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Adrenaline is always high after a nighthunt no matter how simple or complicated, no matter how taxing.

 

In his first life, Wei Wuxian had never been quite sure how to deal with the excess of nervous energy or the heightening of his body after a nighthunt, or before one, or during one or if he was given too much time alone with his thoughts.

 

As a very young junior disciple, he’d tried breaking into a sprint when he felt it. It was effective for the most part, but by the time he’d burned himself out he usually ended up a bit lost or otherwise quite far from where he was expected.

 

It helped later on to have something to keep his hands busy. Hands and mouth, really, but it wasn’t wise to chatter too much around ghouls and monsters, or in the presence of Madame Yu. It was safer to twirl strings or a twig between his fingers, and he could always hide it away in his sleeve.

 

Maybe he’d hoped doing the same with Chenqing would ease the roiling, hungry shadows living in him. His memories are not so concrete after his first stay in the Burial Mounds and it feels foolish to think that he ever would have thought that something so mundane could help him. Foolish, but if he’s a little kinder to himself, desperate.

 

By the time he’d died, there wasn’t anything left to soothe, no excess of anything in him, just an empty howling with a man’s shape.

 

It’s an improvement that he feels so electrified now, that he has any energy at all to burn. And someone to burn it with.

 

The good thing about such a dangerous line of work is that most people stay clear of the area, even after the work is done. They won’t risk setting foot here until at least sometime tomorrow morning after he and Lan Wangji have returned to the village head with confirmation of suppression, refusal of any payment and a fistful of protective talismans just to be sure.

 

Wei Wuxian watches for a moment while Lan Wangji takes his time slipping the protective cover over his guqin. The fact that he’s already stowed Bichen, sheath and all propped against a nearby tree, means he probably knows what’s coming next but he’s going to be a good, patient boy and wait for it anyway. He always humors him with these games.

 

He leans back against the tree, hip out and arm tossed over his forehead in a swoon serving to cover his blatantly hungry gaze.

 

“Lan Zhan!” he calls and hears all movement cease. He’d say this man of his is really too easy, but he’s not entirely convinced he won’t sense that and make him work harder for what he wants tonight. Or tomorrow, “Oh, Lan Zhan, won’t you do this poor husband of yours a favor?”

 

He peeks out from under his hand just long enough to see Lan Wangji coming towards him. He has to bite his lip to keep from grinning at him like a madman.

 

“Always, Wei Ying.” He says in that low, sincere tone of his, like such words are something Wei Wuxian can handle right now. Even with his eyes mostly covered he knows Lan Wangji is looking at him. He sighs and drops his arms to his sides, fingers catching on Lan Wangji’s sleeve like it wasn’t on purpose.

 

He takes Lan Wangji’s other hand in his own and draws it up above his shoulder, resting the back of his own hand against the tree and penning himself in on that side with the solid warmth of his husband’s arm, the drape of his wide sleeve.

 

“Lan Zhan,” he tips his chin up like he always does to request a kiss without saying so, and he doesn’t have to break out the doe eyes for Lan Zhan, but it’s fun so he does it anyway, “I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight without your help.”

 

Lan Wangji kisses him, soft and warm on the corner of his mouth. He trails down over his jaw, nosing at the tender skin of his throat.

 

"What does Wei Ying need?" The warm breath of his words puffs against his skin, sending prickles down his spine.

 

“He needs his husband,” Wei Wuxian could finish it there and get his point across perfectly well, but why do that when he could play a little more? He takes his fingers out of Lan Wangji’s sleeve and reaches into his own robes to find the small qiankun pouch he had gifted to him, kept tucked against his chest, “To do whatever he’d like to this body of his.”

 

He wants Lan Wangji to fuck this nervous energy out of him. He wants him to use him however he wishes until they both have what they need, take the responsibility off of his shoulders and just ruin him for the night.

 

From where he’s ducked his head underneath Wei Wuxian’s chin to get at his neck and the sliver of exposed chest, Lan Wangji hums.

 

“Are you certain that you’ll be able to return to town this way?” He worries the skin between his teeth to leave a mark, soothing the hurt with a gentle lick. Wei Wuxian pushes a familiar shape into his hand, a small vial of oil he’s taken to carrying with him when they venture out alone. He knows what he’s about.

 

“Lan er-gege will just have to carry me then, won’t he?” He smirks and delights in the tiny huff of a laugh against his throat.

 

The truth of it is that he’ll be able to walk, even if it takes him a little while to regain his bearings, but Lan Wangji likes to hold him and Wei Wuxian likes to be held. He gets a certain kick out of just how easy it is for his husband to pick him up and go on his quietly merry way.

 

Lan Wangji lets go of his husband’s hand to take his waist instead and Wei Wuxian pushes his hips up against him. He stretches a bit to throw his arms around his neck and press the line of his body against him, warm and willing.

 

“Is that for me?” Wei Wuxian blinks up at him, managing to look quite innocent while rubbing himself against his husband’s hardening cock, even through five layers of those damned Lan robes.

 

“Yes,” Lan Wangji pets a hand down the curve of his waist to rest on the jut of his hip and digs his fingers into the soft swell of his ass, over his robes, “All of it.”

 

Wei Wuxian smiles into their next kiss, nothing so sweet and chaste as the one that came before it. Lan Wangji nips at his lower lip and swallows the gasp that draws out of him, earns Wei Ying tugging at his hair in reward. His fingers catch the knot of the Lan forehead ribbon and when they break apart for air, Lan Wangji nods his assent.

 

Untying it almost makes Wei Wuxian giddy. Part of it does come from touching something that he was previously told not to touch, but the joy of it is in knowing what it means. Knowing that Lan Wangji knows him and has chosen him as his one and only, that he’s going to keep him.

 

Once it’s free, he hands it back to his husband and receives another kiss in exchange. When they part, Lan Wangji guides his hands down from his shoulders to his chest and takes one to hold in his own.

 

He winds the ribbon around one delicate wrist until it’s tight enough to stay and ties it with a sense of prim finality.

 

“My restraint is with you,” he tells Wei Wuxian, and then, “Turn around.”

 

If he doesn’t make at least a little bit of a fool out of himself, sometimes it gets to be too much. So, he does as he’s told and then some. He bends down and braces his hands against the tree, standing on his toes to exaggerate the dip of his back, pushing his ass in the air. He tosses a wink over his shoulder at Lan Zhan.

 

“Like this?”

 

Evidently, yes. Exactly like that, because Lan Wangji snakes his hand underneath the front of his robes to get at the ties of his trousers and yanks them down as soon as they come loose enough. Wei Wuxian shudders as his cock springs free, exposed to the cool night air.

 

Lan Wangji gathers up the skirts of his robes, outer first then the inner, tucking the hems of both into the sash around Wei Wuxian’s waist to keep them out of his way. So considerate!

 

Wei Wuxian allows himself to feel a bit smug when his husband pauses in his task. He knows Lan Zhan likes his ass. Pale and round as the moon, he’d called it once. He sways his hips, impatient and goading.

 

“Ah!” he lets out a yip, “Lan Zhan!” his affronted tone breaks into laughter, “Did you just bite my ass?”

 

“I did.” Lan Wangji says, and he’s proud of it, Wei Wuxian can tell that without even looking at him. He lays a palm over the tiny mark he’s left, gently patting him before attending to what needs attending. There’s a rustle of fabric. And then another. And another. For the sake of his dwindling patience and eagerness to have Lan Wangji on him and inside him, he really hopes he’s not stripping out of all six or so layers he’s wearing.

 

The distinct sound of the stopper being removed from the tiny pot of oil he’s taken to carrying around has him move his feet apart, legs spreading as if by the command of it. He still jumps a bit when, a few moments later, a slick finger slides between his cheeks.

