It all happens so quickly.
They are first introduced to the Jiangs at a morning brunch. Lan Xichen, the golden heir of the esteemed Lan family, is in the market to find himself a bride—everyone in their circles knows this—and so when the Jiangs are in town, which they rarely are, they hurry to make acquaintance with the Lans. A lavish morning brunch at one of their hotels, well-put together with expensive flowers and exquisite decorations, all at 8 a.m.? Even Lan Zhan knows this is their flimsy attempt at trying to court Lan Xichen into a marriage proposal.
Lan Zhan knows very little about the Jiangs. He is sheltered, and does not care much for networking, or for other wealthy families besides his. He leaves all that to Lan Xichen. What Lan Zhan is great at, is the more mundane work like accounts. He’s great at spotting discrepancies. He’s great at figuring out what’s wrong. He’s skilled at putting together strategies and making what’s wrong right, again.
He just never solved the equation that was Wei Ying.
The Jiangs come in tow with their three children. Of the three, only two are omegas, that can be put up for consideration. The girl is mild-mannered and pleasant-looking, but even Lan Zhan has heard plenty about her childhood-long engagement with the Jins. That just leaves the boy, who looks like every alpha’s wet dream: fair and pretty, with glossy long hair and a slender waist. His big doe eyes illuminate a sliver of innocence and wonderment that remains the perfect embodiment of what every alpha wants from an omega—to be able to taint that purity, their chastity, to teach them all the shameful things there is to learn about the world.
The boy is called Wei Ying. He is only twenty-three, the same age as Lan Zhan. Lan Xichen is twenty-eight. It seems perfect.
Lan Zhan takes one look at Wei Ying, and feels something so depraved and sinful coil from within his stomach. It is not love at first sight. (There is no such thing. Lan Zhan does not believe in it.) Love always comes later, but lust comes first.
Lan Zhan hears his brother’s sharp intake of a breath as Wei Ying walks through the doors, and knows his brother is looking at Wei Ying the same way he is.
He’s already lost his chance, but it never really was his.
Lan Xichen is a charmer. Not only is he conventionally attractive (although so is Lan Zhan—they’ve been described to share the same model of a face for a reason), the older Lan heir is very good with people, speaks oh so eloquently, and knows all the refined ways of being a proper gentleman. He sees Wei Ying, takes his hand into his, and kisses against it as a greeting. It reduces the boy into uncontrollable fits of bashful laughter. Wei Ying is… so remarkably easy to be charmed. Lan Zhan is not given such a chance.
All throughout lunch, the Jiangs do their best to sell their son—yes, he’s adopted, they explain, but he was from a close family friend, and we treat him like just like one of ours—and Lan Zhan can tell they’re not overpraising, for the sake of it. Wei Ying is their jewel, their prized omega son, and they think very highly of him. He is intelligent, tenacious in spirit, and overwhelmingly attractive. It is a pity he is an omega, they lament. He would have made such a successful alpha, but we accept he needs a capable husband to thrive in this world. And we think you, Lan Xichen, to be the most capable of taking good care of him.
They have turned down countless marriage proposals—of course they have, Lan Zhan thinks, one look at Wei Ying and he can already imagine all of the offers that must have come flooding in all these years—because no other man meets their standards, no alpha is up to par, and they only want the best for their Wei Ying. They have heard plenty about Lan Xichen’s kindness, and altruism, and benevolence, and don’t the Lans donate regularly to omega-centered charities? Surely you will not harm Wei Ying, in all of the same ways other alphas seek to harm him. Surely you are one of the good alphas, the ones who can learn to love and care for him and see past him as just a breeding tool.
They are right in their assumptions. Lan Xichen has always been exceedingly kind to others. He holds little malice in him, and if there is any then it’s only towards deserving enemies, or political rivals. He treats people the way he wants to be treated. He embodies the Lan rules to a shtick, but also knows to follow it loosely when the situation calls for it. He is not as rigid and uptight as his younger brother, who is not as great at benevolence as him.
He will be a good fit for Wei Ying.
But Wei Ying is so painfully pretty, and Lan Zhan cannot get rid of the hunger that rises to his throat whenever he takes a look at him. When he parts his lips to speak to Wei Ying, he feels as if his canines will show.
Brunch goes well, and Lan Xichen is, undoubtedly, fully taken with the omega boy presented to him. Wei Ying is not the run-of-the-mill omega, either. He’s bold and snarky, and he engages Lan Xichen well in all sorts of intellectual conversation. He gets all of Lan Xichen’s jokes, even challenges him on topics he thinks he knows better in. Lan Xichen appreciates all his banter, and his wit. They match well.
When Lan Xichen has to leave early for a meeting back at the office, he tells Lan Zhan to stay and take a walk with Wei Ying.
“Perhaps you could get to know him better, first,” Lan Xichen says to him. “And tell me if you approve of him. After all, Wangji, I’m not marrying anyone you’re not comfortable with.”
His brother has always put him first.
That’s what devastates Lan Zhan, more than anything.
So Lan Zhan stays back, and takes a walk with Wei Ying in the garden. They’re on the roof of one of the Jiangs’ biggest hotels in the city, and Wei Ying makes a grand show out of introducing Lan Zhan to every breed of flower they come across. He’s overly enthusiastic, and incredibly passionate about the work his family has put into their business.
Apparently Jiejie chooses all of the flowers and decorations, and Wei Ying does all of the landscaping and interior designing of their hotels. It’s a heavy responsibility for omegas to bear, particularly in their society, but the wealthier ones like Wei Ying always get opportunities to take up work they wouldn’t otherwise have access to had they been from a poorer family.
Perhaps it is his standing in society that lends him the confidence to put on airs around Lan Zhan—to be so very presumptuous.
“Lan Wangji, can I just call you Lan Zhaan from now on? Even if we don’t ultimately become family, I think we could become great friends,” Wei Ying says, happily bouncing in his steps. He’s overactive and jumps and skips and does all these pretty twirls where his ponytail swings hypnotically behind him, and Lan Zhan has to hurry in his own footsteps to keep up.
It’s so hard to keep up with Wei Ying.
“Don’t say my name like that,” Lan Zhan berates.
“Yes, that,” he confirms, because he’s never heard anyone say it in such an intoxicating manner before. He feels like he will be drunk forever on those sounds. He hadn’t even imagined it possible for someone to drawl out the syllables of his name in such an enticing manner, like a sweet lullaby, like a sing-song…
“But why? You can call me Wei Ying,” Wei Ying frowns, halting in his skips. He is so cute. He is devastating. “Lan Zhaan, don’t be so cold!”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says, and this is the first time he’s ever addressed the boy with his name outside of his head. Oh, he almost trembles saying his name. It runs off his tongue so easily, and Lan Zhan thinks, so very helplessly, that he will get addicted to this. “Wei Ying. Shameless.”
Absolutely shameless for an omega, who runs around so freely and acts like he has no idea the power and hold he has over any alpha in the vicinity. He is lucky he is not currently emitting any pheromones. He must be on pretty strong medication to suppress his smells, Lan Zhan thinks. Because if Lan Zhan’s already so riled up from the sight of Wei Ying alone, he can’t imagine the damage that will happen if Wei Ying ever lets his pheromones run free.
“You’re no fun,” Wei Ying answers, plucking a gentian out from the ground and playfully throwing the flower onto Lan Zhan’s face. Lan Zhan catches it just as it slips down his cheek, and hastily pockets it when he thinks Wei Ying is not looking. “Your brother’s really fun, though. Is he this nice all the time? I’ve heard so many good things about him, and he really lives up to what they say.”
Lan Zhan is… awfully bitter when he answers. He loves his brother more than anything in the world, he does, but somehow now that Wei Ying is in the picture, he can hardly remember that love at all. “Yes, brother is always this kind. Even at home.”
