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Jades' Lotus

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Mods please de anon, thank you!-thanks for the event too!

Absolutely filling my own prompt because if I’ve been thinking of it since August 2020, I may as well!! This did go in a different direction than I expected.

Author’s Note

This is my first fic in several years, first on Ao3, so please be kind. I tried my absolute best to write something respectful towards the cannon and the culture it came from, but as I am not from either of those it might fall short in some areas. My sincerest apologies if it does. But it’s fanfiction and I truly tried. I researched and used my best guess to fit the fic. If something is glaringly wrong or disrespectful, please (kindly!) let me know and I will try and fix it.

Very much pick and choosing different cannon elements as I write.

A very big thank you to the Cafe for the encouragement, Rach and my husband for the support and Beta! I hope you enjoy!



Wei Wuxian buzzed with excitement when he got the news, he was going to Cloud Recesses! His place at the Cloud Recess lectures had been precarious as they went back and forth. Madam Yu was concerned that his untamed ways would lose the Jiang Sect face. He was hardly an upstanding omega and the Cloud Recesses tolerated no nonsense. Uncle Jiang was insistent that he would hold himself to the appropriate behaviors.

“Shijie!! I get to go!” Jiang Yanli laughed as Wei Wuxian vaulted over the fence around her pavilion.
“A-Xian. Carefully.” Shijie waved her sleeve at him as he bounced in front of her. “I’m so pleased Mother allowed you to accompany us to Cloud Recesses. We would have missed you terribly.” Jiang Cheng grunted in disagreement.

“The only reason she relented is because it would make the Sect lose face to keep one of it’s few male Omegas out of Cloud Recesses to get an education. That you’re a complete pain in the ass makes her want to.” Jiang Cheng hid his smirk by looking away from Wei Wuxian towards the lotus lake.

“Hey! I am not a pain in the ass and I won’t lose us face! I just don’t see why me being a male omega means I have to behave a certain way! I have my pride as a man and a cultivator!” Shijie cut in before they could start the familiar argument.

“Since they separate male and female as well as alphas and omegas are you sure you will be alright by yourself? We will at least be able to eat together.” Jiang Yanli’s concern was so ingrained in her scent that the soothing effect was just part of being near her. It’s what made her the number one on the List of Most Accomplished Female Omegas.

“No, Nie Huaisang is going to be attending again. You’ll have a roommate in the dorm. Being the brother of the top female omega and the roommate of the second male will hopefully improve your behavior, as you only made it onto that list by default!”

“I don’t wanna hear that from you, Fourth Rank!!” Wei Wuxian grabbed Jiang Cheng around the shoulders to poke him in the forehead as their sister laughed.

“It isn’t shameful to be behind The Twin Jades and Jin Zixuan. The list is only a popularity contest among the Young Masters of our generation. Each person has something that makes them wonderful. Your qualities are only more subtle than theirs.” Shijie soothed. “He’s a beta!” Jiang Cheng yelled. The shame of losing to a beta in the Eligible Young Master rankings was a sore spot.

“The Cloud Recess Lectures are the unofficial mating ground, Jiang Cheng, maybe you will finally find someone to put up with your prickly attitude.” Wei Wuxian yelped as Jiang Cheng stomped on his foot in retaliation for the comment.

“Come and sit, boys.” Jiang Yanli thanked the servant who placed the last dish down. “Do you each have everything you need for the journey? I know you’ll try and leave it all for the last moment.” Jiang Yanli asked as they took a bite from the spicy fish and rice dish. They squawked in mock outrage as she dissolved into laughter. The afternoon heat gave way to a cooler night as the siblings dined together. Enjoying some of the last carefree moments they would have together in their childhood home. The responsibilities that awaited them after the lectures were fast approaching.

****

Lan Wangji looked at his brother from under his lashes as he played the solo for their duet, his fingers moving along the strings of Wangji as the xiao faded out for the moment. Having mastered the available compositions, they had begun composing pieces to later bind and catalogue for the library. He watched his brother’s soft smile as the music swelled and he began to play his part of the solo, Liebing’s notes ringing out as he stilled the strings of his guqin. Xiongzhang was beautiful when lost in the throes of their music. He wondered what he would look like lost in pleasure. He grit his teeth and ripped his focus away from the thought before his scent changed. He tried to immerse himself back into the serenity that playing music with his brother gave him. The piece they were composing was still incomplete. There was something missing in the harmony of it.
Lan Xichen pulled his xiao away. “While the piece is lovely, it still seems to be missing a key element.” He smiled at his Didi as he tucked Liebing away. “Not to worry, Wangji, it will come together soon.”

“Mn.” His guqin properly stowed Lan Wangji stood up and glided over to Lan Xichen. “We won’t finish it before the students arrive.” Lan Xichen’s smile widened at the hint of petulance in Lan Wangji’s tone. They exited the Jingshi together.

“Perhaps not, but maybe the distraction will prove inspirational.” Wangji’s stare in response made him huff a soft laugh.

“Hosting students is part of Cloud Recesses’ traditions, Uncle is the best teacher of his generation. Please, try to make a friend among them. Better yet, a potential mate.” Lan Wangji’s fists tightened at the idea. Omegas were ridiculous. Some simpering creature to bat their eyes and bear young. He did not, could not, see the appeal. Particularly not while looking at his brother. Whose kindness shone like a beacon. The calm jasmine tea and sandalwood scent enveloping him; all of it alluring. It was the smell of comfort and love. When the heavy spice of Alpha infused his scent, well, there was a reason Lan Wangji presented right after his brother. Knowing Lan Xichen was in the cabin across the meadow from his, heightened the illicit pleasure of it all. Imagining Xiongzhang stroking himself, fucking his own fist, palming his knot as Lan Wangji stroked his sending him to climax again and again.

“Wangji?” Snapping back to the present, Lan Wangji shifted. This was neither the time nor the place. When confronted with the undivided attention of Xiongzhang this close to rut, it made the suppression of his desires harder to bear. He had long come to terms with the knowledge that he desired his brother. His alpha brother. As an alpha. Mates were a tricky business and sometimes those bonds showed up in the least likely places. As they were not True Mates, however, it was a manageable pull.

“I am going to the Cold Springs to meditate. Thank you, Xiongzhang.” Lan Wangji inclined his head before making his way towards the Springs. He desperately needed the bracing cold to regulate his thoughts and urges.

Submerging himself, Lan Wangji let his head tip backwards. His home was always stunning, but the beauty of the Cold Springs was unparalleled. The waterfall feeding the pool, the bamboo grove that surrounded it. When his emotions felt too big for his body and his alpha wanted he could retreat here. The numbing cold driving out whatever held his focus, if the wind blew just so he could listen to the bamboo knock together harmonizing with the rush of the waterfall. The paralyzing indecision held fast, too hasty and they would be trapped, if they waited too long the opportunity would pass. He dipped his head under the water. They could hold on. Just for a while longer.

***

Lan Xichen watched his brother walk away all the while knowing he has other matters to see to. He traced the path back to the Hanshi after Wangji turned the corner. He loved his younger brother. Perhaps, no, more than he should. They had always been extremely close, only relying on one another as their reputations and the expectations grew larger than themselves. The Twin Alpha Jades of Gusu Lan. No other Sect was so blessed.

Naturally as they aged, their closeness changed to reflect that. From the sweet devotion of youth to the dedicated loyalty between Sect Heir and Future Sect Leader. They began to hide their closeness after their mother died. ‘Gege’ and ‘Didi’ reduced to behind closed doors. No one else welcome to the grief that threatened to swallow them both. His adorable Didi stoically sneaking into his bed after a bad dream or during a particularly howling storm. Wangji curling around him when he cried at night because it was all so much and their Father was never there and Mother was gone. Wangji letting him tie the sacred ribbon, if their parents were unable or unwilling to fulfill that role than did it not fall to Lan Xichen to do it? To tenderly place his ribbon and delicately scent him as an armor for the day ahead? An 8-year-old Wangji insisting to do the same for him is a favored memory.
The onset of their presentations brought …unforeseen…complications. Bonds between family are to be expected. Their bond in particular straddled the line between familial and mating. A not unheard-of phenomena, but certainly rare and difficult to navigate. Their alpha nature to dominate balanced by their rigorous adherence to self-discipline. As Wangji neared his majority the call became stronger. A decision must be made, either to take a mate and establish themselves firmly as Sibling Bonded or to cross the line and become Mates. Elders dropping less and less veiled comments on the future of the Gusu Lan. Next year when he took the mantle of Sect Leader matchmakers were sure to be called in. He sighed as he resumed his seat in the Hanshi. He had correspondence to respond to and a meeting with Shufu later.

“Shufu.” Lan Xichen bowed entering his Uncle’s Rushi.

“Xichen, come and sit. We need to discuss your role in the upcoming guest lectures. As you are aware, the Sword Master charged with overseeing the guest disciples’ practice has taken ill. The replacement is on a night hunt and his replacement is with his pregnant mate.” Lan Qiren stroked his beard. Life ever sought to disrupt plans; such was the way of things.

“Of course, Shufu. Filling in is the least I can do. Does Healer Nuan have any more information regarding Lan Ming’s mate?” Lan Xichen worked to know all the members of his clan by name and their families. A Sect Leader inspired loyalty by rote, a great one inspired devotion. Lan Qiren smiled softly at his nephew.

“Only that her need was greater than ours, having her mate close would ease the difficulties caused by an early birth.” Xichen nodded. “Furthermore, we will be having seven omegas, nine alphas and twelve betas in this year’s class. Three male omegas and three female alphas. The appropriate chaperones will be provided to the rarer designations as always.” He huffed at the wasted manpower. He had been teaching long enough to know teenagers. Extra chaperones for the rarer designations were absolutely necessary. Every year there was always some ruckus, which brought him to his final point.

“Wei Wuxian is one such omega. The son of the famous rogue alpha Cangse Sanren and her beta husband. If he is anything like his mother was, he will be a disruptive menace. However, Yu Ziyuan is well known not to tolerate such foolishness. We can only prepare as best we can.”

“Yes, Shufu.” As the conversation wound around to other matters, Xichen enjoyed one of the few meetings with his Shufu that didn’t revolve around the business of running a sect. After discussing which teas cleared the meridians and calmed the mind, Xichen agreed to ask for another order of the special tea their regular merchant sent a sample of while he was in Caiyi.




End Notes

Getting loose with the typical A/B/O dynamics because I want to. In this AU, Secondary Gender is on par with Cultivation so weak cultivators are going to be Top A/B/O’s. My JY, NHS and MY are going to be better regarded and their personalities a little more fluid to the cultivation world at large. JY is more than the plain fiancé of JZX, NHS more than the lazy brother of NMJ, MY more than the son of a prostitute. The Yunmeng Trio will have a more balanced relationship as WWX and JC are winning in slightly different races and Madam Yu hasn’t been pitting them against each other their whole lives and JYL isn’t trying to make up for their parents lack. Well, mostly. As my JFM never had a crush on CSSR, and was never in love with her, Madam Yu is still mean, but not outright hateful, so their whole family dynamic graduates from ‘you should be ashamed’ to at least a ‘you mostly tried’. Also, by making the Wen’s have civil problems and the Jin’s a little weaker, I am avoiding the Sunshot Campaign entirely. As such, the characters personalities are closer to their 15-year-old Cloud Recesses Arc. They aren’t aged by a war and tempered by devastation so they are matured from that 15-year-old point.

As for names, I did research them! And might mess something up anyway. If I did, please do let me know.

Rushi-Scholar Room- For a sect that is the leader in education, their acting Sect Leader is also the head teacher, a scholar room for his residence. Ru 儒 meaning "scholar" and 室 shi meaning “room”

Nuan- 暖 (nuǎn) meaning "warm, genial"-Healer

Ming-明 (míng) meaning "bright, light, clear"-Back up sword master, pregnant mate

Chapter Text

Chapter 2-Meeting

 

Wei Wuxian was ecstatic. He would miss Lotus Pier, but getting out from under the scornful eye of Madam Yu was worth the price. The delicate power balance, that hinged on how well he could stay out of sight and not be overly familiar with his siblings, was straining.

Madam Yu didn’t like him and everyone knew it; the only good thing about him was his designation. Being one of six male omegas in his generation and an accomplished cultivator besides, he brought the Sect notoriety as the easiest available omega. Meng Yao, Nie Huaisang, Wen Ning were the other unmated ones. Although, with Meng Yao and Nie Huaisang, the deputy and younger brother of the alpha Nie Mingjue, available was a relative term. Wen Ning’s terrifying alpha sister was as much a deterrent as the Chifeng-Zun. Not to mention who wanted to get involved with the Wen Clan with all their civil unrest. Yao Huang and Wang Lin were already married.

She found him inferior to Shijie, which was fair. His failure at having the proper attitude for an omega only served to make Shijie shine brighter; as she should. She belonged in no one's shadow. Thankfully, Jiang Cheng was an alpha and as such destined for different things. It didn’t matter that Wei Wuxian’s core was stronger, what was he going to do with it? What omega had use for sword forms? Jiang Cheng was the future of the Yunmeng Jiang Sect. Wei Wuxian was an afterthought, a tool to further their political relations. Such was the price he paid for being who he was. It was a strange agreement to live by, but they each knew where the other stood.

The journey to Gusu from Yunmeng was long. Going by boat when near the rivers, sleeping and navigating in shifts to make the journey faster, they rode the sword the rest of the way East. Staying in inns when they could and using tents more nights than not.

The siblings crowded around the bench, lanterns swinging in the dark lending an intimacy to the moment as they gossiped and teased. “I can’t believe you’re going to be mated to that peacock Jin Zixuan,” Wei Wuxian groused. He and her betrothed had never gotten along well. He had dogs. Clearly, Shijie was the only thing he had any taste about.

“The only contact we’ve had, has been through infrequent letters since we were children. He was adorably shy as a child. Being at the lectures together will give us an opportunity to know one another before the marriage.” Arranged at birth and reinforced by their mothers. It became a lifeline to reclaim a portion of the Jin’s standing, after Jin Guangshan threw his bastard omegan son down the steps of Koi Tower. The hasty move had cost the entire sect the esteem of the cultivation world. Richer than some Gods the Jin’s may be, but money doesn’t buy sense. Had they been any poorer, they would have lost all respect completely. As it was, the predominantly beta sect would gain some face by their heir’s marriage to such a highly regarded omega.

“I don’t care who they are or what their designation is, I want a mate who will be my equal.” Wei Wuxian thought a lot about mating. The sure knowledge of belonging to someone, to make his cultivation partner his home. No one can make you unwelcome if your home chooses to be with you always.

“My omega will be accomplished in the Omegan Arts. They will be everything Wei Wuxian isn’t.” His brother snarked with a shove.

“How dare you?! I am very accomplished in the arts! I just don’t practice them.” Wei Wuxian shoved back. Falling into the familiar rhythms of banter.



He cajoled his sect siblings as they reached Caiyi Town. The trip from Lotus Pier to Gusu had strained everyone’s nerves. Since the group had five unmated omegas in it, there were mated pairs of chaperones watching them, all the shimei’s and shixiong’s nervous under the watchful eyes of their mated Seniors.

As soon as they passed some specialty tea stall along the market Wei Wuxian’s omega gave a mighty pull, he stopped mid laugh. It was the oddest sensation. His heat wasn’t for two moons, and this was not pre-heat behavior and yet, he felt the need…to preen. He ignored the prickle along his spine caused by the urge to display himself to his best advantage and turned to look at the closest display of Emperor’s Smile. Shijie stopped next to him and raised a brow.

“A-Xian?” she questioned, scent control was never going to be a strong suit of his and she knew him too well to not notice his sudden attitude change.

“I’m going to buy some of the famous Emperor’s Smile!” Wei Wuxian tried to deflect, but she only looked at him and tilted her head slightly. He folded. “My omega is trying to preen.” He whispered to her. Her eyes widened. She looked past him to Senior Gang and nodded her head just slightly to show she heard and understood.

“My A-Xian, you know we cannot drink more than a cup in such mixed company, when we stop for lunch, I’m sure the inn will be able to accommodate a jug for the table?” She raised her voice slightly to be heard by their Senior. He smiled as he strolled closer,

“You may each have one cup! Your wonderful Senior’s will allow you this small taste before reaching the Cloud Recesses and their mountain of rules. Aren’t we kind?” He laughed outright at Wei Wuxian’s look of outraged betrayal.

“You’re lucky they will allow you this much Wei Wuxian! Especially after the last time you and the omega shixiongs and shimeis got drunk.” Jiang Cheng reminded as he caught up with them. He shared a look with his sister as Wei Wuxian whined at Senior Gang and nodded at her smile. As the alpha, it was his job to look out for his siblings, he may not be as empathic as they were nor as good at reading scents as his sister, but he knows his brother. If Ajie wasn’t worried then he knew not to be either.

Senior Gang and the other chaperones hustled their charges to a nearby inn for a last flavored meal before continuing on to the Cloud Recesses. Wei Wuxian and his siblings snagged a back table near the kitchen, all the better to not be overheard. The din of the restaurant covering their voices nicely.

“A-Xian. You must be careful, was there any scent or person you noticed that caused your omega to try and preen?” Shijie asked lowly. Jiang Cheng felt the flush in his cheeks. The omegan preen was an intimate act to entice their chosen to bond. For Wei Wuxian to suddenly try to do it in a public place was startling. He had mastered control over his omega years ago when he presented.

“What?!” Jiang Cheng whisper shouted.

“I don’t know! There was nothing specific that I noticed, but it didn’t last very long. Hey! Maybe my Fated One will be an alpha, just waiting for me to arrive and show them all they’ve been missing up on their fuddy-duddy mountain.” He winked as Jiang Cheng sputtered about how he was reading too many trashy books on Fated Mates.

Jiang Yanli patted his hand. “That may be, but please be cautious. You’re a strong cultivator, but as an omega you can still be compromised.”

“A-Xian is three, much too young for such things.” He pouted in response.

“A three-year-old is far less trouble than you!” Jiang Cheng remarked.

*****

After morning meditation and self-study, Xiongzhang came for breakfast in the Jingshi. The view of the back woods from the rear window was particularly lovely as the morning sun slowly burned away the clinging mists. They would eat dinner in the Hanshi if they could, as that view showed the sun dipping behind the mountains surrounding their home. Lan Wangji and his brother shared the pot of rut suppressant tea as their cycles were near identical. He stared crossly at his tea cup. He was particularly displeased with the knowledge that their guests would arrive today. So many people were intruding into his territory and disrupting the calm atmosphere of his home. The new scents alone made him want to bare his teeth.

“Wangji, please” Xiongzhang’s amusement was tangy in the air. He did not want to be placated.

“Of course, Xiongzhang.” Lan Wangji took a breath and settled. Taking the last sip of his tea Xiongzhang spoke.

“Would you allow me one more indulgence?”

“Mn”

Xiongzhang stood up and rounded the table in the Jingshi, standing behind him, he kneeled and tugged the knot of his ribbon, “May I?” only capable of uttering ‘mn’, Lan Wangji fisted his hand and concentrated on his control. As the ribbon slid free the onslaught of scents and urges hit him, he wanted to mount, to be mounted, to wrestle and fuck and touch and bite. Tasting the heady musk of Xiongzhang’s answering scent made it better and worse. They toed the fine edge as though it were a ritualistic dance, turning and weaving round and round in a dizzying rush, hurtling towards some as of yet unknown conclusion. Which way will they fall? When would they fall? The ribbon slid back into place, Xiongzhang’s wrist brushing his neck, the answering pulse of arousal made him gnash his teeth.

“Xiongzhang.” He gritted

“I am sorry Didi, please, do mine?” Xiongzhang knelt beside him and waited. Lan Wangji deliberately flexed and relaxed each muscle group in quick succession to release the tension. Standing behind his brother, he delicately undid the pins holding his guan in place. Setting them down on the low table with a noise too loud for the moment, he finger-combed Xiongzhang’s hair and quickly retied the ribbon. Xiongzhang huffed when he immediately reattached the guan. His will had been stretched too far today. What are they waiting for? Neither willing to fall one way or the other. Breaking apart to dance another day. To cement in place a bond they will never again be able to change. For good or ill. Like their parents. He stepped back, trailing a scent saturated finger across Xiongzhang’s neck, just enough for their scents to mingle ever so slightly on him too. It appeased his riled alpha enough to leave the moment here.

“Wangji,” Xiongzhang breathed. Longing turning the saturated air crisp. With one last stroke, he stepped back. The familiarity of the ritual both grounded and excited him. Soothing and tantalizing at once. So much of their time was spent toeing that invisible line. How much will be lost when they inevitably tip? Soon enough the Elders will raise the issue of heirs. As two alphas, bloodkin children were not a possibility. They had a responsibility to their Sect. One of them must carry the Lan lineage further. The thought sent a stab of pain to his heart. If that was the path to Xiongzhang’s happiness Lan Wangji would wish him a heartfelt blessing. As it was, they would wait. Once they got through this year’s guest lectures decisions would be made.

*****

After leaving the Jingshi, Lan Xichen replied to what he could of his missives, arranged a night hunt and prepared to have what tasks could be delegated given to someone else. A few weeks of intermittent sword classes wouldn’t set him back by much at all. He rather looked forward to the opportunity. While his path would never lie in teaching, he found a fulfillment in it anyway. His sect duties taken care of, he inked his brush and began to paint. It was one of the few pure indulgences he allowed himself.

Lan Xichen took his place next to his Shufu and Wangji. Awaiting their guests to arrive in front of the Main Hall. He inclined his head at Shufu and laughed softly at Wangji’s displeasure. He never particularly enjoyed the guest lectures, yet this year he was being made to participate in them. He knew he was skirting a rule, taking such pleasure in his Didi’s petulance, but he reveled in being the person who could see those parts of Wangji.
Lan Xichen focused as the Jiang delegation arrived. The sound of laughter echoing faintly up the path. He shared a look with Wangji, a smile fixed as he prepared to meet their guests.

The Jiang sect was known for encouraging unpredictability rather than the Lan’s dedication to tradition. Only the Meishan Yu sect stood truly opposite the Lan’s in their cultivation customs. As such, the Jiang disciples sometimes struggled with the rules regarding behavior. Lan Xichen cocked his head as a faint scent reached him, he subtly took a deeper breath, his chest filling with it. What was that? His alpha was awake and intent. What was happening? He scanned the area around them, all was as it should be. He opened his senses to fully take in the scents around him. It could be distracting to be constantly bombarded with the extra stimuli, but something was amiss. The magnolia branches were hardly swaying as their residents foraged for food. No birds took flight in panic at a disturbance. He could almost hear the Jiang cultivators now. Yet? Other members of the welcoming delegation seemed to take no notice of what was rousing his alpha…other than Wangji. Wangji held Bichen’s sheath so tight his knuckles were white, nostrils flared as he too, breathed deeply.

“Wangji?” He questioned, leaning towards his brother.

“Something is-” Wangji’s mouth snapped shut. The Jiang’s were coming up the path now. Leading the group, a woman, she must be Jiang Yanli and two men, her brothers. And it was as if he stopped perceiving the world around him. The man in black was laughing, arms clutching his middle as he leaned into his brother. Which was Jiang Wanyin? The breeze gently blew toward them bringing the sound like a gift. He grabbed Wangji’s wrist as the scent fully reached them, his alpha snarled, why were they not already at the boy? Wangji crushed Lan Xichen’s sleeve in the fist not clutching Bichen. By the Heavens that smell, the sunburst tickle of mirth made his nose tingle. His whole system was overloaded with what it did to him. His alpha rattling the confines of his brain trying to get to the man. Wangji stiffened further, fighting to keep his place as well. Both of them leaned into one another as the man held their entire focus.

The man suddenly jolted, stuttering in place as if struck. He scanned the welcoming party, eyes darting around before bouncing between his gaze and Wangji’s. “A-Xian?” He felt rather than saw Wangji’s hackles raise, Jiang Yanli obstructing their view for a moment as both groups looked between the three of them in confusion. The man stepped around her to keep them in his sights. He began to smooth his hands over his robes, angling his neck just slightly. All the better to see how long and elegant it was. All the while grimacing as if in pain, his scent thickening enough the assembled crowd shifted. The scowling man next to him grabbed his elbow and tried to shake him. “Wei Wuxian?” He gritted. Their identities now confirmed, Lan Xichen’s alpha settled slightly. Wangji dragged him forward a step before regaining control of himself.

“What is the meaning of this?” Shufu demanded.

“Mate. Ours.” Wangji’s gruff response took both groups aback. Wei Wuxian’s awkward laugh broke the moment. The Jiang chaperones stepped next to Wei Wuxian as Shufu took control of the situation

“Wangji, Xichen go to the Rushi and await me there.” Shufu dismissed them. Separating, they each took a last look at Wei Wuxian, and with graceful bows, they took their leave. Each step measured and pace even, standing stiffly enough to ache. They were more than their alpha instincts, but this level of internal strife was straining their control.

*****

A servant quickly ushered the Jiang delegation to the Elegance Hall arranging tea and snacks. Grandmaster Lan left to speak with Healer Nuan and quickly dispatched a letter for Sect Leader Jiang. His absence also gave Wei Wuxian a few moments to collect himself.

“What the fuck was that?!” Jiang Cheng gestured wildly with his arms, encompassing the entire series of events. Wei Wuxian was trying to wrangle his omega back into some semblance of coherence. His breathing sped up to match the riot in his head. As soon as he caught their scents…it was like lightning to the brain. So loud and bright. Instincts, thoughts, and desires all clamoring for action. Mate. Go. Preen. Now. Which one? Is it both? Are those the Alpha Twin Jades? They must be. They were so beautiful! With the mists of their home surrounding the ethereal mountains behind them. They look like martial gods, one smiling benignly, the other stone faced. Then they left! They. Left. Him. They had to and he knew that, but reason was being drowned out by the cacophony. Wei Wuxian clutched at his arms, nails biting. This was so sudden. He didn’t know what to think. What to do. This changes everything. He started to tremble with the need to do something. He couldn’t even think clearly.

“A-Xian.” Shijie wrapped her arms around him. Thickening her scent, she projected calm, soothing his omega and slowing the conflicting urges plaguing him. She began to rub his back. Jiang Cheng grabbed his dangling arms, forcibly wrapping them around their sister. Scenting his wrist guards as he did so. Wei Wuxian grabbed his arm before he could step away. The familiar scents of his siblings enveloped him. They could rarely scent mark one another, if Madam Yu found out they were all punished. For Jiang Cheng to mark something he was wearing showed the depth of his concern.

Even as he grumbled. “You can’t even go to the guest lectures without causing a scene. What is wrong with you? We’re lucky you didn’t try to touch anyone. Which one is even your mate?” Chaperones from both sects sat unobtrusively in the corner. Determinedly not giving them any attention. Wei Wuxian relaxed in increments, releasing his siblings he nodded his head, blowing out a breath.

“So that was…something.” He understated. Jiang Cheng snorted drowning out Shijie’s smothered laugh. They smiled at each other before hastily bowing formally as Grandmaster Lan entered the room.

“Thank you for waiting. Please, sit.” He instructed them “Which is the Senior Chaperone?” Senior Gang stood up and bowed deeply. “Come. Please oversee the preliminary discussion.” Grandmaster Lan intoned. Senior Gang bowed again and sat on the third side of the table.

“We must await Sect Leader Jiang before any action is taken, but as this is a highly irregular situation, we need to discuss events. I’ve already dispatched our fastest messenger to Lotus Pier.” They winced. Madam Yu was going to hear ‘Wei Wuxian’ and ‘situation’ and spend the flight here stewing in anger at how he lost them face before classes even began.

Grandmaster Lan took a breath. “Wei Wuxian. Do you understand what has happened?”

Wei Wuxian cleared his throat “Yes, Grandmaster Lan. One of your nephews is my True Mate.”

“Wangji said they both recognized you. When Sect Leader Jiang arrives, we will begin formalities with the scent matching and commence with the Mating Process. Until then you are to have limited contact with my nephews. After this, please go to the Healing Pavilion and speak with Healer Nuan. She will give you a stronger dose of heat suppression tea. As their acting Sect Leader and available family head, it falls to me to ask, do you wish to proceeded?”

Wei Wuxian’s throat clicked when he swallowed it was so dry. “I-I do. Yes.” Lan Qiren nodded; a pleased smile hidden in his beard.

“Then you may start your Mating Letters. The Letters will be exchanged after scent tokens and the Mating Etiquettes begin. As such, you are not permitted to seek out or speak to your Intended Mates unless properly chaperoned. As you and Wangji will have classes together you will need to exercise restraint in my classroom. Xichen will be assisting in sword form classes. As these are public settings you will be allowed to speak to them and they to you, but you may not scent one another or give tokens at this stage. Are these rules in any way unclear?” Lan Qiren gave Wei Wuxian his most quelling look. Disregarding betrothal customs was heinously improper. Particularly since this courtship was to be between such high-profile individuals, it must be completed without misstep.

“Any infraction on your part will be reflected not only on the Jiang Sect but also your Mates. You are to be the future Lan Furen. You will be scrutinized, but made welcome here. To some you will not be just a student, but the Intended Mate of Xichen and Wangji. Learn the precepts, for you will soon be living by them. I will arrange extra lessons to prepare you for the future tasks you will be expected to undertake. I will treat you equal to that of your peers in the classroom. Any further discussion must wait until the formal meeting. Is this understood?” It was auspicious to begin as they meant to go on. They were to be family.

Wei Wuxian smiled thinly and nodded. His siblings crowding close on either side. Unwavering in their support of him and what new direction his future took.

*****

Lan Wangji and Lan Xichen sat for an incense stick’s time. Meditating back-to-back, systematically and thoroughly regaining control of their alphas.

“Xiongzhang.” Breaking the silence, Wangji was ready to discuss what happened. Opening his eyes slowly, Lan Xichen turned to face his brother. His mate. Their scales had tipped. Was this truly a blessing? Or the gods giving with one hand and taking with the other.

“Wangji.” Lan Xichen replied.

“We will share a Mate. We will be mates.” Lan Wangji was holding himself so stiffly. Lan Xichen reached out, lightly resting his fingers on Wangji’s. Wondering if this was a moment to welcome touch or shy away from it. When Lan Wangji did not respond, Lan Xichen rested his whole hand on Wangji’s arm. The touch was grounding to them both. To finally have a clear direction, a path they wanted to walk ahead of them, open to both of them, together.

“I am so pleased. Wangji, the Heavens themselves have given us this. I am eager to meet our Mate. To know him as I know you. This is a blessing and we get to walk this path together.” Lan Xichen’s smile was blinding.
The surrealism of this moment hit Lan Wangji. Here he sat in the Rushi, discussing their mate with his brother. Last time he had sat in this room it was for Shufu to tell him about potential omega matches when he reached his majority. In one moment, everything had shifted.

“Do you know anything of him?” Lan Wangji asked.

“No. I know he is regarded as the third most eligible young omegan master.”

“Mn.”

“We will need to start our mating letters, as well as beginning our scent tokens. When our meeting with Shufu concludes we can visit the Cloud Seamstresses to pick our fabric. I confess, I am eager for this. I rather liked his smell and his laugh. So different from anything we have known.” Lan Xichen’s smile turned impish. Reading the micro expression of skepticism on Wangji’s face Lan Xichen laughed outright.

*****

Guiding the Jiang delegation to the dorms and guest quarters as needed, Lan Qiren huffed a breath. This was going to be a hassle. For the boys to respond so instinctively with several chi separating them…Lan Qiren took a deep breath. Then another. And another. Now he must meet with his nephews to discuss things.

“You mean to tell me that boy is your True Mate. The both of you. For certain?”

“Mn. For certain.”

Lan Qiren stroked his beard. This was…. not what he wanted at all. However, the precepts were clear. True Mates were a gift from the Heavens and would be treated as such. Interfering with such a bond only ever ended in feral alphas and despondent omegas. History was riddled with the far-reaching consequences of such short sightedness. He refused for his nephews lose themselves to such a fate, Wei Wuxian or not. Lan Qiren was rather grateful to be a beta. He wouldn’t have to live with such nonsense, only endure it.

“So be it. Wangji, Xichen, congratulations on your mate. May your union be a blessed one.” He inclined his head.

“Thank you, Shufu.” Xichen and Wangji bowed deeply as befitting the situation. Their acting sect leader had just approved the match.

“You both handled yourselves well. You truly exemplify what it means to be an alpha.” The praise was delivered in the same tone Lan Qiren recited the rules. Factual and without embellishment. There was a reason his nephews were the top ranked in their generation after all. To be suddenly confronted with a three-way True Mate bond, even unfinalized as it was, has made weaker alphas take what wasn’t yet theirs. When and how a bond was initiated set the tone for the relationship.

A thoughtless mating made for an unbalanced bond, neither party stable in themselves or each other. To achieve a harmonious bond, it must follow the proper stages of courtship. Unlike an arranged mating, True Mates have no use for an official matchmaker, using instead Family Heads and Sect Leaders to broker the betrothal process. Each clan had their own customs regarding the mating rituals. For True Mates, let alone two of them, the three letters were a tradition but not a necessity in this case. The six etiquettes will have to be adapted as well. He stroked his beard in thought. Lan Qiren was pleased for his nephews. They were far too proper to botch a mating the way their father had.

“I will write the beginnings of your contract and notify the Cloud Seamstresses of your upcoming betrothal. The Jiang may supply the fabric. Begin your Mating Letters and scent tokens for Wei Wuxian, whether you write one for each other is up to your discretion. You need to decide harmoniously on how such a bond goes from this point. As you are two alphas sharing a mate, and brothers besides, the etiquettes do not apply. What of them you observe in private is between you and your mates.” Lan Qiren dismissed his nephews and began drafting an official mating letter.

*****

Jiang Fengmian sighed from the soles of his feet. His children and A-Ying would have scarcely arrived before Acting Sect Leader Lan sent this.

Your presence is needed to discuss the repercussions of Lan Xichen, Lan Wangji and Wei
Wuxian’s meeting. Please make all haste to Cloud Recesses. Formal True Mating Contract
to be discussed upon arrival.

Why was it always A-Ying? Such an alliance would please His Lady. A-Ying would marry out and secure a favorable alliance. That the Lan clan was in higher standing than A-Li’s betrothed would surely be cause for contention but the dice were already cast. He would be sad to lose A-Ying so soon, but a True Mating was a wonderful bond. He deserved nothing less. His parents had been True Mates after all.

He walked the halls of his home, directing servants to inform the proper parties that a mating retinue was needed to leave first thing tomorrow morning. He directed a missive be sent to the Dye Master to get as many bolts of fabric from the Bride and Groom lines as he could spare, noting they would need twice the Groom bolts. He would need to double the pay for a rush order. A-Ying would marry in Jiang dyes. The Cloud Seamstresses were masters at their craft, but the Jiang’s had their own specialty as well.

He made his way to the training field as His Lady oversaw the disciples. He bowed slightly “My Lady, an urgent letter from Cloud Recess arrived, might we discuss its contents?” With long practice, he ignored her pinched brows when she looked at him. Even after all these years of marriage, she was never comfortable showing any softness in the light.

“What has he done now?” Yu Ziyuan stalked away from the dais, her handmaidens taking positions to direct the training without a word. Jiang Fengmian led them back to his office. Letting his wife vent her aggression along the way and simply handing her the note once they arrived.

The heavy paper crumpled when her grip tightened. “A True Mating Betrothal? To the Twin Alpha Jades? It seems Wei Wuxian has finally done something useful. Truly embodying the Jiang Sect Motto, as he is poised to leave it even.” Though they saw this in different ways, it was undoubtedly going to be of benefit to them all.

“Would you like to come to Gusu?

“Naturally. You’d let Lan Qiren bully you into accepting less than Wei Wuxian’s worth.”

 

End Notes
Gang 刚-meaning, rigid. Since he is part of their chaperone retinue, his name implies that he is unbribable. No shenanigans on his watch!

Huang 煌-meaning shining and Lin 琳-meaning "fine” Tried to find names where the meanings fit with being one of the 6 Male omegas

Chi-a base unit of measurement, a man’s hand span.

On the Female oriented terms. Since this is an ABOverse I’m using bride/Furen/eventually mother not as a FEMALE term and but as a ROLE. Which is why he will be referred to as the Jades’ husband. He is marring in, ergo bride. He will be the spouse co-running the sect, ergo Furen. He will get pregnant and give birth, ergo Mother. He is keeping his name Wei Wuxian, but will be known as Lan Furen for his title, rather than the Yiling Patriarch. I know that is not what Furen means, but for the proposes of this fic, please indulge me. If the designations were reversed and WWX was the alpha marring in he would STILL be the bride/Furen. But as he wouldn’t get pregnant, he would be Father.

Chapter Text

A large thank you to Husband and the Cafe. You are all delightful treasures and I appreciate you.


Chapter 3-Mating Meeting

 

Wei Wuxian jumped out of bed when the morning bell rang out. Its sound bouncing and reverberating strangely through the forest and the mountains. Unable to sleep soundly with his brain spinning and the echoing nighttime noises, so wildly different from home, kept startling him awake. He would fall asleep and wake up to the same thought. He was to be mated. He had true mates. Two of them. The Twin Alpha Jades of Gusu.

As classes had been set back a few days due to a surprise storm, it presented the perfect time to accommodate the formal discussions. The storm delayed travel between sects, but luckily, the Jiang mating delegation were a day ahead of it. Uncle Jiang and probably Madam Yu were set to arrive later today. It was still so surreal to look around unfamiliar sights and imagine himself here. Due to his designation, his future was likely not in Lotus Pier, but he had envisioned it there anyway, unable to imagine himself anywhere else.

The foreignness was beautiful in its own way. The mist and the mountains. A darker green than he was used to seeing. Living in the clouds themselves instead of seeing the horizon meet with the lotus lakes. Everything about Gusu, about the Cloud Recesses was near to being his opposite. Be calm, be quiet, do not run, do not smile for no reason. Be. Do not. His whole life could be summed up in those words. Be a demure omega. Do not act above his place. Be a benefit to his sect. Do not outshine his siblings. Maybe there was a handhold for him after all. It depended on his mates. This started the brain cycle once again. He was to be mated. He had true mates. Two of them. The Twin Alpha Jades of Gusu.

He really hoped they could have a harmonious relationship. He wanted to be happy. He wanted to be happy here. With them. He sat at the desk. Parchment, inkstone and brushes ready. Should he write the same things for each letter? Was that discourteous? Probably. He would need to ask at the meeting. He scribbled out ideas on what to include. Accomplishments. Yes, yes. They would want to know their mate is capable. Hopes for their future. Naturally. In the case of True Matings the fine details of the letters were a little hazy, and varied. The lack of a professional Matchmaker lending the entire process a dash of casualty. Not to mention the nuances varied a little by region and Sect. He would be his charming self! This would be fine. He wrote the letters in his very best writing, no need to frighten them with his messy scrawl.

Rushing to the female omega section he hoped to find his Shijie and pout until she hugged him. This was a very big day! And Xianxian was only three! He needed his Shijie’s comfort to shore him up to face this alone. Neither her nor Jiang Cheng were allowed to attend the meeting, it made his insides buzz with apprehension.

“Shijie!!” He was lucky enough to walk by when she was outside. And! Jiang Cheng was with her, pacing and scowling. His Didi was adorable. “Jiang Cheng!” He waved as he did not run towards them. He had read the rules. Twice. It was incredibly boring. They were redundant and extremely over the top, but this was to be his sect and he had something to prove.

“What are you yelling for? We’re right here, you can see us!” Jiang Cheng yelled back. “Shh! Jiang Cheng, there is no yelling in the Cloud Recesses.” Wei Wuxian responded just to see that look on his face.

“Boys, be sweet.” Shije interjected before they got started. The honey tang of her concern rolled off of her in waves. Just being near them made him feel better. They wanted him to find happiness here too. While True Mates were inherently more compatible than an arranged mating, it didn’t promise love. Knowing you could love something was not the same as guaranteeing it. True Matings were rare, which meant when they went sour, they became infamous. And they were brothers! What if they just wanted him as a cover for them to be openly mated? What if they expected an omega like Shijie? Somethings really were just too impossible to attempt.

“Here, come.” Shijie sat them down and ladled her soup for them both. It was her way of showing concern. Before the meeting, they absolutely couldn’t scent one another, so his siblings were giving him the comfort in other ways and he had to stop thinking about this before he got feelings about it.

“Well, our parents are going to get here within the next shichen so eat.” Jiang Cheng nudged Wei Wuxian’s bowl closer and began to eat himself. Shijie shared her stash of lotus seeds. “If, if they don’t treat you well or ignore you, you tell me! I won’t let them mistreat you.” Jiang Cheng was gruffer than usual, but the gesture was appreciated. “Pretty sure this mountain has rules dictating proper treatment of a spouse, so it shouldn’t be anything I can’t deal with.” He sat with his siblings, trying not to think of later. Enjoyed being a brother, not yet someones' betrothed. Time passed oddly after that, dragging and lurching by turns until Madam Yu and Uncle Jiang were walking toward them.

“Uncle Jiang. Madam Yu.” Wei Wuxian echoed his siblings in greeting them. Uncle Jiang looked like he was giving away a prized daughter. He glanced at Madam Yu nervously, she hated when he was treated as anything other than a sect disciple.

