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“What a pity.”

“Yeah, it’s unfortunate. Everyone knows they’ve been hoping for a child for years. Finally she’s pregnant but who would’ve thought that it’d cost her husband’s life?”

“Aih, this is why people always say how mortals can never compete against the will of fate.”

The two men released a heavy sigh and drank their tea in silence. The main hall of the inn was crowded with travellers and villagers alike; some drinking with friends, some catching up with the recent happenings in the village. In a corner of the hall, on a table near a window sat two men, one in all-white, one in all-black as they too sipped restfully on their tea. The man in black stared out of the window every now and then, a small curve of a smile arched on the corners of his lips, even his eyes seemed to be smiling. Meanwhile, the gestures of the man in all-white were elegant as he drank in silence, his light-colour pair of orbs occasionally lifting, only taking back whenever the other man caught his gaze.

The expression on the smiling man turned to one of a smirk. His eyes were half-lidded as he propped an elbow on the table. He held his chin as he slanted towards the quiet man. He gave the man a wistful stare as he opened his mouth, about to say something when one of the men beside their table spoke again, cutting that very intention off.

“But what can you do? He totally asked for it! He shouldn't have slept with another woman when the wife is taking care of her pregnancy at home!”

“You’re right. Speaking of that, he was found dead after he slept with the woman too.”

“Tsk, tsk, he could have endured it for a few more months, then things might not have turned out this way. Eh, but what about the woman? Did anyone see her after that?”

“This is the mysterious part,” the man paused, glancing around as if checking for eavesdroppers before he continued with a whisper. “The woman is nowhere to be seen after that. No one knows who it was, even!”

“What? …This might sound far-fetched but i-is it possible that she k-killed Young Master Zhao then?” the other man’s voice dropped to a whisper too.

“I… I think it’s likely. But she didn’t take his money, so I figured she might be a victim too. Maybe she never knew who’s the man she slept with. Maybe she only found out after they’re done and so she decided to k-kill him just so no one would ever find out she slept with a married man.”

The man narrowed his eyes, “You sound confident.”

“Aih, it’s easy to figure it out. You see, she’s not after his money and he died after he slept her, so maybe she found out he has a wife and she felt betrayed? Maybe she was loyal to the man, thinking that he’s her only one? So she ended up killing the man because of that!”

“Wow, impressive! If that’s the case, then everything makes sense!”

“Right? Mph, it’s always like that, one would only kill for two things ー money, or, out of jealousy! Or maybe they're just pure evil and think murder is the only way out. Humans, humans.”

“You’re right! Maybe she seduced him too! There's no way someone as decent as Young Master Zhao will cheat after all! She must have used some sort of drug or something.”

"I think so too! Young Master Zhao and his wife have always been lovely, I can't ever imagine him to choose some unknown lady over his beautiful wife. I won't do it if it's me!"

Their intentional whispers would probably escape the ears of usual people but both Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi weren’t common people. They’re cultivators, and it’s not hard for them to catch every single word the men said despite their reduced volumes. Wei WuXian’s smirk curved higher as he drowned his tea with one gulp. He took the teapot over and poured more tea for himself.

“What do you think about the story, HanGuang-Jun?” he asked offhandedly. 

Lan WangJi looked at him, contemplated, then said, “Assumptions.”

“Right,” Wei WuXian drank. “If they don’t know the lady then how do they know what kind of person is she? They could only base their analysis on the impression they had towards the man, which may or may not be right. For all they know, they probably didn’t even sleep with each other. Can’t a man and a woman sit down and have a chat in a room like any decent friends?”

Lan WangJi nodded with an ‘en’. Then, he looked at Wei WuXian again. Wei WuXian noticed that gaze of his as he raised an eyebrow.

“HanGuang-Jun seems like he has something else to add on?” 

Lan WangJi looked away, drinking more of his tea like nothing had happened. Wei WuXian wasn’t in a rush either. He picked some of the peanuts from the plate and munched on them, waiting. As expected, Lan WangJi spoke again after a while.

“Do you…”

“Hm?” Wei WuXian gave him a mischievous look.

“...” 

Wei WuXian chuckled, “It’s not like you to be hesitating like this, HanGuang-Jun. See, we’re in this kind of relationship already. Not only are we connected by the heart, but we’re also connected by the bodー”

“One more kneeling,” Lan WangJi interrupted.

Wei WuXian broke a burst of laughter, “Don’t you think it’s too late for you to say that now? Our bodies are already connected, we already have the essence of being married.”

Lan WangJi decided he didn’t want to debate with Wei WuXian. He’s about to drink more of his tea when Wei WuXian grabbed his wrist and pressed his hand on the table, stopping him from doing exactly so. Lan WangJi gave him a look.

“Don’t run away. Can it be that… you don’t want to admit to it?”

Lan WangJi scowled. Wei WuXian continued on, his tension heightened.

“Who was the one who bullied a powerless man and who was the one who wouldn’t stop no matter how loud I screamed and begged for mercy, huh? You ate me to my bones and you’re now refusing to admit to it?”

Lan WangJi tugged his hand out of Wei WuXian’s grasp with a meek pull, then said, “I don’t mean it that way.”

Wei WuXian chuckled as he pinched Lan WangJi on his chin, “Okay, don’t give me that face. I’m just teasing you. See, HanGuang-Jun, this is where our differences lie. If we’re talking about aggressive refutes with words, you aren’t my opponent.”

“En,” Lan WangJi agreed, finally drinking his tea.

“But if we’re talking about physical strength,” Wei WuXian said, eyebrow raised. “Then I’m not your opponent.”

Lan WangJi’s expression was deadpanned, Wei WuXian’s face was filled with immense joy. Both of them knew exactly what Wei WuXian was implying but none of them wanted to lay it out loud. Their eye-to-eye staring competition was soon interrupted when a xiao-er approached their table to refill their tea.

“Young masters, are you travellers? It’s quite late now, would you like to take a rest in our inn before you continue your journey?”

After the Guanyin Temple incident, both of them had travelled for some distance and had come to rest in this small village near the border of Yunmeng. The xiao-er was right. It’s late now, and it’d take some time to reach the next village. The ideal solution at the moment was to stay for a night in the village then continue on their touring. Besides, since they’d caught wind of an intriguing case happening in the village, they might as well sit back and watch the rest of the show.

“Sure, we’re just thinking about that,” Wei WuXian broke the eye contact and smiled at the xiao-er. 

“Really?! Great! We welcome you with open arms! Feel free to let us know what can we do to make you feel more comfortable! ...Oh, how about trying out the dinner in our inn as well? We can serve it right to your room!” the xiao-er suggested enthusiastically.

Wei WuXian said, “Calm down, hahaha! You’re so passionate it'll make me feel bad if I turn down anything you offer.”

“N-No such thing as being too passionate! It’s just normal to make sure our customers are happy!” the xiao-er defended.

“No one’s been living in the inn for a while now?” Wei WuXian guessed with a smirk, eyes narrowed. 

“N-No suchー”

Wei WuXian pointed his chin at the direction of the staircase then, “Seems like that staircase hasn’t been used for a while now. No signs of footprints.”

“...” The xiao-er looked timidly at the staircase, then returned a bitter smile at a grinning Wei WuXian.

“Y-Yeah, to be honest… Business hasn’t been good lately,” he admitted.

“But your eating hall seems packed,” Wei WuXian pressed on.

“The hall is fine! Everyone loves our food!”

“The rooms are not?” Wei WuXian guessed.

“...Y-You can say so.”

“Let me guess ー because someone died here recently?” Wei WuXian held his chin with a hand as he speculated. Lan WangJi had finished his tea by now as he listened attentively, eyes focused on the xiao-er.

The xiao-er swallowed down his throat, pressured under the interrogative gaze of the two cultivators. It’s not hard to tell that these two cultivators weren’t normal people ー as in, they weren’t commoners like themselves ー if the sword the xiao-er caught propped against the table as well as the vibes the two young masters gave off can serve as any sort of indication. He presumed it’d be feebleminded if he tried to hide anything from them. Maybe they can even read minds. Maybe that’s how they already figured what exactly happened in this place.

“You… You’re right, young master. Thanks to that, our business has been dreadful. Many people think the ghost of the dead is still haunting the inn.”

“Did the family of the deceased not give him a proper burial?” Wei WuXian asked.

“They did, of course! How can they not? He’s the young master of the Zhao family after all! The only son!”

“Zhao family,” Lan WangJi picked.

“Ah, right, the young master who got killed by a mistress, wasn’t it?” Wei WuXian followed up from where Lan WangJi’s hint dropped.

“I-I-I didn’t say anything!” the xiao-er panicked. 

“Hahaha! Don’t worry, it’s all our own speculations, nothing to do with you! You didn’t say anything and we’re simply throwing ideas absentmindedly at each other. I can be a witness to that, he can be a witness too. If you can’t trust me, you can definitely trust someone who looks as pristine as this young master, right?” Wei WuXian assured.

It’s a local taboo to speak ill of the dead. It is said that their ghosts will haunt you if they find out that you’ve been badmouthing them.

The xiao-er rubbed his chest in relief, “A-Anyway, that’s the reason in a nutshell. S-So do you still want to stay or…?”

“Of course we want to stay. Like you said, it’s late and we’re tired and hungry, we need some rest too. Right, HanGuang-Jun?” Wei WuXian asked.

“En,” Lan WangJi answered.

The xiao-er let loose a relieved sigh before he said, “Thank you very much! I'll get the best room prepared for you! Even though the rooms on the second floor might be, er… but don’t worry! We have rooms on the first floor too!”

“We don’t need the best room, just a decent one will do. But, hmm… I can’t let HanGuang-Jun sleep in a slummy room…” Wei WuXian considered. The xiao-er obviously heard what he said. He's about to defend the dignity of his inn but before the words could leave his mouth, Lan WangJi had spoken.

“The second last room on the second floor.”

“...A-Ah?” the xiao-er blurted.

Lan WangJi gave him an unwavering stare, “We will take that room.”

The xiao-er’s face turned sheet white. “B-B-But that room isー”

Wei WuXian chortled out loud as he stood, “You heard him. We’ll take that room. Oh, remember the dinner too. You said you can send it to us, if I remember correctly?”

And before the xiao-er can convince them otherwise, Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi had headed towards the staircase, making their way towards the room they requested for.

 


 

Of course the xiao-er was hesitant. This was the room where Young Master Zhao’s corpse was found after all. Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi immediately noticed how unusually heavy the resentful energy in this room was right when they set foot into it. And from the moment they opened the door, Wei WuXian had to take a step ahead to check the level of lethal before Lan WangJi went ahead to purify the energy in the place. 

Wei WuXian came to the bed and yanked the blankets and mattress out of the way, revealing the wooden material of the bed.

“Needs some cleaning,” he commented. Lan WangJi swiped a finger on the table as well, bringing up a thick layer of dust on his fingertips. Wei WuXian hurried over when he saw that and used his sleeve to rub the dirt off Lan WangJi’s fingers. “Aih, you don’t have to do it. Sit down, I’ll ask for a cloth or something. Guess they haven’t been cleaning this place since when the murder happened.” He took a glance at the dusty floor. “Can’t even bring themselves to step into the room.”

Lan WangJi followed him out of the room.

Wei WuXian asked, “Why are you following me? Told you you didn’t need to bother about the mess, didn’t I?”

“I need to prepare for something else,” Lan WangJi said.

“Oh?” Wei WuXian raised an eyebrow. Then, he chuckled. “Okay then, see you back in the room in a bit.”

Lan WangJi nodded. They parted on the first floor; Wei WuXian heading towards the counter, Lan WangJi towards the kitchen. Wei WuXian caught his white shadow disappearing into the deeper part of the inn before he returned to the xiao-er at the counter, asking for a pail of water with a cloth, then courteously rejecting the xiao-er’s offer to help him clean the room.

Not long after Wei WuXian’s was done with the cleaning, Lan WangJi returned. Wei WuXian was sitting on the spic bed, frowning as he massaged his waist with a muted ‘tch…’. His frown vanished the moment he saw Lan WangJi. His expression changed into a gleeful one and he was about to stand when the scowl returned to his face as he bit on his lower lip, stopping a painful sigh from escaping just in time. 

Lan WangJi hurried over at the sight. He caressed Wei WuXian on his waist as he asked,

“Does it still hurt?”

Wei WuXian gave him a pout accompanied by a pitiful look. He took Lan WangJi’s hand and rubbed it on his waist all by himself.

“Of course it still hurts! It's my first time! Argh, my back hurts, my waist hurts, my insideー”

Lan WangJi’s grasp on his waist tightened out of his own control. Wei WuXian hissed. He could see a faint hint of flush on Lan WangJi’s ears so he edged over and nudged him playfully.

