Sitting on the roof like this, looking down at the world, all the while feeling the coldness of slate tiles and dampness seeping through his pants had Wei WuXian realizing how small he really was. A long, long time ago, the world used to think of him like a cursed existence, as if he possessed the power to manipulate minds and beings, driving them into submission, and leading them into committing an apocalypse when all that was in his hands were Chen Qing and a plenteous load of accusations, obligations, and remorses he didn’t ask for. At his peak of sovereignty, he thought he really was a behemothic being, so prodigious that he was enough to shatter the world and its humanity into a void of nothingness and melancholy. He chuckled under his breath at those names of his that he could still hear by his ears. YiLing Patriarch, demon, maniac, insanity, lunacy, evil; any sorts of words that suggested nothing but pure resent, despise, and dismay. It amused him whenever he thought about how much faith the world had forced upon him. He was only one person, and he never had the intention to disturb others if they could simply leave him alone. But alas, the culprit ー the mastermind of all malevolence ー behind the real ‘power’ he obtained lied in the minds of many. It’s what people choose to believe that had given him his diadem; if people choose to think that he boasted the strength to bring darkness to the world, then directly and indirectly, they granted him that ability. If people choose to think that he’s after them, then everyone would become his victims by default. It’s funny how humans minds worked. It’s a true wonder, and a true curse at the same time. It gave Wei WuXian more tribute than he deserved, and it also defined Wei WuXian in a way that was never him.
Humans were hilarious.
He laughed again. Hilarious, sure. But those were in the past. Now that he was defined in a way that’s a complete contrast with how he once was, he found himself degrading into the most ordinary, tiniest human being in this ever-changing world. For once, he didn’t have to worry about someone ambushing him from the bushes nearest to him. For another, he no longer needed to feel the gravity of burdens on his shoulders now that he’d left everything in the past.
Everything, except for a person.
“Knew you’d come.”
He didn’t need to look at the person to know whose footsteps those belonged to. Only one person would ever dare to approach him in such an upfront manner like this. And there’s only one person who’d come all the way out here to look for him at an hour like this.
“You are late.”
Lan WangJi’s voice was as harmonious as usual, the serenity in his tone felt as if his words were about to melt into the chilliness of the breeze brushing against Wei WuXian’s cheeks. He turned around to look at Lan WangJi, patting on the vacant space by his side.
“I know you aren’t here to chase me in, so why not you join me on this beautiful night?”
If it’s in the past, Lan WangJi would never obey to such an invitation. It’s way past curfew time. Even if seeing Wei WuXian sitting on the roof, minding his own business, totally ignoring whatever rules the Cloud Recesses had at the moment, it came as no surprise. But Lan WangJi was a completely different person from the oh-so-rebellious WeiWuXian. He’s way too well-known for being a strict rules follower, the fact that he chaperoned the punishments in the Cloud Recesses only accentuated his position of how much of a role model he was in the Cloud Recesses.
“I won’t keep HanGuang-Jun out for long. Just for a while,” Wei WuXian eased, as if to assure Lan WangJi that he knew precisely how conflicting a position Lan WangJi held now and that he had no intention to make it harder for him.
Lan WangJi, however, didn’t need him to tell him that. But he knew Wei WuXian did it out of habit, and more importantly, he did it out of the need to cultivate Lan WangJi’s virtue, spreading a safe cushion for him so that the misdeeds will not slump upon him if they were to be brought into questioning.
Wei WuXian was just a considerate man, as he always was.
While Lan WangJi swept dust off the tiles with light gestures, Wei WuXian had returned his gaze to the sky, staring at the half-moon now shining bright and white in the clear, starless sky. He heard a soft plop, knowing that Lan WangJi had finally settled himself into a comfortable position, before he started speaking again,
“Lan Zhan, do you remember the first time we met?”
Lan WangJi seemed slightly taken aback by the abrupt question, but his composure remained unshaken. “Impossible to forget.”
“Haha! Figures,” Wei WuXian broke into a peal of laughter. “At that time, right here, we even fought with each other! Bet you never encountered someone as unreasonable as me before you met me.”
“Never,” Lan WangJi confirmed.
“Should I call this a blessing or a curse, I wonder?” Wei WuXian dawdled, his tone rendered of a vague hint of forlorn.
“Do you remember?” Lan WangJi asked instead. It had Wei WuXian laugh out loud in response; wasn’t he the one who asked Lan WangJi in the first place? Why is he asking him back?
“Of course!” Wei WuXian said. “How can I not? Offending the best student of the Cloud Recesses on the first day I came here is something I want to be noted in my autobiography.”
“And of course, seducing and making that very best student my man would need a special chapter of its own,” Wei WuXian continued with a playful, teasing smirk thrown at Lan WangJi’s direction.
“I say that as if I’ll write it,” Wei WuXian sniggered to himself. “Oh, oh, did you see? Those Yiling Patriarch autobiographies in Qinghe? Man, I should’ve bought one myself just to have a laugh. Me, the real thing, haven’t even thought of writing one myself, why are people rushing to help me define my life?”
Lan WangJi didn’t respond, only curving his fingers slightly on his lap upon hearing what Wei WuXian spoke about making him ‘his man’.
“I was just thinking… Lan Zhan, what would happen if we didn’t meet that night?” Wei WuXian pondered, legs kicking back and forth in thin air. In contrast, Lan WangJi never moved an inch, as if he’d turned into a statue.
“You’ll still disoblige me,” Lan WangJi answered, drawing another chortle out of Wei WuXian.
“I knew it! There’s no way we won’t cross path. We’re way too contrasting. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from wanting to tease you. Sometimes it really makes me wonder how fall for someone like me?”
“Why would you do that?” Lan WangJi asked, purposefully avoiding the last bit of Wei WuXian’s statement. It’s probably a question that had been agitating him for many years ー why was Wei WuXian so persistent with him? Why did he dare to provoke him when other students kept their distance away from him? What did Wei WuXian see in him back then?
“Do what?” Wei WuXian returned with another question as he leaned back just a tad, supporting his body with his hands behind his back.
“...Approaching me. Disturbing me.”
“Because you’re pretty, who doesn’t like a pretty person? But also, you’re always so distant,” Wei WuXian said the first thing that came to his mind. “I thought you wanted friends but wasn’t sure how to make any, so I wanted to be your friend But you always said no. Is that your favourite word, Lan Zhan? ‘No’? I think I’ve heard more ‘no’s from you than any other word. No, wait, and ‘en’. Haha, Lan Zhan! You didn’t change at all, didn’t you? Still the same o’, same ol’.”
It’s an innocent answer, way innocent than Lan WangJi would’ve expected from him.
“What? Why are you so quiet? You thought I had a different intention?” Wei WuXian’s voice recoiled to one of teasing. He inched closer towards Lan WangJi, face tilting up to look Lan WangJi in the eyes, a small smirk evident on the corners of his lips.
“Lan Zhan, answer me. Were you thinking of something else? Do you think that I was purposefully approaching you for another reason?”
Lan WangJi looked away, eyes closed. But that response alone was enough for Wei WuXian to burst out laughing, proving his hunch right.
“Hahahaha! Lan Zhan, you…” Holding onto his stomach, Wei WuXian almost rolled down the roof if Lan WangJi hadn’t towed him over by the waist.
“It’s late. Don’t make too much noise,” Lan WangJi reprimanded.
“But I make a lot of loud noises in the room every night. You didn’t stop me either,” Wei WuXian retorted in between laughs.
“It’s okay, Lan Zhan. I understand, I really do,” Wei WuXian patted Lan WangJi on his shoulder before he propped his head against it. “To be honest, I’m not even sure why did I approach you in the first place. Thinking that you might want a new friend is one thing but it’s also true that I sincerely wanted to be your friend. You might like your solitude but I can also tell how lonely you felt, so lonely that you didn’t even realize it yourself. You’re always so calm, so composed, so… quiet, like you’re some sort of higher being or something. It triggers something in me.”
Lan WangJi took every word Wei WuXian said to heart, memorizing them, carving them in his mind.
“I said that but I’m glad I approached you in the end, though. I sure left an impression on you, didn’t I?” Wei WuXian hummed heartily, sounding like he’s about to fall asleep.
Lan WangJi nodded. “A strong impression,” he said.
“Thanks to you, being in the Cloud Recesses wasn’t as tough a time as I’d imagine it to be. It was fun, even,” Wei WuXian followed up. “Even after I left this place, I’m always reminded of you.”
They fell silent for a bit before Wei WuXian hastily sat up, turning around so sharply to look at Lan WangJi, his eyes wide, his jaw dropping.
“What is it?” Lan WangJi asked.
“J-Just now… Those stuff I said,” Wei WuXian stuttered, swallowing down his throat before he continued. “That… totally sounded like I’ve liked you since that time, didn’t I? Lan Zhan, is that normal? What about you? Did you think about me when I was gone?”
Then, Lan WangJi did something that almost had Wei WuXian trundling down the roof for real.
He smiled. Just a very, very small smile. But Wei WuXian was sure that he saw it.
“All the time,” Lan WangJi said. Three words. Just three words. And that was more than enough to have Wei WuXian jumping on Lan WangJi, kissing him multiple times on his cheeks.
“Lan Zhan, you’re going to be the death of me!” Wei WuXian screeched.
“Sit properly,” Lan WangJi supported him on the waist, holding him sturdily to keep him in place.
“What do you expect me to do when you say something like that?! How am I supposed to calm?!” Wei WuXian huffed.
“Sit,” Lan WangJi repeated, tugging Wei WuXian over so that he's comfortably cuddling in his one-arm embrace.
The warmth he felt from Lan WangJi’s body, alongside the steady heartbeats did their job in calming Wei WuXian down. Still feeling his own rampaging heartbeats from beneath his chest, he took a deep breath, let it out, then looked at the moon again.
“Half-moon…” he muttered out of reflex.
“It’s going to be a full moon soon,” Lan WangJi said, joining Wei WuXian’s gaze.
“Full moon, huh?” Wei WuXian repeated his words. “Oh, right? Isn’t Mid-Autumn soon?”
Lan WangJi didn’t answer immediately, as if he was thinking about something. Then, he nodded.
“In half a month.”
“Half a month, huh…?”
The conversation ended there. But with Lan WangJi’s answer, a new resolution had blossomed from within Wei WuXian.
He had many intentions to repay Lan WangJi for what he’d done for him. And this might just be another good chance ー or good excuse ー to tell Lan WangJi about one of the many things he’d missed in life when he was here being the Role Model of the Cloud Recesses.
“Careful! More powders are coming!”
Wei WuXian lobbed a word of caution but despite his stern, shrill voice, he remained seated on the tree, arms crossed as he overlooked the Lan Sect disciples trying their very hard to put down the barbaric fox. It’s not every day that they got to confront a malicious spirit in the form of an animal and for Wei WuXian, this meant another night of being amused by witnessing how these children would grapple themselves out of such a grotesque case. He himself, however, had met many of such spirits. These beings choose to hold themselves parasites in animals just so they could escape the eyes of many. Unfortunately, one of those oblivious eyes didn’t belong to Wei WuXian. Using animals as hostages wasn’t a particularly clever move ー it was a final resort. If it's attended to properly, it shouldn’t be too much of a trouble to hold back the spirit camouflaged within the poor shell and bring them back to where they belonged. However, these were all new news to these young disciples. Easily swindled by the fragility mimicked by these animals, it’s easy to lose sight of fatal ambushes. Oh well, this night-hunt will definitely serve as a good experience for them, though, so he might as well sit back and savour the show.
