Actions

Work Header

Drunk on You

Work Text:

The world was slightly spinning, which felt odd but not too bad. Hua Cheng thought he would be less dizzy if he laid down on the floor, but it seemed like he had been wrong. Now, his body felt too heavy to stand however, so he was stuck lying on the black floor of He Xuan’s all black apartment. Okay not all black. There were a couple of windows, for the aquariums apparently. Hua Cheng didn’t care too much about He Xuan’s decorating choices. He just knew He Xuan liked black, and fish, and he had really not asked anything beyond that  because frankly he didn’t care to know. In the background music was playing, a song Hua Cheng didn’t know. It was pretty good however, and he drummed his fingers on the floor to the beat. Behind him on the couch sat He Xuan and Yin Yu, a drink in hand each. Hua Cheng didn’t think they were as drunk as him, but they were probably well on their way.  Yin Yu always got sappy when drunk, and a little cuddly. He Xuan got even more sour than he usually was. It was always a game of seeing how long it would take before Yin Yu would hug him, to which He Xuan’s response was to go stiff as a board, with eyes wide, as if no one had ever touched him in his life. 

Maybe no one had. Hua Cheng hadn’t asked. 

“Just admit you think they’re pretty,” Yin Yu said, with a slight slur as he pointed at He Xuan. What were they talking about? Hua Cheng tilted his head back from his resting place on the floor to look at them, seeing the two men come into view, only upside down. They were both wearing black, and basically blended into the black couch. Like floating heads. It made his eyes hurt. It didn’t matter though. The word pretty only brought one person to mind for Hua Cheng, and that needed to be voiced. Right now.

“Do you know who’s pretty?” he said, turning around onto his stomach. That made his head spin violently, and he smacked his lips once before he continued. “Xie Lian.”

“Who is Xie Lian?” He Xuan asked with a frown, before he took a sip of his drink. Hua Cheng frowned back at him, a scoff leaving his lips. What an absolute fool.

“What do you mean ‘who is Xie Lian’, are you a complete idiot?” he snapped, and He Xuan let out a long sigh, before looking over at Yin Yu. Coward. 

“It’s someone we went to school with,” Yin Yu explained, which was not at all a sufficient explanation to who Xie Lian was. Xie Lian was far too much to be rendered down to simply having gone to high school with Hua Cheng and Yin Yu. It was miles- no galaxies away from describing him. “The only one I’ve ever seen Hua Cheng be nice to, and the only one he’s ever been in love with, I’m guessing,” Yin Yu said, a smile curling on his lips. He Xuan’s eyes grew wide, and he looked at Hua Cheng with shock written all over his face.
“You were nice to someone?” he asked, and Hua Cheng rolled his eyes as he pushed up to sit. “You’re never nice.”

“I’m decent to people who deserve it,” Hua Cheng pointed out, because he was. “Clearly you’re not, since you don’t even know who the angel walking the earth is.”

“Oh my god,” He Xuan said with a groan, and Hua Cheng fought against the impulse to kick him in the chin. He reached for the black tinted glass on the black coffee table instead, to take a sip of his drink. He needed more alcohol to deal with He Xuan’s shit.

“He’s so bright, and beautiful ,” Hua Cheng said, to inform him. He was being nice right now. More than He Xuan deserved. “Really, the world doesn’t deserve him.”

“What is he doing now?” Yin Yu asked, pushing his legs up on the couch. He Xuan looked at them warily, as if he was wondering when Yin Yu would place them in his lap. About three more sips from that drink, Hua Cheng guessed. “I don’t I’ve heard you say you’ve kept in contact with him?” Hua Chneg felt his heart sink in his chest, and he took a big gulp of his drink, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
“No, he went to college and then just disappeared,” he said with a shrug, even if it was only half the truth. Xie Lian had gone to college, being a year older than Hua Cheng. After that, his parents had passed away under very unfortunate circumstances, and since then Hua Cheng had not heard from him. They weren’t so close that Hua Cheng could seek him out without it being weird, and the last thing he wanted was to be a nuisance to Xie Lian.  “I’ve checked every social media I can find, and he’s just- not there.”

“Maybe he died,” He Xuan said, and Hua Cheng felt fear and anger rush up in his chest. He gripped his glass tighter.

“He Xuan!” Yin Yu exclaimed, pushing at He Xuan with his foot. 

“Fuck you,” Hua Cheng retorted, finishing his drink by tipping his head back fully.

“No thank you,” He Xuan said, looking far too smug. Hua Cheng considered throwing the glass at him.

“I hate you,” he said instead, putting the glass down on the coffee table with a little too much force. “I don’t want to fuck you, for the fucking record.”

“You want to fuck this Xie Lian,” He Xuan said, smiling like a cat who got the cream. Great. He had something on Hua Cheng now. He’d never hear the end of this, he knew. 

“I am not worthy of that,” he said with a sigh, turning to look at the wall of aquariums. Fishes swam lazily forward and then back, gleaming in the low light in the water tanks. 

“Who are you?” He Xuan asked, and from the corner of Hua Cheng’s eyes he could see him throw his arms up. “Was there something in your drink that made you go mad?”

“No, he’s just-” Hua Cheng said, feeling his heart swell in his chest as he thought back to Xie Lian, and all he had been for Hua Cheng, all he had done. “He helped me a lot, when no one else cared. He showed kindness when no one before had ever tried to understand me. I don’t want to fuck him, I want to cherich him, to worship him, to give him my heart and soul.”

“And you can’t find him on social media, so you can’t tell him?” Yin Yu said, and when Hua Cheng looked back his feet were now planted in He Xuan’s lap. That was faster than expected. Perhaps he was doing it so He Xuan wouldn’t kick Hua Cheng out.

“Don’t you have his number or something?” He Xuan asked, and Hua Cheng snorted with a shake of his head.

“Of course I don’t-” realisation washed over him slowly. Oh. He did. He did have a number to Xie Lian, or at least the one he had before he moved away to college. The first couple of  years he had considered using it, but felt it was too much. He wasn’t really worthy. What would he even say? Then, he had almost forgotten about it since he had decided that social media was a more neutral way to reconnect. How could he be so stupid! “I have his old number!”

“You could call him then,” He Xuan said, pushing Yin Yu’s feet from his lap as he leaned his elbows on his knees, a smirk on his face. Hua Cheng felt elevated. He could call him! Mo, he should call him! He could get to hear his voice right now!

