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Melting, or: How to Grow Old with Little to No Grace, by Wei Wuxian

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Wei Wuxian had been particularly fed up; it was not that he often exercised genuine rage at work, most of the time the children were ingenuine in their acting up, and he matched that, with little meaningless jabs and halfway punishments. Kids had a tendency to almost always crave positive reinforcement and praise, and beg with their eyes for love; Jin Ling had been a prime example of a shitty little kid who wanted nothing but delightful feedback, but he wasn’t technically in Wei Wuxian’s class even though he was conveniently found hanging out around the door before and after (“Not to see you, uncle. I’m busy too, you know.”). 

 

Lan Li, who was seventeen and a big problem with the idea of ever failing a test once in his life, had seemed a little bit sad to Wei Wuxian, who could read Lans like a morning newspaper. The idea of telling Lan Li that history wasn’t his strong suit was less appealing than shaving his own eyebrows off and going to Uncle Qiren for sex advice, and the kid had scored a sixty-two so it wasn’t even that bad; the problem was that his parents clearly thought it was bad, and so did Lan Li by proxy. “Hey,” Wei Wuxian said, unable to help himself anyway, a sad Lan always acting as a burning problem to him. “It’s ok. Tell them I’m a harsh marker, that I barely give you space to breathe while you write your essays for all my criticism. Yeah?” 

 

Lan Li gives him a little nod. “Yes.” He agrees, and the unfortunate small cloud of mistreatment and melancholy around him dissipates a little. “Thank you, Teacher Wei.” 

 

Despite himself, Wei Wuxian was thinking about it while he marked off the remaining essays. The part of him that constantly screamed for justice was upset. 

 

Lan Wangji swooped into his classroom, tall and beautiful, clutching a stack of paper and a well-read copy of The Great Gatsby in his strong grip. Wei Wuxian had put on a pout already. “Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji said, but it was a question. 

 

“I don’t want to talk to anymore Lans today,” he harumphed too, for good measure. “I’ve had enough of you all.”

 

“Wei Ying did not talk to himself all day?” Lan Wangji murmured, the smug bastard, knowing full well it made Wei Wuxian’s stomach melt to remember that he was, technically, a Lan too; he just didn’t have the nice glossy hair to show for it. 

 

“Nope. And I won’t be talking to you, either.” 

 

“Wei Ying is still talking.” 

 

Wei Wuxian bit his lip, defiant, a then pouted up a storm. 

 

They met Sizhui in the car park, as per usual, after his guqin practice. Wei Wuxian had already cracked and asked how Sizhui’s day was, breaking his own promise, but it was only to be expected. “Good,” Sizhui said, uncharacteristically quiet, eyes transfixed on his phone as he typed erratically.

 

Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji, as parents, exchanged a look which translated to a criticism of teenage dependency on technology. As old men, they smirked about young love. Sizhui definitely had a crush on someone, that much they could tell; his mooning had been uncontrollable all weekend while he had been stuck in when Wei Wuxian had grounded him for missing hockey training the night before, probably so he could meet up with said love interest. Wei Wuxian might be dumb, but he wasn’t an idiot, and he knew a love-struck Lan when he saw one. He was something of an expert, really.

 

Lan Wangji, however, in a turn of events that Wei Wuxian had not predicted (but now made sense to him on a subconscious level), had been more than happy to let Sizhui off on his youthful galavanting, and even had reached into his wallet to offer Sizhui some pocket money to 'head out with whoever', before Wei Wuxian had shouted the house down. 

 

Well, someone had to be the strict one, and the kids had all gossiped in his classroom for endless years about how much of a big softie Lan Wangji was. Wei Wuxian had half the heart to lecture them all on being properly scared of tall and pretty seniors, like he had been when he was a teenager. Alas, that soft and feeble part of him that took the blame for Lan Li earlier always overtook.

 

“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji said, pulling into traffic, letting Sizhui stew on his own thoughts in the back seat. “Have something funny to show.” 

 

“Funny enough for me to forgive all Lans for their helpless manipulation of me?” 

 

“Mm.”

 

Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but be a little fond, looking at the straight lines of Lan Wangji’s face from the corner of his eye; the faint crow’s feet forming around his eyes, even though he wasn’t expressive with them. Lord knew he scolded Lan Wangji more and more every day about his wrinkles possibly forming, but Wei Wuxian knew he spent a lot of money on eye cream, even if it wasn’t allowed for Lans to be vain. “What is it? Did you finally choose a new book for your poor students?”  

 

“No.” 

 

“They must be sick of Pride and Prejudice by now Lan Er-Gege! You can’t expose them to your hopeless romantic charms year after year,” he teased. 

 

“Look.” Lan Wangji corrected and, with one elegant swish of his hand, he slightly adjusted a lock of his hair so that it falls over the back of his arm as he drove; and there, glinting in the afternoon sun, was a single white strand, as long as a finger. 

 

Wei Wuxian, for all his pride, screamed bloody murder.



 



“-And then you’ll be retired, next! And then what are we meant to do, huh? Die? Knit?” Which was a little insensitive, he realised, since Zewu-jun had knitted them that lovely tea-cosy only last month, and Wei Ying had been something of a knitter in his late twenties, making that nice jumper Lan Zhan always wore. “Or embroider.” 

 

“I embroider,” Sizhui added unhelpfully from the lounge. 

 

“Daddy’s busy cussing out your father for daring to age in front of my own eyes,” Wei Wuxian shouted back from the kitchen, watching Lan Wangji’s hand’s twitch against the chopping board at the volume. He deserves it. 

 

You’ve literally had white hairs for at least ten years,” came an equally unhelpful voice from the lounge, too.

 

“Is that Jingyi? Are you on the facetime?” God, he did sound old to his own ears sometimes. “Tell him he’s banned from my house.”

 

“Dad says you’re banned from his house,” Sizhui said and - something about it was mocking, but a little soft, sweet, butter wouldn’t melt. Wei Wuxian was going to come back to that later, but right now his tantrum was much more important. 

 

“The point I’m making is that you’ve got some real nerve, Lan Wangji, coming into my life and daring to show your age to me. You’re going to be -,” he gagged in his mouth a little. “Forty! Forty, in less than a week. Disgusting.” Actually, he really needed to make those dinner reservations tonight.

 

“Wei Ying also this year,” Lan Wangji said, about as useful to Wei Wuxian as their awful lovestruck child.

 

The most annoying part about it was that Lan Zhan didn’t seem upset about the prospect of ageing at all. In fact, he seemed to welcome it; he hadn't bothered with planning a big party, he had two pension schemes open and a bank account specifically for Sizhui’s university fund, another for Sizhui’s wedding, another for that big holiday that Wei Wuxian jokingly said they should take when they were - ugh, sixty! 

 

“I can’t believe this.” Wei Wuxian said again, not for the first time this evening. Force of habit had him pouring Lan Zhan a mug of tea at the same time he poured himself a glass of pinot grigio, but he was already contemplating pouring it down the sink if it didn’t fundamentally upset himself to waste means. He took a big, loud gulp of wine. “Next we’ll have grandchildren.” 

 

Lan Wangji’s hand stuttered on the knife, quite a rare display of shock even by Wei Wuxian’s standards. “Wei Ying.” He chastised, but he certainly didn’t look annoyed.

 

“You like that? ” Wei Wuxian gasped, suddenly overcome with joy. “Lan Zhan… I always thought you wanted more children. It’s not too late to make them, you know,” he wiggled his eyebrows for good measure. 

 

Lan Wangji threw a handful of chopped vegetables into the oiled pan, the sizzling and steam on impact overtaking the conversation for a moment. “Wei Ying is still shameless.”

 

“Not too old for that yet,” Wei Wuxian giggled, and then went to lounge gracefully on the sofa and drink while he waited for dinner. 



 



Unfortunately, perhaps one of his best qualities that he had sacrificed for the sake of his marriage and working life, Wei Wuxian had lost his night-owl tendencies, and usually found himself in bed with his husband no later than ten, nursing the last of his second glass of wine (sometimes the end of the bottle if it was a Friday), feeling Lan Wangji snoozing peacefully next to him as he flicked through one book or another. Tonight he was reading Karl Marx again because one of his kids in class had definitely quoted something wrong and he was nothing if not a bitch and a nuisance, determined to find the line and prove himself right, when he heard the mumbling of words through the walls of his house. He immediately slapped Lan Wangji in the arm. 

 

Lan Wangji shot up, sitting bolt upright, eyes still closed. “Wei Ying?” He asked, more asleep than not. 

 

“Can you hear that?” Wei Wuxian whispered, folding his page like an anarchist (that is, he folds the entire page in half, more to annoy Sizhui than anything else, he could easily remember the page number). “Sizhui is talking to someone. Do you think he snuck someone in?!” 

 

“Sizhui is a good boy,” Lan Wangji said and then, as if in doubt of himself, opened his eyes to slits in the dim light of Wei Wuxian’s essential oil diffuser. “Mostly.” 

