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Credit for Ling's fabulously fabulous imperial name goes to Bob Fish, who debuted the title in her wonderfully steamy Gift Horse, in which Al visits Xing and spends time with the royal harem. The events of said fic are alluded to in this number, though without reading it I'm sure you can determine the major plot points. ^_^ Yin, Chu Hua, Sook Joo, and Lei are harem girls from my No Sound of Water 'verse. Al's tattoo is part of Bob Fish's Wrong Turn 'verse. Thanks to Bob Fish for the beta, and also for the AMAZINGLY HOT ILLUSTRATION.

enemytosleep

Notch


"Looks like I've won again," Al said breathily, his face hovering not far above Ling's. Sweat trickled down the line of his jaw, then dripped off his chin. Ling felt it splash on his bare chest, running down onto his stomach and mixing with his own sweat.

"So it would seem," Ling replied in between hard breaths.

Al had him pinned on his back, Ling's arms trapped beneath his own rattan ; he'd blocked too high, and as a result had been easily overbalanced. It certainly didn't help that Al had hooked his foot around Ling's ankle at precisely the right time. Ling had miscalculated. He'd known Ed and his brother had trained together under the same mentor, and so had assumed Al would fight much like Ed would: with a constant and endless supply of powerful assaults in the hopes that one would be the blow needed. Al had proved to be much more calculating, reserving his moves and his strength for just the right moments. That was a mistake Ling would not make again.

Al sat back on his heels and let Ling up, wiping his forehead off with the back of his forearm. Ling propped himself up on his elbows, waiting for Al to get off him. Al's victory face was very similar to Ed's, bright and wide and slightly devious.

This was going to be a very interesting visit if he kept comparing the two like that.


It had all started with a letter from Ed. It was short and to the point, much like the sender, Ling had thought to himself, laughing. It had been formally presented to him this morning in the Celestial Hall by an imperial messenger, and had all felt greatly impersonal at the time, the voice echoing in the hall completely wrong for the message. Now, he read it back to himself in the quiet of his bedroom chambers, imagining Ed's voice in his head instead:

Hey Emperor Ling,

I heard you'd made emperor from Ross back when you'd first got it. Hope the imperial life fits you. For what it's worth, I'm glad you finally made it.

Anyway, I'm sending this letter for Al because Al wanted me to ask you if he could come and study rentanjutsu over in Xing. We both figured you'd have the best resources, and Al says it's polite to ask permission for things like this.

Let me know if you wouldn't mind a visitor or two. Things are quiet in Amestris with you and Greed gone.

Take care,
Ed


I miss you too, Ling thought. He hadn't realized how much until now.

Ling rubbed his thumb over the edge of Ed's signature, loosely tracing the letters as he drifted off into thought. Of course he had had the scribes send out an affirmative reply straight away. There was no question that he'd love to see his old friends again, particularly Ed. Would things be awkward, though? A lot of things had changed since he'd seen them last - it had been a little over a year now - and this was the first correspondence either had sent.

It wasn't that Ling hadn't thought of Ed and the others in that time. It was quite the contrary. They'd been through so much together: grown up together, faced the end of the world together. Things like that imprinted on your very soul. Ed was a part of Ling now, always would be. Ling had simply been busy taking control of an entire nation. Surely Ed would understand. Ling knew perfectly well the work Amestris had had set out before her after the Promised Day. Ed and his friends in the military would have had plenty to keep them occupied. Ling did receive regular news of political developments from the Amestrian ambassadors, of course, but having a reminder of Ed suddenly brought it all full circle, connected all the lines.

They would have so much to talk about.

It would be nice to see how Alphonse was doing, too. He'd been so impossibly frail and so impossibly alive in the end. Ed's joy had been infectious that day.

"Is everything all right, Your Majesty?" Yin scratched lightly at the base of Ling's scalp as she tucked her small body against his, the pair of them propped up on a mountain of silk covered throw pillows.

