A Lifetime of It
(Please, and Thank You)
“We should have eloped,” Wei Wuxian whines, plopping down gracelessly next to a meditating Lan Wangji. He sighs, then lowers his head into Lan Wangji’s lap. “Why didn’t we elope?”
Lan Wangji says nothing. He shifts one hand from his knee to the back of Wei Wuxian’s neck, running slow, comforting circles at the nape of his neck. The other hand finds Wei Wuxian’s, their fingers intertwining.
Wei Wuxian closes his eyes and lets out a slow breath, feeling the tension in his body slowly drain. Lan Wangji’s fingers are wonderful, he thinks, half wanting to purr like a cat at the continued caresses.
“Uncle?” Lan Wangji asks after a moment.
“Lan Qiren hates me,” Wei Wuxian says miserably. “I’ve despoiled his nephew and priced student. I’ve dishonored my name and yours by association. I’ve broken so many sect rules that he’s going to replaced at least half of them with ‘Do not behave like Wei Wuxian’.”
“Uncle said this?” Lan Wangji inquires lightly, but there is an edge to his voice that speaks of barely restrained anger.
“No, no,” Wei Wuxian hurries to say. He may not like Lan Qiren, but he is Lan Zhan’s uncle, and he doesn’t want to deteriorate their relationship further. “He just sneered at me and I knew he was thinking all that. He actually spent two hours talking to me about the dignity of Gusu Lan and then ordered me write an essay about it.”
“Hn,” Lan Wangji says.
“I’ll have to redo it tomorrow,” Wei Wuxian says. He shifts slightly, glancing up at Lan Wangji and pouting. “My first attempt wasn’t good enough. I thought my drawing of you was the best representation of the dignity of Gusu Lan possible.”
Lan Wangji’s expression softens, and softens again. “Wei Ying.”
His heart flutters at seeing that expression, Wei Wuxian finds, and he immediately forgets about all his complaints. They are such minor things compared to being with Lan Zhan and seeing Lan Zhan look at him like this, after all. He’ll endure far worse than Lan Quiren’s sneers for just this, this expression on Lan Zhan’s face.
“I will help you with your essay,” Lan Wangji says. “Afterwards.”
“Afterwards?” Wei Wuxian repeats hopefully.
“Afterwards,” Lan Wangji confirms, lifting him up, carrying him to bed while Wei Wuxian kisses him happily. It takes a few moments of fumbling before they manage to shed their robes, but then there is just Wei Ying and Lan Zhan and skin, all skin.
“We could still elope,” Wei Wuxian whispers temptingly into Lan Wangji’s ear, kissing it for good measure. Lan Wangji says nothing, just draws in a sharp breath as Wei Wuxian shifts underneath him.
“We could be married within a day,” Wei Wuxian goes on. “We could be a married couple tomorrow. We could do this every night.”
“Already do,” Lan Zhan points out, lifting his head and holding Wei Wuxian’s gaze as he slowly, slowly inches into Wei Wuxian, his cock hard and hot and smooth, and fuck, fuck how good it feels. “Every night.”
Wei Wuxian can only moan in response, but really, what could he possibly argue against that? They do do it every night. Lan Wangji has him there, and has him here, has him so very much, and is about to have him again.
The problem with not eloping, Wei Wuxian knows, is not just that Lan Quiren insists on pre-marriage lessons. He could endure those for Lan Zhan’s sake, and besides, he is actually fond of Gusu Lan in his own way, even if they are stuffy and uptight and have four thousand sect rules and counting. Gusu Lan has Lan Wangji, after all, who Wei Wuxian loves so much he thinks his heart might burst with it, and Lan Xichen, who is kind and likable and overbearing and Wei Wuxian likes for his own sake, but even more for Lan Zhan’s sake. The Lan disciples are also tolerable, and crucially, teachable, which Wei Wuxian finds himself enjoying more than he thought he would. There is also A-Yuan, who will always be A-Yuan to him, even as a grown Lan disciple.
