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Means of (Re)production

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Wei Wuxian, alone in the Demon-Slaughtering cave, was at the angry part of his heat. His legs hurt, his back hurt, he was horny as hell, he was craving tanghulu and yet all Wen Qing offered were the ever-present radishes.

Wei Wuxian fucking hates radishes. No one actually likes radishes, the whole thing was yet another conspiracy by the cultivation world against him. He sat on the rock slab that he called his bed, crossed his arms, and huffed.

"Why do we even have heats," he asked himself grumpily. "I can't have kids right now, you stupid body. I live in a fucking graveyard, only eat one meal a day if I'm lucky, and the entire world hates me."

He tapped the side of his nose thoughtfully. "I wonder...what if I didn't have to go into heats? Is there a talisman that could prevent that?"

"WEN QING!!!!" he screamed. A few minutes later, she appeared in the doorway of the cave, looking irritated. As a Beta, she didn't have to deal with heats, Wei Wuxian thought resentfully at her. "Hey, is there medicine that can stop heats?" he asked.

"Can stop heats? You mean the entire cycle?" she asked. "Yeah, this shit is stupid and I don't want to deal with it," he replied.

"I don't think so. We have herbs and other ways to prevent or end a pregnancy, but messing with your body's natural cycle could end badly," she said. "Worse than dying of malnutrition and resentful energy on top of a pile of corpses without a golden core?" Wei Wuxian asked cheerfully.

"Well, when you put it that way..." Wen Qing nodded her head. "What do you need from me?"
"I guess any info about the actual biological process of heat. How does it work? Is it affected by qi or resentful energy? Is there any current research on lengthening or shortening the cycles, or easing cramps or cravings?"

Wen Qing called in her brother, who had been an Omega before he was a Fierce Corpse, and the conversation was so interesting that it distracted Wei Wuxian from his heat woes. He eventually kicked them out and stayed awake for three days completing version 1.0 of his talisman.

Holding a piece of paper in his hand, covered in ink, his hair a rats nest of tangles and dark bags under his eyes, Wei Wuxian rushed into Wen Qing's office, triumphant. "I did it!" he exclaimed. "I think."

He explained his invention, how it took some of the talismans that already existed to boost fertility and increase the chances of pregnancy, and reversed them in order to fool the body into thinking they were already pregnant, so they didn't need to go into heat after all.

Wen Qing examined it closely, and agreed that, theoretically, it should work. The problem they had now was how to test it. Wei Wuxian's heats were unpredictable, Wen Qing was a Beta, Wen Ning was dead, and the rest of the surviving Wens were either too old or too young to deal with either heats or ruts.

They also didn't know how far in advance it needed to be used, whether the body needed to complete a cycle before they used it, when in the cycle it would be most effective or how long it would be effective for. Would they need a new one after each cycle? Yearly?

Wei Wuxian used one on himself anyway, since using himself as a lab rat always worked out so well for him in the past.

The solution to this problem turned up a few days later, when Nie Huaisang showed up for one of his visits. Wei Wuxian never knew how he snuck away from his brother, or how he broke Wei Wuxian's wards to come and see them.

"I still think our best bet is to talk to someone in the brothels -" Wei Wuxian was saying as Nie Huaisang came traipsing up the path. "Brothels?! How could you betray your love like that?"

"My love? What?" Wei Wuxian was confused. "Second Young Master Lan!" Nie Huaisang replied. "Oh, Lan Zhan doesn't even like me," Wei Wuxian said. "He doesn't agree with my cultivation - we're not even friends anymore."

Seeing Wei Wuxian turning glum, Wen Qing quickly explained why they were talking about brothels to Nie Huaisang. "Oh, I can probably help with that!" he said. "Some of the shops where I get my books have relationships with the Omegas in the brothels. That's how they get their ideas sometimes!"

