Looks like it's time for more sex-cursed LWJ! 💖

This curse's origin is mysterious, perhaps politically guided. Someone is trying to take away Gusu Lan's alliance prospects by removing LWJ's stellar marriagability after Sunshot. It works, after a fashion.
WWX is in the Burial Mounds, farming and hardening his heart as the resentment worsens his health, subsisting on memories of LWJ's single visit.

LWJ is at home in Gusu, pining away while they rebuild the Cloud Recesses.

One day, he begins to burn up with unexplained fever.
The healers examine him quickly and thoroughly and determine first that he's been cursed. This is not entirely shocking, but it of course angers the entire sect. Next they test for the curse's nature.

It turns out to be a very classic, very coarse type of love curse.
The afflicted will burn up, losing all their sense and senses, and eventually die, if their body's ~needs~ are not satisfied by the one it craves most.

The healers are disgusted. LXC and LQR are outraged. But LWJ goes very calm at the news.
Before, he felt anxiety. The urgent desperation of a dying man waiting to be told how to live.

Now he is just waiting to die.
(If this sounds familiar do not @ me I simply KNOW WHAT I WANT TO SEE okay???

...if this does not sound familiar and you like where this is going, allow me to shamelessly self-promote:
archiveofourown.org/works/28598247… )
For you see, the choice between throwing himself at another human being, no matter who that may be, and meeting death with dignity, is an easy one.

Everyone else privy to this information disagrees. The argument that follows is short, but heated.
"Well, Wangji?" LQR begins once the initial furor has died down. "How do you wish to...go about this?"

LWJ, over-warm and achey, looks up at him from the examination bed. Gusu Lan funeral rites are ancient and immutable. He does not understand the question.
LQR purses his lips and glances around. "We must find the person first," he prompts.

Ah. The person responsible. Yes, LWJ does have business with them before he dies. He stands, only swaying slightly. "I am well enough to exact justice. Let us cast the rebound."
LXC steps forward then, and gently pushes him back to sitting. "It has been cast. However, justice can wait. Your health must come first."

LWJ looks between his uncle, his brother, and the one doctor allowed to be present. Surely they would not be joking at a time like this.
"I do not understand," he says.

The three exchange a look. "Breaking the curse must be our priority," says LXC.

LWJ is not sure he heard correctly. But it would be cruel to give him unfounded hope. "I was unaware there was another way."
"...There is not," says LXC, his gentleness unfailing.

LWJ experiences a moment of deep confusion before the horror sets in.

"You cannot mean this," he says through his shock. "Surely you cannot mean to cast aside so many disciplines at the whim of a base villain."
"The disciplines are a guide," LQR says, hands behind his back, looking into the distance, "to ensure a life well-lived. They are not meant to inspire martyrdom."

LWJ's mouth falls open. He stares at his uncle, mute with betrayal. He has never heard of any such leeway before,
not in regards to disciplines of such a serious nature.

"You can understand, can't you?" LXC says. "That no rule is more important than your life.

LWJ disagrees vehemently. "I would not buy my life with such behavior."
LQR huffs in irritation. "We may perform a marriage in haste, if you wish."

LWJ balks at him. That his uncle should speak so flippantly of...such a thing. It is unimaginable. And besides, forcing a marriage on Wei-- on anyone is surely only adding insult to heinous injury.
"I refuse," he says.

LXC exchanges a look with the doctor, and sits beside him. "Perhaps the other person should be allowed part of that choice."

Ridiculous. "There is no such person." Preventing such a line of action is worth one lie, LWJ reasons.
"With respect, HGJ, if that were true, the curse would not have been able to take hold," says the doctor. The use of his title feels uncomfortably ironic from a woman who helped deliver him at birth. He glares at her. She smiles tiredly in return.
"Wangji," LXC says. His tone is beginning to grate on LWJ's raw nerves. "You will at least try, won't you?"

LWJ stares at him in disbelief, in anger, in righteous indignation.

"Never," he says.

A hand slaps his shoulder. "Apologies," says the doctor, and the world goes dark.
LWJ wakes to dark wood dappled by lacy sunlight, and a faint smell of char in the air. His head is heavy, his limbs full of lead. He swallows around the dry thickness in his throat.

"Water," comes a familiar voice.
With effort, he sits up. His stomach is roiling, his mind fogged from the coma and the curse both. The doctor, crouching beside him in the carriage, offers him a bowl of water.

He takes it, and asks, "What have you done?"

She sighs.
"My duty," she says, "with the help of your brother."

She draws back the curtain at the carriage entrance, revealing a sea of black, twisted trees and gray tumbled walls.

LWJ's blood freezes in his veins. He just barely stops himself from asking how they knew.
"Why," he asks instead, a much safer question.

She considers him. "Your brother said if he was wrong, he would beg forgiveness later, but it couldn't hurt to have an expert in resentment and curses look at you anyway."

His stomach clenches on a stab of sick embarrassment.
Had he been so obvious? Was he such a lovesick fool that anyone with eyes could see his shame?

The doctor pats his shoulder gruff and he flinches, expecting more needles.

"Ah he's your brother, he's bound to know things you dont want him to," she says. "Come on. Out you get."
He allows her to tug him out of the carriage and onto solid ground. The air is stifling with resentment, but he is glad to be free of his bonds - now he can look for his chance to get away.

There are six Lan disciples flanking them. He eyes them warily, wondering what they know.
When the doctor pulls him out of earshot, and pitches her voice low, he is satisfied that they have not been fully informed.