 

Lan Wangji teases at his entrance, dragging the pad of his finger around the rim. He presses in a little too slowly, like he’s asking permission and Wei Wuxian whines, unashamed to make it known that he wants more. He works the one in and out of him for a bit, his other hand rubbing up and down the outside of his thigh, soothing.

 

He’s rewarded for his patience with a second finger stretching him alongside the first and it is absolutely not enough. He pushes back in rhythm with Lan Wangji’s fingers thrusting and curling inside him, taking them in deeper and opening himself up on them.

 

“Please,” he pants, and is granted the stretch of a third finger. His panting stretches into a groan. It’s good, it feels good but it’s not enough, he’s never wanted to be accused of being greedy, but-

 

“Please, what?” Lan Wangji asks in the same tone he uses to ask for his opinion on everything from talisman work to compositions. There’s only the barest edge of something dark and hungry at the edges of his voice.

 

Lan Wangji knows how impatient Wei Wuxian gets, how little he minds pain. It won’t stop him from taking his time to get him ready. Sometimes he likes to see how long he can go before he begs to have him inside.

 

“Please, give me your cock,” he spares a glance over his shoulder, ignoring the strain in his neck, and is immensely pleased to see that Lan Wangji, despite being mostly clothed, has his dick out for him and is coating the hard length of himself in oil. “I’ve been good, haven’t I? Best behavior!”

 

Wei Wuxian is glad he’s opted for mercy. So glad, that he ducks his head to grin like a fool when he feels Lan Wangji grip at his hips to keep him where he wants.

 

“You are always good,” Lan Wangji says, “Not always well behaved.”

 

He’s slow to enter him, inch by inch into the heat of him until his hips are flush with his ass. He settles over his back, arm around his tight waist, the warm weight of his body a grounding comfort as Wei Wuxian adjusts to the hard length inside him. He still finds himself a little at a loss with how big he is, how full he feels with Lan Wangji inside of him.

 

He loves this. Maybe it's because he spent so long with the hollowed out space in him like something alive and hurting, his emptiness a wild and clawing thing. Maybe it's just because it's Lan Wangji, who knows him and loves him regardless.

 

Wei Wuxian expects him to go as slowly as he had been fucking him with his fingers, to rock sweetly into him.

 

Instead he finds himself woefully empty. He’s about to turn and ask if his husband would really have him beg for it when the man in question slams into him so suddenly he can’t help but cry out. His legs almost bow with it and he sort of stomps on Lan Wangji’s toes because they seem more solid and steady than the ground beneath them.

 

He’s likely to leave some suspicious claw marks in this poor tree because he still hasn’t recovered his grip and feels a bit like he’s clinging onto it for dear life with each forward snap of Lan Wangji’s hips driving his length inside.

 

Even if he did let go, Lan Zhan wouldn’t let him fall. Even if he wasn’t holding him by the waist with one arm, the other braced next to his head.

 

“Good?” he asks, breath hot against his ear before he nips at the sensitive skin behind it. He splays his big hand low over Wei Wuxian’s stomach, so warm against his skin. He must feel how hard he’s breathing, how alive he feels. Can he feel himself inside? Probably not, but that’s absolutely not going to stop Wei Wuxian from thinking about it.

 

“Uh-huh,” his voice breaks when Lan Wangji presses deeper, thrusting up and sparks bloom behind his eyes, “Oh! More of that!”

 

Lan Wangji may not be as obedient as Wei Wuxian had once thought, but this, he obeys. He really thinks he could come just like this, Lan Wangji mounting him in the forest, body draped over him like a blanket.

 

There’s something almost feral about it with the moon glowing over their heads, over treetops. By all means he should feel exposed, but Lan Zhan is covering him, filling him. Taking him so rough like this but holding him like something precious all the while, kissing at his neck and jaw like there’s something in his skin he cannot go without, nose pressing into his cheek. He thinks that he might be trying to look at his face, even like this.

 

Lan Wangji has always preferred to see him.

 

“Good boy,” his voice sounds a little broken through his panting, “You’re so good for me, too. Ah!” his fingers dig into the poor bark of the tree and he jolts when the hand at his stomach ventures lower until long, calloused fingers graze his cock.

 

Lan Wangji swipes at the pre-come leaking out of him, getting his fingers wet with it.

 

“Do you want me to touch you, or will you come like this?” It sounds like a challenge to Wei Wuxian.

 

“As long as you’re inside me.” Wei Wuxian can feel his body growing tense, a roiling heat low in his belly and burning fast, “Anything, if you’re inside me like this.” There probably won’t be time or need for Lan Wangji to stroke him to completion, “Fuck, Lan Zhan.”

 

If he were not being so thoroughly fucked, he might be a little more concerned that he’s likely about to come all over his robes and have to trudge back to town like that. He tries, with barely a coherent thought in his head, to shove them up a little more.

 

Lan Wangji must notice, because he wraps his pre-come slick hand around his cock and suddenly, his robes are absolutely not of any concern.

 

Wei Wuxian comes with a sharp cry, legs shaking as he pitches forward a bit. Lan Wangji steadies him with the arm across his waist, hand covered in come. If Wei Wuxian didn’t know better, he might have apologized to his husband.

 

There’s the press of teeth on his shoulder as Lan Wangji stills for a moment, finishes inside him. He wants to clench around him, wants to keep him and milk him dry, but he can’t even catch his breath.

 

Lan Wangji pulls out of him, rearranges him so that he’s able to stand, even if it’s slumped against the tree with his chest still heaving.

 

Wei Wuxian grabs for his hand and brings it to his lips, pink tongue flicking out between his fingers to lick them clean of his own release. For the sake of being thorough, he fits two of them into his mouth for further attention and sucks.

 

He slides his mouth off of them when he’s done. It’s only fair to help clean up, and even if the taste isn’t great, the blown dark look in Lan Wangji’s eyes is worth it.

 

“See, Lan Zhan? I can clean up after myself,” it sounds entirely too smug for someone who can’t seem to get his legs to hold him up on their own.“but you, hmph.”

 

“Is there something wrong?” He runs his thumb over Wei Wuxian’s bottom lip where it pokes out in one of his fake pouts, amusement beneath the steadiness of his voice.

 

“I just don’t think it’s the right time for a little one,” he gives a purposefully dramatic sigh, grateful that his husband never seems to tire of his games or ask too many questions about them. Unless of course, he’s assigned a role, which Wei Wuxian usually abandons anyway in his haste to get on with it despite plotting the entire thing. “We have so much to do lately, would you really leave this poor husband barefoot and pregnant?”

 

In the night’s quiet, Wei Wuxian worries maybe he’s gone too far. Lan Wangji has a faraway look about him that isn’t anything like the fond and responsive man from just moments ago.

 

Maybe he somehow knows that Wei Wuxian would have absolutely no complaints about it, were things to go that way. He’d have the exact opposite of complaints.

 

He’s about to laugh it off to try and save himself the embarrassment he didn’t think himself capable of, when the esteemed Hanguang-jun looks directly into his eyes and says,

 

“I would make sure you had shoes.”

 

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Wuxian wheezes, caught completely the fuck off guard. “How are you the best and worst thing for my heart?”

 

He loves him. Gods and heavens, he loves him. Lan Wangji kisses his forehead, right between his brows.

 

"What're you doing?" he asks when Lan Wangji goes to his knees in front of him. He'd be lying if he ever said the thrill of that alone had worn off. His robes are decent enough but just this side of disheveled, he’s already put his dick away. Pity. He looks naked anyway, with his ribbon still around Wei Wuxian's wrist.