Wei Ying does not catch the sourness in his tone.
“Oh, good, because I was so worried about that,” Wei Ying hums, dancing along the cobblestone path of the garden. “I know I’m already twenty-three, and that people have started talking about my obvious lack of engagement, that I shouldn’t be so picky… and it’s all just so tiring, so I feel like getting married as soon as I can just to get it done and over with. But it’s so hard, every alpha I meet is an asshole.”
Lan Zhan doesn’t know why he feels the need to cut in. “I am not an asshole.”
Wei Ying laughs. “Haha, of course not! You Lans are the most prim and proper alphas I’ve ever come across. I feel safe with you guys, actually. I think I’d settle in well with the Lans.”
How sad it is to be an omega, to have to worry about finding a good family who will not abuse their power and assert their natural, biologically-founded hierarchy over others.
Lan Zhan knows he has to worry about his brother’s happiness, because god knows how long his brother been looking and looking and spending endless days and nights trying to find a suitable partner to marry—his brother is a romantic, as are all the Lans, and he wishes to marry for love as his father did—and Lan Zhan should be nudging Wei Ying into his brother’s direction, because all things considered, they seem incredibly taken with each other and appear perfect as a match.
Instead, he finds himself saying, “Wei Ying, perhaps it is not right to rush into marriage just because you think it is right.”
He wants to buy time.
His brother is in a rush to get married, but Wei Ying is not. If Wei Ying is not reciprocal of his brother’s advances, his brother will move on.
Wei Ying, meanwhile, can still wait for him. For Lan Zhan.
Lan Zhan is an alpha himself, and he will have to find his own mate one day. Wei Ying could be the one, so pure, so pretty…
“Oh, Lan Zhan, you’re too kind,” Wei Ying sighs out, eyes glistening open to him in amazement. “Do you really think so? Everyone says I have a ticking biological clock. That I won’t stay young and beautiful, forever…”
“I think Wei Ying will stay beautiful forever,” Lan Zhan says, because he can sense he’s getting through to him, and there’s nothing to lose at this point. “And the right alpha will see so, so Wei Ying should not worry.”
“Aaah,” Wei Ying’s cheeks flush. It seems he is not used to being complimented by alphas so outrightly, or at least not ones of Lan Zhan’s calibre. “Lan Zhaan!”
And then—like the absolutely thoughtless omega that he is, with no sense of self-preservation whatsoever—he jumps onto the other man, and clings to him in a tight hug.
Do you not take me for an alpha, Wei Ying, Lan Zhan thinks grimly to himself, because he couldn’t detect a scent on Wei Ying before, but now with his nose pressed up into Wei Ying’s hair—oh god, he can.
Wei Ying is perfect.
“Lan Zhan, I’ve only just met you, and yet I already feel like I can trust you with my whole life. Let’s stay friends and keep in contact, okay? It’s so rare to meet nice alphas like yourself! My hot-headed brother, not counted!”
He’s so innocent, it excites every feral bone in Lan Zhan’s body and unfurls heated, fervid emotions he hadn’t even realised he could feel. Lan Zhan has to clamp his mouth shut and swallow the animalistic growl his throat is begging to let out, having grown extremely hot under the collar while embracing the boy.
He gives him the bad kind of butterflies in his chest.
How is it the more innocent a prey is, the easier it is to give in to all the primal sides you hadn’t realised existed. No wonder his family hadn’t handed Wei Ying over so easily to anyone that had so far proposed to him. Wei Ying is too… delicate, for his own good.
“Wei Ying, I wish for you to think over marriage with my brother, again,” Lan Zhan murmurs out carefully, his hands moving up to caress gently at Wei Ying’s hair. He is being presumptuous too, in his touching of the boy, but arguably, Wei Ying had initiated it with him first. “Perhaps, if you just waited a bit more…”
I can convince my uncle to give you to me, instead.
“Mmm, I will, Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying squeezes him, in the embrace. “You care so much for me!”
He exudes even more of his bewitching omega scent. It drowns him. Lan Zhan is drowning. The smell is burning in his throat, and he can feel canines protruding from the back of his teeth. He has never been so compelled to possess anyone before, and he already knows Wei Ying will be the absolute death of him.
You cannot marry my brother, Lan Zhan thinks, his fingers tensing in his grip around the smaller boy. He does not deserve you.
And yet in their world, it is normal to make a fast move on the omegas you like—lest they be snatched up by someone else. They are a hot commodity, after all. They are dwindling in numbers, and the especially young and pretty ones like Wei Ying—with a good family background, to boot—are highly coveted by those in Lan Xichen’s position. The elite are so particular about their bloodline, and who they associate with.
Wei Ying has only remained pure and unmarried and unbred thus far because of his unusually picky circumstances. Sometimes, when an omega is too attractive, it becomes hard to choose who will be most suitable for him.
The Lans occupy the highest and highest of seats in their society, and being married to the heir is such a grand opportunity that the Jiangs cannot pass up.
So when Lan Xichen makes a marriage offer, three days later, they snap it up.
Lan Zhan’s efforts go to waste. He knows Wei Ying must have had no say in this, as much as the boy had indicated a preference to wait. If he had his way, Lan Zhan had an inkling that Wei Ying would not have wanted to get married at all. But if he is to acquire any power in this life of his, he needs a good husband.
He needs Lan Xichen.
In the end, Lan Xichen consults little with Lan Zhan over his decision to marry Wei Ying. He’d only asked if Lan Zhan was comfortable with Wei Ying, and if he thought he’d be a good fit for the household, and how could Lan Zhan say no—he believed Wei Ying would be an exceedingly good fit for the Lan family, just not as his brother’s wife, but his.
Still, his love for his brother ultimately wins out, and he does not voice out his unhappiness to Lan Xichen in any way. It’d taken him so long to find a suitable mate, and Lan Zhan cannot find it in him to take this away from him. He does not dare to impede upon his brother’s happiness. Not after how much his brother has done for him in this life.
And so his blessing he gives.
Satisfied with his younger brother’s approval, Lan Xichen had proceeded to make his proposal, complete with an insanely huge dowry of jewelry, fine food, and incredibly fat red packets full of money. It’s all just an over-the-top demonstration of how well he will be able to provide for Wei Ying, and it’s all a bit nauseating, even for Lan Zhan. But the Jiangs are quickly won over, and hurriedly make their approval known.
They also send over their proposed, auspiciously picked wedding dates. They’d consulted with the fortune teller, and the best one—and the soonest one—is in two weeks.
It might be too soon, they write. But I am sure the Lans can provide…
Their anxiety is obvious. They do not want a delayed wedding, or a prolonged engagement. Not like what has happened with the Jins. Jiang Yanli had been engaged to Jin Zixuan by birth, but Jin Guangshan is still not making any concrete plans for their wedding, and Jiang Yanli is already past her mid-twenties. This does not bode well for her.
Lan Xichen is not one to deny others, particularly the family of his bride. It is true, after all, the Lans have connections and monetary power and they can easily make a wedding happen in two weeks. Even a large-scale one that will host five hundred guests and above, and serve a seven-course meal to each guest in the privacy of a grand ballroom.
Just like that, within fourteen days, Wei Ying marries into the Lan family, and becomes Lan Zhan’s brother-in-law.
It seems like Lan Zhan never really stood a chance, in the grand scheme of things.
There really shouldn’t have been such a rush for them to get married, because it’s not like Lan Xichen’s seeking for his omega to bear him children anytime soon. He is too swamped with work for it, and while most alphas leave the child rearing part to their omegas, Lan Xichen isn’t like most alphas. He wants to be part and parcel of the child rearing process, and so he makes it clear to Wei Ying he will not pressure him into having children with him, not for the foreseeable future.
