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Pay it Forward

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When Shizun told him to accompany a senior disciple from Qiong Ding peak on a brief mission, he hadn’t expected this. The guy was hopeless! He couldn’t even pull out his sword. How was a guy like this supposed to lead his own peak, let alone the entirety of Cang Qiong Mountain Sect?

Liu Qingge doesn’t have the time for this; he’s on the verge of a breakthrough and Shizun knows just how important this period is for a cultivator. Why would he send him on such a pointless mission when he could be training and meditating instead?

If there are innocents in danger, or a mystical beast to defeat, or a demon uprising to quash, Liu Qingge could understand. But all he’s doing is excorting his stupid shixiong to Tian Yi Overlook. Preposterous! He could’ve sent anyone on this mission, but he had to send his head disciple instead!

“Um,” says Stupid Shixiong, breaking the silence (which Liu Qingge had prefered, seeing as small talk was pointless and droll). He flinches back when Liu Qingge whips around, eyes burning with his ire.

“What,” Liu Qingge growls.

His shixiong flinches back, a placating smile on his face as he says, “I’m sorry to interrupt your silence, but - there's… something there. In the trees.”

That gives Liu Qingge pause. He hadn’t noticed anything, but now that he’s made aware of it… indeed, there’s something out there, masking its presence.

It must be strong, if it’s smart enough to know that it ought to hide.

Good. Something to take his anger out on.

With a vicious snarl, Liu qigge stomps toward the faint energy signature, despite the audible protest from his shixiong.

“Liu-Shidi, it’s not actively harming us; if we don’t make it to Tian Yi Overlook in time for the ceremony...”

“It’s been stalking us for how long?” Liu Qingge snaps, brandishing his sword. “It’s best if we dispose of it now, rather than later.”

“I - Shidi - “ his shixiong flusters, though he doesn’t stop him.

They tromp through what feels like an endless stretch of woods, eyes open and ears perked for any sign of threat. But nothing comes. Even with Liu Qingge sending out feelers for any fluctuation in the atmospheric qi, he feels nothing change.

Liu Qingge’s mouth tightens as he finally comes to a stop, hand held aloft to stop his idiot shixiong from continuing. “Something’s not right, Liu Qingge says, voice low and grim.

His shixiong looks a little frazzled as he says, “Perhaps we should return to the path.”

But as they both turn around, they find that their surroundings are… a little too familiar.

“It’s practically a mirror image…” his shixiong says, a frown marring his placid features. Indeed, their path back looks the same as the path forward. 

“Maze array,” Liu Qingge grunts, trying to see if he can find any flaws in the array, any seams they can burst out of. There are none.

“Yes,” his shixiong agrees, shooting a frustrated look in Liu Qingge’s direction - not that Liu Qingge pays it any mind. “It seems that we are.”

“It seems rock solid. We won’t be able to break through the sides; the only way to dispel it is to keep going,” Liu Qingge says, pushing his shixiong aside as he continues forward, albeit at a slightly more cautious pace. There’s a tension in the air as they continue on, but his shixiong doesn’t say anything, and Liu Qingge isn’t one for pursuing pointless conversation. There’s only one thing they can do right now, so it’s not like Liu Qingge is about to put his efforts toward anything else.

They walk a while longer, and as they do, the landscape gets progressively more wild, brambles and vines threading through the underbrush like snakes waiting to strike. Whatever it is, though, surely is no match for Liu Qingge; simply because it can create a maze array means nothing in the face of Cheng Luan and over a decade of intense training under the most powerful cultivator on Cang Qiong.

The trail finally ends when they come to a stop at a clearing. It's nothing more than a wild meadow, no more than a few feet wide in any given direction, but there's something distinctly off about it -- as if some terrible creature could be sitting right in the middle, waiting to ambush them inside.

Liu Qingge has little patience for weak creatures that prefer to hide in the underbrush rather than tackle their prey head-on. Before his shixiong can stop him, he tromps right into the clearing, knowing that surely, whatever it is that’s waiting for him couldn’t possibly surpass Peak Lord Nie’s terrifying might.

But the only thing waiting for them is, well, nothing.

Quite frankly it's maddening. The air around them is oppressive with the smell of demonic energy, but there's nothing in the clearing, not even birdsong. The meadow itself is not that large, but it's certainly large enough to hold some evil secret, some demonic creature that might wish to do them harm. And yet, there's nothing. Not even a telling looseness of the dirt beneath them.

Liu Qingge stares out in the sheer nothingness of the meadow and scoffs, scanning their surroundings for something he can fight. Anything.

“This is ridiculous,” he finally snarls, whipping around to glare at his shixiong. His shixiong, for once, reacts with something other than his usual placid calmness.

"We're here because you could not leave things be," he says, and despite the polite smile on his face, it's clear that he's rather pissed off.

"What am I supposed to do?" Liu Qingge demands, rising to meet the challenge in his shixiong’s voice. "Just let whatever it is take us?”

His shixiong shakes his head, gesturing around them. "There's nothing here. And now we are trapped."

Liu Qingge angrily huffs and continues to kick around the meadow. But there is a truth to what his shixiong is saying. He doesn't want to admit it, but his shixiong is right - there really is nothing here, and if it’s simply just out on a stroll, who knows how long it’ll take to get back? The ceremony at Tian Yi Outlook starts at dawn tomorrow, and already it’s nearing the early evening. No matter which way they look at it, they’ll be late unless something gives.