 

Lan Wangji blinks up at him sweetly, hands an anchor weight on his hips.

 

"I will take responsibility."

 

Wei Wuxian's heart is suddenly up to some funny business in his chest because he’s not exactly sure what Lan Wangji is claiming responsibility for. For making a mess of him again, maybe. But that’s not at all what’s making him feel so suddenly exposed, which sure is an odd thing for him to feel all of a sudden when he’s had his bare ass out for a while now.

 

He’d just been running his mouth, as usual, or so he thought. The constant stream of nonsense was usually only when they were actually fucking. He’d said that after the fact and Lan Wangji had taken a minute, sure, but then just went with it anyway, didn’t even say a word against it.

 

He can examine that when he has the wherewithal to process it. Maybe a couple weeks from now.

 

Lan Wangji kisses up the inside of his thigh, nuzzling at the soft, sweat-slick skin. He tugs Wei Wuxian down a bit by his hips so that he’s very nearly sitting on his face. This is where he begins lapping at his own seed running down between the insides of his husband’s thighs.

 

Wei Wuxian really shouldn’t be surprised by things like this anymore, by how filthy this man is willing to get for him. He still can’t help the embarrassing squeak that leaves his mouth when Lan Wangji’s hands drift back from his hips to spread his ass. He keeps it to himself when he feels the flat of his tongue against his hole.

 

Lan Wangji is licking himself right back out of Wei Wuxian.

 

Wei Wuxian grabs at his hair just to have something to hold on to. It’s not the first time he’s had Hanguang-jun’s face in his ass, but it’s the first time he’s done something like this. The first time he’s used his tongue to clean him up after he’s had his way with him.

 

It feels almost like he’s getting ready to fuck him all over again, gentle kitten licks soothing over his swollen entrance before dipping inside, making him feel more wet than he already is with Lan Wangji’s release. He wants it, but that would erase all of this hard work his husband is doing for him.

 

His muscles jump at a more insistent press inside and his thighs close around Lan Wangji’s neck for a moment before he remembers himself and lets him go. The answering groan from Lan Wangji is almost a growl, so he settles them back around him, not as tight.

 

“Lan Zhan, you really are something.” His voice hitches up on the last syllable when Lan Wangji’s tongue works inside him. The sound of it is obscene, spit and come and oil all mingling. “My husband takes such good care of me.”

 

There’s a wet ‘pop’ almost like the sound of a kiss when Lan Wangji deems his task finished and ducks his head out from the cradle of Wei Wuxian’s thighs.

 

He’s filthy. His plush lips are wet and shining red, chin painted with his own come. He looks pleased with himself, proud and almost defiant.

 

“Look at you,” Wei Wuxian gasps, breath still coming out choppy. He halfheartedly begins to pull his trousers back up, tying them up sloppily. He untucks the hems of his robes from his waist, letting them fall over his hips. “Just look at you.”

 

Lan Wangji removes a handkerchief from his sleeve and cleans his face with all the delicate grace expected of a Lan and a wickedness no one would ever believe. That’s just as well. No one else should get to see this. This is for him.

 

“I would rather look at you.”

 

Wei Wuxian covers his face and yells into his hands, a sound like a teapot left to boil.

 

“Lan Zhan,” he says, still muffled by his hands. “Dear husband, sweetheart. Are you really going to bully me like this?”

 

Lan Wangji doesn’t have to use Wei Wuxian’s thighs for leverage to help himself stand up, but he does so anyway, hands roaming up from his knees. He takes him gently by the chin, tilting his face up to get a better look at the flush in his cheeks, the shining dark of his eyes. He strokes over the point of it once with his thumb, approving.

 

“Mn.”

 

“I should be grateful,” Wei Wuxian sniffs, folding his arms over his chest. “At least you didn’t make me walk all the way back to the inn, all full and dripping with you.”

 

He realizes it before the words are even completely out of his mouth. Now, there’s a concept. Maybe he is a genius after-all.

 

“Lan Zhan,” he starts, and looks at him. He’s already staring right back at him. Of course, Lan Wangji is also a genius.

 

“Next time.”

 

“You’re the best.”

 

As if to further prove Wei Wuxian correct, Lan Wangji returns from retrieving his belongings and sweeps him up into his arms for the trip back to town, even though his legs are perfectly fine.

 

 


 

 

Koi Tower does not hold fond memories for either of them.

 

For Wei Wuxian, it’s too close to the worst mistakes of his first life and more recently, a little stabbing between family.

 

For Lan Wangji it’s the fresh pain of setting foot here for the first time without his secluded and heartbroken older brother whose trust was betrayed by the man who used to call this place home.

 

Wei Wuxian does not make a habit of dwelling on his first life if he can help it, and would go absolutely mad if he did. He cannot change anything now, no matter how fresh some wounds still feel.

 

Lan Wangji, though, is far too tense for this to be his usual discomfort with the political posturing and excess that this place will never truly be divorced from in his mind.

 

He knows that Lan Zhan is like him a bit, in that he will keep his hurt all to himself if he can help it.

 

It's a little easier to get his hidden hurts out of him, though, without something picking him up by the ankles and shaking him down until everything he's kept too close is scattered on the ground and he can't even scramble to pick it up. Wei Wuxian is intimately familiar with that method. He’s not a fan.

 

He can usually just ask Lan Wangji what’s on his mind and he’ll tell him.

 

In this case, he already knows.

 

Lan Wangji loves his brother and hates what has been done to him, but it’s already too late. There is guilt and regret here for him, too. His eyes are on Wei Wuxian today because he can still reach him, he can still protect him, at least against anything in the present. They have both been granted a second chance in that regard.

 

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian says, lacing his fingers through Lan Wangji’s longer ones where they rest in the dip of his waist, “If I refused to set foot anywhere I’d been stabbed, I’d barely have anywhere left to go.”

 

“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji says, a scold that turns into a sigh. Apologetically, Wei Wuxian bumps him with his hip and links his arm with his own.

 

“Nobody is going to do anything to me.” He hopes. If they do, he’s betting on some folks just looking at him funny or pretending that he doesn’t exist. He handled it as Mo Xuanyu and he can handle it now. “I don’t care if someone gets rude with me. Plus, these are all minor sects under LanlingJin and guess who the Sect Leader’s cool uncle is?”

 

“Is it not Jiang Wanyin?”

 

“Absolutely not!” Wei Wuxian is well aware that he is cackling and quite possibly frightening the group of cultivators in muted orange some distance behind them, “I know that must have pained you to say, and yet you go to such lengths to tease me? For shame Hanguang-jun!”

 

The tiny quirk of his lips and the softening beneath his eyes is worth being teased for.

 

It’s still relatively early for them to be showing up, but their latest nighthunt had lead them precariously close to Jin territory as it was and Jin Ling had sort of implied that things might go a little easier for him if someone brought their scary husband along, as the two of them had been the first cultivators to encounter the tainted land anyway, so. Totally unrelated to what was previously discussed, he could keep Fairy in his room for the day.

 

Wei Wuxian still hadn’t quite figured out which one of them was supposed to be the ‘scary’ husband.

 

“Say, Lan er-gege,” he nods towards the many tiered stairs, still as ostentatious as anything found at Koi Tower even before the Sunshot Campaign, “How about we pay our respects to Sect Leader Jin, and then,” he walks two fingers all the way up Lan Wangji’s arm to his shoulder. "We make some better memories for ourselves?"

 

In all honesty, this walk alone was better than any of his prior experiences at this place. He doesn’t want to presume, but he thinks this is also true for Lan Wangji. His face is doing that thing again that he’s come to realize it only does around Sizhui and himself. Wei Wuxian can’t really put a name to it, but it makes him feel thawed out. A river swelling back to life after a long winter in stasis.

