It was a few days into quarantine and Lan Wangji was doing great.
Sequestered away in his apartment, alone to blissful silence, he was enjoying not having to be around people all day. He hadn’t been coerced into making awkward small talk with his coworkers, he hadn’t had to plan the route to his office around the handsy receptionist, and he’d done all of his morning meetings in his softest patterned pajama pants.
It was nice.
Lan Wangji wasn’t one to get bored with staying in. He’d always been something of a homebody, only going out when necessary. Even now as an adult, he didn’t have much of a social life to miss, skipping out on going out for drinks with the rest of the office, staying in most nights, having less friends than he had rabbits. The only way quarantine was really affecting his life was in showing him how little of an impact it was actually having.
His brother always accused him of chronic loneliness. No matter how many times Lan Wangji denied it, Xichen was always pushing him to reach out, to be more social, to seek companions. Thankfully, it seemed like Xichen wasn’t going to be able to lecture him about going out and finding friends anytime soon because he legally couldn’t. Lan Wangji didn’t know what it said about himself that he was smug about that.
Lan Wangji wasn’t lonely. Yes, he was alone often, and he didn’t have many friends, but it had always been this way. He hadn’t had close friends as a child, but he’d had Xichen to be his friend then and he had Xichen now. Xichen and his rabbits and…
No, just Xichen and his rabbits.
So Lan Wangji wasn’t lonely as he did his work and practiced his guqin and did yoga and cleaned his apartment and mediatated, all without seeing anyone. Brother had called a few times, but he was busy with his own work and being stuck quarantined with his two roommates who weren’t dealing with the forced proximity well. (It seemed that every time Xichen called, the two were yelling about something. Lan Wangji could have sworn he’d heard Jin Guangyao actually throw something at Nie Mingjue last time Xichen called him.)
Though one thing Lan Wangji was especially enjoying about being stuck home all day was the fact that he got to spend more time with his two rabbits. It was just a small thing, but it made him happy. He would definitely not admit to anyone the hour he spent on the floor playing with them the morning before, or the fact that he’d basically let them have free reign of his apartment.
He knew it was a bad idea to just let them loose like that for most of the day, but his apartment was secure and uncluttered. He’d picked up and made sure there were no wires to chew or ways of escape. He’d probably regret it later, but he wouldn’t deny that he spoiled them, especially now that he was home to do so.
Except, now he had lost one of his rabbits, and it was starting to make him panic the slightest amount. He didn’t really know how it could have escaped, he’s checked and double checked to make sure the place was secure. But he’d scoured everywhere and there was no sign of his other rabbit.
So yeah, maybe he shouldn’t have just let them run around, sue him. He was indulgent to his pets. As he searched everywhere he could think of, he decided that he wasn’t going to tell anyone. Not that he really had anyone to tell other than Xichen, but he certainly wasn’t going to let Xichen know that he’d lost one of his rabbits in his own apartment.
Just when he was starting to really panic, desperate and defeated, Lan Wangji finally found the escapee curled up on the windowsill, chewing on the corner of his curtain.
If there was one thing that Lan Wangji hadn’t been too pleased about his apartment, it was the fact that the view from his window was another apartment complex. It had almost been a deal breaker for him, and he’d thought about moving out more than once. But this apartment building was close to his workplace and reasonably priced. It was clean and well-maintained, and, most importantly, let him keep his rabbits.
He did have curtains up, though. One accidental glance across the way, catching an eyeful of one of the residents in the other building in nothing but the clothes they were born in, had put such a fear in him of either seeing it again or someone peeping into his own apartment that he’d put up the curtains and never taken them back down.
So he didn’t look out across the other apartment building often, but now, as he scooped his escape convict, he looked over only to see a piece of paper taped to the window of the apartment across from him. It was written on light purple paper in big block letters, like a child had made it.
WHAT’S THE BUNNY’S NAME???
He blinked hard once to make sure it was actually there and then, when it still was, blinked once more just to be sure.
Now, you see, Lan Wangji had adopted his rabbits second hand. He had gone in to buy little baby bunnies, but had felt so sad for the adult rabbits that had had a home and then been dumped back at the shelter that he couldn’t say no to their little twitching noses and mournful eyes. But, since they’d had owners before Lan Wangji took them in, they’d already been named. Xichen had tried to help him come up with new names, but, in the end, Lan Wangji felt like that was disrespectful to the rabbits. They already had names, who was he to change them?
He’d never really regretted that, but that probably due to the fact that the only person who’d ever seen them other than his brother who was there when he adopted them, was his Uncle, and he certainly hadn’t asked their names.
He probably should have ignored the note. But he didn’t want to be rude. Plus, maybe he was a little lonely, or he wanted to help out a stranger, or was just bored. Whatever it was, he found himself pulling out a sheet of clean paper and writing out his rabbits’ names, big enough to be seen from a distance. They’d only asked for the one, but they’d probably only seen the one, so he figured it wouldn’t hurt to be thorough.
Then he taped the sign behind his curtain and decided that was probably going to be the end of it.
It was day one of quarantine, and Wei Wuxian’s life was already in disarray.
Though, to be completely fair, his life tended towards disarray anyway, so it wasn’t something shocking or unexpected.
Of course, by disarray, Wei Wuxian just meant that he didn’t have to take his child to preschool that morning, but A-Yuan still woke him up early.
“A-Die, A-Die,” A-Yuan shouted at exactly 6:30 in the morning, jumping into his bed and shaking him awake.
The one thing that Wei Wuxian had been more than looking forward to with the quarantine was the fact that he wouldn’t have to wake up at 6:30 anymore to take A-Yuan to school. Apparently, that didn’t matter to A-Yuan.
Wei Wuxian groaned as he rolled over, capturing A-Yuan in his arms to tuck him against his chest.
“A-Die needs cuddles to wake him up,” Wei Wuxian said, not even opening his eyes.
A-Yuan giggled as he snuggled up against Wei Wuxian’s chest. He squirmed around, not struggling to get out, just normal toddler wiggles. He patiently let himself be snuggled long enough that Wei Wuxian almost fell asleep again.
“Psst,” A-Yuan whispered, poking a little finger into Wei Wuxian’s chest. “A-Die, is this enough cuddles?”
This was a game they played often, mostly because it took Wei Wuxian a couple of minutes to actually wake up his brain, and A-Yuan was full of energy in the morning. It was something Wei Wuxian had started so that he didn’t have to jump out of bed as soon as A-Yuan wanted him up. It worked most mornings because there was an actual schedule to follow, but with no work and no school, Wei Wuxian never wanted his cuddles to end.
Why was he cursed with an early riser for a child?
Though he couldn’t really call anything about A-Yuan a curse. If anything, he was the biggest blessing of his life.
Wei Wuxian hadn’t expected to become a father at the tender age of twenty-two. He’d never really envisioned himself as a parent at all, but when his best friend had knocked on his apartment door in tears, stressed and overwhelmed with an infant in his arms, that had been the end.
Wei Wuxian had been close to Wen Ning’s grandmother since they’d become friends in high school, so he’d taken her death almost as hard as Wen Ning and Wen Qing.
With no other family, after the funeral, they were left discussing what to do with A-Yuan. Wen Qing decided immediately that she was going to quit her job to move back to take care of him, but neither Wen Ning nor Wei Wuxian had let her do that. They knew how hard she had worked to get to where she was, how hard she’d pushed herself to get the job she had, how hard she was planning on pushing herself even still. She had such big dreams, and they hadn’t let her give up on them. They knew that she would regret it if she did, even though she loved A-Yuan.
Wen Ning had offered, however hesitantly, but he’d been in his second year of University, no job, no money, no way of taking care of a baby. His mental health hadn’t been in a place for that either, and that just further convinced Wen Qing that she should take A-Yuan in.
Wei Wuxian hadn’t even hesitated. He was freshly graduated with a job lined up and an apartment with a spare bedroom. He didn’t know much about kids, but neither did a lot of first time parents, and he would rather die than have A-Yuan go through the system like he had before the Jiangs adopted him.
He’d gotten mixed reactions from his family for the decision to take A-Yuan in. Concern from Jiang Cheng, expectations of failure from Madame Yu, doubt from Uncle Jiang. But His sister, bless her, had been there for him, offering advice and help wherever he needed.
Besides, he hadn’t really needed their approval, his mind had been made up.
And here, three years later, he still didn’t regret it, and he knew he never would. Not this wonderful little boy who snuggled him in the mornings and told him his cooking was terrible and made him drawings of all his favorite things and loved him to death.
“I know!” A-Yuan said, trying to whisper and shout at the same time. It was more of a shout just from the high-pitched tone of his little voice, but it was cute anyway. Even at 6:34 in the morning.
He tapped Wei Wuxian on the chest again.
“Will kisses help?” He asked. “Like in Sleeping Beauty?”
Wei Wuxian hid a smile as he let out an exaggerated cartoon snore to show that he was asleep.
That had A-Yuan giggling again as he wiggled free, trying to maneuver so he could reach Wei Wuxian’s face. Once he was settled, he paused. With his eyes closed, Wei Wuxian was surprised when A-Yuan started patting him on the face, his little hands moving along his forehead and eyebrows, down his cheeks and over the bridge of his nose. Wei Wuxian peeked an eye open trying to figure out what A-Yuan was doing, but the toddler just had a concentrated look on his face.
Wei Wuxian let out another loud snore when A-Yuan paused that had him giggling again. Finally, he leaned in and pressed a sloppy kiss to Wei Wuxian’s cheek.
“Mwah!” He said, very serious. “I kissed you. Now you have to wake up!”
And who could argue with that logic?
A-Yuan cheered and threw his arms around Wei Wuxain’s neck when he finally opened his eyes.
“I saved you, A-Die!”
Wei Wuxian sat up with A-Yuan’s arms still wrapped around his neck, pressing kisses into A-Yuan’s cheek until he giggled and squirmed away.
“A-Die, no! No more kisses!” He laughed. “Time to get up.”
Wei Wuxian pulled back with a pout, hoping to get A-Yuan to comfort him. When A-Yuan just giggled at him, Wei Wuxian switched tactics and started tickling A-Yuan’s tummy.
“If you don’t want kisses, then you get tickles,” he said as A-Yuan squealed in his arms, trying to push away even as he laughed his cute little baby giggles.
Then, someone banged on the wall beside him, and he figured maybe they were making too much noise for 6:37 in the morning. A-Yuan blinked up at him with wide, expectant eyes.
“Why don’t you get out your cereal bowl while A-Die gets dressed, okay?”
A-Yuan loved to do things himself, so Wei Wuxian made sure to keep his little bowls and sippy cups where he could reach them so he felt like he was helping. A-Yuan knew better than to try and pour his own milk, but he always made sure to get out his own bowl and spoon and cup out.
“Okay!” A-Yuan said as he scrambled off the bed.
Wei Wuxian held in his yelp of pain when A-Yuan kneed him right in the groin in his mad scramble for the floor. He should probably be used to it by now, seeing how often A-Yuan’s flailing caught him exactly where it hurt the most, but it still hurt.
As A-Yuan ran into the kitchen, Wei Wuxian let himself have a moment to recover before he finally heaved himself up from bed.