"Your family and I agreed to give you a chance first," she says. "You have 24 hours to take care of this yourself. After that,
I will personally tell Wei-gongzi of your brother's message. I have been assured he will not jeopardize your well-being if fully-informed."

LWJ gapes at her. He does not know what he expected to happen, but it was not this...this...mercenary attempt at...forcing...
The curse has weakened him such that he cannot fly his sword. He can hardly walk in a straight line, let alone run. He has very little recourse now that everyone in his life has gone absolutely mad. His heart is racing with the adrenaline of upheaval, of fear, of impending death.
He wrenches his arm from her grasp and stalks off of the road, into the brush. She calls after him, but he does not mean to escape. He can't manage that alone. Instead, he sits. He takes a deep breath. He sinks into meditation.
"Hanguang-jun," she calls. She approaches, hands on her hips. She sighs. "Well, if it's like that, then there's nothing stopping me from telling him right now."

She turns, and LWJ feels a lurch of helplessness, when a new voice rings clear through the fog.

"Tell who what?"
LWJ's eyes snap open. WWX is standing on the other side of the carriage, the child A-Yuan in his arms, eyeing the Lan delegation with suspicion. Wen Ning is with him, and the Lan disciples shift nervously just looking at him, but WWX sets A-Yuan in his arms, and he leaps away.
"Might I assume this little party has come for me?" WWX goes on, twirling his flute. His eyes are shrewd and cold, similar to the way they had looked when he had first returned during the war.

At the sight of him, at the sound of his voice, the curse...reacts.
A horrid, uncomfortable shiver of need runs through LWJ's body alongside his own simple relief and joy at seeing WWX again, looking relatively well. He fights it, keeping still among the weeds, hoping against hope to go unnoticed.
"Yiling Laozu," the doctor greets him with a deep bow. "We have indeed come to humbly beg your aid."

"I see," he says, "and what will you give me in return?"

The doctor hesitates, clearly discomfited by the context WWX is currently unaware of. "We may...discuss that. Once
we have informed you of the details."

WWX hums, considering. Cold. Detached. "And if I am disinclined to--"

He breaks off. The doctor has moved so that she and LWJ are both in WWX's line of sight. LWJ closes his eyes rather than see the moment of recognition, rather than
feel the weight of WWX's eyes on him, like this.

"Lan Zhan?"

LWJ clamps his jaw shut. It is a struggle not simply to crawl to him.

The renewed ice in WWX's voice when next he speaks makes LWJ aware of the warmth with which he had said his name. His curls his shaking hands
into fists on his knees.

"What have you done to him?"

The doctor sighs. "We have done nothing. He has been cursed, which is why we brought him here. If you--"

"Daifu," LWJ interrupts, his voice thin.

She stops speaking.
LWJ opens his eyes, but does not look at WWX, not yet. If he is careful, and uses his remaining strength correctly, he can perhaps...perhaps guide the situation. Toward escape. With WWX's help.

He may have to lie to him. He hopes he will be forgiven, all things considered.
(Brief interlude while I call my grandma...thanks for reading so far!! 💖💖)
LWJ stands slowly, carefully, considering each movement so as not to belie the state he is in.

"I will speak with him," he says to the doctor.

She eyes him. "24 hours," she says.

He does not acknowledge this. He thinks they both know it will not come to that.
He judges, from the time they have allotted and his own weakness, that he has perhaps a day and a half, total, to wait them out. Doable, if he is careful and intelligent about it.

He can manage.

He walks over to WWX, careful to keep two arm's lengths between them. This
close is already too close, a fine, constant tremor keeping up in all of his locked muscles. He feels the moment his fever rises. The sides of his throat hurt, the interiors of his ears. He wonders if his hearing will go first, or his eyes.

"Allow me to explain," he says to him.
"Of course," WWX answers. He sounds strange. Cold, still. LWJ wants to look at him, and almost slips, but manages to stop himself.

He follows him up the hill, past the wards, through the resentment that clings to them both now. He keeps his careful distance, following behind.
"What happened?" WWX asks, as they walk.

"A curse," LWJ says carwfully. "Origin unknown. The rebound has been cast. I did not wish to burden you with this, but they are...they will not listen to reason. Wei Ying, if you would help me, I could deal with this on my own."

"I...wish to seek justice. They will not allow this. But you understand. If there is another path off the mountain, if you would show me the way past them, I could--"

WWX stops dead, and LWJ, with his eyes in the ground, runs into him.
For a blazing, agonizing moment, he is touching WWX, clinging to him, every element in his body sighing and crying out at once in satisfaction, in the torturous need for more.

He tears himself away, stumbling back, almost falling. WWX reaches out as if to catch him, but falters.
"Lan Zhan, you can hardly stand," he says, alarmed, "and you want to go fight someone?"

LWJ draws himself up taller again, trying hard to stop his shaking. He cannot look at him. He cannot look. He is already dying, now, just from not looking. "It is my right."
"...It is..." WWX says at length, watching him closely. "And it still will be once you're well again. Your doctors really couldn't tell what type of curse it is?"

LWJ says nothing, trying to think past the way every inch of his skin feels as if it is burning clean off of him.
The pain of it screams through him, worse than anything he has ever felt. WWX is still speaking, but it is hard to make sense of it. When WWX begins walking again, slowly, it is all he can do to both follow and stay away from him.
This, here, now, os worse than death. If it lasts, he certainly will not be sane when the end finally comes. He lets go of any thoughts of dignity.

Thankfully, by the time they reach the cool dark of WWX's cave, the pain has subsided to a distant roar.
Unfortunately, he had hoped never to reach this point. He tries his only hope again, unable to think of any new tactic.