The problem is that with an announced wedding, there are actual guests. Actual guests to be welcomed and greeted and endured through their whole stay.
All the sects have sent guests, in fact. Out of courtesy to Gusu Lan or out of fear for the Yiling Patriarch even now, Wei Wuxian isn’t sure. Maybe a bit of both. They all seem to arrive with the same expression too, the slight disbelief that Hanguang Jun, Hanguang Jun is marrying Wei Wuxian, and Wei Wuxian wants to stick his tongue out at all of them for that. (Even if he has to admit that deep down, he shares that disbelief. Even now, he sometimes wonders if he is dreaming this, that Lan Zhan loves him, that Lan Zhan is marrying him, him.)
He settles for public displays of affection instead – brushing his fingers against Lan Zhan’s, pressing a light kiss into his shoulder, running his thumb across the band on his forehead, keeping a hand quite low on his back – and feels Lan Quiren’s scowl at his back every time.
Nie Huaisang and members of the Nie sect, those Wei Wuxian don’t mind, even if he can no longer look at Nie Huaisang and see a blubbering fool. He sees an act now, but Nie Huaisang whispers that he has brought good liquor and many gifts, and thus will be tolerable as a guest, at least.
Jin Ling arriving is a surprise, but not an unwelcome one. He has even left Fairy behind at Lanling, and even if he blusters and claims he’s here for appearances, Wei Wuxian sees beneath it and finds himself touched.
And lastly, there is…
“Sect Leader Jiang,” Lan Xichen says pleasantly.
Wei Wuxian swallows, and feels Lan Wangji take his hand. Why, why, why is Jiang Cheng here? Yes, they invited him, at Lan Xichen’s subtle prompting and talk of extending a hand, but that was in the firm belief that Jiang Cheng would never accept, but possibly appreciate the gesture.
“Sect Leader Lan,” Jiang Cheng says sourly.
“I am pleased you decided to come,” Lan Xichen says, all smiles, making Jiang Cheng scowl, and ah, Wei Wuxian feels understanding dawn. With how pleasant Lan Xichen is, it is easy to forget that there is strength and force in him too, no less than there is in Lan Zhan, just wrapped in a more pleasant demeanor.
Jiang Cheng is here because Lan Xichen made him come.
Wei Wuxian can barely keep himself from groaning. Lan Xichen means well, oh so well, but this, this is a disaster in the making. Even if there are less misunderstandings between him and Jiang Cheng now, there are still plenty, and there is still Jiang Cheng’s temper and years of built-up anger, and there is also Jiang Cheng and Lan Zhan and…
“Lan Wangji,” Jiang Cheng says, teeth gritted.
Lan Wangji doesn’t even look at him. “Hn.”
And that, Wei Wuxian thinks, sighing.
Of everyone Wei Wuxian was sure Jiang Cheng would end up yelling at, Lan Qiren was not the first on his list. In fact, he was pretty much at the end of it, only the rabbits lower.
“He what?” Wei Wuxian says, trying to wrap his head around the concept. Jiang Cheng yelling at Lan Qiren. Lan Qiren!
“Yelled at Uncle,” Lan Wangji dutifully repeats. “Uncle yelled back.”
Wei Wuxian closes his eyes, comforting himself by kissing Lan Zhan’s neck and feeling Lan Zhan’s breath reverberate against his lips. Lan Zhan tightens his arms around him, his hands cool against Wei Wuxian’s flushed skin. Cocooned by the blankets, bed and Lan Zhan, he feels slightly less stressed about everything, he has to admit.
He is beginning to suspect Lan Zhan deliberately took him to bed first and ravished him properly before telling him of this, as Lan Zhan knows all too well how relaxed Wei Wuxian feels afterwards.
“What about?” he finally asks. He might as well know the full extent of this building disaster, after all.