“Enough, enough! You don’t need to compete strength with it, it’s only trying to wear you out. Put it down now!” Wei WuXian reminded. Upon hearing that, Lan SiZhui nodded at his direction and pulled his sword out, about to sprint towards the beast, now trapped in a barrier, before Lan JingYi ran past him, taking the lead.
“JingYi!” Lan SiZhui screamed.
“Let me do this, SiZhui!” Lan JingYi said, hauling just a fleeting grin over his shoulder before he hastened his pace.
It shouldn’t be too hard to take it down now that the spirit is cornered. But…
A thin frown appeared in between Wei WuXian’s brows. Clicking his tongue, he tugged on Chen Qing and leapt from the tree, running with speed twice as quick as both Lan SiZhui and Lan JingYi and managed to stop Lan JingYi, blocking his attack just when Lan JingYi wielded his sword upon the struggling creature.
“Senior Wei?!” Lan JingYi screeched, taken by surprise.
“Stand back,” Wei WuXian said, voice hinting of threats.
Not only Lan JingYi and Lan SiZhui, even the other three disciples who’d joined their night-hunt that night displayed signs of being taken aback, all curious and jittery towards the sudden turn of events.
Wei WuXian gave them a quick smirk when all of them started moving backwards like how he’d urged them to. Breathing calmly, he turned his back towards the disciples and came to face the shivering beast. It continued to struggle, as if trying to pull itself off some invisible threads unseen to the naked eyes. The frown returning to his face, Wei WuXian tilted his head, eyes fixed at the beast, trying to figure out what’s the deal with it. When the beast finally came to see him in his eyes, his eyes brightened.
“Great, a trap,” he thought.
He pulled Cheng Qing out of his belt, played a short tune experimentally, eyes narrowed when the creature tousled in a more vigorous gesture before it grew bigger, and bigger. And bigger.
“T-This is not a fox!” Lan JingYi exclaimed.
“It is!” one of the disciples shouted.
“This is…” Lan SiZhui, however, stared intently at the ‘fox’ before he gasped out loud. “This is a fox, but it’s also a wolf!”
“Whaー” Lan JingYi’s jaw dropped.
He wasn’t wrong. “Smart child,” Wei WuXian lifted a smile upon hearing the response, still playing on his flute.
“Senior Wei! Did this creature absorb the energies from other animals too?” Lan SiZhui asked.
It’s then that Wei WuXian put his flute down and shrugged.
“Wolf, and maybe something else. Man, to think that animals have evolved to this extent…” Wei WuXian ended with a loud sigh.
“It’d be troublesome to deal with them if they keep evolving like this. I’d need to think of a way to suppress them…” Wei WuXian thought to himself as he supported his chin with a hand.
“Senior Wei! Careful!”
Snapping his head up upon hearing his name, Wei WuXian hitched a breath and dodged just barely in time before the beast’s tail can land a lethal blow on his body. Body scampering from the impact, his back slammed against a nearby tree, causing him to cough out loud in the next second as a few drops of blood gushed from his mouth and plopped on the grass. He hastily rubbed the blood off his lips with the back of his hand.
“Senior Wei!” Lan SiZhui hurried towards him. Wei WuXian had straightened himself up when Lan SiZhui reached out his hands, wanting to support him. Seeing Lan SiZhui distressed look on the drops of blood by his feet, Wei WuXian chuckled and waved his hand.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Don’t worry, a few drops of blood won’t take my life.”
“W-What do we do with it now?!” Lan JingYi scrambled, sword raised, interrupting Lan SiZhui’s question.
“Oh, JingYi! I see that you’re ready to fight! Go take it down. I’ve restrained it for now,” Wei WuXian explained.
“But it attacked you!” Lan JingYi retorted, obviously unconvinced.
Wei WuXian sighed. Raising Chen Qing to his lips, he blew a stretch of melody. The beast stopped resisting after a few moments. Now completely calmed, it looked like it’s sleeping, slow breathing huffing as it remained unmoved.
“See, now you make me do your work for you. I’m telling HanGuang-Jun,” Wei WuXian complained, shaking his head.
“B-But, it was dangerous!” Lan JingYi debated, trying to yank himself out of the complications he’d unintentionally dropped himself in.
Wei WuXian can’t help but laugh. These children are too adorable, there’s no way he’d let the chance pass to play around with them.
Speaking of playing a fool…
Pausing, Wei WuXian strolled towards the creature, head leaning close to it. He fondled with the beast’s skin, like he was testing the toughness of its shell.
“A-Actually, what…? Senior Wei,” Lan SiZhui urged. Half of his question was of curiosity, but the other half was of apprehension; Lan WangJi had specifically instructed him to step in if Wei WuXian portrayed any signs of mischievous behaviour.
“Actually I think this would make a good petー” Wei WuXian continued but was immediately interrupted by Lan SiZhui.
“No, no, no! This can’t be a pet! Besides, we don’t have any place to put it! And, and, it’s an evil being. It needs to be put down.”
“How rude. Are you saying I need to put down Wen Ning too?” Wei WuXian pouted.
“I-I don’t mean it like that!”
“Hmm,” Wei WuXian held his chin with a hand, pretending as if he didn’t hear what Lan SiZhui said. “But you don’t allow rabbits in the Cloud Recesses before. Look at what the garden has become now!”
“T-That’s because it’s HanGuang-Jun…”
“Then I’ll ask HanGuang-Jun to breed this in theー”
“No, no, no! Senior Wei, please, I beg you, please, be kind to us. I-If HanGuang-Jun finds out…” Lan SiZhui was pleading at this point.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry,” Wei WuXian brushed away. “HanGuang-Jun won’t say no to me. I’ll ask.”
“S-Senior Wei…” Lan SiZhui’s shoulders dropped, his voice was now powerless.
Wei WuXian fell silent for a bit, scrutinizing the rest of the disciples, his gaze ultimately fell on Lan SiZhui, who was now staring at him in such an intense way as if he was pleading at him through his eyes.
Then, Wei WuXian broke out into a burst of loud laughter.
“I’m just joking!” he laughed, holding onto his stomach. “Why are you all so serious? Look at all your scared faces, hahaha! My stomach… Besides, you are not afraid of breeding it, you’re more afraid of what HanGuang-Jun will do to you when he finds out, isn’t it, SiZhui?”
Lan SiZhui let out a deep sigh. This had been the fourth time since they went out on a night-hunt together with Wei WuXian, not forgetting the three months since Wei WuXian had resided in the Cloud Recesses but no one could ever tell when he’s joking or when he’s actually serious. It’s really bad for their hearts.
“Senior Wei, please… spare me,” Lan SiZhui said breathlessly.
“Nope, I can’t spare you. I’m done here, but you’re not. I’ve repressed the resentful energies in this beast. Now it’s your turn to put it down for real.”
With that said, Wei WuXian tugged Chen Qing back into his belt, his hands behind his head and walked away.
“Senior Wei! Where are you going?!” Lan SiZhui called out to him while the others prepared the purification ceremony.
“I’ll be in the bamboo woods. Come and find me when you’re done!”
… was all he said as his shadow vanished in the dark.
It’s one hour later when Lan SiZhui finally found Wei WuXian in the bamboo woods. Though the paths leading into the bamboo woods were dark and foggy, the almost-full moon was luminous, giving him enough light to find his way through from between the tall gaps of the bamboo trees. Lan SiZhui found Wei WuXian stroking one of the bamboo trees when he approached him, observing the texture of it as if he was searching for something. Even when Lan SiZhui came to stand by his side, he continued his observation as though he hadn’t noticed Lan SiZhui. But Lan SiZhui knew that’s not true. Wei WuXian’s senses were as sharp as Lan WangJi, definitely sharper than all the disciples here combined. He thought Wei WuXian was engrossed in something, or he’d found something and was waiting for the right time to act. So Lan SiZhui kept quiet, merely waiting, all the while had his hand on his sword in any case anything was to assault them out of nowhere.
Soon after, Wei WuXian shook his head, muttered a “Not this one!” before he sauntered away, looked around, then approached yet another bamboo tree.
Lan SiZhui could no longer withstand his curiosity.
“Senior Wei, what are you doing here?” he asked, following Wei WuXian to stare at the bamboo tree, trying to find what Wei WuXian had been staring at.
“Finding for the right sticks,” Wei WuXian droned. He was clearly in a good mood, as if the fight earlier hadn’t happened and the injuries he’d sustained were nothing to be concerned of. There was no hint of threats in his voice, so perhaps he wasn’t looking out for danger after all. Perhaps it’s just another one of his off-the-cuff playtime.
Without knowing how else to attempt the situation, Lan SiZhui took the safe route.
“Do you need help?” he offered. But before Wei WuXian could answer his question, he broke into a broad grin, rubbing roughly on a bamboo tree then spoke,
“Found it! This is good! Oh, right, SiZhui, can I borrow your sword?”
“I don’t mind but what do you plan to do?” Lan SiZhui said, pulling his sword out of his belt and handing it over to Wei WuXian.
“Cutting these, of course,” Wei WuXian said nonchalantly as he pointed the tip of the sword at the bamboo trees.
As he said, in the next second, Wei WuXian had cut down a few good numbers of the bamboo trees with Lan SiZhui’s sword. He only stopped when he’d gotten himself a whole load of them. Propping the bamboo sticks up and carrying them under his hands, he pushed the sword back into the sheath and threw it back at Lan SiZhui.
“Senior Wei, do you need help?” Lan SiZhui offered, noticing that Wei WuXian was done with his matters and was ready to leave.
“Okay!” Wei WuXian said happily. “I’m waiting for you to say that.”
“Isn’t this the reason you asked me to come here? Also, to borrow my sword,” Lan SiZhui smiled bitterly as he took over some of the bamboo sticks Wei WuXian passed to him.
“SiZhui, you’re such a nice child. Not only that you’re smart, but you’re also quick to learn too. People who raised you should be acknowledged and praised!” Wei WuXian complimented.
“Senior Wei, I can't offer you anything even if you compliment me like this… People who raised me, aren’t they you and HanGuang-Jun?”
“That’s why I said ー You’re a smart child!” Wei WuXian laughed.
Lan SiZhui shook his head with a smile. Wei WuXian had always been like this for as long as Lan SiZhui knew him. It’s kind of reassuring knowing that he’d never changed even when they were once parted for more than a decade.
“This reminds me of that time,” Lan SiZhui followed Wei WuXian quietly as they traced their path back to the clearing.
“Hmm? Oh, you mean that time at DaFan Mountain? When I borrowed your sword to cut a bamboo stick too?”
“You did. That time was so... Do you plan to make a new flute again?” Lan SiZhui asked, still not giving up on finding out exactly what Wei WuXian was up to.
“Nah, Chen Qing is good. I can’t let it go anymore,” Wei WuXian said proudly.
“It’s going to be a full moon soon,” Wei WuXian said, lifting his head to look at the moon in the sky.
“Full moon?” Lan SiZhui tilted his head.
“Mid-Autumn,” Wei WuXian pulled a grin and looked over his shoulder at a curious-looking Lan SiZhui. “What's with that look? Don't tell me you never celebrate Mid-Autumn before? You’re missing all the fun!”
It’s not like Lan SiZhui had never heard about Mid-Autumn before, actually. They’d studied about it in books, heard tales about it when they went out to villages and towns for night-hunting. But Wei WuXian was right. The Cloud Recesses forbid noise, and the quiet, self-contained lifestyle definitely didn’t allow them to make a fuss out of any festive season, including Mid-Autumn. The most they ever had was family banquets.
