went ahead and hit on him like an idiot and got rejected.”

 

Nie Huaisang side eyes Wei Ying. “You mean, like he told you, explicitly, to your face, ‘oh gross, Wei Ying, I do not wish to fuck you’? Or he didn’t speak within five milliseconds so you left, devastated?”

 

Wei Ying pouts, jutting out his bottom lip. He does feel a little ridiculous now, and he sighs. “No one would say something that rude! Okay, he looked uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say. But you don’t get it… he’s HOT. That’s as good as him saying ‘no, Wei Ying, I’m not into that and you’re making me uncomfortable.’”

 

Nie Huaisang makes a show of gesturing around, though he sounds amused. “There are plenty of weirdos who aren’t good at communication in this comm. Don’t be discouraged.”

 

“He’s not a weirdo!”

 

Nie Huaisang grins at Wei Ying. “What on earth are you talking about? You’re at an anime con, or did you forget? Everyone here is socially awkward, it makes me feel kinda competent, haha.”  

 

“Well, I guess,” says Wei Ying. “But it’s too late now. He’s already flying back overseas and we’ll never meet again, and he hates me for being a jerk!” 

 

“Is he a total stranger? Did you give him your card?” 

 

“No, he’s Sizhui’s family friend,” says Wei Ying miserably. “That’s the kid who’s tabling with Wen Ning. I gave him a card and he even bought a lot of prints and I just threw it all in his face like an idiot.”

 

Nie Huaisang sighs as he rubs a lens with a cloth. “Then I’m afraid I can’t help you there.”

 

Wei Ying returns the sigh, clambering up. “I should probably head back to the table. You coming for dinner?”

 

Nie Huaisang nods. “I’ll meet you at the table when con closes at 6pm.” 

 

***

It’s a few days after the convention when Wei Ying gets the message on his Instagram.

 

. @hanguangjun

Hello lilxianxian. 

Can I call you xianxian? Or do you prefer another name?

I came across your cosplays at the recent convention.

Your cosplays are really good. 

I hope you table again. 

 

Despite the mild fiasco that had happened on Saturday, Wei Ying smiles at the supportive message. It’s a shame, though, he has no idea who this person is, and their account is locked and the display picture is simply a bunny. There’s a few faces that he can remember though. This person seems likely to be a girl. There had been a few of them over the two days, but most of them cosplayed.

 

CONCRUNCH OVER!! @lilxianxian

Yes! You can call me Xianxian!

Did you cosplay on the weekend?

Sorry I’m not good with names (iДi) 

 

. @hanguangjun

No, I don’t cosplay.

I bought some prints on Saturday. 

I have hung them up on my wall. 

 

Ah, it must have been either one of the two people on the Saturday who had brought him cookies while he was on table duty. They had flown over from America as they had friends in Sydney and wanted to visit the convention to see what it was like.

 

CONCRUNCH OVER!! @lilxianxian

Wow, thank you once again!

I’m really flattered.

Hope you managed to have some fun times with your friends!

 

. @hanguangjun

Yes. I did. Thank you.

 

Wei Ying smiles. There’s nothing more invigorating than hearing people’s support. It makes him feel like his hard effort is being recognised. 

 

For that, any kind of embarrassing situation is worth it.

 

And so, the encounter with Lan Zhan fades to nothing more than a distant memory. 

 

***

 

“Hmm, don’t like that,” mumbles Wei Ying. Intrusive memories of past embarrassing experiences is probably number one on his list of least favourite things. But that explains why Wen Ning had asked him if he was alright with Sizhui's friend being there. He'll just pretend like nothing embarrassing happened. That's fine, right?

 

The second call with Hanguangjun creeps up faster when he's occupied with things to do. 

 

"Hello!" says Wei Ying, waving at the camera. "How's your week been?" 

 

This week, he's opted for a crop top with a rabbit face on the front, a cable knit cardigan, and grey sweats. And, of course, the Swarovski tennis bracelet. It's not something he would normally wear, but based on the gifts he gets that are chosen by Hanguangjun, his patron seems to favour light colours. 

 

"Good," says Hanguangjun. "What about you?"

 

He seemed to like to hear Wei Ying talk about himself.

 

"Pretty good!" says Wei Ying. "Just been busy doing some final orders for an upcoming convention."

 

"Which one?" 

 

"H-Con, Sydney, it's coming up in a few weeks," says Wei Ying. "I'm going to be tabling there."

 

A slight pause. Wei Ying wishes he could see the man's expression so he could understand what that pause means.

 

"Yes, I recall you making a post about it," says Hanguangjun. 

 

"Yes!" says Wei Ying, impressed. Though he has more or less hinted at it in post descriptions and tweets, those didn't really gain much interaction, so he had assumed most didn't see it. 

 

He seems to hesitate a little. "I will actually be attending the convention."

 

"Oh, yay, that's going to be exciting! Have you been to Australia before? Come visit my table!" says Wei Ying.

 

"Yes I have, and I will," promises Hanguangjun. 

 

"We tend to only get table numbers the week before, but I'll let you know where I'm at!" Wei Ying can't believe that he'll get to meet Hanguangjun this soon. Though, technically, it probably can't come soon enough for Hanguangjun. 

 

"Also thanks again for the gifts," says Wei Ying. "I've filmed an unboxing. I won't name you, but are you okay with me posting the video?"

 

"Of course," says Hanguangjun, and Wei Ying suspects he sounds pleased by it. 

 

Wei Ying finds out some more nuggets of relatively bland information about Hanguangjun from this call, like how he’s vegetarian, that his morning workout routine consists of writing medical regulations while in a handstand for one hour before jogging three kilometres (Wei Ying could never), and what countries he wants to visit next (Greece is currently top of the list). 

 

“I’ve never been to Greece before,” says Wei Ying. 

 

“Do you want to go?” asks Hanguangjun.

 

“You’re asking me as if you’re going to take me there, haha…” teases Wei Ying. “But of course.” 

 

“Hm,” says Hanguangjun. 

 

After the session, as there are no wishlist items, Wei Ying simply receives a few tip emails.

 

When Wei Ying brings it up to Wen Qing during their con crunch session, she stops what she’s doing and looks at him dead in the eye. 