“Uncle considering you of Lan sect,” Lan Wangji says softly, and Wei Wuxian opens his eyes in surprise. “As you are to marry me, and you are no longer of Jiang sect…”
“Huh,” Wei Wuxian murmurs. Lan Qiren considers him of Lan sect? Huh. “Would not Jiang Cheng just be happy about that?”
“It seems not,” Lan Wangji says, and Wei Wuxian wonders.
“Wei Wuxian,” Lan Qiren greets him in the morning. He looks as pedantic as always, carrying a stack of books. “Today we will work on etiquette and dignity.”
“Master Lan, haven’t Clan Leader Jiang told you how undignified I am?” Wei Wuxian jokes, and Lan Qiren straightens and looks annoyed.
“Clan Leader Jiang is not qualified to speak on this matter,” Lan Qiren says, nostrils flaring. “Only those of Gusu Lan may. Wei Wuxian, you are truly undignified and lacking in sense and etiquette.”
Wei Wuxian bites back an urge to laugh. Instead, he merely lowers his head and hides his smile. “I know.”
“Let us work on that,” Lan Qiren says, and Wei Wuxian wonders if stubbornness is the defining trait of Gusu Lan.
If so, he better work on it himself, now that he’s somehow become sneakily adopted into the sect.
“Shameless,” Lan Zhan tells him, and Wei Wuxian can only nod in agreement. He has his hands on Lan Zhan’s cock, after all, and has absolutely no shame in stroking it.
“Lan Qiren told me to read the book,” he says brightly. “I am still reading, Lan Zhan. Lan Qiren said nothing about keeping my hands to myself while I do.”
Lan Zhan opens his mouth, but can only let out a hiss as Wei Wuxian slides his hand slowly upwards Lan Zhan’s length. Wei Wuxian longs to look at the expression on Lan Zhan’s face, but he keeps his gaze on the book in his lap, dutifully reading as ordered to.
He can at least listen to Lan Zhan’s soft moans and whimpers and sharp intakes of breath as he does, and oh, what a delight they are.
Later, he impresses Lan Qiren by reciting the whole book by heart.
“Brother Wei,” Nie Huaisang says pleasantly, sitting down and fanning himself while he regards his surroundings. The meal for all the wedding guests is actually progressing fairly well, all things considered, Wei Wuxian thinks. Sure, Lan Xichen is looking increasing exasperated at Jiang Cheng, Jiang Cheng is scowling at Jin Ling, Jin Ling is failing at conversation with Lan Wangji, Lan Wangji is eating his food without even making a noise despite Wei Wuxian’s hand on his thigh underneath the table, and Wei Wuxian himself can only think about how badly he wants to lick his way into Lan Zhan’s mouth and taste the soup that way – but really, it could be much worse.
No one is yelling, for one thing.
“I remember us all studying here,” Nie Huaisang goes on. “A long time ago now, of course.”
Another life ago, Wei Wuxian thinks, and there if grief in that, but not only. Every day with Lan Zhan seems to make the past more distant, and the pains of it more faded.
“I never thought you, of all of us, would be the one to marry into Gusu Lan sect,” Nie Huaisang adds, and this time, he sounds downright amused.
At that, Wei Wuxian grins. He takes no offense. After all, it is pretty funny. “It is the only sect I could marry into, Brother Huaisang. Of all the clans, only Gusu Lan has Lan Wangji, stubborn enough to try to tame Wei Wuxian. Only Gusu Lan has Lan Wangji, brave enough to dare a lifetime with the Yiling Patriarch. Only Gusu Lan has Lan Wangji, strong enough to…”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji breaks in, and Wei Wuxian turns to meet his gaze. “Do not joke.”
Wei Wuxian smiles softly, moving his hand up from Lan Wangji’s thigh to his waist, not caring it is now in full view of anyone who looks.
“No joke,” he says. “What other sect could I possibly marry into when Gusu Lan has Lan Zhan?”
