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Counting the Stars

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Wei WuXian hated Cloud Recessess. Sure it was beautiful, but the rules were too much. Wei WuXian felt trapped, hindered for the first time in his life. He’d been scared before, he’d been lonely, but never trapped. Lotus Pier was his home and he adored it there. He missed the water, the freedom to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. He missed the alcohol. Oh how he missed alcohol. There seemed to be a rule for everything at Cloud Recesses, from how he should stand to how he should dress.

Lotus Pier felt like a memory, like it only existed in his mind months into the lecture at Cloud Recesses. There was plenty of terrain that Wei WuXian hadn’t explored yet, especially closer to the back hill, but it was off limits.

So that’s why Wei WuXian wanted to go there. Give him a rule and he wanted to break it immediately, especially since he was called out in the lecture for wanting to use different types of spiritual energy. It would be efficient, and it made sense to him.

Wei WuXian walked alone along the trail, which was uncommon considering he always usually had Jiang Cheng, Jiang Yanli, or Nie Hauisang with him. He left them behind though, because he felt claustrophobic and what he really wanted was to go into the town and go to the wine tavern and drink his weight in Emperor’s Smile.

Wei WuXian hadn’t realized how low the sun had gotten in the sky thanks to the tall trees that filled the countryside of Cloud Recesses. Before he knew it dusk was on its way, leaving him far from everything. He knew he should turn back, but he wasn’t ready yet. Besides, it would be fun to spend the night outdoors and look at the stars. So instead of making his way back to the rooms he was sharing with his brother and sister Wei WuXian made his way up a hill, off the trail, in hopes of getting away from enough trees to see the sky clearly.

He wasn’t scared of ghosts or spirits that may be out, since he had his sword with him. Nothing could happen to him if he had it, and he’d never not have it with him. His sword was like an extension of his arm, which was why he loved dueling with others, because he always won.

Except for with Lan Zhan. Their tie stood out to him. He respected Lan Zhan’s talent with the blade, but his personality was nothing. He didn’t budge, he didn’t smile, he didn’t do anything but stare straight ahead.

It drove Wei WeXian mad, trying to get Lan Zhan’s attention and failing time and time again. He wanted to learn more sword moves from Lan Zhan, and he was sure that he could teach him a few as well. They’d make good sparring partners, but Lan Zhan never joined them when they practiced. Once Wei WuXian saw Lan Zhan out of the corner of his eye as he fought someone, he couldn’t remember. What he remembered was winking at Lan Zhan just before doing one of his favorite moves that involved jumping into the air and doing a flip.

By the time he landed back on the ground, his opponent admitting defeat, Lan Zhan was no longer there.

Wei WuXian shook his head, sighing to himself as he walked on, the sky above turning pinks, purples, and oranges. He smiled to himself as he finally found a clearing. He laid down on the grass, looking up at the sky and thinking about the sky at Lotus Pier, being on a boat on the river and looking up at the stars.

With a pang of homesickness, Wei WuXian closed his eyes and waited for the sun to set. He knew that YanLi would be worried about him, and he supposed Jiang Cheng as well, but it was YanLi who Wei WuXian didn’t want to worry. He was too far from them to send one of his people shaped talismans, so he would have to apologize to her in the morning by bringing her flowers.

She’d like that. He would find her the best flowers that he could on the way back.

A sound off to his right had Wei WuXian sitting up, alert. It wasn’t quite dark yet, so the moon couldn’t help him see easier, but he could make out a human shaped form. With his hand on his sword he stood up, ready if it was a walking corpse.

It wasn’t, though. It was Lan Zhan, dressed in all white and ready for a funeral, like always.

“How boring,” Wei WuXian said, rolling his eyes. “Hey! Lan Zhan! This is my spot, why are you here?”

“No, it isn’t.”

“I found it, it’s mine for the night.”

Lan Zhan stopped walking towards him, his own hand on his sword while the other was behind his back like it always was, his posture perfect, as was his hair, his clothes, his everything. Nothing was ever out of place.

Wei WuXian blew his own hair out of his face as he waited for Lan Zhan to speak, but he apparently wasn’t going to. Once more it was up to Wei WuXian to carry the conversation. He nodded to himself as if making up his mind before walking towards Lan Zhan.

“Why are you all the way out here, Lan Zhan?” Wei WuXian asked, stopping close to Lan Zhan, so close that he could feel each breath Lan Zhan let out of his nose, since his lips were pursed tight, his jaw clenched. Wei WuXian smiled, happy to see that he got a reaction from him, even if his face didn’t move.

