Actions

Work Header

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

Work Text:

Xie Lian stared blankly at his phone screen, reluctance gnawing at the pads of his fingers as he typed a few numbers into his phone, shakily entering in a new contact. Anxiety pooling about his gut, Xie Lian ran his clammy palms through his hair and groaned, “God, is this really such a…”
 
He shouldn’t be doing this; every woven fiber of his being was screaming in protest, voicing its reluctance at doing something which was so ardently immoral.
 
Was he… really this desperate…? To go to lengths such as this to…?
 
“…”
 
The answer was obvious.

He was.

He had no choice. Rent would be due in a few days, an already overdue payment that he yet again did not have the funds for. If he couldn’t submit the payment on time this time—that would be it, he would be evicted and on the streets.
 
His plan was working.
 
Xie Lian was being cornered.
 
But… the hastily punched in contact—gleaming through the gloom—might just offer Xie Lian some way out.

Blearily, Xie Lian stared down at the new contact name, stark against the white illumination of his phone screen.

“…”
 
It had all started earlier that day.
 
Being an employee at a thrift store was not the most glamorous profession. While there were certainly a few cute knickknacks and oddities in the little store, most of the wares were worn and damaged—and were subsequently sold at a price which reflected this nature. Most of those who frequented the store were folk of a more honest background, with the occasional bout of rowdy college students who somehow always managed to steal off with some of the scant items of value in the store. God, Xie Lian had certainly been scolded by his boss quite a number of times for allowing the rascals to make off with their wares. After all, it always had to happen almost exclusively during Xie Lian’s shift.
 
Of course, by now Xie Lian knew that the timing of these thefts wasn’t a mere coincidence. Nor was it bad luck, or mismanagement on his part.
 
But something like that happening was not what had set Xie Lian on edge this particular day. Rather, a group of people who were certainly not college students had entered the store: men who were dressed in black suits, reeking of cologne, and brandishing several large briefcases. They ambled about mindlessly for a bit, sweeping through the wares, and then just like that left—without buying a single thing or even acknowledging Xie Lian’s presence.
 
A group of well-dressed men behaving so conspicuously in the store during his shift? Alarm bells immediately began to blare out in his mind, and a pool of cold sweat welled up along his back.
 
Driven by a fearful foreboding, after they left Xie Lian did a thorough sweep of the store, looking for any bugs or recording devices that may have been planted in the area. However, even after hours of ruffling through the piles of clothes the men had passed, Xie Lian had failed to find anything of that nature.
 
But, he did find something.
 
A neatly folded envelope, likely having accidentally fallen out of one of the men’s pockets. Its contents? A list of names and their contact information.

Big names.

Names that Xie Lian had seen blasted in headlines and broadcasts across the entirety of the country.
 
One such name stood out above the rest—a well-known philanderer who had probably broken equally as many hearts as he had money in his bank account. A man with deep pockets and a reputation which he would want to keep clean… or at the very least, out of a scandal. Standing in the middle of that store, reeking of mothballs and dirty fabric, Xie Lian mouthed out the name—
 
”Hua Cheng.”
 
Gone were the events of the afternoon prior.
 
Now, Xie Lian found himself hunched over in his apartment—palms clammy and hands uncertain—as he stared at that freshly inputted contact name.
 
“Hahaha…”

Xie Lian fidgeted a bit as he continued staring down at his screen, anxiety and shame eating away at his resolve.
 
“…God, what am I…
 
Scamming someone out of their money was a dirty card to play. Xie Lian had been raised on better values, growing up hearing tearful stories from friends and family who had lost thousands to the reprehensible people who would take advantage of another person in such a way. For him to even consider attempting such a thing…!
 
“…”
 
But Xie Lian was desperate.
 
It… it would be fine.

If Xie Lian played his cards right, both he and Hua Cheng would walk out of this unscathed. Xie Lian wouldn’t ask for much, just enough for this month’s rent. It would barely be a drop in the bucket for a man of Hua Cheng’s standing—not even close—it wouldn’t even be a drop in the ocean.
 
All he needed was to convince Hua Cheng that he was one of his flings, and to get the man to send a… picture of himself, taken in a compromising position. From there, Xie Lian would threaten to leak the image and have Hua Cheng wire him the money to keep his mouth shut. Xie Lian would be careful—he wouldn’t let this get out of hand. He likely wouldn’t have the nerve to leak the picture anyway if Hua Cheng called him on his bluff, but he had to try to convince Hua Cheng he meant business.
 
Xie Lian closed his eyes and forced back a shudder; a ball of ice had formed in his gut, running the chill of fresh frost through his veins.
 
He couldn’t end up back… in that place.
 
Steeling himself, Xie Lian tapped the contact name and hastily typed a quick message before he once again lost his nerve, sending it before he could even proofread.
 
Hey, wha t  you up to HC ;) ?
 
Reading the message he just sent, Xie Lian wanted to keel over and cry. How was Hua Cheng supposed to respond to that? Honestly, what the fuck, what the fuck—

Xie Lian dropped his phone and paced to and fro, waves of anxiety crawling through his bones like a swarm of tiny, biting insects. This was a mistake. This was wrong—all wrong—what was he thinking?! He needed to just block the number and pretend that—

A buzzing noise cut off his thoughts, radiating out from his phone.

Xie Lian stilled.

“…”

It took Xie Lian a few tries to pluck up his phone considering how shaky and slick with sweat his hands were. With a fuzzed vision, Xie Lian hesitantly clicked open his phone and read the incoming message.
 
Who is this?

Xie Lian wasn’t sure what he was expecting as a response to his initial message, but Hua Cheng’s reply was… surprisingly open. If Xie Lian had received that message he probably would have blocked the number by now. Xie Lian paused a moment, thinking a bit before replying so he could type out something a bit more coherent and tactful. Something that would be a bit more coy but successfully convey his intentions. After a few minutes of mulling it over and reading then rereading his response, Xie Lian sent a reply.

Oh, you know who it is. ;) I was wondering if we could, you know… do stuff.

Xie Lian wanted to bury himself in a ditch.

But Hua Cheng’s reply was almost immediate, completely merciless.

Do stuff? Like what?

Xie Lian once again typed out a shaky reply.

Oh, you know. Talk a bit. Send pictures.

Was… Was he being clear enough? He thought he was, but… but… he had little experience with this kind of thing. Should be be more aggressive? Direct? Xie Lian’s face was already beet red, he wasn’t sure if he could take anything of a much higher intensity.

But, yet again, Hua Cheng’s reply was blunt and tactless.

Oh really? What kinds of pictures?

Direct it was then. Biting his lower lip, Xie Lian felt his blood bubble and spit beneath his skin like it had been placed under a broiler. God, he was really doing this. He—

I want to see your cock ;)

Nope, burying himself in a ditch would not be nearly good enough. Xie Lian wanted to die. This was going to kill him.

In contrast to Hua Cheng’s previous replies, his next message had a few minutes of delay before Xie Lian received a response.

Oh really? Fine. But I need a pic from you first.

Xie Lian’s throat dried and closed in. Suddenly, the air in the room seemed to be the same density as sand—unbreathable and gritty—forcing him to choke on his own breath. His fingers shook on the reply.

What? Why?

Hua Cheng’s response was immediate, as if expecting this reply.

What do you mean? You should know I need it to get hard. Show me your ass then I’ll send a pic.

Reading that last sentence, Xie Lian lost his grip his phone. He stared blankly at his empty palm as his phone clanked noisily on the hardwood floor, spinning out under his bed. Unbalanced, Xie Lian stumbled over and haphazardly slumped down onto his bed, still staring downwards with empty, unfocused eyes.

He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t—!

An electric memory coursed through Xie Lian’s mind; painful, pulsing, and fleeting. A dark room. Couldn’t. Couldn’t.

“…”

He had to. He had come this far, he might as well see it through to the end.

A void spinning in both his eyes and his mind, Xie Lian retrieved his phone. The phone screen has cracked slightly upon impact with the hardwood flooring—lovely. Just what he needed, a souvenir to immortalize the occasion.

Trembling like a branch in a breeze, Xie Lian slowly reclined himself onto the bed and tried to relax. A few deep breaths helped soothe the the knots in his stomach, but did little to the reluctance which jarred and destabilized his movements. Xie Lian’s hands caught a few times as he undid his belt and lowered his pants; embarrassment and cool air bit at the nerves of normally hidden skin.