It is clear to him that Wei Ying is not ready for it either; the boy is still young and incredibly new to the entire concept of an alpha-omega marriage, of settling into a new household, and it’d happened far too quick for him to get a good grasp on things. The Jiangs are based in another city, a good distance away from here, and so as a consequence of marrying into someone else’s family, Wei Ying is now isolated from his own.
It is no surprise that Lan Zhan is asked to cohabitate with them.
Or, in simpler terms, Wei Ying moves into the house the two Lan brothers had been occupying in, instead of Lan Xichen moving out and acquiring a new place for him and Wei Ying.
It is much easier this way, he reasons. Lan Xichen still has his concerns about leaving his antisocial alpha of a brother alone—he’s been there for Lan Zhan since they were kids—and he does not want Wei Ying to feel too lonely, when he cannot be around due to his heavier, golden heir commitments. Lan Zhan does not bear as much of a burden as Lan Xichen does at work, and so will be around more to ease and guide Wei Ying around the house should the omega need the help.
Wei Ying does not know anyone in this city, after all. His social bubble had been ripped entirely away from him the moment he stepped foot here, and it is their duty to make him feel at home. Lan Xichen has heard plenty about confined and isolated omegas who ultimately lost their minds after being trapped in lonely marriages with alphas that cared not for their well-being, and Lan Xichen endeavours to avoid such a situation.
So, to hit two birds with one stone: he has Lan Zhan live with them.
And who is Lan Zhan to say no?
It is not a particularly horrid arrangement to be stuck in. He is essentially Wei Ying’s caretaker—or perhaps the other way round, but he chooses to see it this way—and he gets to share in all of Wei Ying’s happiest and saddest moments, for free. When Lan Xichen is not around, it is him that Wei Ying looks for when there is a problem with the dishwasher, the sink, the toilet, the lights, or even the television.
When Lan Xichen is not around, it is him that Wei Ying calls for to join him on the sofa, and catch the latest blockbuster film with him.
It is him that Wei Ying remembers in his sleepy daze when he begins drooling on Lan Zhan’s shoulder, having knocked out halfway the film. He does not do much during the day but he gets so tired so easily, and Lan Zhan thinks it is the cutest thing. The omega body is not meant for hard work. The Wei Ying body is not meant for anything else but for spoiling, for pampering, for babying, for loving.
It is him that Wei Ying clings onto in his sleep, head nuzzling into Lan Zhan’s neck not realising the lewd act he is committing. Of scenting against him. Of taking in Lan Zhan’s sandalwood scent, and rubbing his sweet, citrus one all over him.
You could have been mine, should have been mine, Lan Zhan would always think, frustratedly, golden bitter eyes flaring up within the darkness of their home theatre. I let my brother have you, and all he knows to do is let work consume him and leave you aside for most of the time. If it had been me, I’d have taken such good care of you, given you all the attention in the world—not left you in the care of my alpha brother, not even noticing he’s begun to harbour designs on you.
Wei Ying, you deserve so much better. You deserve me.
He asks Wei Ying one time, if he gets lonely every time Lan Xichen is too preoccupied with work to accompany him at night.
“No, of course not!” Wei Ying would protest, curled up against the sofa, hands clinging onto the front of Lan Zhan’s shirt. “I have you!”
His sweet Wei Ying, uttering words of which simultaneously cause Lan Zhan’s heart to flutter and rouse up the limpness between Lan Zhan’s legs.
If Wei Ying just inched his body a tad bit closer, perhaps he’d have felt a certain hardness against his hips…
Sometimes cohabitation proves to be terrible.
His brother, god bless his heart, falls deeply in love with Wei Ying. It’s not hard to. At first Lan Zhan was guilty of only being afflicted with lust, but a few weeks spent living with the boy and Wei Ying fully captures his heart, as well.
Wei Ying is everything that appeals to an alpha—no, he is everything that appeals to a Lan. Reckless, unaware, carefree, and so unrestrained by what society expects of him. He is everything a Lan is not. He is everything Lan Zhan always wanted to be. And Wei Ying always diligently wears a red ribbon in his hair, the one routine he does adhere to, remaining completely oblivious as to how infuriatingly innocent yet provocative his every move is.
Lan Xichen’s love comes through. He is the perfect husband, his hectic work schedule aside: he rises early every morning, kisses Wei Ying awake, makes sure to take breakfast with Wei Ying and spend time with him, asking after him and learning about his plans for the day. Lan Zhan is present throughout it all, of course. He is privy to every forehead and cheek kiss shared between the married couple, and every affectionate word spoken to each other.
It’s all so very sickeningly sweet. And it often drives Lan Zhan up the wall with great feelings of bitterness and envy, so he often focuses on stabbing at his food with his fork instead.
Wei Ying, as mentioned, is very easy to win over. Perhaps he has just not been exposed to much alphas, or romantic prospects in his life; he gets extremely giddy over every sweet thing Lan Xichen does for him, and everytime he bends over to kiss Wei Ying on the lips the omega just melts. When Lan Xichen tells him he loves him, Wei Ying returns the favour, with twice the enthusiasm.
It seems Wei Ying enjoys being wanted. Being told that he is wanted. Being assured that he is cherished and loved and no one’s last choice.
(Later on, Wei Ying would confide in Lan Zhan and tell him about how he was orphaned on the streets as a child. It all starts to make sense then, and Lan Zhan wishes he could have been the one to show Wei Ying how loved he can be, instead.)
Some nights are harder than most.
As a married couple, they fuck, naturally. Lan Xichen does not wait for this one. They’d fucked on their wedding night, done the customary bonding rituals; and they have fucked every other night since then. It’s certainly not as frequent as some alpha-omega couples, due to the busy nature of his brother’s work; but they fuck a good amount that Lan Zhan suffers for it everytime it happens.
Their walls are not particularly thin, but Lan Zhan’s room is just right next to theirs.
(Again—for what? Security? His brother mismanages so many things.)
Everytime it happens, there are thundering movements from their room, and Lan Zhan’s wooden bedframe trembles with every thrust he’s assuming his brother is making from the other end. Alphas are notoriously virile and potent in energy, but it seems his brother takes it to another level.
The worst of it all though, are the moans. Wei Ying moans so wantonly, so beautifully; it rings through the air like a sing-song melody. Everytime it happens, Lan Zhan’s hands are slipping into his pants and pulling his erection out, stroking himself according to the rhythm of Wei Ying’s delightful moans. He’s always crying out Lan Huan Lan Huan Lan Huan and chanting it so religiously, and it’s muffled enough through the walls that Lan Zhan can choose to interpret it as Lan Zhan, instead.
He leans his head back, closing his eyes, and thinks about pretty Wei Ying must look during sex. So small and slender, so easily breakable and to manhandle, so easy to hold down and arch his neck back and just bite. He’d replace his brother’s bond mark on him, erase every evidence. Make Wei Ying, that pretty little thing, his. Wei Ying, blushing and crying, squirming and writhing, begging for him to stop, begging him to go easier on him, begging to not be marked so brutally because Lan Huan will be able to tell…
Somehow, it’s always scandalous scenarios in his fantasies. Wei Ying telling Lan Zhan that they can’t do this anymore, that they’re disrespecting his brother by fucking behind his back, that they have to put an end to this affair once and for all—and yet still pulling apart his own thighs and begging sluttily for Lan Zhan to push his cock in, to fuck him good and hard and cum inside of him one last time before Lan Huan comes home…
He always finishes off with a low groan of “Wei Ying”, times it in accordance with the screams of the omega resounding through these walls as Wei Ying reaches his own orgasm, as well.
