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By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
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Private A Time to Reflect

Wei Wuxian

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[box]January 23rd, Year 109
@Lan Wangji[/box]​

Wuxian had to say, Pandopolis City was enormous. The buildings were tall and were glittering in the sun when it was morning. So many shops and stores, and yet nothing was like any of the villages he had seen here. The library was an entirely different story as well! It was enormous, with hundreds of books that were also in different languages—and anyone could read from the library! Wuxian had no idea why everyone spoke the same language but the written word was different, but apparently that was something Pandora did—but there were ways to read said books.

During the past three days, Wangji had been adamant to find a cure for the ritual. While Wuxian appreciated, he didn’t get his hopes up, despite the vast collection of books that were here. Yet, even then, Wangji looked through the books. Apple and the rabbits were left together since it’d be strange to wander around town with ten rabbits and a donkey.

But something was bothering Wangji. He didn’t say what it was, but he saw the crease in his brow and the look in his eyes. There was sadness there—something was bothering him but Wangji didn’t want to tell him.

There was also the subject that today was Wangji’s birthday. While back home, they didn’t celebrate the days of birth in adulthood, Wuxian felt like he wanted to give Wangji something. Apparently, in other cultures of other worlds, birthdays were celebrated with friends and loved ones, giving gifts and having fun.

He wanted to make Wangji smile. He already finished the gift while the other cultivator had been busy with other stuff...but he also wanted to tease Wangji. It’s been years since he last teased the other and Wuxian was never one to not take that chance.

But for now, he needed to just distract Wangji—he had a plan and had found some nice food that they could eat, but he needed to make sure Wangji didn’t see through his plan. They had finished with the library and Wuxian was eating these delicious spicy peanuts when Wangji came back from an errand. “Lan Zhan! These are amazing! I had no idea that they could make stuff like this!”

He grabbed a handful of peanuts and tossed them into his mouth as he looked over at Wangji, brow furrowing as he observed the other cultivator. “Something is bothering you. You’re making that face again.”
 
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Lan Wangji

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In a world that teemed with vibrant people from all other kinds of dimensions, they naturally brought with them unique abilities and knowledge, so there had to be something Lan Wangji could find in order to help Wuxian. The library in Pandopolis was a comfort as it reminded him somewhat of the pavilion back in his own world, up in the rigid Cloud Recesses where he spent many hours of his youth pouring through book after book.

He did the same here. Once they'd reached Pandopolis he'd been quick to tell Wuxian what he knew of the place before pointing the other man in the right direction should he have questions he himself couldn't answer at the time. Wangji would often disappear for extended periods of time during those days researching, only for Wuxian to come and find him and pull him from the pages so they could have a break or rest back at one of the inns they were staying at currently.

Of course he'd not even thought about his own birthday when it had come along, instead he'd thought about young Sizhui's and if the month he'd spent in Pandora had affected his son in a particularly bad way. He'd missed the boy's birthday whilst in Pandopolis, and it had been before he'd met Wuxian here too. That day he'd bought a small bag of loquats and found somewhere a little out of the way of the main city to enjoy them, solitude his only company whilst he thought of Sizhui.

The cultivator had murmured to the wind as he sat there alone, speaking as if his son was there with him and asking how he was, what he had been up to, if he missed him... He'd only made it past the second loquat before the choked up feeling in his throat had made it too difficult for him to eat. When the first couple of tears fell, Wangji knew it had been time to go, and so he had, leaving the remaining collection of loquats beneath the tree he had been leaning against for support.

As he was reliving the memory now, Wangji found himself having finished in the library only to have bought more of the fruit without realising it, blinking at the contents of the brown bag before he quickly scrunched it closed as he heard Wuxian. Looking over to said man, Wangji felt something inside of his stomach ease up, like a knot that had been loosened but left him with an aching feeling in his belly.

He eyed up what Wuxian was gushing about, realising it was peanuts and spicy ones judging from the light red coating on them. Typical Wuxian. Sizhui liked peanuts too... did Wuxian feed them to him when he could? No. Of course he hadn't, where would he have gotten the money for them when they were living in the Burial Mounds anyway? Perhaps little Sizhui had just taken after his other father without realising.

With those thoughts creeping up on Wangji, he felt his expression fall slightly, instead of its usual expressionless and steadfast self, it displayed just a sliver of the loneliness he was feeling. Why did it always seem Lan Wangji was mourning for someone? As Wuxian pointed out that the taller was making a 'face' again, Wangji didn't hide it like he might have normally, instead he just nodded his head in agreement a couple of times.

