[ White Rabbit Candy (大白兔奶糖) is a Chinese sweet. It looks like this.
It has two wrappers. The inside wrapper is made from sticky rice and is edible.]
Blue sky overlooked the town of Gusu. It was nearing winter, and after a cold spell, everyone was thankful for the warmth of sunlight. Boats floated down the river, and market stalls were bustling in the street. Lan Wangji had to weave in and out of running children between his feet, whose parents followed hot on their heels with frustration weaved into their expressions. The stalls sold all sorts of goods – ranging from dyed fabrics to salted meats – but Lan Wangji was not there for any meat or new robes. In fact, he was there for one person only.
Three days ago, Wei Wuxian had complained loudly to his brother – Jiang Cheng – about the lack of sweets in Cloud Recesses. “There are sweets,” Jiang Cheng had told him, to which Wei Wuxian had rolled his eyes and said they were not his favourite ones.
Lan Wangji hadn’t meant to hear the conversation. He had only been passing by when it caught his attention, and he had stayed hidden around a corner as he listened.
So, now, three days later – when lectures are not occurring, and Lan Wangji had the free time – he was down the mountain to look for Wei Wuxian’s favourite sweets.
Before the conversation between them had ended, Wei Wuxian had proclaimed that his most favourite sweets in the cultivation world were White Rabbit Candy. Lan Wangji had never heard of them before in his life, but now knowing that Wei Wuxian liked them, he was determined to find it. Even if it took all day. Even if they were very expensive.
He wanted to buy these unknown candies for Wei Wuxian, so that maybe the young cultivator would finally stop annoying him throughout the day. So that maybe Wei Wuxian would pay attention in class, stop breaking the Lan Sect’s rules, and stop giving Lan Wangji that wide, toothy smile of his during lectures that made it impossible for Lan Wangji to concentrate. It was as simple as that. There was no other reason.
Stopping in front of a sweets stall, Lan Wangji overlooked the rows of strange candies aligned in wooden boxes. Each was wrapped up in a protective layer, and nearly each of them were of different shapes, sizes and colours. The shopkeeper behind the stall – an elder woman wearing deep blue robes – gave him a smile, tilting her head to the side as she did so and gesturing to her goods.
“Are you looking for anything in particular?”
“Do you have White Rabbit Candy?” Lan Wangji said, ignoring how his heart started to beat a little faster in his chest. Logically, there was no reason to be doing this. Wei Wuxian never asked his brother nor anyone to buy him these sweets. He could have probably brought them himself.
And yet here Lan Wangji was.
“I do indeed!” The elderly woman said, pointing at a row of white, thin, stick-shaped candy, wrapped up neatly in a row in one of the wooden boxes. “The finest White Rabbit Candy you’ll find anywhere. How much would you like?”
Lan Wangji hummed, pulling out a sachet filled with golden coins. He wasn’t sure how much Wei Wuxian would eat, and how quickly he’d eat them. So, he simply said, “All of it.”
The elderly woman had beamed at the large sale, thanking Lan Wangji over and over and telling him that he was welcome back anytime. It ended up costing a little more than he had expected.
But, if it was to make Wei Wuxian happy, then Lan Wangji would spend every last coin he owned.
Hues of blues and purples painted the evening sky. Lan Wangji wandered around Cloud Recesses alone, a handful of candy hidden in his palm behind his back. There was no telling where Wei Wuxian was in that moment. Yet Lan Wangji was determined – he would look all over for Wei Wuxian if he had to – because giving him this silly candy was currently the only thing on his mind.
Walking back home, he had imagined the scene over and over in his head, going over what he would say and how he would act. He would tell Wei Wuxian something about seeing the White Rabbit Candy at the markets, but accidentally buying too much, and then give him the few pieces. Wei Wuxian would then probably give him that wide, toothy grin that made the tips of his ears turn pink and say his name soft enough to make Lan Wangji’s heart flutter in his chest.
Looking for Wei Wuxian did not take as long as Lan Wangji expected, however, for before he could stray too far from Orchid Room, Wei Wuxian found him instead.
“Lan Zhan! Lan Zhan! Hey!”
Turning around, Lan Wangji was greeted by a freshly bathed Wei Wuxian. His damp hair had been tied up into a high ponytail, his white robes flowing slightly in the gentle evening breeze. That smile that Lan Wangji found himself craving to see was curled on his features. It took Lan Wangji a few moments to compose himself, but he could already feel the tips of his ears turning a rosy colour.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji said. The hand clasped around the candies trembled a little behind his back. His throat seemed to dry up, closing around his words as heat started to rise rapidly to his cheeks. Clearing his throat, he took a step closer, and held out his palm to reveal the candy. “I… found these at the markets today. I bought too many. Would you like some?”
