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The wild goose chase the third dead-people-going-missing job that Wuxian has landed in two months leads them on ends at a tiny shack at the end of town.

 

“The trail leads here -” Wuxian says, and trails off. “Oh.”

 

Yunmeng had apparently been getting frisky while he was thirteen years dead. That’s oddly hilarious, for some reason, considering Jiang Cheng - but oh well. The point is -

 

FOR PLEASURES OF THE BODY AND SOUL , the dusty signboard proclaims obnoxiously, as loud as Wuxian is in the morning when everyone at the Cloud Recesses is attempting to sleep and he is out for revenge against the ravishing he endured last night before he was forced to sleep at an ungodly hour. Not that Wangji ever complains.

 

Wangji’s eyebrow twitches. The children all look in different directions. Sizhui and Jingyi are red-faced. Jin Ling is pointedly staring at Fairy, who waits some distance away, as if he is moments away from setting him on Wuxian.

 

This whole morning has been a mess. First, him waking at the crack of dawn even when he’s outside of the Cloud Recesses for once. Second, him almost getting into a spat about potentially wearing courtesan clothes and getting himself buried to lure this guy out (“Absolutely not,” Wangji had said, and that was the end of that.) Third, the way Jin Ling had complained all morning about not being given enough to do despite being technically the sect leader and how Wuxian wasn’t teaching him enough, which led both Lan disciples to stare at him wearily. As it stands, everyone with him is at least a little pissed off at him.

 

Wuxian sighs. “There’s no helping it. I’ll go in.”

 

“We will stay close by,” Wangji says, in that way of his, the one that makes Wuxian’s gut twist and heart clench because he’s always so cute when he’s concerned but he - he always has reason. Wuxian nods, not trusting himself to reply and goes on in.

 

The inside is so normal he almost laughs at himself for a second. If he didn’t smell the wrongness that permeates it he’d just walk back out. There are sex toys on display everywhere, but he has no doubt this is a front. He wouldn’t actually be surprised if this was someone else’s shop and not whoever had been running it. He bends over and knocks at the floor until he finds a loose panel that he can slide apart.

 

Inside is a narrow cabin that absolutely reeks of death. Wuxian squints for a second in the low light before he groans at the sight on display. There are sexual-pleasure talismans ( another of my inventions!! In the wrong hands!! ) attached to several corpses that sit in broken poses inside a summoning circle. Evidently the bodies had been decomposing for a while now, and the man cowering behind one of them looks even paler than some of the corpses themselves when he realizes exactly who walked in, Chenqing at his waist and delicate throwing daggers attached to his hip.

 

Gross ,” he says, with extreme feeling. One of the most annoying things about having brought demonic cultivation into existence was the necrophiliacs cropping up everywhere, who thought that a living corpse would not gut them as soon as they tried to fuck. Ew. At least whoever this dude was hadn’t succeeded in actually raising any, if the state of these corpses were any indication.

 

“Yiling Patriarch!” the man yelps, because of course he does. Wuxian decides to make it the last thing he ever says before he guts him like a pig. He squeals when he does down, and Wuxian rolls his eyes, before turning with a grimace to the corpses.

 

Calming their resentment should at least be easier when the perpetrator of the crime is dead, but the foul aura is hard to get rid of. Unless -

 

Wuxian groans. Today is really not his day. “Lan Zhan, I’ll need a stack of paper, please. And some holy fire. A-Yuan, keep Ling-er out, we’ll need your help dealing with this. Please put on your gloves.”

 

Wangji is at his side in the blink of an eye, jumping down the space left by the empty floor panel, followed closely by Sizhui. Outside he can hear his noisy nephew take offense immediately - “Why can’t I go in, huh? Does he think I’m a baby - Stop calling me Ling-er, old man!!”

 

“Stop calling me old man, Ling-er,” he retorts, even as Sizhui retches a little at the sight of all the corpses. “All right - Lan Zhan, I need you to play. A-Yuan, I will take the talismans off the corpses. There is very little chance they will rise, but -”

 

“Must be careful,” Sizhui says, like the perfect son he is, and gets into the formation without further instruction. Wuxian starts the process of extraction as the first notes of the song float into the air, and the corpses start howling sadly. His hair stands on end as the power from the talismans pour out and directly into him, using the nearest living body as a focus. Everything feels hotter, scalding his skin by the time he’s finished with them. He struggles to keep his thoughts safe - those poor people, their lives just gone in a blink - may they rest in peace .