“I could fucking call him!” Hua Cheng said with a cheer, reaching into his pocket to pull his phone out.

“Oh no,” Yin Yu said, but Hua Cheng barely heard it, his heart pounding in excitement at the prospect of hearing Xie Lian’s voice, in knowing if he was okay!

“Yeah,” He Xuan urged. “You could call him, and tell him all you just did. I’m sure he’d be thrilled to hear from you.”

“Hua Cheng,” Yin Yu said, his voice wary. Hua Cheng should probably try to listen to him, but his focus was fully on Xie Lian now. It was like tunnel vision, and the alcohol didn't help. He needed to talk to him. He Xuan was right, he needed to let Xie Lian know how absolutely amazing he was.

“You know what you’re fucking right,” he voiced, scrolling though his phone. He found the number under the familiar nickname, and he smiled as his heart filled with warmth. “What if no one told him how perfect he is today?”

“Hua Cheng,” Yin Yu said again, but Hua Cheng had already pressed the call button, and put the phone up to his ear.

“Shut up Yin Yu,” He Xuan said, leaning forward even further. The room fell completely quiet, and then the ring came through. “Oh there’s signals!”

“This is going to end in heartbreak,” Yin Yu said with a deep sigh, rubbing between his brows. 

“Let’s hope so,” He Xuan said with a nod, and Hua Cheng was just about to tell him that it couldn't because Xie Lian was too good for Hua Cheng to even hope- when the signal stopped, and someone answered. 

“Hello? This is Xie Lian,” a familiar and long missed voice said. For a moment, Hua Cheng felt tongue tied, as joy long since forgotten filled his chest a wide smile broke out on his lips, and he looked up to meet both of his friends' eyes.

“Holy shit,” Yin Yu gasped, eyes wide. 

“Gege!” Hua Cheng exclaimed, the happiness bubbling over. 

 

__________________________

 

Xie Lian was just about to head to bed, when his phone rang. He put down the paintbrush he had been cleaning on the bench, and hurried to wipe his hands on the kitchen towel before reaching for it. A number he didn’t recognize flashed on screen, and Xie Lian hesitated for a moment. It was late, and he was pretty sure no calls from unknown numbers at this time of day meant any good. Still, curiosity won over him and he picked the phone up and pressed answer, before pulling the phone up to his ear. 

“Hello?” he said, swallowing as he turned to lean back against the kitchen counter. “This is Xie Lian.”

“Gege!” a very happy, deep male voice cheered. Xie Lian was slightly startled. He had not expected that. He had expected almost anything except that.

“I-” he stuttered, trying to find his footing. Who would speak to him so familiarly, who has such a beautiful voice? It might be rude, and Xie Lian did not like being rude, but he had to ask. “Sorry, who is this?”

“Gege, this lowly one apologizes for not introducing himself properly,” the man said, and a memory washed over Xie Lian all at once, of someone long ago who had spoken just like that to him. Someone with one black eye, the other burning red. No one else had ever used such phrasing, and Xie Lian felt his eyes grow wide. Could it be? “I am not worthy of Gege’s attention truly.”

“San Lang?” he asked in a whisper, his free hand coming up to press over his shirt at his suddenly racing heart. 

“Gege remembers me?” Hua Cheng asked, his voice filled with wonder. Xie Lian couldn’t help but let out a soft laugh at how silly that was. How could he ever forget someone like Hua Cheng?

“Yes, yes of course I remember San Lang,” he said, remembering the doodled hearts in his own notebooks in red, the hopeless crush he had held for his last two high school years. Hua Cheng had started the year after him, and he had been terribly handsome, smart as well as talented. “I haven’t talked to you in so long! How are you?” he asked, trying not to think about the reason to why they hadn’t spoked for so long.

“Gege, I am drunk,” Hua Cheng said frankly, and Xie Lian blinked in surprise. Oh, was he out partying? Xie Lian didn’t have much experience in that. The last party he had been to had probably been in high school. It didn’t sound like Hua Cheng was anywhere too crowded though. “Very drunk,” Hua Cheng said for emphasis, and that time Xie Lian heard a slight slur in his speech. Cute.

“Oh,” Xie Lian said, willing his blush down. Silly, to be so affected by merely his voice. “Are you enjoying it at least?” he asked, because that should be the reason one drank, he thought. To celebrate!

“Debatable,” Hua Cheng muttered, and Xie Lian humed. That didn’t sound too good, but it wasn’t really his business how Hua Cheng spent his Saturday evenings.

“Alright,” he said with a nod, closing his eyes to deal with his pounding heart. So silly, Xie Lian , he told himself. Get a grip on yourself.

“But!” Hua Cheng said, now with returned energy in his voice. “I called to tell Gege something.”

“Oh?” Xie Lian asked, feeling a smile curl on his lips. He had missed this man so much. It only became more evident now that he had his voice in his ear. He had forgotten how much he liked Hua Cheng’s voice. He was curious too. Why had Hua Cheng called him, years after Xie Lian left for college? “What could San Lang want to tell me after so long?”

“Gege, did you know that you have the most beautiful soul in the world?” Hua Cheng said, and the words pushed the breath from Xie Lian’s lungs. He blinked, wondering if he had truly heard what he thought he just heard.

“What?” he asked, his voice only a whisper. His hand curled around the counter, gripping it tightly.

“I realized that maybe no one had told Gege recently, that he’s the brightest star in the sky. Everyone else bleeds into the nothingness of space next to his light,” Hua Cheng said, and oh that sent butterflies rushing through Xie Lian’s chest.

“San Lang,” he said, his voice stronger now but just as breathy. He didn’t know what to answer, what to say. Hua Cheng could not mean it, could he? 

“And!” Hua Cheng continued, still with that certainty in his voice. “Gege is kind and gracious, and so beautiful. Gege was kind to this lowly, undeserving San Lang when he was nothing, when everyone did nothing but ignore him or beat him to the ground. But never you, you always saw me, always encouraged me and believed in me.”

“Of course San Lang,” Xie Lian said, because this was easier to face. So many had missed Hua Cheng’s amazing potential. They had seen a boy without parents, who didn’t care about what they thought he should care about, and had treated him unkindly for it. “You’re so clever, and capable. I still remember when you taught me that trigonometry trick. What are you doing now? Have you harboured all your talent for good?”

“Yes Gege,” Hua Cheng said, sounding almost proud. Xie Lian wished he could see him. Was he smiling? “But I don’t want to talk about me. San Lang is not important. I need Gege to know how kind and forgiving, and thoughtful he is.”