 

“I’m checking,” Wei Wuxian said, making a move to stand, but Lan Wangji’s iron grip snatched around his wrist like a python. “Lan Zhan, he’s too young for secrets!” 

 

“Eighteen,” Lan Wangji reminded him as if it didn’t haunt his every waking moment that his son was legally able to drink, drive, fly alone, and have sex. “Important not to stunt his growth.” 

 

“Stop quoting those awful parenting books at me, I read them too.” Wei Wuxian shook his hand off and promptly went to stalk his teenage son around their own house. 

 

He crept over to his and Lan Wangji’s bedroom door, feet bare, but didn’t need to go much further; as he slowly turned the handle, careful not to make noise, he caught the flash of pale blue pyjamas making their way to the stairs. Sizhui was, apparently, on his own; and his voice came clearer now that Wei Wuxian had stuck his head out of the doorway. He hadn’t paid much thought to the idea that Sizhui stayed up later than him these days, they all somehow found their ways to their bedrooms at nine anyhow, but it struck him as odd that he really was getting on like a proper old man, and Lan Sizhui, a golden boy with a sneaky little streak of Wei, was up later than him.

 

“Is there someone?” Lan Wangji said softly, suddenly behind him. He only kept from jumping because he remained engrossed in Sizhui’s descent down the stairs.

 

“Sorry, sorry! The wifi is bad in my room. I’m going to the kitchen.” Sizhui said to his phone, galloping down the stairs at a speed which was definitely inappropriate for Lan Zhan’s rarely enforced house rules. 

 

“No,” Wei Wuxian sighed. “He’s on the phone. Not quite a rule-breaker, but it is late.” 

 

“Not late for a teenager.”

 

“Coming from you,” Wei Wuxian spluttered. “Do you remember in university when I took you to that party and you made us go home at nine and I thought, wow, Lan Zhan is desperate to fuck my brains out so he made us leave the party early, and then we-,” 

 

“Yes.” 

 

“Got back to your dorm and you fell asleep.

 

“Had to get Wei Ying home safe.” 

 

Wei Wuxian rolled his eyes and barricaded his old man husband back toward the bed, seeing his eyes already drifting shut again as soon as he hit the pillow. "Protecting my honour, I see."

 

"Mn. Jiang Cheng could not stop us dating if you were in my home, safe."

 

"Even if when we were home I usually had my legs over my head?" He teased, but Lan Zhan had already drifted off.

 

He flicked off his diffuser and, as they always did, rearranged the sleeping lump beside him to accommodate his terribly cute need for affection as he slept, and worked his limbs around Lan Wangji’s as they got into the position they had slept in for the past twenty years.

 

 

 

Stumbling around in the morning like a baby deer on new legs, never having quite accommodated space in his life to become a morning person as well as a functioning member of society, Wei Wuxian sipped at a black coffee and went out to the window to watch Sizhui feed the rabbits in the garden. It always felt like a spectacularly Dad activity, to look out over his land and his child, working hard in the morning dew to feed their cattle. It wasn’t as deep as that, sure, but it boiled down to the same narrative. The little chunk of history that Wei Wuxian had made for himself, which might not be written in the books he makes his students study, but will be as good as written when Sizhui tells his kids, and they tell their kids, and they tell theirs, hey, your great great grandparents had it real bad when they were kids, but then it was amazing and hard to believe, and now you don’t have to feel as sad as they did. 

 

He normally pottered back upstairs after Lan Wangji finished his yoga and meditating and took his shower. As Wei Wuxian’s feet softened over the pad of Lan Zhan’s yoga mat on the way to the bathroom, feeling the heat where his body had been, he felt a little something in him.

 

A little inkling of mischief. He imagines Lan Wangji’s thick fingers holding him up in downward dog and, despite all routine, thinks, wouldn’t it be funny if me and Lan Zhan fucked before work?

 

Like they used to when they first got married, and Sizhui was a chunky toddler who kicked up a fuss in the morning if he didn’t get fed on time, but afterwards was silent and happy at his playmat for at least twenty minutes. Just enough time. The shower was running loud in their en suite. Wei Wuxian put his cup on the dresser and marched in, determined. 

 

Lan Wangji looked surprised when Wei Wuxian pulled open the glass door to the shower and stood at the far end, basking in the steam coming from the water; the shower big enough for ten people, marble floors cool and tilted, letting the soap run out of Lan Wangji's hair into the drain. Wei Wuxian hung his bathrobe on the hook on the other side of the door, flung his boxers to the side, and stepped into Lan Zhan's space.

 

"Wei Ying," Lan Zhan said, heat in his eyes almost immediately. Upon the offering of any kind of sex, the answer had yet to be anything but yes from Lan Zhan, even that one time in the car on the way to the airport, even though Wei Wuxian had worked it into his wedding speech that Lan Zhan would never let them do it in a car. Ah, to be young and proven wrong. 

 

Wei Wuxian was softer in places he hadn't been soft before, across the base of his stomach like a pouch; around his thighs, too, from sitting at his desk all night. Sometimes he got an ache in his spine that only Lan Zhan could reach.

 

"Quickly," Wei Wuxian whispered into the space between their mouths, hair soaked in seconds, and, dimly, he was annoyed that he would need to blowdry it. 

 

"Quickly," Lan Zhan said back, pushing him up against the wall of the shower just ever so slightly out of the spray with practiced ease, Wei Wuxian's hands coming up to dig his nails into a slippery back. 

 

As had yet to be counteracted, Wei Wuxian ran his mouth during sex, and probably always would. He had still, even after twenty years of it, to see it fail to get a rise out of Lan Zhan, and it usually spewed out of him in the form of instruction, enthusiastic consent, begging, or just repetition. Some time after they had gotten Sizhui, he had started joking that Lan Zhan had knocked him up. That had stuck too.

 

"Yeah, that's it, like that," he jolted and squirmed as their hard, wet cocks rubbed up against each other in Lan Zhan's thick and firm hand. "That's so good, tighter, like you're - yeah, like you're in me," Lan Zhan's hips rutted up into him, and his legs fell open on impulse, the feeling of Lan Zhan's thighs slapping against his own working like muscle memory, his body responding to that familiar feeling as though it couldn't tell if Lan Zhan really was fucking him properly; his body hardly able to sense where one of them began or ended when it got this close to an orgasm. 

 

His skin crawled, like his muscles moved under his skin; sometimes, when he’s really wound up (usually after a glass of red wine and some real slow kisses), he swears his body swells, like his guts move around and make space; like a girl’s body gets ready, like he could get wet. If he knew any better he would keep it to himself. 

 

"Oh, that's it, baby, can you - yeah, that's so good, that's, I’m so wet, you could slip right in I’m so wet," Lan Zhan kissed him, as though to shut him up (but they both knew better), and his leg twitched up and hooked up higher, wet skin slapping up against Wei Wuxian's, the suddenness of that hard abrasion of skin on skin made Wei Wuxian give out a squeal.

 

Wei Wuxian had a tongue in his mouth so he couldn't complain when Lan Zhan came over his hand, restrained, instead of all over Wei Wuxian's stomach and thighs like he wanted. He did let out a string of creative language when Lan Zhan dropped to his knees, barely taking him in his mouth for a second before he tremendously shivered and cried, his orgasm pulling tears out of his eyes and curses out of his lips as usual. 

 

They sank to the floor of the shower together. Lan Zhan was peppering his face with wet kisses as he realised with shocking accuracy that he could easily go back to bed. "I'm worn out," he moaned. "And my hips hurt sat around you like this." 

 

When Lan Zhan moved them to a standing position, he complained even more. 



 

 

He looked at Lan Wangji as they drove to school. The white hair was peeking out at him, mocking him. When he looked in the sunshield mirror he saw a splattering of similar hairs on his own head, but somehow it made sense there. He had always been the rugged one, the one who was a little more used and abused.

 

Lan Wangji was a pristine creature of timeless beauty, and didn't even seem to mind that their life was nearly half over. Wei Wuxian was distraught. 

 

“Dad,” Sizhui said, the tone of his voice indicating that he meant rich dad, not poor dad. Lan Wangji’s eyes landed on him for a moment through the rear view mirror. “Can I go to Jingyi’s for dinner after school?” 

 

“Yes. Be back before eleven.” 

 

“Eleven?! Eight,” Wei Wuxian spluttered. 

 

“He will get an uber. Half ten.” 

 

“Half seven, and I’ll go and pick him up.” 

 

“You’re meant to get closer together when bargaining,” Sizhui interrupts from the back.

 

“Shh,” Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji hush in unison. 

 

“We have a project due at the end of the month so around nine is fine-,”

 

“I’m willing to bargain for something worth my while,” Wei Ying interrupted, salaciously laying his hand all over Lan Wanji’s on the gearstick, wiggling his eyebrows. 

