As he stood in the doorway of the Library Pavilion, listening to Lan Wangij marvel at the curve of Wei Wuxian’s neck, and feeling like he was on the brink of throwing up, Jiang Cheng wondered how he had ended up in this situation.
It was Nie Huaisang’s fault; that much he was sure of.
Their last trip to Caiyi Town had involved a quick trip to a more adult stall, secluded and a distance away from the rest of the market place, that Nie Huaisang had eagerly dragged him and Wei Wuxian to. While the two of them had looked around in wary embarrassment, Nie Huaisang had seemed disturbingly at home, picking things off the wooden stands and shamelessly asking the shopkeeper what they did.
The potion that apparently allowed a person to hear other people’s lustful thoughts had particularly intrigued him.
“You can actually hear their thoughts?”
Jiang Cheng thought it was a heap of bullshit.
Or at least he had, until he had woken up that morning next to at empty bottle of Emperor’s Smile, and an empty bottle of something else that he couldn’t identify. He would later figure out that it was that ridiculous potion Nie Huaisang had purchased; and it wouldn’t take him long to realise that it did exactly what it advertised.
He heard snippets of thoughts on his way to class that morning — someone thinking about the pretty female disciple he’d caught a glimpse of the previous day, someone thinking about their sweetheart back at home — but it was easy enough to brush away all of those things as parts of conversations.
He really started to realise that something was wrong when he was sitting in class, and Nie Huaisang seemed to be repeatedly musing about the pornographic text he had read a few days prior.
After a few moments of sitting in incredulous silence, wondering how no one was telling him to shut up, Jiang Cheng had decided to do it himself.
Nie Huaisang had simply looked bewildered, and Jiang Cheng had been fervently told off by an angry teacher, who refused stand by and allow people to interrupt his class.
Because, as it turned out, no one else had spoken. And it was after that class that Nie Huaisang let him know, sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck, that Jiang Cheng had drunk the entire bottle of that potion the night before on a drunken dare. Jiang Cheng remembered he, Nie Huaisang and Wei Wuxian finishing off the bottles of Emperor’s Smile that Wei Wuxian had snuck in after their trip to Caiyi Town, but he didn’t remember much else about what had happened that night.
He still thought the effects of the potion sounded like utter bullshit, but after another hour of hearing stray thoughts that he would rather not know about — and, in some cases, visual images — he had soon come to realise that he was unfortunately stuck with this for some time.
It was okay. He didn’t like this, but at least he was in Gusu, and the majority of the Lan disciples were completely repressed. It was mostly the guest disciples he had to worry about, and it wasn’t too hard to block them out.
He had been doing just fine, until a series of thoughts had almost bowled him over as he had made his way back to his room. He caught words like 'pretty’, and someone repeatedly rhapsodising about someone’s beautiful smile, and lovely eyes, and soft hair, and they were just so goddamn loud.
The thoughts were unlike anything he had heard so far. The whole morning, he had been followed by fleeting words and images, and as awful as it was, once he had figured out what was going on, they weren’t too difficult to try and ignore.
This was nothing like that. There was no ignoring this.
Jiang Cheng shook his head and walked forward. Just ignore it, he told himself. That stupid potion had to have a time limit, this had to wear off soon.
As he neared the Library Pavillion, the thoughts seemed to increase in volume. It seemed like someone was yelling in his head, and if he heard the word ‘beautiful’ one more time, he was going to punch someone.
‘His lips look so soft…inappropriate! You must not — they are very nice though…and his smile…’
Oh for godsake, he couldn’t do this. When another attempt to block the words out failed, and he decided that he would probably go mad if he didn't do something soon, he turned around, and hurried in the general direction of where the thoughts were coming from. He could feel it, could feel them getting stronger, and he wasn’t even sure what he was planning to do, but he just needed to get them to shut up somehow.
He flung the doors of the Library Pavilion open, and prepared himself to tell whoever the hell it was to shut the fuck up and take a cold bath (who cared if it made him look crazy, because he was pretty sure he would go insane if this didn’t stop soon), and then came to an abrupt stop when he saw who was inside.
Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji sat at one of the low tables, Lan Wangji staring at Wei Wuxian with his normal blank expression, and Wei Wuxian chattering away cheerily. They both glanced up at the interruption.
“Jiang Cheng!” Wei Wuxian said, waving. “What are you doing here?”
