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It was an absolute fact that the Cloud Recesses were boring. Wei Wuxian would always be first to lament this, loudly, to anyone who would listen. And sometimes even if they wouldn't.

It was stuffy, and the Lan elders seemed haughty, and many of the senior disciples would look down their noses at the visiting juniors- those that weren't sect heirs, anyway, because even the monk-like Lans cared at least a little about sect politics. The Lan juniors, too, were often reserved and trying to emulate their seniors.

It led to a lot of pretending-not-to-look and looking-down.

Not all of the Cloud Recesses, however, was bad.

Wei Wuxian liked exploring the mountain paths and hills. When he wasn't with Jiang Cheng or Nie Huaisang or the library pavilion writing punishments with Lan Wangji, Wei Wuxian was often in the wilder parts of the back hills of Gusu.

In the face of the Cloud Recesses's impeccably cared-for paths and landscapes where disciples often frequented and trained, it was a breath of fresh air. It felt almost forbidden, to stand in grass as tall as his thigh and walk natural forests. His feet caught on brambles and there were patches of wild herbs and flowers, nothing organized or maintained.

It was thrilling, in a way.

To have something that felt freely wild in the rule-bidden Gusu.

Many days- and tipsy, hazy evenings- were spent wandering those lands. He brought fruit from Caiyi to snack on, and picked wild berries when he wanted something more. He stripped to his inner robes and played in streams and ponds he found.

On an afternoon where his brother and friend were busy, and with no writing to do since he'd managed to evade punishments lately, Wei Wuxian decided to go to Caiyi for a few jars of Emperor's Smile. He bought three, and drank from the first one as he made his way up the wilder back-paths of the mountain. He liked to do that, when he was alone and bored, because it was more fun than going the typical path to the Cloud Recesses.

He was also likely to get spotted with wines midday, if he did that.

So, the backlands it was.

He chewed on wild greens as he walked, enjoying the warm sunlight and wine-warmth. He finished his first jar eventually, and let it hang empty at his waist as he started his second. At some point, he found a berry bush and plucked off as many as he could fit in his hands to snack on.

"This stuffy Cloud Recesses isn't always so bad," Wei Wuxian grinned to himself. A small part of him itched to go back and pester Lan Wangji, to joke and laugh and see how far he could go this time before he was called shameless or ridiculous. He wondered if he could get him to say piss off again.

Ah, that would be so fun.

But then Wei Wuxian stumbled off the path, mostly created by wandering deer, and his eyes roamed to a different one. He took off towards it, only thinking oh, something new! 

By the time he reached the end of it, the sun was sinking in the sky.

He had arrived at something far more interesting than anything he'd find on his return-trip to the Cloud Recesses, though, and he walked closer for a better look at it.

A rather modestly-sized altar.

Which, okay, maybe that wasn't so surprising since the Lan sect had originated from an actual monk. But it was strange to see one so unattended. The grass was wild all around it, and the most recent offering had been years ago, judging by the chipped and dirty bowl that looked like a wild animal had dragged it around while eating whatever had been left there.

There were two stone figures before the offering slab.

One stood with authority, tall and proud. He looked like he owned the world and knew it, but somehow his gaze on the man next to him was still soft, adoring. His robes went beyond finery, but he wore them better than the Jins in their gaudy gold colors. His hand was also joined with the other man's, Wei Wuxian noticed, their fingers interlocked.

The second man was shorter, everything about him speaking of kindness. His robes were fairly plain, and he wore bandages around his throat and a necklace at his collar, tucked into the robes. Around his feet were flowers, a sword at his side. The hand not holding the other man's was lifted up into the air, palm flat.

It didn't look like he was asking for something, though.

On the roof of their little shrine, words were engraved: what matters is you, and not the state of you.

"Me and not the state of me, huh?" Wei Wuxian crouched before them, so the statues were taller than he was. "I think those are pretty much the same, aren't they?"

"Ah, whatever, whatever. You look like you should be holding something, huh?" Wei Wuxian looked around, not sure what there was. He looked at the flowers lain at the man's feet and grinned. There were wildflowers aplenty, so he plucked a little white one and dropped it in his hand.

"That looks better, doesn't it?"

Wei Wuxian relaxed in the little patch of flowers and drank his third jar of wine. He'd come back and visit them, he decided through the warmth of wine.

 

 

Hurry, write faster, get the thoughts out, write, write, write writewritewrite.