 

He hopes that this is how he makes Lan Wangji feel, too.

 

“I am interested to see what you come up with.” Lan Wangji’s voice is a warm rumble in his ear and he shudders. In public, at that! Hanguang-jun is a true menace.

 

“You know how creative I am,” Wei Wuxian says. “I hope I don’t disappoint.”

 

Lan Wangji gives a thoughtful hum and says, “I don’t believe that would be possible. My husband never disappoints.”

 

“Bullying! Torment! Woe! Don’t you smile at me, Hanguang-jun.”

 

Lan Wangji has the absolute gall to hold a finger in front of his own lips as they approach the tower, as if the current theatrics are not the direct result of his own sweet words. How very dare he? The mirth in his eyes is something Wei Wuxian wishes he could preserve in a jar to drink whenever he wants.

 

All the golden adornments and carefully tended flowers make him itch for some reason. He quite likes flowers, so it’s probably just that they’re here.

 

It’s nothing like the lotus ponds of Yunmeng or the natural looking gardens in Gusu, and he can’t imagine anyone actually living here. Although, the younger version of himself thought the same of the Cloud Recesses, and even younger still he thought the same of Lotus Pier. So, he’ll just wait and see.

 

There’s probably rules against pinching a Sect Leader’s cheeks, even if the aforementioned Sect Leader is one’s sulky teenage nephew. So, Wei Wuxian admirably refrains from doing so and beams at him instead. It’s a little obnoxious. They have this in common, and the fact that Jin Ling can’t currently stick his tongue out at him is clearly taking its toll on the young man.

 

“Sect Leader Jin.” Lan Wangji salutes him, as is proper, and Wei Wuxian follows suit. The whole thing leaves Jin Ling looking a bit startled and it’s about then that Wei Wuxian realizes he is not the scary husband.

 

There’s nothing for Jin Ling to fear from Hanguang-jun, but he doesn’t know that, doesn’t know how good this man is beyond the righteousness he’s known for. Too many do not.

 

“Hanguang-jun.” Jin Ling manages to greet him, returning the salute, “Thank you for offering your assistance.”

 

“There is no need for thanks,” Lan Wangji tells him.

 

“We can give our full report once everybody else gets here,” Wei Wuxian says, tilting into Lan Wangji’s space. “You read through the letter, right?”

 

“Yes, I read the letter.” He must want to roll his eyes so badly, Wei Wuxian can see the effort it’s taking him not to. Poor, poor boy.

 

“Good! So you’ve got the gist of it,” he chirps and throws an arm around Lan Wangji for good measure. “So, just let us know when everybody else shows up?”

 

There’s a very clear ‘you will not get away with this’ expression on the young man’s face. Wei Wuxian fears for a moment that he’s going to make him stay right here and individually greet every single cultivator that arrives, but Jin Ling probably knows better.

 

Blessedly, his darling nephew only makes a face and asks one of the servants to show these esteemed guests to their room. Wei Wuxian’s relief is premature, however, because as soon as he grabs onto Lan Wangji’s hand to tug him along for what is sure to be a lovely time, Jin Ling pipes up.

 

“Forgive me, Hanguang-jun.” Oh no. He has no right to sound this polite, that brat. Who taught him this? Wei Wuxian is going to have words with them. “I’ve just remembered, the head disciple asked to be briefed before the other sects arrive.”

 

Wei Wuxian is dangerously close to thumping his foot on the floor in a gesture far more befitting one of Lan Wangji’s grumpier rabbits than a cultivator. He sends his husband a pleading look but relents anyway with a discreet squeeze of his hand inside his sleeve.

 

Lan Wangji sweeps a loose strand of his hair off of his shoulder, rubbing it between his fingers for longer than he should. Wei Wuxian can’t help but lean into the soft touch. So sweet, this man of his.

 

“Get some rest,” he says, low and soft, “I will join you soon.”

 

In all likelihood he really does mean for him to go and take a nap. Lan Wangji has been an ardent supporter of eliminating the Wei Ying Sleep Deficit since day one, but Wei Wuxian is going to have to pass this time. He’s a very busy man, afterall.

 

“I’ll be looking forward to it, husband.”

 

 

 

 

Lan Wangji is probably expecting to be pounced the moment he enters their guest room. Wei Wuxian has done that before, throwing himself into his waiting arms with force that would topple a lesser man.

 

Not today, though. Mostly because he’s a little irrationally worried that he’ll drip some of the copious amount of oil he’s used on himself all over the nice floor if he stands up. So, he waits on the bed in only his underobe with the rest of his clothes sort of folded in a pile in the corner. It’s not the sexy red one. He chose to wear the warm gray one today, the one that Lan Wangji says makes him look soft.

 

Soft is good for this, that’s what he wants. He’s well aware that his ribs still show and that his hips, rounded off as they are, still jut out under his skin. It’s better, he’s better than he was in those first weeks back in the land of the living and infinitely better than his condition all those years ago in the Burial Mounds.

 

In theory, everything he eats should be clinging to his frame after this body spent so long deprived. He has a bit of wiry muscle now, but that’s it. He wonders if it’s his attempts at strengthening the fledgling core that lives in this new body, burning through everything more quickly than he can replace it. He’s been a bit over eager, a bit too generous in his own estimation of his limits.

 

He could say it’s because he misses wielding Suibian and anybody would believe him but, he’s been dealing with that for almost two decades. He’s used to not cultivating the way he had in his youth, the ache of it is still there but it’s so old and so familiar that it’s just a part of him, like any scar. It’s not that he doesn’t care, but he’s waited long enough that he feels like he can wait however long it takes. There’s something he wants more than to go through his sword forms without feeling faint, but the path he has to take to get there is much the same, in theory.

 

He’s aware that his body, some days so far from even feeling like his, isn’t exactly… hospitable. Maybe if he’s patient enough or works hard enough, one day it will be. He doesn’t hurt so much these days, Mo Xuanyu’s old wounds are mostly repaired or in the process of being repaired through his cultivation. There’s no excess of resentful energy pooling in his chest and making his joints ache, but he still tires too easily and there’s still a gaunt quality to his cheeks that he understands makes Lan Wangji a little nervous.

 

Wei Wuxian doesn’t realize he’s frowning, lost in thought. He hooks his finger through the ring at the flared base of his most recent purchase. It had been somewhat expensive, a pretty thing made of jade. He’d only tried it out once before, alone in the Jingshi after a hot bath.

 

It felt cold inside him and made his muscles clench tight around it in a way that wasn’t entirely unpleasant, but for what he wants today it’s probably best to warm it up in his hands. He rolls it back and forth in his palms, smooth and cool against his heating skin. It might’ve helped to keep him open, but he really didn’t think Lan Wangji would be that long. There’s some stubborn thing in him that wants his husband to be the one to use it on him for real, not to keep him open, but to keep something in.

 

He’s not usually nervous about sex with his husband, of all things. It’s not that he thinks Lan Wangji will reject him (at least, he doesn’t think this consciously. He knows better. The idiot fear that still sleeps somewhere in his hindbrain does not.) but, it might be because this isn’t just--. If he’s really honest with himself this isn’t just a sex thing. Part of it is absolutely a sex thing, which is fine because Lan Wangji seemed totally into it last time and he wasn’t even prepared, but it’s not only that. If that’s all it was he wouldn’t be thinking about it so much, it wouldn’t paint his daydreams in such soft colors.

 

He wouldn’t want it so badly that it pulled and prodded at things inside him that he does not want prodded at.