"But," he continued, "I don't my cultivation high enough to cast this?" "That's the beauty of it!" Wei Wuxian said. "It doesn't require high cultivation to work! It's closer to a household talisman. We're also exploring whether we can empower them in advance."

Nie Huaisang took a stack of the talismans, half infused with Wen Qing's spiritual energy and half uncharged, and promised to follow up as soon as he could.

Wei Wuxian didn't expect to hear back from this first attempt for a long time, so things continued in much the same way as they had at Burial Mounds. He was still trying to find a way to safely destroy the Tiger Seal, carving the bracelet that would be his gift for his shijie's baby.

He was surprised to see Nie Huaisang come up the path just a little over a month later. The Omegas in the brothel were very excited about his invention, Nie Huaisang explained, and paid much closer attention to their cycles, so they were able to tell results faster.

Wen Qing brought Nie Huaisang and Wei Wuxian into her office so she could take notes. "I'll tell you their comments in a minute," Nie Huaisang said, "but first I was directed to give you this." He took a money pouch from his belt and poured out a handful of gold pieces. Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing looked up at him, stunned.

"The madame at the brothel was extremely happy with the results of your talisman," Nie Huaisang said, "and would like to contract with you for a regular supply."
"Whaaaaaaaaaaaat," breathed Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing, simultaneously. "Wen Qing! We don't have to eat radishes anymore!" Wei Wuxian cheered.

Wen Qing took charge of the money bag, counting it out and putting it away before turning back to Nie Huaisang and asking for his report. "Not all of the Omegas wanted to risk using the talisman, but all the ones who did decided to use it on the same day," he said. "That way they could report on how it worked when used during different times in their cycles. All of them said it worked immediately; it even ended a heat midway for one. They stopped using the contraceptive tea after each client, and there have been no pregnancies reported. Some of the Omegas reported that they still felt cramps when their heat was scheduled to come, but that was it. No other side effects were mentioned. One weird thing, Omega had a client attempt to force her during this time, and two others said that their clients attempted acts that were not negotiated for. They all said that they felt a sort of shock, which didn't hurt them, but did affect the client."

"A shock?" Wen Qing asked. "Yes, they said it felt like being poked with a needle. They said they got angry, then they felt the pain. It affected the client more strongly, the one who was attempting to force her was knocked immobile."

"Hm," Wei Wuxian said. He examined the talisman, finally narrowing in on one symbol, which could possibly have amplified resentment from the bearer and targeted it outward. "I can work on that for my next version," he said.

"No, the Omegas loved it!" Nie Huaisang said. "It taught the jerks a lesson. One Omega...I think her name was Sisi, said she had a particular client in mind to target next."

"Ok, then!" Wei Wuxian said. "Here's the latest version of the talisman, I didn't change anything but I cleaned it up some and made it easier for the Omega to decide how long it will be effective."

"Should we talk about money now?" Wen Qing asked. Wei Wuxian tapped his nose. "To be honest, I hadn't thought about that at all," he said. "The amount I gave you was a percentage of the profit from each Omega who didn't have to take their heat time off," Nie Huaisang explained.

"So that's probably less money than we could get, since you're the only one who has figured this out," Wen Qing said. "But that stack also didn't have the time defined, so in theory they won't need any more until they remove the current one," Wei Wuxian said.

Since Nie Huaisang was more up-to-date with the world outside of their little settlement, Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing eventually decided to let him decide how much to charge for the talismans. Wei Wuxian gave him another stack, and Nie Huaisang bid them farewell.

The next time they went into Yiling to sell their radishes, Wen Qing was almost immediately stopped and asked about the talisman. The word had spread quickly, even though no one would admit to having talked to the Omegas in the brothel. Every Omega wanted more control over their cycles

Wei Wuxian bought talisman paper and started selling them alongside Wen Ning and his radishes. More and more frequently, Wen Qing was approached by people who knew she was a talented doctor and asked health questions.

