Wei Wuxian, you've outdone yourself.
At the afternoon market, he'd begged a candareen off of Lan Wangji to buy paper, earning himself a healthy dose of side-eye.
The paper was not for talismans, he promised. Could he pretty please buy some?
Lan Wanji had fronted for more dubious expenses in the past. After narrowing his eyes, he parted with the money and Wei Wuxian ran off grinning. Burdened with errant mischief, he retired to their room ahead of his lover, letting the eminent Hanguang-Jun visit the head of the local sect alone.
Each sheet of paper was fine and translucent like seashells, almost too pretty for him to touch - but here he was, laying hands on it so that his lover could enjoy a gift he'd planned for days now.
Most zhezhi were folded paper taels that people burned at funerals. It wasn't too farfetched to plan a rabbit-shaped folding pattern.
The first rabbit was perfect. He kissed its nose, praising its pert little ears and rounded back, placing it on one corner of the table to survey the birth of its companions. After he made the second he etched a movement talisman into the paper with his fingernail, giggling with glee when it twitched its tail and hopped awkwardly across the table.
Six rabbits in all. A lucky number, and enough to hide throughout Lan Wangji's luggage as surprises.
He glanced up at the line of finished bunnies and blinked.
There were no rabbits on the table.
There were rabbits on the floor. Twelve of them, to be exact. No - eighteen? In his shock he let the one in his hand escape, watching it scuttle off to some dark corner of the room.
He stood up, sending rabbits caroming to and fro. Though they were all hurling about the room like captive fish chasing food he was positive there were at least thirty paper animals underfoot.
"Oh god, oh no! Did I write the talisman wrong?! There isn't anything magical about the paper, right?!" He grabbed a sheet and glared at it. It fluttered at his frustrated huff, inert. "Wei Wuxian, you've outdone yourself!"
The door slid open behind him and he whirled, smashing face-first into Lan Wangji's white-robed chest. He managed to hook a fingertip into the lip of the screen and flick it shut as Lan Wangji stood there, stock still.
"Uh… surprise!" Wei Wuxian craned back, meeting a chilly golden stare. He swallowed hard.
Shifting Wei Wuxian to the side, Lan Wangji took a step forward. Rabbits scattered everywhere, some getting caught in his white robes and making the hems dance.
"There were supposed to be six of them, I swear! The moving part is on purpose, but they weren't supposed to make babies together!!" Lan Wangji threw him a disbelieving glance. "Lan Zhaaaaaan! You have to believe meeeee."
Lan Wangi's eyes fell upon the remaining stack of paper. His slender, white-jade fingers caressed the surface. "Of course Wei Ying would find this by accident."
"Find what by accident? It's just pretty paper!"
"This is peach-blossom paper." The other's earlobes flushed fittingly pink at peach-blossom.
With no explanation forthcoming Wei Wuxian was forced to rummage through the dusty annals of his memory. Somewhere between cut-sleeve pillow books and bawdy folksongs he found it - the moving image of Nie Huaisang, Jiang Cheng, and himself huddled together over a misdelivered love letter addressed to Lan Xichen.
Nie Huaisang was beside himself with nervous amusement. "This person's got it real bad for Zewu-jun. Look at what this is written on!"
"Uh, paper," his brother muttered, annoyed at what should have been obvious to their fan-waving idiot friend.
"Not just any paper!" Nie Huaisang wiggled it in his hand. "Touch it!"
Jiang Cheng made a face. He snatched the proffered letter, held it for two seconds and threw it back in Nie Huaisang's laughing face.
"What the fuck is that?!"
"Peach-blossom paper," the other whispered loudly. "It's made only in Qinghe, from peach trees grown on confluences of spiritual energy. When someone writes a letter on this paper, it absorbs that person's feelings, sending them along with the words to the recipient. Teehee~ I'm feeling all sappy just holding this~"
Wei Wuxian remembered laughing as Jiang Cheng threatened to kick Nie Huaisang into a lake. Only Lan Wangji's tiny huff of impatience told him he'd started grinning, and he shook himself, killing the enchanted zhezhi with a reluctant flick of his wrist. As one, the carpet of rabbits toppled over, a bloodless massacre.