 

He really should’ve picked up on this whole thing when, weeks into his resurrection, he fantasized about living with his very good friend Lan Wangji in their own little corner of the world and raising a mysteriously acquired little one with him as very good friends often do when they tolerate each other.

 

At least he waited until a very respectful three months post resurrection to start thinking about Lan Wangji fucking him romantically, about Lan Wangji actually wanting him.

 

The door slides open as Lan Wangji enters, peeking to the right and then to the left when he doesn’t find Wei Wuxian hiding in wait.

 

“Cute!” Wei Wuxian almost coos, he can see the telltale reddening of Lan Wangji’s ears from here. Sweet retribution for his earlier teasing. “Did you think I was going to jump out at you?”

 

“I had to be ready to catch you.” Lan Wangji’s eyes settle on him, mouth falling open just the smallest bit. It makes Wei Wuxian feel quite proud of himself but doesn’t quite counteract that bit of sweetness he was just subject to.

 

“Well, you’ve got me.” Wei Wuxian folds his arms behind his head and lays back, the long lines of his body and a generous flash of leg on display. “I was going to lay here naked with my nubile body ready for your taking,” he sighs, the grin on his face not matching the forlorn sound of it, “But, I got cold.”

 

“Then, should I warm you?”

 

“I think you should. I think you should do more than that.”

 

He should be used to just how few strides it takes for Lan Wangji to cross a room, especially when he’s there to cross to. Wei Wuxian sits up as he approaches, reaching out to either welcome him into his arms or yank him down on top of him. He hasn’t made up his mind yet.

 

He misses his chance because Lan Wangji kisses him sweetly on the lips the moment he’s in range and this turns the burning edges of his nerves to absolute goo, he settles back with his husband leaning over him. This is fine, too.

 

“Did that nephew of mine give you a hard time?” Wei Wuxian rests his crossed wrists at the nape of Lan Wangji’s neck, over his hair. He still has one hand closed around the jade plug, tucked carefully in his palm.

 

“He did not.” Lan Wangji answers him seriously. “Sect Leader Jin only wanted to ensure his head disciple understood the matter at hand.”

 

“Hm, I guess there’s no need for me to console you like I was planning.” As if he needs any excuse to drape himself over Lan Wangji and pepper his face in kisses. As if he needs a reason to dote on him other than the man stepping into his line of sight.

 

“It was terrible.” Lan Wangji says. In the same tone of voice he had previously used to assure Wei Wuxian that all was well and his nephew was not acting like the hellion most Jiang (Jiang Cheng) and Jiang-Adjacent (Wei Wuxian) children had the potential to be.

 

“Lying is prohibited!” Wei Wuxian crows, like he’s finally caught Lan Wangji. Like he hasn’t had him caught since they were fifteen.

 

“I am not lying.” Lan Wangji’s large hand settles over the wings of his shoulder blades, so warm over the thin fabric of his robe. There’s no way that he can’t feel the heat of Wei Wuxian’s bare skin underneath. “I knew that my husband was waiting. I could only imagine what he might be up to.”

 

Wei Wuxian kisses him then, and it’s dirty. He licks into Lan Wangji’s mouth the moment his lips part to allow it, tongue flicking over his back teeth. Lan Wangji chases when he pulls away, still trying to catch his lower lip in a bite.

 

“Get undressed and I’ll show you exactly what I was up to.”

 

The process of unwrapping Lan Wangji goes a lot more smoothly without Wei Wuxian pawing at him and growing increasingly frustrated with layer after layer. He folds his clothes and lays them in a neat stack on the low table toward the center of the room.

 

It’s quite nice to watch. Each layer leaves him looking a little more undone until the much beloved planes of his body, scars and all, are on display for him. He knows Wei Wuxian is watching him, so he watches right back.

 

Wei Wuxian settles in, reaches under his arm to untie the fastening of his inner robe. He lets it slip from his shoulders, hanging open at the front. He pats the bed for Lan Wangji to rejoin him and proceeds to wriggle the rest of the way out of his robe.

 

He follows the line of Lan Wangji’s eyes on him, landing first on his cock and drifting to his thighs when he parts them. Wei Wuxian drags his fingers through the wet sheen on his inner thighs and presents them for his approval, glistening.

 

“I got myself ready for you,” he says, “I can get you right inside me, perfect fit.” He’s maybe talking a bit too fast, still not entirely used to outright asking for what he wants when it matters. His knuckles go bloodless with the grip he has on the little jade toy.

 

“Wei Ying.” Lan Wangji comes to him, stands between his legs where they dangle over the edge of the bed. Wei Wuxian knocks his head against his hip and keeps it there when Lan Wangji’s hand comes to rest high on his nape, petting at the strands too fine and short to have been swept up into his ponytail.

 

“You always feel perfect around me,” he says, still stroking the back of his neck and letting him nuzzle into his side, “You… have no need to worry.”

 

Wei Wuxian snorts a laugh right against his skin and picks his head up, eyes going a bit cross because of the absurd proximity of Lan Wangji’s stiffening cock to his face. This conversation even happening right now is a bit miraculous.

 

“I’m not worried!” he chirps. About that, is the truth he cut off before it could escape. “It’s only,” he stretches that last syllable for more than it’s worth, buying himself time, formulating. “You know I love it when you play games with me.”

 

He reaches for Lan Wangji’s hand and gets the whole man instead, seated next to him. He can’t decide if he wants to finish his thought or forget about all of it and get right in his lap and on his cock.

 

Wei Wuxian pulls his legs up and rolls over to get himself back to the center of the bed. Lan Wangji is a little more graceful about it, or maybe it’s just the way the muscles in his back and shoulders move when he crawls over to him, like something hunting.

 

“I thought of a new one,” Wei Wuxian says, and it feels like a discussion over tea or nighthunt reports the way they’re just sitting like this, face to face across the bed. Lan Wangji nods, patient.

 

“I was thinking.” Wei Wuxian goes for confidence he doesn’t really feel right now but can usually dig up from somewhere. He anchors his hands on Lan Wangji’s parted knees like this will make him feel less of a fool, uses that leverage to crawl over and position himself just shy of where he really wants to be. Lan Wangji’s hands come home to roost around his waist, thumbs slow and soothing over his sides. “The memories we have here are all pretty bad, huh?”

 

It’s probably not a huge turn-on to mention something they have both been pretty actively trying not to think about, but that’s part of it. Somehow he’s made that part of it.

 

He loops his arms around Lan Wangij’s neck, bringing their faces close, he straightens up and parts his legs to straddle him. He wants it, he wants to sink down onto Lan Wangji until all of him is inside and he wants this:

 

“I think it would be a pretty nice memory if you put a baby in me. Right here.”

 

The hands at his waist seize up and he drops his head, the bloodrush to his face already making him feel too hot and too cold all at once.

 

“Ah, Lan Zhan-- I don’t know what I was saying. I know it's-- We can just--”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Wei Ying has such wonderful ideas.” He releases half of the grip he has around him so that he can reach up to cup his jaw. Wei Wuxian thinks he might be able to hear his own heart where it beats, frenzied, in his chest.

 

“Yeah?” He feels himself smile, can see it in the way that Lan Wangji’s eyes soften despite the hunger in them. Wei Wuxian wonders if he's this hard just from him, or if what he said was as exciting to his husband as it was to him.

 

“Mn,” Lan Wangji agrees and drops his hand to run up the soft inside of Wei Wuxian’s thigh, fingers shining with oil. For a moment he worries that he’s going to make him wait while he fingers him open despite all the work he’s done on himself on and off for a good twenty minutes, but he’s ridiculously relieved when he goes to slick himself up with it.

 

Wei Wuxian sinks down, Lan Wangji guiding himself to his hole. The slow stretch of it settles him, the fullness soothes him. He takes in a deep breath and the rest of his husband’s cock with it.