He had stayed up entirely too late the night before, trying to catch up on an illustration that he was behind on, not anticipating having to wake up at his usual time with school cancelled.
He didn’t really know what to expect having A-Yuan home all day for the foreseeable future. He loved his child to tears, but he also didn’t know how he was going to keep up with his work while trying to keep A-Yuan entertained and learning.
He was most certainly not expecting to hear a bloodcurdling scream from A-Yuan while he was halfway through tugging on his pants, but that was one of the joys of fatherhood. He ignored his neighbor pounding on the wall again for them to be quiet as he stumbled into the living room a dazed panic, clutching at the waistband of his pants so as not to trip on them, heart racing, ready for any danger or hurt that A-Yuan might be in.
Or A-Yuan might be fine, just staring out the window, jumping up and down in place in excitement.
“A-Die, look,” A-Yuan called, not turning away from the window. “I see a bunny!”
Wei Wuxian rolled his eyes as he finished pulling his pants up. He should have known. But it wasn’t his fault. A-Yuan’s excited scream sounded just like his scared scream, so it always threw him off.
“A-Yuan, you can’t scream like that, especially so early. You’ll wake people up.”
A-Yuan seemed completely entranced by the rabbit he’d seen, so Wei Wuxian figured he would have a look too. He expected that A-Yuan had seen one on the empty street below, but he was pointing to the apartment directly across from theirs. Sure enough, sitting in the window sill was a big fluffy white rabbit.
“Ah, you’re right.”
He hoped beyond all hope that the next words out of A-Yuan’s mouth weren’t going to be asking for his own rabbit.
“What’s its name?” A-Yuan asked, face pressed against the window. He’d climbed up to kneel on the wide window sill, so Wei Wuxian put a hand on his back to keep him steady. A-Yuan tried to swat Wei Wuxian’s hand away, probably thinking he didn’t need it, but Wei Wuxian didn’t want to risk it.
“Can you ask what its name is?”
“And how am I supposed to do that?”
“Call the people who live there.”
Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but smile. Since he made friends so easily, he tended to know everyone that they interacted with regularly. He knew the lady at the store down the corner, he knew the guy at the subway station, he knew the old lady who ran A-Yuan’s favorite ice cream shop. Naturally, A-Yuan assumed that Wei Wuxian knew everyone.
“I don’t have their number.”
“Send them a letter,” A-Yuan said after a moment of consideration.
“I don’t know which apartment they live in.”
Wei Wuxian laughed and said, “I have to know the number.”
A-Yuan slumped his shoulders down with a pout. The way he stuck his bottom lip stuck out and crossed his arms over his chest was beyond cute, but Wei Wuxian knew better to get him out of the pout before he worked himself to tears. A-Yuan didn’t often throw fits, but when he did, they were loud and memorable, and Wei Wuxian didn’t think he could handle it at 6:41 in the morning.
“I have an idea,” he said, scooping A-Yuan up into his arms. “How about we write a note and stick it to the window. Maybe they’ll see it.”
A-Yuan perked up at the prospect and scrambled out of Wei Wuxian’s arms to run for his art supplies. A-Yuan spent far too long looking through his stack of colored construction paper before deciding on a light purple.
“Uncle said this was the best color,” he explained as he handed it to Wei Wuxian.
Jiang Cheng was grumpy and terrible with kids, but for some reason, A-Yuan adored him. Every time Jiang Cheng came over, A-Yuan followed him around like a little duckling, copying everything he did, repeating things he said, always having Jiang Cheng carry him in his arms.
Wei Wuxian might be jealous that his son seemed to like his brother more than him, but it was too adorable to argue. Besides, Jiang Cheng got so flustered at the attention every time, so it was worth it.
It didn’t take long to write out the note in black marker. A-Yuan had wanted him to use red, but Wei Wuxian didn’t know how visible that would be from a distance.
Once A-Yuan had deemed it acceptable, Wei Wuxian had put it up with one single piece of tape and he expected that to be the end. They got on with breakfast, and then started the day with Wei Wuxian deciding it was nigh past time they’d cleaned and organized the apartment.
A-Yuan seemed very interested in helping clean. He’d helped with the dishes and cleaning the counters. He’d insisted on doing all the sweeping himself with no help (which Wei Wuxian would go over again when A-Yuan was taking his afternoon nap) and he was very particular about how his toys were put away.
It seemed like he’d completely forgotten about the rabbit and the note by the time they’d finished and A-Yuan was intently working in his coloring book as Wei Wuxian pulled out his tablet and got to work himself.
He was startled when A-Yuan jumped up suddenly with no warning to run to the window.
“A-Die, A-Die, look!” He shouted. “They wrote back!”
Wei Wuxian was surprised but pleased. Maybe they were bored, stuck in their apartment too. He followed A-Yuan to the window to read the note for him. A-Yuan was jumping up in place again in excitement.
“The bunny’s gone but they left us a note!”
It was written on simple white paper with neat letters in black marker.
There are two. White one Bean Burrito, black one Cha Cha.
When he told A-Yuan the names, he deemed them very good names and made Wei Wuxian write another note to make sure the owner knew.
Lan Wangji wondered if his guqin practice bothered anyone.
The elderly man who shared a wall with him told him once that he enjoyed it immensely and to play whenever he wanted. But that was one person, and it was said when Lan Wangji wasn’t home but for a few hours during the week. Now he was playing very often every day, and he assumed that it was probably annoying to some if not most of those living around him.
But, since he hadn’t gotten anyone angrily banging on his wall or passive-aggressive notes slipped under his door, he wasn’t going to stop.
When he was a kid, he’d gone through phases of loving and hating guqin lessons. When he was very little, when he got his very first guqin and learned his very first song, he was very proud of it. He’d wanted to be just as good as Father was, he’d wanted to impress Uncle and play for his mother.
After his mother’s funeral, he’d tried to throw his instrument in the trash. Uncle had been furious when he found it laying on the curb with the garbage cans, but Lan Wangji had been adamant that he was done. He didn’t think he had a reason to play anymore so he didn’t want to keep learning. Ditching lessons had been his first act of willful disobedience, but eventually, brother talked him into learning it again.
In high school, Lan Wangji had liked his instrument mainly for the fact that playing it calmed his nerves. As he went through high school, he’d been prone to anxiety attacks and even panic attacks at times. He didn’t like the other kids looking at him and talking about him and trying to be friends with him and making fun of him. It made his skin crawl and his chest tight and his hands shake where he kept them at his sides.
He’d been above begging Uncle to let him homeschool, but he’d almost given in more than once and asked. He didn’t even know why he’d had such a hard time. Lan Xichen told him it was because he didn’t have any friends. He insisted that things would get better if Lan Wangji made friends to sit with at lunch and talk to in class. Lan Wangji didn’t know how to tell him that the idea of talking to the kids at school scared him more than sitting alone.
When he was in college, he had another bout of hating it because it seemed that everyone wanted to talk to him about it since no one else on campus played it. People were always coming up to him when he was practicing and asking him to play them a song or to teach them to play or telling him that he looked hot when he was concentrating on playing. It had been insufferable
He’d settled into loving it again, now that he was older. It still calmed him when he was stressed and overwhelmed, and he composed sometimes, especially when he was feeling overwhelmed. It was how he controlled the emotions he didn’t know what to do with, how he delt with ones he didn’t know how to express. He found it easier to put feelings into song than into words sometimes, so he played.
Currently, though, he was playing because he was bored, believe.
Xichen hadn’t called all day and he had finished all the work he’d been supposed to do early in the morning. His apartment was clean, his rabbits content in their enclosure. That was probably why he ended up checking to see if there was another note.
Even though he assumed that his note was going to be the end of it all, Lan Wangji still found himself peeking past his curtain for another one.
He didn’t know if he was actually expecting a reply, but he found himself almost excited to find another note taped to the window later that afternoon. This one was on light blue paper with orange marker scribbling out the messy message.
NICE NAMES! BEAN BURRITO IS VERY CUTE!
Lan Wangji found himself smiling to himself at the note.
With the afternoon here and nothing better to do, Lan Wangji decided to get his rabbits back out to let them play again.
They seemed to enjoy their extra freedom, and Lan Wangji couldn’t help but enjoy it too.
“Our neighbor said you are very cute,” he told Bean Burrito as he snuggled him in his arms.
Then, he felt embarrassed for talking to a rabbit like that, but the twitch in his rabbit’s nose seemed like a thank you, so he decided to leave another note for the person across the way. What could it hurt?
Wei Wuxian had just woken up from a nap when they saw the next note.
They had both been napping, actually. A-Yuan said that it wasn’t fair that he had to nap and his A-Die didn’t have to, and Wei Wuxian, an adult with responsibilities and usually no time to nap, had suddenly found himself wanting nothing more.
Wei Wuxian had been planning to get up as soon as A-Yuan fell asleep, but that hadn’t happened. He’d been out before his son and slept so deeply that he felt like his limbs were coated in lead by the time he finally cracked his eyes open.
They’d napped on the couch, so, blinking the sleep from his eyes, Wei Wuxian looked over the living room to find A-Yuan still in the room, humming some vague approximation of the alphabet song. He was apparently hard at work drawing something, standing over the coffee table with the most intense expression on his face and a crayon in each fist.
At least he hadn’t woken Wei Wuxian up this time.
“What are you doing, buddy?” Wei Wuxian asked.
A-Yuan didn’t even look up, he just kept scribbling away.
Wei Wuxian sat up and peeked at A-Yuan’s paper to find him drawing pictures that were mostly indecipherable blobs of white and black. He knew better than to guess what they were in case he offended A-Yuan.
A-Yuan looked up at him with a smile and dropped the crayons in his hand to pick up the picture and shove it in Wei Wuxian’s face.
“It’s the bunnies, A-Die,” he said. “Mr. Bunny said there was a black one and a white one. Can’t you tell?”
He most definitely could not, but he’d learned that it was probably the worst thing in the world to critique a four-year-old’s art. It always ended in either a fit or the saddest tears known to man.
Wei Wuxian wanted neither, so he said, “Of course. It’s very good.” Then he laughed. “Though you might want to give them bunny ears or the rabbits might say you drew them wrong.”
A-Yuan gasped dramatically and all but lunged for his crayons again, managing to draw a couple of spiky approximations of ears on his bunnies so that they were almost recognizable.
“Do you want me to show you how to write their names?”
A-Yuan was very keen on showing off his ability to write, so nodded enthusiastically as Wei Wuxian knelt down beside him and pulled out a clean sheet of paper to show him.
By the time they were done, they had three beautiful rabbit drawings and A-Yuan’s careful, childish lettering pointing out which one was which.
When they made their way to the window, A-Yuan let out an excited shout when he saw that there was another sheet of paper in the neighbor's window.
“What does it say, A-Die?” He said, tugging at Wei Wuxian’s pant leg hard enough that he almost pulled them down. “What does it say.”
Bean Burrito says thank you.
A-Yuan’s eyes got huge.
“Bunnies can talk?” He asked, in awe.
Wei Wuxian stifled his laughter as he taped up the drawings.
“No, but they can still be polite,” Wei Wuxian said.
A-Yuan nodded like that made sense, and then he darted over to the table to grab another sheet of paper and a marker.