And thus it becomes a routine—jerking off to his brother-in-law everytime they hear them begin to have sex. It’s shameful and absolutely reprehensible behaviour, but it makes it that much more bearable to withstand things the way that they are, and Lan Zhan doesn’t detest hearing them have sex that much anymore.
Sometimes he swears Wei Ying knows.
Knows about how much Lan Zhan covets him. Knows about all of the dirty fantasies, even the jerking off. Because as months fly past, and the longer the time they spend together, Wei Ying becomes that much more affectionate, that much more touchy. If Lan Zhan didn’t know any better, he might even say he was being purposefully flirty.
Wei Ying has never had that much alpha attention on him at one go, hasn’t he? Back at home, the Jiangs provided him with the healthiest, safest, most loving environment for him to thrive in. But over here, Wei Ying has two alphas at his beck and call. Both his Lan Huan and Lan Zhan who would do anything for him.
And he knows it. He can’t be oblivious to it. Not when Lan Zhan never denies him; not when Lan Zhan always looks at him with softened eyes that are so full of desire and longing with such obvious pining…
“Lan Zhaan,” Wei Ying would call so sweetly, from across the hallway, and Lan Zhan would race there in a heartbeat. “I can’t seem to clasp this necklace from the back. Can you help me?”
He grabs his long silky hair by the fistful and twists it up high, exposing the nape of his neck so intentionally. If Lan Zhan squints, he can make out the light scar of his brother’s bond mark on Wei Ying.
Lan Zhan trembles at the citrus scent that emanates from the boy, his hands pulling another ten million dollar necklace around Wei Ying’s neck and clasping it together tightly. He pushes his nose into Wei Ying’s hair, inhales in the longest breath, and loses himself within the alluring omega scent.
His brother would have bond marked Wei Ying, on their very wedding night, in a bid to stake his claim on the omega. By doing so, it should dull his scent with the inclusion of his. It only makes everything worse, however, because Lan Xichen’s pheromones are so intrinsically Lan, and they practically mirror Lan Zhan’s (with only the slightest of distinctions—Lan Zhan carries with him the scent of sandalwood that his brother does not).
Breathing in the smell of Wei Ying, therefore, is like breathing in a make-believe reality of how he would smell like with Lan Zhan’s scent.
It’s all very detrimental and exacerbates every single one of Lan Zhan’s fantasies, taking them to the highest of heights.
A reality in which Wei Ying is his, and he is but Wei Ying’s rightful husband clasping together his latest gift around his omega’s slender neck…
“Done?” Wei Ying asks.
Lan Zhan’s eyes snap open, and he remembers his place. The smells are particularly overbearing today. His eyes flicker down to Wei Ying’s loose halter top, and he immediately understands why. There’s a good portion that’s been left unzipped, exposing pale, nude skin that sends lustful shocks through Lan Zhan’s veins upon such a sinful sight. Not to mention the way the halter top reveals Wei Ying’s bare shoulders, like a free-for-all…
Wei Ying really needs a stern talking to regarding the types of acceptable clothing he can wear in the house.
This is an alpha household, after all.
“Wei Ying, you haven’t zipped your top properly again,” he chides.
“Oh, I was waiting for you to zip it for me,” Wei Ying coyly answers back.
Wei Ying has to be doing this on purpose at this point. He has to. He’s never had the opportunity to be in such a position of power before, and now he’s accidentally slipped into it. Now that he knows just how bad Lan Zhan is taken with him, he will never loosen his hold over the other man.
Besides, there is nothing else for him here. Back at home, Wei Ying was allowed to work on some Jiang projects. Here, however, Lan Xichen refuses to let Wei Ying take up any work responsibilities. Wei Ying had married into this family with the intention of fulfilling his omega duties, not to be trusted with taking up a share of the Lans business. Wei Ying is to be loved, and adored, and coddled. He is to sit here and look pretty, and be the perfect omega trophy wife. One to show off at the occasional gala event, and to entertain house guests, but nothing more.
If Wei Ying’s work has been taken away from him, which had been the one space he truly felt like he harboured autonomy and power in—then Wei Ying can only resolve to create another space of power for himself. What better space than the one he occupies most of his time in, and knows he has complete control over? The two main men of the household have been completely suckered into loving him, body and soul.
“You should be more careful,” Lan Zhan says.
His large hands trace up Wei Ying’s small back, and if he takes his time caressing up Wei Ying’s skin—even dipping within the exposed, unzipped portion to brush his fingertips to feel up Wei Ying’s naked skin—no one can blame him because Wei Ying is blatantly asking for him to do so.
“Wei Ying, it seems you always forget your status. It is not safe to be so careless with your dressing.”
“Or what, a big bad alpha wolf will gobble me right up?” Wei Ying asks, throwing his head back in laughter. He is poking fun at the idea. He shivers slightly as Lan Zhan’s fingers pull the zipper up against his skin, but beyond that he shows no other form of vulnerability in front of his brother-in-law. “Lan Zhaan, you’re the only alpha in the vicinity. Should I be afraid of you, too? Hmm?”
“Wei Ying. This is just common courtesy,” Lan Zhan scolds. They are the same age, but still it is always Lan Zhan who nags at him. “And I am an alpha too, whether you like it or not.”
“Well, I love it,” Wei Ying laughs, as Lan Zhan’s hands move to grope at his bare shoulders. He doesn’t even bother to pretend he’s fixing some other part of Wei Ying’s top. “My cute Lan er gege of an alpha won’t do anything to hurt me. You’ll always protect me!”
…and yet when Lan Zhan sees an expanse of milky white skin for grabs, he feels it up, because he no longer knows a single ounce of self-control, and he is entirely weak in the knees for Wei Ying. He is not the cute protector of an alpha you think he is, Wei Ying…
If Wei Ying is really, truly oblivious, then sure, Lan Zhan is solely to blame for all of his perverse ideas about the boy. Perhaps his obsession with Wei Ying has gotten him so sick in the head that he’s concocted an entire fantasy where Wei Ying secretly knows and likes Lan Zhan’s affections towards him, and has increasingly come to learn to make good use of it.
Or perhaps Lan Zhan is right, and Wei Ying is not the moon-eyed, angelic boy he’d first met in that garden at that hotel. Wei Ying is certainly not chaste anymore, and he must have picked up a thing or two on the effects he has on alpha men—just by being in the company of the Lans so much.
That’s why when Wei Ying blinks a little too slowly, or raises his long lashes up to look at him a bit too quickly, Lan Zhan reels in his breath, and allows his heart to beat fast, and give in. He does not hold back any portion of his love, or his warmth, or his devotion to the omega.
Wei Ying wants his full attention, and he’s got it.
The boy does not stop Lan Zhan when those large hands of his stray too far down his waist, or too high up into his hair, too. He only leans into it every time, a satisfied smile on his face.
Sometimes Lan Zhan’s not even sure if Wei Ying is sleeping on the sofa when he acts like he is, because those are the times when Lan Zhan grows more daring and greedy, sneaking in light kisses on his hair and embracing Wei Ying more tenderly than usual.
Oh, how badly in love he is with his brother-in-law, and how this love grows stronger each day.
Until it becomes fatal.
In all honesty, Lan Zhan hadn’t planned it.
His brother is away on a work trip again, leaving Wei Ying under the care of Lan Zhan in the meantime. Lan Zhan always returns home promptly after he’s done at the office, and now with Wei Ying around, he makes it even more of a point to make it back home before dinnertime so Wei Ying never has to eat alone.
The poor omega spends the better part of his day cooped up at home doing god knows what, and Lan Zhan knows he makes up most of the social interaction Wei Ying gets—outside of family meetings and fancy parties he occasionally attends with his husband.