Lan Zhan looked upwards in answer, at the sky. Wei WuXian’s jaw dropped.

“Lan Zhan!” He said, smiling, “I’m here to look at the stars, is that why you’re up here as well?” Lan Zhan didn’t answer him, but Wei WuXian wasn’t expecting him to, so he didn’t wait long before he started talking once more. “At Lotus Pier I always went out on my boat at night and looked at the stars, and I missed it so I wanted to get as close to the stars as I could before I couldn’t see anymore.”

He looked at Lan Zhan, locking eyes with him. He swore Lan Zhan’s face didn’t move, but there was something about his eyes that made him suck in air quicker than he normally would. Lan Zhan broke eye contact first.

“Lan Zhan, will you look at the stars with me?” Wei WuXian asked, because even though Lan Zhan hated him, he wanted to be around him. Besides, he didn’t actually want to be up here all alone all night long. What if he got cold?

“Mmn,” Lan Zhan said, sitting down on the grass in one smooth motion, his hands automatically going to his knees, his sword resting in his lap. Wei WuXian quickly joined him, though he didn’t sit properly as he leaned back on his hands, his legs spread out in front of him. He sighed contentedly.

“What is your favorite constellation?” Wei WuXian asked. “I love all of them, but I bet you have a favorite.”

Lan Zhan’s attention seemed to be on the stars and not on Wei WuXian because he took a while before he spoke.

“Purple Forbidden Right Wall,” Lan Zhan whispered, his eyes cast to the north. Wei WuXian wanted to laugh, but he also wanted Lan Zhan to stay with him, so he held it back as he leaned toward him.

“That isn’t a constellation, that’s an enclosure.”

“I know,” Lan Zhan said quickly. “I like the Purple Forbidden Right Wall.”

“Okay,” Wei WuXian said. “So do I, since all stars are my favorite.”

“Choose,” Lan Zhan said.

“Purple Forbidden Right Wall,” Wei WuXian said teasingly because he couldn’t help himself. Instead of getting upset, though, Lan Zhan took a deep breath before he looked back up at the sky again. Instead of looking at the stars Wei WuXian found himself staring at Lan Zhan instead. With the sun completely gone they were cast in darkness except for the moon. The moon that made Lan Zhan’s perfect skin look even more like porcelain, his clothes even more funeral-like, yet he glowed. Wei WuXian smiled to himself.

“What is your favorite of the twenty-eight mansions?” Wei WuXian asked, because it was too quiet. Lan Zhan didn’t hesitate this time.

“Eleven,” he said, looking down at his hands that still rest on his knees. Wei WuXian’s brow furrowed.

“Emptiness?” Lan Zhan nodded his head as Wei WuXian leaned even closer to him. “Lan Zhan, you should pick a happier mansion.”

“You asked,” Lan Zhan said. “Now you.”

“Three stars,” Wei WuXian said, touching his shoulder with Lan Zhans for only a moment. Lan Zhan’s hands clenched for the blink of an eye, but otherwise he didn’t move of flinch.

“Mmn,” Lan Zhan said, apparently finished with their conversation about the stars, so Wei WuXian laid down on the grass with his hands over his head, cradling it.

“Lay down with me, Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian said, adding a small pout for good measure. Lan Zhan looked down at him as if it was the last thing he wanted to do, but to Wei WuXian’s surprise he laid down next to him, mirroring Wei WuXian by putting one hand behind his head, the other on his sword, always proper even when lying down.

Wei WuXian wondered if he’d keep his hand on his sword when tumbling someone, but that would mean that Lan Zhan would kiss someone, and Wei WuXian couldn’t picture it. He laughed, but tried to stifle it.

Lan Zhan made to sit up but Wei WuXian stopped him by placing a hand on Lan Zhan’s chest. Lan Zhan froze, gasping. Wei WuXian didn’t pull his hand away, for some reason, and Lan Zhan didn’t smack it away either. Instead they sat there staring at each other, Lan Zhan’s eyes wide and Wei WuXian trying not to smile too big and scare him.

Because Lan Zhan was afraid of smiles.

He could feel the rise and fall of Lan Zhan’s chest, the quick beat of his heart. Before it got even more awkward, Wei WuXian pat his chest a couple times before pulling his hand away, only Lan Zhan reached up and stopped him, his hand covering Wei WuXian’s.

