There’s something wrong.
The air is far too still.
The tension is far too tight in his chest as he slowly rises to consciousness, every nerve in his body prickling with anticipation as his instincts claw at him to awaken.
Lan Wangji opens his eyes.
Quietly, he calls Bichen to his grasp, and it comes forth into his palms with a quiet clack as he slips out of bed. There's a murmur outside when he nears the window, and he raises his blade, ready to strike at a moment's notice.
He doesn’t need to walk far.
He stops short, something catching the corner of his eye.
Drawing back, he steps back into the shadows and looks to the outside steps of his quarters.
There’s a shadow, a silhouette, a person, curled up in the bitter cold, long hair spread over the mossy stones like rivers of ink, and woven in them a filthy crimson ribbon. On the floor, they lie in the snow.
His heart lodges itself in his throat.
“Lan Zhan,” murmurs the shadow. “Please.”
Lan Wangji doesn’t even think, he just moves, barely registering the harsh rattle of his door as he slams it open, or how Bichen falls to the ground as he ungracefully drops to his knees, his hands meeting cold, horribly icy skin as it brushes against the holes of tattered robes.
With ease, he lifts him and takes him back inside, carefully laying him down on the bed before rushing back to the doors to shut them, to seal them tightly as he quickly draws up a privacy talisman. He places it onto the wooden frame before rushing to his cupboards, rushing for spare blankets, anything warm, scrambling all the neat piles as he drags a bunch of sheets out before running to the bed.
All rationality leaves him as he wraps the blankets, and then his arms tightly around Wei Wuxian. “Wei Ying,” he whispers, his hands trembling as he pushes his hair back, and what greets him is a pale face, half-shut eyes, and dry lips. He’s so cold, so cold, it’s as if death is ready to snatch him away. Lan Wangji murmurs, prays, and his hands warm and glow azure as he transfers spiritual energy. He flows through his meridians (how cold and achingly little his qi is), slowly working their way to his―
Why is there nothing?
Lan Wangji lets out a sharp inhale, a sick feeling creeping into his gut as his qi meets hollowness. He tries again, tries and tries but he’s met with a hollow space, azure dying in the darkness.
A hollow space where there should be a warm, golden core.
Immeasurable sorrow floods him, a pained noise escaping his throat.
None of them left the war unscathed, but it seems Wei Wuxian has taken the greatest fall out of them all.
He chose the heretic path because he wanted to. His hate made him do this. “No,” he whispers, pushing through despite the fact it is undeniable that there is nothing. “No.” They all, including him, had judged that Wei Wuxian took to the stray path for the mere reason of revenge, not as a means for survival. He berated him for its cruel methods, an unnecessary strain upon his cultivation when he has (he thought he had) a strong core.
He’s a monster, he remembers someone whispering as Wei Wuxian fought, shuddering at the wild, crimson look in his eyes as he slew every Wen soldier in his wake.
“Aiyah,” murmurs a weak voice. Lan Wangji looks up and sees Wei Wuxian regarding him with bleary eyes, his cracked lip smile thin. “You can stop now,” he continues softly as if it is Lan Wangji who is wounded and not him. “We both know there is no point.”
“―Lan Zhan.” He shakes his head. “Don’t.”
Hesitantly, he listens, taking a few quiet breaths to stave off the tsunami of questions sweeping into his head.
Wei Wuxian’s eyes flutter closed again. “I would have celebrated once upon a time, to draw such strong reactions from you.” He turns his head away, “But now I find that I don’t like it.” He whispers. “I do not like it at all.” His breaths are beginning to run deep and slow as sleep (not death. Not yet, jabs a nasty voice ) begins to claim him.
For now, he holds Wei Wuxian, eyes sliding shut as he submerges himself into a forced state of calm, his only chance to prepare for the morning after.
When Lan Wangji’s eyes open again, Wei Wuxian is no longer in his arms.
He’s by his desk, absentmindedly flicking the pages from a poetry book he himself is still going through. The Rudiments of Love, written by an unknown Lan.
Where there is love, says one line in one of the first poems, you may find grace and life.
He looks back at Wei Wuxian. He’s still in the robes that he had found him in last night. He should change.
He’s still pale, but it’s better than the ghost that Lan Wangji desperately clung to in the snow.
He ignores the stiffness of his legs as he steps out of his bed, swaying a little when he finally stands. His memory flitters to Xuanwu Cave, remembering how he had rest Wei Wuxian’s head upon his lap then.
Death seems to favor Wei Wuxian. It’s always chasing him by the heels.
I should get him cleaner robes. He moves to do so, but Wei Wuxian speaks.
“Morning,” Wei Wuxian murmurs, looking up at him from the book. Lan Wangji barely remembers to hum back in acknowledgment, anxiety beginning to simmer underneath his skin.
Unsure how to approach or start the conversation with the words he wants to say, he completely forgets what he was about to do and forces out, “Breakfast,” turning away before he makes a fool of himself, pushing his own wants aside to ask. “I shall call for breakfast.” Where is your core? Why are you here? Why, why, why―
You know he won’t answer you, reminds a nasty voice in his brain as he reaches for the door. Who are you to ask?
Wei Wuxian, instead, stops him with his next words.
“So,” It’s drawn, quiet, vulnerable. It makes the hairs on the back of Lan Wangji’s neck stand. He hears the book being put down on the desk. “I am here now.”
Lan Wangji’s face briefly twists. “You are.”
Come back to Gusu with me. Wei Wuxian had misinterpreted his offer as imprisonment, and a part of him knows that somehow, despite voluntarily coming here, Wei Wuxian does not see this as an act of care. He should turn around to face Wei Wuxian, but perhaps he’ll be crushed with what he’ll see.
“Why?” he asks, finally caving in, but it doesn’t feel good.
He hears Wei Wuxian shift. “The Wens left,” he says, and that makes Lan Wangji startle. Left? “They thought it better to leave while they still could. I do not know where they go. It is for the best. They are safe now, beyond the mountains. I made sure of it.” His voice is inflectionless now. Empty. “I thought it better perhaps, since that I cannot go back to Yunmeng, or now that there is no war, that I have no purpose at all, that I surrender myself.”
Whatever questions he had wanted to ask are pushed from his mind.
Lan Wangji feels shame, anger simmer in his stomach. “Is that how you see yourself?” he says quietly. “Do you also feel that I am your keeper?”
Wei Wuxian answers without hesitation, almost sneering. “What else would you be?”