“Since we have a proper place to settle down now, can you perhaps check for me and see if you’ve cleaned everything properly? To be honest, I can still feel something leaking from insiー”

Lan WangJi didn’t need to be told twice. He stood right away and avoided Wei WuXian’s gaze.

“Take off your clothes.”

“Pfft,” Wei WuXian snorted. “Why are you looking away? It’s not like we haven’t had sex already, er-gege. You’ve seen everything of me, the ones you should and the ones you shouldn’t.”

Lan WangJi closed his eyes. Wei WuXian found that expression both funny and endearing.

“Oh! Now I know why you get so easily embarrassed. Because all your shamelessness is here with me, we’re really fated as a pair!”

“You…” Lan WangJi started in immense difficulty. “Take off your clothes. I will check for you.”

Wei WuXian gave him a teasing grin. “Yes, as you wish, Second Master Lan.”

The way he said it sounded so connotative ー words that were often heard from the mouths of ladies of pleasure ー and it wasn’t helping Lan WangJi at all. His back was facing Wei WuXian as he heard the shuffling sounds of cloth stroking against each other, knowing that it’s Wei WuXian stripping himself naked. What Wei WuXian said was true. Just yesterday, they’d made their feelings clear to each other then they’d connected bodies in the bushes. What happened after that was awkward and chaotic and even Lan WangJi can’t tell for himself if he’d managed to clean up Wei WuXian for him properly after the whole lovemaking. But he was sure that he hadn’t treated Wei WuXian properly since they never brought any ointment or medicines for the specific purpose, none of them expected that they’d take each other’s virginity in the bushes in such a rapid manner.  Wei WuXian was right; now that they had found a place with enough privacy and, most importantly, sheltered, it’s best if he could check his condition for himself ー properly, this time.

When Wei WuXian came back 13 years later, he had come to notice how much Lan WangJi had grown and how he's no longer the young man who would easily get flustered over just anything Wei WuXian did to him. But to have him avoiding his gaze, face burning, tips of ears red like how he was now was a sight that had become so scarce it tickled him to no end. Once he’d taken his robes off, he came to stand naked in front of Lan WangJi.

“Lan Zhan, I’m all yours now,” he said with spread hands.

Lan WangJi spun his body around. With his back facing him, he escorted him to bend down, hands supporting the barrel filled with warm water, his ass exposed in front of Lan WangJi. Wei WuXian found himself staring at his own thighs from this angle. He hadn’t noticed it in the midst of their fervour but now that he’d gotten a good look at it, he came to realise just how… much bruises, kiss marks, and scratch marks were there on his fair thighs. Honestly, he should probably feel very much humiliated as a man to be browbeaten into such an undignified state. By another man, nonetheless. But all that was in his mind at the moment was how drastically different HanGuang-Jun was when he’s in bed, as compared to when he’s out of bed.

The mere thought elicited a sense of delight all over him again.

While he pondered, Lan WangJi’s fingers had come to trace around his hole. Wei WuXian shivered upon feeling cold fingers pressing gently against his hot, bruised hole.

“W-Why are you not touching it? Is it very serious?” He can’t help but ask.

Lan WangJi took a while to answer. “It’s fine.”

Wei WuXian heard the sound of a bottle being opened, then a wispy fragrance ー something that smelled like the bark of a tree mixed with wildflowers.

“Willow bark?” Wei WuXian pondered out loud. A low hiss leaked from his lips when he felt a wet- and cold-something being rubbed on where he’s bruised.

“En,” Lan WangJi confirmed.

Willow bark, when crushed and melted into liquid, can be used to ease pain. It’s a very local way since the barks can be effortlessly obtained. Even though the effect wasn’t as instantaneous and as effective as Lan Clan’s very own medicines, it’s enough for the time being.

“Where and when did you get it?” Wei WuXian asked. Before Lan WangJi can say anything, Wei WuXian had answered it for him. “Just now? After you went into the kitchen?”

Lan WangJi responded with another ‘en’.

“Do your legs hurt?” he asked.

Wei WuXian shook his head. “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me, Lan Zhan. Do what you need to do.”

With that, he felt Lan WangJi’s fingers on his hole again. When he pushed one finger in, Wei WuXian can even feel his finger quivering a tad inside him.

“Deeper,” Wei WuXian breathed.

Lan WangJi did as he was told, and, just like he’d expected, he found moisture in a depth he hadn’t reached when he was cleaning for Wei WuXian a day before. He didn’t want to hurt Wei WuXian more than he already did so he didn’t think it’s possible to have more semen left in such depth. Oh, how wrong he was. But it’s okay now. With the pain reliever, Wei WuXian shouldn’t feel as much pain as he did the day before when Lan WangJi cleaned it for him.

He added another finger, slowly and cautiously digging the semen out of Wei WuXian. The semen dripped out of his hole with the movement of Lan WangJi’s fingers, trailing along Wei WuXian’s thighs and splattering on the floor. Soon, a small pool gathered in between Wei WuXian’s feet. The room echoed of nothing but the squishy sound that was Lan WangJi rubbing the semen out of Wei WuXian.

“Lan Zhan, you canー ah! Do it harder. Don’t worry about me, really,” Wei WuXian encouraged.

“En,” Lan WangJi answered, throat constricted at the bare sight of how Wei WuXian’s insides were squeezing on his fingers, as if asking for more.

“Yeah, t-that part, I thinkー ahhh!”

Lan WangJi found the tiny bulge while he's exploring. His fingers spontaneously pressed on the sensitive spot. Wei WuXian’s knees went weak. He almost collapsed on the floor if Lan WangJi hadn’t been using a free hand to hold his waist in place.

“Don’t touch that, ugh… Lan Zhan, ah! Are youー cleaning or, h-hey, or, playing…?!” Wei WuXian growled, throwing a grimace over his shoulder at Lan WangJi.

He was sure he’d caught a smile on Lan WangJi’s face.

He definitely did it on purpose.

For the rest of the cleaning up, Wei WuXian decided that he should keep his mouth shut before he could accidentally arouse both of them again.

As much as he wanted to have another round with Lan WangJi, it would hurt him for real if he was to take in that much of Lan WangJi’s weight when he had yet to recover from the tormented feeling of having his virginity being taken. Besides…

He tossed a suggestive stare at Lan WangJi. As much as he was suffering from his mounting stimulation, Lan WangJi wasn’t any better either. His motions were restrained but he was hanging onto his limit. If Wei WuXian was to do just anything to trigger him, to seduce him, who knows if Lan WangJi wouldn’t jump on him like a ravenous wolf and devour him to the last bit of his bones?

Wei WuXian coughed, “HanGuang-Jun, control your naughty thoughts, okay? Yiling Patriarch is very powerful but he’s not made of steel. If you keep taking me like this, my body won’t be able to handle you.”

Lan WangJi pulled his fingers out of his hole, wiping the semen off with a cloth, saying nothing.

“Besides, like you kindly reminded me earlier, we had yet to complete all our kneelings so it’s too bad, HanGuang-Jun.” He turned around, leaning his back against the barrel with a playful smirk thrown at Lan WangJi’s direction. “I’m afraid we’ll have to wait for everything to be done before we…” He smirked higher. “...finish up our bed matters for real.”

Still, Lan WangJi said nothing. He carried Wei WuXian from the floor and placed him gently into the barrel of warm water.

“Bathe first,” he finally spoke.

“Not together?” Wei WuXian asked.

“You bathe first,” Lan WangJi said. “I’ll come later.”

With that said, he carried the pail of water alongside the dirty cloth out of the room, leaving Wei WuXian to chuckle to himself at the sight of an obviously rattled Lan WangJi.

God knows how hard it was for them to keep a straight face at each other’s naked body when they were finally taking a very well-needed bath. The glaring marks on Wei WuXian’s body were crystal clear indications of what had happened between them. To be honest, it still felt surreal. If the pain wasn’t a piece of strong evidence that they had, indeed, ripped each other’s body, it’d be hard for them to adapt to this reality. And that’s not everything they had to deal with either. When they came to think about it, this was actually the first time they shared a bed, a room, a personal space together, after their confession. It’s not like they hadn’t shared this kind of intimacy before but it’s different now. Before this, Wei WuXian can shamelessly disgust Lan WangJi as much as he wanted just so Lan WangJi can chase him away but now, he no longer felt that way.

Now, he genuinely wanted to sleep with Lan WangJi on the same bed, to be as close to Lan WangJi as possible. Even when it’s just sharing the same spot, smelling the faint hint of sandalwood from the man, or simply just knowing that Lan WangJi was sleeping by his side ー all these were enough for him. 

Wei WuXian was cleaned thoroughly and was buried snugly into bed after his bath. He laid as Lan WangJi sat on the bed and then, all of a sudden, he sat up, reminded of something.

Lan WangJi seemed to be in his own thoughts when he was disturbed by Wei WuXian’s abrupt motion. Turning around, he asked,

“Not sleeping?”

Wei WuXian smiled sloppily, “HanGuang-Jun, can I ask you something?”

The light in Lan WangJi’s eyes wavered ever so slightly, the colour exquisite and faded under the low-beam lighting in the room. 

“What is it?” he asked.

Wei WuXian looked at the bed, spread his arms to both sides as if measuring the space, before he looked Lan WangJi in the eyes, “You… Are you okay with sleeping with me? You know how I can be. I tend to move around when I sleep. And I need to hold onto something so I might accidentally hug you.”

Lan WangJi’s throat glided up and down.

“It’s fine.”

Wei WuXian broke into a bright grin. “By the way, do you like to sleep on the outer part or inside part of the bed?” He patted the outer part of the bed. “You get more wind here, but here, you get more space. Which do you prefer?”

Lan WangJi froze. Wei WuXian caught that reaction and quickly added,

“What I mean to say is, I don’t mind either, but Lan disciples are very particular with your sleeping pattern and posture, right? You know, everything I did in the past was to disgust you so I didn’t consider your preference before. But it’s different now! You’re mine now, I want to know what you like so that I can adapt to you too.”

Lan WangJi pressed his lips, head lowered. Wei WuXian couldn’t stand the silence, the heartbeats in his ears were getting too loud.

“Or maybe… do you mind if I sleep on you? You can hold me in place and you get more space for yourself too. That’s if you don’t mind something heavy on your body when you sleep, of course.”

Lan WangJi could no longer handle more of Wei WuXian’s words. He took himself onto the bed and lifted the blanket up to cover both of them.

“You don’t have to think too much,” he said as he laid down, facing upwards, his posture one of a decent Lan disciple sleeping posture.

“Oh…”

Wei WuXian looked at him for a long while. Hmph, in the end, Lan WangJi didn’t tell him his preference, so he still knew nothing about it. Not only that, Lan WangJi was also very modest ー too modest! By right, they’re already partners, they already slept with each other, they’re connected both in their souls and bodies! It’s totally okay for Lan WangJi to hug him to sleep. Heck, he can even give him a kiss before he sleeps! Whatever he wants to do, Wei WuXian wouldn’t say no. But he’s so calm and so decent that it had Wei WuXian wondering how exactly did he manage to hold himself back.

Wanting to test him, Wei WuXian asked, “HanGuang-Jun, are you sleeping already?”

Lan WangJi’s eyes were still open, staring at the ceiling. “Not yet.”

“Oh…”

Then why isn’t he doing anything?! In the past, Wei WuXian was always the one who’d jump on him, hug him, their distance non-existent but all those were done out of a different purpose. He never considered too much before and it surprised him how much these thoughts dominated his mind now that they’re together. Thoughts like, why didn’t Lan WangJi show any sort of reaction when he hugged him in the past? Shouldn’t he show some reactions, just any sort of reaction if he likes him for real? It’s no wonder Wei WuXian can barely tell how he felt towards him ー Lan WangJi was simply too great with his self-restraint!

Wei WuXian edged closer towards Lan WangJi then, frivolously tracing his finger against Lan WangJi’s finger, vague yet seductive. 

“HanGuang-Jun,” he whispered.

“...En.”

“Can I change a sleeping position?” he asked.

Lan WangJi gave him a look, then looked away. “En.”

Wei WuXian came closer. “Then… I’ll hug you to sleep, okay?”

“...Up to you,” Lan WangJi said.

Wei WuXian helped himself. He took Lan WangJi’s arm up and hung it around his shoulder so that he could cuddle right into Lan WangJi’s embrace. For the entire time, Lan WangJi’s reaction was minimal, his expression stoic. The hug was awkward but it was genuine, unlike any of the hugs Wei WuXian had asked from Lan WangJi in the past. Satisfied, Wei WuXian hummed and encircled his arms around Lan WangJi’s body, hugging him. 

“Let’s sleep like this for the rest of our life,” he mumbled.

“...Okay,” Lan WangJi said.