But it was clear he still wasn't going to let on what exactly the cause was. Instead he gradually collected himself and walked over to Wuxian slowly, gently pressing the brown bag against the other man's chest, filled with the sweet fruits inside for Wuxian to enjoy whenever he so wished.
"Is there anything else you were looking to do today, Wei Ying?" Lan Wangji asked, his golden eyes looking softer than usual as they swirled with some unspoken pain and longing. On top of his current mood, he still hadn't found a cure for Wuxian and that certainly wasn't helping with how he felt. He wanted to apologise for his failure thus far, but bit his tongue and doubted Wuxian would want to hear such a statement coming from him.​
 
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Wei Wuxian

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Late 20s / Early 30s
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They had walked out of the library cause the owner, the librarian was looking at Wuxian as if he offended their ancestors because he was eating inside the building one time. Which made Wuxian want to do it more, but he didn’t because Wangji wanted to find him a cure.

However, when he met up with Wangji after he was done, he saw the man’s face fell. Something was bothering him; maybe it wasn’t new or it was the same thing, but he wanted to know what it was and how he could help.

He nibbled on a few more peanuts and commented on his face. The simple nod made him blink a few times in surprise since Wangji had been notoriously stubborn, so he was prepared to be met with silence. Whatever this was must really be getting to him.

Wuxian checked inside the bag and perked up at seeing loquats—they were Wangji’s favorite fruit, weren’t they? “Where is your sense of adventure? I thought you’d like us to explore a bit. The day is still young!” He smiled at the question, stashing the peanuts in the bag and gently nudged Wangji’s shoulder.

With a skip to his step, he grabbed Wangi’s arm and tugged him along the road. They walked said road for several minutes, viewing some of the shops before Wuxian turned to his companion. Frowning, his lips turned into a pout. “Lan Zhan, you know I can tell you’re still thinking about something. What is it about? Maybe I can help?”
 
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Lan Wangji

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The tug to his arm was familiar. Even after nearly two decades, Wei Wuxian took to pulling the other man around as if he was his personal rag doll or something. Not in a bad way, in fact, if anything, Wangji quite enjoyed when the other man demanded he accompany him places, even if he made it seem as if doing just that was the last thing he ever wanted to do.

But he didn't want Wuxian to worry about him, in fact, that was the last thing he ever wanted. The man had enough on his mind as it was. But that smile at the sight of the fruits was nice, and it had the corners of Wangji's lips twitching just a bit as if he were about to smile, only to fall short at the last hurdle again.

Whilst the shorter man was looking at shop windows and making sounds of awe at some of the things he saw, Wangji was watching him instead. His golden eyes seemed so soft it was almost as if they were inviting the onlooker to dive into them, to perhaps drown in the melancholy he couldn't shake off no matter how hard he was trying. Wuxian was beautiful, but even that couldn't distract the taller of the two, which... was saying a lot, especially considering how distracting Wuxian had proven to be throughout their youth together.

As said man turned on Wangji with a pout, the cultivator found himself staring at those pair of lips, full and carved, perhaps just a bit redder from the spicy food he had been eating as well. He wondered what those lips would look like parted and pressed to his own, laced with gasps and stolen breaths. But now was not the time for kisses or even daydreaming about them, oh no, Wuxian was busy asking him what had Wangji worlds away rather than enjoying his company like he should have been.

Slowly, Lan Wangji looked up from those lips before he met Wuxian's gaze, regarding him in silence before he turned to look at the shop window they had stopped outside of for now. Did he have to speak? Couldn't they go back to their first night when Wuxian had laid his head on his shoulder and slept peacefully throughout the night? Letting his gaze fall briefly to the floor, Wangji lifted it once more to look into Wuxian's eyes again, unsure if he could just nod or shake this one off this time.

"I am just missing someone very important to me." Wangji began, his heart crying out that he missed Sizhui even more because his other father was right here with him, and it would have been oh so perfect if he could have kept both people in his life without seemingly having to give one up each time.

The sound of a merchant from a little way away calling out, advertising alcohol, caught the cultivator's attention just then. Now was his turn to grab hold of Wuxian, hand wrapped around the man's wrist as he walked him over in the direction of the stall selling jars of wine. It was much like home, a little more modern and the writing seemed to be simplified from their own language, perhaps a variation of it, but it was so strikingly like the Emperor's Smile Wuxian once enjoyed that Wangji himself couldn't help but smile a bit at it.

