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i'd give my all (for your love)

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The first time Lan Wangji sees Wei Wuxian, he’s fifteen years of age.

The Emperor, Wen Ruohan, had commanded all members of the nobility to send their children to the Imperial Palace. Uncle had had no choice but to send Lan Wangji and Lan Xichen. “Be prepared,” Uncle had warned them. The Emperor had grown increasingly cruel and unjust, and his reign was one of terror. Lan Wangji knows that Uncle has been quietly gathering evidence of his crimes, and is planning to stage a rebellion. “We don’t know what he’s planning. Stay alert, in case you see something we can use.”

He hears Wei Wuxian before he sees him; bright peals of laughter that ring across the room, effortlessly capturing the attention of all who hear it. Lan Wangji instinctively looks up, toward the source of the laughter, and—there is a boy, with silky dark hair that cascades down his back in a tumble of loose waves, barely held together in a high ponytail with a single crimson red ribbon. His eyes—framed by long, dark lashes that flutter as he laughs—are the most alluring shade of silver, like the reflection of a full moon on a still lake, and they are turned up into half moons as the boy throws his head back and laughs, exposing his slender neck for Lan Wangji to admire.

Lan Wangji is enchanted. He’s enchanted by this boy’s silver eyes, his alluring smiles, his tinkling laughter. The scent of lotus blossoms, tinged with a hint of honey-spiced oranges, drifts towards Lan Wangji, and he inhales deeply, eagerly, savouring the boy’s scent.

He thinks to himself, I must have him.

The boy is standing easily beside another boy in deep purple robes, who scowls at him. “Wei Wuxian! Don’t you dare embarrass us!” The boy in purple shouts. Lan Wangji watches, a dark flare of jealousy in his stomach, as the boy—no, Wei Wuxian—laughs again and nudges his companion playfully, before slinging one slender arm around his shoulder. The easy contact sickens Lan Wangji.

“Jiang Cheng!” Wei Wuxian grins, and the sound of his voice is— intoxicating. Perfect. “Come on, how could I? You’re my favourite brother, I wouldn’t dare!”

“See that you don’t,” The other boy grumbles, and swats Wei Wuxian’s hand off him, much to Lan Wangji’s satisfaction. Wei Wuxian just laughs, and Lan Wangji mentally stores the sound of his laughter away in his mind, a memento for him to remember, to pore over in the future.

He’s heard of Jiang Cheng—the birth name of Jiang Wanyin, heir to the Yunmeng Jiang sect. Yunmeng Jiang is respectable in their own right, although not nearly as large or as well-respected as Gusu Lan was. And Lan Wangji has heard of Jiang Fengmian’s ward, Yunmeng Jiang’s Head Disciple; he’s heard that he is brilliant, gifted, astonishingly talented, albeit possessing a mischievous flair. And with how casual Wei Wuxian was with Jiang Wanyin, how he had called him his brother, there was no doubt in Lan Wangji’s mind that Wei Wuxian was, in fact, the very ward in question.

“Brother,” Lan Wangji says. “Do we have any alliances with the Yunmeng Jiang sect?”

But when he drags his eyes away from Wei Wuxian and looks at his brother, he finds that Lan Xichen’s eyes are already on him, watching Lan Wangji watch Wei Wuxian. “Not that I know of,” his brother says. His voice is even, but there’s a slightly amused tone colouring it. “Why do you ask, Wangji?”

“It is nothing of importance,” he replies. “I am merely considering how an alliance with Yunmeng Jiang could prove to be highly beneficial.” His brother hums in response, and they discuss nothing more on the issue.

Elsewhere, dangling just outside the periphery of Lan Wangji’s vision, Wei Wuxian laughs merrily again, and Lan Wangji knows, can feel it deep in his bones. He knows from the story of Lan An and how he had abandoned his duties as a monk for his cultivation partner, had founded the Gusu Lan sect together with her. He knows from how his father had married his mother, against her will, trapped her in a cottage surrounded by gentians in order to protect her, keep her safe. Lan Wangji knows—for it runs in his blood, how could he not?

After all, everyone knows that the Lans only ever fall in love once.

Wei Wuxian is a flirt.

Wei Wuxian is a flirt, and the worst part, Lan Wangji thinks darkly, is that he doesn’t even seem to be aware of it. He doesn’t hear his own effervescent laughter, doesn’t see the way his robes cling onto his narrow waist when he twirls, the way the other disciples’ eyes linger on his curves. Doesn’t notice how tactile he is, how his easy touches sometimes border right on the edge of propriety, how everyone around him all seem to make every excuse to be touching him.

Lan Wangji feels a dark burning of something thrum through him, everytime he sees their lingering gazes, their too-long touches. He knows it’s wrong—Wei Wuxian isn’t his. Yet, a voice whispers in his head. Lan Wangji knows it’s wrong, but he cannot stop. Lan Wangji doesn’t think he wants to.

At least Wei Wuxian doesn’t notice whenever Lan Wangji steps between him and the other disciples; doesn’t notice when Lan Wangji sends a sharp flicker of spiritual energy in their direction, hitting them just painfully enough—maybe slightly more—for them to stop looking, touching his Wei Wuxian.

No—his Wei Ying, Lan Wangji corrects himself, unable to stop the smug satisfaction that rises in his chest when he remembers how the other boy had started calling him Lan Zhan! immediately upon learning of his birth name, and had insisted that Lan Zhan call him Wei Ying in return (“It’s only fair, Lan Zhan!”). He loves how Wei Ying has taken to sticking by his side, loves it when Wei Ying leaves his ever-present circle of friends to greet him. Wei Ying has seemed to have taken a liking to him, much to Lan Wangji’s delight. See, he wants to tell Wei Ying. See, we are meant to be together. You’re meant to be mine.

They both haven’t presented yet, but Lan Wangji hopes—he prays that Wei Ying will present as an omega. Because Lan Wangji already knows that he himself is an alpha; he can feel it in his blood, in the way he wants to possess Wei Ying, wholly and irrevocably; brand him with his mark and announce to the whole world that Wei Ying is his, his, his. And when they present, Lan Wangji will finally be able to begin courting Wei Ying, ply Wei Ying with his kisses until Wei Ying truly, properly loves him—not as much as Lan Wangji loves Wei Ying, of course, that would be impossible, but Lan Wangji thinks he will be very content if Wei Ying only feels half of what Lan Wangji feels for him.

Beside him, Wei Ying tugs at Lan Wangji’s robes. Lan Wangji breathes in the now-familiar scent of lotuses and spiced orange surrounding him, savouring it. “Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying laughs. “What do you think the Emperor has in store for us today, huh? I sure hope it’s nothing too bad, this time!”

“I will protect Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji says, and feels a smug satisfaction at the way his words cause a slight flush to rise on Wei Ying’s cheeks. “Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying whines, and Lan Wangji hums noncommittally in response.

He’s enjoying the feeling of having Wei Ying by his side when Wei Ying suddenly nudges him, looking apologetically at him with wide silver eyes. “Lan Zhan, Jiang Cheng is calling me over! I gotta go now, he gets so grumpy sometimes!” Wei Ying tiptoes and whispers conspiratorially to Lan Wangji. “I think he’s jealous! Because we’re so close now, right Lan Zhan?” His eyes are twinkling up at Lan Wangji, and Lan Wangji can do nothing but nod in helpless agreement, too entranced by him to do anything else.

But then Wei Ying is gone, in a twirl of robes and light footsteps, and Lan Wangji feels abruptly and absolutely bereft without Wei Ying at his side. He watches as Wei Ying bounds over energetically to Jiang Wanyin, whose frown relaxes slightly when Wei Ying reaches his side smilingly, before determinedly pulling back into a frown.

Lan Wangji does nothing to suppress the ugly feeling rearing its head inside him, spreading up in his chest and making acrid bile rise in his throat, at the reminder that Wei Ying’s world… includes so much more than Lan Wangji. At how Wei Ying pays attention to so many others that aren’t him, gives his sweet, easy smiles away so freely. How Lan Wangji isn’t yet a significant enough part of Wei Ying’s life for his liking.

Sometimes, Lan Wangji thinks that he could drown in the jealousy he feels, so strong that it’s like a tidal wave sweeping through him, that he may mean so… little to Wei Ying. He wants to be the only one to receive the full brunt of Wei Ying’s love, the only one to make Wei Ying laugh so hard he throws his head back and exposes his slender, slender neck.

Lan Wangji can’t help but be resentful that Wei Ying treats others so well, so kindly. He remembers the time when Wei Ying had stepped in front of Luo Qingyang to defend her from Wen Ruohan branding her—Lan Wangji had stopped it in the nick of time, had interrupted the branding only by the courtesy of his wit and stainless reputation. He had almost been too late—the Wen brand had almost marred his Wei Ying, marked his creamy skin with something other than Lan Wangji’s kisses.

The more he broods, the more Lan Wangji feels a dark ugly cloud gather and swirl within him, threatening to overtake his senses; that Wei Ying would be willing to do that—for someone as trivial as Luo Qingyang! Does Wei Ying not know— what he means to Lan Wangji—

Right there and then, Lan Wangji decides; he will have Wei Ying. If Wei Ying can’t protect himself, Lan Wangji will for him.

 

On the day Lan Wangji turns eighteen, his brother—now the Emperor—bestows him with a piece of good news, one Lan Wangji has been waiting years for.

“Wangji,” Lan Xichen smiles, a knowing tilt to his voice. The ministers that hang in his brother’s shadow at all times bow their head reverently, murmurs of Hanguang-jun asounding. After they had overthrown Wen Ruohan, Lan Wangji had become known as Hanguang-jun—bearer of light—for ending Wen Ruohan’s reign of terror, and ushering in a new age of peace.

“Brother,” Lan Wangji acknowledges in greeting. “What is it?”