 

“Ten.” 

 

“Nine, also did you record Game of Thrones for tonight?” 

 

“Dads. Are you listening?"  

 

Lan Wangji took his designated parking space and sighed, but it had no weight to it; it was fond, peaceful. His hand turned over and laced in with Wei Yings for a single squeeze. “Nine forty-five, and I will go and get him.” Lan Zhan paused, as though embarrassed. “We’ll watch Game of Thrones after dinner.” 

 

“Deal.” Wei Wuxian said, and they kissed to seal the deal. Across the car park, some of their students gagged loudly. 



 

 

Jin Ling had, once again, conveniently been waiting outside of Wei Wuxian’s classroom. “Uncle Wei,” He greeted, since they were technically off the clock now, the bell chiming half four. “Uncle Jiang wants to know if he has to get a birthday present for Saturday.” 

 

“Why doesn’t he text me?” Wei Wuxian said right away and then, exchanging a knowing look with Jin Ling, knew that a text was much too functional for Jiang Cheng. “Tell him it’s fine, Lan Zhan hates gifts anyway. Is your dad gonna be there?” 

 

“Of course he is, it’s his house.” 

 

“A shame,” Wei Wuxian pulled Jin Ling by an arm, hooked together like a pair of schoolgirls. “Hold these books for your poor old uncle,” and he dumped a few of the lighter ones into Jin Ling’s hold. “There we go. You know Lan Zhan has a white hair? Tell your uncle for me, I want him to wind him up so that he dyes it. Are you not going to Jingyi’s for dinner?” 

 

“No,” Jin Ling’s cheeks had pinched red. Wei Wuxian suddenly found his palms sweaty. “I mean - they just play video games the whole time. I hate playing with rubbish people. So.” 

 

Wei Wuxian knew a liar when he saw one. It probably wouldn’t be fair to torture the knowledge out of his poor young nephew, but he was very tempted. “We’ll give you a lift home. You had track practice already? Aren’t you meant to run for, like, two hours? Anyway, did you hang around for all this time just to ask me to lunch?” 

 

“No.” Jin Ling had gone a mighty shade of red now, though. Embarrassed, proud; Wei Wuxian knew him well enough by now to wait patiently for Jin Ling to ask for what he wanted. He didn’t have to wait nearly as long as he thought. “I need a favour but I need you to not be weird about it.”

 

“Me?! Weird?” 

 

“Uncle Wei.” He chastised, serious. Across the hallway Lan Wangji was chatting to a student very sternly, arms tucked behind his back, holding a well-read copy of Sense and Sensibility. 

 

“Let’s chat here or Lan Zhan will want to know all the drama,” He swerved them into an empty classroom. “What’s up?” 

 

Jin Ling squirmed. “I want to…” 

 

Wei Wuxian deliberately looked down at the notes left behind on the desk, giving Jin Ling that time he needed to process his own words in his head without eyes burrowing into him. “... wear a dress to prom. Maybe!” He cut Wei Wuxian’s excited gasp off right away. “I’m interested in. Exploring it.” 

 

“I will absolutely help!” Wei Wuxian cried, also very aware that Jin Ling knew a thing or two about Sizhui’s rampantly evolving love life and therefore, was a win-win situation. “Your mum didn’t take you shopping for one yet?” 

 

“I haven’t really… told her.” 

 

“You’re scared?” Wei Wuxian said, more pointing it out. “Shijie used to glue down my brows for me when I did that gig through university-,” 

 

“I know!” jin Ling slapped a hand on the table. “I know it’s silly! They’ll be fine. It’s just,” 

 

“A big step.” 

 

“Yeah,” his face went a little soft and, with all that baby fat still there, Wei Wuxian could easily remember what he looked like when he was born. “Big step.” 

 

“Who’s taking you to prom?” Wei Wuxian was getting ready to ask a bigger question, but was also happy to receive the information. Jin Ling was still two years away from prom himself, so there had to be another person in the mix. “Is it Sizhui?” 

 

“No! We’re basically cousins. Gross. It’s Zizhen, obviously. As friends."  

 

Well that took two options off the list. Damn.

 

“So who is Sizhui taking if it’s not you?” 

 

“Probably nobody if he doesn’t-,” Jin Ling said very quickly, almost automatically, before turning bright red. “He’s had lots of offers! Just needs to pick.” 

 

“Well, it’s to be expected.” Jin Ling obviously hadn’t taken into account the fact that Sizhui was a gift to man and womankind and had always been getting flirted with at restaurants by underage waiting staff, until they made the mistake of pulling the moves on Lan Zhan or worse, Wei Ying. It wasn’t a good lie at all. “Like who?” 

 

“I don’t know. Ask him.” 

 

Wei Wuxian also wanted to push that a little further, but his stomach rumbled. “Come on, let’s go. A-Yuan’s out anyway so Lan Er-Gege might let us get take out tonight and I'm not hanging around.” 



After dropping Jin Ling off and nattering at Yanli from the car window instead of going in, specifically in order to keep Lan Wangji’s interest in getting pizza at the forefront of the evening, Wei Wuxian had a little bit of time to think about the development that Sizhui had almost definitely lied to them today and was sneaking around with someone under the pretence of getting a home-cooked dinner with Jingyi’s family. Completely filthy. “Typical Capricorn behaviour.” Wei Wuxian muttered to himself, three months deep in Sizhui's Instagram feed. 

 

“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji berated, but sat beside him anyway, very clearly interested. 

 

“We really ought to give this kid an idea of what internet privacy is. I can see everything.” Lan Wangji was looking at him sceptically. “What?” 

 

“Wei Ying does not understand the point in social media.” 

 

“I’m just saying!” Even if all the pictures were just artistic shots of the rabbits, food, and Jingyi holding the rabbits, or Jingyi holding the food. 

 

They both scrolled for a while longer. One of the pictures was the three of them at gay pride a few years back, Sizhui’s face still plump from youth, before he became a man right in front of Wei Wuxian’s eyes. “We should wrap him up in cotton wool and lock him away so that he stops growing. Like foot binding, but A-Yuan binding.” 

 

“Mn,” Lan Wangji said, but to Wei Wuxian it was a laugh. 

 

When the pizza arrived, Lan Wangji looked about as impressed as he always did, taking a piece of kitchen roll and blotting the oil from the top; have a single slice with a side salad while they sat and watched their recorded episode of Game of Thrones. He really was something else. 

 

“Are you still upset about it?” Wei Wuxian said over their usual evening quiet time, his books spread all about him as he made the PowerPoint slides for next week. Lan Zhan had been plucking notes out on his guqin, a song that seemed solemn on the outside, but whose working name was Eternity, because Lan Wangji’s old age was only making him more romantic somehow. 

 

At least, he had been composing a romantic ballad for a little while, but was now sulking quite violently. The melancholic notes now playing instead told Wei Wuxian everything he needed to know. “The first series came out like, ten years ago. How did you not know this happened?” 

 

“Did not want to watch it.”

 

“You can’t go your whole life avoiding popular media just because you were raised to think it’s a useless pastime. We both know you have been thoroughly enjoying Khal Drogo.” At the mention of Khal Drogo, Lan Zhan’s playing deepened even sadder. “Baby, I’m sorry he broke your heart by dying, but she learnt so much from him! He taught her how to be a strong and powerful woman!” 

 

Lan Zhan sulked even more. What a sap.  

 

“I haven’t forgotten about your white hair,” 

 

“Mn.” Lan Wangji said in lieu of reply. Wei Wuxian wasn’t going to have that. He saved his progress and stood, dramatically falling over Lan Wangji’s table. 

 

He listened to Lan Wangji play for a while, feeling the ticking of the strings hard on the surface of the table against his cheek. “Hey, pretty boy,” He said after five minutes or so. “Don’t be sad about hunky men. Pay attention to me.” 

 

“Mn,” Lan Wangji hummed, immediately taking his hands away from the guqin, lacing them in with Wei Wuxian’s hair. “Love you.” 

 

“Love you too.” Wei Wuxian mumbled, feeling smug and well petted, like an expensive cat. “Don’t worry, I won’t get cornered by my enemies and die in front of your eyes anytime soon, not like your one true love Khal Drogo.” 

 

“Wei Ying is my one love.” Lan Wangji said as if it needed clarification. His ears had gone red, so maybe it wasn’t Wei Ying he was clarifying it to. 

 

“Our son is definitely sneaking around with someone right now,” Wei Ying giggled, trying to laugh it off. Lan Wangji was silent on the other side of the table. Wei Wuxian looked up at him and saw the minute crease to his eyebrows, and the tightening of his top lip. “You ok? Annoyed? Worried?” 

 

“Mn.” 

 

“Worried about A-Yuan?” 

 

“He knows not to lie.” 

