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Happy Returns

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"My eyes!!! Lan Zhan, help me - my eyes, they will never recover!!" Wei Wuxian screamed and threw himself into the arms of Lan Wangji, Second Jade of Lan and former Chief Cultivator.

Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes when the usually so dignified Hanguang-jun allowed his theatrical lover to cling to him, even going so far as to pet his back soothingly, his face taking on that weirdly fond look no one except Wei Wuxian had ever evoked. It was enough to spoil anyone's afternoon, but luckily, Jiang Cheng was in an excellent mood, so he only scoffed half-heartedly, "You're utterly ridiculous. And a hypocrite."

This insult garnered him a censoring look from Lan Wangji, who apparently still hadn't warmed to him. Well, the feeling was mutual, so Jiang Cheng didn't dignify him with a reaction. Instead he turned back to what he'd been doing when Wei Wuxian had so rudely interrupted by bursting unannounced into the library with Lan Wangji in tow. However, because he wasn't anywhere near as shameless as these two, he just pressed a kiss to Lan Xichen's cheek.

"Ah-Cheng, welcome back," the First Jade of Lan greeted him tenderly, as if they hadn't been interrupted kissing rather passionately by both their brothers. Normally they would have waited until they were in the privacy of the hanshi, but as Chief Cultivator and Jiang Yunmeng sect leader their duties had kept them apart for almost a month. So when Jiang Cheng had found His Excellency alone in the library pavilion, bent over reams of paperwork, neither one of them had wanted to wait.

Jiang Cheng fought and failed to keep from blushing in light of the gentle amusement on his lover's face, but didn't pull away when he brushed their lips together, ignoring Wei Wuxian's renewed wails in the background. Even almost a year after that first magical night in Cloud Recesses, the awareness that Lan Huan really cared for and missed him never failed to astonish Jiang Cheng. It did, however, give him a certain satisfaction to know that they'd been together for longer than Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji.

"Stop moaning, no one is forcing you to watch." Growling at Wei Wuxian, he finally stepped away from Lan Xichen, but only so he could look at him properly. "You're looking tired, Huan-ge. I told you, let some of the younger disciples help you. You shouldn't have to deal with being sect leader and Chief Cultivator all by yourself."

The last was said with a sidelong glance at Lan Wangji, who ignored him pointedly. Wei Wuxian, on the other hand, obviously wanted to defend the honour of his precious Hanguan-jun. However, even if Jiang Cheng hadn't long since developed an immunity to Wei Ying's antics, the glare of the erstwhile Yiling Patriarch was much less effective than it could have been, considering that he was still clinging to Hanguang-jun like a monkey to a tree.

"They have been helping me." Lan Xichen interrupted the tension before anyone could say something they might regret. "It's just that Lan Sizhui left with his uncle Wen two days ago, and Lan Jingyi is... not really suited for actual paperwork. So I sent him into town to buy new parchment, as I always seem to run out. I expect him back for dinner; even he shouldn't be able to get into too much trouble."

Jiang Cheng chuckled, just as his lover had doubtlessly intended, and so did Wei Wuxian, exclaiming, "I wouldn't be so sure. There's a storyteller at the inn, and you know what a romantic that boy is."

"Oh well, no harm in that," Lan Xichen replied placidly, before sketching a bow towards Wei Wuxian and nodding at his brother. "I will see the two of you at dinner. For now, please excuse sect leader Jiang and myself."

With that he turned to leave, and Jiang Cheng followed him without as much as a glance at the other two. Still, he could clearly hear Wei Ying whisper loudly, "Your brother's face is as thick as yours, Lan Zhan - calling Jiang Cheng sect leader, as if we don't all know what they're going to do now!"

Stiffening in anger and embarrassment, Jiang Cheng was about to turn back for some cutting remark, but Lan Xichen stopped him with a gentle hand on his forearm, heedless of the fact that they were outside, where anyone could walk by. They weren't hiding their relationship, but neither had they felt the need to advertise it - and now Jiang Cheng felt himself relax almost involuntarily.

"Don't let him provoke you, Ah-Cheng, he's only teasing. Also, we only have a couple of hours before dinner, and I do have plans for you; plans that do not involve either of our brothers." The twinkle in Lan Xichen's dark eyes was decidedly playful and full of promise. Suddenly breathless, Jiang Cheng gulped for air.

Nodding quickly, he let himself be led away without further protest, anticipation curling hotly in the pit of his stomach.