It’s wet and cold, and because of that his bus runs five minutes late, and Wei Wuxian misses his connection. It’s not the end of the world really. It just means that he’ll have to walk eight and a half blocks to the doctor’s office in near-freezing rain, but he has a raincoat and an umbrella. He’ll make it work.
Half a block later a sudden gust of wind turns his umbrella inside-out and one of the ribs breaks clean in two. The umbrella proves useless after that, pouring water onto him as opposed to away from him, so Wei Wuxian shoves it under his armpit and keeps marching forward.
Three blocks into his walk, his raincoat is soaked through. Jiang Cheng was right, he probably should have gotten a raincoat that was water repellent, not just water-resistant. But the water repellent ones were almost twice the price of the others! It’s not Wei Wuxian’s fault he’s almost-broke at the best of times!
It’s only five more blocks; he can manage.
It’s not like he particularly wants to go to the doctor’s office, but at this point, it’s more a necessity and less a desire. He’s been putting this off for almost two years, and now that he’s a year and a half behind on his tetanus shot and check-up appointment is only too necessary. Jiang Cheng would murder him if he ditched another appointment – it’s not his fault he also hates the dentist, but really who likes those people anyway?
The longing to avoid another scolding and the freezing rain that pelts him from all angles keep him hurrying forward. At this point, he’s already at least ten minutes late to his appointment, but he thinks they’ll live. It’s the middle of the day and fucking freezing, it’s not likely that other people will be there. He’s moving so fast he almost misses the small bundle huddled against the stump of an old tree. The only reason he notices it at all is because it happens to move, ever so slightly, when he walks by.
Wei Wuxian stops, even as the rain continues to pour, and takes a few steps back until he’s beside the worn stump. There, nestled between two exposed roots, is a small bundle of fur, no larger than Wei Wuxian’s palm. He crouches down beside the animal. It stiffens slightly, raising its head, and one long ear flickers.
His heart catches in his chest because wow, okay so that’s adorable. And then he remembers the rain. Or he sees it really. A fat raindrop almost the size of the rabbit’s nose lands on the center of its head. The bunny shivers, its fur trying to puff up, but, like Wei Wuxian’s raincoat, it’s soaked through.
“Aiya, you’re going to freeze if you stay out here,” he mumbles, reaching out with a tentative hand.
The bunny shakes, but it’s honestly impossible to tell if it’s from fear or cold or some combination of the two. It doesn’t run, though. Probably because it’s so small and too cold. That, and it doesn’t have anywhere to go.
As Wei Wuxian takes the small animal in his hands – it is literally smaller than one of his palms – his eyes dart around, but this rabbit is the only rabbit in sight. Maybe that’s for the best. Still, a small thing, cold, alone, and without family tugs on something deep in the pit of his chest. The wound is old and long scarred over. He knows he’s not alone, not anymore, but the faded memory of different living rooms and empty words and emptier arms still haunts a corner in the back of his mind that he’ll never be able to fully clear out.
He wouldn’t wish the same on anyone or anything, even a bunny. Which is why, once he picks up the small animal, he shoves it under his jacket into the large pocket of his hoodie before he can even think about it.
It dawns on him a block later that he still has a doctor’s appointment to go to.
By the time he reaches the building and steps inside the waiting room, he’s dripping wet and shivering. The water on his eyelashes might have frozen slightly, he honestly can’t tell. Oh, and he’s twenty minutes late to his appointment. Good.
The receptionist is a slight woman with kind eyes and a kinder smile. She takes one look at Wei Wuxian and rises from her seat. “One moment, please,” she says in that nursing tone of ‘everything will be alright.’
Wei Wuxian nods and takes a step towards the plush chairs that rest along the side of the wall before realizing that he is basically a walking waterfall, and stops in the middle of the waiting room. He’d rather not get water everywhere, but as the seconds clip on, the puddle around his feet rapidly expands, threatening to turn into a lake. One hand rests on his belly where, under two layers of clothes, a little rabbit shivers.
The woman is back a moment later, towel in hand. Wordlessly, she hands it to him. Her smile remains bright, but Wei Wuxian doesn’t miss the amusement that crinkles the skin around her eyes. “Restrooms are through the door on the left,” she says with a nod, before vanishing from the waiting room, back through the steel gray door that leads to the rest of the office.
Wei Wuxian says his thanks quickly to her back, before darting off to where she indicated. Through the door is a small hallway lined with three rooms, all individual, all-gender stalls. He slips into the first one upon realizing it’s empty and immediately strips himself of his sopping raincoat and places a tentative hand into the pocket of his hoodie. The bunny doesn’t move, and Wei Wuxian’s heart plummets.
“Please don’t be dead. Please, please don’t be dead,” he whispers into the quiet of the stall. He barely knew what he was supposed to do with a live bunny, he really wasn’t prepared to deal with a dead one.
Thankfully, as though hearing his words, the rabbit shuffles against his hand, and through the pad of his finger he can just make out the slow pulse of a tiny heart. He breathes a sigh of relief and gets to work. The first thing he does is ease the shivering rabbit out of the pocket of his hood and dry it out. It’s clearly just cold at this point, any fear it once had seems to be gone, replaced by wide, black eyes that look as though they are trying to take in everything about the world.
“Bet you’ve never been in a bathroom before, have you?” Wei Wuxian giggles softly as he finishes wiping the rabbit down. With that done, the rabbit goes back into his pocket.
Next, he dries himself. He does this quickly, he’s already been in the stall for far too long, barely bothering to get the water off of himself. With one last look in the mirror, just to make sure he’s at least slightly presentable, he gives himself a nod and his hoodie pocket a soft pat.
“Another hour and then I’ll get you to a vet, I promise,” he whispers and then walks out the door and back into the office.
The waiting room is still empty when he returns. The receptionist looks up and offers him another smile, though her gaze lingers on his hair. Perhaps he wasn’t as put together as he would have hoped. She’s polite enough, at least, to hide her laughter behind her hand. “Wei Wuxian?” she asks, and he nods. “I already got you checked in.”
“Oh, thank you,” he replies. “And I’m sorry for being late, it's…” he glances out the one window along the far wall and gestures vaguely.
She nods with understanding. “It’s alright. We aren’t very busy today,” she mimics his gesture around the room, which earns her a chuckle and a relaxed smile. If everyone who works here is like her, Wei Wuxian finds he’s no longer concerned. “You can come on back with me,” she continues.
Wei Wuxian nods, holds his soaking raincoat a bit closer to his chest, and meets her at the gray door.
“I can take that for you and hang it up in the back,” she says, plucking the coat from his arms before he can protest. She steps back behind another door and for a moment, Wei Wuxian is alone in the odd stretch of hallway.
Like this, he’s just wearing the hoodie. His hands fall into the large, central pocket immediately, generally caressing the rabbit sleeping there. When the receptionist comes back, he sucks in a breath, but she doesn’t spare him a second look as she begins leading him down the hallway.
“Your initial appointment was with Lan Xichen,” she says as they walk smartly to the silver and black scale against the wall. She has him step onto it, back to the beam. After making a few adjustments she stands back and begins writing brisk notes across her notepad. “But, he is currently with another patient right now, so his younger brother, Lan Wangji will be looking after you today. If you’re not comfortable with that, I can have you wait, but I don’t know–”
“No, no, that’s fine,” Wei Wuxian says quickly. “I don’t want to hold you up anymore. Lan Wangji sounds lovely.” He means it too, mostly. It’s a pretty name, but honestly, the sooner he is out of here the sooner his new-found cargo can get a look at, and that’s all that matters.
The receptionist giggles at his comment, more for herself than for him. It’s like she’s in on some joke. But he doesn’t get the chance to ask her about it, before he’s led down the rest of the hallway, and left alone in a small room, the examination table pushed up against one wall, with two round-backed chairs along the other. In the corner sits a desk with an old desktop. Beside it is a counter and some drawers. A ton of diagrams pasted across the walls about preventing common colds, the benefits of vaccines, and, most embarrassingly, how to prevent STDs.
