Lan Xichen, perhaps an even bigger pushover than his brother, had been kind enough to gift Sizhui with a light blue Gameboy for his birthday. “Ten is an important year, after all,” he had said, hand resting gently on the crown of A-Yuan’s head; “Double figures.”
Wei Wuxian had unceremoniously been borderline hyperventilating in Lan Xichen’s pantry upon remembering that he was thirty years old with a ten-year-old son, and when Lan Wangji had swung open the door as if he was going to catch something terrible going on (which he kind of did but certainly wasn’t as surprised as Shijie had been behind him), Wei Wuxian had thought he might start to cry very loudly.
“Wei Ying,” he said, and Yanli very carefully closed the door and waited outside.
“I’m fine!” Wei Wuxian yelled, now quite thoroughly reading the ingredients on a box of steel-cut rolled oats. “Hm. You know, I always wanted to try this brand. Gluten-free too. You love that,” He picked up the box and waved it around for good measure, too.
“A-Yuan is asking for you.”
“Of course he is,” Wei Wuxian slammed the rolled oats back into their spot. “He can barely go a minute without me, I’m his entire world,” and, horrifically, his eyes watered again. “He’s-,”
Lan Wangji pulled him into a hug which only served to make him even more emotional, but he was damned if he was going to cry and definitely have Lan Zhan go out there and try and say it was because of rolled oats; because Lan Zhan liked to embarrass him to take his mind off of the tormenting passing of time. His baby wasn’t going to be a baby forever, but Jiang Cheng would always remember him crying over porridge.
“We’ll get you some tomorrow,” Lan Wangji said, the swine, and led him back out into the party.
Jin Ling was eight and had it in his head that he was a lot bigger and a lot older than Sizhui, which was obviously not correct; he also had it in worse for Jingyi, probably childhood jealousy that Sizhui and Jingyi had both picked Squirtle as their starter Pokemon while he had picked Charmander; Wei Ying wasn’t going to intervene in whatever breakthrough Jin Ling was having that human connection and friendship was as important as the latest gadgets and games. Currently Jin Ling was laying across Sizhui, giving very possessive and meaningful glances at anyone that was daring to come over and interrupt Sizhui playing his new game on his birthday; Shijie was chewing her lip as though contemplating stepping in too.
“It’s fine,” Wei Wuxian said, “He can play it for a while. As a treat.”
Jin Zixuan was talking to Lan Wangji, which always made Wei Wuxian feel a little bit weird; to remember that his husband was rich too, and technically him as well. But Wei Ying didn’t feel rich in the same way - he still liked to haggle, and reach to the back of the shelves to get the freshest stuff that was worth the price tag, or bulk buying to save a few pennies. His eyebrows had shot to his hairline when Lan Xichen had presented that Gameboy, wrapped up in a reusable white cotton package, Lan Xichen’s environmentalism still of utmost importance to him despite the lavish electronic gift.
“I can’t stop thinking about if they had some grandparents here.” Yanli said quietly, and a touch too sadly.
“Well, is Lan Qiren not a grandparent?” Wei Wuxian waved over at Great Uncle when he snapped his head around at the mention of his name. He very quickly turned back, pretending to not have heard, the liar. “Maybe not.”
He sort of was, though. He fawned over Sizhui in his own way.
When Lan Wangji had brought home a four year old son from university, a job offer to teach literature at a public school instead of the Lan-owned private ones, and a fiancee who just so happened to be a co-parent, colleague, and a life-long pain in the ass, Lan Qiren had clutched his chest as though in cardiac arrest and declared that he would have no part in it.
But here he was, sat very quietly and gently at the table, picking at a plate of nibbles.
“Well, that does work. I’m worried we’re all… extreme ends of the spectrums, per se.”
“You definitely didn't do Jin Ling any biological favours,” Wei Wuxian tilted his head over to her husband, who was picking the raisins out of his Chelsea bun despite Lan Zhan’s critical staring. “But maybe your angelic genetics and sweet heart will overcome it all,”
Jin Ling was shouting very loudly about lizards, possibly in relation to Pokemon or not at all, the subjectives were irrelevant under the pretence of the volume. Jiang Cheng emerged from the bathroom and began shouting too, and Lan Qiren turned a faint shade of angry red.
On the drive home Sizhui and Jingyi were quiet and tired, and Jingyi was asleep when they pulled over, being carried in by Lan Wangji at the expense of his parents' embarrassment. By the time they got home Sizhui’s eyes were rimmed a dark red and watered on every yawn, even as early as eight.