“Write another one, A-Die,” he announced, holding the paper up to Wei Wuxian.
Wei Wuxian didn’t know how long this was going to last, but he really appreciated the way it kept A-Yuan’s attention off the fact that he was stuck inside.
“Alright, bossy little boy, what do you want it to say?”
Lan Wangji probably shouldn’t care so much about his brother’s roommates’ drama, but here he was riveted as Xichen detailed out the last argument they’d had.
“And Mingjue keeps accusing A-Yao of moving his things even though I told him it was me, and A-Yao keeps yelling at Mingjue to turn down his music.” Xichen took a breath. “But as soon as he does, A-Yao turns his own music up. It’s a mess.”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji agreed.
This had been going on for days with no signs of stopping. Lan Wangji had really expected them to maybe last a week without being at each other’s throats, but apparently they didn’t have that kind of patience.
Xichen sighed and continued.
“Honestly, at the rate they’re going, before this is all over, they’ll either have killed each other or figured out that they want to fuck each other’s brains out.”
Lan Wangji wondered if that would make it better or much, much worse.
“Which one would you prefer?” He asked.
Xichen groaned, and Lan Wangji could just picture the way that he buried his face in his hands.
“At the moment, I’m not sure,” Xichen muttered.
Lan Wangji knew that his brother liked both of his roommates. Xichen tended to be pretty transparent about such things, and even if he wasn’t, it was easy to tell. Since they’d all become roommates, Xichen had hooked up with both of them on separate occasions, but lately, he was trying to slowly coax them into something of a real relationship together.
“I just need them to realize they like each other before anything can happen.”
Lan Wangji had met both Nie Mingjue and Jin Guangyao, and he didn’t see them getting over their differences soon. But, then again, Xichen knew them better than Lan Wangji did, so he was probably the better judge of things. Lan Wangji just didn’t want him to get his hopes up and his heart broken.
“Well, enough about me, anything new with you?”
Lan Wangji hesitated for a second, wondering if he should tell about the window notes.
He decided against it, afraid Xichen might lecture him about talking to strangers. That or get weirdly excited and proud that Lan Wangji was actually interacting with someone without being forced to. No, better not tell him now. He could slip it into conversation later, after this whole thing was over, as a cute little anecdote or something.
“No. Nothing new.”
Xichen made an unhappy noise.
“Wangji, I just—”
“Xichen,” Lan Wangji interrupted, not up to getting one of Xichen’s talks about how he thought Lan Wangi was lonely. “I know. I’m fine, though.”
Xichen let out a sad sigh.
“I just worry, Wangji,” he said. “You’re all alone.”
“I have you,” Lan Wangji said. “And my rabbits. I’m not alone.”
Xichen paused and Lan Wangji could practically taste the concern in the air, seeping over his phone speaker.
“But are you happy?” Xichen asked.
“I—” Lan Wangji paused, thinking over his words. He was content, but happy...he didn’t know. He didn’t think he knew how to be happy. He didn’t think he’d ever learned how. “I’m fine.”
There was a crash in the background and muffled shouting interrupting whatever he’d been about to say.
“I’ve got to go, Wangji. They’re going at it again.”
There was another crash and a shriek from what sounded like Nie Mingjue.
“Sorry for lecturing you,” Xichen said with a sigh. “You know it’s just because I love you.”
“I know,” Lan Wangji said. “I love you too.”
Lan Wangji always felt more alone after he got off the phone with Xichen, so he decided to look out the window to see if there was another note.
He was pleasantly surprised to find that the next note was accompanied by several drawings, obviously done by a small child. They were hard to make out from the distance, but Lan Wangji was sure that the black and white blobs with two spikes emerging from one end were his rabbits. He was utterly charmed by the pictures.
He took out his phone to snap a picture before turning back into his apartment to go fetch his rabbits.
He felt kind of silly for collecting them and holding them up to the window so that they could see the drawings, but he did it anyway. They deserved to know that they were appreciated.
The note was just as messy and frenetic as the other ones had been, in a bright orange paper with green marker ink all in capitals with wild exclamation points.
CAN WE SEE CHA CHA???
Lan Wangji thought for a second about leaving Cha Cha on the window sill for them to see, but he knew that he wouldn’t stay there. Undoubtedly he would hop down as soon as Lan Wangji let go of him. Plus, it was almost dark, so they wouldn't be able to see him for very much longer anyway.
As he prepared his dinner, Lan Wangji put it in his mind to write a reply tomorrow morning.
Wei Wuxian was making his bed.
He hadn’t made his bed in probably four months at this point, but he figured there was no time like the present.
Madame Yu and he used to get into the worst arguments about it every morning. Madame Yu always insisted that beds should be made first thing every morning no argument. Wei Wuxian, young, rebellious, messy, hadn’t seen the point. Honestly, he still didn’t see the point in making the bed in the morning if he was just going to mess it up in the evening again.
Now that he was older, he understood more why he should make his bed, he still didn’t do it most of the time, mostly because of lingering resentment towards Madame Yu that he hadn’t worked through.
A-Yuan was already up and about.
His bed was made already. Wei Wuxian had no idea where A-Yuan had learned it, but he made his little bed every morning, making sure to place all of his stuffed animals exactly where they belonged. He must have learned it from one of his shows, or maybe from spending the night with His sister.
Whatever it was, A-Yuan made his bed every morning and sometimes lectured Wei Wuxian on making his own, even though it never worked.
But Wei Wuxian was going a little stir crazy from not being able to go out and see anyone or do anything, so here he was, making his bed.
He honestly had no idea where he had gotten all of these fancy throw pillows. Had His sister gotten them for him? Had they come with his comforter?
“A-Die!” A-Yuan called across the apartment, interrupting his pillow musings. “There’s another note!”
And then, as was common with having a young child, there was a thud and then a beat of silence before A-Yuan let out a loud cry.
Wei Wuxian dropped the pillows on the ground and took off for the living room. A-Yuan was on his feet when he got there, so that was a good sign, but he was crying so Wei Wuxian still picked him up and cuddled him close.
“You’re okay, sweetheart,” He soothed. “What happened?”
“I...fell...off...the...window,” A-Yuan cried. In between each word he took a hitching breath, but Wei Wuxian knew that most of it was dramatics and the fact that he’d scared himself by falling.
Wei Wuxian pulled back so he could wipe the tears on A-Yuan’s cheeks.
“Where does it hurt?”
A-Yuan stopped crying for a second to think before he held out his elbow with an exaggerated whimper of pain.
There was a little pink spot from where it had probably hit against the floor when he fell, but the skin wasn’t broken, so Wei Wuxian wasn’t too worried.
“Kiss it?” A-Yuan asked pitifully.
Wen Qing hated that A-Yuan still thought kisses helped make cuts and bruises feel better. She thought that he was old enough to not believe in magical kisses. But she also didn’t have to deal with a four-year-old who cried until his hurt got kissed. Wei Wuxian was going to hold on to that trick until A-Yuan stopped believing it.
“You said there was another note?” Wei Wuxian asked, hoping to distract him after he’d kissed his elbow.
It seemed to do the trick because A-Yuan immediately stopped cradling his elbow with all the tenderness of someone who’d broken a bone and snapped his head over to the window. He pointed his finger to the apartment across the way.
“Yeah, look, A-Die. There’s a person putting the note!”
And sure enough, there was a man in the window looking out over them. He looked like he had paused in the middle of taping his piece of paper up.
Cha Cha doesn’t like to sit still.
Wei Wuxian didn’t care much about that as he stared across the gap between their buildings at what was definitely the most beautiful person he had ever seen in his entire life. From what Wei Wuxian could see, the man was tall with long dark hair, wearing what seemed to be a nice ironed shirt, crisp blue, paired with patterned pajama pants.
When the man made to duck back behind the curtain, Wei Wuxian waved to stop him, not quite willing to lose sight of that beautiful face yet.
When Lan Wangji finally remembered to respond to the window notes, it was late morning.
As he taped up his piece of paper, neatly written and legible, he glanced to the other apartment only to see a little boy sitting in the window sill staring at him with wide eyes. He must have been the one writing the notes.
The kid waved at him very enthusiastically. Actually, too enthusiastically, because his movement caused him to tumble backwards off where he was sitting. Lan Wangji found himself reaching out instinctively like he could stop him from falling, even though there was nothing he could do from his own apartment.
The boy stood up again, and Lan Wangji felt bad for making him fall, especially when he realized that the kid was crying.
He didn’t know what to do. It’s not like he could comfort him or help out. Was it wrong of him to just drop his curtain and go back to his apartment? Should he call for an ambulance? What if the kid was really hurt?
Thankfully, before Lan Wangji’s panic could escalate any farther, the boy turned and reached out for what must have been his father, who swooped in and scooped him up into his arms.
Lan Wangji couldn’t hear anything they were saying, but he figured that even if he hadn’t been a whole alleyway apart in his own building, he still wouldn’t be able to hear them because he was so dazzled by the man.
He looked young, probably around Lan Wangji’s age, and he was so handsome that it took Lan Wangji’s breath away. He was still in his pajamas and his shoulder-length hair was messy from sleep it seemed. It wasn’t just his looks, either, it was the sweet smile on his face and the gentle way he wiped the tears off his child’s chubby cheeks.
Then, the boy pointed over at him, and Lan Wangji was suddenly aware that he was being super creepy, watching them like he was. He made to duck back behind the curtain, but he was stopped by an enthusiastic wave.
And he was dazzled by his bright smile, so it was like his feet were rooted to the ground.
The guy put his kid down and scrambled around for a second before coming back with a piece of paper and a marker. Lan Wangji watched, nervous, unsure what to do, as the man pulled the cap off with his teeth and wrote out a quick note.
HI! IT’S NICE TO FINALLY SEE YOU!!!
So apparently he was the one scribbling out the messy notes, not the kid. Lan Wangji felt bad for assuming a child had written them, though, in his defence, the man really needed to work on his penmanship.
The man held it up before scribbling something on the back side of the page as well, turning it around so Lan Wangji could see.
THANK YOU FOR INDULGING MY SON LOVES BUNNIES
Lan Wangji watched, utterly entranced, as the kid tugged at the hem of his father’s shirt to get his attention.
The man listened intently, and his face lit up as he grabbed another piece of paper and scribbled another note.
CAN YOU BRING CHA CHA SO WE CAN SEE???
Lan Wangji barely had time to read it before the man turned the paper over to write another note.
IF NOT DONT WORRY SORRY TO BE A BOTHER
Lan Wangji ducked back into his apartment, heart racing, ears flushed red as he went to grab both his rabbits from their enclosure. Why not? He didn’t have anything to do and this was more interesting than anything else he’d done over the past few days other than listen to his brother’s roommates’ stupid endless drama.
He decided not to think about the fact that maybe perhaps he was doing this because he wanted to see that man’s smile again.
Besides, the man had a kid, he was probably married. Lan Wangji shouldn’t think like that.
With both rabbits securely in his arms, Lan Wangji made his way back through his apartment, stopping only briefly to write out a quick note.
The little boy clapped his hands together in joy as he stepped back into sight, and Lan Wangji tried to ignore the way his stomach filled with butterflies at the man’s lovely smile.