"Yes, thank you," he said. "This letter is from Ed. It seems we may have a visitor soon."

Her face lit up. "Really? That Ed?" Ling nodded. "This is exciting!"

"Is it?" Ling chuckled. He'd shared a few anecdotes of his and Ed's time together with the harem before, but he still found her enthusiasm entertaining.

She blushed. "Well, it isn't every day we get to meet Your Majesty's exotic lover."

Ling's breath hitched in his throat. He'd never really considered Ed a lover, more a very trusted friend. Ling didn't have many he considered actual friends. "I suppose it isn't."

"When will he be here?"

"Soon, I hope."

Yes, he could admit that at least.


Along with his reply, Ling had also sent some escorts. Traveling the desert was still quite a task the last Ling had checked, but perhaps even more treacherous than that was navigating the provinces of Xing and finding one's way into the Forbidden City. It was particularly treacherous if one of your travel party was a loud-mouthed, mule-headed alchemist who didn't speak the language. Over three whole months after he had sent them westward, they had finally returned. Ling wondered what had taken them so long.

It was mid-morning now, and the court was fully assembled. Ling sat upon his throne, wrapped in the many robes of his station, and Ran Fan knelt behind his seat to his right, dressed in black with a shiny, lacquered mask veiling her dark features. A herald had announced the group's arrival at the palace gates a short while before, and now it was finally time for His Majesty's guests to be presented to him. Ling tried not to seem too anxious to see them.

Not nearly soon enough, the guards were shifting and the great doors of the throne room were opened wide to allow the travelers in. The group entered slowly. From the far side of the long room, they all seemed so very small. They also seemed too few in number. He'd sent two escorts, and yet there were only three figures approaching. The worry that Ed's brother might not be strong enough to travel the desert hit Ling rather belatedly.

When the travelers reached the center of the room, two stopped and prostrated themselves before him. The third quickly followed suit, his golden hair shining in the morning light. Ling was surprised Ed was capable of bowing to anyone, and so enjoyed the gesture all the more. The herald then stood and announced, "His Celestial Majesty the Emperor Yao Ling, Son of Heaven, Lord of Ten Thousand Years, bids you welcome, guests of Xing." A second herald repeated the announcement in Amestrian.

Ling waved his hand, fingers held flat, palm up, with his thumb folded over and touching his far finger. The travelers stood.

The first herald continued. "It is with great honor that we welcome you, Alchemists of Amestris. May you enjoy the hospitality of our great city, and enlighten yourselves with the ancient wisdoms of our people in the study of rentantjutsu." The second herald again repeated the message in Amestrian.

Ling nodded to the messengers, who knelt and bowed their heads. Ling leaned forward in his seat and spoke, using the High Xingese befitting of the court. "I hope that your travels were safe, and I look forward to discussing the state of affairs in your home country. I have arranged for a private dinner in my outer chambers later this evening. For now, my servants will show you to the guest quarters, where you may rest and cleanse yourselves from a long and tiresome journey."

The translator repeated his message in Amestrian, and then Ling nodded to the guards and staff. The throne room floor became a bustle of activity as servants swooped in and gestured them all off. Ling found his eyes drawn once again to Ed's golden hair, so different than any found in Xing.

Something was off about him, though. The hair was far too short, and he seemed too tall. Ling was probably taller too, though. Good for Ed. He followed him out with his eyes until Ed had left the room entirely and the great doors were being swung shut. Ran Fan cleared her throat.

"I know, something's not right," Ling said quietly.

"Would you like me to have my men investigate?"

Ling dropped his chin onto the back of his closed hand. "Yes, please do."


"Brother is really sorry he couldn't come with me. He definitely wanted to, but he's in the middle of a case and they wouldn't let him leave." Alphonse offered Ling an apologetic look that looked nothing like Ed. "His contract is going to be up in less than a year, though!"

