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The attendants leave Lan Wangji in the Yiling Laozu’s private chambers. They bow before they go, and the last one slips out the door before Lan Wangji can ask him what he’s meant to do. No one has ever said, no one has ever known. The Yiling Laozu asks for a sacrifice; the exchange isn’t for knowledge.

Lan Wangji stands in the center of the room, warm despite the high ceilings and stone walls. He’s not sure if that’s the fires burning in the braziers, or his own anticipation banked low beneath his skin. This is the moment he has been waiting for ever since he was chosen.

He takes in the chamber he’s been left in; a room built into the hills, a cave converted. Simply carved screens define it into smaller spaces, and Lan Wangji thinks he sees a desk and piles of books, papers hastily tidied. His eyes stray to the bed tucked at the end of the room, a table near it. The bed’s canopy is a drape of black and red, the sheets below blood-dark. Lan Wangji swallows, and looks away.

The first time Lan Wangji saw the Yiling Laozu had been in Nightless City, in the plaza below the palace. He’d been masked--as he always was--and newly arrived, seemingly, for the yearly conference. One which he only attended when it was time to choose a sacrifice for their reparation. In his personal memory, Lan Wangji could not remember the last time the Yiling Laozu had left the Burial Mounds and made an appearance. Yet here he was, slim figure easy to spot by its lonesomeness, by the stark black of his robes, even here in the black and red of the city.

Unable to help himself, he’d stared while others averted their gaze, eyes drawn to the man behind the mask, pulled by something in the set of his shoulders, the tilt of his chin. His gaze had been drawn, and caught, and that had been it. He’d met the Patriarch’s eyes on the steps, and felt something blink awake within him.

And when the Yiling Laozu had stood and called for his sacrifice, Lan Wangji had not hesitated, though they all knew the history of the Burial Mounds. His step had been certain, though no one knew for certain what happened in the time that passed between a sacrifice leaving and returning. They’d never spoken of it after, no matter how they’d been asked.

Before bringing him here, the attendants had bathed him, combed his hair until it shone. His clan ribbon left behind. He’d felt adrift without it, but then they’d anointed him with oils and perfumes, and dressed him in a robe of white, and he had pushed the feeling down into the center of him. His feet are bare, and while the stone in the corridor had been cool, there are rugs here, dark as the bed, the floor cushioned beneath him.

He resolutely does not think about the potential benefits. The tips of his ears heat anyway. It doesn’t matter, he thinks, this is what he’s here for after all. The Patriarch had come to choose his sacrifice, and Lan Wangji had volunteered. Foolish, maybe. Shameless?

His eyes catch on the bed at the far end of the room, the drape of red, the lines of black, and his heart beats faster.

Shameless, definitely.

“Lan Wangji.”

The voice comes from beside him, behind him; it comes from everywhere, and he startles. The candles beside him flicker.

A pause, then, “Hanguang-Jun.” There’s a curl of something like amusement in it. Lan Wangji lifts his chin.

“It is a pleasure to meet you,” the Yiling Laozu says from behind him, and Lan Wangji is intensely aware of the sudden heat of him at his shoulder. “Forgive me if I startled you.”

Lan Wangji swallows, but holds himself steady, his eyes lowered. There’s movement in the corner of his eye, and the hem of black robes swings into view. His heart stutters; Lan Wangji does not move.

Before him, the Yiling Laozu huffs. “Nothing?” he says. He steps closer. “It’s not because you’re scared of me.”

He’s incorrect. Lan Wangji is terrified of him. He’s thought of little else but the jolt of feeling, of recognition, that sparked through him when their eyes met on the steps. So, no, not scared in the way the Patriarch means, but scared nonetheless. Lan Wangji is stubborn, he knows, and he feels things deeply; the fact that he feels..whatever this is rising in his blood so intensely, so soon...He isn’t sure what that means.

“Lan Zhan.”

Lan Wangji’s eyes snap up.

The Yiling Laozu watches him, head tilted to the side. His face is bare, high cheekbones and dark eyes striking. He is beautiful. His lips curl softly, as though he’s holding a secret sugar-sweet on his tongue. In the room’s flickering light, his eyes are unreadable. This time when he steps closer, Lan Wangji can feel his breath on his cheek.

“Now I have your attention.”

A crooked smile. A sway forward that catches Lan Wangji’s heart in his throat, and then the Patriarch is spinning away, dark hair and black robes twirling.

