Wei Wuxian had always thought, that out of the pair of them, that he would annoy Lan Zhan with an over-abundance of physical affection. His partner, growing up, had always been recalcitrant when it came to the touch of others, preferring to keep his distance and his hands to himself. His partner? Best Friend? Soulmate? The man he sorely wished to marry. The closer they had gotten, Wei Wuxian had learned that Lan Zhan didn’t mind holding hands, or letting him brush a stray hair that had found its way between his lip. But Wei Wuxian was always hesitant of how much was too much, afraid of unintentionally startling the man and driving Lan Zhan away.
Lan Zhan, from his knowledge, preferred to initiate touches, and Wei Wuxian was fine with that, of course. His fingers itched the card through his hair, braiding the thin strands. To cup his chin and pepper kisses on every patch of skin his robes would allow. He ached to feel the warmth of the one he loved, and yet still seemed to be slightly out of reach. He never wanted to overwhelm Lan Zhan, and so any touch was light and chaste, never leading to more. The hugs he gave were light from the both of them, rather than the bone-crushing embraces he wanted to give and be given in turn. It was almost as if they thought they were both glass they were afraid of cracking and shattering.
He loved Lan Zhan fiercely, wholly, and indestructibly. He loved Lan Zhan from the single white hair he had found the other day on top of his head, to the scar on his foot from where he sliced himself on a particularly sharp rock in the cold spring. He adored Lan Zhan from the ever-so-slight crookedness of his front two teeth, one hiding almost unnoticeably behind the other that he loved to explore with his tongue, to the click of his right foot with every step he took. He cherished this man and everything that created him, and everything he was, and everything he would ever be. His love was limitless, if Lan Zhan asked him to jump, he’d find some talisman or spell so he could jump as high as humanly possible. If he asked anything of Wei Wuxian, he would stop at nothing to make sure it was his.
“Wei Ying, you are staring,” His love’s soft voice gently rocked him out of his reverie, and he blinked, focusing his gaze on the man in front of him, noticing the slight tinge of red to his ears.
Wei Wuxian shuffled in place, his knees beginning to ache slightly, “Ah, sorry Lan Zhan. Did I make you uncomfortable?” He raised his teacup to his lips but kept eye contact. The tea was slightly bitter and cooling rapidly, a testament to how long he had been lingering in his own mind.
Lan Zhan shook his head minutely, the two stray wisps of hair that framed his face swaying delicately. “No,” He said, and Wei Wuxian saw him swallow before opening his mouth again. “I,” Another swallow. “I like it when Wei Ying looks at me.”
Heat exploded onto Wei Wuxian’s face and he grinned widely, “My Lan Zhan,” His voice was soft, fond. “You know just how beautiful you are, don’t you?” He ran a hand through his loose hair and put on an air of humorous melodrama, not noticing Lan Zhan’s crimson ears, or how he clenched his teacup just that tiniest bit tighter, “Second on the list of most attractive young masters, what a feat! Of course you know your own beauty.”
He ducked his head as he released a small, slightly embarrassed chuckle, all tension leaving his body and leaving him almost breathless. He was a master at flirting until he meant what he was saying, and when he meant it, he was a jittery disaster who had a bad habit of running his mouth.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan’s voice was soft, almost thoughtful in tone. “I like it when you look at me,” He repeated, and his eyes flicked up to see Lan Zhan clink his teacup down on the small table where they were both sat. There was a tiny furrowing of his brow as he licked his lips to capture any leftover tea left on those beautiful lips of his. “I like to have your attention,” He said delicately, and looked down at his hands.
Wei Wuxian’s eyes widened earnestly, and he sat up straighter, his flush extending down his neck. “Lan Zhan, you already have all my attention.” He watched Lan Zhan’s eyebrows furrow slightly more, and he opened his mouth before closing it, taking another sip of his tea. That cup had to be empty right now he was sure, Lan Zhan using it as a clutch for, something. The previous atmosphere was gone, replaced by something more sombre, more vulnerable but at the same time, more comforting.
He found himself standing and moving over to Lan Zhan’s side of the table and sitting down next to him, his knees touching Lan Zhan’s thighs. “You are the only one,” He whispered, and he was grateful his voice didn’t break. His words were multi-faceted and they both knew it. The only one he loved this deeply. The only one he wanted to sleep next to, and with. The only one he wanted to marry, and the only one who he wanted to spend eternity with.
Lan Zhan was truly his one and only.
The thought made him feel light, that feeling in his chest vibrating so fast Wei Wuxian thought it would break right through his skin. His arms felt weightless, a weird and gentle pin-prickling ran into his hands and made him feel giddy. He felt like bursting into laughter at the whole-hearted buoyancy he felt. How can he love someone this much? This intensely? This powerfully and this thoroughly? His cheeks ached to pull into a grin, but he bit the insides of his mouth to keep himself grounded. He shuffled further toward Lan Zhan until his knee was halfway in the middle of Wei Wuxian’s thighs.
