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wake up all in tangles

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Wei Wuxian wants to say she's never been this drunk before, but that's a lie. She's been way drunker than this plenty of times: blackout drunk in college at a party she won't remember the next morning, sloppy maudlin wine-drunk with Jiang Cheng in the pristine apartment she shares with shixiong, the – another example isn't coming to her, but the point is, she's been way more drunk than this. Hell, even the time the uncle in her building had made some kind of fruit wine in his bathtub and shared it with anyone brave enough to take a bottle and Wei Wuxian took two; she shared it and she still got plastered.

No, right now, Wei Wuxian is only medium drunk, the level of drunk where you're better off categorizing the specific kind of drunkenness you're experiencing, because 'how drunk' isn't going to tell you anything interesting.

Right now, Wei Wuxian is cast party drunk, open bar drunk. It's bubbly and effervescent inside her, makes her want to celebrate with a forcefulness that regular sitting around someone's living room parties don't provoke. She wants to ignore gravity like a kid in a bounce house, crash into people and laugh as they crash into her.

The hallway between the elevator and their offices has never felt this long. Wei Wuxian crashes into Lan Zhan, softly, and laughs. Lan Zhan buckles under Wei Wuxian's weight and catches herself against the wall, sliding along it for a few steps.

Wei Wuxian loops her arm around Lan Zhan's waist and pulls her back upright. She's so cute when she gets drunk. If Wei Wuxian pulled that move on a sober Lan Zhan, she'd be so serious, her face stern as she told Wei Wuxian off for roughhousing in the office – as if Wei Wuxian is the only one here who roughhouses, or even the worst culprit! – but like this, she just takes Wei Wuxian's weight and slides along the wall, like it's her duty to hold both of them up.

Once Lan Zhan has been put back on her feet, Wei Wuxian could remove her arm from around Lan Zhan's waist, but she chooses not to. Maybe she's not simply cast party drunk right now, but 50th Anniversary Cast Party Drunk. A special kind of drunkenness you can only experience twice in a century. That would explain why she feels so...

Lan Zhan stops abruptly at the door to her office and Wei Wuxian trips, losing her train of thought.

"A little warning!" Wei Wuxian yelps, catching herself on the door frame.

"Sorry," says Lan Zhan, very serious. She opens the door and goes in, pulling Wei Wuxian along with her because her arm is still around Lan Zhan's waist.

Right. The coat. The coat that Lan Zhan left in her office. The reason why they came from the party to the silent half-lit floor with the writers' offices instead of taking the elevator all the way down to the street and then walking to the train, where they'd have to part ways.

There's no real reason for Wei Wuxian to accompany Lan Zhan to pick up her coat, except she hadn't wanted to part ways quite yet.

Plus, Lan Zhan is just – so drunk right now. So, so drunk. Wei Wuxian may not be as drunk as she's ever been, but it's highly possible that Lan Zhan is. Drunk people need looking after, and Wei Wuxian can't think of a single better thing to do with her time than look after a drunk Lan Zhan.

Well. That doesn't seem right, does it? It's certainly better than walking to the train alone, that must be what she had meant to think. She catalogs this under the list of symptoms specific to 50th Anniversary Cast Party Drunk: so drunk you can't even think the thoughts you meant to think.

At some point Lan Zhan had slipped Wei Wuxian's loose hold, and is now bumping into things as she rummages around for her coat.

It's not a large office, and Wei Wuxian can clearly see the coat, hanging on its coat tree in the back corner, right where Lan Zhan always meticulously hangs it.

Wei Wuxian doesn't point it out, though, because right now the back of Lan Zhan's spinning office chair seems to be giving her some trouble and it's the most hilarious thing Wei Wuxian has ever seen. Laughing makes her sway a little on her feet and she grabs at the door frame for support. On top of being drunk she's also so tired, she realizes abruptly. Lying down would be so nice right now.

Weirdly, she's not sleepy: she still very much does want to crash into people and celebrate until all the raucous energy inside her fills the room, but like. Lying down, maybe. Her legs have pulled a long shift today, they deserve a little break.

Fast on the heels of this realization comes a jaw-cracking yawn, and when she blinks her eyes open again, Lan Zhan is standing in front of her with her coat draped over her shoulders. Maybe she had trouble finding the arms of the coat and gave up, and damn, Wei Wuxian would have loved to have seen that.

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says, pouting a little. She must want to go through the door. Which Wei Wuxian is standing in right now. Even though that was the plan all along, something in Wei Wuxian rebels at going along with it. Getting out of Lan Zhan's way will just bring them one step closer to the train and the platform where they have to part ways.

"I'm tired, I don't want to leave," Wei Wuxian says. She worms past Lan Zhan and flops down on the velvet-upholstered couch, which is so soft and so inviting right now. She rubs her cheek against the upholstery and then, belatedly, thinks about all the people who have had their asses on this couch and turns over to face the ceiling.

Then she thinks better of that and turns over to face Lan Zhan. "Lan Zhan, don't you want to just sleep here instead of going all the way home?" Never mind that home for Lan Zhan is significantly closer than for Wei Wuxian; she's also significantly more drunk. "Aren't you tired? I bet we can both fit if we squish."

"If we...squish," Lan Zhan says in the very slow, deliberate way of drunk people trying to do some heavy thinking. No one else would think so, because Lan Zhan is very Fancy Business Butch here and takes her job very seriously, but she's so cute. Wei Wuxian doesn't know how she could have possibly lucked out so much in the coworker department.

Wei Wuxian makes grabby hands which result in Lan Zhan shuffling a couple steps closer to the couch. "Yeah! We can just," she squeezes herself into the back of the couch, sucking in her stomach for good measure, and pats the wide empty space this has left. "Look! Plenty of room! Come here and keep me warm?"

Lan Zhan frowns down at the lapels of her coat, patting them in some confusion. "But..."

"But you already got your coat?" Wei Wuxian guesses. She flaps her hand dismissively. "That doesn't mean you can't sleep on the couch with me, Lan Zhan, we can just use it as a blanket."

This finally seems to do the trick, and Lan Zhan lowers herself down onto the couch right on top of Wei Wuxian, who squeaks in surprise.

"Lan Zhan!"

"Keeping you warm," Lan Zhan says into her hair. "Like you asked."

Wei Wuxian is drunk; she can't be held accountable for everything she asks for right now. It's on the tip of her tongue to explain this to Lan Zhan, but she is actually much warmer already, with her human blanket on top of her and Lan Zhan's expensive peacoat blanket on top of that. Objectively, it should be uncomfortable. Lan Zhan's chin is digging into the side of her head and her elbows are very present because she just bundled her arms up between them when she lay down, but it's profoundly nice in a way Wei Wuxian couldn't begin to explain if asked.

There's an easy joke to be made about groping in there, something something Lan Zhan's hand so near Wei Wuxian's boobs, she must be trying to cop a feel, but Wei Wuxian is too drunk and warm to formulate it.

She opens her mouth to explain the half-joke to Lan Zhan, because workshopping a joke with Lan Zhan always leads to far funnier results than trying to write on her own. They can do something with elbow-groping, she's sure, right now it's just half a step to the side of absolutely hilarious.

But when Wei Wuxian pushes Lan Zhan up to see her face, her words dry up. Lan Zhan looks – she looks – her mouth is open and her eyes are dark and if Wei Wuxian isn't mistaken, this is what Lan Zhan looks like when she's very horny.

"Lan Zhan, who knew you were like this?" Wei Wuxian says, and Lan Zhan licks her lips, dark gaze laser-focused on Wei Wuxian's face like some kind of dirty promise.

"Like what," Lan Zhan says slowly, grinding down on the thigh Wei Wuxian must have helpfully slotted between her legs as soon as she realized Lan Zhan was horny, like any good friend would do. She doesn't remember doing it but – yeah. That makes sense.

