“Lan Er-gege, look at me! Look at me!” an amused Wei Ying finds that he’s able to balance on Little Apple while sitting in a crossed-leg position. What Lan Zhan does next, is look at the man—the man whom he had willingly given his heart and all of him to.
This has already been the case since Wei Ying had decided it was a good idea to break three Gusu Lan Sect rules just in one night, his first night there at that.
Drinking is prohibited in the Cloud Recesses.
Do not make noise.
Do not go out at night.
There and then, he may have taken Lan Zhan’s lonely heart and had never given it back.
Take it back to Lotus Pier,
Carry it wherever you go.
For it does not matter,
In your hand, it belongs
In your hand, it is safe.
Yours to keep, yours to protect
I will do the same unto yours,
As long as we both shall live.
“Hanguang-jun, why are you looking at me like this?”
“Love to look at you.”
“Ahhhh L-L-Lan Zhan! You cannot say stuff like that and expect me not to fall off Little Apple!”
“Will catch Wei Ying.”
“Lan Zhan! What did I just say? My poor heart is your responsibility and here you are, making it want to jump out of my chest! Do you want me to die?” Wei Ying whines pathetically, but there is a loving and warm look on his gray pair of eyes, that his husband loves to bask in.
“Don’t die, Wei Ying.”
“Hmmm, then come closer.”
Lan Zhan lifts the slightest muscle above his brows (not visible to anyone else unless they are Lan Xichen and Wei Wuxian), sighs and leans closer.
He gets a peck on his cheek.
“Aiyo Lan Zhan, we’re already married! Why are you so still so sh—”
He seals his husband’s mouth, with a kiss all too messy for the Second Jade of Lan.
No words had to be said, as their hearts understood them all too well.
At Qiting Wine House at Qinghe, Wei Ying is seen with his liquor in his hand; Lan Zhan, tea in his.
“Hm, Lan Zhan?” he says while sipping on his drink.
“What’s the matter?”
“Do we need to head back to Gusu already? If it’s alright with you, I’d like to go to Yunmeng for a bit. I miss Jiang Cheng and—”
Lan Zhan looks at his husband.
“—I really want to visit Lotus Pier, with you as my husband.”
“We will go to Lotus Pier,” Lan Zhan decides for the both of them.
“Ahh, Lan Zhan! You’re so nice to me!” he throws his arms around Lan Zhan, stealing a kiss on his lips.
“Wei Ying,” cautious gold eyes meet mischievous gray ones.
Knowing what that means all too well, he says, “Alright then, we’ll save my public display of affection for a more private one later”. He leans in closer, and whispers into ears stained pink, “What do you say, Lan Er- gege ?
“Mn,” is all the high and mighty esteemed Hanguang-jun can manage, as blood starts to rush from the pink tips of his warm ears to between his legs.
They spent their last night in each other’s longing embrace, still on the high they had exchanged, which they do so everyday (which starts with Wei Ying’s pathetic pleads for mercy, but he does call it upon himself with his shameless antics). Lan Zhan loves having Wei Ying in his arms, listening to his heartbeats, and having his listened to. What the face doesn’t show, the heart always does . What his ever-beating heart shows is that Wei Wuxian—his Wei Ying— is the light of his life. People call Lan Wangji the Bearer of Light, but little do they know, that without his own light, he will bear nothing of the sort.
Wei Ying kisses him good night, “See you tomorrow, Lan Zhan,” before he turns around and faces the other side to sleep.
A few moments pass as Lan Zhan wraps his arms around him from behind, returning a kiss on the back of his head, “See you tomorrow, Wei Ying.”
Dawn comes and the couple start their journey to Yunmeng. As they dock at Lotus Pier, friendly greetings come to them.
“Uncle! Did you miss me? You look like you gained weight! Remember to exercise so you can chase someone who would steal your chicken and run—like me!!” Wei Ying grabs a chicken from the cage and runs off.
“I will pay for it,” Lan Zhan says as he fishes out his money pouch.
“Ah not to worry, gongzi! At the end of the month, Jiang Sect Leader will send people to pay for it.”
Lan Zhan says nothing but nods in acknowledgment.
As they reach Sword Hall, Jiang Cheng is seen training the disciples with his usual stern and serious tone. “Hold your wrist higher! You, over there! Do we not feed you well enough!? Stand uprig—”
“A-Cheng!” Wei Ying interrupts his shidi and the other disciples finally are able to breathe. One is seen mouthing “thank you, shi-xiong,” at whom Wei Ying winks in return.
“Wei Wuxian! What took you so long to come from Qinghe? Did Little Apple get her legs broken or something?”
“Hey be nice to my Little Apple! She’s listened to more of my rants than you do and she probably knows me more than yo—”
Jiang Cheng elbows him in the ribs, “That’s because she can’t ask you to shut your mouth!”
Lan Zhan lets out a cough before the man could get any rougher physically with his “weak” (in Wei Ying’s own terms) husband.
“Yeah A-Cheng, how dare you elbow Hanguang-jun’s beloved husband! Can I now say— do you want me to break your legs ?” Wei Ying imitates his brother’s infamous “last” words to near perfection.
