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Something about Mo Xuanyu was different.

Lan Wangji couldn’t quite place how he came to this conclusion. He’d never met Mo Xuanyu prior to this night on Dafan Mountain, though he could vaguely recall whispers of his name -- something about an illegitimate child of Jin Guangshan that caused a ruckus at Lanling. Such gossip never enticed Lan Wangji’s attention though, and neither was it the reason that Mo Xuanyu stood out to him now despite Lan Sizhui and Lan Jingyi’s report of a lunatic in Mo Village.

His scent , Lan Wangji finally concluded after some pondering. Something about his scent. On the surface though, all he’d managed to detect during their short interaction was that Mo Xuanyu was an omega. Nothing unusual, and even if Lan Wangji himself was an alpha, it wasn’t like the scent stood out to him as particularly alluring. Lan Sect alphas were renowned for their restraint and would not easily succumb being enamored with just any omega or beta with a pleasant smell.

So what made Mo Xuanyu interesting? Lan Wangji ultimately decided to brush the matter aside… Until something else gripped his attention.

It began when the night hunt on Dafan Mountain took a turn for the worse, and Lan Wangji swiftly moved to meet the chaos. Then, in the middle of the flame-filled forest, a familiar melody drifted between the trees and up into the night sky. Lan Wangji wasn’t easily startled, but at that moment, his heart gave a mighty thud as if it had stopped.

That melody poured distantly from a makeshift dizi , altering the sound slightly, and yet the notes poured out with sincerity, tranquility, and precision. As it continued, the beat of Lan Wangji’s heart was just as quickly revived as he sprinted forth. When he grew close, Mo Xuanyu’s slender figure stood amid the flames, crudely-cut dizi pressed to his lips, and Lan Wangji realized why this man had managed to catch in his mind.

Wei Ying.

Lan Wangji clutched onto a thin wrist, immediately halting the melody of the song he’d composed.

Only one other person in the world would know that song.

Time seemed to stop for them, where neither even dared to breathe. Mo Xuanyu -- no, Wei Wuxian looked up at Lan Wangji with a startled gaze, grey eyes shining with recognition.

Lan Wangji’s grip shook around Wei Wuxian’s wrist, hardly realizing how tight his hold was. Wei Wuxian tried to fight, casting his eyes away from Lan Wangji’s face. The gesture affected him more than he thought it would, an instinctive alpha possession coiling around his muscles and prompting him to ensure Wei Wuxian couldn’t run away, that he wouldn’t look away from him ever again.

You were here.

This whole time...

You’re here -- Wei Ying!

He’d searched and searched, reached out again and again -- and in the end, it was Wei Wuxian calling out that signaled Lan Wangji to his side.

Waves of emotion overwhelmed his senses, and yet the next thing that Lan Wangji registered was Wei Wuxian’s scent. Naturally, being in the body of the omega Mo Xuanyu, his smell was different and more floral compared to the piney juniper berry spice of Wei Wuxian’s original alpha scent. But now that he was closer, Lan Wangji could detect a trace of something else, something sweeter and softer like honeyed milk…

Lan Wangji froze, his shaking grip finally falling. Both Wei Wuxian’s hand and the dizi he held fell along with it.

This was...the scent of a pregnant omega.

“Han...guang-Jun?” Wei Wuxian called out uncertainly, but his words sounded just a bit too far from Lan Wangji’s ears.

Of course, at that moment, Jiang Wanyin entered the scene, several cultivators from various sects close by. Everyone chatted in mixes of shock and disbelief, but none could hold a candle to Lan Wangji’s at that moment. His palm felt cold where he’d held onto Wei Wuxian, as if a winter’s wind had passed through it. His gaze couldn’t be lifted from Wei Wuxian’s form.

--How long?

How long had Wei Wuxian been alive? The cultivation world had guarded his body so obsessively, and Lan Wanji had called out for his soul every day for thirteen years. How had he gone into Mo Xuanyu’s body without any of them realizing it? It wasn’t like Wei Wuxian had been low-profile before -- but perhaps, in this new life, he decided he’d grant himself a second chance? Was Wei Wuxian so comfortable and happy now that in this new life, he found a mate to spend his life with, and was even carrying their child?

As relieved and overjoyed Lan Wangji had been by finding Wei Wuxian, he couldn’t help but feel like he’d become an outsider to his world yet again in less than a second. A sharp tightness squeezed at his heart. His alpha was at a loss, a bitter betrayed feeling filling his veins. How inappropriate it was; as if Wei Wuxian had ever belonged to him in the first place.

