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boyfriend material

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“You’re telling me that you went through all the trouble of hijacking my phone, downloading Tinder, making me a proflile, and you don’t even have an account yourself?” 

 

Wei Ying grinned broadly across the table at Jiang Cheng’s stormy expression, and swung his legs down from where they were resting. He didn’t bother holding back his laugh as his brother’s brow became more furrowed. He propped his hand on his chin. 

 

“What’s the matter Jiang Cheng?” He asked, tying ,albeit not very hard,to keep the teasing lilt out of his voice. “I don’t see the problem.” He bit his lip to keep in his laughter as his brother went from angry to angrier, his cheeks gaining a ruddy blush.

 

“The problem?! How can you- how can you be so insistent that I need to get a girlfriend-”

 

“Or boyfriend!”

 

“-Or boyfriend, sorry,” Jiang Cheng continued, seemingly not noticing the small acquiescence that made Wei Ying’s heart warm, “but you don’t have one either, and you aren’t even trying. What gives you the right, huh?” He finished with a sharp huff, crossing his arms and slouching back in his chair. Wei Ying waved his hand flippantly.

 

“I don’t need to use an app to do that kind of stuff. I won’t find the love of my life on an app where everyone makes judgments based on a few photos and a couple words in a description. Anyone can lie online Jiang Cheng!” 

 

“Like when you catfished Jin Zixuan in middle school?” Jiang Cheng asked, his eyebrows raised like he wasn’t impressed, but he couldn’t hide the small tilt of his lips upwards from his brother. Wei Ying nodded enthusiastically. 

 

“Yes! Exactly like that! I wasn’t a pretty girl from a nearby school, I was a pretty boy who went his his school. It’s that easy to lie online Jiang Cheng! If somebody has ‘Looking for someone to hang out with’ written in their bio, what are the odds they actually want to hang out, Jiang Cheng? I can’t have a relationship based on lies!” Wei Ying declared. It wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t the whole truth either. Tinder was a decent enough place to look for a hook-up, it wasn’t a decent enough place to look for anything beyond that. Forming a relationship primarily on the basis of physical attraction was bound to lead to problems in the long-run, and quite honestly, the long-run is the only thing that Wei Ying had any real interest in. 

 

Jiang Cheng let out a disbelieving huff. “And you think I want a relationship based on lies?” Wei Ying straightened. 

 

“Of course not! You deserve a real love too Jiang Cheng. I would never accept you settling for anything less than somebody who makes you happy in all meanings of the word.” He said honestly, basking in the brief look of genuine surprise on his brother’s face. Then he leaned over the table, a smirk creeping over his face. “I also think that you need to get laid.” 

 

In a second, the stunned look slipped from Jiang Cheng’s face, as he turned a lovely shade of red. With a cry of “WEI WUXIAN!” he quickly and roughly grabbed Wei Ying’s ear with the whip-fast reflexes of somebody who has dealt with a troublemaker all his life. Wei Ying laughed through the sharp and familiar pain. 

 

“Ah! Ah! Jiang Cheng, Jiang Cheng! Let go!” He cried, his pleas slightly diminished by his laughter. “Take mercy on this one! You don’t want to cause a scene do you?” At this, Jiang Cheng let go of his ears and began to glance around them, looking to see if anyone had truly stopped to notice. Taking his chance at freedom, Wei Ying tossed himself back and flashed a grin at a nearby spectator. The onlooker, some nondescript guy he had never seen before, quickly averted his gaze, ashamed at being caught looking. He turned back to Jiang Cheng, who had adopted an air of long-suffering. 

 

“I don’t know why you’ll be able to find anyone, anyway.” Jiang Cheng griped. “Your standards are so weird. ” 

 

Wei Ying sat up, his feathers ruffled. “You want to talk about standards? You, Mister ‘Naturally beautiful, graceful and obedient, hard-working and thrifty, coming from a respected family, personality not too strong, not talking too much, voice not too loud, spending money not too much’?” Not that Wei Ying was counting, but the blush that crept across Jiang Cheng’s face was the third since they had first sat down. It was too easy. 

 

“Yeah well, it beats ‘must love Kermit the Frog, able to sweep me off my feet literally and figuratively, must be comfortable in a graveyard, must love cornetto, must protect me from dogs, must be able to match my score in DDR?’” As he spoke, Jiang Cheng looked more and more anguished. “Half of those requirements are nonsense!” 

 

Wei Ying pouted. Sure, they were a little odd, but most of them were jokes at least, and major pluses at best, but what really bugged him was one thing. “Jiang Cheng, you forgot the most important requirement.” 

 

Jiang Cheng glared. 

 

“Really? That one? That’s the most important?”  

 

Wei Ying nodded, some of his bangs falling into his eyes as he did so. “The most important.” 

 

“‘Must use cliche pick-up lines?’ Really. Wei Wuxian. Really.” 

 

Jiang Cheng looked like every word he spoke removed a year from his young life. Wei Ying nodded somberly. “Really, Jiang Cheng. Really. That’s the way into my heart.” He grabbed the front of his sweater in his fist dramatically. “The only way to break down my barriers. The key to all of me, all that I am… Is cliche pick-up lines.” 

 

Jiang Cheng scoffed, and said nothing more. He glanced down at his watch, then cast a look towards the door to the union. Wei Ying knew why, as the reason they were occupying one of the small tables in the union and sitting in uncomfortable chairs was to wait for Nie Huaisang to meet up with them so they could rendezvous before they headed out to see a movie. Wei Ying had already forgotten the name of the movie, but he was eager to spend some time with Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang. Sure, they were all roommates, but they were also his closest friends, aside from Wen Ning and Wen Qing. 

 

Wei Ying slipped his phone out of his pocket. He smiled to himself as his lock screen popped up, Kermit the Frog and his lifeless puppet eyes  greeting him. He glanced at the time. Nie Huaisang was five minutes late, and if his previous pattern of behavior was anything to go off of, he and Jiang Cheng would be waiting another five before he showed up. He didn’t have any new notifications, so he slipped his phone back into his pocket. He stretched his arms above his head, before letting his arms and torso fall onto the table with a loud thud. The hard, but not in a bad way, impact brought a small sigh out of Wei Wuxian, that turned into a breathy laugh as he registered Jiang Cheng’s exclamation of shock. 

 

He cast a glance around the union. People were milling about, doing whatever they needed to do. There were study groups, psychology students stopping people looking for participants in their surveys, people sleeping, people on their phones, one couple making out so hard you would think that they hadn’t seen each other in years. The usual. Though there was one thing that caught his attention. 

 

Seated not to far away, Lan Xichen typing something on his laptop, with a gentle smile on his face, though Wei Wuxian would be hard pressed to remember a time he saw Lan  Xichen without a smile. Wei Ying perked up. Lan Xichen was a sweetheart and a delight to be around, but more than that: seeing the older Lan brother always made Wei Ying think about the younger Lan brother, and there was little Wei Ying would rather do than think about Lan Wangji. 

 

Before Wei Ying could get up, he was hit on the head. He whined, and turned a betrayed look to Jiang Cheng. “What was that for?!” He asked. “I didn’t do anything!” The yet went unsaid. 

 

“Don’t bother Lan Xichen.” Jiang Chen scolded. “We don’t have time for you to… go wreak havoc. Or whatever you were going to do. Leave him be.”  Wei Ying feined great offense. 

 

“You wound me, brother dearest. I have only the most innocent and pure intentions at all times!” 

 

Jiang Cheng said nothing, only raising his eyebrows, his face straight.

Which, yeah, that’s fair. 

 

Before Wei Ying could continue to defend himself, or better yet, simply bolt from the table, he noticed a harried Nie Huaisang quickly approaching the table. Wei Ying perked up and waved at his friend. 

 

“Huaisang-xiong!” He called out. Jiang Cheng quickly turned to look, and they were  met with a bashful smile as the latecomer finally made it to the table. Huaisang gave them a nod in apology, and Wei Ying noticed the slight difference in his eye makeup from this morning. While he had left the dorm wearing golden eyeshadow and lip balm, he was wearing an olive green on his eyes and a reddish-brown gloss on his lips. Wei Ying wondered why, and knew that contributed to why he was late. 

 

“Sorry, so sorry I’m late Wanyin-xiong, Wei-xiong!” He apologized. “I lost track of time in the studio, and then on my way to drop off my stuff I ran into a couple of fans, and then-” 

 

“It’s alright Huaisang.” Jiang Cheng said, his small smile betraying his firm voice. “We know to account for ten extra minutes when you’re involved.” Wei Ying nodded in agreeacnce.

 

Nie Huaisang laughed, seeming slightly embarrassed. “Of course, of course, thank you.” His smile was bright, and slightly hidden behind his wrist-clutch. “Shall we get going then? We shouldn’t follow my example and be late to the movie.” 

 

Wei Ying sprang to his feet, eager to get going. Despite not knowing what movie they were going to see, he had been sitting in the union for far too long, and was ready to get on with their evening. After the movie, Wei Ying wondered if they would stop by a liquor store and maybe grab some Emperor’s Smile and play some video games. It had been a while since Jiang Cheng had been thrashed in Mario Kart. He slung his arm around Nie Huaisang.

 

“Let’s head out! Onto another excellent evening with the SangChengYing Squad!” He announced loudly. Jiang Cheng stood up slower, and with an annoyed groan. 

 

“We are not the SangChengYing Squad. I never agreed to this.” 

 

“But Wanyin-Xiong, it is the name of our group chat.” Nie Huaisang noted, tapping his chin with his purse. “And it’s on our door.” 

 

Jiang Chen looked at Nie Huaisang with a look of complete and utter betrayal, and Wei Ying doubled over, before pulling Jiang Cheng forward by the front of his sweater, then throwing his other arm around his brother’s shoulders. He pulled them close to him, and allowed himself a moment to revel in the joy he felt at being around two of his favorite people. 

 

Who needed a girlfriend, or boyfriend, when he had such amazing friends?

Wei Ying began walking forward, still holding his friends close to him, brightly humming some nameless tune as he went. Nie Huaisang giggled as they made their way out of the union, and Jiang Cheng has frostily silent, but he wasn’t pushing himself away, which was a rather excellent sign. They continued on in this way for a short while, until they reached the door and Jiang Cheng pulled away. 

 

“Ah! Jiang Cheng! You’re abandoning us so soon?” Wei Wuxian clung to Nie Huaisang with his free arm, pulling the shorter man closer to him. “Without you we are just the SangYing Squad-! Hey!” Wei Ying protested as Nie Huaisang was suddenly pulled away from him. Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes and pulled Nie Huaisang through the door. Wei Wuxian childishly stomped his foot, but smiled when he saw the pinkish blush on Nie Huaisang’s cheeks. 

 

Though that could have been his makeup, but he was pretty sure his intuition was right on this one. 

 

Wei Wuxian moved to follow them, pushing open the opposite door, but having his gaze fixed on where Nie Huaisang and Jiang Cheng continued on, Jiang Cheng’s hand resting just above Nie Huaisang’s wrist, he barreled head-on into somebody else. 

 

Somebody very firm. 

 

Wei Wuxian stumbled back, his apology already on the tip of his tongue, when he finally realized that the person he had collided with was none other than Lan Wangji. The apology died when it was halfway out of his mouth. Lan Wangji looked as lovely and ethereal as ever.  Even in a white t-shirt with a grey cardigan, he looked like he stepped out of a magazine spread for a very expensive cologne. Though Wei Ying was nearly positive Lan Wangji didn’t use cologne, though he always smelled so nice. Everything about him was so nice, and why was he just standing here staring at him oh my god-?! 

 

“Wei Ying.” Lan Wangji’s voice interrupted his spiraling thoughts and he snapped back to reality. He blinked once, then beamed at Lan Wangji, letting his joy at seeing him shine through. He could allow himself this much. Even if it wasn’t much, he could never restrain his smiles around Lan Wangji. 

 

“‘Lan Zhan! Fancy meeting you here!” He said cheerfully. Succumbing to his desire to illicit a reaction from that beautiful face, as he always finds himself doing where Lan Zhan is concerned, he added, putting an overly-flirtatious lilt to his voice, “Do you come here often?” 

 

Lan Wangji blinked at him, looking confused. He tilted his head to the side. “Yes?” Lan Wangji answered, and oh that’s so cute. “I come here often.” Wei Ying couldn’t help himself and burst our laughing-- only his Lan Zhan would hear that question and give him such an earnest answer with such a straight face. He looked at the befuddled expression once more, and he patted Lan Wangji’s shoulder. 

“Oh Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan. You’re too much, you-” 

 

“Wei Wuxian!” Wei Ying looked past Lan Wangji to where Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang were waiting, Jiang Cheng with his arms crossed, and Nie Huaisang with his mouth behind his purse. He looked back to Lan Wangji, who’s expression had mostly returned to normal, though something else was there that he couldn’t read. 

 

“Sorry Lan Zhan, I can’t stick around to keep you company. Things to do, places to be!” He apologized, knowing full well that Lan Wangji would be relieved to hear it, though it caused a pang in his heart. He gave another smile to him, before he slipped past, suppressing a shudder as he pressed against him and the smell of sandalwood filled his nose. He jogged slightly out into the sweet evening air to catch up to his brother and friend. 

 

Jiang Cheng pinched his ear, and Wei Ying complained, before he was pulled away by his brother towards the parking lot. Nie Huaisang began speaking excitedly about the movie they were on their way to see. Wei Ying turned his head back to see Lan Wangji’s retreating form, and felt the familiar tug on his heart that he has grown to associate with the other man. Jiang Cheng pulled his ear again. 

 

“Hey, idiot, you remembered to grab your wallet right? You agreed to buy snacks, and I don’t want to end up paying because you forgot again.” 

 

Wei Ying turned his attention back to his friends. “Of course I did! You threw my wallet at me and yelled at me not to forget it, remember?” Jiang Cheng smirked as he remembered, and let his brother’s ear go. He turned to Nie Huaisang and asked him a question Wei Ying didn’t pay attention to. 

 

He observed the way Nie Huaisang brightened when Jiang Cheng spoke to him, the way his steps became peppier as they spoke to one another, and Wei Ying suddenly felt remorseful for downloading Tinder onto Jiang Cheng’s phone, even if it was just a joke. What he really needed to do was download an app that would let Jiang Cheng see how much Nie Huaisang liked him. Honestly, if Jiang Cheng wasn’t so concerned with his list of requirements for a partner, he would be able to see just how could Huaisang could be for him. 

 

Though Wei Ying was no better. After all, he had his requirements too. Well, more like one, actually. One, really, very important requirement. One that nobody but himself knows. 

 

Must be Lan Wangji. 

 



“Brother.” 

 

Lan Xichen looked up, and gave his little brother a bright smile and a nod in greeting. “Wangji! You certainly came quickly.” 

 

Wangji offered a small ‘Mm.’ as a reply, and pulled out a chair. He sat down in the stiff orange monstrosity with grace, and Xichen felt a rush of fondness for his little brother. Always so prim, his little Wangji. Though Xichen knew that wasn’t true. Beneath all of his propriety, his rigidity in sticking to rules, there was a passionate and beautiful soul, his precious baby brother who he would do anything for, as long as it would make him happy. Which is why Lan Xichen violated one of the rules that had been hammered into him by his uncle-- no eavesdropping. 

 

“Wei Wuxian happened to be in here earlier.” Xichen brought up casually, looking  closely at his brother. Wangji nodded at him, he already knew. He must have ran into him as he was coming in. “He and Jiang Wanyin were discussing something quite interesting, actually.” Though he said nothing, Wangji’s eyebrows twitched in interest. “They were discussing what they looked for in a potential partner…” He lead on. 

 

He heard the slight hitch in his brother’s breathm and his smile grew.

 

“Would Wangji like to know what I heard..?” 

 

It took a moment, Wangji looked like he was fighting a small battle within himself, before his little brother nodded. Lan Xichen hit send on the email he had typed earlier. He waited a minute, and then he heard the small jingle of an alert come from Wangji’s phone. Slowly, his brother took out his phone. Xichen watched in anticipation as his brother navigated his way to the email. 

 

He watched as Wangji’s eyes grew wide. 

Chapter Text

Lan Wangji stared at his phone screen, the email his brother had sent him glowing back up at him obnoxiously, mockingly. The brightness of the screen was punishingly bright in his otherwise dark room, but he couldn’t put this list away. Not until he had a plan.

 

Must love Kermit the Frog,  must be able to sweep him off his feet literally and figuratively, must be comfortable in a graveyard, must love cornetto, must protect him from dogs, must be able to match his score in DDR, must use cliche pick-up lines.   

 

This is what he had to do if he wanted to be the perfect match for Wei Ying. Eight requirements he had to meet. Even though he wasn’t entirely sure what some of these requirements even meant, he was going to make sure that he met them. If it would put him on Wei Ying’s radar, if it would make him consider Lan Wangji as a potential partner, he would do anything. 

 

Some small part of his rapidly beating heart was soothed by the knowledge that there were at least some of these requirements that he wouldn’t have to worry about. He could certainly sweep Wei Ying of his feet physically (and he has entertained many such fantasies in his daydreams and fantasies) but metaphorically? Lan Wangji… obviously has no idea he would go about doing that. He assumed that maybe the metaphorical part of it would happen naturally as he made his way through the rest of the list. 

 

Protect him from dogs? Lan Wangj knows that Wei Ying has a crippling fear of dogs, but he has never been around him when there has been a dog around. Lan Wangji was certain that he could be able to protect him from dogs, as he is already prepared and willing to protect him from all things that would hurt him, or pull that radiant, blinding, perfect smile from his face. 

 

The rest of the requirements were… perplexing. Lan Wangji had no idea what ‘DDR’ is, his feelings about Kermit the Frog were at most nonexistent, graveyards were a place for mourning and paying respects to the dead, he doesn’t remember if he has ever eaten a cornetto, and… pick-up lines. 

 

Pick-up lines were… shameless. Utterly shameless. Just thinking about them made Wangji’s ear’s feel hot, and make his heart stutter uncomfortably. The thought of saying such things to Wei Ying, of being so forward… 

 

Lan Wangji grabbed his pillow from behind him and shoved his face into it, not knowing what else to do. Talking that way to the man who’s had a claim on his heart for so long, it was enough to utterly destroy his composure, but he had to do it. He had to, otherwise he’ll never know if Wei Ying could even possibly feel the same way. For that chance, for just the chance to have Wei Ying in his arms, in his life… He would be willing to try anything. 

 

He took in a deep breath and pulled his head from the pillow and straightened his glasses. He opened the browser on his phone, and googled ‘ cliche pick-up lines.” He would apply himself to this with the same dedication he gave his studies. He wouldn’t fail, even if he lost face along the way, and even if it meant breaking his curfew. 




When the morning came, after a meager five hours of sleep, Lan Wangji had a plan. He would be taking each requirement one at a time, demonstrating his worth to Wei Ying slowly but surely, but all the while he would… He would use the pick-up lines. Last night he did his research, and memorized some pick-up lines, and he also figured out what DDR was. Lan Wangji wasn’t completely in the dark about video games. He had a Playstation (that he would make sure his uncle NEVER knew about) and he’s played a couple games. Mostly RPGs, (and that one dating sim he would make sure NOBODY knew about). But he had never been to an arcade, and never knew about Dance Dance Revolution, but apparently Wei Ying was good enough at the game to take pride in his score. 

 

Being able to match his score may take some more work than he initially anticipated, but in the end, it was all of Wei Ying. The time he would normally devote to guqin practice, he would devote to practicing Dance Dance Revolution at the arcade. There was an arcade in Gusu-- he knew Wei Ying went there often. 

 

Another problem he came across, was that he had no idea how he would demonstrate his love for Kermit the Frog. He would need to think on that more, but last night he had placed an order for a small Kermit the Frog enamel pin he could place on his bookbag. 

 

While that would take some time, there were other requirements he could work on in the meantime. Firstly, must love cornetto. 






“You could use a little concealer under your eyes, Wei-Xiong.” Nie Huaisang commented, calling attention to the darkness that lingered under Wei Ying’s eyes, a result of his late night cram. After they had gone out and seen the movie, which was a romantic comedy that simultaneously made Wei Ying question the relative intelligence of the screenwriter and made his heart give painful tugs whenever the leads expressed how much they loved each other, Wei Ying had remembered that he still had two paragraphs left to write on an assignment. 

 

That didn’t stop him from buying and smuggling in some Emperor’s Smile, kicking Nie Huaisang and Jiang Cheng’s ass at Super Smash Bros., and then spending another few hours helping Nie Huaisang come up with some ideas for his next video. When all of that was done, Wei Ying buckled down and powered out the rest of his assignment-- finally printing it out around 3:24 A.M.. Now, after a meager four hours of sleep, Wei Ying was awake and ready for his classes.

 

Though he needed a shirt, and apparently, he could use some concealer under his eyes. 

 

He turned towards his friend, who was just finishing applying some delicious-smelling gloss over his lips. He set the gloss down, then picked up a bottle and sprayed a fine mist all around his face. It smelled like coconuts, and not for the first time Wei Ying wondered why they made inedible products smell so tasty. He also wondered why Huaisang was still single, though he knew immediately the reason was a menace, who was currently snoring under his purple duvet, named Jiang Cheng. 

 

Wei Ying tapped under his eyes, and Huaisang smiled and picked up his concealer. He began applying it to Wei Ying, who knew he was being more silent than normal. He as he let Huaisang work his magic, he thought about Jiang Cheng’s list of requirements.

 

Nie Huaisang was naturally beautiful, and the makeup he put on only enhanced that natural beauty. You would only have to know him for five minutes to see how gracefully he held himself, unless he was nervous in which he became like a sparrow, he was obedient, hard-working (when he was passionate), he didn’t speak too much and too loudly, his brother was an olympic athlete who ran his own sporting goods company. Quite honestly, if you ignore the frightening amounts of makeup products Wei Ying was too afraid to even ask the cost of, Nie Huaisang met all of Jiang Cheng’s old-fashioned standards, and more. Because he was Nie Huaisang, anybody would be lucky to date this lovely head-shaking best friend of his. 

 

“Hey, Huaisang-Xiong, do you like anyone?” Wei Ying asked. Nie Huaisang’s eyes widened, and the gentle brush movements stuttered on his skin for a second before they resumed. 

 

“I don’t know,” he said, reaching over to a container of power. “I really don’t know.” 

 

Wei Ying didn’t believe that at all. “Are you sure?” He pressed as Huaisang dipped a sponge into the powder and brought it under Wei Ying’s eyes. He tapped a few times in silence, before he let out a small sigh. 

 

“You already know, don’t you?” He sounded resigned, his eyes darting downward to look at the floor. Wei Ying’s heat ached for him. “I know that nothing will come of it. I know that, or… I don’t know. I know I say that a lot, but this time I really don’t-- it seems like one second that he’s looking at me like I look at him, or his touch lingers for a second longer than it should, and then he turns around and talks about how badly he wants a girlfriend.” He looked so confused and upset, and Wei Ying didn’t spare a second thought before he reached over and pulled his friend into a hug. 

 

Huaisang immediately returned the embrace, his breathing slowly becoming more steady. Wei Ying could sympathize, at least to a degree. But where Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang were best friends, Lan Zhan couldn’t even admit that they were close. It hurt to know that the person that he wanted everything to do with wanted nothing to do with him. But Wei Ying still wanted to be around Lan Zhan anyway, to savor the reactions he could pull from his stoic face, to treasure the times that he thinks Lan Zhan might be enjoying having him around. 

 

Unrequited love sucked. 

 

Nie Huaisang’s breath had mellowed out, and Wei Ying gave him a final squeeze before he loosened his arms-- and the door to the bathroom swung open. 

 

Jiang Cheng stood there, looking thurogly ruffled from sleep. His hair was a mess, and his shirt (purple, with the words ‘ born to kick grass’ and a picture of a soccer ball) was wrinkled. Jiang Cheng stood in the doorway, his eyes adjusting to the light, before he suddenly seemed to wake up as if splashed with cold water. 

 

“What the hell are you guys doing?” He asked, his voice rough from sleep and far louder than normal speaking volume. Wei Ying didn’t think that there was anything wrong with hugging a friend, but his need to cause mischief far outweighed his need to unnecessarily defend himself. 

 

“Huaisang-Xiong and I are eloping!” He announced, grabbing Nie Huaisang’s  hand and holding it in his own proudly holding his hand as if they had just gotten engaged. Jiang Cheng’s face went through an interesting transformation, seeming to work through the stages of grief in reverse, before settling somewhere in the middle of anger and denial.

 

“You’re what?! ” He hissed. Wei Ying grinned, and was about to say how they had planned to run away with one another, when he was interrupted by Huaisang. 

 

“It’s just a joke, Wanyin-Xiong.” He clarified, his eyes glittering with mirth. Wei Ying pouted. Way to ruin his fun. Now he wouldn’t get a chance to see if he could make Jiang Cheng’s face match his shirt. Rude. 

 

Jiang Cheng groaned, rubbing his eyes. “It’s too early for this shit.” Wei Ying barked out a laugh at that. His brother couldn’t function in the mornings without some sort of caffeine running through his veins. Be it tea, coffee, or Jiang Cheng’s preferred beverage of choice, Monster energy. 

 

“Ah, no fun! You’re both no fun!” Wei Ying complained through his laughter. He strolled out of the bathroom and over to his wardrobe. He flung it open and pulled out a well-loved T-Shirt adorned with a nondescript full-bodied picture of kermit the frog and pulled it on over his head. He threw on a light jacket, then grabbed his backpack and slung it on, the numerous chams jingling pleasantly as he did so. He turned to the two in the bathroom. 

 

Nie Huaisang was consoling Jiang Cheng with a tender pat on the shoulder, and the other seemed thoroughly done with the day already. He called out a hurried goodbye to them, and rushed out the door, already three minutes late to his first class. 



As soon as his last class of the day was over, Wei Ying left his class quickly, breezing out like a storm. He navigated the hall with quick steps, giving passerbys quick smiles and waves. He stepped outside the hall and grinned as the early autumn sun kissed his face. He quickened the pace of his steps, and made his way to a lovely area on the grass. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool, and the last dredges of summer clung in the air. Wei Ying slipped the bag off of his shoulders and threw himself onto the grass, uncaring if a few passerbys gave him funny looks. It was their loss-- looking down on somebody for living their life happily. Oh well, more grass for him. 

 

He hummed to himself for a moment, an unconscious smile on his face. The other class he would have had later today was cancelled, and Wei Ying was on top of all his assignments. His time was his own, and if lifted the near-constant burden that college could sometimes press onto him. It was the little breaks that stopped him from going completely insane. 

 

The only thing that could possibly make this moment better was-- 

 

“Wei Ying.” 

 

Lan Zhan!

 

" Lan Zhan!" Wei Ying said brightly, rolling onto his back. He grinned up at Lan Wangji. He looked gorgeous, as usual. Dressed in a slate-grey sweater with a white dress shirt, and light jeans. Wei Ying used to call his style boring while he was in middle school, but some time in high school he began to appreciate the understated style. If he dressed any more exciting, Wei Ying wouldn't be able to look away from him at all. "Hi! You look nice today!"