Wei Wuxian pulls his eyes away from the diagrams and plops himself on the examination table, kicking his legs up for a moment before it hits him. He is alone, in a doctor’s office, with a bunny just barely hidden from view. That’s probably, like, a huge health hazard. Right? What happens if he does get caught. Would they throw him out? Would they throw the bunny out? Well, if they tried to throw the bunny out they would end up throwing Wei Wuxian out because he’s known this rabbit for a whole half an hour but he already refuses to let anything happen to it. It’s quiet, and soft, and sweet, and oh so innocent. It deserves some shot at life, which is why Wei Wuxian needs to get it to a vet as soon as he can.
He’s half-heartedly looking up vets nearby and checking on prices for drop-in appointments – and crying because they’re expensive as fuck and like hell he has pet insurance – when there is a sharp knock on the door. Wei Wuxian jumps, and against his stomach, the bunny stirs slightly. He stills, breath caught in his throat.
“Come in,” he calls softly.
The door opens, and the most beautiful man Wei Wuxian has ever seen crosses the threshold. The man, who has to be Dr. Lan Wangji, is tall and broad in the best way. The full expanse of his shoulders is shown off beautifully in the cut of his pristine, white lab coat, and his long legs are cloaked in dark dress pants. He looks ridiculously put together like he could have come right off a television set or some shit. And his face… well it’s fucking perfect, all straight lines, and clear, jade-like skin. But as beautiful as he is, it’s his eyes that leave Wei Wuxian breathless. They’re clear amber, the color of honey, but there’s a sharpness, a seriousness in them.
“Wei Wuxian?” Lan Wangji asks, and Wei Wuxian has to suppress a shiver because no one should be allowed to say his name like that.
“You can call me Wei Ying,” he responds before he even thinks about it.
Lan Wangji nods at that and settles into the chair behind the desk. His elegant fingers fly across the keyboard briskly. “Welcome, it’s good to meet you.”
Wei Wuxian swallows dryly. “You too. I’m sorry for being late.”
“No worries,” Lan Wangji replies, eyes flickering between the notepad he’d set down and the computer screen, “I apologize that you cannot see my brother.”
“It’s more than okay,” Wei Wuxian says and leans back against the wall, hands still in his pocket as he quietly and slowly runs his fingers over the rabbit’s back.
“I see this is,” Lan Wangji blinks for a moment, as though he is almost startled but not quite, before nodding to himself, “your first examination in… two years? Is that correct?”
Wei Wuxian chuckles sheepishly. “Yeah…”
“And that you’re behind on your tetanus vaccine as well?”
“Yup!” Wei Wuxian rubs the back of my head. “I’ve been… a bit all over the place the last year, so it really slipped my mind.”
Lan Wangji hums and continues typing. He doesn’t look at Wei Wuxian. He doesn’t even smile. If this man finds out about the bunny living in Wei Wuxian’s hoodie, well, he’s really fucked, now isn’t he? The receptionist would have at least been nice about it, but it’s clear that Lan Wangji is the will-never-mess-around-or-break-a-single-rule type, which means Wei Wuxian is going to have to be extra careful.
“We will need to do a full examination,” Lan Wangji says, rising suddenly from the chair. He shuffles through a cabinet for a moment before pulling out one of the plastic-y exam gowns. “Please strip and put this on. I will be back in a moment.”
With that he’s gone, his warm voice echoing in Wei Wuxian’s ear ‘please strip.’
In any other circumstance, Wei Wuxian would have been thrilled to have been told to strip by such an incredibly attractive human being. But with a bunny snuggled up against his stomach, well, Wei Wuxian isn’t quite feeling it at the moment. But the rabbit is asleep right now, it’s breathing shallow but regular, which must be a good sign. At this point, his only hope is that the rabbit sleeps through the examination.
It manages to sleep through Wei Wuxian taking it out of his hoodie and then burying it in a pile of his clothes, which he chooses to take as a good sign. He’s not a neat person – as Jiang Cheng reminds him constantly – but he’s careful about piling his clothes together so that the rabbit is surrounded on all sides but can still breathe.
When another knock on the door echoes through the room, Wei Wuxian jumps, and the exam table under him shakes. “Come in,” he says quickly, biting his tongue so that he doesn’t curse under his breath.
As the door opens he casts one last look at the pile of clothes, but it’s still.
For how attractive Lan Wangji is, the examination is very straightforward and painless. Wei Wuxian doesn’t even have to stop himself from lusting after the attractive doctor because every few minutes his gaze drifts to his clothes and to the bunny concealed there. He knows he shouldn’t look there so often, and that it’s anything but subtle, but he honestly can’t help it. The bunny is so small and weak, Wei Wuxian can’t let anything happen to it.
He sits straight-backed and still as a cold stethoscope slides across his chest. Lan Wangji instructs him to breathe in deeply, hold it, and exhale, in that deep, soothing voice of his, and on a normal day, Wei Wuxian’s horny hind-brian might have had him rattling off something stupid or making up a pickup line on the spot. Of course, it has become increasingly clear that today isn’t a normal day, because Wei Wuxian isn’t given time to ogle the attractive man practically feeling him up, he’s too distracted by his clothes moving ever so slightly in the corner of his eye. At some point while getting his lungs and heart checked out, the bunny has decided to wake up.
The movements are subtle and sluggish, which is just another thing to worry about, but all Wei Wuxian can focus on is that his shirt is twitching ever so slightly. At any second a small head or delicate ear could pop out from under the fabric, and there would be nothing he could do about it.
“Is everything alright, Wei Wuxian?” Lan Wangji asks. After spending twenty-minutes feeling Wei Wuxian up, he still won’t take up the offer of using Wei Wuxian’s birth name, and at the moment that’s looking like a better and better idea.
“Nope!” Wei Wuxian says too quickly. He shifts his body just so as to place himself between the beautiful doctor and his currently twitching pile of clothing. “Nothing to see here.”
Lan Wangji steps back, giving him the least-convinced look of all time. “If there is something the matter, now is the time to bring it up,” Lan Wangji pries, jaw set and dark eyes searching.
Wei Wuxian tries his damnedest not to melt into a puddle under the gaze. He releases a stuttering breath and, not trusting his mouth for once, opts to shake his head.
That seems to do even less to convince Lan Wangji. “Anything you bring up here is confidential,” Lan Wangji continues. “If it is important and pertains to your health and wellbeing, you should speak.”
It is important to my health and wellbeing that you stop looking at me like that, Wei Wuxian thinks, but he has some control and doesn’t say it – ha! Take that Jiang Cheng!
The silence that falls between them is thick, and Lan Wangji stares him down with an easy and patient gaze, but two can play at that game, so Wei Wuxian stares back. Lan Wangji’s eyes are deep and impossibly dark, like fresh honey – is that even a thing? Wei Wuxian can’t read anything in them, but he’d really like to. The man would look even more attractive if he smiled or laughed, Wei Wuxian realizes and suddenly can’t control his brain as images of Lan Wangji bubble up behind his eyes, laughing and smiling so loudly Wei Wuxian can see the whites of his teeth.
He’s half-lost in these conjured up images when Lan Wangji’s gaze slides from Wei Wuxian to just past his shoulder. Wei Wuxian opens his mouth to point out the doctor’s inevitable loss, until he realizes what Lan Wangji must be looking at.
“I-I can explain!” Wei Wuxian says, scrambling to the edge of the exam table. “I swear.”
Lan Wangji blinks once, twice, and then turns to Wei Wuxian, a new light in his eyes. His gaze is… almost soft like this. “Is that…” Lan Wangji swallows, his gaze flickering from Wei Wuxian’s face to the spot over his shoulder and the back again, “a rabbit?”
Well, there’s no hiding it now. Wei Wuxian hangs his head and mumbles a soft, “yes.”
With the utmost professionalism, Lan Wangji lays the stethoscope back around his shoulders calmly and steps to the side of the exam table. Wei Wuxian twists to watch him push away the clothes, and reveal the small, shivering animal beneath.
“I’m sorry!” Wei Wuxian blurts. “I know I shouldn’t have brought a bunny into a doctor’s office, but it’s freezing cold outside, and I found it alone on the side of the road and couldn’t bear to leave it there! If you need be to I can leave or–”
“You found it on the side of the road?” Lan Wangji asks.
Wei Wuxian nods, and Lan Wangji makes a soft humming sound before reaching out and picking the animal up.
