Wei Wuxian wanted to hang out with Lan Wangji again, but Lan Wangji was busy until Sunday that week. He apparently had a long report he needed to finish writing for university by Monday, and Wei Wuxian knew that studying would definitely be a higher priority than himself.
He did, however, manage to get Lan Wangji to agree to meeting up on Sunday after dinner and just spending the evening at the Lans' house. Which had taken some convincing, as Lan Wangji had apparently never had a friend over simply to 'hang out' before.
Wei Wuxian's mind kept drifting back to what Wen Ning had said. Wei Wuxian couldn't help but think of the alternate universe where he would've hooked up with Wen Ning instead of Lan Wangji... Even though Wen Ning wasn't Wei Wuxian's type at all, he might have said yes if he hadn't been dating anyone.
He still didn't know what he should say to Wen Ning, but he at least knew he wouldn't bring it up to Lan Wangji, since Lan Wangji had no idea who Wen Ning even was.
Wei Wuxian was less nervous the third time he arrived at Lan Wangji's house. He knew the system by now, so he wasn't as intimidated as he had been initially... although he still didn't really like the whole idea of an intercom for your house. This time, he hadn't brought any gifts, as Lan Qiren wasn't at home (he was away on a business trip, supposedly) and Lan Wangji had insisted that it didn't matter anyway.
Lan Wangji answered the front door for him instead of a servant.
"Uh... hi, Lan Zhan," Wei Wuxian greeted as he stepped inside and slipped out of his shoes.
"Good evening," Lan Wangji greeted back.
Lan Wangji took him to a small room he hadn't been in before. It was similar to their other waiting areas, from what Wei Wuxian could work out.
"Sit," Lan Wangji said, gesturing to a sofa.
Wei Wuxian sat down. Lan Wangji sat on the sofa cushion next to his -- but right up against the arm rest, keeping his distance.
"So did you manage to finish your report?" Wei Wuxian asked, almost forgetting about the importance of good posture when in polite company.
"I did," Lan Wangji answered. "...I am sorry I was not able to meet with you until today," he added.
"It's fine, dude!" Wei Wuxian waved a hand around. "I just felt like spending some time with you, that's all. Your studies are more important, right?"
Wei Wuxian observed the man sitting beside him. Lan Wangji was wearing his hair down tonight, and his clothes appeared to be less stupidly expensive than usual, too. He was wearing a long-sleeved white button-up shirt and nondescript black pants. Wei Wuxian thought this look suited him better.
Oh, yeah, Wei Wuxian thought. This guy's never had a friend over to his house before. He probably doesn't know what kinda shit to talk about. Fair enough, I suppose. Maybe I'll ask him about his rabbits...
"How've your rabbits been?" Wei Wuxian asked, propping his elbow on his arm rest and resting his head on his hand.
"...They are well," Lan Wangji replied. "I have already fed them this evening, and I think they will be asleep by now, however..."
"Aww!" Wei Wuxian pouted. "I was hoping to cuddle them again! That's alright though, they need to sleep. They're your, er, honeys or whatever they are, after all!"
Lan Wangji glanced to the side. "...Darlings," he corrected, quietly.
Wei Wuxian laughed. "Right, right," he snorted. "Darlings. Did your brother come up with what one?"
Of course he did, Wei Wuxian sighed internally. You'd never use that word to describe anything. Not out loud, at least.
What annoyed Wei Wuxian the most wasn't the awkward silence. He was starting to get used to that by now -- kind of. It was that Lan Wangji was sitting properly upright, as far away as he could sit from Wei Wuxian comfortably on the sofa and not relaxing at all.
It's not as though they were strangers anymore, really. Wei Wuxian wanted to put his feet up and poke Lan Wangji's leg with his toes. He wanted to snuggle up next to him, leaning his head on Lan Wangji's shoulder.
What was Lan Wangji so frightened of?
Sighing, Wei Wuxian sat up. Lan Wangji turned to watch him, probably wondering what his guest was doing.
Wei Wuxian patted the empty space next to him. "C'mere a bit closer, Lan Zhan!" he urged.
Lan Wangji looked at the spot where Wei Wuxian's hand was, but he didn't move. "I am fine," he said.