“San Lang,” Xie Lian said again, his heart aching. Nothing was as it was then, even if with Hua Cheng’s voice in his ear he could almost believe it was. 

“Beautiful too,” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian felt his fingers start to tremble as more of those butterflies filled his chest. “San Lang has never met anyone as gorgeous as Xie Lian. No one could ever compare.”

“You think too much of me,” Xie Lian had to say, because it was becoming too much and he wasn’t worthy of it. He had done nothing to deserve such beautiful words from someone as amazing as Hua Cheng. “Much is different now, from what it was then. I am… am different.”

“How?” Hua Cheng asked, his voice soft. He always had this tone with Xie Lian, smooth and tender. It was so different from the sharpness he showed others when he was angry, or the blank one he usually met people with.

“Hm,” Xie Lian said, letting out a slow breath. Where to start? It wasn’t as if he wanted to tell Hua Cheng about all he had lost and all he had done to try to make up for his father's rightfully ruined legacy, trying to make it up any way he could. “Well… I don’t know if San Lang knows about my parents?”

“Yes, San Lang knows,” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian closed his eyes as he nodded, even if Hua Cheng couldn’t see him. “I am terribly sorry for Gege’s loss. It must have been very difficult.”

“Mn,” Xie Lian answered, because hard it definitely had been. “So there isn’t much left of the Xie Lian you knew. I’m nothing of those things you said. Not anymore.”

“I don’t believe that,” Hua Cheng said, still so filled with that determination. It could almost make Xie Lian believe it too. “I know your heart, Gege.”

“San Lang,” Xie Lian said, the name falling so naturally from his lips. He had always secretly loved saying it, and held a secret possessive pride in being the only one allowed to use it. “I did not know you had such unwavering faith in me. I don’t deserve it.”

The line was quiet for a moment, and Xie Lian tried to think of something to say. He didn’t want to stop talking, but perhaps he was taking up too much of Hua Cheng’s time. He was drinking after all, with friends? He probably didn’t want to discuss Xie Lian’s sad story. Then, Hua Cheng took a deep breath and asked: “Are you happy, Gege?”

“No,” Xie Lian answered truthfully. He wasn't fully unhappy, but he couldn’t say he was happy either. He simply, was. 

“Oh,” Hua Cheng said, and there was more pain in his voice than there had been in Xie Lian’s. “That hurts San Lang more than anything.”

“Where are you right now San Lang?” Xie Lian asked, because his chest was overflowing with feelings and he needed something to hold onto. Hua Cheng was drunk, and Xie Lian should make sure he was in a good place to be drunk. He wasn’t sully sure where that was exactly, but surely some places were better than others. “Are you safe? I don’t want you stumbling around outside if you’re so drunk that you called me out to all people after so many years.”

“No, I am never safe when I’m with He Xuan,” Hua Cheng said earnestly, and Xie Lian’s brows raised in surprise. 

“Oh, is that a friend of San Lang’s?” he asked, and Hua Cheng let out a scoff.

“No,” he said frankly, and Xie Lian felt a smile curl on his lips. This was familiar, and he was in a way happy that Hua Cheng was still the same in this.

“I see,” he asked, biting into his lower lip. “Well, is San Lang still in town?” Xie Lian had moved back just a year ago, and perhaps Hua Cheng was still there too? He might not be though. He could be anywhere in the world really. The thought sat uncomfortable in Xie Lian’s chest.

“Yes, I am currently on Harbour street in He Xuan’s apartment,” Hua Cheng answered, and Xie Lian felt a thrill race up his spine. Oh. “It’s completely painted balck and there’s fishes everywhere.”

“Oh that’s not- not too far from my apartment,” he admitted, because it really wasn’t. Three blocks maybe. A ten minute walk at most. To think they were so close. Xie Lian moved towards the window, even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to see him of course. He still wanted to. The urge only grew stronger now that he knew there was such a small distance between them.

“Gege lives here too?” Hua Cheng asked, sounding surprised. “I didn’t know.”

“Mn, I’ve been here for little over a year now,” Xie Lian admitted, and then his desires got the better of him as words continued to tumble out of his mouth. “If San Lang wants, he could come over for something to eat? Help you sober up a little?”

“Gege- is Gege inviting me to his home?” Hua Cheng asked, sounding shocked. Xie Lian winced. Ah, had he over done it?

“It’s nothing fancy San Lang,” Xie Lian said, looking around the apartment which was really just one room in what had previously been an attic. “Really please know it’s a very run down place I live in.”

“Gege deserves to live in castles and palaces,” Hua Cheng proclaimed with a strong voice. “I will build Gege one!” he then exclaimed, and Xie Lian couldn’t help but laugh.

“San Lang!” 

“If Gege wants to of course,” he added, and Xie Lian giggled as he shook his head. He was far too cute.

“I would like to see San Lang, if San Lang wants to come,” Xie Lian said to pull the conversation back to the previous topic. He continued however: “I don’t want to pull him from his company.”

“This company is nothing to Gege’s company,” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian felt his cheeks flush. How was he so- so… 

“Okay,” he answered, looking over towards the fridge. “I must warn you however, I’m not a very good cook.”

“Who has told Gege such wretched lies? This San Lang can’t believe it,” Hua Cheng said, with the certainty he seemed to put every statement in. It was far too attractive. “Was it Feng Xin and Mu Qing?”

“Ah, yes but-” Xie Lian admitted, but before he had a chance to continue, Hua Cheng spoke up.

“I’ll slap them,” he said decidedly, and Xie Lian sputtered.

“San Lang!”
“Should have been done ages ago, really,” Hua Cheng continued, and Xie Lian let out a laugh at that as he shook his head.

“Well even newer friends have said so,” Xie Lian defended, because by this time his food was notorious for being uneatable. “I have a friend named Shi Qingxuan, who lost their sight for an hour after tasting my stew.”

“Weak, clearly. They couldn’t handle Gege’s presteen cooking,” Hua Cheng huffed, and Xie Lian smiled again. “Wait, isn’t the person you’re pining over named Shi Qingxuan, He Xuan?” Hua Cheng said, but it seemed it wasn’t directed towards Xie Lian, but to this He Xuan that Hua Cheng was with. That reminded Xie Lian, wasn’t Shi Qingxuan crushing on someone named He Xuan? It wouldn’t be the same person, could it?

“What?” XIe Lian asked, and then heard someone speak up from further away from the phone

“Don’t tell him that! What are you even saying!?”