 

“Be careful of rich men. The price may be your freedom,” she says. “Get what you want, but if he keeps asking for more than what you’re comfortable giving, you may need to cut him off. And even if you do set hard boundaries, be prepared for him to drift away.” 

 

Both options are unappealing, and it must have shown on his face, because Wen Qing’s tone is gentler when she speaks next.

 

“There’s nothing wrong with having fun for yourself. Don’t overthink it. I’m just warning you. Some of these men are crazy,” she says, and then she turns back to her embroidery. “And if you’re worried about anything, you better remember that I may judge you at first, but I’ve got your back, okay?” 

 

The evening before the convention, he and Nie Huaisang set up their table together. 

 

He's barely been paying attention to the way his unboxing of his entire wishlist starts going viral. Thankfully, Nie Huaisang has taken to moderating comments for Wei Ying, who is quite preoccupied with preparing for his tabling activities. The main comment themes are positivity, envy, or anger, and at dinner Nie Huaisang only reads out some of the positive ones, to which Wei Ying dictates his replies.

 

"Good chance to plug your table," says Nie Huaisang.

 

"Sure," says Wei Ying. Every chance is a chance, after all. That being said, most of his dedicated fans in the state and country said they plan to visit his table anyway.

 

"Something on your mind?" asks Nie Huaisang. At first Wei Ying hesitates, but then he fills in the gaps with his worries about Hanguangjun's constant tipping and gifting and Wen Qing's warning.

 

"She has a point," says Nie Huaisang slowly. "But ask yourself what you want. What does Wei Ying want? Tell me."

 

"To go with the flow," says Wei Ying. He just wants to take it easy and not think too much. 

 

Nie Huaisang points at him. "And there we have it. If he gets overbearing, talk to him. Cut him off if you need. No man is replaceable, not even Hanguangjun."

 

That's true. Even if Hanguangjun turns out rotten, there's always a way forward. He doesn't owe him anything. He can stress about it when, if, it happens.

 

***

“Brush? Where’s the eyeliner brush? No, not that one, the angled brush!”

 

“My eyeliners crooked, I’m gonna lose it…”

 

“Are we getting coffee on the way?” 

 

Some things never change. The three of them leave the apartment in a hurry. One should always be early to a convention if they’re tabling, after all. 

 

Cosplaying as Yan Qing from Fate: Grand Order, Wei Ying strikes an imposing figure with a bare, though tatted (read: bodypainted) chest. There’s a steady stream of people asking him for photos and overlooking what he’s selling on his table, while Wen Qing from the table next to him tries to direct everyone in an orderly manner so no one snatches anything off the table. The three of them all are cosplaying from the same game, with Wen Qing as Jalter and Wen Ning as Cu. Nie Huaisang is not in cosplay, opting to dress in an opulent hanfu, while still carrying a light camera for him to take photos with. 

 

As it’s the first 18+ convention in the country, the attendance is quite high, and Wei Ying gets no shortage of people asking him for photos, or of people wanting to buy from him. Even people who aren’t necessarily fans of him but have heard of him want to check out the infamous “Eboy Bathwater” that went viral a few months back, posing with it for photos. 

 

While he doesn’t want to leave the table yet, Wei Ying is convinced to finally take a break in the late afternoon. While he still gets accosted nearly every fifty metres, he’s able to finish making the rounds for the Artist Alley and the Vendors, nabbing himself some intriguing items. He had wanted to check out Paranormal Sextravaganza ever since he heard that they would be making their debut at the convention, and managed to buy a few goodies that he’s excited to try out. The stall owner recognised him and even threw in a tiny dildo keychain as an extra. 

 

Other goods that he bought include some doujin and special lingerie which he intends to wear in some posts. When he returns and stuffs the bag under the table, Nie Huasiang elbows him.

 

“Got a hot date planned?” 

 

“I wish!” 

 

Wei Ying keeps a lookout for Hanguangjun, carefully listening to anyone who comes to his table, but it appears that he has not visited the table yet. Wei Ying would recognise his voice immediately. 

 

“Don’t worry, I’m sure your beau will come soon,” says Nie Huaisang cheekily. 

 

“He’s not my beau,” says Wei Ying. “He —”

 

A man approaches his table. Tall, broad-shouldered and with a facial structure carved from marble, he draws the attention of everyone around him even though his golden gaze is focussed purely on Wei Ying. 

 

Wei Ying recognises him, and immediately wants to shrivel up and die.

 

Lan Zhan, Sizhui’s hot friend with whom he had an embarrassing and awkward encounter five year ago. Wen Ning had asked him if he was okay with him being around them, and while at the time Wei Ying shrugged and said fine, now that the moment is here and all he can think about is how much he had embarrassed himself in front of the man, and, well... 

 

He wants to take it back, thank you very much. But he has nowhere to run, so he has to do what he does best: dealing with it.

 

“Hello!” says Wei Ying brightly, cringing internally that maybe he’s overdone it. Lan Zhan tilts his head, and parts his lips. 

 

***

“Wei Ying. It has been a while.” 

 

The voice is low and unhurried. He’s heard it before. A few times, in fact. 

 

Wei Ying’s face slackens in shock. 

 

“Hanguangjun?” he asks, before his brain kicks in and suggests that might not be the greatest idea, what with client confidentiality and all. 

 

Lan Zhan does not seem to mind, though Wen Qing whips her head to look at Wei Ying. He can see her shocked expression and raised eyebrows from his peripheral vision, but he’s so shocked by the revelation that Hanguangjun and Lan Zhan are the same person that he doesn’t have time to quip at her.

 

“Yes, that is me,” says Lan Zhan, eyelashes lowering slightly. 

 

“I can’t believe this…” says Wei Ying. All his shame evaporates. “I’m… those years ago when I was… I was really awkward to you, I’m so sorry… and yet you…”

 

Yet you supported me all these years, from the very start.

 

“That is fine,” says Lan Zhan. “Merely a misunderstanding.” 

 

“I’m sure you have a lot to catch up on,” says Nie Huaisang politely. “I’ll look after the table. Why don’t you have a walk around? Go for food even. There’s not much of the con left, anyway.”

