It’s not often that the familiar quiet of the Cloud Recesses is punctuated with frantic shouting and scattered cries for assistance. But, when it is, it is often centred around one Wei Wuxian.
Today is no different.
“Hanguang-Jun!” Lan Sizhui says in a hurried rush, nearly tossing himself in front of his father who had exited the room designated for the Chief Cultivator as soon as the shouting arose. “P-Please, it’s Senior Wei, he—”
Lan Sizhui doesn’t even need to finish his sentence before Lan Wangji is striding off in the direction his son points out, several Juniors anxiously trailing him. They do not run, running is forbidden, but their gait is hardly what one would call “leisurely”. They arrive on the scene quickly: a mess of smoke, coughing, distressed calls, and the rustling of clothing.
“Wei Ying!” Lan Wangji calls, bringing one sleeve to his face to block out the smoke. When he doesn’t receive an answer he steps into it, despite the cries from the Juniors, to look for the other man. He only manages a few steps before a low, disgruntled squeak can be heard, forcing Lan Wangji to pause.
The smoke is thinning quickly, allowing the occupants of the room to begin making out a mess of scattered papers, books, and talismans. As well as a crumpled pile of black robes. Incredibly similar to the ones Wei Wuxian wears.
“Wei Ying!” Lan Wangji repeats, more anxious now, crouching the gather the clothing in his hands. A muffled thump is heard, and several angry clicks, as a small, fluffy black rabbit lands on the floor and squirms, trying to right itself.
Everyone in the room freezes as the rabbit slowly pushes itself to its hind feet and pauses, looking down as if investigating itself. After a brief moment, the clicking resumes, the rabbit looking up to Lan Wangji and lunging at him, obviously distressed.
Lan Wangji catches the rabbit easily, still clutching Wei Wuxian’s robes, and lifts it so they’re face to face.
“Wei Ying?” He asks in slow disbelief. He receives a low whine and a fluffy black paw reaching out to him in response. “What happened…?” He looks back down, towards the mess some failed experiment of Wei Wuxian’s wrought, while the rabbit, likely the man himself, wiggles out of his grasp to jump towards a section of paper. Once there, he pulls one out and brings it back.
“A talisman?” Lan Wangji asks with a small furrow to his brow, inspecting it before looking back down at Wei Wuxian, who gives several taps of his foot.
“What kind of talisman can turn someone into a rabbit?” Lan Jingyi asks, incredibly baffled. “And why haven’t we heard of it before?”
“It does not exist.” Lan Wangji replies, levelling a look at Wei Wuxian who now seems a bit sheepish, turning away from the other man.
“Do you mean… Senior Wei made it?” Lan Sizhui asks, moving to crouch next to his father. He offers his hand to the rabbit Wei Wuxian, more out of habit than anything, and he’s rewarded with a small sniff but nothing more.
Lan Wangji does not answer and instead continues to inspect the paper brought to him. Lan Jingyi takes this moment to step forward and pluck the rabbit Wei Wuxian off the ground.
“Why would you want to make a talisman like that ?” He asks the wriggling rabbit who makes it quickly known he does not enjoy such treatment. He manages a small bite on Lan Jingyi’s fingers, who gives a sharp yelp. “Ow, ow, ow! Don’t bite me , it’s not my fault you did this!”
Wei Wuxian just kicks out his feet, grunting and looking as angry as a rabbit is able to. Standing swiftly, Lan Wangji slips the talisman into his robe and grabs Wei Wuxian in one smooth motion, tucking him into the corner of his arm. Lan Jingyi retreats from the duo in a sulk, inspecting his now bleeding finger.
“You should be careful,” Lan Sizhui says with a small smile. “Most rabbits don’t like to be held.”
“It’s Senior Wei!” Lan Jingyi whines back, giving a small glare to the offending rabbit who turns his face away from him.
“Return to your duties.” Lan Wangji interrupts, catching the attention of all the Juniors. “I will handle this.”
Wei Wuxian decides, with a great deal of annoyance, that he truly deserves a medal for terrible, terrible, luck. He had been working on a transformation talisman, one that would be able to turn high level corpses into something easier to handle, when something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. Demonstrated by the fact he is now being carried to Lan Xichen in the form of a small, black, rabbit.
He tries to complain, loudly and unrelenting, but it can only come out as a series of agitated grunts and clicks, so he takes to squirming in Lan Wangji's hold to try and better expression his unhappiness. Lan Wangji just places one hand over the entirety of his body and presses down lightly.
But, Lan Zhan! Wei Wuxian thinks with a whine. He weakly kicks his back feet, one final tantrum, before settling into Lan Wangji's hold properly, falling into his own sulk. It’s not like Lan Wangji will be able to properly understand him anyways.
The trip to Lan Xichen is not incredibly helpful. He’s still in seclusion and, Wei Wuxian notes, looking several pounds lighter. He knows Lan Wangji notices as well, his arm tensing imperceptibly to any who isn’t pressed against it.
“A self-made talisman?” Lan Xichen asks, looking down at him after Lan Wangji finishes explaining the morning disaster. “Do you know its intended purpose?”
Lan Wangji shakes his his head so Wei Wuxian is put on the floor to try and silently explain himself. The devise a system, one tap for no, two taps for yes, and everything else is expressed with awkward movements. He does manage to successfully explain the talisman was intended to transform something, it just wasn’t meant to transform him .
“Where did you get such an idea?” Lan Xichen asks with a small frown—transformation isn’t taken lightly in any sect, let alone the Lan sect—and Wei Wuxian bounds toward and behind Lan Wangji, taking the end of his ribbon to haphazardly toss his over his own forehead. Lan Xichen raises his eyebrows. “From Wangji?”
Wei Wuxian taps his foot no but keeps the ribbon on.
“Then… From the Lans? Have you been doing research in the library?”
Wei Wuxian quickly taps out a yes and lets the ribbon drop from his face to hop forward again. He had discovered several books and scrolls on the subject one day of bored pursuing and had been intrigued by the idea immediately. While there are already several spells and scores to aid cultivators in transforming a particularly difficult corpse or ghost, there was nothing he could find that was as quick and simple as a talisman, which is why he decided to focus on it.
Evidently, he should have read more on the potential backlashes before making such an attempt.
“Do you have them with you?”
“There were books in the room.” Lan Wangji answers at the same time Wei Wuxian taps out a quick yes . “I can look into them.”
He likely doesn’t wish anymore stress on his brother than necessary, a sentiment Wei Wuxian both understands and agrees with, but Lan Xichen simply smiles.
“It’s all right, Wangji. You have your own duties to attend to. I can look after this matter.”
With his brother’s tone leaving no room for an argument, Lan Wangji wishes him goodbye and stands, preparing to leave. At his feet, Wei Wuxian falters, unsure if he is to stay with the elder or younger Lan. He would prefer staying with Lan Wangji, of course, but Lan Xichen could have questions for him about his notes or other such things.
Lan Wangji seems to have the same hesitation, looking down at him with a small frown. Lan Xichen ends up deciding for them.
“It may be best if you keep Young Master Wei close, Wangji.” He says, with what Wei Wuxian swears is a small smirk. “He can’t exactly defend himself in this state.” When Lan Wangji still seems unsure, Lan Xichen continues and now Wei Wuxian is sure he’s smirking. “We wouldn’t want anyone bearing a grudge to take advantage of this.”
Wei Wuxian hardly has a moment to contemplate who might do such a thing before he’s getting scooped back up into the corner of Lan Wangji's arm.
“I will take him with me.”
The life of a Chief Cultivator is not nearly as exciting as Wei Wuxian thought it would be. For the first hour he spends with Lan Wangji all the man does is read . Proposals, complaints, requests, calls for aid, calls for change— everything . And he reads them all with the same careful eye, the same small frown, giving the same amount of attention to each and every paper that passes his desk. It’s driving Wei Wuxian up the wall and he’s not even the one dealing with them. What’s worse is Lan Wangji ignores every one of his attempts to communicate! Either scolding him quietly or reminding him to behave whenever Wei Wuxian tries to hop onto the table or nibble at his robes.
Talk to me! Wei Wuxian wants to shout. Look at me, Lan Zhan!
He’s not rewarded and when Lan Wangji takes to simply pushing Wei Wuxian’s head away without even lifting his eyes from the paper he’s reading, Wei Wuxian concedes with a huff, flopping sideways next to Lan Wangji's legs.
If he’s going to be Mr. Boring I might as well just take a nap. Maybe I can think of something to undo this transformation. Or at least have some sort of dream that’ll be more interesting than this!
As he lets his eyes close, Lan Wangji's scent begins to wash over him. It’s stronger now that he’s a rabbit. The calming aroma of sandalwood mixing with something uniquely Lan Wangji and the ink surrounding him. It’s pleasant and calming and Wei Wuxian lets himself push closer into it. Another benefit of being a rabbit, Wei Wuxian learns, is the heightened hearing. Pressed against him like this Wei Wuxian can keep track of the steady rhythm of Lan Wangji's heart mixing with his own.
It’s incredibly soothing.
Wei Wuxian wakes to Lan Wangji's gentle touch and voice. He stirs slowly, reacquainting himself with the short and stubby body he suddenly found himself with before blinking the haze from his eyes and righting himself. He gives Lan Wangji a petulant look, he had been having a wonderful dream, and twitches his nose to try and stir even more sympathy in the man.