“Care for a drink?” he asks, stopping at a table near the bed where two bottles and two cups are arranged. “Emperor’s Smile. Are you familiar?”

Lan Wangji is, in name only, but the Patriarch doesn’t wait for his response. “I know you don’t drink in Cloud Recesses,” he continues, bending to pour a cup. “And I won’t force you to drink now.”

He straightens, cup in hand, and closes the distance between them again. His steps are slow, measured. Lan Wangji watches him and--though he is a skilled fighter himself--understands what it feels like to be prey.

“But I do intend for you to enjoy yourself.”

Lan Wangji smells the Emperor’s Smile on his breath; he can see the shine of it lingering on his bottom lip. There is no denying the Patriarch is handsome, or even that he’s charismatic. There is an energy to him that draws the eye--or at least Lan Wangji’s. He should lower his eyes, cast his gaze to the floor; he can’t seem to look away.

“Lan Zhan.” The Patriarch raises the cup to his lips and drinks. His eyes are half-lidded over the rim. Lan Wangji’s skin tingles. He swallows, and watches the Patriarch’s gaze follow the movement.

Lan Wangji wants him to touch him.

“May I call you that?”

He wants to say no, to impose that boundary at least between them before this goes farther. A sacrifice, a passing fancy, a handsome face agreed to from a crowd of onlookers; who are they to each other?

Instead, he nods. “Mn.”

The Yiling Laozu laughs, and suddenly his face is transformed. Handsome still, yes, but it’s as though someone lit a flame within him. He grins brightly at Lan Wangji. “Are you always this talkative, or am I special?”

Does it have to be one or the other?

The Patriarch ducks his head, his eyes heavy-lidded again, but the grin remains before he turns back toward the table, robes swinging. “Both, huh?” he says as he pours himself another cup. He winks at Lan Wangji when he straightens. “I already know I’m special. And I already know your reputation, Hanguang-Jun.”

His eyes travel the length of Lan Wangji’s body, from his face to his feet and back. Lan Wangji feels every centimeter of it. He breathes deeply, letting it out slowly, and hopes it isn’t as obvious as it feels.

“The Second Jade of Lan,” the Patriarch says. Somehow the distance between them is closed again; Lan Wangji’s heart thuds. Dark eyes hold him in place--not that they need to, not that he would go anywhere. “I heard you were unparalleled in both beauty and elegance, as well as skill.” He sways close, voice low as though sharing a secret. “I know the latter to be true, and I can see the former for myself.”

He sways back; Lan Wangji, pulled by his gravity, drops his eyes to his mouth.

The Patriarch grins. “I’ve also heard you were cold, but--” his eyes flicker to Lan Wangji’s own mouth. “I think you’ve been poorly represented. Would you like to know what else I think?”

“Whatever the Patriarch wishes,” Lan Wangji says, inclining his head.

“More than a syllable!” He laughs. “And it will be. But it will be what you want as well.”

He downs the rest of his drink, and Lan Wangji’s eyes are drawn to the pale length of his neck and the bob of his throat. His lips tingle. His hands feel empty. The Patriarch is close enough, Lan Wangji can feel the heat of him through the shift they dressed him in, and the thought makes him aware of their unequal states of dress. He shivers.

The Patriarch sees it and smiles, licking his lips. His eyes linger on Lan Wangji’s mouth, and then Lan Wangji feels them drag down his neck to his chest and then lower. His bottom lip is red, and shines wetly, and when his eyes snap, hot and hungry, back up to Lan Wangji’s, he knows the Patriarch has seen what he hasn’t tried to hide.

“I think it already is what you want, isn’t it.”

There’s no reason to deny it. Nowhere is it stated the sacrifice has to be unwilling. Lan Wangji nods his head.

“Good,” the Patriarch says. With his free hand, he reaches up, touches Lan Wangji’s face. His smile curls, and he touches the tip of a finger to the shell of Lan Wangji’s ear. “Are you embarrassed?” His voice is softer than it was, curling between them like smoke. “You’re blushing.”

“Mn.”

The Yiling Laozu’s eyes drop and so does his voice. “Are you nervous?”

Lan Wangji swallows and nods. “Mn.”

He looks at Lan Wangji through his lashes, eyes hot as coals. “Good,” he says, and goes to his knees.