“Wei Ying!” he snaps, turning around. This is perhaps the fear from yesterday, or perhaps even from the months of this whole damn thing, but it spills and crashes into him regardless, pushing him to the edge, too many emotions at once forcing him to confront, to finally feel all that he’s been holding in. Distantly, he is aware that his pheromones are going haywire, potent enough to make anyone buckle to their knees, but Wei Wuxian is no ordinary alpha either.
“In fact,” Wei Wuxian stands, completely unfazed, delivering the final catalyst with a heartbreaking smile. “If they do call for my death, may you be the one to deliver the final blow?”
Lan Wangji stares at him.
Unable to swallow the words, to process them, his hands, fingers, he feels everything suddenly grow so cold, and the world slows down to nothing but the both of them, everything a blur but the man in front of him.
He doesn’t mean this. He doesn’t.
White noise fills his ears.
“No,” is what he says instead, a heavy, god awful feeling threatening to consume him. It comes out all wrong and funny. He doesn’t look back at Wei Wuxian’s reaction as he walks to the door. “I must leave―”
Lan Wangji flinches back, hand barely missing the ornamental dagger that has suddenly embedded itself by the door frame.
He turns around and glares at Wei Wuxian who's now pointing another blade at him. “Why do you run? Coward." Wei Wuxian snarls, his irises scarlet. "At least give me the dignity of a decent fight before you turn me in.”
Lan Wangji raises his hands—
—only to distract Wei Wuxian before lunging forward to kick the dagger from his grasp. Wei Wuxian swears and scrambles to get the blade, but Lan Wangji plays dirty, hand catching his long hair, slamming him onto the floor.
Wei Wuxian swings to punch him, but Lan Wangji catches his wrist, twists his arm, and pins him against the floor. Snarling and struggling, Wei Wuxian is trapped underneath his weight. "Fuck!"
Lan Wangji is about to give him verbal hell when Wei Wuxian thrusts his back into the air as a way to supposedly knock him off his back.
Instead, it has just made them both painfully aware of his arousal.
He scrambles back as if burned, looking down at the obvious shape of his cock jutting through his pants.
Wei Wuxian remains on the floor, unmoved, but Lan Wangji doesn’t want to know what he feels about it.
Burning with humiliation, he ungracefully stands up, opening the door with a loud slam as he storms out of the jingshi. You’re a degenerate, his mind tells him, and how deeply ashamed he is of himself.
His uncle and brother are at Lanling, so the clan is in his care. He should attend his meetings, attend to his duties as acting sect leader.
He finds himself standing at the northernmost wall. The oldest wall. The wall that had founded this sect. Founded all its morals and principles. Seldom does anyone wander to these parts.
He doesn’t scream, but the sound of his fist slamming into the stone is more than enough for the birds in the nearby trees to flee from their nests.
The Elders are murmuring amongst themselves, their voices rising to disapproving tuts and shocked gasps as soon as Lan Wangji walks into the Ancestral Hall with bandaged hands. He is already on the edge of falling out of favor; his visit to the Wens and Wei Wuxian did not bode well with his family despite his brother’s initial approval.
“Explain yourself!” his granduncle demands as soon as he settles down on his mat.
Lan Wangji bows deeply, hands together. “This one apologizes for being late,” he says as earnestly as he can, ignoring the lead weight upon his tongue. He did not want to attend at all. Alas. “I fell...upon ice.” It’s a rather pathetic excuse, but it’s the best one he can think of at the moment.
His granduncle gives him a skeptical glare, his lips taut with displeasure. “And you injured both of your hands?”
“From trying to grip onto the steps as I fell,” Lan Wangji smoothly replies, sitting upright with a carefully blank expression.
After he had calmed down, he had realized that he too had acted so foolishly, letting his anger consume him rather than let his sense take the reigns. Shame finally sunk into him, picking up each broken chunk of rock piece by piece, letting the sharpest of them dig into his hands as he cleared the floor, the events of Baifeng Mountain and this morning replaying in his head like a torturous cycle as he cleared the debris.
He could have easily healed such injuries, but somehow, the pain grounded him at that moment.
His granduncle doesn’t seem too convinced, and he replies with something that catches him completely off guard. “You have not been regulating yourself.” his granduncle says, reaching across to suddenly grasp his wrist. Lan Wangji barely manages to control the urge to flinch away. “There is something amiss with your spiritual energy.” He lets go of his wrist, and Lan Wangji tucks his hand back into the safety of his sleeves. “Restless is a better word for it.” He looks at him, disappointed. “The lack of propriety is concerning.”
“When was your last rut?”
Lan Wangji feels his whole being burn with shame, the pinpricks of what little dignity he had left turning into iron icicles digging into his side. “Before the campaign,” he answers, almost through gritted teeth if not for the fact that the mere action would lead to punishment afterward. Such matters are and should be discussed behind closed doors, and it is usually his uncle or his brother that asks such delicate questions. But they’re not here, so he is at the mercy of his older, and less understanding relatives. The Lan family is not warm, but the cold and monumental Elders that face him rival the fiercest of winters. Harsh. “I would know if it is approaching.” He continues, staring stubbornly at the mountains in the distance, aggressively pushing out the memories of this morning. “Seldom do I have them.”
His granduncle gives him one, long critical look. “Go to the healers. Seek their counsel about your spiritual energy.” He turns away from him. “And in penance for your tardiness, climb the summit of this peak and meditate there until dusk. I will do your duties for you. Take this day to reflect.”
“Understood.” Lan Wangji bows, hiding his expression.
He wonders if Wei Wuxian has left. Lan Wangji would not hold him against him. His actions were inexcusable. He shouldn’t have left him like that. He shouldn’t have fought him or hurt him at all, he thinks, guilt sinking in. He shouldn’t have let his feelings overwhelm him like so.
“Moving on,” his granduncle continues, bringing him back to reality. “There has been alarming news from Lanling Jin.”
Lan Wangji keeps very, very still after he sits up, knowing what is coming next.
“The Wens have disappeared from Yiling. Wei Wuxian included.”
Outraged whispers and murmurs fill the hall.
His granduncle bangs his staff to the floor to call for silence, but it’s not working. Some are starting to get overly hysterical.
“How could such a thing happen?” snaps one elder. “What of the guards posted on the borders of the Burial Mounds? Even our own men are there.” Shouting is not a done thing in their clan, but this particular elder looks close to doing so. “Surely Wei Wuxian’s heretic cultivation cannot make fifty men, women and children disappear into thin air.”
“That young man should have been suppressed the moment he had left with them!” declares another elder, adding to the simmering, hot anger building underneath his skin with every ridiculous insinuation. “Such an escape should have been impossible.”