"Please show me the way off the mountain," he says without preamble.

WWX is quiet for a beat. "You really don't want my help /that/ much?"
LWJ is so confused by this question, and then struck by the irony of it, that he almost begins to laugh. A shivery, jittery feeling fills his chest, and he leans against the nearest hard surface. He wishes he were wearing a loose outer layer over his blue travel robes, the
better to hide his shaking. He does not know how to respond.

"You haven't so much as looked at me once since you got here," WWX goes on, digging through strange pots and objects on a table, "so I get it. But you'll have to forgive me if I disregard your objection to
the kind of work I do, when it comes to your life."

"My life, my life," LWJ mocks, accidentally out loud. Why is everyone suddenly so obsessed with his life? He was ready to give it freely in the war, but chance let him keep it. What difference does giving it now in the name of
keeping himself clean of shame make? Why will nobody allow him this choice?

"What shame?" WWX asks.

LWJ buckles at the realization that he had said /all/ of that out loud. He goes to the floor, to his knees.

"Nothing," he says. "The shame of not having warded off such
a simple attack."

"Lan Zhan...you want to die because you didn't defend against a curse you didn't know was coming?"

LWJ lapses into silence. He has said too much already. He does not know how to get out of this. He can only...he can only stay quiet. Refuse to speak or move.
"Lan Zhan...I feel like I'm missing something here. I only want to help.

LWJ grits his teeth and stares hard at the floor in front of him. He has rarely ever felt so trapped, so utterly helpless. The extended, full-body pain is dulling his mind by the moment.
The hems of WWX's robes come into view, and it takes everything in him not to fall forward into him, to plead, to beg. His breath is hitching at random intervals now, his heart tripping as it prepares to fail entirely.

There is a soft gust of air, and an odd pricking sensation
across his face.

"Now let's see-- oh," WWX says. "I...oh."

LWJ wilts at his stilted, awkward tone. He knows now, surely. Can see him.

"So that's why you want to leave and they won't let you. They want me to find another way to break it, to stop you from...ah."
LWJ sorts through the words, trying to comprehend them.

"Sorry," WWX goes on. "I...it's unbreakable, otherwise. A very old, airtight spell. You...will Gusu Lan start a war with me if I do just let you go...ah, handle this the old-fashioned way?"
Comorehension dawns. And with it, a way out.

LWJ rushes to agree. "They--" He cuts off. Will they? If they think WWX has willingly let him die, rather than...

He takes a breath. Another. Forces his mind past the endless litany of pleas for relief.

"Show me the way " he says,
his words breathless and short, "and then tell Lan-daifu what you have done. And why. But give me time to. Get away. And you will be safe."

WWX pauses. "How...ah. How far...how much time...?"

LWJ tries hard to come up with an answer for that. His progress
will be slow. But he need only find a place to hide.

"Half a day," he hazards.

WWX seems to vacillate. "Are you sure you can make it on your own?"
LWJ wants to rage. To weep. To curse himself to the heavens for being so depraved toward so endlessly kind a man. His heart hurts, even as his body strains toward him.

This lie may be the worst he will ever tell.

"I will be fine."
"Alright," WWX says, though he sounds unconvinced. "I trust you."

LWJ nearly convulses, holding back a sob. How will he ever be forgiven?

He cannot think of it. Only this, only what comes next. Only keeping WWX safe from this whole mess.
"Lan Zhan?"

"Mn," he manages.

"Would you look at me, now? I haven't...used any demonic cultivation on you. It's safe, I promise I won't. I just. Can't we say goodbye properly?"

LWJ hasn't moved from the floor. He does not move. He should try. A parting gift. Just one look.
But if he is going to leave. If he is going to succeed. He cannot.

"Lan Zhan," WWX says again, frustrated now.

LWJ does not look. He is so close to freedom from the horrible pull, from the way his very veins are trying to tear themselves free to wrap around WWX.
WWX steps forward, and LWJ's breath leaves him all at once. Suddenly, there are fingers beneath his jaw, kind but firm, tilting his chin up. He has no choice but to look.

WWX is there. Tall and strong and perfect, tiredness mixed with something bittersweet on his lovely face.
LWJ's entire being melts toward him, a deep, sharp tug from inside his bones, a mindless, helpless, straining need that pushes a low, wanting sound from his throat.
WWX snatches his hand away and backs up half a step, staring at him.

"Sorry," he says, blank, confused. "I thought it was...I didn't realize...sorry."

LWJ, now that he has looked, cannot look away. He has overbalanced without WWX's support, fallen forward onto his hands, but he
cannot stop looking at him. He will look at him, and keep looking; he prays WWX is the last thing he sees before he dies.

The most shameful part of this, is that none of it is the curse twisting his thoughts. None of this is. All the curse is doing is making the way he always
feels impossible to ignore.

"Wei Ying," his voice implores. He does not mean it to.

WWX takes another step back and looks down at the bowl of powder in his hand, confused. "I was certain it was that curse," he says to himself. "If I was wrong, then maybe I could break it..."
LWJ tries to scrape his composure back together. He tries. He tries. His fingers scrape on the rough stone floor. He does not reach out for him. That is something.

WWX looks at him again, then hastily away. LWJ does not ever want to know what it is he sees.
(Brief interlude for dinner...more later, I hope, or maybe tomorrow? Thanks again for reading, hope you're enjoying sad sex-cursed LWJ hours with me 💖💗💖)
"Lan Zhan," WWX says, as LWJ shakes, and shakes, "where...where were you trying to go? I thought you...I thought you were, ah, thinking of a certain someone."