"I see. Perhaps I will send for him then." Ling grinned at Ran Fan and popped a piece of shumai into his mouth. They were sitting around a small dining table in one of Ling's personal chambers, eating and drinking tea in a very, very informal yum cha. Ling wondered if Alphonse had any idea how special it was to eat with the emperor like this.

Alphonse placed his bowl of congee on the low table and picked up the pot of tea. Ran Fan hastily swallowed her food and reached out to stop their guest from inadvertently being rude - but then the golden eyed boy was filling Ling's cup of tea, then Ran Fan's, and finally his own. Alphonse was full of surprises.

"Alphonse, tell me more about what you've been studying at the university. I find the Amestrian tutorial system quite fascinating."

"Well, my main studies revolve around alchemy, of course. And the related sciences, like chemistry and physics. Right now I'm doing a lot of independent research that I report back to the military on. Luckily my tutor knows Mustang and lets me submit my findings for grading."

"I see. Is that what Ed would be doing if he weren't in the military?"

Alphonse blanched. "Um, well I suppose? It's hard to know what his plans for the future are, or what they would have been." He looked Ling straight in the eye. "You know how he is."

"I do." They held each other's gaze for a few long moments. Then Alphonse smiled and went back to eating. He seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself. Ling found that endearing. Ling sipped some tea and then plucked a couple of fluffy buns from the serving basket, adding them to his plate.

"Oh, I've been meaning to ask what those are! They look tasty."

"Ah, this is a bao filled with -" Ling paused to take a bite, "kaya." Alphonse looked delightfully puzzled. "Kaya is a coconut and egg jam, very popular in some provinces. A lot of people eat it on toast for breakfast. Some straight from the jar." Ling gave Ran Fan a meaningful look. She refused to look at him, though he could tell she was smiling.

"I have so many things to try before leaving here, it seems!" Alphonse shifted his long legs out from under himself, folding them to the side. He'd been unable to sit properly due to the comparatively tighter fit of Amestrian clothing. The pants had not been a favorite part of Ling's adventures as the homunculus, Greed.

Ran Fan's eyes softened and crinkled at the corners. "There are lots of good things to try here. You will have your work set out for you."

"So it would seem," Alphonse replied. He reached forward to add more pieces of the different dim sum to his plate, then, as he settled back onto his cushion, pulled down the bottom of the fitted vest he wore. He had really filled out from the last Ling had seen him, grown impossibly taller. Alphonse had rolled the sleeves of his shirt up to his elbow at the start of the meal, and the lean muscle of his forearms had caught Ling's eye more than once. He must have trained hard to gain all that strength so soon.

"Oh!" Alphonse sat up very straight. "I completely forgot to thank you for sending your messengers to escort me. That was very helpful." He placed the flat of his left fist against his right palm and bowed. It was very polite, if a bit informal given Ling's station, though Alphonse was still immeasurably more proper than his brother had ever been. Ling sort of missed the cheekiness.

"It was nothing," Ling said waving his chopsticks. "Though I was curious to know if they found you all right. They were gone for some time."

"Sorry about that." Alphonse blushed deeply and scratched the back of his neck, which only drew attention to the way his short hair stuck out in several places, as if he had just woken up. "I was in the middle of a project and had wanted to wrap things up before leaving to come here. I hadn't thought you'd send a reply so quickly." Al blushed more. The flush enhanced the striking color of his eyes - which were the same unusual shade of gold as Ed's. "I mean, with all the important things you have going on as emperor and all, I didn't think my silly request would reach you so fast."

"Don't mention it. Anything for a friend, Alphonse." The eyes were different than Ed's, though. Alphonse's were more round, where Ed's had a slightly almond shape. Alphonse had a much softer look about him, too.

"Right," Alphonse replied. "Hey, you can call me Al if you want. That's fine with me."

Ah, that would make things easier. Ed had constantly referred to his brother by that name, and Ling had been having to make a concentrated effort to use Al's proper name instead. Ling had told him to drop the "Your Celestial Majesty" stuff at the beginning of the meal. When they were in private, he was just Ling, as he'd always been.