Xie Lian tried his best to make the affair quick; ducking his head out of the way and taking a few quick pictures of his reclined profile. Most of the shots taken were unusable on account of his shaking hands, but a few of them seemed to be workable.

The best shot he managed was one his lower back and thighs while taken at a slight angle; his headboard and side-dresser just barely within the scope of the shot. His set-up was fairly generic, and other than a picture of his childhood home on his dresser, which shouldn’t be recognized, there was nothing personal revealing about the photograph. Nothing that… would be identifiable.

Before he once again lost his nerve, Xie Lian sent the picture. Immediately upon sending, a crawl of shame worked its way up his spine—insect-like and brittle. The queasy feeling in his stomach only intensified as he tossed his phone down, rolled to his side, and waited for Hua Cheng to respond.

It took a long time.

Minutes passed. Eyes shut, within the dark each minute audible tick from the clock on his wall beat down onto Xie Lian’s chest.

Tighter. Tighter.

Seconds grew slower. The time it took for Xie Lian to inhale and exhale held the same excruciating weight as hours.

Finally, the ding of a message came in.

Xie Lian picked up his phone.

But upon reading the message—once again—he immediately dropped it.

You go by Hua Xie. You work at Puqi Wares.

“No…” Xie Lian stared down at his empty hands, at the pools of sweat which where now gleefully running down the crevices and folds of his palms. “No no no no no no—!”

How? How? How?

This must have been a trap all along. A set up. Everything must have been planted by—! He should have known better, he should have known—! Oh god, he should have—!

He needed to breathe. He needed to breathe. His mouth was open. He was breathing? He was panting. But there wasn’t enough air in the entire world. His hands were clutching his chest, trying to tear a hole open through his skin just so he could release the pressure which was unrelentingly ballooning out and out and out, near a bursting point when—!

When the phone began ringing.

Blindly, Xie Lian fumbled for it. He didn’t want to pick up. Didn’t want to hear what would happen next. Didn’t want, didn’t want, couldn’t…!

But Xie Lian answered the call.

“…”

Unable to speak a word through his ragged breathing, the person on the other end spoke up first. “Xie— Hua Xie, correct?”

His false name. Did the other man know as much?

Xie Lian tried to choke out a reply, but the dryness of his throat made his words snarl into an intelligible, frog-like croak. Upon hearing Xie Lian’s response, he could have sworn he heard the man on the other line suck in a shaky, unstable breath.

“Gege, hey, breathe— I swear I—“

Gege. Hearing that wicked voice turn into a tone that was so soft and placating, the storm of agonizing despair broke through Xie Lian’s chest, spilling out of his lips in broken, shattered gasps and pleas. “Who are you? He set you up to this, didn’t he? God, what do you want, what do you want—! Please I only finally started—! Don’t, dont, please, don’t—!

”Gege! Breathe.

His eyes were burning. His throat was closing in. But Xie Lian clung to that command like a lifeline, gripping his phone tightly as he tries to collect and condense the swirls of despair racketing his skull.

The other man went silent for a few moments, seemingly waiting for Xie Lian to collect himself. It took a few minutes, but gradually the claws of anxiety in his throat eased, and Xie Lian was able to blink back into reality. Perhaps encouraged by the signs of stabilization, the man continued, “This is Hua Cheng. I swear I’m not going to do anything to you. Please, trust me.”

“Then why…” Xie Lian’s voice was still in shambles, forcing him to swallow before speaking again. “Then how did you…! Why… why did you… ask me to…”

How did he know who he was. It had to be a set up. A trick. Another tactic to humiliate Xie Lian and get him to…!

“Apologies, but I deal with this type of thing quite often. Believe it or not, I’m not nearly loose with my relations as the rumors claim, so I knew right away that you weren’t a...”

“…”

Honestly. Why had Xie Lian ever thought it was a good idea to believe rumors from gossip forums?

“… Normally I just ask for that type of thing to scare off the other person who is trying to… Anyway, I didn’t expect you to send a picture. And I didn’t… immediately know it was you.”

That still made no sense. Did he track his location somehow? Through text messages? It didn’t seem possible, but if it were Hua Cheng would certainly have the finances and capabilities to do so. And…

Ah… and Xie Lian hadn’t… used a burner phone. This was his actual phone number. Easily traceable back to him.

… He really hadn’t thought this through, had he…?

Xie Lian vacantly stared out into the gloom of his apartment’s dark and barely furnished interior. “… Then what are you going to do with it? Ransom me? What do you want?”

“No!” Xie Lian jumped at the slight touch of heat in Hua Cheng’s voice. “Gege, I promise I wouldn’t do anything like that to you. Please, believe me. I’m not going to harm you.”

He didn’t believe him. He couldn’t. “I don’t…”

“However—“

Ah, there it was: the however. The inevitable condition for silence. Hua Cheng must have just been waiting for him to let his guard down.

“—I do want to speak to you about what happened tonight. In person, preferably. You… I am… somewhat concerned for your well-being. I would like to sit down and discuss this with you further.”

Concerned for him?

Laughable.

It was just a ploy. A trick to push him into a vulnerable position.

But he was already cornered.

“… Alright then.” There was no emotion in Xie Lian’s voice as he spoke, only an endless sea of exhaustion. “When and where would you like to meet?”

“Tomorrow night, if you are free? I can send you a text of the details.”

Xie Lian didn’t have to work tomorrow, so his schedule was empty. He had no reason to protest; it would be easier to rip the bandaid off sooner than later.

“… Understood.”

“…”

Each of the two went silent. It was a long few moments before either party spoke again, but eventually the quiet was broken by a half-whisper by Hua Cheng.

“I will see you then.”

Then, the call died out.

Xie Lian was alone in the cold silence of his apartment, listening to the ticking clock on his wall. To his heart, it was sound of a timer ticking down.

Something soon to blow open and annihilate his world, once again.

 

———

 

Night did nothing to temper the sweltering heat that pervaded the air.

Xie Lian felt hot and scratchy. His clothes were ill-fitting for the occasion, but this old white overcoat was one of the few articles of somewhat formal clothing that he even owned. And he doubted he would be let into the restaurant wearing his usual scraggly attire—even with Hua Cheng’s influence.

He had… no idea what he was doing here.

Standing outside of The Kiln—one of the most highly rated restaurants in his city—Xie Lian stood out like a sore thumb. Even despite his efforts to groom himself, he still got quite a few stares as he entered and was escorted through the low-lit but clean interior of the building swarmed on all sides by classy somebodies—bodies dressed in suits and showered with colognes and perfumes which overloaded Xie Lian’s senses and teased the beginning of a migraine.

What was Hua Cheng thinking?

Xie Lian couldn’t even begin to imagine.

Yet here he was, being led through the tangles of the elite to the isolated, reserved section of the restaurant. In the center, a handsome red-clad man with long, well-groomed hair—half-reclined in his chair—quietly watched him approach with an intense but unreadable expression within his single obsidian eye. Despite Xie Lian already being fifteen minutes early, the man had been already waiting for him, and judging by the number of appetizers lined on the table, had been for quite a long time.

From the number of billboards and headlines the man had been in, Xie Lian recognized him immediately.

Although, he hadn’t been prepared for Hua Cheng to look quite so… staggering in real life.

Rather, there was a bewitching and ferocious quality latent within the sharpness of Hua Cheng’s features that must have been tempered down in the pictures he had seen. But, strangely enough, Xie Lian found that these grating features only enhanced Hua Cheng’s allure.

He wasn’t quite sure Xie Lian found the qualities charming… or frightening. Either way, his chest felt tight.

“You are… Hua Cheng?”

Hua Cheng unfolded his hands slowly, his dark painted nails settling starkly across the white tablecloth. “San Lang, if you prefer.”

Hot under his neck from his thick overcoat as well as that intense stare, Xie Lian decided to awkwardly attempt to break the tension. “I am here. You… said you wanted to… talk?”

“Yes.”

His voice was different from what it was like over the phone. Like his features, it was cleaner and sharper. Xie Lian found himself forcing back a shudder. Hua Cheng lifted a hand—silver bracelets and watches dancing in the dim lighting—and gestured for Xie Lian to take a seat. Xie Lian complied.

“Help yourself.” Hua Cheng flicked his outstretched hand to the assortment of appetizers. Xie Lian’s eyes tracked the movement, but he made no effort to accept the invitation, indignantly grounding himself into his chair. The unreadable expression on Hua Cheng’s face quirked slightly at this silent refusal. “Is something wrong?”

