Yibo fell on set last week—slipped in the water and came down hard on a rock. Nothing he hasn’t done in dance practice a hundred times or more. He was mostly embarrassed at the time—he’d bled on his pristine robes and there’d been some hasty costume adjustments to hide the stains.
He can feel it now: a sharp, bright point of pain where his knee presses against the hard bathroom room floor, the perfect counter to the feeling of Xiao Zhan's cock, hard and leaking in his mouth.
Yibo wants to take this slow. He wants to run his tongue over Xiao Zhan's cock from root to tip, again and again—to, wind him up until he's begging for it, until he no longer has any words left to beg with. He wants to bite at the sharp jut of his hip bones, to suck dark marks into the tender skin of his thighs until all he can do is whimper, desperate and broken, as Yibo finally takes him into his mouth.
They don't have time for slow. Yibo needs to be in the hotel lobby in ten minutes. He needs to be on a plane to Changsha not long after that. They don't have time to go slow, so he sucks Xiao Zhan off hard and fast, dizzy with the choked-off sounds Xiao Zhan makes as he spills into Yibo's mouth.
He barely has time to swallow before Xiao Zhan has pulled him to his feet and into a kiss. The kiss is messy and frantic, like he's chasing the taste of himself in Yibo's mouth, but his hand on Yibo's cock is firm and confident. Always the fast learner, Xiao Zhan knows exactly what it takes to bring Yibo with him over the edge.
Xiao Zhan kisses him afterwards, deep and slow. And then kisses him again at the door. It's nothing—a barely-there brush of lips against his cheek, a murmured, "I'll see you in a couple days"—but Yibo can't stop thinking about it, can't stop touching his cheek, chasing the phantom feeling of Xiao Zhan's breath against his skin.
Yibo doesn't do this.
He knows actors sometimes hook up on projects; he’s seen it. The friendly one-night-stands. The casual flings that flare out as quickly as they began. The fraught hook-ups that can throw off the balance of an entire set. Occasionally, even, something more serious that might last a couple months or years past the end of a project.
But he’s never much gone in for that sort of thing. Never felt it was worth the risk to his work or reputation.
He's beginning to think there's nothing he wouldn't risk for Xiao Zhan.
Xiao Zhan's hands are on Yibo the moment his hotel room door closes behind them, tearing at his clothes as he drags Yibo towards the bed.
"Two more days of this," he says, shoving Yibo's hoodie off. "Who thought this was a good idea?" His words are muffled by his t-shirt as he pulls it off over his head. Yibo thinks he hears a seam tear but he can't bring himself to care. He's too busy fighting with his own shirt, and then both their pants, rushing to peel away every layer of fabric between them.
Yibo wants to make this fast. He wants Xiao Zhan to hold him down and fuck his mouth, make him choke on it, abuse his mouth until he can't even think, make it so he'll feel it all day tomorrow, hear the scratch of it in his voice every time he speaks.
They don't have time for fast. They're both going to be on the Produce 101 set all day again tomorrow, pretending not to know each other at all on stage, and to be only casually friendly coworkers behind the scenes. They're fitting in a lot of filming in only a couple days before they both fly back to Hengdian. Yibo can't risk ruining his voice and throwing off his schedule by even half an hour, let alone a full day.
When they're finally both naked, Xiao Zhan grabs Yibo's hand and they stumble together across the room. The room is dim, only lit by one lamp left on all day, but even in the grey half-light Xiao Zhan is beautiful. Yibo has never wanted anything in the world as much as he wants Xiao Zhan right now.
And so, when Xiao Zhan goes to pull him onto the bed, he instead drops down to his knees. "Please," he says, when Xiao Zhan tries to pull him back up. "Let me. Please"
There must be something in his eyes, or the tone of his voice, because instead of pushing back like he usually would, Xiao Zhan just nods. "Okay," he says.
They're still holding hands. Neither one of them tries to let go.
Yibo kisses Xiao Zhan's stomach first, and then lower, lips following the trail of dark hair that leads to his cock. YIbo slides lower first, buries his face in the crook of Xiao Zhan's thigh, breathes in the heady now-familiar scent of his arousal. Then he licks a long stripe up the underside of Xiao Zhan's cock and gently takes him into his mouth. Xiao Zhan gasps and bucks up into it, and Yibo pushes him back down. He keeps his mouth gentle. Shallow. Draws Xiao Zhan's pleasure out with slow, methodical purpose.
When he feels Xiao Zhan getting close, he pulls back. "Like this," he says, bringing their still-joined hands to Xiao Zhan's cock. It only takes a handful of strokes, before Xiao Zhan is coming, filthy and beautiful, across Yibo's face.
Afterwards, he can't look at Xiao Zhan. He feels too raw—too exposed. He tries to turn away, to look for something to wipe his face with, but Xiao Zhan catches his hand.