It was Wei WuXian’s turn to gasp as Lan Zhan kept his hand on top of Wei WuXian’s.

Lan Zhan rest his head back against the ground, staying in place. Wei WuXian was in an odd position, half sitting and half laying down, with his hand on Lan Zhan’s chest and a little too far away from him to lay down completely unless he moved. If he moved, Lan Zhan might push him away.

Tentatively Wei WuXian slid closer as Lan Zhan looked up at the stars, and pointedly not at Wei WuXian as he got comfortable on his side, one arm tucked up under his head while the other stayed put, over between them and rested against his chest.

Wei WuXian swallowed, his breaths coming shallowly, like how Lan Zhan’s heartbeat was as fast as a rabbit’s. He tapped his fingers against the soft fabric of Lan Zhan’s robes. Lan Zhan’s hand on top of his tightened and Wei WuXian decided he wanted more, and if he wanted more he would have to take it. Lan Zhan had been the one to cover his hand with Wei WuXian’s, but maybe Wei WuXian started it by placing his hand on Lan Zhan’s chest and not pulling away.

Either way, Wei WuXian decided he wanted more. So he moved his hand and linking their fingers. Lan Zhan looked over at him, his brow furrowed and lips slightly parted. This felt fragile, like one wrong move could send Lan Zhan into a panic and push Wei WuXian away, but Lan Zhan’s fingers stayed linked with his own, though they were limp, so Wei WuXian tightened his, rocking it back and forth playfully.

He didn’t want to speak incase it broke the spell Lan Zhan was under, the magic of the stars and moonlight that showed the true Lan Zhan, the one who laid down in the grass, who held hands with Wei WuXian and talked about his favorite constellations that weren’t constellations.

What Wei WuXian wanted to do was pull Lan Zhan on top of him, to bring them closer together, but he knew Lan Zhan wouldn’t budge from his spot. Their gaze was still locked, the two of them breathing in tandem as Wei WuXian’s hand wavered back and forth lightly. When he licked his lips Lan Zhan mirrored him.

He wanted to shout out to the stars that he could be the one to do this to Lan Zhan, that Lan Zhan was paying attention to him, holding his hand. He couldn’t possibly ask for a better night, unless... Unless he kissed him. Wei WuXian looked at Lan Zhan’s lips and when he did Lan Zhan’s chest heaved as he took in a deep breath then leaned forward, capturing Wei WuXian’s lips with his own.

Wei WuXian gasped against the kiss, which broke it almost immediately because he was so shocked he got yet another wish to come true.

“No, Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian said, surging forward as Lan Zhan tried to pull away from him because he had been too blown away to kiss him back. He couldn’t let Lan Zhan get away, so he did the only sensible thing that he could think of: he got into his lap, straddling him. Lan Zhan stilled beneath him, their fingers now unclasped, Lan Zhan’s behind him, holding them both up while Wei WuXian’s were on Lan Zhan’s robes, which were looser than they had been when they’d been standing.
He moved his hands tentatively as Lan Zhan stared up at him, his eyes wide, terrified of either rejection or the fact that he wanted this, too, whatever it was. Wei WuXian couldn’t help but smile down at him, leaning forwards as he closed his eyes, kissing Lan Zhan, his mouth parting, his lips lingering.

Lan Zhan once again mirrored him, his lips opening and suddenly their kiss deepened. Wei WuXian wrapped his arms around Lan Zhan, and Lan Zhan likewise did the same, his hands on Wei WuXian’s hips, gripping him tight.

When Wei WuXian opened his eyes long enough to look at Lan Zhan in the moonlight to see if he was blushing he met his eyes, which were expressive and oh so beautiful. Wei WuXian brushed a finger across Lan Zhan’s lips.

“Lan Zhan,” he whispered against WanJi’s lips, kissing him again. “Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian moaned as Lan Zhan’s hands roamed lower, trailing across his lower back. Wei WuXian’s lower lip stuck out. “Lan Zhan,” he scolded playfully. “Don’t tease me.”

Wei WuXian tilted his head to the side as Lan Zhan looked up at him, his chest rising and falling rapidly as he decided what to do. When Lan Zhan grabbed Wei WuXian’s ass, Wei WuXian laughed.

“Wei Ying,” he said, his deep voice sending a shiver down Wei WuXian’s body.

“Lan Zhan, this is the happiest I’ve ever been,” Wei WuXian stated plainly as he played with Lan Zhan’s robes, slowly inching it open as he bit his lip. “Are you happy?”