“By the way, speaking of sleeping together, I haven’t checked out your bed in Jingshi enough to tell if it’ll be able to accommodate both of us. If it’s too small, I can sleep in the side-room instead, you sleep in the main room. What do you think?” 

“It’s enough,” Lan WangJi said right away.

“How about your wardrobe? Do you think it has enough space to put my clothes too?”

“We can buy a new one,” Lan WangJi answered.

The comforting scent of sandalwood was making him feel sleepy but he didn’t want to sleep yet. He still wanted to talk to Lan WangJi ー for as much as he could.

“Oh, right… My sleeping posture is bad, I might kick you when I sleep,” he continued mindlessly, as if he’s simply throwing words out of his mouth without thinking them through.

“I know,” Lan WangJi said. He stroked him on his back, drawing a contented sigh out of the man in his arms.

“Also… don’t drink when I’m not with you. Dangerous…”

“En,” Lan WangJi said. After a while, he asked. “Dangerous?”

“Who knows what you’ll do when you’re drunk?” Wei WuXian said, eyes closed, falling asleep. “Maybe you’ll steal not only chickens, maybe you’ll steal more, like… ducks, cows… shoes...”

“...”

For some time, the room was quiet. Then, all of a sudden, Wei WuXian’s eyes snapped open. 

“I just remember something ー I can’t wake early too, at least not as early as your waking time.”

Lan WangJi caressed him on his head, letting him sleep on his shoulder. 

“I know,” he said.

“Nnn…”

Lan WangJi closed his eyes too, preparing to sleep. But then, Wei WuXian woke again.

“Lan Zhan, men really do it that way?”

His hand almost created a bruise on Wei WuXian’s waist. He opened his eyes, finding himself staring at Wei WuXian’s bright pair of orbs.

“...Not sleeping?” he could only bring himself to ask.

Wei WuXian grunted. “I’m very, very tired, but I want to talk to you...” He nuzzled his head against Lan WangJi’s neck. Lan WangJi patted the back of his head, lulling him to sleep.

“We can talk tomorrow too.”

“Nnh, yeah… not only tomorrow. Day after tomorrow, day after that, then after… and after…”

“...”

When Lan WangJi thought Wei WuXian was sleeping for real, Wei WuXian moved again and kissed him on his throat. That mere gesture froze Lan WangJi’s body.

“You haven’t answered me yet. Men really do it that way? That’s so tiring! Wait, that means, if we’re to do it every day, my ass… can my ass handle it?”

Lan WangJi, “...”

He knew that Wei WuXian’s eyes were on him but he refused to return that gaze. Wei WuXian placed his head on Lan WangJi’s chest then.

“HanGuang-Jun, your heart is beating very fast.”

“...”

“You were the one who taught me this too, do you remember? I won’t be able to see how you feel from your face, but I can tell from how your heart beats. Oh, I think you wouldn’t remember, since you were drunk at that time.”

“...”

“HanGuang-Jun.”

“...”

“Second Master Lan.”

“...”

“Lan Zhan.”

Lan WangJi opened his eyes at long last, meeting gaze right away with Wei WuXian’s kittenish pair of eyes.

“I took your virginity too, didn’t I?” 

Lan WangJi’s breathing turned heavier. He snatched Wei WuXian over, covering both of them under the thick blankets as he growled through his throat.

“Sleep!”

 


 

There’s a saying that goes like this ー the more you think about something during the day, the more likely it is for it to find you in your dreams at night.

That’s what Wei WuXian thought when he heard voices that were… not very decent halfway through his sleep. Just because I teased Lan Zhan? was what he thought, half-asleep, until when he opened his eyes and caught sight of Lan WangJi ー who was also awake yet visibly attentive ー that he realised that he’s not the only person having a wet dream.

He’s about to open his mouth to ask ー or rather, tease ー Lan WangJi when Lan WangJi gave him a look upon realising that he’d woken up, then a shake of his head. Wei WuXian pursed his lips. He strained his ears, listening. And then, he understood.

This was not a dream. The lovemaking sounds were from a room next to theirs, which made no sense because from what the xiao-er had told them, no one but them was willing to stay in the inn, so by right, this entire floor should be empty except for them. No one in the right mind would sneak into a haunted inn to have sex, inn staff and guests alike. Wei WuXian attempted to listen better but the more he tried, the harder it was for him to tell what exactly was happening next door, let alone telling who and what exactly were making the noises.

He gave Lan WangJi a look. Lan WangJi’s eyes widened, recognizing the words in his eyes. With a grin, Wei WuXian sat up in haste and in the next moment, he already flipped himself out of the window. Lan WangJi followed him right after.

He found Wei WuXian on the roof. His hair was loose, untied, and he’s wearing nothing but a thin piece of inner clothing. He caught Wei WuXian sneezing when the cold night gust blew. Wei WuXian pointed below. Lan WangJi understood right away. Wei WuXian gave him a wink and then squatted. With careful gestures, he plucked a roof tile open, closed an eye and peeked into the open spot. Lan WangJi came over to him, held one of his hands and started pouring spiritual energy into his body. Wei WuXian shivered ever so slightly upon feeling the warm sensation drifting through his veins, warming his body up. He looked away from the hole, meeting eyes with Lan WangJi’s ravishing pair of eyes.

“It's cold,” was all Lan WangJi said, then pointing his eyes at the hole, as if whatever he’s doing shouldn’t be of Wei WuXian’s concern. 

Wei WuXian coughed under his breath and looked away, pretending as if he wasn’t perturbed by Lan WangJi’s gentle gesture. He concentrated hard at what he’s about to witness through the hole, in the room next to theirs. From Lan WangJi’s angle, all that he could make out was the way Wei WuXian’s eyes brightened, his mouth turned round. He heard a soft ‘wow’ from him, and in the next second, he clapped a hand at his mouth, acting very much surprised. Of course, Lan WangJi knew that it's all an act, and of course, when Wei WuXian gave him an overdone startling look, all he did was return his gaze with an impassive one of his own, totally unruffled.

“HanGuang-Jun, something terrifyingly good is happening down there,” Wei WuXian said in a thrilling whisper.

“...”

Wei WuXian returned to look through the hole, mouth opened wide, before he muttered, “Amazing. Too amazing!”

And Lan WangJi simply stared, waiting.

Hadn’t gotten what he expected from Lan WangJi, Wei WuXian grasped Lan WangJi over, whispering into his ear.

“This might be the most intense thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Lan WangJi gave him a sideways glance. “Is that so?” he asked out of courtesy.

“En, en!” Wei WuXian nodded enthusiastically. “I’m serious. If I ever lie to you, I won’t get to sleep you for the whole week.”

As if he was the one who slept him. Lan WangJi sighed shallowly, then asked,

“How great it is?”

“Very, very great.”

“...”

“...?”

“...”

Wei WuXian shrugged at Lan WangJi.

“HanGuang-Jun, at a time like this, you should continue to pester me, act more excited, make me tell you.”

Lan WangJi obeyed, “What exactly did you see?”

“Heh, not telling you.”

“...”

Wei WuXian smirked at him, then winked so many times one would assume something went into his eyes if they were not Lan WangJi. Lan WangJi gave him a deadpan look and said,

“Kindly tell me. I would like to know.”

“Really? Oh my, I didn’t know HanGuang-Jun is interested in this kind of thing! But you’re right, you need more experiences, more research, and more observation to learn faster.” Wei WuXian patted him on his shoulder, smiling blissfully. “Gege understand. Go on, go ahead and check it out for yourself.”

Lan WangJi refused to say anything. Once Wei WuXian lent him some space, he peeked through the hole with Wei WuXian as well, both of them staring right into the room.

The room was very dark, no lights were present. But as high-levelled cultivators themselves, Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian were able to make out the vague shadows of two bodies intermingling with each other on the bed, one above the other. Lan WangJi scowled. He’s not used to seeing this kind of thing and he wouldn’t ever want to see a scene like this. But since this was a case they needed to solve and this was part of the key to solving it, he could only force himself to look, trying very hard to ignore unnecessary details at the same time.

“HanGuang-Jun, can you see?” Wei WuXian asked. His voice was no longer prankish like before but it was normal, even serious.

“En,” Lan WangJi answered. “Two men.”

“Cutsleeves?”

“Final moment,” Lan WangJi said then.

“Ah, right. The apparition of the final moment of a deceased person.” Wei WuXian looked at Lan WangJi. “Young Master Zhao?” 

Lan WangJi nodded. Wei WuXian frowned and looked at the ‘men’ in the room. It is said that if a person held arduous resentment when they died, their spirit will linger in the living world as they relived their last moment again and again until their rancour can finally die off. What Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian were watching now was the moment right before Young Master Zhao passed away. If they observed longer, they might even see how he died and if he was killed at all.

“So this young master didn’t spend his night with a woman but a man…” Wei WuXian surmised. “But why did everyone suspect him to be a woman?”

“Assumptions,” Lan WangJi said. “Young Master Zhao has a wife.”

“Ah, you’re right. If he has a wife, that means he’s interested in women so there’s no way he’s a cutsleeve. Ha,” Wei WuXian snickered in the midst of the words. “Who can tell this kind of thing for sure? I was interested in women before, but look where I am now? Who would’ve thought I’ve snatched the world’s best man for myself?”

He felt Lan WangJi’s eyes on him, turning around just to see that Lan WangJi was giving him a steadfast stare. 

“I-I didn’t say anything about being unhappy with it,” Wei WuXian speedily clarified. Lan WangJi looked away at the same time when he did.

“Indeed,” he said.

Before Wei WuXian could clarify what exactly did he mean by that, the men below them had changed a position. By the look of it, they seemed like they were about to proceed with a further step of sexual intercourse. Out of instinct, Wei WuXian grabbed Lan WangJi’s arm and towed him away from the hole.

“Ahem, I can observe the rest from here. Y-You don’t have to see.”

Lan WangJi raised an eyebrow. Who's the one who insisted for me to see earlier? was what Wei WuXian can read from his eyes. Hot and bothered, he promptly clapped his hands on Lan WangJi’s ears right at the same time when they heard a ragged moan from below. Wei WuXian returned his gaze to the couple. For the next few minutes, he said nothing, simply watching. Lan WangJi stayed obedient too, letting him do the job. And then, Wei WuXian raised a smirk. He returned his attention to Lan WangJi.

“Got the prey. Let’s go back to the room and wait for it.”

Despite confused, Lan WangJi followed when Wei WuXian jumped from the roof after putting the tile back to where it belonged, then returned to the room.

“Come here, Second Master Lan, you sleep inside this time,” Wei WuXian patted at the inner side of the bed the moment they landed on the bed. Lan WangJi could tell from Wei WuXian’s face that he had something in his mind and perhaps, he had something planned too. He didn’t ask more. Wei WuXian waited for him to lie down before he did so himself, staring at the ceiling.

“He’s killed,” he finally spoke after a while. “But I don’t think it’s targeted murder. It’s accidental.”

“It’s a yao?” Lan WangJi spilled his suspicions.

“Yup,” Wei WuXian confirmed. “You wouldn’t believe what yao it is though.”

Lan WangJi scowled a tad, contemplating. Wei WuXian, however, grinned and said,

“Don’t think too much. You’ll know soon.”

“You baited it?” Lan WangJi asked.

“Do you really think I have this kind of obscene habit to eavesdrop on other people’s intimate moments?” Wei WuXian asked with a laugh. “I’ve got an idea of what it could be. Looks like I was right.”

He closed his eyes, his sleeping posture too decent to suggest that he’s about to sleep for real.

“I made eye contact, made some tempting moves,” he said in a small volume. “Now, we wait.”

And so, they waited. And they didn’t need to wait for long.

A few minutes later, both of them opened their eyes at the same time. They looked at each other, then nodded. From outside their door, they can hear whooshing sounds that sounded like gust. They heard scratches along the wall, alongside the sound of a thin, airy material sweeping the floor. The sound stopped right in front of their door.

Right after, someone knocked on their door.

Wei WuXian held Lan WangJi’s wrist and pressed a finger to his lips. He nodded at the door, then pointing at himself. Lan WangJi nodded. He stayed in bed while Wei WuXian moved out of it and dragged his feet towards the door. Without hesitation, he opened the door.

A man who’s wearing an all-white robes, hair tied in a nifty and tall ponytail with a crown propped elegantly on it, his face friendly and charming, stood outside the door. From the corners of his eyes, Lan WangJi can make out that the body shape of the ‘man’ mirrored one of the men he saw in the room earlier. But since what they saw earlier were mere shadows, this real thing must have been lurking somewhere in the dark corner and had noticed them when they were sneaking around earlier. Wei WuXian didn’t seem surprised when he saw the man. He lifted a glimmering grin and bowed slightly.