Xie Lian kept his reply even. “I wasn’t born yesterday. I’m not going to touch something given to me that I’m not certain is safe.”

“You…” Hua Cheng’s expression was clear now— a look of blatant shock. “Do you think that I would drug you?”

Xie Lian shrugged, a passive gesture which seemed to only agitate Hua Cheng further. If he was involved, then yes, absolutely. But Xie Lian wasn’t certain of anything at the moment, especially considering Hua Cheng’s affronted reaction. “I don’t know.”

Lips pressed into a hard line, Hua Cheng said nothing for a moment. Then, slowly he reached out to a glass of red wine and took a small sip. Pearls of the red liquid decorated Hua Cheng’s lips as he lowered the glass and slid it towards Xie Lian in offering.

Xie Lian didn’t drink often; he had a fairly low tolerance for alcohol and drinking had a tendency to make him act somewhat immodestly. Still, despite instinct nagging him to do otherwise, Xie Lian lifted a brow and swiftly downed the remainder of the glass, eyes hazing a bit as the icy cool liquid burned his throat.

“Careful! You—“ Hua Cheng’s warning came too late. Xie Lian’s hands were somewhat shaky as he clutched the glass; a river of the red liquid slipped past his lips and spilled down his chin, raining down onto the top of his overcoat.

Slowly lowering the glass, Xie Lian stared over at Hua Cheng, blatantly ignoring the way the stream of wine was bleeding into his skin and staining his clothing. He murmured, “Please just get this over with. He can try anything he wants, but I’m not going back. Have me fired. Blacklist me. Make me homeless again. I don’t care. I won’t go back.”

“… Homeless? What are you talking about?” The concern in Hua Cheng’s voice sounded so real, so genuine. But how could Xie Lian let himself be deceived?

“You know what I’m talking about. You can drop the act.” Xie Lian drearily reached for another nearby glass of wine. “He wants me fired and homeless? Fine. I already knew as much. But I’m not playing another one of these games. Come on, say what it is he wants, just be upfront about it so at least it can all end quickly this time.”

“…” Hua Cheng’s eye was alight with a cold fire. “Gege, I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Xie Lian laughed.

And laughed.

His eyes were burning.

And laughed.

Something was running down his cheeks. A fluid which was not wine. Something salty.

And laughed.

He only finally stopped laughing when something began dabbing itself on his cheeks, making him jolt and flinch away from the contact. Hua Cheng was leaning out in front of him over the table, brandishing a white, red-stained napkin. Xie Lian tried to recoil as Hua Cheng reached out again, but a stern voice made him freeze in place.

“Don’t move.”

The napkin came down again, dabbing and wiping excruciatingly gently at his upper cheeks, the bridge of his nose, and the edge of his lips.

The action was… strangely comforting.

It wasn’t until Hua Cheng began dabbing at the hem of his shirt, trying to work out what would undoubtedly be a permanent stain, that Xie Lian found his voice again and croaked out, “You shouldn’t be touching me.”

The napkin withdrew a centimeter, hovering above his lips. Hua Cheng looked him over. “And why not? Are you uncomfortable?”

Xie Lian stared at him.

“You… If he finds out, he won’t be pleased. It won’t end well for you.”

Hua Cheng returned the stare, as equally steady as his own. “Let whoever you’re talking about be displeased. I already told you, everything I’m doing is of my own volition.” The unreadable emotion was back, dark and swimming in that single eye. “I wanted to meet you here because after what happened last night, I am rather concerned for your well-being. You sounded desperate. Afraid. Now that I think I’m getting a bit of a clearer picture of your situation, I’m only even more worried.”

Xie Lian glanced down at the napkin, then back up to Hua Cheng. “Why? Worried for a stranger? Who tried to extort you? It makes no sense.”

Laughable.

Hua Cheng didn’t answer any of his questions.

But the emotion in his eye continued to swim, deeper and darker.

“Is there any way I can get you to believe me? I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Seeing what was swimming in that eye, Xie Lian felt another rush of fear. But not out of paranoia, rather quite the opposite.

His words seemed freakishly genuine.

Xie Lian wanted to believe him; there was a natural tug in his chest begging him to chop away at the thicket of brambles concealing his heart—begging him to let go and look for a twinge of comfort.

And that prospect was all too terrifying.

Abruptly, Xie Lian stood up and tried to back away, an instinct to flee overtaking him. However, his limbs felt strangely weak and he quickly doubled over—his body threatening to crash down onto the table. Xie Lian squeezed shut his eyes, bracing himself for pain.

But the impact never came.

A pair of arms twined around him, pulling him close and steadying him. Xie Lian freely hanged there—suspended, limp, and numb. Too stupefied to react properly, but not dazed enough to stifle the wash of flushed embarrassment which settled into him. A few passerby waiters shot the duo a curious glance, only to receive lash of a burning glare from Hua Cheng in return.

He could feel the deep rumble from within Hua Cheng’s chest flush against his spine when he next spoke. “… My apologies. I had hoped that you would be more comfortable with the idea of speaking to me if we were in a public setting, but… I’m not sure if that was a good idea after all. Would you like to continue this conversation somewhere a bit more private?”

Xie Lian’s head felt funny. Swirling. Spinning in a tempest like that dark emotion behind Hua Cheng’s eye. Xie Lian’s one-word reply was barely more audible than a sharp exhalation of breath. “Yes.”

The arms around him tightened, pulling Xie Lian up and helping him regain his footing. Still lost in the fog, Xie Lian wordlessly took hold of Hua Cheng’s arm and allowed himself to be hushedly ushered from the restaurant.

Once back outside, the clean night air do wonders for the suffocating fog lodged in Xie Lian’s head, fanning out the delirium like clouds caught in a breeze. The foreign, unfriendly eyes which had been relentlessly dogging him too had disappeared, prompting Xie Lian to further relax the strain that had built up in his muscles and the cavity of his chest.

Still, one person’s gaze was still on him, tracking his every move. But, oddly enough, it wasn’t at all discomforting.

“A bit better?” Hua Cheng asked.

Xie Lian closer his eyes, slowly trying to focus his attention on the sensation of his own breathing to calm himself. “Yes… Sorry, I think I just need a moment to… catch my breath.”

“No need for apologies.”

There was a welcomed wisp of wind flowing over him, ruffling through Xie Lian’s hair and pecking at his cheeks with a subtle chill. It only made Xie Lian increasingly aware of how overheated he was in his thick overcoat; he truly had dressed poorly for this occasion. Almost unconsciously, Xie Lian began toying with his collar in an attempt to unbutton it and free a few inches of flushed skin.

He was only distantly aware of the sound of Hua Cheng’s breath catching.

Shaking his head, Xie Lian lifted his head to stare up at Hua Cheng. He hadn’t realized it before now, but the other man was tall. He practically towered over Xie Lian now that they were standing side by side like this.

Xie Lian tightened his grip on Hua Cheng’s arm as he continued fiddling with his collar. “Is something wrong?”

He could see Hua Cheng’s throat bob as he slowly swallowed. “I’m… fine. I was only thinking about how uncomfortable you must be in that coat.”

In spite of himself, Xie Lian found himself chuckling at Hua Cheng’s comment. Outside with clean air filling his lungs, he felt more at ease and willing to drop his guard. “Oh, it’s horrible. I can’t wait to get out of these clothes as quickly as possible.”

Hua Cheng was silent for a moment, staring at him with that same unreadable expression. Then, with a casual tone, he slowly asked, “Is gege feeling a bit better? It might be a good idea to get you somewhere cooler.”

“Ah, thank you—“ Xie Lian hesitated a moment before tacking on, “—San Lang.”

A trace of a smile crossed Hua Cheng’s lips at finally being called the affectionate moniker. “Hold on, let me call my driver.” Hua Cheng pulled out his phone and sent someone a message. “I rent out a few of the studios in a nearby complex, we can continue this discussion over there.”

It didn’t take long for a dark car to pull up to the curbside. Xie Lian hesitated for a moment before entering the vehicle, giving it a once over and pausing before stepping inside. He noted that the windows were tinted, igniting a new flare of suspicion up in his stomach.

However, just as before, it seemed that Hua Cheng was carefully monitoring his reaction for signs of distress or discomfort, and quickly chimed, “If gege is still uncomfortable, we can walk there instead.”

Xie Lian once again felt at his neck, stiff and uncomfortable beneath his hot overcoat. “How far of a walk is it?”

“About twenty blocks east.”