"So horny," Wei Wuxian marvels. It's really amazing, to have known Lan Zhan for so long and not known she had this side to her. Is she always horny, and drinking just brings it out? Or is this a special, once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence that Wei Wuxian is lucky enough to bear witness to?

"Be quiet," Lan Zhan says, staring down at Wei Wuxian like she wants to devour her.

Wei Wuxian reaches for a response but for once there's absolutely nothing in her verbal buffer, and she ends up just staring up at Lan Zhan silently, just like she'd asked.

It seems to do something to Lan Zhan, because she leans down over Wei Wuxian carefully – one elbow still digging into her chest, they should do something about that soon – and she's staring at Wei Wuxian's mouth, and oh no those are Lan Zhan's lips dragging against hers, a soft warm slide before she kisses Wei Wuxian carefully, wetly, teasing her mouth open and pushing inside, full and plush.

Then she draws back and presses her thumb into Wei Wuxian's lower lip, and Wei Wuxian's whole brain glitches out. "We're making out now?" she squeaks. "That's what we're doing? Fuck, Lan Zhan, you have the best ideas."

Lan Zhan's face does something devastating and then she's on Wei Wuxian like a tidal wave, her mouth strong and insistent, hot and a little piney from her fancy gin and tonics.

~

Lan Wangji kisses down the side of Wei Ying's neck, one hand down the back of Wei Ying's leggings and the other pushing aside her terrible tuxedo t-shirt when it gets in the way. Wei Ying squirms, saying something irrelevant about stretching out the material. All Lan Wangji cares about is getting her mouth on as much skin as she can reach; nothing else matters.

"Hrng, wait," Wei Ying says, and then she's inexcusably pushing Lan Wangji away, doing something with her arms that makes her impossible to reach and oh – now her shirt and bra are gone and she's pulling Lan Wangji down on top of her, cooing in delight when Lan Wangji immediately nuzzles each of her tiny breasts. Lan Zhan refuses to get her tits out in her office, but Wei Ying whipped hers out so easily that maybe she wasn't even wearing a bra to begin with.

The thought makes Lan Wangji even hornier than she already is and she grinds down on Wei Ying's thigh even harder, chasing the harsh press of the seam of her jeans against her clit. This hadn't been her plan when she'd put one of her stiffest pairs of jeans on today, but it's working out very well for her. Jeans manufacturers really knew what they were doing when they put a seam in the crotch, she thinks dizzily; otherwise she might actually die from how much everything about Wei Ying is setting her on fire. She feels absolutely unhinged with it.

"You're so hot," she says into Wei Ying's skin, instead of the I love you she wants to leave there. It's basically the same thing. Wei Ying is so hot, and so Lan Wangji loves her. She doesn't seem to have a choice in the matter. Probably anyone who realized how hot Wei Ying was would fall in love with her.

Although that would be horrible; no one else should be allowed to fall in love with Wei Ying or make out with her on the couch or think about whether she wears a bra or not. Maybe an undershirt. Lan Zhan is sure she would have noticed Wei Ying's nipples if she had been completely bare under her t-shirt; they're so hard and big, they'd have to show through even two, three layers of clothes.

"What are you thinking about down there?" Wei Ying asks, tipping Lan Wangji up by the forehead.

"Your nipples," Lan Wangji says, and Wei Ying lets out a scandalized shriek.

"Someone will hear you," Lan Wangji warns. She doesn't want anyone to hear them, because then they'd interrupt, and then she'd have to stop making out with Wei Ying. Now that she's started, she doesn't ever want to stop. She might not even stop if someone interrupted them, but then they would see her making out with Wei Ying, which feels like some kind of crime. This should be just for them.

"Lan Zhan," Wei Ying whines, and Lan Wangji realizes she's spaced out staring at Wei Ying's chest.

She lets herself be manhandled back on-task, and between them they manage to shed several more layers of clothes and get to the point where Lan Wangji has her hand inside Wei Ying's boxer briefs, teasing her as she sucks a hickey into her ribs.

"I wish you had a strap-on here," Wei Ying sighs. "Or even just like, a regular dildo. You know, the non-attached kind." She pauses, as if considering the likelihood of this. "Hang on, do you?"

"No, I don't have a dildo in my office," Lan Wangji says. Wei Ying pouts. "I do have several at home, however. And a harness."

Lan Wangji thinks she does a good job disguising how much drunker she suddenly feels at the idea of spreading Wei Ying's legs right here on her office couch and fucking into her with a strap-on she kept in her office just for fucking Wei Ying. It would have to be; why else would she have one here? Spreading her legs and fucking into her, hard and big, stretching her out, making her beg for mercy.

"We're not there right now, Lan Zhan," Wei Ying says, oblivious to the way Lan Wangji's fantasies are running away with her. "You'll just have to fingerbang me extra good, okay?"

"Yes," Lan Wangji promises, with as much force as she can put behind the word. She peels off Wei Ying's soggy underwear and makes good on her promise, two fingers driving into Wei Ying at once. Wei Ying goes all loose and pliant in satisfaction.

"Ohh, that's good, you have such strong fingers." Wei Ying's eyes flutter shut and she tilts her head back off the edge of the couch, smiling blissfully. Lan Zhan realizes that she's going to talk right through the whole thing, which is definitely more than Lan Zhan can handle right now. She's only going to finger-fuck Wei Ying for the first time once, and this is it. She's not nearly sober enough to remember it in as much detail as it deserves to be remembered.

Wei Ying always acts like she's high maintenance, but really she's easy. It doesn't even take three fingers to fill her up or any searching to find the spots inside that light her up. Lan Wangji fucks her steadily in a rhythm she could keep up all night, and Wei Ying squirms and comes on Lan Wangji's fingers like a dream.

Lan Wangji fucks her through another orgasm and then goes down on her, drawing out a third while Wei Ying clenches her sweaty thighs around Lan Wangji's ears and arches her back, swearing.

After that Wei Ying insists on eating Lan Wangji out in her office chair; she tries to do it from under the desk but after hitting her head twice in a row, Lan Wangji insists on compromising and pulling the chair back a bit.

The whole thing has all the marks of some fantasy Wei Ying's been holding close to her chest and Lan Wangji feels so, so...so honored to be brought into it, to be allowed into this. She's having sex with Wei Ying. The knowledge that Wei Ying is horny for office sex feels like such a gift, something she never thought she'd be lucky enough to have, just like the rest of it.

Lan Wangji pets Wei Ying's choppy hair and then pulls, when Wei Ying leans back long enough to request it. Wei Ying is good at this, and she drinks up the praise when Lan Wangji tells her so. There's no one Lan Wangji has ever loved more. She never even knew she could love this much, all filled up to the brim with it.

They go back to the couch afterward, pulling their clothes back on over their sticky bodies against the late-night chill of the office, and Lan Wangji slips off to sleep in no time. She tucks her nose into the crook of Wei Ying's neck and holds onto her, happy.

~

It's still dark when Wei Wuxian wakes up, half warm and half freezing, squished under the solid weight of...Lan Zhan?

She cracks open her eyes and verifies that it is, indeed Lan Zhan. Because they had sex last night.

Or maybe it still is last night.

Anyway, that's not the important part, the important part is they had sex and as hard as she shuffles through her drunken memories of last night, Wei Wuxian can't remember how on earth it happened. Oh, she remembers it happening very vividly, like, suspiciously vividly for how drunk they were, but the precipitating events don't add up. Lan Zhan was getting her coat and then – they fell on each other in a fit of passion?

Had Lan Zhan been so drunk that Wei Wuxian took advantage? But why would she do that? She doesn't think about Lan Zhan that way. They're just friends, just really good friends and borderline life partners, with how much time they spend together at work, but Wei Wuxian would never want to get in Lan Zhan's pants – except for how she evidently had, last night.

The idea that Lan Zhan might have taken advantage of her doesn't even bear considering; Wei Wuxian dismisses it out of hand.

