It started with the cramps.
No wait, it probably started with the tiredness and aching in his bones, and the swollen feet and the weight gain and the weird cravings for adding pickles and kimchi into all of his food. But he kind of just waved that off as, you know, his weird food thing, and the coreless thing, resentful energy blah blah. That’s why he hadn’t said anything to Lan Zhan.
Of course Lan Zhan noticed that he was feeling run down anyway, of course. Of course he was making Wei Wuxian vitamin-rich smoothies full of chia seeds and goji berries and spirulina and spinach and somehow making them delicious?? (Possibly via spiritual means – evidence yet to be determined.) Of course he was popping bowls of seeds and nuts, or edamame, or piping hot dumplings filled with ginger and deliciousness at the end of the couch whenever Wei Wuxian lay down and sort of… didn’t get up again for the rest of the day. If Wei Wuxian didn’t know how much of a massive bitch Lan Zhan could be, he would think the man might be secretly a saint. But no, he was just the World’s Best Flatmate and all around Wei Wuxian’s Favourite Person (After Jiejie).
Which, you know, wasn’t a problem or anything.
Okay so actually, it probably started-started with that time Wei Wuxian got slammed by a huge wave of curse energy while taking down a yao out by the local river. It was already Day One of his heat and by the time he got home he was wracked with pain and shivering. Lan Zhan was hovering concernedly and Wei Wuxian was petulantly saying something about how he was in no shape to fuck himself through his heat and wishing he’d ever bought a fucking machine and then Lan Zhan was leaning in and saying ‘I could…?’ and smelling fucking delicious and by the next time Wei Wuxian took a second to consider his actions he was well-knotted, a beautiful Alpha curled up behind him and both of them radiating far more contentment than was probably appropriate.
It didn’t occur to either of them to attribute the fact that Wei Wuxian’s heat only lasted a day to anything more than said curse energy, and Wei Wuxian didn’t have any further thought about it beyond being disappointed that his excuse for fucking his best-friend/flatmate/coworker vanished before he was absolutely satiated until the next available excuse.
So. Yeah. If he’s honest… the whole ‘Thing’ started, really, when he was out at a bar celebrating his new job as a city cultivator, saw an absurdly hot guy looking every inch the my-friends-dragged-me-here-and-I’m-just-waiting-for-an-opportunity-to-leave type, and they somehow locked eyes across the room. Wei Wuxian was typically terrible at flirting with any real intent, but something about how he tipped his head to one side a little, smirked a little sympathetically, licked the last drop of alcohol off his lips – something about all that must have indicated something because the guy turned and spoke to the man next to him (brother? Twin? Uncanny-resemblance-while-not-having-the-same-body-language-at-all guy?) and then he was slowly, but with a kind of focus, walking over to where Wei Wuxian was perched at the bar.
“Hi,” Wei Wuxian said as they both did that ‘I’m not scenting you but I’m totally scenting you’, thing.
Alpha. Definitely Alpha. Everything’s coming up WiFi~!
“You looked bored over there,” Wei Wuxian said, trying to sound sympathetic.
“Mn,” the hot guy not-said.
He was giving Wei Wuxian an extremely blatant once-over, and Wei Wuxian was already many-beers-in, which is probably what gave him the courage (stupidity?) to say, “Want me to entertain you instead?”
The guy raised one beautiful eyebrow, and said, “Can you?”
Wei Wuxian’s mouth dropped open. “Rude!” he exclaimed, even as he felt a kind of red-hot veil go over his vision.
He’d be lying if he said he remembered exactly what happened after that, but he still spends his ‘alone time’ lingering on the moments he does. Flashes of their desperate kisses, of grasping at each other too greedily. Dubious decisions suddenly seeming reasonable because of rough hands and a mean mouth. The cold surface of the bathroom stall against Wei Wuxian’s back as they fucked desperately. Lan Wangji watching him with golden-hot eyes and not even helping at all with keeping Wei Wuxian quiet while he was cock-deep in Wei Wuxian’s pussy.
