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Wei Wuxian was thrown back, a blur of white as Lan Wangji got between him and the spirit, shattering their connection through Empathy in an instant. The backlash was so strong and so sudden that he had to turn and cough up blood, body wracked with shudders.

Lan Wangji was at his side in an instant, cradling him on his lap. Wei Wuxian smiled up at him, helplessly, lips stained. He reached up a hand to brush his cheek and --

He was looking down at himself, at the blood on his mouth

-- “Wei Ying!” He heard, but he felt it too, the rise of panic and it was too loud, too much, and Wei Wuxian let the darkness take him.

***

When he woke up he was at Cloud Recesses, in the jingshi, in his inner robe. Could have been any morning, except that Lan Wangji was hovering over him, face looming large in Wei Wuxian’s vision.

He batted him away. “Aiyah, Lan Zhan, I’m fine.”

Lan Wangji stared at him, unmoved. Wei Wuxian stretched, checking for any aches and pains. He felt fine, surprisingly well-rested.

“Obviously that wasn’t the best way to end an Empathy session, so let’s let that be a lesson, but otherwise I think that went well.” He smiled, curling up the corners of his eyes and reached out to pat a hand on Lan Wangji’s cheek.

His vision doubled. He was looking down at himself but not like in a mirror, like -- like Lan Wangji was looking at him. And that Wei Wuxian was moving, being gathered in Lan Wangji’s arms and taken to...a bath?”

He took his hand away and the vision faded. He looked around the jingshi and yes, there was a bath, set with warming talismans and steaming in the corner. “Lan Zhan,” he started, carefully. “Were you just thinking about carrying me to the bath?”

Lan Wangji blinked at him.

***

Turned out he could read his husband’s mind! But only when he touched him with his hands. And only while they were touching. He tried a variety of alternatives, but after rolling all over him, those seemed to be the rules.

“How long will it last?” Lan Wangji asked as Wei Wuxian poked him with his elbow, his knee, ran his foot up Lan Wangji’s calf. Wei Ying was being thorough. Investigation was an important part of every inquiry and touching Lan Wangji was no hardship.

Wei Wuxian hummed. “Well, I invented Empathy, and never had one ended like that before, so.” Lan Wangji was already nodding. “Unclear. Why? You keeping secrets from me, dear husband?” He leaned back, letting his robe float open a little, just enough to show a hint of what was beneath. “Hm? Are you trying to hide something?” He dragged his fingers up his chest, letting them part the robe further, but slowly, a sliver at a time. Lan Wangji’s eyes tracked over him, hungry, burning into each patch of exposed skin. He shivered. This was rather good, actually. He’d always wanted to know what Lan Wangji was thinking about when he took him, what was driving him over the edge, just how Wei Wuxian could egg him on. And now he had his chance. “Maybe you don’t want me to know what you think about when you have me under you, just like this?

“Mark your words,” Lan Wangji growled as Wei Wuxian finally surged up to grab his face and pull him down into a kiss.

***

The first problem, he was learning, was that in this moment Lan Wangji’s thoughts ran along lines that Wei Wuxian could have predicted. He was thinking about the next kiss, about where to put his hands, about how to get Wei Wuxian’s legs higher up his waist.

The second problem was that this was very distracting. He could se, perfectly, what Lan Wangji would be doing -- biting his lip, sliding his hand underneath the small of Wei Wuxian’s back to force him to arch -- and then Lan Wangji would actually do it. It was like experiencing everything on a momentary delay, like seeing the lightning before hearing the thunder. It felt like he was on a boat in choppy waters, being thrown from one side to another, he couldn’t match what he was feeling to what he was seeing and frankly, also like a boat, it made him seasick. Reluctantly he pulled his hands away and let his vision resolve into one set of eyes.

He opened them to Lan Wangji staring down at him and wow, he’d missed him in the few seconds he hadn’t been looking. He’d missed looking at his face, and seeing him smile, and watching the way his muscles rippled when he effortlessly pulled Wei Wuxian into his lap and, oops, he reached out a hand to steady himself on Lan Wangji’s chest and he was back in Lan Wangji’s mind, which felt the same as what had been going on before except Lan Wangji was already inside of him, pulling his hips down while Lan Wangji ground up, not even thrusting, not really, just trying to get further inside with every nudge of his hips.