“Good day, young master,” he said. “What brings such an honour to our doorstep?”

The man returned his grin with a graceful smile of his own. Bowing a little, he said, 

“My apologies for disturbing young master’s rest at this hour. It’s just that… I saw that young master seems interested in sharing a meaningful night with me, so I’d like to humbly offer my company.”

“Ah, you got my hint, I’m glad,” Wei WuXian said, still smiling. “My apologies for the unmannerly intrusion. You see, I just happened to catch some sounds when I was about to sleep so the curious me decided to check out what’s happening. Who knows I’d bump into such a gorgeous man with my own eyes. It’s truly an honour, if I can say so myself.”

“You’re not bad yourself, young master. In fact, you might be the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.” The man raised a hand, swiping a finger along Wei WuXian’s dishevelled strands of hair. He gazed penetratively at Wei WuXian’s face, as if he’s admiring a splendid piece of artwork. “Your skin texture, your features, everything is perfect. Your genes will make perfect dolls.”

“You’re flustering me,” Wei WuXian said, his gaze no less piercing than the other.

“May I ask, are you married?” the man asked then.

“Iー” Wei WuXian looked away, giving a thoughtful gaze to one side, one that was intended for Lan WangJi. He was reminded of what Lan WangJi said earlier. One more kneeling. Stifling a peal of laughter, he returned to the man. “Unfortunately, I am not.”

He was sure Lan WangJi’s expression would be magnificent now. If only he could see it for himself. The man tilted his head, contemplating his answer as his fingers stroke cavalierly down Wei WuXian’s neck, all the way to his collarbone. 

“Is that so? Would you mind giving your precious first time to me then? In return, I’ll give you something precious as well.”

Wei WuXian caught his hand before it could reach his chest. He brought the skinny hand to his stomach, a smirk was pulled on his face.

“Something precious? Something like…” He pushed the man’s hand against his own stomach, watched as the man’s eyes widened, as if he’d realised something. “A baby, perhaps?”

The man tugged his hand ferociously out of Wei WuXian’s grasp, his expression one of horror-struck.

“Hahahaha!” Wei WuXian laughed out loud. “I’m not married, that’s not a lie. But unfortunately, I’ve given my first time to someone else. So you might want to try elsewhere.”

“Youー” the man ー or rather, the yao ー pointed a finger at him, gritting his teeth with menace written all over his face. “Conducting sexual intercourse before you’re married is an unholy sin! You’ll be punished!”

“That’s what he said, HanGuang-Jun,” Wei WuXian turned his face, just enough to see Lan WangJi walking to stand by his side. The yao shook at the sight of Lan WangJi. He’d let his defense loose because he didn’t feel much spiritual vibe from Wei WuXian; in fact, Wei WuXian felt friendly, he had the same air as himself. But Lan WangJi was different. Lan WangJi’s mere presence with his crushing spiritual vibe was more than enough to suffocate the yao. He swallowed down his throat, gaze sharp, before he growled and fled, disappearing into thin air as smoke blinded their vision. A few feathers floated in the air, dropping to the floor.

Wei WuXian waved his hand in front of his eyes to sweep the smoke away when he saw the feathers, “Let it go,” he told Lan WangJi. “It won’t be hard to track it later. It’s at its limit.”

Lan WangJi nodded. He closed the door and brought Wei WuXian back into the room. As they sat, he touched Wei WuXian on his hair, his neck, and his collarbones ー places where the yao touched earlier. Wei WuXian chuckled. 

“Don’t worry, he didn’t curse me or anything. Besides, even if he did, his level of curse won’t be able to harm me.”

Despite so, Lan WangJi continued to caress him on the same spots, his expression so serious it was tickling Wei WuXian to no end. 

“HanGuang-Jun? Are you perhaps… jealous?”

Lan WangJi said nothing. And that’s how Wei WuXian knew that he’s right. He cupped Lan WangJi’s face and kissed him on his forehead.

“I’m yours only,” he assured. “But that yao’s right, though.”

“About?” Lan WangJi asked.

“We haven’t finished all our kneelings so logically, we’re not bonded for real. Who knows if we'll get struck by thunder or anything? But I know one thing for sure: your uncle will be extremely mad at you if he ever finds out and I'd rather not give him more reasons to dislike me more than he already does now. So... we have to endure our bed impulses until we're done with everything!” Wei WuXian proclaimed. He pushed Lan WangJi down to the bed and hovered over him before he let his weight tumble onto Lan WangJi’s body. “Endure it for a bit more, alright? Er-gege. After that, you can do whatever you want to me.”

Lan WangJi could only sigh as he wrapped Wei WuXian into a tight embrace, kissing him on the top of his head.

“Rest,” he said. 

It’s been a long day and a long night. However they wanted to confront the escaped yao ー they’ll do it tomorrow.

 


 

The xiao-er looked at them as if they were ghosts the next day. Lan WangJi looked as poker-faced as ever while Wei WuXian grinned delightfully when the xiao-er from before came over to their table to refill their tea. At the second time when he came over with suspicions written all over his face, Wei WuXian yanked him back and laughed out loud.

“See? I can touch you, you can feel me, we’re not ghosts,” he teased.

“Y-Young Master, please spare me, I’m just a normal worker here,” the xiao-er stuttered.

Wei WuXian snickered, “There’s no need to worry for us in the first place. Look.” He pointed at Bichen, leaning against the table. “We’re cultivators. You’ve heard about cultivators, don’t you? The ones who fly on swords.”

“O-Oh!” the xiao-er gasped. “You’re really cultivators! Of course I’ve heard about them! But I never expected myself to bump into the real thing and I thought you were close to being one!”

“Now that you know, I guess you can help us with some questions so we can help you in return? The room has been haunted ever since Young Master Zhao’s passing, hasn’t it?” Wei WuXian nodded at the room on the second floor as he asked.

“Y-Yes. In fact, not only that room is haunted, but all the rooms on the second floor are haunted too!” the xiao-er gulped down his throat, looking around as if he’s afraid that someone was eavesdropping. “Every night, w-we hear weird sounds and they always happen in random rooms. Though we hear them more often in the second last room, t-the room you stayed.” Most likely because that room was the very room where the young master was murdered. He straightened his back, adjusting the small towel on his shoulder. “D-Did you hear anything last night, young master?”

“Not only did we hear something, we saw the ghosts too,” Wei WuXian said carelessly, smiling at Lan WangJi when Lan WangJi put two nicely peeled buns into his bowl. 

“H-Ha?” the xiao-er’s mouth dropped. “S-S-Saw…?”

“Uhuh,” Wei WuXian chucked one piece of the bun into his mouth. He swallowed hard, then continued. “We talked with one of them as well.”

“T-Talk?!” the xiao-er gasped alarmingly, eyes wide, unable to believe what he’d just heard.

Wei WuXian started on his bowl of porridge then. “But we angered him for some reason and he escaped. So we have yet to capture him.”

“A-Angered… oh my God, this is bad, young master, y-y-you can’t make a ghost angry! What if it comes back and starts hurting people here?! We won’t be able to work here for any longer!” the xiao-er panicked.

“Calm down,” Wei WuXian said. “We just told you, didn’t we? We’re cultivators. And we do more than just flying on swords.” He winked at the man. “We take down malevolent spirits too.”

“R-Right… You’re right. I apologise for my discourtesy, young master. Would… Would it be possible for you to help us out?” the xiao-er asked.

“That’s what we’re here for in the first place!” Wei WuXian said.

“I see! That’s why you asked for the room!” the xiao-er exclaimed.

“Yup. But anyway, why didn’t you request help from the cultivators overseeing this area when you know that the rooms are haunted? If we don’t stop by, do you intend to live with it? It won’t do well for your business in the long run,” Wei WuXian asked.

“The cultivators who oversee this place? You mean Yunmeng Jiang Sect? Who dares to seek help from them?! Don’t joke around!”

Wei WuXian looked away, lowering his gaze. He took a large gulp of his tea and smiled at the xiao-er, saying nothing else. He knew what he’s going to say anyway, it’d be just the same words he heard from the innkeeper back in Yunping City. Lan WangJi pushed a plate of fried crackers towards him, recognizing that he no longer wanted to be engaged in the topic. Wei WuXian smiled appreciatively at him, then dug into his food.

"We will take over the matters here," Lan WangJi told the xiao-er. The xiao-er looked like he's about to burst into tears.

“Thank you very much, kind cultivators! It’s our honour to be able to accommodate both of you in our innー no, in our village!”

 


 

Before they left the inn, Wei WuXian had also asked the xiao-er if they had a brothel in the village. The xiao-er gave him a weird look but seeing that these were cultivators that he was dealing with, he answered Wei WuXian’s question nevertheless.

“Yes, we do have a brothel here,” he said.

“Great. And can you also tell me which part of the street has the most crowd? The more the better!” Wei WuXian asked again.

“Oh, if you’re looking for the crowdest street, it’s the one in front of the brothel! Aih, young master, don’t take the brothel in our village as the same as any other brothel out there. The ladies in this local brothel of ours do more than just, erm, you know. They’re also very talented in different kind of skills! So they’ll always be demonstrating their talent in front of the brothel and a lot of people love to hang out around there during their free time!” the xiao-er explained.

“I see,” Wei WuXian gave Lan WangJi a look, but Lan WangJi wasn’t looking at him. “Alright then, we’ll head over. Thank you!”

“B-But young master, why… would you go to a brothel?” the xiao-er asked, no longer can sustain his curiosity.

Wei WuXian pulled a wide grin. “To catch a yao, of course.”

And that was how it was.

The truth was, even if Wei WuXian didn’t ask, they’d definitely be able to find the most jam-packed street as well as the brothel just by exploring the place by themselves. The moment they came to where the xiao-er directed them, they could already catch sight of the tremendous amount of people over-crowding the street. Stalls lined up on both sides, selling food and decorations and all sorts of local goods that were mostly the village’s own specialities. The fragrance of freshly cooked food filled the air, the sound of joyful laughter natural to one’s ears. Wei WuXian wallowed in such noise throughout their walk down the street, occasionally stopping by stalls to pick up food so that he can feed Lan WangJi. Their path was straightforward, leading towards one destination ー in the centre of the street sat an outlandish-looking building that looked very vibrant, the walls of the building a striking red, the window sills painted in bright golden; the whole vibe of the building was clearly so different and so excessive that it stood out effortlessly amongst the rest of the buildings. Wei WuXian wasn’t one who would walk into a brothel casually despite his carefree self, but he could definitely tell when he saw one. He took purposeful slow steps towards the building, all the while with Lan WangJi by his side. Lan WangJi didn’t seem very interested with the brothel either; in fact, when Wei WuXian compared the place with the man by his side, the contrast was so conspicuous it’s as if they existed in two different worlds.

Lan WangJi ー utterly pristine, elegant and clean. Meanwhile, the brothel was… everything Lan WangJi wasn’t.

He ran through some thoughts in his head, asked Lan WangJi a few questions that had nothing to do with the case in their hands, before his footsteps came to a stop. Lan WangJi stopped walking too. Wei WuXian was staring at a flower stall, his gaze lingering on what seemed to be peonies displayed prettily on the table. 

“Young master, these flowers are freshly plucked. Do you want to buy some for your partner?” a lady ー the stall owner ー asked as she noticed Wei WuXian’s interest.

Wei WuXian walked away after a courteous nod, grinning as always, as if he hadn’t stopped in the first place. And Lan WangJi followed. After a while, Wei WuXian stopped again in front of a food stall this time, and by the time he wanted to talk to Lan WangJi, Lan WangJi, who was standing at his right side before, had now come to stand by his left side. Wei WuXian was puzzled for mere seconds when he found himself showing food to an empty spot, turning around just to see that Lan WangJi was staring at the distance where the brothel was, as if he hadn’t noticed Wei WuXian’s moment of a daze. Wei WuXian stifled a chuckle and cleared his throat.

“This smells good. I think it’s fried crackers, do you want to try?” he said, pushing the food towards Lan WangJi. Lan WangJi nodded and took a small bite.

“How is it? Does it taste good?” Wei WuXian asked.

“Oily,” Lan WangJi said.

Wei WuXian quickly took the food away. “I’ll eat the rest then.” While he ate, Lan WangJi said nothing, neither was he looking at him. Wei WuXian peeked a glimpse at another flower stall at Lan WangJi’s side, then sighed out loud on purpose.

“Aih, you took my place. I wanted to show you the good things from some of the stalls.”

Lan WangJi gave him a look. “I saw,” he said.

Wei WuXian raised an eyebrow, “For real? Then…” He nudged cheekily at Lan WangJi’s arm. “Do you want it?”

“...”

“Hmmm? HanGuang-Jun? Do you want it? If you want it, just tell me,” Wei WuXian pestered on.

