Lan Wangji is quietly supervising the juniors taking their tests when the paperman floats in through the open window of his classroom.
He is immediately filled with a rush of fondness— his Wei Ying is awake, it seems. He had been particularly impossible to wake that morning, begging Lan Wangji to let him sleep longer, and Lan Wangji had relented. Since his students were to take tests today, he had known that he would be free to return to the Jingshi early, and he had planned to properly wake Wei Ying and ensure he ate upon his return. Wei Ying, it appears, had woken sooner than he had expected, and had decided to find Lan Wangji himself. He can feel his lips threaten to twitch at the sight of the small paperman sneaking into the classroom, dancing across the window sill and the desks of students, careful not to be seen by any of them until reaching Lan Wangji himself.
With practised ease, Lan Wangji opens his palm, allowing the paperman to climb into it. He gently runs the index finger of his free hand along the length of the entire paperman, feeling satisfied to see the way the paperman flutters at the touch. He does not know exactly how much Wei Ying can feel when he is in this form— there is only so much of a description one can give with words alone, after all— but it is unthinkable for Lan Wangji to be anything but gentle with anything that is a part of Wei Ying, let alone a part of his soul. He lets the paperman steadily make its way up his arm, before settling on his shoulder. The paperman grabs a stand of his hair and pushes it away from his ear before leaning in.
Ah, so this was what Wei Ying wanted. Recently, he had discovered a way to allow himself to talk to Lan Wangji in this form. He had been working on a method of private communication over long distances, when the idea had struck him and he had begun to work on altering the paper metamorphosis technique. As it stood currently, the one the paperman sought out would be the only one to hear whatever Wei Ying chose to speak through the paperman. It had taken a long time to perfect— after all, paper metamorphosis was a technique that could prove to be extremely dangerous to the user if not performed with care. Once Wei Ying had been confident, however, he had begun sending paperman to his husband, sometimes to dramatically confess his love, sometimes to recite poetry to him, and sometimes to inform Lan Wangji that he was planning to go into Caiyi Town, or on a night hunt. Lan Wangji both cherished these little messages and greatly appreciated the display of Wei Ying's ingenuity.
“Hanguang-jun~” Wei Ying’s voice calls from the paperman in an incredibly sleepy voice, right in his ear. His tone is one of complaint; Lan Wangji can almost hear the pout on his face. “I am very, very displeased with you!” he declares. As if to corroborate these words, the paperman stomps one foot hard on Lan Wangji’s shoulder in the simulation of a tantrum, the very picture of petulance. Of course, Lan Wangji barely feels it— this is, after all, a paperman— but he cannot help the amusement that rises in him.
“You should have already guessed why I’m mad at you, but just in case you haven’t, let me enlighten you!” Wei Ying continues, even his tone of faux-displeasure unable to mask the warmth and affection in his voice. “You see, I was kept up half of last night by my demanding husband doing me so hard that I couldn’t even feel my legs after a point!” he complains, like he hadn’t asked for everything Lan Wangji had done to him. “And then, what do I wake up to? A cold, empty bed! Devoid of my cruel, heartless, uncaring husband!”
A tiny huff of amusement escapes Lan Wangji at that accusation. It was true that he had left Wei Ying in bed that morning— though only after thoroughly kissing and hugging him— to supervise his students, and that Wei Ying had fallen back asleep even before he had left the Jingshi. Since he did not have any other duties to attend to in the morning, he had hoped to return before Wei Ying woke again. Alas, luck had not been on his side— Wei Ying had woken earlier than he had expected.
“Truly, my husband is such a callous man!” Wei Ying continues lamenting, his tone growing less sleepy and more passionate with every passing sentence. “He so cruelly uses me to slake his lusts all night long and then abandons me in the mornings! I have been wronged! Oh, what have I done to deserve such misery?”
It is particularly amusing to hear such dramatic wailing from a paperman, Lan Wangji has to admit, but Wei Ying’s words also cause his ears to heat up. This, naturally, does not escape the sharp sight of the paperman, who climbs up the tail of Lan Wangji’s forehead ribbon. From there, the paperman smacks its face against the shell of Lan Wangji’s ear in the simulation of a kiss, before floating back down to his shoulder.
In response, Lan Wangji lightly taps the head of the paperman, a warning for Wei Ying to behave himself. In retaliation, the paperman grabs a little bit of Lan Wangji’s hair and tugs softly twice.
“I demand reparations, Hanguang-jun!” Wei Ying exclaims, even as Lan Wangji’s hair is being tugged. “Do you hear me? Reparations!”
Lan Wangji strokes his finger gently down the paperman once again, from head to toe, and in return, he receives an indignant huff.
“Hmph! Don’t think you can sway me so easily!” The paperman’s arms are crossed stubbornly. “I still demand reparations!”
“Mn,” Lan Wangji hums softly, quiet enough that the paperman will catch it but his students will not. Despite Lan Wangji's inability to hide his amusement, that seems to satisfy Wei Ying, who makes a small, pleased noise in reply.
As Lan Wangji turns his attention back to the text he had been reading, the paperman leaps off his shoulder and grabs the tail of his forehead ribbon, before proceeding to climb up the ribbon. Whether in reality or as a paperman, Wei Ying loved to fiddle with Lan Wangji’s forehead ribbon, sometimes falling asleep with it clutched in his palm, sometimes absently twirling it when he was deep in thought— touching it just because he knew it was his and he could, and because he knew how Lan Wangji felt about Wei Ying, his husband, touching his forehead ribbon. Lan Wangji’s attention is drawn away from his thoughts to the paperman climbing up onto his head, before somersaulting off of it, to land in the open palm Lan Wangji manages to place in front of him.