He placed Bean Burrito on the window sill, making sure to pull the curtains out of nibbling range, but he kept Cha Cha in his arms. He tended to be more rambunctious, and Lan Wangji just knew that as soon as he put him down, he’d be off like a shot.
With Cha Cha securely in his arms, he held up the note.
He looked back out to the occupants of the other apartment only to find the little boy leaned forward completely with his nose pressed completely against the window, gaping at his rabbits. The man looked up to meet Lan Wangji’s eyes with a soft smile. He mouthed what Lan Wangji assumed was ‘thank you’ across the way.
After a bit, the boy pulled away and said something to the man.
The man thought for a second and then nodded before pulling out another piece of paper.
IM WEI YING AND THIS IS A-YUAN YOU DONT HAVE TO GIVE YOUR NAME IF YOU DONT WANT
The words were cramped on the page, but Lan Wangji could still make out what they said.
Xichen would probably scold him for giving out personal information to a stranger, but his brother also might be proud of him for making a friend, if this counted as making a friend. He figured it couldn’t hurt, plus it would be rude not to return the favor.
I am Lan Zhan. Nice to meet you.
Wei Wuxian liked having a name to the beautiful face of his window neighbor.
It fit him. It was nice and neat and flowed well, almost poetic.
A-Yuan insisted on calling him Mister Bunny, and Wei Wuxian thought it was too cute to correct. It’s not like Lan Zhan would know, anyway.
For some reason, Wei Wuxian couldn’t get Lan Zhan out of his head. It wasn’t just because the man was unbelievably gorgeous, though that didn’t hurt. It was the way Lan Zhan had responded to their window missive and indulged in A-Yuan’s endless questions. It was the way he’d held his bunnies so close like they were precious, so small against the broad expanse of his chest. It was the neat way he wrote and the way he seemed to be very serious but had bunnies with the worst names imaginable.
When His sister called him to check in, he hadn’t been able to stop himself from gushing about his cute window neighbor and the notes they’d passed back and forth.
“Ah, A-Xian, leave it to you to still make friends when you’re stuck inside,” she laughed.
“I made a friend too!” A-Yuan called. He was sitting beside Wei Wuxian playing with a couple of toy cars while Wei Wuxian talked with his sister.
“Good job, A-Yuan!”
Wei Wuxian smiled as A-Yuan continued.
“Mister Bunny is very nice, even though he doesn’t smile at all,” he said, putting his cars down to talk into the phone. “Plus he’s really pretty. But not as pretty as you! Or A-Die.”
Wei Wuxian would argue that Lan Zhan was prettier than he was, but he doubted he could change A-Yuan’s mind.
“A-Die thinks he’s pretty too. I know ‘cause he keeps talking about it.”
Wei Wuxian let out a squawk and tickled A-Yuan’s tummy so that he would stop talking. He couldn’t handle his child letting all his secrets loose like that.
“How’s being stuck with the peacock?” Wei Wuxian cut in, hoping to distract from what A-Yuan had said. “Terrible, I bet.”
He didn’t want his sister grilling him about the embarrassing crush he had on his window neighbor.
A-Jie laughed, but didn’t ask about it.
“You mean my husband who I have been happily married to for four years?” She asked. She thought the feud between her brother and her husband was funny, but she never encouraged it. “We’re doing great! He’s upset that all his games are suspended for the time being, but he’s managing. He is going stir crazy, but so am I, and I’m not nearly as active as he is.”
His sister’s husband was some big-shot football player, and apparently he was pretty good too, not that Wei Wuxian had gone to any of his matches. Okay, maybe he had, and maybe he’d liked it, but he would never tell Jin Zixuan that.
Besides, how hard was it to kick a ball around? A-Yuan could do it. A-Ling could probably do it and he was still unsteady on his feet, being barely two. Though Wei Wuxian had been terrible at football in school (again not that he would tell Jin Zixuan).
“Well, it will do him good to spend more time with you and A-Ling,” Wei Wuxian said, mainly to be contrary. “He spends too much time away from you. It’s not right for him to leave you alone all the time.”
“Hey, I don’t leave her alone all the time!” Jin Zixuan called out suddenly.
“A-Jie!” Wei Wuxian accused. “Do you have me on speaker?”
She laughed and that was as good as a confession.
“How could you?” He lamented. “I trusted you.”
He didn’t actually mind that he’d accidentally bared his soul in front of Jin Zixuan because he knew his sister would tell him all he’d said anyway. It was just a matter of principle that he was offended.
A-Yuan was giggling along with Jiang Yanli, though Wei Wuxian was sure he didn’t know what was so funny.
“I’m baking,” she said. “I needed my hands free. He was just passing through anyway, so don’t worry, he didn’t hear everything.”
“How’s your weird crush on your neighbor?” Jin Zixuan asked, taunting.
Wei Wuxian let out another offended noise and hung up the phone. He could call his sister later when he wasn’t there to listen in.
A-Yuan let out his own offended noise.
“Why did you hang up?” He demanded, grabbing the phone from Wei Wuxian’s hands. “I wanted to talk!”
Wei Wuxian rolled his eyes.
“If you want to talk to them, you call them. I don’t want to listen to Uncle Peacock’s annoying voice.”
Wei Wuxian had taught A-Yuan to call Jin Zixuan Uncle Peacock in hopes of getting on his nerves, but Jin Zixuan had the gall to think it was cute.
“He isn’t annoying, A-Die. Uncle Peacock is cool.”
Wei Wuxian would never be over the fact that A-Yuan thought Jin Zixuan, Jin Zixuan of all people, was cool. He blamed his stupid football playing.
While A-Yuan called them back, Wei Wuxian went back into the living room to clean up from lunch. He trusted A-Yuan with his phone. His four-year-old seemed to know how to work it better than he did sometimes, so he didn’t mind leaving it with him.
He let his mind drift to the window notes and the man behind them.
Sure, he had a crush, but it wasn’t a big deal. Lan Zhan was stuck over there, and Wei Wuxian was stuck over here. It’s not like it was anything more than something to pass the time. No doubt when this was all over, they would go back to their own lives and this would be a funny story to tell about quarantine.
Though, Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but be a little fond of his neighbor and his little rabbits and short, succinct responses to A-Yuan’s endless stream of questions and requests about his rabbits.
He probably should have refrained from writing any more notes, but he was bored and didn’t have anything better to do.
Over the course of the last few days, there were more notes exchanged.
Most of them were just simple things.
HOPE YOU AREN’T GOING CRAZY IN QUARANTINE
I’m fine so far.
DID YOU LIKE A-YUAN’S DRAWINGS???
Yes. They’re very good
A-YUAN SAYS THANK YOU AND HE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU LIKE FAIRY TALES
I do. The Little Mermaid is my favorite.
LITTLE MERMAID IS SO GOOD. A-YUAN LIKES RAPUNZEL BEST.
Rapunzel is good.
A-YUAN WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY BROTHERS OR SISTERS
Yes. One older brother.
At first, Lan Wangji had never initiated any conversation, too shy to do anything more than respond to the notes that were put up, but as the days went by, he actually started getting more involved.
Do you have any pets?
HAHA NO. OUR APARTMENT DOESN’T ALLOW THEM :(
WHAT MADE YOU GET RABBITS???
I wanted rabbits when I was young and wasn’t allowed.
It got to the point where they would sit at their respective windows and pass notes back and forth, A-Yuan having Wei Wuxian write notes for him, and Lan Wangji responding and writing notes of his own. It was a way to pass the time, and Lan Wangji found himself looking forward to talking to the two.
A-Yuan put up drawings often, not just of the rabbits, but one of Lan Wangji and another of A-Yuan and Wei Wuxian. One that Wei Wuxian explained was his room because he wanted Wangji to know that he had a lot of stuffed animals.
Lan Wangji couldn’t help but be charmed by the little family across from him, even as he tried to tell himself that he shouldn’t get attached, that this had to end sometime. Though, there didn’t seem to be anyone else living in their apartment, so he secretly held onto the hope that Wei Wuxian was single.
Then, one afternoon, he peeked out his window to see two notes tacked onto the window, Wei Wuxian standing behind them, obviously waiting on him.
When Lan Wangji stepped up to the window sill, Wei Wuxian gave a little wave that he returned, before pointing to the notes.
WE’RE GOING TO RUN OUT OF PAPER IF WE KEEP THIS UP
TEXT ME??? YOU DONT HAVE TO BUT IT WOULD BE EASIER
Lan Wangji thought it over for a second before nodding.
Wei Wuxian quickly wrote out his number and held it up for Lan Wangji to see.
For some reason, his heart was pounding in his chest. This made it more real. If Lan Wangji exchanged numbers with Wei Wuxian, it wouldn’t be as simple as keeping his curtains closed if he wanted all this to stop. Giving his number was a new step, a more personal step.
Lan Wangji never gave his number out unless he had to, and the only numbers in his contacts that weren’t necessary for work were Xichen’s, Uncle’s and Nie Huaisang. He only had Nie Huaisang’s number because he was the closest thing to a friend that Lan Wangji had growing up, forced together because their brothers were best friends. Nie Huaisang still texted him sometimes just to check in, though that was mostly an excuse to get all the gossip about his brother’s roommate drama because Nie Mingjue was tight-lipped about it, and Xichen told Lan Wangji everything.
Lan Wangji carefully typed Wei Wuxian’s number into his phone before he even realized he was going to, but he agonized over whether or not he should send a text.
Then he glanced up at Wei Wuxian’s warm smile and sent a simple greeting.
His phone buzzed almost instantly with a response.
Lan Wangji couldn’t help but smile. He could almost picture the way Wei Wuxian would have written that in his notes with misshapen question marks and wildly colored markers.
And that was that.
A-Yuan still taped up pictures for Lan Wangji, but now when Wei Wuxian wanted to talk, he texted. It was kind of awkward at first, but that was probably because Lan Wangji was rusty at these kinds of social skills.
The more texts they sent, the more at ease Lan Wangji felt.
-do you have any advice on how to make a four-year-old stay in bed past 6:30???
-oh sorry if youre still asleep
-tho something tells me youre an early riser
Lan Wangji had gotten used to Wei Wuxian’s string of texts, so he wasn’t surprised that his phone buzzed
-No advice. Sorry. I have always been an early riser.
Lan Wangji was glad there was no one around to see the way Wei Wuxian’s response had him grinning into his phone.
-does that mean he’ll be like this forever???
-will i get no peace until he’s old and moved out???
Lan Wangji enjoyed every stupid conversation they had, and he couldn’t help the way his heart rate picked up every time his phone buzzed with a new notification.
Wei Wuxian hadn’t meant to call Lan Wangji, it was just that he had so much to say, and it would have been a bitch to type it all up.
Lan Wangji picked up on the third ring, and Wei Wuxian didn’t even respond to his greeting before going off.
“Lan Zhan, sorry for calling you so suddenly. Feel free to hang up if you don’t want to talk to me, but I just have too many words to write out in a text. Ah, I’m so excited!”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji said, which Wei Wuxian took as a go-ahead.
“My sister just called to tell me that she’s pregnant again!” He shouted. He almost felt bad for yelling, but he was just too excited.