Wei Ying welcomes him home at the doorstep as usual, because it is Lan Zhan who comes home punctually at a fixed timing, not his brother. Lan Zhan sometimes wonders if Wei Ying actually sits by the door and waits, like an overexcited pup, for him to get home. Because Wei Ying’s always rushing to his feet to pull the door open for him, his big, bright silver eyes lighting up at the sight of Lan Zhan coming home to him.
And whenever Wei Ying takes his coat and scarf and hangs it over at the corner, Lan Zhan can’t help but feel like he is the husband, instead.
To be treated like a companion, and not be able to access all of Wei Ying fully—what a tragedy. Lan Zhan can only stare after Wei Ying yearningly, and wonder why it was his brother that fate crossed Wei Ying’s paths with, and not him.
Too bad he was born second.
Dinner is spent around the dining table, where Wei Ying chatters on and on about the new reality cooking competition show he’s been binging on, and about Jiang Yanli’s latest grievance with Jin Zixuan that he’d learned over the last phone conversation he had with her. He asks about Lan Zhan’s day at the office as per usual, even if Lan Zhan usually has nothing much to offer. His work is mundane, just the way he likes it; though he always catches a glimpse of the way Wei Ying’s eyes glimmer with interest when Lan Zhan shares about his work, and so he makes sure he shares whatever he can think of.
He’s sure Wei Ying must miss working, in any capacity. He used to be given moderately heavy responsibilities as one of the Jiangs, and now he’s just a kept housewife.
If you were mine, I would have approached this so much differently, Lan Zhan thinks, saddened for him. You’re so nice and sweet, and you make such a good wife. You deserve only the world, and I’d have given you any responsibility you asked for, anything you ever wanted.
On the nights when Lan Xichen is away, Wei Ying is always much lonelier than he lets on. He doesn’t like sleeping in his huge king-sized bed with no one to hold, so he often falls asleep in the living room against Lan Zhan, as per usual. It is Lan Zhan who indulges in those nights, for he gets to catch a wink or two with Wei Ying lying in his arms, too. Then he carries Wei Ying back into his room only in the wee hours of the morning, after he’s safely assured that Wei Ying is in too deep of a sleep to stir up and make a fuss about it.
Tonight, for some reason or another, Wei Ying has decided, on impulse, that he will indulge in some wine. They have a wine cellar at home that they hardly use, but Wei Ying’s feeling particularly classy, and motivated by that cooking show he’s been watching.
Lan Zhan had acquiesced, not realising what a dead weight Wei Ying was.
Just two drinks in, and the baby passes out. Not fully—he’s still semi-conscious, but he’s yawning and curling up into Lan Zhan’s arms again and giggling about some hilarious joke that he says he’ll promise to tell Lan Zhan later.
Lan Zhan only gets the idea when Wei Ying jolts up in his arms half an hour later, dazedly calling after him, “Lan Huan?”
A thought so horrible and vile slips into his head, and it refuses to slip back out.
“Yes…” Lan Zhan begins to say, apprehensively. He doesn’t know if he can pull this off. If all else fails, and Wei Ying suddenly wakes from his drunken stupor, Lan Zhan will simply tell him he’s been pulling a mean prank on him. “It’s me. Lan Huan.”
“A-Huan,” Wei Ying says, so fondfully, small hands cupping Lan Zhan’s strong jaw. His eyes glaze over. He does not seem to recognise Lan Zhan for who he is.
Suddenly Lan Zhan’s never been so thankful for the facial similarities he shares with his brother before. (It’d never bothered him, but it only got tiring after a while when people kept gushing about how they were almost twins.) Only Lan Zhan’s bright molten gold eyes are a problem, but if Wei Ying’s vision has considerably blurred in light of the alcohol then it shouldn’t be an issue.
“Love you, A-Huan,” Wei Ying sighs out, happily. He hugs Lan Zhan even tighter than usual, even more intimate. Does he always hug his husband like this? Lan Zhan… is jealous. Perhaps there are differences in the way he treats the two brothers, after all. “Miss you. Why are you so busy all the time? Want to be with you…”
“I am here,” Lan Zhan says, hands flying to grip at Wei Ying’s wrists. He’s not sure if he’s still playing the part of his brother, or if he’s now desperate for Wei Ying to acknowledge him as himself. “I am here, Wei Ying. Do not be sad. I will never leave you.”
“Mmm, never leave me,” Wei Ying laughs, sadly.
He moans and writhes against Lan Zhan’s hold, his pretty face getting dangerously close to Lan Zhan’s one. His lips brush against Lan Zhan’s cheek accidentally, and it’s way too much for the man to bear. Wei Ying is so delicate and so gorgeous of a being, and Lan Zhan cannot stand not having him.
In a moment of weakness, Lan Zhan dips his head down and captures Wei Ying’s drunken red lips into a kiss. It was only supposed to last a second. It was only supposed to be a small treat for himself—a short, sinful indulgence.
And that’s when everything spirals.
Wei Ying, the minx, he does not push him away, he only encourages it. He sighs happily as he breathes in Lan Zhan’s sandalwood scent, registering hazily that it brings him nothing but comfort, and circles his arms up around Lan Zhan’s neck, kissing harder against the man.
Lan Zhan’s eyes dilate at the reciprocation, and become the biggest they’ve ever been. They soften into depths unimaginable, just a second later, however, as he furiously kisses back.
Wei Ying’s intoxicating, omega pheromones heighten the drunker he gets, and he stinks up every place he touches, every part of Lan Zhan he caresses. It drives Lan Zhan absolutely insane, makes his nostrils flare open in pure want. Wei Ying is a very zealous lover it seems, for he fondles and grabs, and pulls at Lan Zhan’s shirt even before he takes off his own one. Lan Zhan’s too far gone to stop. He is getting everything he has ever wanted, and he does not care that it is under the guise of being his own brother.
They kiss and they kiss, tongues swirling and licking and playing with each other’s non-stop, and it’s all so delicate and sweet and playful—as is with Wei Ying’s nature. Yet all of it is enough to get the alpha rock hard and tense, his arms applying increasing pressure all around the small omega’s body with every minute.
Wei Ying completely blossoms underneath his physical touches and attention. When they pull apart for air, Wei Ying is giggly and high off his affections.
“A-Huan, so rough as usual,” Wei Ying moans. “Your Wei Ying will suffer…”
Being called his brother is starting to really piss him off.
He pushes Wei Ying down, finally allowing himself to release that primal sound he’s been holding in each time Wei Ying bats his eyes at him like that.
He may be Wei Ying’s trusted brother-in-law, his confidant, when his brother is away. His faithful dinner time buddy, even. But at his core, Lan Zhan is a hot-blooded alpha, who has restrained his love and adoration for Wei Ying for far too long.
And if Wei Ying will not—remember enough to—fault him for this night, then Lan Zhan will not allow himself to remain inhibited any longer.
“Want to fuck you,” Lan Zhan growls out, taking Wei Ying’s wrists into his hands and pinning them well and up high above the boy. Lan Zhan does not hold back on his thoughts. He only thinks of filthy things when he sees the boy, and now he wants to be entirely honest about them. “Want to breed you. Want to make you full with my seed, fuck a baby in you, so you’ll bear my children and never go to another man again.”
Wei Ying is drunk, so it’s not as if he will hear him.
“Huh?” Wei Ying asks, softly. He can’t seem to understand what brought on this sudden ferociousness. “Lan Huan? Husband?”
A tingle runs down Lan Zhan’s spine. “Husband,” he nods, approvingly. “Call me husband.”
It’s much better than being called his brother’s birth name, for sure.
“Husbaand,” Wei Ying whines, as Lan Zhan strengthens his grasp around his wrists. “Please, husband—you’re hurting me—”
“Want to hurt Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan reveals, as one confession tumbles out of his lips one after another. His other hand gets busy at stripping Wei Ying of his clothing. “Want to hurt Wei Ying all the time, I hunger for it. Using Wei Ying as I please, spreading his thighs apart. Want to hear Wei Ying beg me to stop.”