The rabbit was small in Wei Wuxian’s hands, but it’s ridiculously tiny in Lan Wangji’s. He keeps it in one palm, running a soothing finger over the back of the animal as he crosses to the wall of cabinets. There he begins to pull things out, but Wei Wuxian isn’t sure what. He’s completely captivated by the soft and gentle way Lan Wangji handles the bunny. His movements are familiar and so careful.
A soft murmuring sound fills the quiet of the room, and Wei Wuxian realizes that it’s Lan Wangji talking – or really, whispering – to the rabbit as he wraps it in a soft gauze-like fabric that doesn’t look like it should be used on animals.
Wei Wuxian is at a loss for words because he expected a lot of responses, but honestly… not this? Especially from a man as poised and put together as Lan Wangji is. He swallows around the growing lump in his throat and asks carefully, “Do you… like bunnies?”
“Mn,” is the response he gets, but it’s coupled with an adorable little nod that looks more reflexive than anything else and butterflies burst through Wei Wuxian’s stomach.
“Has it eaten or drank since you picked it up?” Lan Wangji asks.
Wei Wuxian shakes his head. “I found it when I was already running late, so I rushed over, dried it off in one of the bathrooms, and then it fell asleep.”
Lan Wangji nods slightly so Wei Wuxian knows he’s listening, but his eyes never leave the rabbit. He studies it carefully for a moment, before turning and handing the small thing back to Wei Wuxian. Their fingers brush as Lan Wangji places the bunny carefully in Wei Wuxian’s open palms.
“I will be back in a moment,” Lan Wangji says as professionally as he had the first time.
And then, in a blink, he’s gone, and Wei Wuxian is alone in an examination robe, with a bunny wrapped in warmed gauze in his hands.
He stares at the door Lan Wangji walked out of, stomach fluttering, before glancing down at the rabbit. It’s stopped shivering for the most part, but it doesn’t seem particularly active. Still, he runs a finger down its back in gentle motions, and he peers down at the rabbit, “so that went better than expected, didn’t it?”
The rabbit’s ear twitches in obvious agreement.
Wei Wuxian hums and nods. “Yes, yes. I agree. He is very nice.” And very attractive, but Wei Wuxian can’t bring himself to admit that aloud.
It’s a good thing he doesn’t too, because a moment later there’s a knock on the door. “Come in!” Wei Wuxian calls and then drops his voice when the rabbit twitches again, this time in displeasure.
Lan Wangji enters with a small bowl of water and a pile of some type of green leaves stacked neatly on a plate. He must catch Wei Wuxian looking at him strangely as he sets the food and drink down on the far end of the examination table because he says, “the rabbit looks about three weeks old. It should be able to eat some solids.”
“Of course,” Wei Wuxian agrees and then looks down at the rabbit in his hand wondering how the hell this man could guess its age just by looking at it.
Lan Wangji stands in front of him again, and with his large and gentle hand, carefully takes the bunny back from Wei Wuxian. The sides of Wei Wuxian’s palms are warm where Lan Wangji’s fingers skimmed, but he doesn’t pay attention to that. He’s far too entranced watching the doctor settle the small rabbit in front of the make-shift food and water dishes.
For a moment, neither of them speak or move as the rabbit wiggles out of its gauzy cocoon and snifts around. Its movements are a bit sluggish and maybe even stiff. Wei Wuxian doesn’t know quite what he’s looking for, but he’s happy that it’s moving at all. When the rabbit stops in front of the shallow water dish and begins drinking, a collective breath is released throughout the room. Even Lan Wangji stands back. At the corner of his lips lives the smallest smile Wei Wuxian has ever seen, and it’s beautiful.
“Shall we continue?” Lan Wangji asks, his attention turning from the bunny to Wei Wuxian.
He’s no longer smiling, but his gaze still holds some of that happy warmth, which makes Wei Wuxian shift slightly in his seat. “Yeah. Sure,” he responds.
With the thick silence of a secret gone, the check-up goes quickly. Wei Wuxian answers all of the questions as honestly as he can, and Lan Wangji is no longer watching him with a purely distant or critical gaze. Soon the basic check-up is done, and Wei Wuxian’s arm throbs vaguely with the remnant sting of a fresh vaccine.
He rubs the spot as Lan Wangji drops the left-over pieces of the syringe into a bright red bag demarcated with ‘biohazardous’ across the plastic. A whole lot of fan-fair for a simple and routine vaccination, but it’s all safety precautions, Wei Wuxian knows. When Lan Wangji has finished cleaning up, he moves towards the door and stops by the end of the exam table.
The rabbit, having drunk and eaten its fill, has curled back up on the gauze it was previously wrapped in and attempts to sleep, though the constant twitching of its ear gives its wakefulness away. Lan Wangji wears that secret, warmed smile as he stares at the rabbit for an extra moment, before nodding, almost more to himself than Wei Wuxian.
“It appears to be warming up,” he says softly, as though afraid to wake the animal, “I think it will be alright.”
“Are you a vet on top of being a doctor?” Wei Wuxian asks, unable to hide his own smile.
Lan Wangji shakes his head. “I have two,” he murmurs after a moment.
Wei Wuxian blinks at him and then follows his gaze to the bunnies on the table. “You have two bunnies?”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji hums and then continues before Wei Wuxian can respond with any of his own exclamations, “you should still take it to the vet. I will get you the directions as you change.”
Wei Wuxian had truly forgotten he was just wrapped in a thin, plastic-based exam gown. With the checkup over and Lan Wangji’s eyes on him again, he suddenly feels more exposed than he had when Lan Wangji’s large, warm hands were guiding a stethoscope across his chest. “Sounds great,” he says with a cough to clear his throat.
Lan Wangji nods and slips out of the room silently, leaving Wei Wuxian to wiggle back into his dampened clothes. His shirt and sweater have mostly dried, but his jeans cling to his skin uncomfortably and take twice as long as they normally would to be pulled on. It’s not the most comfortable get-up, but Wei Wuxian will likely be soaked through once more by the time he reaches the vet so he doesn’t let himself think about the discomfort too much.
He scoops up the little bunny, wraps it loosely in gauze once more for added warmth, and sticks it back into the pocket of his hoodie. It wiggles around for a few seconds before settling back down. Hands rested carefully around the bunny, Wei Wuxian lets himself out of the room.
He finds Lan Wangji in the hallway by the door that leads to the office space and front desk. The receptionist who checked him in stands in the doorway and passes Lan Wangji a note.
“Thank you, Mianmian,” he says as he turns. He looks surprised to see Wei Wuxian for only a moment, before that small, almost unnoticeable smile is back, and he holds out the note Mianmian had just handed to him. “Directions. Make sure to go here. They are very kind, and one of the veterinarians specializes in rodents.”
“Of course,” Wei Wuxian says and takes the paper. He glances at the page, expecting to have to translate the street names to bus routes, but finds that the directions he’d been given are already bus routes. He looks up and meets Lan Wangji’s gaze. “Seriously, thank you.”
Lan Wangji hums, seemingly pleased.
For a moment they just stand there, staring at one another, like two people who are trying to step around each other but aren’t sure which direction the other is going to take. To no one’s surprise, least of all his own, Wei Wuxian is the one to break. “Can I get your number?”
Lan Wangji blinks at that, which is fair. He probably doesn’t have a lot of patients asking for his personal number, though Wei Wuxian is positive he’s not the only one who’s found the man attractive.
“I just mean–” Wei Wuxian continues, before Lan Wangji can even begin to open his mouth to point out how inappropriate that question is. “You know how to take care of bunnies. You have two of them! I’ve never had a pet before, and I might have a lot of questions, but no one I know has ever had rabbits. And I know I could google things, but there’s a lot of information and–”
“Okay,” Lan Wangji replies and holds out his hand.
Wei Wuxian blinks once. Twice. A third time. He looks down at the man's hand and then back up at Lan Wangji’s face.
Lan Wangji blinks back at him, seemingly unbothered by the rambling. “Your phone?”
“Right!” Wei Wuxian squeaks, clumsily pulling it out of his pocket. It almost slips out of his hand in the process, but he and Lan Wangji catch it. Their fingers tangle together across the metal back, warm skin against skin. It makes Wei Wuxian’s whole hand tingle. Lan Wangji is the first to move, taking the phone carefully. He holds it up for Wei Wuxian to unlock, and then adds his contact.