Surprisingly, it works.
“Apologies, but it is time for lunch.” Wei Wuxian’s ear perk up immediately, his nose now twitching to try and locate the aforementioned food. Once he spots it on a cleared area of Lan Wangji's work desk, he settles briefly onto his back legs and launches himself forward, to Lan Wangji's distressed shout.
He misses the food dishes. However, he also misses the table entirely and only has Lan Wangji's fast reflexes to thank for not tumbling onto the other side as the man snatches him in thin air and brings him back into his chest to scold him.
“Be careful." Wei Wuxian turns in his grasp, trying to get back at the food. “I will help you.”
Wei Wuxian is placed lightly beside a plate covered with an assortment of vegetables and greens and all the excitement he had felt dies immediately.
Lan Zhan! He whines, looking at man and pawing at the air. This is rabbit food!!
“Your stomach cannot handle anything else.” Lan Wangji tells him firmly before picking up his own chopsticks and falling into the strict GusuLan habit of absolute silence during any meal. Wei Wuxian weakly nudges at the carrots on his own plate and bemoans his fate. He manages a few bites before shifting past his plate to investigate Lan Wangji's meal. It’s hardly any better but he steals some of it out of pettiness regardless.
He does finish his food, thankful to have a rabbit’s stomach size so he’s not forced to endure too much of the bitter greens, at the same time Lan Wangji does. The other man taps delicately at his mouth with a white handkerchief while Wei Wuxian watches him - he as little else to do and he has always enjoyed observing the other - and after a moment's consideration, Lan Wangji leans forward to gently wipe at Wei Wuxian’s face as well. Cleaning away the small mess he made of himself after he decided to dunk his face in Lan Wangji's soup.
“Time to work.” Lan Wangji says, tucking the handkerchief back into his robe. He calls on a couple disciples and they remove the dishes and then he makes a move to try and lift Wei Wuxian back onto the ground but Wei Wuxian squirms out of reach and presses into the table. Lan Wangji can only sigh. “Don’t make a mess.”
The rest of the day is just as dreadfully boring.
Eventually Wei Wuxian gets tired of trying to read the papers sent in to Lan Wangji, and when he’s sniffed and prodded and nibbled at all the interesting things on Lan Wangji's desk, to various degrees of scolding, he hops down to investigate the rest of the room. He’s yet to give it a proper look through as he typically only popped in to try and drag Lan Wangji out of it. As he makes his way around, he’s incredibly pleased to note Lan Wangji's gaze following him.
He watches the sunlight slowly fade from the room and once the candles’ shadows grow dark Wei Wuxian decides Lan Wangji has worked hard enough and bounds over to the door to gently butt his head against it.
Lan Wangji raises his gaze with a small frown.
“Do you wish to go out?”
Wei Wuxian butts against the door a little harder as a reply which encourages Lan Wangji to stand and make his way over to him quickly, but he still hesitates at the door. Wei Wuxian whacks it again and finally Lan Wangji slides it open, just enough for him to fit through.
“Be careful. Do not go far.”
If bunnies could roll their eyes, Wei Wuxian would have. Instead, he circles Lan Wangji before hopping out of the door and then returning to repeat the motion, hoping to pass on his message.
“You want me to come with you?”
Wei Wuxian taps out a yes with his foot, remembering the system they devised earlier.
“I can’t leave yet. You go ahead.”
Wei Wuxian gives an annoyed stomp before circling Lan Wangji again, biting on the front of his robes and tugging on him.
Let’s go together! he wants to say. You’ve been working too hard! Let’s go on a walk, Lan Zhan!
“I can go with you in a moment. I still have some work.” Wei Wuxian taps out a no . “Just one more thing, Wei Ying.”
This time his foot tap is much more of an emphatic stomp and it shocks a small laugh from Lan Wangji.
“I won’t be long.”
Wei Wuxian wishes he could groan. He moves behind Lan Wangji and pushes at him with his head instead. The action is useless in one sense - even as a human Wei Wuxian can only move Lan Wangji if the other wants to be moved - but it’s perfect for getting his point across.
“Fine.” Lan Wangji says softly, reaching down to pick up a triumphant rabbit. “We will go together.”
(He’s given a warning nip when he goes back to his work desk, but he soothes Wei Wuxian when he promises he’s only organizing his papers for tomorrow.)
They take the long route back to the Jingshi and Wei Wuxian takes this time to revel in Lan Wangji's warmth. They often took walks together—when Wei Wuxian needed to stretch his legs or he just felt like demanding Lan Wangji's company—checking on different parts of Cloud Recesses or overseeing classes and training.
(Wei Wuxian greatly enjoys sneaking up on those on patrol to try and catch them goofing off, but the Lan discipline is one to be admired and he’s only succeeded in scaring a napping Lan Jingyi so far.)
The walk is quiet and while Wei Wuxian wishes he could fill it with his usual chatter (talking things through with Lan Wangji always helped him work through his biggest problems) he’s also enjoying the tranquility. And being pressed close to Lan Wangji's chest. He knows he could probably walk at the same speed as Lan Wangji, even as a bunny, but it would likely be more tiring and who is Wei Wuxian to refuse such service when offered.
He’s almost fallen asleep without realizing it when Lan Wangji stops and says, “Wei Ying.”
Wei Wuxian slowly opens his eyes to look around blearily, pushing himself up to a sitting position. His nose twitches of its own accord, investigating the area to find out why Lan Wangji's decided to stop here. When he glances up at the man, his face is skyward so Wei Wuxian follows it.
He realizes quickly why they’ve stopped.
The full moon is bright, sending its light cascading across the rooftop tiles, delicate white pebbles, and gently worn wooden bridges of the Cloud Recesses. While beautiful, Wei Wuxian knows they’ve not stopped to simply admire the scenery and feels a flutter in his heart when he recognizes the area.
It’s where they had their first sword fight. When Wei Wuxian had decided to break into Cloud Recesses with two bottles of Emperor’s Smile and a mischievous grin.
“So much has changed.” Lan Wangji murmurs softly as he gazes at the roof. Wei Wuxian wiggles a bit so he can stand on his back legs, his front paws on Lan Wangji's chest, giving him a better view of the man’s face. “Although you continue to be the same troublemaker.”
Lan Zhan!!! Wei Wuxian gives one his back legs a kick before headbutting him in the chin. Lan Wangji only chuckles.
“Am I wrong?”
Wei Wuxian headbutts him again before falling over his shoulder so he can sulk and ignore him at the same time. He feels something just brush against his back, as if Lan Wangji were petting him, but the touch is gone before he can properly lean into it.
“I am glad for it.” This is said so softly it’s nearly lost to the sound of the night wind. But Wei Wuxian hears it and he pushes up so he can meet Lan Wangji's gaze once again.
Did he come to reminisce? Is that why they’ve stopped here? Wei Wuxian can hardly believe it. It’s sickeningly sentimental and he wants to cover Lan Wangji's face in kisses for it. He’s not sure how well such an act would go over, so he’s pleased being a rabbit allows him some leeway and he replies with a softer headbutt to Lan Wangji's chin, nuzzling him briefly.
(Wei Wuxian will admit to wanting to kiss Lan Wangji long before ever becoming a rabbit, but seeing as becoming a rabbit has given him much better access to the man’s face certainly isn’t aiding in keeping such urges down.)
Dinner is another quiet affair but only because Wei Wuxian is physically unable to talk Lan Wangji's ear off as per usual. Wei Wuxian is diligent in finishing his food and in stealing any bites of Lan Wangji's food he is able to, which earns him only two small reprimands and Lan Wangji cleaning his face for him again so he views it as a win.
Bedtime, however, proves to be a bit more of a hassle. Wei Wuxian does make a valiant attempt at sleeping in his own bed, bounding up to it when Lan Wangji's is finishing with his bath and preparing for sleep. However, his understanding of his jumping abilities leave something to be desired and when he attempts to hop onto the bed, he is unable to hold his landing and he slides on the blanket and right off the other edge.
If Jiang Cheng were there he would have died of laughter.
He lands with a very audible thump and calls of distress sound from him before he can try and keep his dignity. He manages to right himself before Lan Wangji hurries over, bringing with him the delicate scent of his soap, hands reaching out to make sure Wei Wuxian is okay.
“Wei Ying!” He says in a small rush, scooping him up. “Are you hurt?”
Wei Wuxian makes a pitiful noise and taps his foot twice, although its unable to properly hit against anything.
Yes! he wants to cry. My pride is shattered!
He realizes belatedly his joke will not translate well and he’s swiftly sentenced to a thorough examination by Lan Wangji, his fingers gently prodding along his body, likely looking for a bruise or break. When he can’t find any, he looks back into Wei Wuxian’s face with a small frown. “Where?”
Wei Wuxian manages what he hopes is his best sheepish bunny expression and taps out a no .
“No? But…” Realization dawns and it’s then overtaken by a familiar look of annoyance. “Wei Ying.”
I’m sorry!! He tries to convey this apology by nuzzling into Lan Wangji's hands. I didn’t mean to worry you!!
He’s grateful for the concern but guilts wells up knowing he caused Lan Wangji unnecessary distress. He’s forgiven quickly, he knows by the sound of Lan Wangji's sigh, who then stands to gently place him on top of his mattress.