It takes everything in Lan Wangji to keep from stepping back, from re-establishing some semblance of distance between them. This is what he’s here for, he thinks. Even if he didn’t ache for whatever’s about to happen next, for the Patriarch’s hands and mouth and skin pressed against his own. He volunteered. He was chosen.

The Yiling Laozu looks up at him, empty cup discarded on the floor. Lan Wangji is partially hard, and the Patriarch’s eyes linger, the corners of his mouth curling, before they rise up to meet his. “I’m sure you’ve heard stories,” he says, “about the sacrifice required, the type of man I am.” There’s a flicker of something in his eyes, a shadow there and gone. “Exaggerations. Mostly.”

Lan Wangji can’t look away.

“I want to touch you.” He raises his hands, and Lan Wangji finds his eyes drawn to his fingers. Long and elegant, it’s far too easy to imagine them wrapping around his cock. He swallows, and meets the Patriarch’s eyes gaze again. “Would you like that, Lan Zhan?”

He would. He very much would, though he can’t place where exactly the need in him stems from. His desires have never been something he struggles with, but he had ached at the sight of the Patriarch’s slanting smile and quick hands, and so here he is.

Lan Wangji nods, then bows his head. “I would, Yiling Laozu.”

Laughter startles him, and his heart and stomach drop. For a moment, he feels only embarrassment, but then the Patriarch’s hand is on his hip, staying his moment backward, and he’s smiling up at Lan Wangji with a face as transparent as the springs in Cloud Recesses. “No, please,” the Patriarch says, “I wasn’t laughing at you, I--” He mutters something under his breath Lan Wangji can’t quite catch, and then he’s looking up at Lan Wangji with a face gone serious. “Please, here, call me Wei Ying.”

He bows his head. “Wei Ying.” A sharp inhalation follows. He looks up, and the Patriarch--Wei Ying--is looking at him with eyes gone wide. The curves of his ears are pink. He’s surprised him. Warmth fills his chest. “Whatever you wish.”

It is why he’s here, after all; for the Yiling Laozu’s pleasure. For his use. A body freely given.

In this case, a body happily given, though Lan Wangji can’t explain the pull he feels toward Wei Ying, not when he’d never given stories of the Patriarch much thought before. But he looks at him now on his knees, mouth red, and reaches for the tie of his robe. Wei Ying’s eyes follow the movement before flicking back up to Lan Wangji’s face. Lan Wangji nods. “Whatever you wish.”

There’s a ripple through Wei Ying, a shudder. His eyes are hungry; his mouth is open. His hand on Lan Wangji’s hip settles there more firmly, a brand through the loose fall of his robe. He is aware of the length of those fingers, the width of that palm. His own fingers must shake because after a moment, Wei Ying’s hands cover his own.

“Wait.”

The floor drops out from under his bare feet, or it might as well for the swoop his stomach does. For as brief as their interaction had been so far, he’d thought it was going well. If he’d--

Fingers squeeze his own, and Wei Ying stands. “There is a better place for this,” he says, and then his hand is around Lan Wangji’s wrist as he pulls him toward the bed.

His grip is strong, his hand calloused. Lan Wangji wonders if they’re only from the sword he knows the Patriarch carries or from some other pursuit. He’d ask, perhaps, if he was allowed to know him. If there was time before for pleasantries, for likes and dislikes and interests. Instead, there are only the preparations before, and now this chamber and Wei Ying’s grip around him.

They pause before the bed, and the look Wei Ying turns on him is heated, hungry. He tugs sharply on Lan Wangji’s wrist, and Lan Wangji jerks a step closer. “Will you like what I give you?” the Patriarch asks. “Will I like what you give me?”

Lan Wangji swallows hard. He opens his mouth.

Wei Ying’s mouth pulls into a smile. His voice drops low between them. “I think I will.” And then, “I think you will.” He lets go of Lan Wangji’s wrist, reaches for the tie of his robes. Lan Wangji is aware of him, entirely.

He does not look down at where Wei Ying’s fingers tug. It’s the curve of Wei Ying’s smile that catches his attention, the arch of his eyebrow as his gaze flicks up to Lan Wangji’s. He fumbles, his breath stuttering between them, and Lan Wangji wants to kiss him. He can’t remember if that’s allowed, or if it’s forbidden. Would he be rejected if he bent his head further, or would the Yiling Patriarch let himself be kissed by his sacrifice before he takes what’s been given.