Soon enough, their stash of money was big enough that they could start talking about leaving the Burial Mounds. The cultivation world still hated the Wens, but Wei Wuxian's talisman had created a wellspring of approval among the regular people in the town.

Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing argued fiercely, long into the night, about the pros and cons of moving into Yiling. Wen Qing could open a clinic, Wen Yuan could go to school. They could live like normal people. But the average people wouldn't be able to protect them if (or when) the cultivators attacked.

Finally they decided to open it to the rest of their small community. Everyone gathered together and Wei Wuxian explained the situation. They could also offer anyone who wanted to leave entirely some money to start over somewhere else, he said.

They talked it over long into the night. Finally the prospect of living a more normal life won. Everyone could see the toll that the resentful energy was taking on Wei Wuxian, and even though they had more and better food now, leaving was the only way to really clear it out.

They moved slowly, renting several houses in Yiling and gradually filling them with people. They bought different colored robes and debated changing their name, but Wen Qing's already established renown made them decide against it.

Wen Qing's clinic opened, with Wei Wuxian's shop connected to it. He offered his heat prevention talismans, but also any number of small, helpful things, and slowly they became more comfortable.

A few weeks after the clinic and shop opened, Wei Wuxian ran into Lan Wangji, in town on a night hunt. "Lan Zhan!" he exclaimed, as he ran up and slung his arm around Lan Wangji's neck. "Wei Ying," Lan Wangji said, looking over Wei Wuxian's clean clothes and healthier face. "You look good."

Wei Wuxian immediately turned bright red and flustered. "You can't say things like that, with such a straight face!" he said. "I might start to believe them, and then where would we be?"

"Where indeed, Wei Ying," Lan Wangji said.

"Hey, let me treat you to lunch! Since I ran off on you last time and forgot to pay, I owe you! Too bad a-Yuan isn't here, you could buy him some more toys!" Wei Wuxian elbowed Lan Wangji in the side, but the other man agreed to join Wei Wuxian for a meal.

Wei Wuxian talked non-stop while he ate, updating Lan Wangji on everything that had happened. So far, he said, they hadn't had any issues with other cultivators, and everyone was very popular in Yiling. Wen Qing's medical practice was flourishing, and Wei Wuxian's shop had run out all the fake disciples who had been claiming to be part of the Yiling Laozu's sect. "I'm still nervous, though, Lan Zhan!" Wei Wuxian said. "I'm expecting Lanling Jin to come terrorizing us any day now!"

"Nie Huaisang and your sister have become friends," Lan Wangji said, seemingly out of nowhere. "Oh?" Wei Wuxian said, confused. "There is a lot of support in the gentry for your talisman, and Jiang Yanli has convinced Jin Zixuan to support your efforts publicly." "Oh!" Wei Wuxian said, touched.

"Sect Leader Jin has been suffering from a mysterious illness, and Jin Zixuan has picked up much of his responsibilities. No one wants to go against the Chief Cultivator in this matter." Lan Wangji continued. "In fact, one of the reasons I am here in Yiling is to find out your plans for attending Jin Ling's one month celebration." "Oh, that's coming up soon, isn't it!" Wei Wuxian said. "Mn. Two weeks from today."

"Lady Jiang has also extended an invitation to Lady Wen, if she would like to attend." "Ah, my shijie is the BEST. I can't wait to see her!" Wei Wuxian said. "I think we have enough money to rent a carriage, so we can arrive in style. And the fastest route would be through Qiongqi Path."

They finished eating, and Wei Wuxian took Lan Wangji back to show him their new homes, as well as the shop and clinic. Wen Yuan remembered his "rich gege" and hugged his leg tightly before being carried away by Wen Ning for a nap.

The two had an enjoyable afternoon, only slightly souring when Lan Wangji asked why Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing didn't simply fly to Lanling for Jin Ling's party. "Ah, you know, Lan Zhan, we'll wait to arrive the day of so we don't annoy too many people! We'd be all sweaty and disheveled, which would be rude."