“Mmn,” Lan Zhan said noncommittally.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian said, tucking his chin down and frowning. “Are you happy?” He asked again. Lan Zhan nodded, his eyes closing slowly. Wei WuXian smiled as they kissed, his hands cupping Lan Zhan’s face as he began rocking back and forth slowly. Lan Zhan gasped, his hands letting go of Wei WuXian, turning his head away from their kiss.

It was then that Wei WuXian realized how high up his robes had gotten in order to straddle Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan closed his eyes.

“Lan Zhan, it’s okay,” Wei WuXian said, his hands on Lan Zhan’s face. “Look at me.”

Lan Zhan did as Wei WuXian asked, but his hands remained on the ground.

“I’m sorry,” Wei WuXian said, kissing Lan Zhan’s headband. Lan Zhan shivered, his arms shaking. “I went too far.”
Lan Zhan kept shaking, so Wei WuXian dropped his hands and wrapped his arms around Lan Zhan, pulling him closer, Lan Zhan’s face on Wei WuXian’s chest. It was then that Lan Zhan took a deep breath, then relaxed against him. Wei WuXian stroked Lan Zhan’s back slowly, beneath Lan Zhan’s long hair, which was the messiest that Wei WuXian had ever seen it.

Whenever he was upset when he was little YanLi always rubbed his back and it calmed him, so he was glad that it seemed to be working for Lan Zhan. Wei WuXian stilled for a moment, wondering if Lan Zhan had ever had someone rub his back for him before. Lan XiChen was a good older brother but the Lan clan weren’t very tactile, always straight backed and proper.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian said, a tinge of sadness in his voice. “Am I the first person to hug you this way?” Lan Zhan stilled for a moment, waiting to see if Wei WuXian stopped rubbing his back. He didn’t. After some time Lan Zhan nodded his head. Wei WuXian kissed the top of his head.

He was happy to be Lan Zhan’s first hug, but sad that he’d gone his whole life without touching someone else. He must be touch starved. No wonder whenever Wei WuXian reached for him he always flinched or glared at him. Lan Zhan didn’t know how to react to a kind touch.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian spoke softly. “You’re the first person I’ve ever done this to, too,” he admitted, because it was true. While it hadn’t been his first kiss, it had been his first kiss with a boy, and the first kiss where he ached for it so badly that he couldn’t think.

This kiss was more important than the first had been.

“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan said, looking up at him. “Don’t let go.”

“I won’t,” Wei WuXian said, smiling warmly at him. Lan Zhan put one hand under Wei WuXian’s thigh and the other on his upper back. Before Wei WuXian could wonder at the feel of his hand in so intimate a place Lan Zhan moved them, flipping Wei WuXian onto his back, his legs spread even wider as Lan Zhan lay between them. They were even closer together now. Wei WuXian smirked up at him. “Lan Zhan,” he said, shaking his head. “You surprise me.”

“You surprise me always,” Lan Zhan said, the corner of his mouth lifting. Wei WuXian’s eyes widened as he put a finger to the corner of Lan Zhan’s mouth, unable to stop himself from touching the hint of a smile on his stoic face.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian laughed as Lan Zhan scowled down at him. “Lan Zhan one day I’m going to make you smile.”

“I just did.”

“No,” Wei WuXian said, his fingers running through Lan Zhan’s hair as it cascaded down around them. “That was a hint of a smile. I want to see more,” Wei WuXian said, becoming bolder by the minute in his belief that Lan Zhan wouldn’t run from him. His fingers ghosted over Lan Zhan’s lips, his thumb catching on the bottom one.

Wei WuXian’s eyes felt heavy, intoxicatedly so, but only now he was drunk off of Lan Zhan’s attention on him. He felt like he could fly.

“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan said, lowering himself towards Wei WuXian, his hands outstretched as they held him up. This time when they kissed it deepened quickly, frantically so. Wei WuXian’s breath caught in his throat as Lan Zhan broke the kiss to nuzzle at his neck. Wei WuXian craned his neck to one side, allowing better access for Lan Zhan, who slowly pushed the shoulder of Wei WuXian’s robe down his shoulder, his lips leaving a trail down his neck as he did so.

Wei WuXian found himself panting as his fingers found Lan Zhan’s sash around his waist, loosening it, tossing it aside, and opening his robe for him. Lan Zhan groaned as Wei WuXian immediately began pulling up his undergarment, another white robe beneath his once pristine outer robe, in order to get to his loose pants.