He would be drenched in sweat by the time they both got there, if he didn’t collapse from heat exhaustion first.

“…” Shaking his head, Xie Lian slowly ducked his head and entered the car. Hua Cheng quickly followed, settling down into the seat beside of him. Almost immediately after, the car pulled away from the curbside and entered main-road.

The interior of the car was well-cushioned, but lacked ample space. Impressively designed in terms of aesthetic appeal, but not so much practicality. Xie Lian found that slotted in the backseat, he was forced to brush up against the Hua Cheng’s waist and thigh at all times.

“Sorry, it’s a bit of a tight fit—“ Xie Lian felt Hua Cheng shuffle against him, likely trying to bend his long legs into a comfortable position. “I wasn’t expecting to bring someone back. Next time I’ll bring the larger car.”

Next time?

Xie Lian was about to vocalize his concern, when the car hit and lurched on what was likely a pothole. Xie Lian yelped, then jolted as Hua Cheng’s arms rapidly and protectively twined around him, one hand on his waist and the other shielding the top of his head so he didn’t crack his skull against the roof.

Arms cocooned around him, Xie Lian could feel the ripple of anger course through Hua Cheng before he snapped to his driver, “Would you watch where you’re driving?! Fuck!”

Hua Cheng’s tone—dark and intense—was a marked difference between the honeyed, placating tongue that had been used to soothe Xie Lian minutes prior. Hua Cheng seemed to realize this too, as after the words left his mouth, he stiffened and awkwardly turned down to look at Xie Lian, and Ah’d.

Once again, Xie Lian somehow found himself laughing. Only this time, there was genuine lightness in his chest, fluttery and soft. “It’s alright! I’ll prefer it anyway if you didn’t mince words to placate me. Say whatever you please.”

“In that case—“ Hua Cheng twisted his head to once again berate the driver. “—He Xuan, can you hurry the fuck up? And not kill us on the way over there? God!”

The reprimand was followed by another rumble through a pothole, rocking Xie Lian in Hua Cheng’s hold. The two clung to one another tightly for a moment, then—after a few seconds of silent pause—both burst into a fit of laughter, rolling against one another like giddy schoolchildren.

Overcome by a playful impulse, Xie Lian found himself batting at Hua Cheng’s chest. “Rude! So rude! Honestly, where are your manners, esteemed Hua Chengzhu?”

“Ah, but I’m not ‘Hua Chengzhu’ tonight, am I?” Hua Cheng caught Xie Lian’s hands, delicate brushing his fingers over his palm. “Right now, I’m just your San Lang.”

Xie Lian began warmly smiling up at the taller man. “San Lang, you—!”

Then he caught himself.

The smile quickly faded into an even line, as awareness slowly bled back into him.

What… just what the hell was he thinking?

Lost in the giddiness, he had almost forgotten why he was here tonight in the first place.

This wasn’t… a time where he could afford to smile so simply.

Quietly, Xie Lian slowly pulled back his hands. “… San Lang. You… really are something.”

“In a good way, I hope?”

The tips of his fingers felt odd. Tingly. His blood had been stirred up by something other than the alcohol—an inclination he hadn’t felt in a long time. Fighting off the feeling, Xie Lian twisted his head to the side and began absentmindedly staring out at the twinkling rush of passerby traffic.

Hua Cheng watched him carefully, his presence still and certain, but not oppressive. In fact, it was rather comforting.

That only made the centipede of shame crawling down Xie Lian’s spine even more unbearable.

Words left Xie Lian’s mouth before he knew what he was saying. “San Lang, I’m sorry for how I behaved earlier. I’m sorry that I… No, rather, I’m sorry for all of this. Honestly. I… shouldn’t have ever tried to do something so horrible to you.”

“You were desperate, no?” Hua Cheng’s voice was light and conversational. “I won’t fault you for that.”

“Shouldn’t you?”

“Even if someone were to believe I should, it doesn’t matter, because I would never be able to.”

“… I don’t understand.”

There was an unspoken question damming crucial information between the two of them, which both parties clearly wanted to ask, but neither had yet to gain he gall to voice.

Why are you doing this?

Xie Lian would have to find his voice another day.

In the end, today was the day that Hua Cheng would end up asking the question.

“Would gege feel comfortable explaining to me… what his circumstances are?” Before Xie Lian could wince away, Hua Cheng elaborated, “At least, as much as you are comfortable in telling me. I won’t force you to disclose something that you don’t wish to.”

“I… thank you. I guess I’ve just been in rather bad place, erm, financially speaking as of late.” Xie Lian shuffled uncomfortably in his seat, sensing his ears pinking from shame. “It’s not a justification, nor an excuse, and I—“

Hua Cheng cut him off. “You said something about losing your job? Being homeless… again?”

Thankfully, it seemed that Hua Cheng had enough tact to not mention the other thing Xie Lian had cried over. Still though, being pressed like this, Xie Lian felt himself sinking down further into his seat. “It’s just… a financial problem, like I said. Whatever happens, I’ve been through a lot worse. I’ll survive.”

Hua Cheng shot him a look of blatant, dark disapproval. “You make it sound as if it’s something you’re used to.”

Yet again, Xie Lian laughed, “Well, maybe I am used to it.”

Please don’t laugh about it.

“What can I do but laugh about it?”

Xie Lian felt Hua Cheng shift beside of him, and there was a heavy pause before Hua Cheng next spoke, as if he were hesitating on his reply.

“You can let me help you.”

Now this was a statement that Xie Lian was wholly unprepared for. Xie Lian blinked, then slowly turned his gaze away from the slow tide of oncoming traffic. “… What?”

He wasn’t sure what he expected to see in Hua Cheng’s expression, but he was unprepared for the smoldering intensity he found there. “Let me help you,” Hua Cheng reiterated.

“… How?”

“Well, in what ways do you need help? Financially? I can take care of that. A place to stay? I have several empty studios that I can place you in.”

Xie Lian’s head was spinning once again. “What… would I be doing? How would I repay you?”

Hua Cheng continued to passively speak, “Nothing, at least until gege gets settled. After that? Well, when that time comes we can discuss it further. But I wouldn’t force you into anything you’d be uncomfortable with.”

Why?

“Wh—?”

The car jostled again, likely running over a bump on the road. Knocked unsteady by the movement, Xie Lian flopped partially to the side and gripped the hem of Hua Cheng’s suit to steady himself. Once again, he was snugly embraced by Hua Cheng’s arms, pressed firmly against the other man’s chest.

Xie Lian’s mind wandered as he inhaled the scent clinging to Hua Cheng’s robes. Deep and musky.

Through the layers of well-sewn fabric, Xie Lian registered how toned Hua Cheng’s body felt. Xie Lian remained there for a moment, motionless, face practically buried into the other man’s clothes. A heavy inhale of breath, felt atop Hua Cheng’s swelling chest, is what finally spurred Xie Lian to incline his head upwards to meet Hua Cheng’s gaze.

That same emotion from before was still there, latent within that shining eye.

Dark and swimming.

Pressed close against Hua Cheng’s chest, the other man’s breathing and heartbeat laid bare, Xie Lian finally recognized it for what it was.

Want.

“… San Lang.” Slowly—ever so slowly—Xie Lian glided his hands up Hua Cheng’s chest. He could feel the other man’s breathing grow progressively uneven as his hands settled across Hua Cheng’s shoulders and kneaded down into the tender muscle. “… Is there something you want from me? Hm?”

The evenness that was so prevalent in Hua Cheng’s voice mere moment’s prior was abandoned as he croaked out, “That is not what I meant by…! … I already said that I wouldn’t do something that gege is uncomfortable with.”

An idea was building itself within Xie Lian’s mind.

Something that would give him… an insurance of sorts.

Xie Lian trailed his hands higher, lacing his fingers across Hua Cheng’s neck and over his Adam’s apple. “What if I said I was comfortable?”

If he found out that Hua Cheng had laid hands on Xie Lian, he would make Hua Cheng his enemy.

But Hua Cheng had money. Influence. Security. He would be a worthy opponent to him, and a useful safe-haven for Xie Lian.

And, Xie Lian couldn’t deny the burning inclination in his own chest for more. Hua Cheng was charming. Warm. Alluring in a way that made Xie Lian flustered and burn. And it had been a long, long time since he had felt this way towards anyone.

Hua Cheng’s lips were centimeters above his own, red and peeking open slightly. Xie Lian could smell the traces of the restaurant’s free mints on the other man’s warm, misty breath. The clean scent only intensified on Hua Cheng’s exhale as he murmured, “Are you…?”