“Call,” Lan Wangji says as he hands Wei Wuxian’s phone back to him, “if you have any questions.”
Will you go out with me?
That’s a question, right? It fits the criteria?
But Wei Wuxian swallows his desire and nods stiffly. “Yes. Thank you, again.”
“It is no problem.”
Once again, they’re left staring at each other. Neither stepping aside. For a moment, it almost seems like Lan Wangji doesn’t want to, and that sends a whole flurry of thrills through Wei Wuxian’s stomach.
“I should get ready for my next appointment,” Lan Wangji says after a quiet few seconds have passed between them.
“Right, of course,” Wei Wuxian nods vigorously and steps to the side, allowing the doctor to walk past him and back down the hall.
“Have a good rest of your day,” Lan Wangji says. He gives Wei Wuxian a small dip of his head, before turning fully and vanishing into the back of the clinic.
Wei Wuxian licks his lips, his mouth ridiculously dry, and scampers off to the waiting room.
Mianmian, helps him figure out all the insurance stuff. Really, it doesn’t take as long as he expected, and he pays about half as much as he feared he would have to, so Wei Wuxian leaves happy. The air outside is still damp and cold, but the rain has stopped, at least for the time being, so the walk to the bus stop and wait for the appropriate bus is fine. It’s not pleasant, but it’s fine.
The directions prove to be immensely helpful, and the vet is easy to find. The receptionist at the vet clinic doesn’t seem surprised to see him, although Wei Wuxian hadn’t called in ahead of time. But he takes the good grace and waits. As he does so, the receptionist comes out with some more food, this time some milk.
Upon seeing Wei Wuxian’s confused look, he smiles and explains, “the rabbit is old enough to eat some solids, but she’ll need a mixed diet with milk for another week or two before she’s weaned fully.”
Wei Wuxian nods along, briefly wondering if he should be taking notes, or if the vet will give him a detailed list of instructions later.
He isn’t left wondering for long. The rest of the vet trip flashes by in a hurry. He and the bunny are taken into a separate room where she’s measured, her temperature is taken, and her eyes and ears are checked. The vet talks calmly, affirming what Lan Wangji had said: she (it’s a girl!) will be fine, she’s just a little cold, a little hungry, and a little stressed, though not as stressed as the vet expected her to be after hearing she’d been picked up on the side of the road.
A few more tests are performed, and the little bunny finishes her first check-up with a shot.
“We’re vaccine buddies now,” Wei Wuxian tells her, as she is placed in a small, plush carrying case that the vet office so graciously supplies to him. With the case, they also give him some solid food, some formula, and a beautiful list of instructions on how and when to feed her.
“Thank you so much,” Wei Wuxian says to the receptionist as he checks out.
“It’s our job,” the receptionist tells him with a small smile. “Besides, we should be thanking you. Most people would have just ignored her. It’s good that you picked her up. Temperatures are supposed to keep dropping tonight.”
The consequences of said temperature drops on a small, underfed bunny remain unsaid. Wei Wuxian nods stiffly, holding the carrying case a bit closer to his chest as the receptionist passes him a sheet of paper.
Wei Wuxian takes the bill, looks it over, and grimaces. Yeah, his insurance does not cover pet expenses, which normally wouldn’t be a problem. But alas, sacrifices for cute baby bunnies must be made, and he’d rather pay – nope, he’s not even going to think the amount – an exorbitant price for a live bunny than live with the guilt for a dead one. So, with a weary sigh, he pulls out his credit card. Debt isn’t anything new to him, but after a few months and a few hours added to his workweek, it’ll be fine.
The young man at the register looks at his card for a moment, a puzzled expression settling over his face. “That’s unnecessary,” he says softly. When Wei Wuxian blinks at him, the boy blinks back. “It’s already paid for.”
“What–?” Wei Wuxian looks at the bill again and sure enough, there at the very bottom of the columns is a box marked ‘final amount due,’ and in it is a beautiful, rounded zero. There’s no way Wei Wuxian already paid. For one thing, he would have remembered coughing up such a large amount. And for another, he had only spoken to the receptionist twice before this. Still, he takes the time to think it through, but the only thing he can recall is Lan Wangji’s polite insistence that he only goes here.
Something warm and thick spread through Wei Wuxian’s chest. His fingers tighten around the bill, wrinkling the paper slightly. “Lan Wangji, what the hell am I supposed to do with this?” he mumbles to himself.
“Um… keep it?” the receptionist offers awkwardly. “And my name isn’t–”
“Right, right,” Wei Wuxian cuts the other man off with a dry laugh as he rubs the back of his head. “Sorry about that, I was just… anyways. Thank you for your help and for…” he glances down at the paper in his hand, “this?”
“Just doing my job,” the receptionist replies, equally uncomfortable.
Wei Wuxian nods stiffly. “Right. Of course. Well, have a good rest of your evening!”
With that, Wei Wuxian scampers – as fast as he can with a rabbit in his arms – out of the vet clinic and heads home. Lucky enough for him, the clinic isn’t too far off his route home from the doctor’s office. For a moment, Wei Wuixan’s chest warms at the consideration Lan Wangji put into choosing a veterinarian for him to go to. Until, of course, he recalls that the doctor really would have no way of knowing where he lives, so the proximity was likely all just coincidence. Happy coincidence, of course.
“Looks like you and I were meant to meet after all,” Wei Wuxian says, as he takes the steps up to his second-floor apartment.
After wiggling the key a little bit, the door pops open. Wei Wuxian kicks off his shoes and shoves them somewhere along the wall into a small pile of others, before clicking on the light with his elbow as he closes the door behind him.
“Well,” he says to the bunny as he steps out of the small entryway, and into the crowded space that acts as a make-shift studio, a living room, and a dining room all meshed together, “welcome to your new home.”
The rabbit wiggles around in the small crate, ears perking up, nose twitching. Wei Wuxian steps further into the room and stops, eying the paint-covered coffee table, and the dining table littered with papers and plates and honestly, he doesn’t even know what else. Every corner of the room has something, and Wei Wuxian knows in his heart that his bedroom isn’t any better. If anything it’s worse. This is no palace for a bunny to live, and even if it was where would she live?
“I really didn’t think this through,” he sighs.
After a moment, he awkwardly sets the carrying case on the well-worn couch, which proves to be the only place with a clear enough surface to set an animal on. He goes about grabbing blankets and clearing the coffee table of paint trays, containers, and half-colored canvases – commissions he had planned on finishing today after his appointment but obviously that is no longer happening.
He attempts to put together a little nest and then sets out a tray with the pellets and some of the formula that the veterinarian gave him. He needs to make sure the little bunny is taking in enough liquids, as long as she’s doing that she’ll be fine. Building a bunny-safe nest out of blankets, an old shirt, and whatever other bunny safe things are lying around proves to be more challenging than not, but eventually, it’s good enough that he feels safe-ish letting the rabbit out of his carrying case.
As she hops around and explores her new area, Wei Wuxian sits back and pulls out his phone. He scrolls through his contacts but doesn’t find a Lan Wangji but instead a ‘Lan Zhan.’ Smiling at the name, he composes a quick message
Where do you buy a bunny cage? A pen? I’ve realized I’m more unprepared than I thought 🤔
Thank you for paying for the vet bill. You didn’t have to.
But that was really nice. 😊 😊
Lan Zhan 🐰
It is nothing.
What do you have currently?
Wei Wuxian takes a picture of the current nest-like-thing he set up and sends it to Lan Wangji.
I know it’s not great, but it’s all I have to work with rn
Lan Zhan 🐰
It will work for tonight.
It is important to keep them warm when they are young.
The vet said the same thing!
Are you sure you’re not secretly a vet?
Lan Zhan 🐰
I am not. I have raised rabbits for a few years now.
OMG I FORGOT YOU HAVE BUNNIES
Show them to me
Three dots appear and then disappear, and for a terrible moment, Wei Wuxian is sure that he overstepped. He asked for rabbit advice, not rabbit pictures. Pictures of pets were what friends sent to each other. They aren’t friends, as much as that hurts Wei Wuxian to admit. Lan Wanji is only helping him because he has too big of a heart and absolutely adores rabbits. And Wei Wuxian has gone and fucked that all up, as he does with most of his relationships.