For a moment Jiang Cheng just stood there, staring blankly. He looked around the room, expecting to see someone else — but no, it was just the two of them; Wei Wuxian grinning widely, and Lan Wangji looking like he was made of stone. Nothing strange there.
And then Wei Wuxian fluttered his eyelashes teasingly at Lan Wangji, and Lan Wangji —
Jiang Cheng was instantly hit by a wave of emotions that he couldn’t even identify. Lan Wangji’s thoughts were a muddled mess, but he could make out the other boy’s awe and confusion as Lan Wangji tried to work through just why those actions had made him feel like this.
Jiang Cheng stared incredulously at the stoic boy, whose face remained blank and unchanging throughout all of it.
Oh God, this was crazy. He had obviously lost his mind, there was no way this was actually happening.
‘He’s very pretty — no, he’s shameless. Undisciplined. I don’t understand why I — '
Wei Wuxian smiled brightly at Lan Wangji, and his thoughts stumbled to a sudden halt, and suddenly turned back into a jumble of thoughts and feelings that Jiang Cheng never wanted to be aware of.
“Jiang Cheng? You’re still here?” Wei Wuxian called out, confused.
Lan Wangji turned to him, his eyes narrowing slightly.
Jiang Cheng turned around, and got the hell out of there.
The thing was — Jiang Cheng had made a point to more or less stay far away from Lan Wangji. It wasn’t too hard, since he doubted the other boy wanted to be around him for prolonged periods of time either.
But for some reason, unlike other people, whose thoughts came in sudden snippets, and weren’t too hard to block out, Lan Wangji was impossible. Any lustful thoughts he happened to have — and oh God, Jiang Cheng shuddered at the thought — were like a wave. It was almost impossible not to be hit by them, and almost impossible to block them out when they started.
And they all seemed focused on Wei Wuxian.
Jiang Cheng could only be relived that these thoughts were coming from a repressed Lan disciple, who obviously didn’t know anything about intimacy, so the thoughts — as mortifying as they were, since they were all focused on Jiang Cheng’s brother — were fairly innocent. Just admiration of Wei Wuxian’s eyes, or his flowing hair, or his nimble hands, or the expanse of his neck —
And, oh god, Jiang Cheng was going to be sick if he followed that train of thought any further.
The thing was, as awful as it was, Jiang Cheng was aware that it could be so much worse.
Of course, considering his luck, it did get worse. Much worse. Because his idiot of a brother had apparently thought it was a good idea to introduce the esteemed Second Master Lan to pornography. And Lan Wangij, who had never seen such sordid materials before, and who had reacted with the expected indignation and rage to Wei Wuxian’s face, had quietly marvelled at such things that he had never seen before in his life.
And, almost subconsciously, had began replacing the scenes he had seen with him and Wei Wuxian.
Of course, he couldn’t be the esteemed Second Master of the Lan Sect without reacting with the appropriate amount of embarrassment, so he silently berated himself for such thoughts. And felt very ashamed.
That didn’t seem to stop him though.
Sitting in class, Jiang Cheng stared down at his blank piece of paper, and realised that he was probably failing the upcoming text. Of course his stupid brother had to go and show that repressed idiot pornography a day before they actually had important things to learn. How was Jiang Cheng supposed to concentrate like this?!
He was torn between brutally murdering his brother, brutally murdering Lan Wangji, or running away to some secluded area far away from everyone until all of this was over.
It had to be stop at some point, right? There had to be a limit for how long this could go on for — this was Lan Wangji, for godsake. The man was famed for how emotionless he was; Jiang Cheng just didn’t understand what was happening.
‘This is what you get for getting drunk with Nie Huaisang of all people,’ he thought bitterly.
Jiang Cheng had spent most of his day trying to stay the hell away from Lan Wangji, which honestly wasn’t too hard. Not that it helped much, since Lan Wangji’s thoughts were like someone was screaming in his head. The only good thing was that they seemed to block out other thoughts, at least for the time being - although that wasn’t much of a compromise since Jiang Cheng would take all of those over Lan Wangji’s apparent obsession with Wei Wuxian.
It wasn’t like that was the only thing on Lan Wangji's mind — far from it — but even a few thoughts here and there were more than enough to drive him crazy. And it was so much worse when Wei Wuxian was in a close proximity to Lan Wangji — Lan Wangji seemed unable to think of anything else, even though his face remained seemingly uninterested.
Jiang Cheng went to bed that night, hoping that at least sleep would give him some reprieve.