Wei Wuxian frowned. "Guess I'll have to do it this way, then..." he muttered, scooting over so that he was shoulder-to-shoulder with Lan Wangji.
Lan Wangji tensed up and tried to move away but had nowhere to go. He said nothing, which made Wei Wuxian sigh again.
"Lan Zhan," Wei Wuxian said, "What's up? I'm not gonna do anything to you."
Lan Wangji glanced at him. "Why are you sitting so close to me?" he asked.
Wei Wuxian groaned, facepalming. "Because!" he exclaimed, frowning again. "This is what couples normally do! If they're sitting next to each other on the sofa, they're cuddling! Or someone sits on their partner's lap! They don't sit at the opposite ends of the fucking sofa!" He looked away as he realised he swore accidentally. "Sorry," he mumbled. "That... I went too far there."
Lan Wangji didn't respond. He had his hands in his lap and was still stiff.
As Wei Wuxian went to move back to his side of the sofa, he felt one of Lan Wangji's hands on top of his. "Wait," Lan Wangji told him.
Wei Wuxian was surprised, but he obeyed. Relaxing slightly, he leaned back up against Lan Wangji, putting more weight into him this time.
"If you really don't want me to touch you, I'll stop," Wei Wuxian said. "I... didn't meant to scare you."
Lan Wangji was still holding his hand. "I am fine," he said again. "I just... did not understand what you were doing. I apologise."
Did Lan Wangji really not know that sometimes people felt like cuddling their supposed partner? Wei Wuxian thought it was really odd, considering that Lan Wangji had, in fact, said that he was in love with Wei Wuxian. Yet he apparently wasn't aware of things couples did. Surely he'd read cheesy romance novels of some kind and knew what went on in a relationship, right? ...Right?
Deciding to test the waters a bit more, Wei Wuxian rested his head on Lan Wangji's shoulder like he'd wanted to.
Wei Wuxian realised that Lan Wangji hadn't yet let go of his hand. Not that he minded.
"Hey, Lan Zhan..." Wei Wuxian murmured.
"Can... I kiss you?" Wei Wuxian asked, gazing up at Lan Wangji, exaggerating slightly by fluttering his eyelashes.
Lan Wangji paused. "...You may," he replied.
Wei Wuxian sat up again and pulled Lan Wangji forward so that they were at eye-level with each other. He leant up and kissed the taller man.
Wei Wuxian felt Lan Wangji start to relax as they continued to kiss. They could take their time with this one. They weren't in a hurry to get home and neither of them had consumed any alcohol that day. It was less sloppy than their previous kisses and slower. Deeper.
Wei Wuxian wanted to touch Lan Wangji more, but didn't know if he should risk it. But he gave in to his desires and, after letting go of Lan Wangji's hand, slowly touched the top of Lan Wangji's thigh. Seeing that he didn't react badly to the act, Wei Wuxian drifted his hand closer to Lan Wangji's crotch.
His heart was beating quite fast by now. He needed to break away from the kiss to breathe properly, but he didn't want it to end. Wei Wuxian chose to go for it and pulled out of the kiss for a few moments before Lan Wangji forced his lips back onto Wei Wuxian's. Knowing now that Lan Wangji also wanted to continue, Wei Wuxian moved his hand again. Closer.
Just as Lan Wangji quietly gasped into their kiss at the touch of Wei Wuxian's hand against the front of his pants, a voice spoke up from the door.
"Wangji! You should've told me Wei Wuxian was already he--"
Lan Wangji forcefully shoved Wei Wuxian off him, causing his partner to roll off the sofa and hit the floor with a soft thud.
"H-Hi, Brother Lan Xichen," Wei Wuxian grinned nervously at the aforementioned older brother of his boyfriend.
"...Good evening," Lan Xichen said, his cheeks slightly pink.
Wei Wuxian stood up and dusted himself off for good measure.
"Sorry 'bout that," he apologised, giving Lan Xichen a guilty look. "Got a bit carried away there!"
Lan Xichen smiled at him. "Well," he said, "I... don't mind. But," he said, glancing over at Lan Wangji who was staring at the ground in embarrassment, "I think maybe you should do that in your room next time, Wangji..."
Lan Wangji glanced over at his brother, opening his mouth and closing it again. His ears were deep pink.