 

Fuck! He didn't mean to say that! Whatever, Lan Zhan would brush it off. Might as well go all the way. 

 

"Really really nice! Leave some for the rest of us!" He watched Lan Zhan's features, looking for a reaction. Those lovely golden eyes blinked once,  before the tips of his ears turned red, like they did when he was irritated with Wei Ying. That brought a distinct bruise to his heart, but he was used to it by now. "Are you here to tell me to get off of the grass again? It won't happen! I like the grass, I think I would have made a very good radish." 

 

Instead of the scoff of 'ridiculous' he was anticipating, Lan Zhan lowered himself to the grass, elegantly folding his legs beneath him as he went. Wei Ying's eyes widened. 

 

"Lan Zhan! You can't sit on the grass in those jeans! They'll get stained!" He exclaimed, mind reeling. Sure, he sat on the grass, that wasn't earth-shattering but--! Still! "You don't want grass stains do you?"

 

The other man fixed Wei Ying with a look. It wasn't a glare, but there was a certain in intensity in those lovely golden eyes that made his heart quicken and his face flush. 

 

"Worth it." Lan Wangji simply stated, before pulling his bag in front of him. Wei Ying was speechless, his brain trying to catch up with his heart and his face on fire. What was worth it?! Lan Zhan, what?! He barely took notice of what Lan Zhan was doing, too busy staring at the way his sliky hair moved as he tipped his head down and tripping over himself in his brain, and only snapped out of it when something was held out to him. 

 

His gaze turned to what Lan Zhan was offering him. 

 

It was a classic cornetto ice cream cone.

 

Unbidden the words must love cornetto flashed though his brain, and if his brain wasn't already scrambled boy this sure did the trick!

 

"L-Lan Zhan? Why do you have cornetto?" He asked, unsure of what else to do. The ice cream was moved closer to him.  

 

"For you." Lan Zhan started simply, blissfully unaware of the long-term heart problems he was do doubt currently giving poor Xianxian. But gift horses and mouths and all that. Wei Ying gave a bright smile to Lan Zhan and accepted the ice cream. 

 

"Thank you Lan Zhan! I love cornetto, did you know? He unwrapped the cone, and his mouth watered at the sight of the creamy treat. It looked so creamy soft and creamy sweet, and extolling the virtues of his favorite ice cream was the only thing keeping him sane at the moment so whatever.

 

"I knew." Lan Wangji spoke, his voice, as always, level and smooth. "I… also love cornetto." He said.

 

Instantly Wei Ying knew he had to do something and do it fast to prevent himself from tackling Lan Wangji to the ground and kissing him, so he did the first thing that came to mind and shoved the cornetto into his mouth as fast as he could. 

 

Unfortunately, the ice cream had been slowly melting ever since it was removed from the freezer, and was therefore more soft than usual, and the force which Wei Ying used to move it caused the ice cream to slide off of the cone and onto his shirt.

 

Wonderful, excellent. This interaction with the man you love has gone wonderfully Wei Ying, you should make plans to do it again sometime. You truly are a casanova of the highest caliber. 

 

"Ah! Aaaah!!" Wei Ying yelled, quickly removing the swiftly melting ice cream from his shirt. He panicked as he looked around for a place to… set it down? Throw it away? "What should I-" he was cut off as the ice cream was suddenly removed from his palm. He looked over to Lan Zhan as the other man used a napkin to transfer the ice cream from Wei Ying's palm into his own thermos. "Ah-! Don't put it in there, you'll ruin your tea!"

 

Lan Wangji simply shook his head and replaced the lid on his thermos. "It's empty. I'll take care of it later." Lan Wangji looked toward the still unopened cornetto that he had, and presented it to Wei Ying. "Here."

 

Wei Ying held up his hands. "Lan Zhan, I'm not going to take your ice cream. I'm not a bully, you should have it!" Lan Zhan shook his head. 

 

"Take it."

 

"No!"

 

"Why?"

 

"It's yours?"

 

"No. Yours now."

 

Wei Ying let out an activated sound and took the ice cream. "Fine! So stubborn, Lan Zhan. I'll take your ice cream." He unwrapped the treat slowly this time, taking care as he knew it would be melty. He took a bite, using far more caution this time. As usual, it was delicious.

 

He hummed happily and his eyes slipped closed as he ate, content to enjoy the snack he was so kindly given. How often does a chance like this come around anyway? Lan Zhan giving him treats? He was going to savor this one, damnit! 

 

He opened his eyes and saw Lan Zhan looking at him with… was that envy? Was he jealous? He probably did want the ice cream a lot, and only offered it because there was probably some Lan family rule about sharing ice cream. He wouldn't put it past them. Or more likely it was because Lan Zhan was just a nice, good person, way too good. So good it made his heart do flips, too good for somebody like Wei Ying. 

 

He held out his ice cream to Lan Zhan. “Here, have some Lan Zhan. I’m not sick, I promise!” He gave what he hoped was a winning smile. Lan Wangji looked at the ice cream, back to Wei Ying, then looked away from both. 

 

“Shameless.” Lan Zhan muttered. Wei Ying furrowed his brow. 

 

“Eh? What’s shameless about sharing ice cream? I already said I wasn’t sick.” Wei Ying protested. When he got no response, he sighed internally. “Well I guess there’s more for me, so-” as he was bringing the cone back up to his mouth, it was suddenly grabbed from him. “Huh?” 

 

He watched as Lan Wangi, the stalwart Second Jade of the Lan family, the darling of Cloud Recesses University’s law program, took Wei Yings melting, half-eaten cornetto from his sticky hands and take a bite. He just… took it! And took a bite! And Wei Ying is pretty sure that when he threw himself onto the grass he must have bumped his head and this was just some hallucination, right? Right? Though the sticky coldness on his shirt begged to differ. That was far too real. The sight of Lan Wanji calmly eating Wei Ying’s cornetto, as if he was savoring every bite? Unreal. 

 

Shameless, even!

Wei Ying was without words as he watched Lan Wanji eat the ice cream. He couldn’t even find it in him to complain about him eating the entire thing. He really couldn’t. He couldn’t do anything. Was he breathing? Oh god, was he breathing? 

 

He took in a sharp breath, confirming that no, he had NOT been breathing. At least he has that under control now. If the rest of his body functions could catch up with him, that would be ideal. It took a second, but he got there. Instad of leering at Lan Wangji in silence, he started to talk about his day, and about last night. Talking about how Jiang Cheng is actually suprisingly good to watch movies with, how late he was up (he omitted the bit about sneaking in Emperor’s Smile),  how he had run into Mianmian and Wen Qing earlier. He mentioned that his shijie was due soon and he couldn't wait to meet his nephew. He talked and talked, and Lan Zhan listened and ate his ice cream. 

 

Lan Zhan finished the cornetto calmly and neatly, not even a drip falling onto his fingers. Stop thinking about Lan Zhan’s fingers. Lan Zhan glanced down at his watch. He probably had a class to go to soon. 

 

“Do-” Wei Ying began, but his voice was far to hoarse. He cleared his throat. “Do you have a class to get to Lan Zhan?” 

 

“En.” Lan Zhan nodded. Wei Ying laughed, unsure of what else to do, and the confusion and mild hilarity of this entire situation was finally getting to him. 

 

“Well! Thank you for the ice cream Lan Zhan! It was nice of you to take pity on this one and give me some company on the grass today!” He said cheerily, meaning every word. He was always happy and grateful whenever he got to spend time with him. Unrequited love sucked, but he wouldn’t trade his feelings for anything. 

 

“You have ice cream on your shirt.” Lan Wangji pointed out, and once again Wei Ying’s attention was pulled to the unpleasantness on his chest.

 

“Ah, I know. It feels so gross.” He confessed, pulling a face. “Not to mention that I ruined Kermit’s visage. I hope he forgives me.” He smiled. Lan Zhan was still and silent for a moment, before he began to slip his sweater off of his head. He offered it to Wei Ying, who’s eyes had gone wide. 

 

“You’re- offering me your sweater?” he asked, voice weak. Lan Zhan nodded. Mouths, horses, whatever, he was being offered a chance to wear Lan Zhan’s clothes. He immediately began to strip off his own shirt. He giggled at the small huff Lan Wangji gave at his shamelessness, but did nothing as Wei Ying took the incredibly soft sweater and slipped it over his head. He was instantly warmer, not only his body, but his heart and stomach was filled with a euphoric, fuzzy feeling. The sweater was too-large on him, and Wei Ying selfishly cuddled it into himself. It smelled like sandalwood, and Wei Ying had never loved an object more in his life. 

 

“Thank you Lan Zhan…” He murmured, looked at him, hopefully letting his gratefulness and happiness show. Lan Zhan shook his head. 

 

“No need.” He said, before standing up. He had some faint grass stains on his jeans, just light enough to be noticable if you looked, but nothing that would require special detergent. The plain white button-up he wore was… Incredible on him, accentuating his figure, and Wei Ying was tempted to give him his sweater back so Wei Ying would be able to keep his brain from melting out of his ears. “Wei Ying.”

 

“Yes Lan Zhan?” He asked. Lan Wangji’s ears turned red. 

 

“Do you know what that sweater is made out of…?” He asked. If Wei Ying didn’t know any better, he would say that Lan Zhan sounded… nervous? He felt the sweater. It was really soft, softer than anything Wei Ying owned, but he wasn’t sure what the material was. Was it really expensive? Was Lan Zhan going to warn him not to mess it up because he couldn’t afford to replace it?

 

“No..?” Wei Ying answered catiously. 

 

Lan Zhan took a few more seconds to respond. Before he looked Wei Ying dead in the eye and said, “B-Boyfriend material.” 

 

With that, he turned around and began walking to his class. 

 

Wei Ying’s brain well and truly went blank.  All he could feel was all the blood in his body rushing to his face and cheeks. There was a high keening sound that he couldn’t tell if it came from him, or someone else. 

 

What. 

 

Was. 

 

THAT. 






Chapter Text

Nie Huaisag didn’t know what to do. 

 

That of course wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, there were many things that didn’t know. He couldn’t figure out chemistry, he was terrible at memorization, he couldn’t work with oil pastels, he couldn’t ride a bicycle, he couldn’t drive. He didn’t know how to handle his crush on Wanyin-xiong, and he didn’t know how to cook salmon perfectly. 

 

There were many things he did know. He knew how to do most types of painting, he knew how to make the perfect makeup look, he knew how to dress nicely, he knew how to handle money and manage his assets, he knew physics and geometry, he could identify any birds just by looking at them. 

 

Despite how often he said otherwise, he really did know plenty. 

 

But he really didn’t know what to do with… this. 

 

Wei-xiong had come into the dorm, his face unhealthily red, then proceeded to tackle Huaisag onto his bed. Now, his head buried in Huaisang’s lap, and was babbling incoherently. Though the smothered, half-stutterd words he was able to make out ‘boyfriend,’ ‘sweater,’ ‘cornetto,’ ‘revenge,’ and ‘punishment.’ Huaisang didn’t know what to make of all that. Really, really he didn’t. Not at all, and he had been doing this for about ten minutes. 

 

Huaisang continued to rub Wei-xiong’s back consongligly. Clearly something extremely traumatic had to have happened to turn confident, rambunctious, untamed, Wei Wuxian into this stuttering, blubbering mess. Huaisang tried to piece it together. Somebody had tried to punish him by enacting revenge because he ruined their boyfriend’s sweater with a cornetto? Somebody’s boyfriend gave him their sweater because he spilled cornetto on his and their partner is going to enact revenge as punishment? 

 

Really, it was just nonsense. And happy as Huaisang was to comfort his friend-- his legs were also falling asleep, so he was trying to reason his way into easing his friend’s clearly, very troubled mind. 

 

Though his saving grace came suddenly, and most welcomed, as Wanyin-xiong came into the dorm as he usually did, with all the quiet grace of a hurricane. He was in a purple adidas track jacket, a black long sleeve, dark jeans, and black shoes. The music he was listening to with his airpods was turned up so loud Huaisang could hear it from where he was kneeling on his bed. He threw his bag (also adidas, and Huaisang knew his laptop was in there) onto his bed. 

 

Huaisang liked him so much. 

 

“Welcome home, Wanyin-xiong.” He greeted, keeping his voice light and pleasant. Like a housewife, he noted with a distinct feeling of melancholy. He pushed it aside and smiled. Wanyin-xiong looked like he was going to respond, when he froze suddenly. 

 

Right. He must have noticed the position that his roommates were in. Eager to clarify the situation so Wanyin-xiong didn’t jump to conclusions, he hastened to speak before the other man could, and was going to judging by the way his jaw began to move silently. 

 

“Ah, haha, Wei-xiong is upset.” He said, petting the soft black hair that was spread all over his lap. “He came in here and tackled me and… tried to tell me something. I don’t know what exactly is wrong though.”  He clasped his hands together in a pleading gesture and mouthed ‘help me!’ 

 

Jiang Cheng still looked like he was teetering on the edge of confusion and rage, before he seemed to settle down after he took in a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair. Huaisang pushed own the longing he felt at that gesture. How would his hair feel under his hands? Would it be soft or coarse, would it smell like the expensive shampoo he used? Or would it smell more like his cologne? Would he moan if--

 

Alright, he was walking over. Huaisang cut of that train of thought off like snipping a thread off of a sweater, but he knew he was blushing. He didn’t even have his purse to hide behind. He sighed internally. Wanyin-xiong would most likely chalk it up to Huaisang being embarrassed by the situation that he was in. That was fine. Though some part of him hoped that he would finally notice Huaisang’s feelings, that he would at least get a clue. 

 

Like that would ever happen. 

 

He grabbed Wei Wuxian by the back of the sweater he was wearing-- the sweater that did not belong to Wei-xiong, and pulled him up from Huisang’s lap. Huaisang sighed in relief and unfolded his legs from beneath him and watched as Wei-xiong’s miserable, red face was revealed. He furrowed his brows, still at a loss for a reason why his best friend was in this state. 

 

“Jiang Cheng!!” Wei Wuxian cried, flinging himself into his brother’s arms. Wanyin-xiong cursed and stumbled at the sudden attack, and Huaisang hid his laugh behind his hand as he watched the brothers tumble to the ground. 

 

“Hey! What the fuck is going on?!” Jiang Cheng yelled as he pried himself up from under his brother. Wei-xiong sat up and groaned miserably. 

 

“The gods are punishing me!” He wailed. “I was- I was on the grass and Lan Zhan-”

Wanyin-xiong’s expression became sharp. “What did that asshole do this time?” 



“He gave me a cornetto! Then I dropped the cornetto and then he gave me his cornetto and then I gave it back to him and then he gave me his sweater because I ruined kermit with the cornetto I dropped and he said it was made of boyfriend material! BOYFRIEND MATERIAL!” He grabbed Wanyin-xiong’s shoulders and shook them. “Jiang Cheng! He’s punishing me and getting revenge on me for teasing him so much and the gods-!” 

 

Before he could continue his tirade, Wanyin-xiong slapped his hand over Wei-xiong’s mouth, silencing him. So that’s what happend. Huisang smiled behind his hand. He knew full well just how in love Wei-xiong was with Wangji-xiong, and just how much Wangji-xiong was in love with Wei-xiong. While obliviousness seemed to be a trait in his roomates, Huaisang had eyes, and a brain that was capable of easily making logical conclusions. 

 

Again, unlike his roomates. 

 

“You’re telling me that you threw yourself onto Huaisang-xiong because Lan Wangji gave you ice cream, his sweater, and then told a joke ?” Wanyin-xiong paused for a moment at that. “Yeah okay, that’s kind of freaky. He hates your guts,” Wei Wuxian whimpered at that, “So that’s weird. Maybe he’s trying to make amends or something..?” 

 

Huaisang barely suppressed a snort. Sure, Lan Wangji hated Wei Wuxian, Wen Qing and Mianmian were just gal pals, and Huaisang was straight. Oh well. Seeing as he was the only one in this dorm who had any brain cells, he would help steer Wei-xiong in the right direction. 

 

“I’m sure that’s it Wei-Xiong!” He said cheerily, sliding down onto the floor. “I think that Wangji-xiong wants to be closer to Wei-Xiong, and is trying to do so in a way that he thinks Wei-Xiong would appreciate.” It wasn’t really a lie, just not the complete truth. “He probably is just trying to do things in the way that you would. You should be open to it, Wei-xiong. I know you’ve always wanted to be closer, maybe this is your chance.” 

 

Wei-xiong looked at him with wide eyes, before he whispered, “Really?” 

 

Nie Huaisang smiled and nodded. That shine in his friend’s eyes glowed with hope, and almost with disbelief. “I would bet my favorite purse on it. I would!” Wei-xiong’s hands curled in the front of the sweater he was wearing, and he looked to vulnerable in that moment that Huaisang just wanted to pull him in close and tell him ‘He’s in love with you!’ 

 

He instead settled for ruffling his hair, like his brother would for him. Wei-xiong closed his eyes happily and leaned into the fond touch. Huaisang turned to Wanyin-xiong and smiled affectionately, wanting to include him in the moment as well. Though he was somewhat surprised to see that his brows were furrowed, and he was frowning. Huaisang’s hand paused for a moment, but resumed with Wei-xiong made a whine of displeasure. Unsure of what to do about Jiang Cheng’s frown, he took a page out of the ‘Wei Wuxian Handbook of How to Live a Chaotic Life.’ 

 

“What’s wrong Wanyin-xiong? Do you want me to pet your hair too?” He teased, fully expecting to be yelled at in response. 

 

To his surprise, Wanyin-xiong’s cheeks turned a rather becoming rose color and he merely turned his head and crossed his arms. “Hell no. I’m not a three year old like him.”  He didn’t get up and move though. Huaisang thought once again about what Wanyin’s hair would feel like under his fingers. 

 

He slowly removed his hand from Wei-xiong’s hair, ignoring his noise of protest, and brought it along with his other hand to the top of Jiang Wanyin’s head. 

 

He began to move his digits through the hair. The locks were soft, though not as silken as his brother’s. There was some resistance from the product Wanyin-xiong uses to style his hair. It was wonderful. He moved his fingers from the front of his hair to the nape of his neck, then again, then again, loosing himself in the feeling. He could do this for hours. 

 

He couldn’t actually of course, and he was cruelly reminded of that when Jiang Cheng cleared his throat. Nie Huaisang immediately felt his heart plummet as he quickly snapped his hands away from his friend's hair and close to his own chest. He stood up quickly, willing and hoping that his emotions didn’t show on his face. 

 

“I just remembered!” He announced, pulling out his best acting as he tried to smooth over the mistake he had made. “I had agreed to meet Mianmian and Qing-jie at the arcade!” He laughed self-deprecating. “Haha, I don’t know how I forgot so easy. You two can come if you want, but I’m going to get ready now.” 

 

He walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. He took in a deep breath, put his elbows on the counter and buried his face in his hands. Why did he do that. Why did he do that. He asked himself over and over, hating the feeling of regret and misery that was sitting in his stomach as heavy as a rock. 

 

The worst part was that Jiang Wanyin wouldn’t even notice anything. It meant nothing to him. 

 

He pulled his hands away from his face and stared at himself in the mirror. He took in another bracing breath, held it for three seconds, then let it out, forcing a smile onto his face. Feel it and let it go. Feel it and let it go. 

 

He picked up a makeup wipe. He needed a distraction. 




 

 

Lan Wangji breathed heavily as he stomped on the dance pad, trying desperately to keep up with the arrows on the screen. When he had done his initial research, he did not expect Dance Dance Revolution to be so… 

 

Loud. 

 

It was loud. The music blared, and the sounds of the arcade blended in with the bright, poppy music that came from the speakers. Aside from the music, there was an announcer who would chime in and comment on his success or failure, along with synthetic applause, and that is not to mention the loud sounds of his steps. Physically, it was relatively hard to keep up with the swift speed of the arrows that came and went. Though it wasn’t as hard as it was when he had started three hours ago. Lan Wangji had always been told he was a quick learner, and he was lucky that he was. He had managed to work his way up to beginner to expert, and was now working on mastering the expert level of difficulty. 

 

It had been three hours of non-stop Dance Dance Revolution A20-- and Lan Wangji would do three more hours straight if it meant he would meet Wei Ying’s requirements. He would do thirteen years of Dance Dance Revolution if it meant there was a chance Wei Ying would be his. That is what kept him going through this hellacious storm of arrows. 

 

Lan Wangji wondered how many hours Wei Ying spent at this arcade machine. The thought of Wei Ying playing this game, of his long hair swaying beautifully as he energetically danced around the arrows, a bright smile on his face, a faint sheen of sweat making him glow in the lights of the arcade, it made his heart rate pick up even more, and Lan Wangji quickly decided that he needed a break and some water.

 

He finished the rest of the song on autopilot, and received a reasonably high grade. He stepped away from the machine and picked up the card he used to pay for the game, slipping it into his pocket, and then grabbed his water cup from the ground, taking a large drink. He stepped away from the machine, and cast a glance around the arcade. 

 

It was bright, flashing, noisy, and sticky. There were people of all ages running around, smiling and playing games, yelling at one another, holding hands, and having fun. It was leaps and bounds away from any place that Lan Wangji would otherwise elect to spend his time, but for Wei Ying it was worth it. He could imagine Wei Ying here with his friends, his sunshine smile on his face and his bell-like laugh in the air. The thought made him warm up on the inside, and he wished that he could be beside him. 

 

He could even hear the laugh in his mind, and he blissfully let his eyes slip closed as he imagined the laugh that filled him with joy, the laugh of the person he loved. 

 

Lan Wangji’s eyes snapped open when he realized that the laughter wasn’t just in his mind, but he was also hearing it in reality. He cast a glance around the arcade, looking for Wei Ying. He could recognize that laugh anywhere, it absolutely had to be him. He looked at the entrance, where he saw Wei Ying with one arm slung around Nie Huaisang’s shoulder and the other slung around Wen Qionglin’s shoulders, and he was accompanied by Luo Qingyang, Jiang Wanyin, and Wen Qing. 

 

Lan Wangji was suddenly filled with an acute, ugly feeling of  jealousy. While he knew that he had no right to feel that way, that it was irrational to covet all of Wei Ying’s attention when he had no claim on it, but he couldn’t resist the tension he was suddenly filled with the desire to walk over to him, pick him up, and take him away from the other two. 

 

He pushed his envy as far down as he could (which wasn’t very far) and turned away from them. He began to panic slightly-- what would they say if they saw him in the arcade? He wasn’t yet prepared to match Wei Ying’s score in Dance Dance Revolution, he didn’t have any other reason to say why he was at the arcade. Perhaps he could slip out before he was noticed. 

 

“Lan Zhan?” He bit down on his tongue to stop sighing, as he turned around to face Wei Ying, who had separated from his group to come over to him. A small part of Lan Wangji was disappointed that he wasn’t wearing his sweater still, but he knew that a cashmere sweater wasn’t something you wore to the arcade. Wei Ying’s outfit was instead… it was… 

 

Distracting. 

 

His shirt was a dark red, patterned with dark birds. It was too short, exposing all of Wei Ying’s midriff. Lan Wangji felt his ears warm, and he gave a quick prayer to whoever may be listening to him that he would have enough control to not stare. Do not stare. Do not stare at the extremely tempting, smooth, unblemished skin. Look at his equally tempting face, into his sparkling silver eyes. Every little thing about the man in front of him was too much, so distracting, amazing, perfect. 

 

Wei Ying stopped in front of him, and gave Lan Wangji a heart-stopping smile. “Lan Zhan! What are you doing here?” He asked cheerfully. “I’ve never seen you at the arcade before! I  would have never pictured Hangaun-jun in a place like this.” He added, leaning forward into Lan Wangji’s personal space and looking up. He was close. So close. He unconsciously felt his hand tighten around his water. 

 

Wei Ying blinked up at him expectantly, and unable to deny him anything, Lan Wanji turned his head and nodded to the Dance Dance Revolution machine. “Practicing.” He stated simply. It was the truth after all. Practicing so I can impress you went unspoken. He looked back to Wei Ying’s face. His eyes were wide in surprise, and his mouth was hanging open. Lan Wangji wanted to kiss him badly. 

 

“L-Lan Zhan likes DDR?” Wei Ying asked, tripping over his words, as if he could hardly believe what he was told. Lan Wangji nodded in confirmation. Wei Ying was silent for a moment, just blinking, before he threw his head back and laughed freely, wonderfully. “Ahh! You’re full of surprises Lan Zhan! I would have never guessed. I love DDR!” He said, walking past Lan Wangji to the machine. “I’m pretty good, too. Wanna see?” 

 

“Mm.” Lan Wanji said, nodding his head. “I would like to see.” Wei Ying laughed again, and Lan Wangji was filled with pride out of being able to make him laugh like that. Wei Ying plunked some quarters into the machine, and began to select his song. Lan Wangji didn’t pay much attention-- his eyes focused on Wei Ying. He turned around and said, “Watch me Lan Zhan!” Lan Wangi didn’t thing he could look away. 

 

The music began, and Wei Ying sprang into action, immediately beginning to bounce around the dance pad with all of the energy he put into everything he did. He seemed to glow, silhouetted against the bright lights as he played. His hair, pulled into a high ponytail, flew around him wildly, and he danced with a wide smile, his mouth parted as he breathed heavily with exertion. Lan Wangji had to concily stop his eyes from drifting to his midriff, already exposed, but with the motion of the game, it rode up higher. 

 

He berated himself for being so shameless, ogling Wei Ying like this, but he was only human. 

 

The song finished, Wei Ying earning a score that was very high, above the threshold of anything Lan Wangji had earned so far. He turned and gave Lan Wangji a proud smile as he gestured to his score with a huge gesture. “Pretty good huh!” Lan Wangji nodded. 

 

“Wei Ying is very good.” He agreed. Wei Ying’s face, already flushed with exertion, turned an ever darker shade of red. So lovely. 

 

“Ahaha, Lan Zhan Lan Zhan you can’t just agree like that!” He protested. Lan Wangji furrowed his brow. He knew that Wei Ying had some problems with accepting praise and compliments, and it never failed to upset Lan Wangji. Who had convinced Wei Ying that he wasn’t worthy of praise, that he had constantly deflect compliments? “Anyway, I can do a lot better with Wen Ning. Together we’re pretty unstoppable!” 

 

Lan Wangji was suddenly filled with jealousy again, sudden and white-hot. Wei Ying and Wen Qionglin, spending time here together, alone. ‘ Together we’re pretty unstoppable.’  

 

Before he could stop himself he was stepping onto the second dance pad. He held his hand out to Wei Ying, who looked at it, back up to Lan Zhan, then back. “Wei Ying.” He said. “I can also be unstoppable.” He waited. 

 

It took another moment, but Wei Ying giggled, giggled, (giggled!) and put his hand into Lan Wanji’s. (His hand! ) “Alright Lan Zhan, we’ll see!” He dropped their connected hands (he was holding his hand!)  and began to cycle through the songs. He selected one that Lan Wangji had, thankfully, practiced before, and set the difficulty to expert. “Ready Lan Zhan?” 