He should have known he’d never be that lucky.
He went to sleep and suddenly his brother was there. Wei Wuxian was bathed in light; there was literally a halo of it surrounding him, and he had the biggest smile on his face.
“Er-gege,” his brother said, leaning closer and laughing teasingly, “Er-gege, kiss me.”
“Mn,” said a voice, definitely not Jiang Cheng’s own, and oh god, something was pulling him closer, and his eyes are so pretty, his smile is so pretty, his lips look so soft — oh fuck, no, no, these weren’t this thoughts, these weren’t his fucking thoughts goddammit —
He woke up screaming in bed, and thrashing wildly. Wei Wuxian, asleep next to him, jolted awake, and fumbled around for his sword.
“Go back to sleep, you idiot!” he snapped.
“Jiang Cheng?” Wei Wuxian slurred, still searching for a weapon. “W’as wrong, I’ll protect — ”
“Go back to sleep! This is all your fault, Wei Wuxian!”
Okay, maybe he had been a bit harsh the previous night. Wei Wuxian was an idiot, but it wasn’t his fault that Lan Wangji was apparently a pervert.
He also decided that he couldn’t take much more of this, so he skipped class the next day and made an impromptu trip to Caiyi Town. He was going to go straight to that shop and ask them how the hell he could fix this.
He needed to fix this. His sanity depended on it.
After arriving in Caiyi Town, he hurriedly made his way over to the store. It took him some time to find it, since he only had vague recollections of coming here the first time, and there was no way he was asking anyone for directions. He wasn’t nearly as shameless as Wei Wuxian or Nie Huaisang.
The shopkeeper glanced up when he walked in, and shot him a look of amusement. “You’re one of those Gusu students, aren’t you?” he asked. “Shouldn’t you be in class right now?”
Jiang Cheng ignored his question, and strode over to him. He was aware that he probably looked slightly unstable, but he couldn’t help it. He’d heard far too many unsavoury thoughts along the way here, and wasn’t sure whether he should be more horrified about the fact that Caiyi Town was apparently filled to the brim with perverts, or that somehow, even this wasn’t as bad as what awaited him back in the Cloud Recesses.
“You need to help me,” he said, with more than a bit of desperation in his voice. “Please — I drank that stupid potion and now I — now I have thoughts about kissing my brother in my head — ”
The shopkeeper blinked, and frowned slightly. “You know,” he mused, “I don’t think I have anything that causes incestuous thoughts…”
“Wha — no!” Jiang Cheng cried. “That’s not what I meant! My friend bought some — some sort of potion from you, and it’s supposed to make you hear people’s thoughts — ”
The man’s eyes widened in realisation. “Ah, yes, I remember! You were in here a few days ago with two other boys, weren’t you? That friend of yours purchased that particularly potion from me. Although it shouldn’t have had any adverse affects…” He frowned thoughtfully. “What exactly did you say was happening?”
“I keep hearing everyone’s thoughts!” he snapped. “And — ” And one person’s thoughts in particular, Jiang Cheng thought, with a shudder. “Please, you need to give me something to stop this.”
The man shook his head and laughed slightly. Jiang Cheng was just about to snap that there really wasn’t anything funny about his situation, when the man started speaking again. “How much of it did you drink, exactly?”
“I don’t know! The whole bottle?”
The man’s lips quirked slightly. “Well, that’d explain it. You’re only supposed to take a sip — it isn’t supposed to be very strong. People usually drink a bit right before sex — ” Jiang Cheng flushed, averting his gaze, “ — to make the whole experience a bit more interesting. It makes you hear your lover’s lustful thoughts. It’s only supposed to last a few hours. Since it is designed to amplify certain thoughts depending on how strong the emotion behind them is — for instance, if you are in a room with your lover, those thoughts will be a lot stronger than, say, a stray thought from someone who is passing by — it shouldn’t be strong enough for you to hear more than the thoughts of the person who is in the room with you.”
Jiang Cheng was almost bright red by the end of this explanation, but he forced himself to carry on. “That’s not what’s happened to me,” he bit out. “I am hearing everyone’s thoughts. I can’t shut them out.”
“Yes,” the shopkeeper agreed, “because you went and drank the whole damn bottle. It’s too strong — you’re hearing what everyone is thinking. And if there is a lot of emotion behind those thoughts — say, if someone is in love — then those thoughts are going to be a whole lot stronger. And a whole lot louder.”
