One of the Big Benefits of marrying Lan Zhan was the fact that he was always, always warm. Even in the dead of winter. Like some freakish eco-sustainable heater, he could always wander around city with a single jacket while Wei Ying tugged around his blanket like some hobo walking the streets without any hope of returning home.
...which is why they were exactly perfectly matched! A pair made by the fates! A love story unlike anything the world had ever seen!
Because you see, just as Lan Zhan ran perpetually warm, Wei Ying constantly acted like a “fucking bald cat or some shit, constantly leeching my heat,” as Jiang Cheng had grumbled one day, when Wei Ying had snuck into his bed during a cold day at camp. Even if he bitched and moaned about it, Jiang Cheng knew the Big Nature of the problem, and he had always turned to cuddle him sullenly when Wei Ying claimed he was cold, a tactic that the elder (“By like three days, you freak!”) had shamelessly taken advantage of.
To be honest, Wei Ying had spent a long time thinking about what kind of conversations he would need to have with his brother and sister’s spouses regarding his Constant Need to be attached to them like a barnacle in the winters. Fortunately, the situation had never come to that, because some miracle of fate had put down the best, most reliable, warmest, most loving portable heater right in his path.
So. Wei Ying enjoyed the warmth. He would spend hours sitting in the sunny spots of their drawing room like some cold-blooded reptile, trying to bait A-Yuan into playing with a loose string and pouting when the other refused, blushing at all the embarrassing memories of the older man playing with him like one would with a cat and him reacting like a cat would . On warmer days, he’d drag the two out to a park or a trail and his two boys, despite not being as tolerant of the sun as he, never complained, bless their souls.
All of this was what made it so weird when, more than half asleep in the night, limbs casually draped over his husband’s, Wei Ying became aware of the fact that he was actually burning.
No wait, that couldn’t be him. He would have felt the heat stronger if it was...right? So...so…
It had to be something else.
Impatiently, he kicked his blanket off, struggling to open his eyes and build up the motivation to go check the heating in the house. He was pretty sure he had turned it down before he went to bed....although god, he didn’t want to deal with the Talk which would follow if he forgot…
We have to Conserve Energy, Wei Ying. Yes, I know that individual actions can’t hope to match up the damage that large corporations do to the environment, but that doesn’t give us a reason to be Assholes, Wei Ying. And then, Lan Zhan would sick A-Yuan at him, and A-Yuan would look at him with those sickening puppy eyes and Wei Ying would feel guilty for centuries.
Beneath him, something warm shuffled. Wei Ying felt his lips stretch into a dopey smile, the urge to see Lan Zhan forcing him to open his eyes quicker. And just as he opened them - he got the answer to all his problems.
As it turned out, the thing that was burning was neither him, not the household.
It was Lan Zhan.
His elegant, beautiful husband was never quite the picture of grace when it came to suffering with illness. He was lying down with his hair spread over the white sheets, having forgone from tying it up in his usual loose braid the night before. Drops of sweat beaded on his forehead and neck, his face drawn into an unconscious frown. Hesitant, Wei Ying reached out with one hand to lay it upon the skin of his collarbone, only to pull back quickly with a hiss.
This amount of heat….it was far too much! If normally Lan Zhan was a furnace, right now, he was burning as hot as the sun! And not in a Sexy Way either!
“Lan Zhan!” he whispered urgently, reaching out to shake the man. His sleepiness had completely dissolved by this point, his brain running mental acrobatics to figure out where this sudden sickness had come from.
Oh, Lan Zhan had looked pretty tired when he came back from dropping A-Yuan at Jingyi’s house for the sleepover yesterday. But still, that wasn’t any sign of him going nuclear! He had assured Wei Ying that he was fine - just tired from a long day of doing lesson plans.
Ohhhh, if Lan Zhan had been feeling sick yesterday and had been intentionally hiding it from him, it would be Wei Ying’s turn to unleash A-Yuan’s Weapons of Mass Destruction on this infuriating man.
