It doesn’t come as a surprise that Lan Wangji kisses with the same amount of determination and tenacity that he shows when he’s carefully reminding Wei Wuxian of the innumerable rules of the Lan sect. Some of the rules it seems impossible not to break, even when he’s trying his very hardest to respect them— sitting with a proper posture at all times can be tiring and being quiet at night, well, that's near impossible. There’s a lot of things he wants to say to Lan Wangji and there are a lot of things he wants to do with him too.
Maybe it’s Wei Wuxian’s insistence on making more noise than might be deemed necessary after curfew that means Lan Wangji is pressed up against him right now, kissing the air from his lungs. It's the best way to be silenced. it’s glorious: a divine revelation.
Kissing Lan Wangji is momentous on every single occasion. It’s Emperor’s Smile but magnified a thousand times—delicious, smooth, intoxicating.
“I’m not a jar of Emperor's Smile.” Lan Wangji doesn’t look impressed by this description, although it has been given in the highest honour, plus Wei Wuxian had whispered it, which he thinks is rather clever of him considering his usual disregard for the imposed silence around here.
“I know you aren't,” Wei Wuxian replies in a low voice. He can’t help but smile. Then Lan Wangji kisses Wei Wuxian slowly, slower than Wei Wuxian thought it was possible to do anything at all. Almost too slow for Wei Wuxian to handle, his body feeling like it’s filled with molten gold.
“You’re better. Ugh you’re so much better,” he says against Lan Wangji’s parted lips. “This is the best thing.”
“Hmm.” Lan Wangji hums in deliberation and raises his hands to Wei Wuxian’s face, holding him still and shutting him up once and for all with the firm, insistent press of his lips against Wei Wuxian’s own.
Afterwards, Wei Wuxian drinks Emperor’s Smile as Lan Wangji sips his tea with perfect poise and watches him with the ghost of a smile. They should definitely be asleep by now if they are to keep to the strict code of conduct carved into the Wall of Discipline, but it appears that conduct is to be ignored tonight.
“How is it?” Lan Wangji asks, nodding towards the jar.
“It’s average.” Wei Wuxian feigns distaste as he savours the last few drops and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “At least compared to the taste of you.”
They don’t sleep for another hour.
It’s a quiet, calm, morning in Gusu, the wind barely moving the branches of the trees that surround the cold spring. The water that laps at their waists is bitterly cold and Wei Wuxian steps from foot to foot in the water as he tries to stay warm.
“Are you trying to distract me?” Lan Wangji has his eyes closed, but he’s clearly disturbed by Wei Wuxian’s fidgeting next to him if the frustrated pull of his eyebrows is anything to go by.
“No. I’m trying to warm up.” Wei Wuxian pouts, not that Lan Wangji can see, since he’s still got his eyes closed— so still, so calm standing waist deep in the freezing water. He's like a statue and Wei Wuxian is impressed. There are a lot of impressive things about Lan Wangji. He’s always thought so, but it’s only recently that he’s really got to bear witness to all of him, every tiny detail. Small discoveries are now Wei Wuxian’s favourite thing.
"Well, it's distracting."
Wei Wuxian smiles at the thought. “If I really wanted to distract you, I’d...”
Lan Wangji steps away from him at the exact moment that Wei Wuxian reaches towards him, as if he is able to read Wei Wuxian’s mind. “Not out here,” he says.
Wei Wuxian pouts again. “You don't even know what I was going to do.”
“I can imagine.” Lan Wangji opens his eyes and gives him a loaded look that is a mix between judging him for his behaviour and finding the whole exchange very endearing. Wei Wuxian loves this expression, along with all of the rest.
“And what are you imagining?” Wei Wuxian asks, but Lan Wangji just closes his eyes again and doesn’t respond.
“Tell me what you're thinking to distract me from the cold,” Wei Wuxian presses. And it is cold, but t’s also nice to be out here in the stillness, soothing worn out limbs and trying to get a reaction out of Lan Wangji. That’s the best part of most things, if he is honest.
“It’s really not all that cold.” Lan Wangji’s chest rises and falls as he breathes; the scar on his chest standing out as a reminder of their past. His breath plumes out in front of his face in tiny clouds and it makes Wei Wuxian smile. It is cold, his body can’t deny that, even if he tries to deny it with his words.