“Hmph. You’ve finally made yourself useful to the Sect, paying back our years of raising you. Well done.” Wei Wuxian felt his mouth drop open, shocked to his core. That was the nicest thing she had ever said to him, and she didn’t even sneer it. What was happening?

“Yes. Madam Yu, thank you.” She rolled her eyes and stalked past him toward the refreshments they had prepared.

“A-Ying. I so hope this mating will be as happy as your parents own had been.” Uncle Jiang lay a hand on Wei Wuxian’s shoulder. “You’ve done well for yourself.” He too walked over to the refreshments and greeted his children with genuine enthusiasm.

*****

Lan Wangji had to mediate an incense stick longer than usual; thoughts jumping like startled birds. He knew nothing about this omega. He never wanted an omega. The Omegan Arts were frivolous, they encouraged nothing of substance. He knew he was near alone in that line of thinking. Alphas were supposed to want an omega of their own. To show off and use to elevate their status as an alpha. To luxuriate in the domination of someone fundamentally weaker than yourself was deplorable, to then brag about it was revolting. He wanted no part of it. He could only steel himself and hope that the gods had been kind in the gifting of a True Mate.

When Xiongzhang’s light knock came, he was sealing his Mating Letter. He knew it was blunt, bordering on rudeness, but as this was to be their first step toward a future together, anything else would be a pretense. “Come in.” Xiongzhang entered with a smile. “Wangji.” The warmth in his tone settling Wangji. Even if the omega and he were incompatible, he would have this. This and more with Xiongzhang. It would be enough. It had to be.

“Are you excited for the meeting? It was quite lucky the Mating Delegation managed to be ahead of the storm.” Xiongzhang eyes were dancing in anticipation. He understood Lan Wangji’s thoughts on omegas, but didn’t quite share them. He was a hopeless romantic.

“You will have to be for us both.” Xiongzhang chuckled at the response. They have had many similar conversations for years.

“’Do not make assumptions.’” Lan Wangji gives him a flat look.

“Alright, enough teasing. I brought breakfast. The meeting starts shortly after the Jiang’s arrive.”

After eating and handing the plates to a passing servant with a solemn nod of thanks. They passed the next shichen playing familiar songs meant to soothe. Simple melodies to entertain. Then tricky tunes to trip one another up, fingers moving faster and faster to keep up. A quiet knock was barely audible over the music. A Junior disciple delivered their Shufu’s summons, their presence was required at the Elegance Hall. Lan Wangji’s stomach swooped. He stowed Wangji as Xiongzhang dismissed the disciple. He watched as Xiongzhang took a deep breath eyes closing.

“Wangji.” Xiongzhang stepped closer, their arms almost touching. He reached up slowly in case the touch was unwelcome, before cupping his cheek, he stared at him a moment, then wrapped his arms tightly around Lan Wangji. “This meeting is setting us on the path for a future for us to be mates as well as gain one. Please, give this a chance.” Lan Wangji squeezed him for a moment before stepping back. Ready or not, this was the moment.

They were the last to enter the room, everyone already seated. Lan Wangji bowed with his brother, barely taking his eyes from his mate. Just being near him, smelling his spicy foreign scent was a shock to his system. He could hardly smell the Jiang's or Shufu. In rare cases the ambient scents of one another were repugnant to the couple in question. Superstition dictated that persons present not part of the mating were to withhold their scents as much as possible, for the betrothal meeting to begin harmoniously. His usually sedate alpha was prowling in interest. At least his alpha was interested, recognizing the potential for combability.

“My nephews Lan Huan, courtesy name Xichen and Lan Zhan courtesy name Wangji.” The pride infusing Shufu’s voice made Lan Wangji warm.

“This is Wei Ying, courtesy name Wuxian. Son of my sworn brother, Wei Changze.” Uncle Jiang responded after they sat on either side of Shufu.

Wei Wuxian. The name held a resonance he didn’t understand. He had been taught to let the rules govern his actions, not instinct. The entire series of events felt like his instincts were hurtling them forward, leaving his mind struggling to catch up. He was floundering. Instead of reaching towards his future, it was here, in this exuberant, beaming creature.

“We are here to discuss the True Mating of Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji to Wei Wuxian. May we commence with the Scent Token Exchange?” Sect Leader Jiang nodded as Madam Yu looked the Lan alphas over critically.

“Xichen, Wangji to you have your Scent Tokens?” They each produced a small bit of blue fabric with a lace overlay, embroidered with a subtle white cloud design. Xiongzhang’s a darker blue than his. They were saturated with their alpha scents. Shufu nodded his head, indicating they should set them on the table in front of Wei Wuxian. If Wei Wuxian’s hand trembled slightly as he reached for the first cloth-Xiongzhang's-no one brought any notice to it. He held it to his face and took a deep breath, breathing out in nearly a whine. His eyes burned as his omega was brought closer to the surface. He then put it in a waiting jar and slapped the stopper in, removing that potent smell. He selected the nearby cup of bitter smelling herbs to clear the senses and repeated the process with Lan Wangji’s token. Seeing Wei Wuxian’s eyes blow wide and visibly fight back his omegan urges was titillating in unexpected ways. Putting his token in a separate jar, Wei Wuxian was handed his tea by his Sect Leader to steady him. Those participating in the Scent Token exchange were drinking their own pot of tea. A stronger blend of suppressant tea was necessary in order to stave off any triggered cycles.

Wei Wuxian looked at his Sect Leader who nodded encouragingly. “In Yunmeng, it is our custom to give our hair ribbons as a token. Since there are two of you, I cut it in half, I hope this is acceptable.” Lan Wangji fought the urge to shiver. He hadn’t gotten to hear Wei Wuxian’s voice before, only his laugh. It was very pleasant to listen to. Husky and deep, lacking the simpering tone he had heard other omegas use.

“That is acceptable. We would like to honor both Lan and Jiang traditions in our mating.” Lan Xichen spoke, Lan Wangji nodded his agreement. Wei Wuxian smiled brighter, his eyes creasing with happiness. He leaned forward to set a ribbon piece in front of each alpha. They each picked theirs up and inhaled deeply. Lan Wangji sat frozen as instincts welled up. Claim. Scent. Mine. Ours. Ours. OURS. Xiongzhang held his eyes closed as his hands clenched around the ribbon. Reactions gauged as a positive match by their audience they tucked their prize away. Jiang Fengmian clapped his hands once, expelling the tension as the alphas hastily drank their own tea.

“It is auspicious that they react so powerfully! It indicates a strong bond. Your mating will be a rewarding one.” He smiled at Shufu. Powerful bonds typically lead to deep ones.

Lan Qiren stroked his beard. “We may continue with the Mating Letter exchange before we, as their acting family heads, proceed with the writing of an advantageous mating contract. Receiving a nod from Yu Ziyuan and a smile from Sect Leader Jiang he began gathering the necessary supplies to begin negotiations. It struck Lan Wangji then-none of them had a mother or father to preside over the proceedings. Having only one memory of his father from childhood, and hearing of him so rarely, it was as if he was not there. An orphan in all but name. The thought brought a pang to his heart, their mother would have been overjoyed for them. Setting his letter next to Xiongzhang’s he pushed it towards Wei Wuxian. Who once again, leaned over the table to set his directly in front of them.

“Pardon me, Grandmaster Lan, but I have questions regarding the other letters and etiquettes in regards to two alpha brothers? Can I have a discreetly chaperoned meeting to discuss such with my mates-to-be?” Wei Wuxian had excellent points, the tone of the request was not as differential as it should have been, assertive instead of the meek way he was expecting. Lan Wangji was beginning to believe he had not met an omega like this one before. The idea thrilled him.

*****

Hearing Wei Wuxian’s request peaked Lan Xichen’s interest. In typical circumstances it would be unthinkable, however, having previously decided to have an equal mating with his brother and their mate such a conversation was actually necessary. Shufu furrowed his brow as Madam Yu scowled.

“I see no reason to disallow it as long as you’re properly chaperoned.” Sect Leader Jiang decided. Shufu nodded his assent.

“Proceed to the Garden Pavilion. You will be entirely in public, but able to speak freely without fear of being overheard.”

“Thank you, Grandmaster Lan, Uncle Jiang, Madam Yu.” Wei Wuxian stood and bowed quickly, moving toward the door just slow enough to not be outright rude. Lan Xichen smiled and bowed as deep and long as was proper and walked outside. Wangji one step behind him and Wei Wuxian managing to be next to them both.

“This way, Young Master Wei.” Slowing to match his pace with his companions, he directed Wei Wuxian toward the garden.

“Oh, no. If we’re going to be mates isn’t that too formal? Come now, it’s Wei Wuxian at least, but such handsome Geges can call me Wei Ying.” He said with a wink. Lan Xichen missed a step, so great was his surprise.

“Shameless!” Wangji’s scandalized tone sent Wei Wuxian cackling. The delighted laughter made the burn of the blush worth it.

“Which part of that was shameless? We’re supposed to be getting friendly. See I’ll call you Lan Xichen, and you Lan Zhan.” Lan Xichen could not remember ever hearing someone flirt with him so brazenly. His own cheeks stinging, but Wangji’s ears were a painful looking red. He wanted to coo it was so adorable. He also wanted to be a little mean, to see how far the blush spread. Reaching the pavilion distracted them all from Wei Wuxian’s flirtations. They each took a side of the small round table.

“What was it you wanted to discuss?” Watching Wangji pretend not to stare at their mate was the highlight of Lan Xichen’s morning. He had never seen Wangji have to try so hard not to react to someone, let alone so soon after meeting.

“Well, the thing is, I’ve never heard of a triple True Mating. With brothers besides. Before we get any further, I wanted to know your intentions. I wrote mine in the letters." Wei Ying scratched his nose and looked to the side before meeting first Wangji's gaze then his own. "Are you to be mated as well? Will you accept a bite from an omega?” Wei Wuxian swallowed and placed his hands on the table. “How closely will I be expected to follow all 3,000 rules in private? Will we all be living together? And! How do you want your tokens and letters? I don’t know you individually enough to write or gift you something personal. Your Mating Letters are the same. I hope that isn’t offensive.”

“You have a great many questions, Wei Wuxian.” Lan Xichen smiled at Wei Wuxian’s grin. “We intend to mate each other, yes, but we are to be mated to one another, equally. I speak for us both when I say we would wear your mark with pride." He paused for Wangji's expected 'Mn' of agreement. Wei Wuxian's smile became a softer thing in response. "Rule adherence will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but we expect you to follow the important ones, while others-Do not laugh too loudly-I expect will be waived in private. We have been given leave to remodel my home-the Hanshi-to house us all; as well as any children we are blessed with." Lan Xichen powered through his blush as the idea of making children. Watching Wei Wuxian's expressions as he spoke was a revelation, few wore their emotions so openly. "Matching tokens and letters are not offensive.” “Yes.” Wangji’s nod of agreement was apparently enough. Wei Wuxian laughed again and slapped the table.

“You two Geges are so dignified. I wonder how disappointed you’ll be when you realize that I am not.” Though he tried to make it flirtatious, there was a very real vulnerability to the statement.

“We have grown in very different environments. We will find middle ground. While our mating is being arranged for us, I believe we can still find happiness in this.” Lan Xichen laughed at the pink coloring Wei Wuxian’s face. That wasn’t even a direct compliment! He shared a look with his brother.

“Mn. Wei Ying cannot be a disappointment. We will enjoy knowing you.” Wangji was definitely paying back the Gege address. Wei Wuxian made a throaty squeal and hid his face.

“That’s too much! My delicate omegan heart cannot handle such earnestness!” Lan Xichen was so pleased. Wei Wuxian could be a match for them. He would be proud to be his husband. Wangji too was intrigued by their omega. Auspicious mating indeed. They spent some hours talking, getting to know one another. It was perfectly acceptable to spend time with your True Mate before the wedding, as long as they were properly chaperoned. Instincts would only be restrained so far and the concessions were necessary.

*****

Wei Wuxian hadn’t met any of the other male omegas before. He was looking forward to it. After the meeting with his mates, he saw that the Nie and Jin retinues had arrived. He saw some other smaller clans too, but didn’t remember any of their motifs. He rushed towards their dorm, hoping they would already be there. Shoving open the door he was surprised to find his things tidied.

Two men sat drinking tea as they chatted. One had a fan and the other a disarming smile…with dimples. Just looking at them he could already understand why they were the first and second ranked omegas.

He bowed “This one is Wei Ying, curtesy name Wei Wuxian, of the Yunmeng Jiang Sect.”

“Nie Baizhi courtesy name Nie Huaisang, heir of the Qinghe Nie Sect.”

“This one is Meng Yao, deputy of the Qinghe Nie Sect. Do please keep your belongings sprawled across your portion of the room.”

Wei Wuxian grinned at them both, bowing exaggeratedly low. “I’m so honored to share a dorm with such exalted omegas! You two are infamous in your excellence at the Omegan Arts. Please, won’t you take this one under your guidance-” He broke off when a pillow smacked him. Squawking in outrage, he waggled his finger. “Nie Huaisang! I am scandalized by your behavior! Why, who would think the beloved patron of the arts and master of fan dance would resort to such actions!”

Meng Yao wisely stepped back, stating. “Kindly, cease your infantile behavior by the time I came back from the Library, I would so hate for our first night as dorm mates to end poorly.” He wielded that dimpled smile like a dagger. They were going to be such great friends.

“Wei-xiong, how could you besmirch my honor in such a way?! Aren’t we already friends? Meng Yao, don’t leave! I need your help!”

Wei Wuxian laughed and played, Nie-xiong’s dramatic flailing and Meng Yao’s demure criticisms of their every move were hilarious. He insulted you so sweetly you almost couldn’t tell. This lecture season was going to be fantastic.

End Notes

I researched Ancient Chinese wedding customs, looked at several different sources, I know little more than the basics and I read what I could find on the three letters and six etiquettes. I tried my best to respectfully take the spirit of those and apply them here. I am however, taking creative license from traditions I am unfamiliar with and applying it to a MDZS poly ABO fanfic.

Shichen-1 shíchén=2 hours

Gazebos-While they originated in Egypt and spread from there, records indicate them being in China in the 4th century. They were primarily used in gardens. A pagoda is a type of gazebo that was used mainly in religious or meditative aspects. I’m calling it the Garden Pavilion, but it’s a gazebo.

Chapter Text

There will be smut in this chapter! First time writing it, did my best. As always, thanks to Husband, Rach and the Cafe!!

Chapter 4-Mating Gifts

Acting natural during classes wasn’t going great. His alphas had such presence! He was keenly aware of where they were at all times if they were anywhere in his vicinity. He couldn’t help it! Between Lan Zhan in the classroom and Lan Xichen refining their basic swordsmanship for the lunar cycle, it was a tease. He finally had two whole someone’s to challenge him, as such, he was constantly at war with his impulse control to not act out to get their attention. He compromised by flirting shamelessly where he could get away with it.

Lan Zhan was so much fun to get riled up! He was such a fuddy-duddy. Lan Xichen was so unaffected it made him want to push and push until he cracked, just to see what would happen. He never expected to find his mates so fascinating! Listening to Lan Zhan during class, the way his mind made different, but brilliant connections, well, he appreciated Lan Zhan for more than his handsome face. His brain and unyielding morals made Wei Wuxian want things he had only seen in spring books.

Lan Xichen is just so graceful! He makes sword forms and meditation and breathing look like it’s part dance and part poetry. He did all of it with a slight smile, his peaceful demeanor so calming to be around, Wei Wuxian fantasized about laying on top of him like a blanket to see if it would calm him too.

He gets to marry them.

Jiang Cheng thought his besotted mooning was disgusting. Shijie at least thought it was sweet. Nie Huaisang, kept smirking behind his fan and gave him exclusive access to his truly staggering amount of cut-sleeve porn. Meng Yao just dimpled at him and wished him the best on his impending marriage. Top ranked omega or not, that guy was terrifyingly competent. And they were both schemers. They let him whine and pout about his mates and their irritating perfection. Nie-xiong just waved his fan and gossiped about everything he knew of the Twin Alpha Jades. It was extensive. Meng Yao dimpled and made truly creative threats on how he could ruin them both if they did not stop leaving the room a mess.

One day after a class focusing on political maneuvering between regions and sects, Meng Yao sat him down, eyebrow twitching and listed all the ways that he was wrong and proceeded to lecture him on how to grow a political sense. If he was to be Lan Xichen’s mate, the future Lan Furen, he wouldn’t be a politically stupid one.

Meng Yao took it as his personal extracurricular activity to educate Wei Wuxian in these matters. Between the deputy and the heir of the Nie Sect, they could help him not embarrass his mates. His recompense would be an unnamed favor owed in the future. Seriously, dimples were losing the adorability he had associated with them and instead found the look slightly menacing. He was self-aware enough to see this for the opportunity it was and listened attentively. Well, as attentively as he could.

It helped that they were fun. Nie-xiong pretended to be too lazy and incompetent to be of any use at all. Wei Wuxian and he would talk circles around one another until they got bored and devolved into debates on art. Meng Yao was brilliant and with his training from the Nie sect that he could recall with perfect clarity, he could spot and fill the gaps in Wei Wuxian’s knowledge. He had good intuition, but as the omegan son of a servant and a rogue cultivator, he hadn’t received any formal training on how to manage a sect, only disciples. To put in Meng Yao’s terms, he could fumble his way inelegantly through most situations, but his awareness for any political consequences was on par with a child’s, and not a particularly clever one at that. Wei Wuxian was just glad to be on the same side as Meng Yao. Who could talk about hypothetical situations and remember every detail, noting every possible way a single thoughtless action could have the person in question flinging themselves off a cliff after Meng Yao backed them to the edge.

He so enjoyed being challenged by them. To…well, fail to outthink and outmaneuver someone who could see all the possibilities of a situation was amazing. It made him try harder. He no longer had to dull his skills-worried about how Madam Yu or Uncle Jiang would respond. How Jiang Cheng or Shijie would pay for his actions-he, in this place with thousands of rules had finally found the freedom to express himself. To wonder and to learn, to question everything. Grandmaster Lan was still an unbending master of the fuddy-duddys, but he would at least hear Wei Wuxian out as long as he wasn’t too outlandish on purpose and he was respectful. He had taken to assigning Wei Wuxian extra work to prepare for his future here and when his questions had no easy answer they debated the merits of one option or another in the papers he wrote. They would never quite agree on things, but they at least had an understanding. He had less time to be obnoxious with all the things he was learning. He came to the lectures expecting it to be dull and confining. Instead, he found a place to belong. People to belong to that belonged back . Friends. And mates. That he gets to marry!

He had practiced this for weeks. Hours spent in the kitchen learning. Preparing ingredients, taking mental notes, following the steps exactly. The Jiang cultivators and his dormmates had been eating a lot of rejected soup. Shijie helped him tweak the recipe enough for him to use with their restrictions but still adhere to the Original Family Soup recipe. Trying to make pork rib and lotus root soup for a couple of vegetarians as one of their betrothal gifts was a lot harder than he’d thought it would be.

Thankfully, The Soup had a substitutions, allergies and ingredient scarcity clause so their version was still valid. Using tofu instead of pork was challenging to get the flavors right. Simmering the tofu in pork bone broth was as close as he has gotten. It wasn’t meat and they didn’t kill the pig! He was following the rules...mostly. But this was important in the Jiang sect, without making The Soup for his mates, their mating would be practically invalid! He had even gotten an agitated huff from Grandmaster Lan which was as close to permission as he needed. This batch was as close to perfect as it was going to get. Not nearly spicy enough, but his mates’ bland palate wouldn’t be able to handle much flavor. Since this was The Soup, he couldn’t even give any to Shijie or Jiang Cheng to quality check his efforts. He transferred it to the pot and made his way slowly to the Garden Pavilion.

Since their Mating Meeting a few weeks ago, they made it a regular occurrence to meet together there. He got to see Lan Zhan and Lan Xichen in classes, but it wasn’t the same. He had to make absolutely sure his behavior was above reproach. He made up for his restraint outside the watchful eyes of the Lan Elders and Grandmaster Lan though. His mates found his antics funny. His fuddy-duddy’s needed some excitement in their lives. He even got Lan Zhan to almost smile! They liked him, he could tell.

He set up the dishes and prepared the tea. The kind of tea paired with The Soup could also indicate several different sentiments for the future of a marriage, but it was far more casual than the intricacies of The Soup's traditions. Sitting down just as his mates began walking up the path towards him, he wiggled in excitement. He was so proud to have someone to share this with. He remembered making 'mud soup' with Shijie and Jiang Cheng when they were children pretending to have a betrothed to present it to.

“Lan Zhan! Lan Xichen! It’s been ages since I got to see your faces! I was so bereft without your beauty.” He loved the way they would go slightly pink when he flirted.

“Wei Wuxian. You saw us both yesterday in classes.” Lan Xichen pointed out.

“Ages!” Wei Wuxian flopped over on the table dramatically, making sure not to bump any of the dishes. “However, as you are here now! I have my first Mating Gift for you both! Don’t worry I notified Grandmaster Lan and he has the chaperones around here somewhere, least you become so overwhelmed with my culinary mastery you attempt to ravish me.” He added a wink just to see Lan Zhan scoff.

“Ridiculous.”

“Ah! You haven’t tried it yet.” So saying he served them each a portion. Fixing them a cup of Yunmeng white tea. While he knew of the rule for no speaking while eating, as per custom he wasn’t partaking and was exempt. The pot was solely for his mates. At the first bite Lan Zhan’s eyes went wide, Lan Xichen coughed a little. Was that a good sign?

“Are you alright?” He poured more tea for them.

“Yes. Of course. You made this?” Lan Xichen set his spoon down to ‘pause’ eating.

“I did! I've been practicing, that's what I've been so busy in the evenings with. The Soup is part of a Jiang Tradition." He tapped his fingers on the table, needing to do something with the anxious energy. If they rejected The Soup, their mating would never be complete. "One of the ancestors professed his love to his cultivation partner by making him soup every day during their courting. After their marriage, together, they created a slightly different recipe. It became a tradition after their mating became famous for their devotion to one another." That had been one of his favorite stories of the Jiang. They loved as fiercely as any Lan. He was scanning the garden trying not to stare at them as they ate.

"Families have books of recipes going back generations they guard as heirlooms. In-laws that don’t approve of matches won’t share or make The Original Family Soup or the Immediate Family Couple Soup for the spouse that married in. To deny a betrothal request, in some places, all you have to do is refuse The Soup." It happened sometimes and was a huge sandal when it did. "Then, of course there are superstitions about a couple’s compatibility based on if they can’t tweak The Family Soup to incorporate their new spouse after marriage." Dock gossip was ripe with spiteful in-laws who were caught sabotaging The Couple Soup.

"Each couple is supposed to take the Original Family Soup and change it just a little, to symbolize each new marriage adding to the Family in a harmonious way. During the Qingming Festival we pick two soups for each living member to help make to honor a deceased couple, rotating which recipes get made every year.”

Wei Wuxian was looking upward reciting the history and importance of The Soup. Completely missing the hurried conversation happening in front of him made entirely through micro movements of their eyebrows and lips. They both agreed. They would eat The Soup. If it burned every taste bud on their tongue, they would eat the pot and like it.

He chattered on nonsensically, biting back every ‘do you like it?’ he wanted to ask. Determinedly looking away from them to avoid watching them eat, even he had limits on discourtesy. After a seemingly excessive amount of time, they were finished.

“Lan Xichen, is something wrong? You’re sweating. Lan Zhan? Your ears are really red. Oh, no! Was it too spicy?! I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have forced yourselves!”

Wei Wuxian wanted to cry. One of the few times since his presentation he really counted on his designation to give him an edge, he ruined it! Of course, he would ruin The Soup!! Their whole mating hinged on this and he made a mess of it!

“We did not force ourselves. Want to eat anything Wei Ying makes.” Lan Zhan’s normally deep voice was hoarse.

“Our precious mate made us an important meal he worked very hard on. Of course, we would eat it. I look forward to making our own Family Soup.” Lan Xichen’s eyes were starting to water.

“Ack. You Lan’s with your sincerity. What am I going to do with you? I will learn to make it blander.” Wei Wuxian peaked at them from behind his fingers. Sometimes they were so bright, so good, it made it hard to look at them directly.

“We will learn to eat spicy food too.”

“Mn.”

“Next time I make you The Soup it won’t be spicy at all! I promise!”

*****

It took hours for Lan Wangji’s mouth to stop burning. Knowing it was important to Wei Ying made the agony worth it. They were determined to make their mating as equal as they could. This mating would be nothing like his parent’s bond had been.

Their father, in a fit of passion, lost control of his alpha and mated their mother before she was ready. He had undue power over her as a result. Subtly influencing her will, bending her desires until he could hardly recognize the woman her fell in love with in the omega he married. Unable to stomach the shame of his errors, he went to live the remainder of his days in seclusion. Finally, free of her alpha mate’s influence, their mother regained a wisp of her former self. Due to her free-spirited nature however, living a solitary existence in captivity robbed her of her will. Had they been allowed to visit more than once a month, had their father been a better man and a stronger alpha, had the Elders not tried to hide his crimes, she would be alive today.

He and Xiongzhang knew she loved them, never once regretted them, but it still made him feel tainted somehow. Having been used as a way to further entrap a woman who had not been ready, did not know if she would ever be ready. By mutual and unspoken agreement, they would never corral Wei Ying. Never force him to be anything other than what he was. Any person that tried, would face the united wrath of the Twin Alpha Jades of the Gusu Lan Sect.

Idly plucking notes on Wangji, thinking of his mates. He began to work on a new composition. Taking many of the parts from the as of yet unnamed duet and rewriting it to fit a third melody. Wei Ying had mentioned idly that he had played the dizi. That would be a fine Mating gift. He would mention it to Xiongzhang.

Getting to know Wei Ying only deepened his immediate attraction to him. He was so full of life. Wild, untamed, and beautiful with joy spilling out of him. Meeting him was like stepping into a bright patch of sunlight after being in the cold dark. Too bright at first, searing your eyes, making your cold skin prickle but slowly, as the chill receded and spots cleared from your vision, it was fundamentally changing. To feel the warmth seeping into you, melting your tension, you wanted only to bask in the light and the warmth and the beauty of it.

He had always loved Xiongzhang, would not know who he was without him. To know that he too would bask in the light that was Wei Ying brought him such happiness. To have the old love of his brother and together find a new love to balance them. To learn the ways of marriage together, their future a broad path before them. No greater joy had he yet experienced.

Noting the time Wangji set his work away, covering his instrument and changing into an old set of robes. He was not sure how fruitful this would be, but hoped the effort would not be in vain. With permission from Shufu, he had cleared a small plot of land in one of the sunniest patches near the Gentian House. He was planting a pepper garden for his mate, as many varieties as he could find seeds for. While the air was cooler here, the sun and ground hopefully warm enough to grow them. He had researched talismans for agricultural use, but he lacked the finesse of experience. If no peppers grew, he would set up a chili pepper account with their regular merchants. In the case of True Mates, there was no set timeline to follow. When all conditions of the Mating had been met, and the extravagant robes were complete they could marry at the first auspicious date that fit their cycles. Deciding to wait until the sprouts were little larger to present them to his mate was difficult. He wanted to have the date, now. He recalled the rules that pertained to patience.

He looked forward to being married to his mates. To have a life together, to build a life together. Never again would he have to part ways with them only to return to his lonely home. His view had shifted dramatically since meeting Wei Ying. He wanted his future now. He wanted to kiss Xiongzhang like he had been dreaming of since he was old enough to know what that meant. He wanted to know if Wei Ying tasted like sunshine, if his sweat tasted like he smelled.

After a lifetime of patience, he was as impatient as a child with a sweet. He spent the time fantasizing about them together in their home. Domestic pleasures and sexual delights. Falling asleep wrapped around Wei Ying, Xiongzhang on his other side, their arms overlapping. Listening to Wei Ying rattle off whatever thought came to his brilliant mind over shared meals. Making music together as the winter snows fell. Kissing his brother until he could not breathe, Wei Ying speared on their cocks between them. Xiongzhang holding him down while he slowly fucked into him, making him take it, as slowly as he wanted him too. Wei Ying putting his chattering mouth to another purpose.

That was enough for the day. All the weeds pulled, talismans checked and the seedlings watered, Lan Wangji cleaned his tools, washed the worst of the dirt off his hands and turned towards the Jingshi. His brother stood watching him.

“Wangji.” His voice was husky, usually present smile morphed into something else.

“Xiongzhang.” Hopefully the effect of his carnal imaginings was not particularly detectable.

“Your betrothal gift is coming along nicely. You’ve been working hard.” Lan Wangji could feel the weight of Xiongzhang’s eyes. It made him burn. He continued walking towards him.

“Have you considered a dizi for yours?”

“Hmm. A wonderful idea, thank you.”

“Mn.” Close enough to touch him now, his brother reached out grabbing his hand and brought it to his neck, just the tips of his fingers slowly tracing over where he would bite on their wedding night, the scent gland releasing the smell of his arousal. “Xiongzhang.” His voice was gravelly.

“Hmm.” Not quite a moan, but close enough to take Lan Wangji from mostly hard to painfully erect. He grabbed his brothers’ hand with his scented finger tips and brought it to his own neck, let them carry this little piece of one another. They had been so very good for so very long. They held eye contact, adding a layer of intensity to the moment. It was not even a proper scenting, and yet it set him ablaze, the cold burn of arousal consuming him. Without a word he squeezed the hand he was holding and left. He felt eyes on him until he went around the bend in the path.

As soon as the door of the Jingshi closed behind him, Lan Wangji was undoing his belt, shrugging out of his filthy over robe and first layer as he stalked towards the bed. The sound of his steps and the rustle of fabric loud in the stillness. Flinging his remaining robes off he hurriedly undid the ties of his under clothes pushing them aside just enough to not be in the way. He left his robes where they fell off the bed. Reaching into the alcove next to his bed he grabbed Wei Ying’s ribbon from the stoppered jar he kept it in. Arousal was a living thing in his chest, howling for release. The bond too new, the feelings too big, his alpha too unrestrained, he wanted so much.

He undid the knot of his forehead ribbon, all the better to feel it. His breathing became laborious, the pounding of his heart loud enough to be nearly audible. The throbbing ache in his groin already riding that edge of agony-sweet. He had been hard for so long it was painful; the first touch of his hand made his legs jerk. Precum eased the glide of his too rough strokes. He panted for breath, tightening his grip. Stroked faster. Spreading his legs as his hips thrust. The smell of Xiongzhang still clinging to his fingers mixing with the scents saturating the red ribbon wrapped around his fingers. His mates. He had mates. He wanted them so bad he ached with it. His skin yearned for their touch, his heart for their bond.

Every lascivious thought he ever entertained about Xiongzhang, refocused to encompass Wei Ying with them. Fucking Wei Ying while swallowing Xiongzhang to the root. Bouncing in his brother’s lap while Wei Ying thrust into his mouth. Spearing his fingers inside Xiongzhang, so deep he could almost touch the golden core burning brightly within, preparing him for Wei Ying to take. He groaned deep in his chest as the images flickered in his mind. Bodies, scents, sweat, so intermingled, if only they put more effort into it. Fucked a little faster. Kissed a little harder. Held a little tighter. They could fuse together. Carry pieces of each other around.

He traced the head of his cock. Going about his duties with his mates cum still wet inside himself. Cock raw with the ferocity of their couplings. Knowing Wei Ying was dripping with the essence of them as he played with Nie Huaisang and Meng Yao. Xiongzhang, sitting in meetings, cock still dribbling cum from the orgasms they rung from him. Teaching sword forms feeling the sweet ache of bruises and the sharp bite of pleasure when scratches pull. Wei Ying smiling brilliantly in the library, proudly displaying the love marks on top of his bond bites. His toes clenched, pleasure wringing up the center of him. So close, so close. The knowledge that soon he would finally, finally be spending his rut with Xiongzhang. Yes. Sharing heats and ruts. Wei Ying in heat. In heat for them. He threw his head back, eyes squeezed shut, fist jerking. Taking his brother’s knot while Wei Ying watched, fucking himself with his fingers, riveted, waiting his turn to be held down and knotted. Loosing himself in the slick heat of Wei Ying, his body itself trying to suck him in and stay. Stay. Knot locking them together so he could not leave. Knotting and being knotted.

“Hnnng” Lan Wangji’s whole body trembled with the force of his release. Painting his chest with his spend, he panted, fingers tenderly stroking his knot as his orgasm went on. Aftershocks tingling through his core, he swiped a finger through his seed, careful not to get any on the ribbon. Tasting himself with the scents of his mates on his hand caused his spent cock to twitch in interest. They smelled so good together. He could not wait to touch them, drink in their pleasure and make them cry for more. More of what he could give them.

With the come down came a chill, prickling exposed skin as sweat cooled. Shucking his dirty pants, he used the ball of fabric to clean himself as best he could. Using a burst of spiritual energy, he heated the water for a bath. Taking his time to luxuriate in the hot water and the aftershocks of pleasure still zipping through him. He would need to dress soon. He was meeting his Xiongzhang and future in-laws in two incense sticks time.

*****

Lan Xichen felt his alpha losing patience with the pomp of organizing a True Mating between the future Lan Sect Leader, his heir and their omega. Instinct rarely heeded reason; only strength of will. This was testing his admittedly strong will. He craved them. He needed them. In his sight and in his bed. In his home. He had been distracting himself with redesigning and refurbishing areas of the Hanshi. He had left it exactly as it had been when he moved in, only putting items in storage or shutting up rooms-what need did he have for what was clearly a nursery? as a newly presented alpha,-designating rooms, picking furniture and fixtures to fill their home made the empty spaces echo. Arranging a room to hold their young made him grit his teeth against the ache.

He had been resigned to his fate, destined for an arranged mating to an omega with good breeding, demur attitude and almost entirely ornamental, a pretty broodmare. That future not outright repugnant by the idea of children. He loved children. Until it was deemed beneath him, in his twelfth year, his favorite duty had been to take a rotation in the nursery. The way toddlers explored the world! So full of emotion and wonder.

Wangji in particular had been the cutest baby. He wanted that for Wangji. Fatherhood, love, companionship. Only, of course, if he wanted those things for himself. He would never allow an arranged mating if his Didi did not desire it. Watching Wangji, hopefully, find someone to love would hurt, as a healing wound hurts. He wanted more for Wangji. This was in part, why he had never directed their fledgling bond one way or the other. How painful would it be for them both take steps down the path of Bonded Mates only for duty to demand blood heirs? Hope flourished eternal, because neither could he take steps to eliminate the option all together. At the crossroads they lingered, holding fast to one another, better to wait, even too long, than make a rash decision that might ruin them both. Then the gods had smiled on them and given them a mate to share. Opened an unseen third path, for them all to walk, together.

He knew he was falling in love with Wei Wuxian, how could he not? He was brilliant and enchanting. He was the only person who treated them both as they were. Young men with a position, yes, but men all the same. Never envious nor simpering towards them. He truly perceived the heart of them. Tempting Lan Xichen into selfishness and Wangji into disregard of their rigid upbringing. To have his steadfast, necessary as breath, love for his Didi, matched by the dazzling warmth of his growing affection for Wei Wuxian…It was the perfect enhancement of an already wonderful thing. He felt he was able to know Wei Wuxian’s character, but was hungry for more. More details, more connections, more of him. Always he had followed the path set before him. The fact that he wanted for the pure desire of want was a revelation. And with Wei Wuxian’s sibling’s here, well, would it not be advantageous to know his future Sister and Brother in-law? Surely it was proper, even, to cultivate a familial relationship with them. That he would undoubtedly learn more of Wei Wuxian to hoard and share only with Wangji was a just perk.

He left for Caiyi Town, thanks to Wangji’s suggestion, he was going to commission a set of dizi to present to Wei Wuxian. One to be made from quality jade and the other from white bamboo. Excessive, but as he mentioned he had not played in several years, he should have an option on which to play. Bamboo produced a quieter sound, perfect for playing with them in the Hanshi. While the jade was heartier, the range was fixed, but it could produce such beautiful sounds. The music they would make! Gentle harmonies and chasing melodies. Passing years together. Making a family! Having the chance to be the parent they all had deserved but never got.

He lost himself in the idea of teaching their children to play an instrument. Correcting little fingers, listening to the shriek of butchered notes as they learned. Sharing Fatherhood with Wangji, finding new ways to love his mates as he discovered new sides to them, saw how they wore parenthood. He so hoped any sons had Wangji’s pudgy cheeks and little scowl. Their daughters he wished to have Wei Wuxian’s dancing eyes and unruly hair. He wanted. The gods were kind. Maybe they’d be kinder yet and gift them with a son and a daughter.

Walking past a booth selling children’s toys he could not resist the urge to buy a paper butterfly. The butterfly would be lonely without a friend, there was a need to get a dragonfly as well. The stall over was selling the smallest baby clothing! It had bunnies embroidered on the front! He needed to take it home. This would be the perfect blanket to pad the cradle, it had clouds. Look at that wool rug! Dyed a blue so light it was almost white in the center and darkened at the edges. It would look so lovely in the nursery. Hardwood was really too firm for such a delicate creature as an infant. It was not until the shop owner was bowing before him, thanking him profusely for his patronage and asking if there were any special orders, he could possibly make for such an honored patron that Lan Xichen came back to himself.

“I-No, please, thank you for your wares, sir.” Lan Xichen inclined his head and walked briskly away. He had no idea what happened. But it would seem he emptied his money pouch, on nursery paraphernalia…the marriage date had not even been set.

They must spend at least three months in regular company for their cycles to align. The marriage date would then be set so they go into heat and rut at the same time. It was considered extremely good fortune to enter the pre-state on the wedding night. He knew he had broken the spirit of several precepts, but he could make a claim as to why each item was necessary. Infants grew quickly, were often dirty and he was showing his mates how invested he was in their future happiness.

Decided, he tried to pack everything into his qiankun sleeves and pouches. Grateful for his upper body strength, he made his way home, walking the wiser option with such weight. He had planned to meet with his future in-laws later. It would be rude to keep them waiting, and he needed to unpack and reorganize. Children eventually grew out of nursery’s, of course their next room would need to be properly furnished. Besides, they would want the baby to be close to them their first year or two, so would need a separate sleeping area for when they were still nursing. Truly, he was embodying the spirit of being a considerate, well prepared mate-which was also in the precepts.

Arriving to the Hanshi, he stacked all the qiankun bags along a shelf, setting the heavier items along the wall, he unpacked his sleeves. Organizing all of this would have to wait until the renovations were complete. Since the renovations were all additions, he thankfully was not displaced by the circumstances. Humming softly to himself as he grouped the bags by contents. He stepped back. He was so very pleased with this day already. He had not even met in future in-laws for tea yet.

He had sent the invitation via Wei Wuxian for them to gather together over tea. He was thrilled when they accepted. They had so much to catch up on. They would want to know Wangji and he must know more of Wei Wuxian. Dropping by the Jingshi on his way to the Garden Pavilion he knocked softly before entering. Wangji’s hair was wet at the tips. He licked his lips, heat building at the realization that he could smell the remains of Wangji’s arousal, his release. Musk and sweat cloying like honey on his tongue. Wangji turned and showed not an inkling of embarrassment as he carefully set his ribbon piece into a stoppered jar and stowed it in an alcove.

“Xiongzhang.”

“Wangji.” He cleared his throat, regaining himself. “Are you ready?”

“Yes.” Wangji fixed the folds of his sleeves and turned to walk with him toward the pavilion. Wangji stared at him with an extra intensity as they walked and Lan Xichen yearned. Though he himself started this at the field, he could not take the escalation.

“Wangji, please.” He closed his eyes and stopped walking. “Mn.” He could hear Wangji take a breath and the weight of his attention lessoned. “Thank you. It is important we wait until Wei Wuxian can be part of us.” Wangji nodded his agreement. Barring their small lapse in the pepper garden, they had been perfectly behaved. They smiled at one another in their way-brightly and only with his eyes-and went to their meeting.

The Jiang siblings were a study in contrasts, they each embodied their designation rather literally. Jiang Yanli demur, her compassion visible to the eye. Jiang Wanyin was aggressive and loud, but not unkind. They reached the pavilion and flagged down a passing servant to prepare tea and snacks, as she left, the Jiang’s arrived, greetings exchanged, they all sat. Lan Xichen persevered through the awkward atmosphere.

“Maiden Jiang, Wei Wuxian speaks very highly of you, he was particularly enthusiastic about your cooking.” She hid a laugh in her sleeve.

“A-Xian, would praise that. He tells me your sword forms are particularly graceful and a joy to watch.”

“He flatters me.” Jiang Wanyin looked angrily over Wangji’s head as Wangji himself stared into the middle distance.

“Would you be willing to tell me what he was like as a child?” Lan Xichen tried to convey earnestness rather than a devout need to know. Maiden Jiang’s smile was fond.

“When our father first brought him home, he was withdrawn and quiet. Afraid at first, but once he trusted us as his siblings, he was always getting into mischief. He was a particularly charming child. He and A-Cheng were constantly running and playing, often in the lakes. A-Xian used to find and make us gifts, shiny rocks and pretty flowers from his adventures, pictures or poems during his studies.”