 

Wei Ying thanks Nie Huaisang and slightly awkwardly follows Lan Zhan as they walk through the convention hall. 

 

“So… how have you been?” asks Wei Ying, unsure of what else to say.

 

The corner of Lan Zhan’s lips twitch slightly. “Good. What about you?”

 

Wei Ying feels like he’s still searching for what to say when the intensity hits him, realising that the one patron who has supported him for such a long time is someone he’s technically known about. 

 

“Thank you for supporting me all these years,” blurts out Wei Ying. 

 

“My pleasure,” says Lan Zhan. 

 

“Is there anything you want to see right now?” asks Wei Ying, gesturing around the hallway. 

 

Lan Zhan doesn’t say anything for a moment, the tips of his ears tinged with red. 

 

“I am fine with walking around the Artist Alley,” he says finally. 

 

The two of them make the rounds, looking at the goods and art for sale. Lan Zhan is relatively silent, but seems to look approvingly at the stalls. At one of the costume and lingerie stalls, he picks out a rather pricey but intricately made set that combines embroidered PVC with rope. It’s almost completely black with red accents. 

 

“Who’s that for?” asks Wei Ying jokingly, curious. 

 

“For you,” says Lan Zhan. “You can wear it in a future set if you’d like. I will hold it for now.” 

 

“Thank you,” says Wei Ying. 

 

After Lan Zhan is done with his shopping, it’s close to the end of the convention. Gentleman that he is, Lan Zhan invites Wei Ying to dinner. They talk like they’ve known each other for years. The face to face component certainly adds some personality to the conversation, though Wei Ying does notice that he’s talking for most of the time while Lan Zhan indulges him. 

 

It takes a lot to get Wei Ying even close to drunk, but only a little wine to break down any inhibitions. Which is why, despite knowing it’s a bad idea to have a glass, Wei Ying does it anyway. 

 

“The truth is,” says Wei Ying. “Those years ago, I wanted to sleep with you.” 

 

It’s as if his brain realises that now he has mended things with Lan Zhan, what he needs to do now is put his foot in it again. 

 

Lan Zhan coughs gently. “I see.”

 

“Is that all you have to say to that?” asks Wei Ying, pretending to be wounded. 

 

“Honestly,” says Lan Zhan. “I would also like to sleep with you, if that’s what you want.”

 

Wei Ying stares back at Lan Zhan before laughing. 

 

“This is the funniest way to flirt our way into a hookup, seriously,” says Wei Ying, grabbing Lan Zhan’s hand. “So, your place?”

 

***

The walk back to Lan Zhan’s hotel room is a rush of blurry scenery, hyper aware of what’s about to happen. A large hand is pressed flat against his lower back, rubbing in comforting circles. When they approach a clean and relatively unassuming white building, Wei Ying looks up to check the name of it.

 

“You’re staying at the Langham?” he asks, but at this point he shouldn’t even be surprised. 

 

“Mm,” says Lan Zhan, ferrying him in. There are a few people, and they look at Wei Ying with funny expressions. He remembers that he’s actually still more or less in cosplay, not having had a chance to change out. At least the restaurant they went to was a fairly accessible one close to the convention, so the waitstaff had more or less gotten used to seeing cosplayers. 

 

Ignoring them, Wei Ying steps into the elevator with Lan Zhan. The trip up is silent, Wei Ying focusing on the way Lan Zhan’s fingers trace circles into his waist. He can feel himself twitching slightly from the motion. 

 

When Lan Zhan unlocks the door and beckons for Wei Ying to enter first, he’s greeted with the most luxurious suite he’s ever seen. There’s a clear theme in the interior, with baby blues and cream furniture, walls, and carpet. It’s roomier than his own place, with a living room that connects to a kitchen as the main area. Marvelling over the inside, Wei Ying is reminded of where he is, and starts to hurriedly kick off his slightly uncomfortable shoes. 

 

Lan Zhan’s still carrying a bag of the items he’s bought (as well as Wei Ying’s gauntlets), and he sits it on the counter. 

 

Wei Ying wonders if Lan Zhan had prepared for this. He slides on a pair of spare disposable slippers provided by the hotel, and starts to unpeel his costume from his body. He removes the armour from around his waist and his arm sleeves, then the wig, along with the wig cap and the bobby pins. The rest of the costume is fairly easy: pants and a thin bodystocking that’s been painted with tattoos. 

 

He’s suddenly a little self conscious that he needs a shower after such a long day, especially in a hotel suite as clean as this. Rich old wankers would be seething if they knew that he had his sweaty cosplay lying all over this swanky sofa. 

 

“Why don’t you show me the shower?” asks Wei Ying, winking as he tugs at the waistband of his boxers. “Join me if you’d like.” 

 

Lan Zhan’s eyes follow the motion.

 

“Yes,” he says, still half dressed. He opens the bathroom door for Wei Ying. 

 

“Show me what’s under this prim and proper shirt?” teases Wei Ying. He presses a hand to Lan Zhan’s clothed chest, momentarily stunned when he feels a firm, protruding muscle through the fabric. Lan Zhan is built. As expected, with a workout like his, but in clothing he does not look built. Keeping eye contact with Lan Zhan, Wei Ying smirks before moving his hand to tweak a button with his fingertips. 

 

“Hmm,” says Wei Ying. “Do you need help getting undressed?” 

 

Lan Zhan grasps Wei Ying’s hand, pulling it up and pressing a soft kiss to his fingertips, not breaking eye contact. Wei Ying’s heart hammers a little faster. Letting go, Lan Zhan looks at Wei Ying through his thick lashes before unbuttoning his own shirt, revealing a sculpted body. His hand comes up to guide Wei Ying’s to feel over his chest, and Wei Ying complies as he shrugs off his shirt, upper arm muscles flexing and bunching under his skin.

 

Wei Ying drags his fingertips over the smooth, velvety skin, and he can feel the dip of Lan Zhan’s inhale. Lifting his other hand to Lan Zhan’s chest, he rubs his palms downwards and over his abdomen, before tracing across his hips. He can see the tenting of Lan Zhan’s slacks, and from the silhouette alone it’s bigger than Wei Ying expects. His fingertips play with the top of the waistband before carefully unbuttoning and unzipping his slacks, pulling the sides down Lan Zhan’s hips. Lan Zhan bends slightly to pull them off his legs. 