 

The moan it drags out of him should be embarrassing, but Lan Wangji has told him many times that he loves his voice, that he likes to hear what he’s doing to him.

 

“So deep in me, Lan er-gege, so full” He lifts himself up so that he has more space to rock his hips, starts to build a rhythm. Lan Wangji's arms come around him for him to brace himself on. If he wanted to, he could bounce Wei Wuxian on his cock like it was nothing, but he just lets him take what he wants, follows the pace he's set. “I know you'll get me pregnant this way- Ah!”

 

He gives a sharp gasp and clenches around him when Lan Wangji grazes his teeth over his nipple. They aren't any more sensitive than usual, despite the thrill it might’ve given him to discover that they were, but he’d been just a little distracted.

 

He drapes his arm over his shoulder and keeps fucking himself on Lan Wangji’s cock while he plays with his chest, sucking red marks into the tender skin and nipping around the sensitive buds.

 

“My milk hasn’t even come in yet,” he whines. Wonderful, he’s already nearing the babbling nonsense portion of their lovemaking. “Lan Zhan, are you just tasting me?”

 

His answer comes in the form of Lan Wangji laving his tongue over the dark of his nipples, reddened under his attention. Wei Wuxian sighs, eyelids fluttering, and then yelps when he bites down on the slope of the muscle there. He’s so gentle. He’s such a beast to him.

 

“You-- ah. You should be nice to me,” he teases, not putting as much of a whine in his voice as he could have. His heart wouldn’t be in it, too deeply invested elsewhere. “I’m in a delicate condition, you know.”

 

Lan Wangji kisses the complaints off his tongue, a growl in his throat. He unwinds his arm from around Wei Wuxian’s shoulder and drags his hand down his chest, flattens it over the soft skin of his concave belly, above where his cock is red and leaking. “Not yet,” he says through gritted teeth, and it sounds like a promise. It makes Wei Wuxian dizzy.

 

He lifts Wei Wuxian around the waist and fucks up into him, makes his voice pitch up when he cries out.

 

Sometimes, when Wei Wuxian is overwhelmed he’ll cover his face and he’ll say no because he feels too greedy asking for more, for what he really wants. It happens often enough that they have to use a different word in case he really wants it all to stop.

 

He scrambles for purchase, jade dropping from his hand as he claws at Lan Wangji’s back and shoulders just for something to hold tight to. He tosses his head back, throat bared. His breath is coming faster, harsher and he feels a little like he’s about to be fucked out of his own body.

 

“My husband,” he pants out, “fucks me so well, loves me so much.” His eyes are starting to water, but it’s okay. It’s okay to be seen like this. “Going to give me a baby for sure, ah Lan Zhan. Maybe you’ll give me twins. A whole disciple class, all ours.”

 

He can tell when Lan Wangji gets close, how tight he holds him, the stuttering of his hips and how his kisses turn to bites. He has to be ready for him.

 

“I’ll be - ah!- round as a peach.” He grabs at the breadth of Lan Wangji’s shoulders, considers, “Or a melon. Everyone will know with just a look,” Wei Wuxian bends close, rubs his cheek against Lan Wangji’s neck as he feels his body tense, feels everything coming to a sharp point inside him, hot and almost blinding.

 

“No one would look at me and be able to say I’m not yours, or that you’re not mine.” That does it. That absolutely does it.

 

“Wait! My hips-- have to make sure it takes.”

 

Wei Wuxian isn’t sure how this makes sense, yanked from the vast collection of things he wants to say and things he wants to hear all swimming around together in his head, but Lan Wangji evidently is.

 

He cradles the back of Wei Wuxian’s head in his hands so he doesn’t bonk his skull, kissing sloppily at the corner of his mouth and flips them so that Wei Wuxian is almost flat on his back, hips arching up.

 

He screams with much less care for the other occupants of Koi Tower than he should have, but Lan Wangji just laid him out and now he’s fucking so deep into him at this angle that he starts to see black spots at the corner of his vision. He’ll say he stubbed his toe or something, super hard, so hard he cried.

 

Like this, he can almost make himself believe they’re actually going to do it.

 

When he finishes, he paints himself with it and the sight of it must be what pushes Lan Wangji over the edge. Wei Wuxian lies there, almost boneless, while his husband comes inside him. He breathes in huge heaving breaths, stares at the ceiling, stares at Lan Wangji’s face.

 

He doesn’t even begin to pull out until Wei Wuxian’s breathing starts to even out, hovering over him, avoiding settling any of his own weight on his body.

 

“A-Ying,” he says, and Wei Wuxian blinks the tears from his eyes, “Wei Ying, how do you feel?”

 

“Good. So good, Lan Zhan.” His voice is a little hoarse, a little foggy. He feels the gentle slide from inside him and flings his arm out to the side. “Don’t go,” he whispers, then repeats himself once he finds his voice, “Don’t go yet. We have to make sure the baby takes.”

 

He can pretend for a little while. Just a little while.

 

“Wait.” He gives his head a shake, jostling some coherent thoughts back in there or at the very least making an attempt at it. “I dropped it on the bed. Lan Zhan, it’s about--” he holds his fingers apart, “ this big, made of jade.”

 

Lan Wangji reaches down between Wei Wuxian’s spread thighs, just above his knees, and returns with the prize.

 

“It’s meant to go inside me. To stay. It’ll keep all of you inside me.”

 

“I know.”

 

“Wh--” he sputters, gracelessly, “Lan Zhan! You-”

 

“You are not the only one of us who reads,” he says, not unkindly, and kisses his damp forehead first, then his pouting lips.

 

“Well. Since you’re the expert,” Wei Wuxian sniffs, “Make sure we don’t waste a drop then?”

 

Lan Wangji kisses him again and pulls his softening cock carefully out of Wei Wuxian’s body. He can feel where he’s touching him, rim swollen and sensitive. He uses two fingers to push the come that escapes right back into him.

 

The feeling of the plug in him is an adjustment, and he whines in the back of his throat when Lan Wangji leaves the bed, but it’s only to retrieve a cloth to clean him off with. The brief absence is forgiven when he settles back in beside him, wiping the release from his stomach and then tracing circles into the smooth skin with his fingertips.

 

Wei Wuxian wonders if he’s thinking some of the same thoughts that he is, but he feels too tired and too safe to ask. There’s a scene playing in his head that he thought he would outgrow, but it seems he’s grown into it. A home that he belongs to, this person that he belongs with and a much tinier one that belongs to both of them.

 

“We have time,” Lan Wangji says, low and soft next to his ear. They do, don’t they? He’s still not used to that. “Rest, Wei Ying. I will be here when you wake.”

 

 


 

 

 

Wei Wuxian snaps mostly out of his dreams before the visiting cultivators convene in the hall. He’s pleasantly surprised to see Luo Qingyang among them. As a rogue cultivator, she answers to no sect and he knows she’ll handle this the way it should be handled and heavens help anyone in her presence who dares otherwise.

 

Fortunately for him, he gets to spend most of the meeting sitting down. He should’ve planned better, but he really hadn’t accounted for the time he’d spent barely conscious with Lan Wangji tying him into his clothes and bribing him awake with the promise of another kiss while he tried to remember where exactly the fuck he was.

 

The introductions and brief of the situation almost put him to sleep because he’s starting to feel the consequences of taking a nap that wasn’t quite long enough and because there’s no new information. He did write the original letter, afterall.

 

Luckily for him, he manages to work himself up enough worrying about how these people will react to Jin Ling that it is no longer possible for him to doze off.