Jiang Wanyin took a deep breath “He was a brat. Constantly dragging us all into trouble then trying to smile his way out of it again. He took his role of being a big brother way too seriously at that age; taking any punishment, giving me extra food or blankets, like we didn’t have more. As soon as a dog was around though he’d run and hide behind me and A-Jie.”

“He is frightened of dogs?” Wangji spoke up.

“Yes, very much so. He lived on the streets for a time before our father found him. The dogs of Yiling are particularly vicious from the innate resentful energy of the nearby Burial Mounds.”

“It’ll be your job to protect him from them after your marriage.” Jiang Wanyin met their eyes and dared them to dismiss this.

“Of course.” Lan Xichen smiled, Wangji nodding his head once. “How fortunate pets are forbidden in the Cloud Recesses and Caiyi Town has few strays.”

“Maiden Jiang, I look forward to gaining a sister and another younger brother. I do so hope we can become close.”

“Of course! We must. Siblings should be close. I also hope to know my two new brothers.” He could understand why Wei Wuxian loved her so. Her kindness was palpable. Hopefully they could soon trade stories as was the right of elder siblings everywhere. He made a point to ask if she was available for tea this time next week. Grinning brightly, she agreed.

 

End Notes-

The Soup lore is an idea from Cicer's Twitter. Borrowed with permission! Basically, making soup/learning to make the family recipe is a gesture of devotion/intent so if you eat/make The Families Soup you’re common law married. And! Tofu is thought to have been around since the Han dynasty around 202-260 BC.

Qingming Festival-Tomb-sweeping Day

柏 (bǎi) meaning "cypress tree, cedar" and 志 (zhì) meaning "will, purpose, ambition" to make Baizhi.

I’m rolling with the idea that the weight of the items in a qiankun bag is reduced, but still present. Otherwise, what is stopping you from putting a whole house worth of items in there? Also, the redesign of the Hanshi has the main room, their bedroom, a nursery, and a kid room. (Lan Xichen wants ALL the babies, so he is planning like the nursery will always have an occupant, when they grow out of it, the kid room, then the junior dorms. He is 10 steps ahead and just waiting for life to catch up.)

Chapter Text

Continued thankfulness to Rach, Husband and the Café. You are all delightful beings and I adore you.

This chapter has 'angst'. And Jin Zixun, who is his own warning. Don't worry it'll be fine. It's so brief you don't even need a tag to hold when it gets rough.

Chapter 5-Growing Closer

Later in the week classes moved from politics in general to Sect specific. They were learning about the foundation of the Five Great Sects to understand their beginnings. The purpose was to educate them about the customs of the Sects around them, where they aligned and how they differed. A basis for how to behave and what to expect when visiting each area; the intention being less diplomatic incidents when they were out night hunting in other territories.

Lan An had been a monk until a chance meeting with his True Mate changed his course of life. Not willing to let the chance of happiness pass him by, as did some of his brethren, he left the order on good terms. Together with his mate, they created the Lan Sect with the same principles Lan An lived by as a monk. Grandmaster Lan paused his lecture so the students could see pieces of the Treasures of the Lan from the time of their inception. Much of it was poetry and scholarly mementoes. The poetry was a little dry, for Wei Wuxian’s taste, but he could appreciate it.

An obnoxious student behind him was muttering “Are the Lan’s without pride entirely? This stack of paper is part of their Creation Treasure? Pah, my sect has single items of value worth more than this whole collection.” Wei Wuxian gritted his teeth and ignored him the best he could.

“How did the Sect even grow? Who would join?” He continued. Wei Wuxian felt his anger rising. The disrespect. This was a mountain full of fuddy-duddy’s true, but every cultivator should know wisdom is less fickle than wealth; a hard year can rob you of riches, hard years only gain wisdom.

“And yet here you are learning from them, what, that fancy Sect of yours can’t buy an education?”

The Jin sneered at him. “Hmph and what would the son of a servant know? Are the Jiang’s so desperate for disciples that they take in any gutter spawn?”

“I may be the son of a servant, but better a servant than a Jin.”

“What did you say to me?!” He bellowed, face red. “How dare you speak to me like that! I am the nephew of Sect Leader Jin himself!”

“Well, that explains a few things.” We Wuxian muttered.

“Filthy omega, someone needs to teach you how to speak to your betters-”

“You think being a beta or a Jin makes you better than me?” Snorting with laughter, he garbled the question.

“Is there a problem here?” Jiang Yanli interrupted, smiling softly as she cut through the watching crowd.

“Yes, this street-servant omega insulted the great Jin Sect and its leader, my Uncle. I demand an apology.” Shijie’s smile got thinner. Wei Wuxian grabbed her sleeve, muttering that it was fine.

“Oh? Then I must apologize on behalf of my Didi.” She bowed shallowly. The Jin disciple smirked meanly.

“His lack of manners reflect poorly on your Sect. Maiden Jiang, in the Jin Sect, you won’t have to call such people your shidi.”

“Now, you will apologize to A-Xian. He is not, nor has he ever been a street-servant. You disrespect my Sect and my siblings by implying he is only my shidi. He is my Didi, the omegan first disciple of the Yunmeng Jiang Sect and you will treat him with the respect he deserves from a beta disciple of the Jin.”

“Maiden Jiang, I will not, he is just some omega-”

“Ah, ah, ah, can you really afford to offend my Shijie? Isn’t your Sect counting on her good standing to regain your face? You wouldn’t want to lose your Sect what little you have left now would you?” Jin Zixun was so red, he was nearly purple with rage.

“How dare a pair of-” His mouth sealed itself shut. Grandmaster Lan and Lan Zhan, alerted by senior disciples, walked into the room.

“What precisely is going on here?” Grandmaster Lan looked heavily at Wei Wuxian, he tried not to quail under the scowl. He hadn’t done anything, really! Defending his future Sect aligned with the rules!

“Young Master Jin was disparaging my brother. After he implied something rude, I corrected him and requested an apology. He took issue with apologizing to an omega.” Jiang Yanli cut in demurely.

“Is this true?” Grandmaster Lan barked at the crowd.

“He-well, he-He said some rather rude things about the Lan sect to boast about his own. Wei-xiong was, I don’t know, only defending the scholarly pursuits of the Lan’s, then he called Wei-xiong a street-servant and said disparaging things about omegas.” Nie Huaisang offered half hiding behind his fan as Grandmaster Lan scowled at the room.

“Grandmaster Lan, Lan Zhan I will apologize for my part in causing a disturbance, but does it not follow the precepts of the Lan to speak up when someone is being slandered?” While a formal betrothal announcement hadn’t yet been released-The Lan and Jiang were finalizing a trade agreement for some the Jiang’s dye techniques and the sturdier wood of Gusu-Wei Wuxian wouldn’t stand for someone slandering his mates.

“While that may be, it is against the precepts to argue in a public setting. You will write the Book of Conduct out twice. Jin Zixun, you will face thirty strikes of the discipline rulers and copy the Book of Etiquette five times. You are to serve punishment in the library with Wangji today Wei Wuxian. You will serve punishment under one of the other teacher’s tomorrow, Jin Zixun.”

“Yes, Grandmaster Lan. Thank you for today’s lesson.” He squeezed his sister hand as he passed, knowing he would be expected to find her after punishment. Wei Wuxian nearly whistled on his way to the library to begin punishment. He knew Grandmaster Lan liked him! This was practically a date! He wouldn't have been sorry anyway, but this was almost a reward.

*****

Jin Zixun sneered. Who was he to talk down to someone from the Jin Sect? Those fucking omegas made him lose face, how dare they? Everyone knew an omega was only good for breeding. He hoped for his cousin’s sake that omega bitch would learn her proper place after they married. She was marring into the Jin Sect, they would teach her how omegas behaved. Uncle would never allow an omega to speak against a beta in such a way. It was that Wei Wuxian’s fault. He swaggered around the Cloud Recesses like he was worth anything. He was just some servant's son! Who everyone knew was actually the unclaimed bastard of Sect Leader Jiang. Everyone knew that was why his wife hated him! And he was even an omega. Worse! A male omega! How disgusting! Where was his pride as a man!? Following after those stuck-up Lans like a bitch in heat. It was an embarrassment. How dare one such as he speak to Jin Zixun like they were equals. That bitch omega should be bowing his head.

He would have made the list of Young Masters if not for those fucking omegas. It was an omega who had cost him his place in the cultivation world. Who had lost the superior Jin Sect its standing. If his Uncle hadn’t been disgraced by that whores omega son; he would be getting the respect he deserves! That omega was out of his reach, spreading his legs for the Nie’s made him untouchable....but this one wasn’t. He would teach that arrogant servant who his betters were.

*****

Laughing loudly at his brother on their way back from Caiyi town, Wei Wuxian was having a fantastic day. He was able to find another pair of tokens to give to his mates and got a meal with flavor. And meat. The tokens were a matched set of jade bunny statues. He thought the Twin Jades could have their own twins. He hoped they would like it, it had cost him most of the money he brought with him, but it would be worth it for the smiles he would get in return. He had already presented them with their betrothal gifts, tokens were a way to show his regard and pleasure with their upcoming wedding.

It happened on the path towards the staircase leading into the Cloud Recesses. A distant bark made Wei Wuxian shudder. He looked nervously around, stepping closer to Jiang Cheng. Suddenly, one of the female Jin disciples ran towards them.

“Young Master Jiang! We need your help deciding the outcome of our contest. Someone as renowned as you would be the best judge. Please won’t you help us?” Jiang Cheng flushed and glanced at Wei Wuxian. He nodded exaggeratedly and shooed his brother away. He was to meet his mates at the Garden Pavilion soon. They were already running a little late. Besides they were nearly to the Cloud Recesses. He could survive without a chaperone for the time it would take to jog up those stairs. With a wave and an exaggerated look at Jiang Cheng he started jogging. Midway up the first set of stairs Wei Wuxian once again heard the sound of a distant bark. He didn't want to meet up with his mates edgy, so he decided to bend the rules and fly. He was about to step in his sword when a louder, closer bark sounded.

All of a sudden, he was a child again. His parents fresh gone. Alone and scared and cold. He’d seen feral dogs before, but never when he was so vulnerable, so alone. He looked at the big fluffy dog in front of him and smiled. A friend!! He could help Wei Ying stay warm and safe. The street and the cold would seem less scary with a fluffy friend. They could protect each other. The dog moved closer and Wei Ying saw how dirty he was. How thin. The dog growled and the bloom of hope turned to an icy paralyzing fear, spreading to every part of his body.

“It’s ok Doggy. I’m alone too. We can be friends” Wei Ying spoke, voice wispy and shaking as he backed away. The dog lunged and he screamed for his parents. He doesn’t remember what happened after that but he has scars on his arms and legs and a crippling fear of dogs. Now, Wei Wuxian was fantastic at taking bad events and locking them in a box. He took the box and piled things on top until he could almost forget it was even there. The problem with this, is when the tension gets too tight, the box just a bit too small. What he locked away comes roaring out and it’s hard to remember that it already happened.

He started to run up the stairs, panic crawling through his veins as the bark echoed around him. He knew the mountains and trees distorted sound, he needed to get away! More crawling than running up the stairs now, adrenaline and fear making him clumsy. There was another, closer bark. Tears burned his eyes as he struggled to go faster. His sword! He could fly! He unsheathed Suibian shaking so bad he almost dropped it. He stepped on, looking back over his shoulder. And it was there. A big black spiritual dog stood at the bottom in the staircase. Hackles raised. He screamed. This was something out of his nightmares. Endless stairs trying to outrun four legs and teeth.

Shaking and crying, Wei Wuxian tried to hover on his blade. Suibian didn't even move. The dog snarled and lunged. Screaming so loud his own ears hurt, Wei Wuxian slipped, cracking his elbows and back on different ledges of the stairs under him. He didn’t know where Suibian was. He needed his sword! Trying to call his blade didn’t work. Why wasn’t it working? The click of claws on stone and huffing breaths was getting louder. The dog was almost on him. He whimpered, too terror-struck to scream anymore. He covered his face and made himself small. Arms and legs protecting his soft center.

The animal scream of terror and pain startled him so badly he rolled down the steps he braced himself on. Blurry through his tears he could see his mates. His mates were here! They would save him! Lan Zhan had a cord wrapped around the dog's middle while Lan Xichen pulled taunt the one around its neck.

“Wangji”

“Mn”

Lan Xichen put his xiao to his lips and played something for suppression and sleep. This wasn’t an accident. That was a spiritual dog. Healthy and well trained. Few students at the Cloud Recesses had access to this quality of spirit dog and motive enough to cause it to attack. Fewer still, knew of Wei Wuxian’s fears.

“WEI WUXIAN!!!!” Jiang Cheng jumped off his sword nearly before it stopped causing him to pinwheel his arms to not fall down the steep staircase before kneeling next to his brother.

“I’m fine.” His chattering teeth distorted the words.

“Jiang Wanyin. Please fly and get Grandmaster Lan immediately. Take my Jade Token, it will allow you to pass through the wards unencumbered. We need to find out who did this and why. We will stay with Wei Wuxian.”

“My brother-” Jiang Chang really looked at them. And decided he wanted no part of the ferocity breaking the icy layer of their control. Their True Mate had just been terrorized in their home.

“Of course. Take care of my brother.” He may be their mate, but that was his brother. “We will see to our mates wellbeing.” Lan Xichen assured as he squeezed Wei Wuxian before mounting his sword.

The dog safely asleep and bound in chords. Jiang Cheng looked back to make sure they were making good on their word. And saw Lan Wangji walk over and pick Wei Wuxian up. Just lifted an entire person up by his waist. Like that was a thing people do!! Gross. They would be good mates. He pushed Sandu faster.

Trying to stop shaking and pull himself together Wei Wuxian sat in between his mates nearly on top of them. This was something from his nightmares. Thinking he was safe. He was in a place where he didn’t have to wait for the surprise attack. His head was full of his mates and someone set a dog on him. A dog.

“You don’t have to sit here with me. I can handle it.” Wei Wuxian made himself say through his still chattering teeth.

“We know you are capable of fighting your battles alone. That was never in question. Having a mate, or two in this case, means you do not have to.” Lan Xichen brought his arm up to wrap around his shoulders, pulling him closer.

“Mn. You will never again face your fears alone.” Lan Zhan’s arm was holding his waist. The grips were almost too tight to be comfortable, but it was a grounding sort of pain. Reminding him, that they were here. They would protect him.

“While you do not need our protection, it is yours anyway. Having the power to protect someone you care for is a gift. Would you refuse us the right to do so?”

They were so very clever, his mates. He flinched at the sight of the bound dog. He closed his eyes and leaned into the comfort. He was safe. Here with them nothing bad could happen. He let go.

*****

Lan Wangji breathed deeply, trying to settle himself and his alpha with the deliberate and repetitive motions. In. Someone did this intentionally. Stalked his mate. Out. Got him alone to terrorize him with a dog. He could have seriously injured himself in his panic. In. They could have lost their mate before they even truly got him. Out. The persons responsible would pay.

He clenched his teeth and squeezed Wei Ying’s hip, bracketing him safely between himself and Xiongzhang. This would never happen again. He saw the sword glares in the distance. Leaning heavier into Wei Ying as his shudders slowly-far too slowly-died down. He could see his own barely restrained rage in Xiongzhang. This would never happen again. Finally, Jiang Wanyin and Shufu arrived. Jiang Wanyin stood next to the dog, he was looking at the color and checking to see if there were any indications to whom the dog belonged.

“Xichen, Wangji. What has happened to Wei Wuxian?” Shufu asked carefully. His nephews they may be, but he knew the restraint and logic over instinct can only go so far. He would treat the situation with the delicacy that two highly agitated alphas and their terrorized mate deserved. Their scents were thick enough he was uncomfortable.

“Someone set their spiritual dog on my brother. The dog has a yellow collar with a peony crest on it.” Shufu reared back in shock. To deliberately set a dog on someone in the Cloud Recesses was a serious offence. “I will contact Sect Leaders Jin and Jiang immediately. You three, escort Wei Wuxian to the Healing Pavilion.” Without waiting for an agreement Shufu stalked off the just arriving disciples following him. Lan Wangji watched as they put the dog in a net and took it away.

“As soon as I find out who is responsible, I’m going to break their legs.” Jiang Wanyin growled. His own lightning scent making the already charged air become oppressive.

“The perpetrators have done harm to the betrothed of the Gusu Lan Alphas. They have angered the Lan and Jiang sects. They will face punishment.” Lan Xichen’s face was smiling, but every other aspect of him was seething. The dichromacy of it was unsettling to see.

“Come on, Wei Wuxian, can’t you walk?” Jiang Wanyin grabbed Wei Ying’s elbow, trying to stand him up. Wei Ying tried to get to his feet, but the fear and adrenaline crash had left him shaky and exhausted. Seeing an opportunity, Lan Wangji walked over and once again picked Wei Ying up. Cradling him against his chest.

Xiongzhang smiled a little more genuinely and walked almost inappropriately close to them. Arms pressed together as they climbed the stairs. Jiang Wanyin complained about how unfair it was that no one would believe the shamelessness of the Lan. And they had better not be scenting his brother before the wedding. Though he made several complains and threats as they climbed the stairs, his tone was soft. He reached out to poke and prod Wei Ying as they walked. Wei Ying batted at his brother's hands and sleepily nuzzled into Lan Wangji's chest. He whined and reached out an arm to tangle in Xiongzhang’s sleeve. Surrounded by the scent of his brother and mates Wei Ying was relaxing step by step.

The time allowed him to fixate on how to speed up the wedding preparations rather than imagining ways to harm the persons responsible. Or how to successfully keep Wei Ying in the Cloud Recesses always. He would have run of the whole mountain. Xiongzhang would help him, he was sure. Who could better protect their beloved then them? Who could tenderly care for him better? Than they themselves in the territory where they ruled, the Elders could be managed. They could make Wei Ying safe and comfortable. These thoughts did nothing to calm his alpha. He took a deep breath and turned his attention toward the wedding.

The betrothal invitations. He would ask the Cloud Seamstresses about the wedding robes. Check on the pepper garden.

By the time they reached the healing pavilion Wei Ying was asleep outright. Healer Nuan hustled them inside muttering about irresponsible people trying to frighten an omega half into a qi deviation. “Please, when he wakes send for us.” Xiongzhang spoke for them. This was the Healer that had delivered them into the world, dried their tears and stealthily kissed skinned knees. Her omegan designation seamlessly tying into her healing nature made her exude maternal comfort. Wei Ying would like her very much.

Healer Nuan harrumphed, “Of course. You take care of this mess and I will take care of him. You may each lightly scent him. The pheromones will calm your designations and will make soothing his qi easier.” She gathered needles and herbal infusions as she spoke, guessing what he would need from decades of experience. She would refine treatment once his qi was calm enough to investigate accurately. With one last lingering glance from Jiang Wanyin and a quick scenting, they left the pavilion and went to meet Shufu at the Rushi.

“I didn’t think this Sect would be a good match for my brother. He is too unruly to be a good member. But now I see that you need him to remind you that there is a world outside your rules, as much as he needs you to remind him to stop. Fucking. Pushing. You can pull him out of whatever chaos he gets himself into. You will be a good balance for each other.”

“Thank you. I hope we can be happy together.” Lan Xichen smiled broadly.

“Yes.”

The conversation cut short when they arrived at the Rushi. Shufu had tea waiting for them, his expression thunderous. As soon as they sat, he launched into a summary of events.

“After transporting the dog, it was awoken by the dormitories, hoping when prompted it would lead us to her owner. It led us to the dorm of Jin Zixuan and Jin Zixun. One of whom, as you remember, had an altercation with Wei Wuxian earlier this week." Shufu stroked his bread rather hard as he huffed. "Further inquiries towards the female Jin disciples indicate that Jin Zixun is the owner of the dog. He had been keeping git Caiyi Town during his stay. He will be severely punished for a harmful prank on a fellow disciple." Shufu paused. Looking them over before continuing.

"However, we know thanks to fellow classmate testimony that he has been harboring a grudge against omegas for years. He has been punished twice more for further disparaging comments towards Wei Wuxian and Jiang Yanli in particular. While we were planning on making the formal announcement next lunar cycle, I think it would behoove us to send the formal announcement of your betrothal early. His punishment can also serve as a warning. It is unfortunate that we must make an example of him, but this resentment would only grow. As his mates, and family representative is this acceptable? I will discuss this with your father when he arrives.” He nodded at Jiang Wanyin as he spoke.

Nodding their agreement and thanks to Shufu, they were dismissed to start drafting the betrothal announcements. Lan Wangji hated that Wei Ying had been tormented, but spared a moment to appreciate that the outcome of this would speed up the wedding date without him having to interfere. He sent a note to the Cloud Seamstress’ workshop politely inquiring on the status and informing her of the accelerated timeline.

It was a point of pride in the match for the groom(s) to handwrite a portion of the announcements. They had agreed to write them all-the invitations to the major sects, the minor sects and personal invitations for friends-it would take them days. Thankfully they could be sent out in batches by importance. Jiang Wanyin took his leave to inform their sister of events. Who would surely be at Wei Ying’s bedside until he awoke. Lan Wangji wrote until his hand began to cramp with overuse. The sooner they finished this, the sooner he could claim his mates. The fabric was measured, the Cloud Seamstresses were to start on the extensive embroidery soon. He reached for another scroll, only for Xiongzhang to intercept.

“Wangji, let us take a break. We can check on Wei Wuxian and get dinner.” Xiongzhang’s calloused fingers began to massage the worst of the cramp as he spoke. He looked down, “Wangji, please.” Between the not intended to be sensual touch and the imploring gaze, he agreed. “Let us visit Wei Wuxian. Sect Leader Jiang should be here by tomorrow, we will finalize the wedding details. He will officially be ours soon.”

Lan Wangji was fighting his instincts to claim Wei Ying and damn the consequences. He battelled every impulse to make events unfold faster. Wei Ying deserved a proper courting and marriage. Xiongzhang deserved the deliberate steps toward the future they chose. Someone dared. Threaten. What was theirs. He wanted to keep his mate in their almost-ready home. To cook for, to play for. To fuck, to bite. To breed. He indulged in the fantasy of it, not locked away, never locked away, only protected. Safe. Adored. He heaved a sigh. Such a free spirit would not enjoy it. Ruthlessly quashing the thought that he could make him. He set his brush down.

“Will visit Wei Ying. Thank you, Xiongzhang.” Gently stowing their work, they headed towards the healing pavilion. The future he was walking towards would be here soon enough. He knew how to be patient.

*****

Lan Xichen looked down at Wei Wuxian. He was sleeping curled up smaller than looked comfortable. He reached down and brushed strands of hair off his face. Fingers trailing along his cheek. It hurt to see someone with so much vitality look so frail. He would never allow this to happen again. Maiden Jiang coughed delicately. He smiled a little and stepped back.

“Thank you for being with him when we were elsewhere.” Wangji bowed to her. Maiden Jiang smiled.

“You don’t have to thank me for loving my brother. But I know he will appreciate your concern when he wakes.”

“You have our thanks irregardless, Maiden Jiang.” Lan Xichen bowed as well.

“Oh, none of that now. We are to be family and already friends, I hope. Please, call me Jiang Yanli.” Her smile really was lovely.

“I must then insist you call me Lan Xichen.”

“You may also call me informally, Jiang Yanli.” Her smile broadened. “I’m so happy my Didi has such wonderful mates.”

“It is us who are lucky. We are honored by your faith and blessings.”

“I will begin making soup for us all soon. We can eat together when he wakes.”

“The Family Soup? You must hold us in high esteem indeed. We appreciate your regard.”

“He practiced his recipe for you both for weeks. Cultivation comes so naturally to him, he’s never had to fully dedicate himself to it. That was how I knew how much he cares for his mates-he was willing to fail again and again and still didn’t give up.” She laughed lightly at their blush. “It is this sister’s fondest wish, to see her brothers marry well and if not for love, for the possibility of it.”

“I hope our personal betrothal gifts will make him as happy as ours did.” Wangji spoke softly, not glancing away from Wei Wuxian.

“I must admit, I am eager to see his response to them.” Lan Xichen’s smile was shy.

“If it comes from the heart of his mates, how could he be anything other than pleased?”

“Shijie, Lan Xichen. It’s too much. I can’t take this much wholesome. Lan Zhan, you have to save my poor weak heart from them.” Wei Wuxian whined curling towards Lan Xichen as he grabbed Wangji’s hand.

Jiang Yanli smiled at her brothers’ antics. He had been awake long enough to cling to his mates and for the blush to be vivid.

“A-Xian! We were all so very worried! I’m going to make us some Family Soup. Will you be alright?” She fussed over him, rubbing her wrist along his cheek.

“You want to leave me here alone?! With these two handsome alphas?! Shijie, whatever shall I do in such glorious company? Why, we may even cause a scandal!” He waggled his eyebrows at her and winked.

Jiang Yanli tutted and tapped his nose. “They are much too proper for such things, and you’d never break your Shijie’s heart by depriving her the tea ceremony of a proper wedding.”

He nodded earnestly back. “I would never!”

“I’ll let A-Cheng and Healer Nuan know you’re awake. Should I alert Grandmaster Lan as well?”

“No, thank you. I must speak with Shufu. Our betrothal announcement scrolls are nearly complete.” Wangji spoke. Wei Wuxian tugged playfully at his fingers.

“Please, if you can, I will have The Soup ready within a shichen.” Wangji nodded.

“I would be honored. Thank you…Jiang Yanli.” Wangji bowed and after a glance at his mates, leaned forward and brushed his lips against Wei Wuxian’s knuckles. Wei Wuxian screeched like a cat, sputtering about such shameless behavior, in public no less! And how dare Lan Zhan try and wound his poor omega this way. Lan Xichen could smell the smug satisfaction curling around Wangji. He escorted a giggling Jiang Yanli out of the room.

“Is simple tenderness so terrible for you?” Lan Xichen asked, leaning closer to Wei Wuxian. The relief of seeing Wei Wuxian’s vibrancy and smelling the sunshine of his happiness left him feeling playful.

“You Lans are so earnest! It makes my heart race.” Wei Wuxian mumbled half hiding behind Lan Xichen’s own sleeve.

“Oh? We will see if we can find other ways to make your heart race.” Lan Xichen sat back, radiating the same smug scent as Wangji at Wei Wuxian’s gob smacked look.

“How could you?!-I can’t believe-Lan Xichen!” Wei Wuxian was red clear to his collar.

Healer Nuan bustled in. “Finally awake, hmm? Would you like him to leave? No? Alright, lay down flat please, Young Master Xichen please move over there. Yes, thank you. Wrist please.” She directed them as she sat on the bed. “Now, Young Master Wei, your meridians were in a flux and your qi was unstable-not unexpected, given from what I understand of the situation-but you will need to take great care these last few weeks of class. How many sword form classes are left, Young Master Xichen? One. Good. You can resume normal activities, but you will need to meditate more often and drink the tea I give you." She waved her hands as she spoke, sleeves billowing as she fussed.

"The stress of such a situation occurring again could very well send you into a qi deviation at worst or send your omega into a frenzy at best. You are very lucky your True Mates were so close or this would have been much worse. Your omega may be less stable, needing the security of your mates nearby. You are allowed to fully scent and be scented by them for the next three days. Under my direct supervision.” She patted his head, gaze tender and warm. “To have such a harrowing event happen in their territory, your alphas will need the reassurance as much as you, that you’re all safe here. If your omega doesn’t stabilize in three days or your alphas-please pass this to Lan Wangji-then you will need to see me.”

“You gave us a fright. You should never have to fear your safety while in the Cloud Recesses.” Lan Xichen spoke earnestly.

“Aiya, all this fuss, over one such as I.” Wei Wuxian quailed under the gaze of Healer Nuan. Her ‘I’m-not-mad-I-am-incredibly-disappointed-in-you’ look was as powerful now as it was when Lan Xichen was a child.

“I must have misheard you Young Master Wei, it almost sounded as though you were denying your True Alpha Mates their divine fated right to be concerned for the wellbeing of their newly found and dearly regarded mate while he was deliberately and maliciously targeted in their own territory. But that would be rather silly, would it not?” Her smile was sharp and sweet.

“I-ah-that is-I would never!-You must understand-” Wei Wuxian flailed at a complete loss for words.

“Yes, dear one. Take a minute to work that out. In the meantime, drink this and wait here until Young Master Wangji returns. You all need a proper scenting, under supervision and I will need to see how your designations respond.” She patted his head again. Somehow comforting and slightly mocking at once.

“Young Master Xichen, you and Young Master Wangji will also need a quick examination. Your tight control will only be pushed so far.” So saying she bustled off.

“She is really something.” Wei Wuxian sounded a little shell shocked.

Lan Xichen laughed quietly, trailing his fingers along the back of Wei Wuxian’s hand. “She is indeed. Does our affection truly trouble you so?”

Lan Xichen held his gaze steady as Wei Wuxian jolted and squirmed.

“Ah-no. That is. I.” Wei Wuxian blew out a breath.

“The thing is, I have only ever counted on my Shijie and Jiang Cheng to be concerned for me. I-Ugh-this is so embarrassing. Well, Madam Yu and Uncle Jiang made sure I know where I stand, in their own ways. And what that means in regards to my place in their family and in the sect. To suddenly be here, and have you both is….a lot. It’s not bad! Just, just new. I don’t want you to stop, I just don’t know how to handle it, yet.” Wei Wuxian stared at their entwined hands as he mumbled the words.

“We will get you used to it then. We will show you how highly we regard you, everyday.” Lan Xichen’s smile was blinding. Wei Wuxian’s mouth fell open.

His mate was obviously under a misconception in regards to his own merit, any mate worth the title would certainly take great pains to correct this. He looked forward to the opportunity. He and Wangji had been denied affection and affirmation their whole lives that did not come from the other-praise for how they were was not the same as praise for who they were-Wei Wuxian would reap the benefit. The outpouring of their hungry devotion would fill the gaps in him the love of his own siblings could not fill.

“You have to warn me! You can’t just say things like that! Everyday. Who would survive that?!” Wei Wuxian must be boiling with how flushed his face was. Lan Xichen squeezed his hand, he tried looking at Wei Wuxian from under his lashes the way he had seen Wei Wuxian himself do.

“Is…that bad? Would our feelings be a burden to you?” Lan Xichen knew this was underhand, but he was wooing his mate; surely that meant nothing was too dishonest if the intentions were just.

“ACK!” Wei Wuxian pulled Lan Xichen’s sleeve up to hide behind like a screen. “Lan Xichen, please. Mercy, I am but a humble omega, too delicate for such taunting.” Wei Wuxian whined piteously.

“Hmm. Very well. I will be very very nice to you instead then, shall I?” Lan Xichen was thoroughly enjoying teasing Wei Wuxian. He collapsed in a blushing heap at the first sign of earnest devotion. “Is this any different then training our palate to handle spice? We must train you to handle our affections. A mating based on such compromises is fortuitous, no?” He could not smother the laughter in his tone completely, Wei Wuxian groaned, sinking into the mattress, face still hidden with his own sleeve.

“Xiongzhang.” Wangji sounded a little concerned. The room was filled with the scent of Wei Wuxian’s pleased embarrassment, the honeyed sharpness of it was like poking a bruise, a feel good hurt he wanted to bask in, to cause.

“Wangji, please come sit.” Lan Xichen moved from a chair to the mattress patting the other side of the bed.

“Wei Ying?” Wangji sat gingerly, the tilt of his head questioning.

“Your brother is a menace, Lan Zhan, he teased me mercilessly.” Wei Wuxian finally uncovered his face, and brought the hand still holding his own to point at him in emphasis.

“I merely informed him that we will remind him everyday of our affections, lest he forgets.”

“Mn.” Wangji nodded decisively.

“You two!” Wei Wuxian grabbed Wangji’s sleeve in his other hand. It settled him to have the three of them together, Wei Wuxian a bridge between them. Yes, he thought, this is what he needed. His mates here together, scents intermingling ever so slightly.

“Healer Nuan will be in momentarily.” Wangji reported.

“Did she inform you of the scenting and what to expect from your alpha?” Lan Xichen questioned, he believed Wangji’s alpha would take the separation harder, his alpha was more instinct driven, but only slightly more than Lan Xichen’s own.

“I am to come to her if I have any irregularities and to spend as much time with the two of you as I can. Shufu declared that Jin Zixun will be removed from classes until his formal expulsion.” Wei Wuxian involuntarily flinched at the sound of his name.

“Ah, ha, so it was a Jin then huh? Hardly surprising. Which one was that again?” He tried to play off his response.

Lan Xichen stroked his knuckles, Wangji grabbed his other hand and held it tightly. “He is the one you so gallantly took to task for slandering our Sect. Wangji informed me of the altercation.”

“He should have more sense than to mouth off about another Sect while making use of their hospitality!”

Healer Nuan knocked twice before opening the door. Lan Xichen and Wangji stiffened reflexively at their inappropriate seating arrangement.

“Oh good, you are giving in to the need to touch. Touch and scent are the quickest ways to settle your designations." She stood in front of them, looking at them sternly. "The rules for scenting are thus! Only in the healing pavilion when I am present. Two to three times a day as needed. I trust I do not need to remind you three to behave as proper young masters about this? You are not flouting rules, you are appeasing your designations to safely reassure yourselves and each other that all is well. This is to prevent any hormonal upsets not to cause them. Understood?” Receiving three affirmative nods. She carried on.

“You are mating each other as well, yes? Good. You two first. Wrist gland to wrist gland both of them, clasp hands and hold for a five count. Good. Now Young Master Xichen you and Young Master Wei do the same, then Young Master Wangji. You want to layer the scents together.” She stepped back so as not to be obtrusive. Scenting was typically saved for the marriage ceremony for a reason. It was intensely private and they deserved to have a piece of that.

Scenting your mate is an inherently sensual experience. Doing so under supervision and after such a harrowing experience took much of the eroticism out of it but still left all of the comfort. He had not even realized how much tension he was carrying. How hard he was trying to keep himself together, afraid one wrong move would shatter the control and he would lose himself to his alphas urges completely. To succumb to the rage demanding retribution and the desire to claim his mates. He closed his eyes and basked in the peace filling him. Wangji’s cool woodsy scent mixing perfectly with Wei Wuxian’s sunny spice. He almost sagged into Wangji, the feeling of relief was so intense.

Wangji took an audible breath. He must be feeling the same peace he was. He opened his eyes and smiled at Wangji. Whose gaze was full of fire. He looked parched and hungry, eyes darting between Wei Wuxian and himself. Before he could speak Wangji took a deep breath and slowly released it. Deliberately choosing to focus on the comfort rather than the desire. He looked at Wei Wuxian. Who looked exhausted and somehow peaceful. Eyes mostly closed wearing a slight smile.

“Wei Wuxian?”

“Hmm?”

“Wei Ying are you alright?”

He flapped a hand listing over until he was leaning on Wangji. “’m fine. I feel drunk. Can you get drunk on comfort?” He almost slurred.

He shot an alarmed look at Healer Nuan.

“I do not believe so, however, the response might be typical of a distressed omega being fully scented by his two alpha True Mates. Much of your situation is unique, it is difficult to say if there is any one cause or if it culminates. Your responses to one another do seem to be on the stronger side of things though." She stepped close enough to smell them. Her eyes widened and she stepped back.

"Hmm.  I will be sure to tell your Uncle to select your auspicious date carefully. If one of you were to slip even once on your suppressant teas I am not sure you could fight your designations. Your scents have blended rather seamlessly for this early in your courtship. Indicating the bond is already strong, I would bet your cycles have already synced." She raised a finger and took on a warning tone. "Let that be a warning to you. You will shame your sects and your families if this wedding does not follow proper protocols. Young Master Wei, if after you eat, you are feeling better you may leave, if you still feel woozy or your omega is distressed in anyway you will stay overnight. Clear? Wonderful. You boys will need to meditate. Get to it.”

Lan Xichen assumed the lotus position eyes closing, the shifting of the bed indicating the other two were doing the same. The bed was just big enough for them to all sit, knees overlapping as they meditated, restoring balance to their designations. Lan Xichen brought his wrist to his nose, tongue darting out to taste the scents there. His eyes flew open, that was a terrible idea! Desire pulsed within him, he grit his teeth and brought the urges to heel. This situation was only just this side of scandalous, if anyone walked in and smelled arousal in the air…He exhaled sharply. Then jolted, Wei Wuxian was resting his palms on each knee touching his. He had to lean too forward to be truly comfortable.

“Wei Ying?” Wangji’s voice was deeper than usual. He was so attuned to Lan Xichen he must have caught the crackle hiss scent of his desire.

“I feel better when I can touch you. Is it ok?” Wangji grabbed Wei Wuxian’s hand before the question could be asked. Lan Xichen followed suit.

“Whatever makes you most comfortable. We were not raised to be tactile, but have no aversion to touch when it is you.” Lan Xichen squeezed their laced fingers. Wangji raised their hands rubbing his cheek against Wei Wuxian’s hand before softly kissing it. Land Xichen reached out and slowly entangled his fingers with Wangji’s.

They had scented and held hands often as children finding comfort in it. The familiar scent and touch took on a new meaning when flavored with intent.

The time to sate their desires would come. Soon enough. This was about comfort and reassurance.

Laying the foundation for what he was optimistically hoping would become a great love.

*****

Jiang Yanli stirred the pot briskly, removing it from the heat, she set out the traveling case for The Soup. It was her favorite set, it had been a gift from Jin Zixuan, decorated with purple lotus flowers. She was impatient to get back to her brother but recognized that the mates needed some time to themselves. She hoped A-Xian would confide in them. She knew very well the terror an unaggressive puppy could instill in her brother, let alone a hunting spiritual dog. A-Cheng told her of the peony crest on the dog's collar.

She so hoped Jin Zixuan wasn’t involved. She liked him, could easily fall in love with him, she looked forward to being his wife. They had slowly been getting to know one another better. The difference between occasional letters and seeing one another across the classrooms had added an element of reality to their future together. He had been ill-footed and painfully awkward the first few times they had spoken. Slowly though, like the sun rising, he had opened up to her. They had begun sharing thoughts and conversation together. Always with a proper chaperone of course. It would break her heart to break off their betrothal. But if he had anything to do with the plot against her brother she would do so.

Traveling case packed she briskly walked back to the Healing Pavilion. “Lady Jiang!” She paused hearing her name spoken loudly behind her. Turning she found Lou Qingyang, one of the few female alpha Jin disciples. And her betrotheds good friend. She was speed walking towards Jiang Yanli.

“Ah, Lady Jiang. I heard about what happened, is your brother alright?”

“He will be. Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji arrived in time to stop the attack.” Lou Qingyang raised an eyebrow at the familiar address but didn’t comment.

“I have given testimony that Jin Zixun planned this. Please also allow me to assure you that the female disciples were genuine in asking your brother to spend time with them, none of them had bad intentions I swear it.” She bowed deeply to Jiang Yanli.

“Please, A-Cheng said as much himself. When they heard A-Xian scream they helped A-Cheng search for our brother.” Jiang Yanli touched her clasped hands.

“I will not hold the entire Jin Sect responsible for the actions of one member.”

Lou Qingyang rose and smiled. “I’m relieved to hear you say that. Let me further reassure you that Jin Zixuan wasn’t involved. He respects omegas and would never jeopardize your betrothal besides. He has spoken very highly of you and enjoyed your last meal together.” She said with a bright grin. “Please, allow me to escort you to where you were headed.”

Jiang Yanli smiled in return and led the way to the Healing Pavilion. “Thank you, Maiden Lou.”

“Oh, no, please, my friends call me Mianmian.”

“Then I insist you call me Yanli. Thank you for seeking me out, your reassurance puts me at ease.”

“May I seek you out again? I have enjoyed your company during classes and chaperoning and would be pleased to know you further.” Jiang Yanli smiled.

“Please do, I would dearly love to have a friend. Especially one in the sect I intend to marry into.” Mianmian grinned back and inclined her head. She continued on the path as Jiang Yanli went up the pavilion's steps. She knocked twice before opening the door. Healer Nuan was expecting her.

“Ah, Jiang Yanli. Please come in, they should be settled enough now. Is your brother going to join?”

“No, Healer Nuan. He is finishing his report of events and waiting for our Father to arrive.”

“Alright, then you can all eat in the room. Just this once though!” She went back to mixing and measuring tinctures.

Pausing outside the screen door to A-Xian’s room she knocked lightly, the rap, pause, taptaptap, a remnant from childhood. The three of them had created ways to belong to each other as siblings. Many a secret handshake/knock/meeting place they still used for fun. “Shijie!” he called as she opened the door. It soothed her to hear him sounding centered again. She was slow to anger and even slower to hate-but she felt both for the person who had caused her Didi such distress-and for nothing more than wounded pride.

“A-Xian! Are you feeling better?” She flushed a little to see them sitting so close together, holding hands on A-Xian’s bed. The casual intimacy of it made her want to simultaneously stare and look away. Lan Xichen stood up, detangling himself from his mates to help her dish The Soup.

“No, please, I’ll do it.” Jiang Yanli smiled at Lan Xichen.

“I must insist, after all you cooked it, please allow me to help.” He smiled back. They waited a moment to see who would fold.

“Ahahahaha” A-Xian broke the standoff with howling laughter. “They’re trying to out polite one another! They are so used to their smile getting them their own way.” The force of his laughter sent him falling over into Lan Wangji, who was even smiling slightly at them.