“Her and her husband have talked about having another baby, but I didn’t know they were already trying. Apparently, they’ve known for several weeks now, and her husband accidentally let it slip last time we were on the phone. I’m not supposed to tell anyone in my family yet because they want to tell everyone together, but since you don’t know any of them, I figured it was safe to tell you!”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji hummed from the other side to show that he was still listening.
“I mean, this isn’t the most ideal time of course, but when is, right?” He continued.
He’d been jumping around his apartment all afternoon, overflowing with the news. His first instinct had been to call Jiang Cheng, but A-Jie had asked him to keep it a secret, so he didn’t. He didn’t even tell A-Yuan because he was a notorious secret-spiller.
“So yeah, my sister is pregnant and I’m super excited because she deserves the world and she and her husband are so good together—don’t tell him I said that—and I’m just so happy for them.”
He paused to breath after spewing out the whole thing.
“Anyway, sorry for interrupting your day with all this shouting.”
“I don’t mind,” Lan Wangji said. “You can tell your sister congratulations for me if you want.”
And Wei Wuxian froze where he’d been pacing around the kitchen. His breath caught in his throat in the wake of Lan Wangji speaking as he realized that this was the first time he’d heard his voice. The sound of it had Wei Wuxian’s heart racing. It was low and deep, smooth in a way that made Wei Wuxian wonder if he sang.
“Ahaha, thanks, Lan Zhan,” he said around his suddenly dry throat. “I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.”
There was an awkward pause where Wei Wuxian didn’t know what to say and Lan Wangji didn’t speak, where Wei Wuxian thought about hanging up. Then, A-Yuan walked into the room, rubbing his sleepy eyes after waking up from his nap.
He walked up to Wei Wuxian and held his hands out to be picked up, laying his sleepy head on his shoulder as soon as he was settled.
“Who’s that on the phone?” He asked in his little tired voice.
Wei Wuxian loved sleepy cuddly A-Yuan. He was so sweet.
“It’s Lan Zhan.”
Then, A-Yuan jerked his head up, instantly awake, and grabbed for the phone.
“I wanna talk to Mister Bunny,” he said, making grabby hands for the phone.
Wei Wuxian held it out of his reach.
“A-Yuan, do we just tell people to do things, or do we ask?” Wei Wuxian reminded. He was bad at giving A-Yuan whatever he wanted, and he was trying to teach him to ask for things instead of demanding. “Also, you shouldn’t just grab my phone out of my hands. That’s rude.”
A-Yuan slumped in his arms with a pout.
“Yes, A-Die.” He pulled his hands back and looked up with pleading eyes. “Please can I talk to Mister Bunny?”
Wei Wuxian wondered if there would ever be a time he’d be able to say no to that face.
“I’ll ask,” he said, putting the phone back up to his ear, hoping Lan Wangji hadn’t hung up yet. “Lan Zhan, A-Yuan wants to talk to you.”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji said, “Okay.”
Wei Wuxian made his way into the living room to sit on the couch as he put the phone on speaker.
He nodded at A-Yuan to talk, but it seemed that he’d gotten shy because he buried his face in Wei Wuxian’s shoulder again.
“A-Yuan?” Lan Wangji asked, sounding hesitant.
Wei Wuxian was still not over how beautiful his voice was.
“Mister Bunny?” A-Yuan asked.
Oh yeah, Lan Wangji didn’t know that A-Yuan called him that.
“Aha, Sorry Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian said. “He just started calling you that and I didn’t have the heart to correct him. It’s too cute.”
“Mn, cute,” Lan Wangji agreed.
He still sounded hesitant, but at least he wasn’t upset at the nickname.
When A-Yuan still didn’t say anything, Wei Wuxian nudged him.
“What did you want to say to him?”
A-Yuan hesitantly leaned over the phone before saying, “I love you,” and then burying his face back in Wei Wuxian’s shoulder.
“Um,” Lan Wangji said again as Wei Wuxian burst into laughter.
As Wei Wuxian laughed, A-Yuan leaned back up to the phone.
“You’re supposed to say it back.”
Wei Wuxian laughed harder, and before he could tell him that he didn’t actually have to say it back if he didn’t want to, Lan Wangji spoke.
“Love you too,” he said.
It was clipped and embarrassed, but it seemed to satisfy A-Yuan who scrambled out of Wei Wuxian’s arms to make his way over to the window.
“Come to the window so I can see you, Mister Bunny,” A-Yuan shouted, scrambling up into the chair Wei Wuxian had left here so he didn't have to worry about falling off the windowsill again.
“You don’t have to, Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian said as he made his way to the window.
His heart was pounding at the idea of being able to see Lan Wangji and talk to him at the same time. It seemed too intimate, even though he knew it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
“It’s fine,” Lan Wangji said. “Does A-Yuan want me to bring my rabbits?”
A-Yuan threw his hands up and cheered.
“Bunnies, bunnies, bunnies!” He shouted, bouncing in the chair.
“I think that’s a yes,” Wei Wuxian laughed. “But only if you’re okay with it.”
When Lan Wangji pulled back the curtain with a rabbit in each arm, Wei Wuxian could have swooned.
He looked so beautiful in his sweater, hair down and laying over his shoulders.
Wei Wuxian almost asked if his hair was as soft as it looked, but then he realized that if he did that, he would die of embarrassment. Then who would take care of A-Yuan?
“Hi,” Lan Wangji said, looking out and meeting Wei Wuxian’s eyes.
There was a slight delay over the phone, but Wei Wuxian’s heart still raced. He cursed himself for reacting like a teenager with a crush, but he couldn’t help it.
“Hi Mister Bunny,” A-Yuan called. “I can see you and your bunnies.”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji responded. “We can see you.”
Wei Wuxian wondered if it was a bad sign that he never wanted to look away from Lan Wangji.
They talked for the longest time, A-Yuan filling most of the time with his excited chatter, Lan Wangji not talking much, but answering A-Yuan’s questions and responding when he needed to.
After the call ended and Lan Wangji’s curtain firmly back in place, Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but picture Lan Wangji’s voice. The way it had said his name, how gentle it was as he talked to A-Yuan.
“A-Die,” A-Yuan said.
“Hmm?” Wei Wuxian questioned, phone clutched to his chest like something precious, overwarm from the length of their call.
“Can Mister Bunny come live with us?”
Wei Wuxian laughed the question away, but a part of him wouldn’t be opposed to spending more time with the man.
“I made a friend.”
The length of Xichen’s pause was honestly insulting, and Lan Wangji almost hung up on him.
“You made a friend?” Xichen asked eventually, slowly, failing to mask the incredulity in his voice.
“Yes. Two friends, actually.”
Lan Wangji hoped the defensiveness wasn’t evident in his voice. Though, with how good Xichen was at reading him, he was sure it was clear.
Xichen’s laughter was not appreciated.
“Sorry, Wangji, I’m just surprised.”
Lan Wangji might actually be offended if he didn’t know that his brother had his best interests in heart. He knew Xichen worried about him, just as he knew that Xichen was painfully aware of the fact that Lan Wangji had never made a friend on purpose in his entire life.
“Surprised that I made a friend?”
That was just to tease.
Xichen laughed again and said, “Surprised that you decided that the time to put yourself out there was during a global pandemic. What are their names?”
“Wei Ying and A-Yuan.”
“Ah!” Xichen sounded surprised. “Calling him so familiar?”
“A-Yuan is a child,” Lan Wangji said, and then realizing how weird his brother might think him being friends with a four-year-old was, he continued. “Wei Ying’s son.”
“So, how did you become friends with them?”
Xichen listened to the whole story, and Lan Wangji hoped he wouldn’t think it odd or inappropriate. He knew the way they had met was strange, but he didn’t know how he would handle his brother disapproving of his new friendship.
“Wow Wangji,” Xichen said, and Lan Wangji waited on bated breath for him to continue. “That’s so cute.”
He could hear the smile in Xichen’s voice.
“Mn,” he said, relieved that he hadn’t suggested he stop talking to Wei Wuxian.
“You sound happy,” Xichen said. There was a hesitant note to his voice that Lan Wangji didn’t fail to pick up on. “Sorry if I’m overstepping, but do you like Wei Wuxian?”
Lan Wangji felt himself flush as he purposefully misinterpreted the question.
“Of course I like him. He is my friend. I like him and A-Yuan.”
There was a pause in which Lan Wangji assumed Xichen was rolling his eyes.
“Alright, Wangji, play dumb,” he said. “But be careful. I don’t want you getting hurt if you get too attached.”
Lan Wangji thought it was pretty hypocritical of him to warn Lan Wangji about getting hurt when he was always encouraging him to put himself out there, but he wasn’t going to call him out on it.
“I know, Xichen,” he said.
There was barely a minute of respite after his call ended with Xichen before his phone rang again, this time, Wei Wuxian’s contact lighting up his screen.
“Sorry, Lan Zhan, A-Yuan got done with his lessons and wanted to call,” Wei Wuxian said.
A-Yuan interjected, “Hi Mister Bunny!”
Lan Wangji settled onto the windowsill so he could see them as they talked. He figured that it may be too late for him to be worried about getting attached.
A-Yuan chattered about his day as Wei Wuxian interjected with little anecdotes about what he’d done. Lan Wangji told them how the rabbits were doing and what he’d had for lunch and his call with his brother.
Suddenly, in the middle of his sentence, Wei Wuxian stopped and said, “Hey, Lan Zhan, send me a selfie, I can’t see you very well from way over here.”
Lan Wangji had never taken a selfie before. He knew the mechanics behind it, but he didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of Wei Wuxian and A-Yuan.
“I don’t know how.”
Wei Wuxian laughed through his whole explanation, and Lan Wangji almost didn’t want to send the picture when he figured it out because his ears were obviously burning bright red in the photo and he didn’t want Wei Ying to notice.
He sent it anyway and stared across the way into Wei Wuxian’s apartment in nervous anticipation.
He wasn’t sure what it meant when Wei Wuxian buried his face in his hands and groaned, but A-Yuan had him bushing even harder when he said, “You’re pretty, Mister Bunny.”
Wei Wuxian looked at the picture again and then buried his face back in his hands.
“Is it not good?” He asked, anxious.
Wei Wuxian shook his head, but A-Yuan was the one to speak.
“No, it’s good,” he said. “A-Die just thinks you’re really pretty too.”
As Wei Wuxian hissed out A-Yuan’s name, Lan Wangji’s stomach erupted into butterflies.
“It’s true, you already said,” A-Yuan continued, only stopping when Wei Wuxian started tickling him.
Lan Wangji wasn’t sure that he would ever get his ears back to a normal color, if the way they burned red was any indication.
“A-Die,” A-Yuan said between giggles. “Stop, we need to send Mister Bunny a picture too.”
Lan Wangji wanted to see Wei Wuxian’s face up close so badly, but at the same time, he was sure it would destroy him.
He couldn’t look away as Wei Wuxian posed A-Yuan and himself for the picture to send him.
Lan Wangji’s hands were shaky as he stared at Wei Wuxian’s bright eyes and wide smile, his blush such a dark red against his cheeks, A-Yuan smiling so sweetly from his arms. His heart pounded hard in his chest.
Uh oh. He was in trouble.