“Rest,” he instructs before turning to make his way back to his own section of the Jingshi, divided by privacy screens. (They’ve been sharing a room since Wei Wuxian opted to follow Lan Wangji back to Cloud Recesses. Lan Wangji's never offered to find him a different one and Wei Wuxian’s never asked.) Before he makes it to his own bed, however, Wei Wuxian taps his foot against his mattress incessantly, forcing Lan Wangji to come back to him with a puzzled look.
Wei Wuxian knows he’s asking why he’s been called back so he whines and moves back and forth along the edge of his bed.
You can’t leave me! What if I hurt myself jumping off tomorrow? It’s very high, Lan Zhan!
None of this can be properly communicated, of course, but Lan Wangji at least picks up that Wei Wuxian doesn’t want to be left alone on his mattress. Even if he sighs when he makes this realization.
“Fine,” he says, caving. After Wei Wuxian has been lifted and placed on Lan Wangji's own mattress he’s left with the usual instruction of “Behave.” while Lan Wangji leaves to finish drying his hair.
Incredibly pleased with himself— being a rabbit really comes with so many perks! —Wei Wuxian moves to make himself a bed next to Lan Wangji's pillow. The night is not so cool he’ll need a blanket with all his fur, so he’s happy to let his eyes drift shut while he waits for Lan Wangji to join him.
The candles are extinguished before the other man lays down to rest but the trace moonlight that filters into the room allows Wei Wuxian, who peeks his eyes back open at the change, to watch as Lan Wangji returns to him. He’s achingly beautiful, even in the dark, his body nearly as familiar to Wei Wuxian as his own. He moves silently, perhaps worried about disturbing his new rabbit bedmate, and Wei Wuxian feels an all too familiar warmth spread in his chest at the thought.
Lan Zhan really is too much . Wei Wuxian thinks with a smile as the other man slips under the covers and begins to settle in. As if I would ever be bothered by him joining me!
Despite the early hour, sleep is already pulling on Wei Wuxian’s eyelids but he waits until he’s sure Lan Wangji is fully out before slowly inching forward, until he’s practically nestled right next to Lan Wangji's face. It’s only then that he allows himself to fade, perfectly content.
Good night, Lan Zhan… Wei Wuxian thinks sleepily. I hope I get to stay as a bunny at your side just a little while longer…
Five A.M. brings a hint of dawn and Lan Wangji sneezing.
Wei Wuxian wakes up with a jolt, immediately ready to flee. When he realizes the sound came from Lan Wangji, who is pushing himself into a seated position and rubbing at his nose, he quickly hops haphazardly into his lap to paw and whine at him.
Lan Zhan! Lan Zhan, are you okay? Are you sick?
“Apologies for waking you,” Lan Wangji says, rubbing at his nose. “I’m not ill,” he assures him, correctly interrupting Wei Wuxian’s noises, “I… got rabbit fur in my nose.”
Wei Wuxian blinks up at him from his spot in his lap. It’s hard to tell in the dark, Wei Wuxian only just able to make out Lan Wangji's expressions, but he seems… embarrassed? Wei Wuxian isn’t given any time to try and figure this out before Lan Wangji is removing himself from the bed and pressing down lightly on Wei Wuxian’s head in what’s almost a pet.
“Go back to sleep. I will wake you when I have breakfast.”
It’s a kind gesture. Unfortunately, with the lengthy nap Wei Wuxian took the day before and the fact he went to sleep at the same time as Lan Wangji the night before means Wei Wuxian is now wide awake. And in no mood to be left behind.
He repeats the same action from last night, restlessly wandering back and forth along the edge of the bed while shooting Lan Wangji sad rabbit expressions.
(A secret weapon he will be very sad to lose when he finally changes back.)
“I’m not leaving.” Lan Wangji says, trying to persuade him, but he’s already returned to the bedside with a sigh. He helps lower Wei Wuxian to the floor and promptly gains a constant companion as he moves through his usual morning routine. Wei Wuxian only interrupts once, when Lan Wangji is brushing through his hair, butting his thigh to steal his attention. Lan Wangji is either adept in reading rabbits, or simply adept at reading Wei Wuxian himself, as he gives just the hint of a smile and runs his comb along Wei Wuxian’s back twice without speaking before returning to his own hair. His rabbit companion now soothed.
As Lan Wangji finishes, tying his forehead ribbon as impeccable as always, breakfast arrives. This time he doesn’t bother scolding Wei Wuxian when he comes in to steal some of his food and wipes his face clean of any leftover residue without complaint. Wei Wuxian loves the attention enough that he buries himself in Lan Wangji's palm briefly and even gives him a small bunny kiss as a thank you.
The rest of the day passes similar to the first, with Lan Wangji steadfast at his desk and Wei Wuxian doing nearly everything possible to try and amuse himself. He’s “banished” under the table when Lan Wangji begins to accept meetings and tells Wei Wuxian to stay out of view. He complies. Out of respect for his friend and because Lan Wangji places him close enough he can cuddle in without arousing too much suspicion.
The first few meetings are run of the mill, but Lan Wangji actually has to hold Wei Wuxian down when one cultivator comes with barely hidden scorn towards Lan Wangji and the GusuLan Sect in general. Wei Wuxian can’t imagine why or how anyone could doubt Lan Wangji's abilities and if it wasn't for Lan Wangji holding him firmly he would've thrown himself out from under the table and at the still monologuing cultivator with his rabbit teeth. He’s not sure how much damage he could do, but he’s sure he could do something .
Lan Wangji, on the other hand, remains as impassive as ever. Listening intently to the ( ridiculous ) critiques and ( garbage ) complaints that flow out of his visitor without ever showcasing a hint of irritation. Lan Wangji's practically unbreakable frosty expression has fascinated Wei Wuxian since they were teenagers and even now he remains impressed with it. He’d almost think Lan Wangji is hardly bothered at all, if it weren’t for the small twitches of his hands at some of the comments. Movements Wei Wuxian can only notice because of the hand still holding him down.
So this kind of stuff does get to him… Wei Wuxian thinks with a pang in his heart. It’s only natural. No one could face this without some sort of reaction…
He wants to get out from under Lan Wangji's hand so he can press up next to him in comfort but Lan Wangji does not trust him enough to let him go and briefly pushes down on him harder in warning when he tries to squirm away. Wei Wuxian can’t even move his head to try and nip at his fingers and gives up with a huff.
“I understand.” Lan Wangji says when the cultivator has finished with his tirade. “I will see to these issues quickly.”
The man scoffs and exits with a sweep of his robe, muttering to himself. As soon as the door closes, Lan Wangji releases Wei Wuxian with a small sigh who quickly tosses himself into Lan Wangji's lap.
Don’t listen to him!! Wei Wuxian tries to tell him, lifting himself up to place his front paws on Lan Wangji's chest. He’s just jealous! You’re the best Chief Cultivator! He’s probably just bitter because he’ll never be as good as you!
Lan Wangji misses the mark when he replies to Wei Wuxian this time, expression stern when he reminds him he needs to stay out of sight of guests.
“I imagine my opposition would take great joy in knowing I was carrying a rabbit around.” He says in what Wei Wuxian thinks might be some attempt at a joke . “Besides, it would be dangerous for others to learn of your… problem.”
Once again, Wei Wuxian wishes he could roll his eyes.
He does the next best thing available and kicks out one of his back feet, a firm no , and then buries his face in Lan Wangji's chest.
Above him, Lan Wangji makes a small sound of surprise.
“Are you… angry about what he said?”
Two taps. A yes.
“Don’t be. He is not the first to express doubts about my capabilities.”
Wei Wuxian gaze snaps up to meet Lan Wangji's, absolutely dumbfounded. When he recollects himself, he spaces out three taps of his foot. No, no, no! Not allowed!
“It is understandable, Wei Ying.” Lan Wangji replies, bringing one hand to Wei Wuxian’s back in comfort.
Wei Wuxian taps out another no and Lan Wangji replies with a small smile that nearly knocks out Wei Wuxian’s back legs. He’s saved from any embarrassment by a disciple knocking to inform Lan Wangji of his next guest, giving Wei Wuxian some time to hide his face in Lan Wangji's chest once more to slow his racing heart.
It’s a good thing Lan Zhan never smiles! Wei Wuxian thinks to himself. I don’t think my heart could take it!
He’s placed back on the floor with a small pat and Wei Wuxian makes sure to press as close as possible to Lan Wangji's leg as soon as he’s able. There are no more cultivators who’ve come bearing any grudges, but many come bearing news of hardship and desperate pleas for aid. Wei Wuxian feels his own heart ache at some of their stories knowing there is only so much Lan Wangji could do for them.
With Lan Wangji's reputation of “being where the chaos is” and rumours of his demeanour, while frosty, being much more altruistic than Jin Guangyao’s, more and more people from forgotten villages were making the long trek to visit him here in Cloud Recesses. With them, they brought stories of ghouls, ghosts, and malicious spirits, some of which had been bothering their land for years .
And Lan Wangji does not refuse a single one, assuring them all he would see to the manner to the best of his ability. Typically this meant delegating the cases to the closest sect, but Wei Wuxian knows that does not always go as planned. As the day wears on, Wei Wuxian can feel the fatigue and stress weighing Lan Wangji down and moves to nuzzle under the man’s hand in an effort to distract him.