Wei Wuxian does still remember with crystal clarity the part where Lan Wangji pulled Wei Wuxian’s clothes back over him afterwards – while Wei Wuxian stammered out something about how ‘that was really, uh, wow, nice thanks–’ – and Lan Wangji looked at him and said ‘We’re not done. I’m going to take you home so I can knot you.’ and Wei Wuxian was left sort of… gaping and letting himself be tugged out of the bar. (It didn’t take a lot of tugging, if he’s honest.) He didn’t tell Lan Wangji until he was deep in the Alpha’s bed being eaten out that he’d never been knotted before. Lan Wangji had looked up, his mouth wet and eyes dark, and if Wei Wuxian thought that the honesty would make the man go easy on him, if anything it was the opposite, next thing he knew Lan Wangji was sliding his cock in deep and snatching his mouth into a salty-slick, filthy kiss. Lan Wangji fucked him hard, harder than he’d ever been fucked, and Wei Wuxian couldn’t take it (loved it) grabbed him closer even as he complained ‘Gege you’re being so rough with me. I’m new at this!’ and Lan Wangji just groaned into his ear ‘You’re going to take it perfectly for me.’ And wow, really, what was Wei Wuxian supposed to do with that beyond doing exactly what he was told.
So he did. Boy, how he did.
Anyway so he could definitely say that was where the ‘Thing’ started. Or at least Part One of the Thing. Part Two of the Thing was Lan Wangji-hookup-to-beat-all-hookups shaking him awake mid-morning saying ‘You have to go, I have family–’ and Wei Wuxian practically levitating out of the bed babbling apologies for sleeping in so long and when Lan Wangji tried to interrupt – he waved him off saying, ‘No, it’s good you woke me up, my jiejie is helping me go house-hunting today. Ah! I should have set an alarm! Wow I’m late already it was nice to meet you Lan Wangji–’ and he was out the door before the poor guy had to make up any further excuses to get his one night stand the hell out of his house.
Or, well, Part Two was also a week later when Wei Wuxian was starting his new job (as an Official! Licensed! City! Cultivator! He had a permit and he was not going to prison! Take that, Yu-furen!) and he looked up to meet the other trainees and his newly assigned partner and BAM, there was one gods-he’s-even-hotter-than-he-remembered Lan Wangji.
It could have been awkward. It should have been awkward. It should have been even MORE awkward when their boss Nie Mingjue ‘suggested’ they could flat together because Wei Wuxian was trying to find inner-city living (as required for on-call cultivators) and Lan Wangji had a newly spare bedroom after his brother moved out. It should have been even more MORE awkward when Lan Wangji for some unknown reason agreed. But it actually wasn’t. There were a few weeks where Wei Wuxian spent his time overcompensating by aggressively flirting with and trying to get a rise out of his stone-cold partner, and Lan Wangji sent him progressively more annoyed glares, but then they both had to save each others’ lives repeatedly during a grueling, three-day, half-underwater mission-gone-wrong and things sort of… settled… between them.
Lan Wangji was a brilliant cultivator, he was deliciously old-fashioned in all of his training and one hundred percent badass with both sword and guqin. He got this look when there was some ghost or resentful creature up to Bad Shit which Wei Wuxian liked to translate as ‘HOW DARE!’ which would make him feel fun stuff inside when Lan Wangji was fucking shit up. Somehow though, despite Lan Wangji’s traditional training, he actually managed to work well with Wei Wuxian’s unorthodox, resentful energy-based approach, which Wei Wuxian attributed to his general genius and inherent badassery, only matched by Wei Wuxian’s own, ‘Super Cool Badass on the Streets with a Dizi’ vibe.
They somehow also worked well as flatmates. When Wei Wuxian was having one of his days where his brain was ping-ponging relentlessly from one thought to another, Lan Wangji would hustle him into the kitchen to be his ‘sous-chef’, give him clear, concise tasks – get him chopping or stirring – and listen while Wei Wuxian jabbered until his brain slowed down. On days when Lan Wangji felt like he couldn’t open his mouth to get words out, Wei Wuxian would sit behind him on the couch and hum songs while he brushed his hair for him, until eventually Lan Wangji could hum along as well.
It was nice. It was great, actually, and very close to everything that Wei Wuxian could never have dreamed he’d have back when his whole life was collapsing around him. (In the Bad Times, as he, and sometimes his siblings, called them.)
It was so nice that Wei Wuxian was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Was waiting for things to get bad again. Because they were always bound to get bad again. He’d learnt that one years ago.