Wei Wuxian was getting too attached to Lan Wangji and so was A-Yuan.
They talked every day now. They video called when they were bored and spent time in front of their windows talking on the phone.
Every time Jiang Cheng or A-Jie called, all A-Yuan talked about was Mister Bunny, and Wei Wuxian was embarrassed to admit all he talked about was Lan Wangji too.
He used to hope that Lan Wangji would still talk to them after all this was over, but now he knew he would. They were so close, and he could only assume that Lan Wangji felt the same way. Lan Wangji had admitted once that he didn’t have many friends, and that Wei Wuxian was the only person he talked to other than his brother.
He wanted to ask Lan Wangji out so badly that it hurt, but he also didn’t want to ruin what they had.
Wei Wuxian hadn’t felt like this in a long time. Honestly, he didn’t know if he’d ever felt that way. He had connected with Lan Wangji so quickly that it kind of scared him.
Since he’d adopted A-Yuan, Wei Wuxian had put his dating life completely on hold. At first he’d been too busy figuring out how to navigate life with a child to even think about putting himself out there. Then, he’d been too worried about bringing someone into A-Yuan’s life who might not stay to date.
He’d settled into being content being single, raising A-Yuan and putting off any romance until some undetermined distant future.
But then Lan Wangji had shown up and all of that had jumped out the window.
He knew that he should probably be careful, that he shouldn’t let himself fall too quickly, but there was something about Lan Wangji that had every one of his walls dropping, every guard he had up shattered in the face of Lan Wangji’s quiet beauty, his sweet heart, his gentle smile.
“Maybe you should be careful,” Jiang Cheng told him when Wei Wuxian had called him and blurted everything out. “You don’t know anything about this guy.”
Wei Wuxian knew. Of course he knew, but he couldn’t help but think about how patient Lan Wangji was with A-Yuan and how he was always willing to listen to Wei Wuxian ramble on the phone.
He was getting too attached, but he couldn’t find it in himself to take a step back.
Lan Wangji was not expecting to get a phone call in the middle of the night, and he almost ignored it. Then, he figured that if someone was calling him now, it must be an emergency.
The brightness of his screen was too much for the darkness of the room, but once he focused, he could see Wei Wuxian’s name clearly at the top. He didn’t hesitate to answer.
There was a pause on the other end before some muffled shifting and little puffs of breath.
“A-Yuan?” Lan Wangji asked, because it was certainly not Wei Wuxian.
“I miss you,” A-Yuan said, whispering, probably in hopes of not waking Wei Wuxian up.
Lan Zhan was helpless against the fond smile that crept over his lips. He’d never really thought about having children. He liked silence too much, but he thought that he might be okay with this child being in his life. Then he realized that was a silly thought to have.
“I saw you earlier,” Lan Wangji replied, sitting up in bed and turning his lamp on.
“I miss seeing you in real life.”
He sounded so upset, but Lan Wangji couldn’t help but let out a huff of laughter.
“You’ve never seen me in real life,” he said.
A-Yuan was silent for a second before he answered, “Oh.”
Lan Wangji could hear the pout in his voice.
There was another pause, and it was so long that Lan Wangji almost thought that A-Yuan had fallen asleep on the other end. Then, A-Yuan spoke, and it sounded more confused than sad.
“So you never hugged me?”
Lan Wangji wondered after the minds of children. He knew A-Yuan was only four, but he didn’t have enough experience with children to know if this was how four-year-olds thought.
“But I dreamed you hugged me.” A Yuan let out a long yawn before continuing. “Does that count?”
Lan Wangji felt such a fondness for the little boy.
“Do you give good hugs?” A-Yuan continued.
Lan Wangji thought for a second. It struck him suddenly that he couldn’t remember the last time he’d hugged someone or even been hugged. The only person who would have any reason to hug him would be his brother, but Xichen respected Lan Wangji’s aversion to touch too much.
Had he been hugged since his mother passed away?
Lan Wangji was suddenly fighting back tears at the thought.
“I don’t know.”
His voice was thick with tears but A-Yuan didn’t seem to notice.
“Well, next time I see you in real life, you can give me a hug and then we’ll know.”
That sounded nice.
As he wiped a tear from his cheek, Lan Wangji wondered if he was emotional because it was so late or if there was something bigger bothering him. He didn’t really want to think about it, so he was glad that A-Yuan kept talking.
“A-Die’s a good hugger, so you should have him hug too. He can teach you. Is your A-Die a good hugger?”
“I don’t know,” Lan Wangji said again.
He couldn’t remember his father being affectionate, even when he was young. And then he’d dropped Lan Wangji and Xichen at Uncle’s as soon as Mother’s funeral was over. Lan Wangji hadn’t seen him again. He sent birthday cards sometimes, though he remembered Xichen’s birthday more often. Once he had called, drunk, in tears as Xichen and he pressed the phone between them and listened to him apologize and beg them to forgive him for not being able to keep it together after their mother died.
Xichen had. Xichen was a better person than Lan Wangji, though.
Uncle had been outraged when Lan Wangji refused to go to Father’s funeral, but Xichen had understood.
“Well, you can hug my A-Die as much as you want. He’s a good hugger,” A-Yuan said, breaking Lan Wangji from his morose thoughts.
Lan Wangji smiled through his tears. He didn’t doubt it.
Then there was muffled shifting on the other end and sleepy mumbling. Lan Wangji was embarrassed at the way his heart thumped in his chest when he recognized Wei Wuxian’s sleepy voice mumbling something incoherent.
“Uh oh, I don’t want to wake A-Die up.”
“But I don’t want to go to sleep,” A-Yuan said. He sounded sleepy, but Lan Wangji knew how stubborn he could be in regards to such things. “I want to see you.”
Lan Wangji was so tired, but he didn’t have anything scheduled early the next morning so he didn’t mind.
“Window,” Lan Wangji replied, mainly because he didn’t want to video call with the possibility that A-Yuan might see any lingering tears.
As he made his way to the living room, he smiled at the soft sounds of A-Yuan’s feet making their way across his own apartment and the little sound of the phone brushing against his chest where he clutched it as he went.
“It’s dark,” A-Yuan said. He’d forgotten to put the phone back up to his ear, so Lan Wangji could barely hear him. “I can’t see you.”
He sounded a little scared, so Lan Wangji turned on the light to let A-Yuan see into his apartment. He spared a brief thought that anyone looking out their window would be able to see him, but A-Yuan was more important.
“Is that better?” Lan Wangji asked, raising his voice so that A-Yuan could hear him even though he didn’t have the phone to his ear.
“Oh!” He heard A-Yuan say before there was more shuffling as he fumbled with the phone to get it back up to his ear.
Since he was able to see Lan Wangji, A-Yuan seemed to be less concerned about the darkness of the room he was in. Lan Wangji didn’t remind him to turn on the light. He didn’t mind not being able to see A-Yuan, and he didn’t think Wei Wuxian would like just anyone being able to look in on A-Yuan in their apartment.
“I can see you!”
Lan Wangji wondered if A-Yuan was waving. He waved back just in case.
“I love you!” A-Yuan cheered.
Lan Wangji smiled, A-Yuan was very affectionate with his words, so he was used to it now.
“Love you too, A-Yuan.”
They talked until A-Yuan slumped over in the chair he was sitting in, and stopped responding to Lan Wangji’s voice. Lan Wangji was afraid that he would fall out of his chair if he fell asleep.
“A-Yuan, go to bed,” he said, louder than usual in hopes that it would make A-Yuan stir.
“Carry me,” A-Yuan mumbled in his sleepy little voice.
It was too late for Lan Wangji to be able to block out the series of images that flashed through his mind. Him carrying A-Yuan to bed, tucking him in, kissing him on the forehead, Lan Wangji slipping into bed with Wei Wuxian afterwards, pulling him up against his chest, kissing him as well.
Maybe Xichen was right. Maybe he was lonely.
“A-Yuan, I can’t,” he said. “I’m over here.”
A-Yuan let out a little whine, but he shuffled around and, after a bit, Lan Wangji could hear the sound of his little feet making their way to his room.
“Don’t hang up until I go to sleep,” he demanded.
“Mn,” Lan Wangji said as he got up and turned his light out to shuffle back to his own bedroom.
There was a too-long sequence of shifting fabric and a thump where A-Yuan must have dropped the phone before A-Yuan finally spoke again.
“Can you sing me a song?” He asked.
Lan Wangji didn’t even hesitate as he sat on the edge of his bed.
It didn’t take long before A-Yuan fell asleep. He’d been teetering on the edge for a while now, and the soft sound of Lan Wangji’s humming had him puffing out soft, even breaths into the phone.
Lan Wangji made sure not to hang up until he was absolutely sure A-Yuan was asleep.
He went to sleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow, either from the late hour or the warm, content feeling in his chest.
He was woken up a second time by his phone ringing. It felt like he’d just closed his eyes, but from the way the sun was peeking through the window, it was probably later than he normally got up.
He blinked the sleep from his eyes as he got up and checked who was calling.
Lan Wangji felt a soft smile grace his lips as he answered, wondering if it was Wei Wuxian or A-Yuan.
“Lan Zhan!” Wei Wuxian shouted as soon as Lan Wangji answered. He didn’t give Lan Wangji any time to reply before he was talking again. “Why does my call history say that I called you at three in the morning and we talked on the phone for an hour and twenty-six minutes?”
The night before almost felt like a dream, but he could remember A-Yuan’s sleepy little voice as he talked himself to sleep.
“A-Yuan,” Lan Wangji said.
He hoped the boy wouldn’t get in trouble for it.
“Lan Zhan!” Wei Wuxian exclaimed.
And then there was an incoming video call.
Lan Wangji was sure he looked a mess, with sleep-mussed hair and dark bags under his eyes, but he found himself not caring.
Wei Wuxian had a smile on his face when Lan Wangji answered, but he seemed to be trying to overlay it with a stern look.
“You can’t let A-Yuan bully you into staying up in the middle of the night like that.”
“He didn’t want to go to sleep,” Lan Wangji said as he fought against his own smile.
Wei Wuxian rolled his eyes.
“He’s four, he never wants to go to sleep,” Wei Wuxian gave a soft smile. “What did you two even talk about?”
Lan Wangji didn’t really want to mention the hugging on the off chance that he might tear up again. A-Yuan might not have noticed, but he was sure Wei Wuxian would be able to tell if he was suddenly overcome with tears.
“He told me all the letters of the alphabet, and he counted as far as he could,” Lan Wangji said. He’d had to prompt him on a few transitions, but it had been mostly A-Yuan. “He got all the way to 73 before he got bored.”
Wei Wuxian rubbed at the bridge of his nose, but there was a fond smile on his face.
“So you just let my kid keep you awake last night to hear him ramble about the alphabet?”
It was probably weird that Lan Wangji hadn’t cared, but honestly, he’d enjoyed it. Maybe not the waking up at three in the morning, but the fact that A-Yuan had wanted to call him, that A-Yuan had missed him.
“He also told me every color that he could remember and named all the shapes in his book.”
Wei Wuxian laughed on the other end, and Lan Wangji didn’t want it to stop so he kept talking.
“I especially liked the purple rectangle he mentioned. That’s his Uncle’s favorite color.”