 With a huff, Liu Qingge kicks a loose white pebble on the ground and scowls a little bit longer - that is, until he realizes that the grit under his feet feels awfully familiar.

Bones. They're bones, crushed to the size of pebbles and powder.

When he glances up at his shixiong he realizes that somehow, in the minutes that they've been here, the oppressive aura has gotten even more thick. Ominous.

If he was not a student of Peak Lord Nie, perhaps he would have been worried. His shixiong clearly looks worried, staring at Liu Qingge with wide, apprehensive eyes, trying to gauge the distance between them and how long it’d take for him to rush into the meadow and fetch Liu Qingge himself. "We need to leave," he says, face pale with the realization of their peril.

"We’re still in the maze array. Where can we go? We might as well stay and fight off whatever it is, before someone gets hurt," Liu Qingge says. “Clearly Tian Yi Sect is not dealing with it.”

His shixiong shakes his head, covering his nose with his sleeve. "No, no, I know this place. It’s the realm of the Thousand-Incense Spirit-Devouring Blossom. We must leave."

Liu Qingge scoffs, but one look at his shixiong is enough to get him to concede, albeit reluctantly. With a scowl, he picks his way through the clearing, back to his shixiong. However, with every passing step, the scent of demonic energy rises, bitter and cloying in its stench. As he approaches the outer ring of the meadow, he feels in his chest a deep, throbbing wrongness, something that hits him so powerfully that he staggers, nearly falling to his knees.

Not once has an enemy ever taken Liu Qingge to his knees, and yet, in this empty meadow, his legs grow weak.

How pathetic.

To think that he was on the verge of a breakthrough. Is he truly so weak that he couldn’t overcome even a few flowers??

With a snarl, he takes another step forward, and as he does, the oppressive atmosphere magnifies a thousandfold, until it becomes physical weight on his body. His chest squeezes tightly for along moment, and in that long moment, Liu Qingge feels something rising from his throat, like some invisible thing is reaching into his guts and pulling it right out.

He coughs, trying to clear the blockage there, and when his fist comes away, it comes away bloody.

"Liu-shidi!" his shixiong cries out, seeing the red on his fist. "What happened?"

Faintly Liu Qingge glances up in a daze, his eyesight a touch slower than it had been a few moments ago. As if suddenly, he had become drunk without realizing it. "I, I am not sure," he says, his voice rough, surprisingly weak even in his own ears. “I think something might be wrong."

He’s nearly out of the meadow, practically within arm’s reach of his shixiong. But it’s too late -

The world teeters, and he falls to the ground.



“Liu-shidi - Liu-shidi, are you alright?”

Liu Qingge vaguely recognizes that as his shixiong’s voice, but it registers strangely in his ears. Like straining to understand someone while under miles of water - distant and blurred to incomprehension.

His body feels strange - hot and uncomfortably heavy; simultaneously prickling with restlessness and too weary to move. His pulse is rapid and weak in his chest, like a rabbit kicking in the maw of a fox, and he can hardly pull together enough focus to stay awake right now, let alone to reach inward and feel along the lines of his meridians. He hadn’t even realized something like that required focus - it had been so long since he’d had to consciously think about circulating his qi that he’d forgotten what it was like to be unable to do it at all.

Everything just - aches in a way that he’s never experienced before, aches to the point of nausea. It’s awful, and that’s saying something, given that Liu Qingge has taken things that most would consider awful and hardly batted an eye.

It takes a long moment before Liu Qingge can gather his thoughts enough to speak, but when he tries, his tongue feels like hot lead in his mouth, his throat bone-dry. It feels like - like something’s stuck, high up in his chest, that needs to come out, if only his crackling throat would cooperate with him.

Looming over him, his shixiong’s hands are big and warm, frantically checking him over for further injuries. Every time they put even the barest pressure on his skin, it - for lack of a better word - rasps, like a cat’s tongue. Unpleasant and just this side of painful, until Liu Qingge’s swimming mind can finally pull itself together enough for him to choke out, “Stop.”

It comes out soft - so soft it’s a wonder his shixiong had been able to hear it at all, but the man immediately stops, pulling his hands away. “Liu-shidi - I think you might be on the verge of a qi deviation,” his shixiong croaks, and absently, Liu Qingge realizes that his hands are shaking. His voice is shaking. “It’s the first mark of the Thousand-Incense Spirit-Devouring Blossom’s poison. There are demonic flowers growing in your organs right now. If we let them take root, you’ll - “

 “Fix it, then,” Liu Qingge manages, slipping his eyes shut as another violent wave of nausea hits him. His stomach lurches like he’d been hit in the solar plexus, and immediately, his shixiong’s hands are on him again, helping him onto his side, gently urging him to give in to his shuddering, heaving gags.

It feels like someone is reaching into his gut, taking a large handful, and squeezing every time he heaves, and through the pain, he somehow manages to roll over onto his elbows and knees. The motion is enough to dislodge the thing in his chest, and when it comes out, it leaves in its wake a thick layer of blood against his tongue. It tastes awful, the metallic stench of blackened blood and flower-petals pervading his senses, but expelling it makes him feel marginally better, so he’ll consider it a win.

