Everyone says Lan Zhan is cold but Wei Ying knows better. Lan Zhan can be icy, but he is also an all consuming fire.
It’s there in his gaze, the way he moves with Bichen, the intent behind his words. The gentle way he touches Wei Ying.
Even now, with Wei Ying’s hand in both of his, resting on his lap, the words Lan Zhan uttered so clearly and softly ring in a neverending echo in his ears. Wei Ying burns.
“Marry me,” he’d said.
Wei Ying can’t look at him.
He knows his worth and he’s never lost sleep over it. He knows what he’s good at, how to play to his strengths. It’s just another fact of life: the sky is blue, grass is green, he is who he is. He’s been called arrogant too many times because of it.
But no one talks about what the other side of knowing your worth means.
Wei Ying burns from the hope in Lan Zhan’s request, the tenderness in his patience, the terror in having to explain that- that he’s not good enough and the ramifications this will have on Lan Zhan’s reputation if there is no longer any ambiguity about what they are to each other.
He can’t stand in front of everyone and be honest about this. He can’t do this to Lan Zhan.
He can’t say no either.
There’s not enough air in the Jingshi. Their bed is too small.
“It’s okay,” Lan Zhan says after awhile and brushes his lips against Wei Ying’s temple. It’s a miracle Wei Ying isn’t a heap of ashes yet.
He’s seen the scars and knows what Lan Zhan endured those sixteen years. He knows what they mean.
He also knows what Lan Zhan means now. Lan Zhan folding this moment away, quietly waiting, settling for whatever he thinks Wei Ying is willing to give.
But also: Lan Zhan not giving a damn about what the rest of the cultivation world thinks of his reputation. It doesn’t sit well with Wei Ying, it never has.
Wei Ying meets Lan Zhan’s gaze. You deserve more. I’m scared- for you. They precede a mountain of explanations and concerns but his throat is too tight. The words never make it past his lips.
Lan Zhan cups Wei Ying’s cheek with one hand and gently wipes away a tear with his thumb. “It’s okay,” he repeats, soft and sure. He squeezes Wei Ying’s hand with the other. Wei Ying swallows.
The first time Wei Ying fell off a cliff was terrifying. A deep chill in the loneliness and finality of his action.
It’s vastly different the second time round. A terror that tugs the corners of his lips up. No longer cold. Wei Ying presses his face into Lan Zhan’s palm.
He embraces the fire.
“Yes,” Wei Ying whispers, and Lan Zhan’s face is morning sunlight on snow.