His phone buzzes. When he glances over, there’s a message with a picture attachment blinking back to him. Hope bubbles through his veins, and Wei Wuxian has never unlocked his phone faster. He is greeted with not just one bunny picture, but three. The first two are individual pictures with the names ‘Bichen’ and ‘Flower’ under the pictures. The final is a picture of the two bunnies, one white with grayish speckles, the other black with a white stripe down its nose, curled against one another like the fluffiest yin-yang symbol Wei Wuxian has ever seen.
THEY ARE SO CUTE 😍 😍
Lan Zhan 🐰
They are very cute 😊
Okay, fuck Lan Wangji and his adorable use of emojis. If Wei Wuxian wasn’t already crushing he would have fallen right then. He takes a deep breath to center himself as he tries not to imagine Lan Wangji’s soft smile or warm eyes. Which, of course, means that’s all he thinks about, but it’s fine. It’s whatever. He’ll live. He’s bounced back from crushes before. None as pretty or soft or good as Lan Wangji… but still.
Lan Zhan 🐰
Would you like to call?
Lan Zhan 🐰
To talk about rabbit pens.
I have a few ideas, but I will be driving so I will be unable to text.
Oh. Alright then.
He’s halfway through typing out another sentence telling Lan Wangji to just call him whenever, when his phone starts buzzing, and ‘Lan Zhan’ flashes across the screen. Wei Wuxian doesn’t give himself any time to prepare for the call, just scrambles and answers it immediately.
“Lan Zhan,” he says, too brightly, then realizes what he says, and grimaces.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji greets, and the way his voice rumbles, soothing and deep as ever, has Wei Wuxian melting. In the background, there’s a faint rumbling of a car’s engine or tires.
With a shaking breath, he sinks to the ground in front of the couch, so that he’s eye level with the bunny nest. “I… thank you for calling and, just, for today in general,” he says and hopes he doesn’t sound as breathless as he feels. “Now… what do I do?” The words are odd and sticky in Wei Wuxian’s mouth, uncomfortable almost, but with Lan Wangji they slip out as close to easily as he can manage.
“Rabbits generally require a pen that they can move about in, for safety and exercise,” Lan Wangji begins, and from there Wei Wuxian gets the most comprehensive rabbit lecture he’s ever received in his life. They go through types of cages, types of feed, stimulus activities to keep their little rabbit minds sharp and their fluffy rabbit bodies nimble.
There’s a lot to rabbit care, as it turns out, but Lan Wangji makes it sound easy and wonderful. And it also quickly becomes clear that rabbit care isn’t as complex as Lan Wangji makes it out to be, he just goes the extra mile for his bunnies.
“You spoil them,” Wei Wuxian says, laughs really, in the middle of a discussion on what is or isn’t good for rabbits. Carrots, as it turns out, are not rabbit food but rabbit dessert.
“I provide extra care,” Lan Wangji explains stiffly. He sounds almost adorably defensive and that makes Wei Wuxian laugh harder.
“I think some people would call that spoiling, Lan Zhan,” he teases.
There’s another huff from the other end of the line, and then very quietly, Lan Wangji says, “they deserve it.”
What Wei Wuxian would give almost anything to know what facial expression Lan Wangji was making with those words. But of course, odd-acquaintances and being over the phone only does so much. Settling back against the couch, Wei Wuxian stretches his legs out under the coffee table and looks at the scribbled list he’d managed to write down as Lan Wangji was talking.
“Sounds like I have a lot of shopping to do tomorrow,” Wei Wuxian jokes.
“Lan Zhan–” Wei Wuxian begins, because this man has done more than enough for him, and buying him – or, more aptly, his bunny – anything else is uncalled for at this point. He actually does have money. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to keep a roof over his head and food in his belly, when he remembers to eat of course.
“I have an old pen,” Lan Wangji explains. “It is still in good condition, I would hate to throw it out, but if you don’t want it, that’s fine.”
“Oh. That would be nice actually,” Wei Wuxian admits. Buying a pen would be expensive, but a used one seems like a good way to save money. And to see Lan Wangji again.
There's a quiet but pleased hum on the other end of the line. “Good. I can drop it off tomorrow. I have Saturday’s off.”
“As a matter of fact, I do too,” Wei Wuxian replies far too quickly. As a free-lancer, he has any day of the week he wants off. He should probably use tomorrow to finish up some commissions, but Lan Wangji doesn’t need to know that. “You should bring your bunnies too!” Wei Wuxian adds on before his brain even catches up to what his mouth is saying. “If you would like. I don’t know, I just think it would be good for my bunny to meet you– your other bunnies.”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji agrees. “Bichen and Flower would love to meet…”
There’s an expectant pause. It takes a moment for Wei Wuxian to figure out what’s supposed to go there, but when he does, he sits up quickly, eyes wide. “Shit! She doesn’t have a name. How can I be this terrible of a bunny-parent already?”
“Wei Ying is not a terrible parent,” Lan Wangji says softly, his voice kind and patient. It’s the same voice he used when speaking to the bunny in the exam room, and Wei Wuxian soaks in the warmth and, terribly, almost believes him.
“But I forgot to name her,” he wines, sinking down against the couch until his neck is crooked at an odd angle.
“You can do so now,” Lan Wangji offers.
“That’s a great idea!” Wei Wuxian explains, sitting up because he didn’t want to pull anything in his neck. “Lan Zhan, you’re good with names. What should she be called?”
“I think you should decide that. She is your bunny.”
Wei Wuxian huffs, puffing out his bottom lip in the way he always did when his sister wouldn’t give him an extra treat. “But that’s no fun.”
“I’m sure you’ll figure something out,” Lan Wangji says, and if Wei Wuxian didn’t know any better he’d think that there was something light and teasing in the doctor’s tone. On the other end of the line, the muffled noises in the background fade and then stop completely. “I just got home, so I must go.”
“Of course, of course,” Wei Wuxian says. “I’m sorry for keeping you so long.”
“Don’t worry,” Lan Wangji replies softly. There’s some rustling, and a car door clicks open and bangs shut. “I shall stop over tomorrow afternoon. Does one P.M. work for you?”
“Yup!” Wei Wuxian agrees without taking a single peek at his schedule. If he has anything to do in the afternoon, he’ll push it off and do it later. Lan Wangji is obviously more important. “See you tomorrow. I’ll be sure to have a name for her by the time you get here!”
“That sounds good,” Lan Wangji says with a smile. Wei Wuxian doesn’t know how he knows that Lan Wangji is smiling, he just does. “Good night, Wei Ying.”
“Night, Lan Zhan.”
And like that the line is dead. Wei Wuxian sinks back against the couch, his attention flickering back on the nameless bunny, who is happily drinking up some of the vet-provided formula. She certainly seems more active with warmth around her and food in her belly.
“Now what to name you?” Wei Wuxian mumbles, tapping the pen he’d grabbed to write down Lan Wangji’s suggestions against his chin.
He starts by just writing a series of names on the other side of the page he’d taken notes on. He writes a name, sounds it out, and then looks expectantly to the bunny. When she inevitably doesn’t respond, he crosses that one out from the list and tries again. The process goes on for a while.
The bunny’s ear flicks.
Wei Wuxian smiles. “Chenqing it is!” He claps loudly, but immediately regrets it when Chenqing flinches slightly. After murmuring quiet apologies to her, he snaps a picture of her curled up in her little nest and sends it to his contacts. Really, that just means he sent it to Nie Huaisang, Jiang Cheng, and his sister.
Yanli, of course, responds immediately with a heart and a million questions about how the bunny is doing and where he found her. Wei Wuxian answers each one like a proud parent.
Nie Huaisang seems more confused by the rabbit, and demands to know the full story when he gets the chance and after he finishes… whatever it is he’s working on. Wei Wuxian has stopped trying to keep track of Nie Huaisang’s ridiculous schedule or his ever-changing jobs.
Jiang Cheng is the last to receive a bunny picture because Wei Wuxian is most excited to hear how his brother is going to respond to Wei Wuxian’s sudden acquisition of a pet. To his surprise, the message gets marked ‘read’ almost immediately, and then there are only thirty seconds of silence before his phone begins to ring. Wei Wuxian watches Jiang Cheng’s name flash across his screen, smiling. He’s tempted to let it ring right through to voicemail, if only because it would annoy Jiang Cheng more, but then thinks of Yanli’s disappointed look if she knew what he was doing.