“Aaaa, so mean, husband, Lan Zhan will hear…” Wei Ying chokes out.
Lan Zhan snorts. Yes, he hears every night, alright.
The omega lets out unhappy cries when Lan Zhan pulls his shirt up over him, and his rosy red nipples meet the cold air. Lan Zhan does the same for his pants, and as Wei Ying’s lovely pink cock springs up, it immediately twitches in Lan Zhan’s line of sight.
Cute, Lan Zhan thinks. Truly so small and as delectable as he’d imagined.
Fucking Wei Ying is easy. He is made for fucking, after all, and as delicate as he is, his body takes to Lan Zhan’s one so readily. And as much sex as Wei Ying must have had with his brother, he is still so unbelievably tight when Lan Zhan enters him, even as slick begins seeping out of his hole. Perhaps that’s just the omega charm. But it’s only the good kind of pain that the omega feels, for Wei Ying is moaning out endlessly, screeching and pleading for his husband to stop being so gentle and to take him apart like he often does already.
Lan Zhan really doesn’t need to restrain him, because lord is Wei Ying’s body receptive to him; but he does so because it’s just that much more exquisite to have Wei Ying writhing and struggling underneath him, fighting him for the sake of fighting him. Always so strong-willed and stubborn in spirit, isn’t he?
It paints such a pretty picture, though: a naked Wei Ying with flushed red cheeks, mouth gaping open in the lewdest of moans and most helpless of cries, arms pinned down up high above his head, wrists growing sore and bruising red from all of Lan Zhan’s unnecessary strength, hole oozing endlessly with slick, begging over and over again for his husband to stop being so mean to him, that Lan Zhan will hear, that good husbands don’t tease their omegas so badly like this…
Lan Zhan’s flattered, really. He hadn’t realised how often his name cropped up during his brother’s lovemaking with Wei Ying. Was Wei Ying truly so embarrassed of letting his brother-in-law be privy to his sexual sounds? Or was it just a kinky thing Wei Ying was doing to indulge in some exhibitionist fantasy of his?
Lan Zhan bends over to kiss him a couple of times, always taking Wei Ying’s lips into the most tender of kisses, as if he wants Wei Ying to know he loves him, just as much as he lusts for him. He want to make love to him, but also… fuck him. He wants to cherish and take care of Wei Ying forever, spoil him like the princess he is, but also edge Wei Ying and not let him cum until he’s sobbing and begging and falling to his knees. He loves Wei Ying so much, he’s grown obsessed with him.
But that’s just another day of being a Lan.
Loving them so intensively, you want to own them.
Lan Zhan tilts his head back as he fucks harder and faster into Wei Ying, letting out multiple growls of pleasure, rippling right through his throat. He can only see red. The red ribbon in Wei Ying’s hair, the red blush on his cheeks, the red tip of his small cock, the red marks on Wei Ying’s wrists, the red flowery tint around Wei Ying’s tight hole.
He can’t resist it anymore. He wants to own him. Wants to bite him, so badly…
His razor sharp teeth are inches away from replacing Wei Ying’s existing bond mark with his, when Wei Ying moans out on his tongue:
And he immediately snaps back to his senses.
“Wei Ying?” He asks, because he’s not sure if Wei Ying is starting to recognise him, or if he dare hope for the alternative—that Wei Ying is thinking of him, as he’s being fucked out of his mind by who he assumes is Lan Huan.
“Nnn, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying whines, hips desperately rocking against Lan Zhan’s thrusts. “Faster, faster, please, Zhanzhan, Lan Zhan… ”
There’s no mistaking it. He’s fantasising about Lan Zhan fucking him.
“Oh, Wei Ying…” Lan Zhan goes breathless. His heart is in his throat. He wants Wei Ying so much, he will kill for him.
His feral hunger subsides into something more romantic, something more loving, and his fingers are pushing at the wet hair strands sticking to Wei Ying’s cheeks, moving them to the side and ensuring he gets to see Wei Ying’s pretty fucked out face in all its beauty.
“You should have been mine,” Lan Zhan roars, nosing his way up against Wei Ying’s face. “Should have been married to me. If you’d just waited… Silly boy… I love you.”
He feels Wei Ying stiffen underneath him for a second, and he wonders if he’d imagined it.
“Love me?” Wei Ying purrs softly out, still maintaining his half-lidded gaze. “Husband?”
“Yes,” Lan Zhan says, as he rocks gentler into him. It takes everything in him not to bite. “For now, I am your husband.”
Wei Ying wakes up bright and early next morning, and when he moves there is a spring in his step.
“Lan Zhaan! Wake up! Breakfast is ready,” he calls, head popping in through the door.
He is fresh-faced and there’s healthy colour in his cheeks. His long hair has already been meticulously combed and pulled back into a high ponytail, just as always.
Lan Zhan sighs, pushing open his eyes groggily and pulling himself out of bed. Usually he is not one to complain about mornings—he is a Lan, so of course—but last night had thoroughly exhausted him, emotionally and physically, and he’s not sure how Wei Ying can still remain so exuberant and not feel so sore—wait.
He had put Wei Ying to bed last night after they were done with… the deed (and after Lan Zhan had spilled inside of Wei Ying thrice; he couldn’t get enough, and he knows the omega is already on birth control anyway) but he’s still not so sure Wei Ying had been fully unconscious throughout the entirety of it. Was it possible that he didn’t even remember a thing? Did Lan Zhan get so lucky? He’d taken advantage of Wei Ying, in a moment of weakness, but he’d been sober through it. If anything, the blame was fully on him.
He’d even initiated the kiss.
Funny how daring Lan Zhan can get when he knows there’s a possibility he may get away with it.
When he enters the kitchen, Wei Ying is squeezing tomato sauce onto a plate of omelette that he’d prepared. His wrists are held up high, and the red contusions around them are as plain as day. An omega’s strength can never compare to an alpha’s—his kind were made to dominate.
Lan Zhan swallows thickly, knowing he cannot explain this one even if Wei Ying asks him about it.
“Are you feeling okay,” Lan Zhan says softly, the thinnest hint of remorse in his tone.
He was not a good brother-in-law last night. He was an even worse brother. Lan Xichen had instructed him to take good care of Wei Ying in his absence, and Lan Zhan… completely went the other way.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Wei Ying questions, smilingly. His face is as bright as the sun. Has he not noticed the new bruises on his body? Can someone be truly so oblivious? “I do feel a bit more sore than usual, but… I always sleep in the worst positions when Lan Huan isn’t around. That’s why I hate sleeping alone in that king-sized bed of mine. It’s too big for me. You know that.”
“Mn,” Lan Zhan says, taking his seat at the dining table. His mood has turned sour again at the mention of his brother. “Just worried about you.”
“Oh, come on, you always overworry,” Wei Ying smiles. He slides the plate over to Lan Zhan, and Lan Zhan’s gaze grows warm when he sees that Wei Ying has drawn cute smiley faces and a “good luck for work!” in tomato sauce onto his omelette.
Shame sweeps over him like a tidal wave. Wei Ying did not deserve it. Last night. His cruelty. His inhumaneness.
“Wei Ying, if you are in pain, please come to me,” Lan Zhan says, pleadingly.
He’d been more forceful than anything else, last night, and he can only imagine the toll it would have taken on Wei Ying’s fragile body. Omegas are meant to withstand such roughness, yes, but Lan Zhan cannot stomach knowing he’d given in too much to his animalistic ways and potentially hurt Wei Ying because of it.
“Why would I be in pain?” Wei Ying asks, rolling his eyes. He dances around with bruises on his wrists, his body, like he hardly notices them. “Just because I drank some wine last night? I can’t even remember what happened after my second drink.”