Lan WangJi closed his eyes, then opened again.

“Yes,” he said.

Wei WuXian chuckled out loud. “Okay then. Since Second Master Lan is being so honest with me, Wei-mo shall fulfil that wish of yours!” He pointed his chin at the direction of the brothel. “How about you go ahead first? I’ll come over in a while.”

Lan WangJi gave him a suspicious look. Wei WuXian pouted, “Don’t tell me you don’t trust me? HanGuang-Jun, please, look at my pair of genuine eyes. I swear I won’t do anything else but buying things for you. Hm? Okay?”

Lan WangJi shook his head, sighing softly, “I trust you. I’ll wait for you.”

Wei WuXian broke into a glimmering grin and turned his back towards Lan WangJi, striding right towards where he stopped earlier as Lan WangJi watched him leave.

It didn’t take long for Wei WuXian to get what he needed since the stall wasn’t very far away. When he returned, the space in front of the brothel was even more crowded than ever, and Wei WuXian didn’t need much verification to find out exactly why.

“Young master, you’re the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen, no joke!”

“She’s right! We meet a lot of men every day and we can confidently confirm that she’s not exaggerating!”

Lan WangJi stood, unmoving, as he stared stoically at the ladies. There’s no hint of rejection, no hint of conforming either. Every time a lady tried to grab his arm, he dodged shrewdly yet gracefully, his gestures not at all impolite, yet affirming refusal at the same time. In the end, he closed his eyes, unable to break out from the bustling crowd of ladies as he stood rooted to the spot, looking like he’d surrendered to his fate.

“Young master, you look like a traveller, why don’t you take some time off and hang out in our house? We don’t have to do anything much if you’re not into it.” What looked like the owner of the brothel walked towards Lan WangJi with a kind smile on her face. Unlike the rest of the ladies, she wasn’t persistent when she talked to Lan WangJi, even sounding like a mother speaking with the son. 

Lan WangJi noticed the courtesy as well. Bowing a little at the woman, he said,

“Thank you for your kind offer. I would like to humbly reject it.”

The woman hid her mouth behind her sleeve, smiling,

“Young master, are you perhaps... married?”

Lan WangJi’s eyes widened, clearly didn’t expect the question. Before he could answer though, the ladies around him seemed to have picked up interest in the topic as they flocked towards him again, swarming him with unrelenting chatters, the number of times he had to move his body away before they could touch him more times than he could count.

“How can you think that he’s married, bao-mu?” one of the women said. “See, he’s still so young, why would he want to tie himself to another person at this age?”

“Right, right! He should be enjoying himself! Young master’s requirements are excellent, women will line up to serve him!”

Lan WangJi pursed his lips and, with great difficulties, managed to break out of the tight crowd.

He raised his hands into fists, bowing at the crowd.

“I apologise for my discourtesy. I am already a wedded man.”

His words surprised the ladies, some of them exchanged gaze. Before he could walk away, the ladies chased after him again.

“Who is your wife, young master? She must be a very phenomenal person to have captured your heart!”

“Is she as beautiful as us?”

“Is she as talented? Can she draw? Cook?”

“Can she play the guqin?”

“Can she serve you well in bed?”

Wei WuXian can take no more. Since when Lan WangJi put up a frown on his face, he was already at the verge of rushing into the crowd and handling the matter for him. But what had ultimately triggered him was the way the ladies spoke about this ‘wife’ of the very esteemed HanGuang-Jun that he felt that he needed to walk in before the things flowed into a direction that’s totally unwarranted for at this rate.

“I’d like to know who’s HanGuang-Jun’s beautiful wife too!”

His voice resonated loud and clear throughout the street. All heads turned, all eyes were on him. Some who’d been crowding the street moved aside to make way for him. And soon, his path ahead was cleared. He could make out Lan WangJi’s astounded gaze alongside the surprise on the ladies’ faces. Wei WuXian grinned.

“Do all of you know who this person is?” he said as he took breezy steps towards the crowd. “The title of this very elegant man here is HanGuang-Jun. He’s the Second Master of the very prestigious Lan family in Gusu. He’s also a cultivator, and he’s also well-known for his intolerance towards injustice, as well as his generosity when it comes to lending a helping hand, stopping wherever chaos is regardless of big or small.”

He came to a stop in front of Lan WangJi, his grin curved into a rascally smirk, “But of course, as you can see, he’s also very, very charming. So it makes me wonder how wonderful the wife of this very pristine HanGuang-Jun can be when he’s perfect the way he is?”

“Young master, you seem to know a lot about him!” one of the ladies giggled sweetly at Wei WuXian. 

“Of course I know a lot about him, I’m an admirer of his!” Wei WuXian imitated her giggles. “Let’s see… If I can say so myself, HanGuang-Jun’s wife must be a person who is very gorgeous too. She must be great not only in arts but in calligraphy and musical instrument as well. Oh, she must also have a distinct preference in cooking! If not, how would she be able to satisfy the taste buds of this very particular young master? Hm, hm,” Wei WuXian considered as he held his chin with a hand, eyes closed, nodding a few times. “Maybe… she’s even good in swordsmanship too, and of course,” he paused, opening his eyes. “Excellent in bed too. Am I right, HanGuang-Jun?”

By the look on his face, Wei WuXian can tell that Lan WangJi was totally aware that he was playing around. His expression remained as indifferent as it ever was but his eyes were on Wei WuXian the entire time. Wei WuXian returned to stand in front of him at the end of his words, just a small distance was pulled in between them. He was still smiling, the glow on his face enchanting. 

“HanGuang-Jun, did my descriptions fit your wife?” he asked.

Lan WangJi looked at him for a while before he said, “My husband is more than everything you described.”

Wei WuXian gasped, “Wow, for real?! I need to meet him then! ...Wait, husband?”

The light in Lan WangJi’s eyes softened. “You already know who he is,” he said.

Wei WuXian’s eyes brightened. He looked like he’s trying very hard to stop himself from smiling too widely. “Oh?”

As an answer, Lan WangJi tugged him over by his waist. 

“It’s you.”

Gasps were heard, someone shrieked. The ladies stared at them, wide-eyed, some with dropped mouths. Wei WuXian could feel the warmth on his face and he was sure that if he was to touch Lan WangJi’s face now, it’d definitely feel warm too. He pressed his lips together, trying very hard to withstand his overwhelmed joy but to no avail. In the end, he pulled his distance slightly apart with Lan WangJi. While Lan WangJi was curious about what he was about to do, he raised the peony he bought from the stall and said,

“A long time ago, someone told me that giving a peony to another person means to form a bond between them ー an unbreakable bond that will last forever. HanGuang-Jun, Lan WangJi,” Wei WuXian smiled brighter, the rays of sun pouring on him like light descending from the heavens. “Lan Zhan. Are you willing to accept this peony of mine and finish our last kneeling with me, under the blessing of people around us?”

Lan WangJi’s heartbeats were deafening in his ears. Many years ago, Wei WuXian gave him a peony too; or more like, he tossed one at him. The peony was still kept in his possession as a token of remembrance of a bond he’d accepted. Now, Wei WuXian was once again giving him another peony, and this time, telling him loud and clear in his face, that he wanted to form an everlasting bond with him. 

How can Lan WangJi ever reject him? He wasn’t able to reject Wei WuXian when the peony was thrown to him before, even more so now when Wei WuXian ー who was clearly aware of the implication behind such gesture ー was giving him the flower in such an upfront, genuine way. He accepted the flower, gaze searing into Wei WuXian’s eyes, before he nodded.

Wei WuXian broke into a shimmering grin. Under the eyes of the surrounding crowd, he flipped his front robes and kneeled in front of Lan WangJi. Lan WangJi followed. Both of them kneeled in front of each other, both of them shared a gaze, and then, with perfect synchronisation, both of them bowed at each other while still kneeling ー

ー completing the third and final kneeling of their bond: the bow towards each other. 

Wei WuXian hurriedly brought Lan WangJi to stand up right when they’re done, muttering about can’t let HanGuang-Jun kneel like this in front of so many people for too long. Grinning naughtily, he announced, 

“I’m very proud to have married someone like HanGuang-Jun too. I’ll try my best to be a good wife for HanGuang-Jun!”

Lan WangJi took his hand. When he spoke, he sounded so firmed and so certain as if he wanted every single person around to hear what he said,

“You’re not a wife.”

Wei WuXian laughed out loud. He winked at Lan WangJi, then looked around, saying it out louder for everyone to hear.

“Of course I know I’m not a wife, I’m just teasing you. See, HanGuang-Jun, don’t you think it’s unfair how everyone immediately assumes you married a marvellous woman right from the moment they see you? And now they’re disappointed knowing that the person you married is a man ー me. So I just want to remind everyone again ー that HanGuang-Jun's partner is no other but Wei WuXian!"

Lan WangJi was smiling very slenderly, barely noticeable in the eyes of commoners. Wei WuXian’s heart skipped a beat at that sight.

“You’re more than a wife,” Lan WangJi said, which wasn’t helping Wei WuXian at all.

Wei WuXian was stunned for a few moments before he coughed and said,

“Hahaha! Do you mean to say they’re only jealous that you got a wonderful person as your cultivation partner even though I’m a man, that you can find happiness even though we’re cutsleeves?”

In this world they’re living in, cutsleeves were looked down upon. They were considered sinful and immoral and a disgust to their families. They would never be given any blessing, nor would they ever be recognised as legalised pair of partners. That’s why, if two men weren’t certain with their resolution to be with each other, then their road will be extremely tough for them. Not many people can live like that. But Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian can do it ー they fought for their happiness by themselves and proved others wrong with their own hands.

Lan WangJi smiled and narrowed his eyes at Wei WuXian, “Are they wrong?”

“Of course not,” Wei WuXian smirked. “Not only is your partner a master in Six Arts, he’s also the founder of the demonic cultivation and he’s also a righteous person in the heart. So, er-gege.” He pointed his head at the direction of the brothel. “Since we’re so chivalrous, shall we catch that perverted yao red-handed and save this village from its misery?”

Lan WangJi nodded. “En,” he said.

 


 

Surprising to many, Lan WangJi really intended to enter the brothel without the need for anyone to invite him in, but of course, not for the purpose everyone else assumed it to be. But that intention was soon dismissed by his proudly and openly proclaimed new husband who said that this spotless husband of his should stay out of a place like this and let him drive the yao out instead since he’s more familiar with the structure of such building. Lan WangJi had given him a look then, but he couldn’t deny Wei WuXian’s justifications because, yes, he wasn’t familiar with how things worked in a brothel, and secondly, someone needed to stay out to curb the yao if it attempted to escape later. 

“Wait for me, okay?” Wei WuXian winked at him, looking very much ready to enter.

“How are you familiar with the structure of the building?” Lan WangJi asked.

“All brothels are constructed the same way so this one should have the same kind of structure as the one in Yunmeng,” Wei WuXian answered offhandedly.

“How do you know the structure of the one in Yunmeng?” Lan WangJi asked again.

Wei WuXian finally noticed the anguish in his voice. Giving him a grin, he said,

“I’ve been to one, of course! Anyway, be a good boy and wait for the yao to come running right into your embrace, okay? Gege will go in and chase it out for you.”

Lan WangJi said nothing else. He knew that Wei WuXian was probably joking but he was also curious to know exactly why did he visit a brothel back then? He watched as Wei WuXian disappeared into the lavish building and waited.

While he stood, a lady approached him upon seeing that his partner had left.

“HanGuang-Jun… right?”

Lan WangJi looked at her. It’s one of the ladies who’d approached him earlier, but she was less assertive, even gentle. Lan WangJi nodded at her. The lady smiled as she showed Lan WangJi something in her hand.

 

Wei WuXian wouldn’t say that he had visited a brothel for its intended purpose ever. It was just one time when he and his shidi back in Yunmeng set foot into one, driven completely out of pure curiosity. The strong fragrance alongside the vehement body-against-body contact in the place had caught even him ー a person who never thought that he’d be put off by anything at all ー off guard. And now, despite his previous experience, the place still gave him chills in a totally different sense that he rarely would ever experience. He humbly and artfully rejected the ladies who had swarmed at him right from the moment he appeared in the main hall. But they kept coming, blocking his path, and it was making it hard for him to move. Sighing, he shook his head with a smile when he realised that there’s just no way he could walk up the stairs seeing how many people were impeding his route. Most of them persuaded him over and over again to get a lady for himself before they allowed him to set foot on the second floor.

Wei WuXian gave the second floor a look. Some ladies waved at him from above, which he responded with a polite smile. His eyes wandered and ultimately, stopped at the second last room of the floor.

“Young master, we know you are married but don’t you think you’d need some practices to serve your husband well?”’