“Do you think you can move, Liu-shidi? Tian Yi Sect is about an hour’s flight away - they’ll be able to - “

“No,” Liu Qingge says, gathering saliva on his tongue so he can spit whatever’s left into the little pool of white-flecked blackened blood he’d just expelled. Even such a small action makes his head ache. “We’re still in the maze array, and I can’t move right now. Just help me suppress my qi.”

“I - I can’t,” his shixiong says helplessly. “My meridians aren’t - after the surgery, they haven’t been the same. They’re too unstable. If I try to use my own qi to try and suppress their growth, I might overload your core. You could die.”

Liu Qingge draws in a few ragged breaths, waiting on the pounding in his temples to abate before he attempts to sit up. It doesn’t - it only seems to grow more intense the longer he stays like this, and eventually, begrudgingly, he must lower himself back to the ground. It’s humiliating, yes, to be laid so low, but also, if he’s choosing where he’s lying down, at least he’s not collapsing face-first into his puddle of blood and demon flowers.

The shift sends a wave of nausea through his system, and it takes a while before he can respond, gritting out, “I’m already dying.”

It’s not a comforting thing to say, but Liu Qingge hasn’t exactly been known for being a comforting person. He’s made his peace with that - though it only seems to make his shixiong even more distressed.

“I - I don’t know what I can do -  I don’t know the herbs that might counteract its growth. The only other thing I can think of would be - “ his shixiong cuts himself off, his fear-pale face coloring with embarrassment.

“What?” Liu Qingge asks, and when his shixiong hesitates further, he squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head. “You know what? I don’t care. Do it. I’m not about to die here. Not without a fight,” Liu Qingge says, squeezing his eyes shut, as if focusing on that sensation might help with the itching tremor in his limbs, the prickling burn in his blood. It doesn’t, but it’s better than suffering the full brunt of the nausea from his unfocused vision.

“But Liu-shidi, that’s - “ his shixiong starts, sounding extremely distressed. Like whatever it is he’s got in mind would be more upsetting than simply letting Liu Qingge die.

“If I die here, I will come back as a fierce corpse and murder you,” Liu Qingge says, his voice as much of a growl as it can be between his aching, labored breaths. “If you’re just going to stand there and wait for my meridians to explode, you might as well get a running start.”

His shixiong doesn’t say anything for a long moment, and Liu Qingge thinks he might actually be considering running. But then, he hears the rustle of clothing.

It’s enough to get him to squint open his eyes and glance to the side, where his shixiong is reaching behind himself to undo his belt. He can’t keep his eyes open for long - even squinting, everything’s gone bright and sharp and unpleasant, sending another shock of pain to his throbbing temples. That, in turn, makes his roiling guts protest even further, and Liu Qingge thinks he’d probably prefer dying to another round of dry heaving. 

Besides, it’s enough of a reassurance that he can hear the sound of fabric rustling - at the very least, he knows this useless shixiong isn’t going to abandon him to a violent and humiliating death. It really shouldn’t be as comforting a thought as it is.

“What are you doing?” Liu Qingge rasps, as a pair of gentle hands hold him around his sides, gently maneuvering his prone body a few feet to the right - on top of a layer of fabric, instead of the grass and leaflitter on the ground.

“If we’re going to do this, you might as well be comfortable,” his shixiong says, awkwardly, haltingly. As if hoping he’d be praised, or at the very least, that Liu Qingge might like it. It’s kind of a stupid thing to worry about, given the fact that Liu Qingge had already been lying in the dirt, but he’s not about to waste his breath to say it.

“Liu-shidi, do you… want me to remove your clothes…?” his shixiong asks, voice hesitant as he pulls away, now that Liu Qingge had been set down.

A wave of nausea rolls over him again, and he buries his face into his arm, too choked up to respond. Wordlessly, he waves his hand and figures his shixiong would understand.

Carefully, almost excruciatingly carefully, his shixiong starts to pull apart his belt. Once he’s gently set that aside, he begins to untie the knot of his outermost robe. With every constricting layer peeled off of him, it's easier for Liu Qingge to breathe, and his skin stops feeling quite like it’s on fire. That alone makes it worth it, even if, under normal circumstances, Liu Qingge would be fighting him off with his teeth bared.

It’s a comfort, albeit a small one, that his shixiong doesn’t actually pull anything off. He simply loosens the tight clothing, until all that's left is a body swathed in silk and linen.

It's not until his shixiong starts pulling down his trousers that Liu Qingge thinks to question what he's doing.

“What are you - Why do you need to do this?” he demands. But his voice is weak, faint. Careful not to further aggravate the fire in his bones, the dense pressure in his skull.

“Well,” his shixiong says, haltingly, “it's easier to establish a connection if - you know.”

“A connection? What kind of connection are you -” he bites out, before his body is set ablaze, again, with another shock of pain. If he’ll be honest, though, he prefers it to the implication that his shixiong is going to - 

“You said it was fine,” his shixiong says, quietly, unsurely, “If it's not, we can still - Tian Yi Sect is - “

Liu Qingge shakes his head. “No,” he grits out. “You won’t make it that far. It wouldn't be safe to fly, while I'm - ”

He trails off.

He can hear, just faintly, his shixiong swallowing hard.