He shook his head and pulled back and the vision cleared.

Lan Wangji paused. “No?”

“Too distracting, Lan Zhan, I can’t,” and he was panting and suddenly empty and aching even though just a moment ago he’d been inside of himself, sheathed in a soothing heat -- and was that vanity? To be getting off on fucking himself? He’d have to think about that another time.

Lan Wangji, thankfully, took him seriously, nodding and removing his forehead ribbon and tying Wei Wuxian’s hands together. He got flashes during the process -- he was back in Lan Wangji’s lap, facing the other way this time, arms pulled over Lan Wangji’s neck. He was on his stomach, arms pinned below his body from the force of Lan Wangji’s thrusts. He was --

Tied to the bed on his back, arms above his head, legs free to wriggle but arms safely out of the way.

Wei Wuxian laughed. “When did you decide?” He asked, panting as Lan Wangji worked two slick fingers into him.

Lan Wangji crooked his fingers and Wei Wuxian’s body jerked. “This was always the plan.” He replaced his fingers with his cock and Wei Wuxian didn’t have any more questions after that.

***

So as a sex power it was underwhelming. Wei Wuxian just had to catch him at another time and somehow make him think about wanting sex, without actually having sex. How hard could it be?

***

Turned out it was, in fact, very difficult. They were pretty used to having as much sex as they wanted whenever they wanted to have it, regardless of location or time of day, so anything Wei Wuxian did to wind Lan Wangji up resulted in mutual orgasms. After the first time, Lan Wangji became careful of Wei Wuxian’s hands, keeping them up, or out of the way, getting him to brace himself against the wall or to touch himself, achingly slowly, one hand on his cock, the other on his balls, and Lan Wangji refused to touch him at all until he was doing it right.

He didn’t want to give up though.

Was it wrong that Wei Wuxian wanted to know? He loved the way Lan Wangji touched him, the way he felt totally possessed, utterly consumed, when they came together. He craved the way that Lan Wangji made him feel like he was his whole world. The thing was, Wei Wuxian could never figure out what sparked him off. Was it something Wei Wuxian did? Was it -- and this thought kept him up -- something that Wei Wuxian could stop doing without meaning to? The thought of losing this was...not something he wanted to think about. If he could just understand, if he could just be sure, then he wouldn’t have to worry.

He’d know how to make sure that Lan Wangji would keep wanting him.

***

They were sitting next to each other responding to letters. Outside it was raining, the perfect excuse to shut themselves away from the rest of the world. Wei Wuxian had a long one from Nie-xiong, which were always his favourites because they featured a lot of sideways talk like ‘of course there was the thing at the place of which we never speak, even if it did happen, which of course it didn’t.’ It was nice to have someone to play with.

Absent-mindedly he reached out to lace his fingers with Lan Wangji’s, just to feel him, and because he could, forgetting that touching him meant something new. He experienced the slide into Lan Wangji’s eyes. It was a small jump, barely disorienting, because Lan Wangji was thinking about writing his letters. Wei Wuxian grinned, his Lan Zhan was too good, of course he’d have his perfect focus on the task at hand, nothing done halfway. Except -- something was different. There was the table yes, and the letter, but in between Lan Wangji and the table was a dark spill of hair in a red tie. It took him a second to understand what he was seeing. Wei Wuxian had his head in Lan Wangji’s lap, holding his cock in his mouth. It wasn’t even hard, not all the way, just enough that Wei Wuxian could hold it comfortably, nose pressed to the root of him. Lan Wangji absent-mindedly reached out a hand to pet the head of hair in his lap and Wei Wuxian made a small sound. The hand went back to its brush and started writing again, leaning forward a little to reach the paper and causing Wei Wuxian to choke, just a little.

Lan Wangji kept writing.

Wei Wuxian detangled their hands, a manic flush rising in his cheeks. How long had Lan Wangji been thinking about that? The real Lan Wangji was just sitting next to him, peacefully working, the real Wei Wuxian doing the same but inside of his mind… Did he want that? Why hadn’t he asked?