Which is all to say that when the cramps started ripping through his abdomen it didn’t even occur to him to pick up the phone and call someone. Certainly not his best friend/flatmate/colleague/Thing, and he certainly didn’t think there was much to be alarmed about with a few bad cramps. (At first.)
He’d already gone home sick, he’d had stomach pains all morning and Lan Zhan had eventually sent him home from the office with a worried frown and a ‘I’ll be home in a few hours.’ which Wei Wuxian had waved off casually. He’d intended to curl up in bed with reheated congee and a packet of Sachima he’d picked up on the way home, but he’d only got as far as the toilet where he felt this sort of weird wet rush, which he barely paid attention to because he was starting to feel strange and sort of slightly out-of-body, then he stumbled out of his clothes and into bed and then his body started to flush with heat and the most gruesome cramps started to spiral out from his gut.
“Fuck,” he bit out, clutching at his belly. Lan Zhan had been making all of his meals lately so there was no way he could blame this on some bad chicken. This had to be some residual curse energy from the case they had solved last week.
He groaned into his pillow, the pain passing for a few seconds and then he yelled as the next wave hit. He liked to think he had a pretty high pain tolerance but this was absurd!
That strange, out-of-body feeling was getting stronger, and he had a weird moment of thinking, is something inside me? before the most intense drive to push overcame every other thought.
After that his thought process sort of… left for a while. A haze of heat and pain and tears and sweat and what is happening and screaming into his pillows as pressure and pushing and it was only after an interminable amount of time with this when the feeling finished with one last heave that he looked down and there was…
Is that… a baby?
His brain wasn’t really switched on yet. He stared in a cold-hot kind of shock until the little thing let out a wet, pitiful scrunched-up cry and then he was flapping, gasping as pain still wracked his body and gently, so gently and terrified picking up the baby – where did this baby come from??? – and wiping its little face clear of muck and thinking What the fuck what the fuck what the FUCK.
He spent several panicked minutes googling, stumbling down the hall in agony so he could get to the bathroom, another wave of pain and wHAT as another thing – placenta??? Is this what’s supposed to happen?? – came out of him. More googling while lying in the hallway and wow, there is so much blood on the carpet Lan Zhan is going to be mad. Then he got both himself and the tiny – is it supposed to be this small?? I don’t remember babies being this small! – and in some sort of fugue state plus Lan Zhan’s terrifyingly extensive first aid kit, got the umbilical cord clamped off and cut the placenta away, staring at the WikiHow article every two-seconds, terrified he was going to somehow kill – his??? – baby.
After that he gently, fuck is this right?, so gently sponge-cleaned the gunk off the baby, who was still crying and slippery and all tiny arms and legs and head that Wei Wuxian was desperately trying to support, (his sister’s voice saying ‘Always support the head’ over and over in his mind) and he was crying himself, he thought, but he was also saying softly, “Hello tiny little one I don’t know where you came from but can you, can you have patience with me please for one more minute.”
And then somehow the baby was clean, and Wei Wuxian had awkwardly one-handed rinsed the worst of his own sweat and filth off himself, then he pulled all the softest and cleanest towels out of the cupboard and wrapped them around both of them, sliding down the wall to sit on the bathroom floor. He placed the infant against his chest in a helpless, mindless daze, letting out a slightly hysterical laugh as it snuffled around until it found Wei Wuxian’s recently-fuller (he thought he was putting on weight!) breast, caught the nipple and started to suck.
Wei Wuxian wept, for just a little while, after that.
The baby had such dark little eyes. A tiny thatch of black hair on his head. It was sticking straight up after the sponge-bath. Wei Wuxian wrapped the towels close so it made a little warm tent around them. “Hello,” he whispered. “Who are you? I’m Wei Wuxian, or Wei Ying.” Then he laughed again.
He popped his head out of the towels. “What the fuck,” he said. Then looked down. “Sorry baby. But what the fuck.”
He scrabbled for his phone, which had somehow made it with them into the bathroom, possibly by virtue of spiritual intervention, and he pushed Lan Zhan’s number.
“Wei Ying, are you oka–”
“Lan Zhan,” he said, his voice surprisingly steady, he thought. “I think I just had a baby.”
There was silence, for a moment.
“Umm yeah I think I just had a baby? I think you should come home.”
“Haha. Ah. Yeah, I’m holding a baby right now.”
There was a strange noise at the other end of the line.