“Gege, please let your friend know that He Xuan whos’ pining away around them owes me a lot of money,” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian nodded thoughtfully. “Not very responsible.” 

“Shut up!” the voice from the other side of the receiver shouted.

“I will, San Lang,” Xie Lian promised, because it was important information for Shi Qingxuan to know if they were getting involved with someone irresponsible with money. Shi Qingxuan weren’t the most responsible either, after all. “Thank you for letting me know.”

“I will end you,” the voice said, and Xie Lian frowned. That didn’t sound very good.

“See Gege!” Hua Cheng exclaimed, a whine in his voice. “It’s clearly super dangerous here. I’m scared.”

“San Lang better leave then,” Xie Lian said with a nod. Clearly Hua Cheng would be much safer with him than with this He Xuan. “Hopefully there will be nothing in my apartment that will scare him.”

“I’ll come over now, okay?” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian heard him shuffle to stand. His heart jumped in his chest. This was really happening. “If Gege is still inviting this humble San Lang over.”

“I am,” he said with certainty, even if he felt nerves rise in his chest. “Do you want me to come meet you?”

“No, no,” Hua Cheng assured, but Xie Lian wasn’t sure he believed him. “Gege does not need to do such minor tasks, this San Lang will manage.”

“You’re drunk though,” Xie Lian mused, and then pushed away from the counter. “No, I’ll come meet you. I’ll worry otherwise.”

“If Gege wishes, San Lang will have no complaints,” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian smiled as he walked over to pull on his shoes. “Gege is most compassionate.” 

“I will see you soon then, San Lang,” Xie Lian said, fingers tingling with anticipation since he headed out the front door.

“See you soon, Gege.” 

 

________________________

 

The cold night air sobered Hua Cheng up a little, and he tipped his face up to the sky as he took a deep breath of it. Was this truly happening? Just an hour ago he had thought it would be almost impossible for him to find Xie Lian again, and now… now he was walking over to meet him. Had been invited over to his place. It made Hua Cheng feel giddy even. He should almost thank He Xuan for suggesting calling him. He rounded a corner towards the address Xie Lian had given, and then he spotted him coming walking towards him. 

Xie Lian was just as beautiful as Hua Cheng remembered, just as breathtaking as Hua Cheng had always found him. Xie Lian’s hair was shorter now, reaching just below his shoulders. The top of it was pulled back into a bun, the lengths falling free. He was in a white jacket which looked a little worn, as well as tight light blue jeans. His golden eyes met Hua Cheng’s, and Xie Lian paused in his step as their gazes caught. Then, his lips broke into a smile, full pink lips stretching up as a flush dusted his cheeks.

So beautiful.

“Gege!” Hua Cheng cheered, increasing his pace towards him. Xie Lian resumed his walking too, moving them closer and closer together.

“San Lang,” Xie Lian said, his eyes gleaming. “I’m so glad we found each other. I was just starting to worry-”

Xie Lian stopped talking, his eyes growing wide, as Hua Cheng fell to one knee before him. He has said he would worship him, and he was going to. There was no other option.

“San Lang!” Xie Lian exclaimed, his hands going to cover his face for a moment, before he waved them before him.

“Gege is the most beautiful sight this San Lang has ever seen,” Hua Cheng confessed, and Xie Lian let out something like a whimper as he stepped even closer, reaching for Hua Cheng’s hands. 

“Please get off the ground,” he said, and then his warm hands came to touch Hua Cheng’s, before they reached his arms to pull him up. Hua Cheng followed, looking down at Xie Lian as they stood close. Xie Lian was still looking into his eyes, and then he smiled and turned away, the flush still pink on his cheeks. “It is very good to see San Lang. He’s grown up very, very handsome.”
“Oh,” Hua Cheng said as he swallowed, feeling something impossibly warm and fluttery fill his chest. “Gege is just as beautiful as he has always been.” Xie Lian’s cheeks got even redder, and he didn’t answer or look back at Hua Cheng, but rather looked in the direction in which he came from.

“Ah, the apartment is this way,” Xie Lian said and motioned towards it, turning that way. 

“Mn, let's go then,” Hua Cheng said with a nod. “I’m looking forward to seeing where Gege lives.”

“Really, San Lang,” Xie Lian said, and Hua Cheng couldn’t help but smile as he heard Xie Lian call him San Lang, even if this wasn’t the first time tonight. He simply hadn’t appreciated it fully the times before. He had missed it. “As I said it’s nothing special at all. It’s really just one room, and a bathroom.”
“This San Lang feels honored either way,” Hua Cheng admitted, and Xie Lian let out a slow breath. He looked to the side to meet Hua Cheng’s eyes, and Hua Cheng felt a little weak in the knees from it. He could blame the alcohol, but really it had always been like this when he was with Xie Lian.

“I was surprised that San Lang was so close,” Xie Lian said, and Hua Cheng hummed because he had been too. “Your friend wasn’t disappointed that you left?”

“No,” Hua Cheng scoffed. “If anything, He Xuan was relieved. 

“That’s rude,” Xie Lian said, his brows pinching together. He was so pretty. “San Lang’s company should be appreciated.”

“I hope Gege enjoys my company,” Hua Cheng said, self indulgently. Xie Lian turned to him and smiled.

“I always have before,” he said, and Hua Cheng smiled towards him.

“But Gege said he has changed?” Hua Cheng prompted, even if he couldn’t see it. Perhaps the clothes he wore, and the way he styled his hair, but his eyes were the same. 

“Mn,” Xie Lian said with a nod, his smile faltering a little. Then he looked into Hua Cheng’s eyes, and it came back. “San Lang hasn't changed, however.”

“Gege thinks so?” Hua Cheng said with a smile. 

“Nope, just as sincere as always,” he said, and pride swelled in Hua Cheng’s chest.

“Does that mean that Gege likes me being sincere?” he asked teasingly, and Xie Lian let out a laugh.

“Here we are,” he said instead of answering, pausing in front of a building. Xie Lian stepped up and pushed the worn front door open, stepping inside. Hua Cheng frowned, but followed up the dirty and narrow staircase. “It’s at the top, it used to be an attic.”

“Mn,” Hua Cheng agreed, trailing after as he felt his mind spin a little. Outside he hadn’t felt the alcohol as much, but walking up the stairs did make him a little dizzy. He tried to focus on taking one step at a time, not wanting to fall over and embarrass himself. “How long has Gege been living here?”

