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only missed midnight

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"So," Wei Wuxian begins, staring at the lone twin-sized mattress lying before them, "this is how it's going to work out. We are going to share a bed." 

Beside him, Lan Wangji is also staring at the mattress with some expression that Wei Wuxian isn't brave enough to face yet. It could the neutral face of observation, as is the Lan Wangji trademark, or it could be, oh, utter disgust at the thought of having to share a bed with Wei Wuxian. Either way he's not brave enough to test it. 

"Mm," Lan Wangji says after a moment, which really means, 'Go on.'

They’re in a hotel room basically straight out of a B-tier horror movie. Flickering lights, the beige wallpaper peeling at the corners like the skins of moldy pears, and a carpet full of swirling patterns that does nothing to hide the mysterious stains that have probably been entrenched in it since the foundation of this haunted establishment. Frankly, Wei Wuxian is shocked that there’s even a TV, like a flatscreen and shit as opposed to a boxy thing with antennas. 

"We are going to sleep," says Wei Wuxian, taking a deep, bracing breath. He tries not to think about how this bed has likely not been washed or—bleached, in the past five years, and raises his gaze to the window where the night sky outside is still bursting with fireworks from the New Year celebrations. 

With a tightening grip on his hand, he feels Lan Wangji take a deep breath too. Again, could be good—sharing the same nerves and everything—or. Very, very bad. Coin’s toss. 

"And we are,” Wei Wuxian goes on valiantly, “going to be fine until we can call for rescue in the morning. Yes. Sound good to you?"

Normally Wei Wuxian is used to the way Lan Wangji takes his time before speaking. After four years of knowing each other through undergrad, and then dating for two months straight out of graduation, he knows what Lan Wangji’s silences are like and how often they come. It's a far cry from himself, because he tends to spit out whatever he's thinking about in an unfiltered stream-of-consciousness at all hours, but Lan Wangji is always so deliberate with his words. Careful. Considerate. 

It's sweet, but also, Wei Wuxian is standing in this silence accompanied only by the faint whir of the air conditioner in the dinky hotel room, holding his boyfriend's hand, staring at a mattress that isn't going to clone itself magically. 

It’s pretty rough. 

As for how they even got themselves into this situation, well. The usual suspects. Lan Xichen drunkenly taking off into the night with Lan Wangji's phone and car keys after Jin Zixuan’s stupidly pretentious New Year’s party. Jiang Cheng refusing to answer his phone, and them trudging to the nearest hotel in the aftermath because Wei Wuxian's phone died right after calling Jiang Cheng, who really, in hindsight, should've been his last resort.

They could’ve stayed at Jin Zixuan’s place, granted, but also. 

Jin Zixuan. No fucking thanks.

It's a miracle as it is that Murphy's Law hasn't fucked them over enough to take Wei Wuxian's wallet too. But for real. This silence is going to kill him. 

"Lan Zhan," Wei Wuxian manages to say in a somewhat steady voice, "can you. What are you thinking? You got any thoughts?"

More silence. 

Motherfucker, Wei Wuxian's going to look at his extremely sexy boyfriend and face the consequences of Lan Wangji's disgust, isn't he? And the break-up too. No doubt there’s going to be a break-up. Two months of dating were good and all, especially considering the way Wei Wuxian confessed in an incoherent babble at 2 AM right after graduation, driven by the all-consuming fear that Lan Wangji would never see him again. Two months were nice. They were more than he should’ve gotten, honest. 

The truth is that he’s not a good boyfriend. He’s not even like, an average one, like one of those useless husbands who take out the trash and call it a day. Even at the party earlier, he left Lan Wangji stranded for what must’ve been hours. Thirty minutes? He didn’t know. Time was hard. He was busy looking for Jin Zixuan at his sister's request so they could kiss at the ball drop, god knows why she'd want that, but he found Jin Zixuan, and they did kiss when the ball dropped at midnight, but—Wei Wuxian sure as hell didn't.

He didn't even get to start the new year right.

Where he should've been making out with Lan Wangji and feeling him up below the shifting silk of his princely blouse and those dark slacks that did wonders for his ass, Wei Wuxian was wallowing on the veranda, watching as everyone else did what he should've been doing and Not Getting To Do It, because again: bad boyfriend.

