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somethin' so flawed and free

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The rain is coming down like bullets, accompanied by the occasional explosion of thunder and strike of lightning through the sky. It creates a symphony of noise throughout the small neighborhood, all of it unknown to Feng Xin and his friends in Xie Lian’s basement. 


They’re sprawled sporadically around the television, a shitty horror movie lighting up the otherwise dark room. Feng Xin sits in the corner of the couch, his head propped up on his fist in boredom. Xie Lian is pressed into his side, with Hua Cheng on the floor in front of them. Feng Xin has spent the last half hour trying not to gag at the hand Xie Lian intermittently threads through his long black hair. 


Mu Qing is not much better. Feng Xin has noticed the dirty side-eyes he’s been throwing from Xie Lian’s other side.


It’s only around 1 am when Shi Qingxuan announces that she’s ready for bed. “Well, He-xiong and I are gonna turn in for the night!” 


He Xuan scowls from being pulled up from the floor. 


“The movie’s not even over yet,” Mu Qing complains, stealing the words right out of Feng Xin’s mouth. 


Xie Lian pats Hua Cheng on the shoulders and stands. “I’ll help you two get settled,” he smiles. “San Lang and I will probably turn in soon, too.” 


Pei Ming smirks from his place on the floor. On the couch, Mu Qing and Feng Xin look at each other with matching horrified expressions. For all the years the two have been friends, they’ve never been able to agree on anything. Sometimes their fights are explosive and cause them to go weeks without speaking, other times it seems they just fight for the sake of fighting. 


To Feng Xin, fighting with Mu Qing comes as naturally as breathing, which is why their mutual hatred of Hua Cheng created a certain nuance to their dynamic. 


Every time Hua Cheng and Xie Lian would act particularly obsessed with one another, Mu Qing and Feng Xin only had each other to complain to. Everybody else in their group was brainwashed by their disgusting moon eyes for each other. God, it was sickening. 


When Shi Qingxuan, He Xuan, and Xie Lian make their way upstairs, the remaining four fall into an uncomfortable silence. Thankfully it’s broken by the screams coming from the movie that everyone is supposed to be watching. 


Feng Xin crosses his arms and glares at the TV. He misses their old movie nights, the way they’d stay up until sunrise and trash the worst movies and get into popcorn fights. This was back before he and Mu Qing were able to tolerate each other, so many of these nights ended in bruised ribs and bloody noses, but even that was more preferable than this .  


Pei Ming yawns and stretches dramatically. “Well, I’m meeting up with A-Huang for breakfast tomorrow, so I’m gonna go claim the guest room Xie Lian promised me.” 


Mu Qing gapes. “You get your own room?” 


Pei Ming scoffs. “I guess that’s just what happens when you’re actually nice to people,” he leans in mockingly close to Mu Qing’s face. “They give you things .” 


Mu Qing kicks him in the leg in retaliation, and Pei Ming laughs his way up the stairs. Afterward, Feng Xin isn’t the only one scowling at the TV. 


Xie Lian eventually wanders back down to retrieve Hua Cheng. “You two will be alright down here, right?” he asks, scratching the back of his neck. “There aren’t enough rooms for each of you. Plus you guys love staying down here! It’s just like old times.” 


If Hua Cheng wasn’t standing beside him, and if Feng Xin didn’t love Xie Lian with every ounce of his being, he may have hit him right then and there. Unfortunately, the only thing he could do in this situation is reassure Xie Lian that they're fine, promise not to kill Mu Qing in the middle of the night, and watch Hua Cheng’s knowing smirk as the two of them ascend the steps. 




Feng Xin isn’t very used to being alone with Mu Qing. They’ve known each other since primary school, sure, but they’re only friends because of Xie Lian. The only times they’ve had to be alone together were few and for short periods of time. 


He chances a look at Mu Qing now, watches the flickering lights of the movie illuminate his perpetually creased brow. He must zone out for a bit because Mu Qing is suddenly spouting profanities in his face to snap him out of it. 


“Why are you staring at me, asshole?” His head is turned to face Feng Xin, and the lights dance off the high edges of his cheekbone and the sharp cut of his jaw. People always say that Mu Qing would be pretty if not for his raging RBF, but Feng Xin thinks his constantly iced over appearance adds an aura of mystery that is unwaveringly attractive. 


Not that he would ever admit that out loud. 


Feng Xin inhales a breath and settles back into the couch. “Do you ever miss how things used to be?” 


Mu Qing’s eyes soften imperceptibly for a moment before icing over once more. “You mean before everyone got into stupid relationships?” he scoffs. “Yeah, sometimes.” 


Feng Xin nods and turns back to the movie that has pretty much been forgotten about. It’s nearing the end at this point, not that he really bothered to pay attention to the ridiculous plot in the first place. He chews Mu Qing’s words over in his head. 


“What’s your beef with relationships, anyway?” 


Mu Qing rolls his eyes. 


“I don’t have ‘beef’ with relationships. I just have better things to do with my time than go on stupid dates or hold someone’s fucking hand.” 


Feng Xin huffs a laugh. “What about just sex then?” 


Mu Qing’s head whips around to look at him. 


Feng Xin turns his body to face him, propping his elbow up on the couch to hold his head. “Come on. Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it.” 