And then Wei Wuxian’s eyes lit up. He was glowing, a gasp slipping past his lips as he gleefully took the few candies held out for him. Their fingers brushed against one another, sending sparks dancing across Lan Wangji’s skin. Holding his breath, he watched as Wei Wuxian twisted open the wrapper of one. By now, there was no doubt that Lan Wangji’s cheeks were dusted with pink.
When did he ever blush?
“I’ll have them all!” He said, stuffing the wrapper in one of his pockets. There was a smaller, clear wrapper around the candy still – that was edible, the shopkeeper had explained to Lan Wangji – and Wei Wuxian’s brows furrowed as he saw it. “Ah… Lan Zhan… why is it wrapped twice?”
“The clear layer is edible.”
“Are you sure?” Wei Wuxian raised a brow, words conveying mistrust and hesitation. But Lan Wangji saw the smirk hinted on his lips. “Maybe… you will have to take a bite first so I can be sure. Have you ever had White Rabbit Candy?”
Taking in a sharp intake of breath, Lan Wangji shook his head.
“They are my favourites, Lan Zhan.”
Wei Wuxian said his name so softly, his lips curling up into a small smile as he took another step closer. Behind his back, Lan Wangi’s nails dig into his closed palms as he tried to rest the steady beat of his heart. Wei Wuxian then stood on his toes – and it took all Lan Wangji’s patience not to break into a smile, for the sight was just so cute – and held the candy up to Lan Wangji’s lips.
“Take a bite.”
It seemed that if a hundred butterflies had burst inside of him. With Wei Wuxian so close, Lan Wangji was near sure that he would be able to hear the rapid da-thump, da-thump, da-thump of his heart. Lips trembled as he opened his mouth, and let Wei Wuxian feed him. Feed him – as if he was a boy.
Flavours of milky vanilla could be tasted on his tongue. It was a little sweet – just like Wei Wuxian – and of a soft, chewy texture. As the shopkeeper had told him, the clear wrapper was edible.
“Is it good, hmm?” Wei Wuxian said, his fingers still hold the remaining half of the candy. He tilted his head to the side, expression warm and sincere.
“I can see why it is your favourite.”
At that, Wei Wuxian smiled, giving him another small giggle that Lan Wangji adored ever so much before popping the rest of the candy inside his mouth.
Still holding the remaining few that Lan Wangji had gifted him in his other hand, Wei Wuxian took a step back as he finished, and then said: “Lan Zhan, who knew you could be so soft?”
“I- I’m not –” Lan Wangji stuttered out in defence, feeling his face grow hot. He was not soft. Lan Wangji was strong, a rising and promising cultivator, one of the Two Jades of Lan.
“Aw, don’t look so embarrassed!” Wei Wuxian laughed, turning his back with a wink and striding away. Before he could go too far, he looked over his shoulder, his voice dropping as he said ever so gently, “Lan Zhan, thank you.”
And if his heart had skipped a beat from Wei Wuxian’s words, nobody needed to know.
Nearing two weeks had passed since Lan Wangji had first given Wei Wuxian the White Rabbit candy.
Every few days, he had offered Wei Wuxian another few. Wei Wuxian would then smile that wonderful, bright smile of his, and speak Lan Wangji’s name so softly as he took them for himself – but always making sure to offer one to Lan Wangji, as well.
In the back of his mind, a tiny little voice pushed for Lan Wangji to do more. To say what he had been longing to say, what he had still yet to fully understand and accept; to tell Wei Wuxian that he was the not only such a pretty face, but a man with morals and integrity that Lan Wangji admired so deeply.
Yet, whenever Wei Wuxian stood before him, it was as if any bravery that Lan Wangji held hid. The tips of his ears would grow pink, his heart would start beating a little faster, and any words that Lan Wangji wanted to say would fail to form on his tongue. It was useless.
So, he continued to give Wei Wuxian the candies, and hoped that one day he would understand.
In the present, Wei Wuxian laid on the grass next to him. The sun glistened low in the sky, warming their skin, coating the world in golden shades. Their hands rested next to each other – so close that they gently touched – and empty wrappers laid all around them. That Sunday, Lan Wangji had already planned to go back down to the markets to buy more White Rabbit candy.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian said softly.