This was where there was no going back, if he groped Lan Zhan where he so badly wanted to, and Lan Zhan wasn’t ready for it, he’d surely run. It was one thing to kiss and another to get undressed completely. Lan Zhan looked wrecked with his robes open and his chest heaving above Wei WuXian.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian whispered. “Tell me--”

“Yes,” Lan Zhan said, swallowing as he looked down at himself as he held himself up on his knees, hovering over Wei WuXian. Wei WuXian’s lips twitched as Lan Zhan nodded his head.

“Yes, what?” Wei WuXian said, his hand hovering. Lan Zhan paused and Wei WuXian thought he’d messed up for sure this time, pushing him too hard, except in answer Lan Zhan brushed himself against the palm of Wei WuXian’s hand. Together they both moaned as Wei WuXian rubbed against the fabric of Lan Zhan’s pants. Lan Zhan kissed Wei WuXian, open mouthed as he groaned. With one hand rubbing against his pants and the other hooking around Lan Zhan’s neck to keep him where he wanted him, Wei WuXian whimpered when Lan Zhan’s hand slid beneath both his robes, feeling the warmth of his chest.

With that, Wei WuXian grew bolder once more, his hand slipping beneath the fabric of Lan Zhan’s pants. Lan Zhan’s brow furrowed as sweat dripped down his nose. Wei WuXian licked, tasting him. Lan Zhan gasped, sitting up suddenly, Wei WuXian’s hand still on him. Wei WuXian moved with him, worried he was going to run back into Cloud Recesses’ residences looking as he did: wanton.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian said, concerned. He started to pull his hand away, out between Lan Zhan’s underwear and pants, but Lan Zhan stilled his hand by gripping his wrist.

“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan said, looking up at the stars. Wei WuXian did the same, catching his breath for a moment.

“Lan WanJi,” Wei WuXian whispered, his heart beating fast. He pulled his hand out, but linked their fingers together once more. He slid closer to Lan Zhan, resting his head on Lan Zhan’s shoulder, sighing. Lan Zhan put his arm around Wei WuXian, kissing his hair tentatively. Wei WuXian smiled, squeezing his hand in Lan Zhan’s. “Let’s stay up here forever.”

“Mmn,” Lan Zhan said. Wei WuXian closed his eyes, concentrating on the rise and fall of Lan Zhan’s chest.

“Will the spell be broken when we leave?” Wei WuXian asked. Lan Zhan looked down at him, confusion clear across his normally unreadable face.

“What spell?”

Wei WuXian sat up, his hand moving around the clearing and up at the stars.

“The one that’s here,” he said as he placed his hand over Lan Zhan’s heart. “Right here,” he said as he put the hand that held Lan Zhan’s over his own heart. “That brought you up here, where I was walking.”

“It wasn’t a spell,” Lan Zhan said softly, looking away from him, pursing his lips.

“What do you mean?” Wei WuXian asked. “How else could you have just so happened to stumble across me at dusk?”

“I followed you,” Lan Zhan admitted, looking at the sky above them. Wei WuXian’s breath caught in his throat. “To make sure you made it back.”

“You would have taken me back tonight?”

“Mmn,” Lan Zhan said, nodding his head as his gaze found Wei WuXian’s once more.

“Do you follow me often?” Wei WuXian broke out into a grin, his lips hovering close to Lan Zhan’s.

“Yes,” Lan Zhan admitted, kissing Wei WuXian lightly on the lips. “Someone has to make sure you don’t break rules.”

“Rules, yes,” Wei WuXian said, tilting his head as his hand roamed over Lan Zhan’s bare chest. “Can I make a rule?” He asked.

“What rule?” Lan Zhan asked, hesitatingly.

“WangXian rule number one,” Wei WuXian said. “We won’t stop once we leave here.”

“Stop what?”

“Stop kissing,” Wei WuXian said, pressing his lips to Lan Zhan’s cheek. “Stop touching,” he said as his hand skimmed over Lan Zhan’s stomach, nails grazing across his skin. “Stop lo-”

“I won’t stop,” Lan Zhan spoke quickly.

“Good,” Wei WuXian said, sighing contentedly. His robe was still hanging off his shoulder, which reminded him of a seductive concubine from one of Nie Huaisong’s porn books. He wondered if that was what he looked like. Lan Zhan looked better than any of Nie Huaisong’s secret books, with his hair hanging over his shoulders, his robes completely open and pushed up his thighs as he sat. He looked at ease, his posture not as straight as it normally was.