 

“Mmm.” Lan Wangji nodded, and Wei Ying started the song. Wei Ying’s hand tightened around his own, and they began.

 

It was surprisingly a lot easier with a partner. The grip they had on each other's hand help guide the push and pull, if Wei Ying pulled one way Lan Wangji followed, if Lan Wangji pushed one way, Wei Ying followed. It made their steps faster, more confident. They played through the song, Wei Ying’s breathy laughter next to him as they moved in tandem, their hands tightly clasped together. Lan Wangji was filled with satisfaction as he watched the combo meter climb higher and higher, until the song ended with a full combo. 

 

Cheering came from behind them, and they both turned around to see Wei Ying’s group of friends gathered behind them. Jiang Wanyin and Wen Qing were clapping with an amused expression, Nie Huaisang and Luo Qingyang were cheering and applauding enthuatically, and Wen Qionglin was more subdued. Lan Wangji looked over to Wei Ying who was gleaming with sweat, hair disheveled, and with a pleased expression. He looked… absolutely ravishing. 

 

“Haha! Did you guys see that! Lan Zhan is secretly a DDR master!” He turned his gaze to Lan Wangji and winked. That was shameless and unfair.

 

“Wei Ying is better.” He stated simply, because it was true. Without his help, he wouldn’t have been able to… match his score. 

 

He matched his score. He met that requirement.

 

“Ahaha, so humble!” Wei Ying remarked. He tucked an errant strand of hair behind his ear, and Lan Wangji tightened his hand around the one he was still holding. Apparently, Wei Ying had forgotten, as he looked surprised, and pulled his hand out of his grasp. Lan Zhan ignored the pain that caused in his chest and stepped back, eager to give him the space he obviously desired. He stepped off the dance pad and took a drink of his water. He cast a glance at his watch. He had to get back home soon, he had some work to do, and he needed to give himself some time to recover from this… incredibly stressful day. 

 

“Do you have to go, Wangji-xiong?” Lan Zhan turned to Nie Huaisang, who was looking at him with an expectant look. “You’re welcome to hang out with us for a while.” Lan Zhan shook his head. 

 

“I have to get back.” He glanced over to Wei Ying then back to Huaisang. “Thank you for the invitation.” 

 

Nie Huaisang nodded, then called out to his friends. “Wei-xiong! Wangji-xiong has to leave, but wants to tell you goodbye!” Lan Wangji looked back at Huaisang, who simply winked at him before walking back over to his group, leading them all away as Wei Ying approached Lan Zhan with a nervous look. 

 

“H-Hey, Lan Zhan. I wanted to say thanks again for the sweater. It’s really soft! And I promise that I haven’t gotten anything on it. I can give it back to you tomorrow if you want.” 

 

Suddenly, Lan Wangji couldn’t care less about having his sweater back. “You can keep it.” 

 

Wei Ying beamed. “Really? Lan Zhan! You have to stop spoiling me so much!” Lan Zhan disagreed. He didn’t spoil Wei Ying enough, he couldn’t ever spoil him enough. 

 

“Not spoiling. You keep it.” He steeled himself. Here he goes. He grabbed Wei Ying’s hand once again. “Wei Ying, were your parents bakers?” 

 

He ignored the look of complete and utter confusion that crossed over the other man’s face. 

 

“No? My parents were war correspondents?” He cocked his head to the side adorably. “Why does Lan Zhan just want to know?” 

 

Here it comes. 

 

“Because you-you’re a cute-pie.” He said, his ears on fire. He saw Wei Ying’s jaw drop open again, and he gave his hand a firm squeeze before he turned to leave. 

 

Shameless! He was so shameless!

 

He ignored the pounding of his heart and the racing of his thoughts all the way back to his room, where, as soon as he closed the door behind himself, he was ready to collapse in on himself like a dying star. 

 

Though it didn’t matter, he would collapse and burn as many times as he needed to make Wei Ying happy, and even more if it meant they could be happy together. 

 

Even if it meant more pick-up lines. 

 

Chapter Text

It was three days after the day that Wei Ying had began to privately refer to as “The Day Lan Zhan Decided to Emotionally Destroy Me by Making Me Fall Even More in Love With Him Than I Thought Was Actually Humanly Possible” when Jin Zixuan called Jiang Cheng to tell them that his shijie had given birth to a healthy baby boy. After talking to them on speakerphone, they had made a plan to visit the next day. 

 

Now, Wei Wuxian stared down at the baby in Jiang Yanli’s arms and felt his heart swell with happiness to the point that he was sure it was going to burst. His shijie’s child, his nephew, Jin Ling was sleeping soundly. Ever since he first saw him, he hadn’t been able to take his eyes away. He was new-baby flushed, and had the usual scrunched face and chubby cheeks. Wei Wuxian loved kids, he was studying to be a teacher so of course he did, but not since meeting A-Yuan had he had the urge to coddle, protect, and adore like he did now. 

 

He knew he was misty-eyed and he wasn’t afraid to admit it, not when Jiang Cheng and Jin Zixuan were also misty-eyed. His shijie looked to him. “A-Xian, I think he’s settled down. Would you like to hold him for a while?” She asked gently. Wei Ying felt the tears in his eyes once again, as he stood and held his arms out. Shijie gently handed Jing Ling to him, and equally as gently, Wei Ying took his nephew into his arms, taking extreme care to hold him correctly, supporting his neck and holding him just as he was told. 

 

He held Jin Ling and watched as the baby cooed, cuddling closer to Wei Ying’s chest, and Wei Ying felt a tear slip from his eye. He of course knew that he would do anything for his nephew, but in this moment, he truly knew. He sniffled and looked at his shijie and her husband, and smiled at the both of them.

 

 While he didn’t get along with Jin Zixuan through middle school and through most of highschool, when Wei Ying was disowned by Madame Yu and Uncle Jiang when he turned eighteen, Jin Zixuan, after  much pleading from Yanli had agreed to let him stay with him until he started college. In those months that they lived together Wei Ying had initially been abrasive and standoffish, the phase in his life where he pushed everyone away from him. Though Jin Zixuan had punched him in the face and yelled at him for pushing everybody away from him. Wei Ying had punched him in return and yelled at him that he should have just left him on the streets again, and then they had gotten into a fight, yelling and punching one another. It had ended when Jin Zixuan was in tears and he said that he wasn’t just doing it for Yanli, but he was doing it because he had never felt like a part of a close family, and he wanted them to be close. 

 

Since then, he had thought of him as a brother. A bright yellow peacock of a brother. 

 

Holding Jin Ling in his arms he felt like he was part of a family for the first time in a long time. 

 

Though the feeling soon vanished when Madame Yu and Jiang Fengman arrived. 

 

Wei Wuxian looked up when the door opened, and his heart which had euphorically risen so high, plummeted when he saw the regal forms of his former gaurdians enter the room. They smiled lovingly at Yanli, their gazes filled with the unconditionally  loving gaze of a parent to their child. They hurried over to her bedside, and Wei Wuxian looked to Jiang Cheng in a panic. Jiang Cheng returned his look, but his wasn’t one of panic, it was one of worry. Wei Wuxian couldn’t take this moment away from the Jiang family. 

 

He wasn’t going to let his presence worry Jiang Cheng, he wouldn't have Madame Yu’s first meeting with her grandchild ruined by his presence. He looked down at Jin Ling once again, the slumbering baby had grabbed a lock of Wei Ying’s hair in his sleep. Immediately he was filled with an intense reluctance to let him go, but he ignored it. He wouldn’t be selfish. He quickly gestured with his head at Jiang Cheng, telling him to take his nephew, which he did, gently and with all the care such an important exchange warranted. When Jin Ling was safely in his brother’s arms, he pressed his finger to his cheek, his heart breaking and swelling at the same time as Jin Ling leaned into it, murmuring in his sleep. 

 

He took a breath and then slipped out of the room silently, the ache of losing that moment with his family clouding his mind. It was worth it, if it meant Jiang Cheng and his shijie could have that precious moment with their parents, unspoiled by his presence. Sadness weighed his movements as his feet moved away on autopilot, every step aching. 

 




[ From : Nie Huaisang]

[Wangji-xiong, sorry to bother you, but I would like to ask you a favor.]

[I would do it myself but I have to be at the gallery for three more hours.]

[It’s for Wei-xiong.]

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[What is it?]

 

[ From: Nie Huaisang]

[I’m not sure if you know but Jiang Yanli had her son. Wei-xiong and Wanyin-xiong went to visit today, but Jiang Fengman and Yu Ziyuan arrived earlier than they expected. Wei-xiong left.]

[He’s not answering my calls, and Wanyin-xiong is spending time with his family. If I send you his location can you go check on him?]

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[Yes.]

 

[ From: Nie Huaisang]

[Thank you so much.]

 


 

 

Lan Wangji had a grim feeling when the location he inputted into his phone’s GPS turned out to be a graveyard. He didn’t know everything about Wei Ying, as much as he wished otherwise, so the reason he would be at a graveyard was a mystery. He had a few ideas, but none of them were pleasant. He left his case study in the middle of a paragraph. He grabbed a duffel bag and quickly gathered his first aid kit, a throw blanket, a water bottle, an umbrella,  a spare set of clothes, and in a moment of spontaneity, the stuffed rabbit Wei Ying had given him in middle school. 

 

He packed them away swiftly, and immediately left to go to the graveyard, his steps hurried, worry for the man he loved nipping at his heels. He dove for thirty minutes, quicker than he would typically, until he arrived at the coordinates he was given. He parked outside of the graveyard, grabbed the bag, and went to go find Wei Ying. 

 

Autumn had begun in earnest, the air carrying that telltale chill. The angry looking rain clouds that loomed in the air blocked the sun, so while it wasn’t cold by any means, it couldn’t be called warm, nor would it be comfortable to be outside without at least a light jacket. 

 

The graveyard was beautiful and well-kept. Flowers bloomed in areas with manicured shrubbery, and large, healthy trees sheltered the graveyard from the view of the road. The graveyard was on a slight slope, and a cobblestone path led down through the headstones and tombs. Lan Wangji would have called it peaceful if worry was not gnawing at his stomach. He scanned diligently, looking for his Wei Ying. 

 

It took some wandering until he saw the first and only sign of life in the graveyard. Somewhat off the beaten path, he saw a familiar figure kneeling in between two clean white headstones. Sadness curled in lan Wangji’s stomach as one of his suspicions was confirmed. 

 

Wei Ying was here to visit his parents. 

 

He stopped a respectable distance away, unsure of how to proceed. He could recall what it was like when his mother died. How he would sit outside of her house, waiting for her to come home. He remembered sitting alone in the winter chill, in the snow, waiting and wishing to hear his mother on the other side of the door. Waiting to hear her come up behind him and wrap him up in her arms and scold him for being out in the cold. Waiting for her to come back. He remembered the quiet tears that slipped down his face as he wondered why his mother had to go away and leave him. 

 

He knew what it was like to mourn a parent. He didn’t know what to do in this situation, but all of his instincts were telling him to go to Wei Ying, to go to him and hold him close, close enough that he would know that Lan Wangji was here for him, and that he wasn’t going to leave him now, or ever. But he restrained himself. 

 

He restrained himself until he saw Wei Ying’s arms circle around himself and his shoulders shudder. 

 

He strode forward with purpose, and when he was close enough for his presence to be felt, he saw Wei Ying stiffen and still. He lowered himself down onto his knees, and placed his hand on Wei Ying’s shoulder. After a moment, Wei Ying raised his head to look at Wangji. Looking at the sadness in those red-rimmed grey eyes and the tracks of tears on those pale cheeks broke Lan Wangji’s heart. 

 

“W-What are you doing here?” He asked, his voice weak and warbly. He sniffled and straightened his back and wiped at his eyes. Lan Wangji wanted to grab his hands and tell him that he didn’t need to worry about how he looked. “How did you find me?” 

 

“Nie Huaisang told me where you were.” Lan Wangji explained. Wei Ying nodded in acknowledgement, his eyes glancing away. He shuddered a few times, then sniffled. 

 

“I must look pretty pathetic, huh Lan Zhan.” It was said without the inflection of a question, as if Wei Ying was stating a fact. “You can’t blame me though. I wasn’t expecting company.” 

 

Lan Wangji’s heart gave a painful tug. “Not pathetic.” He was quick to reassure. “Not ever pathetic.” Wei Ying shook his head. 

 

“None of that Lan Zhan. I know how I look. Pathetic.” He curled back in on himself. “A disgrace. A freeloader. A problem. Always a problem. Pathetic.” His gaze became somewhat anguished. “I was the reason Madame Yu and Jiang Fengman weren’t happy, I was the reason Jiang Cheng felt like he constantly needed to prove himself, I was the one who brought shame to the Jiang family when I helped the Wens, and I-” He took in a breath, his shaking. Lan Wangji felt like crying. “I’m just an orphan who-who didn’t I just-” he collapsed into sobs, and that was the last straw. 

 

“No.” Lan Wangji slipped the bag off of his shoulder and unzipped it. He fished the blanket out and tossed it over the other man’s shaking form. He then wrapped his arms around Wei Ying and pulled him close, settling him on his lap. He held him there, resting his head in the crook of his neck. Wei Ying was real, solid, and warm where he held him near. “Not any of those things. Wei Ying is not any of those things.” He held Wei Ying just a fraction closer. “It is not your fault that Madame Yu couldn’t resolve her own issues.” He had the distinct feeling he now knew who was responsible for Wei Ying’s inability to take compliments. “It is not your fault that the people who were responsible for raising you forgot to make sure that you were loved, and knew you were loved.”  Wei Ying cried harder, and Lan Zhan began to rub soothing circles on his back. 

 

They stayed that way for a while, Lan Wangji gently humming a soft tune he had composed in high school. It was a song for Wei Ying, not that the other man would know. It was a song of his love, for his love, and even if he couldn’t say the words, in this moment he wanted nothing more than to let Wei Ying know just how loved he was. 

 

Wei Ying’s sobs quieted to hiccups. “T-that’s… That’s a nice song…” He said meekly. Lan Wangji was extremely happy to hear those words. To Wei Ying it was a kind comment, but to him it meant the world. He snuggled in close, and Lan Wangji’s heart soared. “Are… are we close Lan Zhan…?” 

 

The question was asked with such uncheritstic hestitence, that Lan Wangji wanted to go back in time and smother his past self for his constant insistence that they were not close. To tell that young Lan Wangji, the one who was afraid of his own feelings, the one who cared too much about what his uncle and brother would think, that Wei Ying would be the best thing to happen to his life, and that he should tell him to embrace him, instead of pushing him away. 

 

“Mm. Close.” Lan Wangji confirmed. 

 

Wei Ying let out a pleased sigh. “I’m glad… that makes me happy.” He was silent for a few more minutes, and Lan Wangji was content to simply hold him in silence. Though soon, Wei Ying slipped out of his arms. He kept the blanket tucked around him, as he sat on his knees facing the headstones. “These are my parents.” He said. Lan Wangji turned until he too was on his knees and facing them. The graves were clearly marked Cangse Sanren and Wei Changze. 

 

“Mom, dad, this is Lan Zhan. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s old man Qiren’s nephew.” He said, a small smile gracing his face for the first time during the time Lan Wangji had seen him today. 

 

Lan Wangji bowed to them politely. “It is an honor to meet you.” 

 

Wei Ying gave him the sweetest smile. “He’s a stick-in-the-mud, but he’s so smart and he’s so good. I think you would have liked him.” He stared at the graves for a moment more, before his expression became bittersweet as he turned to Lan Zhan. “I don’t remember them very much. They died overseas when I was little… But I know what I’ve heard from others. What little Jiang Fengman could tell me without getting shouted at by Madame Yu, and some of what I’ve heard from others. I can remember my mother telling me that no matter what happens, I would be fine as long as I could still smile.” He sighed. 

 

“ Madame Yu would always yell at me. Reminding me that I was nothing more than the son of a vagrant. She would say Jiang Fengman took me in only because he was in love with my mother. Whenever Unc- no.” He cut himself off.  “Whenever Jiang Fengman praise me, she would show up to pit Jiang Cheng against me. She was always there to remind me that I wasn’t welcome in her home, that I was only there so Jiang Fengman could have a piece of his old friends. That I wasn’t her child, that I would never be. That I wasn’t part of her family. She didn’t love me.” He pressed his hand against the grave of his mother. “I would always come here when things got bad. I knew… I knew that here, even if they were gone, there were two people who loved me.” A tear slipped down his face, and Lan Wangji reached over to wipe it away with his index finger. 

 

Wei Ying turned to him, and the grin he received warmed him to his bones. Being trusted with this part of Wei Ying’s life, seeing this man, who had been through so much in his life, who had to beg for scraps of affection, who had still come out with a blinding smile and a heart so big it hurt, made Lan Wangji want to throw his reservations to the wind and tell him how he felt.  

 

“Wei Ying, I-” He was cut off when a deafening roll of thunder sounded, seeming to shake the very earth. Not one second later, rain began to come pounding down from the sky in heavy sheets. It wasn’t a gradual slow-to-heavy rain, but rather a sudden torrent from the heavens. Wei Ying laughed in joyous surprise, and Lan Wangji quickly pulled the umbrella from his bag and zipped it up. He opened the umbrella and held it over Wei Ying, uncaring that his own clothes were getting soaked. 

 

Wei Ying took the umbrella and stood up, pulling the blanket around his shoulders. “Up you go Lan Zhan!” He said, offering his hand. Lan Wangi took it, and his cold, damp hand was immediately warmed from the other man’s grip. He was pulled up from the ground and stood close enough to Wei Ying to remain at least some what dry, but not close enough to get Wei Ying wet. He turned towards his parents and waved. “Bye mom, bye dad. I’ll come see you soon.” Lan Wangji nodded to them as well, and bent down to grab his bag. When it was firmly in hand, Wei Ying began to lead him out of the graveyard. 

 

The water running down the cobblestones made for a dangerous path as they tried to climb the hill. Wei Ying would giggle when he slipped, and Lan Wangji would hold onto him tighter and pull him a little closer so he wouldn’t slip. 

 

Lan Wangji would have never thought that he would have felt so at peace in a graveyard, but he felt extremely happy and content in this moment. He had been so afraid and concerned when he saw Wei Ying there, curled up by the graves of his parents, but looking at him now, a beam of sun in the storm, he knew that there wasn’t anything that could keep him down for long. 

 

They made their way out of the graveyard, and Lan Wangji opened the passenger side door for Wei Ying, and the other man slipped inside with an exclamation of “Such a gentleman Lan Zhan!”  He opened the back door and set the bag in the seat, and he walked around the back and stepped into the driver’s seat. He started the car and began to drive back to the campus to take Wei Ying back to his dorm. 

 

Wei Ying began to fiddle with the radio, changing stations. He listened to what the station was playing for a few moments, before he settled on a mix station. He hummed along to the music for a while, and Lan Wangji was content to listen to him and drive in silence. 

 

“Hey Lan Zhan, you should stay the night.” Wei Ying said suddenly. Lan Wangji had to bite his cheek and clenched the steering wheel tightly to prevent himself from veering out of his lane and into oncoming traffic. “The storm is getting pretty bad, and I don’t want you to get hurt driving in the rain… Jiang Cheng is staying at home tonight so I could sleep in his bed. You… You could stay with me or I could stay with you..? ” He said hesitantly. 

 

Lan Wangji was immensely warmed by his concern, but the ideas that danced through his head were… Something else, and he berated himself for even thinking about his kindhearted offer in such a way. He did have a point. The weather was getting worse, and Lan Wangi was nervous enough driving as it was. 

 

“I will… Stay with Wei Ying.” In his bed. In Wei Ying’s bed. At least Nie Huaisang would be there to keep Lan Wangji’s thoughts from running wild and prevent him from doing something foolish, as he almost did in the graveyard earlier, and in Wei Ying’s room there was no clearly labeled document pinned above his desk that read “ Plan to Woo Wei Ying .” 

 

“I finally get to have a sleep-over with Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying cheered, throwing his hands up in the air. “I’ve been waiting since middle school to have a sleepover with you!” Lan Zhan’s heart thudded at that and he glanced at Wei Ying out of the corner of his eye. He was running his hands through the hair he had taken out of his ponytail. “We can watch movies, and have snacks! Lan Zhan, do you like Muppets? I have so many Muppet movies, we can watch some!” 

 

 “Mm.” Lan Wangji wasn’t sure what ‘Muppet’ was, but he didn’t really care. He would watch them if Wei Ying wanted. 

 

“Haha, we can pop some popcorn! I know I have some, and I also have candies, and some sodas. Do you like soda Lan Zhan?” Lan Wangji shook his head. “I didn’t think so, I’ve never seen you drink one. I have some Capri Sun, and some Kool-Aid? Or some tea, but Huaisang-xiong has more tea than I do.” 

 

The drive to Wei Ying’s dormitory was filled with rolling thunder and Wei Ying’s excited planning about their sleep-over. Lan Zhan was also feeling quite excited, he had never had a sleep-over before. He never really had much interest in doing so until he had met Wei Ying, and by the time Wei Ying had decided to ask, he was already too aware of his own feelings. 

 

They arrived at the dormitories, and the wind and rain had reached alarming levels of intensity. Wei Ying had folded up the blanket and tucked it into the bag, and was looking out of the window with a wicked gleam in his eyes. He turned to Lan Wangji and lightning flashed, and it gleamed in his silver eyes, sending shivers down Lan Wangi’s spine. 

 

“Hey Lan Zhan, I’ll race you to my dorm.” He said. Lan Wangji wuickly grabbed his wrist before he could make a break for it. “Aww, Lan Zhan, c’mon! Race me!”



“It’s too slick. You could fall. You’ll get wet and catch a cold.” He ignored the adorable pout.

 

“No fun at all! But we can walk, spoilsport.” Lan Wangji nodded and released his wrist, and Wei Ying stepped out of the car, opening the umbrella. Lan Wangji took his bag and handed it to him, before stepping out of the car and locking it. He walked over to Wei Ying who was waiting with the umbrella, and they made their way into the dorm.  

 

Wei Ying unlocked the door and hurridley stepped inside. “Welcome to the SangChengYingDorm!” He announced, throwing his arms wide. Lan Wangji noticed the sign that designated it as such on the door as he came in. He looked around. 

 

It was reasonably spacious. It was clear which area belonged to which roommate. Jiang Wanyin’s was covered in purple, Nie Huaisang’s had tasteful art pieces hung on the walls with makeup and recording equipment on the desk. Wei Ying’s was red and black, and had a bulletin board covered in pictures, skull-shaped lights were strung on the walls,  notes were scattered all over the desk and floor, and there was a large poster of Kermit the Frog on the wall. 

 

“I’m sorry it’s so messy,” Wei Ying said with a nervous chuckle. “But you only have to be here for a night so don’t worry!” He began moving about. “Do you need som pyjamas?” He asked. “Oh! And a towel.” He watched Wei Ying walk to his dresser and pulled out some clothes. He walked over and pressed them into Lan Wangji’s chest, and he took them with a grateful nod. “My towels are on the bottom shelf in the bathroom! You go change in there, and I’ll change in here and start getting ready.” 

 

He nodded again and followed his instructions. He grabbed a black towel from the bottom shelf and dried off his hair. He was trying to keep a firm lid on his thoughts. Don’t freak out, this is just two close friends having a sleep-over.  Don’t think about how you’ll be wearing Wei Ying’s clothes, don’t think about how you’ll be sleeping in his bed. Don’t think about it too hard. 

 

The towel he used smelled like fruity and floral laundry soap, and the clothes he put on were soft and smelled the same. The shirt, which was a little too small on Lan Wangji was a light grey, and had the words MAMMA MIA! in large dark blue font. The pants were a simple pair of black sweatpants. Don’t. Think. Too. Hard. About. This. 

 

He stepped back into the room, and was met with the sight of Wei Ying bending over, searching for something in a bin underneath his bed. His hair was down, and he was wearing a shiny-looking set of pyjamas. The top was long-sleeved, but the bottoms were shorts. And from where Wei Ying was bending over they gave Lan Wangji a very clear view of Wei Ying’s-

 

Lan Wangji was going to die. 

 

He averted his eyes and looked at Kermit the Frog, who seemed to mock him with his joyous smile. 

 

Wei Ying stood up with a triumphant exclamation of “Ah-ha!” He turned on his heel and brandished an unpopped bag of popcorn in one hand, and some sugary snacks in the other. “Found them!” He stared at Lan Wangji, and his cheeks turned pink. Did he have a cold? Why was he staring? Was he wearing something wrong? Was the shirt on backwards? “A-Ah, Lan Zhan… That’s really not fair…” 

 

Lan Wangji cocked his head to the side, confused. “Wei Ying?” He questioned. The man in question waved the popcorn bag in dismissal. 

 

“Nothing! Nothing.” He walked over and pushed Lan Wangji over to his bed, and pushed him down onto it. Do NOT think about this! “You sit here and wait, I’ll get everything ready!” Before Lan Wangji could respond, Wei Ying was already gone.

 

 Lan Wangji quietly slipped from the bed and walked over to his bag, which he opened to place his wet clothes inside, but after he removed his phone from his pocket and removed the blanket and stuffed rabbit so they wouldn’t get wet. He returned to the bed before Wei Ying noticed he had moved. He pulled out his phone and went to his messages. 

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[Wei Ying is okay. We are in the SangChengYing dorm. I will be staying the night.]

 

A response came quickly. 

 

[ From: Nie Huaisang]

[Thank goodness! Thank you so much Wangji-xiong.]

[Don’t worry about me coming back to the dorm, I’m staying with the Wens tonight.]

[Have fun, Wangji-xiong!]

 

Lan Wangji was extremely distressed by what he had just learned. Having Nie Huaisang here was going to be a barrier, his safety. Though he knew he could control himself enough to not do anything untoward, but his thoughts on the other hand. 

 

Lan Wangji huffed slightly and typed out another message to his brother, letting him know where he was and that he wouldn’t be home tonight. His brother’s response was simple. 

 

[ From: Brother]

[ Alright, way to go Wangji!]

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[Brother.]

 

[ From: Brother]

[(* ̄▽ ̄)b]

 

The lights clicked off, and the next thing Lan Wangji knew Wei Ying was leaping into the bed next to him. He bounced slightly when he impacted, and Lan Wangji quickly locked his phone and put it on Wei Ying’s bedside table. A cold pouch was shoved into his hands, and a bowl of popcorn was set into his lap. “Ready Lan Zhan?” 

 

“Ready.” Lan Wangji said. Wei Ying pressed a button on his remote, and he began to browse movies. Lan Wangji wasn’t paying attention, too busy looking at the way the changing lights of the television flashed over Wei Ying’s features, too distracted by the solid warmth that was pressed up against him. 

 

“This one!” Wei Ying decided, clicking a button before tossing the remote aside. He grabbed Lan Wangji’s blanket and wrapped it around him, before holding up one end. He looked at Lan Wangji and smiled at him invitingly. Don’t think too hard about this. He felt his ears heat up as he moved in closer, grabbing the other end of the blanket and tucking it around him. It smelled like sandalwood, cinnamon, and rain. Wei Ying sighed, in what Lan Wangji hoped was contentment, as he snuggled closer. He felt like he was going to have a heart attack. 