"Oh yeah, your room!" Wei Wuxian exclaimed. "I still haven't been in your room yet, you know!" he said to Lan Wangji. "We should... probably be hanging out in there, actually..."
Lan Wangji nodded as he stood up and walked to the door.
"I'll make sure not to disturb you again," Lan Xichen said softly. "Sorry for getting in the way!"
Wei Wuxian laughed. "Nah, it's fine," he said as he went to follow Lan Wangji. "We were just making out, anyway!" He gave Lan Xichen a wink.
Wei Wuxian followed Lan Wangji to his room, which was upstairs. There was no indication on the door that the room belonged to anyone, unlike at Wei Wuxian's house, where they all had their names hanging outside their rooms just in case guests got confused. And to remind people to knock.
Lan Wangji opened the door and gestured for Wei Wuxian to enter, so he did.
The immaculately clean room was rather plain. It contained a large double-bed, a desk upon which sat a computer that also was a temporary home to some textbooks, a chest of drawers, two tall bookcases that were stacked full of books that appeared to be arranged in some particular order and a small nightstand.
Lan Wangji's room was about twice the size of Wei Wuxian's. Yet it felt incredibly empty. There were no posters of bands or movie franchises on its white walls, no signs of clothes littered on the floor or any left over packets of chips that had yet to be taken to the trash...
Wei Wuxian examined some of the books. They looked like they were all related to business and economics. No fiction from what he was able to tell. But something Wei Wuxian had remembered was that when he'd received that introduction card about Lan Wangji, his only hobby listed had been 'reading'. So either he was lying, or he read all his fiction digitally...
Wei Wuxian sat on the end of Lan Wangji's bed as Lan Wangji remained standing. He was just about to comment on the lack of, well, anything interesting in Lan Wangji's room when his eyes wandered over a framed photo on his night stand. Wei Wuxian instantly stood up again and walked over to the photo, picking it up.
The frame was old and wooden and had a few dents in it. The photo inside it was beginning to fade slightly.
Wei Wuxian felt a lump form in his throat when he realised who the photo was of.
There were four people photographed in the picture: two adults, two children. The mother was holding the youngest child on her lap, and the father was supporting the older one.
Even though he hadn't been told, Wei Wuxian knew who the family was: Lan Wangji's. Lan Wangji was clearly the youngest child, who looked confused and wasn't facing the camera properly, his mouth open slightly. The other child must've been Lan Xichen.
As for the parents, Wei Wuxian was amazed by how similar Lan Wangji and Lan Xichen's father looked to them (and presumably his brother Lan Qiren). He wore a hardened, distant expression on his face. Their mother also showed no traces of visible happiness.
Wei Wuxian gently placed the photo back on the night stand and turned around to look at Lan Wangji again, although he didn't know what to say.
"I..." Wei Wuxian hadn't thought beyond that.
Lan Wangji looked vaguely concerned. "What is wrong?" he asked, making his way over to Wei Wuxian.
"N-Nothing," Wei Wuxian lied, suddenly feeling upset for no apparent reason. "I just... Sorry for, uh, picking it up without asking." It wasn't like him to apologise.
Lan Wangji shook his head. "I do not mind," he said. "I... wanted to introduce you to them."
Lan Wangji sat on the edge of his bed. Wanting Wei Wuxian to join him, he patted the bed in the exact same way Wei Wuxian had done on the sofa earlier. Wei Wuxian sat next to him with a chuckle.
"You're lucky," Wei Wuxian said, smiling at Lan Wangji.
"How?" Lan Wangji asked, his eyebrows furrowed.
"I... don't have any pictures of my parents," Wei Wuxian admitted, glancing down at the carpet, his eyes stinging. "They died when I was little, so I didn't manage to keep anything of them. I remember their names and I remember my mother's voice, but... I can't picture their faces," he said, his voice shaking. "And I've pretty much forgotten everything about them at this point... E-Even though I... d-don't want to forget..."
Lan Wangji gingerly put his arm around Wei Wuxian's shoulders and pulled him closer. "I do not remember my mother," he said quietly. "All I have are a couple of photos and... that ribbon."