He wants, so badly. He curls his fingers into his palms. The edge of his sleeve is soft, and Lan Wangji focuses on that. Not the heat of Wei Ying’s hands where they brush his side. Not the damp shine of his bottom lip.

The tie releases, and the robe falls open, though it does not quite leave him revealed. Wei Ying’s hands rise, and with them Lan Wangji’s anticipation. He brushes Lan Wangji’s collarbones with his fingertips, traces the open lines of the robe down his chest. His eyes are dark, and focused, and everywhere at once.

Nails briefly across the skin, and then Wei Ying’s hands cup his shoulders beneath the robe and it opens against him. Movement, and the robe in a pool of white at his feet. Wei Ying looks at him. The Patriarch surveys. His gaze does not follow the path Lan Wangji expects it to take, meandering instead across the width of his shoulders and down the length of his arms. Lan Wangji feels the look like a caress, and wills his muscles still.

His skin is hot as the Patriarch’s gaze lingers. Lan Wangji wishes he wasn’t the only one bared, and focuses instead on the fall of the Patriarch’s own robes, the exposed skin at his throat. His feet are bare, and Lan Wangji stares at his long pale toes and thinks about being asked to call him Wei Ying.

When he looks up, Wei Ying’s eyes are on his face, his head tilted. “I had heard stories of the Twin Jades of Lan. Tales of their mastery of the sword, of the flute and guqin.” His gaze dips, and his hand rises, an unthinking thing between them. Wei Ying licks his lips, and meets his eyes again, the question clear--may I?

Lan Wangji nods, and says, “Yes.”

Wei Ying’s fingers are not the firm claim Lan Wangji may have contemplated in the time leading up to this. They are light against his hip. He is aware of the callouses again, and wonders at their roughness, what it might feel like to have Wei Ying’s hands on him. Not that he’ll wonder long; this is what he’s here for, and as Wei Ying’s thumb brushes his hip, presses--briefly--into the muscle of him, Lan Wangji’s breath catches.

Wei Ying’s grin curls. “You’ll like this,” he says, and before Lan Wangji can ask, Wei Ying’s hands are all business against him, turning him and pressing him to sit at the edge of the bed. It is only when Wei Ying returns to his knees that Lan Wangji understands.

The Patriarch’s eyes devour him. Lan Wangji sits unsure, anticipation singing in his veins as heat washes over him. He’s half-hard again, and Wei Ying’s cheeks are flushed, his lips wet where he’s licked them. His gaze flicks up to Lan Wangji’s face, then his cock, then his face again. His hands flutter from his knees to Lan Wangji’s. They settle there, and he has never been so aware of his knees before, the joint and knob of bone, as he is now with Wei Ying’s thumbs tucked against them. His breath catches, and Wei Ying smiles, fingers tightening.

“You are a beautiful gift to the Patriarch, but I will not take unless you are certain you wish to give.” His gaze is steady. “Lan Zhan, are you certain?”

He nods. “I am,” he says, and the words have slipped off his tongue before he registers he’s saying them. He nods, though, again, and says, “Yes.”

Wei Ying’s face is much closer to his. His hands grip Lan Wangji’s knees. “I’m so glad you said that,” and then he’s slipped away again, sitting back on his heels and surveying. Lan Wangji can feel every one of his ten fingers. They’re distracting, more than the look on Wei Ying’s face--bright, and hungry. Lan Wangji lets himself look, taking in the carved cheekbones and fine jaw. He is beautiful, and Lan Wangji wonders what it would be like to reach out and follow the line of those brows with the pads of his fingers.

Wei Ying’s thumbs move, rubbing. He looks up at Lan Wangji through his lashes, and smiles before his hands move inexplicably downward to his calves, his ankles. His foot is in Wei Ying’s lap, and then Wei Ying’s thumb presses against the sole, and he jerks.

“What are--”

Wei Ying laughs, fingers rubbing. “This time is mine,” he says. He shakes his head. “This time is ours. Relax.” He looks up at Lan Wangji, and presses his thumb in again: Lan Wangji inhales deeply, caught but not trapped. The corners of Wei Ying’s mouth curl with something that looks like satisfaction and feels like anticipation. “Let me.”

Lan Wangji does. Wei Ying’s hands are gentle and firm. His touch is not cautious or tentative, but sure. He brushes the hair on Lan Wangji’s calf against the grain, and it is electrifying. Lan Wangji’s lips are parted, and wet, and Wei Ying’s tongue shines when he licks his own lips, and Lan Wangji cannot look away.