“Together then?” Lan Xichen suggested. Jiang Yanli nodded, preparing a bowl to give her Didi. Lan Xichen doing the same for his own. She then prepared his bowl as he, chuckling, made hers.

“I must admit, I am unused to having an elder sibling.” Lan Xichen beamed as if she complimented him.

“I am so pleased to gain so much with this mating.”

“Ah, Shijie, your Soup really is the best. I could practice one hundred years and mine still wouldn’t be as great.”

She hid her pleased smile behind a bite of Soup. Watching A-Xian interact with his mates made her eyes sting and her heart so full. This was what she wanted for her A-Xian. He needed someone to need him, to love him. He needed to be reminded that he was adored and he belonged. These two, she could already tell, were making that place for him. A perfect space to slot into, not confining, but fitting. She only hoped her own marriage would be half as lucky.

*****

Lan Qiren was exhausted. This was a complete mess. One student attacking another, while rare, was an expected occurrence. Teenagers were irrational beings. Throw this many sects and this many designations together and something would blow up. But to have an alpha deliberately set his own spirit dog on a betrothed omega in his intendeds territory was a new level of idiocy he only saw once in a decade.

While Formal Announcements had yet to be released, Those boys were anything but subtle. Wei Wuxian flirts shamelessly with his nephews, everywhere! Wangji had smiled! In public! Xichen had taken to showing off during sword classes, not enough to outright break any precepts, but enough to clearly demonstrate this was an alpha trying to impress his chosen mate. True Mates were so embarrassing. Teenagers were embarrassing. Teenage True Mates made him want to enter seclusion just to spare himself the second-hand embarrassment. Even when they were not doing anything indecent they were still so shameless. Rumors were already circulating about how close they all were. Social climbing students had already reported back to their parents enough that he had received informal congratulations on his nephews being so blessed.

Now he had to clean up the aftermath. Expelling students was always messy. The political repercussions alone made it unnecessarily trying. Particularly one from the Jin Sect. Born later in life to older parents, Jin Guangshan had been pampered and grew into an odious man who cared only for momentary pleasures and riches. His significantly older brother, Jin Guangyi had been a much more suitable leader. Jin Guangyi had been a scholar as well, who cared about the common people and a friend whom Lan Qiren still missed. He had succumbed to an ‘illness’ of the mind and Jin Guangshan took his place as Sect Leader.

He held no fear of Jin Guangshan, but a wariness, he would hold a grudge and wait until a weak moment to pay back imagined slights ten-fold. The wisest way to deal with him was to cut off any avenue of retribution. Surmising that Jin Guangshan would not raise too much fuss over his nephew he planned to present a united front with the Jiang Sect. Furthermore the Jin Sect was counting on the prestige of their heir marrying Jiang Yanli.

The underbelly of the Great Sects was a dark miasma of treachery. A delicate dance of passive aggressive power plays, smiling faces plotting your downfall as you took tea together. He so hoped his nephews’ generation would be slightly better.

He became a teacher to have a direct hand in the future of the cultivation world. Trying to impress upon the uncaring youth consequences and any sort of morality. His effect was small, but he tried to change what he could. Seeing a student leave a better person than they arrived was so rewarding.

Watching with pride as a student he taught grew into a well-rounded cultivator who cared about the world they lived in, it, made a tired man hope.

Those students made every expulsion and political nightmare worth it.

Seeing Wei Wuxian curb his antics to be worthy of his nephews made it worth it.

Watching his nephews fall in love with a mate who loved them recklessly made it worth it.

He closed his eyes and meditated, letting the wind in the bamboo forest fill his spirit with peace. They were worth Jin Guangshan.

 

Too soon a disciple informed him Jiang Fengmian had arrived. He walked to the gate to meet him.

“Sect Leader Jiang.” Lan Qiren bowed, receiving an equal bow in return. “May we meet in the Elegance Pavilion? I would like us to be comfortable while we discuss events quickly.” While they were not friends-too different in temperament- Lan Qiren liked Jiang Fengmian. He was an honest, if ineffectual sort of man.

“My reasons for bringing you here are two-fold. I would like to discuss moving the wedding up in response to the attack on your ward. Jin Guangshan will make noise but will be less effective if the notices have already been sent out. To have him beholden to our Sects for quietly dealing with the issue would only benefit us all." He loathed the politicking that came with leadership.

"The attack on Wei Wuxian happened exactly as I penned in my note. Investigations prove that it was Jin Zixun acting alone and without knowledge or support from Jin Zixuan. When called on, Jin Zixuan needed no prompting to identify his cousin's dog or condemn his actions. I hope not to strain Sect relations with this response.”

Jiang Fengmian looked as tired as Lan Qiren felt. “Thank you, Acting Sect Leader Lan. My children’s stay seems to have livened events in the Cloud Recesses.” The joke fell a little flat, but the attempt at levity was appreciated.

“I hope Lotus Pier has enjoyed the peace.” Lan Qiren deadpanned back. Sect Leader Jiang laughed.

“Undoubtedly many have.” Sect Leader Jiang heaved a breath. “I will agree to the plan you have outlined, it seems the most effective way to avoid negative fallout from these events. It is a relief to know A-Li’s betrothed wasn’t involved in this. I have brought with me a finalized version of A-Ying’s Mating Contract. I think both sects will benefit handsomely from the trade agreements. You said A-Ying wasn’t harmed in the attack?”

Lan Qiren took the contract, trading it for one of the betrothal notices Wangji and Xichen had completed earlier. Pending Sect Leader Jiang’s approval they could be sent out immediately and become widespread knowledge within the day. If past actions were any indication Sect Leader Jin would not leave his tower for two days or so after receiving a summons. He read over the contract, it would indeed favor both Sects nicely. The Elder’s would be rather pleased. They lost the ability to try and pair his nephews to someone they believed to be a good match. All the better to erase the stain of his brother's folly, but this would soothe them further.

Smiling, Sect Leader Jiang looked over the announcements. “They wrote these themselves didn’t they? They must be fond of A-Xian indeed. It gladdens my heart to know.”

“They insisted they write all of them.” Lan Qiren knew the pride he felt for his nephews was visible, but it was not excessive to be so.

“How are they progressing?” Sect Leader Jiang leaned forward in interest. 

“Wei Wuxian presented his personal gift, and has discussed with me in passing some talismans to gift to the Lan Sect as a whole. Wangji and Xichen’s personal gifts have not yet progressed to the point of gifting, but their Sect gifts are nearly complete. I have prepared the head of family gift to bestow to Wei Wuxian’s natal sect.”

“Though it was slightly ahead of schedule I too brought the head of family gift for the Lan sect. A-Ying’s letters indicate a strong connection already and I wanted to be prepared. It may be best to exchange them now to show the close ties and our approval of the match.”

“I have only witnessed two True Matings, and they did not require this level of formality, but they each seem to have developed the awareness of each other that typically comes after mating, to err on the side of caution is wise. Our Healer advised we find the closest suitable date for them.” Lan Qiren stroked his beard. His nephews were above reproach and had exemplary control over their alphas, however, one test at a weak moment can break that.

“Would tomorrow be soon enough to formally exchange gifts? By then word will have spread enough for it to be an appropriate time”. 

“Yes. I believe so. We will meet here after breakfast to formally exchange gifts.” Sect Leader Jiang took a long sip of tea. Nodding firmly with a slight smile.

“Very well. I would like to visit my children and check on A-Xian.” Exchanging bows they went their separate ways for the night both pleased with the meeting.

*****

It was against the precepts to enjoy the folly of others. To plan and execute any form of revenge. He would assign himself handstands for it later. If Lan Qiren was a little slower to shut down rumors, well, he was a very busy man, he had wedding preparations to oversee. Jin Guangshan’s intended slight in arriving late gave them the time they needed for news to circulate about the True Mating of his nephews and Wei Wuxian. Soon enough the gossip of Jin Zixun’s planned attack on Wei Wuxian would also be common knowledge. It would make the already precarious position of Jin Guangshan’s role all the more unstable. By delaying dealing with the spark he had allowed the flames to grow. He would need to copy the rules as well. Petty satisfaction was also against the precepts.

“Why Sect Leader Lan, surely we don’t need to have such a fuss for schoolboy folly?” Jin Guangshan chuckled.

“Unfortunately, we do. You see, the student your nephew attacked was Wei Wuxian. My ward and First Disciple. As well as the True Mate of both Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji.” Sect Leader Jiang's smile was vicious.

“I-I hadn’t heard! What a wonderful event for the Lan Sect! There hasn’t been a True Mating between Great Sects in generations.” Jin Guangshan visibly deflated. He had been a Sect Leader long enough to see the pitfalls of this. If he did anything other than accept what they demanded, the betrothal between the Jiang and the Jin would be annulled and they would be within their rights to stop all interactions with the Jin. If two major clans froze the Jin out then the rest would surely follow. He had been bested and he knew it.

Looking aged and tired, Jin Guangshan spoke. “What would you like for recompense from the Jin Sect?”

Lan Qiren smiled widely enough that it could be seen through his beard. “Let us negotiate.”

Chapter Notes.

The Twin Jades found a moment to threaten Jin Zixun. Under direct supervision. The can't actually do him harm for a few reasons. And I like the idea of Jin Zixun being so cowed by them that he never looks directly at WWX again.

毅 (yì) meaning "resolute, decisive, firm" Let me invent painful character backstory to further knife us all. Jin Guangshan definitely poisoned his brother to take over as Sect Leader. His brother threatened to cut him off if he didn’t stop being an awful human being. In revenge, JGS drove him crazy, compromised his brother's crush and married her before his brother succumbed to madness. He never got the opportunity to confess or let her know of his interest.

Hopefully the respectful tweaking of the six etiquettes to fit continues. I’m making it so Each Mate gifts their intended something personal, then the family/sect something personal, to show how useful they can be in their marriage and to their new family. The other shows their mate and in-laws how well they will care for the one marrying in. In the case of WWX/LXC/LWJ it’s personal and sect gifts-They have no parents or blood sibling NOT in the mating to present it to as well as their acting Family Heads are the Sect Leaders-In return,

The Lan Alpha’s will make a personal gift to WWX and the Jiang Sect. Then each Sect will gift a generic present for the dowry/betrothal gift, which is what they are exchanging here. The etiquettes are out of order because it’s a True Mating. Suppression teas will only last so long and since their bond is stronger than average even for True Mates, LQR/JFM are basically racing the clock to get the boys married before instinct overrides propriety and they elope/compromise each other. In this AU it’s a little risqué, but not out of bounds for a high-profile marriage to be rushed like this.

Because people will first hear of the Betrothal then the attack, the rumor mill will do what it does and make it into a Jin Guangshan did it on purpose ect ect. Since he already lost face and is a deplorable human, he can’t stand against the Lan and Jiang Sects, his nephew knows too much for him to simply throw him out. So he is stuck watching as the pedestal he built for himself crumbles beneath him due to his own actions.

Chapter Text

Thank you to Husband, Rach and the Café for the support and kindness. You're treasures.

 

The atmosphere of classes took a strange turn. By this point, the attempted attack by Jin Zixun was common knowledge, so too that he was the True Mate of the Twin Jades. Jin Zixun’s noisy and public expulsion, escorted by a stone-faced Sect Leader Jin was seen by many. Further spinning the rumor mill was Sect Leader Jin threatening to banish Jin Zixun from the Sect if he said another word. Since then he was under constant scrutiny, both envied and pitied. Good thing Wei Wuxian's face was thick enough for it not to bother him. He let speculation run rampant. No matter what he said, people would make their own judgments.

He was so grateful to his siblings. Jiang Cheng complained loudly about how obnoxious and disgusting the three of them were. His eyerolls and loud tangents hiding how worried he had been. How he was struggling with the idea that suddenly, Wei Wuxian didn't just belong to Lotus Pier anymore. They fought and bickered and tussled about it, as was their way. Shijie tutted and fretted and insisted he tell her about the nightmares she knew he was having. Shijie made them Soup and pampered them. Scolding them lightly when they went almost too far. The separation wasn't overcasting their time yet, but it was on the horizon. They made the moments together count. Even having meals and tea with his mates! Shijie even befriended his dormmates. She charmed them as was her right and they were properly enchanted with her as expected. Jiang Cheng, Nie-xiong and Meng Yao traded quips and established an odd sort of comradery. Nie-xiong even fluttered his fan at Jiang Cheng, who blushed in reply. He wanted no part of any of whatever that was. The idea of Madam Yu and Chifeng-Zun together made him shudder. 

Meng Yao advised him on multiple occasions to use the opportunity awarded by the fascinated masses to network. That guy. Always, there was some underlining scheme to his actions. But with the life he led, who could blame him? He had to scheme and claw his way into any sort of recognition. To get to the point of recognition from the Jin Sect and instead be publicly humiliated, then thrown down the stairs of Koi Tower on your fathers order…. with his memory it was amazing he wasn’t more twisted than he was. To remember with perfect clarity every negative moment in your life. Paired with the natural charisma to maneuver people like puppets, it made Meng Yao all the more terrifying……yeah, Wei Wuxian was glad they were friends. Nie-xiong was as fun and useless as ever. He just kept refreshing Wei Wuxian’s porn stash. Seriously, he had variety . Art, drawings, woodcuts, stories, plays-you name it and Nie-xiong had a source. Ah, well, it should make his wedding night much more fun.

“I hope we can stay friends after classes end.” Wei Wuxian mentioned one evening.

“Wei-xiong!! How could you?! We share a deep and personal bond!” Nie-xiong dramatically flopped over the desk where he was not doing the assignment.

“Wei Wuxian, as the future Lan Furen, of course the Nie Sect will attend many of the same events you will be required to attend. Your mates are childhood friends with Sect Leader Nie besides.” From Meng Yao that was practically a declaration of sworn brotherhood.

“Oh! Hey, I got something for you two! Uncle Jiang brought lotus seeds when he came to visit. This is for you.” He handled them each a sack. Meng Yao looked at the gift and back to Wei Wuxian. His gaze was searching. Wei Wuxian just smiled brighter. Sometimes Meng Yao didn’t know how to handle something and he needed a moment to work it out.

“I thank Wei Wuxian for his thoughtfulness in giving this lowly one a gift.” He said with false meekness. Wei Wuxian threw a brush at him in retaliation. Earning Meng Yao’s friendship was like befriending a wild thing. Stops and starts that took months of patient effort. Claws and teeth that drew blood followed by a tentative nudge before they ran away. But once you earned their trust, it was yours forever.

“Just know that if anything ever comes up, you can call on me. I’ll stand with you.” He knew his earnest tone was ruining the jovial atmosphere, but it needed said. He knew that these two were primarily responsible for the rumors that Jin Zixun attacked him-for being an omega, for turning him down, for being the son of a servant, because Sect Leader Jin told him to, to ruin his Shijie’s betrothal out of spite-each rumor made the Jin's look worse and his mating look like a blessing that would benefit the Cultivation world as a whole. They knew his fear of dogs, and used their respective skills to get revenge, in part, for his sake.

Meng Yao clicked his tongue and looked away. Nie-xiong fanned himself lazily and said eyes glinting “I don’t know you mean Wei-xiong, I really just don’t know.”

“Sure. I have to get to my Lan Furen training with Grandmaster Lan, bye!” Wei Wuxian hurried off.

 

 

Wei Wuxian had been looking forward to this! He was finally going to have a sword match with his mates! After weeks of basic skills and drills, demonstrations on how to fight different types of opponents, the classes on useful talismans in sword fighting was of particular interest to him. Mock battles against classmates in pairs to further teach teamwork and the balance of using different strengths and weaknesses and finally singles against pairs. But today! He finally got to have a serious battle against each of his mates.

Contact with his mates his been heavily monitored by chaperones since the attack. They got to scent one another for those first three days. It had been wonderful experience; the push of comfort and rightness was unlike anything he’d ever experienced. The pull of desire was delightfully maddening. It was like when he took himself in hand, worked himself right to the edge and stopped. Again, and again. The resulting orgasm was always worth the sweet torture of it. What made it worse is he could see and smell that he had a similar effect on his mates. The burning crackle scent of their desire made it better and worse. He doubted he was the only one who left the Healing Pavilion to immediately jerk himself off, saturated by their mingled scents, tasting them on his tongue. He couldn’t wait until the wedding.  He wanted them so much.

He wasn’t used to experiencing such consuming desire outside his one necessary heat. Their wedding night was going to be amazing. He shivered in delight. Something about sword classes always made Wei Wuxian think of having his mates. Seeing the power and elegance of Lan Xichen’s movements, leading to wonder where else that powerful grace could be applied. The flapping of Lan Zhan’s robes making him wonder what he looked like bare.

“-!!!” Meng Yao had just jabbed him in the side.

“It’s faint, but your scent is changing.” Meng Yao was hyper aware that there were other alphas in this crowd. Four of which would pose a genuine threat if they decided to attack. Eyes darting around the group of students. His upbringing had made him very aware of the dangers that an unclaimed and aroused omega faced.

“What?” He reared back, forcefully brought to the present noticing the class staring at him.

“It’s time for your demonstration! Stop being so disgusting! In public even. I can’t believe you. Your practically drooling.” Jiang Cheng groused at him. 

Lan Xichen was smiling at him from the center of the students. He laughed, scratching his nose. Walking forward he whispered a quick thanks to Meng Yao. He stopped in front of Lan Xichen. He saluted and smiled.

“I’ve been looking forward to this.”

“As have I.”

“Why Lan Xichen, are you saying you’ve been eager to attack this poor helpless omega?”

“You are our omega, and you are far from helpless.” Lan Xichen coved the movement with their bodies but he tugged lightly at Wei Wuxian’s hair. Before backing away adopting the Lan battle pose. The flush was immediate.

“I-how dare!-”

“BEGIN!” Lan Zhan stated. He was officiating the match between them. It added another fission of excitement to the event. He was dueling one mate to show off for the other.

Lan Xichen struck at once, sword darting forward as he lunged. Wei Wuxian pivoted to the side, sword guiding the thrust past himself, foot darting out to try and catch Lan Xichen as he passed. Lan Xichen side-stepped his foot and nodded approvingly.

“Even off balance you deflected that nicely.”

“A little underhand for a Lan, isn’t it?”

“What can I say, you do inspire me so.”

Wei Wuxian froze for a moment before going on the offensive. Leaping forward he spun his sword in an arc around himself, it was unnecessarily showy and he knew it but what was the point without a little fun? He needed to give Lan Zhan a good show. Shouyue and Suibian clashed together as they traded blows. Wei Wuxian couldn’t help it, he cackled in delight. He darted around trying to slip under Lan Xichen’s guard. But he spun away lighter than he had any right to be. Lan Xichen swept forward his sword striking in an arc, parry, sweep, thrust. The clang of swords producing sparks with the force of their blows. Lan Xichen swung down; his stance solid. Wei Wuxian darted in his space bringing Suibian up to stop the blow. He looked into Lan Xichen’s eyes smiling still.

“It a little unfair how unruffled you seem. Are you having fun playing with me?”

Lan Xichen flexed his arm bringing their faces closer. “I always have fun with you Wei Wuxian, but when you see me affected, I will be without an audience and when I can make you both mine.” He glanced over Wei Wuxian’s shoulder to meet Lan Zhan’s eyes.

“!!! All that Lan restraint hides shameless beasts!” Wei Wuxian garbled back. He leaped backwards breaking the stalemate. Lan Xichen merely followed him pressing the attack. Wei Wuxian dashed to the side. The match progressed into a series of quick attacks and evasive maneuvers. No more flashy movements, Wei Wuxian was feeling out Lan Xichen’s guard. Trying to find a weakness, but Lan Xichen matched him perfectly, where one led another followed. Wei Wuxian had agility, but Lan Xichen had more strength. Their swords clashed again this time Wei Wuxian’s downstroke blocked by Shouyue. Wei Wuxian leaned into Lan Xichen’s space, it nettled in a pleasant sort of way that he was only able to do it because Lan Xichen let him. They locked eyes, chests heaving, the sweat made their scents stronger. Wei Wuxian breathed deeply; the scent of Lan Xichen was like the smell of Winter giving way to Spring. Crisp but growing, somehow sharp and sweet at once and completely intoxicating. He licked his lips, Lan Xichen mirroring the movement. They were just holding their swords together, distracted by the inviting scent of mate and rising need.

“FINISHED. This match is declared a draw.” Lan Zhan’s voice rang out.

Wei Wuxian smiled a little and stepped back, sheathing Suibian. Lan Xichen having sheathed his weapon as well, bowed formally to Wei Wuxian thanking him for the match. Wei Wuxian hastily bowed back.

"Are you too tired to face Wangji?" Lan Xichen asked slyly. Wei Wuxian grinned back. "Never."

"Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan. Now it's our turn!" Wei Wuxian was keyed up, the adrenalin and excitement flooding his veins. Lan Zhan looked a little worked up too. He hoped he enjoyed the display. 

"Don't go easy on me!" Wei Wuxian winked as Lan Zhan unsheathed Bichen. He readied Suibian, flourishing his sword as they adopted their beginning stances. 

"Would not. Wei Ying can take it." He rumbled, eyes flashing with challenge. Wei Wuxian laughed as Lan Xichen's 'Begin' rang out. He darted forward, Lan Zhan spun effortlessly away. He reeled back as Bichen swung out. He ducked under the swing, tumbling forward and out of range. Lan Zhan was on him as soon as he stood. 

Thrust, parry, block. He leaned into Lan Zhan's space, the fierce look in his eyes doing things to Wei Wuxian that he wanted to explore in much greater detail. "Lan er-gege is so fierce. Do you enjoy battle so much?"

"I enjoy you. Only Xiongzhang and you have ever been my match. You are quite skilled.” Lan Zhan said as he swung Bichen down. Wei Wuxian blocked with Suibian, his mates were so strong! But he was faster. 

“You flatter this lowly one.” Once again his mate didn’t even sound out of breath. Wei Wuxian narrowed his eyes. Striking out with Suibian’s sheath he grazed Lan Zhan’s side with it before he jumped back. 


Lan Zhan’s jumps were a thing of beauty, his grace and elegance made them look artful. He readied himself in time for Lan Zhan to leap towards him, unleashing a barrage of quick attacks. The loud clang of their blades almost covered the breathless sound of his laughter. "Lan Zhan is too powerful. What is a poor omega to do?" He taunted. "Wei Ying likes it when I overpower him." Lan Zhan said as he blocked a strike with enough force to nearly send Suibian flying. Lan Zhan pressed the attack. Wei Wuxian evaded like it was a dance. They traded offence for defense as they traded who led and who followed. It was thrilling to use every bit of his skills to fully unleash his abilities and still be matched.

Duck, twist, evade. Lan Zhan’s style was similar to Lan Xichen, but had a different flavor to it. Just as his scent was similar but different. The crisp Autumn tang growing heavier between them. It was heady, and meshed perfectly with Lan Xichen and his own scent. They smelled best together. He licked his lips and blocked Bichen’s next attack. Lan Zhan’s eyes followed the movement. They paused there for a heartbeat before both jumping back. This was beginning to strain his control. 

“FINISHED.” Lan Xichen’s voice decided for them. “This match is a draw.” He sheathed Suibian and bowed as Lan Zhan did the same.

They walked towards Lan Xichen as their classmates ambled off, animatedly discussing the matches. A few senior disciples watched from a distance for enough away they wouldn’t be able to smell or hear them but still close enough to chaperone. The brothers shared a significant glance.

“Wei Ying, after you bathe, will you meet us in the Garden Pavilion? Our Betrothal Gifts are finally ready to be presented.”

The earnest tone and Lan Xichen’s shy smile about did him in. He felt his heart pound and his stomach swoop. He gets to marry them.

“Ah! How exciting! I’ll be no longer than an incense sticks time! See you soon.” He called over his shoulder only barely not running. As soon as he was out of sight, he ran for the omegan section of the male dorms. When he reached the porch he was shouting “Nie-xiong, Meng Yao! I need a bath!” Throwing open the door he continued “Nie-xiong, please, they’re presenting my Betrothal Gifts!” He ran behind the privacy screen hurriedly stripping off his robes.

“Must you raise a ruckus everywhere you go?” Meng Yao spoke not even looking up from the text he was studying.

“Yes.” Wei Wuxian dove for the tub teeth chattering at the cold temperature. “Some help you both are.” He muttered

“Ah, you don’t need these robes then?” Nie-xiong asked pulling them away from where he had begun to hang them over the screen. “NO! No, I do! Thank you Nie-xiong! I knew I could count on you.” Dunking his head quickly, he leapt out of the tub. Drying himself and his hair haphazardly, he yanked the robes on then twisted his hair into it’s customary ribbon. “Thank you. Don’t wait for me, bye!” He slammed the door behind him before walking with intent to the Garden Pavilion. He was both relieved and disappointed that his mates weren’t waiting for him. Ah well! It gave him time to actually fix his hair. Seeing his sleeve out of the corner of his eye he was surprised to realize this was the set form the day of the attack. He shuddered a little.

The scenting from his mates helped settle him and he did his best to block the experience out, to place it in the box with every other unpleasant thing, but some nights he would have nightmares anyway. He tried not to wake his dormmates or bother them, but he always found a cup of perfectly brewed tea next to his bed the next morning. His sleeve was a little heavy. What? Did he leave something in it?

“Oh no!” He stuck his hand in and remembered. The Jade Bunnies!! In the chaos of the event and aftermath he had completely forgotten! He pulled them out to inspect them. No cracks! He was excited all over again. He was going to be presented his Betrothal Gifts and he got to give them a token in return.

“Wei Ying?” He hastily stuffed them back into his sleeve.

“My mates! I haven’t seen you in ages! Hmm.” he leaned into their space, peering at them closely, “Yep, still as beautiful as ever.” Lan Xichen smiled and Lan Zhan scoffed quietly.

“Come, Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan tugged his sleeve for a moment guiding him…somewhere?

They walked leisurely heading towards a part of Cloud Recesses he hadn’t been. Wei Wuxian had a hard time containing his excitement. Each step in the process, each day brought them closer together. He was genuinely sad to be leaving the his siblings, the Jiang Sect. They took him in and made him what he was today, but his destiny lay in another direction. The duality of it made it harder and easier. He had always secretly hoped to have a True Mate. Someplace, someone to belong to. Wholly. And now he had two . He almost didn’t know what to do with so much good fortune. Already he was becoming used to walking between his Lan Mates. Their pace matched, sleeves brushing together, one overlapping the other and under the third. It pleased his omega to visually see them fit together so well. Something as simple as their sleeves touching when they walked in sync further cementing their bond. If he thought he could get away with it, he would scent them again, just for the simple pleasure of being able to.

Hmm. He subtly grabbed Lan Wangji’s dangling sleeve where it was under his own, very deftly, leaning in just for a moment he snaked his hand into it, brushing their wrists together. It happened smoothly enough that to their chaperones walking behind them, it just looked as though he stepped on a root and bumped into Lan Wangji. He froze before guiding Wei Wuxian past the spot and resumed walking the appropriate distance away. It was quick enough to be more of a tease than anything, but he laughed at Lan Zhan’s red ears and the snap it caused in his scent before he controlled it.

Wei Ying ” He nearly growled. Wei Wuxian darted a little closer to Lan Xichen and tried to repeat the motion. Lan Xichen grabbed his palm before he could touch their glands.

“Let me help you over this uneven patch.” His voice pitched just enough to carry before he guided Wei Wuxian’s gland to his own and held it there as he stared into Wei Wuxian’s eyes guiding him around a large dip in the ground. Wei Wuxian gulped. Somehow Lan Xichen always managed to one up him in ways he wasn’t expecting.

“Xiongzhang. Wei Ying, we are nearly there.” He stepped away resuming his place in the middle. Shaking his sleeves back he blatantly rubbed his wrists together, releasing the mingled scents of them into the air. Smirking at the indrawn breath and the bitten off growl he got in response.

Enough.” Lan Zhan sounded at his limit. Maybe he had been a little too mean. He pouted back at Lan Zhan.

“Oh, come now. It doesn’t feel right when I don’t smell like yours.”

“Wei Wuxian. Please. Before you start something, we can neither finish nor afford.” Lan Xichen said sternly.

He sighed heavily. “Alright, alright my fuddy-duddy Geges. I’ll be good, I promise.” He swore almost elbowing Lan Xichen when he raised three fingers.

“Mn.” Lan Zhan deadpanned.

“Only until we are wed.” Lan Xichen said brushing a finger along Wei Wuxian’s sleeve.

They arrived in a clearing with a small garden? Wei Wuxian looked around, not understanding.

“What is this?” Lan Zhan stepped forward, grabbing Wei Wuxian’s hand he brought him to the center of the designated plots.

“My gift to you, is to make you welcome here. To prove that I will bend where I can. That I accept you as you are. To create an environment for us to flourish together in our home. I planted you a pepper garden. As many varieties as I could find that might grow here. While I have used agricultural talismans to recreate their native environments, they may not thrive. If they do not, I will import as many as I can.” Wei Wuxian was stunned.

He spun in a circle. “You did all of this…. for me?” His eyes were burning. It was so thoughtful and sweet and so Lan Zhan. To use action to express what he had trouble verbalizing. 

“Thank you. I love it.” He stepped forward quickly, squeezing him tight in a hug before backing away. The embrace was quick, but hopefully enough to show the depth of his feelings.

Lan Xichen stepped up behind Wei Wuxian. “My gift to you is to make you part of us. I hope our mating will be an equal one. Though Wangji and I are brothers, this is a new step for all of us and it will be all of us together. For as long as we live. I commissioned a set of dizi so we may always harmonize together.” He held out a beautiful wooden box. With trembling fingers Wei Wuxian lifted the lid. Inside lay two dizi, one made out of jade and the other from white bamboo. They were beautiful. Carved by a master. His tears spilled and he was overwhelmed with emotion. With love for them both. He gets to marry them.

He wiped his eyes, laughing at their expressions. “No! No, Lan Zhan, Lan Xichen, I love them! I can’t wait to play with you both. To eat the peppers.” He sniffed trying to get himself under control. Lan Xichen reached out thumbing away another tear. Lan Zhan squeezed his shoulder. 

Wei Wuxian cleared his throat. “It so happens I have a token for you both.” He grinned digging in his sleeve. He held them in his hands offering them to his mates. “I don’t have any deep and beautiful meaning behind them. I just thought they were pretty and I wanted my Twin Jades to have their own Twin Jades.” He smiled crookedly.

“I will treasure it, thank you.” Lan Zhan softly smiled and his heart leaped and burst. Lan Zhan’s smile was just too powerful.

“This is lovely. I will use this to decorate our home together. But, Wei Wuxian, you forgot your rabbit. We will find one for you to complete the set.” Lan Xichen’s smile was too dazzling. His mates were just so bright and so good.

“Ahem.” A pointed cough reminded them how close they were standing. Holding hands smiling at each other.

Wei Wuxian laughed and laughed. He loved them so much. He can't wait to marry them.

****

Classes were winding down; in a half a moon’s cycle the disciples would be sent home. He would miss the months with Wei Ying dearly. They had taken to spending as much time together as possible. Which when you are the future Sect Leader, the Heir, and in training to become the next Lan Furen, was not enough to satisfy him. It seemed as though Shufu and Wei Ying were getting along well at least. Soon. He soothed himself. In another season, Wei Ying would be theirs. The wedding date had been settled for late summer. Summer was just beginning. Soon. Their wedding robes were nearly complete. Though their separation would be difficult, it was heralding the beginning of their lives together. He dutifully took notes he did not need during Shufu’s lecture. If he was not careful, he would spend the entire class staring at Wei Ying…again. There was something so captivating about him. Even when he held himself as motionless as he ever got, he still gave the impression of movement, of vibrancy. He was breathtaking.

They were growing closer every day. It was one thing to give into fate and know that this person had the potential to be your partner in all ways. It was another to feel it. To watch Wei Ying, make a home for himself with them. The three of them together, growing together. While compared to an arranged mating theirs was happing with almost undue haste, it still was not quick enough. After being shown glimpses of how his life could be filled with laughter and warmth, the approaching separation loomed like a storm on the horizon. Every day Wei Ying was not, Xiongzhang was not already his, was an affront.

With classes over for the day and Wei Ying busy with another training session with Shufu, Lan Wangji had no immediate plans. Idle time was not what he needed now. He submitted his request for the Lan Sect to gift Jiang Sect to be a second edition of Lan An’s poetry. While it was technically a copy it was written and illustrated by his great grandson Lan Yu who was a famous artist of his time. The original illustrations were also bound in a separate book. While still a precious heirloom for the Lan sect, its value was of adequate worth for his portion of the bride price. That done he walked to the Library, maybe some reading would help settle him. Their separation would be brief. He would get through. Until then he would hoard their moments together.

 

All too soon the date arrived. The students would be leaving tomorrow. Wei Ying had purposed a picnic in the back hills as their last meeting. Their two chaperones approved and were planning on taking their own lunch. Wei Ying was already waiting for them when they arrived. He was wiggling in excitement. They had barely greeted him before he took his hands from behind his back. In them were a pair of white rabbits.

“Uh?” Xiongzhang unfroze first.

“I was thinking you need someone to hold my place while I’m gone, someone to pamper and enjoy spoiling. So, bunnies! They can match your jade ones. And since they’re wild, they aren’t pets!” He said with a flourish.

Xiongzhang began to laugh, a light chuckle at first then he was bent in half almost crying with it. They were technically close enough to the boundary of the Cloud Recesses that it hardly counted as rule breaking. The warmth filled him from the inside, expanding outward bigger then he felt he could contain. 

"Thank you." He said, he could hear how emotion rough his voice was. 

“Ah, Wei Wuxian. You bring such unexpected joy with you.” Xiongzhang reached out delicately, scooping the rabbit into his hands. Wangji was struck with how beautiful his brother was. His eyes dancing and his smile stunning. Though he had seen his face near everyday of his life, since their betrothal, there was a nuance to it. Like seeing a familiar sight by the light of the moon rather than the sun. He could not help his own smile growing in response. Reaching out he gently grasped the remaining rabbit.

“These are babies yet, where is their mother?” Lan Wangji began to pet the soft fur already enamored.

“I was walking and found them next to the corpse of the mother and siblings. It looked like a bird of some sort got them. I scared them off before they could get these two. And I thought to myself wouldn’t my fuddy-duddy Geges be the perfect caretakers for two such lonely brothers.” Wei Ying grinned proud of himself. Lan Wangji adored him.

“Thank you, Wei Wuxian.” Xiongzhang knelt in the grass, his bunny content to sit on his legs. Still standing, Lan Wangji let this moment fill him, the gentle breeze, the sound of the leaves dancing, the warmth of the almost summer sun soaking into him. The scent of mate and happiness and love.

“Shijie made this for us, she said it was also her gift to her brothers to be!” Wei Ying sat in his typical sprawl, the bunny nearest him hopped away. Lan Zhan knelt next to Xiongzhang and scooped him up. They nestled together in his lap. This was the type of moment he wished he could keep. To bottle up and revisit when he felt the urge. He felt so cherished, here with them. For no other reason than he was himself.

Scooting the rabbits to the side, Lan Wangji began to eat the snacks Jiang Yanli had so thoughtfully prepared for them. Wei Ying chattered at them as was his usual, Xiongzhang giving him nods and smiles to encourage him. Lan Wangji supposed he was also encouraging Wei Ying. Suddenly Wei Ying’s eyes bugged out and his mouth dropped open, and he began howling with laughter, He pointed to the bunnies who were doing what rabbits did, he supposed.

“Did not you say they were both male?” Lan Wangji asked.

“That’s what makes it funnier.” Wei Ying gasped. He gave them each stern look, “No matter how lonely you two get you have to have more propriety than these shameless bunnies.”

“Wei Wuxian! We will all of course wait until our marriage as is proper.” Xiongzhang’s voice was a little high and his cheeks rosy in embarrassment. Wei Ying toppled over hooting with laughter, mumbling about the shamelessness of their bunny counterparts.

He loved them. 

All too soon it was time to pack up. The cloying edge of decay infused their scents, the melancholic air looming over them, even the rabbits seemed to sense the change in atmosphere, huddling together at their feet. His chest ached, the warmth the afternoon generated turning cold and heavy in him.

“Ah, what dramatics we are creating!” Wei Ying groused. “It’s only for a season!” And yet his own voice shook slightly. “What have you two done to me, that even a separation so short is such a terrible event?” He tried to infuse the question with his typical dramatic flair, but even Xiongzhang only gave him a weak smile in response.

“It is typical for True Mates to have trouble with separations depending on development and depth of the bond.” Lan Wangji recited. He found it a cold comfort. Knowing something and experiencing it, were not the same.

“May I write?” Xiongzhang requested plaintively.

“Of course! I’ll write too, but I don’t want to hear about my calligraphy Lan Zhan!!” True to form, Wei Ying turned the raw moment towards a joke.

“Hm.” He responded to rile him further. They tried for each other to not make the heavy moment more painful. They could see and smell how despondent they all were. Lan Wangji refused to close his senses to it, the pain worth their mingled scents, even thick with misery. 

With their picnic supplies packed they had no more reason to delay. The chaperones seeing that they began to walk back to the Cloud Recesses proper, led the way. Wei Ying darted up to him and kissed his cheek, then did the same to his brother. He put a finger to his lips and smiled widely at them. “Just so you won’t forget me!”

Lan Wangji grappled with himself. He fought back the pulsing need to stake a claim on Wei Ying before he left. The need to ward off any harmful events or people until he was safe back with them. It was irrational and he knew it, but the dark desire of it still welled within him. His alpha had remained riled since the attack. Hyper aware of every possible threat and the lack of proper claiming between them. Healer Nuan assured him that it would probably settle soon. He had his doubts. He already ached with Wei Ying’s absence. Soon. Soon.

Watching Wei Ying walk away from them. Walk away from the Cloud Recesses. Hurt in ways he could not describe. They were mates. True Mates. Betrothed and marriage preparations nearly complete. He would come back. Dressed in red and never to leave them again. It too, was a cold comfort. The last teary wave from Wei Ying sent a fresh wave of hurt through him. He refused to reach out to Xiongzhang as he wanted to. Wei Ying had no mate to accept comfort him, neither would he. He gave and accepted the comfort of a brother. Not an equally distressed mate.

Having tea with Xiongzhang in the Garden Pavilion felt strange. Since their betrothal announcement they had agreed to abide by the same rules of decorum they would with Wei Ying, though they had no chaperones. They took meals and tea together in public areas. Played their instruments in one of the music rooms. It felt dishonest to discover the dimensions of their relationship and what it meant to be mates while Wei Ying’s was elsewhere. 

“Wangji, is your alpha proving difficult? From the attack and the separation?” Xiongzhang had always cared, always loved him. But those feelings took on new edges since the betrothal. It was a familiar setting in an entirely new light. Foreign and familiar at once. 

“Yes. It was to be expected and I am managing. Has yours?” He gazed intently as Xiongzhang had a tendency to misdirect questions he did not want to answer. 

He smiled softly in return, “Slightly,” he looked abashed from the admitting. “With Wei Wuxian out of the Cloud Recesses, I will need to meditate more to restore balance.” 

It was rare that Xiongzhang’s alpha was unruly, events must have hit him hard as well. Exchanged letters would have to do, for them all. He gently laid he hand on Xiongzhang’s, offering the simple comfort of touch before turning the conversation to lighter topics. 

When he arrived back at the Jingshi, there was a drawing in his table. It was the three of them in the rabbit field. Wei Ying was laying with his head in Lan Wangji’s lap smiling up at him. Xiongzhang was smiling softly to the side of him. There was a small bundle of flowers also, tied with a scrap of ribbon. He stroked the petals and smiled softly through the burn in his eyes. 

*****

The Cloud Recesses were back to the anticipated levels of tranquility, the weeks since the students left had dragged on regardless. It was almost shameful how despondent he and Wangji were behaving! They had lived all their lives but a season without Wei Wuxian! And yet, it seemed as though he had spent his time here hallowing out pieces of them to fit him. No longer are the Twin Jades two parts of a whole, they fit unevenly now, half slotting into place and the other leaving a Wei Wuxian shaped hole. It was a bittersweet joy. To love and be loved in such a way was still a bit of a revelation for him.

In the weeks of Wei Wuxian’s absence, he and Wangji had thrown themselves into what preparations they could make for the wedding and after. The renovations to the Hanshi were complete, the empty spaces just waiting to be filled. The pair of bunnies had somehow attracted a third black bunny. The other two adored her and at times refused to part from her side even for attention or food. He had spent a morning sketching their likeness to gift to Wei Wuxian. Wangji had looked at the bunnies with unmistakable fondness. It was a delightful journey to see Wangji’s heart bloom with love. To feel the same bittersweet ache of missing someone. To look at each other and know that everything was different now. He missed We Wuxian more than he had missed anyone but his mother. Missed the closeness of being only Wangji’s brother. But he enjoyed the opportunity to learn to be Wangji’s mate. To have the ability to learn some of their new dynamic. While missing their mate together. 

There was a flavor of similarity to when their mother died. One event causing a clear distinction of a before and an after, ever there would be an after their mother died and a before Wei Wuxian. He told her all he could of him when he went to pay respects and leave offerings. She would have loved him so. They missed Wei Wuxian, but would be reunited soon, never to be parted again. There was room for the blessing to grow. It pleased him to think on it. The brightness of their future sweetening the ache into something almost pleasurable.