“I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again. The rules in the Cloud Recesses is seriously too much! You’re not living your life to the best!” Wei WuXian blabbered, sighing all the way.
Lan SiZhui smiled, slightly taken aback by the upfront way Wei WuXian called Lan WangJi by the name.
“If the Burial Mound siege never happened, I’d make sure we celebrate Mid-Autumn. Remember those lanterns Wen Qing and the rest hung for me in front of the houses? Something about not wanting me to slip and roll down the mountain because I never walk properly. Ha! As if that will happen. Oh yeah, the lanterns. Those were nice. I’m sure we can make more of those andー”
Wei WuXian stopped speaking all of a sudden. When Lan SiZhui looked at him, curious, but his expression was one of unreadable. He continued walking, acting as if he’d said nothing. It didn’t take too long for Lan SiZhui to figure out what happened, though. Wei WuXian was free-spirited most of time but he was still human, and human had emotions; Wei WuXian was definitely not an exception. The time he spent on Burial Mound with the Wen remnants was perhaps one of his most contented, even happiest time, but it was undoubtedly also one of his toughest, most miserable time of his life. The incident that happened after the short-term happiness was nothing but agony that came in the form of a tenfold backfire. Lan SiZhui could tell from the way Wei WuXian avoided the topic (especially when Wei WuXian was never one to escape from reality) that memories on the Burial Mound still held his heart hostage, stabbing on his chest like an unceasing reminder and a painful scar for as long as he lived, reborn or not.
“So, if not for a new flute, why do you need so many bamboo sticks?” Lan SiZhui hurriedly asked, acting as if he hadn’t noticed the awkward air in between them.
“Oh, right! Look at me, getting distracted halfway through talking, haha! What do you do during Mid-Autumn? You make lanterns!”
“Lanterns…?” So that’s why Wei WuXian mentioned lanterns.
“They’re not the same lanterns you used to see on Burial Mound. I’m talking about Kong Ming Lanterns." The usual grin returned to Wei WuXian’s face when he looked at Lan SiZhui again. It lifted a stone off Lan SiZhui’s heart.
“Kong Ming Lanterns…?”
“I’ll tell you… no, no, all of you, when the day comes,” Wei WuXian hopped down the path. “But for now, can you help me make them?”
“Sure,” Lan SiZhui nodded. “How do you make them? What do you need?”
Wei WuXian scrapped a hand out of the heavy pile and patted Lan SiZhui on the shoulder with a beam.
“Good boy. I need rice papers. I also need more hands to cut these into very, very thin bamboo sticks.”
“I can get JingYi to help!” Lan SiZhui broke into a smile himself.
“Yes, get him. He’d been grumbling about not being able to do much recently. Let him do as much as he can this time,” Wei WuXian agreed. “Meanwhile, I’ll go and talk to the old man myself.”
“Old man? You mean Teacher?”
“Yup. If I intend to celebrate Mid-Autumn in your garden I must be breaking at least fifty rules in your list of four thousand. So I thought perhaps it’s better for me to inform him first before he gets a heart attack from the surprise.”
Suddenly, Lan SiZhui was no longer sure if it was the right decision for him to help Wei WuXian with this task any longer.
So that was how it was. Wei WuXian, with Lan SiZhui and Lan JingYi’s help, spent most of their free time and after-dinner time in Lan SiZhui’s room making the Kong Ming Lanterns. Lan SiZhui had managed to get hold of the rice papers Wei WuXian needed from CaiYi Town. Lan JingYi treated those sessions like a playtime. It was a busy long week, greeting towards the full moon.
On the third night when Wei WuXian returned to Jing Shi long passed curfew, Lan WangJi was still awake, reading when Wei WuXian sneaked in through the window, plopping on Lan WangJi’s bed and burying himself under the thick blankets. Lan WangJi was about to flip another page of his book when he saw that very scene. With a quiet sigh, he closed his book, put it neatly aside, then blew the lights off. He took his outer clothing off, folded it neatly, and put them on the foot of his bed. Then, he joined Wei WuXian under his blanket, just to have Wei WuXian flapping one arm across his chest as he squirmed closer to press his cold cheek against Lan WangJi’s neck.
“Lan Zhan, I’m back! Greet me!”
Lan WangJi lowered his head to kiss Wei WuXian on the forehead, on the tip of his nose, then on his lips. Just very simple, soft pecks, but enough to draw a satisfying grin on Wei WuXian’s face.
“You have been coming back late these days,” Lan WangJi commented, one arm slipping under Wei WuXian’s torso just so he could scoop him closer.
“Can't blame me. Your disciples are so attached to me they want me to follow them to night-hunt every night!”
“Every night?” Lan WangJi asked.
“Every night,” Wei WuXian repeated.
There’s no use trying to explain. Lan WangJi was too smart for his own good. The more Wei WuXian tried to explain, the worse he’d make the situation to be. Besides, it’s not like Lan WangJi didn’t know that he’d been hiding things from him. He could easily check his disciples’ night-hunt records to find out exactly how many nights had they been out night-hunting and it’s too easy of a job to know that the last time they really went out for a night-hunt was three nights ago. Wei WuXian knew it too well of ways to handle Lan WangJi. Let him get suspicious. Let him know that he had something in his mind, that he had something that he wasn’t prepared to tell him yet. The more he was able to provoke Lan WangJi’s curiosity, the better.
“It is fine,” Lan WangJi said at long last. “Careful of your body. Your wounds from the last time...”
“Don’t worry about me, I’m being worshipped like a Third Master Lan here. At least by your disciples. They’re all afraid that the noble HanGuang-Jun will skin them alive if anything is to happen to me,” Wei WuXian assured, then he laughed all of a sudden. “It makes me feel bad every time I’m reminded of SiZhui’s face when he saw me coughing blood. I feel like they often forget who I am. I’m Yiling Patriach, you know? What kind of injuries have I never gotten before? I’ve even come back from death twice! And besides, didn’t you already treat my wounds from the last time? They’re all healed now. So don’t worry, I’m definitely taking care of myself.”
Wei WuXian ended with a gentle caress on Lan WangJi’s cheek, just to check its temperature.
“Then why are you so cold?” Lan WangJi blurted.
Truth be told, they’d stayed in the Lan SiZhui’s room for the past three days to make the Kong Ming Lanterns. It’s only today that Wei WuXian decided to sneak up to the mountains to try out if he could make the lanterns work that he’d spent most of the night outside. He came back in a hurry, almost missing the curfew, sneaked into Lan SiZhui’s room and stayed for a mere fifteen minutes before he hurried back to Jing Shi. He totally didn’t have the time to warm himself up before he came to face Lan WangJi, and he certainly didn’t expect Lan WangJi to pick on this of all times.
But Wei WuXian being Wei WuXian, he always had his ways with Lan WangJi.
“Maybe you can warm me up then, HanGuang-Jun? Can’t you see that I’m already in your bed? My cold body needs some good HanGuang-Jun warmth,” he provoked, one cold hand wrapping around Lan WangJi’s neck for warmth before it slipped downwards, caressing Lan WangJi on his bare chest, then snaking further down, before he finally came to trace teasing lines along the shape of Lan WangJi’s dick.
Lan WangJi stayed still for just a few moments before he gave up, sitting up and towering over Wei WuXian, his lips impatiently finding Wei WuXian’s.
The plan worked. So all is fine.
Lan WangJi appeared as if he’d let the case pass. But what he did the next night, and the next, and… the next, showed that it’s way too impossible for him to not be concerned about what Wei WuXian was up to. Every time Wei WuXian returned to Jing Shi, he’d find a whole table of food, warm and delicious, all ready for him. It took a bit of badgering but when Wei WuXian ultimately found out that Lan WangJi was the one who’d made him all these food, it was hard not to glomp on him and give him kisses wherever Wei WuXian can reach. How can you not? Lan WangJi, the prideful Second Master of the Lan Sect, stepping into the kitchen, using both his hands to prepare the ingredient and cook for him. Wei WuXian didn’t even know there’s a kitchen in the Cloud Recesses in the first place (he found his own thought ludicrous after that). The mere fact that Lan WangJi had taken such a huge effort to make him food, knowing that he wasn’t used to the bland, tasteless food served during meal times, meant more than anything Wei WuXian could ever ask for.
Lan WangJi didn’t spell his words out, but he’s a man of action and no one but Wei WuXian knew it the best. Just one look on all the bite marks and kiss marks and scratch marks and bruises on his body told just as much; no one would ever believe these were all the work of the elegant, graceful HanGuang-Jun even if they were to see them. They probably would think that it’s all Wei WuXian’s makeup story but that’s fine. No one needed to know about these. These were all Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi’s secret and he intended to keep them just between them. And precisely because Lan WangJi was a man of action, everything he’d done for Wei WuXian since Wei WuXian showed signs of returning late (cooking for him, giving him massages, making sure the room was warm enough when he came back) told Wei WuXian loud and clear that he was definitely aware of what Wei WuXian was up to; maybe not the details, but he definitely knew that Wei WuXian was involved in some labour works.
Perhaps the wounds that Wei WuXian had gotten himself during the night-hunt were what that had exposed him. He’s innocent, though. That was really just an accident.
Wei WuXian’s suspicions came clear to him when Lan WangJi applied ointment on the cut marks on his fingers once when he’d fallen asleep, then again before he woke up in the morning. Lan WangJi never reprimanded him, never pestered him to spill his beans, but he was still trying his best to support Wei WuXian within his own ability and that alone boosted Wei WuXian’s determination to give him the best Mid-Autumn he’d ever experienced in his life.
A day before Mid-Autumn, Wei WuXian found himself awake even before dawn arrived, alarming Lan WangJi in the process, who had just woken up himself, just to see Wei WuXian already dressing himself up, preparing to head out.
“You’re early,” Lan WangJi said, picking up his forehead ribbon from the table. Wei WuXian merely gave him a smile before he walked towards Lan WangJi and took the forehead ribbon off his hands.
Turning Lan WangJi around so that his back was facing Wei WuXian, Wei WuXian spoke, lifting the forehead ribbon to help Lan WangJi put it on at the same time, “Some stuff.”
Lan WangJi didn’t respond. For a long while, they remained in silence, which was weird on its own. Wei WuXian was always the one who’d lade the gaps to these muted moments. Yet now, he kept his mouth shut, purely concentrating on Lan WangJi’s forehead ribbon as Lan WangJi stared right ahead, trying not to get too agitated by this unforeseen change of mood.
At long last, Wei WuXian tied a dead knot on Lan WangJi’s forehead ribbon and spun him around, so that they could look each other in their faces.
“Do you trust me, Lan Zhan?” Wei WuXian interrupted before Lan WangJi could continue speaking.
Lan WangJi was clearly taken aback but he was quick to regain his fortitude before he nodded at Wei WuXian.
Wei WuXian smiled again. Tiptoeing, he kissed Lan WangJi on the tip of his nose, then brushed his lips against Lan WangJi’s before he enfolded his arms around Lan WangJi’s neck, pulling him close for a deeper kiss.
He wanted to say thank you, but they’d promised each other that there’s no use for thank yous, and sorrys between them. So he merely whispered it in his heart, hoping that it’ll reach Lan WangJi in one way or another. After a long, lingering kiss, Wei WuXian pulled himself away from Lan WangJi, his usual blazing grin returned to his face as he tapped Lan WangJi on his shoulders.
“Don’t give me that look, you know I’m weak against those innocent eyes of yours! I might spill all my secrets and waste all my efforts!” Wei WuXian said between chuckles.