Lan Zhan’s expression goes soft, and Wei Wuxian feels his heart go even softer, and really, how can anyone seeing that expression on Lan Zhan’s face blame Wei Wuxian for forgetting all etiquette and dignity and stealing a kiss?
Blaming him for the prolonged burglary the kiss becomes, that’s another thing. He’ll happily take the blame for that, though to be entirely fair, Lan Zhan did kiss him back just as eagerly and would probably take half the blame if Wei Wuxian had any intention of letting him.
Gusu Lan has one other advantage of marrying into it, Wei Wuxian has to admit.
“Little rabbit, I am getting married soon,” Wei Wuxian declares, tapping the rabbit’s nose. After such a stuffy meal (even with the shameless kissing), it is good to sneak away and see the bunnies. They don’t scowl at him whenever he sits less than straight, for one thing.
“I have already told them,” Lan Zhan says, and Wei Wuxian glances over at him. He has two rabbits on his lap, and three nestled by his feet, while Wei Wuxian has to keep a firm grip on one rabbit to make sure it doesn’t flee. He would protest how unfair it is how much the rabbits love Lan Zhan, but then, he loves Lan Zhan just as much, so it would be rather silly, really.
“We could make the rabbits our wedding guests,” Wei Wuxian suggests after a moment, and he swears Lan Zhan looks amused by that, even if it is for less than a second.
“We already have guests,” Lan Zhan points out.
Wei Wuxian sighs. “Many, many, many guests. Why did we let your brother arrange our wedding?”
Lan Zhan says nothing, and Wei Wuxian sighs. It’s not really a question that needs an answer, after all. They both know why. After all Lan Xichen has suffered, after his loss, after the seclusion they barely managed to convince him to leave, Lan Xichen seemed to embrace the idea of them getting married to the point where neither of them wanted to take that from him as well.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says softly, and Wei Wuxian looks at him. “If it makes you this unhappy, we could…”
“No,” Wei Wuxian says, letting the bunny go. He carefully moves himself into Lan Zhan’s lap without disturbing the rabbits too much. “No. No matter how much I whine about all the fuss, and tease you about eloping, I want to marry into Gusu Lan so properly no one will ever question it or dispute it. I want to be Lan Wangji’s husband.”
Lan Zhan looks at him through lowered eyelids. “I want to be Wei Ying’s husband.”
Wei Wuxian kisses him, following him down as Lan Zhan gently lowers himself into the grass. They kiss, and kiss, the bunnies crawling around them and occasionally on them, and Wei Wuxian laces his fingers in Lan Zhan’s hair and deepens the kiss and thinks that in this moment, all is wonderful and perfect and…
“Jiang Cheng,” Wei Wuxian groans. He peeks up to see that yes, Jiang Cheng is staring at them, cheeks hot and eyes glaring. Of all the people to find them here…
“Undignified!” Jiang Cheng spits out, groaning loudly before stomping off.
“Not qualified to speak on the matter,” Lan Zhan retorts to his back, and goes right back to kissing Wei Wuxian.
That evening, Nie Huaisang finds Wei Wuxian to give one of his wedding presents early, and Wei Wuxian soon discovers why. It is an utterly indecent book with plenty of illustrations, and is already giving Wei Wuxian a lot of intriguing ideas for future undignified indecencies with Lan Zhan.
Nie Huaisang also brings wine, and they silently toast, though to what, Wei Wuxian isn’t sure. Life, perhaps, with all its twists and turns.
“I must say, Brother Wei, that you are truly the only one to make Hanguang Jun agreeable,” Nie Huaisang says, sounding sincere, though Wei Wuxian doesn’t trust that anymore. “It is good for us all that you returned to him.”
“I was brought back for another’s revenge,” Wei Wuxian says lightly, watching Nie Huaisang’s face intently. “Wasn’t I?”
Nie Huaisang looks distant. “After getting their wanted revenge, perhaps that someone would not begrudge you finding happiness afterwards. They may even be glad of it. But of course, I wouldn’t know. I don’t know anything.”