Jiang Cheng paled. Yes, Lan Wangji’s thoughts about Wei Wuxian’s were loud — they blazed over everyone else’s, leaving Jiang Cheng wanting nothing more than to scream at the other man to just shut the hell up — but there was no way he could actually be in love with his idiot brother, right?
This was Lan Wangji they were talking about.
‘Yes,’ he thought, ‘and up until yesterday, there was no way you would have ever thought the unmovable Second Jade of Lan could be thinking such things about anyone, let alone Wei Wuxian.’
He shook his head, and refocused his attention on the shopkeeper. “How do I stop it?” he asked, his voice desperate.
The man shrugged. “You can’t,” he replied, without an ounce of regret in his voice. The bastard actually had the gall to sound amused by Jiang Cheng’s plight. “It should last a few more days, and then just fade on its own.”
“A few more — I don’t have a few more days!” Jiang Cheng protested.
“It won’t kill you.”
“Yes it will! You don’t understand — there’s this boy — ”
The man raised an eyebrow. “Ahh, I see,” he said teasingly, “is there someone you are fond of?”
Jiang Cheng spluttered indignantly. “No!” he snapped. “There is a boy who is thinking indecent thoughts about my brother! I can’t take much more of this! The other day, he was dreaming about kissing him! In class he was — he was — ” Oh God, he couldn’t bring himself to talk about the pornography. He quickly moved onwards. “I just need to find some way to stop this, before I really lose my mind.”
The man shrugged again. “I’m really sorry, but there’s nothing I can do. Next time, you should really find out about how to properly handle a product before you use it.”
Jiang Cheng glared visciously, not wanting to say that he had done it on a drunken dare.
As he made his way back to the Cloud Recesses, Jiang Cheng quietly resolved to at least try to ignore that bastard Lan Wangji until the effects of the potion wore off.
He didn’t know whether he could actually pull it off, but he would try his best. He needed to. If he went on listening to all of these thoughts, he would either go mad, or get kicked out of the Cloud Recesses after trying to assault their second young master.
He wasn’t sure how he felt about Lan Wangji apparently having feelings for his brother. Feelings that were, apparently, strong enough that they may even be considered love. It was bewildering, and more than a little alarming, and he felt the stirrings of protective instinct towards his brother.
For years, he had always tried to protect his beloved big sister from any unwanted attention from men. He had never thought he would need to defend Wei Wuxian’s honour, and yet here he was, suddenly feeling the need to rush to his brother’s defence as if he were some fair maiden.
It was utterly ridiculous.
Jiang Cheng’s brother was an idiot, but he had no doubt that Wei Wuxian was completely oblivious about what was happening. He would have no idea that all of his mindless teasing had lead to — to —
He really needed to stop thinking about this.
He went back to the Cloud Recesses, somehow managing to avoid being caught by any Lan disciples or teachers, and made a point to ignore the foreign thoughts bouncing around his head as much as he could.
He did a fairly good job of it — or at least, he tried to convince himself that he was doing a good job of it — until he found himself walking side-by-side with Nie Huaisang and Wei Wuxian the next day, and Lan Wangji came into view.
Jiang Cheng immediately stiffened, but thankfully, there didn’t seem to be any thoughts coming from the other boy at that moment. Before he could relax, Wei Wuxian caught sight of him, and, grinning widely, rushed forward, crying, “Lan Zhan! Lan Zhan, look at me! Er-gege — ”
“He’s really going to kill you one of these days,” Nie Huaisang called after him.
Jiang Cheng barely heard him, stuck in a frozen state of horror. All he could think of was that awful dream, and Wei Wuxian, bathed in a halo of light, giggling and calling out for ‘Er-gege’ to kiss him.
Nie Huaisang frowned. “Jiang-xiong, are you okay?”
Jiang Cheng broke out of his reverie, and rushed forward. He grabbed Wei Wuxian’s arm, and yanked him around. Across from them, Lan Wangji had heard Wei Wuxian’s cries — a deaf man probably could have heard the noise his brother was making — and was now staring at them with a stony expression on his face.
‘So pretty,’ Lan Wangji thought, full of awe, and if Jiang Cheng were in a better state of mind, he would have marvelled at how the man could manage that when his face still looked like a brick wall.
As it was, he was too busy dragging his idiot brother as far away from Lan Wangji as he could manage.
“What are you doing?” Wei Wuxian demanded once they were a safe distance away.