“It’s totally okay even if you’re a man! Pleasure works regardless of gender. In fact, we think you need more practices considering how uncommon your intercourse can be.”

“Young master, we swear we’ll only give you decent advice, nothing else! If you don’t want us to touch you, we won’t!”

Wei WuXian wasn’t sure if he should cry or laugh now. Yeah, he’s inexperienced when it came to that area of things, but he’s a fast learner, and he definitely didn’t need to visit this kind of place to be able to learn, let alone, like what the ladies said, practise. What’s a better way than learning from his partner himself, right? Like they said, pleasure worked the same regardless of gender but that didn’t mean every man’s sexual preferences were similar. Even when he was aware of this, there’s simply no way he could get out of this situation even if he tried to talk sense into these ladies. They’re determined to get him to ‘try out’. Oh well, that left him with no choice then. 

He pointed at the second last room.

“Thank you very much for your kind offer, ladies. Yup, I’m here for advice and I heard that someone in that room can give me some very practical advice! If you don’t mind, can you let me through so I can ask the person for myself?”

The ladies looked at each other. One of them said,

“T-That room is taken at the moment.”

“I know,” Wei WuXian grinned. “It’s occupied by a young man in white just before I came in, right?”

The lady gasped, “Young master, is he perhaps a friend of yours?”

Wei WuXian chuckled. “An acquaintance,” he said. “But before I go, since you’re so nice to me, let me return the favour and share my advice with you too.” He took one step towards the staircase, a few ladies moved aside. “He’s not a man.” 

He sprinted up the staircase and, on the second floor, he winked at the gawking ladies,

“He’s not human either.”

Ignoring the astonished look on their faces, he dashed right towards the room and kicked his way in.

The man in all-white robes was sitting on the table when Wei WuXian rammed his way in. His robes were as clean as ever; spotless, no creases at all. He looked so calm as he sat, as if he’d been expecting Wei WuXian. 

“Young master, I thought you were the one who was interested in me yesterday?” Wei WuXian grinned as he spared a glance at the bed, where he could see a lady, unconscious. “Decided you prefer a woman?”

The man raised his gaze, looking right into Wei WuXian’s eyes. Wei WuXian’s demonic aura wasn’t as intense as how it was in his past life; especially when Mo XuanYu’s body and cultivation level wasn’t as strong as his original one. His spiritual aura was faint, even more so for his demonic aura. But this yao was clearly a clever yao. Meeting a person once was coincidental, fugitive, and easy to pass. But meeting the same person for a second time gave more awareness, and then, recognition. The yao smiled and stood. He came to stand in front of Wei WuXian, their distance similar to that from yesterday, as he bowed.

“Yiling Patriarch,” he said. “Please forgive my crudity for what had happened yesterday. I never thought I’d meet the real person in a small village like this with my own eyes.”

Wei WuXian lifted a smirk. “It’s not entirely your fault. But to be honest, I wouldn’t seek help this way even if I want a child for myself.” He allowed a moment of pause between them before he continued. “You’re the white-cloaked yao, yu-yi-ren.”

Yu-yi-ren, or white-cloaked yao, is a yao in an all-white robe, who goes around feeding on lust and is able to impregnate not only women but men too. The legend said that the white-cloaked yao can appear as two genders at the same time, depending on the eyes of the beholder. Seems like Wei WuXian caught its male form, who knows which form did Young Master Zhao see back then? Maybe its female form, not a man like how both Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian witnessed the day before.

“It’s my honour for the Yiling Patriarch to remember me,” the yao said.

“Of course I need to remember the yaos, it’s my area of training after all,” Wei WuXian said, humble. “You’re at your limit, and it seems like you’re already so since when you approached Young Master Zhao. You need to impregnate someone before you lose your form. And the best place to seek for a person like this is here, in a brothel, where there’s no need to consider for a sense of responsibility. It’s a place where you can do whatever you want and even if things happen, no one will seek faults from you, because it’s a brothel anyway, right? Who cares about these ladies of pleasure? But it’s unfortunate that you met me. If not, it wouldn’t have come to this.”

The yao, surprisingly, smiled. “It’s fated. I know this day will come when I made the mistake.”

Wei WuXian raised an eyebrow. “Mistake?”

“I didn’t intend to kill Young Master Zhao.”

Wei WuXian frowned. He pieced the details in his head together, then guessed,

“He asked you to kill him?”

The yao didn’t deny, neither did he admit to it. He took another step towards Wei WuXian.

“Does the truth matter now?” He walked past Wei WuXian, stopped when they stood shoulder by shoulder. “The world rather believes that the yaos are the ones who’d killed an innocent man.” He stared at Wei WuXian from the corners of his eyes, gaze serene. “Let it be that way then.”

In a blink of an eye, mist clouded his vision. He coughed, and when he regained his eyesight, the yao was no longer around. Just like yesterday, white feathers scattered the floor, light and dainty, clean and innocent.

Wei WuXian squatted and picked one of it up. A small smile braced his face.

“Doesn’t matter if it’s the truth or not, as long as it’s something everyone wants to believe, it will be the truth by default, huh?” He kept the feather into his sleeve and stood. From a distance, he could hear the sound of swords, then the notes from a relentless guqin. His grin curved higher as he shrugged.

“Even the yaos are aware of this.”

With that said, he leapt from the second floor, landing steadily on the first floor, and rushed out of the brothel.

 

Outside, he was immediately greeted by the scene of Lan WangJi trapping the yao in a barrier. His fingers danced gracefully on his guqin, his attention focused. By the look of the surrounding, it didn’t seem like a brutal confrontation had occurred between them, which means, the yao didn’t struggle much when he was confronted. Just like how he expected Wei WuXian, he must have expected Lan WangJi too since he decided to escape from the front door when he could’ve escaped from the window in the room.

Wei WuXian came to stand by Lan WangJi’s side, joining him as they watched the contained yao.

“Are you okay?” Lan WangJi asked.

“Do I look like I’m not okay?” Wei WuXian returned a question instead. Lan WangJi said nothing to that, but the light in his eyes softened.

“Thanks to your reminder yesterday, we decided to complete our kneeling today!” Wei WuXian said to the yao. “But I believe you’ve seen that too, didn’t you?”

Even though he was camouflaged in the crowd earlier, Wei WuXian can still tell him apart. He was one of the ladies who were hounding Lan WangJi before, probably to test his loyalty.

“Since then, you already knew that we’ll come for you,” Wei WuXian continued.

“Yiling Patriarch and HanGuang-Jun,” the yao said, voice small. “Why else would both of you be in this small village if not because to apprehend me?"

“Oh, you misunderstood that part,” Wei WuXian clarified. “We’re really here just to take a rest. It’s totally coincidental for us to bump into you.”

The yao stayed silent for a while. Then, he started laughing.

“Hahahahaha!”

Lan WangJi’s strumming of his guqin became sharper with every passing second. By the end of it, the barrier was so strikingly bright that they can barely see anything within.

Right before it erupted, a voice echoed.

“Thank you…”

The explosion dazzled their eyes, the sparks shattered, falling upon them in the form of minuscule sprinkles. 

“He's asking to be eliminated,” Wei WuXian spoke first.

“A life for a life,” Lan WangJi said.

Wei WuXian shrugged. “Right. That’s the rule of this world, isn’t it?” He turned to smile at Lan WangJi. “Let’s stay for another day. We can tell the Zhao Mansion what exactly happened. Then…” He returned his gaze to the vacant spot; he thought he could still see a hint of white shadow there.

“...The Zhaos can decide what they want to believe with the information.”

 


 

Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi were in no position to tell how others wanted to think about everything that had happened. The truth was, Young Master Zhao asked to be killed upon recognising that he’d betrayed his wife. The truth was, Young Master Zhao couldn’t live with the humiliation. The truth was, dying was his choice, his own will. But that was the truth that was rooted and buried in the soil. No one will want to take that as the truth. They’d rather believe that a decent and respectful man like Young Master Zhao was seduced then kidnapped by a white-cloaked yao, raped, then murdered. By this, Young Master Zhao’s good name can be protected. The village and his family can still honour him, his altar can still be placed in a conspicuous place in the ancestral hall, with no guilt whatsoever. By this, he could still be buried with grace, worshipped throughout generations. No one needed to know the truth. The only ‘truth’ people needed to know was that a despicable yao had killed an innocent human, like how most yao would.

Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian returned to the inn in the late evening after being forced to accept a sumptuous meal in the Zhao Mansion when they went over to deliver the news. They didn’t eat much. Even Wei WuXian, who’s usually a big eater and who would never say no to nice food, can’t bring himself to eat more than he should. It’s only when they were in their personal space again that Wei WuXian toppled on Lan WangJi, sighing out loud.

“Oh great HanGuang-Jun, can you enlighten Wei-mo?”

“What is it?”

“Do you think we can ever change this world?” he asked. 

“We won’t be able to,” Lan WangJi said, honest.

Wei WuXian laughed. “Lan Zhan, oh, Lan Zhan. At a time like this, you should be assuring me, say things like ‘we can definitely do it’, or, ‘nothing is impossible with us’.”

Lan WangJi stroked his back, bringing him to sit on his lap. 

“Will you want to listen to those?” he asked instead.

Wei WuXian grinned brighter. “Nope.”

Lan WangJi smiled a little, saying nothing else.

“That’s why I love you so much,” Wei WuXian praised. He cupped Lan WangJi’s face and kissed him tenderly on his forehead. “Which reminds me, since we’re done with all our kneelings, that means we’re legally bonded and that means, rightfully, we should complete our wedded night, shouldn’t we?”

He reached out his hands to touch Lan WangJi’s ears. As expected, they were warm. Wei WuXian can’t help but snigger.

“What do you say, HanGuang-Jun? You don’t have to hold back this time. No need for guilt! I’m properly yours now, hurry and take me again so I can be yours from the inside out!”

At the end of his words, he scratched Lan WangJi under his chin, smirking tastefully. Lan WangJi took his hand away and leaned in, kissing Wei WuXian on his lips. Lan WangJi was predatory, impatient, and assertive when it came to his kisses. As opposed to Wei WuXian, who nipped reverently, flirtatiously, yet no less lovingly. As he drowned deeper into the kiss, Wei WuXian smiled against lips, thinking to himself how Lan Zhan has never changed since he knew him. The way he kissed him in Baifeng Mountain ー so eager, so carnal. And the way he kissed him now, equally desperate, equally amorous, yet endearing and affectionate all the same. Wei WuXian let his weight fall upon the man as he felt an arm wrapping around his waist, pulling him closer. He’d never imagine himself to kiss a man, definitely not Lan WangJi, ever, if he was never reborn, if he was never given the chance to let go of his burdens ー emotional or not ー and if he wasn’t given the chance to stay by Lan WangJi’s side, to experience for himself how exceptionally good this man was.

Man or not, he wanted no one else but Lan WangJi. It had to be Lan WangJi.

“Lan Zhan,” he breathed heavily as they broke the kiss for air. 

“I’m yours. Only yours.”

Lan WangJi’s breathing turned heavier and the next thing Wei WuXian knew, he was lifted off Lan WangJi’s lap and by the time he came back to himself, he was already tossed on the bed, his back hit hard against the solid wooden material.

“Tsst! Be gentler!”

A thin frown formed in between his eyebrows as he spilled a hiss. Since when they kissed, his red ribbon was stripped off, abandoned, its whereabouts unknown. His long hair spread on the pillow, his black robes half-stripped, hanging loosely on his shoulders, exposing his collarbones and broad chest. The marks from their prurient first-time were still glaring on his fair skin, the bruises alongside his pink nipples heaving up and down as Wei WuXian breathed ardently.

Lan WangJi towered above him. One of his hands reached downwards, slipping beneath the layers of Wei WuXian’s robes and finding the hidden hole in between his asscheeks. The hole clenched out of reflex upon feeling a foreign touch. Lan WangJi held his gaze on Wei WuXian, observing his reaction, before he sank a tip of his finger into his hole.

It’s not Wei WuXian’s first time anymore. He thought the entry will be easier than before but unexpectedly, Wei WuXian hissed, clearly in pain, before Lan WangJi asked,

“Does it still hurt?”

Wei WuXian opened his eyes and pouted, “ It hurts. Of course it hurts! My foolish-gege, men and women are different. I’ll still feel pain even after my first time. Argh, speaking of which, my waist hurts too, my butt too, my whole body hurts!”

Lan WangJi swiped the strands of hair off his face and kissed him on his forehead.

“I’ll… be gentler.”

The sight of Lan WangJi lowering his head, looking like he’s seriously reflecting softened Wei WuXian’s heart in no time. He kissed Lan WangJi on his cheek and said, “No, you don’t have to be gentler. I love it when you’re rough on me. The rougher you are, the more excited I am.”