They both laugh insincerely at that, and toast again.
At least the wine is really good, Wei Wuxian thinks.
“You’re drunk,” Lan Zhan says as way of greeting when Wei Wuxian slides under the blanket to join him.
“Mmm,” Wei Wuxian agrees, arranging himself on top of Lan Zhan as best he can. “Nie Huaisang. Wine. Good wine.”
“Hn,” Lan Wangji says. “What did Clan Leader Nie say?”
“Wished us well. Maybe even sincerely,” Wei Wuxian murmurs, kissing the tip of Lan Zhan’s nose. It’s a very lovely nose, he’s decided. “Gave us a gift. I’ll show you after we’ve married.”
“Hn,” Lan Zhan says. “Soon.”
“Soon,” Wei Wuxian agrees. “Soon, no one will think me shameless for sneaking into your bed and for kissing you among rabbits. How boring.”
“Hn,” Lan Zhan says lightly. “Wei Ying will always find a way to be shameless. Even when married.”
Wei Wuxian isn’t sure if that is a compliment, a reprimand or a challenge. Maybe a little of all three, knowing Lan Zhan.
He’s certainly up to a challenge.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan gasps, his cheeks flushed. All of him seems flushed, and Wei Wuxian delights in knowing this is his doing, his hands, his kisses, his cock that has Lan Zhan so flushed, so fucked beneath him.
“Shameless,” Wei Wuxian teases, and thrusts again, hard, making Lan Zhan throw his head back, lips parted in a breathless moan.
If this is shameless, Wei Wuxian wants a lifetime of it, please and thank you.
“Young Master Wei,” Lan Xichen says, falling into step by Wei Wuxian. Even in the morning sun, Lan Xichen looks pale, as if frost still clings to him and can’t quite let go.
“Zewu Jun,” Wei Wuxian says. As always, he feels strangely nervous whenever Lan Xichen wants to talk to him. He doesn’t want Lan Xichen to think badly of him. Others, he can endure the disapproval of, even if he never actively seeks it, despite what they may think. The approval of others is just not what matters most to him, and never has been.
Lan Xichen’s approval matters, because Lan Xichen is not only Lan Wangji’s brother, but Lan Wangji’s loved brother.
“You need not do this,” Lan Xichen says after a moment, and Wei Wuxian glances over at him. There is something infinitely sad about Lan Xichen these days, even if he is no less pleasant than before. “You and Wangji may elope if you wish. I will not hold it against you.”
Oh, Wei Wuxian thinks, and glances down at his hands. He stops, and Lan Xichen does as well, facing him. In the corner of his eye, Wei Wuxian notices a familiar shape, and he realizes Lan Zhan has overheard their conversation.
“I only wish to see Wangji happy,” Lan Xichen goes on. “There is no need for a public wedding for my sake, Young Master Wei.”
“It is not,” Wei Wuxian says, and Lan Xichen gives him a soft, yet pointed look. “Just. Not just. But even if it was…”
He gives Lan Xichen a formal bow. “Even if it was, Zewu Jun, I would be happy to do this for you alone, as sect leader of Gusu Lan and older brother of Lan Wangji. As would Lan Zhan.”
Lan Xichen closes his eyes and nods ever so slightly, for a moment seeming less sad. Behind him, Lan Zhan smiles at Wei Wuxian, eyes bright with love, and Wei Wuxian smiles back.
“Jin Ling,” Wei Wuxian greets his nephew as he exists the library after another lesson with Lan Qiren. Jin Ling immediately tries to look indifferent despite clearly having waited for him.
“Wei Wuxian,” Jin Ling replies. He straightens, fidgets, then straightens again. “Uncle.”
Wei Wuxian merely nods at that. If he jokes about it or makes a big deal out of it, Jin Ling may never call him that again, and strange as it is, he thinks he’d rather like to hear it again. The kid isn’t completely hopeless after all, despite who his father was. Who his mother was might, might just make Jin Ling somewhat tolerable.
