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Poison or Cure?

Chapter Text

The bedroom had been silent for the past hour now. A fragile man laid on the bed, barely breathing. While his heartbeats thumped obstinately within his chest, his skin was so frail it ruptured on anything more than the softest of touches. His eyes were opened but the focus was non-existent. They moved randomly, white, clouded with cataracts so completely that it’s hard to tell the eye color. 

The man should be in his mid-twenties yet the rumpled flimsy strands of his hair showed nothing of youth; they were grayish and gnarly ー and they looked more like hair that belonged to a man in his eighties.

Three slender fingers were pressed discreetly against the sick man’s wrist, the posture inert for the past minutes. Three people stood outside the door, peering uneasily into the space, impatience evident on their faces yet none of them was courageous enough to interrupt the man in the room. The man moved his fingers away from the patient’s wrist, hoisting his medical box up and pulled three thin silver needles out of it. The needles were soon stuck into the patient’s hand, the distance between the needles well-measured and precise, the mere sight drawing a gasp out of the three persons peeking from the outside.

It’s only when the man finally lowered his gaze about a few minutes later, a small sigh spilled from his lips as he took the needles off the patient’s hand that one dauntless woman finally stepped into the room.

“H-HanGuang-Jun, how is he?”

HanGuang-Jun, Lan WangJi, didn’t answer right away. His light-colored orbs hovered fleetingly on the sick man, looking like he’s about to say something but decided against it before words could glide from his thoughts. His elegant white robes swayed eloquently with the rhythm of the wind from the opened window, the tail of the forehead ribbon tied on his head swung in a stunning swirled pattern as he stood. When he met eyes with the woman, however, his expression was one that's deadpan, even cold.

“No threat to his life,” he said, his voice so tranquil, so velvety, yet so virile all the same. He took a piece of paper from the inside of his robes, sat on the table and wrote a few lines of words on the spic piece of paper. Once done, he handed the paper to the woman. “Follow the instructions here and prepare the medicines for him. The evening primrose is especially important, follow strictly.”

The woman broke into a relieved smile and nodded a few times at his words. Lan WangJi responded with a nod of his own before he slung the rope of his medicine box over his shoulder.

“Pardon my departure,” he said.

“HanGuang-Jun, thank you so much for stopping by in the midst of your busy obligations,” one man who had been peering from outside earlier immediately strode into the room and bowed the moment he saw Lan WangJi walking out.

“It’s fine,” Lan WangJi said.

His tone of voice was nothing different ー still monotone, still cold ー yet no one in the house was at all upset by his seemingly uncordial demeanor as they bowed his way out of the bedroom and onto the corridor.

Lan WangJi was an esteemed physician originated from Gusu Lan Sect. While the other Sects had their own fortes such as swordsmanship, archery, calligraphy, and many more, Gusu Lan Sect was known for its medicinal practices, on top of their outstanding musical endowment. Thanks to their prestigious reputation, people who tried to register themselves as one of the disciples in Gusu Lan Sect were countless every year. However, despite its popularity, Gusu Lan Sect was also known for its stringency when it came to accepting new disciples; so unless if one was phenomenally good or if they’re a direct descendant of the Sect, the students that were accepted into the Sects can be easily counted with one hand throughout the years. 

Lan WangJi was a direct descendent of such reputable sect. As the second child ー the Second Master ー of the Lan family, he’d been brought up in a very restrained environment with very strict rules to obey that had then nurtured his well-mannered, stately upbringing. Just two years ago, he's also bestowed with the ‘HanGuang-Jun’ title after having rescued countless patients regardless of their background through his masterful medicinal skills.

Apart from that, there’s also another reason to why he’s known as ‘HanGuang-Jun’, and that’s deeply related to the poison that had affected this very affluent family’s young master.

Reminded of the poison he’d just cured, a thin frown was drawn in between Lan WangJi’s eyebrows.

The owner of the mansion had brought out a box of gold then, wanting to stuff it into Lan WangJi’s hands, just for Lan WangJi to push it away.

