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Lan Zhan started putting all his hair into a ruthlessly contained knot upon their arrival in Lotus Pier. “Cooler,” he said, when asked about the change.

Wei Wuxian narrowed his eyes in suspicion. Lan Zhan was absolutely the type to suffer for fashion; this was something else. But first, he let Lan Zhan unwind from his duties as Chief Cultivator, eventually coaxing him into the warm, soft waters of the lotus pond. He almost laughed himself into drowning at Lan Zhan’s face as he first stepped into the mud; however, the distaste meant Lan Zhan spent most of his time floating like a beautiful white flower on the surface, his head in the water and hair completely soaked.

“It’s not going to dry like that,” Wei Wuxian said, reaching for the pins as they sat on a small pier. He moved slowly, until there was a sigh and a nod, and he released Lan Zhan’s hair to unfurl down his back.

He absorbed the drips with his towel and threaded his fingers through the mass to help it dry. The waves he had seen in the cold pond and the bath needed little encouragement, spiralling with enthusiasm in the late afternoon heat. Wei Wuxian amused himself by gathering as many of the tender curls around his fingers as he could manage.

“Wei Ying?” Lan Zhan asked, with equal parts trepidation and amusement; it was a familiar tone.

Wei Wuxian gently lifted his hands over Lan Zhan’s shoulders, and leaned forward to press his cheek against Lan Zhan’s. “Lan Zhan, save me!”

Lan Zhan shook his head, his expression all amusement now. “Too late. Wei Ying is caught.”

He brushed a kiss to the corner of Lan Zhan’s mouth and tugged on the curls as he said, “So is Lan Zhan.”