“You really studied here when you were young?” Jin Ling asks, looking around and clearly finding the surroundings very un-Wei Wuxian. “Did you get punished every day?”
“Hey,” Wei Wuxian says, affronted. “Not every day.”
Jin Ling lifts his head. “Only because you weren’t caught every day, right?”
“You…!” Wei Wuxian says, then smirks. “If you don’t break rules when you’re young, you’ll have no fun making rules when you’re older.”
Jin Ling frowns. “That makes no sense.”
“I talk nonsense all the time,” Wei Wuxian says lightly. “Makes it less boring when I actually have to talk sense. You want to know how Jiang Cheng and I broke the rules while we studied here?”
Jin Ling glares at him. Then curiosity seems to get the better of him, especially with the enticing prospect of knowing how Jiang Cheng broke rules, and he nods.
Wei Wuxian smirks.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan says, slipping into bed next to him, and even half asleep, Wei Wuxian immediately snuggles closer, wrapping his arms around Lan Zhan’s waist and nestling his head on Lan Zhan’s chest.
“Mmm,” he murmurs happily.
“Jiang Cheng was not pleased with Jin Ling tonight,” Lan Zhan says.
“Jiang Cheng is not pleased with anyone,” Wei Wuxian replies. Not even with himself, he doesn’t say, which is at least half the problem, really.
“Where did Jin Ling get Emperor’s Smile?” Lan Zhan asks after a moment.
“Probably from a misbehaving uncle,” Wei Wuxian says, smiling faintly. Jin Ling called him uncle several more times, and that, as far as Wei Wuxian is concerned, makes it all worth it.
“Hn,” Lan Zhan says, but doesn’t scold him, simply kisses him instead until Wei Wuxian forgets all about sleep and is all about Lan Zhan instead.
“You’re late,” Lan Qiren says, voice clipped.
“Sorry, sorry!” Wei Wuxian exclaims. He’s not, of course. Not when the reason for being late is Lan Zhan and a bath. “What is today’s lesson, Master Lan?”
“Wedding etiquette,” Lan Qiren says, glaring at him. “If you are to marry Wangji, you should at least marry him well.”
“I will,” Wei Wuxian says solemnly, putting three fingers together and pointing at the sky, the earth and his heart; a vow.
Lan Qiren glares at him for a long, long moment, then begrudgingly nods, accepting it.
Wei Wuxian feels like he’s won a siege.
It was, Wei Wuxian supposes, inevitable that sooner or later, Jiang Cheng would yell at him. It was probably equally inevitable that when he did, Lan Wangji wouldn’t stand for it.
“Wei Wuxian!” Jiang Cheng hisses again. What started as scolding Wei Wuxian over getting Jin Ling drunk the night before is not about that anymore. It is about pain and grief and anger, We Wuxian knows, and he feels so very, very tired.
“Jiang Wanyin,” Lan Zhan says icily. He is standing in front of Wei Wuxian like a shield, as he so often has, and Wei Wuxian still finds it as touching as the first time.
“Lan Wangji,” Jiang Cheng says. His lips curl.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian says softly, putting a hand on his shoulder. “It’s fine.”
“No,” Lan Wangji says, voice as cutting as his sword. “Not fine. Wei Ying deserves better.”
“Better?” Jiang Cheng says, knuckles white. “After all he’s done, you think he deserves better?”
“Yes,” Lan Zhan says, staring down Jiang Cheng. He looks absolutely furious – Wei Wuxian can only remember a few times before that he’s seen Lan Zhan this angry. “Wei Ying always did what he thought right. Even giving you his golden core.”
Jiang Cheng looks stricken at that, and Wei Wuxian swallows at the raw, visible pain on his face. Then it is gone, masked by anger again, as it so often is with Jiang Cheng. “You…!”
Lan Wangji raises his chin in challenge, unwilling to back down. Jiang Cheng glares at him, and Wei Wuxian half wants to scream at him.