“Hmm, four monts I think?” Xie Lian said, turning once again to continue to go up. His keys jingled from his hands. “I lived in a basement on the other side of town before, but this was closer to work and really the attic is better than living underground.”

“I’m glad Gege found a better place for him,” Hua Cheng said. “Was work the reason Gege came back?”

“Ah, yes,” Xie Lian agreed. “Shi Qingxuan, which it seems you know?”

“Only by name, I haven’t met them,” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian hummed and nodded. They had finally reached the top of the stairs now, and Hua Cheng leaned against the wall to try to get his mind to stop spinning. It was working, if he closed his eyes. 

“Oh, well we met at college, and then after everything…” Xie Lian trailed off, and opened the door. “Here we are, welcome.”

“Thank you Gege,” Hua Cheng said, and stepped into the apartment. To the side there were a couple of hooks in the wall, and Hua Cheng shrugged out of his leather jacket and hung it up, toeing off his shoes and placing them neatly by the door. Xie Lian followed in taking his outerwear off, and then headed into the room. It really was only one room, with a bench to the left with a stove and a couple of cupboards, as well as a parted fridge and freezer. A small table stood in front of it, and to the side was a couch with a coffee table before it. To the side stood a small dresser. Everything looked worn well over four months. The walls were bare, and the space almost looked unlived in. It was all neat and tidy however, not a speck of dust anywhere.
“Does San Lang still want food?” Xie Lian asked, and Hua Cheng looked back to him, seeing him stand by the kitchen part of the room. “I think San Lang should eat, because he looked a little dizzy walking up.”

“If Gege wants to cook for this San Lang, he will be most honored,” Hua Cheng admitted, walking over to sit down on one of the kitchen chairs. It wobbled as he sat, or maybe it was him who wobbled. 

“As I said San Lang, it might really not be good, but I can make some pancakes,” Xie Lian said with a determined nod, and Hua Cheng smiled at him. 

“I love pancakes,” he agreed, and Xie Lian nodded, opening a cupboard to pull out ingredients and equipment. Hua Cheng peered into the cabinets as they were opened, seeing them fairly empty. Everything seemed mismatched too. “Would Gege like help?”

“No, no!” Xie Lian insisted, shaking his hands in front of him. “San Lang is a guest, who should focus on sobering up.”

“If Gege says so,” Hua Cheng said with a smile, as he watched Xie Lian pour things into a bowl to make the batter. He was so pretty. Hua Cheng couldn’t believe he was going to have a meal made by Xie Lian.

“So, what has San Lang been doing since high school?” he asked, and Hua Cheng hummed, crossing his legs over each other.

“I went to college, and then I started a business,” Hua Cheng answered, shrugging his shoulders. “Nothing too interesting.”

“Oh, what type of business?” Xie Lian asked, a speck of flour having ended up on his cheek. Cute. Far too cute.

“You’re cute,” Hua Cheng said, because it was important to say. Xie Lian looked up and blinked, and then his cheeks flushed bright red.
“Ah, San Lang what is this all of a sudden,” he said, as he looked down at the batter again.

“Gege has flour on his cheek, it’s cute,” Hua Cheng explained, and Xie Lian reached up to caress it away a little frantically, managing to get even more four on his face. “So,” he said when he deemed himself finished, putting a little more flour into the batter. “What was it San Lang’s company did?”

“Just a digital communication tool,” he said with another shrug, placing his elbow on the table and resting his chin in his hand. “What about Gege, he told me Shi Qingxuan convinced Gege to move back here?”

“Yes, when their brother went to prison for fraud, they needed some help with their joint business, so they asked me,” Xie Lian said. “It’s a shipping business, and it’s quite unknown to me but I’m doing alright I think. At least Shi Qingxuan says so.”

“I’m sure Gege is doing a great job,” Hua Cheng said with conviction. Xie Lian smiled, and shook his head, even if his eyes gleamed. 

“San Lang is very kind,” Xie Lian said, and Hua Cheng shook his head.

“I am not, Gege,” he said, and Xie Lian frowned as he looked at him. Then, he shook his head. 

“San Lang has always been very kind to me,” he said, and Hua Cheng’s heart swelled. That was good at least, he never wanted to do anything that might hurt Xie Lian. “To me, San Lang is kind.”

“Mn,” Hua Cheng said, and after that they drifted into discussing old memories from high school. Xie Lian started frying the pancakes, and in the meantime managed to produce a cup of tea which was a little on the bitter side but not too bad. Hua Cheng drank it enthusiastically, feeling his head get a little clearer with each sip. Xie Lian produced a tower of thin, different shaped pancakes, which had a couple of flour lumps, were burned in a couple of places, as well as had a couple of fragmented eggshells in them. They were very tasty.

“San Lang,” Xie Lian said, his eyes wide, as Hua Cheng took another big bite out of a rolled up pancake, filled with plum jam. “Are you- is it alright? Please give your honest opinion.”

“Gege could have whisked the batter a little longer, to get the flour lumps out, but other than that it’s very good,” Hua Cheng said with a nod, and Xie Lian nodded as his expression became thoughtful.

“Thank you San Lang,” he said with a nod, reaching for a pancake himself. “I will remember it till next time I make pancakes.”
“I hope Gege will give me the opportunity to taste them then too,” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian smiled and nodded.

“I would be happy to have San Lang over to dinner again,” Xie Lian said, taking some of the plum jam and placing it on his own pancake. “Maybe not in the middle of the night, that time.”

“Gege can invite me to dinner at any time he prefers,” Hua Cheng said, reaching for another pancake. “I was very happy Gege answered, and that he invited me over.”

“I was very happy San Lang called,” Xie Lian said, taking another bite before he continued. “I’ve been wondering about San Lang, since I came back. I didn’t know how to contact you though. My phone, the one I had then, broke. I still had the card so I kept the number, but everything on the phone was ruined.” 

“I looked for you on social media,” Hua Cheng admitted, and Xie Lian nodded, as if he already knew what he was going to say. “I couldn’t find Gege anywhere.”
“No, after what happened, it was better not to,” Xie Lian said, and then frowned before he looked up and met Hua Cheng’s eyes with his own. “San Lang looked for me?”

“Of course,” Hua Cheng said before he took the last piece on his plate. He figured there was no use in trying to hide it now. He just hoped it wasn’t too much. “I wanted to know Gege was okay.”

