How dare he.
How dare he.
How dare someone deem themselves fit to waltz up to him, pin his two wrists down against a tree and steal away his first kiss. How dare he! Because it had to be a man—Wei Ying’s not stupid, if it’d been a fair maiden he would have been able to fight right back, as tenacious as fair maidens can get these days—that had thought himself worthy of taking Wei Ying’s first kiss, of holding him down and deeming it his right to take advantage of him. How dare someone—anyone!—think themselves above asking for permission to kiss Wei Ying! To, to, to, and Wei Ying thinks this to himself very bitterly, to molest him! Molestation in its highest order!
It had been Wei Ying’s first kiss!
Wei Ying is a traditionalist. A die-hard romantic, if you will. He’d been saving it! He’d been saving it for his first love, his one true love, or someone—anyone!—who had more tact than molesting him against a tree. He’d listened to, and internalised, all of the bedtime stories (of the romantic kind) shijie used to tell him and Jiang Cheng to get them to sleep. It’d worked wonders on Jiang Cheng, putting that boy to sleep immediately because there was not one single romantic bone in that body, but it’d given Wei Ying many ideas about saving his first kiss for someone who mattered, at least. Wei Ying’s not a fair maiden, he doesn’t need it to be someone super important.
But his first kiss! Taken by a stranger! A stranger who fled the minute Wei Ying opened his eyes, not even giving Wei Ying the courtesy of knowing who so violently assaulted his mouth! He fled! He ran! Like a coward!
Wei Ying scours his immediate vicinity with hawkish eyes, because there’s no way the culprit could have run that far. Yes, of course it’s flattering to assume that someone might have hungered for him—harboured a fervent liking to him—so much so that they couldn’t handle the possibility of being rejected, and so had to resort to stealing kisses from him this way.
But that’s the romantic side of things. That’s the preferred explanation to all of it.
What if it’d just been a molester on the loose? What if it’d just been a depraved man who cared not for gender, only for the prettiest mouth there was to offer?
(And Wei Ying’s mouth is very delectable, he knows this. He hydrates himself constantly, never leaves his lips chapped if he can. Someone like Jiang Cheng would never have to worry about such a thing, but Wei Ying—poor Wei Ying—he has so much to offer in appearance and so had become the perfect victim!)
No, this couldn’t be good. There were so many other dashing male and female cultivators today in attendance, and they all stood to lose their kissing virginity just like Wei Ying if there was truly a molester on the loose. His shijie was also in the vicinity! He couldn’t let anyone else fall victim to the molester! Wei Ying had to report this, stat.
He hurriedly makes his way back to the front of the hunting grounds, where he knows all the important sect leaders are gathered—when he happens to chance upon Lan Zhan in the woods, who’s so casually in the midst of punching a tree.
Ah, Lan Zhan, always doing the weirdest things. It’s either something in the waters over at the Lan sect, or it has to be all the repressive Lan rules. He’s gotten used to Lan Zhan’s erratic behaviour at this point. Doesn’t even question him randomly splitting a tree into half with his fist, whatsoever.
“Lan Zhan, you will not believe what just happened to me,” Wei Ying cries out, in avid distress. He jumps to the side, narrowly evading a falling tree branch. “I got taken advantage of! I got molested by a stranger!”
Lan Zhan spins around to him, and what had been a frightening expression on his face—and deep-set bloodshot eyes—quickly turns into full-on panic and horror.
Aw, he’s worried about me, Wei Ying thinks, happily to himself. What a good friend, always looking out for my well-being.
“T...Taken advantage of,” Lan Zhan sputters out, in a rather uncharacteristic manner, his fist turning shaky. He draws it back from the tree, hides the bruises from Wei Ying’s sight as he curls it behind his back. “Is… is Wei Ying feeling alright. S...Surely Wei Ying can… can handle an incident or two.”
Wei Ying gasps, at the audacity of it all. He’s so fired up, he doesn’t even notice all of the unnecessary stuttering. “Lan Zhan! Are you trying to say I asked for it?”
Victim-blaming, at its finest! Granted, he always knew the Lans were insanely conservative, but he thought the new generation would be different! Who knew Lan Zhan had it in him?
Lan Zhan’s face drastically pales. “No! Wei Ying didn’t deserve it! Never!”
