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Rarely Pure and Never Simple

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Lan Wangji wasn’t known for being particularly loquacious.

Since he was a child, he had been quiet. He had been praised for it almost as much as he had been scolded for it, but his quiet nature hadn’t changed as he’d gotten older. If anything, he spoke less once he was old enough not to get scolded for not answering questions in class. Words didn’t come easy to him. He chose the things he said very carefully. Each word a deliberate choice. He remained silent when possible and spoke only when it was immediately required of him.

So when Lan Wangji suddenly found himself spilling words like an overfilled cup, it was immediately obvious that something was very wrong.

They had been on a night hunt, Lan Wangji, Wei Wuxian, and the Lan Juniors. The night was pleasant, warm and breezy, moon bright overhead, and they had dispatched their prey without much trouble. The nearby town, freshly freed from the torment of so many fierce corpses, was their destination, an inn with rooms prepared waiting on their return.

None of them had been expecting a trap, least of all Lan Wangji. It had come suddenly, with no sound or warning. One moment, Lan Wangji was watching Wei Ying disappear around the bend, worried about his safety walking so far ahead of the rest of them, and the next, a talisman was stuck to the front of Lan Wangji’s robes.

Whatever spell was attached to the scrap of paper activated immediately because it surged through Lan Wangji’s body, knocking him to his knees and clouding his mind. There was a swirl of energy throughout his body, tracing along the lines of his limbs before settling at the back of his head. His tongue tingled with the spiritual energy, and his lips trembled and opened, mouth filling with what felt like every word that glanced across his mind.

When he regained focus, Lan Jingyi had a grip on his arm, trying to help him to his feet. Lan Wangji inwardly sighed at the dirty handprints he just knew Lan Jingyi was going to leave on his robes.

“Hanguang-jun, are you okay?”

He meant to give Lan Jingyi a stern look that would have him releasing his arm and backing away. That, however, didn’t happen.

“Jingyi,” he said, “let go of my arm.”

He hadn’t meant to say that. The words had just slipped past his lips without his permission. He immediately connected his slip of the tongue with the talisman, and that burst of energy that sparked over his tongue. How could he not? One moment he had full control over himself and the next, he was spouting words like they were leaping from his tongue. Lan Wangji’s heart started racing in panic because he suddenly found himself unable to stop the outpouring of words.

“Your hands are covered in dirt, and now my sleeve is as well,” he said, trying to keep himself from reacting to the panic that swelled through him at the fact that he didn’t seem to be able to stop himself from speaking. “You may not mind the layer of grime that seems to be ever present on your clothes, but I prefer to be clean.”

By the time he was finished speaking, Lan Jingyi was gaping, still holding his arm, and the entire group of Juniors had fallen completely silent.

“I did not mean to say that,” he said, trying to stay calm even as he wanted to rip his own tongue from his mouth, anything to keep from spilling words.

As they all continued staring at him with wide eyes, his skin crawled under their startled attention.

“Stop staring. It makes me uncomfortable.”

They all snapped their heads away immediately, even Lan Jingyi who finally dropped his arm, but he could tell their attention was still on him.

Lan Wangji wanted to slap his hands over his mouth to keep the words from pouring out, but that would be undignified and childish, so he refrained. Thankfully, when his mouth opened to no doubt share that information with the Juniors, he was interrupted.

“Is everyone okay?” Wei Ying called, walking back around the bend in the road he’d disappeared around moments before the incident. “I thought you were right behind me, but when I looked back, you weren’t there. Did Lan Jingyi fall into another hole? I told him to watch his step, but—”

The Juniors turned their shocked gazes to Wei Ying, but it was Lan Wangji who spoke.

“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji said, gripping Bichen’s hilt until the engravings dug into his hand, though that did nothing to keep him from pouring out words. “I think I have been put under a spell that compels me to speak. Please help me.”

Wei Ying glanced at the scrap of bright fabric still stuck to the front of Lan Wangji’s robes, across the Juniors, and then back up to Lan Wangji.

“I would prefer if we deal with this sooner rather than later because I am afraid that I am going to say something that I rather wouldn’t. In fact, I have already said several things that I rather wouldn’t, and I am starting to panic.”

As Lan Wangji spoke, he could feel the alarm he was feeling creep into his expression. Evidently, Wei Ying noticed as well, because his eyes got serious, and he made his way quickly to Lan Wangji’s side.

“I am relieved that you are here, Wei Ying,” he said, inwardly cursing himself for not being able to hold in yet another deluge of words. “I feel more comfortable already. You always make me feel more at ease. It’s like your presence is a balm to me, calming my thoughts and my nerves, even though you don’t sit still and you say the strangest things.”

“A-Yuan, Silencing spell,” Wei Ying said immediately, cutting his ramblings short.

