the romance is secondary and takes a while to get going
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Lan Qiren was running to catch up, because he was always running to catch up.
He was determined not to fall behind, but he was slow, as always, and tired more easily than the others, and then he got distracted and realized a considerable distance had opened up between him and the rest of the group. He ran to catch up –
He was going to fall flat on his face, he realized as he pitched forward, throwing his hands up in front of his face to try to blunt the pain since humiliation was already a given. He probably wasn’t far enough behind for them not to see this, and then his brother would turn his face away and sigh, aggravated, his shoulders slumping in disappointment at how Lan Qiren had lost him and their sect face all over again.
Lan Qiren was so bound up in his gloomy thoughts that it took him a moment to realize that he had not, in fact, hit the ground. Someone had caught him.
Lan Qiren straightened himself up immediately and dropped into a deep salute. “Thank you for your help –”
He looked up.
“…Sect Leader Wen,” he finished weakly.
- Part 2 of Lan Qiren fics