“Lan Zhan, you need to wake up!” Ignoring the icky feeling of sweat gathering under his palms, Wei Ying leaned forward to plant them both to Lan Zhan’s cheeks. He couldn’t help the coo which escaped his mouth as Lan Zhan let out an indignant “Mnnn”, too sleep-drunk to bat away the annoyance trying to awaken him.
No! He couldn’t fall prey to this man’s cute charms! For hiding his illness, Lan Zhan still had to Pay!
“Don’t ‘mnn’ me, Lan Zhan! Why didn’t you say you were feeling sick?!” By this point, Wei Ying had swung up with a familiar position, sitting on Lan Zhan’s chest. Still half-asleep, Lan Zhan’s hand came up to support his sides, a well-developed reflex at this point.
Lan Zhan’s eyes opened by a bleary centimeter. “Wei Ying, too loud,” he whispered back. “Not sick,” he added, almost pouting.
Wei Ying cattled with the urge to just give up on his mission to be stern and press kiss upon kiss on those sleep-puffed cheeks. No! Stay strong, Wei Ying! He crossed his arms over his chest and pouted right back, letting the righteous indignation of Worried Spouse fill him from tip-to-toe.
“Oh, then, I must be the one producing enough heat to rival the fucking sun!”
“Language,” Lan Zhan’s eyes opened in narrowed slits yet again. They appraised Wei Ying’s form on his chest, before the hands on Wei Ying’s waist squeezed it lightly, “Wei Ying does not need sickness to be hot.”
Wei Ying blushed, feeling his face heat up to rival even Lan Zhan’s temperature. “D-don’t think being all slick means you’re off the clock, Lan Zhan!” he flustered, turning to get up in a flurry of stumbling motions. “I-I’m going to be back with a thermometer! I better see you sitting up straight when I return!”
With a slam that covered the slight groan let out by Lan Zhan at the sudden loss of Wei Ying in his arms, Wei Ying locked himself in the bathroom and promptly pulled down the hand towel to scream unintelligible curses into it.
Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck! Lan Zhan, ah, Lan Zhan! Why the fuck are you so smooth!
The dutiful husband that he was, Lan Zhan was sitting up when Wei Ying got back to the room five minutes later, his cheeks still flushed red from giddiness. He squinted as Wei Ying tripped up the switch for the light, even though it was the most dim one they had in their room, looking mighty put-out as Wei Ying approached him while waving the thermometer.
“Lan Zhan,” his tone softened. He was still mad at his husband for not telling him about his sickness but he never could stand firm before that grumpy face, “Say ‘aaaa.’”
“Aaaaa,” Lan Zhan sulkingly opened his mouth, continuing to stare at Wei Ying with those damnable puppy-dog eyes that no one believed he had taught their son.
“Good boy,” Wei Ying gave in to his baser urges, petting Lan Zhan’s hair with gentle motions and enjoying how they made his eyelashes flutter, “good, good boy. Be good for me, ok? I know you don’t like waking up in the middle of your sleep-cycle, Lan Zhan, but the sooner we get some medicine into you, the sooner you can go back to sleep again.”
The thermometer beeped. Wei Ying quickly pulled it out of Lan Zhan’s mouth.
“Don’t need medicine,” Lan Zhan mumbled slowly, already drawing the covers back over his shoulders again.
“Oh yeah? Tell that to your 102 degree fever, sweetheart,” Wei Ying replied, brandishing the thermometer display like it was a weapon.
Lan Zhan caught his wrist mid-swing and brought it close to him pressing a soft kiss on it. “Wei Ying,” he said again, voice whiny, soft, “don’t want medicine.”
Wei Ying melted. “Oh, Lan Zhan,” he bit his lip and reached out, caressing one burning cheek with the hand that was free. His eyes flickered down to where Lan Zhan’s lips were still near his wrist, huffing gentle warm breaths on his skin. He leaned in.