It was illegible to most, truly. The only things that remained neat amongst the scattered papers were the arrays and talismans, and even then neat was a gross exaggeration.

He couldn't help it, though. By the time he'd filled one page, he'd already drafted another in his mind. It was best to just throw the characters onto the page and make sense of it another time. Not that he needed to, necessarily, but translating thoughts into ink made the noise in his mind a little quieter.

It could be so, so loud, sometimes.

Obsessive, more like, like a gnat that flittered in front of his eyes and wouldn't be struck down no matter how desperately he tried to swat at it, every swipe of his palm pushing it away just for it to come back again.

Best to just get it all out.

What point was there in making his notes legible anyway. Wen Qing could read his horrible scrawl, and Wei Wuxian himself could of course. Who else of the Wens cared to know the specifics of what he did in his Demon Slaughtering cave?

Ah, right, Wen Qing.

She'd left him radish stew, flavored with wild greens they found around the mountain. He looked at it for the first time since she'd set it down and wondered how long it had been. It didn't matter, he decided, and made himself eat.

It didn't taste good, per se, but it was far better than some other things he'd forced down his throat.

Gagging on old meat, ripping off sections infested by maggots. Chewy, raw, the texture unlike anything he'd ever had before.

You survived on street trash as a kid, he told himself, you survived by getting bitten by stray dogs and having to pick dirty vegetable scraps out of waste on the side of the road. Gods, he thought, is survival even fucking worth it?

He remembered Jiang Cheng, he remembered his shijie. They were still fighting the Sunshot Campaign. They still needed him.

He forced himself to look away from the man's face and he ate, and instead of retching it all back up he put all his focus on carving the bamboo in his hands, and didn't think about the man's missing finger bones as he poked holes. 

Wei Wuxian blinked himself out of his memories, remembering that he'd just eaten radish and green onion stew. He stared at the bits of pork at the bottom of his bowl, a fairly rare delicacy by their standards.

He thought of Wen Qing's scolding, and nearly choked himself as he tried to swallow without chewing it.

Gods, he thought, it's worth it, I know it is, but I- 

He cut the thought off and forced a breath from his lungs. It was useless to think about things like that. He was protecting these people, the people he'd come to see as his own family, because it was right.

He'd never regret that decision.

He shut his eyes and for half a second let himself remember their youths. He remembered catching fish with Nie-xiong, accepting Jiang Cheng's scoldings, eating soup with his siblings whenever they could sneak together in the evenings at the Cloud Recesses. He smiled, and remembered pestering Lan Wangji whenever he could.

Come back to Gusu with me, he kept saying.

Wei Wuxian would never go with him, and the man he'd once thought of as a friend, a confidant, would never understand why. He doesn't need to, Wei Wuxian reminded himself. He had to remind himself of that fact, sometimes.

Because, though he'd never say it, there were times he wanted nothing more than to go with him.

No.

Not nothing more, because there was something more, wasn't there? There was A-Yuan, and Wen Qing, and Wen Ning, and Uncle Four, and Granny, and every other Wen remnant labeled as a war criminal just for their blood.

He thought of his time in the Cloud Recesses, his days spent exploring the back mountain paths and the wilder areas. Ah, right.

What had that carved scripture said? He'd looked at it so often, when he left little offerings to the two old, forgotten gods.

What matters is you, and not the state of you.

Wei Wuxian thought he understood, now, what that meant. He thought of them and then of one of the empty spaces in his Demon Slaughtering cave, and grabbed a new sheet of paper. He remembered what they looked like, mostly at least, and it surely couldn't hurt to pray to old gods. They were least likely to curse him for it, probably.

 

 

Ghost City was familiar in a way that was largely indescribable.

It was hectic, and more often than not its inhabitants were monsters- those nonhuman, nonliving creatures that died slaughtered, usually, filled with resentment for their early end. Humans were rarities, but not so much that they were unheard of. Mostly, they could be found trading away years of life for riches and power.

Not to say that ghosts were uncommon, they weren't. Ghosts made up just under half of the population, too. Ghosts that died with unfinished business were the norm, much to Wei Wuxian's surprise. More often than not, they were spirits that died tragically, but a great many of them were not filled with resentment or with any specific wish to fulfill.

They simply weren't ready to let go, just yet.

Wei Wuxian wondered if he was like them, or if he'd survived, if it could be called that, as a ghost fire because the Ghost King had wished it so.