"You are still not carrying your sword," Lan Wangji observed. "Ah, yeah, it...uh...I don't want to scare the townspeople!" Wei Wuxian said nervously. "Wei Ying, let me play for you before I go. I feel less resentful energy from you, but it is still there."

"Lan Zhan, you don't have to do that! Aren't you tired from your night hunt, and you still have to fly all the way back to Gusu!" "I do not mind, Wei Ying." Lan Wangji seated himself in the middle of Wei Wuxian's shop and pulled his guqin from his qiankun bag.

Wei Wuxian had to admit that he felt better after Lan Wangji played, and the two parted on good terms.

A few weeks later, Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing were in their rented carriage, traveling to Jin Ling's one month celebration. Although he could have afforded to buy a gift with the success of his talismans, Wei Wuxian carried the bracelet that he made himself, carved with protective characters.

Wei Wuxian was staring out the window as the carriage drove through Qiongqi Path. He noticed how quiet it was a split second before he heard an authoritative voice call for the carriage to halt. Getting out, he saw a vaguely familiar face standing in front of the carriage, sword drawn.

"Wei Wuxian!" the man cried. "I have come to make you pay for terrorizing the cultivation world!" "Me? What did I do? I haven't even left Yiling in months!" Wei Wuxian replied.

"You have cursed me with the many holes curse!" the man exclaimed, holding open his robes so Wei Wuxian could see the tiny holes dotting his chest. "I didn't curse you! I don't even know who you are!" Wei Wuxian said.

"What do you mean you don't know who I am?! Don't make your punishment worse by lying to me!" Wei Wuxian looked back at Wen Qing helplessly. "That's Jin Zixun, Jin Zixuan's cousin," she whispered to him.

"Ahhh," Wei Wuxian whispered back. "Listen," he yelled back to Jin Zixun. "I was not the one who cursed you! If I had cursed you you would know it was me!" "Of course it was you, who else would it be! You laid this curse upon me at the same time that you cursed Sect Leader Jin!"

"Sect Leader Jin is cursed?" Wei Wuxian asked

Several things happened just then. Jin Zixun yelled, "You impregnated the sect leader!" just as an arrow hit the carriage, and another man dressed in gold landed in front of the carriage with his own entourage. Wei Wuxian recognized this new man as his shijie's husband, Jin Zixuan.

"Good afternoon, Pea- wait," Wei Wuxian stopped mid-sentence. "Did you say I impregnated Sect Leader Jin?" At that, Wen Qing's head joined Wei Wuxian's, out the window of the carriage.

"Yes!" Jin Zixun was so angry that his face was turning red. "Your cursed talisman! Now the sect leader is pregnant!" Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing exchanged a look. "Isn't Sect Leader Jin an Alpha?" she asked slowly.

Jin Zixuan stepped in between his cousin and the carriage. "Order your men to stand down, Zixun, and we shall escort the carriage to Jinlintai." Wei Wuxian looked around for the first time and saw dozens of men standing above them, arrows and swords drawn.

"I will make him pay for this!" Jin Zixun screamed, raising his sword and running towards Wei Wuxian's unprotected head, still sticking out of the carriage window.

Jin Zixuan drew his sword and intercepted his cousin, fighting fiercely until he was able to disarm him. Tying his arms behind him, he passed him over to another of the cultivators in his group. He told the rest of the group gathered to ambush Wei Wuxian to leave, and waited as they did.

"Would you like to join us, Sect Heir?" Wen Qing asked politely, and Jin Zixuan ignored Wei Wuxian's grimace and climbed in with them. "What the hell was he talking about, Sect Leader Jin is pregnant?!"

Jin Zixuan explained as the carriage started moving again. "About a month ago, my father started feeling ill in the mornings. He was unable to keep food down, he was tired all the time and he became increasingly sensitive to strong smells."