“Mn,” Xie Lian said, taking another bite. Hua Cheng reached for another pancake. This was really helping. He wasn’t feeling at all as dizzy or drunk anymore. 

“Is Gege okay?” Hua Cheng gently pushed. “On the phone he said, he wasn’t happy.”

“I’m pretty happy right now,” Xie Lian said, and Hua Cheng felt his heart stop in his chest as his hand paused half way to his mouth. Xie Lian ducked his head, and then cleared his throat. “So, who were the friends San Lang was with tonight? One was named He Xuan? Is it the same Shi Qingxuan has a crush on?”

“I know He Xuan is gone for Shi Qingxuan at least,” Hua Cheng admitted. “I was with him and Yin Yu.”

“Yin Yu? You’re still friends?” Xie Lian said with a smile. “You’ll have to say hi to him from me, if it’s not too much trouble.”

“Mn, Yin Yu works with me,” Hua Cheng said with a nod. “I’ll tell him when I see him.”

“I’m so glad,” Xie Lian said with another smile. It really did light up the room. Hua Cheng was sure he could look at it forever. “I’m glad San Lang has friends.”

Hua Cheng nodded as he shared a couple of stories about Yin Yu and him from the past couple of years, enjoying the way Xie Lian’s eyes lit up as he did. He ate another pancake, and then insisted on doing the dishes as Xie Lian made them more tea. They went over to sit on the couch when they were done, squeezing together. It was pretty small, and it was just so both of them fitted when they sat turned towards each other. 

“Is San Lang feeling more sober now?” Xie Lian asked, and Hua Cheng hummed and nodded as he took a sip of his tea. He didn’t feel even tipsy anymore. Just happy to be in Xie Lian’s company. 

“Yes, I think it’s all out of the system now,” he agreed, and Xie Lian smiled, looking at Hua Cheng a little from the side. He said nothing for a moment, and then reached for his own cup.

“San Lang said many things when he was drunk,” Xie Lian said, as if implying something. Hua Cheng paused, and then placed his cup back on the table. He glanced at Xie Lian who sipped his tea without looking back at him.

“Did I make Gege uncomfortable?” he asked, worry curling in gut. He knew it might have been too much. He had never been so upfront with Xie Lian before. He had flirted and teased in high school, but it had been awkward in a teenager way. It had been a lot more when he had called, with his fliter being impacted by the alcohol.

“No,” Xie Lian said, finally looking back at him. He placed his cup on the table as well, a blush rising on his cheeks. “I’m just not used to it. It’s also… I used to have the biggest crush on San Lang, in high school.”

Hua Cheng felt his mind screach to a halt. What?

“What?” he asked, his eyes wide as he looked at Xie Lian, who laughed nervously as he shook his head.

“Do you find it silly?” he asked, looking at Hua Cheng and then hastily looking away. “I know, San Lang is far too handsome, and cleaver, but when San Lang said such things now it made my heart remember all of those emotions and … I’m sorry.”
“Gege,” Hua Cheng said, feeling a little breathless. Xie Lian looked at him full on then, and a frown appeared between his brows. His cheeks continued to color, deep red now. 

“Sorry, I’ve said too much,” Xie Lian said with a nod, and then shook his head. “I’ve made San Lang uncomfortable, surely, pouring my heart out like that.”

“Gege,” Hua Cheng said again, with more force now. He was still very overwhelmed, and in disbelief, but he would not have Xie Lian thinking he made him uncomfortable, when he had said such wonderful, beautiful, unbelieving things. 

“Yes?” Xie Lian said, looking at him with such an open and vulnerable expression it almost broke Hua Cheng’s heart. He wasn’t worthy of this, but he was greedy and couldn’t let such a confession go without speaking what was in his heart. 

“This San Lang,” he started, reaching out for Xie Lian’s hands. They trembled slightly, and Hua Cheng held back from bringing them to his lips. He would get too distracted. Maybe later. He met Xie Lian’s gaze head on instead. “Has always held Gege in the highest regard. He owns San Lang’s heart, should he want it.”

“San Lang,” Xie Lian answered, sounding breathless and disbelieving. Hua Cheng moved closer then, to bring Xie Lian’s hand up to his mouth. He turned it, to press a kiss to Xie Lian’s palm. 

“I’ve loved Gege ever since we got to know each other,” he said, pressing another kiss to his wrist. “No one else has ever been, or is, as dear to my heart as Xie Lian.”

“San Lang do you-,” Xie Lian said, his eyes wide. Hua Cheng pressed another kiss to his palm. He looked up, and caught Xie Lian’s eyes again.“I-”

“Only if Gege still feels that way,” Hua Cheng said, releasing his grip on Xie Lian’s hand. Xie Lian reached out then, and placed it on Hua Cheng’s cheek. 

“I’m sorry San Lang I- I just can’t believe it,” Xie Lian said, looking over his face as if searching for something. His thumb caressed tenderly over Hua Cheng’s cheekbone. “Even after seeing all of this, who I am now- you still want…want me?”

“What matters is you, and not the state of you,” Hua Cheng answered easily, because it was true. Xie Lian’s gaze softened from surprised to tender, and then he leaned forward to rest their foreheads together. Hua Cheng felt his heart hammer in his chest, and he tried to keep himself calm. This was more than he had ever dreamed of. Their fingers tangled together, and after a moment Xie Lian opened his eyes to meet Hua Cheng’s, a terribly attractive determination shining in them.

“Could I kiss San Lang?” he asked. Hua Cheng nodded, feeling like his entire body was tingling. Xie Lian licked his lips, and Hua Cheng mirrored him. He tipped his head solely forward, their fingers untangling. Xie Lian’s now free hand landed on Hua Cheng’s upper arm, and Hua Cheng cupped Xie Lian’s neck to bring him closer. He felt Xie Lian’s breath ghost over his lips, and it filled him with want. He pushed forward, pressing his lips to Xie Lian’s soft ones. A rush of warmth filled him as their lips touched, and Xie Lian let out a soft breath, his hands tightening in Hua Cheng’s hand and on his arm. 

“San Lang,” he whispered, and Hua Cheng pulled back, but was pulled forward into Xie Lian again, lips pressing together more firmly now. Butterflies flipped in Hua Cheng’s stomach, but he answered in kind, tilting his head to the side for a better angle. Xie Lian hummed apprichatingly, his hands moving up and into Hua Cheng’s hair. His nails scraped against the scalp, and Hua Cheng let out a soft moan, his mouth opening. The kiss deepeed, and Hua Cheng let his hands wander down over Xie Lian’s chest, and then to his back. They kissed and kissed, and it grew deeper and wetter as they did. Xie Lian’s tongue slid into his mouth, and Hua Cheng groaned at the sensation, pulling them closer together. 