Poor Lan Zhan! I didn’t realize there were so many people coming in lately. He should have told me, I could help! Ahh, well, at least I can be here for him now…
His attempt at distraction works. Sort of. The man is evidently lost in thought as he begins to absentmindedly run his fingers down Wei Wuxian’s back. The same way he would pet all his rabbits. Wei Wuxian would almost take offence to being treated like any old rabbit, but it’s feels incredible, especially when Lan Wangji pauses to lightly scratch at the spot between his ears. Wei Wuxian relaxes into the touch even more when he can see it visibly calm Lan Wangji, closing his eyes to fully indulge himself.
The meetings for the day have finished so the room is blanketed in its usual silence, both occupants rather preoccupied. This silence, however, is soon broken as a very low rumbling sound begins to echo around them. It almost sounds like a snore to Wei Wuxian’s ears and both he and Lan Wangji startle when they realize the sound is coming from him .
Wei Wuxian doesn’t remember rabbits being able to make these sorts of sounds—he will later be thankful rabbits don’t show embarrassment like humans when he belatedly remember Lan Wangji telling him about how rabbits can purr —and wonders if Lan Wangji assumes he’s hurting him as he removes his hand quite quickly, leaving Wei Wuxian to instinctively arch, searching it back out.
“Apologies.” Lan Wangji says softly, keeping the hand that had been petting Wei Wuxian close to his chest, as if afraid it would reach out and do it again. Wei Wuxian misses the contact immediately, but doesn’t push it— I can always try again he thinks with a small smirk—instead he stands and slips over to where Lan Wangji is staring at his table.
The paper he had been staring at is still there, so Wei Wuxian pushes himself up to his back legs to sniff at the offending article. He can barely see it at this angle, but Lan Wangji fills him in quickly.
“Some villagers are having issues in a region managed by Sect Leader Yao,” Lan Wangji explains as he lifts Wei Wuxian to the table. “I’m writing to him to ask for his help in the matter.” Wei Wuxian looks over the paper, completely blank, and then back up to Lan Wangji. “Sect Leader Yao has been… difficult to work with.”
Wei Wuxian hops around the letter, inspecting the non-existent words as he formulates his own message in his head. One that would not be nearly as polite as Lan Wangji's, he’s sure.
“He asks for favours. In return for his aid.” Lan Wangji finishes with a tight lipped look, his irritation now obvious. Wei Wuxian turns back to him in shock.
Favours? In return for doing his JOB? Wei Wuxian knew the man was bold, but this is something else entirely.
With an aggravated huff and a flick of his ear, Wei Wuxian goes to Lan Wangji's ink pad and drops one of his paws in it. He can hear the soft inhale Lan Wangji takes at the action, likely worried about a possible mess, so Wei Wuxian is careful when he turns back to the paper to keep the ink from dropping onto the clean table. Back at the paper, he writes—as well as he is able—a messy and likely unintelligible DO YOUR JOB across the blank page.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji starts, a hint of exasperation. Wei Wuxian assumes he’s going to scold him for such a rude letter—a scolding he would not listen to, naturally—but instead the man gently lifts him up and removes his handkerchief from his robes to begin cleaning his paw. “You don’t need to make a mess of yourself for their sake.”
Wei Wuxian wishes he could laugh. He does the next best thing, preening as Lan Wangji attentively tidies him for a few moments before sighing out, “You will need a bath.” and standing.
Are we done with work, Lan Zhan? Wei Wuxian tries to ask, sniffing at the man’s chin from where he’s being held against his chest. Lan Wangji runs a single finger up his forehead and tugs lightly on one of his ears.
“Come, I can finish the letter in the Jingshi.”
Wei Wuxian makes, which he swears is an accident, a rather large mess during his attempted bath. Soaking both himself and Lan Wangji when he twists out of the other’s grasp and lands with an un-ceremonial plop into the basin Lan Wangji had brought for him. He’s not entirely sure what his aim had been, but he knows it wasn’t this. He finds he doesn’t like the feeling on the water on his fur and shakes and kicks in the basin trying to get it off leaving Lan Wangji to press down on him again while telling him to, as always, “Behave.”
Wei Wuxian does not want to.
In the end, Lan Wangji ends up covered in almost just as much water as the inky bunny. And while Wei Wuxian had not enjoyed being soaked with water, being gently towel dried by Lan Wangji is a much more enjoyable experience.
Now perfectly clean and properly fluffy, Lan Wangji leaves Wei Wuxian to his own amusement as he takes a seat at his desk to attempt to write his letter. Wei Wuxian finds himself full of energy and decides to thoroughly investigate the Jingshi. Despite being his home and where he spends a good portion of his day, he generally kept to his bed or desk. Now, as a rabbit, he takes the opportunity to sneak onto Lan Wangji's side and rustle through his, incredibly minimal and meticulously kept, belongings. He finds some scrolls, a few pressed flowers—which he identifies as gentians—and several handcrafted items that seem to be made by a child. They’re rather adorable and Wei Wuxian wonders if they’re Lan Wangji's own work, so he takes one delicately between his teeth and drags it over to where the man is still writing.
“That is Sizhui’s work.” Lan Wangji explains when Wei Wuxian drops the wooden bracelet in front of him. “He made it not long after I… after I began to take care of him full time." Wei Wuxian is curious at the pause but brushes it off, overwhelmed by feelings of adoration for both his son— their son—and the man in front of him. He takes the time now to inspect the bracelet and finds himself giddy when he sees the roughly carved rabbit on one of the beads. He can just imagine the look of concentration of A-Yuan’s face, his tongue poking out as he tried to do the delicate work. He had likely already met the rabbits in Hanguang-Jun’s care—was he trying to carve out a specific one? How proud he must have been, how nervous, when he went to present the gift to Lan Wangji. Wei Wuxian gives a little hop of amusement picturing the ever stoic Lan Wangji taking it in his hands and thanking A-Yuan as solemn as if he were receiving a gift from his uncle.
“It did not fit me,” Lan Wangji continues, interrupting Wei Wuxian’s internal thought process. “But I assured him I would keep it with me regardless.” Here Lan Wangji takes the bracelet and fits it over Wei Wuxian’s head, so it wears like a necklace. It pins down his ears in an almost uncomfortable way, but the affectionate gesture overrides any such discomfort. “He would be happy to know that it suits you.”
Wei Wuxian can hardly contain himself. In fact, he fails to, and he leaps up and bounces around Lan Wangji as his excitement and joy takes over. The bracelet isn’t too heavy a weight on him so there’s nothing to impede his frolicking as he cheerfully runs, jumps and skips around the room and Lan Wangji himself. Lan Wangji does nothing to stop him either, simply watching him with a soft, soft smile and clear amusement shining in his brown eyes. When Wei Wuxian finally comes to a rest, he plops himself down on Lan Wangji's lap, chest heaving a bit from the exertion. Lan Wangji runs a single finger down his back.
“Rest,” he instructs and Wei Wuxian feels his eyes already drooping. “Tomorrow we will visit Xichen.”
A pang reverberates through Wei Wuxian at this. While the diminutive size and complete lack of defences are not particularly enjoyable, Wei Wuxian still finds himself almost reluctant to change out of his new rabbit form. He’s rather enjoying the intimacy he’s gained with Lan Wangji and he’s not sure he’ll be able to keep it once he’s human again. However, he also knows that he doesn’t need or want to cause any unnecessary stress on Lan Wangji, and staying in this form is bound to slowly bring up more and more problems, so he relents to it anyways.
He gives a weak nod, too drowsy and content to move any more than necessary, and drifts in and out on Lan Wangji's lap as he finishes with his letter. He’s then placed back on Lan Wangji mattress when the other completes his own nightly ritual. Wei Wuxian refuses to let himself fall fully asleep, shaking himself awake a couple times when he thinks he hears Lan Wangji coming to bed, and repeats his plan from the night before: tucking himself up close to Lan Wangji's face when the other has fallen asleep.
Goodnight, Lan Zhan. Wei Wuxian thinks, eyes heavy as he presses a wet nosed bunny kiss to Lan Wangji's cheek. I hope you sleep well.
Wei Wuxian discovers the mystery of Lan Wangji's sneezing the next morning.
It comes after he wakes before Lan Wangji, for the first time ever most likely, disturbed by something pushing insistently into his side. He wants to grumble and swat at the offender, but he can only make a huffing sound from his nose and twitch his back legs in protest. When the disturber doesn’t leave, Wei Wuxian is forced into waking, his eyes in a slit as he blearily looks around to make out the situation.
He nearly falls off the bed when he figures it out.
Pressed firmly into his side is Lan Wangji. ( Lan Wangji !) His face turned and nuzzled in close to the soft fur of Wei Wuxian’s rabbit body. Wei Wuxian can hardly believe it and could he laugh, he likely would have rolled all over the mattress choking on his giggles. As he is now, dopey and tiny, he decides to flop onto his side and paw at the “intruder”. Lan Wangji is hardly bothered, only releasing a soft sigh and tilting his head down so his nose rests between Wei Wuxian’s two front paws. Wei Wuxian stretches the rest of his body to curl around Lan Wangji's head and nuzzles in close, his face tucked in near Lan Wangji's chin. He doesn’t know the time, but he knows it close to when Lan Wangji will be waking, so he tries to stay awake, relishing in these precious moments given to him.