“It’s fine, there’s no need for this,” Lan WangJi said.

“No way, HanGuang-Jun, please accept our humble offering,” the owner insisted. “We’re lucky to have you around when this happens. If not, my son will surely be dead by now!”

“Yes, thank you very much, HanGuang-Jun,” the wife joined her husband’s hands in pushing the box of gold deeper into Lan WangJi’s body. “We were almost losing hope when we found out that it might be a poison dropped by Yiling Patriarch. But why would he tell us that it’s his poison and why would he tell us the cure?”

Hearing that, Lan WangJi frowned deeper, saying nothing.

“Yiling Patriarch is unforgivable!” the man raged. “He treats people’s life like it’s a game! He should be the one who gets poisoned! One day, karma will bounce on him, mark my words! We’re lucky HanGuang-Jun can stop him, you’re truly a savior to us mortals!”

Lan WangJi said nothing in response to the owner’s words. Bowing a bit, he took the box of gold out of the owner’s hands with strength unfitting to his impression and put it on the table, blatantly expressing his refusal in accepting the money.

“I should make my move,” he said.

“HanGuang-Jun, butー”

Lan WangJi raised his hands, wrapped them together into fists, and bowed ever so slightly again. 

This time, no one stopped him anymore. As he paced out of the mansion with ethereal footsteps, the space remained silent, as if time had frozen, as if the place was smothered with a wave of frost, brought by and taken away by HanGuang-Jun.

 


 

By the time Lan WangJi walked out of the village, it was already nightfall. No more than an hour ago the sky was painted with hues of red, orange and pink, but all color had faded by now, leaving only a matt black sky with no stars to be looked upon. Other than the duskiness and himself all that seemed to exist was the glacial wind that were harsh bites that could be felt through his scavenging white robes. He could feel the sting of the wind leaving its mark in the form of diminutive bumps that were tingling on his arms. His blood ran cold through his veins and his bones were chilled.

Lan WangJi spared an ephemeral gaze at the sky before he let loose a sigh.

Stopping by the village was totally coincidental. Aside from his customary studies in the Cloud Recesses, Gusu Lan Sect’s base and also his home, visiting villages to check for hazards of possible diseases was also something he did very frequently on top of his regular obligations. This village was one of the villages he randomly dropped by when he was approached by unsettled villagers the moment he set foot into the place with a note passed to him.

 

“Don’t waste time trying, HanGuang-Jun is your only hope. Find him. You have six hours. Good luck!”

 

The moment he saw the note, Lan WangJi scowled. He could hear a voice that’s not his own by the time he read the last sentence and he immediately knew it could only be him.

It’s already the tenth note that he’d received ever since he came out for his habitual inspections. Every village he stopped by, someone would come to him with a note, written with the same handwriting, in the same style; every single line was the same, so was every single word. And by the time he’s done saving the second patient in the second village he’d stopped by for the day, it’s already nighttime.

Lan WangJi sighed again. Ten patients, ten villages, for the past five days, poisoned by the same one person.

By now, he’d written ten uncanny ingredients as part of the cure to heal the patients, in which those ingredients weren’t hard to find yet was never ordinarily used in a typical medicine prescription. If not because of Lan WangJi’s credible reputation as an expert physician, no one would ever believe that these ingredients can cure a lethal poison for real.

The most recent ingredient he’d prescribed being the evening primrose, a local flower that can be readily found in the compound of just any other house in the village, yet was also the most crucial ingredient that had to be consumed with the prescription to clean the poison out of the patient’s vines. The flower blossomed only at night, making it tough for the villagers to get hold of it aside having to wait for time to pass, all the while being disquieted by the situation of the patient.

However, what Lan WangJi was more concerned about wasn’t the flower.

But the reason behind why the person had made the poison to be curable only by that specific flower. 