Ling grabbed one last sweet bean bun before rising from his seat. "Well, Al, it was great to catch up with you. I'm afraid I must retire for the night now, but I would like to invite you to train with me if you might. I try to spend my free mornings in the studio."

Al's face brightened. "I would love to."

"Great! I'll send someone for you in the morning." With that, Ling inclined his head ever so slightly, then stood fully and turned to leave. Ran Fan was at his heels, her mask already back in place.

Most of what he'd known about Al before tonight had been purely anecdotal: Al was a favorite subject of Ed's, and Ed and Ling had spent a lot of time together sharing stories, among other things. Before that, Ling had simply known Al as "The Nicer One." Between Ed's commanding presence and the fact that Al had been an impressively large suit of spiked armor, it had been hard to get to know him much. He'd seemed more accessible on the Promised Day, but he'd been a kid then, starved and delicate. He looked nothing like that now. Oh no.

Ling had apparently been doing a lot of looking tonight. Ling was also having a hard time putting the stories together with the young man he'd shared dinner with. Al was cheerful and sweet and brilliant, as he'd been led to believe, but Ed had shared things that had implied there was a lot more to the younger Elric. Ling didn't know what to think about any of that just yet.

"Majesty, if I may say something?"

"Go ahead."

"He is not his brother - they are two separate people. Very much so." She paused. "I like Alphonse."

"Indeed. So do I." And Ling did.


Al's white shirt was drenched in sweat from their training session; it clung to his chest and hung heavily off the bottom as he sat on the floor a few feet from Ling. It couldn't have been comfortable to sit in damp clothing like that. Al didn't seem to mind, somehow. Ling himself was in an open vest, the majority of his sweat already dry. He would have to remember to have some new clothes brought for Al later, ones that were more appropriate for the weather.

Ling leaned back, using his arms to support himself as he reclined in the middle of the floor, his long legs splayed out in front of him. Their spar had been quite a lot more strenuous and challenging than Ling had anticipated, but Ling didn't mind at all: it made things more interesting. As they relaxed and waited for tea, Ling took the opportunity to take a closer look at Al.

Al had grown quite a bit from the Promised Day, and Ling was finding himself drawn to him, like a moth to golden flame. Part of this, Ling concluded, was that Al reminded him of Ed in certain ways - but he was not Ed in many, many others. Ed was a cocky little bastard, probably always would be, but Al had an even assuredness to him that was nothing short of alluring. Up front, Al was sweet and polite, which was so very different from his older brother. Yet the more time Ling spent with him, the more he found Al also had a playful deviousness that bubbled beneath the surface. When Al looked at him with those impish eyes, Ling felt like he was being let in on some shared secret. Ling enjoyed intrigue.

Al shifted, leaning forward to grab his ankles in a slow stretch.

"What is that?" Ling asked, sliding over to get a better look. He moved Al's hand away to uncover the dark tattoo on the outside of his ankle. "I know this symbol," Ling said quietly.

"Yeah, Ed and I got them done together."

"I see," Ling said, having taken Al's foot into his hands to trace the design. "You know, I've never actually seen one of these up close before."

"Because they're for criminals, right? That's what Mei told me." Al rolled his ankle in Ling's hands, then scrunched his toes. "I've been trying to keep it out of sight so it wouldn't cause you any trouble."

Ling grinned, "That's quite all right. I find it sort of exotic." He looked Al in the eye. "It suits you." Ling was also inclined to say it was nostalgic, but they didn't need to have that kind of talk right now.

"Thanks, I rather like it, myself." Al pointed his toes and tilted his head to admire his own tattoo in Ling's hands. It was very cute of him.

At that moment, a small group of women scuttled by the open studio door, giggling in the background. Ling recognized them straight away. What were they doing out here? Ling called out to one of the eunuchs that was escorting them, "May I speak with you for a moment?" It wasn't a question, but the servant had obediently hurried over already.