With a sigh, he picks up after the fifth ring.
“Why the fuck is there a rabbit in your apartment?” Jiang Cheng asks the moment the call goes through.
“Hello to you too, dearest brother,” Wei Wuxian says, unable and unwilling to hide the sly smile that he knows Jiang Cheng can hear. He leans back against the sofa, letting his legs unfold in front of him as he watches Chenqing sniff around at one of his old t-shirts. “I’m doing well, thank you for asking.”
“I don’t give a fuck how you’re doing,” Jiang Cheng grumbles on the other end of the line, “I just want to know why there’s a rabbit lying on your coffee table!”
“Rude!” Wei Wuxian huffs and then giggles as Chenqing tries to bury herself into the wall of the nest and promptly almost falls off the side of the table. He bends forward and scoops her up with one hand, easily settling her on his lap. “I’ll have you know, I care a lot about how my baby brother is doing.”
“Fine fine!” he laughs, tucking the phone between his ear and his shoulder as he uses both hands to keep Chenqing from tumbling off him and onto the floor. “I found her on the side of the road.”
There’s a beat of silence, and then a soft breath of air that sounds shockingly similar to a sigh. “Why am I not surprised?”
“Because I’m that kind of a person?”
“An idiot, you mean,” Jiang Cheng mumbles, quietly enough that Wei Wuxian probably wasn’t supposed to hear that. He sighs again, much louder this time, “so when are you taking it to the shelter?”
Wei Wuxian gasps, one hand coming up to clutch at his non-existent pearls. “Why I’d never! And Chenqing isn’t some inanimate object, she’s a she!”
“You don’t even know how to take care of a fish, how the hell are you going to take care of a rabbit?” Jiang Cheng says, and Wei Wuxian can hear him rolling his eyes. “Aren’t they like… very hard to care for, or something?”
“Not very hard, just…” Wei Wuxian eyes the list Lan Zhan had given him, “specific. But I have a friend who has two bunnies and is giving me advice.”
“Nie Huaisang has rabbits?” Jiang Cheng asks, sounding thoroughly confused.
Wei Wuxian can only imagine the confused crease in his brother’s forehead and snorts at the thought. “What? No. Believe it or not, I have more friends than just Huaisang.”
It’s Jiang Cheng’s turn to snort.
“Hey! I’m serious.”
“Then who is this friend?” Jiang Cheng asks, or really, dares him to tell.
Wei Wuxian runs a hand along Chenqing’s back, she finally seems to have happily settled against his stomach, and huffs. “He’s a new friend. We just met this afternoon.”
“Do I want to know?”
“Yes!” Wei Wuxian exclaims. “It’s kind of a long story, though.”
“Then I really don’t–”
Wei Wuxian cuts Jiang Cheng and his complaining off beautifully and goes on to tell the story of his terrible trek to the doctor’s office, how he found Chenqing and smuggled her into his appointment, his first impressions of Lan Zhan, and the situation at the vets. He makes sure to tell it in as much detail as possible, and every time he hears Jiang Cheng grumble, delves a little deeper. Jiang Cheng doesn’t hang up on him though. He’s getting better about doing that as they get older.
“The guy paid for your vet costs?” is the first thing Jiang Cheng asks when Wei Wuxian finally wraps up his story.
“Lan Zhan is nice and loves bunnies,” Wei Wuxian chuckles. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a doctor, either. Wei Wuxian is sure he has plenty to spare on side-of-the-road rabbits.
“Did you check the bill for your appointment?” Jiang Cheng presses. “He didn’t charge you without you knowing?”
“No no, nothing like that,” Wei Wuxian says with a wave of his hand. He hasn’t seen the bill for his routine checkup and tetanus shot, but this is Lan Zhan they’re talking about. “He wouldn’t do that. He’s not like that at all. He’s just… ugh he’s so good .”
On the other end of the line, Jiang Cheng makes a pained noise. “You already spent forty-five minutes telling me how kind and attractive he is. I think I get it.”
“No, you don’t!” Wei Wuxian insists. “He’s kind. And gentle. And when he looked at Chenqing he would get this tiny little smile that curled at the corner of his lips. You’ve never seen anything like it, Jiang Cheng. It was glorious!”
“And! And,” Wei Wuxian says. He must sit up and a little too fast and with a little too much excitement, because Chenqing hops off his lap with an annoyed flick of her ear. He scratches her head as an apology, and she goes back to nibbling at his pants, so he’s probably forgiven. “He’s coming over tomorrow to help set up a cage for Chenqing, and so that our rabbits can have a play-date.”
Jiang Cheng makes another pained noise. “Please tell me that’s not a euphemism.”
“A-Cheng!” Wei Wuxian exclaims. “Get your mind out of the gutter! He’s bringing his bunnies over to play with Chenqing, because she’s probably lonely without her siblings. But I’m hoping I can win him over with my cute face, lovely personality, and amazing cooking skills!”
“If you want to date him, don’t make him anything,” Jiang Cheng advises.
Wei Wuxian huffs. “That’s just mean.”
“It’s good advice, maybe trust me for once. Even I can’t stand how much spice you add to things.”
“Jiejie can,” Wei Wuxian grumbles.
“That’s because she’s too nice to say otherwise.”
Jiang Cheng is probably right, because Yanli is far too kind and perfect to mention that she dislikes anything one of her younger brothers makes, but Wei Wuxian isn’t about to agree with Jiang Cheng or any of that nonsense. “Whatever,” Wei Wuxian says, “Just you wait. I’m going to get a date tomorrow.”
“Mhm,” Jian Cheng hums, clearly unconvinced.
“I am!” Wei Wuxian says, and then his eyes widen and his smile only grows, threatening to split his cheeks apart. “And if I do, you have to tell me that Chenqing is the cutest thing in the whole world! Even cuter than Fairy.”
“Absolutely not!” Jian Cheng sounds insulted at the very idea. Probably cause he is. It only makes Wei Wuxian giddier.
“Oh?” Wei Wuxian says slowly. “Are you scared you’re gonna lose? You sounded so sure that there was no way I could get a date.”
“Because you can’t,” Jiang Cheng snaps and then sighs. “Fine. Deal. If you lose, you have to admit that Fairy, and all dogs, are cute and man’s best friend.”
Wei Wuxian wrinkles his nose and a shiver runs down his spine at the very notion of calling a dog cute. “Ugh, alright,” he acquiesces. “It’s a deal then. Good?”
He chats with Jiang Cheng for another twenty minutes, though it’s mostly Jiang Cheng talking at him, complaining about some asshole at work. Wei Wuxian hums along and agrees where appropriate, but his mind is wandering. He can tell Jiang Cheng notices but is kind enough not to say anything. It’s not Wei Wuxian’s fault, okay? Even with a cute bunny in his lap – honestly, especially with a cute bunny – his mind just keeps going back to Lan Zhan.
He’d been joking with Jiang Chen about asking the doctor out. Mostly. Partly. Okay, it was a joke to do it tomorrow but Lan Zhan is just so… Well, Wei Wuxian doesn’t need to go into that again, he’d already ranted at Jiang Cheng for over half an hour about the man. He was just so not what Wei Wuxian was expecting. And then paid for the vet cost of a random bunny for someone he didn’t really know? Ugh. Too good. Not to mention attractive, and Wei Wuxian didn’t even get to fully appreciate it because he’d spent half the time freaking out!
“Good luck getting yourself a date tomorrow,” Jiang Cheng grumbles as they bid their goodbyes.
Wei Wuxian laughs. “You know I don’t need luck.”
Jiang Cheng hums again, still unconvinced. “Sure. Whatever. Don’t give me too many updates tomorrow, just tell me when I win.”
Wei Wuxian sticks out his tongue briefly. Even if his brother can’t see him, he’s sure Jiang Cheng can sense the energy. “Start apologizing to Fairy now.”
“Whatever,” Jiang Cheng huffs.
After a final goodbye, the call ends. Wei Wuxian leans back against the chair, his eyes falling back on Chenqing. “I can win this bet, right?” he asks the small rabbit. “He’s not that far out of my league.”
Her ear flicks. She glances over at him, and her adorable pink nose twitches ever so slightly.