 

“What are you hiding in here?” asks Wei Ying, dropping to a kneel on the floor. He can feel the tiles through the rug that’s part of the decor, and knows it’ll hurt. It seems Lan Zhan is also aware of this, and pulls Wei Ying back up. 

 

“Shower first,” says Lan Zhan, and Wei Ying laughs, pulling off his own boxers so he’s standing completely nude. His cock is half hard, and WeI Ying turns around to set the shower. It’s a slightly complicated looking contraption. 

 

“Lan Zhan,” says Wei Ying petulantly. “How do you turn on such a complicated thing?” 

 

He steps into the shower with Wei Ying, having taken off his briefs, and does it for him. Meanwhile, Wei Ying’s eyes trail downwards to between Lan Zhan’s legs. His cock is hard, and the size and colour causes Wei Ying to swallow nervously, bottom clenching slightly. 

 

That’s surely going to hurt. It’s going to hurt, right?

 

The water is warm, and Wei Ying stands under the direct stream, soothed by the strength of the showerhead. It’s as if all his stress is being washed away, and when he steps back for a breath, he notices that Lan Zhan has a palm full of shower gel.

 

“May I wash you?” he asks.

 

“Of course,” says Wei Ying, eager to get those hands on him. 

 

The body wash feels a little cool on his skin as Lan Zhan rubs it into him, but it quickly warms up. His hands massage the knots out of Wei Ying’s shoulders, swiping upwards over his neck and behind his ears. Lan Zhan’s hands pause and then they massage into Wei Ying’s scalp, lathering up his hair. Wei Ying feels like he might fall asleep with how relaxing Lan Zhan’s hands are.

 

“I’m rinsing your hair now,” warns Lan Zhan, and the shower head is directed over Wei Ying’s head, washing the suds away.

 

Lan Zhan’s hands then slide back down over Wei Ying’s torso. He feels them rub over his dusky nipples, causing his cock to twitch slightly. Lan Zhan turns him around and starts massaging his back. He’s good with his hands, able to find and squeeze out all the knots in his muscles. He works downwards, closer to where Wei Ying’s bottom is. Heat pools in Wei Ying’s tummy from the way Lan Zhan’s slightly calloused hands know where to massage and rub, imagining the way they would feel wrapped around his cock. 

By the time Lan Zhan’s hands reach Wei Ying’s hips he’s already quite hard, but the hands skip over to his legs. Lan Zhan gets Wei Ying to sit down in the bathtub before he starts massaging his calves, ankles and the arches of his feet, causing him to automatically spread his thighs a little wider. While it’s a little ticklish, Wei Ying manages to resist giggling.

 

Wei Ying’s cock is so hard it almost hurts a little, the tip dripping with pre. He can feel a flush across his cheeks, and Lan Zhan rinses the shower gel off him before a hand dips between his thighs. It traces the underside of Wei Ying’s cock before dipping lower and lower. 

 

“Please,” begs Wei Ying, knowing that his eyes probably look as frantic as he feels. Lan Zhan leans in for a kiss, and Wei Ying wraps his arms around broad shoulders. Pressing their parted lips together, Wei Ying sucks gently, grinding against Lan Zhan. He can feel his cock press against Lan Zhan’s, and pleasure winds through his tummy. Lan Zhan groans softly, slipping his tongue against Wei Ying’s. Eagerly licking against Lan Zhan’s tongue, Wei Ying tries to wrap his legs around his hips before they’re flipped over so that Lan Zhan is lying under him. Shuffling downwards, Lan Zhan lies against the bottom of the tub, pulling Wei Ying up and over his face in a squatting position. Wei Ying’s eyes widen as he feels Lan Zhan’s tongue press against his rim, tracing around it before dipping in slightly. It only presses in slightly at the entrance, and Wei Ying’s thighs feel weak as Lan Zhan’s palms rub up and down his hips. The showerhead, still on, sprays Wei Ying’s lower back. 

 

Hands knead at Wei Ying’s bottom. He knows that he has quite a sizable behind, as people online frequently compliment it, but having Lan Zhan enthusiastically massage it makes him aware that people mean it. Clutching the edge of the tub, Wei Ying’s toes curl as the wet tongue prods gently against him. It feels as strange as it does good, seeking out where Wei Ying feels most sensitive and rubbing circles following the circumference of his hole. Lan Zhan’s quite adept with his tongue, drawing out moans from Wei Ying, and licking strategically until Wei Ying feels lightheaded.

 

Lifting him back up, Lan Zhan rinses the two of them off, seating Wei Ying against the edge of the bathtub that’s pressed against the wall. 

 

Lan Zhan picks up a bottle of lube off the side before uncapping it and spreading it over his fingers. Leaning down, he takes Wei Ying’s cock into his mouth. Wei Ying sobs as the warmth surrounds him, while he can feel a lubed finger trace his rim before it pushes in slowly. He takes a deep breath and tries to relax, but he doesn’t need to worry. Lan Zhan’s finger enters with little problem, and he squirms slightly against the ceramic bathtub. 

 

Lan Zhan notices Wei Ying’s discomfort, pulling away. 

 

“Wait I…” says Wei Ying.

 

Lan Zhan dries them both, before lifting Wei Ying like he weighs nothing, and taking him over to the bed. Wei Ying sinks into the plush blankets, feeling like he’s dissolving into cream. A pillow is placed under his lower back.

 

A hand parts his thighs, and he spreads them wider, eagerly, as a finger once again presses inside him. Lan Zhan’s mouth around his cock feels incredible, wet tongue sucking and licking. Lan Zhan traces patterns across the slit of Wei Ying’s cock, before teasing lightly just under the head. Meanwhile, his finger curls inside him skilfully. It tickles Wei Ying’s inner walls and he can feel himself drip onto his own belly as Lan Zhan's tongue traces lower down his shaft, pre sticking to his skin in strings. Lan Zhan pumps the finger inside him gently, the pads of his fingertips brushing against Wei Ying’s prostate and causing him to buck his hips with a sob. Lan Zhan adds another finger before continuing his pace, bobbing his head on Wei Ying’s cock, tongue sliding against the underside. 