When he found Lan Wangji some fifteen minutes later, Lan Wangji was curled up on the floor of Jin Zixuan's library, fuck that rich asshole, and he was reading a book. During a party. During a New Year's party. Alone. 

Mother fucker.

The thing is, if it was just the New Year's party, maybe Wei Wuxian would think he was overreacting.

Except. Haha. No.

There's so much evidence piled up for the reasons why he’s a boyfriend. Like the fact that he's constantly late to all their dates because he can't keep track of time. Or that he dresses in sweats and hoodies every day. Or that, one time, he fell asleep during a fucking delicious makeout session! 

Fell! Asleep! 

Anyways. 

Point is Wei Wuxian is a bad partner. Just the worst.

It's taking all his effort to keep himself from burrowing in Lan Wangji's chest as it is and begging for forgiveness, but there's a telltale strain around Lan Wangji's eyes that speak of his exhaustion and how bad of an idea it would be to dump All That on him right now.

So Wei Wuxian just holds onto Lan Wangji's hand tighter and ignores the ache in his throat when he asks, "Do you have any preference for—uh, which side you wanna take on the bed?"

Another silence. Shit, maybe this isn’t just one of those usual silences. Maybe it’s one of those passive-aggressive “You stole the last cookie and I’m politely ignoring you” silences, or in Lan Wangji’s case, “You asked me if I like Mianmian” silences. It was two years ago. Never let it be said that Lan Wangji is a forgetful person. 

“No preference,” says Lan Wangji eventually. “Whatever Wei Ying wants, I will agree.”

Oh, come on. Wei Wuxian blames all the champagne he guzzled for the way his eyes sting. “Lan Zhan,” he mumbles, because he can’t make his voice come out any louder, “come on. You can choose. I won’t be mad.”

“I would not be mad either.”

“What if I don’t want to choose?”

“Then it is not important,” Lan Wangji says, always so—good, and patient, and kind. 

Wei Wuxian’s throat spasms as he swallows down the weird feelings that seem to concentrate there. He lowers his gaze from the mattress to the carpeted floor with the odd stains, and for some reason it just makes everything worse. 

This shitty hotel room. The shitty party. The shitty boyfriend he is. 

It’s all too lacking for someone as good as Lan Wangji.

But he breathes out, breathes in. Lan Wangji chose him for a reason, and Wei Wuxian isn’t going to do him a disservice by doubting whatever faith that Lan Wangji has placed in him. 

“Okay,” he says, when he feels like he has his emotions under control, or at least repressed again. “Alright. Then, uh. Well, I guess. We should sleep.”

“Mm.”

“Okay,” says Wei Wuxian again, taking another inhale before leading his boyfriend to the bed, sitting down on it with a wheezing croak of the bedsprings. 

Fuck, the fucking bedsprings are creaking. 

And the mattress is stiff. 

And the sheets are stained some odd color, on closer inspection. 

Wei Wuxian’s throat closes again. Oh, goddamn. Maybe he can’t do this after all.

“Wei Ying?” comes Lan Wangji’s voice, along with a gentle touch of his hand along Wei Wuxian’s jaw that just makes him squeeze his eyes shut tighter, chanting in his head, Don’t fuck this up, don’t fuck this up, don’t fuck this up. 

“Wei Ying,” says Lan Wangji again, this time with palpable concern coloring his voice. “Wei Ying, what’s wrong?”

Wei Wuxian might want to laugh a little. Or cry, it’s all up in the air, really. 

“I,” he begins, before he cuts off, shaking his head. “Lan Zhan. This is such a bad hotel room.”

A thoughtful pause. “Does that upset you?”

“No, I—yes? Maybe?” That’s not what Lan Wangji should be saying though, at all, and Wei Wuxian shoves down the urge to melt into Lan Wangji’s touch as his fingers gently stroke the curve of Wei Wuxian’s cheek. “Lan Zhan, isn’t it upsetting for you?”

“Why would it be upsetting for me?”

“Why wouldn’t it be upsetting for you? Come on! Look at this place. It’s a mess, and I’m broke because I suck at budgeting, and you had such a bad day with the party, and, and maybe it wasn’t my whole fault, but it was, like, a good ninety percent of it, and I—I—” Wei Wuxian breaks off, shuddering with his inhale before he admits, miserable with it, “And I’m a bad boyfriend. The worst. If we’re being extra clear.”