He continued wandering down the pathway before he came to a stop by a towering, robust tree. His eyes lingered on the soil below his feet, the mellow sound of wind brushed past his ears as he scrutinized the shadows on the ground. And then, as he was about to raise his head to look at the tree, a white shadow came floating down on him, dropping right on his shoulder. 

He looked at the flower first, then finally lifting his head, just to catch sight of a shadow in the thick midst of tree leaves. He saw through the leaves, eyes falling on one of the higher branches before a thin frown was drawn in between his eyebrows again.

More evening primroses[1] came showering down on him, every one of them drifting in such an exquisite way, yet none of them touched him on his body besides the first one that had dropped on him earlier. For the entire time, Lan WangJi’s gaze persisted on the tree, waiting, completely ignoring the rain of white petals around him. After a while, at long last, the flower petals shower halted. The shadow Lan WangJi noticed on the tree became all the more eloquent as the wind gusted. 

Black robes swayed, a hint of vibrant red vivid in the midst of darkness.

And then, the shape of a man came into full view as the shadow on the branch edged itself out of the dark shades and into the wispy moonlight.

“It’s you,” Lan WangJi said.

The man on the tree broke into a blinding grin. Even his eyes were smiling. He was an extremely charming man with superbly enchanting features; his eyelashes long, his eyes bright, his nose tall, the curves on the corners of his lips arching into a splendid shape. His body was slender yet there’s no mistaking the sturdiness of it from beneath his black robes. Despite his dazzling expression, a rimy vibe that’s different to Lan WangJi’s own vibe throbbed mistily around his tenebrous aura, giving out a feeling as if he was echoing frost right from within his own body.

If Lan WangJi’s frostiness could be described as assuring, then this man’s coolness was nothing but minacious. 

“Of course it’s me! Do you know a second person who would do ridiculous things like this?”

His voice was high-spirited yet not losing its strength; it stroke through the chilly night air with acuity so fervid it sent a wafture of quiver right on Lan WangJi’s skin.

The man ー Wei WuXian ー leaped from the tree then. Only when he’d come close to Lan WangJi that Lan WangJi noticed that he’s holding a vibrant evening primrose in his hand. With a smirk, Wei WuXian took Lan WangJi’s hand up and placed the flower onto his palm. His hand was so cold that it had Lan WangJi flinching ever so slightly from the first touch Wei WuXian gave him.

“Good job as always, HanGuang-Jun,” Wei WuXian said in a low whisper. “Here’s a flower to reward you for your excellent work.”

Lan WangJi didn’t move an inch, merely staring at Wei WuXian as he took in every hint of his gestures, trying to read the implications behind his seemingly innocent actions.

That skeptical stare had Wei WuXian breaking out a chuckle as he let Lan WangJi’s hand go and pulled their distance slightly apart; he looked like he’s very much taking delight in Lan WangJi’s reaction and Lan WangJi had no idea whatsoever was he trying to achieve with his actions. He was expecting Wei WuXian to speak, to tell him, to spill his intentions. But instead, Wei WuXian, despite his naturally gleeful self, continued to ogle at Lan WangJi like Lan WangJi did him, taking Lan WangJi aback.

He’s definitely teasing him.

Coughing mildly, Lan WangJi kept the flower prudently away in his robes and wrapped his fists together as he bowed ever so slightly at Wei WuXian.

“Shixiong.”

Wei WuXian clicked his tongue and shook his head. Bringing up a finger, he waved it a few times in front of Lan WangJi, his smirk curved higher, his eyes narrowed.

“I’m already expelled by Gusu Lan Sect, why are you still calling me shixiong?” he said.

Lan WangJi said nothing.

“Oops, my bad, did that hurt your dignity? Let me rephrase it then: I’m honored that you still think of me as your shixiong. That totally boosted my dignity. Thank you for your very kind courtesy, HanGuang-Jun,” Wei WuXian said.

“...”

Wei WuXian laughed. “If you don’t mind this shixiong then, how about keeping me company for a bit longer?”

“This is why you’re here,” Lan WangJi said.

