So, while costuming may suggest that WWX is returning to LWJ after a little road trip, at the very end of ep 50, I was way too outraged to notice that the first time around. Instead I spent the last five minutes basically shrieking at the screen variations on “Don’t you dare, you absolute fuckers, oh my god!” and similar. That was my first response. My second, upon getting the last five seconds, was to mutter dire things about screenwriters who think they’re clever, and to write some together-after-all smut, to soothe the emotional “no no no no no!” of the first response. So, for everyone else who lost their shit at the ending and did not recover enough for nuance for quite some time, if ever… this story is for you. For everyone else, most of it will read well enough if you assume LWJ came to find WWX on the road at some point.
I am also much indebted to my sometime brain-share partner, Lys ap Adin, for several gestures in here, which my LWJ immediately latched on to.
By the time they got to the next town, Wei Wuxian felt severely off balance. Hearing Lan Zhan’s voice at his back, just when he’d been finishing what he’d expected to be another goodbye, had sent such a shock through him that he’d had to take a moment just to breathe before he’d dared to turn around, and for another moment he’d thought the sight of Lan Zhan, solid and present and returning to him would knock him off the edge of that cliff.
He’d hesitated again, when they’d reached the road, weight shifting on his toes, not knowing whether Lan Zhan had meant to join him or for him to join Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan hadn’t looked like he’d noticed, but he’d taken a calm and deliberate step in the direction Wei Wuxian had been headed, and Little Apple had cheerfully yanked him along that way.
And when Wei Wuxian glanced between the lowering sun and the town’s inn, Lan Zhan just as calmly turned them toward the inn.
He supposed he was glad one of them was sure of what he was doing, right now.
When they were finally settled in one of the second floor rooms, been assured of fresh blankets, had the virtues of the kitchen extolled to them, and were finally alone in the cool, blue shadows of early evening, Wei Wuxian found himself once again at a loss for what he should be doing. This had not been on his mental road-map at all. Oh, he’d turned over the idea of dragging Lan Zhan out and about with him, over the past few weeks, and also the thought of descending on the Cloud Recesses to shake the place up a little. But never for Lan Zhan to be the one to follow him, to reach out for him the way he was reaching out this very moment, fingers tracing lightly over Wei Wuxian’s cheek and trailing down his jaw, gentle and warm and oh…
He stepped slowly closer, hands stealing out to slide under Lan Zhan’s outer robe and rest on his hips. “Lan Zhan?” He could hear the huskiness in his own voice.
“You broke my grip once,” Lan Zhan said, voice as low and calm as ever on words that made Wei Wuxian’s heart twist. “I don’t wish to let you do so again.”
Wei Wuxian swallowed, feeling like his heart was trying to climb his throat, and perhaps beat its way right out of him. “Are you sure?” he asked, finding a grin, even if he was fairly sure it didn’t make it to his eyes. “Everyone will wonder how much the Yiling Patriarch is corrupting the new Chief Cultivator–” He broke off, blinking at the sudden press of a finger against his lips.
“You are not a force for corruption.” The firmness of that statement made Wei Wuxian’s throat tight again.
“Lan Zhan,” he said, softly, lips brushing against Lan Zhan’s finger, because he appreciated Lan Zhan’s confidence in him, and he shared it of course, but they both knew what the rest of the world thought. Lan Zhan’s eyes narrowed a hair.
That made him laugh. “Always.” Lan Zhan actually huffed, faintly, and he laughed again, relaxing into the familiarity. It slipped a little sideways when Lan Zhan smiled and took a tiny step closer, cupping his hands around Wei Wuxian’s face. That was familiar, sure, but only from daydreams. Never with the sensation of sword- and string-callouses against his skin, or the realization that he could feel Lan Zhan’s body heat, standing this close.
Entranced by the faint curve to Lan Zhan’s lips, which he still wasn’t used to seeing, it took him a minute to notice that Lan Zhan’s eyes had tracked down to his own mouth. When he did, though, he couldn’t help smiling, slow and bright, and draping his arms over Lan Zhan’s shoulders.
“So, you are sure?” he asked, leaning in a little. Lan Zhan’s eyes slid back up to his, steady but also fiercely intent, even heated.
“Yes.” And then he waited, very still.
“Then yes,” Wei Wuxian answered, pleased, and leaned in the last little bit to kiss Lan Zhan.
It had been quite a while since he’d kissed someone, even if he didn’t count those years when he was a wandering ghost, but he was still pretty sure he’d never felt with anyone else the surge of tingling warmth from head to toes, that answered when cool lips parted under his. He wanted this. He’d wanted this for a long time. Wanted the soft slide of Lan Zhan’s tongue against his and the sight of long lashes against the curve of Lan Zhan’s cheek as he closed his eyes.