Wei Wuxian looked so lovely when he laughed that it took Lan Wangji’s breath away.
“Oh yeah, what else did he say?”
Lan Wangji thought for a second as he stifled a yawn. He really didn’t get enough sleep.
“He told me everyone he loves,” Lan Wangji said. “In the order he loves them.”
Wei Wuxian reached up to brush his hair back from his forehead.
“I told him that he shouldn’t do that,” Wei Wuxian said. “What’s the order?”
“He said you told him not to. He also told me not to tell you, so I probably shouldn’t.”
Wei Wuxian rolled his eyes.
“Well, he’s in the other room, and I won’t tell him you betrayed his trust, so please enlighten me. Unless he doesn’t want me to know because I’m not the top of the list anymore. I’ll definitely cry if he doesn’t love me best,” Wei Wuxian said. He sounded serious, but there was a teasing glint in his eyes.
“Don’t worry, he loves you most,” Lan Wangji said. “He said that he used to love his Uncle second, but now I’m second and his Uncle fifth.”
Wei Wuxian threw his head back and laughed at that, and the sound had butterflies fluttering through Lan Wangji’s stomach.
“Who’s third and fourth?”
Lan Wangji couldn’t help but smile.
That had Wei Wuxian laughing even harder
“Jiang Cheng is probably going to explode when he realizes he’s been displaced in A-Yuan’s heart by rabbits.”
Then Wei Wuxian turned to yell over his shoulder.
“A-Yuan, you love rabbits more than your Uncle?” He called, still wiping tears from the corners of his eyes.
The sound of A-Yuan’s feet barreling across the apartment was clear, and Lan Wangji’s smile grew when A-Yuan crashed into Wei Wuxian’s lap.
“Mister Bunny, you said you wouldn't tell!” He accused, popping his head into the frame.
He still looked ruffled from sleep, and there was food all around his mouth. He must have been in the middle of breakfast.
“I’m sorry, A-Yuan, your A-Die made me tell.”
Wei Wuxian shot him a betrayed look, but A-Yuan wasn’t buying it.
“You aren’t supposed to lie, Mister Bunny.”
Wei Wuxian stuck his tongue out at Lan Wangji.
“Yeah, Lan Zhan, you aren’t supposed to lie.”
Lan Zhan was surprised by his urge to stick his tongue out at Wei Wuxian in return. He tended to pride himself on his maturity, he had since he was far too young to claim maturity. But now, he wanted nothing more than to act like a child.
It scared him at the same time that it thrilled him.
Wei Wuxian had a problem.
And the problem was that he was probably falling in love with the man who lived in the apartment across the alleyway from him.
It wasn’t that big of a deal, except that it was.
He hadn’t really known a person could yearn like this, especially not him. He wasn’t one for yearning. He was an act first think second kind of guy, and this standing at a distance and waiting was killing him.
But he was scared.
He liked Lan Wangji so, so much, and he didn’t know what to do about it.
He wanted to tell Lan Wangji so badly. He wanted to talk to him every day and hold him and kiss him all over and maybe see where it could go. See if he could be a good second parent to A-Yuan. See if Lan Wangji would meet his family and stay by Wei Wuxian’s side.
But he was getting ahead of himself.
Not only did he not want to mess with the friendship they’d built so strong in such a short time, but he also didn’t want to get himself and A-Yuan closer to Lan Wangji just to have him not return his feelings and stop talking to him.
He didn’t know if A-Yuan could handle that, and he knew it would hurt him as well.
So Wei Wuxian was testing his own ability to control himself as he tried to keep from blurting out that he liked Lan Wangji every time they spoke.
It was a problem.
Lan Wangji hadn’t meant to, and looking back, he was mortified.
He and Wei Wuxian had been talking on the phone before bed, A-Yuan already asleep in his own room. Wei Wuxian was going on about the call he’d had with his sister earlier that day and Lan Wangji chiming in with affirmations that he was listening. He’d been messing with the fabric of his pants, playing with the drawstring, smoothing out the wrinkles, absentmindedly running his hands over his upper thighs.
Lost in the sound of Wei Wuxian’s voice, Lan Wangji hadn’t realized that he’d slipped his hand into his pajama pants until it was already there.
He froze as Wei Wuxian prattled on, face burning red with the knowledge that he was half-hard listening to Wei Wuxian talk on the phone. He wanted to snatch his hand from where his fingers were absentmindedly moving over his bare thigh. He wanted to hang up and work himself to completion with the sound of Wei Wuxian’s voice still ringing in his ears.
He did neither of those things.
Instead, mind racing, hands trembling, breathless, feeling like there was electricity shooting all across his skin, he wrapped his hand around himself and stroked himself to full hardness, guilt tearing at his chest.
The sound of Wei Wuxian still talking into his ear had him hard and aching, leaking from the tip, in an embarrassingly short amount of time. It was so easy to picture that voice whispering dirty things into his ear. He could just imagine those lips skimming over his skin, pink and full and utterly sinful.
Lan Wangji had let himself get lost just enough that he let a small moan.
He froze as Wei Wuxian fell silent, the lack of noise only interrupted by the pounding of Lan Wangji’s heart in his ears.
“Whoa, Lan Zhan, are you okay? What was that?”
“Just, ah, jus—”
He didn’t normally stumble over his words, but he was breathless as he tried to explain, and his mind was too lost to come up with a lie. He just bit his lip and stilled his hand, hoping that Wei Wuxian wouldn’t question him farther.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian breathed. “Lan Zhan, what was that?”
Lan Wangji’s thumb brushed over the head of his cock unconsciously, and it felt so good with Wei Wuxian’s voice in his ear.
“Mmm, Wei Ying,” he gasped.
Wei Wuxuan let out his own gasp followed by a muffled sound like the rustle of fabrics.
“No, I’m serious, Lan Zhan, tell me,” Wei Wuxian said. “I have a dirty mind, and if you don’t tell me what you’re doing, I’m going to assume you’re jerking off.” He still sounded breathless, and he couldn’t help but think that Wei Wuxian would sound like that with Lan Wangji’s hands on him.
Lan Wangji couldn’t form any words, and he was about to hang up, filled with shame and lust too much to bear when Wei Wuxian spoke again.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying demanded, shaky yet stern. “Please, I need to know, are you touching yourself?”
“Yes,” Lan Wangji breathed, stroking a hand over his cock again, tightening his grip.
This time Wei Wuxian actually moaned over the line. His voice was deep and had a desperate note to it that had Lan Wangji twitching in his hand.
“Oh my god, Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian groaned. “Is it okay if I touch myself too? You sound so hot.”
This was like something out of Lan Wangji’s dreams, and he was barely sure it was real. He was sure that he’d died of embarrassment and gone to heaven.
“Please,” Lan Wangji said, working his hand over himself with a newfound desperation.
There was such a strong wave of lust that rushed through him at the sound of Wei Wuxuan’s breathing growing more labored.
“Ah, Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian moaned, “I don’t think I’ve gotten so hard, so fast in my whole life.”
Lan Wangji burned at the knowledge that Wei Wuxian was touching himself to Lan Wangji jerking off, and he couldn’t help but stroke himself harder, reaching a hand up to pinch a nipple between his fingers, longing for Wei Wuxian’s hands on him.
“Ah, Lan Zhan, who knew you were so dirty?”
Lan Wangji felt himself flush such a deep red at that, but his hand on his cock and Wei Wuxian’s voice in his ear didn’t let him dwell on the embarrassment.
“I know you don’t like to talk, but is it okay if I do?” Wei Wuxian asked. “I don’t think I can keep quiet.”
Wei Wuxian laughed softly when Lan Wangji let out a hiss at that. That plus the fact that he could hear the faint sounds of Wei Wuxian’s hand working over himself.
“Ah, do you feel good, Lan Zhan? Because I feel good. I haven’t touched myself in so long, and it’s impossible to pick up someone from a bar with a four-year-old at home, so it’s been a while.”
Lan Wangji wondered if Wei Wuxian was sensitive. He imagined the way Wei Wuxian would twitch and squirm underneath his hands, the way he would beg and plead in that sweet voice. The thought had Lan Wangji thumbing over the head of his cock and biting back another groan.
“Has anyone ever eaten you out Lan Zhan?” Wei Wuxian asked, breathless. The sounds of his hand moving were growing louder, and Lan Wangi almost couldn’t stand it.
He shook his head before he remembered that Wei Ying couldn’t see it.
“No. No one’s ever—“ Lan Wangji cut himself off before he gave too much away, embarrassed by his lack of experience. Then, he decided he didn’t care.
“No one’s ever touched me before.”
“Fuck,” Wei Wuxian gasped out over the phone. There was a muffled noise like Wei Ying had put the phone down before Lan Wangji heard the sound rustle of fabric, the scrape of a drawer opening, and then the crisp snap of a cap opening.
“When this is all over, we're going to make out for like a whole year and then I’m going to eat you out until you can’t breath. It feels so good Lan Zhan, I promise.”
Wei Wuxian made a punched-out noise and Lan Wangji’s hips twitched up into his hand when he realized it was probably Wei Wuxian slipping a finger inside himself.
“Wei Ying,” he gasped.
He cursed the fact that he was out of lube, unable to match Wei Ying’s motions, left with just his spit that wasn’t enough for more than one finger.
“Do you like the sound of that, Lan Zhan? Are you picturing my mouth on you? My fingers in you working you open?”
Lan Wangji was embarrassed at the moan that forced its way past his lips, but he couldn’t help it.
“Oh, you sound so good, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying continued. He let out a gasp of his own followed by a string of, “Lan Zhan, oh, Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan.”
Lan Wangji worked his hand over himself as he pressed just the tip of his finger at his dry entrance.
“Maybe I should let you fuck me since it’s your first time,” Wei Ying said, and at Lan Wangji’s groan, he continued. “Oh, you’d like that wouldn’t you?” His voice was breathless and perfect.
“Yes.” He was getting close, but he didn’t want it to be over, so he stilled his hand, going back to slow, lazy strokes.
“Ah! Lan Zhan, I wish it was your fingers inside me right now. I wish it was your cock.”
So did Lan Wangji, but he was sure if he voiced that out loud he would burst into flames at the shamelessness of it all.
Wei Wuxian’s voice was so hot, and it had Lan Wangji speeding up his strokes, bucking up into his own hand.
“Mmm, close,” Lan Wangji said.
He would have been close anyway, but Wei Wuxian’s babbling was dragging him over the edge almost embarrassingly fast.
Wei Wuxian let out what sounded like a whimper.
“Oh fuck, Lan Zhan, me too,” Wei Wuxian groaned.
Lan Wangji could hear a wet squelching sound that was either Wei Wuxian’s hand on his cock or his fingers working inside himself. Whatever it was, it painted a vivid image and had Lan Wangji muffling a shout into his pillow as he came.
“Ah, Wei Ying,” he called as he painted his chest white.
“Oh fuck, Lan Zhan, did you just come?” Wei Wuxian moaned and there were more filthy noises from his end. “That’s so hot. Oh, Lan Zhan, I’m—Ah! Lan Zhan!”