Somewhere during that mental spiral Lan Zhan wakes up too, and Wei Wuxian turns her head to find Lan Zhan's soft golden gaze on her. She's never seen this exact expression on Lan Zhan's face, so tender and like – fuzzy, as if she hasn't fully pulled herself together yet. No one should see this, Wei Wuxian thinks wildly, if Lan Zhan wants to have sharp edges and a cold facade up all the time, then no one should be allowed behind them. Wei Wuxian will shank them if they get close.

Wei Wuxian is self-aware enough to realize that that thought is really embarrassing, the kind of thing that would make her and Jiang Cheng shout No Homo back and forth at each other in high school in increasingly emphatic tones, both vying to be the one to be above childish admission of feelings.

(With the size of Jiang Cheng's crush on Wen Qing, Wei Wuxian always won those matches. She has a feeling she might not win a similar one now, and the thought is terrifying.)

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says in that throaty early morning voice that Wei Wuxian has maybe, possibly, heard so rarely that she's kept count of every instance where she's been lucky enough to be graced with it. Even with the hours they keep it doesn't happen much; Lan Zhan is freakishly good at being awake on two hours of sleep.

It's ridiculous that she's getting to hear this now. It's ridiculous that they had sex; how is this real? "Ah," Wei Wuxian says. Whatever words were going to follow are cut off by Lan Zhan stroking her face, thumb pausing warm and rough on her cheekbone. Her heart stops beating in her chest.

"I love you so much," Lan Zhan says, still in her devastating early morning growl, and Wei Wuxian's brain whites out entirely. Lan Zhan is leaning in to kiss her and Wei Wuxian is somehow here, living through it, because her body is refusing to evaporate into its component molecules.

They're kissing, and Lan Zhan's thigh is pressing between Wei Wuxian's legs, and oh fuck they're going to have sex again and Wei Wuxian is going to die because her heart still isn't beating. "Oh fuck," she says faintly.

Lan Zhan doesn't seem to mind this as a response to her – her fucking love confession, of all things. "Let me take you home," she says, and what is Wei Wuxian supposed to do? She's a dead woman walking anyway. She lets Lan Wangji drag her through the hall and fold her into a cab (a cab. If only they'd thought of that last night maybe none of this would – conveniently, Wei Wuxian's ability to form thoughts deserts her at that moment), haul her up the stairs of her building, and tuck her into bed.

Lan Zhan's bed! Her bed. Wei Wuxian has slept over at her apartment before, but always on the couch. This, of all things, manages to drive home the fact she's still alive and experiencing real events that are really happening in the world.

This is a fact that Wei Wuxian has no idea how to handle so she just puts it into a disused corner of her mind, very gently, so as not to disturb it.

"Are we going to have sex again?" Wei Wuxian asks. Lan Zhan isn't in the bed yet and Wei Wuxian feels that this is very rude. If you're going to drag a girl home with you and shove her into your bed you might at least give her some orgasms for her trouble.

"In the morning," Lan Zhan says, crawling in next to her. Wei Wuxian snuggles up to her immediately, burying her face in Lan Zhan's shoulder and hooking her knee over Lan Zhan's leg. She wants to point out that it technically is the morning, by some definitions – the sky is turning that muddy, half-light color it does before the sun comes up, and there was a garbage truck going down the block when the cab let them out in front of Lan Zhan's building.

"You said you had your strap-on at home," Wei Wuxian says instead. She doesn't feel as drunk anymore, but if they're acting like alternate universe versions of themselves who hook up at the office, she might as well keep saying anything and everything that comes to mind anyway. "Are you going to fuck me with it?"

"Not now," Lan Zhan says. She closes her eyes as if she really intends to take Wei Wuxian home and just sleep.

Wei Wuxian climbs on top of her, draping her body over Lan Zhan like a weighted blanket. It's uncomfortable with their boobs pressing directly into each other, so she scooches down until she can bury her face in Lan Zhan's cleavage. No one would look at Lan Zhan and be like, "ah yes, this is a woman with a fantastic rack," because Lan Zhan wears sports bras that give her a rugged, taut, armored appearance under her clothes, but she actually has big, soft, gorgeous tits under there, just right for squeezing together and pillowing one's face in.

Lan Zhan's hands lace through Wei Wuxian's on the sides of her boobs, but she doesn't make Wei Wuxian stop pressing them together, so that's nice.

"Why not now?" Wei Wuxian asks, muffled.

Lan Zhan gives Wei Wuxian's hands a warning sort of squeeze. "Wei Ying. Tomorrow is Sunday. We have plenty of time to have sex then. We'll have more energy if we're well-rested."

Wei Wuxian rests her chin on Lan Zhan's sternum and pouts. Then she yelps when Lan Zhan captures her protruding lower lip between her teeth, tugging very gently. Even though she's currently on her bed, on top of her, it hadn't occurred to Wei Wuxian that Lan Zhan could do that. That it's apparently allowed now.

"That hurt," Wei Wuxian says, even though it didn't, really. It was just a surprise. "Kiss it better?"

Lan Zhan does, and her mouth is so soft that Wei Wuxian gets lost in it for a while. They make out lazily while the room slowly grows lighter, and Wei Wuxian doesn't realize until Lan Zhan presses a kiss to her forehead and folds her hands over Wei Wuxian's back that she's already mostly drifted off to sleep.

~

Sunday passes exactly as Lan Wangji had promised, to her delight. She and Wei Ying have sex, a lot of it, making use of Lan Wangji's harness and dildo collection and the benefits of a semi-decent night's sleep. Lan Wangji calls her sister while Wei Wuxian is still sleeping and cancels on tennis for the first time since they started playing again, with the excuse that Wei Wuxian had stayed over. She thinks Lan Xichen knows exactly what that means.

Wei Ying is a joy in Lan Wangji's bed and in her apartment and in her life, an unmitigated joy all around, and Lan Wangji has to stop herself from proposing marriage four separate times on Sunday alone. This is all new to Wei Ying, she reminds herself; Wei Ying is clearly enthusiastic about the new physical dimension to their relationship but hasn't said anything about her feelings. She deserves a chance to get acclimated to this change between them before Lan Wangji springs even more on her.

~

Wei Ying sleeps over again on Sunday night, giggling as she borrows pajamas and brushes her teeth with Lan Wangji's spare toothbrush, and then on Monday morning they go into the office together.

They meet up on the walk in so often that this doesn't draw comment, and for a few hours Lan Wangji thinks she might just get to keep this slice of her life private for a little longer. The work is absorbing and she doesn't surface until well after lunchtime, when she goes to the kitchen for a snack and hears Wei Ying saying to someone in the hallway, "And I haven't been home once since Friday night, how much longer until I get to claim tenancy? Lan Wangji's apartment is so much nicer than mine, and she knows how to treat a girl right, did I tell you about the way – "

The voices fade down the hallway and Lan Wangji forces herself to release her death grip on the handle of the butter knife she's holding. It's Wei Ying's prerogative to talk about her own sex life with her friends; it was inevitable that this development wouldn't stay secret forever. The joke about doing it for squatter's rights to Lan Zhan's apartment smarts even more, but Lan Zhan knows it's just a joke.

Even if Wei Ying hasn't said the words yet, the way she held Lan Zhan in her sleep, the way she sucked the tip of her baby blue cock into her mouth, the way she'd kept bumping into Lan Wangji and sneaking glances at her in the mirror as they shared the bathroom – those were real. They make jokes for a living. This is more than that.

~

Tuesday passes in its typical Tuesday blur, and it's late Wednesday night before Lan Wangji notices that neither she nor Wei Ying have left the office for longer than it takes to get food or red bull for a good 48 hours now.

It's high time to go collect some new Spare Office Clothes and sleep on a surface that isn't her work couch, but Lan Wangji hesitates as she closes her door behind her. On a hunch, she sticks her head into Wei Ying's office and sees her sitting at her desk, hunched so far down in her chair that only a sliver of her forehead is visible above her laptop screen.

