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All Hands On Deck

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The silence in the room is deafening as everyone looks at Wei Wuxian with wide, shocked eyes and gaping mouths. Jiang Cheng, who was about to eat a piece of cake, is in danger of letting the whole thing crumble to the floor. Wen Qing looks like she's a second away from laughing her ass off. His sister is slowly shaking her head. None of them seem to be in any way sympathetic.

It's distressing! He's pulled them all aside to get some perspective here, and all they're doing is staring at him like he's grown a second head. Lan Zhan. Has bought a ring. This is a defcon one, all hands on deck catastrophe.

"I didn't even know he is dating anyone!"


Jiang Yanli, best of sisters, smiles at him. "Xianxian, maybe you should sit down."

Wei Wuxian blinks. "Uh."

Wen Qing tries to hide her laughter behind a big glass of wine, but it's already most of the way empty. "You are such a moron, this is great."

Wei Wuxian looks from Jiang Yanli to Jiang Cheng and back again, seeking help he didn't even realize he needed. What the actual fuck?

Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes and stuffs his face with the rest of his cake. He chews loudly, bits of crumb falling out. He even eats angry, it's a little disturbing. "Listen, idiot, we know. If you thought you somehow kept it a secret that you and Lan Wangji are a thing, you didn't. The ring is obviously for you. As much as I don't like the guy, he's stupidly besotted with you."

Wei Wuxian's mouth falls open, but all the words have evaporated. He and Lan Zhan are what now?! That's... that's really not. True. Or possible. All of his friends are insane. "We're not together," he says, because he needs everyone to understand this very important fact.

More silence, expressions of shock that are somehow even deeper. Maybe it's not shock. Maybe it's an indictment of his mental faculties.

Jiang Yanli, who is the bravest of them all, takes a step toward him. He suddenly feels like a trapped animal. If only Lan Zhan were here, he'd probably know what to say. Except if Lan Zhan were here, Wei Wuxian would never have even mentioned his suspicions. They have a hard time talking about feelings on a good day, and the discovery of the ring - accidental and not a violation of privacy! He was cleaning! It happens sometimes! - has thrown him completely for a loop. He is already seeing himself kicked out of his own home to make space for Lan Zhan's new wife.

"A-Xian, we're all friends here. If there is something you need to talk about, we can help. You know we're here for you, right?"

Wei Wuxian is still stuck on the part where apparently they think Lan Zhan wants to marry him. They're not together! He's wished they were every time the thought of dating had come up, sure, and it had always felt so silly to try and find someone else when what they had was already pretty great. Just not. That.

Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes. "Wei Wuxian, have you been drinking too much? Should we call your future husband to come pick you up?"

Lan Zhan isn't here because he has a thing with his family. A secret thing he hasn't explained to Wei Wuxian even though he usually tells him everything. Wei Wuxian narrows his eyes. "No, I haven't even touched the Emperor's Smile yet."

Jiang Yanli puts a hand on his shoulder and there's an odd look on her face. A sudden understanding. "Xianxian, I need you to think very hard right now, can you do that?" Wei Wuxian nods and she gives him a smile. He feels like a dog that's gotten a treat for being a good boy. "What do you think Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng fought about last year, at your birthday party?"

Wei Wuxian only remembers bits and pieces of that night, mostly because he'd been staring at Lan Zhan through all of it, and also getting spectacularly drunk. "I don't remember? That time, I did touch the Emperor's Smile. A lot."

"Oh my god," Jiang Cheng says and stalks off. "He's so stupid, it's not even funny anymore," he yells over his shoulder as he heads to the bar.

Wen Qing drains her glass and stands behind Jiang Yanli like a human exclamation mark. She's grinning. "They were fighting about you. Lan Wangji was basically asking for permission to date you, in his own weird way, and Jiang Cheng was having a fit about how that's none of his business and also it's archaic to expect permission for something that should be a personal choice. You know, feminism 101."

Permission. To date him. Wei Wuxian's brain is getting stuck in a weird loop here. He looks to Jiang Yanli, his only true ally. Everyone else is canceled. "I'm sure I'd know if Lan Zhan and I were dating," he says to her and it sounds like a question.

Jiang Yanli smiles, all gentle and warm, but with a bit of an edge. "Xianxian, are you really sure about that? I saw you kissing him on New Year's Eve."

Wei Wuxian grimaced. "It's a tradition!"

"Not here, it's not," Jiang Cheng throws in as he hands Jiang Yanli a glass of pure, liquid gold. It looks like Lan Zhan's eyes. It also probably packs a punch. "You come to every party and function with Lan Wangji attached at the hip. You bring him to family dinners. You go to family dinners with Lan Qiren because Lan Wangji wants you there."