“Happy birthday, Wangji,” Lan Xichen says. “Wei-gongzi has presented.” Lan Wangji feels a keen jolt of awareness shoot through, and he immediately turns and focuses his full attention on his brother.

“And?” Lan Wangji presses urgently. He knows Wei Ying is—he can feel it—but he needs to hear the verbal confirmation from his brother.

“An omega,” he hears, and feels a rush of rapturous, pleased satisfaction. An omega. Just as Lan Wangji has always hoped, has always known.

“When?” He asks.

“Today,” his brother says. “Just over two shichen ago. From my fastest messengers. I was originally going to get you something else, but I thought you would enjoy this more, instead.” That knowing smile broadens.

His brother is right, of course. Lan Wangji prefers this far more than any other gift he could have had, bar for Wei Ying himself served to him on a silver platter. Lan Wangji himself has presented, just a year ago, as an alpha, of course. And now, with Wei Ying as an omega, on Lan Wangji’s birthday… it feels as more confirmation, more proof that Wei Ying was always meant to be his. The thought of Wei Ying as his omega, his pretty little wife… Lan Wangji feels his mouth go dry.

“Thank you, brother,” Lan Wangji says. He distantly sees his brother nod and leave the room, but his mind is preoccupied with other things; how to court Wei Ying such that Wei Ying couldn’t help but love him, let Lan Wangji love him in public, let everyone know that Wei Ying is his.

Lan Wangji fucks, of course.

He’s an alpha in his prime, one of the most powerful and virile of his generation. He’s even beaten the powerful cultivators in the generations before him in duels, on more than a few occasions. Of course, he doesn’t feel the least bit of attraction for anyone other than his perfect Wei Ying, but sometimes when his ruts get particularly… intense…

The young man beneath him tries to stifle his moans as Lan Wangji relentlessly pounds into him, brutal and unforgiving. He’s facing away from Lan Wangji so that Lan Wangji can’t see his face, and his long dark hair is tangled in a muss of curls. His frame is slight, though not as slight as Wei Ying’s, and the red ribbon that Lan Wangji makes all whom he fucks wear in their hair has long since fluttered onto the ground. He knows that Lan Wangji doesn’t allow him to make a sound; they don’t sound nearly similar enough to Wei Ying for Lan Wangji to find pleasure in hearing them. He knows that punishment awaits him if he makes too much noise—a stay in the dungeons, perhaps, or a public flogging. Perhaps a few lashes with the Discipline Whip, too.

He always chooses them slender, with milky skin, and long dark curls. Always back-facing him, when he fucks them, so that in the haze of his rut, he can almost ignore the wrong timbre of their voice (they never manage to stay silent, much to Lan Wangji’s displeasure—either from pain or pleasure), the way they treat him almost fearfully and deferentially, can almost imagine that it’s Wei Ying writhing beneath him, whose skin Lan Wangji’s too-tight grip is leaving angry red marks on. But they’re not Wei Ying, and so Lan Wangji never gets more than fleeting satisfaction, nothing more than just perfunctorily satisfying his most basal instincts, taking the edge off his rut—he can’t, not when all of them fall so short.

Lan Wangji thinks back to how all his engagement gifts had been sent back again, and anger swells up within him. Jiang Wanyin had been intercepting all his courtship attempts for Wei Ying, and Lan Wangji had had just about enough. He’ll never be yours, Hanguang-jun, Jiang Wanyin had said. He’s mine, my right-hand man, my second-in-command, my brother, and so he’ll never be yours. Wei Ying had never even seen Lan Wangji’s gifts. Had no inkling of Lan Wangji’s intentions. It’s been three years since he started his courting attempts, both of them now in their twenty first year. But—every letter he had sent— burnt, before it could even reach Wei Ying. He had tried to go down to Lotus Pier himself, but Jiang Wanyin had shown up with a thousand of his men, warning him that even if Lan Wangji was the Emperor’s brother, Lotus Pier was still Jiang Wanyin’s.

He lets his frustration seep through, and hears the other man’s moans gain a slight edge of pain. His voice is still all wrong, and the lotus-scented perfume he’s wearing—that they all wear—is tainted with his own sharp scent, souring it; a cheap imitation of Wei Ying’s own delicious scent.

Lan Wangji is so frustrated, and he lets his thrusts grow more aggressive, uncaring of whether or not the man beneath him feels the pain or not. After all, the men he fucks are merely poor substitutes for Wei Ying. What does he care for their pleasure? He finds his release and comes with an angry roar, pulling out and spilling all over the man’s back. He won’t knot in anyone but Wei Ying. Can’t risk anyone but Wei Ying bearing his child.

Now that he’s been slightly sated, his mind clears a little, and all he feels is apathy as he coldly sends the man away at once, who scrambles to his feet and hastily exits his quarters. The scent that lingers is all wrong; none of Wei Ying’s light sweetness and spice. Lan Wangji feels empty, angry, the embers of rage still simmering within him. Had the other man come? Lan Wangji doesn’t know, and frankly doesn’t care. He isn’t Wei Ying, after all, and as such Lan Wangji isn’t particularly invested in his pleasure.

He cleans himself up and gets to thinking again, mind furiously working on how to subvert Jiang Wanyin, how to make Wei Ying his.

There is a knock on his door. Lan Wangji makes sure his robes are decent. They are, of course, as they always are. “Enter,” he says.

Lan Mingxuan enters. “I’ve done what your highness has requested,” he says, respectfully averting his eyes from Lan Wangji’s gaze. “The Jiangs are poised to fall. At your word, your highness.”

Lan Wangji allows himself a smile. Everything is going according to plan, then. With Jiang Wanyin being so young, and his own stainless reputation, along with the backing of his brother… it had been easy, almost, to start crumbling the bases of Yunmeng Jiang. Cut off their trading partners, sully their reputation with rumours and wagging tongues. Take away their power, so that disciples left them in droves and Jiang Wanyin could no longer keep Wei Ying from him. So that Lan Wangji could finally, finally have his wife.

Jiang Wanyin knows that it’s him, of course. Has sent him several angry letters, each one more incensed than the last. Lan Wangji had thoroughly ignored every last one of them.

Of course, Lan Wangji isn’t cruel. He will restore their position—eventually, after Wei Ying has come to him for his help, after Wei Ying is his. Because Wei Ying has only ever known him to be kind and just, why wouldn’t Wei Ying turn to his good friend, the brother of the Emperor? And Lan Zhan will help him, of course, give him comfort in these trying times. And once Wei Ying is by his side, he will restore the Jiangs’ position, elevate them even higher than before, such that no one will even dare to question Wei Ying’s place as his wife.

“Do it,” he tells Lan Mingxuan. Lan Mingxuan is meticulous, never leaving behind a trace of anything that could possibly lead back to him. Lan Wangji trusts that he will carry out his duty well.

Lan Mingxuan nods in understanding, before bowing and exiting the room.

Soon. Soon, Lan Wangji tells himself.

A bit after the Jiangs’ fall, Nie Mingjue dies, and Jin Guangyao is revealed to be his killer.

The news causes Lan Xichen to enter seclusion out of grief, and Lan Wangji ascends to the throne. Lan Wangji, the new Emperor. He doesn’t care much for politics, but he will do it for his brother.

Lan Wangji listens, bored, as his advisors formally introduce themselves and their roles to him. He already knows all this, of course, often having helped his brother with court issues, but endures it for the sake of formality.

Then, the advisor currently speaking—Lan Hongyue—announces, “Your concubines, Imperial Majesty.” He flourishes towards the doors of the throne room, which swing open, and a line of people—both men and women—make their way in. They are dressed in richly coloured silks that trail across the floor as they make their way gracefully, silently toward him. Their heads are bowed deferentially, not daring to meet his eyes, as is proper.

“I have no need for concubines,” Lan Wangji says firmly. All he needs is Wei Ying, anyway.

Lan Hongyue’s eyes widen. “Your Imperial Majesty must! Rest assured all these are the most beautiful men and women in all of China. Your Imperial Majesty will not be left wanting.”

“Not the most beautiful,” Lan Wangji says, and the ministers’ eyes widen. What could the Emperor mean? The concubines have been personally chosen to ensure their beauty could at least hold a flicker in comparison to that of their Emperor’s jade-like, ethereal beauty. Surely the Emperor wasn’t expecting more, was he? They exchanged nervous glances; if he did, they weren’t sure where to procure such beauties.

But their Emperor isn’t saying anything, his face looking deep in thought, so they relax slightly. And indeed; the cogs in Lan Wangji’s mind are whirring furiously. Concubines are held in high esteem; one of the highest positions, in fact. A concubine’s entire family, as well, is automatically elevated to a respected rank. And as such, the position was highly sought after, with the competition to enter the palace as an imperial concubine being notoriously fierce and cutthroat.

With his sudden ascension to the throne and the rush of formal matters he’s had to settle, Lan Wangji hasn’t had the time to reach out to Wei Ying and offer his help. But now—what better way to quickly elevate the Jiangs’ rankings, restore their power within a short span of time, than having them be the immediate family to one of the imperial concubines? And later, his Empress? Lan Wangji knows that Wei Ying loves the Jiangs, would do anything for them. His sweet, kindhearted Wei Ying would surely do this, for their sakes.

Lan Wangji knows that he can’t show his hand in this play. Has to make it look as fair as possible; to directly choose Wei Ying might raise Wei Ying’s suspicions. No—he has to make it seem like Wei Ying was chosen out of many possible candidates to be his new concubine.

“Okay,” he says to the ministers, accepting this group as his concubines. It is of no consequence—he won’t touch them, anyway, not when Wei Ying is so close within his grasp. The ministers silently breathe sighs of relief, but stiffen at attention again when Lan Wangji adds, “But.

“I want to extend an invitation out at once. Make it a competition, for all who desire so to enter for a chance to become one of my imperial concubines.”