His heart gave a jolt. Just paper, he thought. Special paper that lovers used to exchange poetry, that can retain the emotional state of the letter-writer…
...that can take a talisman sketched by a horny cultivator and make self-replicating rabbits!
He felt more than saw Lan Wangji looming over him.
"Wei Ying." Hearing the younger Jade of Gusu Lan call his name never failed to give him gooseflesh. "I'm sorry."
"Eh? But I'm the one who trashed our room, Lan Zhan..."
A cool white hand skimmed his neck, caressed his jawline. Lan Wangji's gaze seared through him when he tipped Wei Wuxian's head back, threatening to burst his heart with the heat banked inside.
"Wangji promised Wei Ying: every day." The hand tightened on Wei Wuxian's nape. "That promise was broken."
Oh, jeez. They'd been busy - busier than they'd been in a long time - and there just hadn't been time. He hadn't read into Lan Wangji's lack of initiative. Their mutual hungers matched each other for intensity, but his proud Jade, cerebral to a fault, had simply been otherwise occupied. And he didn't mind one bit! On the contrary, waiting had just made him eager for the day he could once again take his Hanguang-jun apart, piece by piece.
He chuckled. "I don't mind, I just hmrpgh."
His feet left the floor as Lan Wangji silenced him, and he was carried in those perfectly formed arms to the bed (mercifully void of dead paper animals), where he was laid down and pressed into the mattress--- oh God, he may not have minded, intellectually, but his body! It was furious with him, raging with a fever too large for his skin to contain. He crushed Lan Zhan to him with grasping hands and devoured his lover's mouth with abandon, not stopping until he was shoved into the bed with bruising strength, his lover gulping ragged breaths.
"Lan Zhan, Lan Er-gege, please, please," he whined, shameless in his need. "Tie me up, Lan Zhan, put me at your mercy - I need you to tie me up, I beg you, Hanguang-Jun---"
He heard the snap of the Gusu Lan ribbon coming free of its knot, felt his hands yanked up and trussed like so much meat, and yes - he saw Lan Zhan break a little when their eyes met, knew he was going to be eaten alive, consumed whole until he was nothing but Lan Zhan's very breath. Finesse was beyond them both, yet his lover was endlessly graceful as he pushed aside robes and trousers to access Wei Wuxian's nethers.
He yelped at the touch of Lan Zhan's tongue between his cheeks. Usually too shy to do something so shameless, his lover pleasured Wei Wuxian with the skill he brought to virtually everything in his life. Wei Wuxian was drunk on his Jade to the point where he hardly noticed the transition from tongue to oiled fingers.
One, two, three, and curl - fingers dextrous enough to stroke unparalleled music from a qin played his body with the same focused intensity. "Oh, fuck, Lan Zhan!"
"Wei Ying," came the answer, hot against his balls. All too soon the mouth and fingers vanished. Tears rose unbidden to his eyes at the loss; he'd finally done too much, he'd gotten Lan Zhan to abandon him, nonononono!
But Lan Zhan wasn't gone, he was right there again, white clouds and black silk and gold fire, bottoming out with one solid thrust. Wei Wuxian cried anyway, with pleasure and fear and love, so much love, so much---
An eternity later, he awoke from his doze to the sight of Lan Zhan brushing his teeth in nothing but his inner robes, forehead bare. His wrists were free, though, so where -
He felt the ribbon at his throat, looped and tied loosely like a collar. He tried to laugh.
It hurt. It hurt in a good way.
Lan Zhan was by his side immediately. "Wei Ying."
He grinned stupidly, playing with the ribbon. "Lan Zhan."
"Is Wei Ying…"
"I'm perfect, Lan Zhan, just perfect. Mmm… I have a question, though."
His lover sat perfectly still.
He smirked. "How do you know what peach-blossom paper is, Hanguang-jun?"
Lan Zhan didn't answer him.
At least… not immediately.