He knew Wangji bore it with a resigned and quiet desperation. His heart was so large, the well of his feelings ran so deep. Since the attack he had been battling himself with the conflicting urges of what he wanted and what must happen. He was sorry to see him struggle so, but enjoyed the feeling of desirability it gave him nonetheless.

Wei Wuxian’s letters were filled with dramatic ramblings of missing their beauty and a running monologue of his days. It was endearing to note that he wrote how he spoke, often breaking off mid-thought to chase a separate idea only to circle back around later. Anecdotes of the goings-on at Lotus Pier mixed with night hunt reports, rumors heard from the markets and which Aunt or Uncle teased him on his upcoming marriage, each letter held complaints about his Furen Training. Madam Yu was an exacting task mistress and accepted nothing less than perfection. He assured them that Madam Yu was whipping him into shape, Aiya! Lan Zhan, the look that you must have! I don’t mean it like that! Honest. Shijie is teaching me more than Madam Yu does; she is busy with training or night hunts. Even Uncle Jiang gives me lessons here and there. Meng Yao and Nie-xiong send me letters too.  It seems Meng Yao and Nie Huaisang had helped him as well. He would need to extend his gratitude to them.

Some letters were for them both, other times he had separate missives for each. It was heartening to know that he was deepening a relationship with them together as well as individuality. A balanced mating was essential, they must each work to maintain their collective relationship as well as the individual components that added to it. The letters provided ample opportunity to know one another.

The Bride Price items had finally been approved by the Elders, the appropriate pieces he wanted to include had taken some discussion-his Sect Gift was to be an antique vase, it had been created by a Jiang Cultivator who married a master craftsman generations ago-the Lan Sect was almost singular that near to half their disciples included artisans as well as martial cultivators. Lan creations were notorious for their quality and beauty. As such, there was much to choose from to be appropriate for a Bride Price. The gold was a hefty sum, but they had agreed that Wangji and Lan Xichen would both pay the requisite share. They could afford it and the Jiang’s were losing an important member of their Sect and their Clan. It was appropriate to show deep gratitude in such a way. He sent the Second Letter ahead confirming that the items listed there in would begin the journey to Lotus Pier in a few days’ time. He and Wangji would personally escort the Bride Price to Lotus Pier. It would take a few weeks, but was important to them to be there when it was presented to the Jiang Sect. At every available opportunity they were making it clear that not only are they to be mated, but they are so very pleased with the match. 

“Wangji. The Elders have approved the Bride Price. We leave in three days to deliver it.” Lan Xichen smiled at his Didi who froze at his words. Wangji, had been pushing to add more to the list. Wanting to be as generous as possible to end matters quickly.

“This is good news.” Wangji said, smiling in his soft way. Their schedules had not allowed them to do much more than dine together in the mornings and evenings in the Garden Pavilion or Dinning Hall. Lan Xichen was preparing to take over the Sect by next Spring and Wangji had been trying to keep as busy as possible. Traveling for night hunts and helping Shufu and the Elders update the wards as per Wei Wuxian’s suggestion. They had not appreciated his admittedly bold demonstration of their weakness by tearing them down with a single talisman. While many found him disruptive and arrogant, they could not deny his capabilities as a cultivator. Several Senior disciples had asked if he would offer a class on talismans when he married in. Many of the Elders grumbled but they too, were susceptible to his charms. Lan Xichen was filled with so much hope for their future together.

*****

Lotus Pier was bustling with activity as was typical. Merchant stalls leading to the Jiang Clan residence filled the air with chatter and the delicious aroma from the food stalls. Jiang Fengmian walked the familiar paths of his home contemplating the changes wrought. With a disgraced Sect Leader Jin handing leadership over to his wife until his heir's Succession Ceremony. He was no longer looming, looking for a way to undermine the Jiang’s place in the Cultivation World. The Wen Clan was too busy tearing itself to pieces to be a problem these days. The alpha Wen Qing would lead the Wen Sect. It was only Wen Rohan’s greedy grasping sons that fought this inevitability. With such troublesome Sects removed from their seats of power, he anticipated the decade-long tension that had been straining the Cultivation World would gradually dissolve. The five Great Sects would settle into a time of peace. The Nie Sect would struggle a bit, as their sect tended towards the martial side of cultivation, so too would the Yu Sect, they would probably branch out into spiritual tools as had their predecessors in times of peace. He made a note to look over trade agreements with each of them.  

Two of his children were to marry out. He was so proud of them. The cost of being a parent was to guide your children, becoming bedrock from them to grow upon, to raise them to the point of independence and then release them into the world, hoping it cares for them as much as you do. It was a bittersweet feeling. The satisfaction of a job well done mingled with the inherent loneliness that came with your children outgrowing their roots. 

They were good filial children and wouldn’t forget who had raised them, but they were to go off and build families. An infant needed their mother more than their mother needed their own parents after all. He would very much like to be a Grandfather. To see his children, grown to have their own children. What a reward to sweeten the ache of losing his own children to other households. His son. His A-Cheng would need some help securing a spouse, whomever married in would need a strong constitution to become the next Jiang Furen. He smiled slightly at the thought. Maybe he would need someone whose personality mirrored his own, someone to smooth the edges of A-Cheng’s aggression. After A-Ying and A-Li married, he would speak to His Lady. He watched the lotus’ of his home bob in the lakes they grew in. The satisfaction filled him from his spinning core. How lucky they were that events unraveled the way they did. The Wen’s thirst for dominance and the Jin’s lust for power would have spelt doom for the Cultivation World as a whole. He would need to light incense and thank his ancestors.

“Pardon the intrusion, Sect Leader Jiang. A missive arrived from Cloud Recesses. It’s not marked as urgent, but following your request, I’ve been sent to notify you.” The disciple stood straight, compensating for her nerves at addressing the Sect Leader by holding herself rigidly. He smiled softly, “Ah, thank you. You did well in your archery today Jiang Yaming.” He dismissed her and skimmed the letter. It was the Bride Price List. Hmm. The Lan had been particularly generous, not so much as to cause questions of a wrong doing on their part, but enough to make it overt they were very pleased with the match. His Lady would enjoy this very much. The Jiang Sect would now have direct and personal treaties with two Great Sects. He meandered his way back through the docks, tracing the paths of his youth, his children’s youth, awash in the nostalgia of what was. From here, the future was bright. Lucky indeed.

“The Lan are being very generous.” His Lady was indeed pleased. “We will need to be sure his Dowry is as generous. The Lan have expressed interest in some of the rarer hues we produce. The Dye Master just sent some fabric samples of Twilight Dew, Azure Breeze and Morning Mist they would appreciate in particular.”

“I think adding a bolt or two of Waters Grace and Moon Gaze would be of benefit. We should also include Crimson Rain and Night Falls for A-Ying.” He smiled at her raised eyebrow. “With two mates and a strong bond, he will likely need new robes to be made sooner than he could return to pick the dye himself.”

“Then I insist we include half bolts of Summer’s Light, Blossoming Bud and Fondest Dream. I won’t have my grandchildren clothed in Twilight Dew. Wei Wuxian is at least smart enough to know that his children will wear Jiang dyes if not our colors.” She sniffed at the very idea.

“Agreed. That will make for a handsome Dowry indeed. I’m also including some of Great Grand Aunt’s poetry and one of Mother’s jewelry sets.”

“That will be fine. I will include some of the chili oil he likes. Gods above know he won’t find anything resembling good food while he’s there.” He almost shuddered, the cooks created a twice spiced chili oil that only His Lady and A-Ying enjoyed. The smell alone made some of the more sensitive disciples' eyes water.

“He would surely appreciate that, My Lady. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.” He said to see the light blush on her cheeks.

“Hmph. Who said it was for him?! The cook made more than I can eat myself, the rest of you are too cowardly to appreciate it. Better to send it off with him than let it go to waste.”

“Of course, My Lady. We should expect the Lan’s in two weeks.” He nodded and went to inform A-Ying.

“Already?! They’re coming here? Uncle, that means the wedding is in one lunar cycle!”

“You’ve been trying so hard to stay occupied you didn’t notice the days passing by.”

“Wedding preparations are almost complete at this point. Not to worry, each end will come together seamlessly. Our Dye Master has concocted a particularly lovely hue of Bridal Luck for your linens. We got lucky for your robes.” He winked.

“Uncle Jiang, what colors? Come on, tell me please? A hint even?” He smiled indulgently at A-Ying's wheedling. 

“He had on hand Bridal Blush, Koi Vision, and Phoenix Call. The groom line will consist of Dragons Roar, Lotus Fire and Grooms Wish, but all robes will be cut with….Song of Devotion.”

“Song of Devotion?! Isn’t that reserved only for the Jiang Family?” A-Ying’s eyes were huge, already swimming with tears.

“A-Ying,” He placed a hand on his shoulder. “What other color would you wed in? Are you not the brother of my children? I wouldn’t dishonor your parents by adopting you, but that doesn’t mean I care for you less. You aren’t my son, but your children will be my grandchildren. The Meishan Yu have complicated views on wards and children as you well know, but she cares for you just the same as I do.” He glanced around quickly, lowering his voice. “She insisted herself that your Dowry include half bolts of Summer’s Light, Blossoming Bud and Fondest Dream.” He patted A-Ying’s head as the tears spilled over. His Lady included dyes meant to swaddle and clothe a long awaited and much beloved child. His own children had worn those colors. The dyes created by the Jiang Masters themselves, held spiritual power in them. Not much, but each color was infused with enough spiritual energy to act similarly to a low-level talisman. Something to amplify emotions or help with fertility, to protect or ward off illness. The traditions of the Jiang were integrated in everyday life, from the Soup they created to the Dye they wore. Each held intent. A-Ying would marry and wrap his children in the love of his family.

 

 

Chapter Notes

I have never written an action scene before. They are tough to do without repeating the same sequences.

Yu meaning "rain"

 The image I have for the bunnies is inspired by a gif I saw on twitter. I looked. My friend found it! She know lots of things. It has two mostly white with black spot bunnies on either side of a light brown bunny, their owners are trying to separate them and the two whites are refusing to leave the brown bunny.

The bunnies are 2-3 weeks here. They were orphaned right before they were to leave the nest.

I headcannon that while each sect has martial sections, they could branch out. I think the Lan’s would be Scholars, but also artisans-potters, sculptors, seamstresses and painters. The Dafan Wen’s were the medical branch of the Wen Sect. Why couldn’t each sect have specialist offshoots?

JFM and Madam Yu are talking dye color names. The Jiang’s are masters at the dyeing process and have even found a way to infuse the colors with spiritual energy. That is why they have a smaller martial core od disciples 

Yaming. 雅 ya meaning graceful l明 ming meaning light 

Chapter Text

Thanks as always to Husband and the Café!!

 

Wei Wuxian was having a hard time not vibrating out of his skin. His mates were going to be here. In his home. Personally delivering his Bride Price. That was something that only happened in the novels Nie-xiong let him borrow. It was an incredibly romantic gesture, it humbled and thrilled him that at every available opportunity, his mates made extra efforts to declare that not only were they to be married, but they were marrying their True Mate and were absolutely overjoyed with the arrangement. If they weren’t so sincerely earnest about it all Wei Wuxian would think they were breaking their own rules on ‘Be humble.’ and ‘Do not act arrogantly.’

In Lotus Pier, he followed no such rule. All Summer he had taken and invented opportunities to say my True Mates and when I marry or my almost husbands, Jiang Cheng had defaulted to rolling his eyes every time he opened his mouth, which-rude-and even Shijie’s smiles were getting a little strained. The Junior Disciples called him gross and the Seniors taunted him ruthlessly about it. Madam Yu was…. acting rather pleasant about the whole thing actually. She didn’t even use Furen training as an excuse to berate him overmuch. No humiliation, no punishments, just her rather merciless flavor of teaching. Madam Yu was still Madam Yu, but the overlay of disdain for his entire everything had been missing from their interactions since the betrothal. It was weird, but kind of nice too. Uncle Jiang just smiled a little sadly and nodded at him whenever he mentioned Gusu or the Lan or weddings.

Overall, this Summer held a hint of blessing to it, from the weather to the dye, the harvest to the wares. He really hoped he hadn’t used up his entire lifetime worth of luck. Being found by Uncle Jiang, having two True Mates and this last season spent at home. 

He tenderly stroked a finger along the bowl of Jiang Lotus the Dye Master had given him. He had been creating talismans for the Dye Master for the last four years. Creations to help extract more vibrant colors, to fortify the fabrics themselves and other small things that made his job just a little easier, the textiles slightly better. Before he left, he was working on something to increase the amount of spiritual energy the dye could hold. The Dye Masters’ Apprentice's infused the materials used to make the dye every step of the way-the soil, the water, the item itself-but plant matter could only hold so much spiritual energy. His goal was to affix a seal to the dye vats themselves to double that threshold. He almost had it. Something about the way the water, earth/wood and fire radicals intertwined needed tweaking. It would come to him eventually. 

In the meantime, he set that project aside to go back to preparing his Compass of Evil and the Spirit Flag. He was struck with sudden inspiration on the dye project and had set the wrapping aside. He worked really hard to make two high caliber gifts to present. The trick was making them harmonious but not outshine the other. He thought they would go over well. The sleepless nights were definitely worth it. The wrapping was…not great but thankfully Shijie had given him boxes to place them in. She was amazing like that. That Jiang Cheng was right and he needed them, well he was a jerk for saying it anyway. 

He stood and stretched, back popping and muscles aching pleasantly. They were arriving today or tomorrow and he couldn’t wait. Letters just weren’t the same. A letter didn’t laugh or smile or gaze at you fondly. Hmm, now there is an idea. Maybe if he took a paperman and tweaked the spirit radical with a fire radical, it might make a longer lasting paperman, if he infused a metal-no, mental was too unyielding-Ah! wood, sturdy, but flexible, and overlay it like so. Ha! A paperman that lasted longer because it was more durable, therefore better able to withstand a longer stream of spiritual energy. Now if he could somehow apply that to the dye vats! But with metal as a base. He dug his notes back out, falling into the hole of creative inspiration.

He emerged victorious, hours later for dinner. He had done it! The paperman seemed able to withstand greater amounts of spiritual energy without wearing out. The bowl of dye showed signs of increasing levels of spiritual energy. What a fantastic break-through! He would have to drop off a set of sample talismans with the Dye Master and let him test it on the common colors, just in case. Then he’d need to meditate with the paperman, steadily feeding it energy, too much at once would weaken the paper. Maybe if they used wooden dolls? Hmm no, no, too creepy.

He paused in the hallway leading to the dining room. What was he forgetting? There was something… He shrugged; he’d remember later. He entered the dining room, and froze when he realized it was empty. Where was everyone? He gasped, remembering. He sprinted to his room, throwing his over robe in a pile to grab the one neatly laid out by the servants this morning. Raking his hair back up into the ribbon where pieces had slipped, he really hoped he didn’t have ink or dye on his face again. Glancing down, his fingers were a lost cause. He can’t believe he forgot!! The problem with staying up all night was the lines between today and tomorrow got blurred. Grabbing the boxes with his Sect Gifts he sprinted down the hall to the formal dining room. For guests. Like his mates and their retinue. It was improper for him to see them before the presentation, since he hadn’t seen them he’d forgotten. He slinked in hoping he wasn’t too late. He gulped and smiled sheepishly when Madam Yu pinned him with a poisonous look.

He bowed lowly, “Forgive my lateness. I was finalizing my Sect Gifts.”  

“Please, you’re hardly late at all.” The sound of Lan Xichen’s voice soothed him in ways he couldn’t describe. The sound was like sinking into comfort and safety.

“Mn.” Lan Zhan’s monosyllable still held the same soothing quality. Wrapping him in protection and home. He could feel himself light up just having them nearby. It took him exerting control over his omega that he didn’t dash over to them and fling himself into their arms. He thought from the looks they gave him that they felt it too. He was doubling down on not letting his scent change, one of the harder parts of his Furen Training was scent control. As an omega there were those that would try and manipulate him. He was waiting to see who would try.

“A-Ying, you may present your Sect Gifts now before dinner arrives.”

“Yes!! Ah, I mean yes, thank you Uncle Jiang.” He slowly and with deliberation approached where they sat, kneeling in front of their table he dug in his sleeve, gently setting a box in front of each of his mates. He leaned back on his heels.

Lan Zhan opened his first. “This is a Compass of Evil. It detects resentful energy. I’ll continue to work on it so the smaller hand will change color depending on what kind of resentful energy it detects to differentiate between that of spirit, beast, or corpse.”

“You made this?” Lan Zhan sounded funny.

“Yes. For the Lan Sect.” He tried not to fidget.

“It is ingenious Wei Wuxian, our Sect will appreciate it greatly.” Lan Xichen opened his box as he spoke.

“That is a Spirit-Attraction Flag.  By changing the medium it’s written in and writing it backwards, instead of repelling evil spirits, it will attract them. For use on night hunts. You can lure what you’re hunting away from populated areas, hunts will be more successful and if both are used together, they should also be safer for disciples and civilians.” He smiled at them.

“These are brilliant gifts Wei Wuxian, ones that I believe will change the Cultivation World, I am honored to receive them. On behalf of the Lan Sect, we thank you.” Wei Wuxian felt the heat rising up his face.

“It was only a little something.” Wei Wuxian deflected, looking away. How could he just say that!? In front of the Jiangs?

“You will be leaving in the morning? Will you and your retinue be rested enough for the trip back?” Madam Yu cut in, as the servants brought out the meal. It was The Soup. His mates were eating the Family Soup with his siblings, and Uncle Jiang and his….Madam Yu. He looked up, meeting Shijie’s smiling eyes and felt his own burning. He mouthed a thank you to her.

“Ah, yes, unfortunately we are needed to return to our duties. If it would not be too forward, perhaps we could come visit in the Spring.” Lan Xichen suggested.

“That would be wonderful. We will look forward to it.” Uncle Jiang responded warmly.

“After the meal, I’ll show you both around!” 

“I look forward to seeing Wei Ying’s home.” Wei Wuxian smiled brightly at him.

“The Soup is delicious and we deeply appreciate your efforts on our behalf.” Lan Zhan continued.

Uncle Jiang chuckled, “Not many are familiar enough with Jiang traditions to recognize it without being told.”

“Wei Wuxian told us about it’s importance in Yunmeng when he made us ours.”

“Did he?” Madam Yu looked askance at Wei Wuxian, who just smiled brightly back. She huffed and went back to her meal.

“I’m pleased you think so.” Shijie said warmly.

“Jiang Yanli, I am glad to see you in good spirits.” Lan Xichen and Shijie started doing that thing, where they tried and failed to out wholesome the other. They were so sweet and polite it made his teeth ache. He shared a glance with Jiang Cheng who was doing his level best to eat as fast as possible and get the hell out of there.

 

“And this is where I accidently set the dock on fire. It was a little one! But after one of the workshops caught fire, I was experimenting with carving fire resistance talismans on the docks to see if we could use it on buildings. It was mostly a success, but you have to write the fire radical backwards then write the radical for wood.” Wei Wuxian chattered as he led them around Lotus Pier. Pointing out various landmarks and sharing anecdotes.

“Oh! I know you don’t drink, but if you wanted to try, as we are not in the Cloud Recesses.” He sang leading them to a lotus wine stall.

“Maybe another time.” Lan Xichen said firmly.

“I thought as much, so I would like you to try some of this.” He led them across the street where a restaurant sat. “Trust me, this place has the best lotus tea you’ll find.” Most everyone knew of his betrothal and seeing him walk Lotus Pier with two handsome cultivators in white, they were garnering enough attention that it essentially counted as being chaperoned. Lotus Pier tended to be slightly relaxed in such matters anyway. It was practically expected to steal a kiss or two from your betrothed. It was really nice to wander his home and share pieces of it with two people he loved, to share parts unseen of himself.

“Wei Ying, the sun is beginning to set.” He pouted at Lan Zhan and sighed heavily.

“You’re finally here and I feel like we didn’t get to enjoy it to the fullest!” Lan Xichen gave him that soft, fond smile and patted his hand where it rested on the table. Lan Zhan bumped his knee with his own. “We will come back. After we marry.” He spoke slowly, emphasizing the second sentence.

“Ah, my fuddy-duddy Geges, I haven’t had enough of your attention.” He leaned forward. “I know! That guest pavilion has a back window that faces one of the biggest lotus lakes. The patrol won’t come too close, since it’s occupied they’ll probably stick to the boats in the water. What do you think? I promise I won’t even come in! I’ll stay outside and you stay inside. No rules broken!” He wheedled. He saw them share a glance. He wanted to try something. He looked at them from under his lashes, like in that one book of Nie-xiong’s. “Geges, please. This A-Ying isn’t ready to be parted from you. Didn’t you miss me too?” He made his voice just a little pitiful.

“Perhaps.” “Until curfew.” Lan Xichen and Lan Zhan spoke at the same time. He clapped in delight. “You spoil this omega. Thank you Geges, I promise you won’t regret it.”

*****

The walk back to the guest pavilion was long and yet too short. He was not yet ready to be parted from Wei Ying nor Xiongzhang either. He had dearly missed the three of them together. Although he saw Xiongzhang nearly every day, they were so conscious of the empty space in between them and how they must not take any action between mates, only behaviors appropriate for brothers. It was difficult to see him, to know that they could take advantage of the situation, but would not. They agreed it would be dishonoring the ideal they want the mating to hold. It also felt wrong to contemplate excluding Wei Ying from any aspect of them, even slightly, at least in the beginning. That did not lessen the pull however.

Wei Ying grew noticeably subdued as they passed the Jiang Clan compound. He boldly reached down and gripped his fingers squeezing for a moment before releasing them. He could smell the happiness it caused. On Wei Ying’s other side, his brother sighed as the pavilion came into view.

“Leave your window open and I’ll be here when it’s dark, ok?” Wei Ying wheeled away rather than following them to the door.

They shared a look as they entered their rooms. It was lovely. Tastefully decorated without being ostentatious. The gentle lap of the water was soothing in an odd way. The quiet noise, a welcome respite from the bustle of the evening.

Lotus Pier was as different from the Cloud Recesses as they were from Wei Ying, and yet, they had undeniable similarities, the same sun and the same stars shone down upon them. Common ground could be achieved. They would make it so. Wei Ying would not be the only one to bend, to change. Their roots belonged in different places, but, like a twining tree, they would grow together.

Xiongzhang sighed again, sitting at the table where a thoughtful servant had left refreshments. He began to make a pot of tea, he looked like he too needed to decompress after the eventful day.

“I feel as though I better understand Wei Wuxian after visiting his home in such an intimate way.”

“Mn.”

“I worry that the Cloud Recesses will prove too stifling for him.” Their mother’s presence seemed to fill the space between them. Her quiet unhappiness that they could only now recognize for what it was. Sometimes, as a child, you view things from a place of trust, you do not question the things you should. It is only with the wisdom of years, you view events with more critical eye. 

“We will make it so it is not. He was there as a student. He knows the expectations, and how to dance around them.” He added wryly. They had discussed before the betrothal that the Lan Sect had begun to become too rigid. The principals so refined that in a decade or two disciples would reach the point of breaking one to follow another. Perhaps it was time to finetune the rules. Adding Wei Ying to the Cloud Recesses would surely help that goal along. He was as righteous as they came, but untamed with it. He embodies the uncompromising dedication to justice, the Lan value, but without the thousands of rules to govern his behavior along the way. Maybe that was the price of adulthood, you began to question. To see the grey between wrong and right. How a shift in perspective can change what is black and what is white. No matter how many thousands of rules there are, it will not make that distinction any clearer. 

“I am glad we came here. Seeing Wei Ying in the atmosphere of his home brightened him.” His joy was infectious to witness. He wanted to wear it like a layer of his robes.

“Hm. Me as well. We must thank Shufu again for taking on our duties for the journey.”

“He will be particularly pleased with Wei Ying’s Sect Gifts.”

“His genius is undisputed, but awe-inspiring all the same. He is going to change the Cultivation World. To be there with you both as he does is rather thrilling.”

“Mn.” Lan Wangji relaxed, letting the familiar scent and sight of Xiongzhang mingle with the newness of Lotus Pier’s. His preference was still his home, but could see the appeal and it would be no hardship to visit. After the pot of tea was drunk, they settled in to mediate. When the incense burned down, he pulled out Wangji, tilting his head questioningly at his brother. With a soft smile, he began the opening notes of their song. It was as of yet unnamed, but it was written for the three of them together. Their instruments harmonized through the first few bars before making an obvious space for the missing dizi. They had yet to be able to play together. Suddenly he could hear a voice humming the open parts of the harmony. He played the bridge and then placed a hand on the strings to still them.

“You both play so beautifully. When we’re married, I want to hear you play something everyday.” Wei Ying’s voice floated in from the open window. He shared an exasperated smile with his brother.

“For you, we will.” Lan Wangji responds. Flirting with Wei Ying while looking at his brother sitting primly across from him was adding a new layer to their banter. The hush of night, the candle light casting shadows, hearing Wei Ying’s husky laugh in response. It lent an extra intimacy to the moment that was zinging along his spine. He swallowed heavily. Eyes locked with his brothers. The crackle of his arousal seeped out before he could restrain it.

“Oh, and what else would you like us to do for you everyday?” Xiongzhang knew what meaning his words held. Leaving the interpretation open, he too let the sizzle of arousal leak into his scent. He could hear Wei Ying gasp at the question then give a choked off moan when the scents of arousal hit him. The push, pull. Ache. Want. Need charged the air around them. Still staring at Lan Wangji, Xiongzhang rose, stepped back. He picked up the privacy screen and placed it sideways in front of the window, dividing the room in half.

“Lan Zhan? Lan Xichen? Are you having fun without me?” Wei Ying’s plaintive voice drifted in.

“Would not. Not without Wei Ying.” Lan Zhan stated firmly.

“You mean you haven’t done anything? Not even a kiss?” His incredulity was obvious. 

“We chose to commit to us before it was expected.” Xiongzhang was dividing the pillows, stacking them against the wall under the window on either side of the screen. “When we are married and can be together for intimate moments, it will be when we are all there to be a part of it. That will not be the dynamic always, but I want to begin as we mean to go on. The three of us, together.” Xiongzhang finished his preparations and disappeared on the other side of the screen.

“Now all of us are hidden from each other.” He could hear the smugness in his tone. It made him burn.

“What?”

“Xiongzhang and I are leaning against the wall under the window, on either side of a privacy screen.” Wei Ying’s fond laugh made his heart leap. He could hear the smile in his voice when he spoke.

“Oh ho? Are you planning to do something naughty?”

Wei Ying!”  He could not help but hiss.

“Not necessarily, although this would be a moment for such candid words.”

“Xiongzhang! Shameless!” His voice came out a little strangled.

“Tsk. Lan Xichen, your clan is indeed full of hungry beasts. Do you even know what an intimate moment entails?”

“I have a vague idea. Are you awaiting us to devour you then?”

They were too quick-witted for Lan Wangji. He did enjoy their back-and-forth flirtations though. He leaned back and got comfortable, slowly unfastening his belt and removing his hair ornaments.

“What if I want to devour? Hmm, what then?”

“I want to experience all the ways to love and be loved by you both. As none of us have any experience, it would be wise to try different activities to see what suits.” At the words love and be loved, Wei Ying made that hissing noise. It made him want to bully him more.

“I await to see how many times it takes to find those preferences.” He cut in, lips curling at Wei Ying’s choked noise and Xiongzhang’s indrawn breath.

“I am still awaiting your answer, Wei Wuxian. What else would you like to happen everyday?” His voice was lower, huskier.

“Lan Xichen! You’re going to give poor Lan Zhan heart failure, hearing his beloved Xiongzhang speak such things.” He began to thicken with arousal. The simmering atmosphere. The proximity. The near to publicness of it all. His first sexual activity and he was having it with the people he most wanted. There was an immense satisfaction in that, getting exactly what he needed before he knew to want it. 

“I want to know as well. What would you have me do to you? To him?” Lan Wangji could hardly believe his own brazenness, but he wanted. They were so close and they each smelled so good.

“I would-I would want you to kiss me. Everyday. I want to watch you kiss him.” Wei Ying said the want in his voice made him fully hard.

“I am eager for our wedding night for many reasons. The ability to touch you both when I want to is part of that.” This is what Xiongzhang’s voice sounded like when it was thick with desire. He traced his hand slowly down his stomach, teasing himself, making his own scent stronger. 

“Do you think our cycles have synced up yet? It would be nice, don't you think?” He wanted to see the desire cloud Wei Ying’s face. What does he look like? Are his cheeks flushed? With every shift of the breeze their scents stirred, the growing need infusing the air around them. He wrapped his hand loosely around himself, holding rather than stroking. 

“Yes.” Lan Wangji bit out. “We will marry and we will have you in your heat. You will take us in our rut. We will spend the Mating Haze together.”  He heard Xiongzhang give a breathy sigh, noted Wei Ying’s quiet moan. The ability to make them react with nothing but his words and his scent made him feel powerful. Made him want to tie them up, kiss and whisper his desires onto their flesh. He clenched his teeth, hand beginning to move with purpose.

“Ah, but Wangji, what if I want to be take and be taken? There is more than one way to satisfy heats and ruts.” The zing of his question hit him like a physical blow. He growled softly, pace increasing. “All. We will have each other in all ways. In every way. Everyday. I will not be denied the pleasure of your touches again.” He nearly growled the words.

“Wangji. I want that. I want you both.” Xiongzhang’s breaths were becoming heavier.

“Oh, fuck, you’re both really too much. I can’t handle it.” Wei Ying almost whimpered. He could hear the shifting of fabric, the surruss of Wei Ying’s robes brushing the wood beneath him. He let out another quiet noise.

“Are you touching yourself, Wei Wuxian?” His stomach swooped, imagining it, hearing Xiongzhang’s desire, he flicked his tongue out to taste their mingling scents.

“I need. I need you both so bad I can’t stand it.”

“We cannot see you. You need to make it so we can hear you instead.” 

Lan Wangji hurriedly opened his robes further, fondling his chest as his hand sped up. He groaned, imagining his mates fucking their fists next to him, so close they could touch if it were not for the barriers in the way. He could hear the schlick schlick of someone’s strokes.

“Lan Zhan, are you stroking yourself too? Lan Xichen, can you see him?” The hitch in his voice made him stroke faster, squeeze tighter.

“Hng. Yes. I wish it was you or him. I imagine your hands on me, on each other.”

“I cannot even see his shadow through the screen. But I can hear you both. You like it wetter than he does, a little sloppy. Wangji is all tightly controlled ferocity, can you hear it in the way he is stroking himself?”

“Fuck. Fuck. Yes. I want you both to fuck me so bad I’m dripping. My robes are ruined with it.”

“Are you going to come?” Lan Wangji asked, hips thrusting. He was sweating under his heavy robes. Their weight a reminder to stay. All it would take, is leaning out the window, pulling him in, sweeping aside the screen and he would have them both. His other hand began to fondle his swelling knot. 

“Yes. I-Ah. Hmm. Fuck.” He moaned a drawn out sound and began panting harshly. “Close. I’m close.” He wanted to lick the spend from his fingers.

*****

Lan Xichen tilted his head back against the wall. His eyes focused on the privacy screen. The lighting was wrong for him to see Wangji’s shadow, but he could imagine. Picture the elegant lines of him, his large hand gripping his cock, his knot beginning to inflate-just slightly as they were not in season-but seeing it grow, watching it pulse in time with orgasm. He worked his own fist faster. The squelch of Wei Wuxian got louder; his scent thicker. Lan Xichen panted to taste their smells.

“Mmmm. Ah. It’s no fair, I’m right here and my Geges won’t touch me. I-ah-I have to do it all myself. Ngh.” Wei Wuxian got quieter, the only sound was his panting breaths.

“When we can, we will touch you until you beg us to stop. Did you cum for us?” Lan Xichen wanted to hear him say yes. Wanted to listen to all the acts Wei Wuxian fantasized about.

“Yes. I came so hard my legs are tingling.” His voice is slower, sated. His alpha rumbled a bit. He wanted to be the one to wring pleasure from their mates. To touch and suck and fuck. To ride and writhe and thrust. But not yet. They were not yet theirs.

“Are my Geges going to come for me? Please?” Lan Xichen held his breath, all the better to listen to Wangji’s hitching breaths, the sound of his furious stroking.

“Hnng. Wei Ying. Xianzhang.” Wangji moaned through his teeth, the grunt and harsh panting making him spurt more precum.

“Oh, fuck Lan Zhan you sound so sexy. Lan Xichen, please. I want to hear you. Won’t you let me?” His toes curled with the heat that was crawling up his spine. He heard them cum. Heard the sound of his name as they climaxed. Wei Wuxian was begging for him to cum.

“Xiongzhang.”

His hips thrust helplessly as he groaned from his gut. His release painted up his chest, dribbling over his fingers.

“Wei Ying, Wangji.” He panted desperately. Throat dry. He wanted to touch them. They each just had their first sexual experience with another person and they were still alone. He had yet to kiss either of them. The thought sank in his stomach.  He grabbed a nearby cloth and wiped his chest off. What had made the fire burn hotter only a moment ago, was making the shame burble just as fast.  His mates deserved better than this! Better than some furtive stroking in a dark corner. 

“Ah, I hope that was, ok?”

“Yes! Before that though, I must apologize. I have been remiss. I let this situation get out of control when I should have stopped it. I will reflect and accept punishment.”

“You-You didn’t like it?” Wei Ying shuffled loudly. His abrupt movements loud in the silence, as shocking as the sour edge clouding the perfume of their postcoital happiness. “This one apologizes for overstepping. I will excuse myself.” Wei Ying’s voice was shaking, completely devoid of the satisfaction that had been there only moments ago. He could hear Wei Ying beginning to walk away!

“Wei Ying!” Wangji must have stood, knocking the screen over in his haste. Only his quick reflexes saved Lan Xichen from a bash he may well deserve.

“No! Please! That is not what I meant. You must allow me to explain.” He wretched the screen aside, his robes still mostly unfastened. They all froze as they caught sight of one another. Wei Ying still smelled delicious under the bitterness of distress, and was heavily rumpled, but he imagined he and Wangji looked far worse. At least Wangji’s robes were properly closed, though his hair was mostly unfastened. He wanted to take Wei Ying in his arms to make him understand. Wangji at least was more willing to hear him out.

“Please. Wei Ying, I only meant that our first sexual experience should not happen when we are unable to touch or connect. This means more to me, you both mean more to me than a secret in the dark.” He spoke hurriedly, fixing his robes. Pleading with them to understand his intentions. Wangji’s eyes cleared. Wei Ying looked at him, the devastation giving way to understanding. He felt strangely vulnerable, raw with such happiness turned guilt as the passion cleared. He did not know how to fix this.

Then his nose began to burn and he had enough time to think ‘oh, no’ before a sneeze made his whole-body flinch and his ears ring. One leg kicking out with the force of it, abusing the privacy screen further. He straightened to see his mates gazing at him in shock. Wei Ying burst into delighted laughter. He was slapping his knee, hunched over from mirth. He was gasping, trying to speak but every time he gazed at Lan Xichen, he started all over again. He sniffed delicately, which sent Wei Ying into a fresh spasm of laughter, this one powerful enough he lost his footing and fell into the lake that bordered the pavilion. The resulting splash of water had barely cleared before he and Wangji were out the window, twin shouts of, “Wei Ying!” ringing out. Wei Ying was already heaving himself onto the dock, his wheezing laughter making it harder to pull himself up.

“Don’t fuss Geges, I’m fine, I’m fine. This was the best night ever.” Wei Ying sighed as they each clutched a hand and pulled him up, still giggling. The unexpected dip washed the surface scents from him. He was sad the desire and satisfaction were gone, but not sorry to be rid of the cloying charred scent of despair.

“That was the most undignified thing I have ever seen you do! It was amazing! Do you sneeze like that every time?” He leaned forward, heedless of the cool water dripping off of him.

Wangji was helplessly trying to squeeze water out of Wei Ying’s hair. Wei Ying began sketching a talisman in the air and a hot breeze engulfed him. He supposed the purpose was to dry a person off. The downside however, “Pfft.” Wangji could not quite bite back the laugh. Wei Ying’s hair stood near on end, the messy strands defying nature and sticking out at odd angles in some places. Waves, curls and frizz surrounded his smiling face. He looked painfully endearing.

“Was that a laugh?! Lan Zhan, are you laughing at me?!” His grin was too wide for the outrage in his tone to be anything other than a tease.

“Bwahahaha.” Lan Xichen could not contain it anymore, the laughter burst out of him, the whole situation. Discovering the pleasures of the flesh-in a manner of speaking to a painful misunderstanding however short and now this. He smiled at them both. Taking a breath, he pitched his voice to carry over their own laughter. 

“I love you.” He gazed into Wei Ying’s eyes, then Wangji’s. “Both of you. I am counting the days until I can give and receive your claims. I am sorry I did not articulate myself clearly.”

Wei Ying gasped, eyes huge in his face. Wangji grazed a finger down the back of his hand.

“I too. Am in love.” Wangji was smiling softly, looking first at Lan Xichen then settling on Wei Ying whose mouth was still gaping. He sucked in a breath, coughing on it.

“You can’t just say that!!! We are outside!! In the world. What would your Shufu think?” Wei Ying’s sputtering over sincere declarations would never stop making him smile.

“Don’t you smile at me; I don’t care how beautiful you are!”

“Does Wei Ying not share our affections? How terribly sad. However, will we go on?” Wangji’s bland delivery made the statement all the more ridiculous.

“Don’t be dumb, of course I love my fuddy-duddy Geges more than life.” Wei Ying was scarlet, He looked like an angrily fluffed up kitten. It made him want to pet him. Wangji looked at him skeptically, ears also scarlet.

“What, you don’t believe me? How about I prove it, hmm?” Wei Ying taunted.

“Annnddddd that is enough of that. I was willing to let it slide as you’ve done nothing inappropriate, but really? Wei Wuxian, if Madam Yu catches you out here, she’s going to make you run laps until you pass out.” A new voice cut in, freezing them all. He supposed they had been rather loud, with the yelling and splashing and the laughter. Naturally, someone would come to investigate.

He bowed lowly. “This one apologizes for the disruption, Master Gang. We were spending time after hours and Wei Ying fell into the lake.” He kept his voice calm, his panic at being caught tightly controlled.

“I figured he would do something like this. I followed him at a distance and when he only sat outside the window, I left you to your privacy. You wouldn’t dishonor your mate with any inappropriate behaviors until you’re wed. I only came to investigate the yelling and laughter.” He raised his brows waiting to see if Wei Ying would enlighten him.

“There was a misunderstanding, that’s all. It’s fine.” Wei Ying piped up.

“Hmm, it’s your mating, far be it from me to interfere. However, you need to go before your absence is noticed.”

Wei Ying nodded and defiantly walked up to Wangji, “Have a safe trip.” He murmured and kissed his cheek. Then leaned up to do the same to Lan Xichen. “I’ll see you soon.”

Jiang Gang snorted, crossing his arms. “You just always have to push, don’t you?”

“If I don’t do something, my mates will forget all about me! They need a memento to remember me by!” He waved, his wild hair shifting with each movement and walked away.

“I appreciate the care you’ve shown with him. As Lotus Pier’s Head Chaperone, I see many matings and few are as genuine as yours. Forgive this one’s impertinence.” He bowed and turned away, not leaving, just not looking at them anymore.

“Thank you for your discretion and your words.” Wangji was adorable in his earnest embarrassment. 

“Maybe next time, you make sure no one followed, hmm? Certain things ought to stay private.” He laughed gruffly when he turned to see their expressions. Then laughed harder when they bowed to him, not mocking, but gently. Jiang Gang turned to face them fully, “Listen, I’ve seen a lot. Sect Leaders to disciples, instincts don’t care for reason. The call of a True Mate is a heady thing. Treasure it for the gift it is.”

“Always, Master Gang.”

He smiled rather paternally at them. “I can tell. Which is why I let him come to you. Had you tried to take advantage rather than find a way around, I would have prevented it.” He crossed his arms still smiling. “When I found someone that looked at me in such a manner, I married them and have borne him several children.” He waved a hand. “Treat each other well and I wish your mating a hundred years of happiness.”

They bowed again as he walked away. Sheepishly, they walked back into the guest room through the door.

“I wonder if that is what it feels like.” Wangji whispered.

“Being embarrassed by your elders?”

“Mn.”

He sighed and looked out at the moon. “Maybe. It feels unfair that we share this room while Wei Ying is sent alone to his.”

“Mn. Goodnight Xiongzhang.”

“Goodnight Wangji.”

The screen was still in perfect condition. He was grateful he had not ruined it in his haste. He lay down on the bed, eyes closed.

What a night. He knew what Wangji smelled like when he was fully aroused. Knew how wet Wei Ying liked to be when he stroked himself, did he use his slick or was it precum? He knew the panted breaths of Wangji and bitten off whimpers of Wei Ying when they climaxed. His cock began to fill in response to his thoughts.

“Xiongzhang?”

“I apologize, I am finding it difficult to control myself. I will accept punishment.”

“No need. No rules are broken.”

“Do not inconvenience those you share space with.”