“If you're sure,” his shixiong says, still uncertain. “I don't want to. I mean, I would never take advantage of you, or anyone, unless - “

 “Just shut up and get on with it,” Liu Qingge says, trying for snappish and landing quite firmly at exhausted. His consciousness is wavering, a little. Or perhaps it's simply the blackening of his senses that tricks him into thinking that his consciousness wavers.

His blood feels like it’s burning through him, stinging all the way down his limbs, searing through each of his organs. “Just go. Just do it. I don't care.”

And surely, just to be an annoyance, his shixiong, says, “There are other ways - “ 

Do it, ” Liu Qingge snaps, tired of all his wiffle waffling. He can wiffle-waffle all he likes once they’re in the clear. 

“All right,” his shixiong says, cowed. For a brief moment, his shixiong’s hands come off of him. And then, he hears the sound of a vial uncapping, a strong herbal scent wafting through the air. Liu Qingge nearly asks what it’s for - after all, he's hardly injured, unless you count the no doubt considerable damage to his insides, and a little wound salve won’t do shit for that - but then, one broad warm hand settles on the curve of his ass, and he realizes, with a jolt, what salve is for.

“I'll try to make sure it doesn't hurt,” his shixiong says, as if it would be any reassurance.

Liu Qingge shakes his head and grits his teeth. He can feel his cheeks burning at the mortification of being touched like this, even despite the feverish chill that had taken over him. Everything in his body feels cold, except for the heat of his cheeks and the hand on his ass.

He's never been like this before. He's never done this before. The entire concept of dual cultivation had always seemed like an easy way out, and Liu Qingge had never thought to lower himself to such depths, even though his fellow students clamored around campfires, passing around tawdry materials and false cultivation manuals.

The first finger against his hole is gentle, almost ticklish in its curious touch. Regardless, Liu Qingge can’t help but startle like a cat whose tail has been grabbed. “What are you doing?” he demands, before he knows what he's saying.

“I have to loosen you up,” his shixiong says almost guiltily as he pulls his finger away. “Otherwise, you will get hurt.”

Liu Qingge can't help but feel some kind of trepidation, at the prospect of being touched in such a manner. At the prospect of needing to be prepared, as if whatever comes next must surely be some huge ordeal. It’s mortifying, absolutely pathetic, that he might actually be… a little nervous.

After all, he legitimately doesn’t have any frame of reference for this; he's never had quite the inclination to… explore this aspect of his, ah, bodily functions. There had always been more important things to do. He'd always thought his fellow disciples foolish for indulging in such things but now - now, he feels out of his depth, completely caught off guard.

Liu Qingge has no compunctions about the concept of… of intercourse, of course, but he hadn’t exactly imagined himself to be the one held down, the one penetrated. The thought sets his heart beating a little bit faster in -- in something that might be anxiety, something that might be curiosity. It does not sit well with the lurching in the stomach and the feverish trembling in his limbs, but true to form, his shixiong is very careful as he slowly smears the cold, greasy salve across the sensitive furl of Luo Qingge’s... opening.

It's humiliating. Every slight pressure has Liu Qingge twitching, anticipating when his shixiong will simply put it in. But no, his shixiong only rubs his thumb against his hole -- gentle, like he's some kind of creature to be soothed. Like he’s some weak thing that can’t take something as small as a finger.

“Get a move on already,” Liu Qingge snaps, as if his ire might somehow hide the tremor under his skin.

“I'm sorry,” his shixiong says, “I haven't done this before. I just want to be safe.”

Something drops in the pit of Liu Qingge’s gut, and he refuses to call it something like relief. “How would you know to use things like this, then, if you've never - “

“I've never done this with someone else before,” his shixiong clarifies, and it helps a little that Liu Qingge can hear the slight tremor of embarrassment, in his voice.

“Well,” Liu Qingge says, “there’s no point in waiting. You might as well start now.”

“You'll tell me if it hurts?” his shixiong asks, his voice hesitant, even as his slick finger brushes up and down Liu Qingge's hole, pressing in with just the slightest bit of pressure. He’s so hyper-conscious of it, it’s like his body’s forgotten the pain curling in his guts, the pain crawling up and down his veins.

“It's a finger. What could it do?” Liu Qingge asks, a little bit of ire in his voice, because the longer they draw this out, the longer, he's set to feel the distinct and awful discomfort of being vulnerable, of being prone and laid bare. At his shixiong’s mercy. “If you don't hurry it up, then I’ll just do it myself!”

His shixiong frowns, and with the glint of determination in his eyes, he traces the rim of Liu Qingge’s hole once more, almost decisively. Liu Qingge can help the way his body squeezes, just a little, in anticipation, and then finally -

Slowly, carefully, his shixiong pushes a finger in.

Strange is not quite the word for it. The stretch of it doesn’t hurt, even if it's clear that his body protests even just this slight intrusion. It just feels - odd. Just this side of uncomfortable. Ultimately bearable, though it does beg the question of why people would want to do this. Why his shixiong would want to do this. Not that Liu Qingge cares - after this, he doubts he’ll ever have cause to engage in such an act again.

Liu Qingge says, “All right, it's fine. You can put in another.”

His shixiong shakes his head and says, “No, let me. There's something in there that makes it feel a little bit better. Or at least, a little less weird.”

Liu Qingge grits his teeth and growls, “We're not here to have a picnic in the meadow. Hurry it up so that we can get out of here.”