“San Lang,” Xie Lian gasped, pulling back as he drew in air. “San Lang is very good at that.”

“So is Gege,” Hua Cheng said, pressing a kiss to the corner of his mouth. He pulled Xie Lian up into his lap, and Xie Lian followed so easily, fitting perfectly there.

“Mmh,” Xie Lian moaned, and Hua Cheng kissed down his cheek to trace his jaw with his lips. “San Lang, that- that feel nice.”

“Yeah?” Hua Cheng asked against his skin, kissing further down Xie Lian’s throat as his hands wrapped around his waist. “Gege feels good.”
“Mh,” Xie Lian almost whined, pressing Hua Cheng firmer into his neck. “Don’t stop.”

“Can this San Lang leave marks?” Hua Cheng asked, nipping at the skin. Xie Lian let out another moan, and nodded once again. Hua Cheng smirked, and then sucked just over Xie Lian’s pulse point. 

“Ha!” Xie Lian moaned, and Hua Cheng felt his hips buck forward. He let out a moan himself, his head swimming with want from knowing he could affect Xie Lian so. “M-more.”
Hua Cheng sucked another mark, and then another, and then another, Xie Lian’s hips grinding forward each time. Hua Cheng could feel him growing harder, his clothed erection pushing into Hua Cheng’s stomach with each roll of hips. He was growing hard too, his own cock confined in his pants and under Xie Lian’s grinding ass. It made wonderful but teasing pleasure rush through his body as he continued to kiss along Xie Lian’s neck. He kissed his way back up, and as he did Xie Lian’s hands moved in under his shirt, pausing just as they reached skin.

“Does San Lang want to stop?” he asked in a whisper, and Hua Cheng shook his head, kissing him deeper. Xie Lian pulled back and looked him in the eye, lips kiss swollen and cheeks flushed. He blinked, long lashed fanning over his cheekbones. He was so beautiful. “Is San Lang sure he’s sober?”

“Yes, Gege,” he answered, smiling into the kiss. He was so considerate. “Gege can touch me as much as he wants.”

“Oh,” Xie Lian hummed, his hips rocking down again as if on impulse. 

“Ah,” Hua Cheng moaned, and Xie Lian’s hands wandered further up, his caresses careful but sending even more need rushing through Hua Cheng’s veins. “Gege.”
“San Lang can’t give me such permissions,” Xie Lian said, and there was a mischievous gleam in his eyes now. “I might get greedy.”

“Gege can be greedy, this San Lang will give Gege all he has to give,” Hua Cheng promised, and pulled him closer into another kiss. His tongue slid into Xie Lian’s mouth, as Xie Lian moved his hands higher and higher under his shirt.

“San Lang has a very good body,” he said against his lips, and Hua Cheng pulled back only to reach for the hem of the shirt and pull it over his head. Xie Lian’s eyes grew wide, and then his gaze dipped down, roaming over exposed skin. He reached out and splayed his fingers over Hua Cheng’s stomach, and Hua Cheng let out a sigh. Xie Lian moved his hands up, squealing Hua Cheng’s pectorals before leaning forward to start trailing kisses along Hua Cheng’s sternum. 

“Gege aaah,” Hua Cheng moaned, and Xie Lian looked up under his long lashes. 

“Does that feel nice?” he asked, leaving forward to do it again. It took everything for Hua Cheng not to buck up into him as another moan pushed itself from his lungs. How could he not? Xie Lian looked so good there, kissing his way over his chest. “I’ve never done any of this before, so I want to know what San Lang enjoys.”
“Has no one- mmh,” Hua Cheng moaned again, as Xie Lian licked over a nipple. That was so good, too good. “No one touched Gege like this?”

“No,” Xie Lian said, licking over Hua Cheng’s nipple again before pushing up to Hua Cheng’s lips. “I want San Lang to- I want San Lang to touch me too.”

“Oh fuck,” Hua Cheng moaned, and surged forward to claim Xie Lian’s lips. Xie Lian moaned too, their hips rolling together. Hua Cheng felt hot all over from such a request, and his hands moved under Xie Lian’s shirt, eager to grant such a request. Xie Lian raised his arms, and the shirt came easily off. Hua Cheng was now confronted with Xie Lian’s bare chest, and couldn’t help but reach out and run his hand over it. Xie Lian whimpered, and then gasped, as Hua Cheng’s thumbs caressed over his nipples.

“Does it feel good, Gege?” he asked, and Xie Lian whined and nodded. “Gege has to tell me what he likes and doesn’t like.”

“I-I like when San Lang touches me,” Xie Lian said, his eyes dark as he met Hua Cheng’s. “I like the feeling of- of knowing San Lang finds me attractive in this way.” As he said it he rolled his hips down on Hua Cheng’s clothed cock as if to point out what he meant, and Hua Cheng let out a long groan, his hips bucking up as he claimed Xie Lian’s lips again. 

“Would Gege like to lie down?” Hua Cheng asked, and Xie Lian nodded, his hands wandering down Hua Cheng’s back. Hua Cheng gripped him tighter, and then laid himself down on the couch with Xie Lian on top. They continued to kiss, hands exploring bare skin and dipping below waistbands. Their hips ground together, and Hua Cheng wondered if he had ever been harder in his life. He moved his hand between them as he guided Xie Lian’ to kneel over his hips, pressing the heel of his hand down on his erection. Xie Lian let out a loud moan, his face tipping down into Hua Cheng’s neck.

“Can I take Gege’s pants off?” he asked, continuing to move his hands over the bulge. “I want to make Gege feel so good.

“Y-yes San Lang,” Xie Lian moaned, nodding against his skin. Hua Cheng smiled, and then moved both his hands to the fastening of Xie Lian’s jeans to unbutton them. “Mmh.”

“Underwear too?” Hua Cheng asked, and Xie Lian nodded again, reaching down to help in pulling them down. There was a bit of a shuffle, but then Xie Lian was kneeling over his hips again, fully bare this time. His cheeks were flushed deep red, spilling down his chest. Hua Cheng looked down over his body, and bit down on his lower lip at the sight of Xie LIan’s cock, hanging heavily between his legs. It was flushed, hard and with precome beading at the tip. Hua Cheng moved his hand down, as he looked up to meet Xie Lian’s gaze. “Gege is so beautiful,” he said, and Xie Lian let out an embarrassed groan, before he buried his face in Hua Cheng’s neck. His breath was warm against Hua Cheng’s skin, making it prickle. 