Perhaps that is what Jiang Cheng wants. A fight with either of them, to let his anger out. Wei Wuxian can understand that, he can, but he’s not about to let Lan Zhan have to face Jiang Cheng’s rage.
He loves Lan Zhan too much for that.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian says again, softly grasping Lan Zhan’s hand in his. “Lan Zhan, look at me?”
After a breath, Lan Zhan does. His eyes are sharp and cold, but they do soften slightly as Wei Wuxian tries to smile at him, and fails.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian whispers, fighting an urge to cry. “I have you. There is nothing better than that, no matter what I deserve or not.”
Lan Wangji looks at their linked hands. He seems as if he wants to argue it for a moment, but Wei Wuxian doesn’t let him, throwing his arms around Lan Zhan and holding him tight, as tight as he can manage.
“Nothing better,” he repeats into Lan Zhan’s chest, slightly muffled by the robes. After a moment, Lan Zhan hugs him back, pressing kisses into his hair.
“Wei Ying,” he says simply, accepting it. Wei Wuxian lifts his head, and immediately finds himself being kissed, kissed so thoroughly that he is pretty sure the only reason he remains standing is Lan Zhan holding him.
“Second Master Lan. Such shamelessness. People will think you are marrying Wei Wuxian only to bed him,” Jiang Cheng says mockingly, all venom, and Lan Wangji pauses, breaking the kiss. For a glorious moment, Jiang Cheng must think he’s done it, he’s aggravated the Second Jade of Lan enough to get the fight he wanted, because he smiles darkly.
“No,” Lan Wangji says firmly. “Already.”
“Already?” Jiang Cheng repeats. “What do you mean already? What have you already…”
Wei Wuxian can see realization dawn and for once, Jiang Cheng clearly wishes he had said nothing, his eyes widening.
Faintly, Lan Wangji smiles. Wei Wuxian can only laugh, and laugh, clinging to Lan Zhan as he does. To think they call him shameless!
Jiang Cheng makes a strangled groan, and stalks off.
Good thing too, Wei Wuxian considers, as Lan Zhan takes his hand and leads him away without any shame at all.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan whispers lovingly, kissing his flushed cheeks. His hands are warm on Wei Wuxian’s back, caressing and supporting, steadying Wei Wuxian after every slow, languid trust Lan Zhan makes.
Wei Wuxian has honestly lost track of time. It is late, he can tell, the moonlight from the window making Lan Zhan seem even more ethereal than normal. How late, he has no idea. Lan Zhan seems determined to go slow tonight, taking his time to touch, to kiss, to caress, to simply make love, and Wei Wuxian knows why.
What others may say with words, Lan Zhan says by doing, and he is speaking so very loudly now.
Lan Zhan thinks Wei Wuxian deserves such love. No, doesn’t think – is convinced of it, Wei Wuxian knows, and the thought makes his heart ache. No one else thinks that. At least no one left alive now.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan whispers again, his voice a caress too.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian manages to say, smiling at him. “I hear you.”
In the morning, Wei Wuxian finds Jiang Cheng sitting miserably on the porch, drinking Emperor’s Smile. It is snowing outside, and Wei Wuxian puts on an extra robe before he too, sits down on the porch.
Jiang Cheng’s knuckles are bruised, Wei Wuxian notices, but he says nothing.
“Night hunt with Lan Xichen,” Jiang Cheng says after a while.
Wei Wuxian smiles faintly. Jiang Cheng has been looking for a fight since he came here, Wei Wuxian has come to realize, and Lan Xichen seems to have found one for him. He’ll have to remember to thank Lan Xichen for that. All the rage seems to have been drained from Jiang Cheng, leaving only… What?
Jiang Cheng hands him the bottle of Emperor’s Smile, and Wei Wuxian takes a zip of it before handing it back. They drink like that in silence for a while, watching the snow fall on Cloud Recesses, soft and white, blanketing everything.