 

Lan Wangji was going to die. 

 

To prevent his imminent death, he turned his attention to the movie. As he watched, a familiar green puppet showed up. 

 

“Kermit?” Lan Wangji said, slightly surprised. He didn’t know Kermit was in this movie. Wei Ying laughed, and Lan Wangji could feel it. 

 

“Yep! It’s Kermit the Frog himself!” Wei Ying sighed dreamily. “He’s so talented.” 

 

Lan Wangji felt the slight sting of jealousy, which was ridiculous. It was a puppet . It was a puppet, Lan Wangji. Stop it. 

 

Wei Ying reached over into the popcorn bowl. The popcorn bowl that was in Lan Wangji’s lap. It was just a small barrier between him and --

 

Stop. It. 

 

Mentally slapping himself, he focused back on the movie. That was how he would make it through this evening without expiring. Kermit the Frog. 





 

Hours passed, and with them more movies passed. 

 

In these hours Lan Wangji learned some new information. He learned what a Muppet was, he learned that Kermit the Frog was the leader of the Muppets. He learned that Wei Ying knew the words to all of the songs in all of the movies with Muppets. He learned that he liked Capri Sun in the flavor ‘Pacific Cooler,’ and he learned that Wei Ying liked Kool-Aid in cherry flavor. 

 

He also learned that Wei Ying could fall asleep in any situation. 

 

He gazed lovingly down at the man he loved, who was curled against him, his breaths even. His mouth was slightly parted, and he was drooling slightly. His expression was relaxed and angelic, and he was the most precious thing Lan Wangji had ever seen. 

 

Movingly slowly and gently, he turned off the television and moved to get up from the bed, but was prevented as Wei Ying held onto him tighter and murmured. Lan Wangji felt like crying. He managed to maneuver them both so that they were both laying down. Lan Wangji knew he should get up, that he should carry Wei Ying over to Jiang Wanyin’s bed. Wei Ying stirred and Lan Wangji froze as he saw his eyes open. Wei Ying smiled at him sleepily. 

 

“Lan Zhan…” He muttered. Lan Wangji couldn’t stop the smile that came to his face.He felt the boost of confidence that came along with his own exhaustion.  

 

“Are you tired, Wei Ying?” He asked, gently reaching out to tuck a lock of hair behind his ear. He was too tired to berate himself for his shamelessness. Wei Ying made a small noncommittal sound. “You be tired, because you’ve been running through my thoughts all day.” 

 

“Hmmhm..” Wei Ying cuddled his face into Lan Wangji’s neck. “Nice one, Lan Er-gege…” 

 

Lan Wangji’s heart skipped a beat, and he said nothing else as he buried his nose in Wei Ying’s hair. It smelled like cinnamon and vanilla. He willed his heart to calm down, and eventually fell into a blissful sleep. 

Chapter Text

Wei Wuixan woke up feeling more well rested than he had in days. His bed smelled like sandalwood, and his blankets were tucked snugly around him. He sat up in his bed, and remembered that Lan Zhan had stayed the night. All vestiges of sleep fled from his brain, and he quickly looked around the room. Lan Zhan was nowhere to be found-- and Lan Zhan’s duffel bag was missing. Then he noticed a few other things: Wei Ying’s messy notes had been collected and placed in a neat stack on his desk. The bowl he had used for popcorn was cleaned and placed on his bedside table, along with a slip of paper. 

 

He grabbed the paper. It was a note written in Lan Wangji’s clear, neat penmanship. 

 

Wei Ying, 

I hope you slept well. 

I had class at 8:00 A.M., and I took the liberty of tidying up a small amount. The clothes you lent me are folded and on the bathroom counter. 

Thank you very much for the sleep-over. It was enjoyable. 

If you need to contact me, I have written my phone number below. 

Yours, 

Lan Wangji

 

After the signature, there was a phone number. Wei Ying felt his insides fill with butterflies, and he clutched the note to his chest. He giggled madly and kicked his feet like an excited toddler. Not only had he given Wei Ying his phone number, he said he had enjoyed their sleep-over,  and he had signed the note with ‘Yours.’ Yours! His! 

 

He was sure that Lan Zhan didn’t mean “yours,” yours, not in the way that Wei Ying wanted, but still! At least some part of Lan Zhan was Wei Ying’s. The part that drank Capri Suns quickly, the kind that asked Wei Ying the name of every Muppet he saw, the part that looked unfairly handsome in Wei Ying’s too-large loungewear. The part that wrapped him up in a sandalwood-scented blanket and held him close. 

 

Even if he would never have all of Lan Wangji, he would treasure those sweet moments that he had. He would keep them locked up in his heart forever. 

 

He threw his blankets off of him, and slapped his blushing cheeks with his hands, willing his silly smile and blush to go away so he could focus on getting ready for his day. He reached over to his phone, only to see that he had forty unread messages, ten missed calls, and three voicemails. His heart sank. 

 

The messages were an assortment of texts from Jiang Cheng, Nie Huaisang, and Jin Zixuan. He quickly read through them all, guilt gnawing at the back of his stomach. Jiang Cheng’s messages began as variations on ‘Where the fuck did you go,’ ‘Tell me where you went goddamn it,’ to ‘We’re worried,’ ‘Please tell me you’re okay,’ before settling on ‘ Huaisang told me you went to the graveyard and that Lan Wangji came to get you,’   and ended with a forboding ‘We’ll talk later.’ Wei Ying didn’t like that. There was no insult, no name-calling. That meant Jiang Cheng was probably furious. He had the right to be. 

 

The texts from Huaisang were fewer, ‘Are you alright Wei-xiong?’ ‘I can see your location on Snapchat,’ ‘I can’t come to you, is there anyone you want to come?’ ‘l’m sending Wangji-xiong,’ ‘I’m glad you hear you’re okay :).’ 

 

Jin Zixuan sent two messages. ‘Wei Wuxain, I know what you’re doing. I know you think you’re helping, but Yanli and I need you to know that no matter what you think you’re just as much a part of our family as Jiang Cheng, no matter your relationship with Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan. Come visit us soon, Jin Ling allready misses you, you dumb Alleycat.’ Wei Ying wiped away the tears that slipped from his eyes as he read the message, and gave a small chuckle at the ancient nickname. The second message was a picture of his shijie smiling, holding Jin Ling towards the camera. Wei Ying saved it to his phone. 

 

He checked the voicemails. One was from Jiang Cheng, one was from Nie Huaisang, and one was from… Jiang Fengmian. He swallowed. He hadn’t heard from him in a year… He felt his hands shaking as he reached to press down the button to listen to his voicemail. Before he could press down though he noticed the time. 

 

Fuck!

 

He threw his phone back down onto his bed, and scrambled up, rushing to his dresser. 

 

He had three minutes to get to his flute performance evaluation. 

 




Jiang Cheng waited outside of Wei Wuxian’s theory class with his armed crossed and a scowl he didn’t bother trying to hide. He should be taking a break in between his classes, maybe kicking around a soccer ball on the quad, maybe having lunch with Huaisang, maybe studying with Huaisang while the other painted, maybe video calling jiejie and seeing Jin Ling, maybe taking a nap while Huaisang edited some of his videos. He shouldn’t be waiting in the music hall for his idiotic brother. 

 

Sure, Jiang Cheng knew why Wei Wuxian would run away like that. His mother had done nothing to indicate that he would be anything but unwelcome at best around her. As much as jiejie and himself had tried, begged, and pleaded for her to giving him some levity, his mother would not budge. No matter what they tried, his mother would never welcome Wei Wuxian as a part of their family. 

 

But, running away with no word about where he went, no word about anything for hours? Making him worry while he was supposed to be spending time with his nephew? That was unacceptable. The last time Wei Wuxian had run off without a word he had wound up in all of that mess with Wen Chao, and then he was disowned. Jiang Cheng would break the legs of anyone who said he was overreacting. 

 

He focused his gaze on the door that opened, a sea of students leaving the classroom. Among them he spotted his brother who was walking with his head down, and-- was that idiot still wearing his pyjama shirt? He was. Wei Wuxian’s head was down, and his face was marred with an uncharacteristic frown. Good. 

 

As Wei Wuxian walked past him, his head glued to his phone screen. Jiang Cheng grabbed his ponytail before he got to far, and Wei Ying yelped as he was yanked back to face Jiang Cheng. The miffed expression his brother had morphed into one of guilt. Good.  

 

Jiang Cheng said nothing, letting the fierceness of his glare do the talking. He wouldn’t be the person to break the silence, Wei Wuxian would be, or they would get in a fight with one another right in the middle of the hall. Jiang Cheng watched as his brother seemed to struggle with himself for a moment, before he spoke. 

 

“I’m sorry.” Wei Wuxian said simply, his voice carrying profound honesty. “I should have let you know where I was. It was stupid and insensitive of me.” He said nothing about being sorry for leaving in the first place, and while Jiang Cheng couldn’t blame him, he still felt agitated by that. Not completely towards Wei Wuxian, but towards his parents as well. But he couldn’t ask Wei Wuxian for anything else than his apology. 

 

Though he was also his brother, and was therefore entitled to a little more than he deserved. He pulled Wei Wuxian’s hair and trapped him in a headlock. “Damn right you’re sorry!” Jiang Cheng hissed, tugging harsly on his brother’s ear, ignoring his cries. “What were you thinking you asshole?” 

 

“AH-! I wasn’t! I wasn’t thinking! Jiang Cheng!” His brother struggled in his grasp, and Jiang Cheng cracked a smile as he tightened his grip. “Let me go! Take pity on this foolish brother!” He pleaded, and Jiang Cheng let loose a bark of a laugh, amused by his brother’s useless pleas. He began to ruin the already messy hair. “Jiang-- Cheng!” Wei Wuxian managed to wiggle himself free. 

 

He took a look at him, his pyjama shirt rumpled and his hair madly dishleved, and his face a blotchy red. He looked hilarious, and Jiang Cheng couldn’t help the core-shaking laughter that ripped through him. He doubled over, clutching his stomach. He heard his brother whine, and that only made him laugh more. 

 

Before he knew what was happening, Wei Wuxian pounced on him, attempting to put him in a headlock. Jiang Cheng barely managed to duck away and Wei Wuxian’s fist landed against his shoulder. 

Oh no, now he’s done it.

 

Jiang Cheng sprung, but this time Wei Wuxian was ready, nimbly dodgding his brother’s lunge and countering with his own. His brother laughed, the carefree laugh he had known since childhood, and Jiang Cheng knew that everything was going to be okay. 

 

If they didn’t get in trouble for brawling in the middle of the music hall. 

 

Nie Huaisang’s familiar voice brought their escalating scuffle to a grinding hall, the cheery “Wei-xiong!” stopping them in their tracks. They turned to see Nie Huaisang approaching quickly, his knee-length black cardigan swishing cutely around him as he moved, his collarbone peeking out from the neckline of his shirt. “Wei-xiong!” 

 

Jiang Wanyin felt a little irritated that Huaisang didn’t acknowledge his presence. He was here too, damn it! The irritation only doubled when he brushed past him to embrace Wei Wuxian. Jiang Cheng crossed his arms. He wasn’t sure why it made him feel like he swallowed some vinegar, but it did. Maybe it was because Wei Wuxian needed punches for what he did, not hugs. Punches from Jiang Cheng, not hugs from Huaisang. Not Huaisang hugs. Those were not for Wei Wuxian.  They were for-- uh. 

 

They were for… other people. 

 

Jiang Cheng shook his… weird thoughts out of his head, and listened to Huaisang fussing over Wei Wuxian. Jiang Cheng began to feel his eyebrow twitch in irritation, and after another moment or so of listening he decided he didn’t want to anymore. 

 

“Hey that’s enough.” Jiang Cheng said, not even bothering to smother the irritation in his tone. He tugged Wei Wuxian away from Huaisang, who had a confusing expression on his face and an unreadable emotion in his pretty amber eyes. “Wei Wuxian, you have to go to class now, right?” He said, elbowing his brother, ignoring his ‘hey!’ 

 

His brother pouted and rubbed his ribs where he was elbowed. “Ahh, I do, I do. I’ve got my strings- hey!” Wei Wuxian’s attention was suddenly drawn behind Jiang Cheng. What was that all about? “Lan Zhan!” 

 

Of course. 

 

Jiang Cheng cast a long-suffering glance to Huaisang, and stepped to the side to allow his brother to barrel forward to bother Lan Wangji. He walked over to Huaisang, and looked down at the shorter man. “You coddle him too much.” He murmured, thinking back to the hug he had witnessed earlier. “He’s going to get spoiled if you keep this up.” He thought back to all the times he had walked into different rooms and saw Wei Wuxian and Nie Huaisaing in one another’s arms. His mood grew more sour. 

 

“Ah, Wanyin-xiong, you shouldn’t frown so much. You’ll get wrinkles.” Huaisang said sweetly, reaching over to smooth out the wrinkle that Jiang Cheng knew had appeared between his eyebrows. Jiang Cheng felt weirdly warm in his insides at the gentle ministrations of his friend. He ignored the strange feeling of disappointment he got when Huaisang dropped his hand. “Besides, you don’t have to worry too much about me doting on him too much. I’m certain that job won’t be mine for much longer.” 

 

Jiang Cheng raised an eyebrow, confused. “Uhh, what?” he asked smartly. Huaisang gestured with his purse, and Jiang Cheng turned around. He saw Lan Wangji slipping off his grey peacoat and offering it to his brother, who accepted with a loud ‘Thank you Lan Zhan!’ Though that didn’t to much to assuage his confusion. When did Lan Wangji get so close to Wei Wuxian…? Why did Huaisang say that it wouldn’t be his job to dote on Wei Wuxian? Because Lan Wangji was his friend now? He looked to Huaisang and gave him a look that portrayed his confusion. 

 

Huaisang sighed. “Look at Wangji-xiong’s ears, Wanyin-xiong.” 

 

Jiang Cheng did-- and saw the tips were bright red as he watched his brother make a fool of himself in the too-large coat. Lan Wangji was… blushing? Blushing and doting on his brother? 

 

Holy shit, did Lan Wangji like Wei Wuxian? Like, like-like Wei Wuxian? Holy shit!

 

He looked to Huaisang for confirmation, and his friend nodded solemnly. Jiang Cheng pinched his temples, attempting to thwart the headache he felt was coming. He sighed deeply. He felt a tiny smile grace his face as he felt Huaisan’s comforting hand rubbing circles on his back. 

 

But still, the very thought of Lan Wangji and his brother…? No way. Lan Wangji was just too… Lan Wangji. He couldn’t imagine that guy in any romantic capacity. But looking at him now with the knowledge he had, he couldn’t even fathom how he had missed it. Lan Wangji looked at Wei Wuxian like he hung the stars in the sky, like he would fight of an army for him. The devotion he saw was… enviable, and the very fact that that thought entered his brain made Jiang Cheng shiver. 

 

“Ugh, I need a drink.” Huiasang patted his back firmly and his hand fell away, leaving the area he had been touching cold. “Do you need a drink Huaisang? I need a drink.” 

 

Nie Huaisang giggled sweetly, hiding his smile behind his purse. Jiang Cheng wanted to reach over and take the purse away so he could look. Huaisang’s smile always cheered him up. It was pretty. Huaisang was pretty, even when he wasn’t wearing makeup, and his smile was very pretty. By pretty he meant nice. By nice he went warming. Uh. It was pretty nice. 

 

“It’s noon, Wanyin-xiong.” Huaisang pointed out. Jiang Cheng groaned. He was right, it was too early to have a drink. He had classes to get to later. “But,” Huaisang said, a glint in his eyes. “There’s a pretty big party tonight.”

 

“Why? Who’s throwing it?” 

 

“It’s Friday the 13th, and the Paranormal Society on campus is throwing a party in that old abandoned hotel.” 

 

Jiang Cheng thought that that was an extremely bad omen. A bunch of irresponsible and idiodic young adults getting drunk in a dilapidated and possibly haunted hotel? It seemed dumb. 

 

He took another look at his brother, who was dragging Lan Wangji away, chattering loudly, while Lan Wangji allowed himself to be pulled away, still staring at him. 

 

Yeah, haunted hotel, whatever. Free drinks. 

 




When Wei Wuxian remembered that the Paranormal Society was throwing a party, his first reaction was to say ‘Hell yeah!’ His second reaction was to take out his phone and text Lan Zhan. Text Lan Zhan! Who’s number he had now, and who’s nice warm coat was back in his dorm room on his bed, from where he may had been cuddling with it. He really didn’t expect anything from his invitation, it was more of an excuse to text and tease him. 

 

[From: Wei Wuxian]

[Lan Zhan! It’s Wei Ying, hi!]

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[Wei Ying.]

 

[ From: Wei Wuxian]

[Hi Lan Zhan! Thank you again for letting me borrow your jacket! Haha it’s so warm!]

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[No need for thank you. You should not wear your pyjamas outside of your bedroom.]

 

[ From: Wei Wuxian]

[I know, I know! I’ll be more careful in the future!]

[Anyway! There’s a party tonight, do you wanna go with me?]

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[When and where.]

 

[ From: Wei Wuxian]

[Don’t worry Lan Zhan, it’s not on campus! Haha you can’t get me in trouble.]

[It starts at 9:00 and it’s at that abandoned hotel in town!]

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[Still underage.]

 

[ From: Wei Wuxian]

[Lan Zhan nooooooo!!!]

 

The conversation had ended there, Wei Wuxian was slightly worried that Lan Wangji would call the cops on the party, but he was mostly worried that he had said something wrong that made Lan Zhan want to stop talking to him. He forced those feelings away, they wouldn’t do him any good. Tonight he was going to party with ghosts!

 

He had dressed like he would normally for a party, if not with a little extra effort. If there was even the smallest chance that Lan Wangji would even show up, even if it was to shut the whole thing down. 

 

A little extra effort meant a cropped black turtleneck with mesh sleeves,striped black and white jeans, and dark red crushed velvet sneakers. Jiang Cheng had seen his outfit and scoffed, but Nie Huaisang had given him a solid thumbs-up, and really, Wei Wuxian wasn’t going to take any fashion advice from the man who was currently a walking Nike advertisement. 

 

The SangChengYing squad had arrived at the party fashionably late (not on purpose, Huaisang-xiong had taken a while to get ready), and by the time they arrived, the party had truly begun in earnest. Music and light was pouring out of the windows of the normally silent and dark building. Wei Wuxian was practically vibrating with excitement when he threw open the front door. 

 

There were a lot of people at the party. Not so many as to be unreasonable or suffocating, but there were enough to call it lively. He recognized some faces from his classes, but also saw Wen Qing and Mianmian, as well as Xue Yang, and--

 

Lan Zhan. 

 

Lan Zhan? Wei Ying rubbed at his eyes, sure enough, the beautiful man dressed in the dark blue button-up was Lan Wangji. He could recognize him anywhere, even standing against the dilapidated hotel wall, hands awkwardly at his sides as he watched the crowd of dancing drunks. He glanced back to Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang, but the former was already making a beeline for the makeshift bar. Huaisang-xiong winked at him before following Jiang Cheng. His head whipped back to Lan Wangji, and nothing in this world or the next could stop the grin from breaking out across his face as he quickly made his way to the man of his dreams. 

 

“Lan Zhan!” He cheered, coming to a halt in front of him. His grin widened as he was fixed with those golden eyes and he grabbed one of Lan Zhan’s hands in his own. “You came!” 

 

Lan Wangji nodded. “For Wei Ying.” Ugh! That wasn’t fair! Wei Wuxian felt his face heat up, and god dammit, already? He was getting weaker and weaker to Lan Zhan’s charms! Wei Ying rocked back and forth on his heels. 

 

“Sooo, Lan Zhan… Do you wanna get a drink?”  He asked, gesturing with his head to the bar. 

 

“Not drinking.” Lan Zhan stated simply. Of course he wasn’t, Wei Ying didn’t expect a different answer, but he pouted in disappointment anyway. “Not allowed.”

 

“Aww, Lan Zhan, pleeeaase ?” he begged, giving his best puppy-eyes. Lan Wangji appeared unaffected. Wei Ying harrumphed. He really wanted to see Lan Zhan drink! Though he supposed that Hanguang-jun wouldn’t dare risk breaking the law, especially when he was in a crowd of inebriated partiers. Lan Wangji shook his head no again, and Wei Ying dropped his hand, and immediately wanted to grab it again. He took a small step back and gave an exaggerated shrug. “Oh well… I guess I’ll just go drink irresponsibly since nobody will be there do monitor my consumption! Bye Lan Zha-!” 

 

He had turned on his heel and was heading away when his wrist was grabbed. He did a victorious fist pump inwardly, then turned to his Lan Zhan, who looked as impassive as always, but Wei Ying could see the faint line of worry between his eyes. “I will go.”

 

He beamed at him. “Thank you Lan Zhan!” He began to move around the sea of dancing people that had clustered themselves in the middle of the hotel lobby. The place smelled of booze, sweat, cologne and perfume, and the lingering scent of rot. It was the best party Wei Ying had ever been to, but that may just be because Lan Zhan was there. 

 

He reached the bar area, and opened one of the ice chests that were resting on the counter. He scanned the contents, searching for anything he would like to drink. Sadly, there seemed to be no emperor’s smile in any of the coolers, which wasn’t unusual considering it was wine, but still! He settled for a pre-mixed canned cocktail that had some cayenne pepper mixed into it. He also grabbed a fruity, juice-like drink with extremely low alcohol content. 

 

He shook the fruity drink in Lan Zhan’s direction, who just looked at with the most unimpressed expression Wei Ying had ever seen on anyone that wasn’t Madame Yu or Lan Qiren. He shook it slightly. “Are you sure you won’t drink with me? We’re closer now, so you could just indulge me this once!” He knew he was grasping at straws, but he really, really , wanted to see Lan Wangji drink. “I’ve had drinks with all my close friends! Even Wen Ning!” 

 

He wasn’t sure why, but something shifted in Lan Zhan’s expression when he said that. He didn’t have a chance to think about why as Lan Zhan took the beverage from his hand, popped the top open, and took a deep drink. Wei Ying was stunned, before he threw his hands up in the air and cheered. He did it! He actually did it!

 

Lan Wangji pulled the drink away from his mouth, and looked at it with a puzzled expression, before his eyes slipped closed and he collapsed.

 

Wei Ying yelled his name in worry, as he quickly went forward to support Lan Wanji’s weight before he completely fell to the ground, which was hard because Lan Wangji was deceptively heavy. His mind began working quickly, fueled by worry. Could the drink have been drugged? He had made sure to grab one that was sealed! It didn’t have any signs of tampering! But maybe there was some drug in it anyway? If that was the case, he had to get Lan Zhan to the hospital now. 

 

He was about to call for Jiang Cheng to help him, when Lan Wangji stirred in his arms. Oh thank god. Wei Ying tried to help him stand up straighter as he came to. Lan Wangji swayed slightly and his steps stumbled a little bit before he was standing on his own once again. 

 

“Lan Zhan are you okay?” Wei Ying asked, stepping closer. “You collapsed-- are you sick? You shouldn’t have come if you’re sick! You could’ve gotten a cold from not having your coat today, or maybe it was from the rain yesterday?” He fussed, and reached a hand up to feel Lan Wangji’s temperature. He pressed his hand to his forehead. It didn’t feel hot or cold. He frowned and made to pull his hand away, but Lan Zhan grabbed it before he could, and pressed it into his cheek. 

 

Wei Ying was shocked as Lan Zhan held his hand in place, his palm cradling Lan Zhan’s incredibly soft- and slightly warm?- cheek. Wait. Wait. 

 

“Lan Zhan, are- are you drunk? ” He asked in disbelief . He had one swallow! One swallow of a drink so nonalcoholic it would take Wei Ying ten to get drunk! 

 

“Not drunk.” Lan Zhan protested, but his words were slightly slurred. Sure, somebody who wasn’t familiar with Lan Zhan’s usual speech probably wouldn’t have picked up on it, but Wei Ying could. Lan Zhan was totally drunk! After just that much alcohol! It was cute! So cute! Too cute!

 

Unable to help himself, he brought his other hand to Lan Wangji’s other cheek. Lan Zhan didn’t protest, even as his cheeks were squished. Wei Ying couldn’t help but laughing, as the ever stoic man before him allowed himself to have his cheeks squished. “Lan Zhan is such a liar! You’re drunk!” 

 

He wasn’t prepared for Lan Wangji to return the favor, suddenly finding his cheeks in between two large, warm hands that were kneading his cheeks like dough. His laughter didn’t ebb, even as his heart sped up. “Ahh, What are you doing?” he asked through his laughter. 

 

“Feeling.” Lan Wangji said simply, before pressing his cheeks together so that his lips puckered outward, then pulling them back. Wei Ying patted Lan Wangji’s hands, feeling embarrassed. 

 

“You’ve felt enough! If you keep going on like this you’ll get embarrassed!” He tugged gently at the hands that had stopped moving on him, but still held his face. 

 

Lan Wangji seemed to think for a moment, before he spoke. “I don’t care.” So bold!!

 

“I care! How will the ghosts respect me if they see me like this?” he joked, looking for any way to get Lan Zhan to release his face that was rapidly becoming too red for comfort. If he didn’t let go soon, he would be as red as his sneakers, and Lan Zhan would surely notice. 

 

Thankfully, his words seemed to give Lan Zhan pause. “Ghosts?”

 

Wei Ying stepped away, and ignored how lan Zhan’s eyes narrowed when he did. “Yes, yes! The ghosts in this hotel. Ghosts won’t show themselves to you if they don’t respect you, so I need to save some face if I want to see any.” 

 

Lan Zhan cocked his head to the side. “Wei Ying wants to find ghosts?”

 

Wei Ying nodded confidently, relived the conversation had taken a turn for the less embarrassing. “Of course!” 

 

“Then I will go find a ghost for Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan said with confidence, before turning around and quickly beginning to walk away. Wei Ying panicked. 

 

“Lan Zhan what!?” He yelled, quickly making to follow. 

 

Though as he tried to tail him, he got mixed up with all of the partygoers, getting turned around as he was bumped and pushed by the grinding and jumping of the dancers. The loud music wasn’t helping his situation any. He kept a level head though, and eventually just pushed his way out of the mass of people. When he was in the clear, he had no idea which way Lan Zhan had gone, and more panic settled in his gut. 

 

Lan Wangji was drunk, and had just wandered away from him in a dilapidated building.

 

Fuck!

 

He looked around desperately looking for Lan Zhan, but found no sight of him. Surely he must have gone down one of those hallways, right? Taking that as the most rational course of action, he began walking with a purpose to the hallway that was the closest. He was stopped however, when a hand grabbed his arm and pulled him roughly back. 

 

“Hey, what the hell?!” He yelled as he whipped around to face his assailant. It was some unrecognizable guy with short brown hair and freckled skin. Wei Ying thought that maybe they had a class together, but honestly he couldn’t remember, and that meant that he really shouldn’t be grabbing Wei Wuxian like this. He tried to yank his arm away, but the other man just held tighter. “How about you let me go?” 