"Are you going to sleep here again?" They don't have so much work they need to work through another night, but it's late already and Wei Ying's place is farther away than Lan Wangji's. Maybe she had planned on just coasting through to Thursday.

Wei Ying lowers her laptop lid instead of sitting up any straighter and blinks at Lan Wangji blearily. Lan Wangji loves her so much. She doesn't want to leave her here. She wants to take her home and keep her there, have her within arm's reach at all times, never not know where Wei Ying is.

But this is new to Wei Ying; she might not want – Lan Wangji shouldn't scare her away by moving too fast.

There's a lesbian u-haul joke in there somewhere, but it won't really play this week. Lan Wangji files it away in the back of her mind for the next time they get a queer host.

"Are you going home?" Wei Ying says after Lan Wangji has just stood there for a while without talking.

Lan Wangji nods. Come with me, she stops herself from saying, just like she stops herself from dragging Wei Ying up onto her desk and kissing her breathless, right on top of her laptop.

"Ah, well, I should too," Wei Ying mumbles. Lan Wangji waits while she bumbles around her office stuffing things into her bag, and then she steps up to Lan Wangji's shoulder and Lan Wangji has to kiss her, there's just no option not to.

They make out against the side of the doorway for a while, and then they separate and make it to the elevators before gravity pulls them together again. Wei Ying's mouth is so warm and pliant and Lan Wangji is by some miracle allowed to put her mouth on it; she never wants to stop.

The elevator doors open and then close again once they get to the lobby, and eventually Lan Wangji punches the button to open them and they stagger out into the lobby, more wrapped up around each other than is practical for walking.

By mutual unspoken agreement they don't separate when they get to the subway; Wei Ying follows Lan Wangji to her platform and Lan Wangji keeps her arm wrapped around Wei Ying's waist so she doesn't get any other ideas.

"You can do laundry here," Lan Wangji says once they get to her apartment. Wei Ying has even fewer work clothes than Lan Wangji does, and her outfits have leaned heavily on reused items from her 50th anniversary party outfit this week. It's all getting more than a little ripe.

"Mm, okay," Wei Ying says, looking at Lan Wangji with dark circles under her smiling eyes, and Lan Wangji feels her heart grow two sizes.

They make out until sleep takes them, pressed together in the center of Lan Wangji's bed, and they fuck in the morning (nothing fancy; Lan Wangji refuses to get out the toys when she has to leave for work in an hour, no matter how much Wei Ying whines), and Lan Wangji thinks if life could be just like this forever she would die happy.

~

It's been four to five days since Wei Wuxian has gone home, depending on how you count, and she's afraid that if she goes back to her apartment the spell will break. Clearly she has, against all odds, stepped sideways into a parallel universe where she and Lan Zhan are – okay, maybe not girlfriends, but definitely fucking – and it feels like she has to tread very lightly in this universe lest it kick her out.

Pursuant to this goal, she spends most of the day working in Lan Zhan's office so that the second Lan Zhan decides to leave Wei Wuxian can conveniently tag along.

This turns out to be a tactical error, because Lan Zhan looks up halfway through the day and says, "You've been coughing a lot, are you feeling okay?"

Honestly, Wei Wuxian hadn't noticed, but if Lan Zhan said she's been coughing it's probably true. "I'm fine! Probably just got water down the wrong pipe, you know."

Lan Zhan's eyes narrow. "You were coughing last night too."

The pit of Wei Wuxian's stomach goes cold. Is this it? Does Lan Zhan not want her anymore because she coughs too much? "Oh shit, did I keep you up?" she manages to say, in a somewhat pinched voice.

Lan Zhan frowns. "What? No, that's not important, I was just concerned. You'd tell me if you felt sick, yes?"

"Oh," Wei Wuxian says. Her stomach does some kind of swoopy thing while her brain reminds her Lan Zhan said she was in love with you. Wei Wuxian keeps waiting for it to be a prank, but the punchline keeps not coming. "I'm fine, really! Do you have any cough drops?"

Lan Zhan opens a desk drawer and hands Wei Wuxian a nearly-full bag of cough drops. She doesn't comment on Wei Wuxian's health for the rest of the day, even when Wei Wuxian's brain gets so foggy she has to take a nap mid-scene and let Lan Zhan finish the script on her own.

By the time they're headed home, Wei Wuxian tagging along behind Lan Zhan like she can just invite herself over for the sixth night in a row if neither of them talk about it, she's feeling distinctly worse. Her throat, which was just kind of scratchy yesterday and this morning, has settled into a dull, hollow ache, and her limbs feel heavy.

If she could go home she could dig into her stash of half-expired cold medicines and pretend none of the symptoms existed for six hours at a time until they went away on their own, but she's avoiding going home right now, so. She'll just have to tough it out the old fashioned way: pure denial.

When they get back to Lan Zhan's apartment (Wei Wuxian inwardly rejoicing at having successfully pulled off the con again), Lan Zhan heads into the kitchen and ties on an apron. It's super cute, illegally cute, for tall, butch Lan Zhan to be wearing an apron with ruffles on it, and Wei Wuxian resolves to tell her as soon as her head stops spinning quite so much. She lies down on the couch and must actually fall asleep for a few minutes, because she wakes up to Lan Zhan propping her up against a stack of pillows.

"Bzuh?" Wei Wuxian says. Lan Zhan holds a bowl of steaming soup in front of her and offers a spoonful to Wei Wuxian. "'m not hungry," Wei Wuxian mumbles.

"You haven't eaten all day," Lan Zhan says, sounding a little severe. She raises the spoon, expectant.

Wei Wuxian tries to take it but Lan Zhan just clicks her tongue and brings the spoon right up to Wei Wuxian's mouth, bumping it against her lower lip until she sips the broth on instinct.

"Is that how it is?" she asks after she swallows. "Do you have a spoon-feeding kink, Lan Zhan? Ohh, am I your little baby?" She bats her eyelashes and puffs out her cheeks but Lan Zhan just tuts again and feeds her another spoonful of soup.

"It's to help you get better," Lan Zhan says softly. "When we were sick, our mother used to make this for us."

Wei Wuxian doesn't know what to say to that. Lan Zhan never talks about her mother. So she just watches as Lan Zhan lifts a spoonful of broth, blows on it gently, and holds it to Wei Wuxian's mouth. It's meditative in a weird way, or maybe that's just Wei Wuxian's head starting to spin again.

She falls asleep before the bowl of soup is done and only wakes again, partially and very briefly, when Lan Zhan folds a puffy duvet over her. The light clicks off and then Wei Wuxian slips back into sleep, the taste of Lan Zhan's soup in her mouth and the scent of Lan Zhan all around her.

~

"There's more soup in the fridge," Lan Zhan's voice says from somewhere above her. "I've left clothes out for you on the bed if you want to shower. Feel free to order more food if you want, and call me if you feel worse."

Wei Wuxian makes a confused noise and Lan Zhan – kisses her on the forehead? Surely it's still the middle of the night, what is Lan Zhan talking about soup and kissing her on the forehead for? The front door clicks shut and Wei Wuxian lets herself fall back into sleep again.

~

An unknown number of hours later Wei Wuxian sits up with a jolt, certain she's missed work. Her head throbs at the sudden motion. It takes her a few seconds to place where she is and what day it is. Her phone is sitting on the coffee table next to a water bottle and a bottle of tylenol, plugged into a charger that Wei Wuxian doesn't remember reaching for. She rubs her hand over her face and checks the time, only to feel another jolt of panic go through her when she realizes how many hours past when she usually gets to work it is.

She's swinging her legs off the couch, bracing to get up and make her way to the bathroom, when she sees the texts from Lan Zhan at the top of her screen. She reads them in reverse order, starting from the most recent.

Sizhui in particular sends her best wishes and says she'll take the manhole sketch if you're still out tomorrow.

Everyone hopes you feel better soon.

Don't worry about coming in today, I told Aunt you were feeling ill.