“Lan Zhan,” He said, almost delirious from joy and entirely confident in his love, “You are the only one I see.” He raised his hands, shaky from delight, and went to cup the taller man’s cheeks, but they stopped just before they made contact, not sure whether he could touch him or not. Had he messed up? Was Lan Zhan disgusted with how close he was? He hadn’t even asked to sandwich his knee between his legs. Was he overwhelming him? He went to move away, to tell him how sorry he was, how he had overstepped, mistook Lan Zhan’s friendship for what Wei Wuxian wanted to see. But then he made eye contact and all those thoughts fell out of his radar.
Lan Zhan’s hands had reached up and covered his own, intertwining their fingers awkwardly and he pulled them to his chest. There were unshed tears in his eyes, filling up and ready to spill. Lan Zhan blinked, and Wei Wuxian watched as a tear tracked its way down his face before dropping silently onto the baby blue of his robes. Neither made a move to wipe his cheek, and Wei Wuxian raised his gaze back up to his face. “Lan Zhan,” He whispered, feeling the strong, heavy beat of his heart, and felt his own sink, “Why are you so sad?”
He watched as Lan Zhan took a deep breath and mourned as he released their hands so he could swipe a quick thumb under his eye to quench any oncoming tears. “You are afraid of me,” Lan Zhan says, his voice small and cut off at the end, and Wei Wuxian felt his own tears start to well. He opened up his mouth to retort, but Lan Zhan cut him off in that same small, heartbroken voice, “I understand you do not return my feelings, and that is okay, but please, Wei Ying,” He swallowed, his form shaking, “Please do not leave me alone again.”
The blood drained out of his face, and he felt his mouth dry as his stomach dropped like a lead weight. He opened his mouth and closed it when nothing came out. Open. Close. Open. Scared of him? Didn’t return his-
Wet, hot tears fell from his eyes, his rapid blinking blurring his vision, and he swallowed before wrenching Lan Zhan’s warm hands to his chest, their hands making a small thump against the flat expanse as he held him close. “Lan Zhan,” He gasped out, his voice cracking but paying it no mind. This was all his fault. He had driven the one he loved so far away he thought he was afraid. He cursed his tears as they fell, each tear like a blistering hot testament to what he couldn’t say. He looked up at Lan Wangji and blinked to clear his vision. “Is this what you really think?” He knew his short fingernails must be biting into his hands, but Lan Zhan didn’t pull them away, instead, he broke his perfect posture to lean forward, his age showing on his face.
“Wei Ying,” His voice was small, loose wisps of hair falling in front of his gaze. “You are very. Tactile. I have always known that.” Lan Zhan swallowed, his adam’s apple bobbing in his throat. “But you avoid touching me whenever you can. What have I done to push you away?”
There was static in his brain as Wei Wuxian tried to think through what Lan Zhan had just told him. None of his thoughts were coming out, all jumbled up in his throat like a tangible lump. His tongue darted out to wet his bottom lip, and he found himself asking, “Lan Zhan, can I hug you?”
The other man blinked once as he nodded, almost surprised, and suddenly his arms were warm and full of love. Lan Zhan’s ear rest in almost the hollow of his throat, his arms wrapped firmly around his middle, and Wei Wuxian nearly had the air knocked out of him at how tightly he was being embraced, and found his arms snaking around Lan Zhan just as tight and he felt the slight wetness of tears on his upper sleeve. “Ah, Lan Zhan. I thought I was the one pushing you away. I love you so much I can’t even put it into words.” Lan Zhan’s arms around him strengthened, and he felt a breathless, crackling laugh leave his lips as he reached up with one hand to stroke his hand gently along the back of Lan Wangji’s head, his fingers finally being able to play with the strands. He heard from his chest a quiet voice, telling him to take off the ribbon that obstructed his movements. He hummed, hoping Lan Zhan would feel his answer. He untied it quickly, and he felt the weight on his chest lift just slightly, the heavy metal emblem dropping to their laps with the force of gravity, before Lan Zhan was back flush against his chest.
Wei Wuxian kissed the top of his hair, clutching the bottom of his skull gently. “My Lan Zhan,” He whispered, “I love you so much I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m so sorry I made you miserable again,” He placed another kiss, before speaking into the strands, that one strand of white hair blurry in his peripheral vision, carefully tucked away. “I’m sorry I made you wait so long for me, but I’m yours, if you’ll have me. And even if you won’t, I’m still yours.”
He felt Lan Zhan shift and loosened his grip. He kissed the warm expanse of his bare forehead, whispering against the faint tan lines and small ridges of age normally hidden by his forehead ribbon, “I thought you didn’t want me like this. I tried to keep my distance, to not make you hate me.”
He pressed his lips into Lan Zhan’s forehead, his hands coming up to gently cup the sides of his face, wiping away any residual evidence of tears. “I love you,” His words were muffled, but his world was in his hands and he was speaking only to his world. He knew Lan Zhan would hear him loud and clear. “I always will.”