 

The man gave him a lascivious smile, and Wei Ying wanted to throw up. “Where you off to sweetheart?” He asked. Wei Ying was about two seconds away from punching this creep. “You should stay here with me, it’ll be much more fun than wherever you’re off to.” 

 

Wei Ying was going to give this guy one more chance before he knocked his lights out. “Let me go, I don’t want anything to do with you.” He said clearly, lacing his words with enough venom so as to not leave any room for doubt. 

 

Though apparently this guy had no brain, as he didn’t release Wei Ying’s arm. “I don’t think you know what you’d be missing out on.” The man purred. Okay. Wei Ying pulled his free arm back and was ready to swing into a crisp, clean right-hook to this guy’s face when he was suddenly lifted up from the ground. 

 

Wei Ying almost screamed, until he smelled a familiar sandalwood. He relaxed instantly as he looked up at Lan Zhan’s face. 

 

It took a second to fully settle in, but Wei Ying noticed the position he was in. Lan Zhan picked him up. Lan Zhan had picked him up in a princess carry. Lan Zhan had shown up out of the blue like a knight in shining armor, and swept off his feet into Lan Wangji’s arms. His heart leapt into his throat and his arms instinctively wrapped around Lan Wangji’s neck. He was brought in closer and that was it!! Wei Ying surely passed out and this was some sort of amazing hallucination. He felt so safe

 

“Fighting is prohibited.” Lan Wangji said- the timbre of his voice reminding Wei Ying that Lan Wanji was still inebriated, and that this behavior was nothing he would have done while sober. He watched as Lan Wangji leveled the man who had grabbed him with a glare that could kill. “Unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances are prohibited.”  The man swallowed and nodded his head quickly, before he turned tail and ran. 

 

Lan Wanji watched him go, before he looked back down at Wei Ying. Wei Wuxian’s heart felt like a hummingbird. He opened his mouth to ask Lan Zhan to put him down, as much as he wanted to stay in his arms he didn’t have a reason to justify staying. Though Lan Wanji began to move, carrying Wei Ying with him. “Wh-what are you doing?” Wei Ying asked, his voice high and squeaking. How embarrassing! 

 

“Sweeping.” Lan Wangji said, as if that explained everything. Which it did not, Wei Ying was even more confused. He was dumbfounded as he was carried down a hallway and into a room which Wei Ying figured must have used to be a dining room. There was nobody else in the room, and there was a distinct and haunting chill in the air. 

 

Also in the room, carved into one of the walls, were the neat characters reading: Lan Wangji was here. 

 

Despite everything, wei Ling lost it, laugher bellowing from him that couldn’t stop as he buried his face into Lan Zhan’s neck to help smother the volume of his laughter. Lan Wanji’s breath hitched, and Wei Ying pulled away, wanting to apologize, but his laughter didn’t go away for long enough. Drunk Lan Zhan was too much! Too much!

 

“Wei Ying” Lan Zhan said. Wei Ying was trying to get a lid on himself. “ Wei Ying.” 

 

“Yeah-” He took in a deep breath, his laughter finally petering out into a couple last breathy chuckles. “Yeah Lan Zhan?” 

 

“No ghosts. I couldn’t find any.” He said, lowering his head as if he was ashamed. It was just too adorable, Wei Ying couldn’t handle it. “Wei Ying? Do you know what you look beautiful in?” 

 

Wei Ying blinked, unsure of where that came from. Lan Zhan… thought he looked beautiful? “What do I look beautiful in?” 

 

“My arms.” 

 

Wei Ying couldn’t hide his face fast enough, as it was suddenly beet red and he began to seriously worry about his own health. Bold! Shameless! Unfair! 

 

Lan Wangji began to rock him slightly in his arms. “If Wei Ying was a vegetable he would be a cute-cumber.” 

 

Wei Ying heard himself let out a pitiful whine. Another one! Was drunken Lan Zhan an incorrigible flirt?! Was he trying to kill poor Xianxian?! Was he trying to make Wei Ying the ghost that he was unable to find?! 

 

“Are you from Tennessee? Because you are the only ‘ten’ I can ‘see.’” Lan Zhan said again, heedless of Wei Ying’s slowly diminishing life force. “If you were a chicken, you would be im- peck -able.”  

 

“Lan Zhaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” Wei Ying groaned, unable to do anything else. He was rendered useless! 

 

“Wei Ying, is there a mirror-” 

 

There was a sudden commotion from the lobby of the hotel, loud enough to be heard from where they were, and loud enough to disturb the noise of the party. Lan Wangji and Wei Ying looked at each other, the mood from before vanished into thin air. Lan Wangji set Wei Ying down and they hurried back to the lobby to see what was happening. 

 

They arrived to see that the mass of dancers had dispersed, and in the center of the room Jiang Cheng was being held back by Nie Huaisang. Wei Ying noticed that his brother’s knuckles were bloody, and there was a man on the ground in front of him. The man had mousy blonde hair and he was curled in on himself, holding his nose, from which he was bleeding profusely. Wei Ying didn’t waste any time on rushing forward to his friend and brother. 

 

“What happened?” He asked, quickly scanning them for injuries. He didn’t see any on Huaisng-xiong or Jiang Cheng which was reassuring. 

 

“Wanyin-xiong-” Huaisang-xiong started but Jiang Cheng cut him off. 

 

“This asshole was trying to cop a feel on Hauaisang and wasn’t taking no for a fucking answer.” His brother hissed like a viper, his eyes sparking with rage. “So I fucking punched him.” 

 

Wei Ying was glad that he was gone, because there was no way Huaisang would have been able to hold back Wei Ying and Jiang Cheng, and Wei Ying been here he was certain he would have punched him as well, and kept punching him. He cast a disgusted look to the scumbag on the ground, before he walked over to his brother. He tugged him out of Huaisang’s grasp and wrapped his arm around his shoulder. 

 

“Are you okay, Huaisang-xiong?” He asked, and received a nod in response. “Have you been drinking?” He asked. Huaisang-xiong shook his head. “I’ll take Jiang Cheng home. Can you make sure that Lan Zhan makes it home? He’s drunk.” 

 

“Of course, Wei-xiong.” He agreed. Wei Ying reached over and clasped Huaisang-xiong’s hand in his own and gave it a comforting squeeze. 

 

“Thank you so much, Huaisang-xiong. We’ll be waiting for you back at the dorm. Come straight back, okay?” 

 

“Okay.” Huaisang nodded. “You can count on this one!” Huaisang announced, puffing up his chest. Wei Ying nodded, smiling gratefully, before he quickly ushered his brother out of the party. 

 

Jiang Cheng was silent as they walked to the car, Jiang Cheng’s steps shaky and stumbling. Though how much of that was his inebriation and how much was his lingering rage Wei Ying didn’t know. They got into Jiang Cheng’s car, Wei Ying sitting in the drivers seat. He waited for Jiang Cheng to buckle his seatbelt. 

 

After a moment, when he still hadn't heard the click, he looked to his brother. Jiang Cheng was slumped back in his chair, gazing upwards at the car roof. Jiang Cheng gave a deep, extremely heavy and meaningful sigh. 

 

“I think I have feelings for Huaisang.” 

 

Oh. 



Chapter Text

Wei Wuxian was sitting on Jiang Cheng’s bed cross-legged, his hands supporting his chin and he stared at his brother, who was trying to puzzle his way through his feelings in his drunken haze. Wei Wuxian had to admit, it was kind of funny. 

 

“He’s- he’s just so-” Jiang Cheng moved his hands around in some sort of gesture, “he’s so there. You know?” He looked at Wei Wuxian beseechingly, who had to try his hardest to repress a snort. That gave him next to nothing to work with. 

 

“You like Huaisang-xiong because he’s there?” He asked. His brother nodded, and Wei Ying frowned. “That seems kind of hasty Jiang Cheng. If you just like somebody because they’re there, it kind of reduces them to a convenience for you.” 

 

His thigh was slapped, and Wei Ying glared. He slapped hard! Jiang Cheng was shaking his head with a glare of his own. “Not- there. Not- there-there. It’s-” He pressed his fingers to his temples. “It’s because- I think about who’s gonna be there when I’m down- and It’s Huaisang. I think about going home, and I think- I think about coming here and Huaising is here. He’s not…” Jiang Cheng gestured to the space around him. “He’s not there.” He then pointed at his head. “He’s there.” He pointed to his heart. “He’s there. 

 

Awww! That’s so cute! Wei Ying couldn’t help how he cooed at his brother’s explanation, and it earned him another slap to the thigh, but he just laughed it off. His brother sighed, and his expression became dreamy. “He’s so pretty too. He’s naturally beautiful, Wei Wuxian. His eyes are like amber and his skin is so soft and pretty. His hair is soft and pretty too, and he smells so nice.” His brother’s expression kept getting further and further away. “And his lips - they’re already so pink and plump but then he goes and puts on- uh- shiny-” 

 

Wei Wuxian snapped his fingers in front of Jiang Cheng. While he could relate to wanting to wax poetic about the object of one’s affections (an old journal of Wei Wuxian’s could attest to this) he drew the line at listening to his brother talk about his best friend’s lips. Jiang Cheng thankfully snapped out of his dreamy musings and snapped the hand that had snapped at him. 

 

“And- and he’s so sweet and nice, and graceful and delicate and I just want to protect him-” his face became stormy. “And when I saw that fucking asshole trying to- to touch him? I lost it. I would have kept beating him up had Huaisang not stopped me.” He buried his head in his hands and tugged at his hair. “The worst part is that I wasn’t only angry because he was trying to harass Huaisang, it was because in that moment I realized that…” 

 

His voice dwindled to silence there, and Wei Wuxian furrowed his brow. He placed a comforting hand on Jiang Cheng’s shoulder. “What did you realize?” He asked. 

 

Jiang Cheng took another m oment before he spoke. “I realized that Huaisang wasn’t going to be there forever, that…” He swallowed audibly. “One day Huaisang is going to let somebody touch him, and dance with him, and hug him, and kiss him and It’s not going to be me.” he finished miserably. 

 

Wei Wuxian was going to scream. 

 

He grabbed his brother’s cheeks in between his hands, and pulled his head up out of his hands, so he was looking Jiang Cheng dead in the eyes. “What makes you think that it won’t be you?” He asked, keeping his voice steady despite how much he wanted to shake him and scream. 

 

Jiang Cheng blinked. “Because… Because he..?” Jiang Cheng looked visibly puzzled, as if he didn't know why it couldn’t be him. His face was confused for a couple more moments, his eyebrows shifting as he thought. He closed his eyes, but his mouth was turned downward in a puzzled frown. Then his eyes snapped open, and he looked at Wei Wuxian with an expression of shock. 

 

 Wei Wuxian nodded slowly. Jiang Cheng’s eyes widened. “You mean..?”  Wei Wuxian nodded again, a smile blossoming onto his face. Jiang Cheng grabbed Wei Wuxian’s cheeks, mirroring their position on his own face, but he did it with too much enthusiasm and ended up slapping Wei Wuxian. Again! Stop slapping! “Wei. Wuxian. Are. You. Serious?” 

 

Wei Wuxian held up his hand as if he was swearing. “I’m serious.” He said, meaning it despite the grin he had plastered on his face. Jiang Cheng’s hands dropped, and he fell backwards onto his bed, looking like Wei Wuxian had just fundamentally shattered his entire worldview. How dramatic!

 

Wei Wuxian, thinking he work here was done, stood up and stretched his arms above his head. He supposed he should make himself scarce. Jiang Cheng and Huaisang-xiong would have a lot to talk about when the latter returned from taking Lan Zhan home. 

 

Thinking of Lan Zhan, Wei Wuxian thought that he should check on him. He pulled his phone out of his pocket. Along with the voicemail from Jiang Fengmian, there were some new messages from Lan Zhan. He opened their conversation, and immediately, a grin split his face. 

 

[ From: Lan Wangji ]

[wei ying didntsay goodbye]

[miss wei ying]

[if huaaisanf kills me while driving]

[w ant wei ying to know i love]

 

Wei Wuxian’s heart skipped a beat, and he dropped his phone when he read that message. He dropped down to his knees to read the next one. His hands were shaking. 

 

[kermit]

[brother says to let you know i am safley home]

[i wish you were here]

[goodnight]

 

[ From: Wei Wuxian]

[I’m glad you’re back safe Lan Zhan! Goodnight <3]

 

Wei Ying ignored the crushing disappointment he felt as he shook his head, a bemused smile making its way onto his face despite his sadness. It was stupid to think that Lan Wangji would love Wei Wuxian back. Though the knowledge that Lan Zhan had started to like Kermit so much was something he wouldn’t have ever expected. 

 

He stood up, and shook his head, as if trying to knock all of his thoughts out of his brain. He couldn’t be jealous that Kermit was loved by Lan Wangji . He was a puppet. A puppet that had what Wei Ying wanted most in the world. 

 

He opened his dresser and pulled out some pyjamas, before pulling out a random canvas bag and stuffing them inside. He walked over to the bathroom and grabbed his toothbrush and his face wash, before leaving. He would go stay with Wen Ning tonight. He had seen his roommate at the party grinding pretty hard with a pretty lady, so Wei Ying figured that Wen Ning would be by himself tonight, and wouldn’t mind Wei Wuxian staying with him. 

 

He placed his hand on the doorknob and called back to Jiang Cheng, “I’m staying with Wen Ning tonight! Talk to Huaisang-xiong, okay?” He threw open the door, not hearing his brother’s response. He stepped into the hall, and the automatic lights flickered on. He walked down the hall and up the stairs. The second floor of the dorms always seemed more… sinister. Must be the lighting or something. 

 

He walked over to Wen Ning’s dorm and gave it a cheerful, rhythmic knock. In no time at all, Wen Ning was at the door. He was in his loungewear, and Wei Ying smiled at him. “A-Ning!” He said happily, tackling the other boy into a hug. Wen Ning managed to hold his ground and they didn’t end up tumbling to the ground. Ah, Wei Wuxian missed those days, when Wen Ning couldn’t support him through his tackle-hugs. They grow up so fast! He pulled back. “Can I sleep here tonight?” 

 

Wen Ning quickly nodded. “Of course, We--” Wen Ning stuttered so badly over his words that they were indecipherable. Wei Ying leaned closer, pressing his hand against his ear as if to signal ‘speak up.’ “A-Xian…” Wen Ning finished in a whisper. Wei Ying cheered.

 

“There you go! Though I still say it is okay for Wen Ning to call me Xianxian!” He teased, poking the other boy’s extremely flushed cheeks. He dropped his bag to the ground, and threw himself onto Wen Ning’s bed. He made a grand pulling motion in Wen Ning’s direction, and the other boy followed, meekly sitting down next to him, as if the bed was Wei Wuxian’s and not his own. “So, how is my formidable Corpse General these days?” Wei Wuixan asked, settling his head in Wen Ning’s lap. 

 

Wen Ning sighed. “You have to call me that?” he asked, his voice small. Wei Ying smiled and nodded. 

 

“Of course! You’re the one I rely on the most to keep me alive and well when I’m in grave peril!” He said cheerily. “The feared and powerful Corpse General!”

 

“That was just in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign… Though I’ve been doing well. Jiejie’s been in a better mood since she started dating Mianmian. B-but! Don’t tell her I said that!” Wei Wuxian giggled. 

 

“Your secret is safe with me A-Ning.” He said, patting the other’s hand. “What else?”

 

“Nothing really… I passed my last test, which I have been meaning to thank you for. Thank you for helping me study Wei-”

 

“Ah!”

 

“...A-Xian.” 

 

“There it is!” Wei Ying sat up and slipped out of the bed. He landed on the ground with a ‘thud’ and an ‘oof,’  then rolled over to his canvas bag. The mesh of his sleeves was getting annoying. He dug out the shirt he had grabbed, an old and faded purple long sleeve. He sat up and slipped his shirt off his head, and slipped the far cozier and softer shirt on.

 

He removed his jeans without standing up, which required a lot of on-his-back aerobics before they were removed. He then slipped on the black shorts he had packed, and toed his shoes off. He made sure he had his phone, and he held his arms up, and he heard Wen Ning get up from the bed. Wen Ning grabbed his hands and pulled him up to his feet, only to have him fling himself back into the bed. 

 

There was silence for a moment as Wei Wuixan thought about the weight on his stomach. He had been… ignoring the message from Jiang Fengmian, if he was being honest. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to know what his old guardian had to say, it was more that… he was afraid. It could very well be Madame Yu on the other end of the message, once again screaming at him that he didn’t belong with her family. It could be Jiang Fengmian’s soft apology, along with a message of regret that he wasn’t able to do anything. It could even be nothing, just an accident. 

 

He looked to Wen Ning, who was looking back at him with an expression of concern. Wei Wuxian could always count on Wen Ning. Wen Ning had never told one of his secrets, had never been missing when he was needed, and was an amazing friend, and quite honestly, one of the only people Wei Wuxian would trust to be here with him as he faced this message. 

 

Though, he would have liked Lan Zhan here too. To hold him as he listened, to reassure him. To wipe away his tears and tell him what he needed to hear. His heart lurched painfully. 

 

“Jiang Fengiman left me a message.” Wei Wuxian admitted, his voice quiet. He tapped his phone. “Will you listen with me…?” 

 

Wen Ning nodded, and Wei Wuxian took in a deep breath, telling himself that he would be okay, wishing that Lan Zhan was here to tell him that he would be okay. He opened his phone and made his way to the message. He looked at it, and it seemed to look back at him. Wei Wuxian bit the bullet and played the message, bracing himself. 

 

“A-Xian.” The message started, and fuck, there were allready tears in Wei Ying’s eyes. “I’m not… I’m not sure how to say what I’m going to say, but it needs to be said.” Jiang Fengmian and Wei Wuxian took in a breath at the same time. Wei Wuxian knew it was coming, the ‘stay away from Yanli and Jin Ling.’ 

 

“I have been a fool. Since I have adopted you, I have been a fool.” God, it hurt more than Wei Wuxian could have imagined, the blade twisting in his heart. Wen Ning placed a hand on his shoulder. “I have been a foolish man who wasn’t strong enough to do the right thing, and for that I am sorry. I am so sorry A-Xian, but nothing I say can change what I have done.” 

 

“For years I allowed my oldest son, one of the three children I love grow up feeling as if he was an outsider. For all of your time under my roof, I allowed you to call my ‘Uncle.’ You should have been calling me father, I shouldn’t have let you-” his voice choked off here, as if he was fighting off tears. Wei Ying had stopped bothering to fight his own tears back. “I shouldn’t have let you go. You are my son, A-Xian. You are my son, and I should have made sure you knew you were my son. I should have never let my son get taken from me.” 

 

“Yu Ziyuan and I

 are getting divorced.” What. “And I hope that when this is all over, I will be able to call you my son again, and I hope… I hope that you would call me father, though I know I have done nothing to deserve such an honor.”  There was another deep breath. 

 

“I love you, A-Xian. I love you as I love Yanli and A-Cheng. You... don’t have to feel the same, you don’t have to respond to me if you do not want to. I’m so proud of you. I was proud of you when you scored your first goal in soccer, I was proud of you when you put your life on the line to stop Wen Chao from hurting those people. I am proud of you. I could not live with myself without telling you. I am so proud of you, A-Xian..” 

 

The message ended, and Wei Wuxian was sobbing at this point, curled around himself, unable to hear anything other than his own sobs and the thoughts running through his head. 

 

Yu Ziyuan and Jinag Fengmian were getting divorced did Jiang Cheng know? Did shijie know? Why? Was it Wei Ying’s fault again? Jiang Fengmian was proud of him. Jiang Fengmian was proud of him, even when he had disgraced the Jiang family name by angering the Wen family.

Jiang Fengmian loved him, Jiang Fengmian wanted Wei Ying to call him father. 

 

He gripped his own shoulder tighter, so tight it almost hurt, and cried into his knees, and he cried, and he cried, and he cried, and he cried. He cried until his lungs burned. He cried until there was a phone pressed against his ear. 

 

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan. “Wei Ying?” Lan Zhan. “Wei Ying, what is wrong?”

 

“Lan Zhan.” Is all Wei Yig could get out, words trying to make their way from his brain only to get lost and tangled up on his tongue.

 

“I am here.” Was the response, and it was everything Wei Ying needed to hear. He breathed in so deep it felt like he had just came up from underwater. “I won’t leave you.” Wei Ying clutched his phone, wanting to press himself through the phone itself to get to Lan Wanji. Though he could think of another thing that wanted so, so badly in this moment. 

 

“Lan Zhan…” Tell me you love me, tell me that I deserve love, tell me that you love me and that Jiang Fengmian could love me too. “Can you sing for me…?” 

 

Lan Wangji was quiet, and Wei Wuxian thought that he had overstepped his boundaries, tears collected in his eyes once again, and an apology was on the tip of his tongue. Then Lan Wangji began to hum. The same tune from the graveyard. 

 

In no time at all, Wei Wuxian felt all of the feelings of distress ebb from his body, and they were replaced with feelings of exhaustion and love. He quickly fell asleep, his phone  next to his head. 

 




Wen Ning had finished moving the slumbering form of A-Xian until he was comfortably tucked under Wen Ning’s blankets. His hand was still resting on the screen of the phone, which still had an ongoing call with Lan Wangji.  Wen Ning slowly reached for the phone and took it from underneath Wei Wuxian’s hand. He walked over to his roommate's side of the room, and spoke softly, even softer than his normal tone. 

 

“Lan Wangji, he fell asleep.” He said. 

 

“Is he… alright?” Came the response. 

 

Wen Ning looked to his bed, and saw his friend’s steady rise and fall of his breath. “He’s fine, he fell asleep. Thank you for-” 

 

“Is he warm?” Lan Wangji asked. 

 

“Uh-” 

 

“Give me back to Wei Ying.” He said, his voice commanding. Normally, Wen Ning would have buckled under such a tone, but Lan Wangji was far, far away.

 

“He’s- he’s asleep Lan Wangji.” Wen Ning pointed out. 

 

“Don’t care.” Lan Wangji said, his voice still commanding. Wen Ning shifted on his feet. 

 

“Lan Wangji, he fell asleep and you should go to sleep too.” His voice was more firm than he had ever used with the intimidating Hanguang-jun. There was still a tremor, however, but Wen Ning would stand his ground! “I’m here for him, so you-”

 

“Give me back.” Lan Wangji said again, his voice frosty. Wen Ning would have to be Wei Wuxian levels of obliviousness to not know why. Lan Wangji had always been weirdly jealous of Wen Ning whenever he was close to Wei Wuxian, but Wen Ning wouldn't let that stop him from being close with his closest friend. “Wen Qionglin-”

 

Wen Ning pulled the phone away from his ear and hung up. He felt a little guilty, but Lan Wangji needed his rest, and so did Wei Ying, and Wen Ning was slightly concerned what would happen if Wei Wuxian slept with a phone next to his head all night. He plugge A-Xian’s phone in with a spare charger, and he went to go get ready for bed. 

 

When his face was washed, his teeth brushed, and his retainer in his mouth, he returned to his bed and tucked himself next to his friend. He adjusted the blanket so that they were both completely covered, and would be quite warm as they slept. When he was situated, he let himself look at Wei Wuxian. 

 

He saw the tried tear tracks and disheveled hair, and he almost reached up to tuck a stray strand away from his face. His hand trembled as he brought it up to his face, but he dropped his hand before he could go through with it. It would be… It was… It wasn’t Wen Ning’s place to do that. 

 

But Wen Ning would be here for him, just as Wei Wuxian was there for his family when Wen Chao was extorting money from them. Like when Wei Wuxian had risked his own life to save his nephew when Wen Chao kidnapped A-Yuan, and how he stood by them, even using his own college fund to pay for his family’s legal council, and how he devoted all of his time in those dark months to making sure Wen Ning, Wen Qing, and Wen Yuan were taken care of.

 

Wen Ning would be here for Wei Wuxian no matter what happened, supporting him through thick and thin, because Wei Wuxian had done the same, and because his amazing, golden heart was something that needed protecting. 

 

Wei Wuxian’s precious heart belonged to somebody else, and that somebody was devoted to him with extreme passion. Wen Ning wouldn’t be selfish in this moment. He’d just… be here for Wei Wuxian. He’d be here for the person he treasured. 

 





Wei Wuxian woke up feeling groggy, though that wasn’t unexpected, given how he had fallen asleep, it wasn’t unexpected. He knew he had no classes today so he wasn’t worried about getting up on time for anything, so he sat up and stretched. He looked down next to him and saw that Wen Ning was sleeping soundly. When Wen Ning slept, he was quite hard to wake up. 

 

Wei Wuxian, with attempted grace, climbed over Wen Ning and unplugged his phone. He had some new text messages. 

 

[ From: Lan Wangji]

[Good morning, Wei Ying.]

[Please let me know if you are alright when you wake up.]

 

Wei Wuxian’s heart filled with love and affection. He still didn’t know what to do or how to feel about the message he had received from Jiang Fengmian, but he knew that it… it made him happy to know that Jiang Fengman thought of him as a son. That was all he knew at the moment. He would talk to shijie and Jiang Cheng when he could, but today he was going to… 

 

He was going to practice the flute. 

 

[ From: Wei Wuxian]

[I’m fine! Thank you Lan Zhan, I can’t thank you enough.]

[Hehe, you were really fun when you were drunk, Lan Zhan.]

[But, that aside, thank you so much.]

[If there is anything I can do to thank you let me know!]

 

Wei Ying grabbed his canvas bag and stepped out of Wen Ning’s room. The second floor was less scary in the morning, but it was still weird. He went down the stairs. He stood outside of the SangChengYing dorm and wondered what he would find inside. Would Huaisang-xiong and Jiang Cheng be awake? Would they be asleep still? Would they have fallen asleep cuddled together? Would they have not talked about it? Would it just be business as usual. 

 

He pushed open the (unlocked) door, and the scene he was met with was-

 

Nie Huaisang was straddling Jiang Cheng, his brother’s hands had slipped underneath Nie Huaisang’s sleeping shirt and were moving up and down his back. Oh, and they were making out pretty heavily. And loudly. 

 

Wei Wuxian felt mischievous, but what else is new? He grinned mischievously and he loudly announced, “Hiya Jiang Cheng! Hi Huaisan-xiong!” He tossed his bag onto the floor and watched with glee as his roomates sprang apart from one another, Huaisang tumbling onto the ground and Jiang Cheng jerking back so soundly his head thumped against the cold metal of his bed frame. 

 

Wei Wuxian chortled with mischievous glee as he heard a furious roar of WEI WUXIAN and he quickly ran and locked himself in the bathroom. There was a Jiang Cheng sounding thud against the door-- and Wei Wuxian giggled again. 

 

“I’ll give you two some privacy! Be safe” He yelled through the door. “Congratulations you two!”

 

There was the start of a yell, before it was cut off. Wei Ying didn’t really want to know how Nie Huaisang silenced him, so instead of speculating further, he stripped and hopped into the shower. 