Lan Zhan’s heart leaps, and sinks down into an abyss, all at the same time. “You do not remember.”
“No,” Wei Ying frowns. “I thought you fell asleep, too. Was there something that I should remember?”
“No,” Lan Zhan says, a bit too urgently. “I put you to bed not long after.”
“Yeah, I thought so,” Wei Ying’s back to smiling again.
He draws something cute on his own omelette, cracks himself up as he does so, and then puts away the bottle of tomato sauce once he’s done with it.
Lan Zhan watches him from the side, unable to resist the smile his lips tug up into whenever he watches Wei Ying so happy, like this.
Should have been mine.
And so things pass without any consequence.
Lan Xichen returns home two days later—a long enough time for any trace of Lan Zhan’s scent to fade from Wei Ying’s skin—and everything resumes back to normal. Wei Ying is back to being publicly affectionate with his rightful husband, kissing and hugging him in plain sight wherever and whenever Lan Zhan can see.
Having now held Wei Ying once, his jealousy eats away at him like never before. Lan Zhan spends more time behind locked doors, frustrated over all of the things he cannot do with Wei Ying, and he spends more time angrily jerking off more than anything.
He hears his brother making love to Wei Ying at night again, hears Wei Ying calling him husband, and Lan Zhan resists the urge to hurl a lamp into the wall.
He had felt utterly awful about taking innocent advantage of his sweet Wei Ying, and he’d sworn to himself not to do it again—
—but the next time Lan Xichen is away on another work trip, Lan Zhan is pulling the wine cellar open, and asking Wei Ying if he wants to open a bottle tonight.
“You’re horrible, you just don’t want to entertain me tonight!” Wei Ying bemoans. “You know I’ll knock out after like, two drinks.”
“No, I was just in the mood,” Lan Zhan plays it off. “It’s nice to have a drink or two now and then.”
Wei Ying buys it, even if he’s grumbling. “Alright, fine! I’ll indulge you. My cute Lan er gege. You deserve to have a drink or two after your hard day at work.”
Wei Ying is so careless whenever he speaks to him, like he does not care that he is outrightly seducing his brother-in-law.
And what’s an alpha got to do, when faced with such blatant temptation, day in day out?
Just as Wei Ying says, two drinks is enough to knock him out.
His hands are always so grabby when he gets drunk.
“A-Huan,” he sings out, his fingers tracing Lan Zhan’s face. Does he really resemble his brother so much that Wei Ying cannot tell, Lan Zhan wonders. “So handsome. So lucky to be married to you.”
Lan Zhan’s jaw tightens at what he hears. But Wei Ying is finally in his arms again, and so he calms his rage by leaning over to take a big whiff of Wei Ying’s hair.
He relaxes instantly.
“My baby, my life,” Lan Zhan murmurs, clutching Wei Ying by the head, pressing him close into his chest. “Will I ever get to have more of you, or is this already it.”
Even drunk Wei Ying can tell Lan Zhan’s upset.
“Don’t be sad, husband,” Wei Ying slurs, clamouring out of Lan Zhan’s arms quickly so he can kiss up the wet patches of tears on Lan Zhan’s face. “I love you, just as you love me.”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan breathes out, his heart exploding. Somehow, the tears fall even harder this time. “Wei Ying, say that again.”
Wei Ying stares up to him, glassy-eyed. “Hm? I love you,” he repeats, his nude pink lips curving up into the gentlest of smiles. “Love everything about you. My handsome boy. Don’t be sad. Wei Ying will be sad, too.”
“Oh,” Lan Zhan’s heart wrenches. He embraces Wei Ying close. “You’re so pure, so good, all that is right with this world. I wish I had you. I think I will go insane.”
“No, husband,” Wei Ying murmurs. When he looks at Lan Zhan, he always peers straight into his piercing golden eyes. “You already have me. Always had me. So, just take me.”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan exhales out, sharply.
This time, it is Wei Ying who initiates the kiss. Perhaps he’d seen the tears on his supposed husband’s face, and felt sorry for him. Felt like he needed to provide some warmth and company.
When they fuck this time round, it’s more so lovemaking than the rough mindless sex it had been the last time. Wei Ying is still too inebriated to do much else, so Lan Zhan takes the lead. He fucks into Wei Ying with much urgency, afraid if his body leaves Wei Ying so much as for a second he will lose Wei Ying forever.
He savours the limited hours he has with him. The minutes. His love for Wei Ying has been reduced to however long the night spans for them, and Lan Zhan just has to deal with it. There is no other way for him to have Wei Ying in such an intimate way—even emotionally.
Wei Ying’s heart belongs to his brother. Not him. Wei Ying had walked into the world of the Lans with the expectation of marrying his brother. Not him. Even if he’d tried, so fruitlessly, to get Wei Ying to turn the other way…
When Wei Ying is drunk, Wei Ying thinks he is Lan Huan. His husband. Wei Ying looks at him with much love and admiration in his eyes, treats him with respect and devotion that Lan Zhan does not recognise, which is entirely different from the playful—dare he use the word brotherly—manner Wei Ying always looks at him in.
It makes him feel hollow to think about all the varying ways Wei Ying treats him, when he is in this form.
So Lan Zhan doesn’t. He just basks in it, enjoys it and chooses not to descend into the madness of such thoughts.
It is enough that he gets to indulge like this, every once in a while.
Towards the end again, Wei Ying is murmuring out a name that he shouldn’t be uttering out, in the throes of his pleasure.
“Lan Zhan,” he whispers out, desperately, fingers pulling at Lan Zhan’s hair. “Lan Zhan, oh, Lan Zhan…”
“Yes, it is me,” Lan Zhan kisses up his neck. He does not know why Wei Ying always ends up calling his name. He only knows that he loves it. “Lan Zhan. Yours, and forever.”
“Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying chants, smiling happily against all of his kisses. “My Lan Zhan…”
“My Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan murmurs.
He wants so badly to ask, do you love Lan Zhan too?
But he’s too afraid to know the answer. He’s afraid to know what it’ll mean for his brother. He’s afraid to know what it’ll mean for himself, and what he knows he will do, as a consequence.
This goes on for three more work trips before he finally walks in on Wei Ying standing in the bathroom, one day, gazing curiously at himself in the mirror.
He is topless, and scrutinising the red marks on his back, and around his waist.
Lan Zhan’s heart lurches. He knows he made those marks. Wei Ying is finally getting suspicious, and his short joyride is finally coming to an end. He knows it’s long overdue. There was no way he would be able to keep this up for long. Not even diligently cleaning his cum out of Wei Ying after every session could have covered up the evidence of rough sex on his fragile omega body.
“Wei Ying, are you alright,” he asks, anyway, even if this might just unravel his path to destruction.
“Lan Zhan, these marks don’t match,” Wei Ying asks, dumbfoundedly. He is confused. He studies the bruises on his skin. “They have not matched for a very long time.”
“What do you mean,” Lan Zhan asks. He cannot breathe. He swallows his fear down. “Are these my brother’s… handiwork on you?”
“Yes, mostly,” Wei Ying says, though he’s still frowning. “But some are not his.”
Lan Zhan stills. “That cannot be. You only mate with my brother.”
Thank god he never delivered a bite to Wei Ying’s neck, no matter how badly he’d ached to.
“Yes, of course I know that,” Wei Ying says, swallowing his frustration. “And he hasn’t noticed either, but I would know. It just feels… wrong. I know the bruises he makes. The way he touches.”
Lan Zhan winces. He does not want to hear more.
“Perhaps you are falling off the bed when you sleep,” Lan Zhan offers, pathetically.
He hadn’t anticipated it to actually work.