"Yes, Celestial Majesty?"

"I'm curious to know what the girls are doing out in these parts of the palace today."

The eunuch swallowed nervously and answered. "They wanted to use the open air bath today, Majesty."

Ah. Ling knew this meant they had wanted to spy on him and Al. Normally they complained about bathing outside because of the breeze; he'd kept meaning to have more shrubs planted around there. Very well, then. Ling massaged Al's foot while he cheerfully dismissed the servant, every bit aware of the eyes that watched from the hall.

"Who are they?" Al asked, flicking wide, round eyes in the direction of the door.

"They are some of my consorts," Ling said nonchalantly, pressing his thumbs into the arch of Al's foot and circling them slowly.

"Will I get to meet them?"

Ling couldn't tell if he was being sincere or not, though his interest did seem genuine. It would be sort of fun to see what the girls made of him though - assuming he would make it back back in one piece. "That wouldn't be very customary," Ling finally replied, smirking.

"I wouldn't want you to do anything you shouldn't." Al's expression then seemed anything but innocent. Hm.

So that's it, then, Ling thought. He was definitely interested in Al - yes, he was very much interested. What Ling needed to figure out now was what to do about it.


"More tea, Majesty?" Chu Hua fingered the small clay pot.

"Please," Ling replied, watching her slip those tiny fingers around the delicate handle. He could tell he was watching too closely, but couldn't stop himself.

"Your Majesty, if I may say so," Chu Hua said, "your visits have been rather more ... intense this past week."

"You have been very tightly wound," Yin added from behind him as she massaged his neck and shoulders.

"I suppose I have been."

"I could see to his needs for you, Majesty," Yin offered.

"The golden one?" Sook Joo asked.

"Has he captured your interest?" Ling teased. Sook Joo hardly ever participated in conversation, so it was always very interesting when she did.

Sook Joo seemed to look inward for a moment, and then said, "He has quite unusual coloring."

When Al had asked to meet the girls earlier this week, Ling had ultimately dismissed the idea on the notion that Al hadn't known what he was asking for, but now, Ling was an inspired man. "I think I may have an idea, if you girls are interested."


That night, Ling concluded that being a voyeur was not nearly satisfying enough. Alphonse Elric was proving to be quite the distraction.


They weren't really sparring anymore at this point. It was more like Ling was finding creative ways to cop a feel while pretending to spar, and Al was smiling and letting him get away with it. There'd be a side kick that would brush up from Al's hip to his underarm. Then maybe a close jab that forced an arm lock in which Ling leaned his cheek into Al's neck. If they went to the ground there was sure to be more contact than was strictly necessary: a chest laid flat over another, a knee wedged between tight thighs. Ling was enjoying himself. It seemed Al was too.

Al had finally abandoned his restrictive Amestrian clothing and adopted a more traditional attire. Ling found the look suited him, but perhaps that was because he had made sure to supply Al only with open collared tunics. Today was especially muggy, and so he was sparring in nothing but a pair of loose-fitted pants tied off at the waist. Ling was dressed the same.

Al circled Ling, bouncing on the balls of his bare feet, that cheery grin plastered on. Then Al moved in. Ling push-kicked him, foot flat against Al's stomach, to keep him at striking distance. His stomach was so taut and slick with sweat. Ling then repeated the gesture, but this time without any force, simply holding his foot against Al and taking in the twitch of sinewy muscle against his skin. Then he ran his foot downward. Al cut up with his right arm and wrapped Ling's knee in a lock before bringing Ling down to the mats once more.

"You know, I'm finding I rather enjoy being on my back under you."

"I know." Al grinned. "I'm amazed Brother made it to the Promised Day without the top of his head falling off first, spending all that time with you."

Ling ran his hands up the sides of Al's thighs, coming to rest on the small curve of his waist. "Your brother is easily distracted."