Jiang Cheng did hesitate for a moment. It wasn’t like he wanted Wei Wuxian to know about this; telling him seemed like a sure way to equip his brother with enough material to mock him for the next year.
However, he was also aware that Lan Wangji was apparently besotted with Wei Wuxian, and the oblivious moron in front of him had absolutely no idea. If he didn’t do something now, Wei Wuxian would continue throwing himself at Lan Wangji, giggling, and teasing him, and doing god knows whatever else, while Lan Wangji silently lapped it up.
Like hell Jiang Cheng was going to let that happen. Wei Wuxian may have been a complete idiot, but he was also his brother. As the only one of them with an ounce of common sense, it was Jiang Cheng’s job to look out for him.
“Lan Wangji is a pervert,” he said at last. Perhaps that was a bit of an exaggeration, but Jiang Cheng, still suffering from the aftermath of that horrible dream, certainly didn’t think so. “You need to stay away from him.”
Wei Wuxian burst into laughter. “Ha! Good one, Jiang Cheng!”
“I’m not joking, you idiot! He’s — ” God, there was no way around this, was there? He was really going to have to tell his brother about the potion. “Look, do you remember when we went to Caiyi Town with Nie Huaisang, and he took us to that shop? The one with the…” He gestured vaguely, his cheeks turning red.
Wei Wuxian blinked, and nodded slowly. Jiang Cheng silently thanked the heavens, because if his brother was going to play oblivious for a moment longer, Jiang Cheng probably would have ended up breaking his legs.
“Okay. So remember the potion he picked up? The one that’s supposed to make you hear other people’s lustful thoughts? Well it works. It works unfortunately well. And I drank the whole goddamn thing, and now I can’t stop hearing everyone’s thoughts.”
“Shut up and let me finish! It’s fucking awful, okay? But you know what the worst part is? Lan Wangji. The guy is obsessed with you. He’s — “ Oh God, he couldn’t say it.
Wei Wuxian stared, his mouth opening and closing for a moment. “…Good one,” he said at last, laughing. “Jiang Cheng, you really had me there…”
“What the fuck?! This isn’t a joke!” he snapped, throwing his arms in the air. “I am actually losing my mind here! And I was going to bury myself in a hole for the next few days and try to forget about all of this, but believe it or not, I actually feel kind of worried about you.”
Wei Wuxian raised an eyebrow and said sceptically, “Because of Lan Zhan?”
“Yes! Because he wants to — do things with you!”
Wei Wuxian stared. “Things?”
“Things! You know!” Jiang Cheng gestured wildly. “Like — kissing and stuff!”
Wei Wuxian started. His eyes widened in disbelief, and he shook his head. “You’ve got it all wrong! Lan Zhan would never want to do anything like that with me! He doesn’t even like me that much! He thinks I’m annoying!” He seemed almost sad at that last part, and it made Jiang Cheng want to shake him until he finally got it.
God, wasn’t his brother supposed to be some sort of serial flirter? How was he this dense? And how had Jiang Cheng never noticed it before?
“He doesn’t find you annoying,” Jiang Cheng said, his words slow for emphasis. “He keeps thinking about your neck, and your hands, and your stupid lips.”
Wei Wuxian’s cheeks turned pink. “He called my lips stupid?” he asked, his voice shaky.
“I’m calling your lips stupid! And then you had to go and show him that stupid pornography, and he started thinking about you and him and — ugh, you know what, no. Forget that.” If he went down that route, he probably would throw up. “And then — and then he was dreaming about kissing you. And just now, he called you pretty — ”
Wei Wuxian let out a weird squeaking noise, and took a step backwards. His cheeks were bright pink.
Jiang Cheng took a shaky breath, and averted his gaze.
“You — you’re serious?” Wei Wuxian asked, his voice shaking slightly.
Jiang Cheng nodded. “Yes,” he said, his voice firm. “I’m not making this up. This is a literal nightmare for me. And I’m telling you this,” he met his brother’s gaze, his expression serious, “because Lan Wangji obviously isn’t the person you thought he was. He’s not your friend. He’s only around so much because he’s having weird perverted thoughts about you.”
“Weird perverted thoughts,” Wei Wuxian repeated, his voice strange.
“Yes!” Jiang Cheng said, nodding hurriedly. “So you need to stay away from him okay?”