“You—!” is all his shidi could manage, as Wei Ying is now seen running from one end of the hall, to the other, hiding behind the strong pillars that Sword Hall stands on.
“Come catch me if you can! Wait, you’re always too slow!” Wei Ying pulls out his tongue, as if he was a three year old— to which Jiang Yanli would have said one year old.
Lan Zhan sees the two brothers chase each other to no end, incessantly shouting at each other. As the one in purple cusses more at every second, it’s only returned by even boisterous laughs. Lan Zhan finds his heart warm, seeing the man in red smile so brightly, laugh so effortlessly. Does the man in red, know he is very much loved? It doesn’t matter, as Lan Zhan will spend every breath he has, every waking moment he has, to show him just that.
“Aaah! Lan Zhan protect me!!!” his husband now hides behind his always perfect, white robes.
“Wei Wuxian, you don’t fight fair!”
“Why should I? I don’t even need to fight, for I always have Hanguang-jun by my side~”
“Sometimes I forget how shameless you can be, until you show me how much more you actually are,” Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes to the Heavens above them.
“‘Shameless’, maybe, but still the best brother! It doesn’t get any better than that A-Cheng,” Wei Ying teases as comes out of cover and hooks his arm on his shidi ’s shoulder.
“Hmpf. Buzz off,” he huffs.
“Actually we should be buzzing off. I plan to take Lan Zhan on a date at the city. And no Jiang Cheng, you are not invited hahahaha”
“Tsk, not like I want to go! Just come back with some drink. Heaven knows how much I need it after training these useless brats.”
“Yo Jiang Cheng, watch your words. We were also once useless brats—everyone’s gotta start somewhere.”
Wei Ying is always good, to others.
“...don’t come back too late and don’t forget my drinks!” Jiang Cheng storms off.
“C’mon Lan Zhan, let me paint your world with the colors Yunmeng . Prepare to be wowed!” Wei Ying grabs his husband’s hand and skips in joy out of Sword Hall.
Colorful whenever Wei Ying is around.
The city is bustling, with people haggling prices with stall vendors and people singing and dancing on the streets. Compared to the quiet Gusu, Yunmeng is 3000 times livelier.
“Granny! The usual snacks please!”
“Aiyo, Young Master Wei, you never change! I like that in a young man!” the old woman says with a smile so beautiful that she must’ve been a maiden long in the past.
“Being loyal is one of my best personality traits, right Lan Zhan?”
“Try this one, how is it Lan Zhan?” Wei Ying feeds him a small piece of rice cake.
“I knew you’d like it! Let’s see..try this one!”
“Unusual,” Lan Zhan doesn’t lie.
“Ooh, then more for me! Hehehehe”
Wei Ying sounds too excited for such a little gesture. Sometimes the little things are those that make the biggest difference in one’s life.
They spend the rest of the day, paying visits to Wei Ying’s favorite stalls. He also shows Lan Zhan the lake he would steal lotus pod seeds from when he was much younger, the farm he, Jiang Cheng and other disciples stole chickens from, and the tree he would climb on to pluck jujubes.
Lan Zhan listens intently, not with just his ears but with his heart too.
How can he ever not look at this man? He wants to look at him, forever.
Their journey to Gusu goes swimmingly as the weather was perfect, and also because Little Apple was in a surprisingly good mood. It was definitely a good idea to have brought more food from Yunmeng.
As they reach the bottom stairs of the Cloud Recesses, they are greeted by the still, cool air; the Wall of Discipline, still standing tall and strong. As they walk pass it, Wei Ying rubs his nose, “I wonder how many rules I have broken, Lan Zhan. It’s a surprise your Shufu still hasn’t locked me up yet in the Cold Pond.”
“Shufu will have to lock me up, too.”
“Lan Zhan!!!! You really will be the death of me!” Wei Ying says with a louder voice, as he tries to not have his heart jump out of his mouth.
Lan Zhan puts his finger on his husband’s lips, “Noise is prohibited in the Cloud Recesses.”
“Then, may this poor man suggest Lan Er-gege consider using his silencing charm on him tonight? So he doesn’t break anymore rules.”
Boisterous laughter once again fills the silent air.
They walk to the Jingshi, which they find to still be in pristine condition, though they have been gone for a few good moons. Sizhui is the only one that is allowed in Lan Zhan’s room.
“Wow A-Yuan really keeps this place spotless!” an impressed Wei Ying stands in the middle of the room.
“Mn. Sizhui did well.”
“That he did. You taught him well, Lan Zhan.”
“So did you, Wei Ying.”
Lan Zhan’s husband has now thrown himself at him, aiming for his mouth.
They remain like this for some time; wrapped in each other, hands in hair, hands trailing down backs, lips locked, tongues dancing, breaths hitched.
They part reluctantly (with annoyed groans coming from Wei Ying), as their little moment is interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Hanguang-jun, pardon the interruption. Master Lan and Zewu-jun have requested for your presence in the Hanshi,” Sizhui announces.
“Lan Zhan, go. I will wait for you here. I’ll probably read a book or something. Hahaha!”