"So it would seem."

Ling chuckled. "So, Al, now that we've worked up a good sweat, I was thinking we should retire to the baths." He slid his hands up over Al's hip bones, rubbing his thumbs over the waist line of his pants. "There is a private hot spring beneath the palace," Ling offered salaciously.

Al's face dropped. "I'm not sure I should." He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them again to look at Ling face on. "I should probably get going, anyway. I'm supposed to head out to Yulong Temple first thing in the morning."

"Ah. Yes, you should probably prepare for that. That is why you came here, after all." Ling tried not to sound too disappointed. While he'd learned he couldn't always get everything just the way he wanted, it didn't mean he was used to being denied - and it didn't stop him from trying. "Perhaps another time, then? Before you return to Amestris?"

"Maybe." Al's face told another story.

"You should pack," Ling said.

"I should." Al looked away and breathed out forcefully. Then he swung off of Ling and stood to face him. "Your Celestial Majesty, thank you, for everything." Al bowed properly this time, all the way to the floor, then left the studio without another word.

Once he was gone, Ling slammed his fists against the studio mats, growling in frustration. Servants scurried into the doorway, hesitant to approach, but also not willing to ignore the emperor's tantrum.

"You," Ling signaled to the nearest servant. "Have Lei brought to my chambers. I will head to the baths and then to bed."

This was something that needed help in working out. Thankfully, being the emperor afforded Ling the very type of help needed.


Later that night, when all but the crickets should have been asleep, Ling lay awake listening to the insects' song. Next to him, Lei slept soundly, wrapped tightly in nothing but the sheets. Ling lay on his back with his arms tucked behind his head, long hair untied and spread over the pillows. He did not feel any more unwound than he had before. He could only hope that after tomorrow, once Alphonse had left for the Chang province, his life would start to normalize.

He wasn't sure how long he'd been laying awake when the commotion started, but he'd quickly come to attention. Sliding out of bed, he swiftly slipped on some pants, tying them on hastily while picking up his sword. They began knocking lightly on the chamber's solid door. He groaned, then went to see why they were calling for him at this hour.

"I am so very sorry, Your Highness, but he would not be dissuaded."

Ling glanced over the messenger's shoulder to the dark hallway beyond. He quickly spotted Al, olive skin and golden hair, a whole head taller than the guards. His look was pleading. I need to talk with you, it said. For a brief moment, Ling considered sending him away. He didn't need any more teasing, didn't need to have his rejection rubbed in. The dark thoughts retreated post-haste when Al gave him that look: Please.

Ling sighed and nodded to the staff. The servant who had knocked move back to make way for Ling to enter the hall.

"Let's walk through the East Temple garden," Ling said, partly to Al and partly to the guards. Without waiting for a response, he strolled past them all and made his way to the garden.

Sometimes, he was far too curious.


Ling was perched on the edge of the main fountain, one foot balanced on the edge and the other in the grass. The night air was heavy with not much of a breeze, and the fountain mist was cool on Ling's bare back. Ling rested his chin on his hand and stared off into the distance: if he didn't look at Al, he wouldn't be tempted.

"So," Al began, "I've been doing a lot of thinking tonight."

"There's no need to explain any of this to me," Ling replied. "If that's why you called me out in the middle of the night..."

"What does my brother mean to you?"

What? Ling turned to face him, to try and read his face. Why was Al asking him this? Al's eyes glistened in the moonlight, large and round. Ling clenched his jaw. "Ed and I have been through a lot together."

"I know. I mean, he's told me a lot about you." Al swallowed. "Do you care for him?"

Ling had an idea of where this was going: he needed to answer carefully. "Ed is and will always be a dear friend."

"I just — I needed to know if it would be weird."

Ling looked up at him. He wanted to hear Al say it. "If what would be weird, exactly?"

And then Al kissed him.