His hands met Hua Cheng’s cheeks.

Smooth, soft, porcelain skin.

Hua Cheng’s lips were cherry-red and hopelessly enticing.

“…”

Xie Lian shut his eyes and leaned forward.

Warm.

Hua Cheng’s lips were incredibly warm, with a full, luscious, and velvety texture. Hua Cheng eagerly leaned down and reciprocated the gesture, and soon Xie Lian became aware of a maddening sensation of wandering hands trailing over his back. Deepening the kiss, Xie Lian could taste traces of actual cherries; had Hua Cheng been wearing lip gloss?

Either way, the taste was addictive.

While Xie Lian had been the one to take the initiative, Hua Cheng quickly assumed the more domineering role out of the two. Hua Cheng’s tongue and teeth were expertly skilled, knowing just how to coax Xie Lian into opening his mouth just a sliver, then proceeding to lick and nip at the sensitive regions along Xie Lian’s own lips to leave him gasping.

A furnace was ignited beneath Xie Lian’s skin, setting his rushing blood aflame.

In retaliation against those wandering hands and having his body so easily manipulated, Xie Lian pushed his own chest closer against Hua Cheng’s own—satisfied as he could feel an overwash of heat roll up over Hua Cheng’s chest, wafting over Xie Lian’s neck and the bottom of his chin.

But, although skilled, Hua Cheng’s teeth were surprisingly sharp. A firm nip to Xie Lian’s lower lip was all it took for Xie Lian to let out an “Ah!” of pained surprise, before jerking back and raising a hand to feel at a warm bloom beading up over his lip.

When Xie Lian lifted his head to shoot Hua Cheng an accusing glare, he was greeted by the sight of Hua Cheng slowly licking the edge of his lips, tasting at a drop of crimson that stained his already vividly red lips.

Xie Lian gaped at him. “You…!”

Hua Cheng licked his lips slowly, as if savoring the taste of Xie Lian’s blood. “Me?”

Xie Lian shuddered as Hua Cheng began to lean forward again, his tongue peeking out from between his lips.

“Y-you…”

A car horn blared, jolting both Xie Lian and Hua Cheng. Looking furious, Hua Cheng raised his head and looked ready to once again curse out his chauffeur—but then he let out a lighthearted chuckle and instead commented, “Ah, it looks like we are here.”

So lost in the sensation of one another’s mouths, neither Xie Lian or Hua Cheng had noticed that the car had long since arrived at its destination.

“…”

The duo wasted no time in exiting the vehicle and ushering themselves inside.

They attracted a few curious glances from passerbys, but those whose gaze lingered a bit too long would always receive a sharp glare or a curse in their direction by a clearly frustrated Hua Cheng.

The elevator ride up to Hua Cheng’s studio was… strained.

It was only when the elevator stopped to pick someone up a floor below where the studio was located and Xie Lian had to quickly withdraw his hands from Hua Cheng’s unzipped fly did Xie Lian realize that trying to give someone a handjob while still in the elevator shaft was not the brightest idea.

But it didn’t matter for much longer.

They were already a tangle of limbs by the time they got to the apartment’s door, and were already undressed by the time they pushed each other down against the bed, much to Xie Lian’s relief. A bottle of lube, hastily retrieved by Hua Cheng from a side-drawer, spilled out nearby and had already been used to wet one another’s hands.

Rolling against the bed while rutting against eachother as if in animals in heat, skin against skin, Xie Lian eagerly lost himself to the churning, twisting hunger inside of himself.

But he wanted more.

Mid-kiss, as Hua Cheng ground his blazing erection against Xie Lian’s own, Xie Lian gasped out, “San Lang… let me suck you off.”

Hua Cheng paused, and slowly drew back. “… What?”

He crawled forward, eyes targeting Hua Cheng’s cock. “Let me suck you off.”

Xie Lian slowly licked his lips.

“You…” Hua Cheng’s words were far away—uncertain and fleeting. But they weren’t important, no, not nearly as important as the hot, leaking cock that was displayed before him in a wanton offering. If Hua Cheng had anything more to say, his words were lost to him as Xie Lian moved his head forward and closed his lips over the head of Hua Cheng’s cock.

The flavor was warm and musky, slightly saline with the bitterness of precum. Xie Lian could feel Hua Cheng’s veins pulse beneath his wandering tongue as he eagerly lapped along the length, feeling out the subtly shifting muscles and rushing pulsations of blood. Xie Lian had to stifle a moan as he felt Hua Cheng’s hands settle on the back of his head, grabbing onto a fistful of his already mussed hair.

Xie Lian jerked his head back, glancing up at Hua Cheng for a moment with unfocused, glassy eyes. A string of glistening saliva still threaded to the tip of Hua Cheng’s cock and attached to Xie Lian’s lower lip, Xie Lian ordered, “Pull my hair.”

He didn’t wait for Hua Cheng to respond before bowing his head back down, once again swallowing down the engorged cock. His mouth ached a bit as he took Hua Cheng deeper—Hua Cheng’s girth was nothing to sneeze at—but his discomfort became background noise to the fuzzy pleasure which crawled across his scalp as Hua Cheng re-seized a fistful of his hair and pulled.

The pressure was painful, but only slightly so. A delightful burn, similar to the sensation of a massage kneaded into tender muscle. A delightful, teasing affliction which made Xie Lian’s own cock red and hot with a wanting agony.

Noticing Xie Lian’s reaction, Hua Cheng must have been overcome with the desire to torment Xie Lian a bit. A warm, wet hand wrapped itself around Xie Lian’s cock—almost playfully—as Hua Cheng rumbled, “Does gege need some attention here?”

Mouth stuffed full, Xie Lian could only let out a heavy breath through his nose and groan as Hua Cheng experimentally pumped him; the burning touch of the foreign hand causing Xie Lian to lose control of his body for a moment, snapping his hips forward in a motion of pure need.

But, Xie Lian would soon come to discover that Hua Cheng was a well of endless patience.

Hua Cheng tightened his grip on Xie Lian’s hair, tugging him back almost painfully as if in warning. “Not so fast. Finish what you started.”

In symphony with his words, Hua Cheng lightly squeezed Xie Lian’s cock, forcing a yelp from Xie Lian’s throat. The pressure wasn’t enough to hurt, but it was jarring and made Xie Lian alert to his own vulnerability; a cock down his throat, a fist in his hair, while a steadfast hand securely gripped him below.

“… Mmph.” It was a noise of acknowledgment, bordering on a moan. Xie Lian pulled his head back before bobbing forward, swirling his tongue about the head of Hua Cheng’s cock as he pulled back and running it along the length of his veins as he sank down and allowed the intrusion into the back of his throat.

It was rather easy to fall into the push and pull of the motions; Xie Lian compliantly undulated his head in rhythm with Hua Cheng’s gyrating hips and zealous hands. The sensation was easy to find oneself lost in; mind empty and aimless and Xie Lian’s body eagerly sought what it desired through instinctive, pleasure-driven impulse.

However, to Xie Lian’s surprise, Hua Cheng wanted more.

A light tug on his hair—forcing him to unsheathe Hua Cheng’s cock from his mouth—was all the warning Xie Lian received before Hua Cheng pulled him close into his arms, pressing his face into Hua Cheng’s thrumming chest. Saliva and precum stickied Xie Lian’s cheeks and lips, forming translucent threads which connected to the head of Hua Cheng’s cock. Half-lost in the woods of his own ecstatic inferno, Xie Lian dazedly questioned, “San Lang, what are you doing? I—“

A voice—breath hotter than a forge—whispered into Xie Lian’s ear. “Does gege trust me?”

Involuntarily, Xie Lian tensed.

Trust?

A difficult question.

Xie Lian wasn’t sure if he was capable of trusting anyone anymore.

Thankfully, perhaps sensing Xie Lian’s hesitation, Hua Cheng rapidly adjusted his words. “Does gege want to feel even better?”

That was a far less difficult question to answer. Slowly, Xie Lian nodded his head.

His body was a volcano, ready to erupt. He wanted more. Needed so much more, more, more.

A grin on his face, Hua Cheng pushed Xie Lian down—face first—into the bedding. Xie Lian scrambled for a moment, seeking purchase, before squealing as Hua Cheng seized Xie Lian by his waist and began to haul him upwards, settling him across the top of his reclined body.