Lan WangJi’s dazed expression in the next second sent a pang of warmth right into his chest. He wanted very much to kiss Lan WangJi again but if he was to continue, he might not be able to stop for real. So instead, he rubbed the tips of their noses together and said,
“I love you so much, Lan Zhan.”
“En,” Lan WangJi breathed lowly, his hands on Wei WuXian’s waist gaining a bit of strength, communicating his response loud and clear to Wei WuXian.
“Be a good boy and wait for me to come back, alright?” Wei WuXian said, one finger entangling with Lan WangJi’s long tail of his forehead ribbon. “And when I come back, we’ll continue.”
“Wei Ying,” Lan WangJi called out right before Wei WuXian can step out of the room.
“Hm?” Wei WuXian halted his steps, looking back at Lan WangJi.
“...Be careful,” was all Lan WangJi said, eliciting a raucous laugh out of Wei WuXian, who shook his hand at Lan WangJi’s direction.
“Don’t look so worried! Lan Zhan, you’re so…” Wei WuXian paused, took a deep breath, his wide grin turning into a small smile. “I’m not going to fight with a beast or anything. But I’ll take your advice. Your uncle is more ferocious than any beasts I’ve ever met after all.”
And he left the room, leaving Lan WangJi to stare in perplex at the spot where he’d disappeared, his worries even more evident with the last words Wei WuXian had left him.
The morning classes will only start in an hour. After having taken his breakfast, Lan QiRen had retreated into his own room, preparing to indulge himself in some short reading before he headed for class. But his plan was interrupted when he heard a few soft knocks on the door, then a voice that had a deep frown forming in between his eyebrows.
“Wei Ying?” he called out. “What matters do you have here?”
“Teacher!” Wei WuXian’s joyous voice echoed throughout the room. “Can I speak to you for a bit?”
“If it’s about what’s happening between you and WangJi, I don’t want to hear,” Lan QiRen huffed.
Wei WuXian was certain that Lan WangJi had talked about their relationship to Lan QiRen right from the first day they returned to the Cloud Recesses. He knew Lan WangJi would definitely handle things better than him so it’s only the smarter option to let him do the talking. But, at the same time, Wei WuXian was also aware that he’d been avoiding communication with Lan QiRen for as long as he’d been residing in the Cloud Recesses. Perhaps Lan QiRen preferred it that way too. Ever since when he was still his student, Lan QiRen had shown perfectly well how much Wei WuXian was capable in rubbing him the wrong way, not forgetting how Wei WuXian had ventured into a path he clearly loathed, and above all, taking away and tainting his proud disciple, Lan WangJi. The complications between Wei WuXian and Lan QiRen were more complicated than any human interactions Wei WuXian had ever encountered and more time was definitely needed for them to untangle these dilemmas.
Yet, a first step needed to be made. And Wei WuXian thought perhaps this could be a good one.
Even though what he was about to say later was nothing but more rules-breaking. As the same ol’ Wei WuXian.
“It’s not about that,” Wei WuXian said from beneath the door. “Well, maybe about that too, just a bit.”
He could hear Lan QiRen giving out a restless huff from inside the room. He spoke no more, simply waiting. After a few moments, footsteps could be heard and in the next second, the door was swung open, revealing a frowning Lan QiRen.
“Whatever you want to say, hurry up and speak out,” Lan QiRen said.
“Thank you, Teacher!” Wei WuXian exclaimed.
“No loud noises in the Cloud Recesses!”
“Sorry, sorry!” Wei WuXian clapped his hands against his mouth. With a grin, he started speaking. “I know I haven’t been talking properly with Teacher ever since I came here and you probably don’t want to talk to me too and that’s fine! I know I’ve caused a lot of troubles to you, to Gusu Lan Sect, to Lan Zhan, and I know there’s no way for me to compensate for all the damages I’ve done no matter what I do. Whatever had happened, happened. I can’t turn back time, and I definitely can’t manipulate emotions. Even if you ask me to leave Lan Zhan, I will not do it.”
At this point, Lan QiRen must’ve thought that Wei WuXian was only here to sting his nerves, telling him things that he didn’t want to hear and reminding him of realities that he wanted to look away from. Realizing that he’s straying off his point, Wei WuXian quickly continued before Lan QiRen could chase him away.
“But, but! I swear I’ll not cause more troubles! I’ll follow all the rules here, I’ll treat Lan Zhan well, I’ll treat you well, just… just…” he stuttered at the end of his words, gulping down his throat upon realizing that he’d been speaking like he was fast-forwarding his talking speed and that a gloomier shade had just made its way onto Lan QiRen’s face. Once he was certain that the pause did its job in soothing the tension between them, even for just a bit, Wei WuXian continued,
“...just this time, I only have one request.”
“Request?” Lan QiRen perked a curious eyebrow, knowing that this was the real reason Wei WuXian came to see him so early in the morning.
“To break rules for one last time,” Wei WuXian’s voice turned small at the end.
“What?!” Lan QiRen exclaimed.
“N-No loud noises allowed in the Cloud Recesses!” Wei WuXian covered his head with his arms, as if fearing that Lan QiRen will knock him on the head.
“You…!” Lan QiRen seemed as if he was about to get a heart attack anytime now. “What do you mean by ‘breaking rules for one last time’'? Haven’t you been breaking enough rules already?”
“Not once since I returned,” Wei WuXian defended himself in a muffled mutter.
“I’m sorry! But I’m not doing this just for fun!” Wei WuXian hurriedly explained. “I just thought that it’d be nice if everyone here can experience Mid-Autumn together tomorrow. Just this one day. Please grant me this permission, Teacher!”
With that said, Wei WuXian kneeled and bowed in front of Lan QiRen, head lowered, forehead close to the ground.
Lan QiRen stared at him momentarily. Wei WuXian was the one and only student who’d dared to break the rules in the Cloud Recesses like they’re nothing. His personality, attitude, and existence contradicted with everything Gusu Lan Sect believed in. Lan QiRen always thought it’s outlandish and unfortunate for Lan WangJi ー a person who he believed to have understood Lan Sect’s belief by heart, who swore to follow through the teachings, and who’s clearly intelligent ー to fall for someone like Wei WuXian. He sighed profoundly. But it’s not like he understood love anyway. While he dedicated his life to teaching and preserving the Lan Sect values, Lan WangJi had dedicated his life to protecting the people he loved without him realizing. Who was he to choose his path for him? All Lan QiRen ever wanted was to guide him on the right path, even when the definition of ‘right path’ was different for the both of them.
But Lan QiRen was clear about one thing: He’d never want to see the Lan WangJi from years back again, when he’d isolated himself, giving himself up, putting himself in a pessimistic situation that was so unlike him. It was at that time that Lan QiRen clearly experienced how fear felt like. Fear of losing not only his best student, but fear of losing his precious nephew as well.
So, despite blaming Wei WuXian at most times for what he’d made out of Lan WangJi, deep inside, Lan QiRen knew that this wasn’t something either of them could control. And when it happened, it’d only be selfish to stop them from pursuing what was happiness for them.
Yet, as an elder, even more so as one who held adamantly to the teaching of Lan Sect, there’s no way Lan QiRen could acknowledge their relationship on an upfront manner. Lan WangJi understood that, and clearly, Wei WuXian understood that too.
“I’m more than happy to accept any sort of punishments after tomorrow!” Wei WuXian pressed on, face still facing the ground.
“...Mark your words,” Lan QiRen responded in a disheartened voice.
“Yes!” Wei WuXian raised his face with a bright grin. “Any punishments at all!”
Lan QiRen sighed again. “What rules do you plan to break then?”
On the same night, Lan WangJi paced into the room, already expecting an empty space. He sighed airily, put the tray of food on the table, then was about to sit on his desk and start waiting when the window of his room opened. He turned his gaze just in time to see a shadow rolling into the room, scuttering towards the bed and hid itself under the thick blanket. He released another sigh, this time, with a hint of smile in it, stood, and walked towards the bed.
The blanket raised a bit, just enough for Lan WangJi to see a pair of eyes peeking from the midst of dark shadows.
“A bath, at least,” Lan WangJi said.
Wei WuXian sat up all of a sudden, tossing the blanket away and throwing his arms around Lan WangJi’s neck with a smirk on his face.
“Lan Zhan, I’m back! Greet me!”
Lan WangJi slipped a hand around Wei WuXian’s waist, the mere gesture had Wei WuXian tumbling right onto Lan WangJi’s body, his craving for Lan WangJi’s warmth ever so evident.
“You’re not as cold as usual,” Lan WangJi remarked. Out of his instinct, he sniffed on Wei WuXian’s neck, a tongue casually licking on the nearest skin he could find, sending cold down Wei WuXian’s spine. “Lotus seed…?”
Hearing that, Wei WuXian pushed Lan WangJi away, a pout now replaced his initial smirk.
“What’s this? You’re treating me like food? Lan Zhan, I can’t believe you’re such person when you look so elegant and innocent from the outside. I totally underestimated you!”
Lan WangJi merely stared at him as he continued prattling, his slightly confused mien made Wei WuXian feel slightly bad.
“D-Don’t look at me like this. Okay, okay, I give up. I’ll stop playing around with you,” Wei WuXian retorted, averting his eyes. “What I’m saying is, if you think I’m food, then you should know what to do, right? I’m already on your bed, shouldn’t youー waaaaa!”
In the next moment, Lan WangJi had slanted towards him to bite frivolously on Wei WuXian’s exposed neck, catching Wei WuXian completely off guard.
Even if he’d wake with bite marks all over his body, it’s fine. Because his plan worked again.
And this was the last time Wei WuXian needed it to work before the big day arrived.
The next day, Wei WuXian was already gone from his side when Lan WangJi woke up. Truth to be told, it was a terrible struggle having to wake up so early in the morning. Wei WuXian was well aware of how conveniently awake Lan WangJi could be, especially when one simple movement can easily wake him up, being the natural worrywart he was. Thanks to that, he’d made sure to exhaust Lan WangJi out as much as he could the previous night, despite having to shoulder the consequences for himself the next day. Usually, they wouldn’t let each other go until they’re done with at least two sessions of lovemaking every night. There were nights when they were exceptionally active, and there were nights when they went easy on each other. Last night was the former, albeit intentionally.
Wei WuXian held onto his waist as he dragged his feet down the dark corridor, occasionally looking over his shoulder to make sure that Lan WangJi wasn’t on his heels. He can’t be too careful. Lan WangJi walked like a cat, like he was floating on the floor instead of walking on it. Wei WuXian wouldn’t even be surprised if he found Lan WangJi standing right behind him all of a sudden, without making any sound.
But he was in luck today. There’s no sign of Lan WangJi for as long as he walked. Once he made his way into the kitchen, he opened up the bamboo container he used to keep the food he’d prepared the previous night, sniffing blissfully on them to make sure that they’re still safe and sound, then covered them up again.
One task down.
Cooking was the hardest thing he’d done in his entire life. In the past, he could effortlessly pick up any skills; whatever he could lay his hands on. Swimming, archery, swords; anything. But when it came to cooking, it’s like all his talents had vanished into thin air, degrading him into nothing but a normal human and causing him to struggle until he finally got the decent taste, enough to be served. He felt slightly bad for Lan SiZhui and Lan JingYi though. They weren’t great cooks themselves but they’d tried out their skills on cooking in an attempt to help Wei WuXian and both had come out of the kitchen swearing that they’d never step into the place again. But this entire process taught Wei WuXian one important lesson: that he should never ever take Lan WangJi’s cooking for granted, and that he should eat every last piece of the food Lan WangJi cooked for him regardless of how full he was. He was certain that Lan WangJi never stepped into the kitchen as many times as he did but the fact that he could already prepare such delicious set of dishes amazed Wei WuXian to no end. He was, indeed, a genius. And it made Wei WuXian feel extremely proud to have married a husband like him.