Wei WuXian smirked deeper, his eyes half-lidded. “And you already know I’ll be here, don’t you?”

“What do you want to do?” Lan WangJi asked.

“Hmmm,” Wei WuXian held his chin with a hand, pondering with closed eyes. Then, he opened one eye, staring mischievously at Lan WangJi. “I know a great liquor stall in the village not far from here. I see that you’re planning to find a place to stay for the night too? How about you accompany this good shixiong for a good jar of liquor, hm?”

Lan WangJi didn’t answer immediately. Eyeing Wei WuXian suspiciously, he was still hesitating when Wei WuXian broke into a chuckle again and said,

“Or is HanGuang-Jun hesitating because he doesn’t want to be seen with the evil Poison Master, Yiling Patriarch, Wei WuXian?”

“...I’ll go,” Lan WangJi said at long last.

Wei WuXian gasped dramatically and clapped a hand to his mouth, acting like he’s tremendously surprised.

“Wow, my shidi has turned into a bad child! He’s hanging out with Yiling Patriarch, the demon! Tsk, tsk, this can’t do, I’ll have to inform Master Lan.”

Lan WangJi said, totally unruffled. “The ten cases for the past five days.”

“Hahahaha!” Wei WuXian laughed. “Of course that can only be it. How is it even possible for HanGuang-Jun to want to spend extra time with Yiling Patriarch?” 

He took the lead and strode a few paces ahead of Lan WangJi before he turned around and crossed his hands behind his head as he strode backward.

“But let’s see how HanGuang-Jun intends to stamp this Patriarch down this time, shall we?”

And with that said, he spun around again, taking small hops as he made his way down the pathway, with Lan WangJi following him from behind after he’d released the umpteenth time of sigh for the day.

 


 

Just like what Wei WuXian had said, there was indeed a village just a short distance from where they met each other under the tree and, just like what Wei WuXian had suggested, there was indeed a liquor stall just somewhere in the middle of the street. When they walked in, the stall was already full of people, most of them men; some with weapons slanted against the desks and some didn’t, some were lone travelers passing by the village and some looked like they were traveling in groups. Wei WuXian strode in with no disguise whatsoever, as if it’s all-natural. Lan WangJi, however, glanced around attentively at first, nodding at a few people who recognized him, before he followed Wei WuXian on his heels. While Lan WangJi had his alertness heightened, Wei WuXian looked like he couldn’t be bothered if anyone recognized him at all. Instead, he focused on finding the best spot for them to sit and decided on a table by the window in the end.

“HanGuang-Jun, come, let’s sit here,” he beckoned as he threw a grin over his shoulder.

Once he settled down, he’d called for two jars of liquor before he returned his beam at Lan WangJi’s direction.

“HanGuang-Jun, drinking?” he asked.

Lan WangJi shook his head, earning a chuckle out of Wei WuXian.

“Right, why am I even asking? My bad. Liquor is,” he paused, twirling the small cup between two fingers at the same time. “...poison after all.”

Lan WangJi said nothing, simply giving Wei WuXian an unemotional stare as usual. Wei WuXian didn’t seem like he’s fazed by his reaction at all. When the jars came, Lan WangJi noticed that he’d ordered two dishes of vegetables and a bowl of warm soup as well, much to his surprise.

“These are for me,” Wei WuXian tugged the jars of liquor towards himself, then pushing the dishes of food and soup towards Lan WangJi. “These are for you. You haven’t eaten, right?”

Lan WangJi spared a look at the food, somewhat startled to see that it’s all dishes that he used to eat back in the Cloud Recesses.

“What’s with that look?” Wei WuXian giggled, clearly taking pleasure in every ounce of expression he caught on Lan WangJi’s face. “Are you really surprised? I’m hurt.” He pouted. “Don’t tell me you forgot who was the one who raised you? For fifteen whole years even. Of course I’d know what you like to eat.”