Well, that was a bit unexpected. Al threaded his fingers into Ling's hair, tilting his face upward. Ling let him, shifting his hips so that he could face Al more easily. It was a slow kiss, lips parted, Al's breath warm on Ling's skin. Then Al pulled back, resting his forehead against Ling's as he leaned down over the fountain's edge.

"If that would be weird," Al muttered breathlessly.

"That was rather nice, actually."

Al rolled his eyes and snorted. This time, Ling leaned up to kiss him. Al came down on his knees in the wet grass, settling himself between Ling's spread legs. Al ran his hands down Ling's back, then up again, coming to rest somewhere around Ling's shoulder blades.

Ling explored Al's body similarly, raking his fingers over Al's thin undershirt. The kiss was a bit rougher this time, more needy. Ling pressed his hips forward to rub himself against Al's stomach. If they didn't stop soon, they wouldn't be able to, and Ling had far too many comfortable rooms for them to be doing this on a fountain ledge. He broke the kiss, offering Al his neck for a moment.

"We should go elsewhere."

Al paused. "Yeah."

Taking Al's hand in his, Ling hopped off the fountain and took off, trying to remember where the nearest bedchamber was. Right then, it was a little hard to think.


Ling ran his tongue along the backs of Al's teeth, probing every nook and cranny while battling Al's tongue. Al grabbed Ling's ass and pulled Ling flush against him. Ling could feel him getting hard already. Ling was pretty hard himself.

Somehow, they'd managed to make it all the way to the East Wing's guest chambers, where Al had been staying. Even more amazingly, they'd even made it all the way to Al's room. Of course, Al's shirt had gotten lost somewhere in between, but that was hardly cause for concern: Alphonse had a lovely body. Ling didn't mind seeing more of it.

Entangled with each other, they staggered over to the bed and tumbled onto it. Thankfully, Ling had remembered to drop his sword beforehand. Ling rolled onto Al with Al on his back, then pressed his knee between Al's thighs. Al ground up into him, grabbed at him desperately. Ling ground back into Al's hip. They kissed again, hard and fast. It was a bit sloppy in their haste, but Ling wasn't really concerned. He rolled his hips against Al, his cock throbbing against the smooth fabric of his pants. He could feel Al hard against him as they ground and grabbed and kissed with bruising force. Ling decided they were still wearing too many clothes.

Painfully, Ling pulled away and sat up a bit. Al seemed to be on the same wavelength: he immediately started untying the waist of Ling's pants. It wasn't long before they had been kicked off the bed, and Ling was going for Al's waistband. Al's night pants soon joined Ling's on the floor.

Ling took a moment to run his hands over Al and take in the sight of him fully nude. He was beautiful: long lines, lean muscle, tight, sun-kissed skin - and a wonderfully hard cock, long, curved, and dripping.

Ling scooted to the head of the canopy bed. There was a small cabinet built into the headboard from which Ling retrieved a vial of slick oil. He turned back to Al. Al swallowed hard, licked his lips. Then he smiled evilly.

"Did you plan for this?" he asked Ling.

"It's never a bad idea to be prepared when having guests."

Al laughed. Then he looked down to Ling's cock, his expression a little unreadable. Ling was sure this wasn't Al's first time ever having sex - Al was too sure, too handsome, too clever to still have his virginity intact. It wasn't necessarily polite to question these kinds of things at times like this, but curiosity got the better of him.

"Is this your first time?" Ling asked as he moved back toward Al. "With a man, I mean."

"Yes," Al said. Then he leaned in close, fingers closing over Ling's and the bottle of oil as he whispered, "But I know my way around back doors quite well."

Ling hummed appreciatively: Al's confidence was so very arousing. He kissed Al again, relinquishing the vial to Al and using his now free hand to tweak one of Al's nipples. Al giggled and ran his tongue over Ling's throat.

Al shifted backwards, closer to the center of the bed. Ling crawled after him.

"So, where would you like me?" Ling wiggled his hips.