"Give me five please." Wangji spoke, polite as ever and his voice as gentle as the snow fall in the Cloud Recesses. The merchant was all too happy to give him so many, two pairs tied by thin rope whilst the fifth was left unattached, the man handing them over as he warned about it being rather strong. Thanking the man, Wangji ignored the other stares he was getting, as he often did in public, before turning to Wuxian and holding out one of the jars.

"Drink." He encouraged, almost as if this was his way of trying to apologise for being so down today. He held the other four against his chest and the crook of his free arm, Bichen in the other whilst he arranged the jars so they wouldn't be in danger of slipping and breaking. Wangji then stared at Wuxian once more, checking to see if the wine was good enough for him, not that Wangji himself would have ever been a good judge considering his history with it.​
 
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Wei Wuxian

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The plan was to distract Wangji enough so that he could lead him to the park he found nearby. He’d hidden some of the stuff he got (with money Wangji gave him) and made sure that nobody was going to find them.

So, for now, he was trying to get Wangji to relax a bit. He assumed the cultivator wanting to find a cure for him was eating Wangji up inside, but there wasn’t anything they could do now. Tomorrow was another day and who knows? Maybe it’d resolve on its own.

Wangji met his eyes when he asked what was bothering him. Wuxian has always been shameless—prying into other people’s matters, even if it was none of his business. While he knew Wangji would probably not tell him, Wuxian felt that maybe he could help in some way. The cultivator’s gaze moved downwards for a moment before looking back.

“I am just missing someone very important to me.”

Oh. Wuxian lowered his gaze. It made sense; just like Wuxian missed the life he had before it went to hell, Wangji also missed his own life. Perhaps it was his brother, Lan Xichen that he missed. But if that was the case, wouldn’t he had said so?

Perhaps...it was someone that Wuxian doesn’t know? Sixteen years have passed for the both of them; he wouldn’t be surprised to hear Wangji had gotten married during that time. Something fluttered in his chest at that thought, but he simply ignored that. Wuxian probably assumed it was guilt; of him spending time with Wangji, and yet he’s been stolen away from his family.

Before he could even apologize, Wangji immediately grabbed him and pulled him towards a merchant. Wuxian yelped in surprise, because since when did Wangji ever pull him along? It was always the other way around! The surprise in his eyes even grew wider when he saw they were at an alcohol stand and...Wangji was buying five jars?

The jars were well-made and it reminded him of the white jars with Emperor’s Smile, and while the writing was quite simplified, it looked like good quality. And then Wangji just...gave him a jar and told him to drink. Okay, something was very wrong.

Wuxian blinked owlishly twice before he laughed as he took the wine jar. “You bought alcohol? Hanguang Jun, one of the Twin Jades of Gusu? A stickler for all three thousand rules of Cloud Recesses?” He couldn’t help the smile on his lips as he scented the drink; it smelled sweet and fragrant—like fruit, perhaps flowers as well?

Deciding not to be rude with the gift, Wuxian took a generous sip. His eyes brightened up at the taste, his throat slightly burning since it’s been so long since he had good alcohol. “Delicious! Your wine is quite good, sir!” Wuxian turned to look at Wagnji, noticing that the other man was looking at him.

He smiled, almost coyly at the other—cheeks lightly flushed from the liquor. “You want some, Lan Zhan? Or am I that handsome?”
 
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Lan Wangji

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"We're not in the Cloud Recesses." Wangji pointed out, though something about the way he spoke suggested that perhaps even if they were, or in Gusu, he would have permitted Wuxian to drink this time. He wondered if he really seemed so different to the other man now, less rigid, cold, a proud follower to a clan he had essentially turned his back on in some aspects. And for what? Out of love for a man who didn't even know the truth of his heart still?

Worth it.

When Wuxian pointed out the three thousand plus rules of Wangji's own sect, the cultivator actually did quirk a little bit of a smile for he was sure the reaction his response would garner.
"Actually, since you've been gone, there's over four thousand rules now." Wangji watched the man's expression closely for his response to this correction, his own eyes seeming to light up just a bit as he knew how much Wuxian hated the strictness of his sect as it was. A thousand more rules seemed almost impossible.

As for Wangji, he knew a lot of those rules had been added because of himself. While many of the newer ones were clearly directed at pointing disciples away from the life that might turn them into a cultivator like Wei Wuxian, Qiren had been adamant no other pupil turn out the same way as his own, and once prized, student had. Of course the new and old rules still applied to Wangji, but after the treatment he had received from people who were supposed to understand, love and protect him, it had been the final pieces to fall into place and diverge him from his original path, of following blindly and loyally like some dog.