Indulging in the imaginative after-taste of Lan WangJi’s lavish handmade dishes, Wei WuXian left the kitchen and headed to his next destination.
The sky was languidly gaining its gradients of light by now. He probably should return to Jing Shi just to check on Lan WangJi and to tell him that he hasn’t disappeared out of nowhere. Lan WangJi must already be awake now. It must hurt to find him missing. But he bumped into Lan SiZhui before he could change his route, who told him that he and Lan JingYi were both up and ready to finish up the rest of what’s left to do.
“Half?!” Wei WuXian exclaimed.
“We thought they’re fine but it seems like we misaligned the positions of the candles…” Lan SiZhui explained. While Wei WuXian busied himself with making the mooncakes in the kitchen yesterday night, Lan SiZhui and Lan JingYi were tasked with the responsibility to try out the Kong Ming Lanterns with some of the extras they’d made as backups. As a result, half of their backups burned right when they were lit up, initiating a crisis.
“We need to redo them then,” Wei WuXian supported his chin with a hand, a thin frown in between his eyebrows.
“Yes,” Lan SiZhui agreed. “Senior Wei, is something troubling you?”
“Ah, no, I’m only worried if there’s enough time for everything…”
“I’ll help you earn some time.”
Both Wei WuXian and Lan SiZhui jumped at a third voice. Like brother, like brother. When they turned sharply around to look for the source of the voice, they found Lan XiChen standing just a bit of distance away from them, as if he’d just appeared from thin air.
“Seriously, Double Jades are too fearful,” Wei WuXian sighed out loud.
“I’ll take that as a compliment, Young Master Wei,” Lan XiChen smiled with a bow. “Uncle told me about your plan.”
“And asked you to keep an eye on me?” Wei WuXian teased.
“...Yes and no,” Lan XiChen gave an ambiguous answer.
“Don’t mind the details. You wanted time, don’t you?” Lan XiChen distracted. “WangJi and I will be heading out today. I can help you to earn more time if you need.”
“Today? Of all days?” Wei WuXian narrowed his eyes, accompanied by a questioning smirk. He already knew what this was about, but the natural tease in him can’t help but peeking its head out, eager to see how Lan XiChen would react to it.
“I believe Young Master Wei knows it better than anyone of us here,” Lan XiChen remained as composed as ever, his smile as innocent as ever.
Wei WuXian laughed out loud. “Thank you, Brother,” he called, then laughed again when Lan XiChen portrayed signs of shock. “I guess we’ll need that extra time. As much as you can give us!”
“Sure,” Lan XiChen nodded. “I’m interested to see what you have up your sleeves too. I shall be looking forward to tonight.”
Dropping them the assurance, Lan XiChen turned his back towards them and walked away.
“You heard him. We’ve got time,” Wei WuXian winked at Lan SiZhui, who have yet to come back from the confusion.
“Don’t mind the details, don’t mind the details!” Wei WuXian slung an arm around Lan SiZhui’s neck, urging him towards the direction of Lan SiZhui’s room, where they kept all the materials for their lanterns. “What we need to focus now is to get the lanterns done, then we can worry about the rest later. Argh, my poor fingers. Lan Zhan better reward me with something good after this.”
Lan SiZhui could only smile as he was dragged down the corridor. Their day had just started.
When they’re finally done with everything they needed to prepare, dusk was already falling, the daylight had dwindled to a barely perceptible lightning of the gloom. Wei WuXian, Lan SiZhui, Lan JingYi and some of the other disciples who’d found out what they were up to were now gathered in the garden, putting up small lanterns on branches of the tree, setting up the tables, and getting the Kong Ming Lanterns ready to be lighted up.
Wei WuXian sat against a tree, enjoying the full moon now hanging insolently in the sky. Surrounded by rabbits, a small smile graced his features. There was nothing else for him to do now. After one whole week of lack of sleep and lack of time spent with Lan WangJi, alongside the myriad of secret games he’d been playing with Lan WangJi, the end of everything suddenly made him feel a sense of loss. It’d been a while since he was as productive as this past week. Sure, he’d always accompany the young Lan Sect disciples for night-hunting sessions every once a while, but that’s only ‘once a while’. There were days when he had literally nothing to do, simply spending time in either Jing Shi or Library Pavilion, buried in books and books and Lan WangJi. Lan WangJi had suggested starting travelling again but Wei WuXian turned the suggestion down, deeming it to be too much of a rush when they’d just returned. Besides, he was also aware that Lan WangJi was very much needed in the Cloud Recesses, especially now that Lan XiChen hadn’t completely recovered himself. Wei WuXian knew how to make things fun for himself, but he was still considerate enough to make decisions that wouldn't trouble Lan WangJi in the long run.
They had time now. There’s no need to rush. They can always go out for a long travel again when everything calmed down.
Wei WuXian whistled casually, giggling to himself as he imagined Lan WangJi’s face when he came back to see all of these. Lan WangJi probably had his own suspicions but this extent of preparation was definitely not within his expectations. After everything Lan WangJi had done behind his back to surprise him, now Wei WuXian finally had his chance to bite him back. This probably wasn’t much, they still had a family banquet after this, this was definitely not the main highlight of the festive season. But still...
“Senior Wei, Senior Wei, they’re back!”
Lan JingYi’s voice resounded from the banquet table. Wei WuXian quickly stood, patting grasses off his clothing as he did.
Like Lan JingYi had said, he could see two shadows ー one of Lan XiChen, and another of Lan WangJi ー walking down the corridor from a far corner. Lan XiChen seemed to be engaged in a conversation with Lan WangJi, clearly trying to distract his attention. Lan WangJi had his eyes on his brother, nodding every so often, returning his words with truncated responses of his own. It’s only when they came to the corner where the garden was visible that both of them halted in their steps; Lan XiChen smiled at the row of disciples, all ready to greet them, while Lan WangJi’s eyes brightened, surprised.
“Welcome back, Sect Leader Lan, Second Master Lan!” all the disciples greeted.
“I see you’re all ready,” Lan XiChen approved with an elated expression.
“This is…” Lan WangJi trailed.
Lan XiChen patted Lan WangJi on his back. “Don’t you already know, WangJi? What else could it be?”
Then, Lan WangJi looked around, searching for something. Seeing that, the disciples started moving away, revealing an unhindered view of Wei WuXian, who was still standing rooted on the spot, waving a branch in his hand with a playful smirk on his face.
“Brother! Lan Zhan! Surprise! Happy? Not happy? Surprised? Not surprised?”
Lan WangJi’s expression was unreadable but based on how Lan XiChen had pulled a bigger smile upon seeing his face, it can only mean something good.
“Lan Zhan! Why do you look like that? Do you know how much troubles I’ve gone through to prepare these?! I even sacrificed my body and soul to Teacher just so he will allow me to break more rules! Oh, and SiZhui and JingYi too! They’re good children! Don’t forget to reward them later! Hey, Lan Zhan, are you listening? H-Hey, why are you running here? Lan Zhan! Lan Zhan?!”
While Wei WuXian was speaking, Lan WangJi had taken speedy steps towards him, grabbing him on the wrist and dragged him to the back of the tree before Wei WuXian could make sense of anything. The next thing he knew, Lan WangJi was pressing him against the tree and kissing him, the kiss brusque and impatient and desirous, as if Lan WangJi intended to suck all the air out of him and all Wei WuXian can do was grasping weakly on Lan WangJi’s clothes for support, just in case his knees gave out on him.
In the midst of blurred conscious, he could vaguely hear noises from behind them. Lan XiChen’s voice, instructing the disciples around. Lan QiRen’s voice, screeching about lack of manners and discipline. It felt like an eternity later when Lan WangJi finally let him go after biting him on his lower lip.
“Lan… Lan Zhan, what are you doing? How courageous of you to do this kind of thing in front of your disciples and your brother?” Wei WuXian hissed.
“Not in front of them,” Lan WangJi said in a hushed tone, breathing still a mess.
“Your fault!” Lan WangJi was literally growling at this point, causing Wei WuXian to burst out laughing. He pressed his palms against Lan WangJi’s face. As expected, his face was burning despite the calm, fair skin texture.
“Yes, yes, my fault, everything is my fault. Now, since I’ve committed such fault, can I go out and continue to break more rules like I’ve promised your uncle?”
“That day. When you mentioned uncle…”
Wei WuXian nodded. Lan WangJi sighed.
“Don’t mind it, don’t mind it!” Wei WuXian clutched Lan WangJi on his wrist. “I really put in a lot of effort this time. Don’t waste them! It’s not every day I get interested in working, you know? What a lucky man you are.”
Lan WangJi allowed Wei WuXian to pull him out of the shadows and right into the crowd.
“Eat, eat!” Wei WuXian said once he reached the banquet table. “Make sure you eat all of them! I made everything myself! You should feel lucky to be able to taste Yiling Patriarch’s handmade food!”
“It’s okay! I’ve tasted them! No spicy!” Lan JingYi quickly said.
“Rude! Lan Zhan, look at JingYi! He’s the one who stopped me when I wanted to put chilli into the pot, too! What’s wrong with spicy? Spicy mooncakes don’t exist? Then I can be the first to make it! It’s not like I didn’t already initiate a first in something anyway. Lan Zhan, say something! Don’t you want to try spicy mooncakes too?”
“I want anything you make,” Lan WangJi said, instantly shutting Wei WuXian up. Lan XiChen, who’d overheard their ruckus, chuckled quietly.
“Y-You, Lan Zhan, you…” Wei WuXian stuttered.
“Isn’t it great, Young Master Wei? At least someone will finish all the dishes you make,” Lan XiChen chipped in.
“Y-You said it yourself, Lan Zhan. Whatever I make, you’ll finish all of them.”
“En,” Lan WangJi said without a second thought, which only flustered Wei WuXian even more.
“Eat this!” Wei WuXian pushed a mooncake into Lan WangJi’s mouth and obediently, Lan WangJi started munching politely, as if trying to savour every inch of it.
For the first time in centuries, the Cloud Recesses greeted its noisiest night. The disciples gathered around the table, trying out mooncakes after mooncakes, some talking to each other, some sitting on the ground, playing with the rabbits while they ate. Once the food was almost finished, Wei WuXian took the lead and pulled one of the Kong Ming Lanterns open as he stood in front of the rest of the disciples, coughing a few times to gather their attention.
“Listen up, listen up! I’m going to teach you something you’ll never learn herー I mean!” he quickly changed his words upon noticing Lan QiRen’s stern glare. “Something you have yet to learn here! This,” he raised and waved the Kong Ming Lantern in his hand. "Is called a Kong Ming Lantern. SiZhui, JingYi, and I have made enough for all of us here. All you need to do is write your wish on the lantern, light it up, and send it up to the sky.”
“What will happen when we write our wishes on it?” one of the disciples raised his hand.
“Good question! Legend says that your wish will come true!”
The disciples gasped in amazement.
“But you know how legends work. We can only try. If it works, that means it’s true! If it doesn’t, well, that means your wish is unreasonable.”
“Come over here and take one,” Wei WuXian ended, pointing to a space behind him where all the Kong Ming Lanterns were stacked up. “Lan Zhan, I’ve got two for us, let’s go there to write on it.”