It was the way Lan Zhan’s hands spread against his back, though, that made his breath catch–a slow, careful caress that pressed him gently closer. So careful of him, like Lan Zhan held something fragile and precious, and that plucked at a thread of wanting deep inside him, set his insides shaking. “Lan Zhan,” he said softly, against Lan Zhan’s mouth, not quite sure of what he could say to give form to that want.
Lan Zhan dropped another kiss at the corner of his mouth and drew back to look at him, sober and level, long fingers stroking down the line of Wei Wuxian’s folded collars to rest on his sash. “Let me?” he asked, quietly.
Another wave of heat washed over Wei Wuxian like a flood-wave down the river, and he had to swallow before he could answer, “Yeah.”
Wei Wuxian had never considered himself shy, nor had anyone else who’d spent more than five breaths in his presence. But he was finding himself unable to face head on the careful slowness of Lan Zhan’s hands undressing him, slipping each layer off and folding it aside, the soft, steady weight of Lan Zhan’s eyes on him, looking like he was unwrapping some artwork that had been dropped and finding it miraculously whole. His gaze slid aside from Lan Zhan’s and his breath turned short and uneven. “Lan Zhan…”
White swept around him like a snow flurry, but Lan Zhan’s arms, holding him, were warm. He buried his nose in Lan Zhan’s shoulder with a faint laugh, mostly at himself, winding his arms tight around Lan Zhan in turn. After a breath to recover his balance and insouciance, he added, a bit muffled “Now you’re overdressed.”
“In a moment,” Lan Zhan said quietly against his ear, fingers sliding slowly through his hair. Wei Wuxian was more than willing to seize that moment and bask in the simple pleasure of being petted, relaxing against the straight line of Lan Zhan’s body with a pleased little sound. It was soothing. It felt… secure. When Lan Zhan’s fingers traced down his spine, he arched a bit with the touch, smiling slow and lazy.
And then he had to laugh at the clear satisfaction in the faint curl of Lan Zhan’s mouth. “You like being able to make me relax?” he teased.
“Yes,” Lan Zhan answered, so simply that Wei Wuxian couldn’t help kissing him again. This time, Lan Zhan held him firmly and kissed back with a slow-opening hunger that sent heat curling low in Wei Wuxian’s stomach. He decided that ‘a moment’ had arrived, and started pushing those flowing robes off Lan Zhan’s shoulders, working loose pale blue sashes while he sucked on Lan Zhan’s lower lip. It took an unreasonable amount of undressing to get down to skin, exactly the way he’d always figured it would, but feeling how Lan Zhan’s hands tightened on him, fingers digging into the muscle of his back, when he did was absolutely worth it. He loved feeling Lan Zhan react to him like this, so openly.
“You like holding me too, hm?” he purred, wrapping around Lan Zhan and kissing down his jaw. “Have you ever wanted to hold me down? Feel me under you?” He nibbled on Lan Zhan’s ear, mouth curling in a wicked grin. “Wanted to fuck me?”
“Sometimes, yes.” Lan Zhan’s voice was a bit hoarse, now, and his hands spread against Wei Wuxian’s back, sliding slowly up, unmistakably possessive. “I always wanted to hold you. To keep you with me.”
The sweetness of knowing he was wanted like that, of hearing and feeling it, took his breath, and he pressed closer. It took another moment to unlock his throat, and it came out husky when he said, “Then I’m yours, Lan Zhan.”
When Lan Zhan’s arms tightened around him, this time, they drove most of his breath out, and the fierce demand of Lan Zhan’s mouth on his stole what was left. Wei Wuxian wrapped himself around Lan Zhan, welcoming it, kissing back with open want to match Lan Zhan’s own, a little dizzy with the relief of knowing it was matched. The relief made it easy to relax into Lan Zhan’s hold, to move with him when he shifted toward the bed, to sink down without letting go. “My own,” Lan Zhan whispered against his mouth, and Wei Wuxian laughed, soft and breathless.
“All yours,” he agreed, sliding his hands up into Lan Zhan’s hair, drawing him down to another devouring kiss. The long, slow strokes of Lan Zhan’s hands up and down his body drew pleased little noises out of him, and he hooked a leg around Lan Zhan’s, fitting them together. Lan Zhan’s hand slid down to curve around his ass, and Lan Zhan drew back just far enough to look at him, eyes dark and steady.