“I am not. I too am finding my alpha unsettled. Rest now.”

Lan Xichen took a deep breath trying to relax. Embrace the feelings and overcome them. Now is not the time. He pushed the simmering arousal down, set it aside, turned his focus elsewhere.

He opened his eyes blinking, it was nearing curfew, his eyes were gritty and limbs heavy. Quickly he finished his preparations for rest-he had not dared undress before he was calm enough-and settled into sleep.

*****

Wei Wuxian ran to his room, dodging patrols and slinking from shadows. He knew what he smelled like and could only imagine how he looked. The only thing saving them all from ruin was that they hadn’t touched him. If Jiang Gang caught even a whiff of his mates scent on him, this night would have ended very poorly for them all.

He couldn’t believe that had just happened! There was a timeless quality to it, where in the moment, it seemed to last forever, but in reality only half an incense stick's worth of time had passed since he snuck out. Ducking into his room he immediately stripped off his robes, putting on his sleeping robes he sniffed his pants, yeah, those were going straight into the ‘heat’ clothes pile.

They had done that!  The one sour moment had been worked through immediately, no chance for the misunderstanding to fester. So direct. His Geges were dangerous. What would their wedding night be like? What would they be like when he removed their ribbons? He couldn’t wait to find out. 

Most surprising of all, they hadn’t been together all this time, he hadn't asked, too afraid of the answer. He knew they wouldn’t lie to him about it, and it made him feel cared for to know they had abstained. His fears that he was to be a cover for them or he was to be used to create heirs and shut away the rest of the time had been laid to rest after that first conversation.

Having spent time with them, he knew their characters. He knew they lo…cared for him. He wanted to be good for them, to be a mate they could be proud of having. He was still himself, still thought the rules could have been covered by a simple ‘Be righteous’ and ‘Do not give into the five poisons’, but if he wanted to be respected and treated courteously, he should at least attempt to do the same. He would never be a perfect Lan disciple, but they didn’t want him to be, his mates wanted him as himself, it was the most free he’d ever felt.

Since meeting them, he felt…settled. Calm in his skin, no longer like his self was too big for his body. He wasn’t so much changed as he had gained a new perspective. He didn’t need to earn a place that was being saved for him. Didn’t need to dance and weave his way into the family, into the Clan. He could just be. He was to become Lan Furen, the husband to the Twin Alpha Jades of Lan; Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji, eventually to be the mother of the next Lan Heir. And all he had to do was bow three times.

The Jiang Sect was his, and he owed them everything, but until recently? He hadn’t known they loved him back. Jiang Cheng and Shijie were the only one’s he knew would miss him. Uncle Jiang and Madam Yu had been a surprise. Uncle Jiang had always been too soft, too indulgent of him. Madam Yu always disdainful, extra scathing. But Uncle Jiang brought Song of Devotion with him to the Betrothal Meeting! Wanting their wedding robes to be made by the Cloud Seamstresses. Madam Yu specifically demanded that he receive Summer’s Light, Blossoming Bud and Fondest Dream as part of his Dowry. Both were as close to a declaration of love he would ever receive and far more than he expected to get from either of them. He didn’t know what to do with the heavy feelings. Didn’t know how to process it. Maybe he should ask Shijie. She always knew the answers to things like this. Tomorrow though. His jaw cracked with his yawn. He flopped over in bed and fell asleep dreaming of mist on the mountains.

 

The next morning he woke up early to see off his mates. Taking his place next to Shijie, he shifted from foot to foot. Just seeing them in the morning light made him flush. Ack, they were just so bright he almost needed to shade his eyes to look at them directly. It seemed like it was the same for them, Lan Xichen’s eyes darted around him shyly, Lan Zhan stared directly at him but his ears were a painful looking red.

“Before we leave, we have Tokens for you.” Lan Xichen held out a qiankun bag. He thanked them both and stepped back. He would write how he wanted to respond to them later on.

“I’ll see you soon. Don’t forget to write to me!” He waved and laughed when he got two solemn nods in return. They bowed once more to Uncle Jiang and Madam Yu and left, sword glares disappearing over the horizon. He sighed.

“Come, A-Xian, you can keep me company today.” He perked up. “A-Xian would love to spend the whole day with Shijie.”

“You will complete your Furen Training for this afternoon. I will grade your answers.” Madam Yu imparted before she left. Uncle Jiang nodded and followed behind her. He ducked the laughing gaze of Jiang Gang and turned to Jiang Cheng. “Are you coming as well?”

He snorted loudly, “If you’re just going to talk about your mates, then no. I’m tired of listening to you go on about them.”

“Then can we shoot kites before Furen Training?”

“I’ll find you after drills.” He stalked away, following his parents.

“Do I really talk about them so much?” Shijie’s smile was only a little mocking. He pouted.

“What shall we do, Shijie?”

“I’m heading to the market to buy a Token.” She smiled softly as she said it, he still didn’t like the Peacock, but he wasn’t bad, he guessed, for a Jin.

“Hmm, is he treating you well? He’s not like that awful cousin of his, but even so. I’m not sure he’s good enough for you.” He knew he sounded petulant.

“We were able to have some conversations while at Cloud Recesses. He was adorably awkward and shy with me. The letters have been going quite well too. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him. I hope he has enjoyed knowing me as well.”

“As long as he’s treating you right. Unlike when we were children.” He said snidely.

“A-Xian! I seem to remember another little boy who was very naughty.” She tapped his forehead as they reached the most promising section of stalls. Shijie slowed down, walking slowly enough to browse, but not so slowly as to attract the attention of the merchants. They would heckle and push to make a sale.

“What is on today’s list for Furen training?” He asked curiously, also looking along the stalls.

“Accounting. While it is likely the Lan Sect has a specific person or division to be in charge, it is necessary for the Furen to know how to manage such tasks.” She laughed at his groan, patting his hand.

“A-Xian has mates now, and soon the position as Furen of a Sect. You’re growing up so fast!”

“Never too fast for Shijie though!”

Spending the day with his favorite person-not a Lan-even if it was shopping for the Peacock and learning accounting, was a really lovely way to distract himself from the sting of separation. From the nervousness that in a few months’ time, he may never get the chance to do this again. He shook himself, even when they both married and made a home somewhere else, they would still be siblings. He would meet and spoil her children and she his. Visits to one another’s homes, teasing Jiang Cheng for his bachelorhood, these changes would be hard in some ways, the path he walked wasn’t one he had planned for, but it would be better. Shijie’s path would be too. Until then, they had today. They had tomorrow. They would have kite shooting and sparring. Training for Furen and cultivation. Inventing and Soup. He smiled at Shijie. A blessed season indeed. 

 

Chapter Notes- 

Next chapter is the wedding. While I researched Ancient Chinese weddings from multiple sources, and will endeavor to do my best to write something that does the spirit of those traditions’ justice, these customs are ancient, varied and again, it’s a Poly ABO verse fic, so suspend a little disbelief and please be kind when I do get something glaringly wrong. 

The rest of this is just Jiang dye lore.

I’m basing this off of the idea of intent. Spiritual energy is a manifestation of the work/discipline/desire that enables one to affect the world outside themselves. (An oversimplification, I know.) The Dye Master/his apprentices use their spiritual energy as intent more than a specific ‘spell’ during the growing and harvesting process, the dye vats and the bolts the fabric are stored on refines that intent into a specific purpose rather than a basic ‘yes, good’

So each color has a basic infusion of something corresponding to that color. Red-Luck, happiness, joy and wards off evil. Any object made with that dye, in this case the textiles, are infused with spiritual energy to amplify happiness or ward off evil spirits. Each specific hue has a specialty. The more concentrated the energy, the stronger the ‘spell’, the more expensive the fabric, their wedding got the good stuff. With Song of Devotion being the best, it's process is more involved, far more expensive.

Bridal Blush-Red, main fabric, amplifies happiness and promotes fertility.

Koi Vision-Red, accent fabric, wards off negative feelings and gives stamina to bear the weight of the wedding attire gracefully.

Phoenix Call-Gold thread for embroidering. Primarily on the brides robes but used to accent the grooms robes as well, promotes harmony and fertility.

Dragon’s Roar-Gold thread for embroidery. Primarily for the grooms robes but used to accent the brides, strength as well as fertility.

Lotus Fire-Harmony and sexual pleasure.

Grooms Wish-Unity and happiness.

Song of Devotion-inspires feeling of devotion in the wearer. The fabric is cut down the middle and each robe is affixed with a side to further emphasize unity and the joining of lives. In the case of our boys it was cut three ways. Note-In this verse, this COULD NOT be used to create those feelings, it would only amplify what was already there. Secondly, this was rare, expensive, super special stuff, you wouldn’t waste it on a wedding where the bride/groom didn’t like each other. This was top-shelf reserve for the Jiang Family, but only if the seed of devotion was there. Neither Jiang Fengmian nor Madam Yu wore it on their wedding day. Jiang Yanli will.

These three are also top tier fabrics, but for children. There is a whole superstition in Yunmeng that swaddling your child in a Jiang dyed fabric will help your child grow into those characteristics. When the garment/swaddle is outgrown or to beat up to wear/use the fabric will get recycled into decorations or comb/jewelry bags to keep forever.

Summer’s Light-kindness and cleverness

Blossoming Bud-familial and beauty  

Fondest Dream-health and success

 Madam Yu putting three of them in his dowry for his babies/ her grandbabies is a big fucking deal, which is why he cried about it. 

Chapter Text

Thanks as always to Husband and the Cafe!

 

Chapter Notes- This chapter was one of the hardest to write, I kept going back and tweaking and fixing and fretting about it. Some events might be out of order or simply not done that way, I ask that if this is the case, you kindly point it out, and explain why-I like learning things.

Because Bride/Groom are roles and not sex specific and he has no blood relatives, Jiang Yanli, Meng Yao and Nie Huaisang are attending Wei Wuxian to prepare him for his wedding. They are omegas, in the case of a wedding, the designation matters more than the sex if no blood relation can be used. If no relation or close friend of the right designation can be found then it will match to sex, but only with a chaperone. In the case of our boys, their Uncle is a direct male relative as well as a Beta. No chaperone needed 

Also, what is distance? They’re flying to Lotus Pier and back because that is what works for this chapter.

 

 

Wei Wuxian couldn’t believe it. They were finally doing this. He was getting married! Tomorrow! He was jittery with the feelings swirling inside him, to wound up to focus on any one thing. The nervous, happy, sad mixed with an overlay of FINALLY

The summer went by in a rush of too slow and too fast. Moments standing out like stars amid the backdrop of laughter and lake water. Showing Shijie and Jiang Cheng the dark jade bunny token his mates had given him and a Cloud Recesses Entry Token. The Dye Master clapping him on the back when his talisman worked as intended. Shijie and Jiang Cheng sitting with him on the docks, playing and painting. Watching the stars while whispering secrets like the children they weren’t anymore. Playing aimless tunes on his dizi while Shijie danced or sang. Madam Yu’s look of pride when he completed Furen training to her satisfaction. Her gruff, 'You’ve learned all I can teach you, don’t lose either sect face,' felt like a benediction. Uncle Jiang hugging him under one arm and Jiang Cheng under the other during the Dragon Boat Festival. The last family dinner they had where Madam Yu and Uncle Jiang’s Soup was served. It was a summer of family and joy. It filled him with a bittersweet ache, everything sang of goodbye, but with love too.

As much as he talked about getting married, he had put little thought into the process of it. He skipped to the bows, the tea, then focused on the wedding night. He was learning there was a whole lot of rituals and processes in-between. Trying to merge the Lan and Jiang traditions, to mutate customs for two grooms and a bride and the simpler process of a True Mating made the whole event both harder and smoother. There was no haggling over prices or gifts. Each Sect pleased with events, were completely supportive. Lan Qiren and Uncle Jiang worked most things out themselves with Madam Yu stepping in where she felt the desire to.

Lan traditions dictate that only omegas and bloodkin may help an omegan bride prepare on their wedding day, likewise for alphas. Lotus Pier’s traditions dictate it is good luck for an unmated/betrothed friend to assist a bride/groom on their wedding day so that their happiness and luck may be shared with another. He would be attended by his Shijie and Meng Yao. Nie Huaisang tagged along, but had no interest in being blessed with good fortune in his future mating-he was in his own words mostly ornamental. The thought that the top regarded omegas of their generation would assist him for his marriage to the top-rated alphas of their generation had him cackling at random intervals throughout the week.

Wei Wuxian bowed again before the Jiang ancestors. His parents had tablets here as well, at the request of Uncle Jiang, stating that he should have somewhere to place offerings and bow. The incense smoke drifted lazily up, adding to the peaceful air. He was trying to focus on giving thanks and honoring them, but his mind was darting around like a dragonfly. One thought chasing another leapfrogging to a third. He hoped their cycles were aligned. It was auspicious, if during the marriage preparations brides would go into pre-presentation where applicable; of course, there were ways to induce that, but he rejected the idea, the side effects were not worth the trouble and synthetic cycles could have disastrous consequences. Thankfully, the Lan Sect had a whole section of rules about such things. He laid out his offering on the alter, lotus seeds and flowers. The sedan chair he would ride in for the procession to the Cloud Recesses was being prepared by the Lan Sect, it was light enough to be carried by their strongest disciples on swords, which from the handstands they were made to do for punishments, was considerable.

A mating from the Jiang Clan to the Lan Clan hadn’t happened in several generations, the Jiang's famous dyes being made into works of art by the Cloud Seamstresses was a high honor. He wondered if their robes would enter the inventory for the Treasures of the Lan Sect. Given the colors Uncle Jiang had gifted them, they would be foolish not to. The thought filled him with a sort of pride. That one day their children, their children could look and see their parents’ robes. Have visible proof of how highly regarded their joining was.

He jolted sharply when Jiang Cheng spoke, “Are you about done? A-Jie and your friends are ready.”

He bowed one last time and stood. He knocked his elbow into Jiang Cheng’s. “Are you going to miss me?” He cackled at the harder shove he got in turn.

“Who would miss you being obnoxious all the time, huh? You’ll be someone else’s problem for once.” His voice cracked slightly ruining the complaint, he knew his Didi wasn’t being honest.

“I’ll miss you too, and Shijie. And all the disciples. And lotus seed picking. Helping the Dye Master. There is so much to miss here, it’s been my home. The only home I've had.” He knew his voice shook in the middle. He backed away from that train of thought as quickly as he could. As an alpha and not a blood relation, Jiang Chang couldn’t help him get ready, but he would be the one to escort him to the sedan chair. And test his mates. He wondered what sort of trials they would have to complete.

Having arrived at the Bridal Pavilion, Jiang Cheng rapped on the door frame, Shijie beamed when she saw them. She pressed a covered tray into Jiang Cheng’s hands and shooed him away before yanking Wei Wuxian into the room.

“Ah, Wei-xiong, what a lovely day. I’m sure you’ll be glad for all that extra reading material I lent you.”

“Nie Huaisang! Not in front of my Shijie!” He yelped, to the delight of Nie Huaisang and the exasperation of the others.

“Are we not here to help you prepare for your wedding Wei Wuxian? The bath we prepared is going to go cold, and I will not be getting pumelo leaves for you again.” Meng Yao said in his pleasantly biting way.

“A-Xian, come now.” Shijie guided him to the privacy screen. 

The bath was the official beginning of the Bridal Preparations. His mates were going to be on their way here soon with their precession. The thought made him shiver.

“Aiya, I can’t believe this is already happening! Where did the summer go?” He whined.

“Did we spend too much time lazing about?” Meng Yao was as snarky as ever; he had missed him over the summer. He only replied to letters with a line or two on how he was too busy for Wei Wuxian’s nonsense.

“You’re only mad because you declined my invitation to come and visit. We could have picked lotus seeds and went to the markets! But, noo you were too busy.”

“Some of us have duties.”

“I’ll have you know I spent much of my time in Furen training this summer! Not to mention creating my Sect Gifts and talismans for the Dye Master.” Came his indignant response.

“The Dye Master of Yunmeng Jiang?! You know him?! Wei-xiong, Wei-xiong, please, you must introduce me! The shade Spring Breath is one of my very favorites. And how he managed to create an attractive grey with Mountain Elixir is pure genius. Won’t you do your school friend this favor? Please?”

Shijie began to laugh at Nie-xiong’s sudden and lively insistence. Wei Wuxian joined in, Shijie’s laughter had always been contagious.

“Young Master, I do not believe Sect Leader Nie gave you funds to buy new robes.” He knew even behind the screen that Meng Yao was smiling blandly, dimples in full force.

“I’ll find a way.” Nie-xiong was lazy and unmotivated, but when he got serious, events always turned in his favor eventually.

“Aiya, aren’t you supposed to be cursing my fate that I’m to be sent away?” He splashed for emphasis.

“Wei Wuxian, you are to marry your True Mates, as you have informed every person you’ve come across since you saw them, correct? Said True Mates are the Twin Alpha Jades of Lan, the highest ranked alpha cultivators in several generations if sources are to believed. In your own words they are ‘beautiful, wealthy and perfect in every single way’. Your own status will rise from Omegan First Disciple to Furen of a Great Sect. What precisely is there for anyone to mourn?” Meng Yao was such a spoilsport. He sank down into the water pouting.

“Well! They don’t have Shijie! Or Jiang Cheng there, now do they? And do you know what hours they start the day and go to bed?! And what about Emperor’s Smile, or no meat and the bad food huh?!”

“Of course, how foolish of me. Ehem, ‘Oh woe! Poor Wei Wuxian, he is set to marry such upstanding alphas! However will he survive without wine and meat?’ Will that suffice?” Meng Yao was so good he almost didn’t even sound mocking.

He sighed heavily, and with mild sarcasm responded, “You know what Meng Yao, that will do just fine. Thank you.”

“I will miss you dearly, A-Xian, I couldn’t bear if it you were being sent to a household that wouldn’t appreciate or care for you. But as A-Yao said, you are marring grooms who are rather fond of you. You will hold a position where no one would dare disrespect you. And most importantly, you want to marry them. I am overjoyed for you.” Her voice shook just slightly.

He sniffled a little and focused on the important part of that. “A-Yao? When did you get close enough for such casual speak? We were dormmates and you threatened me for calling you Meng-xiong!”

“This is this and that is that.” Came the prim reply. Fair enough, Shijie should get whatever she wants, always. And with someone like Meng Yao watching out for her, he would never need to worry about a fucking Jin taking advantage or hurting her in that cesspit they call a Sect. Meng Yao would have the offenders horribly and brutally taken care of before he or Jiang Cheng would even know there was a problem.

“Jiang-xiaojie, what about me? Aren’t we already friends? How cruel of you to exclude me so!” Nie-xiong wailed.

“Hey, the role of whiny little brother has been filled, thanks. Grumpy one too. You can try for another type.” He cut in, getting out of the bath, pulling on his new red under clothes.

“Hmmm, well how about indolent younger brother?”

“Approved.” He stated while Shijie just laughed. Between Meng Yao and Nie Huaisang, Shijie would be one of the most protected people in the Sects, and she would never need to know it. Wonderful. He guessed all the political focused Furen training had paid off.

He stepped around the privacy screen to see Shijie had prepared a mountain of snacks for them, in the center were the Phoenix and Dragon candles. Was that?!

“Shijie! Is that Emperors’ Smile?” He darted over to the table and grabbed one of the jars.

“Lan Xichen sent some for you. The snacks are from Lan Wangji. The note said they wanted you to enjoy tonight.” There were the traditional wedding foods such as peanuts, pomegranates, dates and lotus seeds, along with Gusu specific treats. They really are too much, his mates.

“When did they do that?” He grabbed a handful of the nuts.

“When one of the Cloud Seamstresses, personally, delivered your wedding robes.” She sounded awed.

“But! They never leave the Cloud Recesses.” Nie-xiong exclaimed nearly chocking on a date.

“She said this was one of their finest works and would take no chances on it getting damaged. She will even help you dress tomorrow.” He gasped; he couldn’t believe it. The Lan Sect guarded their Seamstresses diligently, they weren’t imprisoned or anything, but their skills were precious and they were treated as such.

“What an honor bestowed upon you, Wei Wuxian, truly, how sad for you to marry them.” Meng Yao chimed in smiling with his damn dimples. He threw a peanut at him.

The night passed as they all must, but it was a wonderful last night in his home the only thing that would have made it better was if Jiang Cheng could have been there. He shared a glance with Shijie who nodded a little sadly, well that was what their summer was for. Packing a lifetime worth of memories into a season.

 

He woke up the next morning just after dawn. He used a basin of more pomelo infused water to wash his face, hands and feet in before Shijie and Meng Yao began brushing his hair speaking the appropriate blessings as they did so. It was soothing in a way and he did his best to relax. He fought the urge to squirm. He was tired and a little achy and wanted to eat.

“Is any of the food from last night still there?” He asked. Nie-xiong rummaged around and handed him a bowl of lotus seeds.

He had a hard time swallowing the food with the sudden rush of emotion swelling in his throat and making his eyes burn. Shijie and Meng Yao had finished the brushing and blessings and were finally styling his hair, piling it on top of his head, tucking and pinning it place, leaving some free for the hair ceremony later. Then Meng Yao began applying the cosmetics to his face.

“You’re very talented at that, A-Yao.” Shijie remarked. Meng Yao froze for a breath before deciding that she was earnestly complimenting him.

“I helped my mother and some of her sisters during my childhood.” He said lowly.

“I apologize, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. She was blessed to have such a dutiful son.” Shijie clasped his wrist, making sure he understood that no one here would scorn his mother. He smiled at Shijie more genuinely than Wei Wuxian had ever seen and went back to applying the rouge to his cheeks and lips. With one last look over, Meng Yao pronounced him done. Shijie tweaked his hair and smiled at him, her own eyes filling.

It was so surreal to be here in this moment, to know that he was leaving his home. After today he would be in a new house. Step into a new life. When they all gathered together again, things would be different. They would be different. Brides or Mothers, maybe both. The tears began spilling over.

“No. You will save that for after the cosmetics have set and it is the occasion for it.” Meng Yao said poking him in the forehead with the rouge brush. He scowled back at him.

“The headdress will wait until after your wedding robes are on.” He eyed the piece dubiously, it looked heavy. It was pretty he supposed, all gold and red, but those were awfully big gems.

“The Cloud Seamstress will be here any moment. Here, eat while you can.” He settled in to wait and eat, taking the stolen moment for the gift it was.

All to soon a brisk knock sounded at the door. Shijie rushed to open it. They all bowed lowly before the woman who entered. She had the presence of a powerful cultivator, ageless and dignified. She inclined her head and bid them to stand. She looked him over. He hadn’t seen many female Lan disciples before. If they were anything like her, they were just as stunning as his mates. Her forehead ribbon swayed in the breeze from the door, her robes were the most beautiful he’d ever seen. They were a blue so light he had thought it was white at first, the embroidery seemed to glisten when she moved.

“Hmm. Yes, you will wear these quite nicely.” She smiled slightly at him. It was bewildering, but he felt proud that she thought so. She stepped fully into the room closing the door and tilted her head. It was only when she turned away that he noticed she was carrying a rather large box in her hands. Nie-xiong jumped up and hurriedly cleared the table for her. She smiled at him and reverently placed the box down.

“Before your robes, I had not had the privilege of working with such high-quality Jiang dyes. It was an honor to create these for you. My sisters created your husbands’.” She lifted the lid slowly, handing it to Meng Yao, she nodded that he may set it down gently on the other side of the table.

His breath whooshed out of him. He had seen and helped create some of the exclusive Jiang dyes, refined the process to make them more potent. He hadn’t known they could look like this. It was only the first layer and it shone with light. He had never seen anything so nice; he was afraid to touch it.

“How are you to be wed in them if you cannot bring yourself to touch them? I am flattered that you think so highly of our work.” Her voice lilted with the gentle tease.

“I-ah-thank you Madam Seamstress. I hope that I may do your masterpiece justice.” It wasn’t even false flattery. He couldn’t believe he got to see this, let alone wear it. He stepped forward as she directed Meng Yao and Shijie how best to help.

It was the softest thing he’d ever felt, the silk caught a little on his callused hands, the delicate stitching of the embroidery nearly glowed. The gold and the red vibrant where it was supposed to be and delicate, blending in so well it was almost invisible other places. He could recognize the Phoenix Call in the embroidery, there was even Dragon’s Roar, the Song of Devotion and traces of Koi Vision, but couldn’t fathom how they had turned them into this.

“Could you tell me about it? I’ve helped make the dyes, but have never seen them used in such a grand fashion.” She laughed lightly and spoke as if she were instructing them.

“Using Koi Vision as the base layer, the weight of the robes will be drastically reduced. We used this to our advantage to create robes as extravagant as we could without making them too flamboyant within the time frame. Song of Devotion, in particular was a gift to work with, we used it to line all the hems and collars, as well as made your belts with it. We used the groom fabric to make all the ties on your attire and the bridal fabrics to make theirs. We may not get the opportunity to use such fabric again, we wanted to be sure that we used it to the best advantage. We could find no cause to not include small touches of all the fabric and thread we had to work with in each gown.”

“I am honored that you escorted it here.” At this she laughed outright.

“This was as much for you as it was for me. This is the masterpiece of my life’s work. I will see it worn to the best of its ability.”

“Next is the Bridal Blush robe, here we mixed the threads, and created this section to accentuate the two dragons and phoenix, while it’s a little untraditional, we put the dragons surrounding the phoenix. I believe our work matches what your Dye Master does, but with a different medium. Our energies meshed rather harmoniously. Now for the belt, turn, yes, and the ornament. There. You are ready.” She stood and bowed.

“Here A-Xian, sit. Let me put this on for you.” He felt a pressure on his scalp and neck, the beads tinkling and tickling his cheeks as she pinned it in place. She stepped back; hands clasped.

“Well?” He asked turning toward the still silent Meng Yao and Nie Huaisang.

“Wei-xiong, you look beautiful. Truly no bride has ever been so radiant.” Nie-xiong enthused.

“As he said.” Meng Yao looked almost wistful. He reached out and clasped his hand, squeezing he sent a small stream of spiritual energy to Meng Yao, laughing at his flinty glare.

“May you catch some of my luck.” He winked. Moving was weird, every tilt of his head sent the beads swaying and clinking, his robes seemed to move almost without him.

“Your mates will be here very soon. I traveled a shichen ahead of them and it has been very nearly that. You three will need to prepare your trials. Would you like company while they do?” She inquired gently.

He swallowed. “I would be delighted, thank you. Would you like some tea?” She shook her head.

“You helped with the processes of making the Jiang dyes? Could you elaborate on that?” Her own smile got a little wider, a little sharper. He grinned back at her.

“I can’t reveal any of the Jiang techniques, but I can tell you what could be applied to your work.”

“Oh look, they are arriving, you enjoy your shop talk and we’ll just be outside. Meng Yao, Jiang-xiaojie, shall we?”

*****

His found the heaviness of his wedding robes rather pleasant, as if he were bearing the weight of his decisions. A physical manifestation of the depth for his desire for this, for them. It pleased something in the dark core of him that they too would wear the mark of their desire to belong to him as well.  The robes marked them as his. They belonged to him and each other. After today everyone would know this for the truth it was. That they wore these robes as a placeholder for the claiming bite he would bestow later. His own neck prickled at the thought of wearing a mark on either side. That unlike when he got to unwrap them from the voluminous robes, like a treasured, thoughtful gift, his bite would never come off.

He and Xiongzhang had prepared for their wedding in the Rushi, with Shufu attending them. It was as solemn as all events in the Cloud Recesses were. Filled with meditation, tea and quiet conversation as they filled red pouches with money to give to the gatekeepers. As their only willing and able bloodkin, Uncle had fulfilled the hair combing ceremony for them both. That he and Xichen couldn’t see one another complicated matters, but only slightly. By having Xiongzhang take his bath and get his hair brushed half a shichen before Wangji and dividing the Rushi with privacy screens they weren’t in eyesight of the other at all. He was pleased with the way events unfolded; he had not relished the idea of being attended to by senior disciples. He felt it was a rather relaxing evening, the slow deep breath before the jump into something exhilarating.

 

They were no stranger to dressing elaborately, but a Cloud Seamstress assisted them each with the donning of their robes. After they excused themselves, he was faced with the sight of Xiongzhang in his wedding robes, it stole the breath from him. Shufu had folded the screen and gave them a moment alone for the unveiling. He needed to thank him for the consideration later. Their robes were the same in style and cut, but opposite in color, where his red was light, Xiongzhang’s was dark, it was entirely complimentary, not mirroring. The attention to detail pleased him further, the Cloud Seamstresses had truly outdone themselves in this.

“Ah, Wangji, you look,” He trailed off, voice shacking, dark eyes glistening with tears. He shook his head, eyes closing to regain control of his emotions.

“Xiongzhang. You as well.” Lan Wangji could not find words to describe what the very sight of Lan Xichen, Lan Huan, his Xiongzhang, wearing these robes, in part for him , did to him. He clenched his fists, teeth grinding at the sharp and sudden spike of desire. His alpha was more unruly than even he had anticipated.

Xiongzhang’s face softened, he stepped closer, “Didi, we will be together soon, you must bear with it for now. We still have to retrieve our Bride. Come.” He breathed deeply locking the arousal away, soothing himself and his alpha with the knowledge that come tomorrow’s dawn, they would wear his marks, his bite, his seed.

“Mn, I am eager to see how he looks.” He stepped forward, exiting the Rushi, Shufu was waiting for them, he turned and his own eyes grew shiny at the sight of them. He nodded once, indicating the precession awaiting them and walked away. They set off at once, Senior Disciples carrying the empty sedan as they flew from Cloud Recesses to Lotus Pier.

They would make it back in time for the feast after their own bows and tea with the Jiang’s. They had agreed to keep the wedding itself mostly private and host a grand feast at a later date, as was typical for True Matings. To organize a grand feast, events and host numerous Sect Leaders took time; time, that in most cases, True Mates could not handle. Rather than marry in shame-already claimed and with a little one on the way- it was socially accepted to marry as soon as could be arranged and host the public celebration later. He had pushed for events to unfold that way, wanting to stake his claims as soon as possible. The longer it took the greater the itch under his skin developed. By the time summer ended, he could not stand to be alone with Xiongzhang, even in public settings, spending hours in the Cold Springs to try and dull the fire in his veins. And now finally. Finally, he was here, close enough to Lotus Pier that they had left behind the coolness of the mountains, the air warming considerably, thankfully the wind kept him cool enough not to sweat. While the scenery was beautiful, he was too intent upon his destination to pay it much heed.

“Wangji, please, slow down a little.” Xiongzhang flew in rather close and spoke loudly enough to be heard over the wind. He sighed a little and slowed to match his pace.

 

They reached Lotus Pier at Wu shi slowing further before landing in an open courtyard just outside the Jiang Clan residence. They are met by Madam Yu and Sect Leader Jiang who nodded at their bows.

“Come, our Bridal Pavilion is this way.” The Sect Leader guided then withdrew to the ancestral hall. He and Xiongzhang walked the directed path, red decorations and banners depicting double happiness lined their route. Good. Wei Ying should be celebrated. They halted before Nie Huaisang as he fanned himself lazily in the shade of a tree.

“Ah! Young Masters Lan! How lovely you look. Tell me, what will you do to get me to surrender my friend to your care?”

“A tricky question, Young Master Nie, of course you should endeavor to keep him with you, however, you will not hinder us. He is ours.” He did so love to see that particular smile on Xiongzhang’s face, tight and merciless, dark eyes alight with a frozen fire.

“Hmm, I see, I see. As accomplished as you both are in the gentlemanly arts, surely you will indulge this one and paint me a fan?” His eyes glinted behind the fan he was still waving.

Lan Wangji grit his teeth, stalking to the cushion before a low table he quickly began to paint the bunnies of his home. The two males on either side of the female, bodies nestled together in sleep. Each line was painstakingly drawn though he writhed with impatience, wanting to finish as quickly as possible, flapping the fan to dry it faster he flipped it over and painted a few stalks of bamboo, taking care to make more than four of each stalk and leaf. Setting his brush down with a clack he stood, seeing Xiongzhang still working he breathed deeply, opening himself to the scents around him, just to see. Nie Huaisang’s bamboo and stone scent wasn’t unpleasant but certainly not what he wanted, facing another direction he took a deep breath, only to smell the lotus flowers. He nearly growled.

“I’m afraid you won’t find him that way Wangji-xiong.” He smirked before hiding his face with the fan. Lan Wangji glowered at him.

“Young Master Nie, I believe we have done as requested, may we offer you this gift as well?” Xiongzhang offered two pouches to Nie Huaisang who laughed lightly and bowed.

“Why, this humble one accepts! Thank you, Young Masters Lan! You will find your path lies just there.” He said retreating to his shady spot against the tree.

Lan Wangji shared a look with his brother. Once again, the path was lined with symbols for luck and happiness. They came upon Meng Yao sitting next to a fork in the path of the docks. He rose and bowed lowly to them, bowing in return, Lan Wangji asked “What task must we do to get by?”

He smiled so his dimples popped, “Well, now, I had thought of several tasks and riddles to make you complete. Some, you would pass with ease, others you would struggle and one or two you would fail. Wei Wuxian asked me to take it easy on you. Therefore, my price will be the same I am owed from him. A favor, well, two to be precise. From the Lan Sect Leader and Heir, oh, excuse me, Future Lan Sect Leader and Current Heir of the Lan Sect. Have we a deal?”

“Are there to be any guidelines to this favor? Or are we to blindly trust you?” Lan Wangji asked.

“I swear that no favor owed to me will violate any of your rules.”

“…. directly.” Lan Wangji added. Meng Yao’s smile widened, became a little less calculating. Lan Wangji spared an unkind thought that of all the types of omegas he had met, Meng Yao’s was possibly the most devious, his short stature and attractive appearance were calculated to evoke protective instincts, that he would use to then entangle his prey. Lan Wangji could grudgingly respect such tactics from a man who had fought to survive his childhood and clawed his way into a respected position with one of the Great Sects. 

“Accepted.” He spoke firmly, wanting this done. He took two red envelopes and offered them to Meng Yao.

“This humble one thanks you for your generosity. Please sign here after reading the contract.” They both read and signed. Lan Wangji trusted that he meant them no true harm….as long as they did not stand in opposition of his goals.

“Follow this dock until you see the curve. You’ll meet your next challenge.” He walked off towards where they had left Nie Huaisang, a delighted bounce in his step.

“Wei Ying trusts him, so too should we.” Xiongzhang said.  

“We will watch to see if he becomes a concern later. The contract stated that no favor would ask or claim, would cause any of us to violate any precepts.” Lan Wangji reminded as they followed the docks. They had yet to meet either Jiang Yanli or Jiang Wanyin. A turn in the path brought them to a pavilion where Jiang Yanli sat before a table with covered dishes.

“Oh, you both look so wonderful. The Cloud Seamstresses have surely earned their reputation several times over.”

““Jiang Yanli,”” they spoke at once and bowed before she tutted at them gently.

“Please, none of that, we will be siblings come tomorrow. You got through A-Meng and A-Sang rather quickly, I’m afraid I need a few more minutes for my challenge to be ready. Please, indulge me with your patience.”

“Of course.”

“We would be happy to.”

“A-Xian has been so excited for this day, all summer he has spoken of little else besides his marriage and his talismans.” She confided as she busied herself stirring something. The breeze shifted and the smell,  it made his eyes immediately start stinging.

“Ah, Jiang Yanli?” Xiongzhang began, she smiled widely at them and grabbed…bowls? He felt a sinking in his stomach. Oh, oh no.

“Here! I’ve made you one of A-Xian’s favorite side dishes, chili rice!” She said brightly, bringing them steaming bowls of rice? Why was it so red? The overwhelming smell of it was making his eyes water, he tried to breath out of his mouth to alleviate the burn in his nose. It did not prove an effective method. He shared a panicked glace with Xiongzhang whose smile had frozen in alarm.

“I won’t ask you to break your ‘silence at mealtimes’ custom, but I hope you can enjoy this dish I’ve made for you. It’s topped with a special double spiced chili oil the cooks here make special for A-Xian and A-Naing.  After you’re done, I will direct you to A-Cheng.” How was her smile so genuine? Just looking at it made his insides clench. He lifted the red chopsticks slowly, bringing the bite closer, all he could hope for is that the first bite seared his taste buds. He swallowed almost without chewing. Wondering if the burning cold agony would show on his face. She was merciful enough to made them small bowls at least. Tears streaming and nose beginning to run he hid behind his sleeve and dabbed at his face with the red cloth she had so graciously provided. He may never taste anything again. He wondered if his golden core was strong enough to heal the damage to his organs. He ate faster than was entirely proper, but this needed to end soon. He glanced at Xiongzhang, seeing his hairline damp with sweat and his face blotchy. Almost done. A few more bites. He would do this. For Wei Ying. For their marriage. He gently set the red chopsticks down. Jiang Yanli smiled warmly and offered him a cup. He could neither taste nor smell what was in it, only hoped it would cool the burn. I did not. He thanked her anyway. Hearing the clack of Xiongzhang’s chopsticks he stood. He bowed to her again and offered her two red envelopes.

“Would you tell us the way?” Xiongzhang choked out.

“Of course! Please follow the center path and you’ll get there shortly.” She was so lovely and earnest he could not begrudge her that his tongue may be permanently damaged. Once they walked out of earshot, he asked “Do you think a golden core can heal charred taste buds?”

Xiongzhang coughed again, “I certainly hope so. I would very much like to use them again later.”

The path circled around to parts he recognized of Lotus Pier; Wei Ying had showed them as they journeyed towards the market stalls. He shared a small smile with Xiongzhang who pointed to the dock. He wanted to point to places of his, their home and share pieces of it with Wei Ying. To give him the same feeling of connection to a place, to a person, to the secondhand understanding of the places that built them. He wanted to know all of the pieces that made Wei Ying, as he knew the pieces that made Xiongzhang. He looked forward to the learning of their bride, as they themselves learned how to be husbands. He wondered if this out of the way path circled the whole of the Pier. It was a rather pleasant walk, the home that built Wei Ying was a beautiful one and he could see his vibrancy reflected in its chaotic energy.

“Ahead,” Xiongzhang cut into his musings. Jiang Wanyin stood arm crossed, feet braced apart and scowling. They had arrived to the last test, he reeled in his impatience. Soon.

“You got through those three faster than I’d thought you would. Let’s see how you do against me.

“What is your trial?” Lan Wangji asked, trying not to be curt, he wanted this to be over. They would not keep him from his bride.

“You must find his shoes. There are hidden somewhere in Lotus Pier.”

“Is there a boundary line?” Xiongzhang asked he was using his benign smile that inclined people to do as he asked.  

“Hmph. Outside. Within the boundary of the path you just walked.”

“May we split up?”

“No. You’re earning your bride together.”

“Very well.” Lan Wangji responded.

They shared a look, thinking back, was there any particular spot that stood out? No. They should backtrack taking care to check their surroundings. He tilted his head minutely in question. Xiongzhang nodded back. 

“Agreed, we will begin our search Jiang Wanyin.” Xiongzhang responded. Lan Wangji nodded his head in Jiang Wanyin’s direction before walking away. Rather than take in the surroundings, he began looking for places someone would hide the shoes.

“They would not be too near the water, nor some place they could get dirty easily.”

“Mn.” Putting his still burning mouth to the back of his mind, he focused on the search.

As they walked, he looked in barrels and crates they passed. Xiongzhang checking baskets. Looking behind the red decorations in case of hidden alcoves. They were nearly to the pavilion they met Jiang Yanli at. Once again, they passed the dock with scorch marks. Xiongzhang crouched down to take a closer look at the surroundings. Lan Wangji studied the area around them. Xiongzhang turned towards him and froze before smiling wildly. He pointed up at a nearby tree. Lan Wangji followed his gaze and saw nothing. Xiongzhang stood and walked quickly to the tree, reaching into the branches and removing two brilliantly red slippers.

“Clever.” Jiang Wanyin hid them at such an angle, they were only visible if your line of sight was low. They would have walked past them and not seen them, had Xiongzhang not turned it could have taken hours. They quickened their stride back toward Jiang Wanyin.

“Indeed.” He smiled when he noticed that the slippers themselves did not quite match each other. Instead, they each were the match to one of their shoes. He shared a smile with Xiongzhang. A quiet rebellion against the expectation. Just like their bride. Their Wei Ying.

“The Cloud Seamstresses have truly outdone themselves.”

“We should find something suitable to gift them.”

Xiongzhang laughed. “If I know Wei Ying, he will have already planned several items.”

Lan Wangji smiled in return. “Mn.”

They arrived back to find Jiang Wanyin precisely how the left him. He looked disappointed when they presented the slippers and two red envelopes to him.

“Tsk. Alright. Come on. He is through here.” Jiang Wanyin said mulishly.

Finally. They had made it through the trials and would see their Wei Ying. Jiang Wanyin stopped in front of an inconspicuous door, knocking loudly he said “Your grooms are here.” Lan Wangji could not help the impulse, he reached out and grabbed at Xiongzhang’s sleeve, who relocated his grip to his hand. Xiongzhang gave their clasped hands a reassuring squeeze. It took thirteen breaths for the door to slide open. Wei Ying stood in the opening, resplendent in his robes, his surely smiling face hidden behind his veil. The shades of red were intermingled and beautiful, the embroidery was delicate. He truly appreciated the two dragons twining around the phoenix. However, he cared little for the details, only that their Wei Ying was wearing Bridal Red for them.  He held his robes up little to show the missing slippers. Lan Wangji pulled Xiongzhang forward with him, crouching down he slipped the Xiongzhang matching slipper onto Wei Ying’s lifted foot, standing as Xiongzhang did the same to the other foot.

