A few days later, back in Cang Qiong, a small group of cultivators landed just outside the sect, all sliding off a faintly blue dragon with said dragon transforming back into his typical human form. Having received a message from the sect about the status of his brother and brother-in-law, Xichen had arranged a small group to bring over to visit, consisting of himself, Lan Yuan, Meng Huiyao and their young Lan Yi, and a few others from the other sects he had been able to pick up upon last minute. Asking a disciple or guard for Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji, it wasn’t too long before they were escorted inside and directed towards Qing Jing Peak by some of said Peak’s disciples.
The green-covered, peaceful peak was fairly quiet at the moment, students working on their music or scholarly arts, as they approached the area of the bamboo house and the small courtyards belonging to Wei Ying and Luo Xiaoqing.
At the moment, Xiaoqing was playing with her niece and nephew in the inner courtyard, the young alpha wearing a green and silver-gray outfit, and both twins, oddly enough, wearing dresses themselves. It would have been a little hard to tell which from which if Yanyu wasn't wearing her pearl as a headband, as she was wearing one in white and ice blue, while A-Que was wearing a pastel purple with powder-blue embroidery. Wen Xing was sitting nearby and the white cat's ears perked up as he heard the group enter, hopping up and running to go meet his friend and invite the visitors in.
Wei Ying turned where he was half-reclining in bed with Lan Zhan, both forbidden from getting up out of bed if it wasn't to use the restroom for a week at least by Mu Qingfang. He saw Wen Xing running over to greet the guests and their family, and struggled to push himself up a bit more, patting his mate's hand. "A-Zhan, they're here."
“Mn.” Setting down a book he had been reading, he straightened and shifted just enough so that he could swing his legs over the side of the bed to more properly greet their guests while still following orders. Before the dragon could even give said greetings, he was interrupted by a partly-anxious, partly-excited, “A-Die, A-Niang!” as Lan Yuan ran up to cling to one of his father’s legs. As Wangji set a hand on the boy’s head, he looked up at the elder Lan with a simple, “Brother.”
“Wangji. Wuxian,” Xichen began. “How are you doing? You two really gave us a scare.” Not only had Lan Wangji just disappeared without a word, by the time they’d realized what he must have left to do, poor Lan Yuan (and even a bit more faintly Qiren and Xichen himself) had the briefest, sharpest pain coming through the bond. By the time they had gotten the word about what specifically had happened, their missing family members had already been brought back to Cang Qiong, Lan Qiren absolutely seething at the disrespectful conduct his nephew and nephew-in-law had dealt with.
"Aiyooo, my little baby~" Wei Ying's eyes teared up as he saw Yuan running over, opening his arms. "Come here, come to your mom- Look at you, you've gotten so big!! Mama missed you so much~" He looked at the group in the doorway and gave them a smile and a nod as he cuddled his eldest son, peppering his head and face in kisses and rubbing their cheeks together to exchange scents. "Please, everyone come in and make yourselves comfortable, we're a bit laid up at the moment or we would greet you properly."
Hearing the commotion, the other children soon appeared in the doorway, A-Que hiding slightly behind his sister and auntie as they entered. They looked at the adults briefly with curiosity before going over to the bed, Yanyu being the first to greet A-Yuan with a, "Da-ge."
Lan Que, still a bit shy but wanting to see his brother too, stepped out and greeted him too in a quiet voice. "H-hello, Da-ge..."
Xiaoqing patted them both on the head, the blind-looking leopard girl encouraging them. "Yuan really missed you two, go on."
Once Lan Wangji had moved the hand that had been on the young dragon's head, Lan Yuan had scrambled up onto the bed, big eyes teary as he hugged his mother and hid his face into the fox's chest. Sweet boy that he was, he had done his best the past three years to stay strong and not worry his father with how much he had missed his mother, but it just hadn't been the same without him; the hole that he and his siblings' had left had just been too distracting sometimes.
Leaning down slightly, Wangji brought the twins in closer, placing them in-between himself and Wei Ying so that they were that much closer to Lan Yuan for when the boy eventually calmed down enough to want to cuddle with both of the toddlers. Very nearly breaking into tears again at being around his entire family once again, the little dragon got out a few calls for his "Meimei...Didi" as the rest of the visiting group took seats nearby.
"Well we only got a bit of a summary of what happened," Xichen started again once he was settled. "What was the final verdict from the doctor in terms of your healing process? I should hope there is also no worries about any lasting damage?"