 

“Liberation is the priority,” Lan Wangji tells them. This is the important part, and Wei Wuxian knows him well enough to know that he seems to be waiting for an argument. When there is absolutely none to be heard, as it damn well should be, a soft hope flickers alongside the fondness already warming his chest.

 

“I understand that it may not be possible in all cases,” Wei Wuxian knows he wishes otherwise, but with so many dead and through such sudden and violent means as floods and landslides, the odds are not on their side.“ but suppression is only acceptable if all other avenues have been exhausted. Elimination is not an option.”

 

There’s a faint murmur and Wei Wuxian narrows his eyes reflexively and shifts a bit too suddenly for his own comfort. Luckily, Lan Wangji’s next words cover his hiss.

 

“I have already requested the aid of several GusuLan disciples so that communication with the spirits may be eased.” His gaze lands on Wei Wuxian and there’s still a vague fear of being riddled with arrows that accompanies him every time he stands up in front of a room of cultivators that are not nice little baby Lans, but he does so anyway.

 

“Larger groups are probably going to be a safer bet for this than pairs, given the ground we’ll have to cover,” He swallows and hopes his gait isn’t too… ‘off’ when he goes to stand at his husband’s side.

 

Jiang Cheng always told him he talked way too much for anyone to take him seriously. He doesn’t want to know how little they’d all think of him if they knew what he’d been up to with the upstanding gentleman to his right just an hour ago, what he’s still technically up to considering what’s still inside him. “Some of the areas are more heavily affected than others, but for the most part…”

 

He nods at Jin Ling. Nods again when Jin Ling is too busy staring with frightened deer eyes to notice. The boy clears his throat.

 

“LanlingJin believes it would be best for each sect to cleanse the territory closest to their own,” he sounds unsure when he speaks as Sect Leader Jin, nothing like the brash, often abrasive boy that Wei Wuxian knows, “This way, we can offer centralized support depending on circumstance.”

 

He doesn’t know if he’s allowed to be proud of him after everything, but it isn’t something he can really control. He feels so warm in his chest and yet feels as though he’s been struck at the same time.

 

Thirteen years is a long time. It’s not in his power nor anyone else’s to change what has already come to pass, but his heart still aches to think of what he’s missed. It’s his own fault that he’s missed so much and he can accept that. Still, it stings.

 

He didn’t get to see his nephew grow up. He didn’t get to see Sizhui grow up, and even though it’s enough for him to know the little boy that once called him Xian-gege was raised with such care, he can’t help but wish he’d been part of that.

 

Wei Wuxian is distant but thankfully, seated for the rest of the discussion, not quite daydreaming. He can’t let his guard down so much unless he wants things to get very embarrassing for everyone very quickly. He wakes up a bit when Luo Qingyang stares him down, silent but her mouth moving around the words “Are you sick?”

 

Huh? He can’t look all that terrible, he slept through the whole of last night. At the dazed look on his face she looks pointedly downward.

 

Oh. He’s had his hand flat over his belly for the past twenty minutes. He kind of wants to lie about it, because that’s so much easier than what’s actually going through his head and has been going through his head for longer than he’d like to admit.

 

He offers a tiny half smile and about a quarter of a shrug. He means it to say ‘I’m not contagious.’

 

Instead, she looks more than a little shocked before her expression smooths into something warm and knowing.

 

Oh no, that’s not it at all. He probably should’ve moved his hand. Startled, he shakes his head minutely, shrugs again. Whoops! He hopes it says. Honest mistake! What he actually thinks is more along the lines of: No, I’m not! I wish though!

 

So he spends another fifteen minutes trying not to make eye contact with anyone and with his hands innocently dangling at his sides. He should apologize to Luo Qingyang later. It’s not her fault she caught him in the middle of his-- whatever the fuck this is, rapid onset baby fever? If he’s more honest with himself, rapid onset is being a little generous.

 

He’s not one to scurry, especially not with something lodged inside him. He’s much more of a slow saunter, innocent whistle kind of guy, but he comes close as soon as the meeting adjourns.

 

He breezes right past Lan Wangji, ponytail floating out behind him with the sheer speed of his awkward trot back to their rooms. He at least manages to force out “Bath!” under his breath as he goes by.

 

The tension bleeds out of him in the warmth of the bath until he’s lulled enough to doze, cheek pillowed on his folded arms over the rim of the washtub he’d asked for perhaps a bit too brusquely. His hair, damp and curling, is a comforting weight down his back, almost like a blanket. Maybe Lan Zhan will come and comb it for him soon.

 

He felt more comfortable after taking the plug out and cleaning himself up, but there was a sense of loss there, somehow. Loss of the fantasy, he guesses.

 

Time passes, a slow drip of honey until he cracks an eye open to see Lan Wangji approaching with a towel over his arm. He’ll know that Wei Wuxian is playing at being asleep, he can always tell, but he’ll still scoop him out of the bath and carry him off anyway.

 

“Wei Ying,” he calls, “Are you well?”

 

“Mmm…,” Wei Wuxian says, eloquent. “I’m fine. I’ve only discovered that I do actually have a little shame.” He hangs his hand over the tub, thumb and forefinger pinched so close together that they practically touch. “About this much.”

 

Lan Wangji gifts him one of those tiny smiles that only really shows in the soft corners of his eyes.

 

“I am very sorry to hear it,” he says, helping Wei Wuxian out of the tub.

 

“I’ll bet you are.” Wei Wuxian moves to lean into him, but fortunately thinks better of soaking him with his wet body.

 

“If you’re too tired, I... could make an excuse,” Lan Wangji offers, “You could rest more, if needed.”

 

It’s tempting, but he’s hungry by now and he knows Lan Wangji hates Jin banquets, probably even if they’re cobbled together for minor sects like this one will be.

 

“And leave you all alone and victim to bad conversation and boring company? Pass.”

 

“Hm.” Lan Wangji pats him down with the towel, ringing out the ends of his hair into the tub. “Are you sure that you aren’t concerned,” he strokes through the wet strands with his fingers, freeing a few preliminary tangles, “that I may rekindle the passion between Luo Qingyang and myself?”

 

“Aiya! Lan Zhan! Will you never let me forget I said that?”

 

“I will not.”

 

 


 

The food in Lanling is richer than most things Wei Wuxian has ever eaten, more vinegar than spice, but he can adjust. There’s so much of it though, it makes him a bit sick before he’s even taken a bite of anything. Still, it’s against everything in him to be wasteful, and he’s not the only one eating it.

 

He knows hunger. Maybe it’s something he could’ve forgotten if they’d parted ways forever at Lotus Pier, but that just wasn’t how things turned out.

 

For a while, his body was too broken to register anything but pain after that long fall into the Burial Mounds. It was when he’d begun to see anything but the white hot agony of shattered bones that the desperation set in, that he’d drag himself by withered arms in search of anything. Anything but that.

 

There was nothing, and he is grateful now for some of the gaps in his memory. A mercy rather than a hindrance.

 

Anyway, he knows hunger and can separate his experience with it into three distinct periods. The third one is the only one worth anything because his own hunger meant that Sizhui never felt so desperate as he had.

 

It’s not something he really worries about now, but he still thinks about it. He knows it’s out there and he doesn’t like it, but that’s what he’s been fiddling with ideas for irrigation talismans and arrays that can theoretically protect crops from blight for. The pair of them have been handing out the safe prototypes wherever they find a farm and ask only that they send for them if they don’t work correctly.

 

Everyone knows Hanguang-jun is someone who keeps bad things away (except for the one in his bed, Wei Wuxian thinks.) so naturally they go to thank him first. Naturally, he’s sure to tell them, somehow unbearably smug for someone relinquishing credit, “ This is my husband’s work.