The end was hazy, even much of that final battle at the Nightless City was blurry. Perhaps he'd remember it all in time, or perhaps not. He remembered the piercing pain of a stab going through him, his last moments of desperately holding onto life spent destroying the Stygian Tiger Seal, and then suspension over nothingness.

His shidi above him, striking rock instead of either Wei Wuxian's or Lan Wangji's arm, as he should have. Lan Wangji above him, Wei Ying, air flying by his ears, breath sucked out of his lungs with the speed of the fall.

And then, his very soul being ripped apart by the resentful energy he'd tried to destroy. It was angry at him for trying to destroy it, destroy the Seal.

It had ripped his flesh from bones and his bones from the marrow, tearing into his soul with all the pain and anger he'd unleashed, all directed towards him with a vengeance. There'd been next to nothing left, just a wisp that was contented to finally rest.

And then, there'd been warmth.

A man in red robes, everything about him screaming of danger, except that he'd felt so familiar that this last shred of a soul had entrusted itself to him.

What was left of Wei Wuxian had grown stronger, eventually, rebuilding himself in an ancient little lantern.

"I'm surprised," Hua Cheng grinned when he saw the stable spirit of Wei Wuxian exit the lantern for the first time- far from his first time exiting it, just that he no longer clutched the edges of himself to keep from unraveling. Wei Wuxian had never enjoyed confinement, and he laughed and stretched and said as much.

"Oh, I'm not surprised by that at all." Hua Cheng's grin was sharp but full of teasing and mirth.

"It feels good, to not be sitting in a little lantern, you know. I'll be stronger than ever soon," Wei Wuxian winked at him, knowing it would likely be many years until he had the strength he once did.

"I wouldn't look so doubtful, you know. Without a golden core, the calming rituals will be largely nullified now. Cultivation as a ghost should be easy enough, for you."

Wei Wuxian tried not to show how much the comment stung. He'd never had it so simply said before. Even when Wen Qing had berated him for neglecting his health and threatening to paralyze him for a week with her needles, she'd never said it.

"Ha ha," Wei Wuxian laughed, all forced and rough around the edges, "of course! I'll be able to beat you pretty soon, o' Ghost King." Hua Cheng scoffed at him, the arch of his lips still teasing. Wei Wuxian had finally met his match, it seemed, having never been so thoroughly on the other side of teasing looks and too-innocent tones.

He was used to gentle pats to his head, indulgent and willing to play along with his games. He was used to sharp, biting words and rough shoves, explosive and trying desperately to hide all the fondness Wei Wuxian saw anyway.

Hua Cheng and his husband Xie Lian were nothing like he'd known- and not just in that one was a mostly forgotten god and the other a calamity-level Ghost King.

They were, perhaps, just what Wei Wuxian had needed to allow himself to heal.

What matters is you, and not the state of you.

He only remembered their statues, their inscription, an embarrassingly long three and a half years into his stay with them. Though in his defense, Wei Wuxian had still been trying to put enough pieces of himself together so that a gentle breeze wouldn't decimate his soul entirely for most of it.

He usually didn't recognize that it was the same two people visiting him during that time, usually forgetting them entirely soon after they left his sight again.

But, Wei Wuxian was a survivor. Even dead, he was a survivor.

So he fought, and he emerged from the lantern, and he explored Hua Cheng and Xie Lian's large mansion- it could be called nothing else, truly- and formally met them for the first time. Though he didn't remember them, every piece of him recognized them both.

They were his saviors, even if he hadn't wanted to be saved, at first, and they became his friends.

Wei Wuxian could only exit the lantern for short bursts at first, but within another year he could manage wandering their home. He particularly enjoyed the gardens, not caring a bit for the gaudy largeness of the estate. He'd seen riches and wealth and posturing all his life, and though the architecture was uniquely different to anything he'd ever known before, Wei Wuxian didn't care for the suppressing wealth of the place.

In the gardens, at least, he could breathe fresh air and feel grass beneath bare feet and go for dips in ponds.

The first time Wei Wuxian came across a pond with lotuses, he waded hip-deep in the water without noticing, just trying to get closer to them.

It had been six, close to seven years since he'd died, and to that point he'd tried very hard not to think of that fact. Pretended that he'd just traveled somewhere else and was staying with his friends, far away from the rest of the world.