"Yes, that sounds like pregnancy," Wen Qing agreed. "None of the doctors could figure out what was wrong, until Jiang Yanli made the same comment," Jin Zixuan said. "They hadn't even thought to look, because father is an Alpha."

"The doctors were able to confirm the pregnancy, but father only admitted to visiting a brothel two days ago, and my cousin was part of the group that went to talk to the omegas there. It turned out that the Omega who had...serviced...father was using your talisman."

"But all that talisman does is prevent an Omega from going into heat!" Wei Wuxian protested. "It solely affects the person who cast it!" "Jin Zixun has hated you for a long time," Jin Zixuan said, "and is angry that your reputation has been so much improved lately. He also doesn't feel that Omegas should have the ability to control their own cycles, and is scared of you gaining power. I think he is mostly afraid that he will be treated the way he treats them," Jin Zixuan sighed. "Ugh," Wei Wuxian agreed.

They made it safely to Jinlintai, and Wei Wuxian climbed the steep stairs to be greeted by his sister, holding a tiny baby, Jiang Cheng, and Lan Wangji. "Shijie!" Wei Wuxian yelled, hugging her as carefully as he could. He stared wonderingly at the baby. "This is Jin Ling," Jiang Yanli said.

"Can I hold him?" Wei Wuxian asked. "Let's get inside first," Jiang Yanli said. "Now that you're here we can start the celebration." Wei Wuxian belatedly bowed to Jiang Cheng and Lan Wangji and followed them in.

Jin Zixuan and Jiang Yanli joined Sect Leader and Madame Jin on the dais at the front of the room. Looking closely, Wei Wuxian could tell that Sect Leader Jin's waist was thicker than it had been the last time he had seen him. "So, Sect Leader Jin is pregnant?" he said under his breath to Jiang Cheng.

"Yes, and a large faction thinks it's your fault," Jiang Cheng replied. "Yeah, Jin Zixun tried to ambush us on our way here, but fortunately Jin Zixuan showed up just in time." "He WHAT?!" Jiang Cheng yelled, drawing the attention of all the people around him. "How dare he go off on his own like that!"

"Someone cursed him, too," Wei Wuxian said, "and I guess he thought he would kill two birds with one stone." Jiang Cheng fumed, but Wei Wuxian was distracted by how happy he was to have his martial brother back on his side. They paused their conversation when the Sect Leader stood up to introduce Jin Ling.

Wei Wuxian looked around at the rest of the people in the crowd. Sect Leader Lan was there, Lan Wangji having moved back to his side. Nie Mingjue was there, but his brother was nowhere to be found. Most of the smaller sects were represented, not daring to risk offending the Chief Cultivator.

"Aren't these celebrations usually just for family and close friends?" Wei Wuxian asked Wen Qing. "I have no idea," she replied, "Wen Ruohan never allowed me to attend them." Wei Wuxian had his suspicions, which were confirmed after Jiang Yanli said she was tired and took the baby to lie down.

"Wei Wuxian!" Sect Leader Jin said, as he sat down heavily. "We wish to have a word with you, now that Madame Jiang and the baby have left." Jiang Cheng elbowed Wei Wuxian in the side and hissed "Behave!" at him. Lan Wangji met his eyes, looking as worried as his stoic face could manage.

"I'm sure you've heard of this...condition...that I have been cursed with," Sect Leader Jin said. Wei Wuxian nodded. "Were you the one responsible for it?" "No, Sect Leader. I have sold my anti-heat talisman to hundreds of omegas and have not heard of a single one having this side effect"

Jiang Cheng stared at Wei Wuxian, surprised at how respectful he sounded in the face of ridiculous accusations. Wen Qing stood beside him, looking determined, and Wei Wuxian knew that the results of this could have a serious impact on their future.

"Well," a voice called from the back of the room, "that's not strictly true." Everyone turned at once as Nie Huaisang walked toward them, two women trailing behind him. "What is this?!" Jin Guangshan yelled. "How dare you bring whores into my home!"