Attempting to turn his head to meet Hua Cheng’s gaze, Xie Lian reiterated, “What are you doing…?”

But Hua Cheng was not looking up at him. Rather, his attentions were focused elsewhere. Warm hands met his thighs, and Xie Lian found that his lower half was propped up and splayed apart in a few quick motions. Cool, dry air flowed over secretive skin, causing Xie Lian to break out into a shudder.

There was a warm breath, edging closer and closer to his sensitive areas. On the exhale of a heavy breath, Hua Cheng sighed, “Relax, just do what you’ve been doing and I’ll reward you.”

Reward…?

It didn’t take long for Xie Lian to ascertain Hua Cheng’s meaning, as the breath condensed and materialized into a stripe of warm tongue. A noise blossomed out of Xie Lian’s lips—the chirp of a startled songbird—as Hua Cheng trailed his tongue across Xie Lian’s inner thighs, blazing a trail of pleasure in its wake.

Xie Lian lurched forward, his arms shaky and weak as he flopped down atop Hua Cheng’s body. ”Oh…”

The tongue came down again, a bit higher this time, traveling up the inside of his cheeks, but frustratingly pausing before it reached a certain key spot. Voice warm with arousal and amusement, Hua Cheng insisted, “Go on, do what you’ve been doing and I’ll reward you.”

Spurring him onwards, Hua Cheng lightly patted the sides of Xie Lian’s thighs—a rider prompting a beast into motion. Understanding engulfing him, Xie Lian slowly turned his head and stared down at the cock jutting out in front of him. Craning his neck forward, Xie Lian meekly licked at its head.

In response, Hua Cheng’s tongue strayed further, lapping over Xie Lian’s hole. Delight spearing through him, Xie Lian hunched his shoulders and moaned.

However—just as merciless as before—Hua Cheng pulled his head back, seemingly refusing to even entertain the notion of granting him respite until Xie Lian returned to dutifully sucking him off.

Still shaking slightly, Xie Lian bowed his head, and closed his mouth over the head of Hua Cheng’s cock, returning to his prior endeavors. In return, Xie Lian was granted by another lap of Hua Cheng’s tongue, wide at first, followed by a few rapid and explorative flicks of the tip.

And it felt wonderful.

Each flick of that tongue, sometimes slow and wide, other times quick and focused, fogged Xie Lian’s consciousness with dark pleasure and longing for even greater fulfillment. He could feel the head of his cock leaking, dribbling bits of precum down his cock and thighs only to be swiftly lapped up by Hua Cheng’s greedy lips and tongue before it could pool down onto fabric or skin.

Hua Cheng’s tongue smoothened the way for greater exploration, after a few more wide stripes something new began grazing over his entrance, the tip of an explorative finger. The finger circled his rim—a firm pressure which teased him with the promise of entry—as Hua Cheng’s tongue continued to shamelessly lap at the key region. Mouth stuffed full of cock, Xie Lian’s pleased moans were muffled, but still rather wanton in their inflection.

After a few more prods from that wandering index finger, Hua Cheng suddenly shifted his hands, and a more blunt pressure was applied to his entrance. The head of Hua Cheng’s thumb, firmly pressing itself into him, slipped easily inside.

“Ah!” Xie Lian jolted his head up, feeling himself squeeze down on the intrusion. A wave of bliss immediately followed, rolling down his body and making his thighs shake.

A warm wet breath hummed into Xie Lian’s thighs, followed by a slight nuzzle into his cheeks, “Feeling good?”

The question was followed by a greater application of pressure by that prodding thumb, slipping down to the knuckle.

A hot stream of saliva and precum dribbled out of Xie Lian’s lips as he replied, “It’s good. Really good. But… the drag, it’s a bit—!”

Saliva was a poor lubricant, and there was a bit of a burning drag on the intrusion as it prodded him. The burn was delightful, but it would give way to honest pain if Hua Cheng tried to fit in anything larger. His body tensed and once again squeezed down onto the thumb; Hua Cheng pulled his hand back slightly, pushing the thumb back and creating a deliciously maddening friction between his rim and Hua Cheng’s nail.

“Hm. Let’s see about fixing that then.” Hua Cheng leaned back for a moment, twisting his body slightly to reach for the tube which he had set to the side earlier. Xie Lian heard a click, then hissed as the thumb returned—nail pushed upwards to slightly splay his entrance open—as a cool liquid was poured down his cheeks.

A long finger quickly followed.

The sigh that flowed out of Xie Lian’s voice was light and songlike in quality, trickling out like a cool stream in a sweltering spring. The finger was a welcomed intrusion, his body easily and heartily inviting in the fluidly churning digit. Lashes fluttering, Xie Lian groaned, “Just like that… Oh, yes…!”

“Yes?”

The finger twisted, and Xie Lian threw his head back and keened at the uncontrollable pulse of unbridled desire which enraptured his body. Pressing his face down into the soft sheets, Xie Lian moaned, “More… more…!”

“More?”

Another finger was pressing into him, at first soft and slow as it circled and breached his rim, but then eager and swift as Xie Lian pushed his hips up in a desperate effort to encourage the fingers to an even greater depth inside of him. His hips were moving on their own, chasing after that delectable burn of being opened and taken apart. “More! More! God, just give it all to me!”

Hua Cheng’s finger’s were long, slightly roughly textured, and absolutely delightful. But they weren’t enough of what Xie Lian wanted. No, they weren’t nearly enough.

Even the addition of a third finger wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy the craving in the core of Xie Lian’s stomach, his unbridled desire to be taken and filled. Those three fingers, so zealously tending to his sensitive spots, only exponentially increased Xie Lian’s feverish fervor for more.

“San Lang…!” he gasped, eyes wide and swimming with stars. “I’m ready, hurry, hurry—! I want you inside. Want to feel you, all of you. Please put it in, God just— just—!”

Hua Cheng’s breathing was ragged, ferocious, and unstable. “Gege… you…!”

There was a rustle of fabric. A metallic clang as a discarded belt was crawled over. Then, something warm and sticky nosed at Xie Lian’s cheeks, leaving a sticky tack of cum on the area that it had dabbed.

The fingers swiftly retreated, leaving Xie Lian’s body mourning their loss. He could feel himself desperately clenching down on nothing, a feral torment rending through his composure. “Inside. Come on. Don’t you want to fuck me?”

Xie Lian could hear Hua Cheng’s breath audibly catch at his question. After a few moments, Hua Cheng breathed, “… Gege should be careful what he asks me.”

Normally Xie Lian wouldn’t be nearly so shameless, but the lingering traces of alcohol had loosened his inhibitions and the heat inside of him was threatening to push him to the precipice of unhinged mania. So, shame abandoned, Xie Lian hissed, “Careful what I ask for? Well, I’m asking for you to hurry up and fuck me. I—“

The grip on Xie Lian’s waist tightened.

There was a sudden, spearing pressure at his entrance; pleasure and hot, delicious agony shredding his words to nothingness.

Xie Lian closed his eyes, bracing himself against the overwhelming pressure of being breached, losing himself to the waves of crashing, undulating heat. Spinning, spinning—his mind was spinning in a delicious delirium. It was a full, encompassing sensation as Hua Cheng worked his way into him—delight flaring up throughout every nerve of his body.

Xie Lian’s mouth was open, but his vocalisations were wordless. Incoherency and overwhelming ecstasy had etched itself into his mind, burning it like a fiery hot brand as Hua Cheng’s blazing cock settled into him, forcing him to invite Hua Cheng into the private, secretive depths of pleasure within himself which he had kept hidden in delusion and fantasy.

“… Does it feel good?” Hua Cheng’s question was uncertain, nervous. The frightened chirp of a chick fallen from a nest.

Xie Lian was drooling profusely. “Deeper… please. Oh, San Lang… San Lang…”

Hua Cheng obliged, pulling Xie Lian’s overheated body flush against his own. The sure and steady weight of hips settled against Xie Lian’s ass as Hua Cheng rooted himself inside of him, his presence encompassing and invading every nerve of his being, felt on the verge of every hair on his body which had long since bristled into spears.

The sensation of Hua Cheng’s cock inside of him was like the tides—warm and sure—veins and muscle convulsing in undulating, rhythmic pulses which were enough to make Xie Lian’s rim burn and his toes curl.