“It’s colder than our bed,” Wei Wuxian says, a lilt to his voice that he knows can get underneath Lan Wangji’s refined exterior. “The things we do there, they’re the opposite of cold. Aren’t they?”
Lan Wangji doesn’t respond.
“The kisses are warm. The touches are— oh they’re hot. The slide of your body against mine, even hotter. And that moment when you push—“
“Stop talking.” It’s the look that crosses Lan Wangji’s face next that Wei Wuxian finds is his favourite expression of Lan Wangji’s all together. He is trying not to look affected, but Wei Wuxian knows him too well and he can read every tiny change in expression on Lan Wangji’s face— the hint of a pink blush that spreads over his cheeks, the way his mouth parts oh-so-slightly and the way his eyes darken. He’s trying not to look affected, but he is .
“Wei Ying,” he breathes. “Please stay quiet just a while longer and then…”
Wei Wuxian smiles. He stays quiet, just like Lan Wangji asks, but only because he’s thinking about the silent promise of what is to come later.
(Later, both of them come. Twice.)
Wei Wuxian pets a different one of the rabbits that live in the grounds of Cloud Recesses everyday when they’re staying there together.
He’s growing quite fond of them. He’s always thought them pretty, but now he can almost tell some of them apart, their different personalities (and different levels of patience with him) revealing themselves to him day by day. Now he thinks they're pretty and clever.
It makes sense: he’s fond of a lot of the things that remind him of Lan Wangji.
“They’re warming up to me!” He cradles one gently and grins at Lan Wangji, showing him the way in which the rabbit pushes herself closer to his chest. “She likes me, see.”
“They all like you,” Lan Wangji tells him. “They approach you first now.”
“I wonder what changed,” Wei Wuxian ponders. “Hmm? Why?” He asks the rabbit herself, but she hasn’t got an answer for him.
Lan Wangji has one, though. “They’ve got to know you,” he says. “They know you can be trusted to treat them well—that you’re kind.”
“Lan Zhan.” Wei Wuxian smiles at him. “You think that I’m kind?”
Lan Wangji looks surprised at his question; his eyebrows furrowed as he says, “Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I think so?”
“It’s not— it’s just not the sort of word I’m used to hearing describe me.” Wei Wuxian isn’t sad about it— it’s to be expected, after all. Years of tales (some twisted and misunderstood but some true as well) about the Yiling Patriarch, have provided him with a legacy it will probably take another dozen or so years to quell. “Deviant, yes. Wicked, yes. Kind?.. I’m not used to that.”
“You should get used to it.” Lan Wangji looks at him. “Those who know you well, they see that in you. I see that in you.”
Wei Wuxian feels like running, like shouting from the rooftops, like throwing his arms around Lan Wangji and kissing him there and then. But running and shouting and kissing in public are all against the rules here, and he’s grateful enough that Lan Xichen and the disciples here in the Cloud Recesses always turn a blind eye to the jars of liquor that Lan Wangji brings in for him, so he restrains himself, and settles instead for teasing his love instead. “Are there any other words you’d like to use to describe me?” he asks, eyes wide. “Handsome, maybe? Charming?”
“No, there aren’t,” Lan Wangji replies. He starts to walk on, barely looking back to tell We Wuxian, “I’m walking ahead, follow me when you can bear to tear yourself away from your new friends.”
Wei Wuxian buries his nose into the soft fur of the bunny and laughs happily.
Wei Wuxian realises out not long after his return that teenage Lan Wangji was never fond of Mianmian at all.
“I thought that was obvious.” Lan Wangji begins to undo his robe. He still has multiple layers to remove before he is anywhere close to as naked as Wei Wuxian wants him to be, which is rather a pain. “She was a pretty girl, but someone had me distracted with their irritating behavior.”
Wei Wuxian smiles, amused at himself. “I really thought you liked her.”
“I composed music for you around that time.” Lan Wangji raises an eyebrow. “I didn’t like her.”
“I can see that now.” Wei Wuxian watches him carefully, as he unrobes.