"Ah, you recognize these ladies, Sect Leader Jin?" Nie Huaisang asked innocently. "Uh, no, of course not! Not personally!" Jin Guangshan tried to backtrack but only succeeded in making himself look like an idiot.

"Well, let's see if they recognize you?" Nie Huaisang said smoothly. He pointed to one of the ladies, who Wei Wuxian assumed were part of the brothel Jin Guangshan admitted visiting, and introduced her as Sisi. "Why is that name familiar?" Wei Wuxian asked Wen Qing, who shushed him and kept listening.

"Sisi, do you recognize this man?" Nie Huaisang asked her. "Of course I do!" she replied angrily. "That's the man who tried to rape me!" Everyone in the room broke out in loud exclamations, denying her accusation.

"You're a whore," Jin Guangshan said, waving his arm. "How can anyone force you to do your job?" Sisi stood taller, looking enraged. "I provide a service for money, just the same as anyone else," she said proudly. "You tried to take my service without paying, and when I refused you hit me."

"Can you tell us what happened, Madame Sisi?” Nie Huaisang asked. "He came in about a month ago, drunk and belligerent," she said. "This was right after Nie Huaisang brought us the talismans to control our heat. Sect Leader Jin grabbed me by the arm when I tried to turn him away for being drunk. He threw me on the ground and started fumbling with my robes. I screamed at him to get off, but then I felt this feeling like being poked with a needle, and he recoiled like I had kicked him."

Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing exchanged glances. This sounded familiar - like the story Nie Huaisang had told of the backlash after the first delivery of talismans. Those talismans had come here?

The tone in the room had changed, people were still muttering under their breath, but they were looking at Jin Guangshan suspiciously. That the man cheated on his poor wife was well-known, but to abuse an Omega! That was, perhaps, a bridge too far.

Nie Huaisang started talking again, introducing the second woman he had brought with him. She removed her cloak and Wei Wuxian saw that her robes were far too fine for her to be a prostitute. Wei Wuxian's omega senses immediately recognized her as an Alpha, as at the same time he noticed her huge belly.

The rest of the room made the same observations, in the same order, and loud conversation broke out again. "Wen Qing?" Nie Huaisang called, and beckoned her to join them.

"Can you please confirm this woman's secondary gender?" he asked. "She is an Alpha," Wen Qing replied. Knowing his next question, she went on to say, "and yes, she is pregnant."

Nie Huaisang waited for the room to quiet down again before asking the woman to tell her story. She didn't tell her name, but explained that she had tried to force herself on an Omega.

She described the same feeling that Sisi had mentioned, like she had been kicked in the stomach.

"A month later I started feeling the symptoms of pregnancy," the woman said. "Just like Sect Leader Jin."

Nie Huaisang took out a piece of paper, which turned out to be a copy of the talisman that Wei Wuxian had created. "As far as we can tell, whenever someone attempts to assault someone who is using this talisman, the energy rebounds on them, causing whatever injury the offended had intended. I have other examples, someone who tried to whip an Omega and ended up with a long wound on his face. Another whose fist was diverted from her victim's to her own."

"Did you deliberately include this in your talisman, Wei Wuxian?" asked Lan Xichen. "No, Sect Leader Lan," Wei Wuxian replied. "We're still testing and perfecting this talisman, this is the first I have heard of this effect." "Can you remove this from your next version?" Lan Xichen asked.

"No!" interrupted Sisi. "This talisman has been empowering! We have had so many fewer bad customers since word got out!" "I have heard from many Omegas that they like the effect," agreed Nie Huaisang. "But this is absurd!" exclaimed Jin Guangshan from the front of the room.

"No, what is absurd is how you treat Omegas, and how you expect to keep getting away with it," said Nie Mingjue. "This seems like your just reward." The room echoed with loud agreement. "We have enough sects here to take a vote," Lan Xichen said. "Who votes to remove Jin Guangshan as Chief Cultivator?"