Lan Wangji takes a quick glance at his class. None of his students have noticed the paperman. They are all focused completely on their tests, not even looking up. Lan Wangji brings the paperman up to his face. “Wei Ying,” he murmurs, before gently kissing the head of the paperman. “Behave yourself.”
His attempt at admonishment was no doubt undermined by the kiss he had bestowed upon the mischievous paperman, but he had been unable to help himself. It was a rather familiar feeling when Wei Ying was concerned.
The paperman presses both hands to its face, as though hiding out of bashfulness. Then, one small paper hand lifts to make a gesture, to say, ‘I promise’. When Lan Wangji lowers his hand, the paperman takes a seat at the edge of his palm, little paper legs dangling below— as adept and agile as the papermen could be, they still could not be made to fold their legs.
For the rest of the duration of the test, Wei Ying seems content to read along with Lan Wangji through the eyes of the paperman. He darts forward every time they finish reading a page to turn it, and comes back to sit on Lan Wangji’s palm. Despite missing the familiar weight leaning against his side or settling in his lap, Lan Wangji enjoys the presence of his husband.
It is only when the first of the juniors rises to hand over his finished work to Lan Wangji that the paperman makes a move again, this time climbing the front of Lan Wangji’s clothes. When the student approaches him, the paperman quickly ducks into Lan Wangji’s collar, leaving only the painted eyes visible. There was no need for Wei Ying’s paperman self to hide, nor was it that the paperman was extremely well hidden against the stark white of Lan Wangji’s outfit. Yet, Wei Ying seemed to take pleasure in playing such a game, and Lan Wangji was always willing to indulge him. In a seemingly casual move, he ensures that his hand hides the paperman from the view of his student.
Once the boy leaves, the paperman sneaks back out of Lan Wangji’s collar, climbing to his shoulder once again. Once again, as Wei Ying had done before, the paperman flops its entire head against Lan Wangji’s cheek in what Lan Wangji is certain would have been a smacking kiss if it had come from Wei Ying’s own lips.
“Er-gege~” Wei Ying calls sweetly when the paperman reaches his ear again. “Hurry home, okay? Your Wei Ying misses you terribly!”
Lan Wangji gently brushes a finger against the paperman one last time in agreement before it scurries away, once again slipping through the window, presumably hurrying off to the Jingshi. Lan Wangji watches the paperman go until it is no longer within his sight, his heart aching with fondness for his beloved husband.
It is not long after when Lan Wangji returns to the Jingshi, carrying all the work his juniors had handed in. It is not even mid-morning, in fact. He sets the stack on the table before heading straight to the bedroom. Only one thing on his mind.
Wei Ying, as expected, is still in bed. As always, Lan Wangji had bathed and dressed him and combed his hair, but Wei Ying had mostly remained asleep through all of it. Now, he is awake, his eyes are bright and sharp and unclouded by sleep, but he is still slightly disheveled, and wrapped cozily in a blanket.
When he catches sight of Lan Wangji, a joyful, incandescent smile immediately takes over Wei Ying’s face. “Lan Zhan!” he calls cheerfully. “You’re back!”
Lan Wangji walks over and sits on the bed, next to his husband. As he does, Wei Ying eagerly shifts and rests his head on Lan Wangji’s lap, looking up at him and smiling as soon as he gets comfortable. When Lan Wangji gently strokes the top of his head, his smile widens and he closes his eyes, making a small, pleased noise as he leans further into the touch.
“Did you miss me?” Wei Ying whispers.
“Mn.” Lan Wangji admits it easily. Wei Ying already knows, he had not needed to ask, but if he wants to hear it said, then Lan Wangji will tell him the truth.
“Hmm... did you… enjoy me paying you a visit?” Wei Ying asks with a grin.
Wei Ying’s grin grows sharper. “Then you remember agreeing to my demands?”
Lan Wangji nods. “What would you have me do?”
Wei Ying tilts his head and taps his chin, pretending to be deeply in thought, even as his eyes glint with mischief. Finally, he resolutely demands, “You have to kiss me!”
With absolutely no hesitation, Lan Wangji leans down immediately to kiss that smiling, tempting mouth. His eagerness prompts a laugh from Wei Ying— a laugh that is quickly muffled by the meeting of their lips. Lan Wangji has kissed Wei Ying so many times that he knows exactly how he likes to be kissed, exactly how he likes to be held. It is knowledge that he puts to good use.
They pull apart far too soon for Lan Wangji’s liking, but when they do, Wei Ying wastes no time clambering into his lap, wrapping his legs around Lan Wangji’s waist and securely locking his ankles behind Lan Wangji’s back.
“That’s it?” Wei Ying exclaims. “Hanguang-jun, you left me all alone for such a long time! You think just two or three kisses will make up for it?”
Lan Wangji gives him a questioning look.
“I demand at least one kiss for every time I thought ‘Oh, I miss my Lan Zhan so much! If only he was here!’”
Lan Wangji wraps his hands around Wei Ying’s waist, not pressing yet, but the tantalizing threat of it ever present. “How many is that?”
The grin blooming across Wei Ying’s face is like the first rays of the rising sun. He leans in and kisses Lan Wangji, once, then twice, then thrice, the first two soft and perfunctory, but the last one long and lazy. “Keep going, er-gege,” he murmurs in a low voice, reaching up to unknot Lan Wangji’s forehead ribbon. “I’ll tell you when to stop.”
Lan Wangji is moving before Wei Ying even fully finishes his sentence, flipping them around and pressing Wei Ying down into the mattress. Wei Ying lets out a breathy laugh, delight evident on his face. His laughter is once again cut off by Lan Wangji claiming his mouth with the ferocity that Wei Ying always, always manages to provoke from him.
Reparations, he thinks to himself fondly. Ridiculous.
It is a good thing, he supposes, that their bed is already messy.