Hua Cheng’s hands were gently rubbing up and down his arms, trying oh so ardently to smoothen the goosebumps which had welted themselves across Xie Lian’s skin. Somewhere, through the fog and close to Xie Lian’s ear, a voice murmured, “It’s okay… it’s okay… just relax…”

Hopelessly obedient to that voice, Xie Lian obliged. His muscles softened, tension leaving them like evaporating dew on a spring morning—clean and traceless. Pliant in his hold, Xie Lian allowed Hua Cheng to pull his body closer, closer to him, their connection snug, fiery, and secure.

But Xie Lian wanted more. Needed so much more.

“Move…” he whimpered. It was a command, ridden out on the ghostly breath of what was little more than a plea.

Just as Xie Lian’s body has submitted to Hua Cheng’s, it seemed that Hua Cheng’s own body was as equally compliant to Xie Lian’s demands. As requested, Hua Cheng pulled back—the blindly divine drag of his cock pushing Xie Lian to the verge of madness—before jerking his hips forward once more and thrusting his weight against Xie Lian’s ass. A solid smack accompanied the gyration, but it was drowned out by the delighted, breathy wail which fluted from Xie Lian’s lungs.

”Ah—!”

Xie Lian’s moans were equivalent to the ballad of an angel to Hua Cheng’s ears, spurring him on to thrust forward again with an even more relentless gyration of hips. Once again, a noise tore itself out of Xie Lian’s throat—a nonverbal but universally recognizable plea for more.

God, he needed so much more.

As if it could even be doubted, Hua Cheng obeyed. Another thrust landed another smack of skin against skin; the electric tension coursing through Xie Lian’s muscles like lighting.

It was delicious. He didn’t have a much better word to describe the insatiable ecstasy which had hooked its claws into him, but he felt it as equally as potently from the balls of his feet to the peaks of his hardened nipples. Almost unconsciously, Xie Lian began to rub at them—while one one free hand was leisurely stroking himself the other played with his hardened buds—twisting, rolling, and pinching them in the storm of delicious agony.

And how Hua Cheng must have feasted.

“Look at yourself,” Hua Cheng panted, his breath burning like a freshly lit match against Xie Lian’s neck. “Cherry red and ready. Wet and willing. Does it feel that good?”

Xie Lian’s eyes were rolling; drool was waterfalling from his mouth ceaselessly, pooling down onto the clean sheets below them.

Good? It was addictive. Xie Lian was growing inebriated on the sensation of Hua Cheng’s cock pulsing and pushing inside of him—more potent and debilitating to his helpless mind and body than the most concentrated narcotic.

“Harder, San Lang, harder, harder—“

Hua Cheng’s movement’s heeded the newfound request. Now, the slap of Hua Cheng’s hips almost stung in its ferocity—numbing Xie Lian’s overheated and pliant flesh. He was weak and malleable—putty to be morphed in Hua Cheng’s steady and willing hands.

“O-oh…!” There was a hand on the back of Xie Lian’s neck now—squeezing and pushing him down into the sheets— grounding him against the relentless assault of Hua Cheng’s lunges. Xie Lian arched his back against the weight, pressing his ass firmly upward and driving to meet Hua Cheng’s thrusts—seeking out the burn of the thick base of his cock. Every now and then, the head of Hua Cheng cock would graze past an insatiable place inside of him, broiling over with delight with each press.

Chasing that feeling, Xie Lian begged, “Just like that—! Right there—right there—! San Lang, that’s—!”

“Here?”

Hua Cheng pushed his hips into Xie Lian’s ass and rubbed in. The head of Hua Cheng cock squarely nudged and lapped at that sweet spot, wiping Xie Lian’s mind to a white, blank state cleaner than a stray cumulus cloud.

If Xie Lian made a noise of acknowledgment, he wasn’t aware of it. His body was moving on its own—mindless—bucking back and chasing the sensation of Hua Cheng’s thrusting cock. Xie Lian could feel the biting kiss of Hua Cheng’s nails against the scruff of his neck as he squeezed, somehow icily cold against the furnace of Xie Lian’s body.

He was weak to Hua Cheng’s hands.

The free hand which was not atop his neck roamed where it pleased, touching, rolling, and caressing Xie Lian’s ass, chest, back, and thighs. A ghastly presence which swimming all about him, bringing fresh flames of trailing delight in its wake. When the hand settled on Xie Lian’s chest and pinched, Xie Lian nearly was pushed over the edge, feeling a pressure in his balls centralize and tighten up.

But, to Xie Lian’s surprise, Hua Cheng stopped thrusting.

It was cruel. Forced to the precipice of climax and denied the courtesy of release, Xie Lian let out a sob as an ache settled into his body, tight like chains and as heavy and chafing as his discarded overcoat coat. “Why…?”

“You want to come so soon?” Hua Cheng kissed at his neck. “But I’m not finished with you yet.”

Xie Lian squeaked as the hand about his chest suddenly pressed in and pulled back; his body surged backwards as Hua Cheng pulled him into an upright position into his lap. Xie Lian could feel Hua Cheng’s steady heartbeat through the toned muscle of his chest, flush against Xie Lian’s back.

The hand which had previously been pushing him down against the bed snaked around his neck in a slow, slithering advance. Xie Lian swallowed as he felt the pads of Hua Cheng’s fingers track over his Adam’s apple—a ticklish sensation that Xie Lian could not linger on for long before those fingers pressed in.

“Sa— La—!”

Xie Lian’s voice caught as Hua Cheng’s hand closed and pulled him back, Hua Cheng’s palm brandishing his throat as he forced Xie Lian’s head to lean back and rest against his shoulder. The hand tightened, and Xie Lian’s eyes widened as he stared at the ceiling, mouth wide open but unable to properly breathe.

A tongue striped itself up the side of Xie Lian’s neck before a set of sharp teeth latched themselves onto Xie Lian’s earlobe, piercing into the tender cartilage and latching onto Xie Lian’s earring. Hua Cheng jerked his head slightly—tugging Xie Lian’s throat—as he ground his hips upward, gyrating about Xie Lian’s ass and churning his cock inside of him.

Something warm was running down Xie Lian’s face. A few droplets of the liquid streamed down to Xie Lian’s mouth, bringing the kiss of saline to his upper lip.

Hot, needy tears. Tears which streamed down Xie Lian’s cheeks and wet Hua Cheng’s shoulders.

But Xie Lian couldn’t even beg as Hua Cheng’s grip on his throat pulled and tightened. Head resting across Hua Cheng’s shoulder, Xie Lian’s vision flashed black, white, then swam with dark, drifting cotton spores as the dizzying claws of asphyxiation muddied him.

Xie Lian’s arms flailed out uselessly to the side as Hua Cheng used his free hand to reach down and begin toying with the head of Xie Lian’s cock. All the while, Hua Cheng rutted up into him, as Xie Lian’s entrance eagerly swallowed down the base of Hua Cheng’s cock as its bulbous head meticulously teased at his sweet spot.

Consciousness becoming lost to him, Xie Lian spasmed as Hua Cheng’s grip slacked slightly, finally allowing him to suck in a breath of air. A cool wave entered Xie Lian’s lungs, chasing away the storm of delirious pleasure which instigated on lingering in his head. His ears were ringing from the torrent of his own roaring blood as Hua Cheng whispered, “Fuck… Gege takes my cock so well.”

Xie Lian’s breath hitched as Hua Cheng’s hand closed around his cock. The husky voice continued, “I’m glad. I had been worried it would have frightened you… but based on how your body is reacting, it seems that I had nothing to be afraid of.”

“I…”

Xie Lian’s words were lost to him; his voice was torn and grating. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to say, or if he had anything to say at all. Agreement? Disagreement? It didn’t matter. All that was sure and certain was the feeling of Hua Cheng’s cock buried inside of him, the tingling feeling atop his skin which threatened to teeter him over into boundless mania.

God…!

“San Lang… mercy, please…!” Xie Lian panted as Hua Cheng stroked his cock at a agonizingly slow pace, as he pushed his hips up just enough to supply pleasure, but not enough to build a foundation for him to climb in order to reach climax.

“Hm? What is it?” The hand around Xie Lian’s cock squeezed lightly, making him yelp. “Tell this one what is wrong.”

“I can’t… I cant…!” Xie Lian’s teeth were bared as he shuddered and seethed, caught on Hua Cheng’s cock and trapped by an inescapably warm body and enveloping arms on all sides of him. Shameless, Xie Lian let out a plea, “It’s not enough. Please. It’s not enough.”

“Not enough? Hm, then maybe gege should put in a little bit of work.”

Xie Lian froze.

“… What?”