“Won’t be long,” Lan Zhan promises and gives his husband a kiss on his forehead.
“Don’t do that or I won’t be able to let you leave!”
“Wei Ying, wants me to stay?”
“Would it be selfish of me to say yes?”
For it is what I want, too.
“Then in that case, I want you to stay—always! But you need to be with your family too so go now, so you can come back to me earlier!”
“Won’t be long,” he promises once again.
“See you later, Lan Er-gege!”
“See you later, Wei Ying.”
Lan Zhan steps out of his quarters with a heavy heart, but Wei Ying is right—the earlier he finishes his duties, the earlier he can go back home, to where his heart is.
The walk from the Jingshi to the Hanshi feels longer than it should. Along the way, he sees newer faces who most likely are the guest disciples from the other major Sects. The reason why he’s summoned by Shufu and Xiong-zhang may be to discuss lesson plans.
As he arrives the Hanshi, he gets the whiff of a familiar scent.
Is that the smell of lotus pork and rib soup? thoughts flash in his mind.
He knocks on the door, and announces his arrival “Shufu. Xiong-zhang. ”
“Wangji, you may come in.”
He opens the door and has the shock of his life.
The room now doesn’t only hold his uncle and his brother, but also Jiang Yanli, Wen Qing, Wen Ning, Jiang Cheng, Shizhui, Jingyi, Jin Ling, Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan.
“Happy birthday, Wangji,” Yanli walks to Lan Zhan, holding a big bowl of soup. “Something I made for you, Xian-Xian says you like it. And I have taken the liberty to not put in that much spice,” she smiles heart-warmingly.
“Thank you, Shijie.”
”A very happy birthday to you,” Jiang Fengmian and his wife wish Lan Zhan.
“Thank you, Jiang Shushu, Yu Furen.”
“Happy birthday, Lan Er-gongzi.” Jiang Cheng, Wen Qing and Wen Ning bow in synchronization.
Lan Zhan reciprocates.
“ Hanguang-jun, happy birthday!!” Sizhui and Jingyi almost shouting; their loud voices are immediately met with a pointed look from Master Lan.
“ Shufu, Xiong-zhang—”
“Don’t look at us. We’re just part of the plan and we’re glad to be. Happy birthday, Wangji,” Xichen pats him on the shoulder.
“It was all Wei Ying’s plan. He wanted to give you a surprise and he dragged all of us into it” Lan Qiren explains, with as a rare smile graces his serious face.
“And that, I did!” a voice calls out from outside the Hanshi. “Last year we spent your birthday hunting water ghosts, so this year I thought we could spend it in a better way. What better way than to have those who care for and love you on this special day?”
“Thank you, everyone.”
“Now let’s all head to the Main Hall before all the food gets cold there,” Xichen suggests.
“Great idea, my stomach is making noises now. Wei Wuxian, what took you so long to get Lan Er-gongzi out of his room?”
“Now that, Jiang Cheng, lies behind closed doors,” Wei Ying answers in his mischievous tone that everyone knows too well.
Lan Qiren lets out a cough, which aims to shut his nephew-in-law’s mouth and also to motion everyone to leave his Hanshi. It’s truly a wonder why he would allow such a thing to happen—but he does very much love his Wangji.
As they pour out of the room one by one, Lan Zhan and Wei Ying are the last to exit.
“Lan Zhan, are you surprised? Are you...happy today?”
Happy everyday with Wei Ying.
Wei Ying alone is happiness.
“Lan Zhan, you were the one who said that there shouldn't be any thank you’s and sorry’s between us. Now you’re breaking our rule!”
“Hey! There you go again!” Wei Ying pinches his husband’s cheek, who remains still.
“Now that’s better. You can unwrap your present tonight. Look forward to it,” Wei Ying says lowly as he continues to walk down the path that leads to Main Hall.
Lan Zhan stands still.
“Is there something wrong? Why are you not moving, Lan Zhan?”
He remains silent.
“Oh! I love you too!”
Lan Zhan falls into step beside Wei Ying and the both walk to join the rest for dinner, arms in arms.
Thank you Wei Ying.
Please stay with me, forever.
The bell tolls and its sound rings in the air of Cloud Recesses. It’s 5 A.M.
Lan Zhan wakes up from a good night’s sleep, and smiles.
He takes his shower and gets ready for his morning lessons with the guest disciples that will gather in Orchid Room half a shíchen from now. He carefully and routinely puts on his undergarments and white robes, fixes his headband and securing his belt, which Wei Ying’s Yunmeng bell charm dangles from.
Before leaving his Jingshi, he takes something and keeps it under a hidden compartment on the ground. He dusts the incense burner before lowering it into a box—that contains letters, drawings, four unopened jars of Emperor’s Smile, and Wei Ying’s red ribbon. He picks up the last one and smells it, like he does every morning before he goes off.
He straps Wangji on his back, carries Bichen and exits his room. It’s another lonely day at the Cloud Recesses, one filled with classes, sword skill trainings and Sect conferences. But Lan Zhan will get through them like he never fails to everyday, so time passes faster and it would soon again be 9 P.M.
See you tonight, Wei Ying.