Lan Wangji looked over, face mild. Wei Wuxian fought with his expression, trying to return his look with one that matched his calm. He had to know what Wei Wuxian had seen, right? Lan Wangji gave no outward sign of it. His ears weren’t even turning red. Had Wei Wuxian been confused? He poked Lan Wangji’s hand with his finger and -- there was Wei Wuxian, moving his head a little now, neck stretching --

His lips parted.

“Time for food,” Lan Wangji said and Wei Wuxian could only nod, voice gone.

***

That had to be just one time, right? Lan Wangji was bored reading letters from people less capable than him and was looking for a distraction.

***

No. This was not one time.

***

Sometimes it was just a flash, and sometimes it was a whole scenario. For instance:

Lan Wangji thought about Wei Wuxian kneeling wearing nothing but his forehead ribbon as a collar.

He thought about We Wuxian with his hair tied so that if he thrashed or moved it would pull cruelly. And Lan Wangji made sure he’d want to thrash.

He never stopped til Wei Wuxian was crying.

It didn’t matter where they were or what they were doing. They were walking down to Caiyi Town for a Wei Wuxian friendly evening meal when Wei Wuxian reached out to steady himself and got a flash of Lan Wangji holding him up one-handed against a tree, driving his cock into him while Wei Wuxian kicked his heels into his back, dirtying his robes.

They went to the cold springs and Lan Wangji thought about how it would feel if licked inside Wei Wuxian, the contrast of the cold water and the heat of his tongue, Wei Wuxian shivering and pleading for mercy.

He never thought about hitting him, considerate of Wei Wuxian’s preferences even alone in his own mind but he had other ways of making Wei Wuxian cry out. He fantasised about using talismans to hold him down while he dripped candle wax on him, of scoring lines down his chest with his nails, grabbing the sensitive skin around his ribs and twisting while Wei Wuxian whimpered and begged.

He’d heard himself cry out for Lan Wangji’s cock so many times he was wondering what it would take to get Lan Wangji’s mind to investigate gags or muting spells as part of his repertoire. Which had answered his other question, because it turned out he was not at all vain about this. It was hard to be vain watching the way Lan Wangji would take him apart, turning him into a sobbing mess with no other thought except to get fucked.

Sure, he loved it when Lan Wangji was doing that to him, the way his brain would turn into a single point of focus, freed from the way it normally skipped and danced around. He loved being held down and made to just take it, responsibility lifted off of his shoulders for anything except to feel.

He just didn’t want to watch it.

And it was starting to feel like he wasn’t going to look at anything else. Far from it being only one time that Lan Wangji indulged in a fantasy, it seemed like Wei Wuxian in different states of dissolution was the only thing he thought about. He wasn’t sure how much of this his poor mind could handle.

It had only been three days.

***

“You know,” he said, snuggled up to Lan Wangji in bed, thighs damp from where Lan Wangji had wiped him down, “I think about other things than sex.”

Lan Wangji made a sound like that was vaguely interesting to him. Wei Wuxian waited, but that seemed to be it, no agreement with him, no explanation.

***

He woke up.

Wei Wuxian was suspended -- How? From where? Unclear -- but he was hanging from somewhere, cradled in ropes, elbows tied to knees, putting everything on display. He must have rolled over and touched Lan Wangji in his sleep, and now his waking mind was living it. In this fantasy Lan Wangji was already fucking him, of course he was, and the ropes made it so easy. He wasn’t thrusting at all, instead using a gentle grip on Wei Wuxian’s hips to pull him off his cock and letting the momentum of the ropes drop him back down smoothly. It was inexorable, like the tide, a rocking motion that Wei Wuxian just had to ride it out, unable to move at all with nothing to push against, no leverage to be found, nothing to do but take it. Despite how gentle it was Wei Wuxian was panting, flushed from neck to nipples.

“Please, Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian was saying, “Please touch me, fuck me, anything.”

Lan Wangji leaned forward to lick the sweat off of Wei Wuxian’s neck. “I am fucking you,” he said as Wei Wuxian started to whine.

He took his hand away, blinking his way back into the jingshi. Lan Wangji was laying there as unruffled as ever.

“You really like the begging, huh?” Wei Wuxian said weakly.

Lan Wangji’s smile was so warm, his eyes so soft. He said, “Wei Ying’s voice is pleasing to me.”