“Lan Zhan, promise we will invite Uncle Qiren to every single family function ever. I mean it.”
“Hm,” Lan Zhan said, ignoring him, bundling up in woolly pyjamas even though Wei Ying was absolutely going to peel them off him in no less than twenty minutes.
“Watching him go bright red was fantastic, especially at the raisin thing. You went a little mad too, I saw it.”
Wei Wuxian caught himself about to defend Jin Zixuan in order to simply antagonise his husband, but quickly remembered where his loyalties lay. “Hmm,” He twirled a piece of hair around his index finger, propping the pillows up behind himself more firmly. “Can you believe it?”
“Ten years old.” Lan Zhan marvelled. “Will be in secondary school before we know. Then sixth form, then university-,”
“Right, enough of that. He’s a baby, always will be. And anyway, let’s talk about something sexy, like you being angry at Jin Zixuan.” Lan Zhan was fiddling around with a pen and paper on his bedside table. “Lan Zhan, pay attention to me, I’m complimenting you. I like the way you told him to eat his fruits, very sexy, made him look like an idiot in front of everyone, even Xichen laughed. It’s very attractive that we hate the same people,” He reclined further back on his pillows for good measure.
“Does Wei Ying need rolled oats?”
“Oats?” Wei Wuxian spluttered. “Are you writing your shopping list? Now?”
“Mn.” He said, finishing writing something off, and then finally getting into bed. “Should check how much rabbit food we have.”
“A-Yuan is a good and responsible boy, he will tell us when we need to buy more food. We really do need to explain to him where more bunnies are coming from, at some point, you know.”
Lan Zhan looked positively mortified; face completely blank. Wei Ying however was giggling. “Do not laugh.”
“That’s funny! Come on, how funny is that. He’s so cute he doesn’t even ask, he’s just happy that more bunnies were born for his birthday.”
It was horrifically cute this morning, when Sizhui had thanked his bunnies for bringing more friends along to surprise him; even if they were covered in gunk and really, really small.
The original rabbits that he got Lan Zhan when they were thirteen had just died too, so Sizhui was a little too wrung out for the whole baby-making talk, so they could save it for when the bunnies got neutered, probably. It was still funny to wind Lan Zhan up about it.
“Do not want to.”
“Oh, you don’t want to huh? You want to leave that to me?”
“Could ask brother.”
“No,” Wei Ying said right away, seeing Lan Zhan’s lip quirked up in jest. Lan Xichen was becoming more of a hippy by the month and had given Lan Zhan the sex talk with Wei Ying listening through the door (they were also already fifteen which was worrying at the time but the repression makes sense to Wei Ying now), and ten minutes into reeling through a list of kinks, Wei Ying thought it was best to bust in at the risk of his own pride and save his sweet best friend from any more mortification.
How the tables had turned. “Anyway, while we’re on the subject…”
Lan Zhan finally looked a bit more interested in the prospect of sex, untucking the duvet from around his legs and shuffling over.
While he had been certain he would need to undress him out of his stupid fluffy pyjamas, Wei Ying found Lan Zhan very available to do a bit of clothes manoeuvring and under the trouser activity, mouths only separating from one another for as long as Wei Ying needed to spout some filthy thing or another.
“Lan Zhan,” he urged, somewhat restless with his bottoms caught up around his thighs, “Ge, don’t be so mean,” but Lan Zhan wasn’t being mean at all, sinking down his body, hands firm against his hips, firm enough to hurt. Wei Ying started babbling right away. “Ge, I love it, you’re so nice, so sweet,” he was panting.
“Wei Ying is sweet,” Lan Zhan’s tongue flicked out to taste him, filthy.
“So naughty, so filthy,” Wei Ying encouraged, trying to move down the bed a bit better so that he wasn’t curled up like a ball. “Lan Zhaaan, Gege,” he could never really stop running his mouth, even when Lan Zhan was doing what he begged for; that usually made him even louder. Lan Zhan’s mouth closed over him, his breath slow against Wei Ying’s stomach in concentration, as if he needed much at all to get off.
All he ever really needed was something in him, most of the time; when he had been sixteen and got himself off twice a day minimum (Lan Zhan had tried out for the swimming team so it couldn’t be helped) he always felt like maybe he could go a little further, porn and websites told him it was worth a try, but it always felt a step too far. Like if he did it, there would be no going back.