“Perhaps they are seeking allies beyond our borders, planning for retaliation!”
“Retaliation?” Lan Wangji repeats, unable to keep silent anymore. His fellow clansmen turn to him, a few with shocked expressions, a few with eyebrows raised. “The surviving Wen clan members are innocent people.” He thinks of Granny Wen. The Wen Siblings. A-Yuan. Uncle Four. All the pale, starving refugees at Yiling. “They did no wrong. They are the ones who were wronged. They are victims of their family name. Of their blood―”
“Wangji.” His granduncle snaps.“It would be wise to ponder your next words very carefully.”
He doesn't snap or answer back, but he's close to doing so.
Lan Wangji turns his head, clenching his jaw. Saying sorry would only mean he spoke such things out of anger. Every word is honest and true.
Something in his granduncle’s expression shifts as if...sympathetic almost, but it’s gone before Lan Wangji can fully confirm. Meanwhile, the elders are looking horrified, and the hall is filled with ridiculous, outrageous misconceptions such as perhaps his visit to Yiling the month prior had cursed him, or that Wei Wuxian and the Wens have brainwashed him to believe that they have done no wrong.
Everyone has been blinded by their hurt, their losses from the campaign, but he knows this is not the case with his clan.
With Gusu Lan barely managing to rise from the damages of the war financially and physically, they must be compliant with the Jin sect, and Jin Guangshan’s rhetoric as a… strong leader has gotten most of the clans, even the minor ones, firmly in his grasp. They can’t afford to lose favor.
“Enough!” His granduncle bellows, and seldom does he lose his temper like this.
The hall immediately falls silent.
“Men are heading for the mountains as we speak,” he continues, much calmer. “Our delegation is yet to return from Lanling, and we have been given strict instructions not to do anything. Until then―” He scowls, and a few of their relatives have the good grace to look at least embarrassed. “―we mustn’t create wild assumptions until we know what is going on.”
Lan Wangji doesn’t say a word, but he is sure his expression conveys his sentiment. It certainly garners a reaction from his granduncle, who looks away from him not a second later, a terse expression crossing his face.
“I declare this meeting finished,” his granduncle announces. “That is all.” Lan Wangji moves to stand with the rest of the elders, but his granduncle sends him a sharp look. “You, sit down.”
Strange, suspicious looks are sent their way, but his granduncle ignores them. Lan Wangji hesitantly sits back down, wondering what more is there to discuss.
As soon as the last elder is out of the door, his granduncle speaks.
“I know you care for him.”
Lan Wangji suddenly feels as if he’s been submerged in ice. “Shufu―” he scrambles through his thoughts, scrambles to find a way to explain himself. To lie.
Nothing surfaces. He turns to his granduncle expecting to see a scornful look on his face.
Instead, there is sympathy. Traces of regret in his wizened eyes.
“At first,” his granduncle continues. “I blamed it upon the naivety of youth. When we had spoken that day, I had asked you why you had sent disciples to Meishan and Yunmeng despite knowing the potential repercussions. I had opted for peace, you called for war, and rightfully so, so I had thought nothing of the action.”
“But then I saw it. During the campaign. Noted how you interacted with the boy.”
Lan Wangji inhales a sharp breath.
“Where others feared him, you reprimanded him to his face. Argued. Where others have cast him out, you stand by his side.” He looks at him, sad. “Your feelings go beyond friendship, don’t they?”
Lan Wangji looks to the side. “Must I tell you?” he eventually replies. “When you already know the answer?”
His granduncle’s expression turns grim. “No one loves as fiercely as we do. It is our curse. For it seems when we give away our hearts, we also give up most parts of our rationality. Our sensibilities become fickle.”
“Wangji,” he continues, his voice taking a sharper edge. It’s cautious. Warning. “There is a reason why Qiren kept you sheltered, taught you and your brother our values to the strictest degree. Look at the price your― ”
His shoulders tense. “Don’t,” pleads Lan Wangji quietly. “I am not like him.”
“No, you’re not. I am just warning you,” says his grandfather, his expression softer, and Lan Wangji has never felt so small. “That your heartbreak will be unrecoverable.”
It begins to snow.
The sun had set long ago, the last tendrils of light swallowed by the climbing stars. Although this was a punishment, reflecting had calmed him somewhat, but the worry stayed heavy in the back of his mind, lingering like dark clouds at times when he tried to think with clarity. He didn’t go to the healers, afraid of what they might tell him.
Despite the...incident earlier, he is stubbornly confident that he will not enter into an unexpected rut.
Lan Wangji uncrosses his legs and stands, extinguishing the candle clock embedded in the rock with a small burst of spiritual energy.
He wastes no time hurrying down the peak, anxiety gnawing at him as he gets closer and closer to the jingshi. Please be here, please. He restrains a frustrated frown, seeing no light coming from the building as he looks over the hill. He takes two steps at a time as soon as he reaches the steps, raising a hand to knock upon the door.
He stops, his fist hovering above the wood.
Quietly, he calls out. “Wei Ying?”
He’s about to burst into his quarters when the doors slide open.
His breath catches in his throat.
Wei Wuxian wearing his robes. His hair is a little damp too, as if he’s taken a bath.
(It takes all strength not to stumble too at the undertone of smoke and cinnamon lingering underneath his own scent of sandalwood that drifts out into the cold air. It’s as if Wei Wuxian has purposely scented the jingshi and his clothes.
Another alpha’s scent shouldn’t be appealing to him, but it is. It is).
Something twists inside his chest. The sight is...soft.
His hands twitch as if longing to reach for a brush to paint into words the dark beauty he sees, but then he remembers their fight this morning, and all unpleasant feelings promptly return, forming a lump in his throat.
Wei Wuxian silently steps to the side.
Lan Wangji walks in. He hears the door being slid shut behind him. He hears the click and clack of a lantern being hung upon the doorframe.
“Uh,” says Wei Wuxian. “Please can you light it?”
Lan Wangji turns and flicks his wrist, kindling a flame with his spiritual energy.
He looks back down to Wei Wuxian, who has got a pensive look on his face, his eyes downcast.
Lan Wangji wants to apologize.
He wants to say something but anxiety keeps his lips firm and sealed, not wanting to mess up again or to hurt anyone.
As if Wei Wuxian knows his thoughts, he speaks, breaking through the silence. “I’m sorry,” he whispers tiredly, looking up.
Lan Wangji stiffens, surprised.
“I understand,” he continues, voice louder and firm. “If you have told the other clans about my surrender, have already sent word to Lanling Jin.”