“Wei Ying. May I?”
It was warmth that surged through him like a flood-wave this time, and Wei Wuxian smiled, soft and free, with how good it felt, Lan Zhan’s care. “Yeah. Anything you want.” And then practicalities nudged at his brain. “Oh, but hang on…” He looked around to see if his bag was in reach.
Lan Zhan leaned over with a perfectly straight face to fish a small bottle out of his bag, and Wei Wuxian burst into delighted laughter.
“Looks like I’ve been an excellent influence already!”
Lan Zhan looked down at him with a faint, rueful curve to his lips, and such warmth in his eyes that it stole Wei Wuxian’s breath again, sent him reaching up to trace that tiny, gentle smile, eyes wide with the wonder of it being for him. “Lan Zhan…”
Lan Zhan kissed his fingers softly and answered with absolute certainty, “Wei Ying.” It was reassurance and acceptance all wrapped up in the name he never heard from anyone else, and he pressed closer, arms winding tight around Lan Zhan.
“Yours,” he said softly, against Lan Zhan’s mouth, purring as Lan Zhan promptly gathered him up close again. “Mm, yeah.”
Lan Zhan flicked the bottle’s stopper out one handed, not letting go of Wei Wuxian even for that, which he approved of greatly. He approved even more of how good it felt when long, slick fingers pressed between his cheeks, rubbing his entrance slow and firm. Lan Zhan watched him, eyes intent on his face, as he rubbed slowly harder, fingers working gradually past the tightness of muscle to press in. Lan Zhan definitely seemed to know what he was doing, and the rush of heat that answered that thought made Wei Wuxian light-headed. He let himself relax into Lan Zhan’s hands, breath coming deeper as Lan Zhan’s fingers pressed deeper, stretching him open slow and sure, and when Lan Zhan worked his knuckles gently back and forth through Wei Wuxian’s entrance he moaned out loud with how good it felt.
Lan Zhan’s eyes on him were bright and intent, burning hot, and his voice was deeper than usual when he asked, “Now?”
Wei Wuxian thought about being stretched open harder, and a hot shiver walked up his spine. “Yes.”
Lan Zhan turned to press him down against the covers but seemed very reluctant to let go long enough to get any further, trailing slow, open-mouthed kisses down Wei Wuxian’s throat.
“Nn, Lan Zhan, ahh… come on.” A tiny pause was his only warning before Lan Zhan bit down, careful but firm enough to mark skin. Wei Wuxian lost all his breath on a low groan, bucking up against him, abruptly hard and hot. “Yes…!” He coiled around Lan Zhan, grinding against him more deliberately this time, pleased by the shudder he could feel roll through Lan Zhan. He turned his head to purr against Lan Zhan’s ear, deliberately inciteful, “I want you inside me, Lan Zhan.”
The sound Lan Zhan made was nearly a growl, and Wei Wuxian laughed, soft and breathless and delighted with the knowledge that Lan Zhan wanted him this much. When a hand wrapped around his hip and urged him over, long fingers digging into his skin, he turned willingly, stretching out on his stomach. Lan Zhan didn’t draw back, though, didn’t pull his hips up the way he’d expected. Instead, he stretched out beside Wei Wuxian and gathered him back into the curve of his body as he curled around Wei Wuxian. Wei Wuxian found himself easing back against Lan Zhan with a soft oh.
It felt good. Warm. He could feel Lan Zhan’s cock sliding between his cheeks, and he still wanted more of that, but he could also feel all of Lan Zhan wrapped around him like a promise of support, even of shelter, and he smiled helplessly, snuggling back against him. “Now?” he asked.
“Now,” Lan Zhan agreed against his shoulder, one hand sliding down Wei Wuxian’s thigh, pushing it gently up to spread him out a little, and all over again he found himself relaxing into the clear care of Lan Zhan’s touch.
And in that moment of unwinding, Lan Zhan pushed into him.
Wei Wuxian moaned out loud at the hard stretch and slide of Lan Zhan’s cock sinking into him, eyes falling closed as the surge of sensation drew out long until Lan Zhan stilled against his back, breathing short and hard against his ear, all the way inside him.