“You must be concerned,” Lan Wangji said, trying and failing to keep his mouth clenched shut. “You never call him A-Yuan unless we are alone. Are you worried—”

Lan Wangji had only experienced the Silencing spell once before when he was a Junior himself and was put under the spell so that he could understand what it did. He never thought he would be struck with it beyond that, but he found himself grateful for the way his lips knitted themselves together now.

“There,” Wei Ying said with a final note, forcing a smile onto his face, no doubt to reassure the Juniors. “Now, someone tell me what happened, please.”

Lan Jingyi spewed out the story even as words bubbled up in Lan Wangji’s own chest, getting trapped behind his lips. He realized with a sudden panic that the Silencing spell wasn’t stopping the effects of the spell the talisman had laid on him. He felt his lips trying to part even as they remained stitched together. He felt sudden blinding pain as his words tried forcing themselves out despite the spell.

Wei Ying seemed to know what he was thinking as soon as Lan Wangji clasped his hand in a tight grip on Wei Ying’s arm. One glance up at Lan Wangji and he seemed to read the panic on his face. He reached up to cradle Lan Wangji’s face in one hand even as he snapped at the group of Juniors with the other.

“A-Yuan, remove it,” Wei Ying barked. “Quick, before he rips his mouth open.”

The spell falling away was both a relief and a source of continued panic. Relief because he was no longer going to tear his own mouth open, panic because now there was nothing to stop the words that rushed from him.

“That was a good idea, but I suppose it was too simple a solution,” he said. “Thank you for recognizing that it was hurting me. I’m pleased that you are able to read my expression so well. Not many can.”

Wei Ying ran his thumb under Lan Wangji’s lower lip, even as he spoke, checking for damage from the spell. Wei Ying’s careful concern made him shiver in a pleased sort of delight.

“That feels wonderful,” Lan Wangji blurted out. “Your hands always feel wonderful on me.”

Wei Ying froze the same as Lan Wangji did, and he bloomed red high on his cheeks.

Lan Wangji bit his tongue to keep the words out, but his jaw was pried open by some invisible force, and he spoke anyway.

“You look so lovely when you blush.”

The Juniors were staring at the pair of them, but Lan Wangji didn’t dare look at them, afraid of what expressions of shock or horror or intrigue that might be on their faces.

“What happened?” Wei Ying asked as he stared up at Lan Wangji, still flushed a deep red.

He sounded short of breath, and a thrill ran up Lan Wangji’s spine when he realized it was probably because of him.

“You sound breathless,” Lan Wangji said unwillingly. “Is it because of what I said? I can call you lovely more often if you would like. Because you are—”

Wei Ying’s hands returned to his face. Though, this time, instead of a caress, it was so he could slam his hands over Lan Wangji’s mouth to keep any more words from slipping out.

It didn’t stop his words completely, but they came out muffled enough that there was no danger of anyone being able to decipher them. His relieved words of gratitude were stifled under Wei Ying’s palms.

“All of you, head to the inn,” Wei Ying said to the Juniors, voice sounding slightly strangled. When they hesitated, Wei Ying craned his neck to look at them, not removing his hands from Lan Wangji’s mouth.

“Go.”

That seemed to startle them into action, Lan Sizhui ushering them away towards the town, though all of them continued shooting glances back at them until they had rounded the bend.

“Sorry I had to do that, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said, still flushed red. “I assumed you didn’t want them to hear all of...that,” he finished awkwardly, dropping his hands to his sides and rocking back on his heels.

Lan Wangji found himself missing the weight and warmth of Wei Ying’s hands on him.

“I don’t mind. Your hands are soft, and I have longed for your touch more than once. It was more a shame when you had to let go,” he said, the words pouring from his lips like a horrifying waterfall.

Lan Wangji wanted to jump on his sword and fly himself as far away as possible, but he didn’t. Even in the midst of his panic, Wei Ying was a comforting presence, and he may have been embarrassing himself beyond reckoning, but he would still rather have Wei Ying with him than deal with this on his own.

Wei Ying blinked at him, and then seemed to decide on ignoring Lan Wangji’s ramblings

“What happened? Lan Jingyi’s explanation was too scattered to follow.”

“Thank you for disregarding my words. I can’t stop myself,” Lan Wangji said even as he dropped a hand down to the talisman on the front of his robes.

Wei Ying gave him an expectant look even as the blush lingered on his cheeks.

“There was a trap set up. I’m not sure what activated it, but all of a sudden this was stuck to me. I was too distracted thinking of you to notice before it was too late.”

He wished he could stuff the words back into his mouth, but he knew it impossible.

“Thinking of me?”

Lan Wangji would rather jump from the top of Koi tower than speak the next words on the tip of his tongue, but he wasn’t given the choice.

“It isn’t safe for you to go ahead of us around the bend like that. You should stay by my side so I can protect you.” He tried to force his next words down, but he was unsuccessful. “It would destroy me to lose you again.”

Wei Ying made a small hurt noise at that admission and put his hand on Lan Wangji’s arm.

“You won’t lose me. I promise.”