Lan Wangji’s face twists. I never asked you to surrender to me. That is not what I meant. “I have not told anybody.”
Wei Wuxian turns to him, eyes wide, mouth parted in surprise, but his expression quickly recovers, shifting back into a defensive gaze.
“Why not?” Wei Wuxian says after a momentous pause, challenging him. No one is merciful without a price, he sees in his eyes.
Lan Wangji knows it would only insult him if he said it’s because he needs saving rather than punishment.
“I,” he begins and then stops. Words have only caused enmity between them both, actions perhaps more so. His eyes slide shut as he wills himself to feel instead of just thinking.
“Well?” Wei Wuxian says sharply. Lan Wangji, despite the harsh tone, can just tell he’s getting anxious by the lack of an answer.
“You,” Lan Wangji says, opening his eyes. “You are not my prisoner. You shall not die by my hand either.”
“You are not going to die by anybody’s hand.”
Wei Wuxian stares at him, expression carefully blank. “You won’t turn me in either.”
“I will not.” His brother and uncle are yet to return for another week. That’s more than enough time to decide what to do until then. “You may stay with me,” and this time, there is no battlefield, the heat of a battle, or lack of words to make them both misunderstand, to turn away from each other once again.
“What if somebody finds out?”
Lan Wangji will not lie. “We shall cross that bridge when we get there, but for now,” he walks across, one step closer to grasp his hand earnestly even if his own heart is beating wildly at such a small action. Speak, speak it out.
A quiet, soft exhale.
“Will you find solace in my care?”
Wei Wuxian’s eyes widen.
“Lan Zhan.” He says after what feels like an eternal pause. “You can’t...you’re not allowed to promise me such things.”
Lan Wangji knows he can’t. Still. “I’m not promising anything,” he says, very matter-of-factly. “I’m asking you to trust me.” Not breaking his gaze, he assures him. “When you gain your strength, you may leave if you wish.” His next words are a little harder to get out. “I will...also help you escape.”
A strange expression crosses Wei Wuxian’s face, but it’s gone before Lan Wangji can fully decipher it. Wei Wuxian’s eyes flutter shut, the long sweep of his dark lashes so stark against his pale skin, frightfully pronounced by the dark room. “Fine,” he relents, but for once, it’s not spoken harshly. It’s tentative but...there is trust present.
That’s all Lan Wangji needs, and he hopes that Wei Wuxian will keep that small trust. It’s a step, an improvement from the wide, dark chasm that has always seemed to be there between them.
Tentatively, Lan Wangji lets go of his hand.
This is enough.
Lan Wangji calls for supper via a letter talisman.
He lights a few candles, bathing the room in a warm intimate glow.
He would go to the kitchens himself, but he doesn’t want to arouse suspicions by carrying more than a few dishes than normal to his quarters. He’ll find a way sooner or later to snuggle meals from the town into the jingshi for Wei Wuxian. He is aware that their cuisine is...bland for non-clan members.
The non-clan member in question is resting his head against his bed, kneeling on the floor as he tries not to fall asleep. It’s a...adorable sight.
“You must be tired,” Lan Wangji says, furiously breaking out of whatever that was. “You must rest after you eat.”
Wei Wuxian huffs. “Such a worrywart,” he teases, looking back at him with a small smile. Better, thinks Lan Wangji, hiding the own smile that comes to his face. “You didn’t give me breakfast as you promised.”
His smile promptly drops, guilt trampling it away. “I’m sorry.”
Wei Wuxian waves him off. “It’s okay it’s...not as if I was any kinder to you.”
Lan Wangji frowns, opening his mouth to reason with him, but Wei Wuxian holds up his hand and closes it, shutting him up. “I don’t think I could have stomached it either,” he says softly. “I just had tea.” He gestures to the empty cup and teapot by the desk, and then to the still smoldering tea stove by the window. “I took it from your cupboards.” He huffs, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. “Sorry.”
“You...don’t need to apologize.” Lan Wangji murmurs, feeling his ears unexpectedly heat. “Take what you need.”
A mischievous grin curls Wei Wuxian’s lips. “Anything?” he says with a playful lilt.
“Anything.” Lan Wangji answers in return, earnest.
Wei Wuxian’s grin falters, an embarrassed expression crossing his face. He laughs, sheepish. “You’re too kind. Anyone could take advantage of you if you’re like that.”
I’m only like this for you. “Mn.”
Three, sharp knocks ring through the jingshi, breaking that little bubble of warmth. Lan Wangji’s eyes widen a fraction before he brings a single finger to his lips as he stands.
Wei Wuxian silently moves to hide―
Lan Wangji scowls. “You cannot hide underneath the bed,” he whispers in slight exasperation. Wei Wuxian rolls his eyes and mimics his disapproving frown, effortlessly moving to stand onto his toes instead to sneak into the...cupboards, burying himself between his white inner robes. Another sharp knock sounds through the door, impatient, and out of slight panic, Lan Wangji underestimates the force behind the flick of his wrist, and a sharp gust of wind slams the door in Wei Wuxian’s face.
He hears an angry muffle, and he throws in the silencing spell for good measure.
Lan Wangji briskly walks to his door, opening it with the most normal expression he can manage.
“Thank you,” he says, taking the tray from the attendant before he can get in another word.
Lan Wangji inclines his head. “That will be all,” he says shortly and closes the door with his elbow. He doesn’t slam it, but the pointed thump should hopefully get the point across.
He hears the attendant grumble underneath his breath before stalking off.
“That was a bit rude.”
Lan Wangji doesn’t jump, but the tray almost crashes to the ground. Wei Wuxian dives and catches the tray with a smile. “I know,” says Lan Wangji, a tad guilty. “But he would have entered.”
“No,” Wei Wuxian tuts his tongue. “The silencing spell,” he jokingly cries. “Was that really necessary?”
No. “Yes,” says Lan Wangji, lips twitching when Wei Wuxian replies with an indignant cry. “It was needed.”
Wei Wuxian pulls a funny face. “And you’re making me eat this,” he grumbles, glaring at the plain white congee. Lan Wangji shoots him a firm look. “I know. I need to eat.”
“I will get you something more to your...tastes tomorrow.” Lan Wangji says as Wei Wuxian turns around.
“I’ll hold you to that,” Wei Wuxian says softly, earnest rather than amused, a completely different reaction than expected.
Lan Wangji smiles, even though Wei Wuxian can’t see it.