The vote was almost unanimous, with only a few outliers voting against. Stepping in from the side, Jin Zixuan spoke up. "You will also be removed as Sect Leader, effective immediately. I will take over and you will be under house arrest."

"But don't you see?!" wailed Jin Guangshan. "This is all Wei Wuxian's fault! He cursed me, he wants to bring down the entire cultivation world with his tiger seal so he can rule us all!"

Madame Jin stood beside her son and pointed at her horrible husband. "I have stood by for too long as you disrespected me and our family, and caused our sect to lose face again and again! Your time is over, it's your son's time to take over."

Defeated, Jin Guangshan allowed himself to be led away by the guards. Everyone in the room watched him go, wondering what the future of the Jin sect was going to be.

Jin Zixuan took his father's place on the dais. "I would also like to say that we bear no ill will against Wei Wuxian or the rest of the Wen remnants. We renounce any accusations against them and welcome them back to the cultivation world."

Wei Wuxian looked wonderingly over at Jiang Cheng. "Does that mean..." he started. "That means you better get your ass back to Lotus Pier!" Jiang Cheng interrupted. "Aw, Jiang Cheng, you did miss me!" Wei Wuxian joked to cover the shake in his voice as he tried to take in what had happened.

Nie Huaisang slammed into him, wrapping his arms around him as he loudly yelled "Congratulations!" directly into his ear. "I've got to get these ladies back to their homes, but we'll meet later?" he asked. "I brought wine!" Wei Wuxian nodded, in a daze.

All of the members of the sects were surrounding Wei Wuxian, saying that they had always known he was a good guy after all, and can you believe what that horrible Jin Guangshan had been up to, when Wei Wuxian suddenly needed to leave.

He excused himself from the room and walked out, not knowing where he was going. As he stalked the halls, an arm reached out and grabbed his, pulling him close.

"Hey, I used that talisman on myself, too!" he exclaimed, before being interrupted by another mouth on his. Incredulous, he pushed back for a second before realizing that this scent was familiar to him.

Sandalwood and petrichor enveloped him as firm lips moved against his. He immediately stopped struggling, enjoying this new sensation. "Lan Zhan!" he said, when he was able to speak again.

"Wei Ying," came the voice, low and urgent. "I have realized something, in this time I have spent investigating the effects of your talisman."

Lan Wangji looked directly into Wei Wuxian's eyes and held him close. "Wei Wuxian, I am in love with you. I would like to court you."

"You're WHAT?!" Wei Wuxian exclaimed. "But - but you hate me!" "I do not hate you. My feelings for you are so strong that I had to withdraw in order to control myself. But you - I would give you anything and everything. My ribbon belongs only to you."

Wei Wuxian thought about it. These feelings he felt toward Lan Wangji - were they love? He considered them, one by one. He wanted Lan Wangji to look at him, to never look away. When he saw Lan Wangji he wanted him to stay. He wanted to be with him, to night hunt and invent talismans and...whatever. Forever.

Still in Lan Wangji's arms, Wei Wuxian raised himself up on his tiptoes and lightly brushed Lan Wangji's lips. "You’re really wonderful," he said. "I like you. Or in other words, I fancy you, I love you, I want you, I can’t leave you, I everything and anything you."

They were interrupted, some time later, by Nie Huaisang and Lan Xichen, sent out to find them and bring them in for the banquet. As they walked in, Jiang Yanli saw their clasped hands and beamed. Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes and told Lan Xichen that he expected to see him at Lotus Pier soon to discuss the betrothal.

As they sat down to eat, Wei Wuxian knew that there were still problems to be solved. He needed to tell Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng about his golden core. He needed to destroy the tiger seal. He needed to make sure the Wens were taken care of before he got married.

But right now, in this moment, with his loved ones, right now he was happy.