 

“More,” begs Wei Ying. “More, I can take it…” 

 

Lan Zhan complies, adding a third finger. The sound of his fingers sliding in and out of Wei Ying is loud and wet in the room, alongside his enthusiastic sucking. Wei Ying realises that the third sound, a soft, high pitched keening, comes from him. The moans catch in his throat as he bucks his hips slightly, feeling Lan Zhan’s throat gag slightly around the tip of his cock. He notices that as he leans back slightly against the pillow, spreading his legs until he can no longer spread them any wider. 

 

He’s certain he’s about to cum when Lan Zhan pulls away, and he breathes deeply, shuddering slightly. Lan Zhan’s saliva on his cock cools in the air, while his hole feels empty without three long fingers curling inside it.

“Are you gonna fuck me?” asks Wei Ying, throat dry. 

 

“I am,” agrees Lan Zhan, wrapping his hand around his cock. Wei Ying watches Lan Zhan pump himself a few times, coating himself with lube. From his angle, Lan Zhan looks enormous, in both height and size. 

 

“It’s not gonna fit in me,” says Wei Ying, reaching down to spread himself open a little wider with his fingers. Lan Zhan’s eyes bore into him, watching him as he fingers himself slightly. “I should have worn a plug for you if I had known you were going to fuck me. Gotten myself nice and loose for your big cock.”

 

Lan Zhan breathes in deeply, eyes closing for a moment as if to control himself. He kneels before Wei Ying, guiding himself and positioning the head of his cock against the spread hole. 

 

“Hold yourself open when I enter you then,” suggests Lan Zhan.

 

“That sounds like an order,” says Wei Ying coyly. “Used to ordering people around? Would you take me in as an intern at your job? I can’t do anything but I can be your little stress relief sex toy between surgeries…”

 

Lan Zhan groans, teasing the blunt tip of his cock against Wei Ying’s rim. 

 

Wei Ying can feel the way the tip breaches him before it’s pulled out again, teasing him. His rim stretches over it to accommodate it. He can’t help but imagine how it would feel all the way inside, and he notices himself twitching slightly down there at the thought of it. 

 

“Put it in,” begs Wei Ying. “Put more in, I can take it, just go slow, please…” 

 

This time when Lan Zhan inserts the tip of his cock, he continues, sliding in a few more inches before stopping. Wei Ying gasps as it enters him deeper than before... though not deep enough. Both the length and girth of Lan Zhan’s cock is going to stretch him out a little, as it’s bigger than the toys Wei Ying likes to use. 

 

“I should have brought my toys,” says Wei Ying breathlessly. “Have you watch me ride them so I can train up for your cock.” 

 

“Are you feeling alright?” asks Lan Zhan, eyes roving over him with concern. 

 

“Yes,” says Wei Ying, squirming a little. “I still feel quite empty, won’t you fill me up?” 

 

Lan Zhan bites his lip gently and nods, pushing in further. Wei Ying gasps as the rest of the shaft slides into him, more and more, until Lan Zhan bottoms out inside him. While it feels slick, he’s quite stretched out from the diameter of Lan Zhan’s cock, feeling almost a little winded. It must show on his face because Lan Zhan pauses, looking at him in the eyes. 

 

“Does it hurt?” he asks, continuing to rub comforting circles into Wei Ying’s hips.

 

“No!” says Wei Ying, shifting his legs to wrap around Lan Zhan’s hips. “It’s just a little… I’m just a little out of breath, I’m not used to this size, okay? Please, keep moving...” 

 

It’s so big, Wei Ying thinks, that if moves he'll genuinely be winded.

 

Lan Zhan pulls out a little before shuffling forward so that his forearms rest on either side of Wei Ying’s head. 

 

“Tell me if it hurts,” says Lan Zhan, golden eyes imploring. Wei Ying feels almost overwhelmed by the attention and close proximity. 

 

“Okay,” he promises, and then Lan Zhan starts to move. 

 

He pulls back slowly, and Wei Ying can feel his rim drag slightly on Lan Zhan’s cock despite the lube. The pace is agonisingly slow, and Lan Zhan continues to watch Wei Ying’s face for any discomfort. Wei Ying’s eyes flutter closed as he concentrates on the sensation of the cock pulling out and then pushing back into him. It feels so good when Lan Zhan enters him, filling him. He rocks his hips slightly, urging Lan Zhan to move faster. 

Breath fans out over Wei Ying’s face and then Lan Zhan starts moving faster but steadily, pulling out until just the tip is inside Wei Ying and then sliding back in. Wei Ying’s teeth worry at his lower lip. 

 

A cool forehead presses against his own, and Wei Ying opens his eyes to see Lan Zhan in close proximity to him. 

 

“Please,” says Wei Ying against Lan Zhan’s lips. “I’m not delicate. I want you to go faster. Breed me.”

 

Lan Zhan’s brow furrows and then his resolve snaps, hips moving faster. Wei Ying gasps as Lan Zhan thrusts into him, the girth spreading him open and sending buzzing pleasure across his lower tummy. The sound is sloppy and Wei Ying tries to grind his hips in tandem with Lan Zhan’s motions, finding it slightly difficult from the way he’s pinned to the bed. 

 

Wei Ying trails butterfly kisses against Lan Zhan’s lips. Parting them, Lan Zhan allows Wei Ying to kiss him sloppily. His hands press against his broad back, trying to find an anchor as he thrusts his hips back up in rolling motions. 

 

“Let me ride you,” says Wei Ying. 

 

Lan Zhan hesitates before rolling them both over so that Wei Ying is straddled on top of him. Delighted, Wei Ying shuffles to kneel more comfortably. A sheen of sweat covers Lan Zhan’s skin, and Wei Ying rubs his hands all over it while bouncing on Lan Zhan’s lap. Lan Zhan lies back, hands resting on Wei Ying’s hips, watching as he happily grinds on him, cock bobbing and dripping. 

