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hold onto my curse

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This was utterly insane.

 

Outrageous. Preposterous even, best put in his old acquaintance's words whom many considered his biggest rival. 

 

Laughter filled with hysteria and something more echoed within the Demon Slaughtering Cave’s walls at still early hours of the day, and Wei Wuxian slumped against his bed, looking between the space of his thighs with horrified amusement. 

 

He had noticed it right away the moment he had woken up. He felt his body burn without a reason, making him disoriented for a few seconds, only to come to the realization that he was missing something. His body was, specifically, and quite in the literal sense.

 

His… his junior. His poor junior down there, the one that hadn’t ever gotten into action for more than twenty-something years because his stupid owner awaited for his special one like an innocent maiden, naive at the matters of love and so unlike many rumors that claimed otherwise… it was gone.

 

Gone! 

 

Of course, the realization was backed up with undeniable proof. The proof being the confused Yiling Patriarch patting over his clothed groin with something akin to horror as he found nothing. Absolutely nothing. Or, well, not exactly nothing, as his body shivered at one particular pat and a whimper left his lips at the unexpected shock of pleasure. He had pulled his hand away harshly as if he had been burned by the sensation, his cheeks set ablaze and heart thumping loudly within his rib cage with uneasiness.

 

Thus, here was the still number one feared mortal in the cultivation world, cold sweat forming on his face while he still laughed the absurdness of it all, all the while his shoulders shook with a mix of dread and anger.

 

Only after he recovered an ounce of normality did he throw himself against his makeshift desk consisting only of flat rock, grabbing for his brush and scribbling on a piece cheap paper in an almost furious pace. 

 

There was only one person he could call for this. One person that he could trust enough to not make fun of his current state, despite the humiliation and embarrassment that he’d feel at the revelation would be just as bad.

 

Scrambling to his feet, a whistle was all it took for a bird-like creature to form out of the abundant resentful energy available in the Burial Mounds. He tied the letter to one of its makeshift legs, whistling again as an order for it to depart.

 

Then, he fumbled back to his bed and grabbed whatever half-finished prototype was the closest to him, forcing himself to take his mind off the matter while he awaited.

 

Wei Wuxian could only hope he didn’t have the urge to use the toilet until that person came.

 


 

 

Much to his surprise, and maybe also apprehension towards the decision he had made, Wei Wuxian felt the barrier that protected his domain shift with the presence of a known visitor much sooner than he had anticipated. 

 

Throwing whatever he had been working on aside, he stood up and gingerly stepped out from his cave. The sun was still barely peeking through the numerous sharp peaks that surrounded the dark land, yet its rays were enough to envelop the outlines of the beautiful figure that was approaching his and the Wen remnant's settlement while mounting on a sword made of pure-white silver.

 

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Wuxian called then, voice tinged with the surprise when the man was within hearing distance. “You.. you are here earlier than I expected.”

 

Way earlier, if Wei Wuxian was honest with himself. The letter shouldn’t have gotten to Gusu until a good couple of hours had passed, and even then the trip from the Cloud Recesses to Yiling should have taken another couple more had Lan Wangji been too busy to attend his sudden request.

 

The fact that he was here so fast.. 

 

“Wei Ying.” If Wei Wuxian hadn’t known better about how Lan Wangji barely tolerated him nowadays, he could have sworn that there was worry in the way those golden eyes scanned all over him and then the area that surrounded them, as if looking for something amiss. 

 

Wei Wuxian might have overdone it a bit in his letter, he thought guiltily. There was something amiss, though, at the thought alone made his cheeks burn with something akin to embarrassment. 

 

“I, ah..” Wei Wuxian started, and averted his gaze just slightly when that golden one met his. God, what was he thinking, calling Lan Wangji for this mess? 

 

“Is everything alright?” He heard his childhood acquaintance ask with certain urgency; the smallest breach in his usually calm and icy tone. “Your letter…”

 

The idea of Lan Wangji having come as soon as he had received his letter did strange things to his stomach. But then Wei Wuxian remembered that the respected Light Bearer is truly worthy of his title, always present wherever chaos is, no matter how small or insignificant the matter could be. It was no wonder that he'd answer even the Yiling Patriarch's.

 

“It’s nothing too bad.” Wei Wuxian attempts to shrug off, despite the fact it was. Well, for him at least.