As he said that, Wei WuXian stretched a hand towards him. When two fingers came to clutch Lan WangJi cavalierly on his chin, Lan WangJi jolted ever so meagerly and pursed his lips, utterly taken aback by Wei WuXian’s shameless skin-against-skin contact.

“Now that I can finally look at you properly, I notice you’ve become... skinnier? That won’t do. You have to eat more. More meat. Remember how I taught you about disguising meat with sliced carrots? That’d work, you know? You’re still growー” He came to an abrupt stop, suddenly realizing what he’d just said as shattered snickers spilled from his lips. “My, my, look at me. What am I talking about? You’re not a small boy anymore, aren’t you? You’re… 20, if I’m not mistaken? Meanwhile.” He took his hand back and used two fingers to stroke a few times on his own chin instead, as if he’s brushing an invisible goatee Lan WangJi can’t see. “Your shixiong is already an old man. Aih, how fast time passes, such cruelty of being a mortal.”

“...30 is not old,” Lan WangJi blurted, that mere response drew a loud laugh out of Wei WuXian.

Getting all enthusiastic with the topic, Wei WuXian straightened his back and raised two hands, measuring an invisible-something.

“I remember when you were this small, you love to follow me around, peeking at me, hiding in places you thought I didn’t notice. You were so cute back then; I didn’t even need to call you to have you come close to me. But now…” Wei WuXian sighed out loud. “Tsk, tsk, I have to use all sorts of ways to see you, seems like children really change when they grow. Or is it your rebellious age now? Should I be stricter with you? Give you harder challenges to break? Haha! But.” He peeped an eye open, smirking cheekily. “One thing that hasn’t changed on you is that face of yours. Still so expressionless, still so cold. I have no idea how someone as boring as you can make me so happy back then, oh, no, that’s not quite right. Even now too. You’re really incredible, Second Master Lan.”

Lan WangJi let loose a mingy breath while Wei WuXian returned to his liquor, still chortling to himself. The physician wasn’t moving, wasn’t touching the chopsticks, let alone starting on the food. Noticing the stretched silence between them, Wei WuXian wiped his mouth with his sleeve and continued speaking all by himself.

“You should know about Zhen’s Poison, right?” 

Lan WangJi stared at him and watched as he brought the cup to his mouth and gulped another mouthful of liquor down his throat. Wei WuXian poured another cup of liquor to himself but this time, he didn’t drink. Instead, he took his time whirling the cup in his fingers and observed the swirls of liquid in the cup before he continued,

Zhen[1], a poisonous bird, is the origin of such a vehement poisonous liquor. By using just one feather of this bird is more than enough to cause a person’s death within half an hour. Amazing, isn’t it?” 

By the end of his words, he drowned the cup of liquor down his throat again, his eyes constricted as his gaze tipped towards the empty cup. He spent a few moments simply staring at it before he lifted his gaze at Lan WangJi, the smile on his face ever so stunning, ever so playful at the same time.

“But HanGuang-Jun, do you know? The material from a Zhen’s beak can also cure poison.” He traced a finger around the perimeter of the glass cup, his eyes not leaving Lan WangJi’s pair of light-colored orbs. “It can be used to cure a bite of a poisonous snake; no matter how poisonous the snake is, just a few sprinkles of the beak’s powder on the wound is more than enough to cure it too. Amazing, right?”

For the entire time, Lan WangJi kept to himself but Wei WuXian had known him enough to tell that he’s listening to every single word he was saying. 

“But of course, HanGuang-Jun should know about this by now. HanGuang-Jun is the only person who can shed light on the darkness I have conferred upon people after all, that’s why you’re HanGuang-Jun, the man who bore light.”

The story between Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian was well-known. Wei WuXian was a Poison Master who had created poisons that were never before seen and had caused the deaths of many noteworthy personnel throughout the five years since he was expelled out of Gusu Lan Sect for the same reason. Before this, Wei WuXian too was also an esteemed disciple of Gusu Lan Sect, a gifted physician whose skill was even comparable to many seniors in the Sect. Yet, after being found out that he’d been poisoning the Sect Leaders and their disciples in the midst of a war, this very precocious disciple had then been punished severely and expelled out of Gusu Lan Sect with his reputation stained. While everyone thought that he was way too humiliated by his own wrongdoings and had then gone missing since then, he surfaced just a year later, delivering his newfound skill that was never seen before; a skill that was a total opposite of what he’d learned from Gusu Lan Sect.