Wei Wuxian groans. “I know. I know. Believe me, I’m not getting my hopes up.” He stays laying against the couch for a little while longer, mouthing the words ‘dogs are man’s best friend’ to himself. He might as well start practicing now.
Lan Zhan is at the door at exactly one in the afternoon. Wei Wuxian should have expected this, but of course, he didn’t, so he’s still pulling on a shirt when the knock on the door echoes through his apartment.
“Be right there!” he yells, as he jumps around in a circle, trying to stick his foot through the pant leg.
Once fully clothed, Wei Wuxian gives himself one last quick look over in the mirror that hangs on the inside door of his closet. With his hair swept back in a high ponytail, a paint-free t-shirt, and a pair of only slightly ripped jeans, he is almost presentable, and certainly not grungy or trying too hard.
“He saw you in a plastic gown” Wei Wuxian mumbles to himself as he crosses back to his bed. “I think you’re fine.”
One long breath later, Wei Wuxian scoops Chenqing into his arms, and head out of his room and toward the door. He started carrying the rabbit around the house with him, both out of fear of letting her wander and the fact that she was warm and made an ideal snuggle partner.
“Sorry for taking so long,” Wei Wuxian says as he opens the door.
“Wei Ying, it’s no problem,” Lan Wangji greets with an easy dip of his head, and Wei Wuxian’s entire existence freezes. Lan Wangji looked great in a slicked lab coat and dark pants. But in front of Wei Wuxian’s ratty apartment, draped in a fitted cream sweater and jeans he’s exquisite, and literally something out of Wei Wuxian’s wet dreams.
“I… yeah, hey,” Wei Wuxian stutters and prays to whatever the hell is out there that he’s not drooling as he steps aside to clear up the entryway. “Please come in.”
As Lan Wangji steps into his space, Wei Wuxian suddenly becomes aware of the mess that’s just… everywhere. Between his call with Jian Cheng and watching Chenqing, he had no time to clean. Well, he could have this morning, but he had to get up early – before eleven – to try and finish at least one of his commissions, so in the corner of the room somewhere, paint is likely still drying.
Lan Wangji, to his credit, takes everything in with patient ease before turning to Wei Wuxian. “Where would you like to set up the pen?” he asks, holding up a box that looks like it should be far too heavy for a single man to lift with a single arm. But Lan Wangji does it anyway, his muscles rippling under his sweater.
Wei Wuxian tears his eyes away from the doctor’s arm and swallows. “Uh, there’s a clear corner on the other side of the TV under the window.” Wei Wuxian points in the general direction, as Lan Wangji carefully toes off his shoes.
With a nod and soft hum, he steps further into the apartment, a box in each hand. It takes Wei Wuxian a moment to realize that the second box is the carrying case where Bichen and Flower must be.
“Aiya, Lan Zhan! You should have told me to help you,” he chides, following the doctor into the apartment, the door closing behind them with a soft click.
“It’s not heavy,” Lan Wangji claims, setting the rabbit’s case down on the coffee table, where the remnants of Chenqing’s nest remain. With that out of the way, he more easily moves the to-be pen into the corner, then stands and brushes off his hands. When he turns back around, his eyes slip down Wei Wuxian’s face to his arms, where Chenqing nestles quietly. “Name?”
“Oh right!” Wei Wuxian squeaks with excitement and carefully holds the bunny up so that she is at eye level. “Lan Zhen, meet Chenqing. Chenqing, meet Lan Zhan.”
Lan Wangji takes a step forward, lifts one of his hands, and gently runs a finger over the top of Chenqing’s head. “Hello,” he greets softly, melting Wei Wuxian’s heart in the process. He takes a step back and moves to the carrying case he’d brought in with him. “I suppose you should meet Bichen and Flower.”
Wei Wuxian brings Chenqing back to his chest. “Yes! Please.” The smile that pulls at his lips is already hurting his cheeks, but he knows he’s not going to stop any time soon.
To no one’s surprise, Bichen and Flower are lovely, and both take to Chenqing surprisingly well. Bichen, especially, seems rather fond of the small bunny and proves to be very protective of her new friend, which makes Wei Wuxian giggle and Lan Wangji smile that small, warm, perfect smile of his.
With the bunnies acquainted, the humans get to work setting up the pen. It’s a good thing Lan Wangji has done this before, because the pieces all look the same, and half the time Wei Wuxian finds he’s accidentally attached something backward.
“I do visual arts, not sculpting,” he says after the third time it happens when Lan Wangji gives him an amused look. Wei Wuxian can feel the heat rushing to his cheeks and pouts, hoping that it hides some of the color he knows is occupying his face. “I wasn’t ever good at geometry, okay?”
Lan Wangji gives a soft hum, which proves to be his go-to reply, and fixes Wei Wuxian’s mistake. Somehow, half an hour later, Wei Wuxian is the proud owner of a new and usable rabbit pen. It’s much fancier than Wei Wuxian expected, with a little front section, and a bunny-sized two-story hutch in the back, completed with a space for water and food to go. It’s never something Wei Wuxian would have purchased for a pet – mostly on the grounds that he likely wouldn’t have been able to afford it – but from Lan Wangji it makes sense.
Wei Wuxian sits back and watches as Chenqing explores her new home. She’s so small, the cage dwarfs her, though Lan Wangji and the vet both told him that with regular meals and some much-needed rest, she’ll grow in no time. Wei Wuxian leans back on his hands, beside him, Lan Wangji sits, legs folded under him, back straight as a ruler. It’s a bit surreal seeing Lan Wangji in his home, especially when they met yesterday in a clinic. It’s also surreal how much Wei Wuxian itches to run his hands through Lan Wangji’s cropped hair or nibble on the beautiful, pale expanse of neck that extends from his shirt collar. But Lan Wangji is beautiful, and Wei Wuxian hasn’t slept with, much less kissed, anyone in… well, it’s been a while, okay?
And it’s not just that Lan Wangji is beautiful, that’s only the start of it. He’s also kind, and soft, and intelligent, and honestly, Wei Wuxian could go on. He has gone on. He talked Jiang Cheng’s ear off last night, and he’d do it again. He’s gonna have to call his brother tonight anyway because there’s no way he’s winning their stupid bet. He shouldn’t have even made it in the first place, but he was giddy and a fool and, as usual, his mouth got the better of him.
Jiang Cheng is never going to let him live this down, and Wei Wuxian is starting to think that he probably deserves it.
Still, when he glances over at Lan Wangji, who watches Chenqing with the most tender of expressions, the words that slip out of his mouth are, “have you had lunch yet?”
Maybe Lan Wangji is startled by the requisition, or maybe he isn’t. Wei Wuxian isn’t quite yet well versed in the microexpressions of Lan Wangji, but boy does he want to be. “No,” Lan Wangji replies after a moment’s thought, “I don’t believe I have.”
“Great! Let’s figure out something to eat then!” Wei Wuxian says, bounding to his feet because cooking will at least give him something to do with his hands and force him to pay attention to something that isn’t the very attractive man he invited into his house. “I can cook something, or we can order out, what do you prefer?”
“Whatever Wei Ying wants is fine,” Lan Wangji replies, trailing Wei Wuxian into the kitchen.
After a minute of scouring the fridge, it’s decided that stir-fry is the way to go as he doesn’t have much in the fridge for anything else. Wei Wuxian tries his damnedest to be a good host and shoo Lan Wangji out of the kitchen to go play with the bunnies, but the man simply rolls up his sleeves, picks up a knife, and begins cutting. His hands move with practiced ease as he minces garlic, and Wei Wuxian forces himself to keep his eyes on his own broccoli, lest he accidentally chops off one of his fingers, which would not be cute. It would probably be okay, Lan Wangji is a legit doctor after all, but going to the hospital or having your guest stitch you up in the bathroom probably isn’t the best way to nail a date. So Wei Wuxian lowers his head and forces himself to work not ogle.
Cooking goes surprisingly quickly with Lan Wangji’s help. It helps that their conversation flows easily. They exchange stories about their endearing and caring older siblings and how they got into their professional fields. Wei Wuxian shares a few particularly stupid stories from university just to see Lan Wangji smile and hear him laugh – it works too, and the airy chuckle he gets is the best sound he’s ever heard. In return, Lan Wangji tells some tales from his time in residency, some nasty, others surprisingly wholesome.