The bravest minister speaks up, hesitantly, “But, Your Imperial Majesty, this simply is not done—”

He is silenced with a cold stare. “Is there a problem,” Lan Wangji says. The ministers stammer out quick no’s, and Lan Wangji nods in satisfaction. “Good,” he says. “You are dismissed.” They bow and retreat hastily.

Once they’re gone, Lan Wangji allows himself a small, satisfied smile. Wei Ying will apply; he knows he will, for the sake of his family. And with the added criteria he will have—basically, no one will pass the test except Wei Ying. Oh, sure, they will pretend at some semblance of fairness and competition, for Wei Ying’s sake, but Lan Wangji already has the end goal in mind, and his end goal is Wei Ying.

He’ll have to tell Lan Mingxuan to continue keeping the Jiangs down, at least until after Wei Ying is his.

Wei Ying—his concubine, then his Empress. His wife. All his; all Lan Wangji’s.

Lan Wangji looks forward to it.

Wei Ying has applied.

Lan Mingxuan—now a mole in the Jiang household—has just sent him a message informing Lan Wangji of this recent important news, and Lan Wangji is feeling very pleased with himself.

Everything is going according to plan.

For a while now, there’s been no sign of Wei Ying—Lan Wangji had almost been going out of his mind, with the questions he’s been torturing himself with: Where is he? Why hasn't he signed up? Was the offer not tempting enough? Did he find something else, something better? Did he leave Lan Wangji? Forgotten him, so soon?

They’ve had to reject thousands of applicants, and Lan Wangji’s patience is growing thin, telling the ministers in charge to come up with any excuse they could think of to reject the applicants, regardless of how the ministers protested that this one, surely, is suited for Your Imperial Majesty! Their cries fell on deaf ears; no one could be more suited for Lan Wangji than Wei Ying, of course.

But now—Wei Ying has applied, and Lan Wangji feels ecstatic that finally, everything is falling back into place.

He summons the minister in charge, and tells him firmly, “Wei Wuxian. Of the Yunmeng Jiang. He has applied, yes?”

The minister replies, “Yes, I will be meeting him later to—”

“He’s the one,” Lan Wangji interrupts. Interrupting was strictly against the rules, but he can’t bring himself to care, not when what he has to say is so important. “He’s going to be my new concubine. You can end the contest.”

“But, Your Imperial Majesty,” the minister stammers. “I haven’t met him in person yet to judge his looks and talents.”

Lan Wangji sighs with impatience. “Then end it after you’ve met him then,” he says. “Meet him today, I don’t care. But you will end the contest and declare him as the winner as soon as possible.”

The minister stutters out his agreement and hastily exits the room.

What a joke—to think that they had actually thought anyone else could have won, when the spot had specifically been opened for Wei Ying. When it had always been Wei Ying. When no one else could even hold a candle to his beauty, couldn’t hope to ever compare to the kindness of his sweet, pure heart. No one would dare—Lan Wangji would see to that.

“Presenting to Your Imperial Majesty, the newest imperial concubine: Wei Wuxian of the Yunmeng Jiang.”

Lan Wangji finds himself holding his breath. He hasn’t seen Wei Ying in slightly over three years now, thanks to Jiang Wanyin—the last he had seen him was in Yiling, just after their time together in the palace, when they had both been in Yiling for official sect business. Back before they had presented. Wei Ying had seen him and enthusiastically invited him over for lunch, and Lan Wangji had spent a blissful afternoon listening to Wei Ying, drinking in the sight of him, savouring the sound of his voice, until Lan Xichen had called him back. If only he had known that would be the last time he would see Wei Ying in a long while, he would have stayed longer… He finds himself uncharacteristically nervous; Will Wei Ying still look the same as how he looks in his dreams? Or has he changed, to someone unfamiliar and unrecognisable?

The doors swing open, and Lan Wangji can do nothing but stare in awe.

Wei Ying is—his hanfu is black with bold crimson accents, pale pink lotuses embroidered delicately onto the fabric. The colours contrast strikingly against the Gusu Lan white and blues of the other concubines. It cinches around his waist, which somehow is even tinier than Lan Wangji remembers, and flares out at his hips before trailing behind him on the floor as he moves gracefully, each step confident, his hips swaying enticingly. Lan Wangji feels his mouth go dry as he drags his gaze over Wei Ying’s figure, drinking in the sight, before lifting it to his face. And—his lips, a pretty pink in Lan Wangji’s memory, are now painted a seductive scarlet colour, even fuller and poutier than he remembers. His lashes are a sooty black, thick and fluttering, and there’s black lining his eyes, elongating them to something almost fox-like, contrasting brilliantly with the pale silver of his eyes. There’s a knowing gleam in those eyes, looking through those dark lashes; where the Wei Ying that Lan Wangji remembers had been innocent, oblivious to his own allure, this Wei Ying looks like knows the full extent of his beauty, knows the power he holds with every sway of his hips.

Wei Ying, Lan Wangji realises as he sashays towards him, has become a seductress.

He takes a deep inhale of Wei Ying’s scent that now permeates throughout the room, savouring the sweet scent of lotus blossoms and honey-spiced orange. Wei Ying, of course, as a concubine, had not been allowed to take any scent-blocking suppressants. Lan Wangji doesn’t know whether to be grateful for this or not, when he sees how the ministers don’t seem unaffected by Wei Ying’s tantalising scent, his allure, as well—feeling a deep, low surge of possessiveness.

Lan Wangji is so fixated on the sight of Wei Ying that he almost doesn’t realise when Wei Ying comes to a stop, right in front of him. “This one greets Your Imperial Highness,” Wei Ying says demurely, curtsying prettily, and oh, his voice is the same as in Lan Wangji’s memories, if slightly more matured.

Wei Ying’s eyes are cast downward, as is proper, but Lan Wangji wants him to look at him. Lan Wangji reaches out a hand to tilt Wei Ying’s chin upwards—his chin is so small, almost engulfed in Lan Zhan’s palm—so that he can gaze upon Wei Ying properly, and Wei Ying gives the slightest start before smoothly covering it up by pulling those full lips into a smile.

“Your Imperial Highness?” Wei Ying asks, a little breathily. Lan Wangji feels something within him stir, at that.

“Lan Zhan,” he says. “Call me Lan Zhan. Always Lan Zhan to Wei Ying.”

He is rewarded by the calculative, seductive curve of Wei Ying’s lips turning into something more surprised, more earnest. “Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying repeats after him, and Lan Wangji feels satisfaction at hearing his name out of those pretty lips. “Alright. Lan Zhan.” There’s a smile in Wei Ying’s voice, something warmer.

The ministers are shooting glances at each other. No one addresses the Emperor by their birth name! Surely this is too much… especially given that the Emperor hasn’t even deigned to visit any one of his other concubines…?

But one sharp look from Lan Wangji makes them lower their eyes and avert their gazes.

“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji says softly. He still cannot believe that Wei Ying is in front of him now, that after all these years he can finally, finally see his Wei Ying again, admire his beauty in person instead of having to desperately chase after the perpetually teasing, fluttering vision in his dreams. And now Wei Ying is his—in his palace, as his concubine. No one else’s.

But something flickers in Wei Ying’s gaze, and his expression shutters; it’s like a mask comes back down around him, and he’s suddenly all sultry eyes again, ruby red lips curling into a smile that possesses none of his warmth, showing off pearly white teeth. The glimpse of the Wei Ying that Lan Zhan remembers so dearly is gone, and only the seductress in front of him remains.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying breathes out, a low, flirty tone. “Wei Ying is yours, and will serve as you please.”

Lan Wangji is not a fool. He is not deluded enough by love to assume that Wei Ying has come into the palace, become his imperial concubine, all because Wei Ying loves Lan Wangji. No, he knows that Wei Ying is surely scheming to move up the ranks—possibly aiming to become an imperial consort—in order to seize back power for his beloved Jiangs. After all, isn’t that how Lan Wangji had lured Wei Ying to become his concubine in the first place? With enticing promises and hints of the status, the power and respect it could garner for his family?

Lan Wangji knows this. He loves Wei Ying all the more for it, in fact—he adores how selfless his Wei Ying is, what lengths he’ll go to for his loved ones. Even if Lan Wangji doesn’t think the Jiangs deserve even half what Wei Ying does for them, he still adores Wei Ying for it. He finds it adorable, that Wei Ying thinks he could be good at this plotting and scheming and manipulation, is even willing to try and seduce Lan Wangji for the sake of his family—when Lan Wangji has been the one to play Wei Ying right into the palm of his hands since the very beginning, when Lan Wangji has always been Wei Ying’s right from the start.

And, once he shows Wei Ying how good Lan Wangji can be at loving him, at pampering and spoiling him like the precious treasure he is… he hopes that Wei Ying would do the same for him. Would do more for him.

“Mark your words,” Lan Wangji says lowly to Wei Ying, who blinks up at him underneath his lashes. Because Wei Ying will be his; Even though Wei Ying is now Lan Wangji’s concubine in name, Lan Wangji knows he doesn’t love him yet. Doesn’t love him enough, anyway.

But Lan Wangji will see to it that Wei Ying loves him till Wei Ying is his in mind, body and soul.

Lan Wangji watches as Wei Ying touches one slender hand onto another man’s chest, smiling coyly with his crimson red lips. A dark feeling swirls within him as he sees the man’s gaze wander towards Wei Ying’s unmarked neck, spreading its inky tendrils and threatening to overwhelm him.