Queue first year of university, after Lan Zhan had been away for his year abroad, realising that they could have been doing this all along and exploring the physical side of their love.
Lan Zhan got a half a finger up there before Wei Ying had cum all over himself.
Not much had changed. “In,” He said, like he always did, “Just a little, just to feel it,” and cause his fingers were so long and thin Lan Zhan just slotted one in his mouth alongside Wei Ying’s dick for a second, and then was teasing it in, only the tip, before Wei Ying gave a shout.
Lan Zhan let him tremble, letting his dick fall out of his mouth as he wormed back up Wei Ying’s body and his finger slipped marginally further in, Wei Ying so wrought by orgasm that he almost couldn’t tell until his hips stuttered and his ass clenched up. “You,” he spluttered, “Y-Your turn, baby, your turn, come here,” and Lan Zhan kept his finger up there just to anchor them while Wei Ying hiked his legs up and got Lan zhan to slip his cock between them, rubbing for only a second. “It’s a Saturday, we always fuck on a Saturday, you have to fuck me.”
“It’s the rules,”
“The rules,” Wei Ying babbled as Lan Zhan rooted around in their bedside drawer. “Our rules,” And then Lan Zhan proceeded to ring him out like a wet napkin for the next two hours.
Wei Ying awoke to no coffee; which in itself was so odd that he nearly gasped aloud, but was too busy yawning. Lan Zhan always woke him up with a coffee, even on Sundays, sometimes treating him to a few kisses on his neck or fingers combing through his hair, because work meant they couldn’t get too vigorous on the weeknights anymore; Saturday’s, however, were free reign.
The lack of affection and post-coital clinginess from Lan Wangji was immediately shocking. He rolled over to find Lan Wangji on his back, fully clothed and on top of the covers, staring up at the ceiling.
“Y’ok?” he said, all as one word, still adjusting.
When his eyes unfogged and he could turn all the way to his other side, he saw that Lan Wangji was - sulking? This early?
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangjii said, eyes wide and watery. He held up the pale blue Gameboy in his hands.
“You’ve… been playing Pokemon?” Wei Wuxian knew before he even finished the sentence that it couldn’t have been the reason Lan Wangji looked so horribly distraught.
Lan Wangji looked down at the incriminating device, clearly not ready to talk about it yet. Wei Wuxian got out of bed.
By the time he had made a coffee, drank it, eaten a piece of toast and gone out to fuss at the new baby rabbits, he did notice that the food dish in the garden for them was suspiciously low. Not empty, but certainly not a mountainous pile of the peels of the leftover vegetables from last night; he hummed. Suspicious indeed.
Inside, he heard the giveaway sounds of a sad chime emanating. After sitting on it for a minute, working out if it was really worth going in and talking to his husband about whatever weird reasoning was behind his cryptic grip on their son’s new toy, he heard a similar sad melody coming from upstairs. “God sake,” He whispered at the rabbits.
Lan Wangji was draped over his guqin, drowning out the sounds of their son, presumably doing the same thing. Wei Wuxian put his hands on his hips. “I’m going to guess you’ve had a fight,” and Lan Zhan’s pout told him all he needed to know.
“First time, huh? You know he yells at me all the time in Sainsbury’s, in front of straight people and God.”
“Wei Ying buys bad food. It’s from a place of love.”
“You’re defending him, I see, so he can't have been too awful.” Or maybe Lan Wangji was feeling guilty for standing his ground and therefore not being able to give a person he loved the world, which was more likely the case. He was clearly not ready to talk about it yet, flicking out a few more notes.
Wei Wuxian had an exam to design for his students for next week anyway, so he went about his morning, set to the tune of his husband and son sulking.
About half-eleven, Lan Wangji came and draped himself beside Wei Wuxian at the dining table, bottom lip still sticking out. “Where did you put it?” Wei Wuxian asked, meaning the Gameboy.
“Top of the wine shelf.” Lan Wangji moped.
So he had taken it away for sure, it seemed; and clearly thought he was right in doing so enough to keep it rather than giving it back. Wei Wuxian also felt a little bit like his husband was trying to include him in the proceedings by putting the gadget on his wine shelf, but bringing that up would almost definitely make Lan Zhan even poutier, and he would probably defend himself by saying that the wine was high up enough to keep it away from grabby children hands, and nothing to do with parental solidarity.
“So what did he do? You have to tell me so that I can stick up for you when he tries to run away.” The joke was lost a little on Lan Wangji’s frail emotion, and his eyes widened a fraction too far. “Sorry, I’m really sorry, sweetheart. Come on, what did he do?”