Good morning, Wei Ying. There is more soup in the fridge in the round container with the yellow lid. 1 minute 45 seconds in the microwave should heat one of the medium bowls.

Wei Ying rolls her eyes. As if she doesn't know how to use a microwave! Sure, the one in her apartment is somehow permanently stuck on its lowest power setting and before that she couldn't even afford one, but she knows how to use one. She uses the one in the office kitchen multiple times a day. She burns herself less than half of the time.

She almost stops reading then, but her eyes catch on the last line of Lan Zhan's first text and her heart skips. Feel better soon, love.

Love.

The word plays in her head in Lan Zhan's voice. Wei Ying takes a screenshot of the text in case Lan Zhan thinks better of her word choice and recalls the text, and then emails it to herself in case she drops her phone on the sidewalk and loses the screenshot. Just. Just so she'll have a record that this happened, for the future after this odd fever dream is over.

Wei Ying definitely has a fever. Her joints feel all achy and she's covered in sweat, quickly cooling her now that she's shrugged off the duvet. Maybe she's had a fever this whole time, which would explain – well. She's not sure what could really explain the past few days, but a fever is a good start.

Even though Lan Zhan already called out for her, Wei Wuxian takes a shower and gets dressed, fully intending to stop by the Duane Reade on the way to the train and stash up on more cold meds before making an appearance at work, but then she sits down on Lan Zhan's bed to put her socks on and somehow she ends up napping for an hour.

When she wakes up she feels shaky in a way she guesses is hunger so she reheats some soup, and after she's done eating it she's tired again so she finds a nature show on Lan Zhan's TV and watches it until she falls asleep on the couch. Whenever she's awake and also half the time when she's asleep she's been coughing, and her throat and chest hurt and she's bored of coughing but keeps doing it anyway. Being sick sucks.

She drinks the water in the water bottle between naps so Lan Zhan won't yell at her about hydration when she gets home. It's not work, but it's at least some form of productivity.

It feels very early for Lan Zhan to be getting home when Wei Wuxian hears the front door open, and in her physically and psychologically weakened state Wei Wuxian wonders if Lan Zhan came home early just to see her. That would be – that would be nice, she thinks. Embarrassing but good.

"Lan Zhan," Wei Wuxian calls, and Lan Zhan comes over and smiles in greeting. Wei Wuxian feels giddy. A whole smile, just for her. "Look, I drank all the water," she says proudly.

A line forms between Lan Zhan's eyebrows. "Is that all you drank?"

"Some soup too." Wei Ying pouts. "You're supposed to be proud of me for drinking water."

Lan Zhan presses the back of her hand to Wei Wuxian's forehead and hums. "I'll make you some tea."

They drink the tea while Wei Wuxian pesters Lan Zhan to tell her what she missed at work and Lan Zhan doesn't once ask Wei Wuxian how she's feeling, which seems extremely suspicious. Lan Zhan orders some food and they eat it on the couch while another nature show plays in the background.

Around Lan Zhan, Wei Wuxian feels more normal than she has all day. It's possible that this is because she's been asleep for most of it and now she actually has a tiny bit of energy, but also she just feels good around Lan Zhan. Like Lan Zhan gives off rays of goodness and Wei Wuxian is a plant under a grow light, soaking them up. If she had her way, she'd never leave Lan Zhan's side again. She'd ride Lan Zhan's drunken declaration into the sunset, let her roommates divvy up her belongings, let her lease run out. Lan Zhan wouldn't dare kick Wei Wuxian out onto the street, would she? The plan is foolproof.

Lan Zhan lets Wei Wuxian sleep with her that night ("I wasn't exiling you, Wei Ying. You fell asleep on the couch and your breathing sounded good, so I didn't want to move you." Wei Wuxian presses her mouth into a flat line. She doesn't want to ask anything about that, especially the breathing part, lest she not be allowed to go to work tomorrow either), but she won't have sex with Wei Wuxian no matter how hard Wei Wuxian seduces her.

It makes sense. Wei Wuxian is pretty gross right now, she wouldn't want to have sex with her either. Lan Zhan does kiss her on the forehead and settle her on a nest of pillows so high Wei Wuxian is basically sitting up. She hadn't known Lan Zhan even had this many pillows.

In the morning, Wei Wuxian still feels gross but she doesn't say anything about it, which appears to work. Lan Zhan lets Wei Wuxian get ready with her and leave the building before announcing that they're going to the urgent care instead of work. "So they can say I'm fine and you can stop banning me from pursuing my livelihood, right, Lan Zhan?"

"Mn," is the only response Wei Wuxian gets.

The urgent care guy diagnoses Wei Wuxian with acute bronchitis and gives her some of the good cough syrup and an inhaler. He asks her what else she's been taking and seems to approve of her tylenol schedule. "This means I can go to work, right?" she asks hopefully.

"If you want to get pneumonia and end up in the hospital," he says, and then writes a note excusing Wei Wuxian from work for four days while she tilts her head, considering. The urgent care guy can't know for sure that she'll get pneumonia and end up in the hospital. He didn't even ask what her work was! And the two aren't inextricably linked. Maybe she could just get pneumonia a little bit without going to the hospital and it would be fine.

Lan Zhan pays the person at the counter while Wei Wuxian is spacing out on this topic and then drags her back to the apartment.

"Ah, Lan Zhan, you don't have to keep babysitting me, I can go home," Wei Wuxian says as they round the corner to Lan Zhan's street. It hadn't really occurred to her yesterday because she'd been so out of it, but she's very aware by now of how much she's been imposing.

"You could get people on the train sick. Or your roommates," Lan Zhan says, opening the door for Wei Wuxian.

Wei Wuxian goes in so as not to block the door. "I could get you sick."

"If I'm going to catch it, I already would have. It is no trouble."

Defeated, Wei Wuxian changes tracks. "Let me come to dress rehearsal. Just dress rehearsal! I just wanna see all the sketches we were working on, wouldn't you?"

"You can see them on TV," Lan Zhan points out, stepping into the elevator. Wei Wuxian whines and follows her.

"I was so bored yesterday!" It isn't exactly true, because she wasn't bored when she was asleep and that was most of it. But the awake parts were very boring and Lan Zhan knows how much Wei Wuxian hates to be bored.

"You can read any of the books on the shelves," Lan Zhan offers.

"What will you do without me for four whole days?" Wei Wuxian tries, in a last ditch attempt. She hates how walking and talking at the same time makes her breathless right now. "What will Lan Qiren say? What will everyone do?"

"I will give your note to Aunt and explain that this will save having you take a much longer medical leave later on. She will agree this is wiser."

~

When Lan Zhan leaves for work after bundling Wei Wuxian up in a blanket burrito on the couch with two water bottles and a full pot of tea within arm's reach, Wei Wuxian automatically tilts her head up to receive a forehead kiss.

Immediately afterward she burns with embarrassment, but Lan Zhan has already kissed her, soft and dry, and the huge hungry thing in Wei Wuxian's chest that wants all of Lan Zhan's forehead kisses and text endearments and all of her time, always, quiets down a bit even as the embarrassment flares. "Have a good day at work," she says, and feels embarrassed again at how domestic it is, like she's Lan Zhan's little housewife. The wanting in Wei Wuxian's chest latches onto that one with a vengeance, and Wei Wuxian hides her face under the blankets until Lan Zhan leaves.

~

Work takes up most of Lan Wangji's attention and she cares about her job so she lets it. In the background, though, there's a constant awareness that Wei Ying is back home in her apartment, wrapped up in her blankets.

It settles something in her, knowing exactly where Wei Ying is, that she's safe and cared for. While she's waiting in line with Sizhui and Jin Ling for the halal cart that has the best falafel platters, she wonders if it would be too soon to ask Wei Ying to move in. Her heart sings at the idea, the rightness of it. Having Wei Ying in her space all the time, their lives so entwined no one could pick them apart.