LWJ's arms are weak. They are going to give out. He cannot answer him.

"I'm confused, and I...
may have made a mistake," WWX goes on, still backing away slowly, "but I just want to help. Can you tell me what was happening before, and what's happening now?"

LWJ shakes his head, and the motion shatters his fragile balance. He falls, curls tightly around himself in the dirt.
"Lan Zhan!" WWX says, suddenly close again.

LWJ sees his hand reach out, then pause, and he can't stop himself from taking hold of it, just to be touching him. His body screams, and he gasps raggedly at the contact.

WWX wrenches his arm free. LWJ wishes he were dead.
"Fuck," WWX mutters to himself. "I...I'm sorry. I made this so much worse, I..."

"No," LWJ rasps. He cannot hear WWX berate himself thus. His dignity has now died, and he himself will follow soon. This is all that matters. "Not your fault."

WWX huffs, crouching beside him.
"It is...at least partially my fault, at this point, I'm pretty sure. You wouldn't be...reacting. Like this. If it weren't. Is...can I...do a few more tests? To check what I got wrong, and maybe--"

"You were not wrong."

He does not mean to say it.
His need to reassure has overridden his sense, and his mind is too slow now to piece together what it will mean before it leaves his mouth.

WWX is silent. LWJ cannot stop making small, pitiful, pained sounds in the back of his throat. Everything hurts. Everything.
"I don't understand," WWX says quietly.

LWJ lies shivering on the floor, arms locked around himself to prevent any more untoward behavior. He cannot take it back. He cannot try to explain. There is nothing he could say, regardless.
"Lan Zhan...but you..."

He can /hear/ WWX thinking, but it only registers in the far back of his mind. The rest of his consciousness is taken up by pain, and by restraint.

"You wanted to leave to get away from me?" WWX says, finally.
CW thoughts of self harm//

LWJ does not answer. He wishes he had his sword. He would use it now to end this.

WWX begins to move away again, and LWJ moves without thinking. He grips the skirt of his robes in his fist, and drags himself closer, pressing his cheek to WWX's knee.
Shameful. Wanton. The small part of himself that is still aware berates the action. But he cannot let go. He cannot move away. The only part of him that is not howling with pain is the side of his face that feels WWX's warmth.

"Lan Zhan, you..." WWX is trying to gently pry LWJ's
fingers from his hem. "You wanted to leave, remember? You don't want...you don't."

"Want," LWJ croaks, pressing closer. "Wanted to spare you."

"Ah, Lan Zhan...I...I'm still not sure it's that specific curse, it could...there could be other..."
"It is," LWJ says, half-crawling up WWX's leg. He wants to stop himself. It is impossible.

"Lan Zhan...you...you shouldn't--"

"Stop me," LWJ pleads, nuzzling against WWX's thigh, "Wei Ying, I can't...please. Stop me."
There is a long near-silence filled with harsh breaths in which LWJ is almost certain he imagines the light touch of fingers brushing his mussed hair back from his forehead. Then WWX speaks.

"No," he says. "You'll die, if I do. Lan Zhan. I...I won't let that happen."
He touches LWJ's face. LWJ whimpers into him.

He knows this will break the fragile repairs they have made to their friendship. He will likely never see him again, at least not on good terms. The thought makes him feel ill.
He wants to protest. To refuse. To flee. He can do exactly none of these things. He reaches for WWX's wrist, to hold his hand to his face, but WWX flinches away.

"You can't...Lan Zhan. I'm going to help you," he says, "but you have to...you can't...you can't touch me."
LWJ feels another tight clench of shame. He nods against his leg, he understands, he knows any small part of this is too much to ask, let alone bearing his unwelcome, curse-fevered grasping.

"Okay," says WWX. He slides his fingers beneath his chin again, tipping his face up.
He looks so uncertain. So beautiful in the dim light. LWJ wants to weep with it.

"Lan Zhan, I know it doesn't count for much like this, but you have to tell me. You have to tell me what you need."

LWJ turns his head, pressing his face between WWX's thigh and stomach, trying
to reach into him, to feel more of him, to stop hurting just enough to think. It does not work.

"You," he breathes, into the scent of earth and harsh soap and Wei Wuxian.

A harsh, uneven breath ghosts across his hair, and WWX's hands grip his shoulders. He thinks he is about
to be pushed away again, but instead WWX pulls him up, pulls him close, folds him into his embrace.

LWJ sobs into his shoulder, trying at once to get closer and to hold himself apart, instinct demanding, even now, that he try to conceal his obvious, disgraceful hardness.
His muscles quake under the strain of doing both and neither, and WWX smooths one hand down his back, pressing him close, pressing them flush. LWJ chokes back a shocked sound.

"Shh," WWX soothes. "It's alright."

It is not alright. It is the end of the thing LWJ holds most dear.
But he does not have it in him to protest. He is shifting against him, his overheated body begging for touch, for ravishment. He is mindless with it. The pain is not subsiding, but slipping sideways into something more, something different, something necessary.
He is on his knees on hard stone, breathlessly held in the arms of his beloved. He has dreamed this: sweetly, hazily, with and without hope. But never like this. Never sick with remorse, with need, dying and demanding and defiling. His deepest desire twisted to a nightmare.
He whimpers again, his lips finding the soft coolness of WWX's throat. WWX jerks away again, and LWJ fists his hands tighter at his sides, trying, trying not to overstep again.