For the past few weeks, his Wei Ying has been busy plotting—carrying out all kinds of elaborate schemes in hopes of gaining Lan Wangji’s attention and rising up the ranks. The first time, Wei Ying had purposely knocked into a maid and spilt a cup of tea onto himself, right in front of Lan Wangji; revealing the way his robes clung onto the curves of his tiny, tiny waist, how the red of the burn had stood out so, on his dainty, creamy wrist. Wei Ying had looked up at Lan Wangji with big, pathetic doe-eyes, sighing that No, Wei Ying is fine, perfectly alright, until Lan Wangji had helped him back to his quarters, Wei Ying clutching onto his arm the whole time, for a change of robes. Most recently, Wei Ying had pretended that one of the other concubines—Lan Wangji can’t remember who for the life of him; they’re all the same to him—had bumped into him and almost sent him falling into the lake. Lan Wangji knows that Wei Ying can swim, of course, but he had still played along and caught Wei Ying—held him in his arms, enjoyed the feel of Wei Ying pressed flush against him, so small and delicate in Lan Wangji’s bigger embrace.

Lan Wangji finds it very cute how determined Wei Ying is in trying to gain his favour. Does Wei Ying not realise that Lan Wangji only has eyes for him? It is of no matter; he had been amused by Wei Ying’s schemes, and so he had let his Wei Ying continue.

Until now.

Jealousy and rage simmer within him as he watches Wei Ying do nothing to stop the man’s hands from moving to cup his Wei Ying’s waist. Wei Ying is saying something softly, fluttering his lashes at the other man, and Lan Wangji will not let this continue any longer.

He stalks over, intently, and sees the man lean in toward Wei Ying. Wei Ying’s whole demeanour instantly changes—his eyes go from flirty and teasing to wide and fearful; his stance shifts from open and inviting to closed off, defensive. “Ah, what are you doing, Su gongzi—” Wei Ying stammers out, backing away and side stepping the man’s kiss. He holds out his hands and looks around wildly, relief washing over his features when he spots Lan Wangji.

Lan Wangji knows this is an act, that Wei Ying has premeditated this, but he still feels possessiveness curl within him.

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying calls out, and the man’s head instantly whips around. “Lan Zhan! Help!”

“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji says. “What is going on.”

“Your… Your Imperial Highness—” the man stammers out. “I swear, I wasn’t—”

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying interrupts him. His eyes are big and slightly teary, and somehow, his robes have gotten messed up. Wei Ying’s arms are curled around himself protectively, and Lan Zhan instinctively brings Wei Ying into his arms, feeling Wei Ying lean into him. Even though Lan Wangji knows that this is an act, he still feels a white-hot rage at any man even daring to touch his Wei Ying, try and have what’s his. He inhales Wei Ying’s scent to try and calm his alpha down a little. It’s gone a little tart in Wei Ying’s supposed fear, to Lan Wangji’s displeasure. “I… I was just going for a walk, but he… he tried to—” Wei Ying’s bottom lip starts trembling, and he buries his face in Lan Wangji’s shoulder.

Lan Wangji soothingly strokes Wei Ying’s back in circular motions, staring hard at the other man, who has gone pale. “Explain,” he demands.

“Your Imperial Highness, this one wouldn’t dare, this one—”

“What is your name,” Lan Wangji interrupts. Wei Ying is still shivering, within his embrace.

“This… this one is Su She. I am one of the ministers of the Su clan, and Your Imperial Highness, I did not do anything to Concubine Wei! I swear!” The man protests, but Wei Ying tugs at his sleeves, looking up at Lan Wangji through wide, teary eyes.

“Lan Zhan, he tried to… he tried to force me! He said he would be better than you, could give me anything you could, wanted to mark me,” Wei Ying says earnestly, voice wobbling. Lan Wangji feels a fury in him, listening to those damning words said in Wei Ying’s pleading voice. At the very thought of anyone else daring to mark Wei Ying as theirs, leave their bitemark on his creamy skin. Lan Wangji wants to tear this man apart, make him suffer for his actions.

Wei Ying may not have realised what he’s gotten this man into.

“Guards,” Lan Wangji orders, and a troop of his Imperial Guards appear at once. The man—Su She—has gone even paler, somehow, and his eyes are wild and panicked. “Minister Su She is officially stripped of his position, and let it be known that henceforth he and his family are shamed forevermore. For daring to look lustfully at Concubine Wei, let him be blinded with hot irons. For daring to touch Concubine Wei, let his right arm be cut off, and the fingers of his left arm crushed. After this is done, send healers to ensure that he survives, but only just; no further aid is to be given to minimise his pain. I wish for him to… reflect, on his actions today.”

Wei Ying has stiffened in his arms. “Your Imperial Highness!” Su She cries, but the guards are already hauling him away. Lan Wangji watches with a dark satisfaction as they drag him, kicking and screaming, to the dungeons. “Lan Zhan…” Wei Ying says softly. “Was all that punishment really necessary?”

“Yes,” Lan Wangji replies firmly. He looks down at Wei Ying—Wei Ying’s brows are slightly furrowed, and his silver eyes large. He can smell the shock in Wei Ying’s scent. Was Wei Ying really surprised? Lan Wangji notes that Wei Ying must not have known the extent of Lan Wangji’s love for him, must not have known what Lan Wangji is willing to do to keep Wei Ying all his, how jealous Lan Wangji can get. If Wei Ying wanted to let other men touch him, flirt with them—there would be consequences. “That man tried to have what is mine. He was simply punished accordingly.”

Had he scared Wei Ying? Wei Ying, he reminds himself, does not yet understand the depth of Lan Wangji’s love for him. Lan Wangji does not want to scare Wei Ying off. But Wei Ying’s scent is slowly turning pleased; the shock giving way to something warmer, more delighted. “Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying breathes. “You’d do all that… for me?”

“Would do anything for Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji emphasises, because Wei Ying needs to realise this. Needs to realise that there’s nothing Lan Wangji wouldn’t do, when it comes to him. Nothing forbidden, nothing too cruel.

Wei Ying lets out a little squeak, and buries himself deeper into Lan Wangji’s arms. Lan Wangji tightens his hold around him, letting his hand drift down towards that slim waist, feeling it fit easily, perfectly within his palm. He lets his scent wash over Wei Ying, mix in with Wei Ying’s own.

Wei Ying… is pleased that Lan Wangji punished that man harshly.

“Should I thank you then, Your Imperial Highness,” Wei Ying murmurs, and oh, the title sounds so flirty coming from those pouty lips.

Lan Wangji feels his eyes darken to a molten amber. “Wei Ying…” he growls out, letting his gaze drag hungrily over the sight of Wei Ying, pressed up against him, looking up at him through his dark lashes.

Does Wei Ying not realise that Lan Wangji will fuck him, right here and now?

But Wei Ying only laughs, and twirls out of Lan Wangji’s embrace. “Maybe next time,” he trills softly, waving his dainty fingers at Lan Zhan. “I’ll make sure to thank you properly.” And—he’s gone, disappearing in a swirl of teasing laughter.

Wei Ying, oh, Wei Ying, Lan Wangji thinks, suddenly feeling absolutely bereft without Wei Ying’s warmth in his arms. I’ll make sure to hold you to that promise.

Wei Ying, Lan Wangji thinks frustratedly, is a tease.

In the days following the Su She incident, Wei Ying hasn’t attempted any other schemes.

Rather, he’s diverted his attention to teasing Lan Wangji.

And oh, how Wei Ying teases—all sultry smiles and lowered lashes, before fluttering right out of Lan Wangji’s grasp with a knowing giggle. Taunts Lan Wangji with flirty, lingering touches; tempts him with his tantalising ruby red lips, his milky, unmarked neck. Lan Wangji desperately wants to sink his teeth in and bite, let the whole world know that Wei Ying is his.

Maybe Wei Ying isn’t ready to give himself over to Lan Wangji yet. But if this continues… Lan Wangji cannot guarantee what he’ll do.

Lan Wangji is mulling over this in the middle of a meeting with his ministers, when the doors fling open and Wei Ying sashays in. Hips swaying, Wei Ying makes his way to Lan Wangji’s side.

Lan Wangji had been a little bored before, but he’s at full attention now.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying pouts. “I’m bored. I missed you~”

Lan Wangji pats the floor next to him, but instead Wei Ying sinks down right onto his lap. Lan Wangji feels his pupils dilate; he can feel the roundness of Wei Ying’s ass, rubbing against him. “I’m just gonna sit in with you, alright Lan Zhan?” Wei Ying smiles sweetly up at him, before looking around the room at all the ministers, daring them to speak a single word of protest.

“Of course,” Lan Zhan easily acquiesces, and motions for the minister who had been speaking to continue. The minister fumbles a bit, eyes wide and staring at where Wei Ying is positioned soundly on Lan Zhan’s lap, but he haltingly continues his report.

But before long, Wei Ying seems to get bored, wriggling around on Lan Wangji’s lap. Lan Wangji can feel himself getting hard. Wei Ying’s scent is—overwhelming. “Wei Ying,” he says. “Behave.”

Wei Ying blinks up at him. “But Lan Zhan,” he whines, sticking out his bottom lip. “I’m hungry~”

“What would Wei Ying like to eat?” Lan Wangji asks. The minister has paused again; all eyes are fixed on Wei Ying. Wei Ying seems to enjoy the attention; making a show of humming and putting a contemplative finger on his small chin.

“Cherries,” Wei Ying declares. “I want cherries, Lan Zhan!”

Lan Wangji nods to a servant, who scurries off at once. Cherries are expensive, and they are not in season right now, but this is of little importance when it comes to Wei Ying. Besides, their kingdom is prosperous enough that Lan Wangji can afford to spoil Wei Ying as much as he wants.

The cherries arrive, but Wei Ying frowns down at the bowl. “What is it, Wei Ying?” Lan Wangji asks.

Wei Ying looks up at him from where he’s still positioned on Lan Wangji’s lap. “I’m tired,” he pouts. “I don’t have the strength to feed myself. Can Lan Zhan feed me, instead?”

