There are, one supposes, plenty of benefits to the thousands of rules of the Gusu Lan Sect. The more rules you have to live by, the fewer decisions you have to make. You have less control maybe, but also less responsibility. Fewer chances for failure, but then also fewer chances for learning.
The hardest rules for Wei Wuxian were always around talking, or, more precisely, not talking. Not talking in the corridor, not talking between lessons, not talking while eating. While eating! It was a different way of binding a community than he was used to, shared adherence more than shared experience, and it had consequences. Careless talk could cost, certainly, but it could also create.
Wei Ying was laying flat on top of Lan Zhan like those first nights back at Cloud Recesses, chin on hands on chest. It had been a long day, and he knew Lan Zhan liked it, liked the pressure and the weight, liked knowing Wei Ying was solidly there with him in this moment. Where another man might feel trapped, Lan Zhan felt safe, and Wei Ying relaxed into him, thinking hard. “Lan Zhan?”
“Mmm.” The acknowledgement rumbled through him.
“Mmm, no. This is the problem. This is it precisely.” Wei Ying rolled off him and sat up, cross legged near the foot of the bed.
Lan Zhan raised his head to look at him, blinking, a little drowsy.
“I’ve been thinking it over, and I’ve decided that you,” here he pointed at Lan Zhan as if he was a junior about to receive a scolding, “are going to learn to ask for what you want.”
Lan Zhan flushed, just a bit, just at the tips of his ears, where only those who knew him would know to look.
Wei Ying knew where to look. A part of him had always known.
“I’m serious,” he continued. “Just think. This is all on you and your sect and their endless rules. We wasted so much time because you couldn’t ask for what you wanted.”
“At least I knew what I wanted,” Lan Zhan said, and it was the sort of low blow that would normally have drawn a reaction, but Wei Ying was not willing to let go of his thought.
“I wanted everything,” Wei Ying said, a little wounded. “I just didn’t know I could have it.”
“Well. You can,” Lan Zhan said soft and low, and years ago it might have cost him something to say it, but now it’s just a fact between them, thrumming. It’s a lot, it’s alive, it’s not enough.
Wei Ying smiled, a little devilish, and leaned back against the foot of the bed. “Look,” he said, one hand light on his knee, the other loosening his own top with a quick tug, then moving down, palming himself through the fabric. “If you can’t tell me what you want, I’ll just have to manage on my own.”
“Stop,” said Lan Zhan, pushing himself up so he’s sitting too, and Wei Ying obeyed. “Come back here.”
Wei Ying crawled back up the bed, straddled him, knees on either side of his hips, and waited.
“What are the rules?” Lan Zhan asked. “Do I tell you what I want you to do? Or what I want to do?”
Wei Ying suspected once he got Lan Zhan talking, he’d never stop. He tilted his head back, rolled his hips, and was rewarded by a quick gasp. “Yes.” Lan Zhan reached up and Wei Ying swatted his hand away. “Ask first.”
“I want.” He paused. Swallowed. “I want to touch your face.” Wei Ying nodded, and Lan Zhan reached up again, tracing the curve of his jaw, flushed cheek, thumb against his lips - “open” - and Wei Ying did, taking the thumb into his mouth, eyes closed, lashes long and dark, tongue working until Lan Zhan couldn’t bear it anymore. He thought of the hunt, all those years ago, how he had taken without asking. Never again. “Kiss me?” he asked, hands skimming down Wei Ying’s torso, and Wei Ying did, instinctive, eyes still closed, light at first but then opening to each other, slow tasting, breathing in and out, Wei Ying’s hands on his chest, a soft throb layers deep the phantom pain of the long-ago scar, the mark that said wherever you are I am yours.
“Too much clothing,” Lan Zhan growled, and Wei Ying laughed, tumbling away as ties were pulled and layers fell to the floor, an almost certain violation of at least three sect rules.
“Here,” Lan Zhan said, pulling Wei Ying back to the bed. “I just. I want to touch you.”
“Can I touch you back?”
“Oh, yes,” Lan Zhan breathed into the hollow of his throat, and then it was as if a dam had broken, hands and mouths everywhere, bodies twisting, rubbing heat between them, and always Lan Zhan’s voice: “Here here here.” He bit at Wei Ying’s hip, traced the crease of his thigh with his tongue, then took him in his mouth, gratified at the gasp, working the length only long enough to tease, then shifting back up, face to face, kissing fiercely. “Wait.” One hand on Wei Ying’s chest, the other fumbling at the floor, finding the small pot, dipping long fingers in, mouth falling open as he reached down, down, slick and ready.
Wei Ying’s heart thudded, bloomed warm and bright at the sight of Lan Zhan, beautiful and open. “You,” he rasped. “You have to say it.”
“Everything.” Lan Zhan reached down, wrapping fingers around the heat of Wei Ying, thumbing the tip, guiding him in, thighs shaking. “I want everything.”
“Okay,” said Wei Ying. “Okay,” he says and he does, he gives him everything but words. Lan Zhan has words enough for both of them, words like yes and please and more, words like music, words like praying, words like years of longing and words like gratitude for now. Wei Ying above him, holding his hands, pressing them into the bed so there’s nothing Lan Zhan can do but crack open his chest and offer up his heart. Please he says again, now, and Wei Ying shifts his weight, lets go, braces himself with one hand, and takes Lan Zhan in the other, matching the rhythm until the sounds Lan Zhan makes have long ceased to bear any resemblance to words.
“Mmm,” Wei Ying says, collapsing full length, hot and sated, on Lan Zhan.
“Yes,” Lan Zhan says, and laughs.