"I--sorry," he gasps out. He will never be able to apologize enough. But he will still try.
"Don't apologize," says WWX. "I--"

He cuts himself off. LWJ does not have enough sense to wonder why. In the same moment, one of his thighs gives under the strain, and he falls against him heavily. They tip over, to the floor, and LWJ reaches out on instinct to brace them both.
When he is again conscious of himself, WWX is lying on top of him, breathing hard, both of LWJ's wrists pinned in one hand. He arches against him inadvertently, and turns his face into his own arm.

"Sorry, I...so sorry," he pants, his hips flexing, searching for friction. "I...
no control..."

"I know," WWX says, "I know, I shouldn't have..." he swallows hard. "I'm going to keep you like this. Can I?"

LWJ nods frantically, his eyes shut tight. He does not care. Anything that he can do to make this even one iota less invasive for WWX, he will do.
(Sorry this is so sporadic today...it will probably continue to be so 😔 but I'm still coming back to it when I can!)
WWX pulls away then, his hold still firm on LWJ's wrists. LWJ squeezes his eyes shut and tries to stop moving, to stop searching for touch, to stop making such a disgusting spectacle of himself, but to no avail.

What feels like centuries later, he hears the telltale sounds of
talisman activation. He is too far gone in his pain to look up, to see what they are. He simply lies there, pinned and writhing, his breath catching in his throat. The sounds it makes are small, pitiful, desperate.

Just like him.
Eventually, WWX leans back over him, a considering look in his eye. His hand hovers at LWJs belt.

"I...should I..."

"Yes," pleads LWJ. He needs WWX's skin on his skin. He doesn't know how discerning the curse is about what happens now, but it feels as if he will die without it.
WWX takes what looks like a fortifying breath and unties the belt. LWJ, unable to help, hinders the process with his ceaseless movement. But WWX manages it with deft hands, and immediately unties each layer of LWJ's robes in quick succession until his chest and stomach are bare.
The cool air of the cave does not soothe his burning. It burns like ice instead. LWJ shivers, an ugly whine escaping him.

"What," WWX asks, pausing, "what is it?"

LWJ shakes his head. He will bear it. He will not make demands.
"Lan Zhan," WWX says, "you need to talk to me, I...I don't want to make this even worse."

Something small and dark crumples in LWJ's chest. He does not want that either.

"Hurts," he says, rough and thick.


"...Not...not touching me."

WWX makes a distressed
noise and lays both his palms flat over LWJ's ribs.

LWJ groans, pressing up into them. "Please," he whispers, helpless. "Please."

"Oh, Lan Zhan," WWX murmurs, something like regret. He leans down closer and slides one hand down. LWJ shudders under him. "I'm just going to..."
LWJ nods again, holding his breath to stop the whines from escaping the back of his throat.

WWX unties LWJ's trousers and slips his hand inside.

Clever fingers wrap hesitantly around him, and he bucks up into them with an obscene moan.
It is minor relief from the most consuming pain he has ever felt. It is simultaneously the most intense pleasure he has ever experienced. All of these sensations, coexisting in his fallible human body, feel likely to rip him apart.
"Wei Ying," he moans again, when WWX moves his hand. He gasps for air, his body twisting into it, his whole being searching for WWX. He makes another piteous sound, the torment of it all overwhelming.

WWX leans down against him then, his own robes open, pressing
them skin to skin.

LWJ sobs. It is something. It is something. The pain abates somewhat, and he sighs, turning toward him, his mouth brushing WWX's hair. He has the wherewithal now to fight the urge to kiss his head properly, his face, anything he can reach. He holds himself
still, instead. And WWX touches him. And touches him. The incomprehensible pleasure builds, and builds, until LWJ cannot breathe. And it does not break.

Something almost like soft lips brushes his throat.

"Lan Zhan," WWX says into his ear, "this, is this...will this be enough?"
The pleasure is just another kind of pain, now. LWJ shakes his head as sweat rolls off of him, as he tries and fails to get enough air to speak.

WWX clears his throat. "What, then?"

LWJ's body knows what it needs. But he does not want to tell.
"Come on, Lan Zhan, after all this? Don't get shy on my now."

He misses the joking tone he is aiming for, but the pure, unmistakable WWX-ness of the tease sends a surge of genuine desire through LWJ. He wraps his legs around WWX's hips and pulls him down.
WWX breathes in sharply. "You just...you want...but only..."

"Please," says LWJ, barely voiced. "In--" he cannot say it. "Please."

"Fuck," WWX whispers against him. "If--are you sure?"

LWJ whines. He wishes he were not so very sure. He wishes he were not asking WWX to do
something so intimate, so extreme. He wishes WWX had let him die before it ever came to this.

"Alright Lan Zhan, just hold--hold on," he says, and is gone.

LWJ clamps his mouth shut on a scream as the agony slams back into him, worse even than before.
Not soon enough, WWX returns to divest him of his boots, socks and trousers. LWJ fights him without meaning to, trying to keep his knees curled up to his chest, trying to minimize the hurt. WWX is briskly patient, handling him with aching care he does not deserve.
And then he is upon him, chest and stomach, hips and thighs, smooth and hard and exquisite. LWJ almost forgets the pain in the rush of gratitude, of solace. Their robes trail off them both, gathering dust as they move together in halting fits and starts.
"Don't let me hurt you, Lan Zhan," WWX grits out, a strong hand lifting one of LWJ's thighs by the back of the knee.