He paused briefly in the task of cuddling and scenting his precious kits, arms wrapped around all three and tucked against his mate's side as he propped his chin on top of Lan Yuan's head and looked at the other adults. "Um... Fortunately Lan Zhan keeps a good stock of medicines on hand, or it would have been a lot worse, but Mu-shibo thinks we should heal fully in about six months or so, provided we follow instructions. Which is great, because we finally picked a date for our wedding next year." He said proudly, a tail wagging behind him. "The fifteenth day of the seventh month!"
Meng Yao paused, then frowned ever so slightly. "...Wei Wuxian, isn't that the Yulan Festival?" Ghost day??? He wanted to get officially married on ghost day?
That had Xichen raising an eyebrow too as he looked to Wangji for a confirmation. When he detected no change in the other dragon’s expression, he said, “That’s an...interesting choice. Any particular reasoning behind the decision?” There must have been, he could read something in Wangji’s expression but he still seemed to be missing something.
The fox grinned and tapped the side of his nose. "Several reasons, actually, but one is because our birth parents are dead. It would be nice to have the wedding on the day they can be closest to us. We were hoping to have it at the Gentian House, but we would understand if you want us to find somewhere else if you think that would be unlucky."
The Sect Leader was clearly thrown off by that, but soon after he was smiling again. “I believe that can be arranged. That place deserves to have happier memories. I can’t imagine Uncle having any particular grievances against it either.” If anything, perhaps only about the size of the location compared to the usual venues at either their ancestry hall or the palace courtyard. Unless perhaps... “Are you aiming to have fewer guests? Only friends and family?”
He nodded. "Given everything we've been through, our official, important wedding would be better held with fewer people, I think," he said. "It's more intimate that way, and less scary for A-Que. He's...not good with loud noises and big crowds of strangers yet. We can make a big show of it when the kits get older if we need to."
The elder dragon simply waved off the concern. "I'm sure we can make do without an additional ceremony. So long as we are still able to carve your name and the children's by Wangji's in the ancestry hall, no further testimony will be necessary."
"Array will need to be edited," Wangji spoke up after having let them do most of the conversing.
"Indeed. Rather minor really. The different location will at least make it easier, we won't have to change the structure of the main locations'. Although perhaps we should think about using a different medium for the array."
"Array?" The fox asked, looking at the two brothers with curiosity. "Does this have to do with a Sect thing or a Royalty thing?"
"No, not really..." Xichen began. "It's more of a ritual we perform for each wedding. The third bow will be accompanied with the activation of this array which will inscribe your name on the ancestry hall wall as Wangji's mate."
"Will need to accommodate for A-Yuan, A-Yu, and A-Que," Wangji added quietly from beside the fox. Their children had also yet to be added to their records due to the circumstances behind them, so that would also need to be rectified once they were formally wedded.
"Ooooh..." He said with a nod, resuming his cuddling with their children. "That's neat! So, will any future children also be recorded automatically after this, or- ah..." He paused, expression stiffening a moment as he remembered the stupid argument that got them split up in the first place, and changed the subject abruptly. "In any case, A-Zhan, should we tell brother-in-law about the surprise we have planned? Or just let it be a surprise?"
Part of him wanted to keep the surprise to see his expression then, but...the other part of him was apprehensive and wanted to hear his brother’s thoughts about having their father at the wedding...
Having noticed the expression on his baby brother’s face, Xichen asked, “Wangji? What’s wrong?” Such conflict in the younger’s eyes was so strange to see and no, he didn’t think it was there because of Wuxian’s question about telling him whatever they had planned. There was some of that, surely, but there was much more beyond just their surprise.
“...” Well, now that Xichen had picked up on his expression regardless, he might not be able to get away with not saying anything... “...Wei Ying wishes to summon our birth parents.”
Ah. Yes, that would explain the look he had seen. “And you are worried about whether or not Father would even answer the summoning and attend.” It was hard to say. They had so little interaction with him and what they
know of him was how much more self-deprecating he seemed to be. Far worse than any instances where Wangji had acted similarly. Would he continue to punish himself beyond the grave and refuse to attend a son’s wedding? It was certainly possible... “I’m afraid I can’t provide any assurances here...I’m just as in the dark as you are, even
the brief glimpse I got of Father before he passed.” Even to this day, he wasn't certain whether or not his death had been more self-punishment or a desire to save one of his beloved children
(or could it possibly be
"All I will do is extend the invitation," Wei Ying said. "They can choose to accept or not. I just thought, it will be an emotional upheaval and you should be prepared so we aren't completely blindsiding you. I'm not sure about your father, but I know your mother will want to attend."
Meng Huiyao seemed quite surprised and leaned forward to interject. "Pardon me, Wei-gongzi, but...how exactly is that possible?"
He puffed himself up a bit, feeling pleased about this. "It has to do with my nature, but also that I'm receiving permission for this as an apology and additional sign-on bonus for my new job. Won't start it for a while yet, but I'm pretty excited about it!"