He is hard, and Wei Ying has barely touched him. His gaze falls to Wei Ying’s lap of its own accord. Before he can tell if Wei Ying is hard or not, his foot is pressed against him, and he no longer has to ask. He can feel Wei Ying through the layers of his robes, the length of him hard, hot. Wei Ying sighs through his teeth, and Lan Wangji clutches the sheets to either side of him, fingers digging into silk.

“You don’t have to wonder if I’m interested, Lan Zhan.” He bows his head, his breath hot on the inside of Lan Wangji’s knee. He aches to touch. He clutches the sheet tighter.

Wei Ying’s lips when he presses them to the knob of Lan Wangji’s knee are soft, damp and hot. It might be the only part of Lan Wangji that exists anymore, those centimeters of skin. He is aware of nothing, save the movement of Wei Ying’s breath and the ache at the center of him to feel those lips again.

He swallows. “Wei Ying.”

Tilting his head to the side, Wei Ying looks at him. He kisses Lan Wangji’s knee again, and he does not look away. He does not move away. Wei Ying stays close, lips barely there. The corner of his smile is a hook; Lan Wangji can’t look away. Not as Wei Ying brushes his parted mouth against his knee, not as his hand presses upward. Lan Wangji shudders, and Wei Ying shifts, and all he can see is the fall of Wei Ying’s hair, the red of the ribbon entwined with it.

And then Wei Ying is straightening on his knees, urging Lan Wangji back until his calves are against the edge of the bed, until he’s half-reclining, elbows holding his weight. His heart races in his chest, and Wei Ying’s hands are on his thighs and Wei Ying is pressed between his knees like he belongs there. The look on his face makes Lan Wangji’s skin tingle, and he shudders. Wants, again, to reach for him, red and black between his fingers, against his skin.

He keeps his hands still. If that’s only possible thanks to the silk in his fists, there is no one to know but him. Wei Ying’s attention is elsewhere; with his mouth on the inside of Lan Wangji’s thigh, with his hands as they press against his skin. His own attention is caught completely by Wei Ying.

His cock is hard, and where Wei Ying’s hands go, his mouth follows until his fingers are tracing the lines of Lan Wangji’s hips. Between his parted lips, Lan Wangji can see the white edge of his teeth, the flickering hint of his tongue. His hair where it brushes Lan Wangji’s skin is soft, and Lan Wangji wants, he wants--

“Wei Ying.”

The movement of Wei Ying’s fingers stop, and his eyes move from Lan Wangji’s cock to his face, immediate and focused. That smile that seems to be always lurking around the corners of his mouth appears; Lan Wangji flushes with pleasure.

He swallows, and licks his lips.

“Lan Zhan.” His hand shifts, and his thumb brushes the base of his cock. Lan Wangji’s hips twitch, and he gasps. “Is there something you want to say?”

What can he say? He has never been aware of his body quite like this before; he is a landscape revealed, Wei Ying a storm moving through.

“Ask,” Wei Ying says. “Ask.” He presses a kiss to Lan Wangji’s thigh, rubs his thumb against the hair at the base of Lan Wangji’s cock. His smile becomes something closer to a smirk when he opens his mouth to say, “The Yiling Laozu can be very generous.”

Lan Wangji has no doubt. The Yiling Laozu is on his knees between his thighs, and he is offering, and Lan Wangji’s mind fills with all he could ask, images of bodies and limbs entwined, mouths open and hands grasping. There is suddenly so much he hasn’t considered, so many things for which he hasn’t thought to account. His heart is racing. His throat is dry. He wants more than he can say.

He licks his lips, and swallows. Fingers unbend and relax, and he lets himself reach for Wei Ying. His cheek is soft, his skin warm beneath the tips of Lan Wangji’s fingers.

“Wei Ying,” he says, and Wei Ying’s mouth twitches. Lan Wangji touches the corner of it with his index finger, stares when Wei Ying’s tongue flickers damp and hot against the pad of his index finger. His breath catches, and then, “Your mouth.”

The words have barely left him before Wei Ying’s lips are closing around the tip of his finger. His mouth is slick and hot and alive, and somehow Lan Wangji feels it in his cock. He moans, the sound escaping him without warning, and somehow he can tell that Wei Ying would be smiling if he wasn’t otherwise occupied. It’s that which makes Lan Wangji close his eyes, his head tipping forward.

