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Another Kind of Marriage

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When Wei Wuxian accidentally pulled off Lan Zhan’s ribbon, he wasn’t expecting the man to spin and glare at him as if he would incinerate him on the spot. He didn’t expect the man to break his bow.  Nor did he expect Lan Zhan to pull him in by the collar and drag him off the ground with a gritted, “Fine. I accept.”

Nor did he expect that he’d have to marry him.

“BUT IT WAS JUST AN ACCIDENT!”

XiChen doesn’t even pause painting on the floral gold on Wei Wuxian’s head, two other clan members firmly holding him down. “Regardless, there are consequences for your actions, you must accept that. You must take responsibility for exposing my brother and taking his ribbon.” He does not mention that this ceremony only exists because Lan WanJi agreed to it.

Taking off the ribbon is a marriage proposal and no one expected Lan WanJi to accept instead of reject. His dear uncle hasn’t stopped coughing blood at the fact, unfortunately, the Lan Sect is renowned for its healing practices.

“WHO HAS A VIRGINITY RIBBON ANYWAY?”

“That is not all it stands for, it also represents self-restraint, honor–”

“BUT I’M TOO YOUNG TO GET MARRIED.”

“Father was married at seventeen.” Jiang Cheng says snidely from the side. He sits with a cup of tea in hand, taking a break from his part of the wedding party. He’s already negotiated the bridal dowry and set up the accommodations for wedding parade that will head towards the Ancestral Hall in the Cloud Recess.

“You shut up! You’re only here to see me suffer.” Wei Wuxian hisses, holding still for the rouge so it doesn’t get into his eyes. He’s learned the first time how much that hurts.  

“I am.” Jiang Cheng says with a rare grin. He’s had the stupid expression since the wedding announcement. How after the archery competition, Lan WanJi lifted up his brother by the shirt and said that Wei Wuxian declared his intentions to him. To all kinsmen that were there. Including Father. “I’m so happy that you’re getting married. Congratulations.”

“I’m sure you are.”

“Even Mother for once approves of something you did. She favors this arrangement very much. The Lan Clan is quite influential and this new tie to our sect has nothing but benefits.” He adds with glee.

“Of course she likes it! After today, I’ll be apart of the Lan Sect instead of the Jiang one. She’s ecstatic about that isn’t she?”

“She is. She really is.”

“Oh A-Xian, you’re beautiful.” No. She’s returned. Wei Wuxian turns with a grimace to the new figure at the door, the only way they got him his wedding robes in the first place. Jiang YanLi exclaims softly. “All the girls must be jealous at the bride you make.”

“BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE A BRIDE.”

“Here ZeWu-Jun, I brought more ornaments for his hair.” She pulls out at least five gorgeous hair sticks made of the finest jade, “Father has been so generous to provide.”

“Thank you, Lady YanLi.” XiChen speaks gently as he practically stabs Wei Wuxian’s head with the hair pieces. His brother deserves the fairest of brides and he’s going to ensure he gets one.

“A-Li don’t help him. Ow! Why has my entire sect turned against me? I feel so betrayed. It’s not fair! It’s not–”

“Father is so proud, A-Xian.” And the anguished cry Wei Wuxian makes could compete with a feral zombie’s. His complaints drying up for a while as he begs for people to reconsider.

He begs when they finish him up. Jiang YanLi gently cupping his face and pressing a kiss on his temple.

He begs as Jiang Cheng leads him to the sedan chair, and his foster brother just pats his arm with a smirk.

He pleads with his father as they enter the Ancestral Hall, “Please Master FengMian! You have the power to stop this! Can’t you see that Lan Zhan and I are an ill match? We’ll drive each other crazy! We’ll bring dishonor to both of our sects! We’ll–”

At the mention of dishonor, Wei Wuxian sees Madam Yu in his peripheral, twist in her spot to openly glare at him. His rant drys up.

“Wei Ying. HanGuang-Jun is an honorable, good man. Do you truly feel that he will make a poor husband?”

“Well no, but–”

Jiang FengMian cuts him off, “Do you feel like he’ll mistreat you?”

Wei Wuxian latches on to that statement. “Yes! He punished me all the time when I was studying here! So strict about the rules, never bending, never compromising. We would fight about everything!”

“Do you dislike him?” Jiang FengMian asks quietly.

“...It’s not about him disliking him, it’s about him disliking me!”

“A-Xian. Answer me.”

Wei Wuxian bites his lip and looks away. “I don’t...dislike him.”

Jiang FengMian smiles and squeezes his son’s arm. “Good. That is a fine starting place for your marriage. Even ice hearts can thaw over time, rough edges can become smooth if you find enough patience for it.” He tilts his head in his wife’s direction.

Wei Wuxian groans, “Your slight success with Madam Yu doesn’t guarantee anything for Lan Zhan and me!”

“Try for a year.” Jiang FengMian suggests, “If it is truly unbearable, we can find ways to dissolve the arrangement.”

Then he plants Wei Wuixan down next to Lan WanJi and he freezes at the sight of his husband to be. Jiang FengMian’s parting words are, “Remember even though you belong to two sects now, you always have a place at Lotus Pier A-Xian. Always.”

Wei Wuxian barely hears the words because this is the first time he’s seen Lan Zhan since the announcement. It’s not fair. He wasn’t kidding when he told his foster sister once that Lan Zhan was more handsome than he.  And in red and gold? HanGuang-Jun makes the most prince-like groom, like something out of a dream.

Lan Zhan tilts his head to look at him. “Mn.” And the man has the audacity to give him the smallest smile Wei Wuxian has ever seen.  

Wei Wuxian forgets to move for a minute or two. Just struck at the vision next to him. He forgets to do anything as the priests perform the ceremony. Forgets to struggle as Lan Zhan takes his hand and they do the three traditional bows together. The first bow to the heaven and earth, the second bow to their parents, and the third bow to each other.

It’s only when they bring out the wine. A rare occasion for the Lan sect where alcohol’s permitted that Wei Wuxian realizes that he’s now officially married.

To Lan Zhan.

“WAIT! I DON’T WANT TO BE MARRIED!” He screams into the crowd. They absolutely ignore him, and clan members press on his shoulders so he stays on his knees to drink. He should be grateful. It’s emperor’s smile. Lan WanJi specially requested it for him.

Lan WanJi directs his gaze forward. To their future and smiles again.

Not once has Wei Wuxian expressed that he doesn’t want to marry him.

He is satisfied.

Perhaps one day Wei Wuxian will be satisfied too.

“COME ON! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

One day.