Oh, yeah, that ribbon. He's not wearing it tonight. Maybe I should buy him a new one... No, that defeats the point. Should I try making him one? I could ask Sister if she'd help me. I've never sewn before, though...
Wei Wuxian couldn't stop himself from asking a question he was extremely curious about: "How... How did your parents die?" He quickly added, "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."
Lan Wangji shifted slightly. "I do not know what happened to my mother," he said. "But my father died in a plane crash a few years ago when he was coming home from a business trip."
"That sucks," Wei Wuxian mumbled. "A plane crash? That sounds awful..."
"...What... about your parents, Wei Ying?" Lan Wangji asked slowly.
Wei Wuxian took a few moments to answer. He wasn't sure why. "I... have no idea," he answered. "But... they just didn't come home one day. I don't know what happened to them, where they went, who or what killed them, or anything like that." He paused, trying not to cry. He didn't want to cry in front of Lan Wangji when talking about something that happened so long ago. Wei Wuxian clenched his hands into fists. "I don't even really remember how old I was, either," he continued. "But after they died, I had to live on the streets for a while, and--"
"On the streets?" Lan Wangji's eyes widened in horror. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I had no home," Wei Wuxian explained. "I had to steal food and water to survive. Fight other kids for scraps. Sometimes it was dogs and not kids. I still hate dogs, actually."
Saying that he 'hated' dogs was probably a bit of an understatement. Wei Wuxian's fight or flight response still activated whenever he so much as heard a chihuahua barking from down the street. When he'd first been taken in by Jiang Fengmian, Jiang Cheng had recently gotten a puppy for his birthday. Wei Wuxian was convinced the dog was going to kill him and refused to be in the same room of the house as it, and started having major panic attacks if the puppy managed to touch him at all. Jiang Fengmian convinced Jiang Cheng to re-home the puppy, but as far as Wei Wuxian was concern, Jiang Cheng probably still (understandably) resented him for it.
"I was adopted by the Jiangs when I was... eight, I think," Wei Wuxian continued. "Uncle Jiang -- Jiang Fengmian -- was apparently a good friend of my parents'. Not that I remember him from back then or anything."
"You... are adopted?" Lan Wangji asked.
"Yeah," Wei Wuxian said. "They're my family, though. They always look out for me and care for me and I'd do anything for them. In fact, Madam Yu was the one responsible for hooking us up, you know."
"I see," Lan Wangji replied.
"So, about your family..." Wei Wuxian began. "Why did your uncle take you in?"
"My brother and I were looked after by our mother," Lan Wangji explained. "But once she died, we needed someone to take care of us. Father was always too busy to raise us. He travelled a lot for work and spent his time running the family business."
Wei Wuxian had had enough of talking about dead parents. It was his fault for bringing it up, but he'd bitten off more than he could chew.
He wriggled out of the hold Lan Wangji had on him and stood up, stretching.
"That's enough depressing shit for tonight, I think," he said, forcing a smile. "How about we calm down with some music?"
"Music?" Lan Wangji blinked at him.
Wei Wuxian sighed. "Would you mind playing the guqin for me, Lan Zhan?" he asked. "I've... be wanting to hear that amazing sound again."
"...I will play," Lan Wangji answered.
Lan Wangji led Wei Wuxian to the room where the guqin was kept alongside the other instruments. Wei Wuxian plonked himself down on the stool he'd sat on last time as Lan Wangji gracefully sat on the same cushion he'd used before.
Lan Wangji played that same song again. Instantly, it began working its magic, calming Wei Wuxian down and relaxing every cell in his body. It was as if resentful energy was being drawn out of him, like in those wuxia novels he sometimes read.
Wei Wuxian felt as light as air once the song finished. He still couldn't believe it was something Lan Wangji had written by himself.
"Hey, can you play something else for me?" Wei Wuxian asked. "I love this song of yours, but I wanna hear what another one sounds like. Just so I have something to compare it to, if you don't mind."
"I understand," Lan Wangji nodded. He started playing another song.
This song was different. It was a lot... sadder. Wei Wuxian felt feelings of loss, longing and yet also a tinge of hope. He wasn't sure how he felt about it, especially not after being emotionally drained already.
"What's the name of that song, Lan Zhan?" Wei Wuxian asked as it finished.