Eyes widening in delight, Lan Zhan leaned in too, closing his eyes in anticipation of the kiss to come.
Instead, he felt a soft pressure at the forehead. Wei Ying’s voice by his ear, pitying, yet merciless. “Don’t forget who was the one to get our son to take his vaccinations as a child, Lan Zhan~”
Lan Zhan let out a groan as Wei Ying, cruel, cruel Wei Ying, let out a quiet laugh and swung out of bed yet again.
Practiced reflexes made Wei Ying shoot up from bed and quickly roll over to find his phone on the bedside. He shut off the alarm with closed eyes, before opening them, squinting at the light of the phone.
He let out a groan of despair, rolling back and thumping on his pillow. A cough by his side made his eyes snap open back again, and he turned to see his husband, even more red and miserable than he was yesterday. Lan Zhan let out a quiet sniffle again and Wei Ying’s heart dropped at how congested he sounded.
Ahh, A-Yuan had been sick with a cold weeks ago...Lan Zhan’s immune system was normally so good, he probably hadn’t even taken the prevetative measures that Wei Ying had… Last night, Wei Ying had hoped that the fever would remain just that - a fever. But a cold….oh, Lan Zhan wouldn’t like this at all.
Still, best to get things over with. He reached out to gently grasp and shake the other man’s shoulder. “Lan Zhan,” he whispered, “Lan Zhan, you need to wake up sweetheart.”
“Mmmm,” Lan Zhan mumbled. His lips opened and closed once, twice, before a quiet, hoarse voice rang out. “Wei Ying. Too early.”
Wei Ying huffed a small laugh, a smile on his face, “It really isn’t, Lan Zhan. You’ve overslept actually.”
At that, Lan Zhan’s eyes opened. “Time?” he inquired sleepily.
“It’s gonna be eight soon,” Wei Ying replied quietly, one hand carding through his husband’s sweaty hair. “And you, beloved, are sick as hell.”
Lan Zhan let out a confused noise, “Can’t be,” he insisted, even though the cough he let out in the next second disagreed with him entirely.
“Is too,” Wei Ying retorted, leaning down to press a kiss against the warm forehead.
“No!” Lan Zhan protested, soft, still sleepy, and Wei Ying felt his heart pound in quick, fast bursts that couldn’t possibly be healthy for him, “I have...a lecture to give tomorrow. Can’t be sick.” He fought the blankets to sit up, but doubled over, coughing miserably.
Wei Ying jumped out, patting his back and letting out a small hum of sympathy. “There, there. Ah, Lan Zhan, you probably caught what A-Yuan had a while ago. You need to rest and take your medicine, ok?”
Lan Zhan let out a miserable groan in response. “Medicine,” he positively whined, eyebrows furrowing in disgust as his normally apathetic face scrunched up. He coughed, once, twice, and then sniffled before turning to glare at Wei Ying. The effects of what would otherwise have been a ferocious scowl were lessened by the line of snot running down his nose. Disgusted, Lan Zhan raised his hand to wipe it on his sleeve, only to be interrupted by Wei Ying.
“Oh stop it, you big baby,” Wei Ying took out cloth he had put by his bedside along with a bucket of water in a moment of but what if it gets worse panic last night, and moved forward to lovingly clean his husband’s snot. He held up the cloth to his nose, “Blow.”
After sorting everything out, Wei Ying stood up. He looked at the pitiful figure of his husband on the bed and clicked his tongue. Ah, really, poor Lan Zhan! He never normally got sick, but when he did...it would ignite those hidden homicidal urges within Wei Ying that were normally only reserved for people who looked at Lan Yuan in a mean way nowadays.
You sick virus who has infected my beloved! Prepare to be taken down!
Outwardly, he said, “Lan Zhan, I’m going to make us some tea. Maybe heat some milk and bread for breakfast.” He moved to leave to the kitchen, but stopped as Lan Zhan caught his wrist in a grip surprisingly strong for someone so ill.
“Wei Ying, don’t leave.”