 

When he was squeaky clean and smelling of cinnamon and apples, he slipped out of the shower and made his way into the bedroom wrapped in a fluffy black towel. Ah, showers always made him feel so much better. There was just something about being covered in water from head-to-toe that made his mental state feel totally refreshed. 

 

Plus, his body wash and shampoo smelled so nice. Not as nice as the sandalwood scent that seemed to always linger on Lan Zhan, but that was neither here nor there. 

 

He opened the door into the bedroom and he glanced around. Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang were nowhere to be found. He tried his best not to feel a little snubbed, but he knew that they would want their own space as a new couple. He knew in both his head and heart that getting them together would make them both extremely happy, but he worried that there would be less room for Wei Ying in their life. 

 

It would only be natural if they did, but the thought still made his heart ache. He patted his chest, right above his heart. It had been through too much recently, and it needed a break. He brushed his hair, opting to leave it down today, and dressed in a soft pair of jeans and the sweater Lan Zhan had given him. He grabbed his flute and his folder of sheet music and left to head to the practice rooms. 

 

The walk across campus was quiet. There weren’t a lot of people out and about on a Saturday morning, especially after a party. Though there were a couple of people just milling about, who Wei Ying greeted with big smiles and nods when he passed them. 

 

He made his way to the music hall and weaved his way through the winding halls until he reached the area with the practice rooms. Typically the hall would be filled with the faint sounds of various instruments, each playing a different, overlapping tune. Today there were notably less sounds, but there were some nonetheless. Wei Ying focused on the sounds, playing a game with himself and trying to identify which instrument was playing. 

 

There was a french horn, a piano, a trumpet, a cello, a clarinet, a tuba, a saxophone, and… 

 

Was that a guqin? 

 

While Wei Wuxian didn’t know everyone in the music program, he knew that there wasn’t anyone that he knew of that played the guqin. In fact, he only knew one person who could play the guqin. He followed the sound to a practice room and pushed open the door. 

 

Sure enough, Lan Wangji sat there, radiant in the morning sun filtering in from the window. He was sitting on a cushion on the ground, strumming a familiar tune on his guqin that halted when Wei Ying entered. Lan Zhan looked up at him with an irritated expression that quickly morphed into a much gentler one. 

 

Wei Ying barely managed to hold himself back from launching himself at Lan Wangji, he was so happy to see him. He was beautiful, with his hair falling slightly into his eyes, his glasses on, and… in his… Kermit the Frog shirt. 

 

Lan Wangji was wearing a black long-sleeved shirt that had a tasteful green outline of Kermit the Frog. Wei Wuxian was feeling an insane amount of feelings in this moment, too busy staring at the shirt that the love of his life was wearing. 

 

He kept staring, unsure of what his brain was even doing, even as Lan Wangji stood up and pulled him into his arms. His body moved on instinct, and he cuddled close to the amazing, amazing warmth of Lan Wangji. He nuzzled against him and felt the other man hold him closer. Tears gathered in his eyes. Happy tears. He didn’t let these tears fall, collected himself, and reluctantly pulled himself back. 

 

“How did you know I needed a hug, Lan Zhan?” he asked, smiling up into his golden eyes. 

 

“Didn’t know. Wanted to give Wei Ying a hug.”

 

Wei Wuxian felt like he would start crying for sure at the completely sincere tone. It was a blessing and a curse, this new closeness with Lan Wangji. On one hand, it was all that he had ever wanted, to be close with Lan Wangji, but on the other hand it wasn’t enough. Wei Wuxian wanted to pull him down by the collar of his Kermit the Frog shirt and kiss him. He wanted to hold his hand and be able to hug him close and kiss him. 

 

He couldn’t though. He should be happy that he was finally friends with Lan Zhan! He was! It was the best torture ever! 

 

Lan Wangji looked down at his guqin. He looked back at Wei Ying. 

 

“Would Lan Zhan play me something?” He asked, eager to hear him play. It had been such a long time since he had heard Lan Zhan’s beautiful guqin playing. “Just one song! Then I’ll leave you alone! I have to practice too.” He waved his flute case about. 

 

Lan Wangji took a moment to think, and then he nodded. Wei Ying dropped down and sat cross-legged, propping his chin in his hands as he waited for Lan Wangji to elegantly sit behind his instrument. He wondered what song he would play. Would he play one of those pretty traditional pieces? Would he play something else? Would he play… that song that he hummed to him? 

 

He waited, and Lan Zhan to start playing, holding his breath. Lan Wangji began to play, and Wei Ying began to listen. As always, his playing was impeccable, beautiful and perfect. It filled Wei Ying with a warm nostalgia, fuzzy and comfortable. It was like a balm on his soul and heart as he listened. Though the song wasn’t the song he had hummed to him last night, it was still familiar, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. 

 

Then Lan Zhan completed a phrase and it hit Wei Wuxian like a freight train. 

 

Lan Wangji had managed to compose a guqin cover of Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection.”

 

Wei Ying’s eyes widened as he watched the utter enigma that was Lan Wangji continue to play, then he opened his mouth and he began to sing

 

“Why are there so many songs about rainbows?” Lan Wangji sang, and Wei Ying had never heard a sweeter sound in his life. It had the low crystalline quality of his humming, but with an added depth due to to the words forming on his tongue. Wei Ying could listen to it forever. Wei Ying wished he could listen to it forever. 

 

But too soon, Lan Wangji had finished. He looked  at wei Ying, and there was a vulnerability in his expression, as if he was worried that Wei Ying wouldn’t like it. Stupid! Stupid Lan Zhan! 

 

Wei Wuxian reached over the guqin and took Lan Zhan’s hands in his own, these precious hands that could make such beautiful music. Even more precious because they were attached to Lan Zhan. He looked down at their hands, and Wei Ying had another world-shattering revelation. 

 

Lan Zhan had a Kermit the Frog watch on his wrist. 

 

He laughed. Wei Ying threw his lead back and didn’t bother to conceal his laughter. “You--! Lan Zhan!” He grabbed his hands tighter. “Lan Zhan must really love Kermit huh!” He managed to open his eyes trough his laughter, and saw Lan Wangji giving him a… Smile!

 

A SMILE!

Wei Ying’s laughter choked off as he started at what was quite possibly the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his life.The slight upward turn of his lips blew Weing completely away. Lan Zhan. He was so, so stupidly in love with him. 

 

Lan Wangji nodded his head, and said in a level, fond tone. “I really love Kermit. I love Kermit very much.” He professed. Wei Ying nodded dumbly, unable to really do anything else but smile and nod. Lan Zhan averted his eyes and turned his head, and no-! Bring the smile back! 

 

“Wei Ying, are you a rainbow?” Lan Zhan asked. Wei Ying shook his head, wanting to grab his face make him smile at him again. Though he didn’t have to, as Lan Wangji turned back to him. “Because I’m feeling a connection.” 

 

Wei Ying gripped Lan Zhan’s tight as he doubled over forward laughing, utterly filled with joy and affection for Lan Zhan. 




He missed the utterly fond, adoring, love-filled, devoted smile that he was given as his laughter made the room brighter. 

Chapter Text

Lan Wangji knew that… something had happened in regards to his relationship with Wei Ying. 

 

They were closer than they had ever been before. They texted one another, they physically touched one another, and Wei Ying seemed even less hesitant to approach him then ever before. Not that Wei Ying had been hesitant in the past, always barreling into his day, bringing the sun along with him. The bright smile, the cheerful announcement of Lan Zhan, they had always been something that he could expect from his love. Though now he could anticipate it along with a joyous hug to his arm or his torso, and an invitation to accompany him on whatever venture he had planned.

 

Lan Wangji was so happy. He was so happy that all of his work had led to this closeness, but he still wanted more. Selfishly, terribly, he still wanted more. He wanted to take those brief hugs and turn them into long embraces, he wanted to be able to go with Wei Ying and then go back to his home with him, he wanted to sleep next to him and wake up with him in his arms, and he never wanted to leave him.

 

When Lan Wangji thought about confessing, he would be filled with such longing, so deep and so intense he felt like it would consume him. His heart would constrict when he thought about giving voice to his feelings.

 

Lan Wangji would see couples all over campus, shamelessly clinging to one another, kissing, embracing, lazing cuddled together, eating with one another, and Lan Wangji would think about how much he wanted that. All of those people had walked past and over their fears and doubts and had offered their hearts, knowing full well they could get hurt and broken, but they were accepted. One of those couples he had seen recently was Jiang Wanyin and Nie Huaisang-- and just-- seeing two people he knew finding happiness with one another?

 

It made Lan Wangji feel brave. 

 

It made Lan Wangji feel so brave that he decided to forgo waiting for an opportunity to fulfil the final requirement and just… confess. 

 

Waiting for an opportunity in which Wei Ying was in a distressing scenario seemed cruel. It was cruel to anticipate it, and Lan Wangji would rather not have such a situation occur at all. 

 

So he made the decision to confess his feelings. 

 

It made him feel hot, it made his heart beat wildly, it made his palms sweat, it made his back feel numb, it made his knees tremble. It scared him. 

 

Was he even worthy of Wei Ying? Would Wei Ying feel the same? Would he reject him? Would he not want to be around Lan Wangji? All of these thoughts would make his stomach turn over, but even the chance that Wei Ying would say yes would make it worth it. To shamelessly hold his hand, to give him sweet kisses, to love him the way he deserved? That was worth any potential heartbreak. 

 

He had a plan-- the previous Plan to Woo Wei Ying had been replaced by the Plan to Confess to Wei Ying -- and this one was far more simple. More emotionally taxing, but simpler. 

 

Step one, invite Wei Ying to a romantic location. 

Step two, buy a bouquet of red roses. 

Step three, present the bouquet to Wei Ying.  

Step four, confess his feelings. 

 

Simple. Simple! It was simple. However, all of it hinged on Lan Wangji’s ability to not have a heart attack. As well as his ability to find a suitably romantic location. Easy. Simple. 

 

Lan Wangji suddenly came back to himself as his brother sat across from him. 

 

“Hello Wangji.” Xichen greeted, his smile kind as always. Some of Lan Wangji’s racing thoughts were slowed to a still as he nodded in greeting at his brother. Xichen always brought with him an aura of calm and safety, and simply seeing his brother was enough to calm down the maelstrom in his mind and heart. “You seem distressed.” His brother noted. 

 

Lan Wangji couldn’t help but nod slightly. His brother could tell all of his moods with ease, to deny anything would simply be an exercise in futility. Lan Xichen inclined his head  in understanding. 

 

“Would you tell me what’s bothering you, Wangji?” He asked, his voice gentle. Lan Wangji grappled with how to voice his thoughts. Despite Lan Wangji knowing that his face didn’t move a muscle, his brother made a sound of understanding before he spoke, “It’s about Wei Wuxian isn’t it?”

 

Lan Wangji nodded in confirmation. Had it truly been so obvious? “Mn.” He vocalized. Xichen reached over and gently patted his brother’s shoulder. 

 

“Ah Wangji.” He brother said, voice pitying. “Is there anything your big brother can do to help?” He asked kindly. Lan Wangji thought about it. His brother had already helped plenty by telling him Wei Ying’s requirements, and there was nothing he could think of to ask his brother. He shook his head, and Xichen looked thoughtful. “I believe I saw Wei Wuxian and some of his friends at the park when I was on a walk.” He said, a gleam in his eyes. “If you wanted to talk to him about something.” 

 

Lan Wangji stood up, the legs of the chair pushing against the hardwood floor of the cafe with an ugly sound that grated on his ears. He grabbed his travel mug, freshly filled with green tea and slipped it into his bag, along with his notebook. He said a hasty thank you to his grinning brother and slipped out of the cafe and into the breezy autumn afternoon. 

 

He wrapped his scarf securely around his neck before heading off in the direction of the park. It was a nice day, the breeze was slightly cool but not cold, and the air was filled with the conforming scent of decaying leaves. There weren’t very many people out and about, so Lan Wangji took the peaceful walk as an opportunity to calm his racing heartbeat. 

 

He thought about the daunting task ahead of him, and steeled himself for it. He could do this.

 

He kept repeating this to himself as his feet carried him to the park and to Wei Ying. 

 

He could do this, he could do this-- What was that?

 

Lan Wangji suddenly felt an unfamiliar weight press against his legs, and he looked down in confusion. What he saw only served to confuse him more. 

 

There was a small child clinging to his legs, and looking up at him with twinkling blue-grey eyes and an adorable smile that stirred up warm and delightful feelings in Lan Wangji’s heart.

 

Warm feelings aside, Lan Wangji had no idea what he had to do. 

 

The child kept giggling, tugging on his leg and saying nothing else. Lan Wangji looked around, panicked. Where were the child’s parents? Why was he being embraced like this? What should he do? Somebody help!

 

Thankfully, before true panic could truly set in, Lan Wangji’s saving grace appeared in the loveliest form imaginable. 

 

“A-Yuan!” Lan Wangji whipped around to see Wei Ying running towards them, bundled up in a black and red striped sweater, a grey hat and matching gloves, and warm looking boots, and a relieved smile on his face. Lan Wangji was happy to see him finally dressing appropriately for the cool weather,though he was also very confused. HIs confusion merely doubled when the love of his life bent down and picked up the clingy child and held him close. 

 

“There you are!” Wei Ying said, pressing his head against the child who giggled. “Playing tag doesn’t mean you can run off to tag whoever you want!” He chided, tickling the boy’s side, causing his giggles to morph into full-blown squeaky laughter. The baby’s tiny hands began to bat at Wei Ying. 

 

Lan Wangji watched all of this with his eyes wide, utterly baffled. He had so many questions running through his head, and so many feelings in his heart. Seeing Wei Ying doting on this child in such a familiar way simultaneously made him feel incredibly happy. It filled him with a wistful bone-deep longing. Though there was an unpleasant and sticky feeling of jealousy that soured his thoughts.

 

“Who’s child?” Lan Zhan blurted, unable to help himself. Wei Ying looked at him with a lovely, blooming smile, and he shifted the child, A-Yuan, Lan Wangji just remembered, onto his hip. 

 

“Mine!” Wei Ying announced cheerily, and Lan Wangji felt his world shift on its axis. For a moment his mind went blank and he could hear nothing but a high ringing sound. Wei Ying son? Child, Wei Ying? Had Child a Wei Ying? Wei Ying had a child? Wei Ying had a son? Who-? “Hahaha! Oh Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying suddenly burst out laughing. “Oh your face! Oh Lan Zhan!” 

 

Lan Wangji’s brows furrowed in confusion. He watched as A-Yuan pat his hands against Wei Ying’s face. “No! Wei-gege, no teasing! Don’t be mean!” The child reprimanded, and Wei Ying gave the child a look of faux-offense. 

 

“A-Yuan! I would never be mean to Lan Er-gege!” Lan Wangji’s heart jumped a little at that address. He turned to Lan Wangji with a sweet expression. “He’s not my child Lan Zhan. He’s Wen Ning and Wen Qing’s nephew. I’m watching him for the afternoon.” He explained, swaying playfully with the child in his arms.  

 

“Wei-gege is my hero!” Wen Yuan yelled with pride, clinging to him with a smile. “He saved me from bad guys and he’s my favorite!” 

 

Wei Ying gasped, and swung the child around. “I’m your favorite A-Yuan!?” His voice was filled with unadulterated exuberance. “A-Yuan is my favorite too!” 

 

They made such a picture, both laughing with looks of joy and adoration. Lan Wangji almost felt like he should look away- it was so bright. It was so bright and Lan Wangji felt like he was getting a glimpse of his ideal future in that moment. If it was even possible, Lan Wangji felt like he was more in love than ever. 

 

“Wei-gege! Wei-gege!” Wen Yuan gasped out. Wei Ying stopped spinning him and brought him close. Wen Yuan was breathing heavily, and pointed at something over Lan Wangji’s shoulder. He turned around to look, and saw that there was a small booth that was selling caramel apples. 

 

“Ah, I…” Wei Ying looked at the stand with hesitation. “I don’t know if I have enough to-”

 

“I’lll buy them.” Lan Wangj said. He knew that Wei Wuxian struggled for money, and he didn’t want to see him or Wen Yuan disappointed, and if he could demonstrate to Wei Ying that he could be relied on, even better. Wei Wuxian looked at him with gleaming eyes. 

 

Lan Wangji would do anything for him. 

 

“Here A-Yuan, you go with Lan Zhan and you pick out which apple you want.” He suddenly pushed Wen Yuan towards him and Lan Wangj instinctively took him into his arms, mimicking the way that he had seen children carried. He looked at Wei Ying, hoping that some of his concern showed on his face. Wei Ying just smiled at him, and waved him towards the stand. 

 

Lan Zhan swallowed down his worries and walked over to the stand. The sweet smell of caramel filled Lan Zhan’s nose as he looked at the delicious golden-tan confections. He heard Wen Yuan gasp out a small ‘wow’ in wonder, and smiled at the childish reaction. 

 

There were some plain apples, some with an extra drizzle of white chocolate, some with chocolate candies, some with nuts, and one that seemed to be covered in all of it. 

 

“Which do you want?” Lan Zhan asked, looking to the child in his arms, who was in turn staring at the apples as if it would be the most life-altering decision he would ever make. The old woman behind the stand smiled at them both indulgently as she waited.

 

Wen Yuan finally decided, decisviley pointing at the plain apple. The woman sliced the apple into smaller pieces and placed it in a paper bag. Lan Wangji balanced Wen Yuan with one arm, it was hardly difficult, and pulled out his wallet, paying for it with exact change. He handed it to Wen Yuan, who took it with a sweet exclamation of “Thank you, Rich-gege!” 

 

Rich-gege? Was that Lan Wangji? He noded to the saleswoman and headed away, walking back to Wei Ying. Wen Yuan kicked his legs slightly, and Lan Wangji set him down on the ground, where the child ran ahead to Wei Ying. Lan Wangji would have liked to run as well, but he followed at a more subdued pace. 

 

He saw Wei Ying reach down and grab Wen Yuan’s hand, and Lan Wangji felt a tug in his heart so hard it was almost physical. He wanted to hold his hand too, he would like to hold a little one’s hand with Wei Ying. He wanted so much. 

 

Wei Ying looked up. “Thanks a lot, Lan Zhan! Do you-”

 

“Does Rich-gege want to have a picnic with us?” Wen Yuan asked. Wei Ying laughed. 

 

“A-Yuan! You took the words right out of my mouth!” He tapped Wen Yuan on his nose before addressing Lan Wangji again. “We have a picnic blanket set up over there, would you like to join us?” 

 

Lan Zhan didn’t hesitate when he answered “Yes.” Maybe he answered a little to fast, given Wei Ying’s slightly surprised expression but he couldn’t bring himself to mind when there was a pretty blush to accompany it. 

 

“This way!” Wen Yuan said, handing the paper bag to Wei Ying and taking Lan Wangji’s hand with his now spare hand. Lan Zhan’s heart soared as the little child lead them across the park to a white and red gingham blanket near the playground. There was a large, open black bag on the blanket, and a couple toys strewn about. 

 

Wei Ying sat down on the blanket, pulling Wen Yuan into his lap. He patted a place next to him, indicating Lan Wangji should sit there. Lan Wangji didn’t waste any time, carefully sitting himself down. He watched silently as Wei Ying opened the apple bag and take a slice and hand it to Wen Yuan, who ate it happily. 

 

To Lan Wangji’s surpise, Wei Ying took another slice of apple out of the bag and offered it to Lan Wangji. “Do you want one, Lan Er-gege?” That name again!

 

“It’s so tasty Rich-gege!” Wen Yuan said around his mouthful of apple. Wei Ying ruffled his hair. 

 

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” He reminded. A-Yuan nodded and closed his mouth. Wei Ying’s smile turned mischievous. 

 

“You heard A-Yuan, they’re really tasty, Rich-gege.” Wei Ying teased. Lan Zhan felt the tips of his ears heat up at the name he used. So shamless!

 

The apple slice was brought a little closer to him, and Lan Zhan inssticivley reached forward and took a bite. 

 

While Wei Ying was still holding it. 

 

Shameless! 

 

He felt his blush intensify as he realized what he had just done, but he forced himself to calm down. What good would it do if he started bumbling through apologies? He just focused on the sweet taste of the apple. He swallowed. 

 

“It’s good.” He said. It was true-- the apple was good. Too sweet for Lan Wangji’s taste, but it was good. Crunchy and sweet and tart. Wei Ying laughed nervously and glanced away, his cheeks pink once again. Cute. 

 

“Can I go play Wei-gege?” Wen Yuan asked, having finished his second slice of apple. Wei Ying nodded and Wen Yuan hopped off his lap and headed over to the playground. 

 

“Don’t go where I can’t see you!” Wei Ying called after him. Wen Yuan called back ‘Okay!’ Then ran over to where some other children were piling leaves around the base of a slide. That was pretty ingenious. 

 

“Will he be okay by himself?” Lan Wangji asked, concerned. Some of those kids were Wen Yuan’s age, but a few looked older. Wei Ying scooted himself over, so he was pressed against Lan Wangi’s side. He was warm. 

 

“He’ll be okay, and if anything happens I’ll be right there.” Wei Ying moved, adjusting himself slightly, so he was pressed even closer to Lan Wangji. They were almost cuddling. “I’m going to adopt him.” Wei Ying said. Lan Wanji looked down at him in surprise. 

 

Wei Ying was looking at Wen Yuan with complete and utter adoration. “His Granny isn’t in the best of health, and Wen Qing and Wen Ning are too busy to adopt him. So whenever I’m financially stable enough, I’m going to adopt him. I love him a lot-- he says that I’m his hero but he’s mine really.” 

 

Lan Wangji felt a lot of that admission. Wei Ying wanted to be a parent, and the boy he wanted to adopt was too sweet and too kind for words, and Lan Wangji wanted desperately to be a part of this future. He could see it, him and Wei Ying as loving husbands, in a house they live in together with their son, filled with love and laughter. They would have rabbits, and Lan Wangji would learn how to cook, and he would cook them meals. They would teach their son to play guqin and the flute, and at night they would sleep in the same bed, cuddled close. 

 

Lan Wangji snapped from his wild imagination when he felt Wei Ying shift away from him. He glanced over to the other man and saw him digging around in the bag. He pulled a red blanket out of it, and tossed it over his shoulder. He then pulled a thermos out and set it next to him, as well as two mugs. He scooted around, and threw the blanket over Lan Wagji’s lap, then poured two mugs of hot chocolate. 

 

He held one out to Lan Zhan, which he gratefully accepted. “Thank you.”  He took a sip. 

 

Spicy! It was spicy! Lan Wangji didn’t let any of his distress show on his face. Spicy hot chocolate, that was something Lan Wangji had never heard of before. He looked to Wei Ying, who was happily sipping his own mug. He grinned up at Lan Wangji. 

 

“Do you like it?” He asked. Lan Wagji was helpless against that smile, and he nodded. Wei Ying’s grin grew wider. “I’m glad! I always have to pack two thermoses, nobody else seems to be able to handle it. I’m glad Lan Zhan likes it.” 

 

“I like it.” Lan Zhan lied, his tongue feeling numb. He took another sip. Wei Ying sighed happily and returned to his position pressed against his side, and moved the blanket over both of their laps. 

 

It was so… domestic. Lan Wangji would like to stay this way forever. 

 

They sat there for a while, the afternoon slowly growing into the early evening. Lan Zhan listened happily to Wei Ying as he spoke about Wen Yuan, about how annoying Nie Huaisang and Jiang Cheng have become with their new relationship. 

 

“I know that they’re dating now, and I know that they’re both happy, but come on, I live in that dorm too you know! It’s the SangChengYing dorm, not the SangCheng dorm!” He complained, setting his now empty mug down beside him. “If I have to spend another night with Wen Ning I’m going to lock them both out of the dorm for a week. A whole week, Lan Zhan!” 

 

“En.” Lan Zhan answered. He ignored the jealousy that crept up on him whenever Wen Qionglin was mentioned, in favor of offering his sympathies, such as they were. Wei Ying sighed. 

 

“And then there’s the whole thing with Jiang Fengmian.” he said, voice soft. “I don’t really know what to think. Shijie and Jiang Cheng are both sad that their parents are separating, but they say that it’s for the best. Jiang Fengmian wants to be… he wants to be my father.” 

 

Lan Wangji felt a slight appreciation for Jiang Fengmian for this effort he made, even if it came far too late. Still, it was an effort to let Wei Ying know he was loved and cherished, and Lan Wangji could appreciate that. Still, it came too late. 

 

“Anyway, how are you?” Wei YIng quickly changed the topic. 

 

“I have been good.” Lan Wanghi said simply, because he had been. He was still excelling in his classes, and his days had been made infinley better by his new familiarity with Wei Ying. “very good.” 

 

“That makes me happy.” Wei Ying said, looking softy up at Lan Wangji. The wind blew slighly, and some strands of hair blew into his face. Lan Wangji insticiley reached up and tucked them behind Wei Ying’s ear, causing the other man to blush. 

 

Lan Zhan couldn’t take it anymore. 

 

“Wei Ying, I-”

 

He was cut off when a loud barking echoed through the park. Wei Ying froze, his eyes widening in fear as he scrambled to his feet. Lan Zhan was close behind him, standing up quickly and scanning his surroundings for the dog. 

 

There was a cheerful looking blue heeler bounding towards them, chasing a ball that was soaring through the air in their direction. Lan Zhan put his arm protectively out, covering Wei Ying, and he felt the other man grab onto the back of his coat. The ball was on course to land on their blanket, but Lan Wangji plucked it from the air and threw it back in the other direction before the dog was within six feet of them.

 

With another ‘woof’ the dog chased the ball on it’s new trajectory. Lan Wangji heard a distant voice yell ‘Sorry!’ He turned to Wei Ying, who was clutching his arm tightly still. 

 

“Is Wei Ying okay?” Lan Zhan asked, concerned. Wei Ying nodded, his breathing still heavy. He closed his eyes and swallowed heavily, before smiling. 

 

“I’m okay. You…” Wei Ying took in a deep breath again and his smile turned self-depicating. “Thanks Lan Zhan, for protecting me from the dog. You must think I’m kind of pathetic, huh? But I can’t help it! They’re beasts and they bite-”

 

“Not pathetic.” Lan Zhan said. He pulled Wei Ying against him. “Never. I’ll protect you from the dogs. Forever.” He felt Wei Ying stiffen in his hold, and feared he had overstepped. 

 

“Forever?” Wei Ying asked, his voice soft and hesitant. Lan Zhan nodded. 

 

“Forever.” Lan Zhan confirmed, happy when arms came up to return his embrace. Lan Zhan wasn’t going to hold back anymore. He wasn’t going to let anything stop him from confessing his true feelings this time. 

 

He would do it, here and now. He opened his mouth to say the words he had been dying to say for years-- 

 

“Are you French?” He asked. Wei Ying laughed against him. 

 

“Lan Zhan, I’m Chinese-

 

“Because Eiffel for you.” Lan Wangji finished, hoping that Wei Ying would understand that he meant it. He had fallen, he had fallen hard, for a long time now he had fallen. He loved him so much. 