"Inquiry," Lan Wangji answered.
"Oh?" Wei Wuxian raised an eyebrow. "What're you inquiring about?"
"The legend is that in ancient times this song was used by our ancestors to search for wandering souls and ask them questions," Lan Wangji explained. "I am not sure if there is any truth to that, however."
"You mean like, it was used by cultivators and shit, yeah?" Wei Wuxian snickered. Lan Wangji probably wouldn't find it amusing, of course.
"I think so," Lan Wangji nodded.
They sat in silence as Lan Wangji put away the guqin.
"Hey, Lan Zhan," Wei Wuxian said, "What kinda books do you read?" he asked. "Fiction, I mean," he added quickly for clarification.
"...I... mostly read romance," Lan Wangji admitted, his voice barely audible.
Wei Wuxian laughed loudly, almost falling off his stool. "Really? Romance?!" But you're, like, not romantic at all!
Lan Wangji's eyes narrowed. "Is there a problem?"
Wei Wuxian immediately stopped laughing. "No, no!" he grinned. "I mean, shit, I read shitty romance novels a lot! Just... they're gay ones," he mumbled.
"Those... are what I mainly read," Lan Wangji said.
Wei Wuxian didn't have the heart to tell him he was talking about erotic gay romance novels.
"Yeah?" Wei Wuxian smirked. "What sites do you read them on? Since you don't seem to own any paperbacks..."
"..." Lan Wangji looked away. "Cut-Sleeve Meadows."
Wei Wuxian cackled with laughter. "Lan Zhan!" he wheezed, holding his sides. "I know that site! They just publish erotic fiction!"
Lan Wangji looked slightly horrified as he realised Wei Wuxian knew which site he meant. "That... What is so funny?"
Wei Wuxian managed to control his laughter. "Sorry, sorry!" he apologised, wheezing again. "I just... You said it so casually, y'know?" He paused before adding, "But there's nothing wrong with it! They publish some great stuff! You'll have to give me some recommendations!" Wei Wuxian grinned widely.
Lan Wangji's ears turned pink again. "Would... it be okay if I messaged you some?" he asked.
"Sure!" Wei Wuxian replied happily. "There's so much stuff, I never really know where to look! I'll send you a couple of things too, and some lesser-known sites I've found good stuff on before as well..."
"Okay," Lan Wangji said.
There was a knock on the door.
Lan Wangji stood up and opened the door. "Yes, Brother?" he asked.
"Sorry to interrupt," Lan Xichen apologised, "But it's nearly time for bed. Wei Wuxian should probably be heading home soon."
Wei Wuxian jumped up and walked over to the brothers, checking his phone. "It's only eight thirty," he frowned.
"We go to sleep at nine," Lan Xichen said. "And Wangji has class tomorrow morning."
But you're both adults, Wei Wuxian wanted to say. Isn't it a bit stupid that you still have a curfew? And your uncle isn't even home tonight! Good lord.
"Ah, yeah, gotcha," Wei Wuxian replied. "I'll get a taxi home, it's not super far and I can pay for it."
"Don't be silly," Lan Xichen shook his head. "One of our chauffeurs will drive you -- free of charge."
Chauffeur? They had chauffeurs? Then why did Lan Wangji drive?
Rich people really made no sense to Wei Wuxian, but he agreed to the offer.
Wei Wuxian decided that he wanted to reward Lan Wangji for finishing his university report, which he most likely had worked extremely hard on. Plus, Wei Wuxian wanted to get Lan Wangji out of that suffocating house he lived in. His uncle may have had good intentions or whatever, but Wei Wuxian was starting to get worried. He didn't want to jump to any conclusions, but he was starting to feel as though Lan Qiren was one of the many obstacles that prevented Lan Wangji from opening up to anyone.
After talking to Jiang Cheng about it, Jiang Cheng suggested saving up and going on holiday somewhere for a few days once school had finished for the year, which was about three months away.
Wei Wuxian asked his friends if there was anywhere they'd go on a holiday to get away from things. Nie Huaisang suggested Hawaii, which was out of the question. Wen Ning, however, had the idea of going to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong sounded appealing to Wei Wuxian, as he'd never been there before. He had no idea if Lan Wangji had ever visited the island or not.