It is nonsense. He could not hurt LWJ any more than this. LWJ could not stop him if he did.
But the kindness. Even in this. Tears prick at LWJ's eyes. He will miss him. He will miss all of WWX with all of himself. He will never stop missing him. He will never move past this regret as long as he lives. How could he? Every breath he draws will be by the grace of WWX.
Suddenly there is slick pressure against him, against his most private of places, and he gasps, loud and wretched. WWX exhales, uneven and deep, and pushes in, in, in. Slowly. So slowly. LWJ bites down hard on his lip to keep from begging for more. His arms are pinned, as are
his hips, WWX holding him steady, holding him still. LWJ loses all sense. There is only the weight of WWX, the full, stinging press of him, the searing pain, the devastating euphoria of being this close, and yet so very far.
Ages pass before WWX is fully seated inside him. By then LWJ's breaths are wet and shallow, scraping, desolate things. He does not know any longer what hurts and what feels good. It is all one and the same. He only knows he needs more, in some primal, wordless way.
He asks with the arch of his back, the squeeze of his thighs. He tries, somehow, to keep quiet, but fails more often than not.

"Lan Zhan," WWX says tightly " try to relax, I'm going to move. Tell me if it...if it's right."

LWJ manages a loose nod, though he barely understands.
And WWX moves. He rolls his hips against him, shifting inside of him, and LWJ gasps. Each deep, short thrust pushes air from his lungs, and he lacks the strength to catch it again. It is beyond good. It is ecstatic. To have Wei Wuxian around him, inside him, panting above him.
It is ecstatic. A deep, villainous part of him wants it never to end. The rest of him howls for release.

He is dripping now, steadily, onto his own stomach. He can feel it pooling on his belly, unpleasantly cool. He whimpers between desperate, panting breaths, beyond words.
"Lan Zhan," WWX says, breath shivering across LWJ's collarbone, "I can't...can't keep this up, you feel too--" his breath catches, and he pauses. "I'm going to finish. You need to come."

Dimly, distantly, the idea that WWX should derive pleasure from this, no matter
how perfunctory, gives LWJ a perverse sort of satisfaction. It snuffs out like a candle at the nebulous thought that perhaps in another world, they could have had this for real.

In this world, the fact remains that this has gone on far too long. But LWJ can do nothing about it.
He meets WWX's thrusts, leans into the pleasure, tries to gain the momentum to go over the edge. He should be able to. It should be easy. He has been so hard for so long, has been given more than in his absolute wildest of dreams, and yet he hovers, scant inches away.
WWX loses patience, his head dropping to LWJ's shoulder. He grunts softly and fists LWJ's wet cock, quick and merciless. LWJ cries out, shuddering violently with the extended, expansive stimulation, worked both inside and out, helplessly, utterly unmade by WWX's touch.
And still he does not crest. He is sobbing steadily now, ugly and jagged, and WWX kisses his shoulder, his throat, his cheek.

"Were we wrong?" He asks, breathless. "Lan Zhan please, tell--show me, I...I can't...you...I can't lose you. Lan Zhan?"

Exhausted, LWJ turns his
tearstained face toward him, blindly seeking. He does not know if they were wrong. Perhaps they were all wrong. Perhaps he will die now, like this. And perhaps it is selfish of him, but having heard those words, he finds his regret to be less than it should be.
Everything, everything hurts. But WWX will miss him, too. Of course he will. They are zhiji. This, miraculously, will not erase that. It is more than he deserves. WWX has always been more than he deserves.

LWJ heaves, and writhes, and cries.
WWX kisses him. Soft, cool lips on his. An odd, fleeting, hollow feeling.

The dam breaks. The pain goes suddenly quiet. Roaring to fullness in its absence is the killing swell of such a long-delayed climax. It is possible that he calls WWX'S name. It is impossible to know.
The world, again, goes dark.
LWJ wakes to gray light and distant birdsong. A sharp edge is digging into his shoulder. He shifts, then goes still at the deep ache in his entire body.

He remembers.

"Hanguang-jun should drink this," says a brisk voice to his right.

Wen Qing sits there, watching him.
His heart skips a beat and he looks down. But he is fully clothed once more.

Her smile is wry as she holds a cup out to him. Laboriously, he sits up to take it. It is bitter, but familiar. A restorative. He thanks her formally.

She shakes her head. "No need."

She turns to go.
"Wen-guniang," LWJ says. She pauses. "How long has it been gone?"

She turns to stare at him. He knows she knows what he means.

"How? When?"

She looks away. "You'll have to ask him."

The pang of loss he felt upon waking with WWX gone speaks for him. "Will he let me?"
(Will finish tomorrow. Thanks for sticking with me!! 💗🖤💗)
He lies on the slab of rock that serves as WWX's bed for too long. It is difficult to tell the passage of time in the Burial Mounds, but it seems slightly brighter than it had...before. He reasons that it could well be the next morning. He wonders if WWX slept beside him,
but tosses the thought away as gross indulgence. He wonders instead, as he has many times since his last visit, if WWX sleeps at all.

First, his excuse is meditation. He works at it, simultaneously restoring his drained core and healing himself, until the discomfort fades from
his every movement to just a specific few.

Once that is done, he has no reason to be idle. But the voice in his head, WWX's blisteringly cold one that had called him his proper name all those months ago, keeps him in place. He hears it saying all manner of things,
once he goes to find him.

"What more could you possibly want of me?" WWX sneers in his mind. And he would be right to do so.

But LWJ does not intend to ask anything of him, ever again.

And there is the other thing. The fact that his robes should be uncomfortable, filthy,
but they are clean, dry, and arranged back onto his body properly. Comfortably. Almost as if--

He dares not imagine. But at the very least it does not speak of utter contempt.