Lan WangJi looked at Wei WuXian prudently, the light in his orbs wavered ever so slightly. Wei WuXian was utterly perplexed by his beauty that he can’t help but want to comfort him more. 

“You really don’t have to feel guilty about it. It’s my first time, so it’s normal to feel like this! We have lots and lots and lots of time ahead of us anyway! Once you sleep me for a few more times, I’ll definitely be able to get used to it. Then, I won’t feel pain anymore. So all you need to do is do me more and more and moreー”

He was expecting to hear his usual ‘en’ but before he got exactly that, Lan WangJi had tilted his chin over and had planted a kiss on his mouth. His tongue slipped nimbly into Wei WuXian’s slightly opened mouth and fiddled with Wei WuXian’s own warm tongue with their soft lips pressed against each other. When they separated, Lan WangJi bit him on his lower lip, their breathing a mess.

Wei WuXian smirked and scratched Lan WangJi under his chin.

“What’s the matter, Er-gege? Why are you hesitating?”

Lan WangJi’s gaze on him was fervent but he shook his head.

“Your body is still tired. Rest more.”

Wei WuXian pushed against Lan WangJi’s chest, pulling their distance apart just so he could look at him.

“It’s fine. Like I said, the more I do it with you, the faster I’ll get used to it!” He hugged his legs around Lan WangJi’s waist, refusing to let him go. “Er-gege, if you really want me, I’ll give you without hesitation. I told you before, didn’t I? My body is all yours, from the top to bottom, and from the inside out. There’s no need to be courteous with me.”

Seeing that Lan WangJi was still having second thoughts, Wei WuXian slung his arms around Lan WangJi’s neck and tugged him over.

“Look, I can jump on you, I can move around, I even took down a yao! My pain tolerance is high too! I can even do two more rounds with you. I didn’t get to enjoy it to the best thanks to the pain and our naif attempt two days ago so I really want to make up for it. What do you say, HanGuang-Jun? Do you want to do it or not?”

Red nerves crept on the corners of Lan WangJi’s eyes the more Wei WuXian urged him on.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.

Those words effectively sent a pang of warmth right at Wei WuXian’s chest. He can’t bring himself to say anything else. This person had always been like this ー ever since the time when he advised him to stop practising demonic cultivation, ever since the time when all his genuine words were returned with a ‘get lost’ from Wei WuXian. Wei WuXian thought about the scars on his back and the one on his chest. He thought about how Lan WangJi unconditionally tolerated him and supported him when he returned. Lan WangJi had always been like this: he never wanted to hurt Wei WuXian. And Wei WuXian could only return his favour by not hurting himself. Not anymore.

All those thoughts had warmth piling at the back of Wei WuXian’s eyes. Snuffling, he buried his face in Lan WangJi’s neck.

“It’s fine. I want you, Lan Zhan. I need you now.”

This was his sincere thought. He can’t wait. It’s been too long. He didn’t want Lan WangJi to wait for any longer either.

As soon as his words dropped, he heard a dangerous low growl by his ear. It was filled with restrained emotions, and these emotions were at the verge of exploding.

Lan WangJi’s finger sank deeper into him. He closed his eyes, biting on his lower lip as he tried as hard as he could to relax his body. His warm insides took the finger in, and once it had gotten used to it, Lan WangJi inserted another finger. His movements weren’t as desperate as to how they were during their first time. Since Wei WuXian belonged solely to him now, Lan WangJi can bring himself to patiently wait for Wei WuXian to get used to the foreign feeling first before he continued with the next step. In the meantime, his free hand wandered all over Wei WuXian’s body before it came to rest on his belt. He yanked it off. He touched directly all over Wei WuXian’s body without the disturbance of clothing. Wherever he touched, Wei WuXian felt as if a fire had been ignited, smearing his fair skin in layers of thick flush as it burned from the intensity Lan WangJi was pouring on him. When Lan WangJi’s hand caressed his waist, a strong urge of itchiness hit Wei WuXian in his guts. He scrambled, blindly searching around for something to hold onto and ultimately seizing Lan WangJi on his arms.

“Lan Zhan…” he murmured in a hoarse voice. 

Lan WangJi’s motion froze with the mere calling of his name. The light in his orbs shaded with a layer of dark tint as he stared penetratingly at the way Wei WuXian sought out for him, craving and pleading for him to touch him more. Silently taking off his own clothing, he spread Wei WuXian’s legs apart, hand squeezing all over Wei WuXian’s soft asscheeks before he took his fingers out of the hole.

Wei WuXian peeked an eye open. “Hm? Second Master Lan, I don’t think I’m ready yet. Do you have any idea how big you are?”

The tips of Lan WangJi’s ears were red as he took something from his robes without answering Wei WuXian. It was a small bottle. Wei WuXian squinted. When Lan WangJi opened it, a feeble aroma filled the room; mellow yet just nice to the nose.

“What’s that?” Wei WuXian asked.

Lan WangJi flipped the bottle over, droplets of liquid splattered on his fingers. He continued doing this for three fingers. Throughout the entire time, he didn’t answer Wei WuXian.

Wei WuXian narrowed his eyes with a naughty smirk. Lan WangJi didn’t need to tell him what it was. The only time Lan WangJi could’ve gotten something like this out of Wei WuXian’s awareness was when Wei WuXian rushed into the brothel earlier.

“Oh? From what I know, only experienced people would know of this kind of thing. Who gave it to you, I wonder?”

“...”

“Was it… one of the ladies? Aha! She must have given it to you knowing exactly that we’re going to make love tonight, didn’t she? What a kind lady!”

Lan WangJi said nothing. Two slender fingers started thrusting in and out. The liquid was slippery and cold but the longer Lan WangJi prepared him, the less pain he felt. Not only that, he was starting to feel warm, as if something was burning him from within.

“W-Wait, HanGuang-Jun… this… this thing,” Wei WuXian panted.

“...? Do you feel uncomfortable?” Lan WangJi asked.

Wei WuXian shook his head. “N-No, keep doing, don’t stop.”

Lan WangJi observed him for a while. Wei WuXian was breathing heftier than before, his skin was smouldering, sweat coated his body. Realising what this was all about, Lan WangJi looked away and continued with what he was doing. He searched his memories and found the place in Wei WuXian’s body. Wei WuXian’s body shook, a soft moan escaped his lips. Seeing that, Lan WangJi used a free hand to rub Wei WuXian on his barely standing dick.

“Feel better like this?” he asked.

Wei WuXian nodded. “...K-Keep doing that.”

He brushed his fingers on the tip of his dick, scratching against the slit. At the same time, the fingers inside him pinched the small bulge in Wei WuXian. When he did both at the same time, Wei WuXian’s body arched, his muscles constricted, his body shivered below Lan WangJi, his voice trembled as he spoke of nothing but “Lan Zhan… Lan Zhan…”.

Wei WuXian was slowly but surely getting into it and the sight lifted a weight off Lan WangJi’s chest. He kissed him delicately, sharing breath, sharing warmth, sucking and licking at each other’s tongue and lip ー a means to comfort.

“Lan Zhan, you’re doing great. Keep it up,” Wei WuXian encouraged.

Unlike the first time, Wei WuXian knew exactly how to tell Lan Wangji what to do so that they can both enjoy the process. Wei WuXian’s support only pushed Lan WangJi better. He wasn’t as rough as before either, now knowing the right way to control himself and being able to concentrate on bringing pleasure to both of them in a way that would hurt less. Preparation and foreplay were important steps, so he thought he should be more mindful about it this time.

As soon as he managed to maintain the right stride, he returned his attention to focus on Wei WuXian’s reactions. The sight in front of him was one that was extremely erotic: Wei WuXian’s eyes were misty, his lips opened slightly, his cheeks flushed red. When Wei WuXian met his light-coloured orbs, all that Lan WangJi could see was how intense the lust was in his gaze and it was urging him to take over him, own him, hide him away so that no one will ever be able to see how Wei WuXian looked like now.

He wanted Wei WuXian to be thoroughly his.

Despite struggling to stay sane himself, Wei WuXian can tell just how much Lan WangJi was restraining himself from losing control. He clenched down on Lan WangJi’s fingers.

“Lan Zhan… it’s okay, I’m ready. Come in.”

Lan WangJi’s voice was husky when he spoke, “Still not well-prepared enough.”

Wei WuXian shook his head. He brushed his fingers against Lan WangJi’s fair yet hot face, coaxing him, “I’m really fine. Come in. I feel so itchy inside I can barely handle it anymore. I want you to… come in and ease the itch for me.”

Lan WangJi’s expression froze. He pinched Wei WuXian on his dick and growled, “Shameless!”

Wei WuXian clasped hard on him again upon feeling the head of Lan WangJi's dick inching into him. Even though he can’t get used to how big Lan WangJi was right away, it was indeed less painful than the first time he took Lan WangJi’s length in. It’s probably because of the long preparation Lan WangJi had done for him, or perhaps it was also because of the oil that Lan WangJi had used to prepare him. Or perhaps, it’s simply because he’s doing it with Lan WangJi that he no longer felt any pain no matter what Lan WangJi was to do on him.

Lan WangJi hitched a breath while Wei WuXian wallowed in the way Lan WangJi let himself loose. He decided he should praise him.

“Lan Zhan, you’ve improved since our last time. If you keep it up, you wouldn’t need to use fingers anymore. You don’t even need to prepare me! You can come right in ー directly! Quick and easy!”

Lan WangJi said in a deep tone, “Don’t speak nonsense.”

Wei WuXian made a wretched face. “I’m not speaking nonsense! Listen, I’m serious. How about you try it the next time we do this then? I think it’d be more exciting if you catch me off guard and thrust right into meー ahhhh!!”

Lan WangJi pushed hard into him, snatching all the words out of his mouth. Their lower bodies connected with no distance between them whatsoever. The girth of Lan WangJi’s dick was incomparable to the size of his fingers. That one thrust hit Wei WuXian in a depth that he didn’t know was possible. He lost his vision temporarily, the pain struck him from his lower body and forced tears to fall from the corners of his eyes. His limbs clung all over Lan WangJi’s body, too afraid to move as his gaze lingered on the ceiling, his breathing heavy and rapid.

Once Lan WangJi buried himself entirely in him, he didn’t move either, simply hugging him tightly, their warm chests pressed against each other, their rampaging heartbeats pounding hard against each other’s chests, allowing both of them to tell how passionate they were feeling towards each other. Wei WuXian’s insides were soft and wet and warm, the inner walls squeezing and sucking on Lan WangJi’s dick. Even if they weren’t moving at all, merely staying restfully like this was already an extremely stirring experience of its own.

In the midst of allowing time for Wei WuXian to get used to the weight in his body, Lan WangJi slipped his hand between their bodies and rubbed his dick again. At the same time, he kissed him on the corner of his lips, asking in a gentle tone.

“Does it hurt?”

His magnetic voice was so close to Wei WuXian’s ear it melted every ounce of pain Wei WuXian was feeling from within him. His eyes steadily regained their focus as he blinked at Lan WangJi with a honeyed smile. 

“It does not hurt.” Hissing, he continued. “If… If you can no longer endure it, you can move. I’m fine, don’t have to worry about me.”

Lan WangJi buried his face against Wei WuXian’s neck, nipping on his collarbone as he started to move his body at the same time. His hands had flown to support Wei WuXian on his waist as he moved in and out of his body in a scrappy pace. Upon locating his sensitive spot, Lan WangJi had learned how to take advantage of it as well. Every time he thrust into him, he’d accurately find the bulge and every time the tip of his dick stroked against it, Wei WuXian would shiver hard, his insides clenched snugly around Lan WangJi’s dick as he pleaded over and over again, calling Lan WangJi’s name over and over again.

Lan WangJi left marks after marks on Wei WuXian’s chest, new ones on top of the old ones. Once he’s satisfied, his eyes hovered on the red bulges on his chest, his gaze dark. No longer holding back, he took one nipple into his mouth. Wei WuXian jolted. This was the first time in his entire life to have someone sucking him on his nipple like this. It felt weird at first but the moment he came to recognise that it was Lan WangJi who was doing this to him, elation surged all over him as he hugged Lan WangJi on his head, pushing him down and lifting his chest at the same time so that Lan WangJi can suck easier.

“HanGuang-Jun, I know you like to bite me but I can’t believe you like to bite places like this too!”

His words were responded by a numb sensation on his chest that gave him goosebumps all over his body. His toes curled at the overpowering wave of pleasure, his insides squeezed down hard on Lan WangJi, his brain a mess.

“Why are you so fierce?!” he complained. “I didn't say anything about not letting you bite me!”

He guided Lan WangJi’s head towards the other side of his nipple then.