Wei Ying makes a noise like encouragement, and takes his finger deeper, tongue curling. A hint of teeth at his knuckle, and Lan Wangji shudders. He is lost, afloat on a sea of want, tethered only by Wei Ying’s mouth and hands and weight against his legs.

They have only begun.

The thought hits him, a blow unprepared for; if this is the beginning, what will be the end?

He opens his eyes to find Wei Ying’s closed, lashes dark smudges against his cheeks, lips red around Lan Wangji’s finger. His cheeks hollow as he sucks, and Lan Wangji cannot help the groan that rises from him. He’s glad of it when Wei Ying’s eyes snap open and are on him in an instant. A slick sound as he releases Lan Wangji’s finger, and that grin is there, and Lan Wangji feels ridiculously as though he’s been let in on something, a joke, maybe, though not on him.

He smiles, and Wei Ying’s face softens, brightens. He leans in and nips at Lan Wangji’s thigh--quick--and kisses it--slow--and Lan Wangji touches Wei Ying’s cheek with his still damp finger before giving in and pressing his palm to it.

Wei Ying leans into it. He licks his lips. He brushes his fingers against the length of Lan Wangji’s cock before wrapping his fingers around it, stroking gently at first, foreskin pulled back to reveal the head flushed and wet.

“Ah, Lan Zhan,” he says, voice thick and eyes hungry. “We are the same. You are also a man who knows what he wants,” and then he rises up and fits his mouth around the head and Lan Wangji’s mind is clear of everything save the heat of Wei Ying’s mouth and the grip of his hands and the fall of his hair.

His hair. Lan Wangji buries his hand in Wei Ying’s hair, presses his fingers against the back of his head. He holds on because he doesn’t know how not to. He holds on, and Wei Ying’s tongue plays against him, his grip changes. He takes Lan Wangji deeper and hums and swallows, and Lan Wangji watches the shift of black and red, the play of light on what part of Wei Ying’s face he can see.

It’s not enough.

Swallowing, he tugs at Wei Ying’s hair. Wei Ying groans, and his lips are around the base of his cock and his throat is around the head, and Lan Wangji cannot breathe, he cannot think, but then he’s pulling at Wei Ying, and Wei Ying is looking at him with eyes that are bottomless and a mouth that has tasted him, and Lan Wangji’s heart is in his throat when he says, “Wei Ying.”

“Yes? What? Was it not--” A moment passes in a blink. Wei Ying pulls back, eyes turned aside. “I--”

He cannot kiss him. He cannot not kiss him. Lan Wangji cannot have this and not want more. He pulls Wei Ying up, smothering his sound of surprise with his mouth. Lan Wangji kisses Wei Ying, and finds himself there. The grip at the back of his head turns from a hold to a caress. Wei Ying’s hair is soft. His mouth is softer. He is a mess of limbs and robes in Lan Wangji’s lap, and he sighs into Lan Wangji’s kiss with something that sounds like relief.

They kiss, pressing themselves into each other, learning and relearning. Wei Ying’s tongue is a tease Lan Wangji can’t resist. He follows him, finds heat and welcome, Wei Ying curling around him. His fingers curl at the back of Wei Ying’s head, and Wei Ying’s mouth slips from his with a sigh. His lips are red, and his cheeks are flushed, and it is by Lan Wangji’s hands--and mouth and cock. This is his doing, and he swallows hard. They watch each other, breaths coming fast. Lan Wangji licks his lips, and Wei Ying’s gaze falls. His hands, restlessly waiting at Lan Wangji’s shoulders, clench and unclench.

Wei Ying’s hands have been on his feet, his hands, his thighs, his cock. He presses his fingers to Lan Wangji’s skin now like he can’t stop, and Lan Wangji understands the need. It’s unfair that Wei Ying gets this--has had this--while he is still clothed.

Wei Ying watches him, then tilts his head forward until their foreheads are touching. “Ask.”

Lan Wangji leans into him. Their noses brush. “Please remove your robes.”

A gentle roll of breath, a chuckle, and Wei Ying’s lips are against his as he says, “So polite.” And then he sits up, sits back on Lan Wangji’s thighs. He rises above Lan Wangji, unknowable and far away until he swears under his breath and shakes his head.

“You’re unfairly beautiful,” Wei Ying says. “How does anyone in Gusu get anything done?”

“How does anyone in Yiling?”