He rises. He follows the path Wen Qing told him of. And he does something foolish. He hopes.
After no short while of walking, he comes to slightly darker, more silent corner of deadened forest. He rounds a bend and sees WWX crouched a little ways off, and then hears high, lilting notes as if through water. He approaches until he sees WWX go still.
He says nothing. WWX drops his flute from his lips.

"Are you well?" WWX asks without rising or turning.

"I am."

WWX nods. "Your people are waiting for you."

It is a dismissal. LWJ recognizes this. But he will impose just a little bit longer.
"Your core," he says. WWX stands abruptly, still facing away, gripping his flute. "Can it be replaced?"

WWX whirls to face him, anger and fear warring with the questions on his face.

LWJ has other questions, too. But they do not matter. He is intelligent enough to piece
together the cold, empty space where WWX's core should be, the tired guilt on WQ's face, and...

"Your scar," he says, dropping his gaze. He should not know of it. But he does, now, and he owes a greater debt than he can ever repay.

WWX does not respond. How dearly
LWJ wants to see his expression. But he will not infringe on any more of WWX's privacy.

The wind howls. He waits.

"You won't tell anybody," WWX says uncertainly.

LWJ stiffens. "No."

"Nobody told you?"


WWX pauses, momentarily satisfied.
"You're not going to ask how? Or when?"

LWJ would like to. He would like to know everything of WWX, even his sorrow, his pain. But he is not entitled to them. There is only one thing that matters.

"Can it be replaced? Can the procedure be reversed?"

WWX sighs. LWJ can tell
he does not wish to speak of this any longer.

"So single-minded, Lan Zhan," he scolds. "The chance of success would be small; the chance of finding a donor, much smaller."

This is all LWJ hoped to hear. It is enough. He goes to his knees, arms circled in front of his chest.
"Allow me," he says.

"Lan Zhan!" WWX says, and darts forward, trying to pull LWJ up from the ground. Eventually he gives up and goes to his knees in front of him, pushing at his arms. "Lan Zhan, stop this," he says, panicked. "Don't be stupid, stop--Lan Zhan, you
can't be serious."

"Please allow me," LWJ repeats, eyes downcast.

"Stop this!" WWX shouts. "It can't be done, and I wouldn't take it from you anyway!"

LWJ flinches bodily. He had not considered...but yes. Everything in him is sullied. He bends at the waist, bowing further.
"Apologies for the offense," he says, then snaps his mouth shut. His voice is strained.

"Lan Zhan?" WWX says.

LWJ needs to leave. He has already overstayed. But he...he has not tried hard enough.

"This debt is too great to repay in one lifetime," he says. "Please inform this
one of what he may do to begin."

WWX sags, dragging one of LWJ's wrists with him. "Lan Zhan, there is no debt between us."

LWJ only just stops himself from glancing up. He does not understand.

"I owe you my life and more," he says. "You took great pains to save me, even
as the situation proved me unworthy of it. I owe--"

"You owe me nothing," WWX insists, shaking LWJ's arm. "There were no great pains. Nobody is unworthy. Well...you aren't."

LWJ opens his mouth to protest, but WWX speaks over him.

"People have...desires, Lan Zhan. There's
nothing unworthy about it."

"But you--"

"Stop," he says. He sounds so, so tired. "If you hadn't been...dying. If we--" He stops. "Just keep my secret," he says, and lets go of his wrist. "And live well."
LWJ closes his eyes. The thought of going back to his home, his life, after this, had not yet occurred to him. It sinks him from his knees to the ground. How can he do this? How can he leave him this way?

"Wei Ying," he pleads. "I must...I must do something. I cannot...I..."
"Why, Lan Zhan?" WWX asks, not unkindly. "You have responsibilities. People to protect, just like me. Live well, and count things even between us. Why not?"

His chest caves in. He does not make the sound clawing up his throat. "You...truly, you must know why," he says. "After...
you must know. I would not leave you in need. I could not."

"Ah, Lan Zhan," WWX says sadly. He shuffles forward. LWJ startles at the feel of fingertips on his cheek. "You're too good. But all I need is," he huffs, "political asylum for me and 40 friends? It's not your burden."
Suddenly yet slowly, like the first burst of sunrise, an idea reveals itself to LWJ. It is...unorthodox. and likely unwelcome. But it is all he has.

"My...uncle made a suggestion," he says. "When my afflictiom became known. It is true that he did not know what it would mean,
but I would hold him to it. If it is not...hateful, to you."

"I don't know what you mean," WWX says warily.

LWJ steels himself. "You are perceived as the head of a sect. A proper alliance could protect your people, and Gusu Lan is in need of hands for rebuilding. The person
who cast this curse upon me has given the perfect excuse, and made themselves scapegoat. If you would...I would not ask anything of you, if you agreed. It would be a marriage in name only, as you wish it."

WWX's silence turns to spluttering. "M--Lan Zh--marriage?? What--how--"
"If the idea is odious, I will not mention it again. But as I said. My uncle suggested it. And under the circumstances, he cannot refuse."

"Your--he--m--Lan Zhan. Lan Zhan, look at me. Look at me, please."

LWJ looks at him. His eyes are wide, disbelieving.
"Your uncle would qi deviate if you even hinted at such a thing," he says. "Gusu Lan is in a precarious enough position, you don't need...I have nothing to offer in return." He pats his lower stomach, empty of spiritual energy, emphatically. "/Nothing/. Don't be ridiculous."
"It is not ridiculous," LWJ argues, certain now that he is right. "You can offer more protection for us, and we can offer legitimacy. The person who cast this curse can be seen to have forced our hands. Has--has forced our hands."