“I don’t understand you!” Wei Wuxian wailed. How could he say that, and smile like that like he didn’t spend the overwhelming majority of his time thinking about taking Wei Wuxian apart. Wei Wuxian hadn’t thought it was possible to think about sex that much and here Lan Wangji was, theoretically also doing work and honing his cultivation as well as being an unrepetentant sex fiend. Which was fine! Wei Wuxian was not complaining -- much -- because he accepted this and frankly, it was pretty hot. But then! The nerve! The unmitigated gall of this man to turn around from some absolutely unrealistic fantasy and smile at Wei Wuxian and say something so destructively earnest like the culmination of his fantasies was to take an afternoon picnic and maybe have to huddle under a tree to escape the rain. Instead of what it actually was, which was to make Wei Wuxian cry just to be the one to wipe the tears away.

“Hm,” Lan Wangji said, lips quirking to the left. He was laughing at him, unbelievable. Wei Wuxian didn’t have to look at his awful smirking face long because he was leaning in for a kiss and Wei Wuxian felt his eyes flutter shut. It started out gentle, a soft brush of lips and Lan Wangji’s hand in his hair. Then Lan Wangji got a good grip on his ponytail and it became decidedly less so, a kiss as a prelude to being devoured. It was the sort of kiss he loved, the type that he’d sink into, the type that made him want to moan. Which is exactly what Lan Wangji wanted, he realised, he wanted Wei Wuxian on display, making those little noises and then acting like he had nothing to do with it. Well Wei Wuxian wasn’t going to play along. He was going to stay quiet, just out of spite, a resolution that was immediately tested when Lan Wangji used his grip to pull and bare Wei Wuxian’s throat to his teeth.

It was a scrape of teeth, then a nibble, and then a bite, harder and harder pressure until Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but let out a whimper. Furious with himself, he pressed his lips together.

Lan Wangji pulled back to look at him, just briefly, before darting back in to soothe the marks he left with lips and tongue.

Just for a moment before he started up again, this time with his collarbones as a target, sucking kisses hard enough to make Wei Wuxian’s knees shake and designed to bruise. Wei Wuxian focused on his breathing, keeping it light and even and trying to relax so as to not respond to Lan Wangji’s wicked mouth. When both sides of his chest were marked with red that was sure to turn mottled purple, Lan Wangji stopped. The reprieve was so sudden that Wei Wuxian almost collapsed back onto the bed.

Lan Wangji looked up at him, eyes dark. Pleading. His brows had come down in the middle and Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but smooth them out with one brush of his thumb. The flash he got was too muddled to pull out an image in particular, just flashes of want and skin and Wei Ying. His lips parted on an exhale. Fine.

“Lan Zhan,” he whispered. “Please.”

***

Later, sated, with a glowing Lan Wangji brushing out his hair, Wei Wuxian decided to risk it. Making it look casual, he reached out his hand to tuck a piece of Lan Wangji’s hair back behind his ear, making sure to rest his hand against the shell of his perfect ear. He got:

Wei Wuxian, looking up at Lan Wangji adoringly. Then, Wei Wuxian stuck out his tongue, white, covered in come and --

He yanked his hand back. Seriously? Here he was, legs barely supporting him any more, bruised over a significant portion of his torso, aching and swollen, and Lan Wangji was still --

He fled the jingshi.

***

He lay down and let the rabbits ignore him. He couldn’t read their presumably filthy little rabbit minds and that was blissful.

He lay there for a while but of course Lan Wangji found him eventually. He settled down peaceably in the grass, close, but not touching Wei Wuxian, just enough that he wasn’t sure if he was imagining that he could feel the warmth of him or not. The rabbits hopped over, the traitors, to beg for food. Lan Wangji’s hands were gentle, petting them, deliberate careful brushes on their fur, between their ears.

“Are you truly upset?” He asked, not looking up at Wei Wuxian at all. His body was too still, too careful, Wei Wuxian heart ached.

Affecting his usual tone he said. “I just didn’t know that Lan Zhan was so shameless.”