Lan Wangji will indulge Wei Ying. So he nods, and Wei Ying smiles, a pleased little smile like the cat that’s gotten the cream, before lying down and leaning against Lan Wangji’s chest. Lan Wangji swallows thickly, and picks up a single cherry, holding it to Wei Ying’s lips. Wei Ying obediently parts his lips, and sucks on the cherry experimentally, while Lan Wangji is still holding the stalk—those full lips encircling around the cherry. Wei Ying bites down delicately, and a little bit of juice spurts out. Wei Ying hums in satisfaction, and a pink tongue darts out quickly, licking away the juice.

Lan Wangji is so aroused.

The ministers are all gaping at them—staring, slackjawed, as Wei Ying drapes himself all over Lan Wangji’s lap, lounging on Lan Wangji like a satisfied cat while Lan Wangji handfeeds him cherries. The Emperor! Feeding him cherries! With his own hand! While he reclines on the Emperor’s lap as though it’s where he belongs! It simply—isn’t done! The scandal of it all!!

But Lan Wangji loves it—loves everyone seeing Wei Ying so pliant and obedient in Lan Wangji’s lap, all his. Loves everyone knowing, with no doubt, that Wei Ying belongs to him.

The cherries stain Wei Ying’s already-red lips an even darker shade of crimson, making his pouty lips look thoroughly kissed, thoroughly ravished and used. They stand out against his creamy skin. Lan Wangji wants—he wants to kiss those lips, bruise them till they’re swollen and puffy. Wants to mark Wei Ying, put his lips to that slender neck and bite.

Lan Wangji can feel Wei Ying’s ass on his lap—so soft, twisting and wriggling and writhing around, grinding down against Lan Wangji. Lan Wangji is so hard; he can feel his canines elongating. “Wei Ying,” he growls softly. “What do you think you’re doing.”

Wei Ying blinks innocently up at him, silver eyes wide. “Nothing,” he says. “Just getting comfortable.”

That’s it. Lan Wangji can feel his self-control snapping. He wraps his arms around Wei Ying’s waist and picks him up, easily tossing Wei Ying over his shoulder. Wei Ying is so small and light, he weighs almost nothing more than a feather. Wei Ying squeals, kicking his feet ineffectually. Lan Wangji ignores him. “Excuse us,” he says to the ministers, tone brooking no argument, who stammer and nod their agreement.

Lan Wangji places a hand on the small of Wei Ying’s back for support, and presses the other onto Wei Ying’s round, soft ass and squeezes, as he carries Wei Ying into another room, down the corridor—the Jingshi is too far. Lan Wangji needs to fuck Wei Ying now.

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying protests, hitting Lan Wangji’s back uselessly. Lan Wangji barely feels it; Wei Ying’s strength is no match for his, and he continues manhandling Wei Ying, carrying him over his shoulder. “What are you doing?!”

“Wei Ying is a tease,” Lan Wangji says darkly, before setting Wei Ying inelegantly down. “Does Wei Ying forget what he is,” he continues, as he watches Wei Ying’s eyes grow wider and wider. “Wei Ying is a concubine. My concubine. Does Wei Ying forget what a concubine’s role is.”

Wei Ying’s eyes are huge. “I haven’t forgotten!” He protests. “A concubine’s role is to… um…” his voice gets softer and shyer. “Bear the Emperor’s children.”

“Exactly,” Lan Wangji says, enjoying the flush on Wei Ying’s cheeks as Lan Wangji stalks even closer to him, closing the distance between them. “Wei Ying has been teasing me. Flirting with me, seducing me. I think it is time that Wei Ying takes responsibility. I think it is time to get started on your duty.”

Wei Ying blushes even harder, and stammers out, “No! I’m— I’m not ready!” His omega pheromones fill the air, fill Lan Wangji’s head, invading all his senses. His lotus blossom, honey-spiced scent is everywhere. “Too bad,” Lan Wangji growls out. “I don’t care.”

Lan Wangji crushes their lips together, savouring the way Wei Ying’s lips part in surprise. He pushes his tongue forcefully into Wei Ying’s mouth, swirling it against Wei Ying’s own, lapping against it, enjoying the way Wei Ying tastes. Lan Wangji bites against Wei Ying’s full bottom lip that he’s been fantasising about for ages, tugging on it and licking against it with his tongue. His hands run through Wei Ying’s long hair, tugging on it, pulling it. Wei Ying moans into his kiss, and Lan Wangji smiles.

“Still say you don’t want this?” Lan Wangji pulls away to ask. Wei Ying looks at him, chest heaving, lips bruised and puffy, and breathlessly shakes his head. Lan Wangji shakes his head in disappointment. “A-Ying,” he chastises disapprovingly. “Stop denying yourself.”

“‘M not—” Wei Ying is saying breathlessly, but Lan Wangji cuts him off with another fierce kiss. He runs his hands hungrily over Wei Ying’s body, marvelling at how small Wei Ying feels underneath his much larger hands; enjoying the feel of Wei Ying’s curves, his smooth, heated skin. He moves his attention to Wei Ying’s neck, pressing hot, wet kisses over the smooth skin there, licking insistently at the dip at Wei Ying’s collarbone. Lan Wangji’s alpha is howling at him to mark him, claim him as Lan Wangji’s own, but Lan Wangji suppresses it down. He’ll save that for later. But for now, he lets his hands roam over Wei Ying’s body, undoing Wei Ying’s robes.

Wei Ying’s robes fall apart easily at Lan Wangji’s insistent fingers, and they gather around Wei Ying’s small feet in a heap. Wei Ying squeals and tries, ineffectually, to cover his body with his hands, but Lan Wangji pries them away with ease. He pulls away from Wei Ying’s neck to admire Wei Ying—letting his gaze trail languidly over Wei Ying’s chest, the dip of his tiny waist and the curve of his round hips, his flat stomach, his smooth, unmarked thighs.

Wei Ying flushes furiously under Lan Wangji’s appreciative gaze. “Lan Zhan!” He protests, and tries to cover himself again. Lan Wangji rewards this with a smack to Wei Ying’s soft bottom, admiring the way it jiggles at the sudden slap. Wei Ying squeals. “Not allowed to hide yourself from me,” Lan Wangji growls, looking appreciatively at the large handprint he’s left on Wei Ying’s bottom; red and standing out against the rest of the milky skin there. He lets his hand trail down to cup Wei Ying’s ass, grabbing a palmful of the soft flesh there, before giving it another smack, just to see Wei Ying’s reaction. Wei Ying yelps. “Don’t hit me, Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying begs. “Please!”

Lan Wangji smiles. He can do that, for now. Until the next time Wei Ying misbehaves. He begins pressing heated kisses down Wei Ying’s chest, licks a wet stripe down Wei Ying’s smooth stomach, digging his fingers in hard around Wei Ying’s small waist. He wants to leave bruises, give a visual reminder to Wei Ying that he belongs to Lan Wangji and Lan Wangji only. He makes his way down, enjoying the way Wei Ying writhes and squirms beneath him.

Finally, he reaches Wei Ying’s thighs. Wei Ying’s small, pink cock is weeping at the tip, and Lan Wangji palms it easily. His large hand easily engulfs it. Wei Ying’s thighs are dripping in slick; thick, silvery liquid that has almost reached Wei Ying’s calves by now, with how soaking wet he is. “I thought Wei Ying said he didn’t want this,” he murmurs into Wei Ying’s skin. “Thought Wei Ying said he wasn’t ready.”

Wei Ying squirms against him. “‘M not ready,” he continues to protest.

“Oh,” Lan Wangji says amusedly. “Then why is Wei Ying so wet? All dripping with slick, before I’ve even touched you here. Seems like Wei Ying wants this, to me. Such a slut. Already so wet, all for me, making sure your hole is nice and ready for me.” Lan Wangji licks at Wei Ying’s slick, enjoying its taste. It tastes like Wei Ying. “Delicious,” he praises, and is rewarded by another gush of slick flowing out of Wei Ying, dribbling down his milky thighs.

Lan Wangji pushes apart his robes, and puts his cock to Wei Ying’s swollen, bruised lips. “Suck,” he orders Wei Ying, who writhes and protests incoherently. He slaps Wei Ying’s ass hard, in return, enjoying the smack that reverberates through the room.

“Ouch!” Wei Ying protests, and hurries to take Lan Wangji’s cock in his mouth. But his mouth is so—small, that Wei Ying chokes as Lan Wangji enters his mouth. “Too big,” he says pathetically, looking up at Lan Wangji with big doe eyes.

Lan Wangji gives a sharp tug at his long hair. “A-Ying can make it fit,” he says. Wei Ying tries again; wraps his small, dainty hands around the base of Lan Wangji’s cock (they just barely wrap around) and brings his lips over its tip. He licks it experimentally, and Lan Wangji groans. “That’s it, A-Ying,” he encourages, and Wei Ying tries to take it deeper into his mouth, bobbing up and down on his cock. His mouth is so tiny, he’s still unable to fit the entirety of his length into it—but Lan Wangji shoves his cock into Wei Ying’s throat, feeling it hit the back with satisfaction. Wei Ying gurgles around Lan Wangji’s cock in surprise and shock, and tears spring up in his silver eyes as he struggles to adjust to his girth. Lan Wangji admires how pretty a scene this makes—Wei Ying’s red lips wrapped around his cock, his red lipstick smudged beyond repair, his eyes teary and face flushed as he struggles to take in the length of Lan Wangji’s cock—before he starts thrusting, face-fucking Wei Ying in earnest. Saliva dribbles down Wei Ying’s chin as he sucks Lan Wangji. “That’s it,” Lan Wangji says appreciatively. “You’re doing so well, A-Ying.”