Wei Wuxian babbled the whole way through his orgasm, and his voice had Lan Wangji’s spent cock giving a twitch against his thigh. He wished he was hearing it in person.
With the panting sound of Wei Wuxian’s breath against his ear and the way he was tingling after his own release, Lan Wangji let a smile cross his face.
Then the reality of what they’d just done crashed into him.
“Ah, Lan Zhan—”
Lan Wangji hung up without a second thought and then threw his phone across the room. The shame of what he’d been caught doing, of what he’d done washed over him as he buried his face in his pillow and tried not to think.
They didn’t talk about it.
After Lan Wangji had hung up, leaving Wei Wuxian spent, satisfied, panicking, Wei Wuxian had tried to call him back...and tried to call him back...and tried to call him back.
After that, Wei Wuxian spent the better part of an hour pacing through his apartment, trying not to freak out at the fact that Lan Wangji wouldn’t answer.
Something had finally happened between the two and it had ruined everything just like Wei Wuxian feared.
Though maybe he was overreacting. He was prone to freaking out for no reason and jumping to conclusions. Through, these conclusions seemed pretty clear.
Lan Wangji and he had just...Wei Wuxian felt a rush of arousal at the memory...and then Lan Wangji had immediately regretted it.
It seemed pretty obvious, and it made Wei Wuxian’s chest swell with a thousand different emotions.
He stopped trying to call Lan Wangji and instead called A-Jie.
She took so long to answer that he almost hung up to try Wen Qing, but finally she picked up.
“A-Xian?” She asked.
She was breathing heavy and he wondered if she’d had to run for the phone. He could hear Jin Zixuan in the background, but he didn’t seem to be on speaker.
“A-Jie,” he said, surprised by how upset he sounded. He hadn’t realized how close he was to tears until this moment. “A-Jie, I fucked up.”
“Alright hold on a second, A-Xian,” she said something to Jin Zixuan as Wei Wuxian tried to hold back his tears. “What happened? Are you okay? A-Yuan?”
“He’s fine,” Wei Wuxian said, plopping down onto the couch and burying his face in his hands. “It’s Lan Zhan.”
He was shaking and he had to bite his bottom lip to keep it from trembling.
“What happened, A-Xian?”
Wei Wuxian jumped to his feet again to talk, full of nervous energy and too upset to sit still.
“Something finally happened with Lan Zhan and it was great and I thought it meant that he liked me like I liked him, but after it was done he just hung up and he won’t answer my calls and he’s ignoring all my messages and I don’t know what to do.”
She gave a sympathetic hum.
“How long ago did all this happen?”
Wei Wuxian didn’t really know, he’d been so frazzled. His hands were shaky as he checked his call history.
“Like an hour ago.”
It felt like longer. It felt like hours.
“Maybe he’s trying to gather his thoughts, A-Xian,” she said. “You shouldn't panic yet. Go to sleep and see if he responds tomorrow. Maybe he’s overwhelmed.”
Wei Wuxian let out a long sigh and ran a hand through his hair.
“Yeah, you’re right,” he said. “Okay. I’ll do that. Yeah, he’ll probably call tomorrow and we’ll figure it out.”
Lan Wangji was a quiet person. He probably processed things inwards, and this was a hell of a thing to process.
He still felt like he needed to cry, but it was manageable now.
“You’re welcome, A-Xian. Now go try to get some sleep.”
He tried, of course, but his mind was still too scrambled for him to get any real rest. He found himself up before the sun, checking his phone for a notification he knew wasn’t there, pacing his apartment again.
With no text, no call, no word from Lan Wangji, Wei Wuxian found himself writing out a note to tape up on the window in hopes that Lan Wangji might see it.
Lan Wangji didn’t pick up his phone where he’d thrown it into the floor the night before.
He’d heard it buzzing all night until either Wei Wuxian had stopped calling or his phone had died.
He didn’t want to check and see just in case he glanced at one of Wei Wuxian’s messages. He couldn’t bear to read how Wei Wuxian regretted it, how he’d gotten caught up in the moment, how it didn’t mean anything.
He knew he wouldn’t be able to handle Wei Wuxian asking if they could still be friends, asking for nothing to change. That would probably shatter him.
So he ignored his phone and went about his day, trying to pretend his heart wasn’t breaking.
He avoided the window all day, scared that he might catch a glimpse of Wei Wuxian across the way, but he hadn’t been able to stay away. He wasn’t that strong.
When he looked out, he didn’t see Wei Wuxian or A-Yuan, but he did find another note taped up beside A-Yuan’s latest drawing.
Lan Wangji wanted to ignore it just like he was ignoring his phone, but he couldn’t.
He didn’t want to face Wei Wuxian’s regret at what they’d done, but he also didn’t want him thinking he had to apologize for Lan Wangji’s lack of restraint.
So Lan Wangji thought Wei Wuxian didn’t need to be sorry. Did his words mean so little to him? Did an apology mean nothing?
Or did he not want an apology because that would mean acknowledging what had happened?
Was Lan Wangji trying to ignore this completely? Because that hurt just as badly.
After he saw the note, Wei Wuxian curled up in bed and tried not to think of Lan Wangji.
“A-Die what’s the matter?” A-Yuan asked, crawling up into the bed to lay down beside Wei Wuxian. “Does your tummy hurt?”
A-Yuan’s concern had tears welling in his eyes.
“No, I’m just sad,” he said.
He didn’t want to have to tell A-Yuan that Lan Wangji probably wasn’t going to talk to them anymore, so he didn’t bring it up.
“Do you want cuddles?” He asked. “Cuddles make me feel better when I’m sad.”
Wei Wuxian nodded and tugged A-Yuan to his chest. A-Yuan tucked his head under Wei Wuxian’s chin and wrapped an arm as far around his middle as it would go as Wei Wuxian cradled him close and tried not to let A-Yuan know he was crying.
“And so Mingjue just slammed A-Yao into the fridge and kissed him and they made out for like thirty minutes, and now neither of them are talking to each other,” Xichen said, detailing the latest from his roommates. “Now I just have to convince A-Yao that Mingjue wasn’t just caught up in the moment and Mingjue that he didn’t force himself onto A-Yao.”
“Mm,” Lan Wangji said.
Xichen paused his story. “Wangji?” He asked.
Normally, Lan Wangji would be very interested in hearing about this latest development, but his heart wasn’t in it. If anything, it was making him think about Wei Wuxian, and that was the last thing he wanted.
Lan Wangji was miserable.
He’d been miserable for days, and Xichen could tell because Xichen could always tell.
“Wangji, are you okay?” He asked.
Lan Wangji opened his mouth to lie, but the words got caught in his throat.
“No,” he said in a small voice.
And he didn’t know if it was just the moment for it or that conversation he’d had with A-Yuan, but he really just wanted a hug from his brother at that moment.
“I’m not okay,” he said.
“Oh, Wangji, what happened?”
Xichen listened very closely as Lan Wangji laid everything out, talking about how he’d been feeling and how often he and Wei Wuxian talked, and what had happened that night that everything had gone wrong.
“I don’t know how to fix things,” he said. “I’m scared I ruined everything.”
“Wangji,” Xichen said. “I know you’re scared, but I think you just need to talk to Wei Wuxian. You have this tendency to shut people out when things get too intense, and I think that’s what you’re doing now.”
“But I’ve been ignoring him. Won’t he be mad?”
“Probaby, but the answer isn’t to just keep ignoring him.” Xichen sighed and said. “Wangji, I know I told you to be careful, but maybe it’s time to be brave.”
That was exactly what Lan Wangji was dreading that Xichen would say.
“I’ll talk to him.”
And he really was planning on it, but he was still so scared.
Every time he picked up his phone, he found himself unable to breath, lost in panic.
He peeked out the window, hoping for a glimpse of Wei Wuxian to ground him, but he found another note instead.
I NEED TO SAY SORRY FOR OVERSTEPPING
Why didn’t he understand that he didn’t need to apologize for this. Lan Wangji was the one in the wrong here, not Wei Wuxian.
Wei Wuxian hadn’t been able to stop himself from calling again at that. He didn’t expect Lan Wangji to answer, but that didn’t stop him from trying.
He was stunned silent when Lan Wangji actually answered.
His voice was soft, hesitant, and it made Wei Wuxian want to pull him close.
Apparently Wei Wuxian had been silent for too long, because Lan Wangji spoke again.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian breathed, just happy to hear his voice. “Lan Zhan.”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji repeated, just as breathless.
Wei Wuxian was silent again. The sound of Lan Wangji’s voice clearing all thoughts from his head.
“Lan Zhan, I miss you,” he said.
He held his breath as he waited for a response.
“Miss you too.”
“I know you said I didn’t overstep, but I did. I shouldn’t have taken it so far.”
He’d gotten lost in the moment and pushed Lan Wangji farther than he was comfortable with.
“No, I should apologize,” Lan Wangji said. “I was the one who acted inappropriately.”
“But you didn’t, Lan Zhan. I wanted it, I encouraged it. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
Lan Wangji was silent on the other end, long enough that it made Wei Wuxian’s heart pound in anticipation.
He couldn’t hold back any longer.
“I have to tell you something, Lan Zhan,” he blurted out. His heart was up in his throat, but he wouldn’t chicken out now.
“What is it?” Lan Wangji asked. His voice was soft, breathless in anticipation and that gave Wei Wuxian the courage to speak.
“I like you, Lan Zhan,” he said, not waiting for a response before continuing. “I may even be in love with you, and if you don’t ever want to talk to me again that’s okay, but I just thought you should know.”
His heart stopped beating as a silence fell between them.
He already felt tears prick his eyes. He knew Lan Wangji was going to be gentle when he let him down, Lan Wangji wasn’t cruel, but it was still going to shatter him.
“You do?” Lan Wangji breathed.
Wei Wuxian let out a wet laugh as a tear slipped over his face.
“Of course I do, Lan Zhan. How could I not?”
And then there was an incoming video all from Lan Wangji. He didn’t even hesitate to answer it.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji breathed when he caught sight of Wei Wuxian’s face. “Wei Ying, don’t cry.”
Wei Wuxian barked out another laugh and said, “I can’t help it, Lan Zhan. I just bared my soul and haven’t gotten a response yet. What am I supposed to do but cry?”
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji said again. “Wei Ying, I love you. I’m in love with you. How can I not be?”
Such a surge of relief swept through Wei Wuxian that he laughed again as another tear slipped down his face.
“God, I wish I could kiss you,” he blurted out.
He couldn’t find it in him to regret it, especially when he saw that smile on Lan Wangji’s lips.
“Me too,” Lan Wangji said.
“Are you married to Mister Bunny now?” A-Yuan piped up from where Wei Wuxian hadn’t known he was listening. “When people want to kiss each other that means they’re married. Like Uncle Peacock and Auntie.”
Wei Wuxian watched Lan Wangji’s face burn red when he registered A-Yuan’s words, but he was too happy to be embarrassed himself.
“No, we’re not married, A-Yuan, but we do like each other.”
A-Yuan scrunched up his nose. “Ew. Liking is gross, Uncle said.”
Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but laugh again, and his heart thrilled when Lan Wangji joined in with his own quiet laughter.
He never dreamed that being stuck in quarantine would bring him so much happiness.