His shixiong sighs and shakes his head. In a rare fit of steeled nerves, he ignores Liu Qingge’s pithy protests and continues on, rubbing his finger along the inside walls of Liu Qingge’s body.

His finger catches on - on something, something intense, something that makes him jolt like he’s been taken off guard, like he’s been tugged off-kilter somehow. And yet...

Liu Qingge’s body flares up with a thick and choking heat. It’s not quite the same prickling sting of embarrassment, but rather… something different. Something that he can’t quite put his name on.

His shixiong feels around a little bit longer, glancing against - against that thing again, and making Liu Qingge jolt again with sensitivity. “What is that?” Liu Qingge demands, his breath grown ragged with just a touch.

“Oh,” his shixiong says, his voice carefully mild, even though Liu Qingge is sure he must be laughing at him. “Did I find it? How did that feel?”

“Don’t ask me useless questions,” Liu Qingge growls, burying his face into his arms. “Stop playing around and hurry it up.”

His shixiong hums, soft and considering, before finally, he slowly draws his finger out - only to push it back in again.

Liu Qingge can't stop the way his breath comes out sharp, comes out strangled, like he’d been thrown and he'd fallen just a little bit wrong. Liu Qingge knows that dual cultivation involves, ah, certain activities, but it had been a faraway thought until now. He hadn't expected the prickling hyper-awareness of eyes on his body, the acute agony of feeling so vulnerable as his body stretches around each of his shixiong’s knuckles.

His shixiong had only undressed him as much as was strictly necessary, and yet, he feels exposed and helpless, limbs leaden and weak from more than just the qi thrashing in his spiritual veins. It’s - he’s never felt so embarrassed in his life, squirming as he does under the touch of a single finger. Before he can think of how it must look, he spreads his legs a little bit wider, making it easier for his shixiong to press his finger in and out.

Gently, like he's trying to calm a nervous horse, his shixiong rubs Liu Qingges flank with his other hand, as if that would do anything to soothe the -- the strange sensation of something sliding in and out of him, brushing against that intense, jolting thing inside of him. Fucking him. 

“What are you doing?” Liu Qingge chokes out, his voice sounding weak, even in his own ears. There’s a strange feeling simmering in his gut, something like the flutter of nervousness, but not quite. “That's - that’s not necessary.”

“I want it to feel alright,” his shixiong says. “I don't want you to come out of this feeling wronged.”

Liu Qingge huffs, even though he buries his face even further into his arms. “You don't have to worry about me. I'll hold no grudge against you.”

“That's not it,” his shixiong says, as he moves his finger in and out, maddeningly slowly. “I just want to do a good job.”

Liu Qingge supposes he could understand the impulse, but he doesn’t quite have the mental capacity to care, not when his body is trembling and weak, not when his veins itch and his limbs feel like they hardly belong to him.

It takes a moment, before Liu Qingge registers it - the faint, building heat in his chest, the fluttering sensation in his gut, the startling twitch of his body: it’s… pleasure. Of a carnal sort.

He hadn’t - it’s so different from the pleasure of a good meal, of a hot bath, of a goal accomplished that he hadn’t quite recognized it. But it’s clearly - it’s clearly that. It must certainly be that, if the state of his cock is anything to go off of.

Somehow, the fact that he’s - that he’s enjoying it is even worse than the fact that he’s on his hands and knees, panting and groaning over just a finger.

His shixiong curls his finger against that thing, the thing he’d been glancing at with every push in and out, and Liu Qingge’s breath comes out in a harsh gasp, his hips twitching like it can’t decide whether to arch closer or to squirm away. And then, for a few agonizing seconds, his shixiong takes the time to rub against that thing, like he enjoyed watching Liu Qingge twitch and gasp and squirm. 

Liu Qingge nearly snaps at him to stop, but he can hardly get his thoughts together long enough to actually form words. Every time he tries, all that comes out are these - these mortifying, mindless sounds.

It’s definitely amusement in his voice, as his shixiong finally relents, asking, “Do you think that maybe you could take two?”

Liu Qingge doesn't dignify that with an answer. Not immediately, at least. He’s not sure if he can, not when the sensation of it still echoes through his body, rendering everything all fuzzy at the edges, like the heat-haze of a summer day.

When Liu Qingge doesn’t immediately respond, his shixiong goes back to gently fucking him with the one finger, content to take things at his own pace.

“What are you doing?” Liu Qingge finally asks, voice ragged, unsteady as he tries to get his words together. “I, I told you to hurry it up.”

“Well,” his shixiong says, almost conversationally, “I asked you if you'd like another and you haven't said anything.”

“Just put it in,” Liu Qingge growls. “I don't have time for this.”

And so, he puts it in. Somehow, mortifyingly, Liu Qingge realizes, in the time it takes for his brain to register the sting of the stretch, the sharp and curious heat of his body shifting to accommodate this new thing inside of him, that he likes it. In all this time he hadn’t touched himself, and yet, his cock is so hard between his legs that it aches.

It's mortifying.

With two fingers, now, his shixiong moves in a way that pulls shocked, almost sobbing sounds from Liu Qingge.

“Now, does this feel alright?” asks his shixiong, fluttering his fingers inside Liu Qingge’s body until Liu Qingge grows restless and impatient under his attention.

“What do you think?” Liu Qingge grits out as he shifts again, trying to find some form of relief under his shixiong’s attentions. Mostly, all he accomplishes is to bury his face deeper between his arms, even as he spreads his legs a little further. Almost welcoming.