--That was right, back at the cave at Burial Mounds, hadn’t it been Wei Wuxian trying to fight Lan Wangji’s alpha strength with his own, growling until his throat was raw for him to get lost?

And the second Lan Wangji was out of his life, Wei Wuxian began a new one, happily mated with another and expecting a child. Not seeking anyone from his previous existence, he’d moved on, likely planning to never cross paths with Lan Wangji ever again.

Lan Wangji was lifted from his thoughts when coils of purple lightning entered his periphery. Jiang Wanyin at some point had pulled out Zidian.

Without a second thought, Lan Wangji stepped in Zidian’s path, shielding Wei Wuxian from view as he positioned his guqin before him, readying his fingertips over the strings for an attack.

“Stand down,” he uttered slowly.

Jiang Wanyin sneered at him. “Coming to that one’s rescue again. Just who is he to you? In the past, wasn’t Second Young Master Lan the first to say he needed disciplining?”

His mocking words sent chills down the spines of those who listened. Lan Sizhui and Lan Jingyi who stood close to Lan Wangji exchanged uneasy glances. Jiang Wanyin’s aura and words were unsettling at the best of times, but with the present situation, it was very well noticed by those with good noses that Wei Wuxian was pregnant. Given that information, even Jiang Wanyin would be too cruel to lash out Zidian on him.

Considering that Zidian was currently lowered, simply summoned, and his lips were pressed together in strained patience, Jiang Wanyin was also trying to see his options for dealing with “Mo Xuanyu” in a way that didn’t injure his body.

Glaring at Lan Wangji, Jiang Wanyin said, “Hand him over and we can avoid doing this the hard way.”

Lan Wangji stood his ground. He knew that Jiang Wanyin did not request things twice.

Storm-blue eyes narrowed and Jiang Wanyin lifted Zidian into the air, lightning crackling and preparing to strike. As soon as he attempted to shoot the whip out for Wei Wuxian’s wrists, just enough to restrain him while not striking him, Lan Wangji moved and sent a harsh wave of his guqin ’s chord out, blocking the attack. When the discordant sound of their clashing had settled, Lan Wangji glared at Jiang Wanyin, a dangerous rumble building in his chest as he growled at the sect leader.

Every cultivator close by inhaled, shrinking down and backing away a few inches. The esteemed Lan Wangji was a model restrained alpha, never exuding his scent for advantage and certainly never growling at someone to intimidate them before. The aggressive, feral sound rightfully startled the others, even the Lan Sect juniors and Wei Wuxian, who gave a soft gasp. Even Jiang Wanyin himself was caught off-guard, his eyes widening.

But Jiang Wanyin was an alpha as well, one with ample pride. After recovering from his shock, he returned the growl.

Just like that, a challenge between the alphas was accepted. For every flash of lightning, there came waves of a guqin ’s battle chord. For every glare Lan Wangji sent to his opponent, Jiang Wanyin bared his teeth and snarled. The cultivators still lingering backed away more from the scene of the two’s powerful clash -- a pair of high-ranked cultivators, and alphas besides! If one was too close, they’d get swept into their brawling.

Blocking another crackling blow from Zidian, Lan Wangji surged forth with determination and precision, striking his fingertips over the strings.

No matter what, Lan Wangji had to protect Wei Wuxian. Whatever his happiness was now, and whether it excluded Lan Wangji from his world was no matter -- Lan Wangji had to fight to preserve it.

The scent of rain and lotus accompanied every one of Jiang Cheng’s strikes, scattering with each of his lightning strikes. Those that smelled the alpha’s anger shuddered, but Lan Wangji did not submit.

“H-Hey, where do you think you’re going, Young Master Mo!”

Both Lan Wangji and Jiang Wanyin flashed their gazes to the two Lan sect juniors, both of them following after Wei Wuxian who had taken the opportunity to flee the scene.

Too occupied with the fight to spare energy for the capture, Jiang Wanyin shouted to his disciples, “Get him!”

The disciples hesitated. “Mo Xuanyu” seemed to be quite energetic and had no intentions to be captured on top of that. Trying to seize such a rambunctious pregnant omega without harming him… They were reluctant, but they followed their leader’s order.

--At least, they would have, but Lan Wangji kept them all at bay with another stroke of his fingertips over the guqin ’s strings. It would buy him a few minutes, and hopefully having lost the challenge would be enough for Jiang Wanyin to resume this fight another day. Taking the opening, Lan Wangji turned and headed for his juniors and Wei Wuxian.