“Wei Ying, I’m coming home right now.”
“Okay great,” Wei Wuxian said, feeling a freeing sort of feeling. He hung up on whatever Lan Zhan started to say next, and looked back down at the little one.
“Oh hey. You’re still there. Good good.” The baby was blinking slowly. “Hey great idea baby. Let’s nap.”
Wei Ying woke up next to the front door banging open, and then footsteps running down the hall to his room.
Oh. There was probably a lot of blood in there still.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian called as soft-loudly as he could, he didn’t want to wake the little one, “I’m in here.”
The footsteps were even faster this time, and the bathroom door swept open to a somewhat wild-eyed Lan Wangji.
“Hi,” Wei Wuxian said, bleary and tired. He opened the cocoon of towels, showing the little tiny body curled up against him. “Is it real?”
Lan Wangji made a strangled, shocked noise, and dropped to his knees beside both of them. He reached out a hand – it was shaking, Wei Wuxian had never seen Lan Zhan shake – and touched the tiny little fuzzy head. “Yes, Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan’s voice was hoarse. “It’s real.”
“Oh,” Wei Wuxian said, and thought about that for a moment. “Then I think we’re his baba and A-die.”
And then he passed out.
When Wei Wuxian woke up he was in hospital, and his jiejie was crying next to his bed.
“Why are you crying?” It was Jiang Cheng’s voice. “He is literally fine. The baby is literally fine.” Jiang Cheng’s own voice was wobbling though.
“I can’t believe poor A-Xian had to go through all of that by himself!”
Wei Wuxian spoke up, “Yeah it was kind of wild.”
“A-Xian!” Jiang Yanli’s face appeared above his own.
“Hey jiejie,” he said softly. It was such a relief to see her face. “Did I really have a baby or did I have the worst hallucination of my life?”
“Oh A-Xian!” She started crying again. Luckily Jiang Cheng’s face also appeared in his field of vision, ready as always with the scathing facts.
“Yes idiot! You had a baby at home, by yourself, because you’re a dumbass who doesn’t know how to call an ambulance.”
“Oh,” Wei Wuxian considered that. Yeah that probably is what people would normally do in that sort of situation.
“Why didn’t you tell anyone you were pregnant, you dickhead!?” Jiang Cheng said.
“A-Xian, you can’t have thought we wouldn’t support you?” his sister said, red-eyed.
“I didn’t know,” Wei Wuxian said, trying the words out on himself as much as anything.
“What!?” Jiang Cheng said.
“Seriously, I thought I was just sore and tired and getting a bit fat.”
“Wei Wuxian, I always knew you were an idiot, but this has got to make you the biggest idiot known to humanity!”
“Didi please don’t yell I’m very tired, I just had a baby did you know?”
Jiang Yanli hushed them both, which gave Wei Wuxian enough time to realise he didn’t have the baby with him anymore and just about every siren his brain could imagine all went off at once. He sat up like a shot, looking around frantically, “Where–!?”
“It’s alright, A-Xian, it’s alright,” Jiang Yanli soothed, “Lan Wangji is with the baby and the doctors now, they’re just doing the last of the check ups.”
As if summoned by the thought, the door slid open and Lan Wangji walked in, flanked by Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan. He was holding a tiny bundle swaddled in soft blankets and topped by a tiny hat.
“Lan Zhan!” Wei Wuxian called, his arms reaching out despite himself.
The tightness around Lan Wangji’s eyes seemed to ease seeing Wei Wuxian awake and up in bed. He moved over to the bedside quickly and showed the little bundle to him.
The Jiangs obviously shared some kind of silent ‘these two need to have a moment/Talk’ agreement because they all got up and moved out of the room, Jiang Yanli pressing a kiss to both Wei Wuxian and the baby’s heads before she left.
The little child was awake, and looking around in that fuzzy-eyed way of new babies.
“He’s real,” Lan Wangji said, first. “He’s healthy and safe. You did an amazing job, Wei Ying.”
“Ha,” Wei Wuxian said quietly, touching the baby’s soft little cheek. “Amazing? I didn’t know you even knew hyperbolic adjectives, Lan Zhan.”
“It is not hyperbole. Wei Ying. You did an incredible thing. You delivered your son all alone. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to help you.”
Wei Wuxian staunchly ignored the apology. “Our son, Lan Zhan,” he said, meeting Lan Wangji’s gaze firmly.