His shixiong laughs a little bit, quietly. Not unkindly. “As long as you're doing alright,” he says, voice earnest.

“I don't need to be alright. You don't have to do all this,” Liu Qingge says, once he realizes that his shixiong must be doing all this simply because he thinks Liu Qingge likes it.

“I don't,” his shixiong admits, “but I would rather you feel good. It makes me feel better knowing that you’re enjoying yourself.”

“Ridiculous,” Liu Qingge bites out. 

His shixiong hums noncommittally, fluttering his two fingers against that thing inside of Liu Qingge that makes him see sparks, that makes him exhale, a long, shuddering breath. 

 It's a distinctly unpleasant feeling - unpleasant in the fact that it is not, in fact, unpleasant. Liu Qingge doesn't understand, can't seem to wrap his head around why anyone would enjoy feeling so unhinged, so untethered, so powerless against the force of his own body. He’s so hard he can hardly think, vulnerable and mindless and animal in his pleasure, and would it not be absolutely mortifying to touch himself in front of someone else, he’d probably have a hand around his cock already, urging his body to be done with it so that he might have some semblance of relief.

With every pointed pass of his shixiong’s two fingers, he feels himself opening up more and more like a pit dug into the sand, crumbling further and further with each coming tide. He’s never been this intensely aware of his body before, and he’d spent the past two decades of his life learning his body, testing the limits of each and every pound of flesh hanging off his bones.

But now - now, he can't stop trembling, can’t master his body in the way he’d sought to since he was young. The force of each lightning-sweet sting of pleasure renders him weak, hungry for more - desperate for more, and it’s such a foreign feeling Liu Qingge can’t help but want it to stop, if only for a few minutes, so that he can collect himself.

“Hurry it up,” Liu Qingge says, feeling that half-familiar heat worrying at his edges.

He hasn't touched himself in years. What need would he have to touch himself when there was always so much more to do? It's easier to simply meditate it away or hop into a cold bath, so that he could get started with morning training. He's never luxuriated in the exploration of his body like this before. But now that he’s here, he almost regrets that decision, regrets not learning how to keep himself together under such torture.

“Do you think you can handle three?” asks his shixiong, a smile clear in his voice as he fucks Liu Qingge until he twitches and squirms, until he drips onto the steel-gray silk below.

Liu Qingge would snarl at him, if he had any power in his body to snarl. Instead he's this weak, toothless creature thrashing about, hungry for something that he knows will be his destruction.

“Just do it,” Liu Qingge grits out, legs spreading obscenely wide as a third finger penetrates him. It’s big. The stretch is more than he had expected, even on his shixiong’s delicate hands. It doesn't hurt, not necessarily, but there's a distinct sharpness in the heat of it, in the way his body clings to, the way it stretches around the intrusion. It feels full, and somehow, Liu Qingge is of the impression that for all that this body is not made for this, it is a good fullness. One that he hadn't realized needed filling until this very moment.

His shixiong brushes his fingers against that thing again, the thing that makes Liu Qingge cry out, his entire body jerking. It's mortifying, to feel the way his cock twitches and drips onto the silk robe beneath him, to feel the heat searing through him from his core out. Each panting breath comes out tinged, with a soft moan, a helpless groan, body kicking and squirming like an animal in its final moments.

He can no longer cling to the sensation of nausea and pain his meridians, clinging instead to the sensation of a body within him, of the wash of pleasure casting over his pain, of the warmth of that slight thread of spiritual energy emanating from his shixiong’s fingers.

His meridians lay in hungry anticipation, waiting to drink in anything his shixiong will give him like parched soil drinking in the rain.

“I'm, I'm ready,” Liu Qingge says his voice coming out quiet, quieter than he thought he could ever sound. Quieter, even, than the sound of his moans echoing in the empty chasm of the clearing.

“Are you sure?” asks his shixiong, pointedly scissoring his fingers inside of Liu Qingge, stretching him out more than he needs to.

“Just put it in,” Liu Qingge grits out, trying to ignore the way heat bubbles in his gut, trying to ignore that hungry, ravenous anticipation building inside of him.

“Alright. Alright,” his shixiong says, slowly, carefully withdrawing his fingers. “If it hurts, you need to tell me, okay, Liu-Shidi?”

Liu Qingge snorts. He'd roll his eyes if he could, but at the moment, he's a little distracted. Behind him, he hears the sound of his shixiong undressing. The slow, careful slide of silk on silk as knots are picked apart as robes are pulled aside. He doesn't look back to see how far his shixiong has undressed. It would be too much, Liu Qingge thinks, to look back at his shixiong in such a manner.

It feels like ages before finally, his shixiong’s hands are back on him, the now-familiar brush of his silk sleeves against him gone. Unimpeded, one hand sets out to steady him at the hip while the other -

Liu Qingge is half aware of what his shixiong might be doing, as he hears the quiet, wet sounds of his shixiong touching himself.

And then he feels it, the broad blunt thing at the edge of his hole - just touching. Not pushing in just yet.

“Well?” Liu Qingge asks, swallowing down his trepidation, his hunger. “What are you waiting for?”

“You should relax a little bit, Liu-shidi,” his shixiong says quietly. “I don't want this to hurt.”