Wei Ying had joked about claiming tenancy – maybe if Lan Wangji brings it up in those terms, Wei Ying will be receptive. It feels very important not to scare Wei Ying away, not to move too fast. She'd already moved too fast when she'd had sex with Wei Ying after the cast party; when she'd told her she loved her. None of that had been part of a plan, it had just come out, banked down under layers of caution and uncertainty and care for Wei Ying, who might not feel the same.

But she had felt the same, at least enough to eat Lan Wangji out in her office chair and then in her bed and once, very unhygienically, on the edge of the bathroom sink. Wei Ying seems to have a thing for being on her knees and Lan Wangji is very into it.

"Dadji, your turn." Jin Ling's voice cuts through Lan Wangji's thoughts, and she shakes herself out of it enough to order and move to the side. Jin Ling is blushing fiercely enough to show through her layers of foundation and concealer and bronzer and contouring and probably several new forms of makeup that have been invented since Lan Wangji stopped wearing it herself, and Sizhui looks like she's trying to keep herself from laughing.

Once, Lan Wangji had overheard Jin Ling call Jiang Yanli 'dad,' not even a cute nickname, just flat-out dad, like he was her actual father. The cute nickname feels pleasant in comparison, honestly. Maybe one day she'll have babies with Wei Ying and bring them to work and make Jin Ling and the others greet their new siblings.

It makes her stomach swoop, thinking about babies with Wei Ying. Wei Ying would definitely carry – with her wide hips (childbearing hips, Lan Wangji's hindbrain supplies) she's built for it, and the way she talks sometimes – the way she had talked, specifically, that one time on Sunday when Lan Wangji got her up on her hands and knees –

"Your food," Jin Ling says, scowling as she shoves the covered container at Lan Wangji.

Lan Wangji takes it, nodding her thanks.

"You must be really worried about Momxian," Sizhui says gently. Jin Ling scrunches up her face, looking unsure if she's being made fun of.

Inwardly, Lan Wangji rolls her eyes. Sizhui doesn't have a mean bone in her body; it speaks to Jin Ling's innate distrust of humanity that she'd even think it was a possibility.

Outwardly, Lan Wangji hums agreement. She's certainly very preoccupied with Wei Ying, even if it's not worry, specifically. She's already better than she was yesterday, there's no cause for real concern. Just. Lan Wangji does wish she were closer. Wishes, for the first time since she took this job she loves, that she didn't have to do it and she could be at home hand-feeding Wei Ying soup right this very moment.

"We'll get her a card," Sizhui says decisively, and steers them to the huge fancy stationery store at the other end of the plaza instead of turning back to 30 Rock.

Lan Wangji lets her. A short detour won't put them too far behind schedule, and having a card to pass around will be nice for the rest of the staff. It might even keep them from asking Lan Wangji for constant updates on Wei Ying's health, although she doubts it.

Mostly, it will be nice for Wei Ying to come back to. Lan Wangji lets Jin Ling and Sizhui talk each other into picking out the biggest, most ostentatious card they can find, and uses the company card to pay for it and a pack of metallic pens at the counter. It says "On Your Golden Anniversary" on the front but Jin Ling likes the real gold foil accents and Sizhui's eyes light up when she talks about how she can modify the inside text into a joke about Wei Wuxian being sorely missed while she was gone for half a century, so Lan Wangji doesn't object.

The controlled chaos of putting on a live TV show sweeps Lan Wangji up as soon as they get back to work, and she doesn't think about Wei Ying for long stretches of time. A tiny bit, though, under the comfort of knowing Wei Ying is safe and warm back at home, she worries that Wei Ying won't be there when she gets back. That this fragile spell where she sits still and lets Lan Wangji love her will have broken while she's away; that she'll go back home and things will go back to the way they were.

Mostly, though, the fear doesn't surface into her conscious mind at all. They have a show to put on.

~

Being sick is very boring. Wei Wuxian sleeps a little less today than yesterday, if only because she drinks everything Lan Zhan left her and has to get up to pee more often. She finishes the soup, finds some crackers and peanut butter in Lan Zhan's cabinets when she improbably gets hungry again, rummages through Lan Zhan's fancy floor-to-ceiling shelves and finds a book that puts her to sleep within ten minutes twice in a row, and texts with anyone from the cast who will reply. Lan Zhan, doing the work of both of them, does not reply.

It's odd being in Lan Zhan's space without her, now that Wei Wuxian isn't too delirious to notice it. Mostly it's odd how not-weird it feels. She wonders how far Lan Zhan's being in love with her could take her, and gets a little shaky inside just thinking about it. Could they move in together? Could they get married? It would almost be easier if they were married, like in the salacious gay romance where a prince and his tutor were arranged to be married due to a hidden identity and some obscure inheritance plot point that Wei Wuxian had fallen asleep before she could understand.

If she and Lan Zhan were in an arranged marriage, though, they'd have to live together. Wei Wuxian wouldn't have to do anything to deserve all this; Lan Zhan would dote on her and make her soup and fuck her because the law said they were married, and who was Lan Zhan to break the law? No one. Lan Zhan is perhaps the least lawbreaking person Wei Wuxian has ever met. They'd have to stay like this forever, no choice about it.

The thought makes Wei Wuxian inexplicably horny, and she falls asleep for the third time that day with her hand down her leggings because being sick is the worst. Hopefully one day soon she'll have energy again.

When 11:30 rolls around, Wei Wuxian turns the TV on and watches their show. Sizhui does an excellent job with the manhole sketch. Wei Wuxian laughs so hard she starts coughing and can't stop long enough to use the inhaler for an entire commercial break.

Is there anything you need from home, Lan Zhan texts as soon as the show ends. Or from your sister and brother's house, she adds a moment later.

At almost the same time, Wei Wuxian gets a message from Yanli. It's a photo of him with his arms wrapped around Jiang Cheng and Lan Zhan; someone has coordinated them so all three of their hands are forming a big heart. The text reads feel better soon a-xian!!! let lan zhan spoil you!!!!!!

Wei Wuxian is pretty sure there's a typo. It should be don't let Lan Zhan spoil you. She sends back a row of hearts anyway.

Lan Zhan comes back with a big bag of stuff while Wei Wuxian is still sleepily texting and Wei Wuxian feels a twinge of guilt for caving and giving her the list of stuff she's been missing. It's not like she's moving in, she's just...crashing here because they drunkenly hooked up last weekend and haven't talked about it yet. In a day or two Wei Wuxian will just have to bring all the stuff back with her.

She opens her mouth to maybe say that, but what comes out is, "Oh thank fuck, clean underwear."

Lan Zhan's eyes crinkle up around the corners and Wei Wuxian thinks very distinctly, I do not deserve her. It takes her breath away more thoroughly than her periodic coughing fits ever do.

Wei Wuxian excuses herself to go take a shower, and when she gets out Lan Zhan is already in bed, reading something on her ereader. For a long moment Wei Wuxian just stands in the doorway taking the image in. Lan Zhan is so perfect. Her future wife is going to be so lucky. Wei Wuxian is definitely going to have this perfect stolen week burned into her memory forever, but she won't lord it over whoever Lan Zhan ends up with. Not too much. Probably.

"You're shivering," Lan Zhan says, lowering her ereader and holding up the edge of the duvet. "Come in."

"I'm all gross, I'll keep you up," Wei Wuxian protests. It seems like if she wants this thing to last she should at least try to be sexy. Her breathing has started to do a cool thing where it rattles in her chest if she takes a deep enough breath. She doesn't know if it means she's getting better or worse, but it's certainly not sexy.

Lan Zhan's eyebrows grow severe without moving and she lifts the edge of the duvet higher. "Come in," she repeats, and her tone doesn't brook any argument. Wei Wuxian climbs into bed.

Lan Zhan arranges the small mountain of pillows before letting Wei Wuxian lie down, and then she tucks the duvet up around her chin. Wei Wuxian has never been this spoiled in her life. The typo in Yanli's text burns behind her eyelids when she closes her eyes and she thinks: this is nice. This is so nice.