 

“Do you like this show? I would have done it for you if you wanted,” says Wei Ying. “The first time we called I was wearing something special. If you wanted to see it I’d have stripped for you.”

“I do like watching you,” says Lan Zhan, rubbing a thumb into the area just about Wei Ying’s hipbone. “I saw it. But I didn’t want to push you into anything so quickly.”

 

Wei Ying’s thighs feel weak, like they’re going to give out any moment. It’s a little mortifying how little core strength he has, considering that he was the one who suggested this position in the first place. Raising his arms and putting his hands behind his head, Wei Ying smirks. 

 

“Won’t you touch and play with me now then?” 

 

The hand at his waist slides up his torso and begins to toy with a dusky nipple, gently pinching it. Wei Ying feels himself clamping down involuntarily, causing him to mess up his pace and teeter forward into Lan Zhan, who catches him. Guiding him with the hand still on Wei Ying’s other hip, Lan Zhan continues to tease Wei Ying’s nipple with one hand, while latching his lips onto the other. 

 

The slight sucking and squeezing on his sensitive buds causes Wei Ying to sob out gently. He can barely take it anymore. There’s a slight itching and tingling sensation that centres there, but he can feel it across his body, sending his nerves on edge. The teasing causes pleasure to shoot across his spine, and his vision goes white as he clamps down. His cock splashes his release out against Lan Zhan’s stomach, painting it with dripping streaks, and he sags against him. 

 

Breathing heavily, Wei Ying blinks blearily at Lan Zhan. 

 

“Sorry,” says Wei Ying. “I think I’m too tired to move right now… just give me a short break, I wanna cum again... won’t you pin me down and enjoy me at your own pace?” 

 

Shuffling them against the edge of the bed, Lan Zhan lays Wei Ying down. Looking ahead, Wei Ying notices that he’s looking right into a full length mirror. 

 

“Oh,” says Wei Ying, watching Lan Zhan get on top of him through the reflection. He can feel the heavy cock slide against his bottom, the anticipation causing him to hold his breath. It misses a few more times and Wei Ying is certain that Lan Zhan is playing with him. Looking up at their reflections, his suspicion is confirmed when he sees Lan Zhan observing his expression in the mirror with some amusement. 

 

“Hey!” protests Wei Ying when he realises, and then Lan Zhan conveniently slides in at that time. He feels oversensitive from having just cum, the hard spongy girth stretching him open satisfyingly. 

 

Wei Ying watches as his jaw slackens, eyebrows raising and eyes widening from the shock and pleasure. 

 

“Feeling good,” says Lan Zhan smugly, pinning Wei Ying down with his entire body. Hard chest pressed against Wei Ying’s back, Lan Zhan puts just enough weight onto Wei Ying to keep him comfortably held in place. 

 

“Yes,” moans Wei Ying, watching as Lan Zhan leans down to kiss his forehead. His lips are soft, but the gesture is so sweet that Wei Ying clamps around the cock inside him. Lan Zhan sighs, the sound loud in his ear, before rolling his hips. Grinding down slightly against the bed, Wei Ying’s soft cock twitches against the bedsheets. 

 

“Comfortable?” asks Lan Zhan. 

 

“Mmmhmm,” says Wei Ying. His head is resting on the bed so that one of his cheeks is pressed to the sheet, so it’s not entirely comfortable, but it’s better than trying to hold himself up in position. It feels almost comforting, too, being pinned down while Lan Zhan continues to thrust into him. 

 

Lan Zhan uses one hand to spread open Wei Ying’s behind, while the other goes to slide his palm under Wei Ying’s face, lifting him up slightly and carefully so he can see himself in the reflection. Pulling himself up to his elbows, Wei Ying watches the way Lan Zhan’s eyelids dip slightly, still observing his features, which he barely realises are his own. There’s a little eyeliner smudged on his lower waterlines, emphasising his eyes, while the nude lip tint he had applied also streaks out a little from the corner of his lips. He looks debauched from his makeup alone, let alone his expression. Eyes pleading, jaw slack, tip of his tongue poking out, Wei Ying looks as good as he feels. Lan Zhan’s hand is still under his chin, not letting him move his head. Looking out from his peripheral in Lan Zhan’s direction, he tries to tilt to look at him directly. For this, Lan Zhan complies, and Wei Ying’s gaze drops to slightly swollen lips.

He picks up on this cue, bending forward to dip his head and kiss Wei Ying. His movement sends him thrusting in a little harder, causing Wei Ying to moan sweetly before the sound is captured by Lan Zhan’s lips. Letting his lips part, Wei Ying kisses Lan Zhan back sloppily, feeling his own saliva drip out the corner of his mouth. 

 

The noises are wet and slick in the still air, but then Wei Ying’s back gives out slightly and he pulls away collapsing onto the bed. He bites his lip and moans, encouraging Lan Zhan to continue.

 

Hands pull his hips back up so that his bottom is raised, and then cock inside him starts a faster and deeper pace. 

 

Wei Ying sobs as Lan Zhan slams inside him, cock dragging against his oversensitive walls. He’s certain that he’s going to have trouble walking tomorrow, but his mind is so hazy with pleasure he can’t think. The slapping of skin against skin and the wet sound of Lan Zhan’s cock thrusting into him fills his ears, and the pace suddenly stutters.

 

“I’m going to cum,” murmurs Lan Zhan in Wei Ying’s ear, feeling something pinching across his shoulder. 

 

Lan Zhan bites down where Wei Ying’s shoulder joins his neck, causing him to cry out and clamp hard. The warm sensation of Lan Zhan’s release fills him, and he gasps as the cock is pulled out of him. 

 

Wei Ying’s able to catch his breath for a few moments before he’s flipped onto his back. He looks up through lidded eyes at Lan Zhan, knowing he must look like a sweaty wreck. But not only does Lan Zhan not seem to mind, it seems to flick some kind of switch in him. 

 

“Okay for more?” asks Lan Zhan. 

 

Wei Ying’s hole twitches as if it misses the intrusion. He grins and spreads himself open, letting some of Lan Zhan’s cum drip out onto his fingers. Noticing this, Wei Ying brings it to his mouth, licking it while keeping eye contact. Lan Zhan’s pupils dilate, following the way his pink tongue laves over his fingers to collect the creamy liquid.