 

Except then - the formation breaks, and the corpses dissolve into dust, and Wuxian feels like he’s burning.

 

“Father!” Sizhui panics, and he can hear Wangji’s “Wei Ying!” at the exact same time, in almost the exact same tone. He would snort at them both, but he’s dizzy, swaying on his feet.

 

“I, uh, may have forgotten to say those were talismans of pleasure,” he says cheerfully. “A-Yuan, please take Ling-er and Jingyi and get at least five li away from here.”

 

“Wei Ying, we are not - not in this dilapidated shack ,” Wangji says primly, and Wuxian wants to burst into hysterical laughter at the conflicted look on Sizhui’s face as Wangji steadies him in his strong manly arms. He’s fairly sure they look like an erotic illustration in this pose. His poor son has heard and seen far too much.

 

“I will take him into the nearest house on clan lands,” Wangji tells Sizhui. “There is an inn nearby. Protect the rest. Jin Ling, especially. Jingyi can handle himself.”

 

“That’s not his job!” Jin Ling yells from outside. Jingyi snickers, obviously entertained.

 

“Of course,” Sizhui says simultaneously, in the most earnest voice possible. What a good husband he’ll make for that princess nephew of mine, Wuxian muses, and conveniently doesn’t say it. Jin Ling still has a few years of denial left in him, probably. Oh, my head is so spinny.

 

Everything goes dark, and before he conks out, the last thing Wuxian thinks is - oh, this is going to suck.

 

***

 

He wakes up smelling something subtly sweet, like lotus incense and slightly-burnt sugar. It takes some time to realize it’s coming from him.

 

Ah yes, the talismans.

 

“Lan Zhan?” he says, tentative, in the darkness of the room. There are curtains, but they’re closed.

 

“Mm,” the most comforting voice in the world says. “Your pheromones were starting to affect the animals in the forest, so I decided to cut off circulation of air until they’ve calmed down.

 

Wuxian turns to his left. Wangji is sitting on the wooden box-makeshift stool next to the bed, a book in his hand. His hair is coming loose from his ribbon, and he looks unbelievably tired.

 

Wuxian frowns at this. He has seen the Lan sect’s Hanguang-jun less than pristine before, but this exhaustion is - unusual.

 

“Has A-Yuan reached safely?” he queries. The mission turned out to be simple enough, but they still had to clean up after themselves this time, and they would likely need to explain the circumstances to the village headman, who had requested their aid in finding where the missing dead bodies had been disappearing in the first place.

 

“Yes, he sent a message.” Wangji pauses. “The talismans, were they the ones you invented twenty years back?”

 

“Oh, yeah,” Wuxian replies. “I didn’t think they’d actually work, but I made a tidy little bit of profit selling them in Caiyi Town back in the day. Can’t believe people are still using them. You’d think they’d be scared of stuff the scary ol’ Patriarch made...”

 

“Wei Ying…”

 

“I’m sorry?” he tries, and watches Wangji’s face darken. Ah. I messed up again.

 

“No,” Wangji says, completely surprising him. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let you go in there alone.”

 

And he’s back to beating himself up for things he can’t control. Wuxian rolls his eyes. “Hanguang-jun, you great oaf, how were you supposed to know what kind of cultivator was down there, let alone the fact that he was playing with magic beyond his powers?”

 

“Yes, but -” Wangji looks away, and Wuxian notices for the first time the way he clenches at his clothes, like he’s barely holding himself back from the edge, from - from what?

 

The talisman’s effect? But it’s an aphrodisiac, not a drug. And Wangji has massive amounts of self control. Unless -

 

Wuxian realizes the clothes are the ones he had tried to wear to the shack earlier - dressed as a potential corpse target against all of Wangji’s protests to the contrary. It was one of the only two sets of clothes he had packed, but his eyebrows immediately go up at this information. Washing up was not a huge chore for either of them, so why -

 

Wuxian has never doubted that Wangji loves him - not after the reveal at the temple, not in the last year they’ve been married. But - there is a restraint in him, one that attaches itself to his aura like leftover sticky rice on Wuxian’s face after lunch, one that Wuxian discarded a long time ago. Wangji had wiped it clean at lunch yesterday - face, my face, not virtue! My virtue was long gone even before Lan Zhan technically took it anyway -

 

He’s going in circles. Wangji is pious and restrained and all things that make him yawn because he certainly isn’t after they blow the candles out, or when Wangji pushes him down on the floor mat while they spar and decides it’s time for some sweet dual cultivation - Buddha, Lan Qiren would probably have a conniption if he realized that we defiled the disciples’ practice room within a month of being married.