 

It’s because of all this he’s not feeling too guilty about dinner. That, and the fact that Lan Wangji has been trying for over a year now to get him to be alright with taking care of himself as is necessary for every human being including Wei Wuxian, no matter what he thinks. That doesn’t stop him from looking to his side with the first piece of sweet and sour fish between his chopsticks like there’s someone next to him who needs it more.

 

He catches Lan Wangji’s gaze and sheepishly pops it into his mouth. Some of his old habits are harder to break than others. He can’t eat his fill unless he’s sure that he’s not taking it out of someone else’s mouth, and even then it takes some prodding.

 

Wei Wuxian knows Lan Wangji doesn’t eat meat, but this is the third time in as many minutes he’s delicately relocated several pieces of diced pork from his bowl to Wei Wuxian’s. He raises an eyebrow at him, pointed.

 

Lan Wangji won’t break his rule of silence during meals, even outside of Gusu. He never expects Wei Wuxian to follow it, somehow content to listen to him chatter provided that he takes breaks to actually put food in his mouth instead of launching words out of it.

 

In lieu of explanation, Lan Wangji reaches over to him, movement hidden from view by the low table, and rubs at his stomach.

 

Wei Wuxian flushes to the roots of his hair and Lan Wangji just gives him a slow blink. Ah. Well. He doesn’t mind that they’re still pretending, but thinking it’s for the baby makes his heart do something that feels like a quick burst in his chest.

 

It’s just a game, but if there were ever a surefire way to encourage him to take care of his body, that would be it. He’s so used to death, nipping at his heels for years and weighing him down like shackles on his ankles, an ever tightening rope around his neck. Maybe this time he’ll get to bring life in his wake. He wants to. He really wants to.

 

“I see,” he says, “So thoughtful. My husband takes such good care of me.” He almost says ‘us’ but thinks that might be a bit much, no matter how warm and bright the thought of it makes him feel.

 

Lan Wangji gives him a secret smile and one last pat before returning to his tea.

 

 

 

Wei Wuxian is drowsy and vaguely uncomfortable in a way he can’t quite name by the time the banquet is over. It’s been a long day, even if it was a pleasant one, and he’s grateful to be herded off to bed. The real work begins tomorrow.

 

He stifles a yawn as he takes down Lan Wangji’s hair and preens when he returns the favor, looking at him from underneath his lashes like they aren’t both too tired for more, even if they didn’t have other obligations.

 

It’s already late, past bedtime for well-behaved Lans, so he nudges Lan Wangji off to bed just a few feet away. His plan is to collapse on top of him and drift off to the familiar rhythm of his breathing as soon as he gets out of his damn clothes.

 

He only notices it once he starts to get undressed and unties the wide sash around his waist, how tight it had been squeezing him. He looks down and well, that’s definitely new and definitely shouldn’t make him feel as smug as he does right now. It’s not even anything too wildly different, he’s just a little rounded out from dinner in a way that hasn’t happened to him in almost twenty years.

 

“Aiya, Lan Zhan. We worked quickly, huh? Just look at my belly.” He arches his back for emphasis, fingers laced together underneath the satiated curve. “How far along do you think I am?”

 

Lan Wangji turns to look at him from where he sits, halfway to his preferred sleeping position already. His jaw doesn’t drop, but his lips do part and his brows tick up, which is just as good really. Wei Wuxian is removing his outer layer for bed and assuming that Lan Wangji is done humoring him for the evening when he hears him.

 

“You,” he begins and Wei Wuxian turns to look at him. He grins when he sees the pink blooming in his ear where it peeks out from the curtain of his unbound hair. “It suits you.”

 

Well, now they’re both blushing.

 

“You think so, Lan Zhan?” He puts a bit of a purr in his voice to cover anything else that might be hiding there and crawls over top of Lan Wangji to get to his side of the bed, bestowing a loud mwah! kiss on his cheek when he arrives. “You know, I’m not actually eating for two. You don’t have to spoil me.” Although, if his husband deigns to help soothe the stomach ache that’s just beginning to kick in, he won’t complain too much.

 

He expects Lan Wangji to gently chide him in the way that he does, remind him that he barely eats enough for one as it is and that it’s really no trouble at all for him to ensure that Wei Wuxian is cared for, but that doesn’t come. Instead he stays silent and reaches his arm toward him, cups his hand low against Wei Wuxian’s belly.

 

“Would it make you happy?” Lan Wangji asks, and at the furrow in Wei Wuxian’s brow, he elaborates. “To bear a child?”

 

“Ah, Lan Zhan, I am happy.” Wei Wuxian assures him, hugging his upper arm close to his chest, face hidden in Lan Wangji’s shoulder. It’s not a lie, but it’s not an answer either. He should know better by now.

 

“Then,” Lan Wangji goes for a tactical rephrasing, “Is that something that you want?”

 

It is something he wants, but what’s the point of wanting, really? He knows better than to ask if it matters what he wants, because that will always matter to Lan Wangji. He nuzzles into the fabric of his sleeve like he might be able to burrow underneath it and hide.

 

“Of course it is,” he admits, forces a laugh, “I’ve always wanted what I can’t have.”

 

Lan Wangji rolls his shoulder so that Wei Wuxian can’t keep his face shoved into it, so that he has to look at him. He presses his forehead to Wei Wuxian’s like it’s a kiss.

 

“Wei Ying, you remain one of the most innovative cultivators of our generation and perhaps those before.” This evaluation makes Wei Wuxian squirm, but Lan Wangji’s hand at his waist keeps him steady. “You have a talent for making things grow, even where nothing is said to survive.”

 

That’s true, in a way. He’d been surrounded by death for so long that it’s hard for him to remember the life and growth in the midst of it. It lives in Sizhui’s wide eyes and gentle smile. Wei Wuxian’s heart suddenly feels like an overripe fruit.

 

“There is precedent,” Lan Wangi continues, “Lan An and his cultivation partner--” He’s interrupted by the very sudden bonk! of Wei Wuxian’s skull against his own.

 

“Ah!” Wei Wuxian squeaks and reaches up to feel around the faint mark that is fortunately fading from Lan Wangji’s forehead, “Lan Zhan, I’m so sorry!”

 

Lan Wangji just pets his waist until he’s relatively calm again and takes a deep breath in through his nose to get his bearings back.

 

“Do you--” Wei Wuxian drops his voice, reminded of the hour. “Do you know how they managed it?” He hopes he didn’t knock that bit of information loose with his own head. He’s been said to have a thick skull.

 

“I do not,” Lan Wangji tells him, almost an apology, “GusuLan’s library may.”

 

It doesn’t matter. If that path is never found, they can cut their own.

 

“That’s fine!” Wei Wuxian laughs, feeling more awake than he has all day, “It can’t be made too easy for me, but for the high honor of bearing Hanguang-jun’s children-- hm?”

 

Lan Wangji is looking at him in a way he can’t really describe. Endlessly amused of course, but there is something else there too. He tugs Wei Wuxian flush to his chest and plants a kiss on the crown of his head.

 

“I would argue that,” he says,“ to father Wei Ying’s child is the higher honor.”

 

He absolutely knew what he was doing, but at least he was nice about it and gave his poor husband the perfect spot to hide his face while it goes hawberry red, and to muffle his wordless yell. For that, Lan Wangji is forgiven.

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Wei Ying.” Lan Wangji whispers to him just as he’s wondering how he’s meant to fall asleep now.

 

“But- Lan Zhan!”

 

“Sleep, Wei Ying. You’ll need your strength.”

 

He only pouts a little before he relents, letting the warmth of Lan Wangji’s body, the clean smell of him and his own full stomach lull him.

 

“Alright. See you tomorrow, Lan Zhan.”