“Why do you keep giving me candy?”
Inside him, butterflies bloomed. Lan Wangji felt his throat grow tight. “You like them, right?”
Wei Wuxian let out a small laugh, and nodded. He moved, propping up his head with his elbow, and turning on his side so that he could gaze at Lan Wangji. Around them, bluebirds sang their songs, and calla lilies bloomed. For a moment they sat in silence, letting the wind and the birds be the only sound.
“I thought you hated me, when I first came here.”
“I do not hate you, Wei Ying.”
“I know,” Wei Wuxian said, lips curling into a gentle smile. “So, you gave me the candy simply because I like them? That’s all?”
Lan Wangji gulped, and nodded.
Fingertips gently brushed against his own, making his hands tremble a little by his side as sparks of willingness danced across his skin. He wanted so, so badly, to grasp Wei Wuxian’s firmly in his – but Lan Wangji held back, hesitant to ruin the moment, to destroy what they had right here.
Lan Wangji could see the playful – yet hesitant – glint in Wei Wuxian’s eyes as he met them. Perhaps it was due to his head spinning from Wei Wuxian being so physically close, or perhaps it was because Wei Wuxian, was, in fact, moving ever so closer, that suddenly Lan Wangji felt himself growing a little tense. It was as if he could not breathe. Each second his heartbeat grew a little faster, and the blood rushed to the tips of his ears and the apples of his cheeks.
A sigh slipped past Lan Wangji’s lips at hearing his name said so softly, so gentle, as if it was the most precious thing in the world. And when fingertips pushed their way in-between his own, Wei Wuxian intertwining their hands together as one, Lan Wangji felt as he was dreaming in the clouds.
“Do you like the candy, or… do you… like me?”
Now, Lan Wangji was falling through the clouds. It felt as if he was weightless as his stomach dropped, his heart fluttering, his hand trembling in Wei Wuxian’s own.
Say it. Be brave, he told himself. But what if he had read everything wrong?
“I’ll say it, Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian said, before suddenly and swiftly pressing a soft, gentle kiss to Lan Wangji’s cheeks. It happened so fast, so light on his skin that for a moment he wondered if it had happened at all. He blinked blankly back at Wei Wuxian, feeling the kissed skin tingle from the touch.
“I like you,” Wei Wuxian then said with a quiet giggle, smiling that smile Lan Wangji loved so much.
Inside his chest, his heart began to bloom. Lan Wangji wondered if he had fallen asleep, and if it was all a dream. The world around him seemed to become a little brighter, a little kinder, with just those words. I like you.
“Do you like me?” The other boy continued, raising a brow. “Is that why you keep giving me White Rabbit candy? Because you know it is my favourite?”
Lan Wangji was not the type of person to smile. He was known for being composed at all times, but in this moment, he let himself go. Squeezing Wei Wuxian’s hands, his lips split into a smile – a real, genuine smile – and he let out a breath that he did not know he was holding.
Bluebirds continued to sing their song in the trees. Hues of pinks, reds and purples now bled into the sky, showering the world in the colours of love. Wei Wuxian continued to smile, his own cheeks flushed with blush, his braided hair falling over his shoulder. Beautiful. Wei Wuxian was always ever so beautiful.
Licking his lips, and letting out a shaky breath, Lan Wangji said in a small voice, “I like you.”
It took only a moment before Wei Wuxian was suddenly throwing himself at him, burying his face in the crook of Lan Wangji’s shoulder. He could feel the other’s smile, and with shaking hands Lan Wangji wrapped his arms around Wei Wuxian’s back and pulled him a little closer. It was warm. Feeling Wei Wuxian so close to him was everything Lan Wangji had ever dreamed of. Comfort, safety, warmth – all these feelings mixed into one, one of a first love.
Why did I not tell him earlier?
What was there to be afraid of?
The remaining White Rabbit Candy that Wei Wuxian had kept in his pockets slipped out onto Lan Wangji’s chest. Eying it, Lan Wangji picked one up with his fingers.
“Wei Ying,” He said softly. Lifting his head, Wei Wuxian let out a hum in a wordless response to continue, expression ever so gentle. Lan Wangji brought the candy in front of his face.
Smiling, Lan Wangji then asked, “Would you like some White Rabbit candy?”
And with that, Wei Wuxian simply leaned forward, and closed the space between them.