With Wei WuXian holding onto his hand, they walked away from the crowd and came to sit in the middle of the gathering rabbits.
“Wish, huh?” Wei WuXian drummed the tip of his calligraphy pen against his cheek. “Woah, Lan Zhan, you’re already writing? Let me see. What’s your wish?”
“Secret,” Lan WangJi pulled his Kong Ming Lantern out of Wei WuXian’s view.
“Stingy,” Wei WuXian pouted. “Never mind, I’ve gotten mine too.”
They concentrated on writing on the Kong Ming Lanterns for some moments. Every time Wei WuXian attempted to steal a look at what Lan WangJi was writing, Lan WangJi will pull a distance between them. And after the fifth try, Wei WuXian gave up, finally focusing on his own wish.
He said that in front of Lan WangJi, but for Wei WuXian, he’d have his wish decided ever since he decided to do this with Lan WangJi. There’s no need to think about it. His wish had always been one and only one. So, with a smile, he started writing on the Kong Ming Lantern. He’d said that legends were simply legends, that there’s no knowing if wishes will really come true even if they released them into the sky. Wei WuXian knew that, of course. But if it’s a simple wish…
If it’s a wish that’s already been granted to him, and if he only wished to keep it going…
Then perhaps, it’d be a different story.
“Lan Zhan, are you done?” Wei WuXian nudged on Lan WangJi’s back with his elbow.
Lan WangJi nodded.
“I’m done too! Let’s get them up.”
Standing up, they carefully carried their Kong Ming Lanterns to where everyone was gathered. Lan SiZhui had already started to teach them how to light the lanterns up so Wei WuXian turned to look at Lan WangJi, intending to give him a personal coaching.
“It’s easy. Just pull the rice paper up, light the candle inside, and watch it rise by itself. The candle positions should be right this time…”
Lan WangJi had already walked off to get them a small bottle of fire when Wei WuXian pulled on the rice papers. Giving each other a nod, Lan WangJi lighted his own lantern first, watching it rise from the ground and floating graciously into the sky. Wei WuXian lighted his soon after. Both of them watched as their lanterns ascended side-by-side, right into the pitch-dark sky, as if they were headed towards the beautiful, silver full moon. Around them were hundreds other lanterns, all rising swiftly and pleasingly, creating a breathtaking scene of a dark sky filled with small moving lights.
“It’s beautiful…” Lan SiZhui breathed out.
“Look, look! Mine is bumping into yours!” Lan JingYi pointed at one direction in the sky as he gripped on Lan SiZhui’s sleeve. “Will they burn?”’
“S-Should be fine. I made sure the rice papers are good enough to sustain a few bumps…” Lan SiZhui said, despite the timid tone in his voice.
“Haha! Lan Zhan, if our lanterns bump into each other and burn together, then that means we’ll die together, right?” Wei WuXian joked.
“Okay,” Lan WangJi responded, causing Wei WuXian to drop his jaw.
“Okay? What okay? That’s not okay at all. That’s just a joke. Wake up, Lan Zhan, it’s not hai shi yet.”
Lan WangJi merely smiled.
“Argh, now I’m feeling all unsettled. Lan Zhan, take your guqin out,” Wei WuXian said.
“Let’s play a song together. Don’t waste the night,” Wei WuXian winked, tapping delicately on Chen Qing, tugged on his belt.
Nodding, Lan WangJi retrieved his guqin from a nearby table where he’d placed it when they returned earlier, and came back to find Wei WuXian standing on one of the branches on a tree.
The disciples, alongside Lan QiRen and Lan XiChen were now seated on the grass, their attention on Wei WuXian.
“He’s here, he’s here!” Wei WuXian waved his hand enthusiastically at Lan WangJi. “Hurry up and come here, Lan Zhan! We need to start the song before all the lanterns disappeared.”
The melody of the song blanketed the atmosphere, the tone calm and irresistibly sweet. Wei WuXian’s flute tone was strong and resolute, while the tunes from Lan WangJi’s guqin were of serenity and tranquility. When they both combined, it became a melody that was soothing to the soul, as if its primary function was to rest a soul, for reassurance, and for good blessings.
That night in the Cloud Recesses was undoubtedly the noisiest night the Cloud Recesses had ever experienced, but it was also, undoubtedly, one of the most soothing, happiest night the Cloud Recesses had ever come to experience.
Despite Wei WuXian’s rule-breaking attempt, he was soon compelled to return to Lan Sect’s rules and routine as he joined the rest of the Lan family in the family banquet the sect had organized in celebration of the festive season. Wei WuXian had come to know about the importance of such banquet even when he was still part of Yunmeng Jiang Sect. Being invited, being given a seat beside Lan WangJi, and being treated as a guest in such banquet meant giving him recognition as Lan WangJi’s companion; in other words, he’s now being treated not only as Lan WangJi’s partner, but also as part of Gusu Lan Sect. Wei WuXian didn’t need to ask Lan WangJi, nor did he need Lan WangJi to tell him how hard and how long had Lan WangJi been fighting for this status for him. So the least Wei WuXian could do was respect the tradition, even going over the miles to provide his handmade mooncake servings as part of the banquet menu, much to Lan QiRen’s agony.
In return to all the requests Lan QiRen had approved of him, Wei WuXian drank all the soups he was served with, right to the bottom of the bowl. Lan WangJi gave him a trifling sideway stare the entire time, observing every one of his action. When Wei WuXian noticed it, he purposely threw a wink at his direction, then licking the last drop of soup off the corner of his lips. Lan WangJi gave out a muted cough before he picked his cup up, wanting to drink his tea to maintain his composure, just to realize that it was long empty.
Wei WuXian almost injured his insides having to stomach his laughter throughout the whole banquet.
Finally, when the banquet was done, Wei WuXian returned to Jing Shi first while Lan WangJi walked towards his brother and his uncle, mentioning something about having to round up the rest of the banquet greeting.
“Emperor Smile. Under the floor,” Lan WangJi had whispered to him before they parted. It took a whole lot of endurance from Wei WuXian not to pull Lan WangJi’s head down to kiss him before he was swept away by the crowd.
Once Wei WuXian found his own solitary in Jing Shi, he quickly hopped towards the secret place where Lan WangJi hid the Emperor’s Smile and, as expected, the empty jars were now replaced with three brand-new Emperor’s Smile. Wei WuXian hungrily took one of them out, plucked the cover open and breathed in the exquisite scent of liquor.
“Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, tell me how not to love you when you’re spoiling me so much like this,” Wei WuXian muttered in delight, heart warm, face hot.
He placed the jar on the table, grabbed two cups and walked towards the window, where he arranged the cups on the window sill. The moon was still as radiant and as round as before, his mood was giddy as he poured liquor in the cups. Wei WuXian took his outer clothing off once he's settled down, already feeling the heat from the liquor effect, before he pulled the red ribbon off his hair just to tie his strands up into a neat high ponytail again. Finally, he took one long-awaited sip of the Emperor’s Smile.
“This is the best! The best! Good liquor, beautiful moon view, the only thing missing now is… a charming partner to drink with me.”
Just when he said that, he heard the sound of the door being opened, immediately pulling a smirk on his face.
“...no more,” he whispered, just in time to see Lan WangJi staring perplexedly at his half-naked, seductive figure with a tray in his hands.
“Hi, beautiful Goddess, do you want to join me for a drink under this ravishing moonlight?” Wei WuXian waved the alcohol cup in his hand, eyes glistening in a thin layer of mist, his cheeks a faint shade of pink.
Lan WangJi took slow steps towards him then. Only when he came closer that Wei WuXian finally realized what he’s been holding in his hands.
“Mooncake?” Wei WuXian’s eyes brightened.
“For you,” Lan WangJi said, joining him to sit by the window. For some reasons, Lan WangJi was avoiding his eyes but Wei WuXian was way too distracted by the new addition to be pushing a tease at Lan WangJi like how he’d always do.
“I’ve eaten plenty of mooncakes today,” Wei WuXian grumbled, before he raised a flirtatious gaze. “Unless… this is special? Something that I have to try?”
Lan WangJi didn’t answer; instead, he picked up a small knife and cut the mooncake into four neat, equal pieces. Once done, he put the knife aside, poured himself a small volume of the Emperor’s Smile, then waited.
“HanGuang-Jun. Hello? HanGuang-Jun? Why are you ignoring me? You haven’t answered my question yet,” Wei WuXian kicked Lan WangJi gingerly on his leg. “What’s so special about this mooncake?”
“Try,” was all Lan WangJi said, taking a small sip of his drink.
“Okay, okay, I’ll find out myself,” Wei WuXian surrendered. Picking one slice of the mooncake up, he snuffled on it, then tossed the entire piece into his mouth.
A growl echoed in his throat.
“S-Spishee booncaff?” he grumbled.
“Don’t speak when you're eating,” Lan WangJi spoke coolly, face and gesture as composed as ever.
Wei WuXian swallowed down the food in one gulp. “Spicy mooncake?! They exist?”
Lan WangJi remained silent.
“Wait. Wait, no, no, no,” Wei WuXian wriggled towards Lan WangJi, giving him a suspicious stare. “They don’t exist. Who would have such a ridiculous tastebud like me? That means, the only reason why they do now is because…”
Lan WangJi raised his eyes from his cup to look at Wei WuXian, his expression as unreadable as ever. But Wei WuXian didn’t stay with Lan WangJi for months now to not comprehend at least part of what Lan WangJi’s nonverbal expressions could be implying. Besides, the wavering hint of timidity in Lan WangJi’s eyes had just exposed him.
“Lan Zhan, you…” Wei WuXian was at a loss of words. His chest was bursting with overwhelmed emotions; he wanted to do a lot of things to Lan WangJi but he swallowed all of them down, only sighing loudly before he cupped Lan WangJi on the face. “Confess now. How long?”
“A week,” Lan WangJi answered, already figured out Wei WuXian’s question.
“You… So you already know what I was doing, that’s why you pointed out the lotus seed...” Wei WuXian trailed, head spinning. Carelessly pressing a kiss against Lan WangJi’s lips, Wei WuXian shook his head. “Tell me what should I do with you, Lan Zhan? You’re making me feel all these... feelings... You’re ruining my life! You better take responsibility for this ー with the rest of your life!”
Lan WangJi responded by picking up another piece of the mooncake and brought it to Wei WuXian’s lips. Wei WuXian took it in with one bite, but that one bite also included Lan WangJi’s finger as Wei WuXian purposefully sucked on the tip of his finger before Lan WangJi can pull it back, bringing the entire length into his mouth, tongue twirling around the finger as he savoured every inch of it.
Lan WangJi’s finger curved slightly in Wei WuXian’s mouth, shivering a tad. Wei WuXian’s lips arched into a petty smirk. Take this. Revenge. Pushing Lan WangJi to the limit was one of Wei WuXian’s best talents. He’d done this knowing precisely that it will drive Lan WangJi up the wall. Lan WangJi wasn’t a person who’d express his thoughts in words but his body was always honest and it seemed to do most of the thinking for him especially when Wei WuXian provoked him like this. Sure enough, Lan WangJi wrenched his finger out of Wei WuXian’s mouth in an almost aggressive way when Wei WuXian was about to hold it with his hands. Grabbing Wei WuXian on his shoulders, Lan WangJi pressed him against the wall, forcing a kiss against Wei WuXian’s lips.