The hand stills. Wei Wuxian doesn’t tear up when it falls away. It’s stupid to cry, even if he knows Lan Wangji is on the verge of leaving him, but.

Well. People leave him all the time. He can’t exactly blame Lan Wangji for it if he leaves too. 

“Wei Ying,” says Lan Wangji, sounding strangely far away, “what are you talking about?”

Wei Wuxian laughs. He didn’t realize he needed to outline his actions, but if he has to, then. Whatever. “Okay,” he says, eyes still squeezed shut. Breathe in. Breathe out. “Here’s the thing. I’m late to every date we have.”

“Mm.”

“And I never dress well. Like I could, because you buy me a lot of clothes, but I never wear them because I know I’ll destroy them and it’s better not to, but I still look.” He gestures at himself. “You know.”

“...Mm,” says Lan Wangji again, with a heavy thread of something like doubt woven into the syllable.

“And,” Wei Wuxian goes on, ignoring him, “I’m annoying. I don’t pay attention to you like I should, and I talk too much, I know I talk too much, and I think you’re really hot all the time and it’s. Yeah.”

Lan Wangji’s hand returns, but this time on his knee. “It’s what?” he asks. 

“Uh.” Wei Wuxian’s mind blanks. “It’s not. Right. That you’re dating me and I left you alone at the party, and that I’m, you know.” A vague hand wave. “Bad boyfriend when you're so good to me, and, and in general.”

“You keep saying that,” Lan Wangji murmurs, “but I do not see a bad boyfriend anywhere.”

When Wei Wuxian finally opens his eyes, he finds Lan Wangji gazing at him, kneeling before him, not even on the bed. He’s so beautiful it kind of hurts, honestly, the silken waves of his white blouse accentuating his delicate features, his hair swept up in a regal ponytail with a few strands wisping at his temples. 

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian says quietly, “be honest here. I don’t deserve you.”

But Lan Wangji is already shaking his head before Wei Wuxian can finish. “No,” he says, just as soft. “I do not deserve you. That is the truth.”

“Lan Zhan, what—”

“You are good,” Lan Wangji goes on, interrupting him for the first time in—ever, as Wei Wuxian’s jaw drops, “and you talk to me despite the fact that I rarely talk back. I am bad at communicating my thoughts properly, but you have never had an issue with this.”

“Because there’s no issue to have, Lan Zhan, what are you—”

“You have never been late to our dates,” Lan Wangji continues, with a stubborn set to his mouth that tells him Wei Wuxian won’t get in a word edgewise. “I simply arrive early, because I want to see you. Not once have you been late.”

“But I could get there faster.”

“You are busy with your research,” Lan Wangji counters, “and that is okay. I don’t want apologies for something that is not your fault, Wei Ying.”

Wei Wuxian is still in the process of trying to comprehend this when Lan Wangji just—fucking keeps going—

“I was not bored at that party. The reason I was in the library,” and here, Lan Wangji’s ears tinge pink, “was because I knew you would find me. And you did. You told me you wanted to help your sister before you left. I do not blame you for that.”

“But you have to blame me for not kissing you when the ball dropped,” Wei Wuxian blurts, scrambling forward so that they’re both kneeling on the stained carpet, holding each other’s hands. 

Lan Wangji blinks at him like he has no idea what the fuck Wei Wuxian is talking about, and Wei Wuxian rolls his eyes, says impatiently, “The ball drop, Lan Zhan! Kissing someone you love at midnight, it’s important! We should’ve been doing that!” 

“If you find the tradition important,” Lan Wangji says, “then we can do it now.”

“It’s not midnight now! It doesn’t count!”

“It could count.”

“Lan Zhan, you stubborn bitch, it doesn’t count now because I missed it, okay, because I’m a bad boyfriend!” When Lan Wangji just continues to gaze at him, expression unchanging from his usual soft, fond expression, Wei Wuxian lets out a wail and sinks into his boyfriend’s chest.

Like instinct, Lan Wangji’s arms wrap around him, one hand immediately sinking into his hair. Wei Wuxian can’t help but let out another half-whine at that. “Lan Zhan,” he mumbles, “come on. How do you never get mad at me for anything?”

A pause, and then: “I do get mad at you sometimes.”

“Oh yeah? Like when?”

“Mianmian.”