 

“Yes,” says Wei Ying. “You haven’t finished breeding me, remember?” 

His legs are spread and pressed to his chest, and then Lan Zhan’s hovering over him again. Pressing down against him, Lan Zhan pins down Wei Ying’s thighs with his own, sliding his cock in. The position makes Wei Ying feel vulnerable, his cock twitching while Lan Zhan slams into him. 

 

Wei Ying moans unabashedly. 

 

“You’ve gotten so much rougher,” he gasps, looking up Lan Zhan, whose eyebrows are furrowed as he thrusts into him. “You like it when I talk naughty?” 

 

“Yes,” growls Lan Zhan, reaching down to squeeze Wei Ying’s thigh. “I like it when you misbehave.” 

 

Wei Ying hooks his legs over Lan Zhan’s shoulders. “You won’t punish me for it?”

 

“Only if Wei Ying wants to be punished,” says Lan Zhan. 

 

Wei Ying’s voice drops to a whisper. “And if I want to be punished? If I want you to fuck me until I can’t move anymore?”  

 

“I’ll do whatever you want,” says Lan Zhan, grinding his hips down particularly hard, eliciting a squeal from Wei Ying who tries to arch his back but is pinned down, preventing him from doing so. 

 

Wei Ying grabs onto Lan Zhan’s shoulders for leverage as he thrusts into him. The velvety skin slides against oversensitive walls, teasing him with every stroke, and Wei Ying can feel himself close to another orgasm. Lan Zhan’s cock just misses his prostate every time, but then he presses his body weight down a little and Wei Ying sobs as he’s allowed a second release, pleasure wracking his body. He feels tears slide down the side of his face, drool dripping out the corner of his mouth. 

 

“Ahh… Lan Zhan, I… came,” says Wei Ying, tongue heavy. 

 

Lan Zhan groans and slams into Wei Ying one more time, releasing again with a grunt, before pulling back. His cock is coated with his previous release, and Wei Ying eyes it.

 

“How are you still hard?” he protests slightly. “Lie down next to me, I’ll clean you up.”

 

Lan Zhan sits down next to him. “I can clean myself up.”

 

Wei Ying laughs. “I’d like to see that, but I don’t think we’re thinking of the same thing.”

 

Dipping his head, he takes Lan Zhan into his mouth, sucking on the tip. 

 

“You don’t have to,” begins Lan Zhan. 

 

“But I want to. You promised me, right? I didn’t get to taste you tonight either,” pouts Wei Ying, before licking flat stripes up and down the shaft, cleaning the cock of the slightly bitter and salty liquid. He doesn’t break eye contact, smiling mischievously up at Lan Zhan, who looks like he’s unsure of what to do. 

Once cleaned, Wei Ying presses the cock into his mouth and starts to put it all the way in. It feels heavy on his tongue, and it hurts his jaw a little, but he takes it in further and further. Fluttering his eyelashes and keeping his gaze levels with Lan Zhan’s, Wei Ying bobs his head and hollows his cheeks. 

 

Lan Zhan groans as Wei Ying keeps up a fast pace. One hand comes to rest on Lan Zhan’s muscular thigh, while the other teases his shaft and balls, cupping them. Watching Lan Zhan’s expression contort slightly, Wei Ying tries to suck harder and move faster.

 

“Please… move aside,” groans Lan Zhan. “Wei Ying. I’m close…” 

 

Wei Ying ignores him, sucking harder and smiling around him. His jaw hurts but he doesn’t mind, eager to make Lan Zhan cum. 

 

He tries to gently push Wei Ying away, who is ready and stands his ground, and then Lan Zhan moans low in his throat. His eyes flutter closed and then he’s cumming down Wei Ying’s throat, thick hot liquid spilling deep inside. Pulling back hurriedly, Lan Zhan tries to get Wei Ying to spit it out into a tissue, but he makes a big show of swallowing it with a smug smile. 

 

“Lan Zhan, you taste so good,” he says. “Got any more?” 

 

 “We should sleep,” says Lan Zhan. “It’s been a long day and you’re tired.”

 

“You’re still hard though,” says Wei Ying. “And I still have energy for more. I can take it.”

 

Wei Ying crawls up and sits on Lan Zhan, his back to the broad chest. 

 

“We haven’t tried doggy style, have we? Can you hold me up?” says Wei Ying, wriggling his bottom against Lan Zhan’s cock. He sits up and then presses against Lan Zhan’s cock, positioning himself and sliding it in with a gasp. 

 

“Or I can stay seated like this?” he suggests. 

 

Lan Zhan sucks a kiss onto Wei Ying’s neck while gently grabbing his bottom with one hand.

 

“Stay seated then,” is his answer. 

***

 

Wei Ying wakes up to sunlight warming his face and the aroma of fried bacon in the air. At first he feels a little confused. Is Wen Ning cooking breakfast? He doesn’t even eat breakfast. 

 

The bedsheets don’t quite feel right, the sheet’s thread count a little too high and the surface cool to the touch. He opens his eyes and doesn’t recognise the ceiling either. Suddenly, the memories come rushing back and he tries to get up as fast as he can, sheets thrown over the bed. Wei Ying yelps when he feels the muscles in his lower back resist, feeling an almost slightly burning sensation. 

 

“Ah, you’re awake,” says a low, melodious voice that’s now familiar to him. Wei Ying rubs his eyes blearily and sees the tall, broad form from the doorway. Lan Zhan is standing with his back to him in front of the stove, his sleeves are rolled up over his arms  as he works on the pan, and Wei Ying gets the slightest tease of muscular biceps. His form blocks the line of sight to his breakfast.

 

“Lan Zhan, you sure did a number on me last night,” protests Wei Ying. “I don’t think I can walk more than a few metres… and what time is it, anyway?”

 

“It’s eleven,” he says.

 

“Oh still early,” says Wei Ying, leaning back and snuggling into his blanket slightly before remembering. “Wait, I’m supposed to be tabling today! I’m late!” 

 

“I have informed your friends. They will be taking care of it for you,” says Lan Zhan. 

 

Wei Ying grumbles, because he’s part of the product and hopes that the Wens don’t mind too much.