Lan Wangji says, “Hindsight is an interesting thing.” He is down to his pants and undershirt now. Wei Wuxian reaches out and unties it so it opens over his chest. “There are a lot of things that are clear now that weren’t back then.”
There is weight behind his words, and Wei Wuxian knows he’s talking about the loss of Wei Wuxian’s golden core, or maybe he’s talking about his regrets at not refusing to leave Wei Wuxian's side sooner in their lives.
He could be talking about many different things. Wei Wuxian understands, he’s thought a lot about what happened before he died since they were reunited. Sometimes he dreams about it and wakes up in the middle of the night— frustrated, confused with righteous anger and small regrets.
“What is important is now,” Wei Wuxian whispers. He steps in closer to where Lan Wangji stands, places a hand on his chest. “Right, Lan Zhan? Because we’re together now and—”
Wei Wuxian is cut off mid-sentence as Lan Wangji kisses him. “We’re together,” he repeats, and kisses him again. Wei Wuxian undoes his own undershirt and slides Lan Wangji’s off his shoulders and to the floor, until they’re pressed together skin-on-skin. Lan Wangji breaks away, and for a moment Wei Wuxian assumes he’s going to pick up and fold their clothing, but instead he moves his lips to Wei Wuxian’s jaw and down along his throat.
“Leave a mark, I dare you,” Wei Wuxian murmurs, as Lan Wangji’s lips flutter over the pulse point just underneath his ear.
“It’s best that we only do that in places others cannot see,” Lan Wangji tells him, his breath tickling Wei Wuxian’s skin as he speaks in low, dulcet, tones. Wei Wuxian loves the sound of his voice when he’s like this.
“Because others will say it’s unbecoming of a cultivator?”
“No. Because they’ll be jealous,” Lan Wangji looks at him and smirks, a tiny wisp of a thing that makes Wei Wuxian shiver. And then he continues pressing soft kisses to his neck, and then lower, moving down to his collarbone.
He sucks a pink bloom of a bruise to Wei Wuxian’s skin on his hip, somewhere hidden, just for them, and Wei Wuxian leaves his own marks on Lan Wangji afterwards, nipping gently at the soft, silky skin on the inside of Lan Wangji’s thigh, biting down a little harder each time he shifts his mouth up towards Lan Wangjis cock, flushed and pressed hard against his stomach.
Wei Wuxian looks up before he takes Lan Wangji into his mouth. He takes in the sight of all of him— tall, strong, steady Lan Wangji with the hard ripple of his stomach and dark eyelashes fanned out on his cheeks, his headband slipping down over his forehead slightly.
We’re together now, he thinks, and maybe Lan Wangji hears him somehow, because his eyes open, dark with lust, and he meets Wei Wuxian’s gaze just as he wraps his fingers around Lan Wangji’s cock and puts his lips around the head. It’s electric and it’s the only thrill Wei Wuxian might ever need again in his life. At least that’s what he thinks when Wangji’s tugging gently at his hair and letting messy, breathy moans slip from his unrestrained tongue.
The taste of Emperor’s Smile really doesn’t live up to moments like this.
“How often did you think of me before we met again?” Wei Wuxian asks him one morning as Lan Wangji brushes out his hair carefully and adjusts his headband. He looks perfectly composed and put together, and if it wasn’t for the fact that six hours ago he was moaning Wei Wuxian’s name, reciting it over and over like a line in a sacred song, Wei Wuxian could have believed he never once thought of Wei Wuxian at all.
“Every day.” Lan Wangji doesn’t turn back to face him. He walks over to the low table and begins to set out cups for tea. “Why do you ask?”
“No reason.” Wei Wuxian watches him. He loves this side of Lan Wangji as much as the myriad of others that Lan Wangji shows him. This side of him is contemplative, brooding, content with silence. This side of him is his strength as much as his strength is the part of him that can kill a man with one pluck of a string on his guqin. As much as the side of him that is fierce and protective and determined. Every side of him brings Wei Wuxian to his knees. It’s a wonder that he’s ever off them.
“Come,” Lan Wangji gestures for him to join him at the table. “Let’s sit.”
Sometimes Wei Wuxian forgets that they aren’t the same people they were before the battle at Nightless City. At least, Lan Wangji isn’t. Lan Wangji who has lived without him for so long, who thought of him every day.