Wei Ying’s smile eclipses his face, and he looks away, up at the canopy of black and red. He shakes his head. When he looks back at Lan Wangji, the smile is still there, but smaller, contained and less surprised. “Who are you, Lan Zhan?”

He doesn’t seem to require an answer, which is good; Lan Wangji doesn’t think he has one. Not for what Wei Ying is really asking, not simply. He shakes his head, and Wei Ying’s hand is on his chest, over his heart. Lan Wangji knows he can feel it racing, a creature out of control, but Wei Ying simply lowers himself down, drops a kiss to the center of Lan Wangji’s chest. Nips and licks and bites his way to a nipple. A scrape of teeth, and Lan Wangji’s hips press into Wei Ying’s weight, and Wei Ying is sitting back again, hands going to his belt.

“Do you want to watch, or do you want to help?”

All these questions, and Lan Wangji cannot answer a single one. He wants skin. He wants Wei Ying. He reaches for him, covering Wei Ying’s hands with his own, moving them out of the way to get to the belt itself.

Wei Ying lets him. “A man of action,” he says. “I thought you might be.”

The reminder that he may have thought anything, that he thought of Lan Wangji at all prior to Lan Wangji entering these chambers, makes heat flare within him. The belt is gone in a moment, and then his fingers are slipping between layers, searching through fabric for skin. He moans when he finds it, and Wei Ying looks delighted before his weight is gone.

“You--”

“Faster this way,” Wei Ying says, robes falling to the floor around him. He is slim and finely muscled, and he is stunning. Lan Wangji drinks in the sight of him while he’s allowed, eyes roving from the fall of his hair over his shoulders to the dusky pink of his nipples, the trail of dark hair below his navel. His cock hard and curving. Lan Wangji wants him.

He wants him.

Wei Ying steps close again. His knees brush Lan Wangji’s. He is staring, but then so is Wei Ying. They are the both of them caught, and Lan Wangji’s heart beats, and beats, and he opens his mouth and says, “Wei Ying.”

“Lan Zhan.” His eyes are black and his mouth is red.

His mouth is red, and Lan Wangji has tasted it, has kissed and been kissed. Those lips have wrapped around his cock, and set his blood singing in his veins. They are too far away, they are too--

He reaches for Wei Ying, hand outstretched between them. Wei Ying stares, and Lan Wangji wonders what he sees other than a man naked and wanting.

Who is he?

Wei Ying takes his hand, urges him farther onto the bed. There are pillows, and Lan Wangji settles against them, Wei Ying’s hand still in his as Wei Ying kneels beside him. Their palms are pressed together, as close as Lan Wangji wishes the rest of them to be. He tugs, unsure of what he’s asking, really, grateful when Wei Ying doesn’t even hesitate. He lifts on his knees and swings himself over Lan Wangji until he’s straddling his abdomen. Lan Wangji won’t ever forget the sight of him.

“I want you to fuck me, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says, and Lan Wangji’s breath catches. Wei Ying’s fingers tighten around his own. “Will you?”

There is nothing Lan Wangji wants more in this moment than to do exactly that. He squeezes Wei Ying’s fingers and nods.

Wei Ying’s eyes burn. “Say it.”

“Yes, Wei Ying.”

Wei Ying’s hand releases his, and then Wei Ying is leaning over him, reaching past him to a shelf behind. Lan Wangji grips his thighs and grounds himself, appreciates the flex of Wei Ying’s muscles and the hot brush of his cock against his skin. When he sits back, there is a stoppered bottle in his hand. Lan Wangji knows what it is for, knows what it has been provided, and what he has just admitted to wanting, but seeing the bottle there in Wei Ying’s hand and knowing...

“Breathe,” Wei Ying says. His fingers pinch a nipple, and Lan Wangji’s hips twitch, his grip on Wei Ying’s thighs tightening.

“That doesn’t help,” he bites out, and Wei Ying laughs, the sound pleased, curling between them. He feels lit up, dry tinder waiting to spark.

“I wasn’t trying to help.” Wei Ying unstoppers the bottle, and then there’s oil on his fingers. They shine in the candlelight before they’re gone from his sight, Wei Ying reaching behind to--His eyebrows pucker, his mouth thin, but then he sighs and his mouth is ripe and red and open and the look he gives Lan Wangji makes his heart race.

He wants to kiss him again.