Oh no! There they were! The Original Weapons of Mass Destruction! Lan Zhan’s Wide-Earnest Eyes, Version 2.1!
No, Wei Ying! Don’t give in!
Mustering up all his courage, Wei Ying looked away. “Lan Zhan, I have to. We can’t give you any medicine on an empty stomach!” He closed his eyes shut and wrenched his hand away from Lan Zhan’s grip. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. But it has to be done.”
Before the sheer sense of betrayal emanating through the air behind him could do him in, Wei Ying fled to the kitchen to have his guilt-induced mini-breakdown in peace.
With breakfast taken care of, Wei Ying came back into the room again, balancing a pot of Lan Zhan’s favorite herbal tea along with a bowl of warm milk and some toast on a tray. As soon as he entered, he saw that his husband had, once again, rolled himself over in his blankets and gone to sleep.
Or so he wanted it to look like. Wei Ying knew better after so many years of being together; Lan Zhan never could fall asleep once he had been woken up in the morning.
He quietly put the tray down on the bed table next to him and creeped up on the bed, behind the still figure of his husband. Loomed above him, he leaned down to whisper in his ear. “Lan-er-gege~ I know you’re still awake~”
Lan Zhan, “....”
Wei Ying sat back up, a mock pout on his face, “Ah, woe is me! My husband has abandoned me to traverse across the realms of darkness, forcing me to eat this delicious breakfast alone!”
Lan Zhan let out an encouraging twitch. Bolstered by it, Wei Ying continued on, “Alas, I suppose I shall once again have to retire to the kitchen, to dine alone, like the unfavored spouse I a-ah!”
In one quick motion, Lan Zhan rolled over, moving to pin the other under his body. Wei Ying grinned from his position, reaching up to push long locks of hair behind the other’s ear. “Good morning once again, Lan Zhan!” he cheerily greeted.
Lan Zhan did not repeat the cheery greeting. Instead, looking incredibly put out, he said, “Not true.”
Wei Ying, too busy playing with the hair falling in front of his face, “Huh?”
Lan Zhan clarified, “Wei Ying, what you said, it’s not true. I would never abandon you. For Wei Ying, my favor is guaranteed.”
Despite himself, despite having spent so long hearing such things, Wei Ying could not help but color. He smiled and lay a gentle hand on Lan Zhan’s cheek. “I know. I know. This husband is sorry.”
With a huff, Lan Zhan let himself collapse on top of the other, reveling in the arms that instinctually wrapped around him. This was a dance they had practiced for so long that they could do it blindfolded by now. He nuzzled into the crook of his husband’s neck and planted one, then two kisses on the cool skin there. “Do not apologize. Not for this.”
Wei Ying’s laughter sent vibrations running through their intertwined bodies. “Then, shall I apologize for what I’m going to ask next? Because you know Lan Zhan, you really do need to eat before your food gets cold.”
His husband stayed still on top of him.
Wei Ying sighed theatrically. “Very well then. I suppose I will simply have to wait for food to cool and then go to the kitchen again to heat everything up.”
Lan Zhan let out a sulky little, “Wei Ying is mean, ” before sitting up, the threat of not having his husband’s warmth at his side a far better motivator than any other. Wei Ying laughed and climbed over the other to fetch the tray. “For you, Lan Zhan? Always.”
He poured his husband’s tea and urged him to drink up.
They ate their breakfast in contented silence, Wei Ying watching with hawk’s eyes as his husband tore pieces of bread to dip them into the milk and swallow. “A-Yuan will be coming home soon,” he commented, catching the reflection of the clock on their bedside mirror. “Nearly 9 - that’s when he told us the sleepover would be done by.”
Lan Zhan swallowed. “Mnn. I will go...to pick him up.” He had to pause mid-way, gulping to clear out the scratchiness of his voice.
Wei Ying frowned, setting his tea down to reach over and pour Lan Zhan some more. “Not sounding like that you won’t,” he said. “Drink your tea, Lan Zhan. I added ginger to it; it should help with your throat.”