It’s also a skill that would never be accepted by the world, for it kills and will not heal.

At that time of his return, Wei WuXian, who was once dressed in robes of all-white, had turned into one who dressed in robes of all-black.

At that time of his return, Wei WuXian, who was a prodigy in healing people, became a prodigy in causing death.

At that time of his return, Wei WuXian, who was once a physician with hands full of medicines, had become a poison master with hands full of poisons.

And at that time of his return, Lan WangJi could only wait for Wei WuXian to break the truth to him by himself, all the while being distressed about his condition and how the world will eventually forestall against him with every passing minute.

For three long years, Wei WuXian was a name that was feared by many. The moment one was to realize that they were affected by a poison that was developed by Wei WuXian, they’d end up writing their will and leaving last words to their families, knowing that there’s absolutely no way they’d be able to survive the poison.

It’s three years after Wei WuXian’s appearance as a Poison Master that light was shed in the dark era.

ー Lan WangJi.

The prestigious Second Master of Gusu Lan Sect had successfully cured a person who was stricken by Wei WuXian’s poison. And since then, he’d attained his name of his own, not only as an expert physician who was perfectly humble, kind, helped wherever there's a need, and who’s also a miracle who was the only person who can break the curse Wei WuXian scattered on others.

But apart from their opposing positions, there were also rumors about their relationship ー that the real reason to why Lan WangJi could repress Wei WuXian was because Wei WuXian was once his shixiong when he was in Gusu Lan Sect, and that he's also the one who had raised Lan WangJi. So naturally, Lan WangJi would be familiar with the way Wei WuXian conducts things, and naturally, Lan WangJi would also be familiar with what exactly had Wei WuXian been learning in Gusu Lan Sect to be able to come out with cures to his poisons.

“But I believe HanGuang-Jun is more interested in another type of poison, right?” Wei WuXian said. 

“Evening primrose,” Lan WangJi finally spoke.

Wei WuXian smirked. He picked up his chopsticks and put some food into Lan WangJi’s bowl, urging him to eat.

“I’m listening,” he said.

Lan WangJi stared at the bowl of food Wei WuXian gave him and lowered his gaze, contemplating for a short moment.

“‘To test one’s risk limit’,” he said.

“Uhuh,” Wei WuXian nodded.

“It’s the message behind the flower,” Lan WangJi elaborated.

Wei WuXian grinned higher. “I knew you’d be able to figure it out.”

“Shiー” Lan WangJi started, but stopped in the midst of his words. “..What are you trying to tell me?”

The fact that Wei WuXian planted his tracks at wherever Lan WangJi was to pass by. The fact that he knew Lan WangJi would be able to cure those poisons. And the fact that he knew that Lan WangJi would get his message.

Lan WangJi wouldn’t say that he knew this shixiong of his very well. But as much as Wei WuXian raised him, he too had been observing Wei WuXian within close proximity for a long time. So regardless of what happened, he still chose to believe in what he saw with his own eyes and above all, his own hunches, his own heart.

Yet, if Wei WuXian didn’t spell it out loud, if Wei WuXian didn’t admit nor deny all the accusations that were thrown on him, and if Wei WuXian didn’t justify what he had been doing throughout the years, then not even Lan WangJi could help him. He had no proof, he was still too young, and the person before him was a senior who was ten years older than him, and who probably knew him more than he could ever know him.

That’s why, he could only ask. He could only let himself fall into Wei WuXian’s trap over and over againー just so he could come to know the truth one day from the man himself.

“Do you really want to know?” Wei WuXian asked instead.

“...”