He caught up with them in no time, taking Wei Wuxian by the wrist and steering them in a slightly different direction. Wei Wuxian and the juniors gasped at his sudden presence.

“Hanguang-Jun!”

“Hanguang-Jun, are you alright?”

“What are we doing now? Young Master Mo will be in danger if left alone.”

They stopped running, and Lan Wangji thought about what to do next. He still held Wei Wuxian’s wrist and, feeling it was inappropriate to touch him, let go with a soft warning of, “Don’t run rashly.”

Wei Wuxian, still under the impression that Lan Wangji didn’t know who he was, just gave him a grateful smile. “Hanguang-Jun was kind to save me back there. People from big sects really are scary, unafraid to even beat up a nobody omega.”

Lan Sizhui gave him a worried look. “And you’re fine, Young Master Mo? No pain anywhere?”

At his concerned expression and words, Wei Wuxian was surprised. “Of course. Hanguang-Jun did all the fighting, after all.” He cast Lan Wangji a glance, twirling some hair around his finger as he said sweetly, “Truly, you’re the perfect example of what an alpha should be, so strong and righteous. And handsome, too~”

The sweetness of orchids mixed with honey drifted out from him, as if he had no control over his own pheromones. If Lan Wangji didn’t know better, he would say that Wei Wuxian was trying to entice him with his scent. Even Lan Jingyi and Lan Sizhui’s cheeks were growing pink at the bold gesture.

For even entertaining such a shameless thought, Lan Wangji thought he should thoroughly submit himself for punishment once he returned to the Cloud Recesses.

Steeling his heart, Lan Wangji thought of Wei Wuxian’s own alpha mate. Where would they be now? No worthwhile alpha would ever think to leave their pregnant mate alone, as both the omega and the pup needed constant reassurance of the alpha’s presence and scent.

For a moment, Lan Wangji was indignant towards this faceless mate of Wei Wuxian’s -- had it been him, he would never stray from Wei Wuxian’s side for a second. Focus. It’s not you. What is best for Wei Ying right now?

When Lan Wangji did take in some of Wei Wuxian’s scent, he found something even more worrisome… He couldn’t detect any alpha’s presence at all. Lan Wangji frowned. Why didn’t Wei Wuxian smell of his mate? What worthless alpha was this, to keep his mate so vulnerable?

Again reigning in his thoughts, Lan Wangji concluded there must be reason for this, reasons that weren’t any of his business. In any case, it wouldn’t be wise to leave Wei Wuxian alone while Jiang Wanyin was on the warpath. They could reunite Wei Wuxian with his mate later. In the meantime, they had to keep him safe and allow him some rest after the back-to-back ordeals of Mo Village and Dafan Mountain.

“We’re going to Gusu,” he finally said, walking on ahead in the direction of the Cloud Recesses.

Both Wei Wuxian and Lan Jingyi’s eyes widened and they called out for Lan Wangji in disbelief. Lan Sizhui, although similarly surprised, read Lan Wangji’s reasoning and explained, “It’d be good for Young Master Mo to seek protection there for a period of time. The Gusu Lan Sect can keep you safe until we can arrange a secure journey for you.”

Wei Wuxian made a whining sound like he wasn’t convinced. In the end though, he half-followed, and was half-dragged along by, the Lan Sect members back to the Cloud Recesses.

 




First and foremost, once they had made it back to Gusu, Lan Wangji lit some fresh sticks of incense inside and outside the room Wei Wuxian would be staying in.

The incense was made from special herbs that would cancel out another’s natural smell. Such incense was quite useful in Gusu where restraint and suppressing pheromones was a part of training and composed a few of the thousands of rules on the mountain’s face. It would help now since Wei Wuxian insisted on releasing his scent wherever he went. Lan Wangji could almost think of it fondly as shameless, if it wasn’t for the fact that the honeyed milk undertones tortured his heart so.

Initially, Lan Wangji thought to house Wei Wuxian in the Jingshi with him, but a pregnant omega staying so close with a single alpha that he wasn’t mated to… Well, even if gossip was prohibited on the Cloud Recesses, his lack of propriety would earn him quite a scolding and punishment from his uncle.

Thus, Lan Wangji went to sleep alone each night knowing Wei Wuxian was in the house just a few feet away. It might as well have been hundreds of miles. For hours on end after curfew, Lan Wangji stared up at the dark ceiling, lost in his thoughts.