He’s nearly fallen back asleep when Lan Wangji begins to properly stir. He can vaguely feel the furrowing of Lan Wangji's brow, the squinting of his eyes as he likely tries to figure the situation out. He can even feel the soft inhale Lan Wangji takes when he seems to fully wake up. He doesn’t move immediately, like Wei Wuxian thought he would, so Wei Wuxian waits with him, not yet indicating he’s awake as well. Partly out of the fear that if he embarrasses Lan Wangji with it the man might banish him to his own bed.
After a moment of silence, Lan Wangji pulls away, just a touch, and lifts his left hand to gently rub his thumb along Wei Wuxian’s forehead. A touch that Wei Wuxian leans into immediately. Thankfully, Lan Wangji still assumes him to be sleeping and doesn’t stop petting him, centring it around Wei Wuxian’s soft forehead. The same purr that started the day before comes back, but this time Wei Wuxian doesn’t bother trying to hide it, languid and serene as he basks in the attention. He wants to know what expression Lan Wangji is wearing, but he also doesn’t want this to end, so he keeps up the pretence and forces his eyes shut.
Too soon the touch is gone and Lan Wangji is dragging himself out of bed. Wei Wuxian wants to twist and follow after him but he quells the urge and comforts himself by listening to Lan Wangji go about his morning routine instead. Part way through, he falls asleep without realizing it and when he’s awoken by Lan Wangji gently touching at his shoulders, the room is filled with much more sunshine than before.
At breakfast Wei Wuxian is given a meal set that looks similar to Lan Wangji's, but still with more raw vegetables, and he wonders if it’s an effort to stop him from stealing Lan Wangji's. It does not work and Wei Wuxian makes sure to dunk his face into the bitter soup nearest Lan Wangji right away.
Before beginning his day as Chief Cultivator, Lan Wangji carries Wei Wuxian back to Lan Xichen to see if he’s made any progress. Unfortunately, all they’re given are several apologies and a weary frown.
“Young Master Wei, was there a specific book or score you based your talisman on?” Lan Xichen asks before they leave and Wei Wuxian instinctively nods his head before remembering their system. “Could you show me which one?”
He makes his way over to the books Lan Xichen lays out for him, reading all of them before nudging at the one second from the left. There were several methods of transformation the various books described, and the one Wei Wuxian utilized most was the one that based it on the user’s desire as he reasoned it worked best with a talisman. Harnessing the wish of the user to better their odds by changing the odds themselves.
Lan Xichen makes a noise of surprise, but any shock he might wear vanishes quickly with a small smile as he thanks Wei Wuxian for his help.
“Will the spell wear off in time?” Lan Wangji asks, picking Wei Wuxian back up as they prepare to leave. Lan Xichen hums thoughtfully as he begins to flip through the book Wei Wuxian had pointed out.
“I’m not sure, but I don’t believe so.” Lan Xichen says, meeting his brother’s gaze with a look of amusement. “Young Master Wei is quite talented after all.”
Wei Wuxian would enjoy the compliment more had it come from better circumstances.
They leave, but not before Wei Wuxian just catches the complex look Lan Xichen wears as he watches them go out. A strange mix of mild suspicion and open curiosity. Wei Wuxian decides not to dwell on it, refocusing his attention back on Lan Wangji's warmth.
The rest of the week passes like this:
Wei Wuxian does not leave Lan Wangji's side and only grows more and more thankful of it when he realizes how much stress his soulmate is under. He happily takes on the role of resident comforter, cuddling in close to Lan Wangji at every opportune moment. Lan Wangji slowly begins to let his guard down more as well, petting Wei Wuxian more frequently and for longer durations. Wei Wuxian views it as a win-win scenario, as it visibly calms a near constantly worried Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian always greatly enjoys the sensation.
He’s only left with Lan Sizhui and Lan Jingyi once and they’re promptly banned from “Wei Wuxian Care Taking” by Lan Wangji when they submit to Wei Wuxian’s pitiful cries and feed him some spiced vegetables which ends with Wei Wuxian sprawled across the Jingshi floor whimpering from an upset stomach.
(He still claims it was worth it.)
Thankfully, the only other time Wei Wuxian injures himself (a slight bruise on his leg) is when he vastly miscalculates a jump onto Lan Wangji's work desk and lands on a decorative statue, gifted by a grateful sect. This twists his legs and leaves him unable to land properly so he ends up sliding across the table and onto the floor with a rather painful sounding thud .
This time his cries of distress are genuine, and rather embarrassing, and Lan Wangji is quick to gather him into his arms. Gently petting down his back to try and soothe his trembling.
“Better?” Lan Wangji asks when Wei Wuxian has calmed and they’ve made sure his leg is not broken. Wei Wuxian gives two bitter taps with his uninjured leg, directing a small glare at the offending statue. (That’s still standing!) “Good.” Lan Wangji says and kisses his forehead.
They both freeze.
(For very different reasons.)
A vivid red slowly climbs Lan Wangji's neck, settling on his ears, which is the only visual indication of the deep embarrassment now churning in his body. On the other hand, Wei Wuxian finds himself growing righteously angry. Did Lan Wangji kiss all his rabbits when they were injured? Did he kiss them for other reasons as well? Why is Lan Wangji kissing his rabbits when he could be kissing Wei Wuxian ?! He might not have any experience but he’s sure he could give Lan Wangji better kisses than any of them!
My first kiss! Wei Wuxian thinks, his back legs kicking out instinctively. My first kiss—given to me by Lan Wangji!!—and I’m a rabbit .
He’s almost too busy having this internal temper tantrum that he nearly misses Lan Wangji's awkward expression and nervous swallow.
“I…” he starts, and Wei Wuxian blinks when he sees how distressed he’s become. Immediately all his complaints vanish and he reaches out with one paw. This has come to serve as an indication Wei Wuxian wants to be brought closer and Wei Wuxian can feel the hesitation in Lan Wangji's hands so he repeats the motion, a bit more insistent this time. Finally Lan Wangji complies and when he’s close enough to Lan Wangji's face, Wei Wuxian leans in to press his nose against Lan Wangji's, his own attempt at a kiss and also to assure him he isn’t upset.
Lan Wangji lets out a small, “Oh,” along with the breath he was holding. Wei Wuxian presses another kiss to his nose before nuzzling into his cheek.
Their sleeping arrangement continues and on one of the colder nights Wei Wuxian grows bolder. He waits for Lan Wangji to settle in, as per usual, but when the man is under the covers and ready to sleep, instead of going to his new favourite spot, curled in the crook of Lan Wangji's neck, he nudges himself under the blankets as well. Lan Wangji lifts them for him, giving him more space to settle in, and Wei Wuxian takes the opportunity to hop onto Lan Wangji's chest and settle in there.
He makes a show of shivering when he sees the odd look Lan Wangji gives him and is incredibly pleased when Lan Wangji doesn’t say anything besides, “Good night,” and drops the blanket to drape over him. But, old habits don’t die and Wei Wuxian slowly stretches himself across Lan Wangji's chest as the night wears on, waking with his head tucked right under Lan Wangji's chin.
(He doesn’t bother with any embarrassment, only whining when Lan Wangji has to move him away so he can begin his day.)
Sect Leader Yao proves just how difficult he can be. After complying with one of Lan Wangji's requests for aid, he turns the tables not two days later, demanding a rather ridiculous amount of disciples from the Lan sect to come and help. When it seems like Lan Wangji is going to comply with such an outrageous request, Wei Wuxian takes it upon himself to jump up and onto the paper, blocking any such attempts.
He’s scolded, but there’s no heat, and he refuses to move even when Lan Wangji's begins to tug insistently on him.
“Then what do you purpose we do?” Lan Wangji asks, releasing him with a small sigh.
Wei Wuxian considers the paper for a moment before taking a couple steps forward and taking it into his mouth to start nibbling at it. A clear message of: get rid of it .
“Wei Ying!” Lan Wangji admonishes him lightly, but with a hint of amusement as he reaches out to pick him up. Wei Wuxian keeps a hold of the paper and continues with his cute bunny nibbling (that he may have practiced in front of a mirror) as he meets Lan Wangji's gaze head on.
“I know he can be troublesome,” Lan Wangji says, eyes softening. “But we have to take this seriously. We made a promise.”
Wei Wuxian pauses, to give the effect of listening, nibbles for half a second more before dropping the paper. Not because he thinks Sect Leader Yao deserves to be taken anything close to seriously, but because he decides pawing at Lan Wanj so he can bump their foreheads together is much more important.
They send half the requested aid, including Lan Sizhui and Lan Jingyi, and Lan Wangji only barely manages to hide a smug smile when he overhears Lan Jingyi ranting upon their return on how pointless the endeavour was.
“How does a leader not know how to handle a basic ghoul like that?” He groans, “A child would be able to get rid of it!”
(He’s saved from punishment when Lan Wangji pretends to not have heard, having being thoroughly distracted by Wei Wuxian nipping and nuzzling at his fingers.)
When the week completes, and Wei Wuxian shows no sign of becoming human again any time soon, they return to Lan Xichen, but he only shakes his head, giving vague and rather cryptic responses.