The offer for alcohol was no doubt one made in jest, for surely Wuxian remembered how poorly Wangji could hold his liquor. Still, whilst he didn't appreciate the stuff as much, he was only too happy to see it still made the other cultivator more than jovial and lighten his mood he had brought down a bit. Of course Wangji also appreciated the addition of colour to Wuxian's cheeks, or the way he always seemed to miss some of the drink whenever he indulged himself, causing little lines of the beverage to rush down his chin and neck.

For once Wangji didn't want to deny that Wuxian was handsome, but finding himself too shy to admit it out loud, he simply murmured.
"Mnn." Neither a denial or confirmation. Instead he still seemed a bit more lighthearted as he lifted his hand holding Bichen, using the side of his sleeve to lightly dab over the other man's skin and clear up the liquid there. Just before he pulled back, and figuring that Wuxian wouldn't notice or pay much mind to it, Wangji unfurled his thumb and brushed the pad of it over Wuxian's pulse, feeling the warmth hidden just under his soft skin before finally pulling his hand back.​
 
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Wei Wuxian

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Wuxian’s eyebrow perked at that comment. “You were pretty adamant about the rules even when we weren’t there.” If Wangji was trying to pull the wool over his eyes, well, that would not work! A part of him wondered if Wangji wanted Wuxian to feel more at ease here in Pandora or was simply repaying him when he had dumped the wine he had given him once.

At the mention of more rules, Wuxian’s eyes widened, mouth gaping. “No way! That’s just cruel! Weren’t three thousand rules—thousand, Lan Zhan—enough? I feel your uncle wants to torture people with more rules.” Just thinking about it made him extremely happy that he wasn’t at Cloud Recesses with the Lan sect. He’d probably die again from all those rules—especially since he knew Lan Qiren wouldn’t have him go—not when he’d been punished to write them on his first fucking day.

He sighed dramatically at the thought, already taking another sip, some of the liquor dripping down his chin and neck. Alcohol was a welcome distraction to hearing these news. But that smile Wangji was giving him...oh, the man was teasing him. Two could play that game. Especially with what his first present would be.

But when he did, Wuxian tilted his head in curiosity at the response. Did...Wangji not rebuke his attempt? This was a bit strange. Maybe Wangji had a fever or was feeling unwell? Because he was expecting something; like ridiculous or boring. And yet…

Wuxian felt himself freeze when Wangji moved closer and used his sleeve to brush against his chin and neck. He was...basically, cleaning him up. Wuxian felt his skin heat up from this action because this reminded him of how Yanli would sometimes pat his mouth off with a napkin. But this felt different. He could feel his pulse loud in his ears and it jumped when he felt Wangji’s hand over his neck. And then it was over.

The young man coughed slightly, clearing his throat as though believing what he was feeling was simply due to the alcohol. Yes, that must be it. Wuxian suddenly felt a bit self-conscious with all the people nearby. “Why don’t we explore some more?” He said, moving along the road with Wangji.

After several minutes and already drinking the wine half-way, Wuxian felt a bit more...at ease. “Lan Zhan, we never told each other when we were taken from. What were you doing before you came to this world?”
 
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Lan Wangji

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"People change over time." Wangji merely murmured, no more than that as his explanation before he finally returned his expression back to its usual passive self. It didn't last long. Not with Wuxian reacting so vehemently towards the idea of there being even more rules on top of what they already had in the Cloud Recesses. The cultivator went so far as to let out something akin to a chuckle, though it was more like a soft breath passing between his lips with much amusement lacing it.

"Do you think he put them in place for that, or because of someone in particular?" They were talking about Wangji's uncle, sure, but he was also an elder of Gusu and their leader ever since Wangji's father had been unable to rule the sect properly. His mind almost wandered to the thought of his father, another person lost to him, but he was perfectly distracted when he felt the remnants of Wuxian's pulsing heartbeat throbbing in his fingertip still.

Strange. Did he effect Wuxian now? After all these years? Obedient as ever, but for a new cause he had chosen, Wangji followed after the other man without needing much encouragement. The two of them walking alongside one another as more heads decided to turn in their direction wherever they went together. That was alright. The cultivator was used to it and the other part of him supposed that Wuxian was more often than not happy with attention rather than without it.

What was he doing before Pandora dragged him here? Aside from mourning and raising Wuxian's child? It seemed so long ago now that he almost couldn't remember what exactly he had been doing.
"I sent disciples from my sect to visit the Mo residence. It was nothing too hard, just to deal with a spirit the Mo family were struggling to handle themselves." Wangji explained, but it had felt like just moments before, he had been listening to the sound of Sizhui playing with the rabbits and telling him to come and see how excited they'd been that fateful day.