Lan Zhan raised his head and their eyes met, and Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but let out a chuckle as he leaned forward to rest their foreheads together, and felt Lan Zhan take his hands. He looked down to see the Gusu Lan forehead ribbon Lan Zhan had so fiercely guarded in their youth gently encase their wrists, the fabric cooler than his blisteringly hot skin. Lan Zhan’s movements were methodical and even, and only when they were bound together did all movement cease. Their eyes fell closed as they both breathed the same air, but their lips did not meet in the middle. They hung in each other’s presence, taking things slowly, but oh so surely.
“Wei Ying,” his voice was quiet, his breaths gentle. “I have loved you for almost as long as I have known myself. I want to be by your side, and you to be by mine.” Wei Wuxian opened his eyes to find Lan Zhan’s already open and looking fondly at him. He swallowed once more before whispering, “If you would have me, I am already yours.”
They were silent as the gravity of their situation overtook them, hyper-aware of how they were touching each other, the slightest movements sending tingles through their bodies. They parted when their joints began to ache, a flush spreading from Wei Wuxian’s cheeks down his neck, and Lan Zhan’s ears were scarlet. Their hands were still bound, and their eyes both travelled down. “Lan Zhan, are you sure you want to do this? With me?”
“You are the only one I have ever wanted this with,” was his solemn reply as he began to unwind the ribbon that bound them together on more than the physical level. Wei Wuxian’s eyes darted up, capturing the syrupy golden eyes he adored.
The only one.
“Then it’s settled,” Wei Wuxian’s voice was shaky and cracked, but a small smile still crept out. “I’m never leaving you again,” he let out, moving to embrace Lan Zhan, to envelope the older man with his wiry man. Lan Zhan deigned his decision, his strong arms scooping around his middle as they fell back in a flurry of limbs, fabric and hair, their arms, and their hearts, closer and stronger than they had ever been.
Nothing really changed between them, other than this whole new realm of physical affection that they were free to play in. Wei Wuxian would pepper the older man’s face with kisses until his nose scrunched with glee, and Lan Zhan would card his fingers through Wei Wuxian’s hair, scratching comfortingly after he freed his hair.
The only thing that definitively changed was that they were always touching in some manner, whether only their pinkies were intertwined, or one was in the others lap, there was always some point of contact.
It was one of the rare nights where they had decided to retire to bed earlier for the evening, hair nearly dry in their braids from their tryst in the cold spring, and wanting nothing more than to spend time just being with each other. They were sitting, Lan Zhan’s chin resting on Wei Wuxian’s shoulder, arms gently wrapped around each other as they spoke quietly between each other about their new mundane.
Wei Wuxian was braiding and then un-braiding the long tresses of silky black of Lan Zhan’s hair. His fingers moved deftly and softly, sometimes trailing against the bare skin, never stopping or slowing. Lan Zhan’s own hands clutched the small of his back, strong and unyielding.
Wei Wuxian had always believed that he would annoy Lan Zhan with how affectionate he was, but he should have never feared touch. Lan Zhan loved to play with his hands, loved to recline against Wei Wuxian’s chest, but most of all, Lan Zhan was at home in his arms. He would shuffle their positions in bed, so their legs were tangled and he was cuddled by Wei Wuxian’s slightly smaller frame.
The Chief Cultivator Hanguang-jun, Lan Wangji, Lan Zhan, liked to be cuddled. He would seek out the space between Wei Wuxian’s arms and make his home there, pulling his arms across him like a blanket.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian’s voice was soft, reverent as he went to move away to change their positions. “I was so scared of pushing you away, all that time ago, because you told me you didn’t like to be touched, how silly of me, knowing you’re an absolute cuddle fiend.”
Lan Zhan let out a small mewl of disproval in the back of his throat as he turned around and pulled Wei Wuxian’s arms across him firmly, sitting in the apex of his thighs. “I like it if it’s you,” His voice was small, relaxed as he jostled himself in his embrace. Wei Wuxian found him humming their song as he rocked back and forth gently, swaying in time to the song. Lan Zhan joined in when he could, but he was getting heavier in Wei Wuxian’s arms. It was nearing time to sleep, and Lan Zhan was more than content knowing Wei Ying would gently rock him to sleep, only stopping when faint, soft snores rang out.
“Ah my Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian laughed quietly into the side of his hair, “I love you so much.” Lan Zhan repeated his words tiredly, snuggling closer to the warmth of Wei Wuxian’s chest.
Lan Zhan’s hand came up slowly, his long fingers coming to rest on his cheek, before Wei Wuxian felt him kiss him softly, chastely before leaning his head into the crook of his neck as he continued to be rocked back and forth. “Hold me tonight?”
“Of course, of course,” Wei Wuxian whispered, leaning his cheek to the top of Lan Zhan’s head. “I’ll cuddle you forever and ever if you want.”
Lan Zhan made a noise of agreement, his voice heavy and laden with sleep that was about to overtake him, “Forever and ever, Wei Ying.”
He kissed the top of his head again as he began to hum once more, pulling his sleepy husband closer to his chest, and smiled. They were irrevocably intertwined. “Forever and ever.”