I found him…

And yet…

I lost him.

He told himself that as long as Wei Wuxian was happy, that was what mattered. As long as he existed on this earth once more, that was all the miracle that Lan Wangji had prayed for.

Unfortunately, the moment they’d all returned to the Cloud Recesses, his older brother immediately noticed his expression and took him to the side, concern in his eyes.

“Wangji, what is it? You look so troubled. And that man you brought here, that’s Mo Xuanyu, isn’t it?”

Lan Wangji shook his head. “Mo Xuanyu’s body. Not his soul.”

“Not his soul? Then who…? Oh .” Lan Xichen inhaled, his voice lowering. “Wangji!” A complicated expression crossed his usually flawless countenance. “I should’ve known it. Only one person was ever able to put such a look on your face. So he’s back...”

Seeing his brother’s face cloud over slightly, Lan Wangji shook his head again. “Leave it. He’s…” His fingers curled over his robes, clutching them in a fist. It was the only thing he could do to keep his eyes from burning and lips from trembling.

At that moment, Lan Sizhui and Lan Jingyi passed by, dragging the wailing Wei Wuxian up the stairs to their sect. The juniors gave the Two Jades shaky smiles and salutes before pressing on. As Wei Wuxian passed, Lan Xichen’s eyes widened.

“His scent… I knew Mo Xuanyu was an omega, but…” The older brother gave Lan Wangji a sympathetic look, understanding why his mood was in such a mix of high and low. While Lan Wangji was skilled enough to completely conceal his scent without the help of fragrant pouches or soaps, Lan Xichen was always able to smell the most minute changes of his mood.

“...What will you do, Wangji?”

“Keep him safe, for a short while. Return him to...to his mate.”

Lan Xichen nodded solemnly. “That’s for the best.” He reached a hand out and squeezed his younger brother’s shoulder. “I’m about to leave for Koi Tower. Perhaps Wangji would like to accompany me? The sect can protect your guest just fine.”

“No, I… I’ll stay.”

Lan Xichen gave him another meaningful look before departing.

Just a few days...

 




A “few days” turned into a little over two weeks. In that timeframe, Lan Wangji prepared himself for Wei Wuxian’s departure from his life once more by plunging himself into various distractions. He oversaw some small duties in his brother’s absence and got to work solving the mystery of the ghost arm secured from Mo Village. He made sure that Wei Wuxian was being given proper portions for his meals and that he was given medicine for his morning sickness. When there was nothing else, he meditated in the Jingshi , pondering his next moves and trying to cleanse his troubled heart.

However, the Cloud Recesses were only so large. There came many incidents with Wei Wuxian, including Lan Wangji catching him rummaging through his clothes while he was in the cold spring, or tormenting his rabbits -- and worst of all, he would constantly look up at Lan Wangji with large eyes of false innocence, floral scent offered out to him as if trying to placate Lan Wangji and persuade him to follow Wei Wuxian’s whims.

It was...quite cruel. Lan Wangji wasn’t sure how much longer he could endure this. He was heartbroken enough without Wei Wuxian going around and announcing his pregnancy everywhere he went. To have to deal with his innocent flirtations like old times… Lan Wangji’s heart positively ached, and his alpha grew more and more restless.

At some point, he had to find a secluded spot on the mountainside and ram his fist into the jagged stone. The skin of his knuckles tore at once, but the heated outburst sated his alpha’s frustration, but it left the chasm in his chest to only widen in its emptiness.

He’s mated.

He’s happy.

That was what you prayed for, his life and his smile.

Asking for anything further… It would be selfish. Not right.

Lan Wangji wasn’t sure if he should be grateful for this, but Wei Wuxian didn’t talk about his mate at all or allude to wanting to return home. He of course tried escaping the Cloud Recesses multiple times, but none of the disciples were comfortable with letting him leave until they were sure of his destination and if he’d reunite with his mate, although they were too embarrassed to ask and gain the answer to both directly.

And so Wei Wuxian continued with stirring up the once-peace of the sect, just like in his previous life. Thinking of it like that, Lan Wangji couldn’t help but be endeared -- leave it to Wei Wuxian to remain spirited no matter his condition.

Eventually, Wei Wuxian too grew restless.

Inside the Mingshi , Lan Wangji, his uncle, and a few high-ranking Lan disciples gathered to do a summoning on the ghost arm. When everyone else collapsed from its astounding power and resistance, Lan Wangji stubbornly combated the arm alone with his guqin -- that was, until who else but Wei Wuxian burst into the room and helped him subdue the spirit.