 

“Wei Wuxian, what the hell is going on with the ruckus-- Ah, “ Wen Qing’s irritated voice turned down a notch into sternness when she spotted the unexpected guest. Wen Ning trailed behind her, body and face stiff but overall demeanor expressing uncertainties and respect towards such visitor. 

 

“Hanguang-jun.”  They both said in unison with respectful bows, which Lan Wangji returned with the same earnest, if not more graceful. Wei Wuxian pouted at the stark contrast of their demeanor towards the Gusu Lan senior and himself. Obviously ignoring such detail, Wen Qing turned back to Wei Wuxian with a questioning look that was around the lines of ‘why is he here?’.

 

“I called Lan Zhan due to some..pressing matters.” Wei Wuxian was quick to answer, and dread filled him again at what such matter actually was. 

 

“And may we know what kind of urgent matters these are?” Wen Qing eyed him suspiciously but Wei Wuxian simply shook his head and honored the thick face he was born with as he winked at Lan Wangji, who in return just stared back at him like a block of icy jade.

 

“Very important, totally unsuspicious Sect stuff.” Lan Wangji arched an elegant eyebrow the slightest bit, but thankfully didn't say anything to refute it. “So, I’m sad to ask you both to tell the others to keep clear from the perimeter. Once we are done, uh, resolving the matter, we’ll let you know.”

 

Wen Qing shot looks between them back and forth with her arms crossed, obviously unconvinced. But Wen Ning, bless his naive and trusting nature, bowed at them both.

 

“Please don’t hesitate to call us if you need any assistance, young master Wei, Hanguang-jun. Wen Ning will make sure to watch over A-Yuan while you talk.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll count on your for that, Wen Ning!” Ignoring the Wen healer’s permanent and inquisitive gaze, Wei Wuxian made a grab for the second Twin Jade’s arm and tugged him towards his cave. “Let’s go, Lan Zhan.”

 

Wei Wuxian didn’t pay much attention to the awful lack of resistance coming from the latter as he dragged him inside, focused on shooting glances towards their back just to make sure they were really left alone. 

 

It wasn't until they reach the deepest opening and Wei Wuxian fumbled to clear some space for Lan Wangji to take seat that he noticed he was still holding onto the other’s arm.

 

“Ah, sorry!” He let go hastily, releasing a half-assed chuckle as he raised both hands. “It's because you let me drag you all the way here without complaining that I forgot you dislike being touched, Lan Zhan!”

 

Lan Wangji’s brows furrowed visibly at his words, and Wei Wuxian attempted to dispel the awkwardness while patting the space he had freed on his humble beddings. “Come, come, sit! I’m sorry that I still haven’t gotten any furniture yet. We think it's not really worth it to prepare for visitors when they are so scarce, you see. Ah, we did get some tea though!”

 

There was an audible sigh. Lan Wangji remains standing, gaze firm as he spoke without more preambles. “Wei Ying, what have you called me here for?” 

 

The grin in the Yiling Patriarch’s lips faltered the slightest bit, worrying on his lower lip before he rubbed the back of his neck. “Um, first, could you sit down? I swear I didn’t call you on a whim. Or, well, not deliberately.”

 

Lan Wangji seemed to sense something off from his usual poise, as the crease between his eyebrows wrinkled a bit more before he sat in the designed space. Then, he turned towards Wei Wuxian, eyes attentive to whatever he had to tell.

 

Sometimes, at times like these, Wei Wuxian really wondered if there was something more to Lan Wangji’s tolerance towards him. He had spent many nights recounting the events of Lan Wangji’s last visit in Yiling, the way he had delicately indulged Wen Yuan’s childish wishes in order to stop his crying and fed him some expensive sweet soup, and offered his assistance in subduing the rampaging Wen Ning without a second thought. It was a precious memory, despite how badly they had parted on their ways yet again at the end of the day. 

 

His surprise had been nothing of short when Lan Wangji had appeared in front of him the day of A-Ling’s first year celebration in order to accompany him, explaining that he had been in yet another Night Hunt nearby. Having pulled an all-nighter tinkering with his present for its final details, Wei Wuxian had accepted the generous, if not more shocking, offer of riding Bichen alongside the peerless Twin Jade when the mention of his lack of sleep had slipped off his lips. He hadn't hated it the first time he had done so, although back then the urgency of getting faster to the settlement had made the decision for him in the first place.