He couldn't lie to himself, faced with such a blatant reminder of what he'd grown up to know as home. It hadn't been his home in those last couple years, not really, but he would never be able to not think of home when he saw a lotus or the color purple or hold a bow or-

Wei Wuxian stood amongst the blooming lotuses, and he wept.

 

He asked, at the very beginning, many times probably, why this man in red had saved him. He'd cried and demanded an answer and he'd begged, just let me go. The man had looked sad, and smiled at him, and never said a word.

 

He asked, later, when his soul was not-quite-whole but something close, and Hua Cheng had looked down but laughed and teased.

"Maybe I just felt like it."

"No, I don't think that's it," Wei Wuxian was equally teasing, and Xie Lian watched on and smiled into his tea. Perhaps Wei Wuxian would never know the reason, but then, did he need to? He could give his thanks to them in little ways- anything outright and Hua Cheng said his skin crawled, and Xie Lian always insisted there was no need for such gratitude.

 

Wei Wuxian learned a great many things, living in Ghost City.

His fifth year of being a ghost, Wei Wuxian cooped himself up amongst Hua Cheng and Xie Lian's books and read. There were so many things that even the studious Lans had no knowledge of, things that far preceded their known history, records that were so long destroyed that Wei Wuxian suspected these might be the only remaining copies.

He treated each page with respect, reading through histories and wars and studying arrays and talismans.

Some, he realized testily, were ones he'd thought of himself, or similar to his, long lost to history. Well, it was significantly less fun if he hadn't been the first inventor, but at least he'd been the first in his known history, he told himself.

It was fascinating, truly, to read about, and he didn't even notice that he spent a full year doing nothing but reading and testing and recreating things that he would be able to use, coreless and dead as he was.

 

His third time out of the lantern, when he could only go for short bursts before he was tired in ways he'd never known, was when Wei Wuxian made the connection that this man in red and man in white were those gods he'd seen so long ago.

He only realized because his time spent in the lantern was, rather unfortunately, spent reliving his earlier years. He had just been remembering that hazy day, drinking his jars of Emperor's Smile, when he'd come across their statues.

And then he'd gathered himself enough to leave the lamp, and he saw them, and realized.

He'd spent well over three years ignoring and snapping at and questioning and forgetting and re-questioning these two gods.

A little too mortifying for even his thick face. He hadn't re-emerged from the lantern again for well over half a year.

 

After nine years of being dead, Wei Wuxian was strong enough to really travel Ghost City.

It was jarring, at first. He'd been a cultivator during his life, regardless that many had argued he'd become a demon. To see so many monsters and ghosts bustling around the city was weird. He bought wine from a spirit that had once been a butchered pig, and laughed at the living humans that walked the streets, terrified and often heading towards the gambling house.

But it was distinctly familiar, the feeling of the city.

He could stand to the side of the road and shut his eyes, and listen to the bustle around him and feel a little at peace.

Yunmeng's Lotus Pier was like this, he realized his tenth year of ghosthood.

As a teenager he'd been able to run down the streets and cause mischief, blending into the throngs of people. It had been a city of constant life, whether it was the fish market in the early mornings or the street vendors in the afternoons or the wine houses open in the evening. There was always a crowd, always someone buying something, always someone to see walking down nearly any of the main streets.

Ghost City was like that, too.

Wei Wuxian, a decade into death, felt for the firs time like he might be able to find a home again, somewhere.

 

Life, he found, didn't suit him anymore.

He looked around the shabby shack and his bloodied robes and scattered papers and broken bowls with half-eaten meals. Mo Xuanyu, he sighed, you've really got the wrong person here.

 

Wei Wuxian laughed, cheery even from his position on the ground. He ached in ways he'd forgotten he could ache, finally something different than the constant dogging exhaustion he'd had in life. It was wonderful.

Hua Cheng smirked above him, E-Ming staring down at him with mirth, like the sword was laughing in something like joy.

"Hua-xiong, you really do know how to kick! Be delicate with this young ghost, please!" Wei Wuxian smiled as he stood back up, gripping his practice sword and ready for another round of sparring.

"You don't need babying," Hua Cheng scoffed, and Wei Wuxian thought that the way he flexed as he readied himself was a bit of showing-off for his spectating husband.

"This humble ghost is nowhere near as strong as you, o' Ghost King." Wei Wuxian went on the offensive first this time, his movements comfortable like putting on a well-worn glove.