He sucked up his pouting lip and showed a sliver of dignity, finally. “Was up all night.”
"Playing his games?"
"The whole night?"
“He didn’t sleep?”
Lan Wangji looked comforted by Wei Wuxian’s outrage. “No. And forgot to feed the rabbits.”
“What!” Wei Wuxian could also admit he was putting on his incredulous reaction a little since he used to stay up all night all the time, especially when he and Lan Zhan were first dating, but Lan Zhan seemed very biased about most things and definitely would let his husband get away with a lot more than he would allow any other person in his life ever to get away with. But he had to match his husband’s theatrics in order to present his case that maybe, just maybe, taking away your son’s Gameboy wasn’t actually the worst thing in the world that a parent could do.
Wei Wuxian had thought it went unsaid that, obviously, Sizhui was only ten, and he didn’t need to understand the concept that if you don’t feed something, it dies; but then the old rabbits had actually died (and, even worse, one of them had died before the other and the second had died from heartbreak); and then the entire concept of death itself had to be explained. Sizhui, perhaps not necessarily understanding that things died from being old or heartbroken even if they were loved very much, had declared that he understood feeding the bunnies was: “The most important thing in the entire whole world, ever, and I will love them so much they live forever.”
The tactic had quickly changed to now letting Sizhui think so, and take on the sole responsibility of feeding and upkeep the rabbits. Lan Zhan often reminded Wei Wuxian that he had been living on the street and fighting wild dogs before Sizhui’s age and understood responsibility like a bone-deep ache, so their son could handle feeding the rabbits twice a day.
But it still felt a little raw, and to Wei Ying, responsibility was a knife-edge of self-blame or overcompensation to a child, and tiny A-Yuan didn’t need to know what loss was like again, not just when it came to rabbits, but to the family he had been born into, as well.
“That’s…” He faltered. Lan Zhan caught him.
“Wei Ying,” He said, very quickly enraged.
“Lan Zhan! I’m trying, I’m trying,” He grabbed at Lan Zhan’s sleeve as he got up and tried to storm away. “Lan Zhan, we can’t fight too or he’ll know he can divide and conquer us!”
“Wei Ying thinks I was too harsh.”
He went a little gooey at Lan Zhan’s sad face, the sap. “Darling, my One True Love, no,” They swung into the kitchen. “He has been naughty, definitely.”
“I am a bad father.” Lan Wangji said, lip sticking out again.
“No! He’s such a good boy, and the bunnies didn’t go hungry cause he always overfeeds them anyway! Just a couple of vegetables that will go in the bin instead of rabbit tummies.”
“Did a bad thing.”
“Lan Zhan,” He took his face in his hands, pushing Lan Wangji’s cheeks together so that his mouth stuck out, and smacked a kiss to them for good measure. “Let’s get a new one if it upsets you that much. We’ll feed him to the bunnies and make a new baby, huh?”
Lan Zhan looked up meaningfully to the wine shelf, where the Gameboy taunted them, his neck straining to turn against Wei Ying’s grip on his cheeks. “Should give it back.”
“You feel too rigid? Or do you feel like a bad father? Pick one,”
Lan Zhan leaned in to give him another kiss, so he let him, and then released his face. “Feel mean.”
He could imagine that Sizhui probably cried, the manipulator. “Did he pout?”
“And where do you think he gets that from? Huh? Both of you have been annoying the neighbours all day with your melancholic music.”
Lan Zhan didn’t look at all embarrassed. There was still sad music floating down to them, and Wei Wuxian had to commend Sizhui for the gall to keep at it, especially now when Wei Wuxian could see it was clearly working on Lan Zhan. “How about we let him stew on it a bit longer, hm? We didn’t get traumatised our whole childhood just so that our kids could become brats.”
Lan Zhan looked hesitant. “Wei Ying,”
“We can’t let him know it’s ok to be irresponsible or we have to feed him to the rabbits, they love turnips after all,” He took Lan Wangji’s hand in his. “It’s Sunday. I’m having a glass of wine and then I’ll go up and talk to him, and remind him that his birthday present of more rabbits is much more important than a toy, yeah? I love you when you get angry no matter who it’s at, but especially me. Get angry at me too sometimes, Lan Er-Gege.”
“Mm.” Lan Wangji nodded, kissing Wei Ying’s hand, making his stomach do a little flip. “Love you too,” he said back, completely missing the point in the name of being a hopeless romantic, as always.