Hua Cheng pecked at his neck before he sighed, “You aren’t satisfied with this much? Then work for it. Lift your hips to the motions, like this—“

Hua Cheng’s hands redirected their attentions to settle at Xie Lian’s waist; Xie Lian jerked as Hua Cheng pulled him up to the head of his cock, then abruptly released him so he slid back down and crashed back into Hua Cheng’s lap.

Pleasure racketed through Xie Lian’s skull, crackling like the snap of a swung bat.

“AH—!”

The noise that Xie Lian made was somewhere between a moan and a scream, echoing about the dark interior of Hua Cheng’s apartment; it carried the weight of desperation but the hot agony of tormentation.

Sharp, dark nails kissed into Xie Lian’s sides. A nose was nuzzling the back of his neck, followed by a butterfly-soft press of lips which made Xie Lian’s eyes roll. “Go on, move.”

Hua Cheng’s tone left no room for negotiation.

Biting his lip, Xie Lian experimentally lifted his hips, groaning as he felt Hua Cheng’s cock slide and drag inside of him. When he neared the head, he lowered himself down—once again earning himself a satisfying burst of pleasure.

Hua Cheng’s voice was heavy, but tinged with laughter as he asked, “See? Doesn’t that feel good?”

“…”

… Oh, Xie Lian would make him pay for this.

Twisting his head slightly, Xie Lian slowly lifted his head to meet Hua Cheng’s gaze. Hua Cheng offered him a coy smile, but his expression faltered a bit when he must have noticed the dark, intense look in Xie Lian’s eyes. Half-laughing but also clearly subtly nervous, Hua Cheng asked, “Gege…?”

Ruthlessly, Xie Lian snapped his hips up, and ferociously slammed back down. That smug expression was wiped clean off of Hua Cheng’s face—replaced by one of complete and utter shock and red discomposure. Keeping his face frighteningly even, Xie Lian purred, “Like that, San Lang?”

Mouth slack and eye wide, Hua Cheng gaped at him.

Xie Lian didn’t give him a chance to reply before lifting his hips and slamming down again, setting a breakneck pace. He eagerly moaned as he felt Hua Cheng’s cock bobbing inside of him—delicious and raw. Xie Lian ardently refused to shift his gaze, grinning as he watched Hua Cheng visibly lose his grip on the control he had so gleefully against Xie Lian mere minutes prior. Each moan or throaty gasp which escaped Hua Cheng’s throat was a victory.

Using the other man’s own words against him, in-between gasps Xie Lian panted, “Doesn’t… that feel… good? San Lang?”

Hua Cheng’s expression twisted, flushed with his discomposure and subtle humiliation. Oh, the irony was just so delectable, Xie Lian couldn’t help but start laughing.

“What’s the matter San Lang?” Xie Lian wheezed. “Didn’t you say that I should put in a bit of work? Mmmm…” He ground his hip down into Hua Cheng’s lap, theatrically moaning and then smirking as he watched Hua Cheng’s eye blank from a rapture of pleasure.

It took almost half a minute for Hua Cheng to seemingly come back to himself; his eye wide and unfocused, head slightly leaned back, chords in his neck tight, and his mouth still hanging open.

Slowly though, a tiny spark returned to the depths of that eye, followed by a rushing bristling intensity that made Xie Lian’s skin crawl with excitement. Xie Lian quivered as he felt Hua Cheng’s hands swim upwards, trying to seek out the sensitive region about his chest and waist.

But Xie Lian has been expecting this.

As Hua Cheng tried to regain control through wandering hands, Xie Lian snappily seized Hua Cheng’s hands by their wrists, and splayed them out to the side as he rode them. Hua Cheng jerked his hands in recoil, trying to free them, but must have been surprised to find that Xie Lian’s grip was relentless.

This coaxed out another bubble of laughter from Xie Lian, gleefully watching as Hua Cheng tugged to free his hands.

He clearly hasn’t been expecting this; Xie Lian was much stronger than he looked.

“Something the matter, San Lang?” Xie Lian breathed, shooting Hua Cheng the sunniest smile that he could muster as, in contrast, he tightened his grip down on Hua Cheng’s splayed wrists.

He felt Hua Cheng jerk his wrists again. Useless. Hua Cheng’s breathing was labored against Xie Lian’s back. “I didn’t expect that gege would be so devious.”

“Me? Devious? Aren’t you the one who wanted this?” Xie Lian increased his pace, his back arcing and his nipples peaked and gleaming as Hua Cheng’s cock pressed at his sweet spot again and again and again in a series of bewitchingly addictive gyrations. “A-aren’t I just doing what you told me to do? P-putting in the w-work…”

It was obvious that Hua Cheng wanted more friction; Xie Lian could feel it hidden within the ripples of his muscles flush against his back, within the way Hua Cheng’s cock periodically twitched against his tight, trembling rim. Xie Lian felt so warm; he could feel the traces of Hua Cheng’s leaked precum hot inside of him.

Hua Cheng’s agitation intensified. It was so obvious that he wanted to touch. To hold. To devour Xie Lian. But Xie Lian was unswayed, and his grip was more steely than an iron shackle. Eventually, to Xie Lian’s immense satisfaction, Hua Cheng was now the one who had to beg. “Mercy! Gege, gave mercy on this one— you—!”

“Mercy? How should I show you mercy? By letting you come inside of me?” Xie Lian was delirious, obsessively chasing the sensation of Hua Cheng’s cock inside of him through a rapid rise and fall of his hips. Xie Lian goaded through his own twisting delirium, “Is that what you want? To fill me up with your cum? I— God—! San Lang your cock is so fucking big, I can barely take it.”

Xie Lian rarely swore, but his tongue had been loosened by the alcohol, and telling Hua Cheng that his cock is so fucking big seemed like a rather appropriate use of the occasion.

And, Xie Lian wanted to feel it. Wanted Hua Cheng to release deeply inside of him, and fulfill a deep, animalistic, and primal desire to be taken and filled in the most perfect way he could hope for.

Hua Cheng’s voice was in tatters. “I swear I’ll make you pay for this. Just you wait.”

Xie Lian jutted his back up and down, moaning as he found a particularly good angle where he could easily land Hua Cheng’s cock flush against his prostate. Hua Cheng was close; he could feel it in the way Hua Cheng was subtly swelling inside of him. “Will you? Hm, then I’ll be looking forward to that, but first— Oh!”

Without warning, Hua Cheng surged his weight forward, crashing his chest down onto Xie Lian’s back and sending him crashing down face-first into the sheets. Without respite, Hua Cheng began to desperately thrust into him, loudly moaning as Xie Lian wriggled and gasped beneath him—still desperately clinging to Hua Cheng’s wrists and keeping them splayed to the side.

There was a voice on the back of Xie Lian’s neck, followed by a sharp nip of teeth. “You want my cock? You want my cum? Then fucking take it.”

Xie Lian screamed as Hua Cheng landed home a particularly rough thrust—trembling as a wave of untamed euphoria detonated inside of him. He came easily, clamping down onto the enslaving sensation of Hua Cheng’s already pulsating cock which was filling him up with the burning fluid that he had been so desperately craving.

It was perfect.

Xie Lian entered a dreamlike state, utterly consumed by the warm blanket of dense rhapsody which enveloped his mind and body. He wanted to linger on the sensation forger, to be lost and drifting from the wash of pleasure Hua Cheng’s cock had wrung out of him.

But.

Eventually, Xie Lian had to fall from the clouds back into reality.

When Xie Lian regained himself, he became aware that Hua Cheng seemed to be slowly trying to withdraw himself from Xie Lian’s body. With an uncharacteristic ferocity, Xie Lian hissed, “You better not try to pull out yet. Leave it in.”

“…” Hua Cheng’s breathing hitched, then deepened into a chuckle. “So greedy.”

In spite of his earlier spunk, Xie Lian wasn’t immune to the crash of exhaustion settling over him. Still, he muttered, “Have to… keep it all inside.”

“Alright, alright.”

Hua Cheng pulled Xie Lian to his side, making sure that his cock was still safely and snugly sealed inside of him as he adjusted their positions. Xie Lian moaned, but it was weak—fleeting—as darkness began to swallow him down.

He felt good.

He felt perfect.

He almost felt loved.

“…”

… Did he feel loved?

“…”

But that was impossible.

“…”

Wasn’t it?

He… he…

His exhaustion, and sensation of Hua Cheng’s warm arms, overtook him.

He was gone.