Wei Ying moans around his cock, and Lan Wangji picks Wei Ying up and carries him in front of the full-length mirror. Lan Wangji sets Wei Ying down on his knees and parts Wei Ying’s legs, feeling satisfaction when they part easily, willingly for him. He’s still soaking wet; slick coating his thighs in a thick, silvery sheen. Lan Wangji shoves a finger in—Wei Ying is so wet that it enters easily, Wei Ying’s pink, puckered hole easily giving way. Wei Ying moans breathily and rubs himself against Lan Wangji, seeking friction. Lan Wangji pushes in another finger, and then another; they enter easily. Wei Ying is writhing, squirming beneath him, but Lan Wangji presses him down. His hands look so big against Wei Ying, even now, buried in his hole. Lan Wangji feels like he could snap Wei Ying in two.

Lan Wangji slips his fingers out, and Wei Ying whines, grinding down against him. “Lan Zhan,” he pants. “Please, I—”

Lan Wangji lets him fumble and gasp for a while longer. “What do you want, A-Ying,” he says. “Tell alpha what you need.”

Wei Ying flushes and stammers, turning his head away. “I— I can’t—” he protests.

Lan Wangji grabs his head and forcefully turns it to face the mirror. Wei Ying blushes even harder as he sees how they look—Wei Ying, bare and vulnerable, his slim body littered with bruises and red, angry handprints that look huge against his small size, standing out deliciously against his fair skin. His lips are swollen and puffy, and his eyes are dazed, his cheeks tear-stained. Lan Wangji is positioned behind him, fully clothed; emphasising Wei Ying’s nakedness. His hands are gripping Wei Ying’s waist tightly, so hard that it’ll be sure to bruise. His cock is out, looking alarmingly, monstrously large next to Wei Ying’s small frame. Wei Ying’s hole looks puffy and red, gushing out slick that drips onto the floor now, very obviously visible in the mirror. Wei Ying looks utterly ruined.

“Look,” he growls to Wei Ying, who whimpers. “Look at how much of a whore you are. How wet you are, how your slutty little hole is begging for my cock. Look at how much of a mess you’ve made, how much of a mess you’ve become because of me. What do you want?”

“Ah—” Wei Ying stares helplessly, wide-eyed, at the mirror. Lan Wangji presses the head of his cock in insistently, but very pointedly does not breach Wei Ying’s hole. He blows against Wei Ying’s neck. “Use your words, A-Ying,” Lan Wangji murmurs against the shell of Wei Ying’s ear, letting his breath fan across it.

Wei Ying breaks. “You,” he cries pitifully. “I need your cock in me right now. Need you to fuck me—” he breaks off, looking horrified and embarrassed at his words.

But it’s all Lan Wangji needs.

He tries to plough into Wei Ying, but Wei Ying gives a sharp cry of genuine pain.

And… it’s so tight.

Too tight.

Could it be…?

“A-Ying,” Lan Wangji rasps. “Is this…”

“Yes,” Wei Ying gasps, wriggling and grinding against Lan Wangji’s cock desperately, pleadingly. “My first time—”

Lan Wangji feels a surge of love for Wei Ying. His sweet Wei Ying… waiting for him. Hadn’t let any other alpha touch him. Only Lan Wangji. A primal, smug satisfaction swells up in Lan Wangji.

“Will make it good for A-Ying,” he promises. He squeezes the rest of his cock in—Wei Ying is so tight—watching the way Wei Ying’s face scrunches up in pain, and tears well up again in his eyes, wetting his lashes. But then he’s finally in, and he sees the moment pleasure overtakes Wei Ying, who begins squirming and grinding against him wantonly.

“Ah—” Wei Ying pants. “Your Highness, please—”

At the title, Lan Wangji begins thrusting in and out of Wei Ying in earnest, slamming into him and burying the hilt of his cock inside Wei Ying’s tight, warm hole. Wei Ying gasps and writhes beneath him, and Lan Wangji forcefully turns him to face the mirror again when Wei Ying tries to stifle his moans.

“Watch,” he commands Wei Ying. “See who you belong to. Who made you into this pathetic little mess, taking my cock so well like a whore. Does it excite you? Knowing that the ministers are only a few rooms down? That they can hear me fucking you? Hear how you begged just now for my cock? Does it feel good? Knowing that they all now know firsthand how much of a little, dirty slut you are? How desperate you are for my knot?”

Wei Ying moans louder, his ass jiggling as Lan Wangji continues slamming into him violently. “Ah—” he gasps. “Alpha—”

“Since you want to be shut up so badly,” Lan Wangji says. “Then I can shut you up for you.” He pushes his fingers, still wet with Wei Ying’s slick, onto Wei Ying’s mouth, which helplessly opens for him. “Suck,” he commands.

Wei Ying obeys, suckling on his finger sweetly and hungrily. Spit dribbles down his chin, pooling onto the floor. “Do you taste good?” Lan Wangji asks. Wei Ying nods vigorously. “Good boy, A-Ying,” Lan Wangji praises. “Look at you. Taking both my cock and my fingers so well. Letting me fill up both of your holes at the same time. So noisy, too; whatever will the ministers think?”

Wei Ying mewls pitieously, still desperately sucking on Lan Wangji’s fingers, licking off all of his own slick. Lan Wangji presses wet, open-mouthed kisses to the conjunction between Wei Ying’s neck and shoulder, licking at the heated skin near his delicate collarbones. He lets his tongue lap and swirl at Wei Ying’s milky skin there, before he lowers his head and sinks his canines in.

Wei Ying screams, bucking and thrashing wildly against Lan Wangji, but Lan Wangji stubbornly presses him down, keeping them firmly held together, letting the bite take. He rubs soothing motions against Wei Ying’s back, feeling when the heady, intoxicating pleasure of the bite takes place, as Wei Ying stops thrashing and instead starts grinding his ass down even more against Lan Wangji, taking his cock in even deeper. He’s emitting a high keening sound, whimpering incoherently.

“So good, A-Ying,” Lan Wangji praises. “My pretty little omega, all marked up with my bite. Doesn’t it feel good? Knowing that you belong to me, now? Want to do this to you everyday. Give you my knot, make you take it like a good little slut.” Wei Ying keens and shudders; Lan Wangji sees his orgasm coming and rams into Wei Ying, burying himself fully inside Wei Ying’s hole, pressing Wei Ying even closer toward him. Wei Ying comes with a cute cry, and Lan Wangji spills all inside Wei Ying, feeling his knot swell. Wei Ying collapses, exhausted, against Lan Zhan, who stays stubbornly in that position, letting the last of his come leak out into Wei Ying.

Wei Ying looks spent. Utterly ravished and ruined. His delicate frame is still trembling slightly from his orgasm, and there’s come all over him; his thighs, his face, his stomach. His body looked wrecked—large bruises and handprints littering the entirety of his creamy skin, the bite-mark on his neck still bleeding. Lan Wangji tenderly licks at the blood there. He feels a deep satisfaction, that he’s the one to do this to Wei Ying.

He gathers Wei Ying into his arms, enveloping him easily. “I love you, Wei Ying,” he breathes, taking a deep inhale of Wei Ying’s new scent now—his own, mingled with Lan Wangji’s sandalwood scent. Lan Wangji loves it, loves how everyone can now tell with a single whiff that Wei Ying is his, his, his.

Wei Ying smiles weakly at him. His eyes are already fluttering close, he’s so exhausted. “Love you too, Lan Zhan,” he says sweetly.

Lan Wangji sweeps Wei Ying easily into his arms and princess-carries him back to the Jingshi. He feels a surge of tenderness swell up within him, at the sight of Wei Ying, tangled in Lan Wangji’s sheets, sleepy and exhausted from their love-making, telling Lan Wangji that he loves him back. He tucks Wei Ying in, heart swelling at the adorable sight of Wei Ying snuggling deeper into his touch, before leaving to find a washcloth to clean Wei Ying off, hastily making his way back to Wei Ying’s side.

Lan Wangji falls asleep cradling Wei Ying in his arms, feeling the steady, even rise and fall of Wei Ying’s chest, enveloped in their intertwined scents.

Lan Wangji needs to get Wei Ying pregnant.

Sure, Wei Ying bears Lan Wangji’s bite-mark proudly on his neck, walks around dressed in Lan Wangji’s colours. Lan Wangji can kiss him freely now, touch his soft skin, feel his curves. Wei Ying is his, now.

In all ways but one.

Lan Wangji needs to get Wei Ying pregnant with his child.

After all, the whole reason Wei Ying had become his imperial concubine in the first place was to restore honour to his family. If something happened— if for some reason Wei Ying decided he didn’t need to, anymore—

Wei Ying could leave him.

So Lan Wangji has been keeping an eye on the Jiangs; he won’t let them gain back their power until after he’s secured Wei Ying’s place at his side—as his Empress, belly round with their child so that Wei Ying can never leave Lan Wangji. Lan Wangji needs this insurance.

But Lan Wangji knows from Lan Mingxuan that Wei Ying takes special omega contraceptive medicine; a dark, bitter liquid that he has his handmaidens serve him every morning with his breakfast. It’s a secret, of course, because Wei Ying is a concubine, but Lan Wangji keeps tabs on all of Wei Ying’s affairs.

“A-Ying,” Lan Wangji asks one day, when Wei Ying is tangled up with him beneath the covers, both of them sated from another round of love-making. “Would you like children.”

He feels Wei Ying stiffen slightly, before forcibly relaxing and letting out a too-casual laugh. “Of course,” he says. “I’m your concubine. That’s my whole role; to bear you heirs.”

“There’s no need for lies between us, A-Ying,” Lan Wangji says. Wei Ying sighs.

“Honestly? I don’t know. Not really, at the moment?” Wei Ying admits softly, his voice getting quieter at the end. Lan Wangji feels his heart sink. But then Wei Ying is speaking again, “I’ve always liked children, and I want some one day. But right now? I don’t know if I’m ready…”

That’s all Lan Wangji needs to hear. He presses a soft kiss to Wei Ying’s temple. “Alright, A-Ying,” he murmurs.

Wei Ying wants children. Not now, he had said, but Lan Wangji knows that he’s ready. And if he’s not, Lan Wangji will be there to support him anyway, raise their child together with his wife. And with his status as the Emperor—what luxury would his child be denied?