“Yeah, well,” Liu Qingge grits out. “It doesn't matter either which way. If you don’t put it in now, it’ll hurt a lot more later.”

His shixiong’s breath hitches. And then, with a resigned sigh, he asks, “Can I take your hair down, at least?”

Before Liu Qingge can even turn back to glare at him, there are already hands in his hair. “Fine. Whatever. Hurry it up,” Liu Qingge growls, determined not to luxuriate in the sweet touch of fingers in his scalp. At the very least, he can master himself to this extent.

“Thank you,” his shixiong murmurs, fiddling with Liu Qingges hair a little longer. “You’ve got - you’ve got pretty hair,” he adds, as if Liu Qingge needed reminding. “Beautiful, actually.” His shixiong’s voice is so soft as he arranges Liu Qingge’s hair in a way that he likes, before finally simply letting it fall around Liu Qingge’s shoulders.

“Are you ready?” asks his shixiong, gently petting down the length of Liu Qingge’s back, smoothing down what inky blackness lingers between his shoulderblades.

“I've been ready,” Liu Qingge gruffs, as if he isn’t hyper-aware of the blunt thing pressing against his hole. “If you keep going like this, I might deviate before you put it in.”

“Alright,” says his shixiong, his tone almost indulgent. “Alright. Whatever you want, Shidi.”

And then he pushes in. It’s big. It’s really fucking big. Liu Qingge almost has half a mind to look back to see what kind of thing is currently forcing its way inside of him. But it'd be too much; already, just focusing on the thing inside of him, stretching him out, is more than he can handle. The sensation of his shixiong forcing his way in prickles in his veins - something like pleasure, something like pain.

He can't help the way his breath is pushed out of them, as if his shixiong’s cock is big enough to reach into his chest and nudge at his diaphragm. It almost feels that way. It feels like he should have asked to be fingered longer, like he should have been asked to be treated like a soft touch. But he is a disciple of Bai Zhan Peak - he refuses to cave to something so small, even if it feels enormous inside of him.

“Relax,” says his shixiong, trembling atop him. “You're really tight.”

His voice is so quiet, strange as Liu Qingge feels his pelvis bumping against Liu Qingge’s.

“Yeah, well you try taking something like this,” Liu Qingge manages to grumble, and somehow, that is what makes his shixiong laugh. That is what makes his shixiong curl over him until he can feel the whisp of his hair against his skin, drawing goosebumps along its path.

“Alright, I'm going to try and push my spiritual energy in,” his shixiong says, “Hold still, okay?”

 Liu Qingge grits his teeth and nods. When the first jolt of spiritual energy enters him, however, Liu Qingge can't help but jerk in his shixiong’s arms, the sudden flare of intensity shocking him to the core.

Above him, his shixiong makes a soft, faltering groan, his own hips stuttering helplessly in. “Sorry - sorry, I just - “ his shixiong breathes out, his voice trembling. “It’s hard to stay still.”

“Don’t - Don’t bother,” Liu Qingge chokes out, burying his face in his arms as his body adjusts to the thing inside of him, as his core soaks in the stream of qi coming into him in gentle waves. “Do whatever you want. I can take it.”

It feels - between the weight of his shixiong’s body and the unsubtle shift of his hips with every pulse of qi, Liu Qingge can hardly think. Being held open like this feels - it’s strange, in an altogether… not unpleasant way.

Somehow, at the back of his mind, Liu Qingge can’t help but think that if his shixiong were to move, to brush against that thing the way he had with his fingers…

Above him, his shixiong shudders, dropping his weight more bodily onto Liu Qingge’s, crushing Liu Qingge to the ground as his head falls into the cradle of Liu Qingge’s shoulderblades. “Don’t - don’t squeeze like that,” his shixiong pleads, his breath coming out wet and ragged and sweet. “I can’t - I won’t be able to - “

His body trembles against Liu Qingge’s, hands digging into the robes beneath him like he’s trying not to take it out on Liu Qingge.

“Just do it,” Liu Qingge growls. “You think I can’t take it?”

“You shouldn’t have to,” his shixiong manages, breathless as he trembles with the effort of staying still. Of being the noble, kind creature he imagines himself to be. “I - I’m your shixiong. I couldn’t possibly take advantage of - “

Liu Qingge is so sick of his bullshit that he resolutely decides to roll his hips up. Above him, his shixiong jolts, a soft, pathetic ah dropping from his lips, even as his hips grind down into Liu Qingge’s body. It doesn’t take much more of this, before his shixiong finally drops his pretenses and fucks into Liu Qingge in earnest.

It's almost humiliating, how good it feels - the near-painful stretch of his body around his shixiong's thick cock, the weight of him pressing down on Liu Qingge, the way their frantic movements drag his cock against the thin silk barrier keeping him from the rough, unyielding ground.

For all that Liu Qingge had said he could take it… he’s never - he's never felt like this before, like his body is some separate, thrashing creature out of his control. If he’d thought before that he had no control over himself, it’s nothing compared to the thing he is now, speared open on his shixiong’s cock. Every drag of it as it fucks in and out of his body has him panting and moaning, body helplessly clutching around that huge thing inside him, made bigger still by the sensation of qi flowing through him.

For a disciple of Peak Lord Nie, it was shameful to partake in such mindless self-indulgence. But how could his shizun ever prepare him for something like this? How could he expect to master himself when he's being pried apart, filled with a relief so aching he could nearly cry?