 

Wei Wuxian smiled, dopey. “Oh, Lan Er-Gege, he probably isn’t lying. He might be my son, but he’s your son too. He’s probably just-,” He waved his arm around, letting it land on Lan Wangji’s unused hand. “Omitting the truth.” 

 

“Not allowed.” 

 

“You did it,”

 

“Would never.” 

 

“You did,” Wei Wuxian sat up straight, increduled.

 

Lan Wangji was clearly winding him up. “Never.” 

 

“You waited six years to tell me you liked me. And to tell your brother, even though I know he asked you, cause I asked him to.” He spun around the table quickly, landing himself in Lan Wangji’s waiting arms, legs bracing around his husband’s waist like a koala. “That’s more than an omittance. That’s full avoidance.”

 

They kissed for a minute, Lan Wangji almost definitely just trying to shut him up, when an alarm sounded from the kitchen. Lan Zhan, the unceremonious waste of space, shoved Wei Wuxian from his lap just as he started to get somewhere. “Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying cried, finding himself on his back on the plush white rug, staring up at the ceiling fan.

 

“Have seaweed crackers in the oven.”

 

“Eighteen years of marriage down that drain like that, huh? Like it doesn't matter at all. My heart has been broken beyond repair,” He got up and limped over to the kitchen, mimicking great pain. “However will you repay me for this foul treatment? I should run off with a rugged, strong and powerful Dothraki, huh? How would you like that?” 

 

Lan Wangji was wearing a pair of pale blue oven gloves and an apron that said World’s Best Mum, which Shijie had gotten for Wei Wuxian, not realising that he was not the one who did the cooking, despite her best efforts. Wei Wuxian’s heart flapped around in his chest like an erratic butterfly. 

 

There, as he was watching his husband skillfully transfer his crackers onto a cooling rack, was Lan Zhan’s glowing white hair; curled up with the rest of its inky brothers into the bun on the top of his head. Wei Wuxian felt that niggling he had felt in the back of his mind this morning all over again. 

 

“Want to go upstairs?” He asked, leaning on the back of the fridge and jutting his hips out, knowing full well that his hip bones hung out of these tracksuit bottoms, and still had the tender marks on them from the shower. “Make it up to me?” 

 

Lan Zhan raised an eyebrow at him. “Wei Ying likes my outfit.” He joked, that rare small smile gracing over his face like a beam of starlight. His pale eyes looked up at the clock.

 

They had fifty-five minutes until Sizhui’s curfew, and Jingyi’s house was ten minutes away. All the time in the world to two old farts who knew each other’s bodies like they knew their own. Lan Zhan gave him a long, unblinking stare, and twisted the oven knob to off.

 

Wei Wuxian took off running, as he normally did, barricading up the stairs like his life was at stake; normally Lan Zhan would catch him at the top of the stairs and carry him the rest of the way, to be honest, his knees could really do with it these days, but he must have been taking off the oven gloves and apron (probably folding them too), and so Wei Wuxian made it all the way to the bedroom door before he felt arms wrap around his waist and hoist him into the air. “Lan Zhan! So mean, so cruel to me, you surely have to fuck me to make it up to me,” 

 

“On a weeknight?” Lan Zhan’s voice had a horrible sense of concern to it, like he knew Wei Ying was going to regret it in the morning, sat at his desk chair, cursing his foul husband for being so rough. 

 

They used to fuck on weeknights all the time. Sure, he would flinch and jitter at work all day and get lost in his own whirlpool of a mind whenever he started talking about the Intrigues of the Warring States and good old Lord Long Yang and the King of Wei, which he had always thought was super funny and easy to annoy the kids with (pretending to be related to a historic gay king was always fun), but now conveniently dropped from his curriculum upon presentation of evidence that he got all honeymoony in the eyes when he talked about it. “You would deny me, your greatest equal? The man you’ve sworn to in this life and all other lives? I had so many suitors in my youth and I instead laid my virginity out to you, Lan Zhan, and you repay me with celibacy like a monk, whilst I beg and cry in your arms for-,” 

 

His back hit the bed, which was very impressive he had to admit; the bed was two metres away from the door. “Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan muttered, an agreement, and kissed him softly, all while his hands worked aggressively in juxtaposition to tear off their clothes.

 

Wei Ying started begging right away, as was customary, with Lan Zhan’s mouth closing over the thickest part of his throat, suckling there. “On my front,” He mewled, Lan Zhan’s hand already rooting around in the drawer. “Baby, sweetheart,” Lan Zhan’s hand came back and, with experience that only comes from practice and an admirable set of fingers, worked the lube bottle open and spread the slick around, with one hand, through the gaps in his fingers, across the tight pucker of Wei Ying’s hole, “That’s it, baby, I love you, yes,” some of it already dripping down his thighs; they liked it messy. 

 

“Love you,” Lan Zhan muttered, physically incapable of not saying it back when he heard it, and moved back just enough to let Wei Ying scramble onto his elbows and knees, forehead propped on the pillow, leave a centimetre of breathing space between his mouth and the mattress. “Very wet,” Lan Zhan whispered against the back of his ear, his dick already rubbing up against Wei Ying’s hole; not pressing in to really mean it, but enough to feel the pull of skin, the stretch. It shot through Wei Ying like a taser, as it always did, to hear Lan Zhan say anything like that, and push up close to him. A finger worked into him with a professional ease, and Wei Ying felt his mouth running off without his thought, soaking spit into the bed already.

 

“Don’t have long, gotta be quick, will need to cum in me quick,” his hand reached up to lace into the hairs at the back of Lan Zhan’s neck, feeling the hot breath on the back of his own; the arm around his waist propping him up was pulling him back and pushing him down; completely in control of him, his body sopping wet already. “Uh, Lan Zhan, Lan Er-Gege, you make me so wet, come on, you know I-,” his body started to tremble, overwhelmed, and he made a long whine instead of speaking.

 

They learnt almost immediately after they started having sex that Wei Wuxian really didn’t need much egging on when it came to foreplay; his body was taut like a livewire almost from the get-go, something inside him squirming for Lan Zhan to be in there, as happy as he was to get railed for five minutes as he was five hours. His psychologist as a kid had told him he was touch starved and craved reassuring touch, but he thought maybe it wasn’t that deep, and maybe he just really liked Lan Zhan’s cock. Thank god he was allowed to have it whenever he wanted.

 

“In,” he pleaded, even though he knew Lan Zhan wouldn’t give it to him yet, and knew his body wouldn’t be able to take it yet either; he mostly just said it to be a nuisance, but Lan Zhan knew how he needed it, knew how he craved it. Slow and steady was for Sunday mornings when Wei Ying was hungover, but tonight was a Thursday, and Wei Ying had a point to prove.

 

He squirmed and mewled, making a fuss when Lan Zhan tried to get his pinky finger in alongside the other three, almost always a ploy that he used on Wei Ying to get him to beg even louder. It had yet to be unsuccessful. “Come on, don’t be - nnnh -  mean, in, in, in, in,” his voice caught up in a high-pitched yelp as Lan Zhan pulled his fingers back to just the tips, pushing the bulbous head of his dick in at the same time; holding Wei Ying wide and making the stretch too much, for only a second, to give Wei Ying a taste of what he begged for, the feeling of knowing what too much was really like. 

 

Lan Zhan mouthed at his neck and shoulders but when the strain on his back bending that way got too much he put his hand on the back of Wei Ying’s neck and pushed him down, fingers teasing at his hairline, threatening to pull. “Do it, pull my hair Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying sobbed, his hips shuddering when Lan Zhan pushed further into him, knowing how to twitch his muscles, how to bear down and let Lan Zhan slide in, with his other hip getting pulled up and moved to accommodate the position of his neck, twisting his body up into a curve that he knew he couldn’t hold for long. “Mercy, mercy,” half-hearted, whimpering, his body shaking like a leaf, “Lan Zhan f-fucks me so hard, so merciless, ” he knew he had to fuck Wei Ying hard when he held him curled up like this; when he was crying and pulsing like this. The situation demanded it. 

 

Lan Zhan finally yanked at the roots of his hair, pulled Wei Ying up onto his hands so that they could kiss again, and in a cruel use of impressive Lan Wangji sensuality even dared to put his hand firmly on the little pouch of skin on Wei Ying’s stomach, feeling the bulge of himself through there. “Can feel me here,” He said, and even though he always said it, it always worked.

 

It would have been embarrassing if they were any younger, but by now they prided themselves on a quick job well done, and so when Wei Ying’s ears stopped ringing and he realised that the screaming he heard was his own, and he found himself drenched with his own spunk right up to the collarbone, he could do no less than let out a spacey smile. Lan Zhan let him fall heavily back onto the bed, his breathing picking up and hair falling out of its bun to stick to his forehead, and Wei Ying nearly put a crick in his neck trying to look at Lan Zhan this way; losing the thread-bare grip he had on the rhythm by this point, his hands grabbing furiously at any part of Wei Ying he could hold onto, like he was going to melt away. He sometimes felt like he would. 