 

Wei Wuxian remembered teasing Lan Wangji, holding onto his old acquaintance while they flew towards Koi Tower, claiming that Lan Wangji definitely didn’t hate him if he was willing to have the fiend that was the Yiling Patriarch cling to him while sharing his precious spiritual sword.

 

I do not hate you.’ The other had admitted in a whisper after a long pause, making Wei Wuxian stare at him with wide eyes and mouth opened agape. For some reason, Wei Wuxian hadn’t been capable to come out with some sort of retaliation to that revelation then, reminiscing all the clashes they had ever since he had turned to demonic cultivation in silence. 

 

If Lan Wangji didn’t really hate him as he and pretty much all the cultivation world thought, then why would he insist on dragging Wei Wuxian back to Gusu if not to imprison and punish him? 

 

His questioning had been interrupted as soon as they had reached the celebration. Excepting all the murmuring and looks of fear directed towards him, A-Ling’s first birthday had been far and easily one of the happiest days of his life. With only being able to reunite with his shijie, eyes filled with warm tears and with her lips wide with the brightest smile as she ushered him to hold the soft bundle that was his nephew between his shaking arms, Wei Wuxian had felt the annoying whispers filled with resentment fade away with the contentment he felt. 

 

He had even bickered with Jiang Cheng like in the old times, fighting for who had the right to hold A-Ling the longest while his shijie giggled and the peacock shook his head in the sidelines. It might be due to the fact that he had been invited by the heir of the sect himself, that no one dared to open their mouth in protest to his presence; not even Jin Zixun, who for whatever reason had looked even more constipated with his presence than usual. It was even better that Jin Guangshan had been absent the whole duration of the celebration, having Jin Guangyao excuse him in his place with the reason being 'exhausted from overworking'.

 

With his present well received and chest swelling with pride at the happy gurgles he received from his nephew, the surprised gasp of his shijie and even a snort coming from Jiang Cheng that would be the closest he’d get as a sign of approval nowadays, the celebration ended with him thanking Jin Zixuan for his invitation. The enmity he felt towards the man was still there, just a petulant and childish dislike because no man could ever deserve his shijie, but he made his shijie happy and even had invited Wei Wuxian despite his reputation and controversy surrounding him nonetheless. For that, he'd always be grateful.

 

It was only when the celebration was about to end when Jin Zixun finally confronted him in front of everyone, accusing Wei Wuxian of casting the curse of the hundred holes on him. Surely not wanting to ruin the occasion any further, Wei Wuxian had kept his irritation and pride at bay and swallowed the humiliation, not minding the shocked expressions of the people present when he disrobed and showed the pale, slightly marred skin of his torso that showed the clear signs of having lived through a long war (more than one gaped at the sight of the Wen brand resting atop of his chest) yet without a single trace of the horrible drawback of casting said curse on it.

 

Despite Jin Zixun claiming that he should have ways to find a way to remain unharmed from the curse (seriously, for someone that loathed Wei Wuxian he surely overestimated his skills), the claim was shot down mainly by the Twin Jades and, much to his shock, even Jiang Cheng. The curse was known for the prize one had to pay in order to inflict it to someone else, and no man known in history had been capable of bypassing that condition. Claiming that the Yiling Patriarch was capable of such a feat, it might pretty much say he was something akin to a God. In the end, the matter remained in the open and with a fuming Jin Zixun that clearly still believed that he was the perpetrator, but Wei Wuxian was allowed to leave without further ado. 

 

After the celebration, Lan Wangji had offered to take him back to the Burial Mounds. Wei Wuxian wasn’t as shameless as to accept it while fully knowing that the detour would have Lan Wangji take twice the time to go back to his home, but he had inwardly appreciated the gesture nonetheless. He had voiced his thanks out loud, both for the offer and for standing up for him back at the celebration. Wei Wuxian had almost expected Lan Wangji to part ways with him using his catchphrase first, but the latter had only gave him an unreadable look and a tense bow, leaving without muttering a single word.

 

“Wei Ying?”

 

Wei Wuxian’s mind snapped back to the present, a pair of golden orbs staring directly into his. Lan Wangji tilted his head just barely, something akin to concern showing in his eyes. Really, now, was Wei Wuxian getting better at reading him after finding out that the other didn’t feel as badly as he had thought towards him? It was easy to, when the idea of Lan Wangji wanting to punish him for walking the demonic path wasn't present in his mind as strongly anymore.