"Other than that I was beginning to spend more time away from the Cloud Recesses, roaming around, searching." As their son had gotten older, Lan Wangji had been able to begin travelling again, and what a reprieve it had been to get away from what had begun to feel like those stifling mountains crowding in on him. Should he tell Wuxian what he had been searching for? Part of him wanted to, to the point he even stopped walking for a moment, though his decision to keep it to himself for now had him quickly catching up again.

"Did you expect me to say I'd been adding to those four thousand rules as a pastime?"
 
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Wei Wuxian

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The comment of people changing made him pause for a moment before he nodded. “You’re right. People do change.” It was true; so many years have passed and even before his death, Wuxian had changed. Especially during his three months at the Burial Mounds with his hate and craving for revenge.

He side-eyed Wangji when he complained at the rules, as he was certain he heard something like a chuckle. Wuxian wasn’t gonna accept it was anything but amusement coming from the other because the timing was too close.

Wuxian turned to Wangji at the question, arching an eyebrow and crossing his arms. “Hanguang Jun, are you implying that Lan Qiren made one thousand more rules because of me?” Because if that was the case, he didn’t know whether to be flattered or insulted. But it made sense; Wangji’s uncle never liked him, and after turning to demonic cultivation, the man must have seen him as an abomination.

The moment between them disappeared as quickly as it happened. Wuxian didn’t know why his heart was beating or why he felt more flushed than before. It was probably the alcohol since he hadn’t drunk it in a long time.

“Ah, good! We were taken like days apart. It was the day you sent your junior disciples that Mo Xuanyu summoned me. In the end, they did call for you, but they handled things quite well—especially that Lan Sizhui. His friend, Lan Jingyi is a bit stubborn, but you trained them well.” It was both funny and interesting to see how the Lan sect has adapted so far, and Wangji has trained them quite well. Of course, the goddess statue was another situation that they had never faced, but they fought well against the possessed Mo family.

“Searching for what?” Wuxian could understand that after so many years living at Cloud Recesses, Wangji would want to travel. As he said, people change and what might have given him content in his youth, now things were different. But what could he had been searching? Didn’t he had that someone important back home?

Wuxian laughed as he finished the alcohol, using his sleeve to wipe the liquor from his face. “Actually, no. I believe...you would have found it extremely boring.”
 
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Lan Wangji

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As Wuxian asked him if he was suggesting he was the reasoning for such strict rules being implemented because of him, Wangji found himself pausing and turning towards the other man, something like a smirk appearing on his features as he regarded the smaller man for a moment longer.
"Not because of you. Because of us." The feeling of speaking about Wuxian and himself as a pair sent a thrill through Lan Wangji, one that made him look devilishly beautiful with a smirk to match, one might even be forgiven for thinking perhaps he had been the demonic cultivator.

The mention of their son made him hesitate, one boot lifted in the air before he managed to actually take that step forward and more after that until he was walking properly again.
"Sizhui is an outstanding cultivator, but he had already been taught by someone quite well before I ever took him on." Wangji confessed, clearly very proud of the youth he was speaking so fondly of. Sizhui and Jingyi were examples of the future of cultivators from their world, and while they were entirely unique in their own ways, they couldn't help but remind him of himself and Wuxian sometimes.

"Did they remind you of anyone?" He asked offhandedly, glancing at Wuxian from the corner of his eye as he was continuing to enjoy the wine he had been given. Wangji could already smell the alcohol on the man, the flowery undertones and strong fruity scents that lingered on Wei Ying's lips, it was all very dizzying for Wangji, especially when the other man seemed to always miss his mouth and spill some of the liquid.

Once more Wangji came to a stop, thinking over what Wuxian had asked and how he should answer, if at all - a constant dilemma he seemed to face when around Wei Ying. He diverted his gaze for now, fiddling with one of the jars resting in the crook of his arm before he swapped the new, full jar for the empty one Wuxian had just finished. As he spoke, he still had his head bowed, lowering the jars to his left hand and holding them by the strings wrapped around their necks.

"I was searching for you."

Finally Wangji looked up, golden eyes looking for a sign that perhaps he had said too much just now. But he wasn't going to take it back. This was a new life, a new chance, and he was already working so hard not to lose Wuxian once more. Leaving his lips parted for a moment longer, Wangji finally looked away and began to follow the path again, seemingly leading them toward a park not too far away now.
"...Nothing was boring when you were around. You had quite the opposite effect actually." The cultivator confessed in a lighter tone, half calling over his shoulder as he was sure Wuxian wasn't following him just yet from the lack of footsteps.