A wave of guilt washes over him, because he doesn’t know what it was like. He only remembers his final breaths, and after that there was nothing until he was waking up again, breathing again, no idea how long had passed since he’d last closed his eyes.
So he can’t know, but he’s thought about it many a time on rainy nights, the sort that remind him of Yuan as a toddler with muddy hands and feet, laughing as he ‘helped’ with planting crops at the Burial Grounds, and he’s certain that - had the roles been reversed - he would have thought about Lan Wangji every day too.
Lan Wangji pours him a drink and slides it across the table. Wei Wuxian takes a sip. “Did you ever give up hope?” he asks. Lan Wangji pauses and looks at him with an unwavering gaze.
“And have I been worth the wait?” Wei Wuxian tries to make it sound flirty, like it’s an off-hand comment made in the teasing tone he often enjoys to use around Lan Wangji, but his heart leaps in his chest as he says it, scared he’s the disappointment he never wanted to be.
“More than worth it,” Lan Wangji replies. He refuses to look Wei Wuxian in the eye; maybe to avoid the merciless teasing he’s expecting to come next. He adds, more quietly now, “More than I could have ever imagined.”
Wei Wuxian’s heart swells, and he smiles into his cup before he drains the liquid from it. He manages to hold his tongue for an impressive amount of time, before he props his arm on the table, chin resting on his hand, and says, “And tell me, what exactly is it you’ve been imagining us doing, if we haven’t done it already?”
It’s spoken as they walk through the forest north of the Cloud Recesses, in simple, clear words:
“We should marry come springtime.” Wangji walks beside him, eyes on the trail ahead as he says it.
“I’m sorry?” Wei Wuxian is almost certain he’s misheard.
“When we marry, we should do so in the Spring,” Wangji says again. The ground is soft underfoot from a day and night of heavy rain. This time he glances at Wei Wuxian. “Do you agree?”
“It’s very presumptuous of you to think we will marry at all, Lan Zhan.” Wei Wuxian can’t help but smile; the sort of smile that he can feel in his whole body, wide and toothy and filled with sheer joy. “What will your family say? Your brother?”
“My brother will be happy.”
“Yes, probably.” Wei Wuxian thinks fondly of Lan Xichen. He’s a good man, and The Twin Jades of Gusu really do live up to their name— their manners and morality hold nothing barred. The fact that they like him and love him respectfully surprises him near every time he thinks of it. He thinks about his first time staying at the Cloud Recesses, all the trouble he caused and how much he had to learn, and what they both must have thought of him then. “I think he would be pleased to see you happy, as you would him.”
Lan Wangji nods. His hair blows softly around his face in the breeze.
Wei Wuxian smiles. “And what about A-Yuan?”
“He suggested the spring as the best time of year for it himself,” Lan Wangji admits.
“Ah, so it seems the decision has been made without me…” He pouts, then, before his grin returns. “Aside from the fact, of course, that it was me who confided in A-Yuan about my intention to marry you come the break of Spring. Or, at least, to ask you to consider making such a commitment with me.”
Lan Wangji’s face falls and he looks away, his hair falling around his face in the breeze.
“Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan… I made him swear to secrecy,” Wei Wuxian takes Lan Wangji’s arm gently and smiles. “Don’t be displeased with him for not telling you.”
“I’m not displeased.” Lan Wangji blushes. “It’s just—I’m regretful that my idea was not as original as I had thought.”
Wei Wuxian laughs. “Your ideas are the best, always. Mine have known to be… Questionable. Although all made with good intentions.”
“Marriage in the Springtime.” Lan Wangji repeats it, firmly as though he is setting it into stone. His strength is evident in every word he speaks.
Wuxian wants to bury his face into Lan Wangji’s chest and promise him all sorts of things. Maybe he will later, when it’s dark and they’re keeping each other warm with wandering hands and eager mouths. Maybe then he will promise the world.
“Marriage in the Springtime,” Wei Wuxian repeats, nodding. “And then?”
Lan Wangji looks at him with a soft expression. “And then we’ll discover what is to come,” he says, and Wei Wuxian cannot imagine a better answer.
When they kiss it’s with matching determination and tenacity, and it’s infinitely better than any wine in the world.