 

Lan Zhan flipped him over onto his back, finally showing him some mercy. Wei Ying knew it was time to change tactics when the ebbs of his orgasm melted away, and he got stuck in that place between thoroughly enjoying getting fucked right through his tremors, and shaking into pieces with the oversensitivity. “Lan Er-Gege, so good to me,” he hooked a leg up so that his calf rubbed on Lan Zhan’s bicep so that Lan Zhan took it into his hand and hiked it up, the meat of Wei Ying’s leg held so tightly it seemed like Lan Zhan’s fingers were going to break the skin. It meant that Lan Zhan had something to hold onto while he rutted, and it let him pull all the way back before driving in. “Yes, that’s so good, you’re so good, m-made me cum all on myself-f,” His teeth were near clattering from the force, and his spine was arching from the overstimulation, “Come on, get it in me, and I’ll lay here until you g-get back and you can clean me up-,” 

 

Lan Zhan’s teeth closed over the flesh of his leg, up close to his ankle, and Wei Ying let out a noise like an old teakettle coming to boil, his insides churned up and soaking wet, the bed drenched with sweat. Lan Zhan shook until Wei Ying pulled him down into him, and Lan Zhan curled up close, letting his head rest in Wei Ying’s neck, their breath coming quickly until, breath after breath, they calmed. 

 

“Mmm,” Wei Ying said as a compliment, eyes already drooping.

 

Lan Zhan liked to shower right after and then get back into bed for a cuddle. Wei Ying, unbeknown to his own senses, had fallen asleep where Lan Zhan had left him in the centre of the bed, and jolted awake at the touch of a cold hand scooping him up in the dark. “Ge?” he mouthed into the duvet covering his face. 

 

“It's late,” Lan Wangji whispered into the back of his neck.

 

He let out a sweet, sleepy noise when Lan Zhan surprised him with a minty kiss on the lips. “You have to go, Lan Er-Gege.” 

 

“Already done.” 

 

“Oh.” He turned and took a few more kisses, as a treat. “Does he have any lovebites? An armful of gifts?” 

 

Lan Zhan made a disappointed face at him. “He really had dinner with Jingyi. Family waved him off.” 

 

Wei Wuxian grunted. “Such a good boy. Why didn’t we raise more of a Lan, huh? You proposed to me while we were still in university. Aren’t you all meant to move at the speed of lightning into commitment? Why hasn’t he brought anyone home,” 

 

“Need to ask him to,” Lan Zhan said into his mouth, wrapping him up into the designated sleeping position, as they heard the tell-tale sound of socked feet running down the stairs into the kitchen for better wifi. 



 

 

Lan Wangji would never dare wake him at the same awful time that he gets up, but he does usually come in and kiss at Wei Ying's face around six-thirty, slowly letting him become acclimated to the world of the living again. He was usually perched on the corner of the bed, on Wei Wuxian’s side, watching him as he blinked awake. 

 

This morning, eyes still closed and crusted with sleep, Wei Wuxian heard the routinely beautiful, godly sound of Lan Zhan putting his coffee on the bedside table for him. "Hmm," he rolled onto his side, making space for Lan Zhan to get back into bed. He always got extremely cuddly in the twelve hours after sex occurred, like his endorphins were on slow release. Arms came around him and Lan Zhan's mouth pressed into his neck. "Lan Er-Gege, you promised to clean me up last night and you left me to sleep here in filth. So cruel of you, so possessive, are you trying to keep your smell on me? I’m probably pregnant now,” 

 

“Will keep my promise,” Lan Zhan murmured, but he did sound convincing. Wei Ying felt his sleepy body stirring. Lan Zhan’s mouth got a little more insistent, until Wei Ying slanted his neck and let him stick his teeth in there; not enough to bruise, not these days, not when they had twenty teenagers at the throats all day anyway. A hand came around his erection, pressed into their sheets. “Wei Ying is very energetic all of a sudden.” 

 

“Just remembering how much I love my husband, even when he leaves me covered in cum all night.”

 

“Especially,” Lan Zhan clarified, moving down his body and flipping him onto his front more firmly, hand still loosely clasped around him. 

 

Wei Ying supposed he didn't need to correct that. Ordinarily Wei Ying would be content to sleep dirty. Especially after they had already gone at it for almost an hour very vigorously last night, and there was the morning in the shower, and he was pretty beat from work. He didn’t mind sleeping dirty, not like Lan Zhan, who even now had to shower after sex no matter what or would remain very grumpy until he could. 

 

“Do you remember the first time we did this?” Wei Ying asked, feeling the slick touch of a tongue against the crease of his thigh. “On vacation,” 

 

“Wei Ying was very loud.” Lan Zhan said against his ass cheeks.

 

He was. Got an eyeful from all the uncles for that. “Love it, always do,” Lan Zhan’s tongue pressed gently against him, tentative, worried about the ache from the night before. Wei Ying was already starting to squirm. “I was made for it,” He babbled, a combination of still asleep and love drunk. “Made for you to fuck, I swear, could tell the first time,” 

 

The first time had been twenty years ago, and it still hit different when he thought about it, especially when he wanked off to it. There was a time when they had been camping and they both had a very vivid dream about it, independently, in their own streams of consciousness while sleeping side by side, rubbing off against each other in their shared sleeping bag. 

 

When they both scrambled awake to find each other sweaty, dreaming of the same thing, the air in the tent wet and heavy, the fronts of their underwear ruined, it had been the second moment of abject clarity where Wei Ying had looked at his husband and thought, wow, we really have this.

 

The first moment had also been the first time, when he was looking up at Lan Zhan while he had finished pushing all the way in, Wei Ying’s legs flailing to wrap around him as high up his waist as they could; Lan Zhan’s hair had been damp at his temples, not a single white hair in sight, and Wei Ying had gasped, I can feel you in my guts, breath punching out of him at every exhale, hands scrambling on the cheap sheets of their university dorm. I can’t believe we have this, Lan Er-Gege. 

 

He hadn’t realised how much Lan Zhan’s tongue was working now. “Thinking about the f-first time,” Wei Ying reeled off. “When you were the first thing that ever went in me,” Lan Zhan let out a quick and strong breath against his hole, tongue slipping in easily. Their favourite lube was oil-based, and still a little sticky; it melded in with Lan Zhan’s spit and cum which was gross, really, but Wei Ying felt his knees jittering against the covers at the thought. “That’s good,” Lan Zhan’s hand tightened on his cock, finger pressing hard on the head and staying there, barely moving; Wei Ying didn’t need much, but the pressure helped, gave him something to move into, something to concentrate on rather than the fact he was getting eaten out on a Friday morning like he was twenty-one again -, 

 

“Lan Zhan, you’re so good, that’s so good, I’ll come, you have to as well, on me, I’ll shower after, or you can clean me again and we’ll call in sick for work, f-fuck, I’m-,” 

 

Wei Ying was thinking he might have a third one of those wow moments right here, with his husband’s tongue in him so deep he could feel it in his throat as he screamed.



 

Wei Wuxian, unfortunately, did regret it later, sat at the dining table, cursing his foul husband for being so rough, just as predicted. He was, however, caught out watching Sizhui feeding the rabbits, knowing he had an opportunity to get Sizhui on-side, per se. He left his chair, winced, and brought out an extra piece of cold pizza, neatly tucked into the fridge with the seaweed crackers. 

 

“For breakfast?” Sizhui said, surprised, dusting out sections of hay. 

 

“You sound like your father,” Wei Wuxian thrust the pizza at him, trying to act like it wasn’t a bribe. Sizhui looked at him very suspiciously right off the bat, and so he had no choice but to jump right in. “A-Yuan, who were you on the phone with so late last night?” 

 

His ears pinked. Very, very telling. “Jingyi.” 

 

His kid needed to learn how to lie better, or sorry - avoid the truth, as Lan Wangji is more preferable to. Especially if he was going to function as a hopelessly romantic Lan, dedicated to running off into the sunset no matter what the elders had to say about it. Wei Ying pressed on, in the mindset of allowing Sizhui to practice his skills as a truth avoider. Of course. “But you were at Jingyi’s for dinner.” 

 

“I forgot to tell him something.” He said, clearly a lie too, from his skittering and quick vision. He bent down to shuffle a rabbit’s ears back from the weird position they were laying in, and marched back toward the house, leaving Wei Wuxian to limp on after him. 

 

“You children are so forgetful, huh? Wasn’t that you didn’t want his parents hearing something they shouldn’t, hm? Reporting back to us?” 

 

Sizhui spun around and fixed him with a stare that Lan Wangji would have been very proud of. “I don’t understand what you are insinuating, Teacher Wei.” 

 

“Teacher Wei!” He leapt up after Sizhui, who even through that cool exterior he could put on to look more like his dad, was just as much a Wei as anything else; a terrible strop, and quite a big sulker. “You dare address me so formally in our own home! I should send you to a military boarding school, you’ll thank me when you’re older, lord knows you Lans could all do with more discipline!” 