Lan WangJi’s aggression when he made love with Wei WuXian was something Wei WuXian had long habituated his mind and body with; he’d experienced his intense fervor, communicated through brutal body gestures, right from the first time they let their desires run wild in the inn. He’d never forget the flare in Lan WangJi’s eyes when Lan WangJi hauled him over for a kiss, effortlessly drowning him in one of the best rushes of lust he’d ever experienced in his life. It was supposed to be a joke, a provoke at most, but never did Wei WuXian imagine Lan WangJi to react in such a primitive way as if all the emotions he’d been repressing within him had just erupted on Wei WuXian in a way that's beyond merciless and instinctual.
Their tongues tangled as Wei WuXian enveloped his arms around Lan WangJi’s neck, craving for a deeper kiss. After their countless times of having sex, their bodies and minds had now achieved a level of compatibility to the extent that one meek movement was more than enough for them to know what the other wanted. And they’d always give in to the sweet nothings: whatever the other wanted, they’d give them; all they ever wanted in this waves of please was to endow each other with as much pleasure as they could, using their bodies to their best potential.
A faint scent of fragrance glided into Wei WuXian’s conscious as he coddled himself in the sensual kiss he was sharing with Lan WangJi. That scent from Lan WangJi was like his personal aphrodisiac, making him drunker than he already was, pushing him into lusting for more of Lan WangJi for as much as he could seek for.
Lan WangJi held no restraints whatsoever when he held Wei WuXian in his arms. It’s one part of Lan WangJi that belonged only to Wei WuXian ー the beast that only Wei WuXian can summon from within the deepest part of Lan WangJi, properly living up to his demonic cultivator glory. Wei WuXian loved it. He loved it so, so much. He’d wanted to see a completely naked Lan WangJi since years and years ago, perhaps even since when they first met. Perhaps that’s why he’s so persistent with him. Seeing Lan WangJi expressing just any emotions that were a contrast to his usual unruffled self gave Wei WuXian so much pleasure and sense of achievement that did nothing but urged him to do more, more, and more, until when he could push Lan WangJi to the limit of his endurance, until when he could expose more of Lan WangJi’s real self, all raw right in front of him.
He sometimes suspected if he was a hidden sadist, but from how much he enjoyed Lan WangJi’s rough treatment on his body during sex, perhaps then he’s a masochist too. He could be both. But he knew that the only reason why he relished in everything he’d done to Lan WangJi and everything Lan WangJi did to him was because he loved Lan WangJi. He wanted to feel, see, hear, everything of Lan WangJi.
Simply because he loved him.
“Lan Zhan…” he breathed heavily when they parted kiss. His lips were red and bruised, his eyes were foggy, fluttering in intense need, and his cheeks flustered as sweat dripped silently along his face. “I really cannot underestimate your beauty. You were so elegant, so graceful, like a Goddess, just minutes ago. But look at you now.” With a pause, Wei WuXian pressed his palms against Lan WangJi’s face. “I still cannot understand how there’s no red on your face at all when it’s burning hot like this.”
He knew that he’d been seducing Lan WangJi ever since the banquet. He’d been waiting for Lan WangJi to come back, to take him, and to make a mess out of him ever since he returned by himself. He can’t even remember a time when he didn’t want Lan WangJi.
“Spicy? Not spicy?” he tipped Lan WangJi’s chin up with one finger, smirking as he narrowed his eyes, wanting to read the hidden emotions behind Lan WangJi’s clear gaze.
“Spicy,” was all Lan WangJi could say.
“Hahahaha! HanGuang-Jun, you could’ve told me from way, way before that you can’t take the heavy flavours I like, you know? All those times when we ate together… I even ordered spicy dishes most of the time! If you’ve told me…”
"Who said I can’t?” Lan WangJi’s voice turned firmer, catching Wei WuXian off guard.
“Oh? You can? You’re saying you can take all the extremely spicy food I make?” Wei WuXian provoked.
“I… can!” Lan WangJi gritted through his teeth.
“Pfft… Hahahaha! HanGuang-Jun, my, my,” Wei WuXian shook his head. Of course he knew Lan WangJi could. Even when he couldn’t at first, he’d tried his best to adapt to the flavours, just like he’d gone all the way out to make Wei WuXian food and even to make him this never-before-seen spicy mooncake ー just so he could eat the food Wei WuXian like to eat too.
“If that’s the case…” Wei WuXian leaned close to him, licking him teasingly on his upper lip before he wrapped his arms around Lan WangJi’s neck again. “Try and see if you can take more of the spiciness in me?”
Lan WangJi didn’t need to be told twice. In the next second, he was engulfing Wei WuXian in a deep kiss again. Wei WuXian did an expert hop, already knowing where this would lead to, and shrouded his legs around Lan WangJi’s waist so that Lan WangJi could hold him on his butt.
He was dropped fiercely on the bed, their kiss never separated the entire time. Lan WangJi had proceeded to nip him along his chin, kissing all the way along Wei WuXian’s neck before he bit nimbly on Wei WuXian’s protruding throat.
“Ah… Second Master Lan, as aggressive as usual,” Wei WuXian commented in the midst of broken chuckles mixed with moans. “Come, come, look at me.”
He lifted Lan WangJi’s face, having Lan WangJi to look up at him. Wei WuXian pressed a finger against Lan WangJi’s lips.
“Don’t you think I deserve a reward for doing so much for you today?” Wei WuXian whispered, finger kneading deftly along the line of Lan WangJi’s lips.
In response, Lan WangJi grasped his hand on his lip, glowered at the cuts on Wei WuXian’s fingers before he gave his skin a loving lick. Wei WuXian chortled. Just that enough was too much of a visual impact for him; he could already feel weight gaining on his lower body.
Lan WangJi clearly knew what Wei WuXian was getting at. After having licked every single cut on Wei WuXian’s fingers, Lan WangJi reached down to take Wei WuXian’s pants off.
“Not bad, HanGuang-Jun. You’re pretty patient today. I’m almost surpriー ah!”
Wei WuXian’s usual teasing comments vanished into thin air when Lan WangJi gave his half-hard dick a squeeze before he started to rub languidly on it.
“S-Slow down, Lan Er-gege, not so rough,” Wei WuXian puffed.
Like he’d requested, Lan WangJi slowed down, the strength on his grip loosened. And then, he moved his body downwards. Wei WuXian hitched a breath.
Sure, he was the one who’d asked for a reward, but he wasn’t expecting this. It totally backfired on him.
“HanGuang-Jun, do you intend to blow me? Wow, wait, wait, I need to collect my mind first. Let me breathe. Wait, wait, I cannotー ugh, Lan Zhan!”
Lan WangJi never intended to let Wei WuXian rest at all. He asked for this, so he’d be getting what he wanted. And more. When Lan WangJi took Wei WuXian into his mouth, Wei WuXian’s back arched, his fingers gripping tightly on the bedsheet as he bit on his lower lip. He could feel the tip of his dick hitting the back of Lan WangJi’s throat multiple times and each time, stars flickered in his eyes, causing him to lose a sense of reality for a few wild moments. When he came back to himself, Lan WangJi had already proceeded to lick along his length, taking in every drop of pre-cum dripping from Wei WuXian’s wet slit.
“Lan Zhan, where… did you learn how to do this?” Wei WuXian asked, breathless. He needed to speak somehow to retain the final bit of dignity left in him. “Did you read more porn when I’m not around? Tsk, tsk, to think that our Second Master Lan, ugh, can be such a… ah!!”
Lan WangJi had chosen that exact moment to suck Wei WuXian hard on the head. Wei WuXian screamed out loud, almost passing out from the abrupt rush of pleasure running down his spine.
“Such a… what?” Lan WangJi’s deep, hoarse voice resounded from below. With blurry eyes and still breathing heavily, Wei WuXian looked downwards. He immediately regretted his decision. He’d already been sustaining intense shock and pleasure from the mere fact that Lan WangJi was giving him a blowjob but having to see Lan WangJi’s face buried in between his legs, his hands were gripping so hard on his fair thighs that bruise marks were already visible from beneath his fingers, was a totally different level of visual impact Wei WuXian didn’t know he needed.
He should’ve make Lan WangJi do this earlier.
Chuckling powerlessly, Wei WuXian sat up a tad, just so he could stroke sweat off Lan WangJi’s forehead. His hands then sneaked towards Lan WangJi’s forehead ribbon to pull playfully on it.
“Can I take this off?” Wei WuXian asked. He didn’t need to. He’d done it countless times and Lan WangJi was never unreceptive to the idea of him touching his forehead ribbon, never anymore since he came back to life. That Lan WangJi who’d raged on him when he first pulled on his forehead ribbon now felt like a fever dream.
Lan WangJi nodded. Smiling gently, Wei WuXian coiled his hands around Lan WangJi’s head, reaching out to the knot behind, his motions ever so tender, as if he was handling something so precious he was afraid that he’ll spoil it. Soon, the forehead ribbon fell from Lan WangJi’s head, landing gracefully in Wei WuXian’s palms. Wei WuXian lifted it to his lips, kissed it softly, before the corners of his lips curved into a smirk. Meeting eyes with Lan WangJi, he said,
“I’m yours now.”
The only thing Wei WuXian can remember later was how gruelling pleasure bolted down south when Lan WangJi took his entire length into his mouth, thrust it into his mouth for a few times before he sucked so hard on the head as if he was attempting to suck semen out of him.
“L-Lan Zhan, please, s-stop, stop! If you do it like this, Iー”
But having Wei WuXian to beg him would only act as a powerful trigger to encourage Lan WangJi to do more and harder as if Wei WuXian had given him permission to ravish every inch of his skin to the last bit of it. At long last, Wei WuXian released in his mouth with a long moan, his conscious flickering in and out of his mind, his body shivering so much that Lan WangJi had to hold him stronger on his thighs to stop him from falling off the bed.
His chest heaved up and down as he tried to collect his breath. Sweat coated every inch of his body, his muscles weak, leaving him in a completely defenceless state. Which was dangerous on its own. Because there’s no way Lan WangJi was done with him.
His abundance of experience with Lan WangJi told him enough that this short interval was only a chance for him to arouse Lan WangJi more just so Lan WangJi could release himself utterly and give him the best pleasure his body was so very skilful with.
“Lan… Lan Zhan…” His words broke in between sentences. His mind was still fuzzy, but being flirtatious was his nature, especially with Lan WangJi, so there’s no way he would fail this. “How was it…? Tasty? Do you want more?”
And sure enough, Lan WangJi towered over him in the next second, spreading his legs wide apart. Wei WuXian would always be the one who’d spread his legs for Lan WangJi but the impact of Lan WangJi blowing him and his post-orgasm were taking a toll on his poor body. He was sure his old body can take three orgasms and would still be ready for a fourth. But oh well, there's no helping it. What's lost is lost; he simply had to make use of what he had now. Lan WangJi bent over to kiss him sweetly on the lips, clearly distracting him. While Wei WuXian returned the kiss, two of Lan WangJi’s fingers had sunk into Wei WuXian. He moaned into Lan WangJi’s mouth and started to move his hips all by himself, wanting to familiarize his insides to Lan WangJi’s fingers as quickly as he could just so he could take in something bigger and longer.
“Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan,” he called out in between kisses. “Enough, come in. Hurry.”
There’s no mistaking Lan WangJi’s impatience. Despite his ever-so-calm expression, the way he was staring at Wei WuXian in such a feverish way and the way his fingers had picked up speed just from the third thrust told Wei WuXian enough that any more time wasted between them would only turn out to be unnecessary long torture for the both of them. Pulling his fingers out, Lan WangJi kissed Wei WuXian softly on the forehead and positioned his dick against Wei WuXian’s hole.