 

“Ah, sorry, sorry. My mind flew away right there.” Wei Wuxian excused himself with a chuckle, averting his gaze to a side. “I, ah, called you to get some help on a problem.”

 

The mere thought of said ‘problem’ made Wei Wuxian squirm slightly. Honestly, he didn’t know why he had sought Lan Wangji’s help out of all people. No matter how righteous he might be, surely the request Wei Wuxian had for him was too outrageous and shameless even for him. 

 

“Will help.” He heard Lan Wangji say, voice firm and with resolution. It made Wei Wuxian laugh, although not without something warm settling inside his chest again. Really, what a good man he was.

 

“Lan Zhan, you can’t go agreeing like that if you don’t know what I was going to ask you help for in the first place!” Wei Wuxian teased as usual, feeling a bit of the tension in his shoulders relent. “I’m the scary Yiling Patriarch, you know? What if I made you terrorize innocent people or rob graves to increase my army of fierce corpses?”

 

Wei Wuxian almost regretted having answered to the other's sincere words with teasing, seeing how Lan Wangji tightened his fists and was ready to stand up. “Ah, no, no, don’t leave, Lan Zhan! The Yiling Patriarch would be very, very grateful if Hanguang-jun could aid him in his worst woes!” 

 

“Ridiculous.“ Lan Wangji huffed, but his grip was back to relaxed once again. Then, he looked at Wei Wuxian head-on, prompting him to get over the matter.

 

“Alright. Um.” Wei Wuxian played with the flames on his outer robe, trying to find the best way to drop the bomb that didn’t result in him being skewered alive by Bichen. “I just.. I need to tell you first, that this is something I can only ask you, Lan Zhan.” 

 

Why only Lan Wangji? Wei Wuxian wasn’t too sure himself. But there’s a glint in the other’s golden eyes and, as if fueled by his words, there’s even more resolution settling on those orbs. It makes him believe that it wasn't a mistake calling Lan Wangji for this, no matter what response he received afterwards.

 

“Mn. Listening.”

 

Wei Wuxian nodded. He could trust Lan Wangji with this. Without further ado, he breathed in and, with the most seriousness he could muster, he looked directly into Lan Wangji’s eyes.

 

 “My dick is gone.”

 

 

A few seconds passed, with Lan Wangji staring at him in silence. The other blinked slowly, one and two times, before his usual stoic eyes widened the slightest bit as Wei Wuxian’s vulgar statement was fully processed inside his head. Surely, whatever he had expected, this was far from it.

 

Wei Ying!” Lan Wangji exclaimed, voice shaking with anger and the tip of his ears tinted in red at the implication of being subjected to another of Wei Wuxian’s shameless pranks.

 

“No, Lan Zhan, I’m serious!” Wei Wuxian exclaimed in return, face just as exasperated as he felt towards the whole situation. The look in Lan Wangji told him he didn’t believe in Wei Wuxian’s words in the slightest, and the latter couldn’t find a better or quicker way to prove he was telling the truth than yanking Lan Wangji’s hand and shoving it directly on top of his groin.

 

See? It really is gone!!” Wei Wuxian exclaimed again, only to notice what he had just done the second Lan Wangji’s eyes widened even further in what looked like a look of utter shock. 

 

Of course, Wei Wuxian wasn’t faring any better. He could only open and close his mouth, body rigid as the one in front of him was, staring down right where those long, peerless fingers proper of a talented musician rested between the gap of his thighs. The hot hand trapped beneath his twitched slightly, causing a small, involuntary shiver to run throughout his spine.

 

Both reacted at the same time; one letting out a pathetic shriek while the other yanked his hand free as if he had been just scorched with molten fire. 

 

"You..!!

 

“I-- “ Wei Wuxian said hastily before Lan Wanji could begin on calling out how shameless he was, trying to ignore the embarrassment dusting his face with pink. He could still feel the lingering warmth of Lan Wangji’s hand on the area, and it was doing weird things to both his breathing and train of thought. “Sorry, Hanguang-jun! I thought-- I just wanted to convince you I wasn’t lying!”

 

The outraged glare he received was along the lines of ‘didn’t you have a better way of doing so?’, and Wei Wuxian would have felt worse for his actions (he wasn’t that thick faced, after all), if it wasn’t that he could see the crimson in the other’s ears. 

 

Oh, that's kinda cute’, he couldn’t help but to think. Who would have expected that Lan Wangji, out of all people, would feel embarrassed by touching another man a bit? It wasn’t as if Wei Wuxian was naked or anything!