 

Lan Wangji was stood at the bottom of the stairs, tea in hand, looking like he was ready to say something soppy. Wei Wuxian held his finger up. “Don’t you dare.” 

 

Annoyingly, he didn’t need to. Wei Wuxian still melted anyway. 



 

 

“What time are we leaving again?” Sizhui shouted to them, very practically not opening the bedroom door to ask. 

 

Wei Ying pulled off Lan Zhan’s cock with a pop. He looked up at Lan Zhan, mouthing an hour?  But Lan Zhan was already shaking his head, “Thirty minutes,” He said back, voice ever so slightly too loud, covering the sound of Wei Ying’s protest. 

 

They really should be leaving in fifteen, so that was a small win. Wei Ying had managed to wrestle Lan Zhan back into bed about an hour ago, tackling him out of the shower; having that fun kind of sex they didn’t have time to do much anymore where there wasn’t an order to anything, and Wei Ying had been getting fingered real good when he remembered that he hadn’t sucked his husband's dick in a week which was injustice in the purest form. 

 

His mouth watered, his hands twitched, and that same overwhelming sense of need took over him; as always, Lan Zhan was very amicable to a change of pace. 

 

Wei Ying at least waited for their son to walk away from the door before shouting again. “Thirty minutes?! Lan Zhan will have to be gentle with me, after he was so cruel last night.”

 

“Wei Ying wants me to fuck him again?” Lan Zhan said, looking ever so slightly concerned for his husband's sore body. 

 

It made his stomach squirm to hear it. “Yes.” Obviously - he always wanted Lan Zhan to be fucking him. He crawled up off the floor and into Lan Zhan's lap, still sloppy and stretched from the fingerfucking he had been getting, his legs aching from kneeling. “Lan Zhan is so sexy, you get sexier every year, come on, have to be quick, but slow, sweetheart,” He pushed Lan Zhan onto his back and, somehow, Lan Zhan understood. 

 

They ended up on their sides, Lan Zhan scooping him up into a little ball, his hip slightly disagreeing but hardly at the forefront of his mind; it was slow, and it was gentle, but Lan Zhan knew his angles by now, and he knew what to do. His hand was clasped ever so gently around Wei Ying’s throat; not enough to squeeze, but holding him there, firm, comforting, his thick thumb sometimes turning Wei Ying’s head so that they could kiss.

 

“You’re amazing, you amaze me,” Wei Ying whispered, feeling raw from the things Lan Zhan was whispering to him, so small and earthy that he thought he wouldn’t hear it. Sometimes it didn’t even matter what Lan Zhan said, all that mattered was that he was speaking. “Baby, baby,”

 

“Wei Ying is precious,” Lan Zhan murmured. “Important to me.” 

 

Sometimes, when it was special like this, they would cry for a passing moment, consumed by it all so much that the feeling of being content was suddenly more than contentment at all; it was ethereal and overwhelming, and a touch too bottomless. 

 

“Lan Z-Zhan,” Wei Ying stuttered, his mind overstimulated and his body catching up, “Lan Er-Gege, my good boy, my sweetheart,” Wei Ying whispered, at the centre of Lan Zhan’s universe if only for thirty minutes, leaning back and letting his eyes close.



 



Including that very raw and emotional time, Wei Wuxian had managed to wriggle, blackmail, and tease Lan Zhan into bed no less than four times over the weekend; there was also a very good two hours that they had spent in the hallway while Sizhui actually attended hockey practice this time, and Wei Wuxian had been pretending to hoover whilst Lan Zhan meditated. He had also been hoovering naked. Had worked a charm. 

 

Now, though, he was sat with his brother, sweet and loving sister, and nephew (and their unfortunate add-on who was thankfully cooking the lunch this time), and had a backache like he had never known, and his right hip kept clicking when he moved it in a certain way. 

 

“Oi,” Jiang Cheng clicked his fingers in Wei Ying’s face to get his attention again. “What time did you make the reservation?” 

 

Even though Lan Zhan was cooking in the other room too, Wei Ying still whispered. “Eight.” 

 

“Can’t believe he’s forty. Old fucking man. What am I meant to buy a forty-year-old who doesn’t drink?”

 

“You don’t need to get him anything, I told A-Ling to tell you already.” 

 

“You think I’m going to give him the satisfaction of not getting him a gift when he got me that fancy whisky last year?”  

 

We got you the whisky.” 

 

“He paid for it. What am I meant to do? Get him some elderflower cordial? That's what old men drink, right?” 

 

Wei Wuxian held his head high and did not make eye contact. “I don’t know what old men drink. I don’t know any old men.” 

 

Jiang Cheng gave him a look that said he didn’t believe a word of it. “Why are you being a weirdo right now?”

 

“Dad is sensitive about it,” Sizhui said from the other side of the table, knowing full well he was not involved in this conversation.

 

“I would be too if I was turning forty, which will never happen in all of my life.” Jiang Cheng was not helping things by being obtuse. 

 

Jin Ling beckoned Sizhui from the other side of the house. Sizhui looked ready to roll his eyes but very tactically held back in front of his aunt. “I don’t mean Baba,” he shot a thumb out toward the kitchen. “I mean Dad,” and then he gestured to Wei Ying with a tilt of his head, and promptly left the room. 

 

Yanli and Cheng’s eyes were on him instantly. “What?” He said, feigning ignorance. 

 

At least his sister was trying to be nice. “A-Ying, you both look the same as the day you brought him home.” 

 

Jiang Cheng immediately started laughing at that, like an asshole. “No, don’t lie to him to make him feel better. You both look old, and that’s just a part of life. Get over it.” 

 

“A-Cheng,” Yanli chastised, her eyebrows creasing and showing the signs of her age. Wei Ying was going to start crying if he wasn't careful. “What is it, A-Ying?” 

 

Wei Ying really didn’t want to make it a serious issue. Sure, he was having a minor breakdown that his husband was middle-aged and had a white hair, but they still clearly had it in the bag. The ache deep in his stomach from getting railed all weekend told him as much. 

 

Maybe he was a little scared, staring the jaws of mortality in the face. “It’s not that deep,” 

 

“Looks it.” 

 

Shh, ” Yanli kicked out her foot and it hit Wei Ying instead of its target. His lack of moping seemed to shock her more than anything else. “Sorry, I‘m really sorry A-Ying. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with getting older. We just haven’t had good examples of ageing relationships.” 

 

“Psh,” Jiang Cheng whistled. “Understatement.”

 

“It’s up to us now,” She smiled softly. “Our kids should become better people than us, that’s how you know you’ve done a good job.” 

 

That did help to hear. It also gave a good segway for Wei Wuxian to quickly change the subject. “You know my brat of a son there, who gave us sass even though we have done nothing but give and give to him?” His siblings looked at him excitedly, awaiting the news. “Has a secret lover.” Wei Wuxian crossed his arms over his chest, proud of his secret.

 

“No,” Jiang Cheng said in disbelief, but then seemed to straighten. “Actually, that makes sense. He’s probably desperate to get out of the house while you two reinvigorate your marriage like a pair of-,” 

 

“Oh, Dad,” Sizhui said, poking his head around the doorway, a small and familiar face on Jin Ling’s iPad. “Can Jingyi come over later?” Jingyi, on facetime, waved to the family. The entire family waved back. 

 

Wei Ying never passed on an opportunity to be dramatic. “That sounds like my cruel and mean son to me, but he has yet to start begging me for forgiveness in the eyes of his elders, does it never end? This torment? Taking me for granted as though I am already old and decrepit like your father. I thought I banned you from my house, Lan Jingyi.”

 

Jingyi and Sizhui were pulling similar faces of boredom, only Sizhui’s was a little more pleased. “It isn’t even your house.”

 

Upon seeing his husband about to cuss out a child with no remorse, Lan Wangji had seemingly made the choice to step in, and began carrying food to the table. “We will get him on the way home.” 

 

“Lan Zhan, don’t be soft!” 

 

“Thank you,” Sizhui said, too humble for his own good, and took off to say his goodbyes.

 

Lan Zhan moved slower than usual, movements somehow even more deliberate, as he went to get more dishes. Wei Ying felt the burning stare of his family again. “What have you done to him?” Jiang Cheng kicked him under the table. 

 

Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but feel smug and a little fond. “Well sorry that I have a healthy sex life.” Lan Zhan came back and placed a tube of sriracha beside Wei Wuxian. “Thank you sweetheart.” He gave him an embarrassing wink, just to annoy Jiang Cheng, and Lan Zhan licked his lips as he sat, happy to play along at the expense of his brother-in-law. “And quick, before A-Yuan comes back in, do you think he’s dating a girl? Should I get some books? Shijie, would you give him the talk if it is?”

 

“Even if he wasn’t, you probably traumatised him into heterosexuality in the past two days with whatever is going on with you.”