Wei Wuxian turns his head, nodding towards his desk. “Is it okay if I eat here?” Lan Wangji hums in affirmation and moves to join him by sitting at the other side as he settles down. With a quick of a wrist, he ignites his tea burner, reaching over to place the clay teapot over the stove. He also gathers a few leaves from the small clay pot beside his ink brushes and scoops a generous amount inside the teapot.
When he settles back down, he sees Wei Wuxian grimace as he swallows the first mouthful of congee. Lan Wangji gives him a disapproving look. “It’s so bitter,” he complains, poking at the food. “How do you stomach this?”
“Serves you right,” Lan Wangji replies, “For the long-stemmed loquats.”
Wei Wuxian’s mouth parts in surprise. “You actually listened to me?” He huffs out, looking delighted. “Silly Lan Zhan.”
Lan Wangji sighs. “Eat.” When Wei Wuxian is about to speak again, he adds: “Quietly.”
Wei Wuxian narrows his eyes, but heeds his order regardless, ungracefully shoving the congee in his mouth just to spite him. Lan Wangji turns a blind eye to the gagging noises and the displeased expressions, busying himself instead by reaching over to pick up the poetry book, opening to find the last page he read from.
His eyebrow twitches when he spots a few folded corners. He hears Wei Wuxian chuckle, but he decides not to dignify him with a response.
Rather, he tries to, but a question springs to mind.
“How did you get into the compound without a token?”
“I thought it was forbidden to speak during meals.”
Lan Wangji glares at him.
Wei Wuxian puts down his chopsticks and gives a light laugh.
“To say Gusu Lan Shi is an esteemed cultivation sect,” he begins with a small, cheeky smile. Lan Wangji feels immense joy at the sight of it. “You’re not very thorough with checking that all your barriers are secure.” He leans in and whispers, “I snuck in through the back.”
“The back?” His brows furrow.
Wei Wuxian sniggers. “Nie-xiong and I well, rather, Nie-xiong accidentally broke one of your barriers.”
Lan Wangji gives him an unimpressed look. “He must pay to have it replaced.”
Wei Wuxian snorts. “It’s okay,” he waves his hand dismissively. “Nothing unpleasant can get through. I made sure of that.”
“Yet you’re here.”
“Lan Zhan,” he gasps, shocked. He lets out a disbelieving laugh. “Did you just―” he cuts off with a loud “hah!”
Lan Wangji barely controls the urge to smile. His lips twitch. “Maybe,” he says. Putting his book down, he pushes Wei Wuxian’s bowl closer to him. “Eat now.”
Wei Wuxian shakes his head. “Gods,” he smiles. “You’re so funny, Lan Zhan.”
His eyes widen. Funny? No one has ever told him that before.
“Wei Ying is...funnier,” he murmurs.
“No, no.” Wei Wuxian disagrees. “You are.” His smile sobers a little. “I wish it could be like this all the time.”
Lan Wangji feels his heart jump. Me too, he wants to say, but all he can get out is a small, “Mn.”
“This is...this temporary.” Wei Wuxian says, and Lan Wangji ignores the way the reminder hurts. “Where I go next, I don’t know. All I have known is this world.”
“I miss them so much,” Wei Wuxian’s eyes close. “Shijie. Jiang Cheng. Lotus Pier. I do not regret my sacrifices, and yet, I want to say sorry.” His voice drops to a low whisper. “Yet in that respect, no one has ever said sorry to me for the way I have become.”
“Even you loathed me for a while.”
Lan Wangji’s face twists. “Wei Ying. Listen to me.”
His eyes are a little wet, he notes as Wei Wuxian looks up. His gaze is heavy. Waiting almost.
Lan Wangji makes sure not to break eye contact.
If he cannot communicate with his words, he is sure his expression will certainly amplify how he feels.
“At heart,” Lan Wangji begins, moving his hand to his chest, right over where the Wen brand has scarred his skin. “You are good.” It feels strange, to finally express his thoughts after chasing them away for so long. “Keep that goodness in your thoughts, so you do not stray too far.”
“War forced us to do the worst of things, and one can only look back and regret.”
“I will not lie and say that your methods were right and just despite your intentions but...someday, time will help you forgive. To heal,” Lan Wangji continues, courage surging up in him like never before. “Most of all, I never,” he abruptly cuts off, hesitant.
It isn’t until he gathers his thoughts that he finally notices that Wei Wuxian is suddenly closer, so close that their lips are a breadth away from each other.
“You never?” Wei Wuxian says quietly, almost pleading him to finish his words.
Lan Wangji swallows back all his inhibitions.
He too, quietly whispers, before he regrets.
“I never hated you.”
Wei Wuxian chokes on his breath, something wild and pained flashing through his eyes. His lips tremble, a sharp, euphoric noise tumbling out of his throat, hands scrambling to grip the collar of his robes. Lan Wangji braces himself, ready for barbed words in reply―
“May I,” Wei Wuxian whispers. “May I kiss you?”
Lan Wangji feels his heart skip a beat. Did I hear him right?
Wei Wuxian laughs, gentle and true. He had said it out loud, he realizes with an embarrassed frown.“Yes,” he laughs, slightly teasing. “Yes, you did hear me right.”
Lan Wangji doesn’t know how to reply to that.
Instead, he leans forward to capture his lips in a sweet, soft hesitant kiss.
He breaks away quickly. Wei Wuxian’s eyes are wide, shocked. Surprised? As if it wasn’t him who didn’t ask if he could kiss him.
Lan Wangji feels something like doubt begin to creep in, wondering if that was the right thing to do at all, moving to pull away, but Wei Wuxian quickly snaps out of whatever he was thinking and surges forward to, well, knock their lips together.
Lan Wangji immediately wraps his arms around him, bringing him closer and closer.
Lan Wangji is unsure how long they have stayed like this, locked in an embrace.
When his lungs begin to burn a little, he slows his kisses to soft touches.
Wei Wuxian lets out a sharp inhale when they briefly break apart. “I have a question,” he whispers, leaning forward to brush soft arcs against Lan Wangji’s cheeks.
“It was you, wasn’t it? At Baifeng,” he says with a slow, teasing smile.
Lan Wangji stiffens underneath his touch, shame extinguishing all warmth from his body. “Oh, don’t look like that. I don’t mind.” Wei Wuxian nudges his nose against his chin. “In fact, I’m glad it was you, and not some random maiden. That was my first kiss.”
Lan Wangji’s eyes widen, happy and confused all at once. “But you said―”
“I say a lot of ridiculous things. You should know by now.” Wei Wuxian lowers his head with a soft snort. “The great Yiling Patriarch has never been touched so intimately. The tales of him bedding many women have served only to wound his pride.”