"Right there," Al said, uncorking the small bottle. He touched his hand to Ling's hip as he moved around behind him, and Ling's cock twitched.

Al took the bottle and poured some over the cleft of Ling's ass. Then he took two fingers and dragged them through the puddle as it dripped over Ling's entrance, flipping them over and adding some more oil to coat everything well. Ling arched his back a little and leaned back playfully, earning a nip on his ass cheek. Ling hoped he could make it to the sex part of things: at this rate, he was going to come hard - and soon.

Al started with his middle finger, slipping it in slowly and twisting it round. He kissed Ling's upper thigh as he did so. Ling shuddered a little. Al worked him this way, pulling in and out and occasionally curling his finger a bit. Then he added a second finger, and not long after a third. Ling's balls felt like they were going to explode. He was moaning, he realized, and when he looked back, Al was grinning devilishly. Shit, this was hot. Then Al pulled out and left the bed.

"What?" Ling asked, though it didn't really come out so intelligibly. Al laughed and pulled a condom from the outer pocket of his travel bag.

"Did you plan for this?" Ling asked teasingly.

"You should always pack for every occasion," Al answered, popping open the tin and rolling on the condom. He poured some oil into his palm, then stroked himself long and slow, coating his cock well. Ling made an approving noise and Al grinned. Then Al moved forward and grabbed hold of Ling's knees, pulling him closer to the edge of the bed and flipping him on his back. Al climbed on the mattress once more and lined himself up, glancing up at Ling with the question in his eyes: Are you ready?

Ling nodded and pushed himself against Al, the head of his cock pressing round and firm against Ling's entrance. Al pushed inward, slowly sliding in until he was fully seated. Ling remembered to breathe again.

Al started fucking him slowly: smooth, gentle thrusts that stayed mostly inside of him. Ling felt so full, which made the coiling pressure in his groin all the more intense. He started to stroke himself in time with Al's thrusts. Al was biting his lower lip, eyes closed and breathing hard through his nose. Ling pinched one of his nipples, then bucked his hips up a bit. "More," Ling said.

Al gave him more.

They built up a steady rhythm quickly. Al wrapped one hand firmly around the base of Ling's cock while Ling continued to stroke himself. Ling knew there was no way he was going to last much longer like this - Al looked pretty far gone too, mouth open and shoulders tensed. Then Al let go of Ling's cock and slid his arm beneath Ling's hips, pulling him up off the bed and slinging one arm beneath his back to hold him there. Their chests were pressed against each other, Al's face buried in Ling's neck. The smell of Al's sweat was sweet and tangy. His thrusts were harder now and losing rhythm. The pressure in Ling's gut boiled over. Squeezing the tip of his cock and holding firm, Ling came hard. Everything became a little hazy, then.

Al thrust more, his moans rising in pitch. It would be soon. Then, abruptly, he dropped Ling and pulled out. He pulled the condom off as he straightened up, tossing it off the bed as he jerked himself, fast and firm. He cried out when he came over Ling's stomach, covering him in globs and ropes.

Ling stayed still for a moment, taking in the warmth of Al's fluids and the sight of him flushed and sweaty. "I do believe that is a first for me," Ling muttered.

Al's eyes went wide, and he grinned nervously. "Uh, sorry about that. I figured you'd be into it." Then Al looked closer at him, eyebrows scrunched together. "You like it."

"I do."

Al laughed, then lay down on the bed next to Ling, tracing his chest with an index finger. "I think I should stay a few more days." Al looked up at him. "Would that be hard to arrange?"

"Not at all."

Al moved closer to Ling and nosed his ear lazily. "Good." He kissed Ling's neck with gentle lips.

Ling touched his arm. "Let me just clean up a bit first."

"Right, sorry." Al pushed himself up a bit. "Do you need me-"

Ling clapped and a few servants quickly entered the room with a wash basin and clean cloths. Ling quite enjoyed Al's shocked face.