“A-Yuan?” Wei Wuxian whispered, poking his head around the corner of Sizhui’s door, the sound of mournful guqin playing now finally over.
Lan Zhan had been pacing to the sound of it in the lounge for the last forty-five minutes before finally sitting down, shotgunning half of Wei Wuxian’s wine, and promptly passing out on the sofa.
Sizhui looked up at him, round eyes glassy and filled with worry. “I’m sorry,” he said immediately, apropos to nothing.
“What for?” Wei Wuxian asked, hands on his hips once more, mostly to distract from the way his hands were shaking with this undeserved power coursing through him. No wonder Lan Qiren was so strict, this was addictive. “Be specific.”
“For playing Pokemon all night and forgetting my responsibilities.”
He was such a sweet, precious boy. Wei Wuxian presented the Gameboy from behind his back. “Good, that’s very well said.” he dangled it in his hand watching how Sizhui was trying very hard to keep his eyes on Wei Wuxian’s face instead of the toy. “Between you and me, sometimes your Baba is a bit more upset about things than he lets you see, but luckily I can talk him out of grounding you forever.”
Sizhui’s eyes widened comedically, and Wei Wuxian had to hold in a laugh. He was never going to turn down the opportunity to get his son on his side, anyhow. The little demon still clearly thought his Baba was the one who wore the trousers here. “Keeping promises is very important to your father,” He said, leaning down a little. “And to me,” He added quickly. “You’re lucky I know what Baba is like and talked him out of throwing this away.” He indicated the Gameboy, tapping a finger on its case.
“I’m sorry, I won’t let you down again.”
Ah, that melted his heart. He sunk down onto his knees to be eye level with Sizhui, and handed back the Gameboy. “It’s ok, you didn’t let us down. It’s just important to keep your promises, but we know it was your birthday and it’s a super cool present.” When A-Yuan didn’t look particularly healed by that, he continued. “A-Yuan, those bunnies are parents now, and they need more love than ever.”
It was quiet for a second, and Sizhui put the Gameboy down next to him on the floor. “The bunnies had babies?”
Ah. Shit. “Uh,”
“Is that…” Sizhui carried on, and Wei Wuxian honestly couldn’t guess what he was going to ask next; allowed, why they were gross and gooey, normal.
“Right, stay in your room for a bit longer, your Baba has a headache,” which wasn’t necessarily untrue since white wine always gave Lan Zhan an immediate and savage hangover. “And… think about what you’ve done.”
Sizhui nodded, diligent, taking it very seriously; Wei Wuxian scrambled out of the room to giggle himself into a puddle on the floor of his own bedroom, until Lan Zhan came in, clutching an ice pack to his head.
Any sadness or mopiness he had been feeling was quickly taken over by anger at Wei Wuxian on the floor, laughing himself into true physical pain.
Lan Zhan bitchily kicked him with his slippered foot. “Heard through the door. Wei Ying thinks this is funny?”
“Lan Zhan, please, I have a c-cramp,” he was still gasping for breath. “Eavesdropping is rude, you know.”
“Lan Zhan, Lan Er-Gege, you finally are angry at me after a whole day? I was begging you earlier to be mad at me sometimes too and now that you are doing what I asked you make it my problem? You take some responsibility! Get me off the floor!”
“We certainly can’t wait now that he’s curious, look what happened to us when we didn’t have any parental figures to explain sex to us,” Lan Zhan finally offered him an arm and he hoisted himself to his feet. “You’re an animal, and I’m youthful and innocent, barely more than a sweet virginal bride on her wedding night.” He collapsed into Lan Zhan’s arms for good measure. “Take responsibility for me, Lan Er-Gege, quickly, before dinner time or A-Yuan will go hungry. Oh, if only someone around here knew what to do with my cruel husband when he is so pent up with rage and wine, if only someone could relieve his stresses for him with their body-!”
A while later, laying in his own sweat among other fluids, Lan Zhan’s arms wrapped securely around him, Wei Wuxian heard the noise of a games console starting up and then the telltale timbre of a volume button being smashed as the sound twittered away. He hummed and kissed at Lan Zhan’s face for a while, enjoying the peace, before pushing his husband out of bed in order to raid the freezer for something for dinner. At least A-Yuan knew to be quiet, and would definitely be feeding the rabbits religiously now.
As he passed Lan Zhan’s side of the bed, he caught sight of the shopping list, and swooned.
Rolled oats (gluten-free)
Rolled oats (with gluten?)