The sincerity in Wei Ying’s voice in combination with the serious look in his eyes had Lan Wangji’s throat tight with emotion. That still didn’t keep him from speaking, however.

“Good. Because I refuse to ever let you go again. Unless Wei Ying wishes, I will be by your side always.”

When Wei Ying swallowed, it was so loud that Lan Wangji could hear it from where he stood.

“Okay, I’m just going to take a peek at this talisman.”

And then Wei Ying’s hands were at Lan Wangji’s belt peeling the talisman from his robes. As much as Lan Wangji fought it, that had thoughts of Wei Ying’s hands all over him filtering through his head. He hated himself when he opened his mouth to speak again.

“I like your hands on my robes. I often imagine what it would feel like to have your hands unfastening my belt, pulling my robes from my shoulders, dropping them to the floor.”

As he spoke, he turned away from Wei Ying in horror.

“I’m sorry, I can’t stop myself.”

“Lan Zhan, what…?” He heard Wei Ying ask, but he still was unable to keep the words from falling from his lips.

“You don’t know, you cannot know how often I think of you,” he said, panic building even as he could do nothing to stop himself from speaking. “How often I think of what it would feel like to have your hands on me, your lips, your—”

This time Lan Wangji did slap his hands over his mouth to muffle himself.

The silence was stifling, filled with the sound of the night and Lan Wangji’s stifled words.

Then, Wei Ying spoke, sounding more hesitant than Lan Wangji had ever heard him.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said, turning Lan Wangji around by the shoulders. “Lan Zhan, you don’t have to keep quiet. Say what you think. I promise I won’t think of you any less for it. Please, I want to hear what you have to say.”

Lan Wangji might not have dropped his hands if not for the way Wei Ying’s voice had gone breathless again or the flush that spread over his cheeks and down his neck. His eyes were shining with something akin to hope, and it had Lan Wangji’s heart beating in anticipation more than panic like before.

Wei Ying let out a shaky breath when Lan Wangji dropped his hands, and he waited with wide, expectant eyes for him to speak.

And speak Lan Wangji did. It was almost a relief to get the words off his tongue.

“I want you hands on me, around me, always,” he said, placing his hands on Wei Ying’s waist to ground him more than anything. “I never want to part from you, not when you travel, not when you night hunt, not when you eat or sleep or live. I want you to be mine, Wei Ying, I want to be yours. I know you do not want that in return, but I am content to receive whatever you are willing to give as long as I can stay at your side.”

The words hovered in the air between them as Wei Ying stared and Lan Wangji tried to to keep his heart from beating from his own chest.

“Please say something. I am terrified for your reply even as I need it to continue breathing.”

“Lan Zhan, why didn’t you tell me,” Wei Ying whispered finally, his eyes were still wide, and his grip was so tight on Lan Wangji’s shoulders that it almost hurt. “I’ve spent all this time thinking you were only just tolerating me.”

He’d gone this far.

“Never tolerated Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji said. “I love Wei Ying. Always loved Wei Ying.”

Wei Ying was the one who surged up to press their lips together, but Lan Wangji was the one who angled their heads to deepen the kiss. He was also the one to press his teeth to Wei Ying’s lower lip, and slip his tongue into Wei Ying’s mouth, and pull them close until they were pressed together as much as they could get with their robes still on.

Lan Wangji mumbled against Wei Ying’s lips as they kissed, and when they broke apart, he spoke even still.

“Your lips feel so nice pressed to mine, soft,” he said into their kiss, and when they parted for breath, “I can taste the spice from your dinner and the sweets you stole from Lan Jingyi earlier.”

When they were pressed together once more, he breathed, “Have you kissed many people before me?” Into the air between them, he said, “I envy every pair of lips that have known yours before me. How did I ever get lucky enough to have you in my arms?”

Wei Ying mumbled back, under no spell, but seemingly unable to keep quiet anyway.

“I love you, Lan Zhan. You’re perfect, amazing, wonderful. Want to be with you forever.”

Those words thrilled Lan Wangji and he kissed Wei Ying even harder.

“I would marry you right here if you would allow it.”

Just as Lan Wangji lifted a hand to his forehead ribbon, to wrap around Wei Ying’s wrist or free himself from regulation, he didn’t know, they were interrupted.

“Some of the kids from town were trying to play a prank on passing travelers!” Lan Sizhui called out, rounding the bend at a run, excited with the news. “It should wear off in a couple of hours.”

“Holy shit!” Lan Jingyi shouted, catching by sight of them. “Are they kissing?”

Wei Ying pulled back, though that seemed to be the wrong action to take because it freed Lan Wangji’s mouth again.

“Yes Jingyi, and if you wouldn’t mind, I plan on doing much more than simply kiss Wei Ying, and I would prefer to not have an audience.”

Wei Ying’s laughter was sweeter when it was pressed to his lips.

Lan Wangji found himself whispering those words against Wei Ying’s mouth, unable to stop himself, and not wanting to keep them in besides.