"You take such good care of me, Lan Zhan." She yawns and then coughs a little, messing up Lan Zhan's perfect arrangement of bedding as she unearths her arm to hack into her elbow.

When she opens her eyes again, Lan Zhan is looking at her with an expression that is so, so soft. Something inside Wei Wuxian's chest cracks a little bit, a foundation destabilized, and she panics. "Lan Zhan, how much care would you take of me?" She bats her eyelashes. "Would you get me off so I can sleep better? I'd do it myself but I have," a forlorn sigh, "no energy right now, so."

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says, painfully tender. Her voice makes Wei Wuxian's heart clench. "Do you want my hand or a vibrator?"

It would be so interesting to see what vibrators Lan Zhan can offer, but Wei Wuxian says, "Your mouth?" just to be contrary. And because if she has to risk seeing Lan Zhan's face do that thing one more time, she may die on the spot.

"All right," Lan Zhan says, and disappears under the covers. Wei Wuxian sleeps very well that night.

~

Morning brings several realizations with it. One: Lan Zhan is not here. Wei Wuxian is all alone in her big bed and as soon as she realizes that, it feels like she's intruding. Two: Wei Wuxian is feeling much better. Which isn't to say that the urgent care guy was right about taking time off from work! Obviously, if she's already on the upswing she would have been able to work through this just fine.

Three: she has been taking horrible advantage of Lan Zhan. Now that her mind isn't clouded by repeated orgasms or fever or exhaustion she can see it clearly. Lan Zhan thinks she's in love with Wei Wuxian; it's on Wei Wuxian to draw boundaries and keep herself in line, but she's done the exact opposite. She's trampled all over Lan Zhan and gotten away with it, and Lan Zhan isn't even getting good sex out of it anymore. Last night she had fallen asleep with Lan Zhan's mouth still on her, lazily lapping at her inner labia, and of course Lan Zhan hadn't woken Wei Wuxian up when it was her turn.

She drags her hands down her face and makes herself get out of Lan Zhan's huge, fluffy bed. For someone who walks around every day with a short butch haircut and square butch clothes and a face that could cut glass, Lan Zhan keeps a shockingly soft house. Everything is all warm creams and gauzy blues. She owns more kinds of linens than Wei Wuxian knew existed.

The thing that had cracked in Wei Wuxian's chest shifts a bit, grating, and Wei Wuxian swallows against the knot in her throat and makes herself start picking up her things. The dirty clothes and electronics and toiletries have spilled all across Lan Zhan's room, across her whole apartment, and she just let them. Wei Wuxian finds the oversized tote bag from last night and starts methodically shoving things in it. She changes into a clean t-shirt and jeans and almost stuffs her pajamas into the bag before realizing they're Lan Zhan's. She finds a clothes hamper in the closet and puts them there instead.

The living room is a little less saturated with Wei Wuxian's stuff, and the kitchen barely has any. Wei Wuxian is just going through Lan Zhan's coat closet trying to find her jacket and scarf when the door opens and Lan Zhan walks in, carrying a waxy paper bag that smells like the inside of a bakery.

"Wei Ying?" she asks.

Wei Wuxian forces her face to smile. "Lan Zhan! I woke up and I'm feeling so much better today, you have no idea, so I decided it's high time I get out of your hair. You must be dying to have the place to yourself again, right?"

"I brought bagels," Lan Zhan says, a little crease forming between her brows. Wei Wuxian wants to rub her nose on it. It's terrible.

She finally uncovers her jacket, hung up neatly on a hanger between Lan Zhan's nice peacoat and a puffy parka she's never seen her wear. When she reaches for it, Lan Zhan catches her wrist. "Stay for breakfast, at least."

"I..." Wei Wuxian looks at the bag of bagels. They smell so good, they must have been fresh out of the oven when Lan Zhan bought them. It would be so easy to go back to the kitchen, sit down with Lan Zhan, eat breakfast together like some kind of old married couple...but then Wei Wuxian would be all warm and full and she'd probably get sleepy, and it would be ten thousand times harder to leave than it already is.

"I should really go," she says, tugging until Lan Zhan lets her pull her coat off the hanger. She shrugs it on.

Lan Zhan looks at her without moving for a long moment, then casts her gaze down. "All right. If you want some space, of course you should go. I've been keeping you cooped up here all week."

This is so far from what's actually happened that Wei Wuxian feels her mouth gape open in surprise. She laughs weakly, trying to cover her lapse. She's doing boundaries. She's giving Lan Zhan space, since she would evidently never ask for it.

"I don't want space," Wei Wuxian's big mouth, who has never heard of a boundary in its life, spits out without her permission. "You need space, you love to be alone and I've been crashing here this whole time and you'd never kick me out on your own."

Lan Zhan steps closer to Wei Wuxian, who takes an instinctive step back. It leaves her partially inside the coat closet, coat sleeves brushing against her back and shoulders.

"You're right," Lan Zhan says. Her eyes look very dangerous, very hard. "I never would. Because I want you here. If you actually want to leave, go, but don't do it for my sake."

Wei Wuxian tries to say something but what comes out instead is a tiny squeak. She lets herself sink backwards into the coats a little more. Maybe she could just lean back and let them absorb her completely, like that gif of Homer Simpson in the hedge. The coats would protect her from how terrifying Lan Zhan is being right now.

"Do you want to leave?" Lan Zhan asks, and now her voice is steely too. Wei Wuxian's chest feels like it's held together with strips of paper and that washable glue they give to preschoolers that doesn't actually stick to anything.

"Do you?" Lan Zhan asks again, looking a bit concerned now, fuck, and suddenly Wei Wuxian can't hold it together anymore.

"No! I want to stay here and never leave!" She's breathing hard but for once it doesn't set her off in a coughing fit. "I love it here but I can't stay, because I don't – " She does love Lan Zhan, but not the way Lan Zhan loves her. Wei Wuxian loves everyone and no one: she loves Jiang Cheng and shixiong, she loves Sizhui and Wen Qing and Wen Ning and most of the rest of her coworkers, she even loves the old auntie she lives with even when sharing the space is infuriating, but she doesn't know how to be in love. That must be something bigger, something Lan Zhan knows how to do but Wei Wuxian doesn't.

Lan Zhan tilts her head. "You don't?"

There are tears building in a band of hot pressure behind Wei Wuxian's eyes. She bites her lip hard. If Lan Zhan makes her say it, she'll –

But Lan Zhan leans in and kisses her instead, fists tight in the coat sleeves on either side of Wei Wuxian's arms. It's a hot kiss, hard, demanding, and Wei Wuxian can't give herself over to it and hold back her tears at the same time so she cries as Lan Zhan kisses her, big fat tears that wet both of their faces.

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan says when she breaks the kiss at last. Her thumb rubs Wei Wuxian's cheek under her eye, not really doing anything about the tears because there are too many of them to wipe away. "Wei Ying, I love you. More than anything. Please stay."

It's soft, breathless, and Lan Zhan stops talking and just looks at Wei Wuxian instead, like somehow it was a complete statement and not the first part to something else.

"But," Wei Wuxian prompts.

"But nothing." Lan Zhan leans in as if she's going to kiss Wei Wuxian again, and Wei Wuxian slumps down to the floor of the closet, safely under the coats, and hugs her knees to her chest.

Lan Zhan, noted horrible person, crouches down in front of her. She doesn't try to touch Wei Wuxian, which is a relief and also very bad. What if the last time Lan Zhan ever touches her was while she was ugly crying? Predictably, this sets her off sobbing again, which then sets her off coughing. Lan Zhan fishes a handkerchief out of her pocket and hands it to Wei Wuxian.

"Is it really so terrible?" Lan Zhan asks. Wei Wuxian nods, something inside her pulling apart like wet paper.

"You should have someone who loves you back," Wei Wuxian says, through her snot and phlegm. There, she said it. Now Lan Zhan will let her leave and never try to kiss her again. It's so awful.