Perhaps he'd opened up one too many times today.​
 
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Wei Wuxian

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Late 20s / Early 30s
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The smirk on Wangji’s face was something he didn’t expect, especially when apparently...the rules were made because of both of them. Being the troublemaker that he was, Wuxian didn’t have an issue of being considered a rebel and having his name dragged through the mud. But Wangji was different; he was Lan Qiren’s nephew and one of the best students. And yet, his uncle had made those one thousand rules because of Wangji as well? Why?

Also, why did seeing him smirk like that was something Wuxian wanted to see more? It was like Wangji was trying to use his own medicine against him—but in a good way? If that makes sense.

It seems Sizhui was trained by someone before Wangji took the reins of being the kid’s mentor. “Well, I can commend both you and his other mentor. He’s quite smart and has a lot of potential.” He smiled at his friend. This young man must really mean a lot to Wangji, especially with how proud the Lan was of him.

At the question, Wuxian hummed a bit in thought. “Actually...they reminded me of us. It was amusing actually. And Jin Ling is a lot like Jiang Cheng. All three of them acted like us when they fought against the goddess statue.” He finished the jar then, feeling a bit tipsy as the liquor was kicking in. Wangji gave him another bottle, but before he could even think of drinking some, Wangji’s words rung through him.

“I was searching for you.”

Wangji’s eyes met his own, but for once, Wuxian didn’t know what to say or how to feel, besides surprise. This felt like a confession, something important. But why would Wangji look for him when he was dead? What could his reason be? Did he perhaps feel guilty? Not being able to save Wuxian? To help him? He recalls how they once considered each other as lifelong confidants—soulmates, but hearing this was still...something he had not expected.

When Wangji began moving again, Wuxian felt his face flush from his response. That being around him was never boring, that Wangji...enjoyed his company. He felt that there was more to this and being embarrassed was not the time, especially when now that they were near the park, Wuxian could put his plan in action.

The unopened jar was still in his hand, but carefully placing it in the bag with the other foods on his hip, Wuxian untangled the red ribbon from his hair. His black locks flowed with the win and with making sure to keep his footsteps light, Wuxian managed to put the red ribbon over Wangji’s eyes.

“Don’t worry! It’s just me,” Wuxian quickly said and he was certain Wangji would have used Bichen about now. “I...I want to show you something, but you can’t look! That’s why I’ve blindfolded you. It’s not too far and I’ll be leading you there.” He licked his lips before exhaling. He was feeling a bit more confident now as he moved to Wangji’s back and gently pushed him along, his breath almost ghosting along Wangi’s neck. There was a moment, he thought he felt a bump on the back but gently shook his head as they finally made it to the stop.

“Sit down and don’t move or look!” There was a bench there and the tree he had marked with the stuff inside. As he made sure Wangji wasn’t looking, he set things up as quietly as he could.

A small cloth between them on the bench, some of the loquats, as well as some rice and vegetables. They were quite small, mostly for—what did the merchant call it? A picnic?—lunch now. It wasn’t soup, but he couldn’t complain. It was still warm. They had the wine, but he also got some water for Wangji. And lastly was the dessert. It was something he had read was being given for birthdays and he found that it’d be nice if they experienced something different. He’d been given a sample and it was delicious.

He hoped that Wangji would like this. The present was hidden and he’d give it to him once they had eaten. Moving towards Wangji’s back, he pulled the ribbon and the world would be unveiled for him.

“Tada! Happy birthday, Lan Zhan!” Wuxian said with the brightest smile on his face.
 
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Lan Wangji

The Untamed
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Human
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Early 30s
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Wangji nodded his head in agreement about the three young disciples resembling himself, Wuxian and Jiang Cheng. He was hoping they would end up having a much better outcome to their relationships than they ever had, maybe they could continue healing their own bridges along the way. Who knew, perhaps the others would show up in this shoe box of a world sooner rather than later.

The moment he was blindfolded, Wangji stiffened and Bichen released itself from its scabbard a couple of inches, though as he heard his friend's voice, he seemed to calm down again. His sword returned to where it was but the break from his anxiety was short lived when he felt the hand at his back, sure, Wuxian being this close was nice, but the fact that he was sure the other cultivator could feel through his robes and brushed up against the scars just beneath, set him on edge.