He rubs his thumb across Yibo's cheek and brings it to his mouth. Licks it clean. It's the same place Xiao Zhan kissed him before he left Hengdian. Another barely-there touch that Yibo feels down to his bones.
"Okay," Xiao Zhan says, like he's answering a question. "Okay."
Just because Yibo has never done this before, doesn't mean he doesn't know how it works. It's right there in the name. He's seen actors try to keep an on-set romance alive past the end of filming, but he's never seen them succeed.
Their careers brought them together, and now that filming has ended it will be their careers that keep them apart. Contracts they've already signed. Commitments they've already made.
Two weeks ago, Yibo got on a plane for Changsha and Xiao Zhan got on a plane for Beijing, and their perfect summer was over. Xiao Zhan still messages him on Wechat at all hours, and they talk on the phone when they can. But they didn't make any promises to each other before parting, and already Yibo can feel Xiao Zhan slipping through his fingers.
Their opportunities to even be in the same place at the same time will be rare until Chen Qing Ling airs and the inevitable promo tour begins. Nobody knows yet when that will be. This business is unpredictable; shows Yibo filmed ages ago are still waiting to air.
Yibo wants to do this forever. He wants to wake up with Xiao Zhan in the morning, and fall asleep next to him at night. Sometimes, late at night, he lies awake imagining what their shared home might look like. Is Xiao Zhan messy or neat? Yibo rarely uses his own kitchen, but he knows Xiao Zhan knows how to cook. What would it be like to stay in and have dinner together? Yibo has always loved the freedom his career allows him, never minded not having someplace that really feels like home. But in this, as in so many things, Xiao Zhan upends everything YIbo thought he knew about himself.
Yibo wants to do this forever, but he knows he's living on borrowed time. This, today, might be the last time he gets to have Xiao Zhan like this. They're hurtling toward their inevitable end. Stil, Yibo is going to hang on to this feeling for as long as he can.
Filming ran late today, but he has the next two days off: a rare, unexpected break his team somehow managed to fit into his schedule without him even asking. He doesn't remember mentioning it to Xiao Zhan, but he must have. There can be no other reason for him to have opened his door at ten o'clock on a Wednesday night to find Xiao Zhan waiting for him on the other side.
Later, he'll take Xiao Zhan to his bed. Maybe Xiao Zhan will fuck him. They've never—Yibo has never—
Maybe later he'll ask for that. He thinks Xiao Zhan might want that too. But right now there's no place he'd rather be than here, on his knees, with Xiao Zhan's hand in his hair and his cock in his throat. Xiao Zhan's thrusts are slow—perhaps he wants to savour this as well—but they're deep. The head of Xiao Zhan's cock presses against the back of Yibo's throat with every thrust—just at the edge of what Yibo can take without choking. So deep and slow that every thrust cuts off Yibo's breath, then leaves him gasping and empty, begging for more.
Like this, it feels like there's nothing separating them, no place where Yibo ends and Xiao Zhan begins, just them together, moving as one.
Xiao Zhan is getting close now, his thrusts faster, out of rhythm. His hands tighten in Yibo's hair, pulling his head back. This angle is even better, allows Xiao Zhan to go just that little bit deeper. Yibo closes his eyes and loses track of time, drifts in this perfect moment until Xiao Zhan's thrusts become ragged and he shakes apart, coming down Yibo's throat and onto his tongue.
Yibo's own orgasm washes over him then—unexpected, untouched—overwhelmed by the feeling of Xiao Zhan, in him and around him, filling every empty space in his body and in his heart.
Afterwards, Xiao Zhan does cook for him, somehow conjures a surprisingly tasty ramen out of the meager contents of Yibo's cupboards and fridge. And then Yibo takes him to bed and Xiao Zhan does fuck him, slow and careful, as if Yibo were spun glass in his hands.
Xiao Zhan falls asleep after, but Yibo stays awake a little longer. He can't stop thinking about earlier, can't stop thinking about how Xiao Zhan looked when Yibo opened his door. Xiao Zhan had looked exhausted. Tired and worn, but still beautiful—still and always so impossibly beautiful. And he had looked nervous too—like maybe he wasn't sure Yibo would want to see him. But mostly he had looked like Yibo feels right now—like there's nowhere else he would rather be.
Yibo thinks of that moment, and he allows himself to hope.
Yibo is already fumbling his key out of his pocket when he realizes he's not the first one home. There's music coming through the door—something soft and low-tempo—and the smell of spices and sizzling meat.
Xiao Zhan is supposed to be in Hengdian, wasn't due back until tomorrow, but he still likes to surprise Yibo sometimes.
Ten years on, he's never stopped surprising Yibo.
He can feel the day's exhaustion already melting away, and he's smiling as he opens the door.