 

“So..” Wei Wuxian started yet again, seeing how the the silence wouldn’t break on its own. “Do you believe me now?”

 

“... How.” Lan Wangji finally started after a long intake of breath, fists clenched so tightly that his knuckles turned white; looking at anywhere but him. At least he hadn’t stormed off in rage after what had happened, much to Wei Wuxian’s relief.

 

“Honestly, I don’t know either. I woke up feeling strange today and it was.. just gone like that.” Wei Wuxian scratched the back of his head, shifting his weight from one thigh to the other. “My first thought was to ask Wen Qing about it but, you know, I’m not shameless enough to have her check personally. And Wen Ning probably would be so embarrassed he’d die again despite being dead already or find a way to be able to.” 

 

Lan Wangji breathed in with his eyes closed and frowned deeply. “..Why me.”

 

“C’mon, we both know that I don’t have many friends ever since I became some sort of spooky material for children.” Wei Wuxian almost expected the other to refute his words on their apparent friendship, and felt quite pleased at the lack of thereof. “Jiang Cheng would gut me alive before I even got to say a word. And.. that’s about it.” Wei Wuxian shifted again, frowning a bit. “It’s totally understandable if you don’t want to, uh, help me figure this out though. You must be quite busy too, sorry. This might be very stupid but..”

 

“...” Lan Wangji sighed, and his fists slowly unraveled. He still looked frustrated, if not angry, yet he still remained in place. “Do not be. I stand by my word earlier.”

 

At that, Wei Wuxian perked up. “You mean..?”

 

“I’ll help.” A pause. “...I am unsure if I will be of any help, though.”

 

“I’m sure you will be, Lan Zhan! Two heads think better than one, even more so if it's genius me and one of Gusu Lan's prodigies!” Wei Wuxian beamed, patting the spot beside him excitedly as a new invitation for the other to sit, who gingerly did after a moment. “I’ve narrowed down the possibilities of what could have caused this. And my best bet is..”

 

“A curse.” Lan Wangji completed his sentence, and Wei Wuxian nodded in return, content that they were in the same wavelength.

 

“It’s a petty curse, on top of that. I haven’t felt any different after all these hours so I think it’s harmless overall, but I can’t be so sure yet. Seriously, couldn’t whoever did this choose a better, more malicious curse instead?”

 

Lan Wangji frowned. “We should be glad it isn’t life-threatening.” 

 

“‘We’?” Wei Wuxian asked, another mischievous smile forming in his lips. “If I didn’t know you better, I’d think that you’re really worried about me, Lan Zhan.”

 

“I am.”

 

The teasing bit right back at Wei Wuxian, who could only look at Lan Wangji with surprise at how resolute his answer had been. It made his chest do a weird flip too, which couldn’t mean anything remotely good. 

 

“Ah, Lan Zhan! You can’t say that out of sudden!” Wei Wuxian complained with a groan, covering the flush that formed in his face with a hand while he waved the other in the air. “You should drop those lines to a lovely maiden, not at some fiend like me!” 

 

“Not a fiend.” The other rebutted, and that did not help the throbbing inside his chest in the slightest.

 

“O-..okay, so, going back to the main topic..” Wei Wuxian urged the change of topic, bringing a hand up his chin. “I think I’ve read a bit of these kind of curses before. In most cases, their main goal is to cause humiliation as, well, you can probably guess why.” 

 

He coughed. Why did he felt so self-conscious about wording things directly now all of a sudden, when he had shamelessly thrown a book of erotica right at Lan Wangji’s face when they were much younger, doing so as easily as chugging a jar of alcohol down his throat?

 

Thinking about it, he’d welcome a few jars right now..

 

“This is really funny, don’t you think? Maybe it’s thanks to the rumors surrounding oh the disgusting promiscuity of the feared Yiling Patriarch, that whoever inflicted this curse on me thought it would cause me great harm. What would the lovely maidens in my vast harem think, having been rendered useless in bed! Haha, if they only knew there's no such harem or that ’m still a vi----”

 

Wei Wuxian clamped his mouth shut then, shooting a panicked look towards Lan Wangji who returned an unreadable one. Wei Wuxian felt like groaning right there and then, face burning in shame. 

 

His and his stupid, stupid mouth. There was no way that Lan Wangji would still believe his lie back at Phoenix Mountain after this. 