“Wei Ying,” he breathed.
Wei WuXian beamed at him and hugged his waist with his legs, all ready to take Lan WangJi in.
“Seriously, Lan Zhan, you’re so patient today I’m not used toー ahh!” Wei WuXian let out a helpless shriek. Lan WangJi’s hands had sneaked to his waist now, holding him in place as he started thrusting in and out, in and out, with a speed so extreme Wei WuXian almost choked and bit his own tongue.
Their bodies were already very familiar with each other after the countless lovemaking sessions they shared. At this point, it’s almost like their bodies were built to accommodate each other. Wei WuXian was also very aware of how fearful a person Lan WangJi can be when he’s completely overtaken by the sea of lust; he wanted nothing but to squeeze every last bit of sanity out of Wei WuXian and leaving Wei WuXian with no choice but to take in every ounce of impact he poured on him without being able to escape from it. Not to mention that Lan WangJi’s dick was born to be slightly curved at the tip; whenever it hit Wei WuXian on his sensitive spot, Wei WuXian would scream out loud, and with every thrust Lan WangJi gave him, it always made Wei WuXian feel like he intended to knock the soul out of him.
He’d just achieved orgasm but Lan WangJi didn't intend to let him rest. With every hump, he hit Wei WuXian with the best pleasure. Soon, his dick regained its hardness, precum leaking from the slit, creating a pool of sticky, wet liquid on his abdomen. When he thought he was about to come again for the second time that night, Lan WangJi grasped onto the base of his dick, drawing a pointed cry out of Wei WuXian.
“Lan Zhan, let me go. Do you intend to kill me?!” Wei WuXian pleaded.
Lan WangJi stopped moving. With his dick still buried deep in Wei WuXian and his abdomen stuck against Wei WuXian’s ass, Lan WangJi looked at Wei WuXian, as if he was asking him a question.
“What?” Wei WuXian asked between heavy breathing.
Lan WangJi took a free hand to caress Wei WuXian on the stomach then. He scooped up some of Wei WuXian’s precum and lick his fingers clean.
“HanGuang-Jun, please spare me. I cannot stand this anymore. HanGuang-Jun is the best, HanGuang-Jun is the strongest. I surrender. Yiling Patriarch will lend his hand to the oh-so-great HanGuang-Jun for anything and everything at all. Spare me, mighty HanGuang-Jun!”
Lan WangJi, however, smiled gently at him.
“What’s with that face? Are you laughing at me? Do you really enjoy seeing me beg?” Wei WuXian said in a fake-angry tone.
Lan WangJi’s hand returned to Wei WuXian’s stomach, rubbing tenderly and occasionally tracing the muscle lines along the sturdy flesh. Seeing that, Wei WuXian burst out laughing.
“Hahahaha! Second Master Lan, don't tell me you really want a Young Master Lan? I’m sorry I cannot give you a baby. Trust me though, if I can, I would. But unfortunately, I’m a man. Unless if I find a way to create babies outside of the body, or maybe we can adoptー”
Lan WangJi broke his words by leaning over to give him a kiss, one which Wei WuXian immediately returned as if it was all instinctual responses.
“Not that,” Lan WangJi muttered against his lips upon breaking up the kiss.
“Your stomach. Does it hurt?” Lan WangJi continued, his voice as composed as usual.
“Hurt…? Oh,” Wei WuXian said. He shook his head. “No, it does not. Why do you ask?”
“That’s… already a week before. I’ve recovered from that. Besides, I hurt my back, not my stomach.”
“The blood clotting in your body will travel from one part to another,” Lan WangJi remarked. “It should be here now.”
“Didn’t you make sure to get rid of the blood clot?” Wei WuXian brushed his palm along the few strands of hair tickling on his bare skin.
“...Can’t be too careful,” Lan WangJi answered.
“Hahaha! I’m okay, I really am okay! Even if I’m still bruised inside, you thrusting into me every night like this would’ve already plunged the blood out of me.”
To prove his point, Wei WuXian relaxed his inside, his legs pressing harder against Lan WangJi’s waist to pull him over. Before Lan WangJi can register what was happening, Wei WuXian sucked the small inch of Lan WangJi’s dick ー which had slipped out when Lan WangJi leaned over ー back into him before he clenched down hard on Lan WangJi again, not letting him move an inch.
“Bruise or wounds or pain, whatever it is, it’s fine. I told you before, didn’t I? That I’ll let you do whatever you want to me.”
Lan WangJi shook his head.
“I don’t want it if it hurts you.”
“Lan Zhan, you… hahahahaha!” Wei WuXian laughed again. Lan WangJi waited until he was done laughing before he pulled his dick out and thrust it back in. Wei WuXian, still trying to sustain his laughter, tapped frivolously on the tip of Lan WangJi’s nose.
“Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, I love you so much, do you know that?”
For a moment, Wei WuXian thought he saw pink on Lan WangJi’s snow-white face. But it could be an illusion.
Not knowing how else to respond to Wei WuXian, Lan WangJi continued pushing into Wei WuXian. The part where they were connected was now damped in their body liquids, making the thrusting smoother than before. Their bodies simply knew each other too well; so well to the extent that when their pleasure reached a peak, physiological reactions would barge in and do their job, helping them to reach a second peak that could only be achieved by the most compatible of bodies.
Wei WuXian no longer bothered keeping his voice to himself; he let his voice out, as much and as loud as he wanted. Every thrust Lan WangJi gave him draw a scream out of him. Finally, after pushing their own limits to the best that they could, Wei WuXian reached his second orgasm of the night, hands scratching into Lan WangJi’s back as broken moans escaped his lips. At the same time, he felt Lan WangJi pouring his semen into him. With a weak chuckle, Wei WuXian closed his eyes, clenching down on Lan WangJi as he took in every drop of Lan WangJi’s seed, like how Lan WangJi did his earlier.
By the time when they were done, it was already late night, way past curfew time. Wei WuXian cuddled in Lan WangJi’s comfortable warm embrace while Lan WangJi kept his eyes open, waiting for him to fall asleep before he slept himself. His body was sore, his muscles strained, his insides were so full of Lan WangJi’s semen before Lan WangJi dragged him off the bed and hauled him into the barrel to clean up. Lan WangJi was definitely no less tired than him but he still insisted to clean Wei WuXian up thoroughly, from head to toe, before Wei WuXian was allowed to roll into bed.
Now, they merely laid in the tranquillity of room, enjoying the silver rays of moonlight pouring through the window and blanket them in a shade of faint, translucent white. Under the moonlight, Lan WangJi looked even more beautiful than before. Crashed by the jaw-dropping sight, Wei WuXian can’t help but stroke him on the cheek, just to feel the smoothness of his skin.
“Can’t sleep?” Lan WangJi spoke all of a sudden.
Wei WuXian shook his head. “Just want to stare at you for a bit more before I sleep.”
Lan WangJi hugged him closer, a hand clutching his waist, allowing Wei WuXian to get a closer look of him.
“Do you think Chang-E was lonely staying on the moon, all by herself, with nothing but just a rabbit with her?”
“...Why do you ask this all of a sudden?”
Wei WuXian pressed his face against the crook of Lan WangJi’s neck, breathing in the faint fragrance of Lan WangJi’s body scent.
“Nothing. Just that...”
Wei WuXian played with a few strands of Lan WangJi’s hair with his finger.
“Nothing...” Wei WuXian repeated, hugging onto Lan WangJi’s torso. Listening to Lan WangJi’s slow breathing while feeling Lan WangJi’s warmth, Wei WuXian let himself fall asleep.
No nightmares this time. The next time he woke, there wouldn’t be darkness, and he wouldn’t be alone. There would be light, and there would be Lan WangJi. He would never be alone again.
Just that. It reminds me of you.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this again. I can’t believe…! How is this possible?! How?!”
Wei WuXian sighed out loud. Putting a paper containing lines and lines of words on top of a stack of paper by his side, he flopped onto the table, pressing his face against the fine material.
“Six hundred more times,” Lan WangJi’s calm voice resounded from above him. Wei WuXian looked up with a frown accompanied by a pout.
“You sure are enjoying this, aren’t you?” Wei WuXian growled.
“What makes you say that?” Lan WangJi asked.
“I can tell from your face,” Wei WuXian retorted.
Lan WangJi merely smiled. Returning to his own writing, he said no more.
They were both sitting in the Library Pavilion. Thanks to Wei WuXian’s loud, determined proclamation of being willing to accept any sorts of punishments for allowing him to create a ruckus during Mid-Autumn, he was now stuck in the Library Pavilion, having to copy a thousand times of Lan Sect’s rules. Upon finding out about this, Lan WangJi had accompanied him to the Library Pavilion every day, without fail, bringing along his own obligations to work with Wei WuXian in the same space. Thanks to the abundance of work Wei WuXian had to commit to, they always found themselves working since early in the morning until well past evening, now making the Library Pavilion their second home. Lan SiZhui would often stop by to help Lan WangJi out, but most of the time, he’d bring them food and tea, sometimes hanging around to talk to them.
If Lan WangJi wasn’t here, Wei WuXian wasn’t even sure if he could handle the boredom all by himself in a place that was too quiet for his liking.
“Four thousand. Four thousand,” Wei WuXian knocked his forehead multiple times on the table, chanting the same word like a mantra. “The last time I was here, it was three thousand.”
“Four thousand and nineteen,” Lan WangJi corrected.
“Seriously?” Wei WuXian judged him hard.
“Continue,” Lan WangJi pushed a blank paper towards him.
“Lan Zhan, why are you like this? Unlike the last time, you’re not here to look over me, aren’t you? Can’t you talk to me? Release me off this misery?” Wei WuXian grumbled, his chin on the desk.
Lan WangJi stopped writing then. He put his pen aside, folded his arms, and looked at Wei WuXian.
“What do you want to talk about?”
Wei WuXian’s eyes brightened. “Lan Zhan, you really had changed. In the past, you’d totally ignore me and make me continue regardless of how much I annoy you. Age really changes you, huh?”
Lan WangJi smiled again, the gaze in his eyes softened ever so slightly.
“Whatever you want now. I’ll not ignore. I’ll give you.”
And that was what that had triggered Wei WuXian to pull him over by grabbing onto his shirt, kissing him on the lips, as hard as he could.
The shadows of their past selves sitting in this very Library Pavilion ー when they were both fifteen and young and innocent and weren’t as burdened by the cycle of life now ー still flickered past their minds every so often. This was where everything started. The one month they’d spent with each other did more things to them then they’d ever realized. Wei WuXian would never imagine himself setting foot in this place ever again. Never would he ever imagine himself ending up with Lan WangJi in this way either.
Now that they’re back here again, it dawned upon them of how much things have changed in between them; how they were forced to grow up, to take upon obligations and burdens without being given a choice, and how they could no longer return to how they once were.
But one thing that had never changed since that time was how they’re still by each other’s side despite all the misfortunes and tragedies they’d gone through.
Wei WuXian might have lost his place in Yunmeng Jiang Sect, but Lan WangJi had given him a new home and a new family:
In Gusu Lan Sect.
Before Wei WuXian can think of a wish, he realized that his wish had been granted to him since a long time ago.
ー It's the very same wish he had written on the Kong Ming Lantern, which he'd released to the sky during Mid-Autumn.
So even if it's the same wish, and even if it's a wish that had been fulfilled, that's fine too.
Because he never needed to make a wish when he already had the best wish by his side.