Wei Wuxian continued to watch him, a strange expression on his face, but Jiang Cheng relaxed slightly. He was fairly certain he had gotten his point across, and Wei Wuxian seemed to believe him at the very least. Now hopefully they could put this behind them while he waited for the effects of this stupid potion to wear off.
It was a few hours later, when a barrage of thoughts slammed into him. Thoughts about how gorgeous his golden eyes were, and how smooth his hair was, how good he looked in white, how elegant, how strong, how good of a kisser he was — and then Jiang Cheng realised those thoughts were centred on Lan Wangji, and that the voice sounded horrifyingly familiar.
Two people rounded the corner a moment later, and Jiang Cheng found himself staring in a horrified stupor at the nightmare unfolding in front of him.
It wasn’t even that they were being particularly obvious about it. Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji were standing in close proximity with each other, though it wasn’t like they were being particularly handsy with each other. Wei Wuxian was obviously at least making an attempt to maintain some distance for Lan Wangji’s sake, but they were also a lot closer than they usually would be, and Lan Wangji was making no effort to even pretend that he was annoyed by this.
It was there thoughts that gave them away though. Both of them were completely entranced with each other. While Wei Wuxian continued to wax poetry about Lan Wangji’s beauty in his mind, Lan Wangji was pretty much doing the same about Wei Wuxian, and it all entwined together in some twisted horror story.
And, oh dear God, they were so loud. If Jiang Cheng thought it was bad before, it was somehow worse now. It was like someone was slamming a fist repeatedly against his head. Hell, he would have gladly taken that over this any day.
Worst of all — worse than anything he had ever seen or heard in his entire life — they were, in some sort of twisted cycle, repeatedly thinking of the moment that they had both kissed for the first time earlier that day.
They had kissed each other.
Why the hell had they KISSED each other?
And why did he have to know about any of this?!
Wei Wuxian lifted his gaze and met his, and for a moment, looked confused at the look of unadulterated horror on Jiang Cheng’s face. Then, as if just remembering their talk earlier that day, his eyes widened in alarm.
“Ah — ” He stepped away from Lan Wangji, shooting him a quick apologetic look. “I just need to talk to Jiang Cheng quickly, okay Lan Zhan?”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji said, nodding. Wei Wuxian smiled, touching Lan Wangji’s hand gently, before turning and hurrying towards Jiang Cheng.
‘His hands are so soft,’ Lan Wangji thought.
Jiang Cheng shuddered.
“What the fuck is that?” Jiang Cheng demanded once Wei Wuxian was in front of him, not even caring if Lan Wangji was still in earshot. “What the hell are you doing, and — what the hell are you thinking?!”
Wei Wuxian sighed. “Look, I know — ”
“No — literally, what the hell are you thinking?! You idiots are going to give me a headache at this rate!”
Wei Wuxian’s cheeks turned red, and he averted his gaze. “Look, you told me Lan Zhan was thinking about kissing me — ”
Jiang Cheng had said a lot of things, including that Lan Wangji was a huge pervert. Apparently none of that had stuck.
“ — And I went and confronted him about it! And, uh — it turns out he likes me! You were right. And so he kissed me. And I kissed back.”
Wei Wuxian’s eyes glazed over slightly, and —
No, no, NO.
“Shut up!” Jiang Cheng wailed, slamming his hands over his ears. Of course, it didn’t do anything, and Wei Wuxian’s eyes immediately widened in alarm.
“I can’t help it!” Wei Wuxian cried. “It was such a good kiss.”
“Just stop thinking about it! I don’t want to know, okay?!” And God, remind him to never do anything nice for his brother again. He tried to look out for him, and this is what he got in return. He would be lucky if he returned to Lotus Pier with his sanity intact now.
Wei Wuxian shifted uncomfortably, and his expression was slightly sheepish. “I’ll try, okay?” He said. “It’s just really hard. I didn’t even know I liked Lan Zhan until what you told me, and then I kept thinking about it, and realised I really wanted him to kiss me too — ”
“Please just shut up,” Jiang Cheng pleaded. “Just — look, your — boyfriend, whatever he is, is waiting isn’t he? Go annoy him, and leave me alone!”
He all but ran away, ignoring Wei Wuxian as he called after him.
He was going to go to his room, and bury himself under some blankets, and try to block out the entire world until the effects of this stupid potion disappeared. He didn’t care if he got expelled for skipping classes; he would gladly face his mother’s wrath and his father’s disappointment if it meant never having those two idiots in his head ever again.