“Ridiculous,” Lan Wangji replies with a soft laugh of his own, and he feels Wei Wuxian startle against him. “Wei Ying?”
“You-!” Wei Wuxian sputters. “You laughed.”
Lan Wangji frowns, but mirth still shines bright in his eyes. “I am capable of laughter.”
Wei Wuxian’s eyes flutter close. “Do it again.”
Lan Wangji buries his face into his neck, hiding his smile. Wei Wuxian may or may not feel it against his skin.
When his nose brushes past his scent gland, however, something unexpected snaps in his body.
He feels his blood heat, eyes widening as his senses sharpen to an almost painful degree.
When Wei Wuxian hisses when he digs his fingers into his waist, he snaps out of it.
He scrambles back, hastily untangling himself from Wei Wuxian’s embrace.
“Lan Zhan?” Wei Wuxian frowns, reaching for him. Lan Wangji curls back. “What’s wrong― oh.” His eyes widen. “Lan Zhan.”
“Wei Ying,” he says, warning, standing up to step into his bedroom, almost knocking over a vase as he stumbles backward.
When he moves to steady himself, a stab of heat hits him low in the gut, and that’s when he knows. “Don’t― don’t come near me.”
A strange expression crosses Wei Wuxian’s face. “Lan Zhan,” he says slowly. “It’s okay.” He stands up. “Let me help you.”
Lan Wangji grits his teeth, vehemently shaking his head as he tears his gaze away from Wei Wuxian. “I can suppress this, I just need to―” his hands curl into fists, nails biting into his skin to ground the urge to lunge for Wei Wuxian. He feels sweat begin to bead at his forehead, sticky underneath his ribbon. “I must meditate.”
Wei Wuxian scowls. “You mustn’t suppress your rut,” he says, firm. “The consequences are―”
“I know.” Lan Wangju interrupts with a sharp exhale, moving to slide the doors closed, but Wei Wuxian wedges his foot against the door. “Wei Ying!”
“You will risk qi deviation!”
Lan Wangji snaps. “I do not care. I’d rather suffer than―”
“Than what?” Wei Wuxian interrupts harshly. “Bed me?”
He freezes, grip faltering on the door.
Wei Wuxian pushes the divider back, sending it slamming against the wall.
“So what the hell did we just do?” he snarls, eyes flaring red. Lan Wangji flinches. “Was that nothing to you?”
“It was everything,” Lan Wangji shouts over the chaos in his head, beating a fist to his chest. “It was everything to me, and yet I am afraid of―” my desires, taking it beyond what I can have, he wants to say, but the words stay lodged in his throat like an ugly lump.
His face twists. “I will not be able to control myself.”
Wei Wuxian lets out a frustrated shout. “Gods. Lan Wangji, I am not made of porcelain!” He snarls and grabs him by the collar, bringing their faces close together.
“Fuck your control,” he demands. “Take me.”
He should be repulsed by the command of another alpha.
Instead, something hot, possessive, shoves his rationality aside and takes the reigns.
Lan Wangji snarls and slams him up against the wall.
He pushes the hard shape of his cock against his thigh. “Say no,” he whispers harshly. “Say no, and I will stop.”
“Yes,” Wei Wuxian throws back at him. “Yes, yes, yes―”
He surges forward to capture his mouth in a searing kiss.
It’s ungraceful, harsh, it’s far from the gentle one they had first shared. Things may seem sharper, more heightened, because of his rut, but beyond the fog of his heat, there is nothing but true sincerity in his feelings.
Wei Wuxian lets out a groan as soon as they break apart, both of them gasping for breath. Their noses still touch, lips barely an inch apart. “Lan Zhan,” he whispers, reaching to cradle his face. “Are you still with me?"
“I’m still here,” he answers.“Always.”
From the wall to the bed, it’s a blur.
Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian desperately tug at each other’s robes, scattering them across the floor, lips barely never leaving each other. They tumble onto the bed ungracefully, hands dancing across scarred skin and eventually meeting in the middle to entwine together.
“Mine,” Lan Wangji whispers when they do break apart for breath. “Mine, mine, mine,” he whispers like a starved man. He works his lips down his neck, sucking and leaving particularly bruising marks on the pale skin like violent artwork. When he strays closer to his scent gland, the catalyst, he inhales a deep breath, breathing in the smoke like scent.
He’s conscious enough not to bite down, and so he pulls away before he can even think about grazing his teeth against the skin, the temptation too much. This is temporary, he reminds himself through the daze, a needed, painful reminder.
He shifts his focus to his scars instead, tracing the ridges and lines with his tongue. Just beside his Wen brand burn, there is a pale white line across his chest. Where his core is supposed to be. He pays particular attention to that scar, his harsh kisses turning soft as he traces the line with his lips.
Wei Wuxian squirms underneath his grip.
Wei Wuxian bucks up when he begins to descend down his body, kissing each rib, each fine line of muscle as he works his way down. “Lan Zhan!” He lifts his hands to tangle his fingers in his hair, painfully tugging at the strands. “I need to take off my―”
Lan Wangji lifts up to tug at his pants, fingers scrambling to pull at the hem.
“Wait,” Wei Wuxian gasps out. “Let me take them off properly―”
Lan Wangji rips them off, throwing the ruined fabric away from the bed.
Wei Wuxian lets out a punched out-breath, the obscene sound of his cock slapping his stomach echoing throughout the room. “Lan Zhan!”
Pushing his thighs apart, Lan Wangji surges down to nose at his cock, inhaling the thick, musky scent. He presses kisses against the hot flesh, tracing along the veins with his tongue, working his way down until he reaches where his knot will be, mouthing at the skin there, the salty, slightly bitter taste like nectar against his tongue.
His hands come to rest against his inner thighs, squeezing the muscled flesh with a bruising grip as he feasts, eventually easing his cock into his mouth.
Wei Wuxian keens in shock.
Lan Wangji wants more of that. He wants more of those noises.
He listens to each breath, each noise that falls from his lips, and whatever draws out the most sound, he repeats that action over and over again until Wei Wuxian is shaking, crying, back arching as he comes down his throat, and gladly does he swallow every drop.
He’s still a little more than aware enough to pull back a little as to not choke on his knot. He opens his eyes, curious to see its swell at the base of his cock.
Wei Wuxian swears, letting go to cover his face in his hands. “Don’t stare at it like that,” he whines, nudging him with his knee.
Lan Wangji pulls his mouth away from his cock, rubbing at his slightly tender jaw. “Every part of Wei Ying is beautiful,” he says earnestly despite his own hoarse voice.