Liu Qingge finds himself gasping as he sinks into the feeling of his shixiong's qi washing over him, flowing through his meridians with the same steadiness of the tides. It comes in pulses, throbbing in his meridians to the tune of his heartbeat, somehow energizing him even his body goes lax and easy in some animal attempt to accommodate his shixiong’s cock as it pounds into him. It’s good - it feels good, and as his shixiong loses sight of his own self-discipline, rolling his hips into Liu Qingge’s until their bodies come together with an obscene slap of skin on skin, Liu Qingge can’t help but lose himself, as well.

“Ah,” his shixiong whines, grinding his forehead into Liu Qingge’s back. “ Ah, I’m - I’m close - Xiao-Jiu, I’m so close, please, can I - “

Liu Qingge throbs, cock dripping as qi begins to flood into him, so much he can hardly hold it all in. His insides light up like the morning sun over the peaks, a swift and sudden heat burning through the hazy mist, blessing his body with a warmth so soothing he can’t help but let go. 

All at once, everything goes still, his body pulling taut as his shixiong’s orgasm flows through him, pulling him under as if it was his own. He can’t help the way his fingers and toes dig furrows into the robe below him and the dirt below that in some animal instinct to keep himself grounded as he spills and spills and spills onto the smooth silk.

It feels like ages before he’s back to himself, before he can get a handle on the jarringly sudden quiet within his body. Vaguely, he’s aware of his shixiong’s cock still buried deep inside him, but even the slight shocks of oversensitivity are drowned out by the sheer and utter relief flowing through him.

It’s a few long, lingering seconds of this, before his shixiong finally pulls away, an awkwardness come over him like a pall as he hovers and frets over Liu Qingge’s still-prone body. “L-Liu-shidi, are you - how are you feeling?” his shixiong chokes out, hands touching down over Liu Qingge’s body like a dragonfly flitting from lilypad to lilypad, too scared to linger in one place for too long.

If Liu Qingge were more shameless, perhaps he would’ve asked his shixiong to lay on top of him again, to hold him down until the uncommon impulse to linger and luxuriate leaves him. Instead, he turns over, cringing a little as he finally registers the cum dripping out of him.

“I’m fine,” he says, quietly, a similar awkwardness taking him, as well, now that he’s facing his shixiong. “Thank you.”

“I - there’s no need,” his shixiong says quietly, unable to look Liu Qingge in the eye as he tucks himself back into his trousers. And then, as if taken by some spirit, he suddenly bursts into action, digging through his things for his waterskin and a handkerchief.  “Here, let me - “

And then, there’s a cold, wet cloth against his skin, wiping at his - 

“I can do it,” Liu Qingge snaps, a flush of humiliation taking over him as he slaps his shixiong’s hand away. His shixiong pulls back as if burned, guilt and anxiousness clear on his face as he busies himself with pulling his robes back on. Pointedly, he does not watch as Liu Qingge cleans himself up as best he can with just the handkerchief.

They dress in mortified silence, and when they’re both done, his shixiong gingerly pulls the robe from off the ground, shaking dirt and leaflitter off of it before frowning down at it, like he’s not sure whether he even wants to keep it.

In the end, he shoves it in his qiankun pouch to deal with later.

Before the awkward atmosphere can get any worse, Liu Qingge growls, “Well - let’s get a move on, then.” And that’s that.

Of course, for all that he says that… they’re still stuck in the maze array. But as long as they don’t take step inside the ring of flowers, they should be more or less safe. 

It’s not until they circle the meadow twice that his shixiong slaps his forehead and says, “The bones. They’re what’s making up the maze array. That’s why it’s so powerful. If we can clear out the bones, it should be gone for good.

Given everything they’ve gone through, it seems like a paltry solution to their problem, but dutifully, Liu Qingge pulls out Cheng Luan, slashing toward the ground with enough force to cut the earth with the sheer force of his qi.

Immediately, the lingering sensation of demonic qi dissipates, the maze illusion crumbling all around them. For all that it’s a little bit hidden, Liu Qingge can now just pick out the path forward.

With a grunt, he gestures toward it and tromps off ahead.


They walk in complete silence toward Tian Yi Sect, and it’s not until the sun dips under the horizon, that they finally make it to the steps leading up to the overlook, atop which Tian Yi Sect’s fortress sits.

Before Liu Qingge can lose his nerve, he feels honor-bound to get his shixiong’s attention, “Hey. Wait.”

“Hm?” his shixiong asks, pausing on the steps. It takes a second, before his shixiong’s usual polite smile is plastered on his face, hiding the guilt and shame that’d taken over him and compelled him to silence the moment they left the forest.

“You saved me back there,” Liu Qingge says, halting and uncomfortable. It’s not as if he particularly regrets what happened back there - simply the fact of being indebted to someone makes him uncomfortable. “I appreciate it.”

His shixiong’s shoulders relax a fraction, his smile growing a touch more genuine as he says, “Think nothing of it. Of course I would help you; I couldn’t just leave you there.”

“Mn,” Liu Qingge hums, hardly caring enough to grace such platitudes with a response. After all, there’s something more important he must ask -

“Hey, what’s your name again?”

His shixiong’s smile freezes on his face, and stiffly, he says, “It’s Yue Qi.”