Lan Zhan frowned, pouting again. “Not fast enough,” he said, plainative. “Need...to be get better sooner…” he broke out into terrible coughs, “..lecture tomorrow.”
“Aiyah, Lan Zhan, the only lecture in this household will be the one your brother gives you once I call him and tell him that you’re not resting, like you’re supposed to.”
The threat of his brother’s worry immediately made Lan Zhan settle further down into the pillows, hands wrapping around the new mug of tea being offered to him. “Mean,” he complained, “very mean.”
Embracing his villainous casting, Wei Ying opened his bedside drawer and drew out two small tablets of paracetamol, depositing them on the nearly-empty breakfast tray, laughing at the way Lan Zhan’s eyes narrowed in on them with distaste. “Both you and A-Yuan are far too nice, er-gege. Someone has to be the bad guy around here. Now, take your meds. I’ll go pick up A-Yuan, and be back in less than ten, ok?”
He waited until the offered medicine had been gulped down before standing up to clear the tray from the bedroom.
“Be good, Lan Zhan.” Gently pecking his sick husband on the lips, Wei Ying successfully resisted the urge to give into his baser acts in order to act out the Call Of Adulthood for the both of them, for as long as he needed to.
As Wei Ying stepped into the garage, Lan Zhan, now up and out of bed, stood in the bathroom and found a small red bottle. He unscrewed it and poured out a measure of red liquid in the cap before scrunching up his face and downing it like a shot.
Like a shot indeed, he went down.
“Now, A-Yuan, you don’t need to panic, ok? I know you haven’t seen your father like this before, but not even Lan immune systems can evade viral fevers without any precautions, and that man is insistent on not taking any precautions even though I told him to take those immune system boosters, dear god…”
Wei Ying kept a steady stream of chatter on, well aware of how his child had gone pale the moment he was informed of Lan Zhan’s sickness. He knew A-Yuan - his every molecule, every atom of his being - had watched him grow into who he is today from a nothingness. There was perhaps no one in the world who knows A-Yuan better than him and Lan Zhan, having always sought to provide their best to their son. Every time Wei Ying looked at him, he could see glimpses of Lan Zhan and himself reflected back, and every time he thought, “Wow, so I’ve actually helped make this, huh.”
It is at times like this, that Wei Ying realizes how idiotic their entire family is. Knowing A-Yuan so well, he is aware of the other’s thoughts, even before the younger voices anything.
As Wei Ying expected, A-Yuan tries to speak once they reach the door of their house. “Diedie,” he tugged at Wei Ying’s sleeve just as he reached to turn the knob, “diedie, did I make baba sick?”
Wei Ying sighed, his shoulders dropping. Finally, he said it. Of all the things A-Yuan inherited from them...why did he have to get that godforsaken sense of (as Lan Zhan once termed it) Responsibility For Things Not In One’s Control?
Turning around to look at his son, he raised one eyebrow. “A-Yuan, big are you?”
Lan Yuan blinked at the sudden out-of-nowhere question. “I...am fourteen years old??”
Wei Ying hmmed in consideration. “And are you or are you not a tiny microorganism that has snuck its way into Lan Zhan’s body and is now waging eternal war against his immune system?”
“I - no - but - diedie!” His protests died off in his mouth as Wei Ying dragged him close and let loose with his knuckles on top of neatly combed hair.
“Last I checked,” he chided calmly, as though he wasn’t embarrassing his son by giving him a noogie in public and, oh god that was Zizhen filming them with his phone two doors across, Lan Yuan would never outlive this, “I raised a little boy who was big enough for me to see with my own eyes. Not some microscopic little twit!”
Lan Yuan couldn’t help it. “Diedie!” he laughed, helpless, “That tickles!”
“Good!” Wei Ying continued his ruffling, a grin on his lips, “This is your punishment for saying something so silly!”