"What job is that?"
"I'm going to be a Wuchang Gui! A Black and White guard!"
"...You're going to be an underworld official?!"
"Yeah! Well, sort of. Since I already have a mate and family, they're not trying to make me live in Hell, I'm going to be indefinitely stationed here in the mortal realm. I'll just have to travel a lot with my hubby here once the kits grow up."
"Mn." Personally, he didn't think this really made up for how his mate had been wronged and the rewards seemed more heavily stacked on Heaven and the Underworld's side, but Wei Ying had agreed to the arrangement, so there wasn't much else he could do about it.
"Well that's certainly wonderful news!" Xichen started with a clap of his hands. "I imagine countermeasures have been or will be put in so as not to make a repeat of what had happened with you?"
"Mn, well, we're mostly still working out the details, but this whole debacle has really won me a lot of power and say in how this goes... partly thanks to Papa He too." He chuckled wryly. "Funny how he always seems to get power boosts in a crisis situation, I don't think he's higher than Immortal King yet in cultivation, but he's basically a Demon God in terms of power as opposed to Demon Lord. That, and with so many immortals in this realm being aligned with Father Shen, the new wave they are hoping to welcome to Heaven someday....well." He sniffed and grinned, winking at the other dragon as he snuggled into his Lan Zhan. "It also helps that my mate is the Dragon Emperor's little bro. What can I say, this fox has connections~!"
The rest of the visit went smoothly, and for the first time in ages, Wei Ying felt like he could finally relax with his small family. He watched their children play, watched Nie Huaisang and Jiang Cheng talking to Wen Qing in a corner, watched his dads and martial siblings, and listened to their sounds. He sighed softly, tail brushing against the sheets as he tipped his head to listen to Lan Zhan's heartbeat better. Yeah, this was the kind of life he wanted. "...I'm sorry about that stupid fight." He said, a while after things had settled down and their kits were either napping with them or playing in the courtyard with the adults and other children. "About having babies. I still think you're worrying too much, but you're right, we could adopt.... I just like the feeling of being heavy with your seed. Even if I complain about it. And being a mom. And babies and children."
Lan Wangji couldn’t even disagree with those sentiments. He loved those just as much but... He tightened his arms around his mate. “Those are fine. Did not like seeing you in pain. Said pain was ultimately caused by me... Do not wish to cause A-Ying that much pain...”
He reached up and flicked his forehead. "Dummy," he said affectionately. "Well, I have the rest of our lives to trap you and wear you down and change your mind." He smirked and kissed him. "Don't feel guilty about it. Besides, you'll have to get me pregnant at least one more time, if not twice. You promised me 'more than five' kits, remember? And Lans must keep their promises, and must not lie." He said smugly. "If you want it to hurt less, then you can just find miracle herbs like Papa He does. Lan Yuan's birth barely hurt at all, it was just tiring." He said as he snuggled down. "Just know, I'm going to win."
said that, hadn't he? Curse his ignorant mouth and the foot he'd just put into it... And, a bit begrudgingly, he might have to admit that if Luo Binghe knew of a way to make labor less painful for his mate, he might have to swallow some of his pride to ask him
(assuming the same information wasn't already in a book somewhere)
. He wasn't all that keen on admitting defeat right this moment, but with how wrapped around Wei Ying's finger he was, he wasn't all that surprised at the idea of the fox swaying him back over to his side. Rather than give way to his current thoughts, he simply hummed and pressed his lips to his mate's head, saying, "Is that so?"
"Mmhmm~" He said, both arms winding around his neck as he pressed his lips against a very red ear, whispering so softly only his mate could hear. "Especially once my heat hits and I start begging you to breed me again, pleading with you to fill me with more kits-"
Trying not to give off too obvious a reaction, he twisted so that he could flip their positions around and press the fox into their bed. Leaning in, he tilted his mate’s head back just enough for him to be able to catch the omega’s lips in a brief, devouring kiss before pulling back slightly to say, “Perhaps A-Ying is misremembering this one’s restraint?”
He squeaked and giggled, lightly pressing against his chest, careful to avoid asserting pressure on his meridians once the kiss was broken. "Lan Zhan, we have company- Ah, I surrender for now, this fox submits to his alpha, but reminds his alpha we cannot dual cultivate until you heal from the dragon killer poison and I heal from my qi deviation- I know, I know, I don't like it either~ Aiyaaaa~ After being apart for so long I want you to- But we can't right now, husband please exercise your patience, don't make me be the responsible one-"
Several months later-
Gusu was abuzz with the limited guest party from several sects, from Caihong, Chunshan, and even Heaven and the Underworld. The secluded and beautiful place, usually elegantly and serenely decorated, was ablaze with scarlet wedding decorations. Even without inviting the whole cultivation world, no one could say it was not an elaborate ceremony, which honored both the groom and the bride. There had been at least one very big surprise- the parents of the groom and bride were actually in attendance!!