Wei Wuxian flushes deeply. “Focus on yourself!” he protests half-heartedly. Lan Wangji nods and heeds his order, resting his head against his thigh.
He’s close, so close, despite the fact that he hasn’t even touched himself at all yet. He feels tension unlike never before, coiled and wound up so tightly in his gut. His knot begins to swell as he begins to grind against his bed, the friction helped by the copious amount of precome spilling from his tip.
He lets out a strangled gasp, one hand slipping down to roughly fist his own length, turning his head to lay kisses upon the skin of Wei Wuxian’s thighs as he chases after his own release.
“That’s it, that’s it,” he distantly hears Wei Wuxian encourage. He feels him sit up to touch his hair once more with soft, smoothing caresses, that’s all it takes for him to release, mouth opening in a silent scream as he comes hard.
For a brief moment, everything is white when he closes his eyes, a blinding white, every nerve, every fiber in his body singing in high pleasure, heart beating wildly as he slips into the waking world once more.
He knows it’s not over yet. Although he’s never actually gone through with any of his ruts before, he’s theoretically aware that it will hit him in stages, and that it won’t crest over until he is truly sated.
His own knot feels like a dull, background throb, yet heavy. Curious, he’s about to reach down to touch it, but something warm blocks his way.
He opens his eyes and sees that Wei Wuxian has turned him over onto his back. He’s straddling him, resting upon his thighs.
In the low candlelight of the jingshi, it paints his pale skin in a warm glow. Beautiful.
“You’ve...you’ve never given yourself any relief before during your ruts, have you?” Wei Wuxian says softly, pushing the sweaty strands from his face.
When he moves to take his forehead ribbon off, Lan Wangji lets him, and he distantly wonders if Wei Wuxian knows what he’s just done, watching him with his heart tight in his chest as he folds the ribbon gently to hang it over his bed.
The symbolic movement. What it means to him. Surely he must know. The arrogance in their youth can be excused, but now…
He shakes his head. To Wei Wuxian’s question, or to clear his thoughts, he doesn’t know.
“No,” he says quietly. “We are...forbidden to pleasure ourselves if we are unwed.” His eyes shutter, remembering the particularly painful nights. Alone. “We meditate. Seclude ourselves during our heats.”
Wei Wuxian’s eyes widen. “That’s why you said earlier that you will just meditate…” he says, more to himself than to Lan Wangji. “That’s...that’s dangerous.”
Lan Wangji nods. “It is,” he agrees. “But we developed a way to stave the risk of qi deviation. It is...unpleasant.”
Wei Wuxian’s gaze softens. “How long does it usually last?”
“I do not know,” he admits. “Seldom do I have...this, and when I do, I do not keep track of the time, for each time is different”
“I see,” Wei Wuxian says quietly, reaching down to press a tender kiss to his forehead. Something inside Lan Wangji’s chest aches at the small action, and without thinking about it, he wraps his arms around Wei Wuxian, pulling him close, uncaring of the sweat and mess on their skin.
Your heartbreak will be unrecoverable.
If he can’t have forever with him, well.
This will have to be enough.
I would gladly break my heart for you.
He doesn’t realize that he had fallen asleep until jolts awake with a gasp, heat punching at his gut once again. He grits his teeth, pushing the sheets off his skin, but even the winter air cannot cool his skin.
It’s worse than the first wave, and his body sings with the urge to take, take, take―
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” says a calm voice, hands coming to cradle his face. “I’m here.” He looks up and sees Wei Wuxian, perched on the side of the bed. The candles have long extinguished, but there is enough moonlight to highlight his face, half painting it in shadow, half painting it in light.
Relief floods through him, but it does little to stave the inferno.
“It hurts,” he whispers, leaning into the touch.
“I know,” Wei Wuxian murmurs against his temple. “Do you need water or anything?”
Lan Wangji shakes his head. “No,” he whispers. “I need you.”
Slowly pulls him back onto the bed as he captures his lips in a desperate kiss. Wei Wuxian melts into his embrace as he pulls him on top, wrapping his arms around his lithe waist. His river-like, ink hair falls around them like a curtain, safe and warm, as he moves to cradle his face to deepen the kiss.
“Let me touch you this time,” Wei Wuxian gets in between a kiss. Lan Wangji moves to complain, but Wei Wuxian has already pushed a hand between their bodies, fingers wrapping delicately around his tip, rubbing it between his fingers, toying with the pearly drops of precum.
“Feels good, right?” Wei Wuxian whispers, his own cheeks heavily flushed.
Lan Wangji nods, lazily thrusting into the touch, unable to express how it feels. The movement is so little but it’s so intense. It’s everything and nothing all at once.
He watches with hazy eyes as Wei Wuxian reaches for something next to him with his free hand, bringing up a familiar-looking bottle to his mouth. He brings the cork to his lips and pulls it out with his teeth, spitting it out to the side, and the smell of sandalwood fills the air.
That’s my hair oil, he remembers distantly, touching a little on the side of hysterical. How is he supposed to use that again without remembering this moment?
“I’ve already prepared myself.”
Lan Wangji’s eyes widen, all his thoughts crashing with a screeching halt. His thrusts falter. “Oh,” he says, throat suddenly dry. Something irrationally jealous flares up in him, slightly indignant that he didn’t get to do it himself. Touch starved. “You―”
Wei Wuxian nods, completely oblivious. “I’m the same as you, you know I can’t…” he awkwardly makes a gesture with the hand holding the bottle, and some of the liquid spills over the rim. “―self produce slick, and this is all I could find.”
Lan Wangji exhales a long, slow breath. “Okay,” he says, hands sliding to his sides, fingers gripping his waist.
“I think this will be easier for me, this uh, I think, therefore...yes, I think this p-position since you’re so―” Wei Wuxian coughs, cheeks flushed. “―gifted.”
Lan Wangji has no idea what he means, but he nods his head regardless. Wei Wuxian slowly pushes him back down on the bed, flat on his back. He watches in rapt attention as the bottle tips, the amber liquid spilling onto Wei Wuxian’s palm. His other hand continues to fondle his cock. Lan Wangji doesn’t actually know where to focus anymore.
Wei Wuxian lets out a shaky breath. “Okay,” he whispers, more to himself rather than at Lan Wangji. “Okay, here we go.”
Switching his hands, Lan Wangji hisses as the oil slick hand wraps around his length. It feels like ice against the hard, hot skin. He barely hears the mumbled apology Wei Wuxian gives for not warming it up enough, but he doesn’t mind.