Needless to say, Lan Wangji had given him a thorough scolding when they were alone.

“Reckless,” he said.

“You needed help,” Wei Wuxian argued.

“It was dangerous,” Lan Wangji stressed. “You can’t risk your life like that.”

At that, Wei Wuxian smiled. He reached into his robe and pulled out his makeshift dizi . “But I thought we did well together, Hanguang-Jun. Listen, I’ve been thinking -- you should take me with you on your journey!”

“Absolutely not.”

Now Wei Wuxian huffed. “Hanguang-Jun is amazing and strong, but if this one hadn’t burst in, you would’ve had to deal with the spirit alone. Wasn’t the spirit only able to be subdued after our duet? I’m useful!”

Lan Wangji didn’t understand. Wei Wuxian was more willing to make big talk of going on a possibly life-threatening mission of finding a corpse’s body with him than simply admit he wanted to return home. He recalled Wei Wuxian being flighty and impulsive, but he never beat around the bush to things he wanted. Perhaps...he just didn’t want Lan Wangji to know this about him and wanted to maintain the secrecy of his new life.

Lan Wangji’s gaze flew to Wei Wuxian’s stomach, still looking flat under his robes.

The life I can’t be a part of.

Lan Wangji took a deep breath in and out. Wei Wuxian patiently waited for his answer.

Finally, after thinking it over for a few more heartbeats, he agreed to let Wei Wuxian join him. But only for a short while, and he was absolutely not allowed to join Lan Wangji for any battles. Wei Wuxian didn’t argue it and only airily agreed with a nod and a tug on Lan Wangji’s arm so that they could descend the mountain as soon as possible.

Well, if Wei Wuxian wanted to keep things a secret, Lan Wangji absolutely would not pry. If he snuck out in the middle of the night to flee, then Lan Wangji wouldn’t stop him…

...But that certainly could not be the case!

If Lan Wangji took his eyes off Wei Wuxian for even a second, he was off trying to buy alcohol or was following Lan Wangji into fights. He knew Wei Wuxian was reckless, but not to this extent. If he didn’t know any better, he would say it was like Wei Wuxian didn’t care that he was pregnant at all. He was getting extremely close to keeping him in a body-lock spell for the whole journey just so he’d be still and stop giving him half-heart attacks, the only thing stopping him being the pup Wei Wuxian carried.

And so he kept a close eye on Wei Wuxian, ensuring that he never strayed too far or tried to run away so he could keep him safe.

It should be his mate doing this. But if they weren’t here… Lan Wangji selfishly didn’t have any complaints about having a reason to keep Wei Wuxian by his side. Every time his chest felt tight and warm waking up and seeing the man laying in the bed next to his, he felt he should chastise himself for thinking for the briefest moment of stealing him away.

But when Wei Wuxian was done chastising him for saving him or stopping him from doing something stupid, he’d give Lan Wangji a large teasing grin and pull him forward by the wrist to their next destination.

Just a few more days , Lan Wangji thought. Instead of it being a countdown until Wei Wuxian left him though, the phrase became his secret selfish wish.

Even if I’m not the happiness he chose… Let me have him for a few more days.

 


 

Lan Wangji got them a room at an inn in Yueyang. Although he placed them in the same room, he always made sure there were two beds -- it wouldn’t do to be too shameless, but as long as Lan Wangji was watching, Wei Wuxian was well-behaved. Relatively. At least he stopped trying to run away now, and in fact, he stuck himself right next to Lan Wangji whenever he could.

Dinner was prepared and he’d gone downstairs to fetch it after a quick trip to the nearby medicinal stall where he purchased some items for Wei Wuxian’s morning sickness. It had relaxed for the most part in the past few weeks, but it was best to be prepared. Easily balancing the heavy tray on his forearm, Lan Wangji entered the room.

Wei Wuxian wasn’t on the bed, but there were small splashing sounds from the adjacent bathroom. He’d already been bathing when Lan Wangji left, which meant he’d just been lazily soaking in the water this whole time.

After setting the tray of food and tea on the table, Lan Wangji started picking up Wei Wuxian’s haphazardly discarded clothes off the floor with a sigh. The robes were saturated with his scent, and Lan Wangji forced his breath to steady as he folded them in a neat pile. To an outsider, his actions would look quite domestic, setting the table for a meal, taking care of his pregnant partner’s clothes while they bathed, all but spoiling them…

Lan Wangji thought to just wait until Wei Wuxian got out of the bath to eat, but then he noticed that, of course, the omega had left the door wide open and the wooden tub was right in Lan Wangji’s line of sight.