Wen Qing takes the glass from Jiang Yanli and proceeds to drain a good half of it. "You live together. Last time we had a party at your place, which frankly should tell you something in itself, because what other reason in the world could there be for Lan Wangji indulging you in having a party where he lives," Wen Qing says all in one breath, "your second bedroom didn't even look like a person lived there."

They... they sleep together sometimes, alright. Wei Wuxian has nightmares from his accident a couple of years back and having Lan Zhan right there always seems to help. It's not like they do anything. "It's not like we do anything!"

And then, betrayal. Jiang Yanli takes his hand and smiles. "I know the both of you are not always very good at talking about your feelings, but think about all the things you know about Lan Wangji. Everything he does for you, everything you do for him. The way he lets you touch him. Remember how he was back in school? He has changed so much, all for you."

Wei Wuxian is feeling a little faint. "He... he doesn't like me like that. I'm not..."

Jiang Cheng actually rushes to cover his mouth. He looks kind of scary from up close. "If you're going to say that you're not good enough for that stuck up asshole, I will punch you so hard what's left of your crappy self-esteem is going to fall out. Understand?" There's something going on in his eyes, they're kind of shiny.

Wei Wuxian nods.

Still, his friends and family can't be right about this. He's not that oblivious. He's going to prove it. He takes out his phone.

"I'm going to call Lan Zhan and I'm going to prove to you that you're all full of shit," he says as he dials.

Lan Zhan picks up almost immediately. Wei Wuxian puts him on speaker. "Wei Ying?" Lan Zhan's voice is like a warm fire on a cold night, like curling up with your favorite book under a nice, heavy blanket.

"Hey, uh, so I've been arguing with my sister and brother over something," he's suddenly desperately afraid of the answer Lan Zhan is going to give. "They've been saying that-"

Jiang Cheng grabs the phone. "Listen, when's your anniversary? Wei Wuxian is an idiot and can't remember."

He holds out the phone like that makes the silence any louder. Then Lan Zhan speaks, clipped and sharp. "The 5th of next month, we're having dinner at Gina's."

Gina's is Wei Wuxian's favorite Italian restaurant and Lan Zhan invited him a while ago. In retrospect, the conversation makes a lot more sense if he assumes they're dating. Oh fuck.

Oh fuck, Lan Zhan wants to marry him.

He grabs the phone, turns off the speaker and cradles it to his face. "Lan Zhan, hey, I'm sorry. I didn't realize." That we're fucking dating. That we've been together for nearly a year. That I've been cockblocking myself for at least that long. "You know that sometimes my memory is a little iffy. See you at home?"

Lan Zhan's voice softens immeasurably. "Of course, I'll be there soon."

Wei Wuxian hangs up. His legs do a solid impression of jello and just sort of wobble underneath him and he needs to sit down. The phone drops to the floor, completely forgotten. "I'm getting married," he says, his voice a stunned monotone. "I'm getting married and I haven't even had sex yet."

Jiang Cheng groans and walks away, probably getting more booze. A hand lands on Wei Wuxian's shoulder, tiny and warm and soft, exactly like the rest of his sister. She's smiling, of course she is. "Some people wait for marriage, it's not unusual."

Wei Wuxian stares at her. Wen Qing laughs in the background.

He needs to go home. There is no way they're waiting for fucking marriage. Waiting for marriage to fuck. No fucking way. He stands up, fighting his legs and gravity and heads for the door. "I... I need to go home. Right now."

Jiang Cheng stops him on the way out. He looks like he's ready to murder a guy. "I'm your best man and don't you forget it," he says, rough like he's been yelling, and hugs him. Wei Wuxian can feel him tremble, or maybe that's his own traitorous limbs going jelly soft, vibrating with every beat of his stupid heart. Jiang Cheng is squeezing the air out of his lungs. "You're so dense and I love you, don't forget that."

Wei Wuxian pulls away, nodding because there are no words left on his tongue. As he walks away, through the open door he can hear  Wen Qing yell obscenities and looks back only to find her draping herself over Jiang Cheng's back, who blushes all the way to his ears. Oh. Right. He remembers what it took for his sister and Jin Zixuan to get married. This thing, it runs in the family.

He finds himself grinning at his brother and his friend. He gives them a two-fingered salute and swirls around as if he's wearing robes, rushing down the stairs to get to his car. Someone's getting lucky tonight, and if Wen Qing is bold enough, it won't just be him and Lan Zhan. He laughs all the way home.