 

“A-Cheng, don’t be crass. I would be happy to give him the talk. I have some books upstairs on vaginal anatomy and-,” 

 

“You let him talk about his sex life but don’t let me call him out on it?!” 

 

Ehem,” Jin Zixuan flounced back into the room at the noise, wearing his hair in a way that made Wei Ying want to flick at the ornament on the top of his head, carrying a very nice looking tray of enchiladas. 

 

Wei Wuxian kept going. “Nobody chooses to be anything, do you think Shijie would choose to be straight? When Wen Qing was hitting on her all through school and university?” Wei Wuxian gave Zixuan a pointed look. “They would have made such a beautiful couple,” 

 

“Wei Ying should not gossip.” Lan Zhan interrupted him, very gracelessly (for him) rearranging himself on his chair.

 

Maybe they had been getting a bit too into it lately. “A-Ying, maybe you should go and get the kids, they’re taking too long,” Yanli said and, horribly, Wei Wuxian wasn’t sure if he could stand. The look on her face said she knew as much too.

 

Lan Zhan gave him a long, lingering look as he wobbled determinedly to his feet. There was a thoughtfulness to his gaze, and Wei Ying mistook it for desire. 



 



The look certainly hadn’t been desire. Lan Wangji’s hand landed on Wei Ying’s thigh for a second as he started the car and gave him a squeeze, and Wei Wuxian felt like something was going on. Then Lan Wangji took a familiar turn which went away from the house, and led them to a spot they hadn’t been in a while. 

 

“Are we going to see Grandma and Grandpa?” Sizhui asked from the back seat. 

 

Wei Wuxian didn’t like to make a big deal out of moments like these; Lan Wangji didn’t usually want to visit the cemetery. Maybe he was getting too old for it; mourning had become less achievable when so much was keeping you happy. Wei Wuxian hardly ever stopped to think about those who had gone before him. Lan Zhan was always good at bringing him back down to earth when he needed it, and the feeling of driving through the gate always makes Wei Wuxian shiver.

 

He keeps shivering while they park up. 

 

“Wait here,” Lan Zhan grumbled, and Sizhui seemed content to do so, whipping out his phone again. 

 

Wei Wuxian knew the path. They moved through the graves and the urns; some were lavish and had towers upon towers of red beams and shaven sandalwood, the scent of burning incense and laid blossoms overwhelming on the outskirts of the graves, and then dimmer and calmer as you went in through the trees, usually by then Wei Wuxian’s nose got used to it. They stopped at the grave, both walking significantly slower than usual; admiring the joint tombstone coated in it’s carved cloud designs. Lan Zhan took his hand very meaningfully. 

 

They bowed to the stones and overhead, a white dove had fluttered down onto an overhanging branch, and it let out a single soft coo

 

“Are you going to say something to make me cry?” Wei Wuxian said in a lowered voice, aware of the setting. “I’ve been wrung out like a wet towel these past few days by your white hair, you know.” 

 

“Wei Ying should not joke,” Lan Zhan took both his hands. His shoulders hurt in a deep-seated ache from holding himself up for forty-five minutes last night while Lan Zhan drove into him like an animal, but the ferocity and barbarity of the lovemaking had only been compensated for in droves by the sleepy abundance of sloppy kisses, and the excited whispering about how good they were at sex these days.

 

“Sorry,” he said, half meaning it. “What’s this about, baby?” He wanted to ask Lan Zhan if he was thinking about his own mortality, but he didn’t want the question turned on himself.

 

“Would ask Wei Ying the same.” 

 

Ah. He had been caught, then. “Lan Zhan,” He said, beginning to mount a defence in his head.

 

Oh, but Lan Zhan let his hands go and flittered his fingers along the marble of the headstones, picking at some burnt scraps incense that his brother had most likely left burning before. He looked solemn, the sharp lines of his spine softening ever so slightly when his mind was truly occupied, his equally sharp mind twisting tighter and tighter around his questions.  

 

Wei Wuxian could read his husband like a book. “I’m not scared of death,” Wei Ying clarified, even though Lan Zhan could read him equally as well by this point.

 

“Wei Ying never thought he would be so old, I think.” 

 

It took him back a step. Lan Zhan went about lighting some more sticks, leaving his husband to fumble and trip over that statement as if it wasn’t massive, filling up the entire breathing space between them. 

 

“I - It’s not about me,” even though it was, mostly; he was only really half of someone most of the time, spending more of his life married than unmarried by this point; a father for nearly just as long. Wei Wuxian wasn’t one man anymore, and he hadn’t been since he was eighteen, when his sister had just gotten married to an asshole and he thought he quite liked the sound of being single forever, and then Lan Zhan had come back from a year abroad in China with his family who still lived out there and had grown a foot in height and shoulder width, and Wei Ying had imagined his legs propped up on those shoulders for the foreseeable future. 

 

The foreseeable future hadn’t included twenty years and a kid, and it definitely hadn’t included not being able to get his leg that high anymore. 

 

“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan said, still looking at where his mother and father were. “We will probably live another sixty years.” 

 

“It doesn’t scare you?” Wei Ying wormed in close, let Lan Zhan put his arm around him, sheltering him from the breeze. “Even a little bit?” 

 

“No.” Lan Zhan was a solid weight against him even now. “Will have each other. Big family.” 

 

“More kids?” 

 

“Maybe.” The tips of his cheeks had gone red. “Maybe we will wait for grandkids. Can give them back when they cry.” 

 

“Or force-feed them expensive chocolate, which worked a treat with A-Yuan, until he got that attitude.” 

 

Lan Zhan certainly was smug about it. “We haven’t been lonely for a long time,” Lan Zhan said, casting one more glance over to the headstones, and sometimes Wei Ying liked to make up stories about if he had met Lan Zhan’s parents. “Not scared of getting older.” The rest was unsaid, things are the best they’ve ever been, and always will be. 

 

“Will you still love me if we can’t have sex anymore?” Wei Ying asked, half joking, half tearing himself open and letting Lan Zhan feast on his vulnerabilities. “You won’t trade me in for a younger model?”

 

“No. Will only love Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan said, very matter-of-fact. 

 

“What if I was a worm? Would you still love me if I was a worm?”  

 

Feeling a bit like he had been scooped out, cleaned, waxed, and put back together again, Wei Wuxian let Lan Wangji lead him to the car. “Do you turn into a worm or always have been one?” 

 

“I wake up tomorrow and I’m a worm. Would you still love me?”

 

“Everything... sorted?” Sizhui asked, being a smartass. 

 

“Mn.” Lan Zhan replied. He started back on the journey to Jingyi, the sound of Sizhui’s fingers tapping at the screen settling to Wei Ying. “Would feed Wei Ying to the rabbits.” 

 

“What! Rabbits don’t eat worms!” Then he paused. “Do rabbits eat worms?” 

 

“They don’t,” Sizhui provided. 

 

“Well, look how silly you look, Lan Er-Gege.”

 

“You know what I was thinking?” Sizhui butted in, and Lan Zhan gave him a questioning look through the mirror. “How Grandma and Grandpa are so much like you.”

 

Wei Wuxian had made the comparison himself all those years ago, when Lan Zhan had first told the story; my father was in love at first sight, he had said, on their first date; if you could call anxiously holding hands after a hasty confession a date. He took her away and married her, Lan Zhan had said; he had failed to mention all the yearning, all the heartbreak, the lost little boys that got left behind with a skewed version of love and devotion to follow. Lan Zhan had always loved things too much; the first two bunnies Wei Ying gave him in secondary school that had lived for so long that the vet had started treating them for free, the kid with no parents who they found on their teaching course even though they hadn’t even had the kid talk yet, and Wei Ying. There was no pretence to how much he loved Wei Ying; enough to have hip-shattering, ‘I'm scared we’re getting too old for this’ rampant sex all weekend, knowing that there was something burning away inside Wei Ying all the while. 

 

They pulled up and Jingyi hopped in quick, snuggling himself into the car like he belonged there. He looked like he had sensed a shift. “What’s going on?” 

 

“Dad was saying if he was a worm tomorrow would Baba still love him.” Jingyi looked pretty interested in that, like he was ready to say something. “We’re talking about Grandma and Grandpa,” Sizhui explained, his phone now away.

 

“Oh, they eloped, right?” Jingyi had confused Lan Zhan’s parents around with Wei Ying’s, and Sizhui looked ready to gently correct him, but not fast enough before Jingyi kept talking. “What’s that saying? All lovers feel like they’re inventing something?"

 

Lan Zhan gave a small, wholesome smile. It shocked the car into silence; except Wei Ying, of course, who immediately began spouting that Lan Zhan really was too pretty for his own good; and just to embarrass Sizhui in front of his friend, went on a rant about the importance of familial consent when it pertains to marriage. “A-Yuan, you could turn out to be one of those people who want to marry a rollercoaster and we would still come to your wedding. That’s how much we want you to know we support you,” A-Yuan was going bright red, which was lovely. 