Lan Wangji took in a shaky breath. “You said, but. I wasn’t sure…”
“Well I’m sure!” Wei Wuxian huffed. “No one else is the other daddy! …Unless it’s an evil curse baby. Did you check if it’s a curse baby?”
“Yes Wei Ying, I checked. It is a normal, healthy, human baby.” Lan Wangji paused, then put his spare hand out and intertwined his fingers with Wei Wuxian’s. “Our baby?”
“Yeah,” Wei Wuxian blinked some random water out of his eyes. “Yeah, our baby.”
Wei Wuxian didn’t say anything as Lan Wangji let out a probably-uncontrollable wave of contented Alpha-pheromones. Lan Wangji was staring down at their child like he’d won all the stars in heaven. Wei Wuxian might have been letting out a few scents of his own, because Lan Wangji looked up, his eyes warm.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian said.
“You know how you’re my best friend, and my work partner, and my flatmate, and we kind of have this Thing where we keep sleeping together?”
Lan Wangji nodded slowly, his face suddenly schooled to neutrality.
“Can we stop having a Thing?”
Lan Wangji’s face got even more still.
Wei Wuxian continued, “Maybe can we just like, be in love and married now?”
Lan Zhan let out a huge breath, and curled over the little baby, putting his cheek to the infant’s head for a second, his eyes shut.
“It’s just,” Wei Wuxian continued, “I’ve kind of been in love with you ever since we first met and I’d really like to stop having a Thing and instead just be together if that’s something you would like too?”
Lan Zhan looked up, and his eyes were wet and he was smiling! “Wei Ying, I would also like to be in love and married now. I have wanted that all along.”
“Oh,” Wei Wuxian said. “Well. That’s good.”
And then Lan Zhan kissed him. Not hungry and consuming like all their other kisses, this one was soft, and tender, and full of light and happiness and tears and both of them curved around the tiny bundle between them.
“Wow,” Wei Wuxian said afterwards. “I guess we’re in love and have a son.”
“Yes, Wei Ying,” – and this time Wei Wuxian heard how the name was Lan Wangji’s way of saying ‘I love you’ every time they spoke – his voice shook a little, as if he couldn’t quite believe it himself, “We’re in love and have a son.”
At this point Wei Wuxian had most definitely had enough of not holding his baby, and he took the infant out of Lan Zhan’s arms and pressed him against his skin. “Hello my baobei. It’s nice to meet you,” he said, “I’m your baba after all! Thanks for being patient with me.”
Lan Zhan leant in and kissed the baby’s forehead, and then Wei Wuxian’s. “Thank you for giving us this treasure, Wei Ying.”
“Aiyah! Enough of that!” Wei Wuxian flapped a hand at Lan Zhan. “Go let my family back in so I can brag to my sister about how pretty my baby is.”
Lan Zhan nodded. “The most pretty of all babies.”
As Lan Zhan let the Jiangs in, Wei Wuxian sat up and crowed, “Jiejie I have a son!”
Jiang Yanli’s laughter filled the room. “You do! A most excellent son.”
“Wait, are we allowed to call him a son yet? How do we let him have his own gender reveal? Lan Zhan, how do parents do this?”
Lan Zhan smiled at Wei Wuxian and their little baby, the best treasure in the world, and said “I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”
AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER AND PROBABLY HAD MORE ON-PURPOSE BABIES! THE END!
Not pictured: The Jiang parents being less dickish after the core transplant (because they’re not dead, obvs,) (how / why did the core transplant happen? You decide!). Madame Yu being Mean but Supportive Grandma.
Also not pictured: entire side-story about how the reason WWX is an official cultivator despite being a demonic, coreless cultivator, to do with Nie Huaisang being ‘somehow’ the head of the city cultivator council (it was an accident! He had to take over the position after his brother was forced to step down after being targeted and injured by (someone evil) and then NMJ was so much more relaxed when he had one less thing to take care of NHS sort of accidentally never gave the position back) and then WWX was the one to (illegally) hunt down the person who hurt NMJ and then even though Nie Huaisang ‘totally abstained! It would have been a conflict of interests!’, ‘somehow’ the council voted to let WWX be a licensed cultivator. Because WWX may be a mess but let’s all not forget he’s a badass genius mess and we love him.