He’ll give Wei Ying his child, Lan Wangji decides, and show Wei Ying that he’s wrong, his fears are unwarranted, that Lan Wangji knows best, and he knows that they’re ready right now.

He summons Wei Ying’s personal healer, a stern-looking woman named Wen Qing.

“I need you to swap all of Wei Ying’s contraceptive medicine for fertility medicine,” he says bluntly.

Wen Qing’s eyes narrow at him. “I apologise, Your Imperial Highness, but I’m afraid I can’t do that,” she says. “That is a breach of my patient's trust.”

“You will do it,” Lan Wangji says. “Because I am the Emperor. And you have a younger brother, no? Wen Ning, if I recall correctly? Somehow, I don’t think you would like it if I levelled charges against him...” The threat hangs in the air, unspoken, but his meaning is crystal clear. Sent him to the dungeons, to be tortured, slowly and painfully; publicly humiliated, never to be able to show his face again.

Wen Qing has gone pale. Her eyes are full of hatred and fear as she stares at Lan Wangji. “You wouldn’t,” she breathes.

“I would,” Lan Wangji affirms, and there must be something in his gaze, because Wen Qing gives a defeated sigh and nods her head.

Lan Wangji feels satisfaction curl within him. “Replace the contraceptive medicine with the most potent fertility medicine you can find,” he orders. “Make sure it looks and smells identical. Also, slip additional fertility medicine into all of Wei Ying’s food and drink. Ensure that Wei Ying does not suspect a thing. I will know if you don’t do this, or if you try to alert Wei Ying. And if I do…” He lets the threat linger in the air.

Wen Qing’s lips are pressed into a white, thin line, but she nods stiffly. “I will see to it, Your Imperial Highness.”

Lan Wangji nods. “See that you do,” he says, and leaves the room.

The fertility medicine, Lan Wangji discovers, has the pleasurable side-effect of making Wei Ying even hornier than usual.

Wei Ying sits on his cock as one of the ministers give their report for the day. Wei Ying had swept into the room during another one of Lan Wangji’s daily meetings, whispering shyly to Lan Wangji that he needed to be fucked, right now.

Looking at Wei Ying’s pleading eyes, the jut of his full, pink bottom lip, Lan Wangji almost fucks him right there and then, ministers be damned. But—this meeting is important. So he gathers Wei Ying onto his lap. “Soon, baby,” he murmurs into Wei Ying’s ear.

But Wei Ying had impatiently thrust Lan Wangji’s hands up Wei Ying’s robes, and oh, Wei Ying wasn’t wearing any panties. And—he was so wet, slick coating his hole and thighs, coating Lan Wangji’s fingers. And Lan Wangji hadn’t even touched him.

“Give me your cock,” Wei Ying begs him softly, pouting, eyes wide and desperate. “I need it in me right now—”

Lan Wangji roughly shoves his robes aside and positions Wei Ying on the tip of his already-hard cock. They’re half covered by the tall table, but Wei Ying’s gasp as he sinks down the entire length of Lan Wangji’s cock is especially audible when the minister pauses in his speech.

“Your Imperial Highness…” the minister begins uncertainly.

“Continue,” Lan Wangji says hoarsely. The ministers are all staring, wide-eyed, at Wei Ying’s head thrown back in pleasure, exposing his bite-mark on his pretty neck, the bruises and handprints that litter his skin. Some of them have gone a bit red, and others are staring lustfully. Lan Wangji notes all this with slight disinterest—he’s more focused now on how Wei Ying is trying to bounce on his cock, trying ineffectually to ride him.

He forces Wei Ying down with a firm press. “Behave, baby,” he commands softly, feeling Wei Ying shudder as his breath fans against Wei Ying’s ear. “I’m busy right now. Stay here like a good little omega and I’ll fuck you well later.”

Wei Ying stifles a moan, but obediently stays still, letting Lan Wangji’s cock spear his tight little hole. He’s so wet, so warm and willing around Lan Wangji’s cock. “Patience,” Lan Wangji whispers, feeling Wei Ying tremble pleasurably around him.

They stay like this for the rest of the meeting, half-obscured by the table but also extremely conspicuous—in Wei Ying’s occasional soft gasps whenever Lan Wangji shifts, in the high flush steadily adorning Wei Ying’s cheeks, in the squelching noises coming from Wei Ying’s wet hole. Lan Wangji waits impatiently, wanting to fuck Wei Ying till he’s nothing more than an incoherent, blabbering mess, when finally, finally the meeting is over.

He immediately dismisses the ministers, who flee from the room. Lan Wangji doesn’t wait to check if they’re all gone before he pulls out and abruptly slams into Wei Ying, feeling Wei Ying’s pink, puckered hole hungrily take in the entirety of his cock. “Your Highness—” Wei Ying gasps, sobbing. He writhes desperately against Lan Wangji. “You’re so big, you fill me up so good, can feel you in my stomach—

Lan Wangji’s cock is so big, and Wei Ying’s delicate frame so small, that when he pushes his cock fully into Wei Ying’s tight, willing hole, he sees the bulge of it in Wei Ying’s (still flat) stomach. He notes this with satisfaction. “But my A-Ying likes that, doesn’t he,” Lan Wangji murmurs into Wei Ying’s skin, feeling Wei Ying mewl and grind onto him. “Likes that my cock is so big that it shows in A-Ying’s tight little body when I fuck him, likes being stretched to the brim and being such a slut for me, for my cock. My A-Ying likes everyone knowing how desperate and hungry he is for alpha’s cock, he likes it when the ministers see him being filled up and stretched.” Wei Ying moans, but Lan Wangji continues relentlessly. "A-Ying likes seeing my cock in his stomach; his hole is too small, too tight, my alpha cock simply can’t fit. A-Ying’s whole body is so hungry for me, because A-Ying is a little whore for my cock.”

Wei Ying moans louder and shivers. Lan Wangji forces Wei Ying’s hand onto his stomach, against where the shape of Lan Wangji’s cock can be clearly felt protruding from Wei Ying’s small, flat belly. “Feel that,” Lan Wangji breathes. “Your body was made to take my cock. Made to take my knot, take every last drop of my come. My pretty little omega whore, so perfect for me, made to take my babies.”

Wei Ying squirms as Lan Wangji licks the shell of his ear. “Ah—” he gasps breathily, hand still pressed against the bulge of Lan Wangji’s cock in his stomach. “‘M made to take your babies,” he blabbers, repeating after Lan Wangji. “Give you your heirs, get pregnant and swollen with our children, let everyone know what you do to me—

It’s just Wei Ying rambling on in the throes of his pleasure, Lan Wangji knows, but the words hit him especially hard now, when he’s so close to actually getting Wei Ying pregnant, tying Wei Ying to him forever. And the thought of Wei Ying’s flat belly swelling with their children, of a little baby that has Wei Ying’s eyes and his sweet smile… Lan Wangji groans. It’s more than he can bear.

“I’m going to fill your belly round with my seed,” he growls to Wei Ying, who mewls, shivering. “Give you my knot, pump you full of my come. Make your cute little stomach swollen with my babies. Would you like that, A-Ying? My pretty little pregnant omega wife?

Wei Ying shudders at his words. “Yes—” he gasps, eyes squeezed shut as Lan Wangji pounds relentlessly into him. Lan Wangji forces him to open them, makes him watch how the shape of his cock protruding from Wei Ying’s belly disappears and reappears again, over and over as he fucks him. “Give me your knot, give me your babies, alpha—

Lan Wangji growls. He spills all into Wei Ying’s hole, his stomach. His knot swells and catches, securing them in place. Wei Ying reaches his climax with a little shudder and mewl, his small pink cock spurting out silvery come. “Do you feel that,” Lan Wangji murmurs against Wei Ying’s neck. “Feel my come leaking into you, filling your womb, filling you up. Feel my baby in you.”

Wei Ying’s eyes are glassy and dazed, unfocused, but he nods obediently. “Yes,” he pants. “I feel it. Feels so good, your come filling up my stomach, keeping me full.”

Lan Wangji stays in that position for a long time, supporting Wei Ying as he slumps over from exhaustion, keeping their bodies pressed together long after his knot has gone down and the very last drops of his come has been sucked up by Wei Ying’s wet, hungry hole.

He knows it takes. He knows it does.

Lan Wangji smiles.

Later, after Lan Wangji has tenderly cleaned Wei Ying up, Wei Ying asks him sleepily, “Lan Zhan, you love me, right?”

“Of course,” Lan Wangji says immediately.

“Then make me your consort,” Wei Ying says.

Lan Wangji smiles softly at him. “I can do better than that,” he says confidently, reassuringly. “I will make A-Ying my Empress.

Wei Ying gives a soft gasp. It’s more than he could have asked for. “You… you would do that for me?” he asks, unbearably shy. “No others?”

“Only Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji promises, revelling in the way Wei Ying burrows closer to him, how Wei Ying fits perfectly in his hold. “Always has been Wei Ying.” He is rewarded with another sweet smile.

Lan Wangji kicks out all his other concubines the next day.

Lan Wangji hasn’t ever paid anyone this much attention before; the rumours spread like wildfire, of how the cold, unfeeling Emperor melts like putty in Wei Ying’s hands. People start treating Wei Ying more respectfully, in awe at his beauty, the power he holds.

Wei Ying blossoms.

Lan Wangji is happy.

One day, he’s with Wei Ying admiring the gentians in the Imperial Gardens, when suddenly Wei Ying sways and stumbles.

Lan Wangji catches him, of course. “A-Ying?” He asks, concerned. “What’s wrong, darling?”

Wei Ying tries to shake it off. “Ah, nothing, Lan Zhan,” he laughs. “Just suddenly felt a little giddy!”