He and Hua Cheng, and sometimes even Xie Lian, had taken to sparring in the last year or so. Wei Wuxian was coreless and dead, and he'd long-since carved himself a new dizi, but Hua Cheng and Xie Lian's armory of swords was just so tempting. And, well. Playing this not-Chenqing gave him an uncomfortable itch. He'd lost his flute the day he died, and lost his sword more than a year before that.

"Okay, little wrath ghost."

Wei Wuxian laughed as E-Ming met his blade, and felt something in him lighten, just a bit.

 

His hands itched for anything, anything, from Xie Lian and Hua Cheng's armory. For his not-Chenqing that he'd hardly ever used except to play songs, regular ones from his life.

He watched on as the demonic arm killed and killed and killed the Mos and the servant boy.

His beating heart ached in his chest at the sight of his old friend, old confidant, his old...

Well, his nothing, now, and Wei Wuxian had to remind himself of that as he stole away on a grouchy donkey. He would have blamed the animal's dislike of him on the fact that he was technically dead, but animals had hated him when he'd been alive, too.

 

"Ah ha! I nearly had you in that one, o' great calamitous Ghost King," Wei Wuxian smiled, and thought that Hua Cheng's scoff and little smirk looked almost proud.

"Sure you did, little wrath." Xie Lian entered the armory, then, his smile fond. Their dinner was ready, apparently, and Wei Wuxian felt his stomach lurch.

Xie Lian's cooking was not always bad, if he was supervised. He just liked to be creative sometimes, and mix ingredients not meant to go together. Hua Cheng always looked delighted with whatever Xie Lian put in front of him, and Wei Wuxian marveled every time at how utterly in love with the man he must be.

Wei Wuxian ate it with trepidation, but he ate it.

No matter how awful of a chef he was, Xie Lian was his friend. The expression of guilt or shame that crossed his face when his cooking skills- or lack thereof- were pointed out made Wei Wuxian want to die all over again, so he ate.

Plus, well. Surviving those three months alone on the Burial Mounds had forced him to do things that far exceeded whatever flavors Xie Lian could ever come up with. It helped that Xie Lian had stopped serving meat in his dishes, after the first few times.

Wei Wuxian had spooned some pork into his mouth, and the texture mixed with the, frankly awful, taste made him gag.

"I'm fine, don't worry, don't worry," he'd told them. Hua Cheng had hardly blinked, no doubt used to some sort of reaction to his husband's cooking. He tried to take another bite, and all he could think was too-chewy, warm and cool, stench, maggots, use the bones as tools, you have to survive, chew, chew, swallow it.

After three or four meals, Xie Lian had caught on to what exactly made Wei Wuxian wince and had switched their meals to largely meatless.

It still tasted awful, but Wei Wuxian was grateful and he ate everything in front of him.

He felt tendrils of resentful energy on him, tugging, insistent, beckoning. He dropped his spoon, pushing himself away from the table as though it were the cause.

"Wei Wuxian?" Xie Lian could sense the energy too, and stared at it in confusion. Hua Cheng frowned at him, calculating.

"I don't know what- why this is," he gasped, something cold and fierce latching onto him. The resentful energy switching from the guiding hand it had been to something impatient, pulling at Wei Wuxian with insistence that wouldn't be denied.

"You're being summoned," Hua Cheng told him, his brows still furrowed.

"Why?"

"How should I know?"

The resentful energy gripped him, filling every space inside him and making him pull away to somewhere else, somewhere far away, and he was finally starting to accept this place, to build something here, he couldn't just- 

The resentful energy didn't care, yanking him.

"My room better still be here next time I die," he told them, his laugh wet and forced past the lump in his throat.

"Don't kick it too soon, little wrath."

 

Silver butterflies followed him wherever he went, and he couldn't tell which was leading and which was following.

Sitting on orchids in the Cloud Recesses. Fluttering their wings as they set out to follow where the demonic arm pointed. Glowing through the fogs of Yi City. Distracting Jin Guangyao long enough for Wei Wuxian to make his escape.

He heard, later, that his corpse had been found mauled by fierce corpses after his exile from the cultivation world, his cultivation always having been low.

He could see their faint glow in the treetops of the Cloud Recesses, as he and Lan Wangji sat outside the jingshi.