The marriage bed was set up in the Gentian House, with insistence from Madam Lan once she was told about their desire to have the cottage involved, and Lan Zhan had picked up Wei Ying from where he had been waiting at the foot of the mountain in the hotel from those years ago. Up the mountain, and to the room for the tea ceremony, pouring tea for each parent and relative as a gesture of respect and thanks for everything over the years. (Cangse Sanren may have had to wipe Wei Changze's eyes a bit when the fox got a bit emotional over his child's wedding- and Binghe may have also shed a tear or two.)
"Bow to the Heaven and Earth!"
The first bow, and Wei Ying glanced at his mate- his husband from under the veil, and couldn't help but smile.
"Bow to your parents!"
All the faces here, the parents who loved and raised him, the ones who bore him and the love of his life, the Uncle who had been there for everything he could-
"Bow to each other!"
He couldn't believe what fortune had brought into his life. His loving husband, his beautiful children, a huge family that would die for him and friends who would fight the heavens themselves for them.
"The groom will now take the bride to the bridal chambers!"
He took his hand as they stood up, heart fluttering- silly, they were already so entangled, but this felt different- and let him take him to the marriage bed to lift the veil, wanting to see his face clearly.
Despite having not necessarily paid any mind to the formal ceremony aspect of their union, he still couldn’t help but be relieved and anticipatory that they were finally going to be married mates in the eyes of his clan. If he were any less restrained in nature, perhaps he would have been vibrating with impatience to have the ceremony completed, but as it were, he simply took this time to admire everything about his mate’s appearance (or at least as much as he could see), the silks and brocades he had no expense spared for, the fine veil concealing the fox’s face and the tinkling jewelry underneath, the light as it played off the lines of his figure from both the sun streaming in and the glow of the array beneath them activating as they faced each other...
The instant he was able, Wangji was back on his feet and bringing his husband up with him, leading the both of them back to the room set out for them, carefully decorated with red and gold furnishings. Once they were passed the threshold and hidden away in private, he moved to scoop the omega into his arms, carrying him the rest of the way as he nosed at the side of his head through the veil. Setting him down onto the bed, he then brought his hands up to first brush across the fabric covering his face before lifting it up over the other’s head. Only taking a few brief moments to look at him (for now), he then moved in to press a tender kiss to his lips, love and affection almost overwhelming through their bond.
Smiling against his lips, his hands came up, fingertips lightly cupping his jaw as he enthusiastically returned it.
he murmured, not willing to pull back, a few happy tears escaping the corners of his eyes and slipping down his cheeks as he returned the affection.
"We finally made it to this. A-Zhan, I love you so much,"
he said as his arms slid around his neck, hugging him tight. "No more years apart, okay? Not for kidnappings, family reasons, or work. I go where you go and you go where I go. If we fight, we talk it out. If we are both stubborn about our points, we keep talking it out
and maybe even make love until we come to an agreement
." He played with the ends of his ribbon as he finally pulled back a little, smirking through joyous tears.
“Mn. No more parting.” Shifting just enough so that he could wipe at some of the fox’s tears, he tucked some strands of his mate’s hair behind an ear before moving his hand farther back to cup the back of his head and bring him in for another kiss. “I love you. Forever.” Pressing Wei Ying back onto the bed, he continued with his kisses until his husband’s fiddling caused one of his ribbon tails to fall over his shoulder and catch his attention. Remembering what he could’ve had the time to do three years ago had his mate not been kidnapped, he reached his free hand up to the ribbon’s knot, undoing it and letting it fall to loosely drape across the omega’s neck. Enjoying the look of it there, he then started to wrap it around him lightly as he left kisses on his temples, cheeks, eyes, nose, mouth, wherever he could access.
Closing his eyes, the fox chirped and enjoyed the shower of affection, as well as the feeling of the ribbon around his neck. He remembered the first time meeting him, this cute, kind, beautiful man, as a little boy who was kind and noble enough to save a small fairy fox and feed him. He remembered all the times through the years they met, and parted, and reunited, again and again.
But never again. They wouldn't lose each other again. "Forever." He whispered back, fingers tangling into his hair as he kissed him back, letting his scent unfurl. He was happy, content, and awash with deep feelings of love. He opened his heart to his partner, let him in as deep as he wanted to go, entrenching him there.
They had a rough start, but from here on, no matter what they faced, it would be together.
With his husband, the time for longing had passed.