 

Wei Ying’s breath hitched. “Lan Zhan I know you’re joking but my heart can’t take it when you say stuff like that.” He said meekly. Lan Zhan pulled away from the embrace, and tited Wei Ying up by his chin, so that his (very red) face was upwards, and his (very beautiful) eyes were looking into his own. 




“I’m not joking. I love Wei Ying.” 

Chapter Text

Wei Ying felt like his brain short-citcuted. Sorry? What? Lan Zhan said-- he--? Love? Lan Zhan loves him? Lan Zhan loves him? WHAT?

 

He was aware that he was standing stiff as a board, his mouth hanging open. Lan Zhan’s hands were resting on Wei Ying’s waist, practically burning against him. Wei Ying was certain this was a dream, in fact he had this dream just last night. Still in a daze, Wei Ying pinched his arm to wake himself up. 

 

No- no he was still awake- and Lan Zhan had a look of heartbreak on his face that tore Wei Ying’s own heart in two. Lan Zhan was slowly pulling his hands away and no that was not happening. Wei Ying quickly darted forward and wapped his arms around Lan Zhan, though he overestimated how much force would be behind his tackle, and they both fell down to the ground. 

 

Wei Ying didn’t even care, tightening his arms around Lan Zhan. He didn’t care about how close they were pressed together, how anyone could see them, he didn’t care, the only thing that mattered was Lan Zhan and hugging him closer so he couldn’t leave. Because he loved him and Lan Zhan loved him back. He buried his face into Lan Zhan’s neck. 

 

“I like you!” He said, his voice nearing a yell. He pulled back from Lan Wangji’s neck and pressed his face in between his heads. He beamed down at him, all of his joy shining through, tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. Lan Wangji looked dumbfounded. “No- I fancy you! I love you! I whatever you! I love you !” He continued desperately. “I want you, I can’t leave you, it can’t be anyone else but you, forever! I want to sleep with you every day and I want-” 

 

Lan Wangji surged upwards and captured Wei Ying’s lips, and Wei Wuxian didn’t waste any time wrapping his arms around his neck, holding him close as Lan Zhan- Lan Zhan - kissed him! Wei Ying responded happily, giddly pressing forward, his entire body felt flushed and alive, because he was kissing Lan Lan! Then Lan Wangji nipped at his bottom lip- and Wei Ying couldn’t stop the whimper that escaped from his mouth, and Lan Wangji took the opportunity to deepen their kiss. 

 

Wei Wuxian could die in this moment and have lived a full life. All thoughts other than Lan Zhan Lan Zhan Lan Zhan fled from his mind as his body shivered in pleasure at Lan Zhan’s heated kiss. Though soon he pulled back from Lan Zhan and breathed in heavily trying to catch his breath. He started at Lan Zhan, taking in his bright red ears and his slightly flushed cheeks, his slightly parted mouth and his eyes, his eyes that were shining at Wei Ying, and oh. 

 

How could Wei Wuxian could have ever missed this? HIe eyes were filled with love . Love for him. 

 

Wei YIng couldn’t stop the tears from coming out of his eyes, and when Lan Zhan sat up and pulled him closer into his arms, hugging him so close, Wei Ying way have let a few more spill out as well. 

 

“I love you.” Lan Wangji said again, and pulled Wei Ying closer. “Cannot leave you, do not want anyone but you, can not be anyone but you…!” Lan Zhan said, voice trembling, pulling him even closer. Wei Ying wanted to get closer still, even though that would be impossible. Instead, he pulled back slightly, and took Lan Zhan’s head in his hands again, the amazing warmth so pleasing against his fingertips. He smiled up at him again, leaning his hands into Lan Wangji’s touch when he mirrored his actions, his thumbs swiping away some of the tears that had fallen from his face. 

 

“I love you.” Wei Ying said, his words coming out with giddy laughter. Lan Wangji gave him that smile, that amazing, perfect smile, and he replied: 

 

“I love you.” 

 

“I love you!” 

 

“I love Wei-gege too!” Wei Ying looked down to his lap, where A-Yuan had managed to squeeze himself in between him and Lan Zhan. He gave Wei Ying a sunny grin and Wei Ying laughed happily. Reluctant as he was to do so, he let go of Lan Zhan and pinched A-Yuan’s cheeks. 

 

“Awww, and I love A-Yuan!” He cooed, doting on his adorable future son. He peeked up at Lan Zhan though his eyelashes, and h is heart sed up when he saw that he was looking at them both with utter adoration. A-Yuan giggled at batted Wei Ying’s hands away. 

 

“Wei-gege, can we go get dinner now? Please?” A-Yuan asked, his eyes wide and his lips pouted, and Wei Wuxian was utterly weak for his puppy-eyes. He rubbed the top of A-Yuans head. 

 

“Of course we can. Wei-gege saved enough money to take you wherever you want to eat.” He looked back at Lan Zhan and tilted his head. “Would Lan Zhan like to come with us?” He asked hopefully. Lan Wangji nodded, still with his incredible smile, and Wei Ying wanted to tackle him to the ground and kiss him.  

 

Which he could do. He could do that now. Well, maybe? What were they? Ahhh! 

 

He decided to settle for leaning over A-Yuan and giving Lan Zhan a quick peck on his lips. He pulled back quickly, his face warm. Judging by the redness on Lan Zhan’s ears, he could kiss him as much as he wanted! Oh thank god! 

 

He felt a sweet kiss get pressed to his cheek, and giggled as he scooped the culprit, A-Yuan, into his arms and squeezed him once, before he set him down to the side. “Help me pack up, then we can get going.” 

 

A-Yuan nodded once, then set about his task diligently. Lan Wangji stood up shortly after, and offered his hand to Wei Ying, who took it with elation. Lan Wangji elegantly pulled Wei Ying to his feet, and once they were in a standing position, Lan Wangji brought their connected hands together and pressed a kiss to Wei Ying’s knuckles. 

 

Lan Zhan! So forward! So shameless? Where did that shy Lan Zhan go?! Was he trying to kill Wei Ying?! And what were they?! 

 

“Lan Zhan are you my boyfriend now?” Wei Ying blurted out, unable to stop it. It was a little loud, and Wei Ying could feel himself blushing. He resisted the urge to slap his hand over his mouth. Lan Wangji nodded. 

 

“If Wei Ying wants to be, I would be honored to be his boyfriend.” Lan Wangji confessed, utterly sincere. Ugh! This wasn’t fair! It was almost as bad as those pick-up lines for his health! Who allowed Lan Zhan to become this charming? Who?!

“I want to!” Wei Ying said, his voice higher than usual. So embarrassing! Lan Wangji (his boyfriend!) squeezed his hand once, then let go. Wei Ying let out a noise of complaint at the loss of contact and warmth, but sucked up his disappointment to start helping the other two pack up their supplies. 

 

The cleanup was relatively swift, the part that took the longest was trying to fold the blanket up small enough so that it fit back in the bag Wei Ying had packed. It would have been easier, had Wei Wuxian not been completely distracted by the utterly world-shattering events that had transpired earlier. He still slightly felt like he was dreaming, even when he zipped up his bag. He moved to grab it, but Lan Wangji was quicker, shouldering it with ease onto his back. 

 

The casual (and most likely unintentional) display of strength had Wei Ying’s mind going places it really shouldn’t be going in the presence of children. He physically shook his head to rid himself of those kind of thoughts. He bet Lan Zhan didn’t let himself be bothered by stuff like that!

 

Lan Zhan! His BOYFRIEND! HIS BOYFRIEND LAN WANGJI!

 

He still couldn’t believe it. Lan Wangji, beautiful, kind, good, amazing, wonderful, sweet, talented, amazing Lan Wangji loved him back? He felt like his insides were made of helium, and the only thing keeping him tethered to reality were those amber eyes that looked at him so adoringly, and the small hand that was held in his own. 

 

Did he… did he really deserve this kind of happiness? Did he deserve to have his heart filled so completely? Did he deserve to have these visions of a happy future, with Lan Zhan at his side, raising A-Yuan with him? 

 

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan was standing in front of him, glowing in the dimming autumn sunlight. A-Yuan was held securely in Lan Wangji’s arm, his arms around his neck, and Lan Wangji was extending his hand out to him. Wei Ying smiled and took the offered hand, feeling the happiest he had in a long time. 




It was later that evening, after a filling and tasty meal with his boyfriend, and his A-Yuan, a meal that his boyfriend Lan Wangji paid for, and after A-Yuan had been safely dropped off with his family, when Lan Zhan brought Wei Ying back to his house. Lan Xichen was out that evening, and it left Lan Wangji and Wei Ying alone.

 

Alone. 

 

Alone in his boyfriend’s house, with his boyfriend ! These were dangerous and uncharted waters, but Wei Ying wasn’t going to let ‘propriety’ stop him from doing what he’s been wanting to do for such a long time. He was finally allowed! He could touch Lan Zhan all he wanted, because they were dating! And they loved each other!

Thinking of the confession earlier caused butterflies to fill him up even as he sat in Lan Zhan’s lap, running his hands through his hair, sighing happily as Lan Wangji returned the favor. Wei Ying wanted to more, god did he want to do more, but he was nervous! 

 

Every time he kissed Lan Wangji, he would end up getting too flustered that he would have to pull back. It wasn’t that he wasn’t loving it, because he was, he loved it too much, he just didn’t want to push Lan Zhan’s boundaries. 

 

Plus, he had some shame okay?! He wasn’t just going to jump Lan Zhan’s bones! He had already told him that he wanted to sleep with him everyday! 

 

Besides, just being here, allowed to be closer than ever to the man he loved, to feel his warmth through all of his body, to feel his chest moving as he breathed, to hear and feel his (rather quick) heartbeat, it was more than Wei Ying could have ever imagined or hoped for. 

 

“Lan Zhan, I love you.” Wei Ying said, pressing a quick kiss to Lan Wangji’s handsome nose. That’s right, even his nose was handsome. Take that, everyone else, his boyfriend was the most handsome! 

 

“Love Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan replied simply, his voice sincere. It still sent shivers down Wei Ying’s spine, and he giggled as he nuzzled in closer to Lan Wangji’s neck.

 

“You know Lan Zhan, I haven’t dated anyone since Jin Zixuan.” Wei Ying said, his face breaking into a grin as he felt Lan Zhan stiffen and his expression go through a journey. It was first surprised, then confused, then miffed, then it settled back into confused. 

 

“You dated Jin Zixuan?” Lan Zhan asked, his voice ever-so-slightly strained. Wei Ying giggled at the expression and the voice. Even now, getting reactions from Lan Zhan, his boyfriend, was so rewarding. He looked forward to a lifetime of getting to see all of his expressions. 

 

That’s right, a lifetime. Now that he knew that Lan Zhan loved him back there was no way in hell that he was going to let him go. This was Wei Ying’s future husband, he was sure of it. But future husband or not, he was not safe from Wei Ying’s teasing. 

 

“Yup!” Wei Ying said cheerily, running a finger around the shell of Lan Zhan’s ear, his grin widening when he felt the other man shiver. “Or, I suppose Li Luli dated Jin Jixuan.” Lan Zhan looked confused. “But I was technically Li Luli, so I think it counts! Jin Jixuan won’t say so if you ask, but I think he’s just embarrassed that he dated his brother-in-law before he dated his wife.”

 

“Wei Ying.” Wei  Ying’s train of thought was totally and completely derailed as Lan Wangji kissed him again. He was flushed and breathless when Lan Wangji finally pulled back and gently stroked his cheek. 

 

“Ahh, Lan Zhan doesn’t want to hear about my past romantic endeavors?” Wei Ying asked, tying to distract himself from the pounding of  his own heart. 

 

“Wei Ying could have dated one hundered people, and I would still love him. The past doesn’t matter, what matters is now and the future.” Lan Wangji said, and Wei Ying felt himself turn to mush. How could Lan Zhan be so smooth! Really! Who taught him this! Wei Ying demanded to know!

 

He slumped against Lan Zhan, burying his head in his neck. Lan Zhan gently kissed his cheek, once, twice, three times, four times. Wei Ying squirmed in delight. The kisses stopped, and Wei Ying whined in protest. He wanted more kisses. 

 

“I need a band-aid.” Lan Wangji said suddenly. Wei Ying sat up straight, suddenly alert. He began looking Lan Zhan up and down for injuries. Had he hurt him? Did he get scratched? “I scraped my knee falling for you.” Lan Wangji finished, and Wei Ying slapped his hand against the hard (muscled!) chest of his boyfriend. 

 

“Lan Zhan! You don’t need to use pick-up lines any more!” As soon as those words left Wei Ying’s mouth, he suddenly stopped short. “Why did Lan Zhan start using pick-up lines in the first place?” He asked, curiosity getting the best of him. 

 

He watched as Lan Zhan’s ears turned red, and le looked down, slightly ashamed. Wei Wuxian raised his eyebrows. Lan Wangji kept his gaze down for a moment before he spoke up. 

 

“Requirements.” He muttered. Wei Wuxian was puzzled for a moment before it all came crashing into him at once. 

 

Lan Zhan bought him a cornetto, Lan Zhan played DDR with him and matched his score, Lan Zhan had held him close in a graveyard, Lan Zhan had swept him off his feet, Lan Zhan had told him he loved Kermit the Frog, Lan Zhan protected him from the dog in the park, and Lan Zhan had been using cliche pick-up lines the whole time. 

 

Wei Ying was, to put it simply, dumbfounded. 

 

Lan Zhan had somehow figured out about his completely ridiculous and inconsequential list of requirements for a significant other and he had gone and fulfilled them. All of them. For him. 

 

Wei Ying threw himself down onto Lan Wangj, squeezing the man as hard as possible and as best he could while they were in this position. “Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan!” He cried, barely holding back his voice from reaching a full yell. “What did I do to deserve you?!” 

 

Strong arms wrapped around him, holding him close in turn. “Wei Ying was Wei Ying, there is no deserve.” Lan Wangji said, one of his hands getting tangled in Wei Ying’s hair. “I would have fulfilled a thousand requirements for Wei Ying.” 

 

Wei Ying  could do nothing but whine wordlessly at that. What else could he do?!

“Lan Zhan didn’t have to do that!” He said, pulling back. “You fulfill all of my requirements just by being Lan Wangji! You’re all I need! I love you, and I’d love you even if you hated Kermit, even if you couldn’t stand cornetto!” Lan Wangji looked at him, his eyes so warm and happy that Wei Ying had to grab him and kiss him. Kiss him once, twice, three times. 

 

Lan Wangji’s hands tightened around his waist, and Wei Ying just realized that wow Lan Wangji’s hands were on his hips and he was straddling Lan Wangji and they were alone and Lan Wangji’s hand were large and strong and oh my god this was real. 

 

He kissed Lan Wangji again, this time taking his time. He kissed him slow, and Lan Wangji responded in kind, returning the slow kiss with a passion that simmered below the surface. It made Wei Wuxian feel things. It was hot. 



“Wei Ying.” Lan Wangji said, and his voice was rough, slightly strained, and oh that was hot. 

 

Wei Ying leaned in and whispered in Lan Wangji’s ear, “Yes, Lan er-gege?” 

 

Wei Wuxian felt Lan Wangji’s breath hitch and-- there was a knock on the door.

 

“Wangji are you alright?” Lan Xichen’s voice came from beyond the door. “Can I come in?”

 

Wei Wuxian felt both extremely disappointed and extremely amused, and sighed and smothered his laughter in Lan Wangji’s shoulder. 

 

“No.” Lan Zhan said succinctly. “I’m alright.” He added. Wei Wuxian didn’t know what, but something about the way he said it made him laugh more. Lan Wangji petted his hair soothingly, and Wei Ying loved  that. So nice. 

 

“Is there… somebody in there with you?” Lan Xichen asked with an indiscernible tone. 

 

“Hi, Lan Xichen!” Wei Ying called out. “Sorry for intruding.”

 

“Ah, hello Wei Wuxian.” Lan Xichen sounded… smug? “I’ll leave you two alone. Have fun!” 

 

With that, Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji listened to his receding footsteps. 

 

“Haha, Lan Zhan your brother is- whoa!” Wei Wuxian was suddenly swept off his feet into Lan Zhan’s arms, and then deposited onto Lan Wangji’s bed. Wei Ying bounced on the mattress, distantly noting that the embroidery on the duvet felt fun under his fingertips.

 

Those thoughts quickly fled from his head when Lan Wangji was suddenly bearing down on top of him, his hands on either side of Wei Ying’s head. Wei Wuxian’s heart was pounding and his entire body was thrumming with heat. Oh. 

 

“Lan Zhan?” Wei Ying asked, his voice was unsteady and slightly trembling, laced with anticipation. 

 

“Something must be wrong with my eyes, because I can’t take them off of you.” Lan Zhan said, his voice low and lovely. It made Wei Wuxian shiver, even as the pick up line made his blush intensify. 

 

Before Wei Wuxian could respond, Lan Wangji leaned down and claimed his lips once again. 






[ From : Lan Xichen]

[Congratulations, Wangji!]

[ (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚ ]

Chapter Text

Lan Zhan mustered as much willpower as he could and pulled himself away from Wei Wuxian’s lips. His heart was pounding, his blood was rushing everywhere but his brain, and he was utterly captivated by the sight of Wei Ying, his face flushed, his chest heaving, his lips kissed red, his eyes blown wide. 

 

He was beautiful. 

 

Lan Wangji wanted to claim him utterly and completely. 

 

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said, his voice a breathy whine. Lan Wangji felt his fists tighten in the comforter under his hands, clutching the soft blue fabric tightly, desperately trying to keep himself under control. “ Lan Zhan.” 

 

“Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan said, the words slipping out of his mouth in a near-growl. Did wei Ying even know what he was doing to Lan Zhan? Wei Ying was tempting enough by just existing, though having him hear, splayed beneath him, saying his name like that? 

 

Lan Wangji was going to snap. 

 

Wei Ying wrapped his arms around Lan Wangji’s neck, and pulled him down. Lan Wangji’s lips where just above Wei Ying’s, just barely touching. Wei Ying spoke, and his lips moved against Lan Wangji’s, tempting and testing him, “Lan Zhan, do you…?” 

 

Lan Wangji could feel Wei Ying’s blush, and he daringly moved a little bit closer, his patience on slowly-fraying ropes. “Do I what, Wei Ying?” He asked, wanting to be absolutely certain that they were on the same page. He would have Wei Ying willing, or he wouldn’t have him. He would have Wei Ying wanting this, wanting him. Wanting him as much as much as Lan Wangji wanted. 

 

“Lan Zhan…” Wei Ying pleaded, his voice a whisper. “Lan Er-gege.” Lan Wangji felt that go straight to his cock-- and he was distantly afraid he would end up tearing his blanket with how tightly he was gripping them. “Please.” 

 

“Please. What. ” Lan Zhan pressed, gritting his teeth. 

 

Wei Ying pulled Lan Wangji down against him, their torsos flush against one another. He pressed their lips together in a kiss that was desperate and sloppy, Lan Zhan’s tongue slipping into Wei Ying’s mouth, swallowing the moans and whimpers he was emitting. He could feel the press of Wei Ying’s arousal against him, and he couldn’t stop himself from pressing down harder against him, delicious friction sending sparks of pleasure through Lan Wangji.

 

“Fuck me, Lan Er-gege.” 

 

“Yes.” Lan Zhan breathes out,  then surrenders to the desires he had suppressed for years, and allows himself to be utterly and completely consumed by them, by the amazing, beautiful, unbelievable, willing, wanting, man beneath him, the man he loves more than anything, his Wei Ying. 




The next morning, despite how late it had been in the night when he had finally calmed down enough to sleep, Lan Wangji woke up at five o’clock, and the sight he was met with was one that he never wanted to let go of. 

 

Wei Ying was sleeping soundly next to him, cuddled close in Lan Wangji’s arms. He thought back to that night not too long ago where they had fallen asleep together in Wei Ying’s dorm. It had been a blessing then, and now it was even moreso, because this was his now. He was allowed to run his hands lovingly through the long, silken locks of the man he loved as he slept. He was allowed to hug his barely-clothed figure closer, he was allowed to place feather-light kisses on his head and nose, he was allowed to gently trace the marks he had left on the smooth skin of his boyfriend. 

 

Because he was allowed to, because he finally, finally, he did all of those things, drinking in every slight sigh, every sleepy movement where Wei Ying pressed closer to his touch. Though the sun ahd yet to rise and the bedroom was still covered in a shroud of darkness, his Wei Ying was still as bright as the sun. Lan Wangji smiled. 

 

His sun, his moon, his stars, his everything, was here, pressed warm and real against him, dark marks littering his form that said that they belonged to him, that they belonged to each other. Lan Wangji never wanted to look away from him, he wanted to stay here forever, warm and happy with  his beloved in his arms. 

 

Lan Wangji knew that he should pry himself away, that he should rise from bed and start making himself ready for the new day. He should shower, prepare his breakfast, then set about his routine and complete his duties in a responsible and timely fashion. Though as he looked at the sweet, beautiful expression on Wei Ying’s sleeping face, he decided that having this closeness was more important than anything else. He pulled Wei Ying closer to him. 

 

His heart sped up at the sleepy mumble of ‘Lan Zhan’ that escaped Wei Ying’s lips as he cuddled him closer, and soon fell back into a peaceful sleep. 

 





Jiang Cheng had to blink a few times to fully comprehend what he was seeing.

 

Lan Wangji- Lan Wangji- was smiling. 

 

Lan Wangji was smiling as Wei Wuxian- Jiang Cheng’s rascal, scamp, terror, or a brother, swung their connected hands happily between the two of them as they walked into the campus cafe. 

 

What's more, is that Wei Wuxian’s neck had an extremely visible bite mark on it, which was glaringly displayed for all to see. A human bite mark that Wei Wuxian apparently hadn’t bothered to cover, not even with a scarf! In this weather! And Lan Wangji hadn’t wrapped him in his own?! This isn’t right, something is wrong!

“Oohh.” Jiang Cheng snapped out of his perplexity-induced trance to look at his boyfriend, who was grinning like a man who had just seen his machinations come to fruition. “What a development!” Huisang pulled his hand out of Jiang Cheng’s and reached over to his phone. Hey, no, bring that back. Jiang Cheng resisted the urge to grab his boyfriend’s hand again by looking back over to his brother and Lan Wangji. 

 

Jiang Cheng’s brain screeched like a train coming to a sudden stop when he saw Lan Wangji lean down and press a kiss to Wei Wuxian’s forehead. What?! They were in public! Lan Wangji should be pushing Wei Wuxian away and calling him shameless and-

 

Oh god were they dating now?! 

 

“Are they dating now?” Jiang Cheng asked Huaisang, pointing over to the couple who were currently in line. He felt Huisang’s hand slip back into his own, and it unconsciously squeezed it gently. He watched as Wei Wuxian laughed and rubbed his head into Lan Wangji’s neck. 

 

“It seems like it!” Huaisang said, hiding his grin with his hand. Jiang Cheng wanted to bat it away. His boyfriend’s habits were cute, but his smile was cuter goddamn it and he wanted to see. “He didn’t come back to the dorm last night, and the only explanation he gave was that he was staying with somebody else.”

 

“He stayed with Lan Wangji?!” Jiang Cheng exclaimed, waiting to go right up to that uptight bastard and punch him. He thought he could just do whatever the fuck he wanted to his brother? Without even letting Jiang Cheng do a shovel-talk?! He had been looking forward to giving his brother’s future partner a shovel talk for years! Who wouldn’t want to have a threatening, one-sided conversation where they could threaten another person with bodily harm and have it be normal and expected?! How dare Lan Wangji take that from him?!

 

What if that jerk hurt his brother?!

 

He was halfway out of his seat when Huaisang tugged him back down into it. He shot a betrayed look at him. “I’m sure Wangji-xiong was a gentleman.” Huisang assured, giving Jiang Cheng  nervous smile. “Besides, would Wei-xiong look so happy if something bad happened?” 

 

Jiang Cheng sighed and slumped back. “I didn’t even know Wei Wuxian liked Lan Wangji.” Jiang Cheng mumbled. Huaisang groaned, and Jiang Cheng looked at him questioningly, seeing Huisang’s forehead was resting against the table. 

 

“A-Cheng,” Huaisang said, his voice sounding so over everything. Jiang Cheng’s heart filled at the doting way Huaisang called him, but he also bristled at his tone. Rude. “You didn’t even know you liked me .” 

 

Jiang Cheng stiffened. “That’s--!” He felt himself go red as he tried to defend himself. He couldn’t think of anything he could say though, and ended up just huffing. “He could have told me.” Jiang Cheng ended up muttering. He perked up when he felt Huisang pat his head. 

 

If it was anyone else, that hand would be slapped, or served, or broken. But this hand was attached to somebody he lov- liked a whole lot. Liked him a bunch. Liked him- ah. 

 

Fuck it, he loved Huaisang. 

 

He swallowed his disappointment when Huaisang pulled his hand away to wave at Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian, who were approaching their table, Lan Wangji carrying both of their drinks. Wei Wuxian pulled out a chair, it’s leg scraping obnoxiously on the ground, and tossed himself into it with all of the elegance of a car crash. 

 

Then Lan Wangji followed, looking as annoyingly graceful as ever. What the hell. What a prick, why did he have to sit down like a graceful and elegant gentleman all the time? What was he trying to prove? 

 

“Jiang Cheng! Huaisang-xiong! Good afternoon!” Wei Wuxian greeted, seeming exceedingly peppy, more peppy than he had been in a while. Jiang Cheng was relieved to see his brother in such high spirits, but he was still agitated about whatever was happening here. 

 

“Where were you last night?” Jiang Cheng asked, cutting right to the heart of the matter. He barely resisted the urge to gag as Wei Wuxian grabbed Lan Wangji’s hand and presented their hands proudly.

 

“I was with my boyfriend!” Wei Wuxian announced, loud enough to draw a couple of glances from the other people in the cafe. Jiang Cheng could only stare as he tried to parse this information. Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian. Boyfriends. Boyfriends with each other. “Lan Zhan and I are dating now!”

 

Jiang Cheng decided to submit to this truth, despite how his brain was screaming. He turned on his best ‘protective big brother glare’ (which is one of his best glares) and looked and Lan Wangji. “Oh, are you now?” 

 

“Yes.” Lan Wangji said, succinct and level as ever. Wei Wuxian’s smile was blinding as he shamelessly cuddled himself into Lan Wangji’s side. Their behavior sent shivers down Jiang Cheng’s spine. He would power through it though. He would get his shovel talk dammit!

 

“It’s my responsibility to let you know that while he’s a nightmare and completely uncontrollable, he’s still my brother. If you dare to hurt my him, I’ll break every fucking bone in your body slowly and agonizingly.” Jiang Chheng threatened. 

 

Wei Wuxian looked both touched and concerned, but before he could chime in with anything Lan Wangji beat him to it. “If I do anything to hurt Wei Ying, I will deserve it.” He said. Huh. Jiang Cheng could respect that. Sadly, the prick had to ruin everything when he followed it up by saying- “And I would do the same to anyone who would hurt him.” 