“San Lan- oh!” he gasped, as Hua Cheng’s fingers caressed over his hard erection. “Oh, oh,” he continued, as Hua Cheng’s fingers trailed down and up, only to wrap around the base. “Haaa.”

He buried his face deeper into Hua Cheng’s neck, lips pressing against his pulse point. Hua Cheng stroked him slowly, adoring each and every twitch of hips and gasp of breath. He increased the pace, and Xie Lian whimpered, the kisses on his neck turning to bites and sucks. Xie Lian’s hands were on his shoulders, digging into the skin as his moans grew louder. Hua Cheng loved being able to make him feel like this, to have him in his arms as he was pleasured. 

“Gege feels so good in my hand,” Hua Cheng said, and Xie Lian whimpered again, gripping him tighter. “Does it feel good?”

“Mmh, yes,” Xie Lian moaned, and then his hand was moving down Hua Cheng’s chest, fingers trembling. “San Lang I- I want you to- to feel mmmh, good too.”

“Gege,” Hua Cheng moaned, and Xie Lian pushed up from his neck as his hands reached the fastening of Hua Cheng’s pants. “You sure?”

“Yes, I want to be close to San Lang,” he said, starting to open his pants. “I want us to feel it together.” 

Hua Cheng pulled him down for another kiss, and then they both helped in removing Hua Cheng’s pants. They landed on the floor along with the other clothes, and then they cramped in on the small couch, facing each other. Hua Cheng lined their erections up, and then he wrapped his hand around them and started to stroke.

“Ah San Lang!” Xie Lian moaned, and Hua Cheng felt pleasure rush up his spine, his free hand curling into Xie Lian’s hair.

“Gege, gege aaaah,” he moaned, their lips pressed together as they shared breath. He felt Xie Lian start to roll his hips into his grip, and it was so hot. “Yes, Gege, just like that.”

“Is it good mm, good for San Lang too?” Xie Lian asked, and Hua Cheng nodded, moving his hand faster. He was going to come so early. Xie Lian was just too hot.

“So good Gege, it feels amazing,” he moaned, and he felt Xie Lian smile against his lips, his hips moving even faster.

They laid like that, mouths pressed together as they shared breaths more than kissed, their moans rising as their pleasure grew. Xie Lian’s fingers were tangled in Hua Cheng’s hair, and he was the most beautiful person Hua Cheng had ever seen. He couldn’t believe he could have this, that he had been given the permission to see this. 

“San Lang I’m- close, close,” Xie Lian gasped, and Hua Cheng nodded. He was too.

“Come Gege, I want to see it,” he said, and Xie Lian whimpered, his hips moving even faster. Hua Cheng increased the pace of his hand too, and then he felt Xie Lian’s pace falter as he tensed, his mouth opening on a silent scream as he came over Hua Cheng’s hand and cock. Hua Cheng groaned, the slide so good. He bucked his hips into his fist which still held them both, and then he was coming too, spurting even more come over the both of them. 

“San Lang,” Xie Lian gasped, and Hua Cheng groaned, his body still twitching from the pleasure of his orgasm. He felt Xie Lian’s lips on his, and he opened up easily, his heart racing as their tongues slid against each other. Their movements slowly stilled, and the kisses grew into sweet pecks, as their smiles grew wider.

“Gege was amazing,” Hua Cheng whispered, smiling as their eyes met. “Thank you.”

“No, San Lang was so good,” Xie Lian said, his eyes gleaming. “I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

“I’m glad I could give Gege pleasure,” Hua Cheng said with a wide grin, and Xie Lian let out a cute squeal, before ducking his head. This seemed to make him aware of the mess between them, the come still sticky on their groins and Hua Cheng’s hand. 

“Ah!” he gasped, and then scrambled off the couch. “I’ll get a towle, I’ll be right back!”

He hurried away towards the bathroom, and Hua Cheng got the absolutely excellent view of his ass as he walked away. Wow. How had this become his life?

Xie Lian returned swiftly, and Hua Cheng accepted the towel to clean himself off. In the meantime Xie Lian fidgeted to the side, seeming unsure of what to do. Hua Cheng reached the towle over, and Xie Lian took it and hurried away to place it in the laundry before he returned, looking just as fidgety. 

“Does Gege want to come and lie down again?” he asked, and Xie Lian let out a sigh of relief as he nodded. He smiled, and then laid down next to Hua Cheng on the couch again, cuddling close. Hua Cheng let out a content breath, as he slotted perfectly into his arms. For a moment they simply laid there holding each other, caresses sweet over exposed skin, kisses lingering and unhurried. This, for Hua Cheng, was true bliss.  The sky outside was slowly growing lighter, and they should probably sleep. Then he realised something.

“Gege,” he said, and Xie Lian hummed, blinking his eyes open slowly. “Where is your bed?” He figured that if they were about to fall asleep maybe it would be better to move, since the couch really wasn’t very big, but there was no bed in the room.

“Oh, we’re on it?” he said, looking away with an embarrassed expression. “It’s a fold out.”

“Oh,” Hua Cheng said, a little relieved that at least he didn’t sleep only on the couch. Still, he should have a real bed. 

“Would San Lang prefer to go home? I know it’s not very fancy,” Xie Lian asked, vulnerability written over his face. Hua Cheng met his gaze, and shook his head.

“Never,” he said, and meant it too. It was too much, but he had always done his best to be sincere with Xie Lian. A fold out would be the most comfortable place in the world, if it was shared with Xie Lian.

“San Lang,” Xie Lian said, and pushed up to press their lips together. “My heart does silly things when San Lang says such things.”
“If Gege will permit it,” Hua Cheng continued, holding him closer. “This San Lang wants to stay.”

“I have not been as happy as I have been tonight for so long,” Xie Lian said, his hands coming to splay over Hua Cheng’s chest. Could he feel his heart race under it? “You’ve reminded me how happy you always made me.”

“Xie Lian,” Hua Cheng breathed, his heart feeling so full. Xie Lian smiled so joyously, and it made Hua Cheng so incredibly happy.

“Stay, San Lang?” he asked, and Hua Cheng nodded. As if he would ever leave his side, if he was allowed to be beside him.

“Yes,” he agreed, and kissed him again.