“Are you sure you’re ready to listen to me? Are you sure you’re ready to have your good shixiong’s impression crumpled right in front of your very eyes?” Wei WuXian continued. He licked his lips, eyes half-lidded. “Are you sure you want to know how betrayal feels like?”

Lan WangJi’s fingers curled up on his lap. As much as he’d like to believe that he’d grown, Wei WuXian was undoubtedly ten years apart with him. He’s like his brother, like his father, but at the same time, he’s also like hisー

“En,” Lan WangJi said.

“Hahahaha!” Wei WuXian burst out laughing. He laughed for a long time while Lan WangJi continued staring at him, unsure of how to respond. An obscure flame of exasperation surged from within him and he knew perfectly well that it’s agony that’s stemmed from the fact that Wei WuXian was still treating him as a child, and not as HanGuang-Jun, not as an adult man he’d like to be treated as.

“You shouldn’t play around with someone else’s life,” Lan WangJi said, picking up the shards of his dignity.

“I’m not worried about that. They have HanGuang-Jun to save them,” Wei WuXian teased.

“It’s not helping to straighten your reputation,” Lan WangJi persisted.

“Do you think I’ll be bothered by that? How does one even control how others view them anyway?” Wei WuXian countered.

“You shouldn’t waste your medicinal talent, you should do things that benefit others,” Lan WangJi said.

“As you can see, I’m making good use of my talent, just not the way everyone thinks I should,” Wei WuXian followed.

“You…” Lan WangJi paused to take in a deep breath, organizing his thoughts. “This route is dangerous. Being immersed with the poisonous elements for the long term is harmful to your body and will affect your lifespan. You’ll die early. Iー”

“Lan Zhan.”

Lan WangJi shivered a tad a the sudden calling of his name; it’s a name he hadn’t heard from any other person since Wei WuXian left Gusu Lan Sect. When he looked up, he found himself staring into a pair of lustrous eyes, the depth in them hearty yet unrelenting and it’s making him feel like he's about to be sucked into the gravity of Wei WuXian’s emotions. His lips quivered a tad, his throat bobbed up and down.

“Were those words you wanted to tell me since the beginning?” Wei WuXian asked. He paused, taking in Lan WangJi’s reaction and spoke again. “You don’t want me to die early. You’re worried about that.”

Lan WangJi’s breath was trapped in his chest. As he’d thought, Wei WuXian knew him the best, perhaps even better than he did himself. He’d tried all sorts of ways to sound like he understood Wei WuXian, to advise him. But at the end of the day, Wei WuXian was the one who had lured him into speaking what he genuinely felt from the beginning, spilling them out of desperation, and leaving his intentions and his emotions naked under his eyes.

Wei WuXian smiled at that reaction; despite still being impassive, he’d probably seen through Lan WangJi too by now.

“Like I said, I raised you. I know how you feel.” He shook his head at the end of his words, smiling bitterly. “How can I not?”

Putting up another grin, he continued,

“Okay, I’ll tell you.”

Lan WangJi’s eyes brightened a tad. 

“But I have a condition.”

“...”

“You have to cure one more person first before I can tell you what is the motive behind everything I’m doing, why am I so obsessed with poison-making, and what I intend to achieve out of this,” Wei WuXian continued.

“...”

“I’ll also stop being a poison master, if that’s what you’re more concerned about,” Wei WuXian tried again.

When Lan WangJi showed no response, he shrugged.

“Shouldn’t you be curious by now? Don’t you want to know who is the person I’m referring to?” Wei WuXian smiled with a sigh.

“...Who is the person?” Lan WangJi finally opened his mouth.

Wei WuXian’s grin curved into a smirk. Leaning towards Lan WangJi, he used a finger to beckon Lan WangJi over, his gaze was heated, his eyebrows doing a playful raise as his breathing hit Lan WangJi ardently on his fair skin. 

With a calm, solid tone, Wei WuXian stared penetratingly into Lan WangJi’s eyes and said,

“Me.”