 

When breakfast is served, Wei Ying sits at the table with a sheet loosely wrapped around himself. Lan Zhan sits across from him, reading through news on his tablet. The breakfast tastes incredible. He’s never had bacon that good or eggs that fluffy, and the bread that Lan Zhan had gotten him is one of those expensive artisanal breads he had always seen but never gotten because they were at least ten dollars a loaf.

 

“You’re so good at cooking meat even though you don’t eat it,” muses Wei Ying. “So amazing. I could eat this everyday.” 

 

Lan Zhan looks up at him, gaze molten. “You could.”

 

“Pardon?” asks Wei Ying, but Lan Zhan looks back down again. The gaze had nearly pinned him in his seat, the weight of it similar to how Lan Zhan had pressed him down the night before. 

 

Wei Ying has no choice but to continue eating while musing what Lan Zhan’s intentions are. 

 

“So you’ll be flying back tomorrow, right?” asks Wei Ying. “Excited to go back?” 

 

Lan Zhan pauses. 

 

“I wanted to discuss something with you,” he says. “But after you eat.”

 

“What. I can’t possibly finish eating after hearing that,” protests Wei Ying. The anxiety would eat him up.

 

It’s a few more moments before Lan Zhan starts speaking up. 

 

“I understand you’re in a difficult position. I do not want you to feel like you’re under any obligation. However, I want to get to know you more, but I cannot move here at this point in time,” says Lan Zhan. 

 

“Mmhmm…” Wei Ying feels something uncomfortable settle at the bottom of his stomach. His appetite dissipates. 

 

“I would like to help you relocate to Canada with me. You would be getting all your freedom, and of course you can continue as before with your content, and you do not even have to visit me unless you would like to. But it would make me more comfortable if you were close by to me,” says Lan Zhan. “You do not have to give me an answer today.” 

 

Decisions like this were never ones that Wei Ying liked to make. There are too many factors, too many things to consider, too many pathways with uncertainty. And while he likes to be spontaneous, uncertainty is only best within parameters he can at least somewhat understand. He knows that if he can keep Lan Zhan happy, that is surely advantageous in that he no longer has to stress daily about what content to make and what to post, knowing he has a safety net. But moving countries is no easy task, especially to a place where he wouldn’t be able to see his friends on a daily basis.

 

“Ah, okay,” says Wei Ying. “I’ll think about it.”

 

It’s an offer he shouldn’t resist, but the thought of it already feels stifling. 

 

“Please, do stay and continue resting if you would like,” says Lan Zhan.

 

“I can’t,” says Wei Ying. “I’ve got to go.”

 

He tries to jump out of the chair but his legs give out, and as he’s certain he’s going to dive headfirst into the carpet, he feels two hands grasp him and pull him up.

 

“Are you hurt anywhere?” asks Lan Zhan, cradling him, eyes filled with concern.

 

“I’m fine, thank you…” says Wei Ying, trying to avoid eye contact.

 

He knows he’s running away again, but it’s all happening way too fast. 

 

“I have to think about it,” he says. 

 

Lan Zhan carries him to the bed and gives him some privacy as he dresses in some spare clothes, even though he saw him completely naked already. While he feels unsteady on his feet, Wei Ying still totters out the doorway.

 

“Let me call you a taxi,” urges Lan Zhan. 

 

“No need,” says Wei Ying, shooing Lan Zhan away. Why is there this feeling of him owing Lan Zhan? 

 

“I see,” says Lan Zhan. 

 

And then Wei Ying scrambles out the door, slamming it behind him.

 

***

“You what?” asks Nie Huaisang. 

 

Wei Ying feels slightly wronged by that tone of voice. 

 

“Leave me alone, I’m mourning.”

 

“Alright, chin up love, it’s not like you were in a relationship with him anyway I suppose,” says Nie Huaisang. “Let’s make some drinks together, alright?”

 

Wei Ying can’t believe he’s ruined his relationship with Lan Zhan again.

 

***

Weeks pass. Wei Ying notices that Lan Zhan is still subscribed to him, but doesn’t comment or request anything. 

 

“You look like shit, quite frankly,” says Nie Huaisang unhelpfully.

 

“I agree with him on this one,” says Wen Qing. “Couple of drinking nights didn’t help you much… Got it that bad for him?” 

 

Wei Ying pouts, looking anguished. 

 

“You do realise in the year twenty twenty, anno domini, you can simply email him? Or call him to clear things up?” asks Wen Qing. “I’m sure Sizhui would happily give you Lan Zhan’s number.”

 

“I didn’t even get to see Sizhui all weekend!” says Wei Ying, slapping his pillow. “And it’s too embarrassing.”

 

“Too late to say that now,” says Nie Huaisang. 

 

“What?” asks Wen Qing. “What’s embarrassing? Communication? Just tell him your honest feelings. Come on, it’s never failed you once.” 

 

Wen Qing slaps a piece of paper with a number written across it over to Wei Ying’s lap. She’s prepared. 

 

“Wrote it down for you. You’ve got some free international calls in your phone plan, right? Come on, do it, coward.” 

 

“I want some privacy, thank you very much,” says Wei Ying, sounding miffed. It’s not until later that day, when the others aren’t there and when Wei Ying knows that Lan Zhan is surely off work, that he looks at the slip of paper again. 

 

Just tell him your honest feelings.

 

“Hey Lan Zhan, it’s me, Wei Ying. I honestly think that we’ve done this in the wrong order and we keep kinda fucking it up,” practises Wei Ying out loud. “I think that we’re moving a little too fast after the revelation that you’re both Lan Zhan and Hanguangjun, but I want to keep in contact. I like you, actually. And not just because you’re a patron, I actually like you. I want to try dating you. I don’t know how this will work, and I love it here with my friends. But I also do want to see you. That’s what I honestly believe.” 

 

He tries it two more times, and dials Lan Zhan’s number. 

 

The number connects. 

 

“Hello?” asks a familiar voice, one he’s heard over calls many times, and is rather soothing. 

 

He’s got this. Wei Ying takes a deep breath. 

 

“Hey Lan Zhan, it’s me, Wei Ying…”