Oh and he was kicking Wei Wuxian out. He could go and sleep with Lan Wangji for all Jiang Cheng cared —
Jiang Cheng twitched. Okay, maybe not with Lan Wangji, but he definitely wasn’t coming anywhere near him until all of this was over.
Lan Wangji was reading in the library pavilion when Wei Wuxian burst inside, eyes wide and cheeks flushed.
Lan Wangji’s head lifted, and his eyes narrowed slightly. Wei Wuxian was fairly certain that he was getting ready to tell him off, and nothing about his expression screamed that he was even remotely interested in doing any of the things that Jiang Cheng had suggested.
But — his brother hadn’t been making any of that up. Wei Wuxian knew Jiang Cheng, and he knew when his brother was upset. Jiang Cheng had been genuinely horrified. Wei Wuxian was pretty sure he was telling the truth.
That or he was losing his mind, and face-to-face with Lan Wangji, Wei Wuxian was having second thoughts on whether it was a good idea to test that theory,
Still, there was no way he could just ignore what his brother had told him. If Lan Zhan really did like him in that way — if he had really had those kind of thoughts about Wei Wuxian…
Well, if someone had told him about another boy thinking those kind of things about him before he had met Lan Wangji, he would have quickly brushed it off and said he wasn’t interested; that he wasn’t a cut-sleeve, that he liked girls.
However, from the moment Jiang Cheng had told him, he had suddenly realised that he didn’t mind. He actually liked the idea of Lan Wangji liking him in that way.
God, he wanted those things to.
And so, before the other boy had a chance to tell him off for excessive noise, or excessive speed, or whatever else was prohibited in the Cloud Recesses, Wei Wuxian found himself calling out, “Lan Zhan, Er-gege, do you want to kiss me?”
Lan Wangji froze.
“It’s okay if you do! I think I want that too…no, I know that I do. I, uh, I really like you! I think you’re really great, and I love being around you and — Lan Zhan? You’re not saying anything…” He shifted, feeling suddenly very embarrassed. Perhaps this was a bad idea. Maybe he had this all wrong, and Jiang Cheng was just losing his mind — in which case, he should probably be very, very concerned for his brother’s mental health…
Lan Wangji was frozen in his place, his expression unmoving. But then Wei Wuxian caught sight of the red staining the tips of his ears, and the barely perceptible tremble of his lips, and realised that the other boy was affected by his confession.
“You…” Lan Wangji said, his voice shaking slightly. “You’re teasing me about such things…”
“I’m not teasing you!” Wei Wuxian protested. “I’m serious, Er-gege! I promise.” He watched Lan Wangji, taking in his expression, and realised, with a start, that there seemed to be a hint of fear in Lan Wangji’s eyes.
Wei Wuxian walked forward hesitantly, until he was standing a short distance away from Lan Wangji.
“Lan Zhan,” he said, his voice nervous, “can I kiss you…?”
Lan Wangji’s fists clenched at his sides, and he looked away. Wei Wuxian took a deep breath, his shoulders slumping slightly. He probably had read this all wrong. It was just like him, to get all worked up about this, to get so excited — so hopeful — and then for it all to be nothing but a huge mistake…
And then, suddenly, Lan Wangji was turning around, taking a step forward, and reaching out to grasp Wei Wuxian’s shoulders. Wei Wuxian froze, his eyes widening in shock, and then there were a pair of soft, warm lips pressed against his.
It wasn’t a long kiss; it was short, and hesitant, and tinged with nerves, but it still left Wei Wuxian’s heart racing when Lan Wangji pulled away. The other boy was so close that Wei Wuxian could see the darker gold flecks in his eyes, and then he quickly averted his gaze, and pulled away.
Wei Wuxian reached out hurriedly and grabbed his arm, shaking his head. “Lan Zhan, that was so nice,” he said, his voice as sincere as he could make it. He didn’t want Lan Wangji to misunderstand again, or to think he was making a joke of this. “You’re really great, you know that?”
“Ridiculous,” Lan Wangji murmured softly, his ears pink.
He didn’t pull away from his grasp, and Wei Wuxian felt his lips tug upwards in a wide grin. He still felt kind of nervous himself, but there was a tingling sensation in his stomach that felt more like excitement.
“Lan Zhan,” he said, “can we do that again?”
Lan Wangji looked back at him, his expression soft, and Wei Wuxian felt his smile growing. Yes, he definitely wanted this.