“Not Mianmian!” Wei Wuxian howls, incensed that Lan Wangji’s only gripe with him ever seems to revolve around Mianmian. It was one time, like in junior year, okay, and Wei Wuxian was drunk and he thought Lan Wangji was straight, it was a mistake. “I know you were mad about Mianmian! I’m talking any other time besides Mianmian!”

“Hmm,” says Lan Wangji. A crease in his forehead as he thinks. “A few hours ago, then. I was upset when you did not kiss me.”

“Hah!” Wei Wuxian crows, triumphant. “At the ball drop? I told you it was important!”

“Not then. Before. When we were about to leave for the party.”

“What, because I didn’t immediately strip your clothes off and ravish you?”

Silence.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian says, when there’s no reply. 

Still nothing.

Holy shit.

Holy shit. 

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian says incredulously, pulling back so he can see Lan Wangji’s face, and yeah, yeah, that’s definitely him averting his eyes because he’s embarrassed, what the fuck, “are you serious right now?”

“...Yes,” Lan Wangji says, in this tiny voice that makes his heart go into triple-time. 

“Oh, sweetheart,” Wei Wuxian says, helpless, all his previous despair melting away in the face of this—adorableness. Oh god. “Baobei. Darling. Pretty boy, look at me. You are so cute.” 

With every word, the flush in Lan Wangji’s ears darken, until it’s spread to his neck, the lightest dusting of pink at the high points of his cheeks. 

Ohhh. God. A bracing inhale. “Okay,” Wei Wuxian chokes out. “Forget my problems. My problems are gone now, they’ve been solved by the sheer force of your cuteness and—and world peace, and—you’ve solved fucking climate change, okay, the glaciers have stopped melting because of you, oh my god.” He burrows his face into Lan Wangji’s blouse again, unable to help himself from playing with the ends of his blue ribbon tie. “Lan Zhan,” he says, voice creaking, “sweetheart, I love you. Like a lot, it’s super embarrassing, and I’ll have to hunt you down if you repeat it to anyone else. It’d ruin my street cred.”

A quiet huff of amused laughter before Lan Wangji is stroking his hair again. “You have no street cred.”

“Cruel!” Wei Wuxian cries, but he’s laughing when he says it, and he can feel the answering shakes of silent laughter in Lan Wangji’s chest. “Brutal! Ruthless! How dare you slander me like that, I have so much fucking street cred!” 

“I’m sure,” says Lan Wangji, with a kiss to his head. “Do you feel better now?”

Warrrrrrghhhhhhhh. That’s not fair. That’s so not fucking fair. 

“Lan-er-gege,” Wei Wuxian mumbles, feeling so fucking happy that genuinely he’s a little worried that he’ll explode with it, “I’m always better when I’m around you. I mean that. You’re so good. You’re too good to me, Lan Zhan, you know that?”

“It is only what you deserve.”

This time Wei Wuxian can’t stop himself from screaming into Lan Wangji’s chest. “Stop it!” he yells, beating at Lan Wangji’s chest. Completely ineffective, because his boyfriend’s made out of straight fucking jade, but whatever. “Stop it right now! You can’t say that to me!”

“Mm,” Lan Wangji says, which is not an agreement, and they both know it. Wei Wuxian pulls back from Lan Wangji’s chest to scowl at him, but there’s Lan Wangji with this—smile, and okay, yeah, Wei Wuxian has to retreat again, fucking sue him. 

Dear god. That smile should be classified as a weapon of mass destruction. 

Time passes with Wei Wuxian basically melting into a boneless blob in Lan Wangji’s lap, while Lan Wangji indulgently strokes his hair and pretends he’s a human being. It’s a perfect representation of their relationship thus far. If he’s being honest, Wei Wuxian is absolutely okay with falling asleep with Lan Wangji on the carpet, weird stains and mysterious bacteria be damned, but— 

“I want to be the little spoon,” Lan Wangji says suddenly. 

Wei Wuxian drags himself back up to the surface of consciousness with great effort. It’s like slogging through a ball pit. “You want what?” he mumbles, forcing his eyes open.

“I want to be the little spoon,” Lan Wangji repeats. 

The emotional semi-breakdown and the champagne and the head stroking all have been working to put him into a sixteen-year coma, so it takes him awhile for the words to register. When it does, though—Wei Wuxian has to burrow his face into Lan Wangji’s dark slacks to hide his smile.

“Okay,” he says. “You can be the little spoon.”