“Mmm, yes.” Wei Wuxian ground his ass against Lan Zhan’s hips in a tight little circle, wanting to feel that fullness more. Lan Zhan’s arms tightened hard, around him, and Lan Zhan jerked back to drive in again. The motion felt even better, and Wei Wuxian made encouraging noises that broke into gasps as Lan Zhan held him close and fucked him, every stroke pounding in deep, like Lan Zhan wanted to push through his skin to hold him tighter still. It felt incredible, and Wei Wuxian sank himself into the sensation, let pleasure shudder up his spine and shake him in Lan Zhan’s arms, let it drive open moans and snatches of encouragement out of his throat, yes, and perfect, and please, until Lan Zhan made a half-desperate sound against his ear and reached down to close long fingers, just barely still slick, tight around his cock, stroking him roughly. The jolt of pleasure sent Wei Wuxian bucking wildly in his arms, eyes wide and blind with the rush of heat bursting through him. He felt like it might shake him to pieces, and only Lan Zhan’s hold was keeping him together, that hold and the low moan that told him Lan Zhan was here with him.
When the surge of pleasure finally ebbed into sharp little aftershocks, his throat was dry from panting for breath and Lan Zhan was shuddering against his back. “Wei Ying.”
It was a tone he’d never heard from Lan Zhan before, low and caressing, and his heart tried to climb his throat again. He slid a hand down to cover Lan Zhan’s, on his stomach, tangling their fingers together, and hoped he’d heard what he thought he did. “Yeah,” he agreed, husky. “All yours.”
Lan Zhan made a satisfied sound and cradled him closer, and Wei Wuxian breathed out slowly, relief that he’d been right tangling with amazement that Lan Zhan really did want him this much, this openly. He lifted their laced hands and pressed a kiss to Lan Zhan’s knuckles. Lan Zhan made a tiny, questioning sound, and leaned up on an elbow, tugging him gently over and looking down at him with intent, thoughtful eyes. Finally he said, softly, “I want, very much, to be with you. Always.”
That moment on the cliff came back to Wei Wuxian all in a rush, the shock of Lan Zhan’s voice, of Lan Zhan following him, coming back to him, going with him, and it felt like a hand squeezing his lungs. He swallowed hard, trying to find words to return, anything that could come close to the wonder and hurt and joy tangled up in his chest at this moment, but he couldn’t. He never could find the right words for these things, and that choked his breath shorter.
“Ah.” Lan Zhan reached out and gathered Wei Wuxian into his arms and just held him, one hand sliding up into his hair to press Wei Wuxian’s head down against Lan Zhan’s shoulder. Wei Wuxian wound his arms around Lan Zhan’s ribs and hoped the tightness of his hold said what he needed it to while he brought his breathing back under control.
When he realized that Lan Zhan was rocking him, just a little, he couldn’t help laughing, and that dissolved the last of the tightness in his chest. Out of that release, he finally managed to say, on a soft sigh, “I love you.”
Lan Zhan’s arms tightened around him, hard enough to drive his breath out, and yeah, he thought this was a pretty clear way to communicate. And then Lan Zhan spoke, and he stilled, shocked. “I have loved you for much longer than I knew what it was I felt. I’m sorry it took me so long to understand.”
Wei Wuxian lifted his head and stared at Lan Zhan, eyes wide. Lan Xichen had said Lan Zhan had loved him, even that far back, but Wei Wuxian could read between the lines pretty well when he had a reason to, and the story of their father and mother had been one of guilt and shame, as much as love. He’d thought that was probably about right, back then; that if Lan Zhan had loved him, it had been through guilt. He’d thought it couldn’t be the same feeling as now, because if it was that kind of feeling…
…then Lan Zhan wouldn’t have come back to walk Wei Wuxian’s road.
Suddenly, every broken Lan rule along their journey turned and fell into a new shape. Not simply necessity, and not just indulgence, no, that had been a deliberate step each time, Lan Zhan choosing over and over to walk Wei Wuxian’s road beside him. Another laugh shook him, soft and breathless and astonished, and he wound himself tighter around Lan Zhan, whispering against his ear, “Me too. I didn’t see what you meant.” He buried yet another half-shocked laugh in Lan Zhan’s shoulder. “I’m an idiot. We match so well.”
Lan Zhan huffed softly at that, still holding him close, and Wei Wuxian smiled. If Lan Zhan would be with him, always with him… he felt like the whole world was opening up around him. Not broader, because he’d always walked where he pleased, but deeper, with the promise of at least one place to stand where he would truly belong.
Beside Lan Zhan. Wherever they went.
“Lan Zhaaaan,” he sing-songed in Lan Zhan’s ear, feeling a wicked grin tug at his mouth, “can we go back to the Cloud Recesses? Your uncle’s getting old, right? It’ll be good for him to get his blood moving.”
He didn’t hear a sound, in response, but pressed this close, he could feel the single short breath of Lan Zhan’s laugh, and snuggled closer, satisfied. Yes.
He could belong here.