“I have. I’m not a prude, Feng Xin,” Mu Qing snaps. 




They stare at each other for a beat. Feng Xin’s nonchalant gaze meeting Mu Qing’s biting one. 


“What about you, huh? You get just as annoyed by Xie Lian and Hua Cheng as I do.” He smirks sardonically. “Maybe you’re the prude.” 


Feng Xin tilts his head. He doesn’t bother arguing with him; he knows Mu Qing knows the real reason. Knows that Feng Xin was always extra protective of Xie Lian, always vying for his attention. 


“At least I’ve actually had a crush on someone. You, on the other hand, seem just as heartless as everyone says you are.” 


Mu Qing’s glare could cut diamond. If Feng Xin wasn’t so familiar with him, he’d be fucking terrified. “I have had a crush!” he grits out. 


“Oh really? On who?” 


Mu Qing colors, the pink of his cheeks hardly noticeable in the barely lit room. The credits of the movie are playing now, but Feng Xin couldn’t care less. Mu Qing is giving him something much more interesting to pay attention to. 


“None of your fucking business, that’s who.” 


“You know, you’re the only one out of all of us that’s still a virgin. Even golden boy Xie Lian lost it before you did.” 


Mu Qing’s eyes are wild now. He straightens up from the couch and shouts, “Why the fuck do you care so much?”  


“And why the fuck are you so uptight all the time?” Feng Xin shoots back calmly, a stark contrast from Mu Qing’s vicious tone. “Y’know, an orgasm would help with that.” 


Feng Xin doesn’t even know where he’s going with this. He just knows that Mu Qing opened up a can of worms inside of him that he’s been suppressing for a while. Maybe this is why Feng Xin always avoided being alone with him. 


“I have had an orgasm.” 


“I bet you don’t even touch yourself.” 


“Feng Xin!” 


His eyes are wide. He looks a little breathless, his chest heaving slightly and his face flushed from anger and maybe something else. Feng Xin has never seen him like this before, and it only makes him want to see more. 


“Show me, then.” 




“Show me how you touch yourself.” 


Mu Qing stares at him. “I-What?” 


The room is silent aside from their breathing. Feng Xin’s thoughts are going crazy, but he’s in too deep to back out now. “I wanna see you,” he says. It comes out softer than he means it to, but it’s enough to drain the tension from Mu Qing’s body and finally get him to acquiesce. 


His hands are shaking as he unties his sweatpants. Feng Xin shifts closer to him on the couch to get a better look, though it’s still difficult to see in the darkness of the room. When Mu Qing pulls his cock out he pumps it once, twice, and Feng Xin licks his lips. 


“Rub your thumb over the tip,” he whispers. His gaze is laser-focused on Mu Qing’s movements, and he feels himself stirring to life in his joggers. 


“Huh?” Mu Qing breathes, but then registers Feng Xin’s words and swipes his thumb over the bead of pre-come at the head of his dick. The action makes him throw his head back against the couch and stifle a moan behind his fist. 


“Good, right?” Feng Xin smiles. “It’s sensitive there.” 


Mu Qing continues stroking himself, gasping every now and then. Feng Xin is completely transfixed at the sight. He’s never seen Mu Qing in such a vulnerable position, never even believed Mu Qing would allow someone to see him like this. His eyes are squeezed shut and the flush has spread down his neck. Feng Xin wonders if his chest is the same peachy pink as his cheeks, wonders if Mu Qing would let him see. 


“I’m pretty-- pretty fucking sure we never, nghh, did this when we were kids,” he says between gasps. 


Feng Xin laughs. He feels giddy, suddenly. Seeing the Mu Qing he’s familiar with bleed into this new Mu Qing, he feels like he just discovered the eighth wonder of the world. 


“Shut the fuck up,” he shoots back, but it lacks any bite. “I’d say this is better, wouldn’t you?” 


Mu Qing swivels his head from where it’s still thrown back against the couch to meet Feng Xin’s gaze. His eyes are void of the malice they usually hold, and instead are hooded over in pleasure. Feng Xin wants the picture etched permanently onto his eyelids so he never forgets. Briefly, he considers taking photo evidence to prove to other people that Mu Qing isn’t a complete bitch 100% of the time, but he selfishly wants to keep this image of Mu Qing all to himself. 


“You’re not even- ah! Getting off.” 


Feng Xin readjusts and slides further down the couch to rest his head next to Mu Qing’s so they’re breathing the same breath. He smirks. “Don’t need to.” 


Mu Qing twists his wrist and cries out, and Feng Xin’s eyes widen at the sound. He continues pumping, his hips thrusting upward into his fist, and fuck if it isn’t the prettiest thing Feng Xin has ever seen. 


“I’m- oh , I’m close,” he gasps. 


Feng Xin reaches out and tangles their fingers together. Mu Qing squeezes his hand, and Feng Xin says, “Come for me.” 


Mu Qing finishes into his fist, and Feng Xin talks him through it, muttering praises into his ear. His chest is heaving as he comes down from the high, and Feng Xin still hasn’t taken his eyes off of him. 


“Better?” he teases, eyes brightening when Mu Qing meets his gaze. 


Mu Qing hits him with a pillow. 


“You’re such a dick.”