 

At least, Lan Wangji looked unfazed by the revelation. Or so Wei Wuxian thinks, despite the fact the other's lips are pursed into a tight line. Such fine lips. Maybe, Lan Wangji was naive enough to not have gotten the point at the end. What was there to feel ashamed of in front of him, anyway? Wei Wuxian could bet he wasn’t the only virgin between the two, and he had his first kiss (albeit stolen to some unknown maiden whose name he'd never know; a very strong one to boot) already. He was still one step ahead of him!

 

“A-anyway, what are you thoughts on this, Hanguang-jun?”

 

Lan Wangji looked downwards as if in thought, and Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but to admire the thick fan of lashes that cast a shadow on those perfectly sculpted cheekbones. Seriously, being able to admire that pretty face was almost a luxury when one was stuck up here. No one, including the people living in the town, could rival the beauty of the second most-sought bachelor in the cultivation world. “I assume this might be an attempt on vengeance. There’s the possibility that the perpetrator's cultivation is not high enough, thus, they aimed to cause harm based on the rumors after noticing it was within their abilities.”

 

“Mn, mn.” Wei Wuxian agreed, nodding. “Too bad for them, though. Something like this can only be inflicted with someone of the same gender, so probably he’s also dealing with his missing dick too.”

 

Lan Wangji shook his head indignantly at the other’s choice of words, but continued nonetheless. “Is there anything else to it?”

 

“Hm?” This time it was Wei Wuxian who tilted his head, questioning. “What do you mean with that?”

 

Irritation flickered in Lan Wangji’s golden eyes, his voice sounding more tense. “..Have you checked to see if there’s anything else, Wei Ying?”

 

“What do you mean with checked--.. Oh.” Realization hit Wei Wuxian as he looked downwards, missing the way Lan Wangji’s brows twitched at the movement. 

 

Right. He hadn’t really taken the option of looking directly into consideration. He couldn’t be blamed for that, after all, it was one thing to feel over your clothes and realize your dick was gone, and it was another whole thing to see that for yourself directly. It was incredibly scary, if anything, to see nothing where his poor junior had been there, accompanying him during all of his life.

 

After yet another awkward pause, Lan Wangji made motions to stand up. “...I’ll leave for you to..” 

 

“Wait!” Wei Wuxian grasped Lan Wangji’s wrist before the other stood fully, nervousness swimming in his eyes. “I.. I don’t think I can do it alone.”

 

“..What?” The other gritted between his teeth, but that didn’t deter Wei Wuxian from tugging on his wrist again.

 

“Think about it, Lan Zhan! How scary would it be for you, to see nothing there? I know, we both know I've done worse than this, but I can’t do it in my own!” The tips of other’s ears are red again, and his anger is palpable as he keeps trying to free his wrist from Wei Wuxian's grasp.

 

“Then call doctor Wen!” 

 

“Do you really think I can ask her to do this? Lan Zhan, she’s still an unmarried maiden, I can’t do that to her either! And don’t start mentioning every other single name I know, I can’t ask this to anyone else!”

 

“Then are you implying I should be the one doing it, Wei Wuxian?!”

 

Lan Wangji’s voice is unusually agitated as it echoes between the cave’s damp walls, and they hit Wei Wuxian like waves crashing against a cliff. He grits on his teeth himself, glaring daggers back to those infuriatingly beautiful golden eyes.

 

“Yes, I am, Lan Wangji!”

 

It’s too late before Wei Wuxian realizes what the madness he had just let out, and both men remain with their gaze locked onto each other while they are still panting slightly from their shouting. Only once had they called each other's courtesy names like that, albeit in a very different context. 

 

"...You.."

 

“..If.. You said-.. You said you would help.” The Yiling Patriarch added, his voice sounding way too vulnerable for his own liking, as he finally let go of the other’s wrist and he bit down on his lower lip. “I won’t force you or anything, I just.. “

 

He just what? Why was he so adamant of requesting Lan Wangji’s help on this? On something that regarded him personally and intimately?

 

It's been months since A-ling's celebration. He hadn't seen or heard anything regarding Lan Wangji for a good while, so why.. 

 

Why had his face popped out in his mind first when thinking who should he place his trust onto?

 

At the following uncomfortable silence, Wei Wuxian laughed dryly, shaking his head. “..Forget it, Lan Zhan. You’re right, I don’t what what I was thinking when I wrote the letter. I will ask Wen Qing or something and--”

 

“--..I’ll do it.” 