He’s in the middle of a particularly sweet story from his time working in the maternity ward, when Wei Wuxian realizes that he could truly just listen to Lan Wangji talk for the rest of forever and be happy. There’s a lot to Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian wants to learn all of it. He sucks up every snippet of information, like a man in the middle of the desert, given water for the first time in three days. It’s addicting.
After lunch, dishes are left in the sink, because Wei Wuxian knows Lan Wangji will force his way into cleaning up and Wei Wuxian isn’t a great host but he’s sure as a hell a half-decent one, and they find themselves back on the couch, bunnies settled happily in their laps. Or in Lan Wangji’s lap. It’s not surprising that Bichen and Flower prefer him, but even Chenqing seems to prefer the doctor. Not that Wei Wuxian can blame them, and if he’s being honest with himself, he’s not sure if he’s jealous of Lan Wangji or the bunnies.
“What made you want to get bunnies, Lan Zhan?” Wei Wuxian asks, leaning back against the armrest and pulling his legs up so that he’s facing Lan Wangji fully.
Lan Wangji runs a hand over Bichen’s back. “After university, I started living on my own and it was,” he pauses and tilts his head, considering, “lonely I supposed. My brother suggested pets, but I’m allergic to dogs and cats.”
“Mn.” Lan Wangji nods.
“Not bunnies, though?”
Lan Wangji shakes his head. His attention is still almost fully focused on the rabbits, and a small, horrible part of Wei Wuxian wishes that attention would only be on him.
“That’s good,” Wei Wuxian says, folding one leg under himself and pulling the other one closer to his chest. “Bunnies are superior anyway. I don’t know what I would have done if you’d liked dogs.”
Lan Wangji looks up at that. “You don’t like dogs?”
Wei Wuxian wrinkles his nose. “Absolutely not. For one, they smell. For another, they’re loud, and have you seen their teeth, Lan Zhan? They’re terrifying! And they jump around, and need walks and attention.” Wei Wuxian shudders. “Bunnies are way better than dogs.”
When Wei Wuxian finishes his short rant, he looks back at Lan Wangji. The other man is watching him with the warmest of expressions, his lips pulled up slightly and there are even adorable crinkles at the corner of his eyes! It takes Wei Wuxian’s breath away. “I will never get a dog then,” Lan Wangji says softly, his gaze settling back to the bunnies, curled happily in his lap.
“Good!” Wei Wuxian huffs, arms falling across his chest. “I like you too much to fight you about a dog.”
This isn’t the first time silence settles over them, but there’s something different this time. The air is charged with… something. Wei Wuxian doesn’t know what, but suddenly Lan Wangji’s eyes are on him, taking all of him and then some. Wei Wuxian squirms against the back of the couch, as his heart threatens to break out of his ribs. “I… um… well…”
“What did you mean?” Lan Wangji asks. His hands have fallen still over the bunnies, his fingers curl slightly into their fur, but other than that, he’s still.
“About the dogs?” Wei Wuxian knows that isn’t what he meant, but he has to ask, has to give this man an out from talking about Wei Wuxians rather pathetic thirsting and to save himself from having to admit to said pathetic thirsting.
Lan Wangji fixes him with a look, and Wei Wuxian is suddenly the one to look at his hands, the small hole in his left sock, the fraying of the cuffs of his jeans, literally anything that isn’t Lan Wangji. “Well, um, you see…” he lets out a long breath and hangs his head even more, “you’re very attractive! Okay! And not just attractive, but you’re nice, and gentle, and kind, and good with baby animals, which, as weird as it sounds, is a huge turn on, and I guess you also know how to cook, and your smart, so that immediately puts you out of my league, and–”
He’s cut off from saying any more by a soft pressure on his lips. When his eyes fly open – he hadn’t even noticed he closed them – Lan Wangji’s face is centimeters from his own, and the pressure increases, and oh. He’s being kissed. That’s what that feeling is.
Wei Wuxian blinks, and the pressure is gone. Lan Wangji sits back, he must have moved across the couch when Wei Wuxian was rambling. One of his large, warm hands settles on Wei Wuxian’s, he studies Wei Wuxian’s face with beautiful, amber eyes. “I like Wei Ying as well,” he says softly. “I hope we are talking about the same type of like.”
Wei Wuxian nods, dumbfounded. “Yup. We definitely are.”
That warm look is back. “Good.” And then Lan Wangji is leaning in again, and no more words are spoken.
Wei Wuxian actually reciprocates this kiss, leaning into Lan Wangji, one hand landing on his bicep just to feel the muscle under the sweater, while the other slips into Lan Wangji’s dark hair. Warm hands come to rest on the back of Wei Wuxian’s neck, before one travels down his spin, pulling him forward. At some point, Wei Wuxian ends up in Lan Wangji’s lap, their kiss breaking for only a moment to make sure that he isn’t about to squish a bunny. When it’s clear that the rabbits have cleared the premise, Wei Wuxian throws himself back at Lan Wangji, nibbling at his bottom lip until his mouth parts under the touch.
An involuntary groan bubbles from the back of Wei Wuxian’s throat, but he doesn’t have it in him to be embarrassed when Lan Wangji's hand tightens against his hip.
They lose count sharing kiss after kiss. When they pull apart for another breath of air, Wei Wuxian’s gaze drops immediately to Lan Wangji’s red, kiss-swollen lips. It sends a thrill up his spinning, knowing his mouth definitely looks the same. “So,” he breaths, his voice shaking.
“Dinner, tomorrow,” Lan Wangji says. It’s not much of a question, and Wei Wuxian’s face splits in two with the size of his grin.
“Yes.” Wei Wuxian nods enthusiastically, and then sits back a little bit in Lan Wangji’s lap, his hands resting on the doctor’s broad shoulders. “Wait. Dinner, as in, like, a date, right?”
Wei Wuxian blinks at Lan Wangji. “Holy shit,” he mumbles, and then louder, “holy shit! That means I won!”
Lan Wangji watches him, his expression a mixture of undeniable fondness with a touch of confusion. Maybe Wei Wuxian is already getting better at reading his micro-expressions, wonderful.
“I made a bet with my brother that I’d get a date with you today,” Wei Wuxian explains, raising a hand to trace patterns on Lan Wangji’s cheek. “He didn’t think I would. But you just asked me out, which means I have a date, which means Jiang Cheng can suck it!” Wei Wuxian laughs gleefully and leaps up from Lan Wangji’s lap, startling the rabbits, who had made another little pile on the far end of the couch, where Lan Wangji had previously been sitting.
Wei Wuxian stumbles around, searching for his phone. Eventually, he finds it left alone on one of the counters in the kitchen. He grabs it and stumbles back to the couch, plopping himself right back in Lan Wangji’s lap, as though he never left. Lan Wangji, to his credit, seems more than happy to have him back, pulling him closer before resting his chin on Wei Wuxian’s shoulder with a soft, questioning hum.
“Jiang Cheng is going to die,” Wei Wuxian giggles, “I’m so excited.”
Guess who just got a date?
Pay up, loser!! 💸
I expect a nicely recorded video in the next 24 hours, with good front lighting and clear audio.
Once the appropriate texts are sent, Wei Wuxian drops his phone on the floor, and shifts until he’s facing Lan Wangji, straddling his lap. “Now, where were we?”
They go back to kissing, obviously. And it’s the best thing in the world.
During another break, when Wei Wuxian is catching his breath, and Lan Wangji is nibbling a particularly sensitive spot just under his jaw, he tilts his head and lets out a contented sigh, even as his mind trips over its own thoughts. Slowly, he pushes Lan Wangji back so that they’re looking at each other. “This probably means I can’t go back to your brother’s clinic, right?”
Lan Wangji looks mildly annoyed at having to stop for this conversation but nods nonetheless. “Yes. Neither my brother nor I can be your primary care physician.”
“Fine by me,” Wei Wuxian says, wiggling in Lan Wangji’s lap happily. “I like this arrangement more. Besides, if you ever want to do an examination on me, I can think of a few that could be fun for both of us.”
“Shameless!” Lan Wangji exclaims, but he doesn’t sound upset about the idea at all.
Wei Wuxian laughs at that and leans in further until they’re sharing the same breath. “Only for you,” he whispers against Lan Wangji’s lips and then closes the space between them for another proper kiss.