"Lan Zhan," he grinned. "Have you ever noticed that butterflies seem to follow wherever we go?" Lan Wangji didn't pause his playing once, the soothing notes of Tranquility playing just for Wei Wuxian. He was content with it, because he understood, what he couldn't before. It wasn't about fixing him, it had never been about fixing something that Wei Wuxian had given away all those years ago.

It had been about support, protection, easing away his burdens, even just a little. He wondered how he'd been so blind, to see through what was love and call it, well, anything and everything else for so long. 

"Yes."

"And you're not curious?" Lan Wangji's fingers continued over the guqin, but he was quiet for a few minutes. 

"I am." 

"You should ask then!" When Lan Wangji didn't, Wei Wuxian grinned and drank another cup of Emperor's Smile. "Okay, okay, I'll tell you. You should try being an interrogator, Lan-er-gege, you could get answers out of anyone," he laughed, and stood.

"Come on, I'll show you." He settled a hand over Wangji's strings and stood to follow, and Wei Wuxian smiled at him. Wei Wuxian paused long enough only to grab a few sticks of incense.

He led Lan Wangji through the forests and hills, the moon giving them plenty of light. He could see the soft glow of silver, too, and smiled at it.

The little shrine looked about as good as it had when Wei Wuxian had first discovered it as a teenager. The grass was still up to his knees, little patches of white wildflowers growing all around. An old jar of Emperor's Smile he'd left was still on the altar below them, neither chipped nor worn by the years of weather.

"I'm not sure if you were taught about them. I don't remember them from the classes back then, anyway."

"I've heard of them. Crimson Rain Seeking Flower and the Flower Crown Martial God. They have stopped being prayed to in the recent century, but there are many shrines for them remaining."

"Yes! Well, back then, Hua Cheng saved me. They're good friends of mine, now. Here," he said to the statues, setting up the incense he'd brought, "these are for you two."

When he knelt to pray to them, he felt Lan Wangji settle next to him. He smiled as he closed his eyes.

I'm formally introducing you to Lan Zhan. I know you both remember him, with how much I told you about him, ha!

They sat and let the incense burn, and Wei Wuxian dropped a little white flower onto statue-Xie-Lian's hand.

"Wei Ying," Lan Wangji said, staring at the statues. "Do you miss them?" Wei Wuxian considered it, between answering seriously and laughing it off. It would be easy to fall into his usual jokes, avoid heavier topics with laughter, but. He couldn't, not now, not to Lan Wangji.

"Yeah, I do. I miss them a lot."

Lan Wangji was quiet after that, his gaze not moving from the two men. He was quiet as Wei Wuxian stood and stretched, and he was quiet as Wei Wuxian lamented his new body's weakness and soreness.

"Wei Ying." Wei Wuxian looked down at where he still knelt, at his hands gripping his knees. "Do you want to see them?"

"Ah, well, it's tricky for living humans to find the Ghost Realm. I'm pretty sure I know the general area of a few entrances, though." The harsh breath, and the look on Lan Wangji's face, finally looking up to meet his gaze, told him that wasn't what he'd meant.

"Lan Zhan, I'm not seeing them as a ghost again for a long time."

Lan Wangji nodded, eyes brimming with more emotion than Wei Wuxian could recognize. Ah, Lan Zhan, I didn't realize you were worrying about that. He smiled and knelt in front of Lan Wangji, a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sticking around for a long time, this time. You can't get rid of me that easily," he teased, and Lan Wangji's eyes softened, the stress in them relaxing.

"Lan-er-gege, I hope you don't mind if I stick around to bother you."

"You're never a bother."

"You can't take that back, Lan Zhan! You said it, okay!"

Lan Wangji's lips finally curled upwards, just a twitch of a movement. Wei Wuxian beamed at him. He didn't-quite-tackled him in a hug, and Lan Wangji's body rocked back with the force but didn't fall. He peppered kisses across Lan Wangji's face.

"Wei Ying."

"What? They're far more shameless than I am. They won't mind, Lan Zhan, I promise! Lan Zhan! You can't just- Lan Zhan! Put me down! Who's shameless now, hm?"

"You are."

Wei Wuxian threw his arms around Lan Wangji's neck, and despite his words was more than content for Lan Wangji to carry him away from the little shrine. He smiled into Lan Wangji's throat and laid a small kiss there- and if that resulted in his lover walking back to the jingshi a little faster than was allowed, well, Wei Wuxian certainly wasn't going to mention it.