 

Wei Wuxian looked upwards again, not sure if he had heard right. Lan Wangji’s gaze is unreadable as always, but the former could swear that the golden in his eyes looked darker than the usual golden caramell. “You-.. you will?”

 

“Mn.” 

 

“Oh.” Wei Wuxian muttered dumbly to himself, not sure if what he felt was relief or something more that he still couldn’t pinpoint yet. All the heated frustrations dissipates from within him just like that, and he felt his fingers tremble against his sides. “Right. I-.. I’m counting on you, Lan Zhan.”

 

“Mn.” 

 

“Then.. I’ll undress, and then you look.” 

 

“..Mn.”

 

It was no big deal, undressing that is. He just needed to remove his pants for Lan Wangji to take a quick look. Hadn’t they seen each other naked once back when he they were studying in the Cloud Recesses, when both had been beaten raw and sought healing in its icy springs? Even now, he had no qualms in undressing in front of Wen Qing or Wen Ning when they addressed his wounds; there was nothing to see in his body that had gotten, admittedly, thinner and paler than it used to be.

 

Or, maybe, these were the reasons why he felt so self-conscious out of sudden, as he pulled on the ends of his sash and kicked his boots off his feet. The current state of his body couldn’t compare to how it used to be when he still ran care freely below the sun, golden core pulsating with vigor within him and the woes of war still absent in his young mind. He had lost a great part of his musculature, both due to his lack of exercise and proper nourishment, the latter something he chose willingly in order to increment the meager rations the elderly and A-yuan received in the settlement. 

 

On the other hand, Wei Wuxian remembered how sculpted Lan Wangji’s body had been back then; both in his memories of the springs and their fight against the Tortoise of Slaughter. Gusu Lan Sect’s uniform did well in hiding the powerful muscles beneath, making Lan Wangji look slender than he actually was. A long time had passed since then, and surely Lan Wangji had grown broader and powerful with each passing year. Wei Wuxian remembered how easily the other had grabbed him and hold him steady on top of Bichen in the past year, whereas he had been barely able to carry his soaked body from Biling lake, hold ever so wobbly around his collar, at the waterborne abyss incident back in Caiyi Town.

 

A blush crept around Wei Wuxian’s face at the thought, if not also because he had finished removing his pants and his pale legs were finally out for the world or, in this case, for Lan Wangji to see.

 

“Lan Zhan, I’m--” 

 

Wei Wuxian interrupted himself as soon as his eyes met Lan Wangji’s. They looked unusually intense, even more so as they dropped slowly and Wei Wuxian knew that the other was looking at the exposed skin of his legs, all the way from his toes up to his barely covered thighs. It shouldn't be surprising, judging how the other needed to analyze his condition. Nonetheless, Wei Wuxian felt his pulse quicken at being ogled by Lan Wangji out of all people, feeling the indescribable need to cover them again no matter how ridiculous the thought was when he had willingly undressed himself. 

 

He swallowed, averting his gaze and hoping he doesn’t look as nervous as he was suddenly feeling, sitting down back down on his bedding and spreading his legs gingerly enough that his inner robe remained covering his modesty.

 

“I’ll.. be in your care then, Hanguang-jun.” 

 

The air was tense between them, and there's more to it than only the painful silence that follows no matter how loudly Wei Wuxian thinks his heart is beating inside his chest. The way he worded his last sentence didn't help relieving the awkwardness of this whole situation in the slightest. It was as if.. As if..

 

He didn't want to think about it. Not when his attention is caught by the sound of fabric ruffling, and then there’s Lan Wangji pristine robes falling gracefully as he kneeled in front of Wei Wuxian’s legs. Elegant, his posture free of any flaws no matter where he looked.

 

“Wei Ying.”

 

The called man raised his face, only to feel himself tremble at the growing intensity of the molten gold in Lan Wangji’s eyes as their gazes met. The other’s voice sounded as tense as a bowstring being drawn to its fullest, but his posture is almost solemn and impossibly straight, with both of his hands resting atop of his own pants. 

 

There’s hotness settling inside his lower stomach the longer those fiery eyes (how could have he ever thought they were more comparable to ice?) awaited for any movement from him, and Wei Wuxian gave a small nod as he clutched the sides of his inner robe, sliding it upwards at the same time he turned his head to a side in an unconscious display of shyness, looking anywhere but at the man that he'd willingly expose himself to.