“Good! Because I was an innocent,” Wei Ying moans out, his mouth still tingling from the brutality of the kiss from earlier. “I was kissed without my permission, and it wasn’t—wasn’t even good!” Upon hearing this, Lan Zhan lets out a barely audible, anguished whimper. “It was so unnecessarily aggressive! I was attacked so violently! I have to report this!”
“Wasn’t… good?” Lan Zhan’s almost on the verge of tears. His throat is croaking as he speaks, and his face is suddenly so overcast Wei Ying wonders who’s truly the one who got assaulted here, because it sure as hell wasn’t him.
“Lan Zhan! I said it was molest, like hell it could have been good,” Wei Ying huffs. “What’s with you, today? I know I’m a man, but men can get molested too! I’ll have you know it is very backward-thinking of you to assume I won’t get trauma from this.”
Lan Zhan’s voice is almost gone, but he pushes through, raspily. “Trauma? Wei Ying… will…. even get trauma from this?”
“Yes! It was my first kiss!” Wei Ying wails out agonisingly.
Suddenly all life returns to Lan Zhan’s face again, and he’s revitalised.
“Wei Ying’s first kiss?” Lan Zhan’s mouth hangs open, just slightly, hardly noticeable to the non-discerning eye. “Oh…”
His lips twitch up into the most foolish of smiles, and Wei Ying wants to smack him over the head for it. Of all things to smile about—and Lan Zhan never smiles, so what is this even about—he does so upon hearing Wei Ying’s traumatic experience? Wow, Wei Ying’s learning a lot of new things today (one of them being he’s an easy prey for molesters), and another of them being that Lan Zhan’s surely, and secretly, a sadist.
Ah, what to do. The Lans have always been fairly strange, and Lan Zhan’s the weirdest of the bunch…
“Lan Zhaan! My first kiss got stolen! By a random, perverted stranger! Only someone so deranged and of reasonable lunacy would attempt behaviour of this sort! Anyway, your absence of empathy aside—” Seriously, he should let Lan Xichen know about his brother’s erratic behaviour, before it gets any worse, thank god Lan Zhan has Wei Ying around to look out for him, “—it’s no longer safe around here to walk alone. Not even men are spared! I’m heading back to the front to lodge a report and make an announcement, you should come with me.”
Lan Zhan bites his lip, turning nervous again. “Wei Ying, perhaps this situation is being blown out of proportion, after all it could have been a fair maiden who had… taken a devastating liking to you and never found the courage to confess out of fear of rejection—”
“Shijie!” Wei Ying yells out, the minute he spots her walking by with Jin Zixuan in tow. As much as he dislikes the boy, he’s grateful she has someone to look out for her in the middle of these woods, at least. Nowhere is safe anymore. Not even cultivators walking by themselves! “There’s a molester on the loose! Save yourself!”
“W…Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says, in blank horror, desperately reaching for him, but Wei Ying’s no longer even listening, and already running over to his shijie’s side.
Jin Zixuan scowls unhappily when Wei Ying squeezes in between them and takes all of Jiang Yanli’s attention for himself.
“Good that you’re here. I’m just on my way to report this. Someone took advantage of me in the woods!”
Shijie gasps with as much gusto as Wei Ying had just minutes before. “Xianxian! Are you alright? How could this happen! Where did the pervert touch you?”
Behind them, Lan Zhan’s face drains completely of colour again, but no one notices.
Wei Ying fake sobs, and allows shijie to take him into her arms. “They assaulted me! On the mouth!”
“Xianxian! Your first kiss! You told me you were saving it!”
“Are you… being serious right now,” Jin Zixuan says, sneering at the overly dramatic scene. “Wei Wuxian, you’re a man. Please act like one.”
“See, I’m so tired of this backward way of thinking,” Wei Ying points out. “So men can’t be taken advantage of, huh? Would you like it if I kissed you on the mouth against your will? I bet you wouldn’t, would you? I’ll do it to you, and I’ll show you—”
“Wei Ying!” Lan Zhan yells out, in panic.
“It’s alright, Lan er gong zi, I’ve got this,” Jin Zixuan frowns. Since when did Lan Wangji care enough to defend him? “Fine, whatever. We were heading back anyways. I’ll let my father know this happened, and to issue an alert to everyone else, especially the women. Do you want to come with us, or are you not yet done with the hunting grounds?”