“Cloud Recesses,” Jiang Cheng says bitterly. “Your new home. Your new family. Hanguang Jun, husband. Lan Xichen, brother-in-law. The whole of Gusu Lan ready to consider you one of their own despite everything.”
He could feel anger at that bitterness, Wei Wuxian knows. Instead, he merely feels pity and grief for his brother.
“Yes,” he says. “Doesn’t mean I don’t miss the home I had. The family I had. Lotus Pier. Shijie. You.”
Jiang Cheng closes his eyes, balling his fists. Wei Wuxian half expects an outburst, but it doesn’t come. Something painful flashes across Jiang Cheng’s face, and then his expression stills.
Wei Wuxian lets himself wait, watching the snow fall. He has a feeling Lan Xichen did more than take Jiang Cheng night hunting. Perhaps Lan Xichen found the right words, the words Wei Wuxian has half given up on ever finding.
“When you were young, I wasn’t sure you’d ever marry,” Jiang Cheng says after a long time. “But if you did… If you did, I had plans for your wedding. None of them were like this.”
Wei Wuxian closes his eyes briefly. What would that have been like, he wonders, but doesn’t quite dare to imagine it. Too painful, too bitter, too lost.
Perhaps that is why Jiang Cheng has been angry every moment here, too lost in the wedding he imagined to appreciate the wedding that will happen.
“It is not the wedding you imagined, I know,” he says softly, opening his eyes. “But it will be the wedding I have. I am marrying Lan Zhan tomorrow, Jiang Cheng. Would you like to stay for that?”
Jiang Cheng remains silent for a long, long time. Finally, he exhales. “Yes.”
“Thank you,” Wei Wuxian says, and means it. “And… I’m sorry.”
Jiang Cheng gives him a look. “Will you stop kissing Lan Wangji in my presence now?”
“Definitely not,” Wei Wuxian says cheerfully. “Never will.”
Jiang Cheng scowls, but a good sort of scowl, Wei Wuxian thinks, and feels strangely hopeful.
After Jiang Cheng leaves, Wei Wuxian crawls back into bed to find Lan Zhan awake and waiting for him, pulling him into an embrace and kissing the snowflakes in his hair without seeming to mind the cold.
“You heard?” Wei Wuxian asks softly.
“Hn,” Lan Zhan says.
“Play nice with him from now on?” Wei Wuxian asks, tucking his head under Lan Zhan’s chin.
“Hn,” Lan Zhan says. “For Wei Ying.”
Wei Wuxian exhales. He knows Lan Zhan will always be a little angry at Jiang Cheng, but that’s all right. For all he plays nice with Lan Quiren for Lan Zhan’s sake, he is always going to be a little angry about thirty-three whip scars.
“Thank you,” he says, and Lan Zhan puts a finger under his chin, tilting his head up to kiss him softly, understanding all too well.
Wei Wuxian marries Lan Wangji on a snowy day in the Cloud Recesses, and it’s a happy day, happier than he could have ever imagined.
Yes, Lan Qiren is not entirely satisfied with Wei Wuxian’s manners during the ceremony, and Jiang Cheng scowls every time Wei Wuxian as much as touches Lan Zhan, but Wei Wuxian feels no less happy for that.
How can he, with A-Yuan crying happy tears, and Jin Ling not scowling at all, and Lan Xichen looking genuinely happy, genuinely smiling when Wei Wuxian mouths ‘thank you’ at him. How can he, with Lan Zhan becoming his husband, his Lan Zhan, his. How can he, with Lan Zhan smiling at him like he’s the all Lan Zhan wants, eyes bright with happiness as he bows, calling himself Wei Ying’s husband with such pride.
How can Wei Wuxian be anything but happy?
Especially when Lan Zhan shamelessly kisses him before Lan Xichen and Jiang Cheng have even left them alone in the bridal chamber, and doesn’t stop, and Wei Wuxian will take a lifetime of this, of Lan Zhan, please and thank you.