“I believe this is just something Young Master Wei will have to fix on his own.”
Back in the Lan Wangji's work room, Wei Wuxian lazes beside his friend, weakly cycling through some ideas on how to change back. He’s finding himself a bit too sleepy to really put in any effort and when Lan Wangji pulls him in closer, as he prepares himself to begin taking in guests, Wei Wuxian just noses and licks at his fingers.
I may as well nap . Wei Wuxian thinks with disinterest, stretching out farther along Lan Wangji's side. I don’t think any of the meetings scheduled today are too difficult to handle .
Wei Wuxian is in and out as the meetings progress, only stirring at the final one, but only because it’s closing in on dinner time and his stomach is letting him know it.
“Thank you for your help with the high level corpses the other day,” he hears Lan Wangji say and Wei Wuxian tilts his head back to watch him. “I appreciate your willingness and efficiency.”
It’s high praise, coming from Lan Wangji, and the guest seems to be flustered by it.
“Please, Hanguang-Jun! It’s no trouble at all. Anything I can do to help you! …and my Sect, of course!”
A sect leader? Wei Wuxian wonders. Must be one of the smaller ones, I don’t recognize his voice. Ah, well, it’s good to know they’re not all useless.
“Mm.” Lan Wangji hums in acknowledgement, nodding his head. “Is there anything I can help you with?”
“Yes, actually, ah…” the leader hums, respectful but hesitant. “Hanguang-Jun, I was wondering if it would be possible for Wei Wuxian to come to our sect for a period of time? His knowledge on corpses is invaluable and I believe it would do our sect a great service if he could come and teach a few classes.”
A moment of stunned silence separates them, Lan Wangji's eyes wide. The request isn’t that unusual, there were times cultivators would go to give lectures at different Sects in lieu of hosting them, but something about this one feels… off.
“Why are you asking me?” Lan Wangji asks, eyes narrowing now, and Wei Wuxian can hear the suspicion that drips from it. He doesn’t quite share in Lan Wangji's confusion. While he knows he’s likely considered a wayward cultivator, belonging to no one Sect, he also knows his continued presence in Cloud Recesses hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Well, he,” The leader stumbles, awkwardly laughing before he continues, “He’s under your command, isn’t he? He would listen if you told him to leave, would he not?” When Lan Wangji doesn’t reply, too stunned to even try forming one at the moment, the leader tries again. “I’ve helped you with many things, Hanguang-Jun, surely this isn’t too much of an imposition? I was truly hoping you could do me this favour and lend Wei Wuxian to us…”
“Wei Ying is not…” Lan Wangji interrupts, voice almost faltering as he tries to organize his thoughts while his tone goes ice cold. Wei Wuxian watches as his fingers curl tightly into the robes across his thighs. “He is not a good to be traded around.”
“Of-of course not!” The leader stumbles, backtracking. “But, I doubt he would listen if I were to ask and, considering the rumours, he—“
“Wei Ying is here of his own accord.” Lan Wangji says firmly as Wei Wuxian twists to right himself and sit properly. “He is free to leave if he wishes. If you wish for him to teach, you will have to ask him directly.”
“Of… Of course…” The leader replies weakly, seeming to realize he has overstepped. “My apologies, Hanguang-Jun, I won’t bother you with this anymore.”
The leader scrambles out pretty quickly after that, though he pauses at the door, likely to ask if Lan Wangji had any idea on where Wei Wuxian was , but one cold look from Lan Wangji hurries him out. While Wei Wuxian can see the irritation brewing just beneath the surface on Lan Wangji's face, he finds himself feeling incredibly amused.
A kept man, am I? So be it, at least people will think twice about trying to take me away .
The very idea Wei Wuxian would want to be anywhere but at Lan Wangji's side is a ridiculous one. He wonders if this is the first time someone has attempted to ask for him and he thinks to question Lan Wangji's about it. But, when he turns to look at Lan Wangji's, he sees how distressed the man continues to be and he immediately decides comforting his soulmate is a more pressing matter.
He jumps onto his lap, snuggling in briefly before being lifted to meet Lan Wangji's eyes. They carry an air of sadness and Wei Wuxian gives a small whine, pawing at the other man until he’s brought in close enough he can busy himself with nuzzling insistently into Lan Wangji's cheek. Pausing only to press small kisses to it as well.
“I am alright.” Lan Wangji tries to assure him, but Wei Wuxian doesn’t believe him and continues. He hears him give a small sigh. “Thank you, Wei Ying. Come, let’s have dinner.”
They return to the Jingshi and once they’ve finished with dinner, Wei Wuxian returns to Lan Wangji's lap, sprawled across it and incredibly content. Above him, he can hear the rustle of Lan Wangji working and finds it soothing in a strange way. He almost doesn’t notice when the movement ceases, startling a bit when Lan Wangji speaks up again.
“Wei Ying?” He asks, tone oddly serious. Wei Wuxian just wiggles a bit on his lap and huffs to indicate he’s listening. “You know you are not bound here, correct?”
Wei Wuxian stills for a moment. Turning, he looks up and makes eye contact with a frowning Lan Wangji.
“You are free to leave.”
Wei Wuxian blinks and waits for Lan Wangji to continue. To say, “Of course, I want you to stay…” but it never comes and the air grows stilted in the continued silence.
Dread starts to rise in Wei Wuxian’s heart. Cold and dark as it swallows him whole. Of course he knows he is free to leave. He’s never been under the impression—at least not any more —that Lan Wangji wanted to keep him like a prisoner. Anxiety joins his heart as Wei Wuxian shifts in Lan Wangji's lap. Did… Did Lan Wangji want him to leave? Is that why he’s bringing this up? Wei Wuxian thought he had been more than clear on his desire to stay with him, but…
Suddenly upset, anger and panic wearing on him in tandem, Wei Wuxian launches himself from Lan Wangji's lap and hops across the room to press into the far corner. He keeps his back to the other man, unsure if he wants to see what sort of expression he’s wearing, and continues to hold his silent tantrum for a good chunk of the night. He refuses to turn, even when he hears Lan Wangji softly call for him, and it’s only when Lan Wangji begins to prepare for sleep that he finally comes out.
He marches up to one of the few shelves Lan Wangji has in his room first and sets to chewing at one of the legs. The wood tastes awful but it splinters quite easily under his rabbit teeth. He manages to do quite a bit of damage before Lan Wangji catches on and shouts out a quick reprimand, darting over to try and stop him. Wei Wuxian listens, in a way, hopping away from the shelf and Lan Wangji's hands to go nibble and bite at his desk instead. When he’s chased from that, he hops up to knock over some papers that he also chews on.
Eventually, Lan Wangji tires of the harassment and catches him with an exasperated, “Let’s go to bed, Wei Ying.”
He’s placed back on Lan Wangji's mattress and the other moves off, likely to arrange for a bath for himself, and Wei Wuxian lets out an annoyed huff. He moves to the edge of the bed and, after pacing along it for a few moments, successfully hops down. He doesn’t bother to see if Lan Wangji heard the thud of his landing, hopping with great purpose over to his own bed.
Settling onto his back legs, he eyes the top of it and leaps. Unfortunately, this landing goes as badly as the first attempt and he misses the mark. With no hint of any of his usual grace or dignity, Wei Wuxian goes tumbling off the other side of his bed, wrapped in his blankets.
“Wei Ying!” Lan Wangji's tone is panicked and Wei Wuxian can hear his footsteps over the rustling of the blankets as he tries to fight his way out of them.
“You are mad at me.” Lan Wangji sighs after detangling the affronted rabbit and placing him in front of him. While Wei Wuxian hears it’s a statement, he makes sure he tap his foot down twice to reinforce it.
“Because I told you you could leave...?” This is more hesitant so Wei Wuxian makes sure the two taps of his foot are clear. Lan Wangji's brows furrow, an obvious expression of his confusion that Wei Wuxian adamantly refuses to find adorable. After several moments, Lan Wangji's voice comes again, sounding small, “Why?”
Wei Wuxian’s heart hurts hearing his soulmate like this, so he leaps at him and then wiggles in his hold until Lan Wangji brings him in close and Wei Wuxian can cuddle into his cheek.
“Because you...” a soft inhale, “you want to stay?”
He asks as though there is any doubt Wei Wuxian wants to be exactly where he is and Wei Wuxian can’t stand it. He makes the tapping motion with his foot repetitively, desperately, even though it’s no longer able to knock against anything. But he hopes it gets his message of Yes! Yes, I want to stay!! I want to stay forever!!! across.
“Then why were you upset?”
Wei Wuxian knows this is a bit too complicated to get across silently, and he does want to understand Lan Wangji's side of it, so he breaks free and hops back over to Lan Wangji's desk and his paper and ink.
He hops up and quickly dips a paw into the ink pad, earning him another sigh and soft warning of, “You will need a bath.” to write, as clear as he is able.
“You.” Lan Wangji reads and correctly points to himself.
“Want.” He continues and here Wei Wuxian pauses before standing on his hind legs to paw and try and indicate himself. “You.”
“I want you...” Lan Wangji says, connecting them, and Wei Wuxian is grateful rabbits can’t blush even if the heat of embarrassment is still hot under his fur. He quickly moves to properly finish the sentence. “Leave.”
Lan Wangji looks confused again.