 

So, no, Wangji isn’t always holding back. Not really. But Wuxian wants to know the level of his self-control, sometimes. Wangji is - has always been embers burning underneath sheets of ice, even when Wuxian didn’t know the depth of his feelings, even when he misunderstood them for rage - he knew. Wangji has always felt things intensely, but perhaps not - not intensely enough for them to burn through his facade.

 

It’s not something he wants to test, necessarily - but their bedroom activities have been… anything but not experimentary. Wuxian is usually the one running his mouth before his brain catches up with what he’s suggested, and he gets caught up in Wangji’s pace each time, but.

 

But this time there is no mistaking the spark in Wangji’s eyes every time they alight on Wuxian, with every single slow sway of hips or lazy limbs as he rearranges himself on the bed.

 

He sits up slowly, watching the way the almost-transparent silk frames his body, and understands. The belt is loose too, like Wangji was too scared for him potentially suffocating - or was too scared of what he would do if he touched him.

 

Wuxian’s lips curl into a slow, satisfied smile. Perhaps it is time to test that restraint of his.

 

“Lan Zhan,” he says, in a considering tone. “Didn’t you say that there were to be no apologies, nor expressions of gratitude between us? No sorry , and no thank you ?”

 

Wangji looks up. Sweat is beading on his brow. “Is there a point to this?”

 

“I’m in the full possession of my faculties, you see,” he says, and crosses one leg over the other, deliberately letting one leg go bare. “I wonder why you’re still holding back.” He reaches out and grabs Wangji’s cock through his pants, pulling him into the bed. “Isn’t marriage supposed to be about full disclosure? Perhaps I should punish you for apologizing when it isn’t needed.”

 

“Wei Ying, you -”

 

“I want you to fuck me.” Wuxian cuts him off. “Enough of your self-imposed boundaries.”

 

Wangji hesitates only for a second longer. His hands are reverent on Wuxian’s shoulders as he presses down, even as Wangji’s cock slips past the translucent material of Wuxian’s robes and pushes up against his ass, their smallclothes loosening against the pressure.

 

But Wuxian doesn’t want reverent. He wants ruined .

 

The robes rustle further up his thighs. Wangji inhales, and then nearly chokes when Wuxian uses that chance to slip his tongue inside. He tugs at his hair, almost tearing through the tie that holds Wuxian’s high ponytail together.

 

Wuxian smiles up at him, lazy and absolutely filthy, before he swings one leg around Wangji’s waist. He draws back and away from Wangji’s mouth chasing him and trails kisses down his jawline. Wangji’s hands tremble at his waist, and grip tighter on the translucent robes, trying to get to the skin underneath.

 

“So beautiful, Lan Zhan,” he says, almost delirious with the sight of him flushed and panting underneath him. “You wanted to do this to me all along, didn’t you?’

 

“...yes,” Wangji says, and his ears burn so hot that Wuxian wonders that he hasn’t gone up in flames yet. “Wei Ying, please -” His hands slide downwards, attempting to touch bare skin.

 

“But it’s so much more fun this way,” Wuxian says. He leans back against the cock that slides against his crack, and feels the full-body shudder that wracks his husband all the way down to his toes. The head catches on his hole, and Wuxian has to give it to him - he has the restraint of a saint.

 

Too bad it’s exactly what he’s trying to destroy. He runs his fingertips over Wangji’s lower abdomen, and coyly looks up at him from underneath a sweep of dark eyelashes. His body might not be the same, but in every single life he has not known Wangji to refuse him when he looks like that.

 

“Can’t you wait a little longer?” he pleads, and deliberately grinds down again. Once, twice, thrice - Wangji’s composure slipping with each second. Wuxian leans back further, feeling the head penetrate him further before slipping out with a soft noise that sounds far too loud in the silent room. Wangji is always silent during sex apart from the tiny gasps Wuxian pulls from him every time he clenches down on him, but that always comes with heavy retribution. He’s not interested in trying his luck now. It already feels like a gift that he gets to see Wangji undone like this.