“I knew my fuddy-duddy Geges would find them.” He could hear the smile in Wei Ying’s voice.  He fought the impulse to rip the veil away now. It was an obstruction he did not appreciate.

“Come on, go make your bows and attend the Tea Ceremony.” Jiang Wanyin stated, breaking the moment. Delicately he grasped Wei Ying’s hand, Xiongzhang the other and they began to walk. Walking with three would take some adjusting, their stride slightly longer than Wei Ying’s, the heavy robes making each of their gaits a little stilted, but he found the unseamlessness of it soothing. Each moment that they faced and compromised together filled him with satisfaction.

Arriving at the Jiang Ancestry Hall, they paused. Jiang Wanyin entered first before ushering them in. Three red cushions sat before the altar; the middle sat slightly back. They stepped forward, quietly, reverently kneeled down, helping Wei Ying sink down on either side. Slowly and slightly out of sync they bowed, once-to the heavens and the earth, twice-to the Jiang ancestors, Wei Ying’s parents, and the Jiang family slightly off to the side, then turning to face Wei Ying they bowed a final time. He sent a prayer of thanks and once again stood helping Wei Ying find his footing, he squeezed Wei Ying’s hand and smiled slightly when he saw him squeeze his brothers in turn. Following Jiang Wanyin, they walked to the main dining room. An elaborate, if small feast was set out, the space covered in the double happiness symbols and red banners.

Stepping to up to the main table they once again knelt, as eldest, Xiongzhang poured first, Jiang Fengmian, Yu Ziyuan, Jiang Yanli and Jiang Wanyin. Then Lan Wangji poured them a second cup, they each drank again. With this they were family.

“Brothers-in-law!” Jiang Yanli said beaming.

“Sister-in-law.” He nodded, Xiongzhang smiled broadly back at her.

“Come, eat. We have marriage foods, eat a little and be on your way, Gusu is hours away yet.” Jiang Fengmian said kindly. Picking at the offered foods, he ate only food he recognized were supposed to be any color resembling red.

Then they were once again leading Wei Ying by clasped hands. They were allowed to escort him over a saddle on their way to the sedan chair, but Jiang Wanyin insisted he be the one to place his brother in it. He could hear Wei Ying sniffling and even saw a tear fall, leaving the fabric of his robes discolored. He cursed the veil again, how was he to dry his brides tears with it in the way? He bowed to the Cloud Seamstress when he noticed her, she smiled and bowed in return before joining in the formation to return home.

“Fly safely. Treat my brother well.” He ignored the shine to Jiang Wanyin’s eyes and bowed to the assembled Jiang Family. Jiang Yanli was openly weeping through her smile. She waved to them as they took to the air. They slowly rose amid a chorus of will wishes and goodbyes. Once high enough they began to gradually gain speed, to feel for the weight distribution of the sedan and the carriers. He took a deep breath. Soon.

*****

The flight was long, or maybe it was his impatience that made it seem so. After completing the bows and tea for Wei Ying’s family Wangji seemed less agitated, Wei Ying was harder to read, but opening his senses told him what he expected, impatience, trepidation and happiness and a tang of sadness. He hoped the sedan bearers were not getting too tired, he slowed to check on them again. Using hand signals rather than trying to shout over the wind. They would arrive at the Cloud Recesses within Xu Shi. They may be able to complete their bows and tea just before curfew. Fighting back the impulse to check on the disciples again, he noted the ground was beginning to rise, they had entered the beginning of the mountainous regions. They would be home soon. It was lucky that Healer Nuan had thought to include restorative dishes among their wedding feast.

While the Cloud Recesses’ celebrations were mild in comparison to other sects, they still followed and had their own wedding traditions. They had their Wood Artisans create a wedding bed with the couple or in this case the three of them, in mind. Delicately carved with the swirling cloud symbol native to the Gusu Lan, as well the customary wedding talismans-fertility, happiness, love, restful sleep, passion-if you knew where to direct it, a spark of spiritual energy would activate the right talisman for a time. They had the children from the nursey jump on the bed, three of the eldest children got to have a sleepover the night before the wedding to bring good luck to the bride and grooms.

 

Seeing the mountains of their home begin to rise, his tension uncoiled. The sedan bearers had carried Wei Ying with expected ease, one the first set began to tire and slow they seamlessly traded positions, then the third set. He offered spiritual energy to any who needed it, but the disciples had been chosen specifically for their core strength. It was a high honor to take place in their Young Masters wedding procession. Sharing a relieved glance with Wangji, they began to slowly descend.

Catching Wangji’s eye, they set off their alert fireworks in tandem, waiting for the light to fade, the disciples not carrying the sedan chair set off a round of fireworks, the gate guards would lower the barrier so they could land safely in the courtyard without climbing the admittedly long staircase. Descending slowly and feeling his smile grow they landed lightly. The sound of sheathing swords was loud in the twilight stillness. He sighed slightly, finally they were home. The sedan bearers stopped in front of the saddle and the red carpet leading to the Lan ancestral shrine, while they made their bows, it would be moved to lead to the feast then to their new residence. He and Wangji bowed to the disciples who had helped them, and deeper toward the Cloud Seamstress. Then he reached into the sedan waiting for Wei Ying to clasp his hand to lead him out.

“Mind the saddle.” He cautioned.

Wangji grasped Wei Ying’s other hand as he exited, stepping over the saddle with a low laugh they led their bride to the ancestral shrine. They would complete their bows and the tea ceremony here. They would be officially married in the eyes of Sects and Gods. He gripped Wei Ying’s hand tighter. Their steps this time slightly more in sync, the walk seemed both too long and not long enough. The incense favored by the Lan permeated the air as they stepped into the shrine. The familiarity of it was grounding.

He released a breath when he saw the three cushions waiting for them, Shufu and the Elders along the back watching them with smiles. It was strange to see so many of their sect in blue rather than white. Escorting Wei Ying to his cushion, then Wangji, he took his own. Sitting straight, breathing deep, one for the Heavens and Earth, two for the ancestors and their family, three for his husbands. As his eyes burned and blurred, he felt overwhelmingly grateful for this moment. The steps that brought him here, bound to them. His husbands. He had husbands. To love and cherish till the end of days. With a last lingering look at their mother’s tablet he rose.

He gave a watery smile at Shufu, whose own gaze looked suspiciously misty. Wangji helped Wei Ying to his feet, pausing for him to grasp his other hand, they led Wei Ying to the low table where they would complete the tea ceremony, the last step until they were bound. All kneeling once again, they settled on the red cushions. He and Wangji prepared the pot and cup, feeling a slight pang that their mother and father were not here. Thankfully the Cloud Seamstresses made the veil sheer enough that Wei Ying could see the shapes of the teapot and tea well enough not to spill. It made his chest tight when he noticed Wei Ying’s hands shaking as he lifted the pot. He leaned slightly closer to lightly rest a hand on Wei Ying’s back, trying to reassure him with the touch. He slowly, carefully poured tea for Shufu. Shufu accepted, he recited a few of the Sect’s rules on harmonious marriages and the tea was drank, and they were married. His alpha rumbled in happiness. His utter joy spilled over into his scent, the sunshine warmth of it making Wangji and even Shufu smile slightly. Wei Ying leaned into him clasping his arm as they rose and began walking towards the dining hall. The fare would be slightly more extravagant than the usual, but not nearly as colorful as the Jiang feast. He had never been more grateful for their bland food, less heartbreak at the ruin of his tongue that way.

While silence during meals was a rule, amendments for festivals and celebrations were in place. Though there was still no meat nor alcohol being served. Seeing the typically silent hall rife with quiet conversation, it was the way of celebration in the Cloud Recesses, small maybe and subtle surely, but there. His cheeks were beginning to ache with the force of his smile. He watching his husbands more than anything. Wei Ying was still obscured by the veil and would remain so until they retired for the night. Which would be soon. The Lan did not follow the tradition of heckling the new couple, they would be sent off with congratulations and well wishes. He eyed Wei Ying and Wangji’s plates, noting they ate little he made beckoned a servant closer, requesting a light meal be brought to the Hanshi for later. While he was too professional to react in any way, he could see Wangji’s blushing ears and hear Wei Ying’s smothered laugh.

“Oh, have plans for later, husband ?” He stiffened, hearing that word fall from his lips.

“Not here. Please, wait until we retire.” He spoke lowly. They must stay for at least one more course. Wei Ying laughed again, leaning slightly towards Wangji, he murmured something too low for Lan Xichen to catch, but given that Wangji’s ears flushed and his golden eyes glinted, he imagined it was something meant to rile. He lay a hand on Wei Ying’s knee, squeezing briefly.

“Wei Ying. ” Wangji chided with no heat to it. Wei Ying subsided with another light laugh. After another cup of tea Lan Xichen caught Wangji’s gaze, he tilted his head questioning, Wangji nodded slightly and they both rose, clasping a hand of Wei Ying’s they began the walk along the outside of the room to leave, dozens of calls followed their circuit, well wishes, congratulations and blessings from sect members. He felt his face beginning to heat from the attention and the knowing gazes by the time they reached the door.

Finally, outside he breathed deeply, this was it. He felt his stomach begin to swoop with nerves. He worried that Wei Ying or Wangji would be nervous too. One step at a time. He led them down the red carpet towards the Hanshi. The veil would be removed first, then the hair cutting and knotting, then came the crossed cups of watered wine. He wondered how they would manage three crossed arms, without spilling. Maybe they could hold hands and tilt the cup for someone else? Hmm. They were almost to the Hanshi. He was bringing his husbands home. This night was new for all of them. They would get through it together. He paused outside the door.

“I took the liberty of redesigning and decorating the Hanshi, but we can change anything to suit you both as well.”

“Lan Xichen, husband, let us finish the wedding ceremonies before we redecorate, huh?” He inclined his head, conceding the point and opened the door. He cleared his throat nervously as Wei Ying and Wangji entered the main room of the Hanshi. Wangji had been here countless times, but not since the betrothal contract was written. The doorways were not wide enough for the three of them to walk together so he guided Wei Ying with a hand on his back as Wangji held his hand.

“The bed is through there.” Lan Xichen said for Wei Ying’s benefit, he could feel his palms beginning to sweat and his heart race the closer they got. He followed as Wangji led the way to the bed, pausing to take in the decorations, the red sheets with the customary fruit and treats laid on them. The dragons and phoenix candles adding to the warmth and tenderness of the moment. Wei Ying hovered near the edge of the bed, he stood next to Wangji and they each grasped at the edge closest before lifting the veil slowly. Reveling Wei Ying’s smile first then his sparkling eyes. Folding the veil over Wei Ying’s headdress he slowly dropped his hand brushing his knuckles along his cheek.

“You look so very lovely.” His words were thin, overcome with the reality, that this was happening. The event they had each been anticipating for months was here, in front of him. In all his imaginings, both fevered and not, his own nervousness had never factored into the fantasy. Wei Ying’s smile became softer as he reached out and grasped his fingers giving a squeeze. Looking over at Wangji, Wei Ying’s expression became playful.

“What, no words for your bride, husband?” He could feel the minute tremble of Wangji’s arm where they brushed, hear his shaky inhale.

“Wei Ying is beautiful. Bridal Red suits you.” He chuckled lightly at the blush Wangji’s words caused.

“Come, before anything else, let us complete the ceremonies.” Gently grasping a hand in each of his, he led his husbands to the low table where watered down wine sat along with a pair of butterfly scissors and a red satchel. “Ah, Wangji, try using your core to burn off the alcohol. We want to stay clearheaded.”

“Mn. We will have to improvise the crossed arms.”

“I’m not spilling any wine on these robes! Let’s try this,” He hands them each a cup of wine and places their unoccupied hands in the center, “and then we drink.” Setting the drained cups back on the table he grasped the scissors. Grasping a thin group of his hair, he clipped it, grasping the strands so none fell, turning he clipped Wangji’s hair then Wei Ying’s. Grouping them together, he tied a knot and placed it inside of the bag.

Once again nerves struck him. His husbands looked ethereal in the darkened room, the candlelight catching the shimmering gold embroidery. The headdresses looked uncomfortably heavy.

“Wangji, would you help me remove Wei Ying’s headdress?” He raised his brows at Wei Ying.

“Oh, please. It’s beautiful and heavy.” Shuffling his robes, he sat down on a cushion before them. It made his breath catch Wei Ying was so effortlessly beautiful. His prerut made him want to care for them. Touch and caress and comb their hair, rub aching feet. He wanted to cocoon them in his pent-up adoration like a blanket. Stepping forward, careful of all the extra fabric he began searching for the pins. He and Wangji worked deftly, taking care not to pull, gently setting each piece on the table, Lan Xichen began running his fingers through Wei Yin’s hair, gathering a slight spark of qi, he worked it into the tired muscles of his neck and scalp where the hair piece sat. The slight moan Wei Ying let out zinged up his spine. Slowly, he brushed one last time and stepped back. He would not rush this. Their first experience together, while heady and wonderful, had been rushed, a secret in the dark. This would be different. He would have them in the light, in their home.

“Wangji, may I?” He stepped closer to Wangji, gesturing to his own elaborate hair ornamentation.

“Mn.” Wangji folded himself next to Wei Ying, who’s red, red lips smiled so brightly. Swallowing heavily, he gently extracted the pins, setting them down he removed the piece, Wangji’s shoulders relaxed minutely. “Wei Ying, untie his ribbon.” Wangji inhaled sharply, their forehead ribbons were sacred. Only their mother and brother had ever touched theirs. Today, their bride would have the honor. Wei Ying’s fingers stilled, “Are you certain?” voice hushed. Wangji’s responding, “Yes. Want you to.” Was equally as quiet. Wei Ying delicately undid the knot, sliding the ribbon off of his head and winding it around his hand. He sighed and stroked the ribbon before smiling at Wangji.

“Xiongzhang too.” Wangji rose gracefully, helping Wei Ying stand. Locking eyes with first Wangji, then Wei Ying, he slowly kneeled in front of them. He flooded with heat. Wondering if they too were beginning to harden under layers of robes.

“I’ve never done this before.” Wei Ying confessed fingers a little too rough as he sought the pins. “Before this night is through, we shall all experience many firsts…together.” He spoke softly, still looking at them. He was sure the angle of his head made it harder, but he could not look away. This was the most intimate moment he had ever experienced. On his knees before his husbands, seeing their unbound, unadorned hair shimmy and flow across wedding robes, overlapping and tangling together. He had not seen Wangji with unbound hair since they were children. This moment was so heavy. He could smell the rise in pheromones from Wangji as his restraint was unbound. Wei Ying’s answering smell a perfect contrast, the crisp woodsy floral scents blending enticingly. He took a deep breath, able to just barely smell his own crisper wood begin to blend with theirs. He felt a tap above his ribbon and opened his eyes. Wei Ying looked at him questioningly.

“Yes. Do it.” Feeling the ribbon slacken then fall away made the charged moment catch fire. He was as naked as he’d ever been with another person. Unrestrained, unadorned, and he wanted . He stood abruptly, Wei Ying rocking back a step. Clasping his wrist, he gently wound his ribbon around it. Where it would stay. He stood there almost crowding into Wei Ying as he watched Wangji wrap his own ribbon around the other wrist. Seeing his ribbon, their ribbons wrapped around their bride did something to him he did not have the words for. He wanted too many things all at once. To savor and cherish them as thoroughly as he was able, to strip them bare until it was all they wore. Wait.

“A moment, please.” He said to his baffled husbands he turned and stalked to the wardrobe. Grasping his everyday forehead ribbon, he walked back, seeing the understanding dawn on Wangji’s face. He tied it around his wrist as reverently as he had Wei Ying’s. Each claim he put on his husbands fanned the desire higher.

“There.” Wangji stared down at the ribbon before looking back up. Startling when Wei Ying placed his wrist against his.

“Now we almost match!” Wangji’s smile was a delicate thing, slowly unfurling until it stretched across his face, transforming his features into something breathtaking. He lifted a brow at Lan Xichen who inclined his head to the wardrobe.

“I commissioned a wardrobe big enough to hold all of our robes.” He almost blushed at Wangji’s knowing look and Wei Ying’s snort.

“Needed to have all of our things in the same place, huh?”

Feeling a little mean, he smirked at Wei Ying and responded, “Yes. It soothes me to have our lives and our belongs overlap. To wear something carrying hints of your scents. Is that not a husbands right?” He delighted in Wei Ying’s answering hiss.

“Lan Xichen!! How shameless can you get?!”

“Speaking clearly is not shameful. You asked.” Wangji said tying his own ribbon on Lan Xichen’s wrist.

“Thank you.”

“Mn.”

“You know, I’ll have to make something for the other wrist. I have some ideas for a bracelet.”

“I would welcome anything you chose to gift me with.” Lan Xichen said earnestly.

“I as well.” Wangji stated. He looked them both over then nodded once. His hands fell to the ties of his outer robe.

“Oh! Are we finally getting to the good parts!?” Wei Ying’s bravado did not quite hide the slight tremor in his voice. It pulled at his chest, he needed to soothe his bride.

“We can do as little or much as you’re both comfortable with. There is no need to push yourselves.”

“No!” Wei Ying burst out, louder than he intended, “I’ve just….I mean…” he trailed off. Wangji draped the over robe over the nearby privacy screen.

“My rut will hit tomorrow. It will be difficult to abstain if we are in the same bed.” Wangji hardly blushed, but his golden eyes burned.

“Mine as well.” Lan Xichen admitted.

“Yeah, that’s why this is all harder than it needs to be.” Wei Ying said disgruntled.

Lan Xichen began deftly began working on his own ties. Fingers a little clumsy with nerves and desire. Everything was so new and big. A strange mix of too much and not enough at once. Draping his own robe next to Wangji’s he sighed in relief, wedding robes were heavy after all.

Wei Ying’s silver eyes darkened. His scent thickening. “Help me with mine?” he asked them. Wangji stepped forward, into Wei Ying’s space not looking away he began undoing the belt, Lan Xichen took it to lay over the screen. Wei Ying began to pant softly, the rustle of fabric seemed so loud in the charged room.  He stepped closer, moving behind Wei Ying he leaned down just slightly to rest his forehead against the top of Wei Ying. Hands resting on his shoulders as Wangji undid the ties. He began running his hands along Wei Ying’s arms, gently touching him, calming them both.

“I want you both. I have desired this, but I confess I am nervous.” Lan Xichen spoke into Wei Ying’s hair, he wanted to be as open as he was capable of with his husbands. His body, his mind, his heart, it was theirs for the taking. Here in their home, in the life they were trying to build together, there way no place for deception, for rules or expectations. Wei Ying leaned into him and Wangji stepped forward wrapping his arms around them both. Just holding them, for a moment, until Wei Ying moved and his robe fell down one shoulder dislodging the under robe beneath. His bared scent gland was directly under Lan Xichen’s nose. They all froze. Just like that the simmering tension was back. They all wanted this, but did not quite know where to go from here.

“Let’s hang this up huh?” Wei Ying pushed slightly at Wangji’s chest, stepping away to hang his robe. “Kissing is usually where the spring books start. Why don’t you try?” Lan Xichen reached out gently cupping Wangji’s face in his hands, his gaze lowered slightly to his lips. Wei Ying came back and wrapped them in his arms. His touch grounding, he leaned in and pressed his lips softly to Wangji’s, just for a moment. He opened his eyes slowly, seeing the burning in Wangji’s gaze before he turned to kiss Wei Ying, just as gently, leaning back again he gasped at the sight of Wangji and Wei Ying kissing. Even chaste, watching it made him go hot, the arousal deepening, rippling out from the core of him. They were so beautiful together. He leaned in on Wei Ying’s other side, nosing at his throat before placing a kiss there. He reveled in the quiet moan it got him. He stepped back when the kiss broke.

He closed his eyes, took a breath gathering his courage and undid the last tie on his under robe. He shrugged out of it, laying it on top of his over robe. Standing only in light pants he looked at them. Wangji’s gaze was smoldering in its intensity, he was pulling at his own ties, each action deliberate and tightly controlled. Wei Ying stared at him, before he yanked his own robe off, letting it fall to the floor behind him. Wangji huffed as he picked it up, placing it with the other robes. Wei Ying’s skin was darker than theirs, but beautiful. He had little scars and moles along his chest. He wanted to kiss them all.

“Really at a time like this?” Wei Ying’s voice was a little breathy.

“Mn.” Wangji’s voice was a deep rumble. This was really happening. Wangji’s physique matched his own, lithe and muscular.

“Come, let’s lay down together.” He grasped their hands in each of his, pulling them gently, as he walked backward to the bed, he sat on the edge, smiled invitingly and waited.

 

 

Chapter Notes

Edits were not as extensive as usual, please forgive the typos and grammar errors. I had surgery 4 days ago-I’m totally fine, but words are hard. When I’m better I’ll go back and tweak things.

This fic is LWJ/WWX/LXC, but Meng Yao has a type alright, too wholesome for this world cinnamon rolls, Jiang Yanli, Wen Ning and Lan Xichen are it. While he isn’t paired with anyone in this story, they will be the very best of friends later on.

Regarding -xiaojie-I tried to find a female equivalent for -xiong which from what I gathered was like Bro. Could not find anything for Sis. So I’m gonna use xiaojie which by the definition I found means Little Elder Sister.

Wu Shi-11-13

Xu Shi-19-21

Regarding the forehead ribbons. They were made with Song of Devotion. The embroidery is a mix of Phoenix Call and Dragon’s Roar and I’m taking creative license to make this the ribbon that they tie around Wei Ying’s wrists. I just really like the imagery of WWX being claimed by them in his own colors, and I think that the wedding forehead ribbons could be worn as proof of claiming or stored. But! They have two husbands, so he gets the red and they get the white. Wei Ying makes them something later for the other wrist. 

Chapter Text

 

Author’s Note-I double posted. Anyone with the email alert, please read Chapter 8 first! 

This story is the first time I’ve ever written smut. 

Please remember the not typical ABO tag. Reminder, there is only a 2cm height difference between WWX and the Jades.

This is a poly ABO, and I’m leaning into the biological effects HAVING a designation and what a mating bite COULD do with that. Please, do not @ me for unrealistic sex. That was sort of implied.

 

Wei Wuxian felt the tremble in his knees as Lan Xichen sat on the edge of the bed. He handed the auspicious fruits and nuts adorning their marriage bed to Lan Zhan. Their marriage bed. In their house, where they will live. He was struck suddenly with the gravity of the day. He was married. He has husbands. Two True Mate alpha husbands! He grapples with the rawness the realization leaves him. This is his place now. He is wanted here and cherished. They wooed him. All he has to do is accept the path he is on and the future it will lead him too. His musing is cut short when Lan Zhan steps away from the table, brushing a hand down the length of his spine. Lan Xichen’s seductive look beginning to edge into concern.

“I’m fine.” He says automatically.

“Wei Ying, please. When something is wrong, you must tell us so. We are not yet familiar enough with one another to guess or know correctly.” Lan Xichen does honest and genuine concern almost as well as Shijie does. It makes him almost as hard to lie to.

“I really am fine. Promise.” He gives them a smile and steps forward. Admiring the sight of his husbands in nothing but their thin silk pants. He could see, smell and nearly taste the potency of their desire. Their scents were similar, yes, but held a nuanced difference. Lan Xichen’s was smokier, but Lan Zhan’s had a spark to it, as if from a fire. Blended together, it defied description, bypassing his thoughts and affecting his instincts directly. He wanted to present for them. To preen. To show them how good of an omega he was. How he was perfect for them because he wasn’t an omega like Shijie or Meng Yao.

Lan Zhan stepped closer to the bed, watching him, eyes a little wild. The nervousness wanted to choke him. His preheat instincts wanted to show off. He tried for middle ground and slowly, he turned his back to them, grinning at Lan Zhan’s rumble. “Be patient.” He sang back over his shoulder. He undid the ties of his pants, took a breath and let them drop to the floor. 

The spike of arousal scents gave him confidence. Hair tickling his lower back as he swayed for a moment. Not quite a dance, but something close, small movements to entice. Lan Zhan did growl this time. Lan Xichen whined a little. Turning toward them directly he stepped closer to the bed. Almost close enough to touch. He knew how to read them, where to look to see beneath the aloof exteriors. Lan Xichen misdirected with his smile and ambiguity as much as Lan Zhan did with his apathy. There it was. Lan Zhan’s knuckles were white and his jaw clenched. Lan Xichen held very still, hardly daring to breathe. “Won’t my husbands bare themselves to me?” He swayed closer, fingers trailing down his chest. He tried to pay attention to them rather than the pounding of his heart or the throb of his erection. Slick was beginning to gather, making his cheeks slide together as he moved.

Lan Zhan nearly ripped the red pants off himself. His lurid erection bobbed in the air. Lan Xichen rose and took his off before folding them neatly. His own cock was flushed and heavy with arousal. Still holding themselves back. He watched them look at him and each other. Lan Xichen bit his lip, fists clenching as he looked down Lan Zhan’s body to his erection. Lan Zhan’s eyes were nearly glowing so close was his alpha. Wei Ying felt his own omega come closer to the surface in response. He walked closer, tangling their fingers together, he kissed Lan Xichen’s knuckles, then Lan Zhan’s. “Take me to bed, fuddy-duddy husbands.”

As if waiting for an invitation, Lan Zhan was on him. His head jerked back with the force of his kiss; his gasp swallowed as Lan Zhan’s tongue traced his bottom lip. His hips reflexively thrust forward. The brush of their cocks made him moan. He felt Lan Xichen stand behind him, his erection grazed down the crease of his ass, head resting under his balls. “Oh. Fuck.” He gasped as he threw his head back, Lan Xichen’s tongue trailed along his neck, so close to where he wanted his bite. He stopped and sucked a bruise there. Lan Zhan traced paths down his chest, fondling a nipple, the other hand caressing his hip on its way to Lan Xichen's ass, pulling them all closer together. When Lan Xichen spoke, he uttered the words directly into Wei Wuxian’s skin, “When should we bite?” His voice in such a deep baritone made him shiver. “After. Once we claim one another we will go into the Claiming Haze. I want our first time to be…us. Without the outside influences of the Mating triggered heat and ruts.”

Lan Zhan must be tired of being patient, he bit down on Wei Wuxian’s collarbone. Wei Wuxian hissed and jerked from the pleasure pain of it. It hurt so good. He wanted more. Reaching one arm above his head he sank it into Lan Xichen’s hair, pulling him closer still. Lan Zhan thrust back against him, hips grinding. He was slicker now, could feel the warmth of it pooling from his hole. The smell adding to the potent pheromones swirling around them. He panted into Lan Zhan’s mouth arching backwards onto Lan Xichen’s cock, so close to where he wanted it to be.

“Wangji.” Lan Zhan pulled back, his lips were smudged with the rouge and pressure of their kisses. Lan Zhan leaned over Wei Wuxian’s shoulder, kissing Lan Xichen with the same unrestrained want as he had Wei Wuxian. He put his own mouth on Lan Zhan’s shoulder, grinding his ass back into Lan Xichen who had begun fucking forward. Small movements, as though he couldn’t help himself. Wei Wuxian moaned when the slick sounds of their kiss sounded too loud in his ear.

“No fair! I want to see.” He pushed them away just enough to shimmy to the side. Hardly breaking the kiss, they collided. He moaned at the sight of them. By the Heavens they were breath-taking. Skin gleaming in the candle light, trading panted breaths, the slick sounds of their tongues meeting made his ass clench and cock throb. Lan Zhan had one arm wrapped around his brother’s hips and the other across his back. Hips moving in little circles, grinding against Lan Xichen’s cock. Lan Xichen had both hands buried in Lan Zhan’s hair, before suddenly pulling back, he kissed his way down Lan Zhan’s neck, before sucking hard on his scent gland. Lan Zhan shuddered and groaned. He couldn’t take it anymore. Standing behind Lan Xichen he kissed his way across his shoulders. Fingers stroking the expanse of his back, scratching a little when he pushed his ass into Wei Wuxian. Snaking his hands in between them, he brushed their cocks, running his fingers down the shafts as they ground together.

“Bed.” Lan Xichen pulled away, breathing heavily, flushed and beautiful.

“I want my kiss from you first.” Wei Wuxian said, stepping into Lan Xichen’s arms, coiling his own around his neck. Lan Xichen kissed him like he wanted to devour him. Methodically, forcefully. Lan Zhan was all burning desire, Lan Xichen felt like he wanted to take you apart. He was going to cum before they made it to the bed. Lan Zhan yanked him backwards when he pulled back to breathe. He grabbed onto Lan Xichen’s shoulder, stumbling backwards. Lan Zhan huffed and picked him up, carrying him the short distance before throwing him down onto the bed.

“Lan Zhan!!”

“You are welcome to try.” Lan Xichen goaded. Lan Zhan growled in response. The sound traveled through him and pooled in his gut. He loved them and he needed them now. Overwhelming want taking the place of his nerves, he sat up, kneeling on the bed, he tilted his head back and stroked a hand down his chest, playing with his nipple. Curling a hand around his erection he began to pump slowly, more tease than relief.

“This big bed is very lonely without two handsome husbands to warm it.” Before he could smirk, Lan Xichen pushed him backwards, Lan Zhan curled a hand around his neck, angling his face to kiss him again. The too hard pressure of it, the way their teeth clacked together only inflamed him more. No one else had ever, would ever, see them this way. He got to experience the Twin Jades when they were unrestrained, feel the force of their untamed passion. He shuddered as Lan Xichen began kissing his way down his chest, easing himself in-between his legs. Lan Zhan gripped his wrists, pinning them above his head. He arched into Lan Zhan’s mouth and tilted his hips enticingly towards Lan Xichen.

There was so much going on at once, the dual sensations riding the edge of too much, too overwhelming. Each touch inflamed him more and demanded his attention. The scrape of Lan Zhan’s teeth, his tongue soothing the ache. Lan Xichen’s petting hands, huffs of breath falling where he most wanted their touch. He yelped and jolted when his cock was engulfed in Lan Xichen’s mouth. No prelude of tentative licks or teasing touches.

“Oh. Fuck. That feels too good.” He panted at the ceiling. Lan Zhan released his mouth to look down.

“Watch him. See how he takes you.” Wei Wuxian writhed. Pushing against the hands holding him just to feel the grip tighten. Fighting to be held down harder, touched more. Lan Xichen’s finger circled his hole, trailing through the slick gathered there, he arched into the touch.

Wei Wuxian looked down his body in time to meet Lan Xichen’s gaze as he took Wei Wuxian to the back of his throat. His hips thrust reflexively, the pleasure unlike anything he’d ever experienced. Lan Xichen’s forearm across his hips prevented him from actually moving, which made him burn hotter.

Lan Zhan raised up on his knees, gripping Wei Wuxian’s hair as he brought his own erection closer. Wei Wuxian opened his mouth and gasped, he wanted to touch him, to taste him. He lapped at the tip, loving the burning gaze watching his every move. Lan Zhan thrust in just as Lan Xichen pushed a finger inside. The sudden fullness made him greedy for more. He tried to mimic what Lan Xichen was doing to him. Using his hand to stroke what wasn’t in his mouth, paying particular attention to the subtly swollen knot at the base. Lan Zhan fucked his mouth, grip tight as Lan Xichen fucked him infuriatingly slowly with that single finger.

“Taste.” Lan Xichen raised up, extending his finger towards Lan Zhan’s mouth. Lan Zhan held his gaze as he took the offering, hips thrusting shallowly as he licked the taste of Wei Wuxian from his brother’s finger. Lan Xichen leaned in further, crashing his lips to Lan Zhan’s. Licking the taste of Wei Wuxian from his mouth. He was going to cum. Immediately.

“I’m close. Oh fuck, you’re too much.”

“Not yet.” Lan Xichen ordered.

“You must wait for us to fuck you.” Lan Zhan stated.

“Then one of you need to get inside.” He demanded, sounding breathier than he’d like.

“Think you can take it?” Lan Zhan asked as Lan Xichen ran his cock along his crease, he was so wet they could hear the sound of it. He gasped and tried to angle his hips to get him inside.

“Not yet.” Lan Xichen refuted. “Help me get him ready.” He grabbed Lan Zhan’s hand and guided it to his ass. Lan Zhan was rougher than Lan Xichen had been. Pushing in as deep as he could immediately. Lan Xichen followed Lan Zhan in on the next thrust. His wrists were pinned to his abdomen still held in Lan Zhan’s grip.

“Let me go.” He whined. He was so hard and so fucking close.

“No. You will cum from our touch, not your own.” Fuck, he was so bossy and so hot.

His mates were inside him. Fingers thrusting, one slow and grinding in, the other fast and hard. Someone grazed a spot that had his muscles clenching and a strangled sound rip from his mouth. Everyone froze.

“Good or-?” Lan Xichen didn’t get to finish his question. Someone grazed it again pulling out and that was it. He was cumming. Completely untouched, so hard his eyes rolled back and his whole body jerked, flushing with a searing heat. He yelped and arched in their too tight grip.

“Wei Ying.

He lay there boneless and panting.

“Nope, that’s your doing. I did exactly as you said.” He smirked breathlessly back.

“He is correct.” Lan Xichen said casually, leaning down to lick the cum off of Wei Wuxian’s chest.

Lan Zhan added another finger, ruthlessly thrusting, hitting that spot every time he thrust in.

“He is ready.” Lan Zhan pulled his fingers out, offering them to Lan Xichen to taste. His cock tingled at the sight of his mates staring intently at one another and licking his slick off of his brother’s fingers!

Lan Xichen leaned down again and kissed Wei Wuxian softly, flicking his tongue along his own sharing the taste of himself. Lan Zhan reached down and grabbed Lan Xichen’s cock stroking as Lan Xichen hissed and jerked, rubbing the head around the slickness and angled it. Pressing on Lan Xichen’s hips to get him started. Lan Xichen pecked him on the lips, mouth dropping open as he started pushing forward.

“Xiongzhang. Now.”

Lan Xichen fed his cock into Wei Wuxian slowly, thrusting shallowly. Getting them both used to the feeling. He was so wet the glide was easy, but he was so big. The pinch and burn gave him that edge of too much and he reveled in it. Lan Zhan ran his hands down Wei Wuxian’s chest, running his fingers over a nipple before pinching. Wei Wuxian jerked in response. The cock inside of him moved when he did. The pain of intrusion was already fading. He wanted him to move. To fuck him like he meant it.

“How does he feel?” Lan Zhan husked.

“Hot. Wet. Tight.” Lan Xichen gritted back. He sat back, eyes closed and panting. Moving slow and deep. Lan Zhan led Wei Wuxian’s hand to his cock. Showed him how to stroke and tease the head.

“I want you back in my mouth.” Wei Wuxian opened his mouth invitingly. Lan Zhan leaned close enough for Wei Wixian to lick the precum off, teasing them both with the closeness before thrusting inside. Wei Wuxian moaned around the cock in his mouth as Lan Xichen picked up his pace, thrusting harder now, finding a rhythm. Lan Zhan suddenly pulled back, breaking the seal of his lips with a lascivious sounding pop. Wei Wuxian whined in response.

“No, I am going to cum inside of you after Xiongzhang.” He whimpered at the thought. Lan Xichen’s own moan setting off his own. He was drowning in them. His head was cloudy with pheromones and the sizzle of desire was a near physical weight. The groans and pants as Lan Xichen got closer to cumming seeing how he wore desire made Wei Wuxian moan. In all the ways he dreamed of this, they were better. 

“You feel so good, Lan Xichen.”

“Xiongzhang, do you see how he needs you to fill him?” Wei Wuxian was licking the tip of his cock and Lan Zhan sounded almost offensively unbothered. It made him want to try harder to wreck his composure, but Lan Xichen was hitting that spot that made it hard to think. He clenched his legs around Lan Xichen’s waist, pulling him closer, deeper. The next thrust was hard enough to scoot him up the bed, Lan Xichen ground into him moaning as he jerked. “Ahhh.” He delighted in the fact that he made his alpha cum. His knot, inflated slightly with release, made that last grinding rock zing up his spine in the most delicious way. He arched into it and moaned. Lan Xichen panted staring down at him. The smile he gave him was adorably bashful.

“That was beyond description. This was what I wanted from that night. Us, together. To touch and taste and linger.” With one last circle of his hips, Lan Xichen slowly pulled out. Shuffling forward awkwardly leaning over Wei Wuxian nearly laying on top of him, he swallowed Lan Zhan’s cock to the root. That was the most arousing noise he had ever heard anyone make ever. A growling hiss that rumbled from Lan Zhan’s chest. Lan Xichen huffed a laugh with his mouth full. How were they this good at sex and fun in bed? How unfair. They were going to kill him.

Lan Zhan jerked backwards suddenly, eyes blazing as he looked down into Lan Xichen’s smiling face.

“Too close?” He taunted.

Lan Zhan manhandled him over Wei Wuxian’s other side as Lan Xichen laughed, low and intimately. Wei Wuxian began stroking himself, too sensitive for the dry rasp, he dipped a finger into the mixture of cum and slick to ease the glide. Lan Zhan crawled over Wei Wuxian, careful not to squish anything important and sat on his brother’s hips. He swooped down and kissed him aggressively, it looked like what you would expect a riled alpha releasing years of sexual tension to. Desperate and with an edge of mean. Like when Wei Wuxian edged himself all day, getting closer and closer to cumming only to stop again and again. When he did finally cum, it hurt, but in the very best, most delicious way. The pain and pleasure of it all combined into an orgasm so intense his whole body tingled with aftershocks for an incense stick. He stroked faster watching them kiss. Lan Xichen satisfied and indolent, Lan Zhan aggressive and ravenous. Lan Zhan ripped away and slapped Wei Wuxian’s hand away from his cock.

“Lan Zhan!”

“Not from your own touch. You will cum from my cock inside you or not at all.” He whimpered as his hips jerked helplessly, he loved it when Lan Zhan was a little mean.

“Please. Lan Zhan. I need to cum.” Lan Xichen began fondling his chest, leaving little licks and kisses. Tasting the sweat that covered him.

“You have already cum tonight.” Lan Zhan hovered over him, tantalizingly close.

“Why don’t you come inside so you can too? I’m so wet, look, you can see Lan Xichen dripping out of me-AH!” Lan Zhan had been maneuvering him as spoke, well, goaded him. Then unexpectedly thrust inside.

“So hard, Lan Zhan. You brute.” He moaned as every movement hit that spot.

“You like it.” Lan Zhan sounded out of breath, hips pistoning, spreading Wei Wuxian’s legs further apart.

“I do. Ah. There. Please. Lan Xichen!” Lan Xichen bit him on the hip, not deep enough to draw blood, but enough to sting. Lan Zhan slowed but went harder. The slapping of their skin was echoing in the room. Lan Xichen was lightly grazing his cock as it bobbed from the force of Lan Zhan railing into him.

“Hnnnggg.” Lan Zhan clenched his jaw and squeezed his legs as he came, driving into him, the knot catching slightly as he pumped in and out. Wei Wuxian whined again. He had been so close.

“Lan Zhan! Please, Lan Xichen.” He gasped as Lan Zhan yanked himself backward and took him into his mouth. He groaned loudly as he sucked hard. Lan Xichen kissed him, too soft and too slow for how much he needed more. Faster. Harder. “Yes. Oh, fuck. Please. Ahhhhh.” He begged into Lan Xichen’s mouth. He writhed under them as he came and came. Heart racing and body tingling. Lan Zhan drank it down, pulling back and smirking ever so slightly at Lan Xichen, who only smiled back, reaching out to tuck some hair behind Lan Zhan’s ear.

Now that the passion was fading, though his body was still thrumming with little jolts of pleasure, he could feel every ache, bruise and bite. He felt well-loved, wearing the mementoes of his mates need for him. For each other. He lay there panting, heart still racing, slowly coming down from the heights of orgasm.

“Now that my Geges have ravished me quite thoroughly, I believe I am owed some bites.” He batted his eyelashes up at them.

“You are correct. Wangji?” Lan Xichen pulled Wei Ying to a sitting position moving around to his back. Gathering him close, he nuzzled the left side of his neck. Lan Zhan kneeled between Wei Wuxian’s spread legs, kissing the right side. Wei Wuxian squeezed their hands and brought his omega as close as he could. Giving into the pull to let his instincts take over. He whined, nuzzling his head into Lan Xichen then Lan Zhan. His scent glands began exuding his Claiming scent. The spice overtaking the inherent lotus essence. He took a deep breath of their Claiming scents, necks so close to his face the effect was immediate. Lan Xichen’s fresh, crisp scent held a bite, reminding him of the first breath outside when Spring overtook a hard Winter. Lan Zhan’s was the crispness of Fall turning to Winter, crackling and heady. Both held the woodsy smell similar to their preferred sandalwood incense. 

In order to coat their mouths with the specialized Claiming pheromones they needed to take a moment to bring their alphas as close to the surface as they could outside rut. The pheromones they would inject into the bite would trigger a reaction that caused them all to go into a specific type of heat and rut called a Claiming Haze. Their designations would be more predominant, reason giving way to instinct. It was this that caused mated scents to intertwine. Hereafter they would always smell a little like the others.