“I want you to...” he doesn’t even finish the sentence before understanding dawns on his face and he’s scooping Wei Wuxian up, inky paws and all. “No,” he breathes out. “That’s not what I want at all, Wei Ying.”
Wei Wuxian manages a small whine, nuzzling back into Lan Wangji's face.
“I only mentioned it because I do not want you to feel forced to stay,” he explains. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for you to think I wanted you gone.” Wei Wuxian leans forward to place a small nip on the tip on Lan Wangji's nose, which earns him a laugh in the form of a small huff. “I understand. I won’t mention it again.”
Good Wei Wuxian thinks, gently licking the same bite and cuddling in again. They had been forced to separate by outside circumstances long enough, Wei Wuxian isn’t about to let anything else keep them apart. He’ll be Lan Wangji's through this life and the next. …As long as Lan Wangji will have him, of course.
As if he can hear him, Lan Wangji pulls him away enough that he can press a gentle kiss to the top of Wei Wuxian’s head.
“Let’s go to bed.” He says softly and Wei Wuxian suddenly wishes with all his heart he had his human body back.
He is forced to bathe first, Lan Wangji gently wiping his paws clean of any ink, and then moving to give the rest of Wei Wuxian’s fur a proper cleaning.
After Lan Wangji takes his own bath, they settle in, Wei Wuxian stretched length wise across Lan Wangji's chest so he could still nestle under the man’s chin. Wei Wuxian makes the mental note to take a more proactive approach to fixing this curse. Lan Wangji needs to be kissed and kissed properly and Wei Wuxian being a bunny is beginning to put a very big damper on that.
Tomorrow, Lan Zhan… Wei Wuxian sleepily promises. Tomorrow I’ll fix this.
Wei Wuxian wakes to Lan Wangji calling his name. Incessantly.
“Lan Zhan…” He mumbles back, voice raspy from disuse. His limbs feel stiff and heavy so he stretches them out a small bit before relaxing back onto Lan Wangji's chest. “It’s too early. Let me sleep more…”
“ Wei Ying. ” Lan Wangji repeats, voice strained and carrying a hint of a panicked note.
Wei Wuxian gives in with a groan, lifting his head so he can meet Lan Wangji's gaze. It’s incredibly early, likely close to Lan Wangji's usual 5 A.M., so it’s almost too dark to properly read the flustered expression that Lan Wangji is wearing.
“What?” Wei Wuxian asks petulantly. Lan Wangji gives him a pointed look that borders on frustration. The one he often wore when Wei Wuxian was being particularly difficult. Wei Wuxian feels his own eyes narrow, unsure of what he’s done wrong. “ What ?”
“You’re…” Lan Wangji starts, eyes quickly flickering down past his face before darting back up. “You’re human.”
“I’m…? Of course I’m—“ Wei Wuxian begins to reply, pushing himself onto his elbows to look down at Lan Wangji, properly baffled. He then finds himself knocked a bit off balance when he realizes he’s pushed himself onto his elbows and immediately drops his gaze down to inspect the rest of his, now human, body. “Oh.” he lets out, dumbly. He then grins widely. “Lan Zhan! Lan Zhan, I’m human again!”
“Mm.” Lan Wangji replies, still sounding strained. It takes Wei Wuxian an embarrassing moment to realize the reason is likely because Wei Wuxian is still in the same spot he had been in as a bunny, lazily stretched across Lan Wangji's chest, but now he’s human and not wearing a stitch of clothing.
“Oh! Ah… Um..” Wei Wuxian stutters, pulling away from Lan Wangji, who politely averts his gaze. “Just give me a second, Lan Zhan, uhh…” He scrambles away, trying to tug the blanket around him to keep some modesty. It… works. To some degree. He manages to keep it tied around his waist when he fumbles around and falls off the edge of the bed for the third time in a week.
He lands on his back with an Oof and Lan Wangji makes a startled noise from where he is left on the bed. Wei Wuxian takes in a couple breaths as he listens to the rustling of clothing. Then, Lan Wangji's face pops into view as he leans over the side of the bed and frowns.
“Are you alright?”
“My pride…” Wei Wuxian replies with the beginning of a breathy laugh. “I think it’s a little bruised.”
Lan Wangji replies with a small smile of his own and Wei Wuxian feels his own mouth twist into a bright grin.
When he’s properly dressed he takes some time to reacquaint himself with his human body. Flexing out muscles he had lost and remembering how to sit, stand, and move on two legs. He’s happy to have regained his height—and the ability to talk.
“What do you think did it?” He asks before shoving a large amount of brightly coloured red rice into his mouth. Breakfast had finally arrived and Wei Wuxian had nearly cried when he saw he no longer had to suffer through raw vegetables. “Nothing happened last night that was too different than any other night.”
Lan Wangji shakes his head.
“Hmmm! Do you think your brother might have an idea? He did seem to know something, even if he didn’t tell us what it was… Let’s go see him after breakfast, okay?”
Lan Wangji nods in agreement and Wei Wuxian feels a secretive grin grow on his face, one he hides behind his bowl.
Lan Zhan must have missed this. He hasn’t told me to stay silent once!
After they finish breakfast, Wei Wuxian still stealing a small bite of Lan Wangji's food just for the sake of it, they find themselves in a rather embarrassing situation.
“Ah,” Wei Wuxian stutters as he falters in front of Lan Wangji, both of them having moved towards each other after deciding to head out. They both realized their mistake at the same time and Wei Wuxian forces out a flustered laugh. “Lan Zhan! You must be happy, you don’t have to carry me anymore!” Lan Wangji just gives a jerky nod, seeming to agree, before gesturing for Wei Wuxian to proceed.
“Ah, it looks like you finally managed to break it!” Lan Xichen says when they enter, smiling brightly. He almost seems smug but Wei Wuxian can’t understand why.
“Break it?” Wei Wuxian echoes as they take a seat in front of him, properly confused. Lan Xichen nods before reaching out and pulling out the same book Wei Wuxian had pointed out to him several days previous.
“Indeed. I looked over the book you based your work off of. It utilizes the users desires, harnessing them to power the transformation. I believe something happened during your experiment where you had the desire to change yourself and the talisman you were working with reacted.”
“And it… turned me into a rabbit?” Wei Wuxian asks in disbelief, embarrassment beginning to prick up his spine.
“The spells and scores we have,” Lan Xichen says, flipping the book open to search for a particular page, one he shows to the duo when he finds it. “Have been refined down so that they only respond to specific wishes made by the users. They’ve also been refined down so that they can only work on specific creatures as well, ensuring no… mishaps. I assume your talismans had no such catch?”
Wei Wuxian shakes his head in confirmation. He knew about this refinement, of course, but hadn’t quite figured out how to add in on. In truth, it was one of the things he had been working with when his experiment went wrong.
A small smile pulls at the edge of La Xichen’s mouth, one he hides by turning his head to focus on the rest of the books and papers brought in to aid him in his investigation, “With no way to contain the users desires, I believe the talismans latched on to any wish they could. Including, yes, your apparent desire to become a rabbit.”
A pause. Lan Xichen seems to give them the floor to speak, but neither Lan Wangji nor Wei Wuxian find themselves capable of making any sort of sound that would resemble a word, much less a sentence.
“I also believe,” Lan Xichen then continues, his smile growing wider, “That this spell then turned self-reinforcing. And it wasn’t until you, Young Master Wei, truly wished to be human again, that it could break.”
“So,” Wei Wuxian struggles, catching up. “I had the off-hand desire to become a rabbit, the talisman then turned me into one and I then enjoyed being a rabbit so much, it continued?” A light blush stains his face as he recalls the one thing that had been different the night before.
Wei Wuxian’s desire to become human.
Lan Xichen nods and Wei Wuxian lets out a small, “Oh.”
“I believe I will hold onto these,” Lan Xichen says, after another moment of silence, gesturing to the other talismans. “This is dangerous work, Young Master Wei, and our uncle was not too pleased when he heard about it.” Wei Wuxian nods mutely and Lan Xichen shakes his head with another smile. “But, I am glad to see you are well. I’ll let Uncle know. He may wish to speak to you later.”
They both nod in understanding before standing to salute in perfect synch. It’s rather amusing, watching them leave, the duo obviously incredibly distracted as they make their way back to the Jingshi. Once there, Lan Wangji bids Wei Wuxian goodbye, leaving the other to awkwardly fumble after him, no longer accustomed to spending his days alone.
“Ah,” Wei Wuxian squeezes out when Lan Wangji turns to him, face open and curious. “I guess I don’t get to go with you anymore, huh? I was getting a bit spoiled as a rabbit…”
Lan Wangji doesn’t tease him, he’s never really been the sort, only nodding in what seems to be agreement.
“What will you do?” He asks after he realizes Wei Wuxian isn’t going to speak again. Wei Wuxian looks back at him with a blink and gives a thoughtful hum.
“I think I’ll go visit Sizhui and check on his progress. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to speak with him, and I’m sure he’s feeling heartbroken after you banned him from looking after me.” He replies with a teasing grin, one that Lan Wangji avoids.
“He shouldn’t have listened to you.” He says firmly, indicating no remorse over his actions.
“Lan Zhan!!” Wei Wuxian whines with renewed vigour. “Our poor son only wanted to help! After you made me suffer through so many bland and boring vegetables…”
Something in this sentence catches Lan Wangji's attention and his eyes go wide. Wei Wuxian tilts his head, curious.