“Here, here. Bite all you want, however you want. I belong to you anyway, you can do anything you want to me.”

Lan WangJi responded by giving him fiercer and rougher thrusts on his lower body. He’s no longer holding back, and Wei WuXian could no longer bring himself to speak, thoroughly drowned in lust. His dick rubbed against Lan WangJi’s abdomen, the friction only acted as an additional stimulation to drive Wei WuXian closer and closer towards the edge. Precum spilled all over their bodies, droplets of it splattering all over their skin, creating a vulgar sight on their slender body shapes. Soon, Wei WuXian felt himself reaching the peak of his orgasm. He’s so close, so close to coming. He only needed one trigger and he’d come all over himself. Yet, when his quivering hand approached his dick, wanting to relieve himself off the tension, Lan WangJi caught it and held it high above his hand, stopping him from doing exactly that.

“...Er-gege… Ah… Y-You can’t do this to me… help me, please, can you help me?”

Lan WangJi breathed hot air into his ear, licking his earlobe.

“En?”

Wei WuXian turned his head to nuzzle the tip of his nose against Lan WangJi’s face, begging, “D-Down there… I’m about toー I want toー Help me…”

He thought with how he’d purposefully sugared his voice Lan WangJi would definitely do what he wanted but then, the next time he spoke, Lan WangJi wasn’t even answering to his need, let alone helping him.

“We completed all our three kneelings.” A thrust. A loud moan.

Wei WuXian was so lightheaded, so overwhelmed that he could only return an instinctive ‘en’ without getting what Lan WangJi was trying to tell him.

Seeing that he didn’t get what he was implying, Lan WangJi thrust a few more times into him and seized him hard on his dick, blocking his climax.

“L-Lan Zhan!” Wei WuXian gasped.

“We’re cultivation partners now,” Lan WangJi repeated.

This time, Wei WuXian finally got what Lan WangJi was insinuating. He looked at him in disbelief.

Three kneelings. Connected bodies. And then?

The realisation had Wei WuXian breaking into a wrecked laugh.

“Er-gege, you want me to call you my husband, don’t you? You can just tell me, I’ll definitely do what you want.”

He slung his arms around Lan WangJi’s neck and pulled him down, whispering into his ear.

“Husband.”

He could distinctly feel how Lan WangJi became bigger in him just by spilling that mere word. Taking that opportunity, Wei WuXian continued.

“Husband, oh my good husband… Er-gege, please help me. You should take care of me now that we’re husbands! So let’s come together, shall we? Hm?”

Lan WangJi kissed him again, gently and affectionately, yet the motions on his lower body were still as rough as ever, hitting Wei WuXian so hard Wei WuXian thought he’s about to be split into half.

“How can you be so great in bed even though this is only your second time? How do I live with this? You’re exceptionally good, HanGuang-Jun, how can you be so good…”

Lan WangJi didn’t answer him with words but his body behaviours had answered all of Wei WuXian’s wishes.

“Lan Zhan, I like you so much. I once thought that I’d never be able to leave you because of how good you are but now I feel it’s totally impossible for me to leave you ever! Please take me, mark me as yours… en… ah….”

Unable to handle his vulgar words, Lan WangJi kissed Wei WuXian hard, thrusting hard into him, and at the same time, clutching hard on his dick, rubbing rapidly and fiercely. 

The multiple stimulations were driving Wei WuXian insane. He could no longer feel his own body, all that he knew was that waves after waves of pleasure were swallowing him whole. Whenever he did as much as calling Lan WangJi’s name, he’d be thrust in a way that made him feel as if his soul was about to be shoved out of his own body.

He hugged Lan WangJi intimately, his fingers traced every inch of his back, touching on every scar. 

With one last tearing thrust, Wei WuXian frowned and arched his head. He let his limbs loose, spread on all sides as he came shakingly, dirtying both his and Lan WangJi’s abdomens. The dick that was buried deep in him shuddered. And as Lan WangJi embraced Wei WuXian with all his might, he came right into him, just at the same time as when Wei WuXian did.

Both of them laid, catching their breath. When Lan WangJi kissed Wei WuXian on the cheek again, Wei WuXian could only lazily respond with a tender kiss of his own. He’s so exhausted he could fall asleep anytime now.

“Wei Ying,” Lan WangJi called out.

“Nnn?” Wei WuXian responded indolently.

“...”

He peeked an eye open. Smiling, he swept his fingers on Lan WangJi’s face and said,

“I’m fine. Just very tired. HanGuang-Jun, can I leave the rest to you?”

Lan WangJi lifted a very, very small smile before he kissed Wei WuXian gently on the lips.

“En.”

Wei WuXian closed his eyes then. He really planned to fall asleep just like that and leave his body in the hands of his ever so dependable HanGuang-Jun. With HanGuang-Jun around, he won’t need to be afraid of getting hurt. If Lan Zhan is around… then…

“Wei Ying,” Lan WangJi called again.

“Nn?” And Wei WuXian answered again, still lazily.

“...You’re a bit warm,” Lan WangJi said.

Wei WuXian opened his eyes. “Is that so…? Ah, it’s that… what do you call it? I read about this in books before. I just experienced orgasm, so it should be normal, isn’t it? Aren’t you warm too?”

Lan WangJi didn’t answer.

“What’s the matter? Do you think it’s something else?” Wei WuXian asked.

“It could be a fever,” Lan WangJi said.

Wei WuXian’s eyes brightened, then a flash of light flickered past his head as he chortled. “I guess… it can’t be helped then.”

Lan WangJi pulled himself out of him, his heart shattered into a million pieces upon noticing how bruised Wei WuXian’s hole was. He’d gone too far again.

Then, he felt a hand on his own, gently rubbing the back of his hand.

“Lan Zhan, I’m okay. I enjoyed it. Did you enjoy it too?”

Lan WangJi pondered for a bit before he nodded. That reaction drew a bright grin on Wei WuXian’s face.

“That’s great. You’ll take care of me if it’s a fever, right?” Wei WuXian looked at him, eyes half-lidded coupled with a fragile smile.

Lan WangJi nodded again. Not only now, not only when he has a fever. He’ll take care of Wei WuXian for as long as he wanted.

“Wei Ying,” he said again.

This time, Wei WuXian didn’t respond with a ‘nn?’. Instead, he said,

“En, I’m here.”

I’m here, Lan Zhan.

Lan WangJi took him into his arms and leaned his head against his chest.

He called his name, over and over again, as if he wanted to make up for the lost years between them. And again and again, no matter how many times Lan WangJi needed to hear it, Wei WuXian would always respond with the same answer, tirelessly, again and again.

ー “I’m here, Lan Zhan.”

I’m really here this time.

And I won’t ask you to leave ever again.

 


 

Wei WuXian kept a straight face the entire time Lan WangJi paid for the room then headed out of the inn. Lil’ Apple was already well-fed when they went over to get it, its food taken care of by the innkeeper during their stay. That’s perhaps why it seemed like it’s in its best mood. Even when Lan WangJi helped Wei WuXian onto the donkey, it showed no signs of reluctance at all, unlike how it usually would.

All was fine ー until when they were on their way out of the village that Wei WuXian let loose a hiss.

“L-Lil’ Apple, don’t walk too fast.”

Lan WangJi stopped walking right away. He turned around, asking with concern,

“Do you not feel well?”

Wei WuXian massaged his waist, frowning a little. “Just a bit sore. Don’t worry, I’m sure you cleaned me thoroughly so it’s not pain from within, more like, pain on the outside.”

Lan WangJi walked towards him, one hand reaching into his robe, searching around. 

“Get some rest and apply medicines.”

“No need, no need, we’re travelling freely now, aren’t we? Save them for more crucial times,” Wei WuXian waved his hand and straightened his back. 

“But…” Lan WangJi hesitated. Lan WangJi had noticed how Wei WuXian had been restraining his ache since when they woke up in the morning. Wei WuXian was still smiling, but the smile was weaker than usual. He was also sweating more than usual. But since Wei WuXian didn’t say anything about it, Lan WangJi decided not to ask so as to protect his pride. 

Upon seeing his expression, Wei WuXian slung an arm around Lan WangJi’s shoulder.

“Honestly, during the first time we did it, it felt more pain than pleasure. But even so, you were the one who gave it to me so it’s okay for me.” He caught sight of the faint red on Lan WangJi’s ear as he kissed his earlobe, grinning wider. “But this time, it’s more pleasure than pain. And after yesterday night, I realised one thing too.”

Lan WangJi gave him a look that spelt of his struggle between asking more and dismissing that intention. In the end, the former defeated the latter.

“What is it?” he asked carefully.

“I realised… Men can feel good being penetrated from below too!” Wei WuXian said proudly.

Lan WangJi looked away, the tips of his ears blood-red. “Don’t speak anymore.”

This very expression reminded Wei WuXian of when he teased Lan WangJi back then when they were small ー the same kind of embarrassment, the same kind of frustration. It tickled him in his heart. He thought he’d lost that Lan WangJi when he came back 13 years later to a Lan WangJi that’s way more mature than before. There’s no way he could let go of more chances to tease him.

“I might be wrong though.” He seized Lan WangJi’s chin and forced him to look at him. “Maybe it’s not because I’m a man that I feel so good, maybe it’s because…” He narrowed his eyes, smirking sweetly at Lan WangJi. “We’re made for each other! Our bodies are made for each other, we’re so compatible that my body accepts you just the way I like it, just the way you like it!”

Lan WangJi almost snapped the rope in his hand. When he gave Wei WuXian a look, Wei WuXian shivered dramatically.

“Wow, so fierce!” he gasped out of purpose. “But am I wrong, hm? What does HanGuang-Jun think?” 

He was definitely playing with fire but this fire was Lan WangJi and he wouldn’t ask for a better fire to play with. 

“Hm? HanGuang-Jun? Don’t you think we’re made for each other?” 

Lan WangJi refused to respond. Pulling himself out of Wei WuXian’s grasp, he walked ahead, acknowledging that Wei WuXian was perfectly healthy and if he didn’t bring himself to leave his sweet nothings he wasn’t sure what he would do either. Wei WuXian laughed. When Lil’ Apple started walking again, he continued,

“We could’ve done so many things with each other. Not only in bed, but outside the bed too. Things like, stealing rabbits in the forests, or we can also pluck some of those fruits your uncle plants in the garden… Speaking of which, are they still there? If they’re not, that’s fine too. I can bring you to Yunmeng. We can fly a kite there, or we can also pluck more lotuses, and we can also hunt for pheasants! Aih, so many things to do! You should’ve come to Yunmeng back then when I invited you!”

Lan WangJi said, “We can do all of these now. We have time.”

Wei WuXian chuckled. “You’re right. We have a lot of time for ourselves now. HanGuang-Jun, we need to work hard, alright? Not only with everything I said, but in bed too. We can try more things, explore our limits, discover new areas!”

Lan WangJi raised an eyebrow. His expression was minimal when he looked at Wei WuXian, his eyes still the same faint light. But for some reason, Wei WuXian felt cold sprinting down his spine.

“Are you sure?”

Wei WuXian swallowed down his throat.

“O-Of course! Who am I? I’m Wei WuXian! I’m not afraid of anything! And who are you? You’re Lan WangJi! You’re capable of everything! Like I said, we’re made for each other, so of course, we need to adapt to each other too, right?”

Lan WangJi looked away then. 

“If you think it’s okay, then it’s okay,” was all he said.

Throughout their journey, Wei WuXian continued to talk about everything he wanted to do, and Lan WangJi agreed to all of them, occasionally asking questions. When Wei WuXian fell silent all of a sudden, he looked over his shoulder, just to see that Wei WuXian was rubbing his stomach, scowling.

“Pain?” Lan WangJi asked, concerned.

Wei WuXian shook his head.

“Hungry?” Lan WangJi asked again.

And Wei WuXian shook his head again.

“It feels… weird,” Wei WuXian said. “Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan.” His eyes brightened, his tone was excited. “Do you think you really put a baby in me yesterday?”

The rope snapped in Lan WangJi’s hand.

“Don’t talk nonsense!” he said, responded only by Wei WuXian loud laughter.

Like what they said, their road was still long, they still had a lot of time they can spend with each other. They can't guarantee that things will be safe and sound for as long as they lived. The world was as so ー even if they kept themselves out of trouble, trouble will always find a way to haunt them at their doorsteps. But it’s okay, as long as they had each other, there’s nothing they can’t overcome together. Because Wei WuXian wasn’t afraid of anything, and Lan WangJi was capable of everything after all! One step by one step. Cherish the present, live in the present, and things will find a way eventually.

For now, all they wanted to do was to spend time for themselves, catching up with each other, and making up for their lost time as they prepared for their life ahead of them.

And then, they’ll be back in the game ー this time, stronger than ever.