It was later in the afternoon and Lan Wangji was sitting at a table in the Library Pavillion replaying the events that had just happened to him while trying to study.
It was one of the most embarrassing events that had happened in Lan Wangji’s short life. Never had he sought out the kind of ‘literature’ Wei Wuxian had taunted him with today. For the second time, Wei Wuxian had tormented him with his scandalous art, but instead of the drawings representing a man and a woman, it was a book of two men pleasuring each other.
“Now I understand, Lan Zhan, this is what you really wanted to see! No wonder you didn’t like the other art I shared with you!” Wei Wuxian teased him.
Once again, he had ripped the artbook to shreds; Wei Wuxian sticking his tongue out at him and running away to escape punishment for his obnoxious behavior. And it was embarrassing because he was right; those images had affected him much more than the ones between a man and a woman. Because he could imagine those two men as himself and Wei Ying.
This was all Wei Wuxian’s fault. He had never thought about physical pleasure in the way he was now, now that he had accepted his feelings for the bright spirited boy. Unfortunately, he had no idea about romantic love and how to act on those feelings.
Maybe he shouldn’t have been so hasty in shredding the artbook. Maybe it would have given him some ideas on how to be a good cultivational partner. And Wangji wanted to be a good cultivational partner for his future
For Wei Ying
, his traitorous mind supplied for him.
The more he thought about it, the more he realized that his studies were not as well rounded as he had first believed. There were no courses in Gusu for how relations between men and
women worked and the intricacies of reproduction. The only classes they had on the body were how to fix easy wounds when a healer was not available right away.
Lan Wangji knew how he came across to the other disciples of GusuLan. He had heard the whispers his whole life. His face is carved from jade, no emotion. They would say of him. Look at how arrogant he is, thinking he’s better than everyone else. Why else does he keep to himself? They would hold his behavior and accomplishments above themselves as the pinnacle of GusuLan principles, but no one wanted anything to do with him socially. Not until Wei Wuxian had entered his life, as warm and bright as the sun. Only he had taken the time to try to get to know him, befriend him, and tease him like his mother used to.
And Lan Wangji had no idea how to react to it. He was unable to express himself to the one person who was quickly becoming one of the most important people in his life. If he could learn how to express himself better to Wei Wuxian, maybe they could become closer than friends?
So really, Lan Wangji should seek out these artbooks. All in the name of education and research, of course.
The only place books like the ones he was interested in would be were the forbidden books hidden within the library and only accessible to the actual Lan family. With his mind made up, Lan Wangji subtly made sure no one else was in the library as he made his way to the hidden cache of books. Using his spiritual energy to enter the hidden alcove, he started to look through the forbidden materials for his ‘studies’.
After a few minutes of looking through books, he finally found what he was looking for. The book was filled with art showing how men could pleasure each other as well as a recounting of a scandalous affair. It seemed to be some kind of journal from a long dead ancestor, which would explain why the Lan clan had even kept it in the first place. Now, how to study this in peace, Lan Wangji thought. It would be a disaster if anyone, especially Wei Wuxian, caught him with the forbidden material. I’ll just have to study it in the Jingshi.
Once again, Lan Wangji made sure there was no one around to see as he tucked the journal away in his sleeve and made his way calmly back to the Jingshi to review his ‘educational materials’.
After spending half the night reading his ancestor’s journal, Lan Wangji had learned two new tools for talking to someone you were interested in. Seeing as how this particular ancestor ended up happily married, he decided it must be good advice and was determined to make use of it the next day when Wei Wuxian was working on his punishment.
The advice was simple, start a conversation and say something positive. For Lan Wangji, however, the advice was not simple to follow through on. He did not have the best verbal communication, especially when it came to talking with Wei Ying. His mouth had a habit of saying one thing while his head and heart wanted to say something else.
So, he made a list of things he could say to Wei Ying the next time they met. One list had conversation starters and the other had a list of attributes Lan Wangji liked the most about Wei Ying (the second list was a lot longer than the first).
Tucking his lists into his sleeves, Lan Wangji made his way to the Library Pavilion to work on his studies and wait for Wei Ying to show up to continue his punishment.