“Hm? What is it?”
“Nothing,” Lan Wangji replies after a moment. “I will see you tonight.”
True to his word, they (unfortunately) miss each other at lunch - a meal Wei Wuxian had enjoyed sharing with the other - and Wei Wuxian is lounging at his desk, slowly sipping at the Emperor’s Smile Lan Wangji had allowed him to sneak in several weeks before, the moon busy rising in the sky when Lan Wangji finally returns to their room.
“You’re late!” Wei Wuxian tells him, leaning back in his desk to watch Lan Wangji arrive with his usual grace and sit back at his desk.
“Mm. My apologies.” Lan Wangji replies, immediately bringing out a stack of paper. “There were more visitors than usual.”
“Ah? How many monsters are there!” Wei Wuxian huffs. He pushes himself onto his knees, forgetting about his drink entirely as he crawls over to where Lan Wangji sits. “Surely you’ve dealt with every myth and legend available!”
Lan Wangji shakes his head with a small sigh.
“There are a few repeat visitors. Not all the sects wish to comply with my requests.”
“That’s stupid,” Wei Wuxian grumbles, hooking one arm around Lan Wangji's waist while he plants his cheek on Lan Wangji's shoulder, allowing him to press in and also read the paperwork. “Do they think you enjoy writing so many letters?”
Wei Wuxian hears the startled noise that comes from Lan Wangji's throat and - pretending he appear more confident than he feels, with his chest feeling like it’s about to shudder open and leave a huge mess across the Jingshi floor - turns his head from where it’s pressed against Lan Wangji to meet his gaze.
“Is something wrong?” He asks casually, his grip tight enough to express his meaning and lose enough that Lan Wangji could slip out of it easily. “Am I not allowed to help anymore?” A lazy grin grows on his face at this (he really couldn’t call his favourite habit eating any annoying paper to cross Lan Wangji's desk helping ) and he wonders in Lan Wangji can feeling the pounding of his heart. Especially considering how close his chest is to him.
Lan Wangji keeps his gaze for several moments, eyes searching, and Wei Wuxian makes sure to keep himself relaxed. Finally, Lan Wangji's posture seems to ease and he gives a gentle shake of his head.
“I would welcome it.”
They almost go past curfew with their chatter. Discussing better tactics for dealing with the more stubborn leaders, as well as different methods and better ways to bring aid to areas too far or who needed it more quickly. They even discuss utilizing the foundation Jin Guangyao had laid out before his death, and spend a good deal of time working out the best way of employing the controversial towers.
(“I wonder… What do you think Jin Guangyao wanted with these towers? Do you think he really did want to use them to help the less unfortunate?” Wei Wuxian muses quietly, forehead tilting down to brush against Lan Wangji's jawline. “I… I can’t imagine he was all bad… What do you think, Lan Zhan?”)
As the night progresses, Wei Wuxian continues to lean further and further into Lan Wangji's personal space. Waiting for rejection he begins to suspect will never come. One of his arms stayed locked around Lan Wangji's waist, the other only joining it when it’s not being used for some elaborate gesture or to point something out. When it’s finally time for Lan Wangji to prepare for bed, Wei Wuxian is almost entirely in his lap, head tucked into Lan Wangji's neck, with two arms holding fast. The whine that sounds from Wei Wuxian when Lan Wangji has to peel him off, with numerous soft apologies, sounds incredibly familiar to the ones he used to make as a rabbit, which amuses him a fair bit.
Lan Wangji can’t hide his surprise when Wei Wuxian agrees to sleep at the same time as him - although Wei Wuxian has no immediate plans for sleep - and when Lan Wangji is finishing with his bath, Wei Wuxian takes a deep breath and crawls into Lan Wangji's bed. Splayed out flat on his back as he waits for him to return. This time Lan Wangji does a better job of hiding any shock he might have at seeing Wei Wuxian sprawled on his bed, only pausing at the privacy screen that had separated the two.
“Well?” Wei Wuxian asks, swallowing down both his erratic heart and swell of nerves, “Aren’t you going to join me?”
It’s only a moment, but it’s long enough for Wei Wuxian’s heart to nearly choke him as he waits for Lan Wangji eventually, “Mm.” before he turns out the lights and crawls into bed beside Wei Wuxian.
It’s overwhelming. Laying so close to Lan Wangji. It shouldn’t be, this is hardly the first time Wei Wuxian has slept so close to him, but it feels different and suddenly every nerve in Wei Wuxian’s body is burning with the urge to simply touch .
“Lan Zhan?” Wei Wuxian asks with what’s barely a breath.
“I think I lied earlier.”
Wei Wuxian feels the shift of Lan Wangji's body at this and his own fingers tremble as they clutch weakly at the bed sheets.
“When I fell off the bed. I think I did hurt myself.”
“Oh?” Lan Wangji repeats, with a touch more concern, pushing himself onto one elbow to sweep his gaze down Wei Wuxian’s body.
“Mm. It really hurts, Lan Zhan.” Wei Wuxian says, voice light and with a hint of a playful whine. He reaches out to loop his arms around Lan Wangji's neck. “I think you need to kiss it better.”
Wei Wuxian hears the tumble Lan Wangji's breathing takes - is he as nervous as him? - before he manages to push out, “Is that so?”
“Mhm. You kissed all my wounds better when I was a bunny, surely you wouldn’t deny your soulmate now .” Wei Wuxian’s voice drops as he gently tugs on Lan Wangji, who is more than willingly to press in closer. “Would you, Lan Zhan?”
“No.” Lan Wangji replies firmly and Wei Wuxian would have laughed if Lan Wangji had not finally tipped his head forward and sealed Wei Wuxian’s mouth with his own.
At first, kissing Lan Wangji feels a bit like being set on fire. Every single part of his body alight with the sensation of Lan Wangji's touch. The delicate curve of his mouth moving in time with Wei Wuxian’s, the firm warmth of his fingers curling into Wei Wuxian’s waist and neck, the ticklish brush of his robes along Wei Wuxian’s now exposed arm. It’s too much and too little. His body thrumming with too much energy as he clings tighter and tighter to the other man.
Then, when Lan Wangji gently breaks away to sigh down his jawline and leave a sweet kiss at Wei Wuxian’s ear, whispering a devoted, “ Wei Ying .”, it suddenly feels like drowning, each breath of air a gasp, a desperate plea, and his fingers tangle in the soft locks of his soulmate as he tugs him in to kiss him properly once more. His body the only thing that can keep him afloat.
And then, finally, kissing Lan Wangji feels like coming home. His mouth is still warm, but not searing as he drops brief pecks across Wei Wuxian’s face, smiling so prettily after he leaves one on the tip of Wei Wuxian’s nose. Wei Wuxian feels a giggle tumble out of him and surges up to press a firmer kiss on Lan Wangji's still smiling lips. He still feels like he’s floating, but Lan Wangji is his anchor, arms encasing him, keeping him safe and present. Keeping him there .
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian manages when his mouth is free, breathing more of a pant than anything else. Lan Wangji hums a reply, one hand brushing back some of the hair that has spilled across Wei Wuxian’s face. “Lan Zhan, I love you.”
Lan Wangji stills, eyes going wide with a blink.
“You’re really great. The best, even.” Wei Wuxian returns Lan Wangji's earlier gesture, tucking a piece of Lan Wangji's hair behind his ear and then cupping his jaw. “I love you. Adore you. Want you. Lan Zhan, you’re everything to me and you can have me as long as you want me—“
Here, Lan Wangji thankfully cuts off what is sure to be only the beginning of Wei Wuxian’s rambling, stealing his mouth back for another long and languid kiss.
“Forever, then.” Lan Wangji says softly when they separate again. He leans his forehead against Wei Wuxian’s. “I want you to stay forever.”
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian’s voice trembles as his eyes begin to sting. “Lan Zhan! You can’t say that! You’ll make me cry!”
Lan Wangji brushes their noses together with a hum. “You said, ‘As long as I want you’.” He reminds him and here their bodies move in tandem, arranging their limbs so they can hold each other as close as possible. “I want you forever.”
A garbled squeak comes from the face now buried in Lan Wangji's neck. Lan Wangji slowly cards his fingers through Wei Wuxian’s hair; long, delicate strokes, the same as when he would pet the rabbit Wei Wuxian. Eventually, the delighted trembling ceases and Wei Wuxian pops back up to give Lan Wangji a very enthusiastic kiss.
“Forever then.” Wei Wuxian confirms with a grin. “I’ll be yours forever.”
Lan Wangji nods.
“And I will be yours.”
Another bright blush begins to grow on Wei Wuxian’s cheeks, thrilled and exasperated.
“Hey, hey, Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian chirps, moving away from Lan Wangji's chest to meet his, rather sleepy, eyes. “Do you think I could get your uncle or brother to help with my talismans? I mean, they did technically work and—“
Wei Wuxian is swiftly interrupted by a rough kiss by Lan Wangji. A clear and resounding no . Any argument Wei Wuxian might have dissolves into laughter when he tries to defend himself and Lan Wangji promptly puts him on his back with a warning growl of his name.
“Fine, fine,” Wei Wuxian concedes, petting Lan Wangji's hair. “No more rabbits.”