 

What the fuck?! What was this asshole implying-- that Jiang Cheng would hurt him?! Hell no! 

 

“What the hell does that mean?” JIang Cheng snaped ready to spring from his chair and throw down. He was settled by Huaisang’s hand slipping from his own and settling on his forearm. 

 

“I’m happy for you guys!” Huaisang chimed in, his voice like a bell soothing his anger. His boyfriend was magical. “It’s about time you two finally got to it, you were both making yourselves miserable with all of that pining.” 

 

Wei Wuxian blushed. “Huaisang-xiong!” He whined. “I wasn’t that bad!” 

 

Jiang Cheng had to agree with that. He didn’t even know Wei Wuxian had been pining at all. He couldn’t say the same for Lan Wangji, as he wasn’t around him much. He had figured his feelings twoard’s Wei Wuxian not too long ago, but he hadn’t seen any pining. 

 

Apparently his boyfriend thought differently though, as Huaisang shook his head. “No, you were bad. You just forced it down and away and only let it come out when you thought that nobody would notice. Which, by the way Wei-xiong, is a really bad thing that you do all the time.”  Jaing Cheng was slightly stunned as he watched his boyfriend slowly get more and more frenzied, gesturing wildly with his purse. He jabbed his purse in Lan Wangji’s direction. “But you weren’t as bad as he was. Oh no, Wangji-xiong has been pining since he was in middle school. ” 

 

“Lan Zhan?!” Wei Ying said, his voice portraying Jiang Cheng’s own shock. Lan Wangji’s ears were red and he simply nodded. Okay, wow. Jiang Cheng really didn’t need to know that, but he did now so that was something. “Lan Zhan!” Wei Wuxian cried out and flung himself fully into Lan Wangji’s lap. 

 

Jiang Cheng was about to yell at Wei Wuxian for behaving like a child, but Huaisang was still talking. “Wangji-xiong would mope and pine, and then Xichen-ge would worry and talk to Dage, and then Dage would be upset that Xichen-ge was upset and then he’d be in a bad mood, then he would work out, and then he would make me work out- and I hate exercise!” Huaisang finally finished, his breathing heavy. Jiang Cheng wrapped an arm around his boyfriend’s shoulders and rubbed his arm in a way he hoped was comfortingly.

 

There was silence at the table, before Wei Wuxian burst out laughing. He patted Lan Wangji’s chest, and wow he was just in his lap wasn’t he? “Lan Zhan you caused poor Huaisang-xiong trouble! You should apologize.” 

 

“A-Ah, no that’s not what--” Huaisang began to protest, but Jiang Cheng agreed with his brother. 

 

“Yeah, he should apologize.” He said, ignoring Huaisang’s embarrassed head-shaking. 

 

Lan Wangji seemed to think about it for a moment, thoughtfully looking down at Wei Wuxian, who smiled in return. Still in his lap. Wow, has Jiang Cheng really not spoken up about that yet? 

 

“No.” Lan Wangji said, and Jiang Cheng’s temper was this close to flaring. “Won’t apologize for loving Wei Ying.” 

 

“That’s not--! Hey!” Jiang Cheng yelled. Wei Wuxian had thought it would be appropriate to start sucking face with Lan Wangji at that moment. “Knock that off!” Jiang Cheng acted on instinct and kicked the leg the chair they were both sitting in. 

 

They parted, and Wei Wuxian’s smile was so utterly happy and besotted, Jinag Cheng’s anger ebbed slightly. Not a lot. A little. They were still behaving so embarrassingly in public! That was his brother, he really didn’t need to see that!

But, he was glad that Wei Wuxian was so happy. He deserved it. 

 

That thought jarred something in Jiang Cheng. Fuck, he had to talk to Wei Wuxian about his parents.”Wei Wuxian, I need to talk to you.” Jiang Cheng said as he stood. He looked down at Huaisang, who nodded at him, knowing what Jiang Cheng needed to discuss. Jiang Cheng smiled down at him and bent down to press a quick kiss to the top of his head. 

 

Surprisingly, Wei Wuxian removed himself from Lan Wangji with no fuss or theatrics, merely giving Lan Wangji a quick kiss (on the lips-- again! You’re in public!) and hopping up. Jiang Cheng jerked his head towards the door, and they stepped outside. 

 

It wasn’t a very cold day, there wasn’t a lot of wind, and the sun was shining brightly. Jiang Cheng leant back against the wall. Wei Wuxian looked at him, his expression expectant, but not entirely unawares. 

 

“Do you know?” Jiang Cheng asked. Wei Wuxian cocked his head to the side. “About my parents.” Jiang Cheng clarified.  Understanding dawned on his brother’s face. He shuffled his feet slightly, and an expression that Jiang Cheng had seen all too many times settled onto Wei Wuxian’s face. He kicked his brother’s shin. “Hey. It’s not your fault.” Jiang Cheng stated. His brother’s eyes widened, but Jiang Cheng didn’t let him speak. 

 

“My parents had problems before any of us were born. They didn’t choose to get married, and my dad’s heart always belonged to somebody else. My mother knew that, and felt trapped inside a loveless marriage, knowing that she would never be enough for my father. My father did nothing to reassure her, and she did nothing to let him know that she needed the reassurance. Then when you were adopted, she took out all of her insecurities out on you, and tried to pit you and me against each other. Nothing about that was your fault.” 

 

JIang Cheng took in a deep breath. Everything he said was true, his parents had issues. He was honestly relieved that they were separating, even if it came years too late. Maybe this way his mother could find somebody who truly loved her, and his father could live without guilt. 

 

Wei Wuxian’s hand was fisted in the material of the sweater he was wearing. Jiang Cheng distantly noted that it was definitely not one of Wei Ying’s own. “Do you know that Uncle Jiang..?”

 

“Wants to adopt you again?” Jiang Cheng asked, smirking slightly. Wei Wuxian nodded. “I know that my dad kind of messed up in the past, but he wants to do better. You can handle it however you want,” Jiang Cheng pushed away from the wall, and poked Wei Ying’s chest. “But whatever happens, you’re still my brother. You’re still Jiejie’s brother, and you’re still Jin Ling’s uncle.” 

 

Wei Wuxian looked up from the ground, his eyes shining with unshed tears. Jiang Cheng immediately felt his own eyes become moist. Fuck. He held back his tears, and instead pulled his brother close to him, wrapping him in a quick hug, before locking him in a headlock. 

 

“Now, what the hell was all of that PDA with Lan Wangji?! Have you no shame?!” Jiang Cheng growled, forcing his tears away as he ruined his brother’s hair. 

 

“Ah- Ah! You’re just jealous you’re too shy to cuddle Huaisang-xiong in public!” Wei Wuxian said, wriggling in Jiang Cheng’s grasp. Not like he was going to escape, not after that comment! “I am not! I just have decency!” Jiang Cheng held tighter, and jabbed Wei Ying in the side, who just laughed, and redoubled his escape attempts. 

 

When he finally managed to slip from Jiang Cheng’s hold, Wei Wuxian grabbed Jiang Cheng’s hands in his own and smiled at him softly. 

 

“I hope you know that you’re the best brother I could have asked for.” Wei Wuxian admitted, his voice was unusually soft and sincere. “And I’m so happy that you’re with Huaisang, you guys are good for eachother. Just don’t leave me behind, okay?” 

 

Jiang Cheng scoffed, but there was no true annoyance. “Like you would let yourself be ignored. Besides, you have Lan Wangji to stick too, so you don’t have to feel left out.” He teased, before becoming more serious. “I was serious about breaking his bones, though. If he hurts you, he’ll never be able to play DDR again.” 

 

Wei Wuixan’s gentle smile was turned towards the window of the cafe, and Jiang Cheng followed his gaze. Lan Wangji and Nie Huaisang were sitting awkwardly at the table they had left, Huaisang appearing to be trying to make small talk. He was so lovely. 

 

“He won’t hurt me.” Wei Wuxian assured, his voice sounding utterly confident. “He’s Lan Zhan.” 

 

“So?”

 

“He’s the perfect person for me. I love him. He loves me .” 

 

Jiang Cheng smacked his brother’s head slightly. He didn't need to hear all that sappy crap! 

 

But Jiang Cheng could see the utter devotion and happiness on his brother’s face, and he decided that even if he didn’t like Lan Wangji all that much, if he made his brother this happy, he could trust him to take care of his heart. 






Jiang Cheng would think the very same thing years later as he held Huaisang’s hand tightly in his own, and watched his father lead his brother down the aisle on Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji’s wedding day. 

Chapter Text

Lan Wangji placed the final light blue candle into the cake, finding a small delight in the way that it sank delicately into the buttercream frosting. Taking a step back, he looked over his finished work. 

 

A large, circular cake with three different layers of vanilla sponge with fresh raspberry filling, and a light, sweet, white buttercream frosting. It was decorated with carefully piped yellow, purple, green, red, and blue butterflies, Happy Birthday was written on the top of the cake. The final touch were eight light blue candles that were placed around the perimeter of the cake. 

 

Lan Wangji was proud of his work-- all of the hours he spent practicing with Jiang Yanli had paid off. The cake for his son was perfect, and it looked extremely close to the picture A-Yuan had drawn. He glanced down at the crayon-scribbled picture that was on the counter next to the cake. 

 

A smile slipped onto his face as he recalled the smile on his husband’s and son’s faces as he was presented with the drawing for the first time. “Dad! Could my cake look like this? Please? I put butterflies on it, see them?” 

 

Seeing such a happy, excited smile on his face, mirrored on his husband’s, Lan Wangji was helpless, and took the paper with a decisive nod. He took hours of his spare time to practice cake decoration just so he could make his son’s perfect birthday cake. Sure, he could have gone to a bakery and had it made professionally, but, and perhaps it was slightly selfish,Lan Wangji wanted to be the one to be responsible for making his son so happy on his birthday. 

 

Lan Wangji finished tidying up the kitchen, rinsing off all of the decorating tools he used on the cake, wiping down the counters, and putting away all the ingredients he had used. The kitchen was spick-and-span in no time, and Lan Wangji picked up the cake and brought it out into the dining room. 

 

Most of their house was covered in bright decorations, streamers, balloons, butterfly decorations, and a large banner hanging happily in the entrance that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Their coffee table was piled high with gifts for A-Yuan, but the rest of the house, as always (save the times his wonderful, incorrigible husband left massive messes outside of their bedroom), was utterly clean and neat, and ready for the upcoming birthday party. 

 

Lan Wangji heard excited footsteps rushing down the stairs, and stepped out of the dining room to greet his husband.

 

His husband. 

 

Even now, two years after their wedding, Lan Wangji would still be struck with the realization that he and Wei Ying were married. They were married, and they would spend the rest of their lives together. They had a son, and they still loved each other just as deeply, if not moreso, then they had before. 

 

Lan Wangji smiled as he saw his husband, his hair thrown up in a messy bun, hop onto the handrail of the stairs and slide down, an excited “Lan Er-gege!” meeting his ears and Lan Wangji hurried to the bottom of the stairs and opened his arms wide.

 

His husband laughed loudly, sliding from the handrail and into Lan Wangji’s awaiting arms. He swept him up into a bridal cary, and smiled down into the radiant grin that was sent his way. His Wei Ying gave him a short, sweet kiss that filled Lan Wangji’s heart with warmth. 

 

“Dangerous.” Lan Wangji reprimanded, not seriously, knowing that it wouldn’t make any difference. As expected, his darling husband meerley shrugged and wrapped his arms around his neck. 

 

“That’s half the fun Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying said brigghtly, immediately lighting up the room. “I warned you when we looked at this house, if we got it I would slide down the handrails all the time, and you still insisted!” 

 

“Mn.” Lan Wangji acquiesced, nodding in agreement. It was true, Lan Wangji just couldn’t resist the excited look in his husband’s eyes the first time they had looked at the house. He turned on his heels and began to carry Wei Ying into the dining room to show him the cake. 

 

“Lan Zhan! You don’t need to sweep me off my feet anymore! I’m already your husband!” Lan Wangji smiled, and did not but Wei Ying down, even when the other started to flutter kick his feet. “Put me down!” 

 

“Hmmm..” Lan Wangji said, acting as if he was thinking about doing it. He wasn’t of course, he wanted to cuddle his husband for as long as possible. Sure, he cuddled him all last night, and even more in the morning, but he couldn’t get enough. He just wanted to hold Wei Ying close to him all the time, was that such a bad thing? He brought him over to the dining table. “I finished the cake.” 

 

“Lan Zhan, you have to let me down if you want me to see the cake.” Wei Ying said, his voice filled with suppressed laughter and fondness. Lna Wangji frowned. Wei Ying was correct after all, so begrudgingly, Lan Wangji set him down. 

 

He waited, anticipating Wei Ying’s reaction. He closely watched his husband’s face as he looked at the cake. Would he like it? Would he think it was good enough for A-Yuan? Was it good? 

 

“Lan Zhan, this…” Wei Ying said, his eyes fixated on the cake. Lan Wangji held his breath and he waited. Wei Ying turned his way, his eyes wide, unshed tears making his eyes shine, his grin rivaling the sun. “It’s amazing! It’s perfect , and amazing, and A-Yuan is going to love it!” 

Wei Ying opened his arms wide and Lan Wangji happily let himself get pulled into a tight embrace. “You’re the best, best husband and father, and I love you so much.” Wei Ying said, his face pressed into Lan Wangji’s chest. Lan Wangji tightened his arms, and pressed a kiss to the top of Wei Ying’s head. 

 

“Wei Ying is the best husband and father.” He said, merely stating the truth. Without the precious man he held in his arms, Lan Wangji wouldn't be where he was today-- so loving, so loved, and so happy. Wei Ying and A-Yuan were his everything. 

 

“We’re both the best.” Wei Ying said, giving Lan Zhan a final squeeze before they parted. Wei YIng gave a quick kiss to Lan Zhan’s nose, and Lan Wangji nodded in agreement, feeling so utterly happy that this was his life.

 

“Both the best.” Lan Wangji agreed with a nod. Then, he decided that he wanted to fluster his husband, seeing as they would have to wait for the rest of the day before they could fulfil their ‘everyday'. “Did you just come out of the oven?”

 

“Lan Zhan-” 

 

“Because you’re very hot.” 

 

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying cried, Lan Wangji saw his face bright with a blush before he hid it by pushing his face against Lan Wangji’s chest. Wei Ying weakly slapped his palms against his chest, and Lan Wangji huffed out a laugh. “You--! You are so mean to your husband! Taking advantage of his weakness when he’s not expecting it!” 

 

“Mhm Evil.” Lan Wangji agreed, petting his husband’s hair. “But It’s Wei Ying’s fault for being too cute.” 

 

“Lan Zhan you are trying to kill me.” Wei Ying said, his voice was embarrassed and weak. “You’re still too powerful after all this time, it’s not fair at all!” 

 

“Wei Ying isn’t fair.” Lan Wangji countered, gently raising his husband’s adorable face up to look at him, tenderly cupping his warm cheek in his hand. It was true, Wei Ying was too cute, too attractive, too wonderful, too amazing, too perfect, it wasn’t fair. He ran a thumb over his love’s cheekbone, and leant down to steal a kiss. 

 

Though before he could do so, they were interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. Wei Ying made a small sound of displeasrue before he moved to step away, but Lan Wangji wasn’t about to let him. He quickly wrapped his arm around his waist and brought him back in close, giving him a fast, fleeting kiss on the lips before he allowed him to step away. 

 

Wei Ying sent Lan Wangji a quick wink before he stepped over to open the door, throwing it open to reveal Jiang Wanyin and Nie Huaisang. Nie Huaisang had a large present in his arms, square in shape and wrapped in shiny green paper.  

 

“Hello, Wangji-xiong.” Nie Huaisang greeted with a smile. “Are we the first to arrive?” He asked, peeking past Lan Wangji. Wei Ying, who had come up behind Lan Wangji, pushed past his husband and spoke in his stead. 

 

“Jiang Cheng! Huaisang-xiong!” He said happily, pulling his brother and brother-in-law into a hug, mindful of the present. Hee then stepped back, and pulled them along inside, Lan Wangji quickly stepping out of their path as his husband took them over to where the rest of A-Yuan’s presents were waiting. 

 

“Wow.” Jiang Wanyin deadpanned, his eyes scanning over the gifts. “You guys spoil the hell out of A-Yuan.” 

 

Lan Wangji bristled slightly at that comment. His son wasn’t spoiled. His son was well behaved (miraculously, given how utterly misbehaved his other father was), studious, kind, and generous. He was raised with discipline, and Wei Ying was raised knowing the value of effort and reward, and they had instilled such virtues into their son. Lan Yuan deserved all of the presents he received. 

 

“That’s rich coming from you, Jiang Cheng! You spoil A-Ling and A-Yuan far more than we do.” Wei Wuxian said, poking his brother in the sternum. “Wasn’t it you who got A-Yuan and A-Ling brand new soccer gear?” 

 

“And he took them to the zoo last weekend.” Nie Huaisang chirped, nudging Jiang Wanyin gently with his shoulder. Jiang Wanyin flushed and crossed his arms over his chest. Nie Huaisang giggled and placed the present with the others, and Wei Ying burst out laughing, clutching his sides, and his brother pounced on him. 

 

Lan Wangji moved to intervene, separating them before they could begin to tussle. He pulled them apart with practiced ease, and Wei Ying latched onto Lan Wangji’s arm. 

 

“Jiang Cheng! Bullying me on my son’s birthday?! Aren’t you afraid of setting a bad example?” Wei Ying gasped in mock-offense, clutching at his chest. 

 

“Your son isn’t even here right now, you-!” JIang Cheng was palcated by his husband, who gently guided his head down to his own and kissed him. Lan Wangji wanted to kiss his husband, too. He looked down at Wei Ying, who was grinning at his brothers. Lan Wangji settled for kissing Wei Ying on the cheek, and in return, Wei Ying snuggled closer to his side. 

 

“So, who else is coming?” Nie Huaisang asked, curiously glancing around, perhaps looking for any others. 

 

“Brother.” Lan Wangji informed, recalling their guest list. “Lan Jingyi, Wen Qionglin, Wen Qing, Luo Qingyang, Jiang Fengmian, Jiang Yanli, Jin Zixuan, Jin Ling, Ouyang Zizhen, Xiao Cingchen, A-Qing. Uncle was unable to make it, as was Song Lan.” He finished. Wei Ying laughed and patted his bicep fondly. 

 

“Yep! You guys were just early.” Wei ying teased. “Couldn’t wait to see me, I know.” 

 

“Don’t be stupid.” Jiang Wanyin scoffed before throwing himself down into the grey couch, pulling Nie Huaisang down with him. 

 

“Why yes Jiang Cheng, you can help us get ready.” Wei Ying said (unfortunately) slipping away from Lan Wangji to put his hands on his hips. Lan Wangji had to restrain himself from pulling his husband back to his side, already missing his invigorating presence. 

 

“You seem to have everything done already.” Nue Huaisang commented, gesturing at the completely cleaned and decorated space, seemingly content to laze on the couch with his husband.

 

Wei Ying wasn’t having it, and lunged forward, grabbing the their arms and tugging on them. “Yeah, everything is decorated, but you guys could at least act like you guys wanted to help-”

 

Wei Ying’s tirade was cut short by the doorbell sounding once again, and Lan Wangji was slightly grateful, as it successfully diverted Wei Ying’s attention, his husband immediately rushing away to answer the door. Lan Wangji gave a nod to his brother-in-laws and followed his husband.



It was ten minutes later and all of the other guests had arrived. The only thing left to do was hide and wait for A-Yuan to get home. This was Lan Wangji’s first time throwing a surprise party, and he would be lying if he said he wasn’t excited. He held onto his husband’s hand tightly from where they were hidden near the stairs. The doorknob twisted, and Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian squeezed their connected hands at the same time, sending a thrill through Lan Wangji. 

 

The door opened, and A-Yuan stepped through the door followed by Jiang Yanli, Jin Zixuan, and Jin Ling. Xichen flipped on the lights, everyone jumped from their hiding places and yelled- 

 

“Happy birthday A-Yuan!”

 

Lan Wangji watched in elation as his son’s face lit up in the brightest grin, and he and Wei Ying both rushed forward. Lan Wangji picked up his son and held him close, and Wei Ying followed, and they were soon all enveloped in a tight embrace. 

 

“Dad! Papa!” A-Yuan said, his voice utterly elated. It fille Lan Wangji with indescribable happiness. This was his son, and this was his husband, and they were so happy, and they make each other so happy. 

 

Wei Ying kissed A-Yuan on the head and Lan Wangji followed suit, and their son laughed. 

 

“Happy birthday A-Yuan.” Lan Wangji said adoringly, setting his son on the ground, allowing him to run off to greet the other guests. Lan Wangji watched him run over to Xichen, his brother sweeping his son up into his arms and twirling him around. 

 

Lan Wangji turned to face Jin Zixuan, who had walked up to him. “It looks nice.” He said, his eyes scanning the decorations. Lan Wangji nodded, accepting his brother-in-law’s stilted conversation. Lan Wangji surprisingly got along quite well with Jin Zixuan, and would even go as far as to count him as a friend. They were both somewhat awkward in interaction, and because of that they had a sound understanding of each other.

 

“Thank you.” Lan Wangji acknowledged, nodding. He looked at were A-Yuan was now laughingly trying to distract Jin Ling and Lan Jingyi away from his presents. “Was he well behaved?” 

 

Jin Zixuan huffed out a small laugh. “Your son is a literal angel. Like always, he was incredible. I don’t know how you managed that, knowing who your husband is.” Jin Ling was now trying to tug A-Yuan away from Ouyang Zizhen and Lan Jingyi. “A-Ling still adores him.” Jin Zixuan noted, his voice carrying a tone of bitterness. Jealous perhaps, but A-Yuan was adored universally by everyone. It was to be expected. 

 

“A-Yuan adores Jin Ling as well.” Lan Wangji said as he watched the children. 

 

“Tell me about it,” Jin Zixuan scoffed. “If Yanli and I hadn’t stopped him, A-Yuan would have promised to give A-Ling half of his presents.” 

 

Lan Wangji laughed. That sounded like his son, his amazing, kind-hearted, self-sacrificing son. 

 

“Did I miss a Lan Zhan laugh!?” Wei Ying asked, suddenly appearing and latching onto Lan Wangji. He looked down at his husband, who was looking back up at him with an (utterly adorable) pout. “Did I miss it?”

 

“Yeah, you missed it.” Jin Zixuan said with a familiar teasing lilt. 

 

“Lan Zhaaaaaan!” Wei Ying whined, tugging on his arm. So cute. 

 

“Dad!” Lan Wangji looked down to where his other arm was being grabbed by his son. “Dad! You made my cake!” He said, his eyes wide and shining like stars. 

 

“Mhm.” Lan Wangji nodded, his heart leaping when he saw his son grin wider. 

 

“It looks perfect! Thank you so much Dad!” 

 

Lan Wangji felt in his heart, looking once at his son’s brilliant smile, then to the equally brilliant smile of his husband on his other arm, that his life was perfect, and would only get better from here on out. 




 

Wei Ying looked adoringly at his son and husband, looking at them from the doorway. Lan Zhan was tucking in a thoroughly exhausted A-Yuan into bed, gently and lovingly making sure all of the blankets were snug, and arranging his favorite stuffed animals around him. 

 

As much as watching them both filled him with a warm, syrupy feeling of absolute love and adoration, such utter happiness, Wei Wuxian knew that he would be even happier when he was alongside with them. He stepped into the room, and knelt down next to the bed. He happily let his husband wrap his arm around his shoulders. 

 

“Did you have a good birthday A-Yuan?” Wei Wuxian asked, keeping his voice soft. A-Yuan nodded sleepily in response. 

 

“The best. Thank you so much.” His son mumbled, with a sweet smile. He held up his hand, and Wei Wuxian grabbed it with his own. 

 

“We love you so much A-Yuan.” Wei Ying said, completely embarrassed by the way his voice trembled. He loved his son so much, and he loved his husband so much, they were everything to him. He would never be able to fully wrap around how incredible his life had become. He had his brothers, his sister, his nephew, his father, his son, and his husband. “You deserve the world.”

 

“Can I share it?” A-Yuan muttered, his eyes blinking slow. Wei Ying laughed, of course his son would say that. Wei Ying picked up his new Kermit the Frog stuffed animal, his gift from Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang, from the bedside table and handed it to his son, who grabbed it tightly and cuddled it close. 

 

“I love you Papa, I love you Dad.” A-Yuan muttered, snuggling into his blankets. The blanket he was currently snuggled under was new, soft and fuzzy, light blue with clouds embroidered on it, it was his gift from Lan Xichen. 

 

“We love you too, A-Yuan.” Lan Zhan, said, leaning forward and kissing his son on the head. 

 

A-Yuan had played all day with his friends and cousins, sharing all of his new toys with them with a bright smile and sweet laughter. Wei Ying smiled and he smoothed his son’s hair back. Lan Zhan pulled him in closer, and Wei YIng happily snuggled into the warmth beside him, and they watched as their son drifted to sleep. 

 

Wei Ying kissed his sleeping son’s forehead. He looked over at his husband, and felt himself go absolutely weak at the look in his husband’s eyes. 

 

He loved him so much. 

 

We was so loved. 

 

He pulled Lan Zhan up from their kneeling position, and lead him out of A-Yuan’s room, turning off the butterfly-shaped lamp as they went. Lan Zhan was quiet as they made their way to their bedroom, but once they were inside and the door was shut, Lan Zhan pushed Wei Wuxian down onto the bed. 

 

Wei Wuxian laughed, of course he was expecting it, but even after four years Lan Zhan’s behavior never failed to absolutely delight Wei Wuxian. 

 

Wei Wuxian wrapped his arms around his husband’s neck, and pressed their noses close together. Lan Zhan nuzzled him, giving him an eskimo kiss. So cute! Such an amazing husband!

 

“We threw a pretty good birthday for our A-Yuan, huh?” Wei Wuxian said, wrapping his legs around Lan Zhan’s waist. 

 

“Mm. Very good.” Lan Zhan agreed, before he gave Wei Wuxian a heart-stopping kiss. 

 

They separated after a few absolutely blissful moments, and Wei Wuxian moved his hands down to cup his husband’s face. The absolutely adorable, handsome face that belonged to the person he loved with every bit of his heart and soul. 

 

“We have a pretty amazing life, don’t we Lan Zhan.” Wei Ying mused, thinking about how completely and utterly blessed and lucky he was. 

 

“Mhm.” Lan Zhan agreed, deftly shifting their position so that they were laying side-by-side, facing each other, limbs tangled up in one another. Lan Wangji began to run his fingers through his hair, and Wei Ying sighed contently. “But life without Wei Ying would be like a broken pencil.”

 

“Hanguang-Jun.” 

 

“Completely pointless.” 

 

Thankfully, Wei Ying didn’t have to worry too much about how to respond or what to do about his terrible, horrible, amazing, perfect, husband, as Lan Zhan kissed him soundly once more.