Wei Ying’s eyes survey their surroundings, until he ultimately makes a choice. “You know what, I think I’ll stay back for a bit to try and see if I can catch the culprit anyway. I’m determined not to let him get away, we have to teach him a lesson! Make sure to let everyone know to pair up from now on, and that no one else is to walk alone in the woods. There’s someone going around assaulting mouths, and their kissing is not that good!”
“Wei Ying, is that really so important,” Lan Zhan asks, barely hiding his sniffles. Jin Zixuan shoots him an odd look.
“Lan Zhan, don’t worry. We’ll pair up and search the woods. I don’t think they could have made it that far! In any case, two of us will definitely be able to fight against the culprit. I won’t let you become a victim too!”
He turns back to Jiang Yanli, cheerily adding, “Oh, and shijie, if you stumble across Jiang Cheng, tell him not to worry, no one will kiss him even if their life depends on it.”
“Xianxian,” Shijie chides, with a smile. “Jiang Cheng will worry about you, too. At least Lan er gong zi is here to protect you in case they come back round again. Don’t take too long searching, alright? Meet us back at the front as soon as you can.”
“Okay!” Wei Ying answers, enthusiastically.
The pair take their leave without any further incident, leaving Wei Ying alone again in the company of Lan Zhan.
Lan Zhan’s back to being a sour face, all gloomy and even more sullen than Wei Ying remembers him usually.
“Lan Zhan, I’m the one that got assaulted here! Why the long face?”
“...the kiss,” Lan Zhan resumes pace with Wei Ying’s footsteps, as they trudge through the forest, silently. “Was it… really that bad.”
“Oh! Lan Zhan, you probably haven’t kissed anyone before, so you’re curious,” Wei Ying deduces, ever so thoughtfully. “See, I know I’m a man, so I shouldn’t expect too much. But I always wanted it to be with someone I cared about! Also, there was way too much tongue, for my liking. If I hadn’t known any better, I’d say it must have been the molester’s first kiss, too.”
Lan Zhan sweats. “It really was… that obvious?”
“Oh, I’m not so sure, really. I mean, they knew to pin me down incase of retaliation, but at the same time, the kissing was so sloppy. Anyway, it’s fine. Better me than a fair maiden. You’re so lucky you never had your first kiss stolen by a pervert! The world is so unfair.”
“...kissed someone,” Lan Zhan mumbles out, barely above a whisper.
“I’ve kissed someone,” Lan Zhan says, in shame. His ears are tinting red. “It was… soft.”
“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying’s gasping again. “You… you’re not the virgin that I think you are?”
Lan Zhan frowns at him, even if there’s an air of smugness about him. “Wei Ying is… inexperienced, too.”
“Stop taking delight in my inexperience, you sadist,” Wei Ying hits back. Really, he was going to have a word with Lan Xichen about Lan Zhan—this man was definitely on a slippery slope to the path of moral destruction—before he got any worse. “So what! I’ve always envisioned a more romantic first kiss. Is that so bad?”
Lan Zhan’s gaze softens, in guilt. “No.”
“It can’t be helped, I always knew my good looks would be my downfall one day,” Wei Ying sighs out. “You know, maybe a way I can find out who the culprit is would be to line up all the cultivators in attendance, and kiss them all on the mouth one by one. It’s not the most ideal way to do it, but I’ve already lost my first kiss, so it’s not like I’m losing much else.”
Lan Zhan’s eyes bulge. “Wei Ying, that is counterproductive.”
“Yeah, but I can’t let them get away with it! I’m incensed!” Wei Ying whines. “I think I’ll do it. I have no choice. I’ll take one for the team, do it on everybody’s behalf. I’m a man! It’s fine!”
“Wei Ying!” Lan Zhan furiously puts a stop to it. “Don’t you dare. That is unbecoming behaviour.”
“Oh, what do you care,” Wei Ying pouts. “I’m not a Lan! I don’t have to live up to your rules! I demand justice for myself! It’s not like the man who kissed me will ever own up to it anyway.”