He stops himself. He should not push this.
WWX is looking at him as if he does not know him.

"You don't want to marry me, Lan Zhan."

This gives LWJ pause. It is a confusing objection, to say the least. He stares, trying to comprehend. He clears his throat. Takes a breath.

"If you are under the impression..." he stops.
He drops his eyes once more. "...that the...impetus of the curse. Is the whole of the way I..." He swallows.

"Demonic cultivation," WWX interrupts. "It would be unhealthy. For you. And your elders! They wouldn't let me."

"Is this your only objection?"
WWX casts about. "Ah..."

"The elders can be reasoned with. Compromises can be made. I am not concerned for my health. Being near you could never be harmful to me." He hears himself, then, and amends, "Though you need not. Be near me. That is not a condition."
"You would defend this?" WWX asks, bemused.

"Defend what?"

"My cultivation path. You..."

LWJ resists a sigh. "I understand the reason, now. And I believe...if you did not object. We could work toward making it safe, without stripping you of what your hard work has created."
"Lan Zhan," WWX says. He reaches out, then stops.

LWJ stares at his hand, hovering between them. His heart is beating so hard he can feel it in his eyes, in his tongue.

"Wei Ying?"

"You would let me, though?"
His tone is gently mocking. His head is cocked to the side, the edge of a smile playing across his lips. It knocks the breath from LWJ's chest.

"Let you?" He asks, dazed.

"Be near you."

LWJ's heart stops.

"I would. Always."

WWX takes his hand, and sighs.
"You don't owe me this," he says again.

"I do," LWJ counters, off-kilter. "I owe you. And I want to. I would want to, even if--"

He loosens his tight grip on WWX's hand.

"It would be a thing happily given, with no strings attached, should you wish it."

WWX laughs strangely.
"Lan Zhan, you really..." He shakes his head. "I'd marry you in an instant, you know," says.

LWJ's neck hurts with the speed with which he looks up. Hope, warm and liquid, blooms through him.

"But I can't make this decision on my own," WWX goes on. "It's not just my life. We
have to talk it over with everyone."

"Yes," LWJ says, surprised and eager.

"Alright," says WWX, a smile hidden in the corner of his mouth. "I can't promise...but it...it could work."

"It will," LWJ says, certain that the strength of his conviction alone will carry them
through if need be.

He feel strange and dreamlike, confused but heartened by the turn in this conversation. That WWX can stand the sight of him, let alone wish to ally with him personally, seems too wonderful to be true. Another WWX hallmark.

"But Lan Zhan, no more talk of
strings," WWX says.

LWJ sobers and nods. It is unseemly. Of course their understanding must be a tacit one, now.

His hand is suddenly in both of WWX's.

"You need to stop feeling guilty," WWX says, looking down at it. "If I were your husband.../if/ I were. We could
try all that again, but without the impending doom. We could try it again any way we like, any time--all the time--and we'd--"

"Wei Ying," LWJ interrupts, strangled. His heart is in his throat. He cannot believe what he is hearing. His ears, his face, are on fire.
WWX smiles down at their hands, one part shy, one part mischief. "I think we could get really good at it, if we had the chance, don't you?"

LWJ stares at him, agog. "You..."

"Mn," says WWX, meeting his eyes.
He shines so bright, even without any core to speak of. He takes LWJ's breath away.

"I take it back," WWX says. "I like strings. Mine is, if this happens, I want to be your real husband. In name, in practice, in bed, and in your heart. Because you would be, in mine."
LWJ's voice sticks in his throat. He feels...he feels unreal. He does not know what to do, to say. Perhaps they never broke the curse at all and he has simply gone mad.

But WWX's fingers stroking his palm, the root-knotted dirt beneath his shins, are real. He sways, unbalanced.
WWX reaches out. Catches him. Folds him into his arms for a second time. LWJ's breath shudders out of him.

He is on his knees, breathlessly held in the arms of his beloved. He has dreamed this many ways. But never has it been so real, so full of hope. He wraps his arms around
him in turn, buries his face in WWX's shoulder.

WWX huffs. "Jiang Cheng is going to be so angry."

LWJ comes back down to earth. It is true he had not thought of this. He makes to pull away. "How should--"

WWX clutches him tighter. "I don't care," he says, "I don't
care, we can manage him." He pauses, then speaks more softly. "Maybe...I could see shijie's wedding after all. Or--no. It's too soon, I--"

"Yes," says Lan Wangji. "You will. We will go together."

WWX takes a deep breath, and lets it out into LWJ's hair.

"Together," he says.
🖤 The End 🖤
(Thank you so much for making it through to the end with me!! It was a bit of a wild ride, but I hope it all paid off. 💖💗🖤💗💖)

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More from @rarawriting

9 Jun
Hi there!! Here are threads of all My Stuff!! Thanks for visiting!! 💖
Fics on AO3! ✨
Read 21 tweets
30 May
I am thinking about how, during Sunshot, LWJ only had the reputation of being peerless and pure before the fighting began. It is entirely possible that this, plus his position and appearance, could have resulted in jumped-up heirs from lesser sects thinking him easy prey.
He came into it late, too, after leading the WWX-finding mission with the Jiangs.

Imagine this beautiful young cultivator in spotless white appearing in a city filled with men primed for war.

Worse, imagine the fragile state of Gusu Lan and their dependence on these alliances.
LWJ is politically aware, even though he's not held to the same standard as his brother. And when these men loom out of dark corners spewing lewd remarks and making even lewder requests, he wants to kill them. If the situation were different, they would come away at least maimed.
Read 58 tweets

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