What would happen if he reached for him? Pressed his palms to his cheeks and pulled him down to kiss, and kiss again? Rolled them over and pressed himself into the slick, hot space inside him, prepared just for Lan Wangji?

Oh, the things he wants to take, the things he wants to give.

Wei Ying’s eyes flutter closed, his forearm flexing. He sighs, and Lan Wangji lets go of his thigh to wrap his hand around his cock, wanting those eyes open and on him again, wanting Wei Ying here and undeniable and his, for now his.

It works. Wei Ying’s eyes snap open, and with him watching, Lan Wangji rubs his thumb against the head of his cock, takes it sticky with precome to his mouth, and sucks it clean. Tastes salt, tastes Wei Ying.

Wei Ying groans above him, thighs shuddering against him, and then his hand is fumbling the bottle as he pours more on his fingers. It’s cool where it lands on Lan Wangji’s stomach, or maybe it’s that his skin is too hot, his nerves too aware. He can feel the tremors in Wei Ying’s legs, their breaths coming fast between them. When Wei Ying’s slick fingers grip his cock, he feels every one, and when Wei Ying sits back and presses the head against his entrance, Lan Wangji can feel the perfect stretch of him as he takes him in.

He takes his time. It is agonizing, and sweet, and when he is finished, when he has taken Lan Wangji fully and is seated against the cradle of his hips, he smiles at Lan Wangji, and takes his hand. He presses their palms together, fingers linked, and kisses Lan Wangji’s knuckles, mouths across his skin, and rolls his hips.

Lan Wangji doesn’t mean to close his eyes. He doesn’t want to look away. But Wei Ying moves, and he cannot help himself. It is too much, Wei Ying is too much. And yet, and yet he forces his eyes open, has to see Wei Ying astride him. To have this and not witness it would be a waste, a horrible negligence on his part.

“Ah, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says, mouth pulling into a smirk, “there you are.”

The fire in his heart is catching; it’s enough to make Lan Wangji want to roll them, pin him. Bury his hands in his hair and his tongue in his mouth and his cock deep in Wei Ying. Prove to him that he is here, and that here is the only place he wants to be.

He reaches for Wei Ying. Buries his hand in his hair. Wei Ying makes a noise of surprise as Lan Wangji pulls him down, pulls him off balance for a kiss that is as messy as the riot of feeling and light in Lan Wangji’s chest. He doesn’t know what this is, but as he licks into Wei Ying’s mouth, as he sucks at his tongue, he wants nothing more than to keep hold of it as long as he can.

Wei Ying moans, and sighs, and shifts against him. His cock is caught between them, hard against Lan Wangji’s stomach, and when Lan Wangji moves his hips upward, Wei Ying pulls away to hiss at him.

“Yes, Lan Zhan,” he says, mouth close enough to feel, breath close enough to taste. “Please, fuck me, Lan Zhan, please, fill me up, fuck me, I--”

The rest is lost in a wave of need, of heat and darkness. They kiss and bite and hold and bruise, and Lan Wangji braces his feet and thrusts up into him and there is nothing but their moving hips and seeking mouths. Their fingers grasp and tangle and release, grasp and tangle again, and Lan Wangji comes as they trade each other’s names breathlessly.

Wei Ying follows shortly after, a hand worked between them. He spills on Lan Wangji’s skin, a sticky mess between them, and Lan Wangji welcomes it, his only regret that he does not get to see it happen. He is distracted instead by Wei Ying’s mouth, his wonderful mouth, and his body clutching around him.

They lie entangled, sweat cooling and breaths slowing. Wei Ying’s face is tucked against his neck, and Lan Wangji can feel him blink, can feel each puff of breath. When he shifts and slips free from Wei Ying, he feels more than hears the quick intake.

“Wei Ying?”

His laugh this close is nothing but the roll of thunder in the distance. “Still so polite.” His voice is low, soft. He sounds tired and young; Lan Wangji wonders who he really is, the Yiling Laozu, and wonders at how desperately he wants to know.

“I am here to serve the--”

Wei Ying’s hand is over his mouth, Wei Ying propped against his chest in a moment. “Don’t,” he says, eyes large and wild. “Please. I’m not--” He shakes his head, removing his hand. “Between us, I am Wei Ying.”

Lan Wangji looks at him, and nods. It feels like something, to be here and told this. He reaches for the hand with which Wei Ying had covered his mouth, presses a kiss to it. “And I am Lan Zhan,” he says, and watches Wei Ying light up.