 

Wangji goes silent. He only nods, and Wuxian now wonders how much farther he can push him. He starts to descend on his cock by inches, closely watching Wangji’s impassive face. This body is not as trained as he used to be back in the day, but after a year of constantly cultivating, he’s getting there. He braces his hands on Wangji’s thighs, and lifts himself up before slamming down.

 

“Ah!” Wangji says, and Wuxian’s eyes go wide. Wangji never yells, never so much as opens his mouth unless prompted. Perhaps - it’s the position? They have a year of experience, but they have never quite tried this after this first disastrous attempt on their wedding night.

 

He repeats the motions, and Wangji pants harder. Five, six, seven -

 

Wuxian notes with amusement that when Wangji comes, he actually does, very uncharacteristically, moan out loud.

 

But the night is far from over. Wuxian points his finger downwards, channelling his magic into his skin as he runs it over Wangji’s rapidly softening cock when he pulls out. The smell from earlier intensifies, now combining with Wangji’s soft sandalwood scent.

 

“Not over yet,” he says cheerfully. “Lan Zhan, surely you have better stamina than that.”

 

He does. Wangji has tried to fuck him for hours before and succeeded, but somehow today he seems all-too vulnerable. All too sweet. He comes as soon as Wuxian traces his cock with his tongue, pulling away before most of the release hits his face. Wuxian grins, licking it clean as soon as its stopped spurting. “Didn’t know you were into that, Hanguang-jun. I should punish you more for getting it on my face, shouldn’t I?”

 

“Wei Ying,” he says, and his voice cracks . Wuxian looks up, startled. “I cannot stand it.”

 

Oh, he’s a wreck , Wuxian’s mind announces. “One more,” he promises. Wangji’s eyes are wet as he traces Wuxian’s figure in the dying light of the talisman. It’s about to be snuffed out any second now. Wuxian lights another one in that position, aiming it away from them. The light is dim, but enough. Enough for Wangji to see every inch as Wuxian descends on him, swallowing his cock.

 

Wangji doesn’t come again as much as he cascades . Like a mountain spring that suddenly realized it had an outlet to come crashing down, he shudders and releases the tension inside him. He cries out once, and then degenerates into sobbing, choked up teary noises that Wuxian laps up like ambrosia. Wuxian squirms at the heat that crashes into him, their magic combining and scratching and exploding alongside them. He feels so full - to the point of bloating - Wuxian feels like he’s coming too, but it feels so far away, farther than he can tell, intoxicated by the way Wangji cries, by the salt trail of tears that he can taste when he puts his lips to his cheeks.

 

“I love you,” he says, between kisses. “I love you so much. I want to be with you forever -”

 

And Wangji, ice prince extraordinaire, nods and collapses in his arms, a puppet with his strings cut. Wuxian beams and kisses him once more for his effort.

 

His limbs feel like jelly, but he is in far better shape than Wangji, who seems to have completely zoned out. Wuxian has an inkling of how much control he’s lost in under an hour, so he holds him close whispering into his hair and his ears. Slowly, his eyes come back into focus.

 

“Wei Ying,” Wangji says, and then pauses. “Thank you.”

 

Wuxian blinks, recalling very well what he had said about punishment earlier. “Oh?”

 

He feels faint when Wangji actually looks smug. “Yes.”

 

*

 

Wuxian has to admit, this kind of beats all the times they’ve attempted something new. Communication is fruitful .

 

“Was it worth it, Lan Zhan?” he teases, barely noticing the early hour. His leg winds up hitched around his waist again as Wangji piledrives him into the sheets. His breath stutters, and he laughs. “So enthusiastic! Perhaps that full-disclosure agreement is a good idea.”

 

Wangji pauses only for a split second. “I would like to see you dressed as a rabbit.”

 

Wuxian is left momentarily speechless mid-thrust, experiencing the distinct feeling of a hunter caught in his own trap. “That’s -”

 

“Full disclosure,” Wangji finishes triumphantly.

 

He has a very bad feeling about the cat he just let out of the basket. All things considered, he might as well have just freed the Divine Tiger Baihu.