He didn't like people touching his back since he had suffered that punishment, it only reminded him of everything that had happened and how he was unable to escape fate as much as he couldn't escape the scars on his fine, porcelain-like skin. But he did as he was told, granted being stiff about it, but he soon found himself sitting down on what seemed to be a bench. As Wangji waited patiently, he let his anxiety melt away in place of Wuxian's scent washing over him, the red ribbon tied around his head was still warm and he found one of his hand's fingertips brushing over the material for a moment.

When it was removed he was left squinting whilst his eyes adjusted to the lighting, finally finding himself able to see what he had been told to wait for in the first place. And it was well worth it too. As his golden eyes widened in surprise, he felt his heart begun to flutter inside of his chest and for many a reason. Sizhui would have done something like this for him when he was younger, help make a meal and bring it to his father to try and make his day just a little bit better.

But here Wuxian was doing just that for him right now, making Wangji's heart ache where it resided inside of his chest.
"You... did this for me?" Wangji asked as if he couldn't quite wrap his head around the idea of the other man doing this just for him. His eyes drifted over mild foods, clearly seeing Wuxian had made a point of getting things for the cultivator's palate instead of his own preference for often far more spicier foods. The care that had been put into all of this made Wangji smile, his hand reaching over before he picked up the strange baked treat with one hand.

The man had seen these before in Pandora, some sweet confectionery he had not tried out of fear it being too indulgent for him, but he supposed the celebration of one's birth could not be better suited for such a thing. Turning the cupcake around between his fingers, Wangji noticed even this had been touched by the other man's careful planning, the colours matching the ones Wangji often wore in representation of his clan. Setting it back down, Wangji picked up the rice instead, beginning to eat before he paused to add on softly.

"Thank you, Wei Ying."
 
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Wei Wuxian

The Untamed
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Late 20s / Early 30s
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Wuxian had expected that Wangji would go on the defensive, which was why he immediately spoke. Bichen was already back in the scabbard, but when he gently pushed Wangji to the direction he went, he felt the man stiffen. The shorter man made sure they reached the bench quickly since he wasn’t sure what Wangji was nervous about.

Thankfully, Wangji followed his directions and sat down the bench while he fixed their small picnic. And when he removed the blindfold, seeing the surprise in Wangji’s eyes made him smile. At the question, Wangji didn’t expect Wuxian to do this; he understood since Wuxian was a shameless troublemaker and would drive Cheng up the wall, but he cared for those he loved. And he wanted to see this light in the man’s golden eyes.

Wuxian moved to sit opposite of Wangji as he replied. “I did. I know it’s not much, and we usually don’t celebrate birthdays in adulthood...but I wanted to do it. See, you’re smiling.” He said, smiling back as he pointed at Wangji when he lifted up one of the four cupcakes he got.

He knew the frosting would be what the man liked the most since they were much like the robes of the Lan sect. Beautiful in their own way, Wuxian thought that Wangji would enjoy them a lot. Handing a pair of chopsticks to the man, he smiled when he started eating before the other man thanked him. He smiled, “Anytime, Lan Zhan. Now, eat. If you need any seasoning, I have some right here.” Wuxian replied as he added a bunch to his own rice and vegetables.
 
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Lan Wangji

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Early 30s
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When they were younger and in their teens again, Wangji would have denied that he was ever smiling, or perhaps even drawn Bichen from its sheath and silently threatened the other cultivator for ever pointing out he was outwardly showing happiness. But that was a much younger Wangji where embarrassment and honour tended to determine how he responded to things, now that time had passed, he was different.

With Wuxian pointing at him and his smile, the man simply nodded his head a couple of times. Even with the amount of time that had passed for the both of them, it seemed Wuxian knew his old confidant as well as he had then. Wasn't that a nice thought? Having someone who knew you so well that it didn't matter what might come between you, it wouldn't change how well they knew you at the end of the day. Or even after death and nearly two decades later in this case.

He was smiling like a fool at this thought too, the smile not amusingly large on his features, but just enough that it lit up his eyes. Lan Zhan held his chopsticks between his lips as he kept the little smile a while longer, finally snapping out of it when Wuxian mentioned using seasoning on his food. Looking over at the other's food, he shook his head gently at the sight of what seemed to be spices, laughing though as he was fine with his food just as it was.

The cultivator ate well enough and was done with the main part not long after, murmuring his thanks again as he set his chopsticks down and picked up one of the frosted cupcakes instead. He must have looked somewhat funny with the way he leaned in and sniffed at the icing, blinking when he leaned in a little too far and got some of the sugary goodness on his nose.