Lan Wangji paused. Abandoning his rabbit he reached out a hand, gripping Wei Wuxian’s arm, well clear of his hand. So thoughtful even in this, though a corner of Wei Wuxian’s mind wondered what he was thinking about this time. Wei Wuxian covered in sugar syrup? No, that seemed to simple. His imagination in comparison to Hanguang-jun’s was woefully inadequate.

“Do you think the way we love each other is shameful?”

Only Lan Wangji’s grip on his wrist kept him from jerking back and as it was he still hit himself with his hair he shook his head so hard. Of course he didn’t.

“Then why would I be ashamed?”

Wei Wuxian had to throw himself into his husband’s arms and press his face into his neck and breathe him in.

***

All of that was very romantic in a spine dissolving hard to look at straight on kind of way. And of course the only way to deal with it was the sort of sodden languorous sex that was more of an ocean tide than a furious crash together, the type where Lan Zhan worked him up to four fingers so he could slide inside easy as breathing and they could rock together until Wei Wuxian couldn’t have told you where he ended and Lan Wangji began. The type of sex that went so long that he ended up with him puffy and tighter than when they started, hissing when Lan Wangji slid his fingers back inside to feel how hot he had made him.

***

Afterwards, when they were all cleaned up and put back together, the questions remained on the tip of Wei Wuxian’s tongue. They remained through the rest of the day, through training, and dinner, and playing together as the sun went down.

It was more than fine that Lan Wangji wanted to fuck him, and that he was enthusiastic, and inventive and -- what was the problem actually?

Right. It was the incongruity.

Before, if someone had asked Wei Wuxian what he imagined Lan Wangji thought about on a day to day basis, he would have put forth a variety of options. Maybe he even would have put himself on that list, bragging a little, but not like this. He could have imagined Lan Wangji thinking about writing poetry that perfectly balanced nature elements and delicately referenced established texts, the type of poetry that was admired in correct circles. That would have matched.

Of the two of them, Wei Wuxian was the one who provoked and instigated, right? So why was Lan Wangji’s mind the one wondering how many fingers he could slide inside next to his dick before Wei Wuxian would pass out?

Upon further reflection, it wasn’t actually surprising that he thought those things, because he did those things -- the ideas must come from somewhere. It was that he thought so brazenly, these were not furtive half-fantasies kept under a veil, but high quality fully thought through images that he lingered on in the bright light of day.

“Lan Zhan,” he started again, cautiously. Lan Wangji tilted his head, listening. “You are very confident in your desires.”

“Mm,” Lan Wangji said. And nothing else. Wei Wuxian squirmed a little. He had to know what Wei Wuxian meant, and he had to know that this wasn’t -- expected. He felt justified in asking for some clarification.

“But seriously.”

Lan Wangji sighed, just a little, barely an exhalation and brought his hands together. Wei Wuxian smiled at him fondly, he was clearly taking the question seriously and trying to figure out how to respond. From experience Wei Wuxian knew this could take a while, but also that he was constitutionally incapable of being patient, so he stood up and looked around for things to do. He folded his robes. He tidied his papers, always threatening to spill out of the box he had set aside for them. Finally he turned to the task of making tea. Just because he didn’t do it often didn’t mean he wasn’t able, and the number of steps gave him something to do with his hands. The sand timer was just dropping its last grains when Lan Wangji relaxed a little.

Excellent timing. He brought over the tea, carefully set out two places, and then carelessly sprawled halfway into Lan Wangji’s lap.

He craned his neck to look up at Lan Wangji, expectantly.

“When we were younger,” Lan Wangji began and Wei Wuxian started, just a little. He had not been expecting -- but maybe he should have. They mostly didn’t talk about the time before Wei Wuxian died. It hadn’t been fun for anyone and so there was no reason to dwell. “I failed to communicate the feelings I had for you” Wei Wuxian sat up properly so he could better look at Lan Wangji. “What I felt for you was so intense I could not reconcile it. I was acting as a split person, half of myself suppressing the other. I was living in conflict -- the depth of my feelings were in conflict with my closely held beliefs of personal moderation.”

A sun was exploding in Wei Wuxian’s chest. Lan Wangji just said these things sometimes and expected Wei Wuxian to just take it. He could handle the jade phallus and the nipple clamps easier than hearing that Lan Wangji had loved him and hurt over it.