There's a long silence in which Lan Zhan is presumably figuring out how to take back all her previous declarations gracefully. But then – "I don't want anyone else," Lan Zhan says. She shifts from her crouch to sit with her legs crossed, her feet nudging into Wei Wuxian's. "I only want Wei Ying."

She falls quiet and just lets Wei Wuxian sit with that for a while, which is terrible. To be wanted by Lan Zhan, who could have anyone. To think that Lan Zhan wants her, someone who gets sick and leaves her things around and is extremely selfish in bed if given the slightest excuse and who doesn't know how to be in love even if she wanted to, which she does, but Lan Zhan had sounded so sure; she must know something that Wei Wuxian doesn't –

"But I don't – I don't know if," Wei Wuxian starts, even though it's painful to keep forcing this out into the light over and over. She has to make sure Lan Zhan understands.

Lan Zhan waves a hand. "Put that aside for a moment. Put aside whatever you think I might want. Do you want to stay here?"

Wei Wuxian nods, shame crawling up the back of her neck. Even if she shouldn't, she does, so much.

"Good, I want you to stay too," Lan Zhan says, in a tone that means it's settled. "Do you want to have sex with me?"

Wei Wuxian sniffles. "What, like now?"

"In general."

"Yeah." Wei Wuxian buries her face in her knees. This is humiliating.

"Do you want to date other people? Are you going to leave me without saying anything if you meet someone more fun?"

"No, of course not," Wei Wuxian tells her knees. She scoffs a little at the idea. "As if there would be anyone more fun than you." Does this mean they're dating? Were dating? It would have been nice if Wei Wuxian had even known they were dating before she went and fucked everything up so comprehensively.

"Would you take care of me if I got sick?"

This is so unexpected that Wei Wuxian jerks up to look at her. Lan Zhan's eyes are big and sad, like maybe she's going to cry too. Completely unbearable. Lan Zhan isn't allowed to cry, but Wei Wuxian doesn't know – for all the time she and Lan Zhan have been coworkers and then friends, Lan Zhan has never cried. Wei Wuxian doesn't know how to make her not cry; she doesn't know anything at all.

Lan Zhan makes a little questioning noise and Wei Wuxian nods. "Of course I would, that's a stupid question. If no one else beat me to it, anyway. Your sister probably makes better soup than I do. Or Sizhui, she loves you."

"I only want you," says Lan Zhan, as if it's that simple.

Wei Wuxian stares at her big sad eyes, her big square shoulders. She coughs wetly. All this crying is definitely not good for her bronchitis. "So, what, you don't care that it's not even?"

That small wordless questioning sound again.

Wei Wuxian sighs. "It doesn't seem fair that you're – " she waves her hand in a way she hopes gets the point across because she can't say it, she can't – "and I'm not?"

"There's plenty of time," Lan Zhan says, which is not an answer, and then with a small smile, "If you're with me, I'll be very happy. Happier than I ever thought I could be," which is also not an answer.

This is absolutely – if looking at Lan Zhan was unbearable before, it's one hundred million times worse right in this moment. If Wei Wuxian focuses on that smile next to those warm golden eyes for even a fraction of a second she's going to start crying again, and Lan Zhan said it was important to stay hydrated, so more crying isn't an option. Wei Wuxian stands up, wipes her face on her sleeves, and says, "Well! I'm starving. Why don't we eat those bagels."

~

They don't really talk about anything important while they eat, but Lan Zhan seems content with whatever the outcome of their coat closet discussion was, so Wei Wuxian just kind of lets herself exist within the surreality of the moment and eats her breakfast.

Things seem a lot less catastrophic once Wei Wuxian is full of carbs and tea, nestled up on the couch with her feet in Lan Zhan's lap, and for a while they both just idly read on their phones and pretend that everything is resolved.

It still seems too good to be true, though, and Wei Wuxian has never been able to leave a good thing alone, so she dives back in.

"What if I ask for too much?" she asks. "How will I know what that even is, if you're always saying yes?"

"I will say no if it's too much," Lan Zhan promises.

That sounds suspiciously like Lan Zhan is just telling Wei Wuxian what she wants to hear.

"What if I never wanted to leave? Would you kick me out when I got annoying?" She raises a challenging eyebrow at Lan Zhan, who would almost certainly not kick her out under any circumstances. God, their breakup would be so ugly. Wei Wuxian can't picture it at all, because Lan Zhan is so astonishingly bad at telling her no, no matter what she thinks. Fuck, she'd probably snap one day out of the blue and pull a gone girl on Wei Wuxian, and it would be Wei Wuxian's own fault ultimately because –

"Do you want to move in?" Lan Zhan says, breaking into Wei Wuxian's spiraling thoughts. "I can call the property management company on Monday and have them alter the lease, it would be very simple."

Wei Wuxian squeaks. "Lan Zhan, it was a hypothetical situation! This is exactly what I'm talking about, look at you."

Lan Zhan does the opposite and looks at Wei Wuxian instead. "Mine was not. What if I say it like this: I would like you to move in, if you want. You can take your time deciding."

Wei Wuxian buries her face in her hands and screams, very quietly. "Okay," she says when she's done. "Okay. Thank you for...that. Enough hypothetical questions." She takes a deep breath. "Are we dating?"

"Yes," Lan Zhan says immediately.

Something unclenches in Wei Wuxian's belly. Good. Good. She throws her head back on her tall pile of pillows and screams again, just a tiny bit. When she gets a hold of herself, she sees that Lan Zhan is looking at her and just silently beaming, like there are literal actual golden rays of happiness beaming out of her face. Wei Wuxian finds that she's smiling too and can't stop. "Okay," she says, helpless.

"I," Lan Zhan says, and Wei Wuxian gets a terrible premonition and sits up fast, pressing her hand over Lan Zhan's mouth. Moving so fast gives her a bit of a headache, but she ignores it.

"Were you going to say you love me?"

Lan Zhan pries Wei Wuxian's hand off her mouth and holds it in both of hers, like some kind of terrible in-love person. "If we are dating, I am allowed to say I love you."

Wei Wuxian wails. "That's an awful rule! Who made up that rule!"

"I did," Lan Zhan says. She kisses the back of Wei Wuxian's knuckles. If they used Lan Zhan's fancy forehead swipe thermometer on her face right now, she's sure it would read one million degrees. "Do you want to stop dating me?" Lan Zhan asks.

Wei Wuxian shakes her head. "No, obviously not. I just learned we were even together five seconds ago, why would I break up with you."

"Then I get to tell you I love you," Lan Zhan says, terribly smug.

Wei Wuxian groans. Is this her life now? It's so sad that she'll die an early death of humiliation and there's absolutely nothing she can do about it.

Lan Zhan kisses her hand again. "Wei Ying is so special to me."

This is purposeful torture. Wei Wuxian feels like she's going to explode. "I will die if you don't make out with me right now," she proclaims.

"Well, we can't have that," Lan Zhan says, and lowers Wei Wuxian back into her nest of pillows, kissing her knuckles and her neck and the underside of her jaw, murmuring little I love yous into Wei Wuxian's skin with each kiss.

"I – " she says, and her heart and her gut and all the weird glued-together pieces inside her chest seize up, clamoring to get through the bottleneck of that cut-off word.

"What?" Lan Zhan says softly, looking down into Wei Wuxian's face.

"I'm really happy too," she says, biting her lip around a smile that feels so big, so stupid she can't hold it back. "I'm really glad we're dating."

The words feel so insignificant, like she should have been able to offer more, but she can't, she just can't fake it with Lan Zhan, not when Lan Zhan is in fucking love with her.

But from the way Lan Zhan glows back at her, the way that soft smile lights up all the roiling things inside Wei Wuxian's chest until she's glowing back, it doesn't feel like it's insignificant to Lan Zhan.

"Me too, Wei Ying." She kisses Wei Wuxian's forehead. "Me too."