Lan Zhan’s about to open his mouth and berate Wei Ying for his childishness again—
—when he sees it, he sees those pink pouty lips lifting up into a devious grin, he hears the playfulness in Wei Ying’s snickering tone, and something in his gut churns and tells him Wei Ying knew, all along.
“So? Will he own up?” Wei Ying asks, pausing in his steps. “Own up to his immorality?”
All around them, the woods are dead silent.
Lan Zhan cannot feel his pulse.
“How did you know.”
There was no way—he had covered his tracks—
Wei Ying throws his head back and laughs, so carefreely. “If you wanted to kiss me, you could have just asked.”
“Wei Ying, I…” Lan Zhan’s ears are fiery red. “I did not mean to take advantage… I…”
“It’s okay, your reactions to being told that your kissing is not that great made up for all of it,” Wei Ying says, teasingly. “I was being mean. I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist! I caught you punching a tree. Who punches a tree?”
“I am deeply crossed with myself for it…” Lan Zhan trails off, hesitantly. He’s still unsure how Wei Ying is taking it. “Will punish myself when I return… Brother will see to it—”
“Lan Zhan, it’s okay,” Wei Ying’s cheeks are kissed pink. “I’m only mad you wouldn’t tell me! I gave you so many chances!”
Lan Zhan blushes even harder. “Wei Ying… I didn’t think you’d like knowing it was me.”
Wei Ying blinks. “Why?”
Lan Zhan’s heartbeat drums in his ears. “...not good enough for Wei Ying…”
“Are you an idiot,” Wei Ying rolls his eyes, though he’s smiling anyways. “Thank God it was you! I always wanted it to be you. Always wanted it to be Lan Zhan.”
Lan Zhan’s eyes widen, his lips parting in the softest of smiles, completely surprised. “Wei Ying?”
“So glad it was Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying hums, his laughter echoing merrily into the forest.
He’s so beautiful.
“Can I kiss you again,” Lan Zhan asks, pleadingly—yes, he actually asks this time round, much to Wei Ying’s delight.
“It wasn’t enough for you? Just now?” Wei Ying teases.
“No,” Lan Zhan admits, because it really hadn’t. He’d kissed Wei Ying like his life depended on it and it still wasn’t enough, it’d never be enough, it’d only left him with an insatiable hunger for even more. Wei Ying’s lips had been soft, so soft, so gentle, so easy to break… “Wanted to kiss Wei Ying more, but I got scared.”
“Lan Zhan, you surprise me every time,” Wei Ying laughs.
When he tips on his toes and leans forward to take Lan Zhan’s lips into their second kiss of the day, the taller man’s hands are greedily slinking around Wei Ying’s waist and pulling him closer, touching places they didn’t get to touch the other time.
“...like Wei Ying so much,” Lan Zhan breathes, into the kiss.
(He’s also mindful to use less tongue, now.)
“Like Lan Zhan so much, too,” Wei Ying whispers back, with a shimmer in his eyes, and a happy hum in his heart.
“So I heard there is a molester on the loose,” Jiang Cheng pants, as he stumbles anxiously into the tent they’re all seated in. “Wei Wuxian! Trust you to get yourself into these types of situations! Did we find the culprit yet?”
“No,” Wei Ying fake sobs, into Lan Zhan’s chest. Ever since they got back from the woods, the second young master Lan has not taken his hands off Wei Ying’s waist for even a second, and at this point, everyone’s just too afraid to ask. “Jiang Cheng! It was such a traumatic experience! You wouldn’t understand because you’ll be a virgin forever!”
“Wei Wuxian…” Jiang Cheng warns.
“Just leave them be,” Jiang Yanli giggles out, from the side. “I think you’ll be earning yourself a new sect alliance very soon.”
“What,” Jiang Cheng says, momentarily dumbfounded.
“It’s alright, I think the culprit has gotten his just desserts,” Wei Ying grins, looking up to Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan fixes the flower he’s placed into Wei Ying’s hair ever so lovingly, with a gentle smile on his face. “Don’t you think so, Lan Zhan?”
“Mn,” Lan Zhan agrees. “He has learned his lesson, for sure.”
Next time he takes advantage of Wei Ying against a tree and steals a flower as a memento, he’ll take note to hide it in a more discernible place, and not so flimsily within his curled fists.
(It had been the flower.)