After a few more seconds of this, Lan Wangji begins to grow impatient, the heat an uncomfortable itch underneath his skin. He digs his fingers into his waist, artful dips against his pale skin. “Wei Ying,” he groans.
Wei Wuxian bites his lip, letting go of his cock to reach above him to place the bottle upon the wooden railings of his bed. Lan Wangji takes advantage of this and tilts his head to lick and suck at one dusty nipple, pulling and teasing it between his teeth as if he’s drawing out milk, making Wei Wuxian groan and shudder above him.
Suddenly, in the most tender parts of his mind, and although it’s entirely impossible for them to mate like that, he imagines a quiet future, where they have children. There is no war lingering above their heads. Just them and their small family. Where it wouldn’t be such a bad place to love after all.
He yanks Wei Wuxian down, thrusting his cock against his back as the other man yelps in surprise. “Need you now,” he pleads against his neck, and he can’t tell if the intensity of his emotions is because of his rut, or his own will. It’s too much. “Please.”
Wei Wuxian nods furiously, pushing him down to lay back before sliding down to grip the base of his cock. Settling his thighs on the sides of his hips, he angles his length to his hole.
Eyes screwed tightly, he lets out a shaky breath as he slowly begins to sink down.
Lan Wangji bites his lip hard to the point of breaking skin, copper bursting in his mouth as he barely controls the urge to release right there and then as his tip brushes the oil slick rim. His hands search for something to hold onto like a grounding point, and he finds purchase on his hips, gripping the skin tightly to the point of possibly almost bruising.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian gasps out once he gets his cock halfway in. He clenches around his length, hot, warm, and tight. “Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan―”
Lan Wangji can’t wait anymore.
He thrusts up, burying himself to the hilt.
Wei Wuxian chokes, falling over on top of his chest. “Fuck,” he cries. “Feel so full, too much, too much, too much.”
Lan Wangji presses an apologetic kiss against his hair. “I’m sorry,” he whispers, letting him settle.
Wei Wuxian nods against his chest. “It’s okay,” he whispers. With shaky arms, he pushes himself up, bracketing his hands around his head. He’ll have more leverage like this, like that on his knees above him, Lan Wangji realizes. He can set the pace. Lan Wangji doesn’t trust himself to go slow. “I’m going to move now.”
Lan Wangji nods. As Wei Wuxian begins to roll his hips, Lan Wangji follows in rhythm, thrusting up as he slowly rolls back. It takes them a few moments to adjust, both of them keeping a close eye on each other's reactions.
When Lan Wangji angles his hip a little to get more comfortable, Wei Wuxian startles, eyes flying open as he lets out a loud cry of pleasure. “What?” Lan Wangji tenses. “Did I hurt you, what’s wrong―?”
Wei Wuxian furiously shakes his head. “N-no,” he gasps out. “It felt good.”
Furrowing his brows, he does it again, delighting in the little gasps that tumble from Wei Wuxian’s lips as he hones in on that spot, dragging out his pleasure with each thrust.
Lan Wangji’s eyes close. “Stay with me,” he whispers, tilting his head to capture his lips. “Stay with me.”
He feels Wei Wuxian nod before meeting him halfway, kissing him hard and slow all at once, fucking himself back on his cock with nice deep and shallow strokes.
Sooner than they know it, they’re already panting into each other's mouth, breathless and slick with sweat as they press their foreheads together.
When Wei Wuxian’s movements begin to grow sluggish as he loses himself, mouth going slack as he bounces on his cock. Lan Wangji plants his feet on the bed and bends his knees, pushing Wei Wuxian down as he thrusts up, rough enough to make Wei Wuxian scream. He keeps with this pace, pounding into him, thighs hitting the curves of his ass hard enough to surely bruise.
When Wei Wuxain begins to falter, he briefly pulls out to switch position. Spreading his thighs apart, hooking his legs on his elbows, he thrusts back in with ease, the slide helped by the mess of precum and oil. Lan Wangji watches, fascinated at the sight of his cock disappearing into his hole, something feral flaring up in him at the sight of it, relishing in the feel of trembling legs and arms. I did this, he thinks, something wild dancing underneath his skin as he watches his cock pathetically slaps against his stomach with each thrust. I’m doing this to him.
His own vision begins to swim, heady and high on lust as he hurtles towards the edge, and he’s jackhammering into him so hard the bed dangerously creaks beneath them, slamming into the wall with every hard thrust. Wei Wuxian has gone slack in his grip like a limp doll, filthy cries tearing out of his mouth at every turn.
When Wei Wuxian comes, he comes hard with a glorious scream, back arched beautifully again, his release splattering against his chin and chest.
Lan Wangji growls, pressing down as he finally follows him over the edge in two, three thrusts, letting out a guttural groan as he releases inside of him, feeling his knot swelling and stretching against the tight walls.
“Wei Ying,” he murmurs, again and again, pressing desperate kisses against the feverish skin of his cheeks as he rides out his orgasm. “Wei Ying.”
Too caught up in the earth-shattering pleasure, he doesn’t hear the small sob that falls from his lips, or the small sorry that Wei Wuxian mutters as he reaches up trembling hands to cradle his head.
He lowers his head just as Wei Wuxian looks at him.
If Lan Wangji was watching, he too would see the heartbreak in his eyes.
He takes Wei Wuxian on every horizontal, vertical surface available, wrecking the jingshi in their wake.
Against the bookshelf, the wall, his desk; everywhere. He loses count.
At one point, Wei Wuxian takes him in his mouth, and never will he forget the burning image of his lips stretched obscenely around his cock, tears tangled in his lashes as he tried to take him all the way in.
When he was about to release then too, he pulled Wei Wuxian off his length and took him on the floor, pinning his wrists with one hand as he wildly took his pleasure, a pale imitation of a spring dream he had when he was sixteen during their library days.
It lasts through the night. They do not take any form of reprieve.
When the dawn finally breaks through the bamboo blinds, painting the wrecked quarters in a muted, pink glow, does his rut quell, fatigue sinking heavy and fast into his bones. He finds enough strength to stand, to pick up Wei Wuxian off the floor, gently cradling him as he almost staggers to his bed.
Carefully, he places him down against the silk sheets, the morning light showing all the bruises from their coupling, so stark against the scars and lines of his skin.
Climbing in next to him, he presses a soft kiss against his lips, feeling his own eyes prickle and grow hot as they fill with tears. If I will have to wait for you, he promises, I will.
If you run. He curls up, burying his face in his neck as he wraps around his waist. Let me run with you.