“Do you want to stay out here all night, or do you think you could get us back to the Silence Room?”

“I could get us to my rooms,” Lan Zhan said, standing up, his hand reaching down for Wei WuXian’s. He didn’t need it to stand, but he took it anyways. He squeezed Lan Zhan’s hand, bringing it up to his lips, kissing his knuckles. “Let’s get dressed first.”

It was then that Lan Zhan blushed, letting go of Wei WuXian’s hand as he quickly righted his garments. Wei WuXian, who was mostly still dressed, was ready to go sooner than Lan Zhan.

While Lan Zhan didn’t look quite as doll like as he usually did, with not a hair out of place, he still cleaned up good considering they had been rolling around in the grass. His hair needed to be combed out, but there was little they could do about that in the woods. It would have to do. He ran his fingers through it a little, helping him, but it didn’t take long before Lan Zhan took Wei WuXian’s hand once more, leading him down into the woods, away from the clearing and the sky.

It was darker by far as they headed down the trail back to the houses. Wei WuXian held onto his sword with one hand and Lan Zhan’s hand with the other, swinging their arms back and forth as they walked.

“I want to go back up there with you,” Wei WuXian said. “At the full moon, maybe.”

“Maybe,” Lan Zhan said. “It’s past nine.”

“Are you going to fall asleep right here one the trail?” Wei WuXian asked, only half kidding. Lan Zhan scoffed, which was the most Wei WuXian had ever heard from Lan Zhan that wasn’t proper or respectable.

“I can wait until we get to my room.”

“So you want me to come to your rooms with you?”

“Yes,” Lan Zhan said, leaving it there, the discussion ended about where Wei WuXian would sleep. As they got closer and saw the lights of the buildings, Lan Zhan dropped Wei WuXian’s hand. He knew they had to do it, but it still disappointed him a little bit.

He thought they’d be the only ones out after nine, but Lan XiChen surprised them by waiting outside the doors to the Silence Room, standing like Lan Zhan normally does with one hand on his sword and the other behind him, at the small of his back.

“WangJi,” Lan XiChen said, nodding to his brother. He turned slightly, nodding in his direction as well. “Wei WuXian, I see you have been found.”

“Found,” Wei WuXian said, looking at Lan Zhan, who was now back in his normal posture, straight backed and looking outwards blankly. Wei WuXian bowed respectfully to Lan XiChen before answering. “Yes, Lan Zhan found me, I’d wandered far off the beaten trail.”

“The trail is a trail for a reason,” Lan XiChen said, looking back and forth between them. A small smile appeared across his lips, fond, as he looked at his brother. “But Wanji knew you’d go off on your own. It’s past nine, I hope you two are retiring for the evening.” They both bowed, their arms outstretched and fingers overlapping, remaining so until Lan XiChen left them in the Shadow Bamboo Pavilion.

Once alone, silence remained. Wei WuXian was used to Lan Zhan being quiet, but the air around them felt heavy, perhaps Lan Zhan no longer wanted him to spend the night in the Silence Room with him since they’d been caught.

“Come,” Lan Zhan said, turning towards his rooms. Wei WuXian grinned, following him quickly in order to catch up.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian said as he reached his hand out, grasping at Lan Zhan’s long sleeve. Lan Zhan paused after he slid the door open, looking down at Wei WuXian’s hand on him. Wei WuXian’s grin didn’t falter as he tugged on his sleeve once more. “Lan Zhan, I’m glad you found me.”

The corner of Lan Zhan’s mouth lifted as his hand grasped Wei WuXian’s, tugging him inside. In one smooth movement the door slid closed behind them and their swords were set carefully by the bedside.

Lan Zhan led Wei WuXian to the bed, where they both sat down and took their shoes off before laying down, their heads both on the pillow.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian whispered.

“Sleep,” Lan Zhan said, his eyes already closed. Wei WuXian pouted to himself, frowning as he turned onto his side, draping his arm around Lan Zhan. He thought for sure Lan Zhan would push him away, but instead he sighed contentedly beneath him. Wei WuXian smiled to himself, his fingers intertwining with Lan Zhan’s where they rested on his chest. Lan Zhan squeezed Wei WuXian’s hand, then smiled. Not just the corner of his mouth, not just a ghost of one, but an actual smile.

The last thing Wei WuXian saw before he fell asleep was Lan Zhan’s relaxed, unreserved smile. It was the best thing he’d ever seen.