“Oh!” Wei Ying’s frown dissolves, and his face brightens. “You know what, that makes complete sense! I do do that a lot. That’s why Lan Huan always makes sure to put so many pillows around me when I sleep.”
Lan Zhan doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The sheer innocence… “Wei Ying, you need to be more careful next time. Omegas bruise easily.”
“Ugh, annoying alpha,” Wei Ying laughs. “Looking down on us just because we’re different, huh?”
“Wei Ying is more delicate than most,” Lan Zhan says. “I am only… protective, of Wei Ying.”
“No, it’s just condescending,” Wei Ying snorts. But his worries have been resolved, and so he puts his shirt back on. “Lan Zhan always thinks so little of me. I know it!”
“Wei Ying, you misunderstand me,” Lan Zhan sighs.
Wei Ying bursts into cheery laughter. He hops over to Lan Zhan’s side, and punches the alpha man lightly in the chest, jokingly. Lan Zhan catches Wei Ying’s hands by the wrists, gazing down to him disapprovingly.
There is a tiny smile hidden behind his icy lips, however.
“I love teasing Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying hums, big bambi eyes fluttering up to look his way. “Lan er gege is so fun to play with.”
“I am not your plaything,” Lan Zhan huffs.
“See? So cute when you’re petty,” Wei Ying laughs, delicate hands reaching up to cup at Lan Zhan’s jaw. “So different from Lan Huan.”
Lan Zhan’s brow furrow. “Very different.”
“So much cuter,” Wei Ying teases, pinching at his cheeks.
Lan Zhan wants him so much.
Lan Zhan rarely attends the extended Lan family functions himself—he sees the elders enough already at the board meetings anyway, and besides, his brother is the face of the family, the household; and now with Wei Ying here to attend the parties with him, Lan Zhan has even less of a need to show his face next to his brother—but this time, upon his brother’s request, he relents, and goes.
He is seated next to Wei Ying at the dinner table, who is currently sandwiched in between the two alpha Lans. Even in public, Lan Huan carefully thinks about his omega’s protection. It’s sweet.
When Wei Ying excuses himself to the bathroom for a bit, a waiter comes over to serve them alcohol, and Lan Xichen readily takes two glasses, one for him and Wei Ying.
Lan Zhan objects, almost immediately.
“Wei Ying does not handle liquor well. You should not let him drink.”
Perhaps all those business trips away are doing him no good, if Lan Xichen doesn’t even know about this aspect of his mate.
Lan Xichen’s one heavy brow slants, quizzically. “Wangji, the Jiangs own a winery. That’s how they got started with their businesses. Wei Ying has been drinking ever since he was a child.”
Blood freezes in his veins.
Lan Zhan’s stomach clenches. “That cannot be true.”
Because if it is, then Wei Ying has been putting up an act, all those nights—
“It is,” Lan Xichen frowns, wondering what has brought this on. “Wei Ying always drinks with me at these functions. He has an alcohol tolerance even higher than us, Wangji. He’ll be fine.”
Colour drains entirely from his face. He feels like a complete fool. “Brother, I have to go.”
Lan Zhan stands up from his seat. “Now.”
He sees Wei Ying re-emerging from the hallway, and feels like he can never look at Wei Ying in the eye again.
All those heartfelt things he’d revealed to Wei Ying, confessed, sobbed out to him, all those nights…
Wei Ying knows. Wei Ying knows of his feelings for him, and he had toyed with Lan Zhan, the exact same way Lan Zhan thought he’d been toying with him.
Perhaps he deserves it. He, after all, was content taking—what he thought was—advantage of the boy, all due to his selfishness and overwhelming greed.
But he was made use of, played like a fiddle, and now his entire heart feels like it’s been torn out. It feels like—it feels like he will never be able to feel again.
He throws his napkin down onto the table, and hurries out of the event hall. He can feel Wei Ying throwing him a flummoxed look from the back, and asking quietly after him to his brother.
Lan Zhan thinks to himself, perhaps it is time to move out and find his own place. Perhaps it has been a bad idea from the start, to think he could even share in all of Wei Ying’s time with his brother—when Wei Ying never belonged to him in the first place. Wei Ying has made that oh so clear to him. Lan Zhan is but a convenient plaything he gets to indulge in every now and then, whenever he pleases.
How could Lan Zhan be so blind.
Wei Ying must have learned what his brother revealed to him and put two and two together, because he’s dashing out in the next instant, and catching Lan Zhan right outside of the hotel before he gets to wave for a cab home.
“Lan Zhan, it’s not what you think,” Wei Ying yells, pleadingly, his voice edged with fear. “I didn’t do it just for fun.”
“You have heard my every confession, my every word,” Lan Zhan accuses, his mouth turning dry. “You knew how I felt about you. You, you knew—and still you didn’t say a thing—”
“You didn’t have to tell me anything for me to already know, before that,” Wei Ying raises his voice, frantic and desperate for him to hear him. “Did you not think it was already obvious from the way you looked at me all the time? I may have been sheltered all my life, but even I know that’s not normal. Not for an alpha. And certainly, not from you.”
“That’s even worse,” Lan Zhan grits his teeth, saying. “Then you knew from the start, and you played with me.”
“God, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying lets loose a loud snort, like he can’t believe what he’s hearing. “You say all this to me as if you weren’t so happy to do all those things to me. You’re not so innocent in this matter, too, Lan er gege.”
“Yes, alright, I am despicable, and shameful, and a total degenerate,” Lan Zhan snaps, baring his teeth. He is on the defensive. “I want Wei Ying so much, I have to resort to low-life ways to have him. Even if just for a bit. Vilify me for it, do whatever you want. Wei Ying has already broken my heart, so it’s not like it matters.”
Wei Ying’s breathing slows. He takes a step closer to the man, gutted by what he hears.
“Lan Zhan, I didn’t plan for my ruse to go that far. I didn’t realise—I didn’t realise you felt for me so much. I thought it might have just been a crush.”
“It is not,” Lan Zhan growls, turning away. “But you are married to my brother, so nothing can come out of this. I understand that. Wei Ying doesn’t even return my feelings, anyway—”
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying calls out, so tenderly, so affectionately, so insistently. He reaches out to cup at the man’s face. “I meant what I said, all those nights. I love you, just as you love me. You already have me—you’ve always had me. So, just take me.”
He… he hadn’t expected that.
He hadn’t expected for his feelings to actually be returned.
Lan Zhan breathes in sharply, deliberating over those words. A world in which he can have Wei Ying, as well?
But, there is still the matter of his brother—
“Wei Ying… I cannot share.”
Not you, with another man. Not even my own blood brother.
“Then don’t,” Wei Ying pushes himself into Lan Zhan’s embrace, tips his head up to gaze into his emboldened golden eyes. “Mark me. Bond with me. Replace his claim on me… with yours. Like I said—just take me.”
Lan Zhan has imagined this exact scenario in his head so many times. In his fantasies, he always says yes, when Wei Ying asks. He always gives in. Because he doesn’t have to face up to the repercussions, doesn’t have to harbour the knowledge that he will break his brother’s heart, just to mend his.
“You do not love my brother?” Lan Zhan whispers out, numbly. “If we do this, there will be… consequences.”
And Lan Zhan is prepared to risk it all.
Wei Ying’s eyes glimmer, with tears. “It sounds like you’ve already thought ahead.”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says gravely, with utmost seriousness in his voice. The bad kind of butterflies are back in his stomach, in his chest, flooding and rushing into him, and flapping all around his heart. They will consume him. “If you give yourself to me, I will never let you go. You can never change your mind again. I will never allow it. I will keep you for myself, for life.”
Wei Ying simply smiles back up to him, silver eyes crinkling up prettily. “Yes, husband.”
Lan Zhan needs no further permission. He extends his fangs, and he bites.