They were still giggling as they entered the house. Wei Ying frantically turned to Lan Yuan and gestured down with his hand, biting his lip. “Quiet, quiet!” he hissed, “Your baba might be sleeping again by now, hopefully.”
Lan Yuan mimes zipping his lips shut, small giggles still escaping from the corners of his smile.
Together, they pad silently through the house, reaching the Lan Yuan’s room and depositing the overnight bags on his floor. “Could you make some tea for the both of us after you’re done unpacking, baby?” Wei Ying asked, making sure to keep his voice low. “I’ll check on your baba in the meantime.”
“Mn,” Lan Yuan gave a small, determined nod. “Leave it me!”
Wei Ying felt his heart melt anew. In one quick motion, he crossed over the room and hugged his child close, pressing against him and breathing in the familiar scent of ayuan, safe, here. Lan Yuan’s arms came up to wrap around him in turn. Wei Ying turned his cheek from where it was resting on A-Yuan’s forehead (and really, when did this child get so tall, what had they been feeding him) and pressed his lips against warm skin in a quick kiss. “Good boy,” he whispered.
After a while, he detached himself with much internal struggle and (with another quick kiss, this time to A-Yuan’s cheek) trudged onto his and Lan Zhan’s shared room. He stopped at the door, craning his neck to peak in. The next moment, he was entering the room with a jerk, sudden anxiety rising in his heart.
Their bed was messy, blankets mussed around in a way that Lan Zhan would never normally stand for. Two of their pillows lay on the ground, one on top of the other, reminding him uncomfortably of messier, more blurry college days.
Most importantly….where the fuck was his husband?
“Lan Zhan?” he called out, turning around to check every corner of their room, before crawling down to view under the bed. “Lan Zhan, sweetheart, where are you?” he asked, louder still. Ignoring the sudden anxiety building up in his mind as his questions received no response, he kept looking, uselessly shaking the bed sheets even though he could see that no one was under them.
Turning sharply, he fast-walked into the bathroom, first opening the curtains with a schlink.
Maybe Lan Zhan got too warm and decided to go take a shower and fell asleep in there. Or - or - maybe something happened while he was in the shower and then -
No use. There was no one there.
Letting out a frustrated noise, he swung back around, the force of his movement making his hair whip into his face. “Argh!” He spat the hair out, blinking against the sting of his eyes. Good thing that he did to. If he hadn’t moved at that angle, he would never have seen the innocuous red bottle lying in the sink.
Sudden understanding came over him, making his knees weak with relief. He picked up the bottle, his hands shaking just the slightest.
Cough syrup - cherry flavored for adults.
The cap was unscrewed which had to be Lan Zhan’s doing because Wei Ying would never give Lan Zhan any cough syrup, especially not this one. The one time he had - a few years ago, a normal syrup had knocked Lan Zhan out for the rest of the day, much to his panic. And this one, the one that he bought for himself...
For severe colds only. Contains 20% alcohol.
….holy shit, he had a drunk husband on the loose. Holy shit, he had a drunk, sick husband on the loose!
Still, at least now he knew the course of actions he should take. He came out of the bathroom. “Lan Zhan?” he began, voice soft, deliberately calm, as if he were trying to call a panicked cat who had gotten stuck on top of a tree. “Honey, sweetheart, where are you?”
Outside their room, he could hear A-Yuan’s door opening and closing with a creak, their son humming a song as he walked further away into the kitchen. He stayed silent, regulating his breaths. The sound of a tap opening down the hall, the kettle beeping as it was plugged in. The rustle of cloth as his leg caught on a pillow. A sniffle coming from the closet.
Approaching the wardrobe slowly, Wei Ying felt his panic melt away, a spark of mischievousness arising in its place. “Ah, this Wei Ying truly is pathetic! To lose his husband - and in his own home! What is one to do?”