 

Shockingly, and very informatively, so was Jingyi, right down his neck. 



 

 

Sizhui had very dutifully been doing work for the rest of the afternoon; Jingyi had been chewing the end of his pencil, very loudly, until Lan Wangji had gone up to him and slapped his elbow off of the corner of the table. 

 

“Stay here and finish the last page,” Sizhui said forcefully, sounding so much like Lan Wangji that Wei Wuxian was worried he was going to need to have another baby just watch it grow up all over again. He really was too old for it, and he was sort of ok with that - his husband was going to be forty in two days, so he didn’t have much choice, anymore. His arse also hurt now, a genuine sort of hurt; not that fun ache. 

 

He was watching Sizhui and Lan Zhan through the window, his pretty boys, petting gently at the rabbits. He hadn’t even noticed that Jingyi was no longer groaning and grunting, and was transfixed, watching too. 

 

Curious. Very curious. 

 

Lan Zhan had the jumper on that Wei Ying had knitted a few years ago, when he was young enough to knit without it daunting him with the promise of old-age arthritis; he could probably start doing it again because they did look so cute; Sizhui’s blue reebok jumper matching his dad’s pale blue homemade, itchy mess. There was painstaking labour in every stitch because Wei Ying had to admit he was pretty good at things when he wanted to be; so they did make a lovely picture. 

 

Wei Wuxian hobbled over to the dining table. “Doing maths?”

 

Jingyi jumped. “Uh - yeah,” He turned back to his paper. “Hate it.” 

 

“Mm.” Wei Ying moved one of the worksheets around, tapping his finger at it. He had never seen Jingyi so still. “So, how long have you had a crush on my son, Lan Jingyi?” 

 

“Wh - a c-crush? On...” 

 

Wei Wuxian tilted his head to the side. He tried his best not to be intimidating, but it really couldn’t be helped. “My firstborn angel, the product of my womb who I nurtured under my wing until he was a pure and beautiful saint with a streak of gold running through him worth a million of any man.” 

 

“Oh,” Jingyi gulped, looking like a wet fish. “Him. Well,” He dropped his pencil in a rut. Wei Wuxian felt a bit mean, for a flash, but it was shadowed by the fierce and burning fire of protectiveness that took over his very being. “That’s - a whole thing, right now.” He gestured behind him, out the back door, where Lan Wangji looked very serious, nodding to something Sizhui had said.

 

Then Sizhui was up and running back toward the house. “Dad,” He called, and Wei Ying was up in a moment moving as fast as he was able into the garden. 

 

“A-Yuan has something to ask,” Lan Zhan said, and patted the ground next to him. Wei Ying looked at him suspiciously. “Sit.” 

 

“The vibes don’t seem right.” Wei Ying muttered, turning back to look at Jingyi, who was waving out to Sizhui very sweetly. He went bright red and turned back to his equations.

 

Sizhui was unperturbed and waited for them all to be sat back on the floor. “Would it be ok if we went to prom together?” 

 

“If you went to-?” It hit Wei Ying like lightning.  

 

Lan Zhan froze beside him, eyes widened like a deer caught in the metaphorical headlights of realisation. “This is not about… Jingyi?” 

 

Sizhui suddenly seemed to be in the mindset that now was a better time than any to get everything out. “I’m sorry I didn’t say it so plainly before,” clearly having through his fathers were not as oblivious to modern young love as they were. “Jingyi is the one I like." 

 

Lan Zhan had steeled himself into something with an edge too cold. Sizhui had certainly noticed it, curling in on himself slightly, scared of the repercussions. Wei Wuxian was a little taken aback that Lan Zhan and Sizhui had been talking about this before he sat down, and Lan Zhan had still not put two and two together. 

 

Well, he had only worked it out himself about two minutes ago. He was so occupied for a second there trying to put it all together that he hadn’t seen the little tremor to Sizhui’s lower lip; he also hadn’t ever known a part of Lan Zhan’s wrath that was truly scary to him like their son had, for his own punishments from his husband were almost always wanted and enjoyable. Sizhui had never recovered from that one occasion when he was ten and Lan Zhan had exercised his parental rights and taken away his Gameboy for a day when he stayed up past bedtime to play it (and in secret, Wei Ying could see that Lan Zhan had never forgiven himself either), and so the sharpness to Lan Zhan was worrying to Sizhui on the surface. 

 

To Wei Ying, however, it was instantly recognisable to him as a fear of giving too much away, and therefore overcompensating; what Lan Zhan truly was, under that quickly patched together exterior, was ecstatic. Jingyi was, after all, a terribly romantic soul and probably wrote poetry or music just like any other horribly lovestruck Lan would. Lan Zhan loved that kind of crap too sincerely to deny his son the same, and Wei Ying remembered the way Lan Zhan had smiled in the car on the way home about what Jingyi had said. “Has he asked you?” Lan Zhan asked, voice too level. 

 

“We sort of… didn’t need to ask,” Sizhui had the decency to blush. “It’s a given at this point.”

 

“So… he was who were you were dating all this time?!” Wei Ying shouted, still feeling slightly oblivious. “The one you were calling late at night, sneaking around with, skipping hockey for?!” 

 

“I told you it was,” Sizhui said, as though it was easy.

 

Oh. Actually, he had said that. Multiple times, in fact, and with varying levels of meaning; Wei Wuxian had assumed he was lying. “We really did raise you well, huh?” Lan Wangji was giving him a meaningful look, so he begrudgingly added, “Well. Let him stay. For dinner. Tonight.” He reminded himself of Jiang Cheng, with all that emotional repression coming forward. “You two were shitting nappies next to each other and now you’re-,” 

 

“Wei Ying.” 

 

“He was over for dinner anyway,” Sizhui politely interrupted them.

 

“This is a different context!” Wei Wuxian sped out in a rush. 

 

Looking like he was not going to risk his luck, Sizhui nodded and ran back indoors, feet moving as quickly as Wei Wuxian's heart. Lan Wangji took his hand. "Like him." Lan Zhan said, almost certainly pertaining to Jingyi, however, Wei Ying chose to ignore that. Lan Zhan was always too easy to win over when it came to romance; he would probably swear himself in a lifelong oath to Jingyi by tomorrow morning if Wei Ying let him. He gave his husband a kiss on the knuckle, felt the ring on his left hand shift with the pressure, and sighed.



"I suppose A-Yuan could do worse." He said, as a way of agreement. Lan Zhan gave him a small smile for his troubles. 

 

 



“Are you going to marry him?” 

 

Jingyi’s broccoli fell out of his chopstick grip. Sizhui made a noise somewhere between a whine, much like his father; and a grunt, like his other father. Jingyi valiantly tried to re-scoop his broccoli with dignity. “Teacher Wei, this is really weird.” 

 

“I’m sorry, Lan Jingyi, I didn’t realise you would talk to me so commonly, as though you have known me for years - don't give me that look A-Yuan, he's coming here for my blessing to take my only son away from me.” 

 

“To prom,” Jingyi corrected. Sizhui seemed like he had suddenly decided to stay out of it. Probably that Gameboy trauma kicking about again.

 

“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji piped up, and Wei Wuxian knew from the look on his face that it was going to be something sappy, something which gave him that reputation as the Lan’s Greatest Pushover. “He is a Lan,” as though that explained it all and, annoyingly, it sort of did. Truth-telling, dedicated and loving, good for nothing - 

 

“Emotional animals, the lot of you. Soaking up all of my good intentions to protect virtues, including my own, for as long as I’ve known. We were all virgins once, and you know what,” He jabbed an incriminating finger at Sizhui, who looked ready to faint at the prospect of an impending and well-deserved embarrassing sexual health lesson. “Make sure you get a gay doctor so they understand the things you’re doing to your body because we do things that straight people don’t understand.” He gestured between him and Lan Zhan to make a point. “You’ve seen the way we’ve been walking the past two days. Also, that was not consent from me for you both to start fornicating. I know prom. I know Lans,” he gave them all glowing glares. “I ought to go into isolation and stop talking to all of you, you heartfelt vacuums. Actually, the Lans are the ones who are an awful race of beautiful and insatiable monsters. All Lans should isolate.”

 

“Wei Ying will need to isolate too.” 

 

Melting again, as always, Wei Wuxian snatched a tea towel from the side of the table and swung it around his head as a threat. “Lan Zhan! Now is not the time for you to be so sweet! First, I am forced to marry an Aquarius and then my horrible Capricorn son who is a sweet angel and gift to this world who I gave birth to out of my own body brings home a Virgo! You wait until Nie Huaisang hears about this. I haven’t forgotten your white hairs!”

 

“There’s more than one?” Sizhui asked innocently, and Lan Wangji at least had the sense to snatch the towel from Wei Wuxian’s hand in order to avoid a casualty.