Wei Wuxian was turned away from Lan Wangji, soaking warm water over his bare arms and shoulders. His skin was almost sickly pale when Lan Wangji first bumped into him, but now it was healthier and more peachy, though several small scars marked his arms. His dark hair was tied up in a loose bun, exposing the nape of his neck.

Lan Wangji didn’t mean to stare. His ears grew warm and he meant to look away when his eyes were drawn to Wei Wuxian’s nape and he froze.

There was no mating mark on it. Lan Wangji stepped closer, blinking once as if it were a trick of the light.

No mistaking it, the skin was creamy smooth and completely bare .

His mind reeled with reasons of how this could be, but with each possibility, he grew more troubled. A pregnant omega with no mate… There were only so many explanations for it.

And Lan Wangji assumed the worst.

His heart stopped. Would this explain why Wei Wuxian never talked about his mate, because he didn’t have one? Why he never brought up his pregnancy and why he fled from Mo Village? Lan Sizhui and Lan Jingyi mentioned that Mo Xuanyu was mistreated there and the family didn’t seem to care what became of him -- just what kind of things had Wei Wuxian endured? 

The cold dread quickly gave way to a hot anger that tightened Lan Wangji’s muscles as if he were ready to strike a blow at an enemy, even when none was there. There was no proof such a horrible act had been committed on Wei Wuxian, but the possibility alone roused his alpha that was burning.

As soon as Wei Wuxian turned to him though, the anger was like flames doused with water. Seeing Lan Wangji standing there halfway to the door, a grin spread on his lips, his floral scent radiating out a bit more.

“Lan Zhan, how long have you been standing there? Don’t tell me that you were peeking~?”

By now, Wei Wuxian knew that Lan Wangji had seen through him and figured out his real identity. Even so, he didn’t stop acting like his shameless self.

Lan Wangji immediately looked away, sitting on the opposite side of the table so that he was facing away from Wei Wuxian.

Even if he faced differently though, Wei Wuxian didn’t let him go so easily. “Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, you should join me~ It’s been a long day and the water is still warm. Join me!”

“Not joining.”

Wei Wuxian splashed around, the wood of the tub creaking slightly like he was leaning his weight on it. “Is it because I’m an omega now? Lan Sect pays attention to propriety as always. But I know Lan Zhan wouldn’t do anything inappropriate ,” he teased. “Oh! I'm curious, Lan Zhan, so tell me -- is my scent nice to you?”

Lan Wangji focused hard on a random spot on the table, resisting the urge to stab Bichen to the floor from being so flustered.

But Wei Wuxian’s scent… Come to think of it, it seemed to have changed again. There was the dominant perfume of orchids, the softer tones of his pregnancy… But now that he gave a small sniff, Lan Wangji thought that he could detect a trace of juniper berry again, Wei Wuxian’s original scent… Did having a new soul in the vessel change its scent? If Wei Wuxian stayed in Mo Xuanyu’s body longer, would the latter’s fragrance gradually fade?

Whatever the case, a renewed sense of yearning swelled in Lan Wangji’s chest at the familiar scent, and he gave another small inhale, purely indulgent and entirely shameless.

If Wei Wuxian wasn’t mated… Was there a chance that maybe, just maybe…

“Lan Zhan?”

“...Not bad,” he admitted quietly.

For a moment, Wei Wuxian was silent. Then, he drawled, “Oh?” No doubt he was smiling.

Lan Wangji cleared his throat. “Come eat. Food will get cold.”

A few moments later, Wei Wuxian was dry and in his robes. He sat across from Lan Wangji, happily digging into his food. Lan Wangji would prefer if Wei Wuxian didn’t inhale spicy food all the time, but it wasn’t like it would harm the pup. Nonetheless, he made sure the spices were only moderate, and he gave Wei Wuxian another bowlful of vegetables and rice.

“Messy,” he chastised, wiping a piece of rice that had stuck to the corner of Wei Wuxian’s lips.

Wei Wuxian only grinned at him. His scent flowed more sweetly -- definitely the smell of a happy omega.

Whatever had happened, whatever the circumstances had been, Lan Wangji was just grateful to see this smile again.

No matter what, he’d stay by Wei Wuxian’s side.