Lan Wangji isn’t having any of it. He sends for a healer at once, waiting anxiously, hopefully, as the healer attends to Wei Ying, hems and haws and checks all his vitals.

Finally— the healer turns to Lan Wangji. “Congratulations, Your Imperial Highness,” he says, and Lan Wangji feels pure elation bloom in his chest.

“What’s happening?” Wei Ying asks anxiously from his bed. “What’s going on?”

“A-Ying,” Lan Wangji breathes. “You’re pregnant.

Wei Ying’s eyes widen in shock. “But… but…” he fumbles. “That’s not possi—” he catches himself just in time, head whipping towards Lan Wangji in guilt.

Lan Wangji is too happy to tell Wei Ying that he had known of his contraceptive medicine. “We’re having a baby, A-Ying,” he laughs, grabbing Wei Ying in and twirling him around. Wei Ying squeals laughingly in his embrace, and Lan Wangji presses him closer.

Wei Ying still looks a little worried, but his frown has abated and he’s looking tenderly at Lan Wangji. “You laughed,” he says softly.

Lan Wangji hugs him tighter. Wei Ying sighs, before a small smile creeps up on his face. “Lan Zhan, we’re having a baby,” he breathes, and Lan Wangji laughs again.

“Will take care of our baby, take care of A-Ying forever,” he promises.

Wei Ying smiles, hands cradled in wondrous amazement on his still-flat belly.

Lan Wangji inhales Wei Ying’s scent. It’s changing a little; a new scent mingling with Wei Ying’s own. Their baby’s. Lan Wangji feels giddy with delight.

Afterward, Wei Ying is still feeling a little dizzy, so Lan Wangji gets him to rest in bed.

“If anything happens to him, I’ll have your life, and your whole family’s, too,” he tells the healer.

The healer nods. “Understood, Your Imperial Highness.”

The day of their wedding approaches. Lan Wangji had, at Wei Ying’s request, allowed Jiang Yanli to plan it. And it turned out to be a good choice, as he had found out that Jiang Yanli was very meticulous and had seemed to plan for every possible scenario. Most of all, Wei Ying adored her, and when Wei Ying was happy, Lan Wangji was happy.

He hasn’t restored the Jiangs’ power yet. Even though he knows Wei Ying is his now, is pregnant with his child, will soon become his Empress… Lan Wangji won’t risk anything that could possibly take Wei Ying away too soon. So, he’ll only give them back their position after he and Wei Ying are wed.

He follows beside Wei Ying, one hand carefully supporting his back as Wei Ying waddles around, going through the wedding decorations with Jiang Yanli. Lan Wangji doesn’t let Wei Ying go anywhere without him now that he’s pregnant with their child. Wei Ying’s belly is huge now, and Lan Wangji delights in seeing how very obviously pregnant he is. Wei Ying is constantly glowing, blissfully and heavily pregnant.

The first time Wei Ying had wanted to go somewhere after they had found out he was pregnant, Lan Wangji had picked him up and carried him, princess-style. Wei Ying had flushed and buried his face in Lan Wangji’s chest in embarrassment, refusing to look anyone in the eye, and it had been the subject of court gossip for weeks. But Lan Wangji liked it—everyone knowing that Wei Ying is pregnant with his child, wholly and irrevocably his.

The whole court knows just how much their Emperor adores Wei Ying, anyway.

But one night, Wei Ying can’t sleep. He tosses and turns from his spot beside Lan Wangji, brows furrowed.

“Wei Ying?” Lan Wangji asks softly, concerned. “What’s wrong?”

“Lan Zhan…” Wei Ying is nibbling on his bottom lip, brows furrowed in worry. “I… promise you won’t hate me?”

Lan Wangji presses a soft kiss to Wei Ying’s forehead. “How could I hate my A-Ying?” He asks gently.

Wei Ying breathes out a sigh. His face is still twisted with worry. “Okay, I…” he begins. “I only became your concubine to help my family,” he says this all in a rushed breath.

Lan Wangji almost smiles. This is what Wei Ying was worried about? But Wei Ying is continuing, “I heard about the open position and I knew that a concubine's family would be respected, and Jiang Cheng was so worried for the Jiangs, and I owe them so much, Lan Zhan, so I—” Wei Ying can’t complete his sentence, very determinedly avoiding Lan Wangji’s eyes.

Lan Wangji strokes Wei Ying’s silky hair in soothing motions, feeling Wei Ying tremble with worry. “I don’t mind,” Lan Wangji says firmly.

Wei Ying’s head whips up to look at him, silver eyes wide. “You… you don’t mind?” He stammers in confusion. “But… I used you!”

“I don’t mind,” Lan Wangji repeats. “I love Wei Ying. Was glad to be used.”

“Wait,” Wei Ying says with a frown. “You knew this whole time?!”

“Mn,” Lan Wangji affirms.

Wei Ying groans and flushes, burying his face deeper into Lan Wangji’s chest. Lan Wangji moves his hand to cup Wei Ying’s belly, feeling the baby stir a bit. “Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying protests, and Lan Wangji hums noncommittally.

He decides not to tell Wei Ying about the hand he played in ensuring that Wei Ying became his concubine in the first place. Not when Wei Ying is already so close to becoming his Empress.

They slowly drift off to sleep like that, Wei Ying held securely in Lan Wangji’s arms, Lan Wangji feeling Wei Ying’s breath slowly even out as he falls asleep, feeling the swell of Wei Ying’s belly.

Lan Wangji stands nervously at the family altar as he waits for his bride to appear.

The wedding is a rich, lavish affair, as to be expected by the wedding of the Emperor. The entire palace has been decorated in shades of vibrant, auspicious red and gold; vermillion lanterns and silks draped up along the walls. The castle is decorated with flowers—fresh lilies, for a long, happy marriage. Pink orchids and colourful peonies. Jiang Yanli had even included lotus blossoms, delicately strewn across the floor where Wei Ying will make his way across to Lan Wangji, before they are finally, finally wed.

Then—he sees Wei Ying appear, supported by Jiang Yanli, who is smiling gently at Wei Ying. Wei Ying’s face is obscured by a long crimson veil, and his wedding robes have been specially tailored to fit his huge belly. He walks carefully across to Lan Wangji, who takes his hand from Jiang Yanli with a nod.

Wei Ying peeps up at him, a little, from behind his veil. His lips are painted a bold scarlet, reminiscent of when he had first been presented as Lan Wangji’s concubine, when Lan Wangji had finally seen Wei Ying again after all those years. “Hi, Lan Zhan,” he whispers shyly.

“Hello, Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji replies. Wei Ying giggled, and lets his hand drop, his veil covering his face again. They prostrate three times; before heaven and earth, before their ancestors, and before Lan Qiren and Lan Xichen. They respectfully hold out small ceremonial cups of tea—sweet tea brewed with lotus seeds, red dates and longan. To bless with fertility, and an abundance of offspring.

Lan Xichen smiles a knowing, genial smile as he accepts the tea. The tea’s meaning obviously hasn’t escaped his notice. Lan Qiren does the same, his face softening as he looks at Wei Ying’s swollen belly, still very obvious in his wedding robes. “I’m looking forward to meeting my grandchildren,” he harrumphs, and Lan Wangji and Wei Ying smile indulgently at him, Wei Ying letting Lan Qiren touch his belly, feel the kicks of their baby.

And their wedding ceremony is over—Lan Wangji princess-carries Wei Ying into the Jingshi, now decorated with auspicious decorations. Their sheets are red silk, matching Wei Ying’s ruby red lips.

He sets Wei Ying gently down, and lifts his veil. Silver eyes framed by thick lashes look up to meet his gaze, twinkling at him. “Hello, husband,” Wei Ying murmurs, and Lan Wangji wastes no time in divesting him of the rest of his wedding robes and taking him over, and over, and over. Showing him just how well Lan Wangji treats his wife.

It’s a long night.

Seven months pass. Their child is born.

Their baby is a chubby, smiling baby, with Lan Wangji’s eyes and Wei Ying’s smile. He is beloved by all in the castle, who dote on him adoringly as he blabbers and gurgles nonsensically.

His grandfather Lan Qiren, perhaps, dotes on him the most of all—buying him an abundance of toys and constantly pestering Lan Wangji to let him carry the baby. Once, when their child had cheerfully tugged on and almost pulled out Lan Qiren’s beard, Lan Qiren hadn’t even gotten angry like Lan Wangji had feared—rather he had indulgently let their child pull on his beard to his heart’s content, babbling cheerily the entire time.

Lan Wangji had almost thought he’d gone mad from qi deviation.

Wei Ying is adored, as well, by the public and the court alike; for his beauty, his cheerful disposition, his charm, and his grace. He tempers Lan Wangji’s stricter, harsher decrees, and has become infamous for being able to, impossibly, soften the Emperor’s heart. Everyone knows that the Emperor is happier, more forgiving and merciful, whenever the Empress is by his side, there to placate him with soft words and touches.

They decide to name their child Lan Yuan. Yuan, for hope. For Lan Wangji hoping, all those years, for Wei Ying to become his. Waiting for Wei Ying to finally take up his place by his side.

Lan Wangji doesn’t add that hope had been what spurred his actions too, in making Wei Ying become his.

Maybe one day he’ll come clean to Wei Ying, but for now, Lan Wangji is content.

“Lan Zhan,” he hears Wei Ying calling to him sweetly, and Lan Wangji smiles. “A-Yuan told me today that he wants a sibling.”

Lan Wangji kisses the tip of Wei Ying’s nose. “Well,” he says. “I know how we can make that happen. Can’t disappoint A-Yuan, after all.”

Wei Ying giggles, but lets Lan Wangji kiss him, slow and deep, thoroughly exploring the familiar wetness of Wei Ying’s mouth.

His giggles soon melt into breathy sighs, and Lan Wangji spends the rest of the day hard at work, helping his wife make good on his promise to their son.