A few hours later, Lan Wangji could hear Wei Ying’s laughter on the wind as he neared the Library Pavilion. Taking a few moments to check over his lists, Lan Wangji settled himself again just before Wei Ying made his way through the doors and sat himself at the table, directly in front of Lan Wangji as he had for the last two weeks. Lan Wangji continued to read and pretended to ignore Wei Ying’s greetings and subsequent tries to elicit a response from him.
“Lan Wangji, Second Brother Lan, Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying cried out for his attention.
At the sound of his birth name, Lan Wangji decided to give his attention to Wei Ying.
With his face as unreadable as ever, he put his book down and gazed into Wei Ying’s eyes, “Yes?” He asked.
Seeing that he finally had Lan Wangji’s attention, Wei Ying started to babble about what he had been up to before he came into the Library Pavilion.
“Lan Zhan, you missed the sparring match we had between the foreign disciples! I won against that arrogant peacock, Jin Zixuan. Maybe I knocked some sense into him during our spar,” Wei Ying eagerly recounted the story of how he won the spar.
Lan Wangji listened patiently, taking in the proud smile on Wei Ying’s face and the way he animatedly told the story with his whole body encompassing the actions that took place. Normally, he would stop Wei Ying with a rule he was breaking, of which there were at least five he was in the process of breaking right now. He had learned from his reading, though, that pointing out these faults would only push Wei Ying further away.
Instead, it was Wei Ying who stopped himself at the end of his story and asked Lan Wangji, “Lan Zhan, what do you think Lan Zhan? Wasn’t I amazing?” He asked in a teasing voice.
Okay, this is it, Lan Wangji thought to himself. Now I can give him a compliment like, “Wei Ying, your swordsmanship is as beautiful as you are, of course you won against an inferior opponent.”
“Mn, amazing Wei Ying,” is what came out in his monotone voice. No, that wasn’t what I wanted to say, Lan Wangji disappointedly thought to himself.
Wei Ying gaped at him, “L-Lan Zhan? What did you say?”
Lan Wangji repeated himself, “Amazing Wei Ying.”
“...You're not joking. Of course you're not joking, you're Lan Zhan. Does this mean you’re finally warming up to me Second Brother Lan?” Wei Ying excitedly exclaimed to Lan Wangji.
“Mn. Work on your punishment, Wei Ying,” was all he could think to say at the moment.
Wei Wuxian looked at him for a moment, smiling but with a look of confusion on his face, but acquiesced and started writing out the rules.
For once, the Library was tranquil as Wei Wuxian concentrated on his copying, giving Lan Wangji sometime to gather himself together after his failure to really tell Wei Ying what he was thinking. He supposed it wasn't a complete loss as Wei Yung had smiled a delightful smile at him, but he was determined to do better when he started a conversation.
After some time had past, Lan Wangji decided it was a good time for a break. With intention, he closed his book with a loud thud that startled Wei Ying into looking up at him.
"What do you like to eat?" Really, of all of the questions he had on his list, that's the one his mind decided on?
Wei Ying was clearly bewildered as well as he just stared at him for a few seconds before his face lit up into a grin, "Ahhh Lan Zhan, what's this? Curious to know about the kinds of foods you're XianXian dreams of eating over the medicinal foods your sect favors?"
“Mn,” Lan Wangji answered.
Wei Wuxian gave him another bewildered look before answering his question with a reminiscent smile, “I like almost any food as long as it’s spicy enough, although my Shijie’s pork rib and lotus root soup is my favorite. Do you have a favorite food Lan Zhan?”
“No,” he said succinctly.
"Ahh Lan Zhan, one day you should visit Lotus Pier and I'll take you to all the food stalls so you can see what food should really taste like!" Wei Ying suggested excitedly.
“Mn, I will,” Lan Wangji answered back.
“You know Lan Zhan, I thought you didn’t like me and everyone else said to leave you alone because you hated me. But that’s not true, is it?” Wei Ying asked questioningly.
“No, I don’t hate Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji reassured him. If only I could tell him how I really feel about him, Lan Wangji thought.