“I moderated and held back and for what,” he said and his eyes flashed, genuinely angry. “I hurt you, and I lost you.” Wei Wuxian couldn’t just sit and listen to that. He pressed his face into Lan Wangji’s neck, pressed himself all along his side, breathed him in. I’m here, he said with his arms and the curve of his lips, I’m here, I’m not lost anymore.

Lan Wangji’s arm came up around Wei Wuxian, pulling him in closer, hand settling on the curve of his ribs.

“After,” a word encompassing a multitude, “I realised that I had convinced myself I was acting honourably when I was in fact behaving dishonestly, the worst sort of dishonesty, a denial of my true self.” He brushed his thumb against the tie on Wei Wuxian’s robe, once, twice. “So I resolved my inner conflict and now I am in balance.” Give it to Lan Wangji to turn a question about his sexual appetite into a proper discourse on philosophy and cultivation mastery. Lan Wangji brought his other hand up, turning slightly in a rustle of robes to lift Wei Wuxian’s chin with his thumb, bringing them eye to eye. If Wei Wuxian had thought there was a fire in his heart, it was perfectly mirrored by the fire in Lan Wangji’s eyes. Wei Wuxian wanted to kiss him more than anything in this world, aside from how much he wanted to give Lan Wangji everything he wanted. He pushed up a little but Lan Wangji stilled him with a brush of that thumb against his lips. Wei Wuxian was truly captured, pinned by the hand on his waist, the finger on his mouth, and the look in Lan Wangji’s eyes.

“All of me wants you, always. I cannot pretend otherwise.”

His shoulders settled and Wei Wuxian knew he was done talking. That might have been the longest speech he’d ever heard Lan Wangji deliver but Wei Wuxian felt like he was the one drained of words. He slumped in Lan Wangji’s arms, confident that Lan Wangji would never let him fall.

Hadn’t he been the same? How long had he denied his feelings, denied Lan Wangji a space in his heart? How long had he ripped into his own self trying to deny this? And Lan Wangji had been brave, he’d looked inside himself and acknowledged and accepted his emotions when he knew there was no chance of having them returned. ‘So I resolved my inner conflict’ like it was suppressing a wayward spirit and not the type of struggle that most people were never able to escape. He’d done that at a time that any person might have packed everything Wei Wuxian was into a small box and stowed inside a forgotten corner of his heart. Instead he’d cloaked himself in the reality of what Wei Wuxian had been to him, let it soak into his skin.

Was he crying? Oh. He was crying.

Lan Wangji leaned down to kiss the tears off of his cheeks, the divot under his eyes, his eyelashes. Wei Wuxian knew exactly what he looked like, he’d seen this exact scene through Lan Wangji’s eyes many times over the last few days, except in those Lan Wangji hadn’t used his words to make Wei Wuxian cry. He was probably getting puffy. Lan Wangji liked him anyway.

He wanted to curl his face into Lan Wangji’s neck, hide it all, but instead he just tilted his face up for more kisses, let his husband take whatever he wanted.

It wasn’t long before Lan Wangji moved his kisses down, tracing the final tracks of his tears and landing on his mouth, a kiss like the ocean. Wei Wuxian had to laugh, bubbling it up into both of their mouths.

His ridiculous, perfect, amazing, true master of a cultivation partner. Curious, he snaked a hand up to touch Lan Wangji on the cheek, half braced. What would it be this time? But instead there was -- nothing. Well, there was warm cheek and smooth skin, but no vision, no fantasy, just Lan Zhan solid and real beneath his palm.

He gasped.

“Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan!” He was giddy with it, grinning from ear to ear. “It’s gone.”

“Mm?”

“I can touch you again,” he said and proceeded to do just that, brushing his hands over Lan Wangji’s face, his hands, his wrists. He clambered up into his lap to press their foreheads together and lace his fingers behind his neck. He was never going to stop doing this. His body thrummed with leftover energy from their emotional scene. “Ooh, Lan Zhan,” he said, getting an idea, “Let’s do the one where I ride you and you don’t let me come, that one looked fun.” Also lots of options for touching.

Smoothly Lan Wangji scooped him up and took the two steps to the bed before throwing him down. Wei Wuxian reached out, more than ready to touch again, and Lan Zhan obliged him.