“Together?”

“Mn.”

He shuddered, trying not to tense as their teeth bit down. Hard, harder, until finally breaking the skin. An agent in their saliva numbing the area slightly, all he could feel was a sharp pinch. His own body responded by releasing pleasure hormones. With the aftershocks of his orgasm still flooding him, it was exactly the right kind of pain. The symmetry of his mates biting him together gave him an extra thrill. He was so full, the empty spaces inside himself were being poured into. The bites locking them together irrevocably. He’d never be alone again. As of yet the bonds would be one-sided. The connection was forged on his side, but not yet theirs. The extra awareness of Mate was wonderful. Just like that, they pulled back, licking the blood, letting the saliva and his core heal the bites, they would scar, staying the vivid pink of new skin. He sighed happily, smiling widely enough his cheeks ached. He had been Claimed.

*****

Finally. Wei Ying was his. Xiongzhang was his. No one could ever, would ever, try to take them or interfere again. How very convenient that the Mating Haze would come before tomorrow’s end. They would not be fit to be in public for at least a xún while the Claiming ran its course.

“Who wants to go next?” Wei Ying asked, silver eyes nearly glowing with how close his omega was. The sight alone made him want to push him back down and thrust into him. He could see and smell the remains of their combined release oozing out of Wei Ying. He had thought once he was able to bed his mates, the urge to mark them in other ways would decrease. Oh. He had claimed Wei Ying, but not Xiongzhang. That must be rectified.

He leaned back on his heels, Gazing at Xiongzhang over Wei Ying’s shoulder.

“Xiongzhang.” He answered. Seeing his alpha so close to the surface filled him with several impulses. To present himself, the way Wei Ying had, inviting him to fuck him. But also to paint his insides with the essence of his claim. To litter his chest with sucking kisses, until he looked as bruised and bitten and well-loved as Wei Ying did.

“I would be honored to wear your Claims.” He sat very still; arms open invitingly. Wei Ying smiled and crawled forward on his knees. There was a damp spot on the bed where he had sat, as he watched a drip slide down his cheek. Before he could help it, he reached out, stilling Wei Ying and followed the trail to its center. Feeling the wet stickiness between his legs, knowing they were the ones who made the mess made him rumble in satisfaction. He gently pet the puffy hole, tapping lightly to hear the wet smack.

“Lan Zhan !” He yelped. “What are you doing?!” Instead of answering he raised his finger to his mouth. He could taste the bitterness of cum, the sticky almost sweet of Wei Ying’s slick, but he could also taste the essence of them. A vague taste of their pheromone ridden scents. He wanted to lick it out of him.

“Didi. We must finish the Claiming first.” Lan Xichen smoothed a hand down his arm, drawing his attention.

“Mn.”

He held eye contact, moving closer until he was in Xiongzhang’s space. Wei Ying pouted at him from behind Xiongzhang’s shoulder. He twitched his lips just to rile him further.

“Lan Xichen, your brother is bullying me.” He mumbled, digging his chin into Xiongzhang’s shoulder. Xiongzhang patted Wei Ying’s thigh where it bracketed his hips.

“Now, now. Wangji is not bullying you at all.”

“And you like it besides.” He finished, huffing a laugh when Wei Ying stuck his tongue out at him like a child. He leaned forward and licked it before Wei Ying could move. Lan Xichen’s laughter echoed loudly in the room, mingling with the outraged “Lan Zhan !”

“At least he did not bite.” Lan Xichen soothed, though the effect was somewhat ruined by the laugh in his voice. “This time.” Was the sulky reply.

Lan Wangji breathed in the smell of Xiongzhang, nose buried in his neck. He mouthed the line of his throat, luxuriating in the quiet moan he got in return.

“Wei Ying. Now.” He bit down hard and felt Wei Ying do the same. Xiongzhang shuddered underneath him, hips rolling forward and back, fighting to stay still. He lapped at the bite, pulling back to admire the mark. The small piece of himself that would adorn his brother for always. Xiongzhang patted the bites with his fingers. Smiling widely, looking pleased to be so marked.

“Lan Zhan’s turn!” Wei Ying singsonged crawling towards him. He stopped in front of him to kiss him thoroughly, sharing the taste of Xiongzhang between them. Somehow the essence tasted different in Wei Ying’s mouth. Before he could pull Wei Ying into his lap, he leaned away. He followed Wei Ying with his eyes as he continued to move behind him, looking forward as Xiongzhang seated himself in his lap. His fingers flexed on Xiongzhang’s thighs, focusing on the breaths on his neck and the look in Xiongzhang’s glowing gaze. Instead of Wei Ying’s revived cock he could feel brushing against his naked back, rather than Xiongzhang’s erection still drooling cum from his recent orgasm. Holding his gaze Xiongzhang leaned down brushing his lips against his ear as he says lowly “With this we will belong to one another. No one can separate us ever again.” He knows of the darker urges that plague Lan Wangji. He digs his fingers into Xiongzhang’s thighs pulling him closer, leaning into Wei Ying’s lapping tongue. He tilts his head back to give them complete access. Wei Ying’s arms latch onto Xiongzhang’s hips, pulling him closer still. His ass resting on Lan Wangji’s now throbbing cock. He swallows heavily and by some unknown sign they both bite down. He rumbles in satisfaction. The sting of pain cementing the moment.

With the bond now fully reciprocated. The extra sense for his mates begins burning brightly in the back of his mind. He sends a wisp of qi at the colored warmth and feels Wei Ying’s smile against his neck. The answering pulses happen in near synchronicity. Wei Ying pulls back slightly and sighs happily.

“I can feel you both.” His smile is so wide it distorts the words slightly.

“Come, our Mating Haze will be on us soon. We all must eat before that happens. I requested a servant leave a light meal for us.” He knew Xiongzhang was correct, but was loath to have his mates that far from him. Xiongzhang smiles as if he knows Lan Wangji’s thoughts and moves out of his lap. Wei Ying is standing and stretching by the bed. The candles and the light of the brazier making the marks of their earlier passion look enticing. He wants to leave more. Wei Ying groaned attractively as his back popped. Shaking his arms and seeming entirely at ease with his nudity.

“Your sleeping robes are in the trunk just there. A dish of water and towels to wash your faces behind the screen. If you will allow, I will fetch our meal.” Xiongzhang says, pulling on robes and ducking behind the screen then out of the room. Wei Ying quickly dashes behind the screen himself, scrubbing his smeared makeup off. Handing a fresh towel to Lan Wangji as he enters.

Faces clean, Lan Wangji bites back a sigh and wraps one of the sleeping robes around himself. Wei Ying smiled at him, tender and hungry. At his look he laughs a little. “I didn’t think it would affect me so much to see you both wearing my mark. As omegas we’re taught not to expect it from our husbands or wives. To see my claim on you as I wear yours…really nice.” He steps closer and pulls Wei Ying into his arms. “Me too.” He says into Wei Ying’s hair. His smell has already changed. He can smell them on Wei Ying, but also in him. Their scents an undertone to his own spice and lotus. His alpha wants to claim him again, to cover him in bites, to make sure he is always dripping with their cum.

“Here.” Xiongzhang returns, bearing a serving tray, the smell of food makes his stomach rumble. Wei Ying cackles as his ears heat.

“First Lan Xichen’s sneeze, and now your stomach, I bet I’m the second person ever who gets to see such sides of the Twin Alpha Jades of Gusu.”

“Seeing the vulnerable pieces that make up your beloved is part of the balance of love.” Xiongzhang states, setting the dishes within easy reach of them all. Wei Ying’s amusement morphs into something softer. 

“Let us eat and rest. We will need our energy for later.” Lan Wangji says before beginning. He pointedly ignored Wei Ying’s smirk and ate. By the end of the meal, Wei Ying was covering his mouth to yawn and Xiongzhang’s stare became fixed, shoulders drooping ever so slightly. He stood, collecting dishes and stacking them neatly and leaving them in the entry of the Hanshi. One of the punishment duties was to go and collect used dishware from those that ate outside the dining hall.

He allowed himself to smile, to feel the warmth and the fondness flow from his chest to the two little lights in his mind. This was the beginning of their life together; he would have moments like these again and again. The impatient prowling that had haunted his alpha these last several months finally put to rest, content with the Claiming.  He strode forward, plucking Wei Ying up from where he slumped over, leaning most of his weight on Xiongzhang and walked towards the bed. He could perhaps, even should have gotten new linens for the bed, but he wanted to sleep on bedding that was saturated with the scents of them. The arousal and passion, the barest hint of nervousness overlayed with the smell of fondness, of love. He wanted to immerse himself in it, and so he would.

Gently laying Wei Ying down, he almost startled at the delicate touch to his hip. He had been distracted and had not noticed him following. Xiongzhang shuffled sleepily up to him and leaned fully against his back as he stood. He rested his hands on the ones wrapped around his waist. He noted with amusement that he could still feel the evidence of Xiongzhang’s desire against his crease.

“Tomorrow.” He spoke lowly, the moment too intimate to disrupt.

“Come to beeeedddddd.” Wei Ying whined, looking up at them pitifully, eyes scarcely opened.

Xiongzhang needed no more prompting and curled around Wei Ying, clutching him tightly to his front. Lan Wangji lay on his back on the other side of Wei Ying, reaching out his hand to rest his fingers where Xiongzhang’s rested low on his hip. He doused the candles and breathed deeply. Wei Ying shuffled forward until his face was near buried in his other arm.

“Goodnight.” He spoke softly.

“Gooooodnt.” Wei Ying slurred.

“Sleep well.” Xiongzhang murmured.

 

Waking up slowly, he blinked heavily. This was the first time he had shared his bed with another since he was a small child. Sleeping with other people felt new and somehow peaceful. The simple comfort of touch a balm even in sleep. Maybe especially in sleep, if he woke from one of his nightmares. The ones about being locked outside in the cold and no matter how he pleaded or cried, the warmth and the laughter he could hear from inside remained out of his reach. The people inside either ignoring or not hearing the knocks, the cries, the banging as he became increasingly desperate. He always awoke when a voice he recognized rang out with “You cannot see us anymore.” Often it was Mother’s voice, sometimes Shufu’s or even Xiongzhang’s once or twice. Those nights he awoke so cold, so lonely. He understood what the dream represented, knew to meditate and reflect on how he could improve himself so they stopped. It never mattered. The dream always returned. The knowledge of how the dream would play out only seemed to heighten his anxiety, his fear of the cold dark, the terror at being abandoned, the horror at the familiar voice.

“Good morning, Wangji.” The sleep roughened voice of Xiongzhang sent a thrill through him. He turned to see Xiongzhang, much in the same position he had slept in. Though Wei Ying was curled into his chest, he was as close as he could possibly be to Lan Wangji without being on top of him.

“Sleep well?”

“Mn. It was nice. No nightmares.” Lan Xichen smiled broadly. He could not wait to get used to this. Every new moment was a revelation, a new discovery in the facets of the people he most loved.

“Geges. It is far too early for you to be so beautiful.” Wei Ying grumbles into Xiongzhang’s neck. He turned onto his side and began running his fingers through the tangles in his hair.

“The Claiming Haze will happen soon. We need to prepare.”

“After you eat well and we box the wedding finery to take to the Treasure Room, you may go back to sleep.” Xiongzhang says coaxingly.

“Must we? I’m pretty sure you two can do that.” Wei Ying retorts, settling back down.

“Eat.” Lan Wangji states. Wei Ying huffs dramatically and rolls over, partly onto Lan Wangji himself.

“Fine.” He heaves himself up as theatrically as possible, dragging his feet on the floor.

“The servants left it in the receiving room, yes?” Wei Ying calls back. Opening the sliding door and seeing the covered tray. Setting it on the table he crows when he uncovers a bottle of chili oil. Immediately plopping down at the table, he pours an alarming amount of it on his congee and pauses before taking a bite. “Wait, this is the twice spiced oil from Lotus Pier!” He exclaims.

“Mn. Madam Yu sent some for you.” Wei Ying looks back at the bottle and softens, eyes going shiny as he takes a too large bite.

“Wei Ying?” Lan Xichen steps forward, arm extended.

“No, I’m fine. It’s the incoming heat.” He dismisses. Lan Wangji nods, he too can feel the prerut urges. Helping Xiongzhang finish boxing up the wedding finery to leave in the receiving room for the servants to collect. He takes his place at the table and eats his own meal. After he and Xiongzhang finish, they begin morning meditation, Wei Ying climbs back into bed, declining the opportunity to explore their new home. He did smile and pet the three jade bunnies sitting on their shelf on his way.

He breathes deep and measured. Circulating his qi, feeling the wisps of spiritual energy from Wei Ying and Xiongzhang, feeding them into his core. Not even half through with his meditation, he feels the Rut begin.

His alphas presence goes from present to insistent, getting bigger, not taking over exactly, but becoming more fixed. He has often wondered if this was what getting drunk felt like. The loss of control, giving over to impulses and instinct. When he opened his eyes, he knows they are gleaming golden. His scent deepened, becoming muskier. He looked at Xiongzhang and could feel the moment his rationale gave way to want. He moved forward, pleased to find Xiongzhang already watching him. Body relaxed and open. He moved into Xiongzhang’s lap, pleased to feel his hardness bump against an answering one. He ground his hips forward still staring into his dark gaze, seeing them begin to smolder, his rut setting off Xiongzhang’s.

“This time I will have you in your rut. I will fuck you. Wei Ying will watch as you fuck me.” He states calmly. Xiongzhang tips his head back and groans. He meets Wei Ying’s interested gaze across the room. He nods frantically, eyes wide and hungry.

“Ah, Wangji.” Xiongzhang tightens his grip on his hips. Hips moving restlessly against his own. He lowers his mouth to Xiongzhang’s, tongues tangling as their hands roam. Xiongzhang buries one hand in his hair, fist tightening to guide his head, deepening the kiss. His stomach flips as the heat in him builds. Cock already leaking against Xiongzhang’s own.

“You know, I’ll be able to watch much better if you come closer.” Wei Ying says a little breathlessly. Xiongzhang pulls back from the kiss, mouth red.

“Yes, I believe you would.” Lan Wangji stands up, he can see the damp spot from Xiongzhang’s own leaking cock and his mouth waters. He reaches down and abruptly pulls Xiongzhang to his feet. Nearly toppling them with the force of it. Leading him to the bed, he pushes Xiongzhang down on the edge, giving Wei Ying a hard, bruising kiss before kneeling between Xiongzhang’s spread legs.

“Oh, Wangji.” Xiongzhang moans as he forcefully frees Xiongzhang’s straining erection. He looks into his eyes and laps at the tip. Enjoying the sucked in breath and the soft moan from Wei Ying. He swallows him down. Lips stretching around his girth, he notes that his knot is larger, ready to swell up upon release. He moans at the thought of finally taking Xiongzhang in a rut. Wei Ying shuffles closer and kisses Xiongzhang, already naked and fully aroused. He can taste the beads of precum as their kiss gets heavier. Xiongzhang’s hips twitching as Lan Wangji sucks slowly, lips meeting the girth of his knot, he cannot take him to the root like this, but decides he will practice until he can. Looking up as Wei Ying moans loudly he can see Xiongzhang taking Wei Ying into his mouth, rhythm erratic as the sensations of sucking and thrusting makes it difficult to focus. He can just see the sheen of slick on Wei Ying’s ass as he thrusts carefully into Xiongzhang’s throat.

Pulling back, he climbs onto the bed, the panting and bitten off moans fanning the flames within him. He bites down over Wei Ying’s mark, not enough to break the skin, but enough to ache, just to feel Xiongzhang jolt and moan around Wei Ying’s cock. He leans forward pulling Wei Ying’s hips closer, sitting down, his hard cock leaking on Xiongzhang’s. He drags a finger through the wetness of Wei Ying, and has an idea.

“Xiongzhang, trade me places.” He instructs. Wei Ying moves back a little to give them room. Organizing three bodies, no matter how large the bed, will probably always be slightly ungainly. Wei Ying laughs awkwardly when he accidently kneels on Lan Wangji’s hair, kissing the ache away through his chuckles. Once they are sorted to his satisfaction, Wei Ying hovering over his cock and Xiongzhang kneeling between his spread legs. He directs them further.

“Xiongzhang, use Wei Ying’s slick to open me enough to take you.” He sees the understanding bloom across Wei Ying’s face, immediately following came a long low moan from Xiongzhang. Xiongzhang’s grip tightens on Wei Ying’s hips, the other hand he can almost see, penetrates him deeply, fingers spreading, coating themselves in slick before pulling back out. He can feel Xiongzhang’s touch, he spreads his knees invitingly. Xiongzhang circles his fingers. He begins to pump Wei Ying’s cock, touch as teasing as Xiongzhang’s fingers along his rim.

“Again Lan Xichen, I don’t think you got him wet enough.” Wei Ying says impishly, swaying from side to side. He meets Xiongzhang’s gaze over Wei Ying’s shoulder, the look in his eyes is so hungry he moans quietly. He has had many rut fevered dreams of taking and being taken by Xiongzhang for years. Since meeting Wei Ying, they expanded to incorporate all the different configurations the three of them could and would be in together. He fully intended to take advantage of the xun they had and try as many of them as they reasonably could. He moans a little when a finger finally breeches him. A few pumps of his fingers and Xiongzhang pushes in with two. Lan Wangji enjoys the stretch, likes knowing he will be taking and being taken at once. Wei Ying starts shifting his hips forward with a desperate whine.

“Lan Zhan, stop teasing.”

“You will wait until I am ready.” He strokes Wei Ying’s leg to soothe him. Xiongzhang scoops up more of Wei Ying’s slick and eases a third finger inside him.

“Didi, are you ready for me?” Xiongzhang’s voice had the husky edge that made his cock throb.

“Yes.” He rasped. Tightening his fingers atop Xiongzhang’s on Wei Ying’s waist, he thrust up along Wei Ying’s opening, he was so wet , near dripping with arousal for them. Wei Ying lined him up and sank down, head thrown back, nails catching along Lan Wangji’s chest. Xiongzhang paused to watch Wei Ying’s hole swallow his length. He began to gently pet where they were joined.

“Ah, Wei Ying, you take him so well. You are so good for us.” He nuzzles along Wei Ying's throat as he says it, breathing praise into Wei Ying’s skin. He enjoys seeing Wei Ying flush darker with each statement. Wei Ying was beautiful. He took them so well. He was such a good omega. So invitingly wet for his alphas. Wet enough for Wangji to be taken. Would Wei Ying ease Wangji’s way into Lan Xichen?

Xiongzhang removes his fingers, lines himself up and pushes forward. Lan Wangji feels his hole stretch, the burn of it adding a pleasant buzz to the fullness . He bucks reflexively into Wei Ying who moans. He is shaking by the time Xiongzhang is sheathed inside him. Xiongzhang pulls slowly out and back in. Wei Ying has begun rocking forward and back, not quite in tune with Xiongzhang. The sensations of Wei Ying’s tight heat and Xiongzhang’s rocking thrusts are almost too much. He is nearly overwhelmed with sensation.

“Ah, Didi. You are exquisite.” Lan Wangji clenches down as Xiongzhang thrusts harder into him. Wei Ying is frantic in his rocking, favoring speed over depth as he moans loudly.

“You’re both too much, I’m gonna cum soon.” Wei Ying pants, fist stroking quicker. Xiongzhang is thrusting faster now. The bed shaking under them with the force of their movements. Xiongzhang noses along his Claiming mark on Wei Ying’s neck. Eyes burning, alpha pheromones thick in the air he bites down, not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to hurt just right. Wei Ying shudders and groans loudly before cumming. Painting Lan Wangji’s chest, some landing on his panting lips. He licks it away; Wei Ying tastes sweeter than last night. It makes his cock throb inside him. Wei Ying slumps to the side. The sudden shock of cold against his cock adding another layer of sensation to his overwhelmed senses. With more freedom to move, Xiongzhang leans down, licking the remaining stripes of cum off of his chest.

“Wei Ying, you must be in heat, you have gotten sweeter and thicker.” Omega slick and cum becomes stickier and far sweeter while in heat, it also contains potent aphrodisiacal properties. Alphas and even betas will respond to them in varying degrees of intensity. While dry and informative, the Marriage Book had provided some instruction.

Pushing his legs further apart Xiongzhang thrusts harder, fucking into him faster. The need building, he can feel Xiongzhang’s knot swelling further. He arches his back as he hits. That. Spot. Again. He strokes himself, so close his muscles are tensing in anticipation of the orgasm. Xiongzhang fucks into him harder still, the knot beginning to catch on his rim. His legs clench as he throws his head back a long-drawn-out moan escaping him as he cums. And cums. He milks his engorged knot as Wei Ying leans down and sucks the tip of his cock into his mouth. Lan Wangji writhes in the delicious overstimulation. Xiongzhang continues to thrust into him a few more times before slamming into him a final time. The slap of their sweat slicked skin loud enough to be heard over his groan. Swiveling his hips as he continues to cum causes little bolts of pleasure to zing up Lan Wangji’s spine. Wei Ying licks his way up Lan Wangji’s chest to his mouth. Kissing him tenderly, achingly sweet.

“You two are so beautiful it’s hard to look at you directly.” He says softly, smiling up at Xiongzhang, who smiles back before laying down on Lan Wangji’s chest. Sighing out a long breath he relaxes into him. Wei Ying begins to lightly trail his nails along Xiongzhang’s back, the soft scritch soothing to listen to. By the time Lan Wangji’s hips begin to truly ache the knot releases enough to separate.

“Come on, let’s see how big that tub is.” Wei Ying says stretching.

“Mn.”

****

With the demanding sexual appetites of his alpha sated for the moment his other rut urges emerged in full force. He was immersed in the need to pamper his mates, to care for them.

After Wei Ying emerged from the bath he was waiting to dry and brush his hair for him. Taking care, he oiled and brushed each strand, massaging Wei Ying’s head in the process. When he was near purring, listing to the side, he braided his hair loosely.  Sending Wangji into the bath he finished helping Wei Ying dress properly in light house robes and brought him some water. Leading him to the table he brewed him some tea and set some snacks down for him.

By then Wangji was out of the bath and he repeated the processes, tenderly oiling, brushing gently and braiding his hair. Wangji would not want assistance dressing so he only lay out the robes. Pointedly not laying out his forehead ribbon, the only ribbons available were to be worn around a mates wrist. New forehead ribbons would be given before they emerged from the Mating Seclusion. Sitting him next to Wei Ying he fixed Wangji’s tea and took his refusal for food in stride. With his mates immediately taken care of, he rushed through his own bath, hastily braiding his hair. Hearing Wei Ying’s voice vaguely raised in a whine before Wangji’s voice rumbled something back he stepped out from the screen.

He returned to find them still sitting at the table, Wei Ying laying across the table pouting up at a stern faced Wangji. He smiled, rumbling at how precious they were, all lose-limbed and relaxed from his tender affections. He paused before walking forward, kneeling down between them. Leaning into Wei Ying’s space he rubbed his wrists on his neck before offering his own. He gave a pleased hum when instead Wei Ying crawled closer and rubbed his neck against his own, tilting his head up to give him room. He could smell the thickening of Wei Ying’s heat scent, not quite a Calling, but enough to demand attention. When Wei Ying leaned back smiling widely he kissed his forehead, his eyes, his nose and his still smiling mouth.

“I am so glad we are married and mated.” He brushed a loose strand of Wei Ying’s hair back, tucking it behind his ear. Wei Ying darted his eyes away and back before taking a breath.

“Me too.” He said simply, but with a raw honesty that made him feel softer inside. Smiling at Wangji’s customary “Mn.” Pecking Wei Ying’s lips once more he pulled back, turning toward Wangji. Wangji sat upright and proper as always, but he was looking at the ceiling, waiting to be scented. It made him laugh a little, so filled with happiness to be able to do this. Nuzzling into Wangji’s neck he scented him on both sides, pulling back he could see the desire bloom in Wangji’s gaze, but he just littered his face with soft kisses the way he had Wei Ying.

“May I ask what you were discussing before I interrupted?” Sitting properly, he began fixing his own tea.

“I want to go see the bunnies! Lan Zhan says we can’t leave for a xun!”

Ah, yes. “All persons who just mated are expected to enter Mating Seclusion to allow adequate time to adjust to the new bond.” He summarized feeling a slight pang at Wei Ying’s pout. He could not break the rules, but his alpha was more inclined toward the pamper and shower with devotion side of rut to Wangji’s possessive aggression. It seems as though their hormonal influences would mesh quite nicely together. Wei Ying’s pout intensified.

“I want to see them!”

“If I may, I can paint them. It is not the same as holding them of course, but it may tide you over until the end of the xun?” He offered, delighting in Wei Ying’s beaming smile. He did that ! He took care of his mates and made them happy. Wangji’s answering smile was only slightly more apparent than usual.

“House first.” Wangji said, gathering his guqin to begin playing a soft melody.

“Of course, Wei Ying has not had the opportunity yet.”

“Sit, sit, Geges. I can poke around myself.” He said waving a hand at them. Lan Xichen was torn between Wei Ying’s wish to explore himself and the need to show off every thoughtfully chosen item. The long low desk across the room so they could do their work together. The talisman paper and cinnabar he stocked for Wei Ying. A supply of Wangji’s favorite teas. Wei Ying came back with an odd look on his face.

“Lan Xichen.” He started, then paused. He and Wangji both looked up waiting.

“There is a nursery.” He stated.

“Of course. The room is located next to this one, separated only by a sliding door. The sleeping area is spacious enough to have a cradle close for when they are nursing.” How delightful, Wei Ying was taking an interest in the nursery! While he would never pressure Wei Ying to fill the nursery immediately, he so hoped it would be soon.

“The decorations are tasteful and soft. Excellent choices, Xiongzhang.” He was smiling so wide his cheeks ached. His mates liked it! This was the best rut. He loved being mated. Wei Ying just blinked slowly and sat down. He refilled his tea for him as he sat still and quiet, introspective rather than alarmed.

They spent a quiet shichen painting, playing and talking. Reveling in the intimacy that was being alone together. When he was nearly half done with his painting-the three of them together each holding their counterpart bunny-Wei Ying located and began playing his dizi, playing a melody first with the bamboo then the jade. It warmed him through to see Wei Ying using both. The same song sounded slightly different, but no less beautiful.

He hummed quietly before adding ribbons to the painting. He rather liked it. He looked up when Wangji moved suddenly. He crowded into Wei Ying, plastering their fronts together, gently removing the dizi from his hand and placing it down. Nosing up Wei Ying’s throat he kissed and nipped over the bite on each side. Hands clutching Wei Ying tight to him. He stepped back when Wei Ying began to rock into him. Eyes blazing and pheromones thickening. Lan Xichen stood knowing what was coming. Though they had not shared or necessarily discussed their rut behaviors, he knew his brother. Still watching Wei Ying, Wangji grasped Lan Xichen’s wrist, walking to Wei Ying he grasped his too and led them towards the bed.

“Lan Zhan?” Wei Ying questioned, sounding confused and slightly aroused.

Mine.” The guttural cadence to the declaration sent a shiver through him. Wei Ying’s eyes widened. Pushing them towards the bed, Wangji lay down, opening his arms wide and tilting his head. Lan Xichen went eagerly, Wei Ying following him. Wangji clutched them close, grip tight and heartbeat erratic.

“Is it your rut?” Wei Ying questioned. His voice had an odd quality hearing it both reverberate through Wangji’s chest and through the air.

“Yes.” Wangji’s voice was hoarse, he knew if he looked his eyes would be glowing.

“Do you need to claim us?” Lan Xichen asked baldly.

Yes. ” Wangji hissed.

“Then why aren’t you?” Wei Ying taunted. Leaning on one elbow. Wangji growled at the goad and Lan Xichen knew to sit up before Wangji could rise and tackle Wei Ying back to the mattress. Wei Ying went down laughing, his pheromones had been increasing since this morning and were growing heavier, his heat coming in fully, Calling his mates to claim him, to breed him. The thick honeyed smell calling forth his own alpha, causing his pheromones to increase, his rut driven Calling scent mingling in the saturated air. Enclosed as they were, the smell of them alone would rile their designations to near feral. The Claiming Haze and the new Calling pheromones a large part of the reason new mates were to be secluded. It took time to learn control over these new aspects of their designations, even betas went through it, albeit to a lesser degree.  

He began disrobing as Wangji mauled Wei Ying; biting, sucking and licking his mating marks, each action accompanied by moans, squeals and groans. Seeing Wangji’s love bites over Lan Xichen’s claiming bite made him shudder a little. He stood to remove his under robes completely. Climbing next to his husbands he stroked a hand down Wei Ying’s parted robes, dislodging them further. There was something titillating about Wei Ying wearing robes barely held by his loose belt, but naked from the waist down. He took his time, folding each garment, enjoying the sight of his mates entangled together. He could feel heat coming from the bond he shared with them. Each mating developed in a different way, he wondered if theirs was to be empathic.

Wangji was almost startlingly uncoordinated as he roughly disrobed and knelt between Wei Ying’s spread legs. He buried his face in the crease of thigh and groin and drew a deep breath, laving the skin to taste the sweat. Between Wangji’s thick scent and glowing eyes, he had reached the peak of his rut. Lan Xichen grinned in response.

He had long wanted to see what Wangji would be like in the midst of a Rut Haze. He himself was slipping closer, each breath of his mates pheromone ridden scents pulling the others closer to that point where instinct ran free. They were all too controlled to lose reason entirely, it was simply stripping away the layers you donned. The emergence of your deepest, basest self. It took a significant level of trust to be that vulnerable with whom you shared a heat or rut with. It was all too easy to manipulate someone when they were in that state. It spoke to the strength of their bond that Wangji had reached it so soon, that he was inciting it in him and Wei Ying if the copious amount of slick and glowing eyes were any indication. The room was heady with the crackling smell of wood and spice, so thick he could almost taste it.

He watched enthralled as Wangji shoved Wei Ying’s legs up, baring him completely to their eager gazes. Wei Ying threw his head back and moaned, hands fisted in his hair, surely pulling the ends free of his braid. As he watched Wangji dove in and swiped his tongue slowly through the gathered wetness. Flexing his strength when Wei Ying thrashed in his hands, whining when he could not move a cun. The angle was wrong to see, but from the sounds and Wei Ying’s increased struggle Wangji’s tongue was fucking into him.

Unable to stay still any longer he knelt beside Wangji, hand stroking over Wei Ying’s dangling ankle. He followed the lovely line of his leg to his beautiful ass. Palming the cheek closest to him, scratching lightly as the wet slurp of Wangji’s tongue synchronized with Wei Ying’s moans. He felt the haze overtake him. It was like being submerged in warm water, the world narrowing and muffling in turns. He wiggled a finger into Wei Ying, he was so wet , near to dripping with slick and spit, he groaned at the tight heat, Wangji’s flicking tongue. Wei Ying tried and failed to move into the slow thrust of his finger.

He added a second finger, the pleased growl reverberating in his chest, felt rather than heard. He broke off into a groan as Wangji came with a cry. Head flung back, fingers bruising Wei Ying’s thigh, knot inflated. Came.

Oh. Wangji .” He husked. Wangji did not even soften, just continued to shudder and shake cum filling his palm. Even Wei Ying stilled long enough to stare, eyes wide and panting.

“Fuck me, fuck me, please, fuck me .” Wei Ying’s voice cracked as he begged. Wangji uncurled, still spurting drops of cum. Releasing his grip on Wei Ying’s remaining leg, he swirled a finger through his wet hand and painted Wei Ying’s scent gland with it. Before turning to him and doing the same.

“Now, you smell like mine . I will never wash off either of you.” Wei Ying wailed as he came, clenching helplessly on Lan Xichen’s fingers. Cum marking was the most visceral way to lay claim to a person. He could only vibrate with the force of his desire.

Wei Ying shifted and smirked up at him. Slotting a finger inside himself next to Lan Xichen’s own, he painted Wangji’s glands right back with his slick. He could not believe this was happening. His alpha was yowling in want. Wei Ying’s slick burned as it mixed with Wangji’s cum on his neck, wrists and inner thighs. At the self-satisfied smirk in those glowing silver eyes he snapped .

He lunged forward; restraint gone. Snarling as he manhandled Wei Ying on his knees over his lap. He pulled him roughly down, gnashing his teeth when he slid in the wet instead of inside . He bit Wei Ying in retaliation for his laugh, straining against the need to be inside . Now . Wangji smacked Wei Ying lightly on the ass, the wet smack loud in the room. Wei Ying jerked forward and moaned. Lan Xichen thrusted helplessly up, jerking as Wangji’s hot, hot hand wrapped around the sensitive knot of his cock. The wetness gave and he was inside. It should have been a relief, instead it made the burn more acute.

“More. More. Moremoremore.” Wei Ying chanted in his ear, nails scratching down his back as he rolled his hips up. “Geges, I need . Husbands !'' Wei Ying sounded genuinely distressed, tossing his head as he writhed in Lan Xichen’s arms.

“I know what you need.” Wangji’s voice was horse and gravelly. It made his hips buck to hear it so close, Wangji was plastered to Wei Ying’s back, spread legs bracketing his own. He felt a touch where he was still slowly thrusting into Wei Ying.

Yesss .” Wei Ying hissed, arching back towards Wangji’s finger. His eyes widened as he understood. This had not been in the Mating Book! He settled for trying not to cum immediately at the thought and circling his hips as Wei Ying took a second finger. He was still so wet , his hole swollen as the Claiming Heat ran its course. Three fingers. He gritted his teeth at the feel. The pressure and the heat and the want .

“Now. Lan Zhan. Lan Xichen. Now, please.” Wei Ying sobbed. He kissed his cheek, hands soothing his thighs where they wrapped around him. Wangji nuzzled into him as he lined up, nudging, pushing, a little harder and with a pop and a slurp he was inside. Wei Ying stopped breathing before gasping a wail.

“Oh. Fuck .” Lan Xichen breathed into Wei Ying’s shoulder. Wei Ying’s limbs spasmed around him and he cried in relief. The agents in their saliva from the Claiming Bite would have triggered preparations to take them both. Body dilating to take them without much pain. He had never imagined this in his most fevered dreams. When Wangji was fully seated they were all heaving for breath and shaking. He kissed overstimulated tears from Wei Ying’s eyes. He could feel Wangji kissing his shoulders and petting his sides to try and sooth him.

Tentatively, he swiveled his hips, not thrusting, just moving, he could not help his whimper. It was so tight , being so intimately connected to his mates made the pleasure near indescribable. Wei Ying groaned from his chest as Wangji hissed in a breath.

“Yes. Oh, it’s too much. You’re too big. I can’t. I can’t take it.” Wei Ying rasped.

Lan Xichen, still moving gently, lay soft kisses along Wei Ying’s chest, “You can. You already are.” He said tenderly. Wangji began to move, shallow thrusts of his hips, but enough to rock them all. Feeling Wangji’s cock rubbing against his own inside of Wei Ying made him burn hotter. Idly he wondered if he could take them both.

“I need to move.” He grit out. Hips thrusting up, using his powerful arm strength to move Wei Ying up and down by his hips. Wangji clutched Wei Ying’s thighs helping him lift their mate.

It was not seamless. Their thrusts fell out of sync more than in, one or both would slip out causing Wei Ying to whine helplessly and gave them the opportunity to slide back in . It was still the most sensuous event he had ever thought of, let alone participated in. Wangji brought Wei Ying down hard and Lan Xichen could not hold back any longer, with a high-pitched whine he came. Flooding the already dripping channel, painting Wei Ying and Wangji with his seed. He had enough awareness to keep his knot outside of Wei Ying.

Xiongzhang .” Wangji bit out. Thrusting harder, faster. Lan Xichen tried to stay inside panting against Wei Ying’s sweat slick chest. Remembering that his stomach likely did not provide enough friction for Wei Ying, he reached down and clasped his leaking cock. “ Wei Ying.” 

“Oh fuck. Yes. Please. Cum inside me. Lan Zhan. Knot me, fill me, I need it.”  Wei Ying was babbling, nails scrabbling on Lan Xichen’s back. Stroking Wei Ying lightly, Lan Xichen leaned up, angling Wei Ying’s head closer and spoke lowly into his ear, still loud enough for Wangji to hear. “Wangji is fucking my cum deeper into you. He is going to cum inside of you, fill you up and knot you.” Wangji grunted fucking up and yanking Wei Ying down to meet the thrusts, Lan Xichen slipped out, but was now able to rise up and kiss Wei Ying’s moaning mouth.

“Get into a better position. You will need most of an incense stick to separate after knotting.” Wangji obeyed wordlessly, lifting Wei Ying off his cock long enough to straighten his legs and lay down flat, before seating Wei Ying on him once again. He could tell that Wangji was close, but Wei Ying was closer, grinding down onto his cock and arching into Lan Xichen’s fist.

“Wei Ying, will you come for me?” Lan Xichen asked, looking into his Heat Hazed eyes.

Yessss .” With a keening moan Wei Ying came, slick oozing out as Wangji fucked him through it. Wangji yanked him down and came, biting Wei Ying’s shoulder and growling.

They were so very dear to him, the braids were mostly undone, sweat plastering hair to their faces. Checks flushed with exertion and passion. His Rut Haze made him simultaneously want to mount and bathe them. Wei Ying leaned into him, hands trailing along his chest. His erection which had not flagged much began to perk back up. Wei Ying grinned tiredly and fondled him.

“My hands are much too tired; you’ll have to stand and fuck my mouth, Lan Xichen.” He said huskily, hands teasing more than pleasing.

He gasped when Wei Ying stroked him almost too tight as he spoke. He stood on shaky legs, burying a hand in Wei Ying’s hair and gently guiding his mouth to take him in. Moaning slightly at that first long suck. He met Wangji’s burning eyes over Wei Ying’s head. Even not touching Wangji directly, he was so present , gaze intense enough to be an almost physical touch. He locked eyes with Wangji and thrust into Wei Ying’s mouth, one hand fisted in his hair and the other holding his cheek. Wangji rocked slightly into Wei Ying, locked together, but still coming.

“It is possible that with this we will have fucked a baby into you. Would you like that?” Lan Xichen asked, thumb stroking Wei Ying’s cheek tenderly. Wei Ying’s eyes widened and he nodded even as he sucked harder. Wangji groaned, the reverberations of Wei Ying’s moan sent him over the edge. He pulled back and coated Wei Ying’s chest, squeezing his knot and sinking to his knees. Trails of his cum painted Wei Ying from collar to half hard cock. He heaved for breath at the sight, the memory of them both inside Wei Ying, the realization that could be what gets him pregnant with their child . He shuddered. He had not realized the thought would be so arousing to him.

He kissed Wei Ying, whispering praise and devotion into his skin. Wangji reached up and guided Wei Ying to lay on top of him, it did not look particularly comfortable, but he was pouting in that way that meant they were too far from him. Smiling, he scooped up bits of his cum, rubbing it into first Wangji, then Wai Ying’s scent glands. It was viscerally pleasing to see. To leave this mark on them, to further mark them.

“Lan Xichen is too shameless Lan Zhan! Who taught him to say such things?”

“Wei Ying is very inspiring.” Wangji responded.

Through the aftershocks of his own pleasure he rose, wetting a towel to wipe his mates. Baths for them all would be certainly necessary, but later. As the heat of passion cooled, the lethargy creeped in. His alpha was sated from two orgasms and the doting he bestowed on his mates. Tenderly wiping first Wei Ying then Wangji-well, what he could reach of Wangji-he then pulled the blankets up higher around them. Bringing a cup of water to leave next to them. He quickly wiped himself down, leaving his neck untouched, he knew it was…unclean, perhaps, but could not help the need to wear the evidence of his mates’ desire for him. Gently kissing Wangji then Wei Ying he curled up next to them.

They would need to discuss children. It was expected and written into their betrothal contract, but he would respect if Wei Ying wanted to wait a season or two, external pressure would not happen for at least that long. Wei Ying was humming softly to himself, fingers dancing along Wangji’s arm. Wangji must be meditating, he was so still. He smiled at the domesticity. He hid a yawn and nuzzled closer, eyes growing heavy. He let them fall closed. All the better to hear the melody Wei Ying was creating, Wangji’s baritone now weaving along the notes. Before he realized it, he slipped into sleep and dreamed.

Author's Notes

Mostly guestimated and artistic libertied the ABO saliva chemical compounds, and responses but did actually research the pheromones found in fluids of the animal kingdom. Surprisingly interesting.

Looked into and adapted Ancient Chinese timekeeping from the Xia dynasty and a xún is a 10-day week. Each month comprised of three xún. Early xún, middle xún and late xún. Day’s are harder as they tended to change with each era/dynasty, but were commonly adapted from systems of multiples of 10 and 12

Because I actually looked into it, the Twin Jade dicks are based on Bad Dragon’s Austin in medium. Out of season knots are 1.92 inches. In Season being 2.13, usable length being 6.6 inches.

Rut/Heat behaviors-LXC just wants to pet them and love them and rub their feet and make them clothes. LWJ wants NO OTHER PERSON to look at, speak to or be around his mates. WWX gets a little rawer, a little more emotional. HE wants to be doted on and clutched really close. It works.