“Truly, woe is me, woe is me!” Wei Ying continued on cheerily, “To be abandoned by a husband once is misfortune; to be left by him twice - ah, that has to be carelessness!” By now, he had reached the outside of the wooden closet, grasping the handles with an unholy grin. Before he could pull them open - a force from the inside pushed them out with a heave.
A large warm body slammed into Wei Ying, toppling him backwards. He went down with a yelp, hands coming to instinctively hold Lan Zhan, thanking all the divine powers he could name for their decision to carpet their bedroom floor.
His husband finally in his arms once again, safe, solid, Wei Ying let out a breath that he felt he had been holding in since the morning.
Lan Zhan mumbled something, muffled by his face on Wei Ying’s sweater.
“Hmm?” Wei Ying threaded his fingers through the other man’s hair. “What was that, sweetheart?” Fondness sweetened his tone. He felt as though he had been dunked in honey, suffused in a sweetness that he could taste at the back of his tongue. “I couldn’t hear you the first time.”
Lan Zhan grunted, struggling to pull his face up. Wei Ying looked down at that familiar beautiful face. Lan Zhan said, completely earnest, eyes wide open, “Wei Ying found me.”
He couldn’t help the almost painful grin which stretched across his face. “Yes, yes, yes, I did!”
Lan Zhan’s eyes grew even wider. His hands came up and framed Wei Ying’s cheeks, his expression colored in awe. After one long moment, Lan Zhan dropped back down, snuggling in once more. “Wei Ying….Wei Ying….Wei Ying is warm... and soft…. and I like him…”
Wei Ying felt his ears burn. He cleared his throat and attempted to continue on. “I should hope so, considering you married me!”
“Married!” Lan Zhan let out a gasp. “Married?”
Wei Ying stared at the ceiling and tried his best not to burst with the sheer force of the emotions he was feeling. “Yes, husband. Married.”
“Husband,” Lan Zhan repeated, breathless. “Husband, husband, husband, husband…”
“Don’t wear it out, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying choked out, feeling teary giggles bubble up.
Still face down in his shirt, Lan Zhan shook his head, “I could never.”
Wei Ying trembled, the happiness inside him nearly unbearable. “Alright then, husband,” a hand through Lan Zhan’s hair once again, “shall we go and rejoin with our son in the kitchen? Or should I ask A-Yuan to bring the tea he made here?”
Lan Zhan shot up so fast that he nearly bumped his head against Wei Ying’s chin. “Son?” He sniffled, but even that miserable sound seemed cute with the excitement emanating from his face. “Son.” He scrambled to stand up, stumbling. “Son!” he repeated again, like it was a resolution of some sort. “A-Yuan!” Louder, more excited, he thudded down the hallway.
Wei Ying stayed where he was, trying to calm his thudding heart down. His breath staggered, loud enough to echo throughout the room.
From the kitchen, a thud. Then, loud and surprised, “Baba??!!!!”
“Baba - what are you - diedie! Help!!”
Wei Ying was a terrible person. He could imagine Lan Zhan wrapping around A-Yuan like a python, strong arms hugging the shocked boy close to him. He should go and help, remove his boa-constrictor of a husband from suffocating their son with his love and calming A-Yuan down, explaining, you see, A-Yuan, this is why I’m going to be the one who teaches you how to drink when you’re old enough.
Instead, he closed his eyes and breathed, letting out the laugh which had been trapped in his chest for so long.
“Diedie! Stop laughing!!”
“Husband!” A hoarse cough. “We should go to husband!”
Still shaking, his cackles turning into a silent wheeze, he brought out his phone to begin drafting an email to excuse Lan Zhan out of work tomorrow with trembling fingers. He got about one line in before he dropped the phone and giving into full-body laughter as the sound of A-Yuan’s confusion and Lan Zhan’s insistence drew closer and closer.
Ah, yes, this messy noisy thing - this disharmonious, unpredictable tune that wove in and out of their lives. How he adored it.
With a wicked grin, he picked up his phone again and scrambled to open the video camera. He pointed it at the door and became ready, once again, to record the song of their love.