Scrunching up his nose, Wangji tried to catch a glimpse of it and only made himself look rather funny when his eyes crossed one another. Eventually he swiped it off with his finger, bringing it to his lips and licking off the icing as he did so, his face brightening when he tasted something so uniquely sweet for the first time. It wasn't like the loquats with the somewhat citrus hints, but instead... creamier, and definitely a type of sweet he'd never come across. The closest he could think was perhaps honey, but even that didn't hold a candle to this.

It wasn't long before the cultivator was taking a bite of the cupcake once he'd peeled back some of the wrapper, his elation at the treat not dimming even once as he continued to enjoy himself, forgetting for the moment he was in public and a representative of Gusu. Instead, he was just... Wangji. That child that was robbed of a childhood, the teenager robbed of his soulmate but left with fond, bittersweet memories. With youthful glee, he turned his gaze on Wuxian, only then remembering where and who he was supposed to be, causing him to straighten his back and clear his throat.

"...It is enjoyable." He murmured, trying to be as stiff as he often must have sounded, though his voice broke somewhere in the middle. As good an act as he put up, Lan Wangji couldn't hide the colour now kissing his earlobes, a deep red that hinted what his stony face could not. But even this couldn't stop him from taking several bites more of his birthday cupcake, until nothing was left but a smile on his face.​
 
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Wei Wuxian

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Late 20s / Early 30s
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While in the last years of life, he remembered how Wangji had changed from when they were teenagers, it was still strange. How once, when Wuxian would have pointed out him smiling and was met with annoyance or even threatening him with Bichen, now he just nodded. Wangji had changed—the realization of how much Wuxian had lost sixteen years and so much more, was not lost on him. And yet, it still made him happy that some things, he remembered.

Seeing Wangji smile was like seeing the stars light up.

They ate in relative silence, though Wuxian mentioned on the spicy foods and how Pandora looked quite interesting, though he didn’t understand why the majority of people liked to be on those peculiar devices called ‘phones’ and the ‘internet’. It was both hilarious and concerning how people could be so absorbed by those things.

Wuxian’s eyes were watching Wangji intently when he finally moved to the dessert. He immediately bit his lip when he saw the other man’s nose had some of the icing on him. This entire thing made Wuxian clutch his stomach and trying to keep himself from laughing because he didn’t want to break this cause he knew he’d lose this.

When Wangji tasted the icing and the cupcake, his reaction was...so pure. It was as if he was seeing A-Yuan enjoying the toys or eating good food. Seeing Wangji happy...it warmed him. Wuxian was smiling when his friend met his gaze—and just like that, Wangji put on his mask.

The response was expected: serious and as stiff as a board...and yet, was he embarrassed? “I’m glad you liked it! But...you don’t need to be so serious. This isn’t Cloud Recesses; you can enjoy yourself, Lan Zhan.” He couldn’t blame him since he’s used to acting this way, as he’d been raised like that. To represent the Lan sect. But Wuxian wanted to see more of this; more of Wangji’s smile and seeing his eyes light up with a joy that only he could feel.
Once Wuxian was partially done with his own rice, he grabbed one of the other cupcakes and took a generous bite, icing staining his lips and his own nose as well and he chuckled. “This is so good. I wish we had sweets like these.” Crossing his eyes to see the icing, using his tongue to lick his lips...and trying to do the same with his nose. After three times, he shook his head before he just using his finger and licked it off.

“They called this a blue vanilla frosting and chocolate cupcake. I wonder how they were made.”
 
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Lan Wangji

The Untamed
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Lan Wangji felt shy when it was pointed out to him that he didn't have to be so stiff and upright when he was here with Wuxian. He was embarrassed that the other man had even pointed it out let alone noticed, but of course he had, and yet he couldn't help but bow his head somewhat whilst chewing of his cupcake became a little bit slower. Was it really okay to act like that? Gods, why was he even asking himself when he had already come this close.

What would the youths say? The ones he had heard around Pandora among the busy streets, the ones that tended to look at him oddly when he walked by? Ah yes, gay panic. Seemed about right. Regaining at least some of his composure, he didn't argue or defend himself, neither to deny what he had been doing, or to explain it. What was the point? If anything he quite enjoyed when Wei Wuxian could read him at least this much.

He just wished he could read the rest of him.

Now was his turn to watch Wuxian, that delight and warmth never leaving his own eyes as the sight of the man enjoying the sweet, blue treat with him was enough of a treasure all on its own. Did Wuxian know how handsome he looked whenever he smiled like that? With those bunny teeth that made Wangji's heart all the more fonder over him?

What could only be described as a lovesick sigh came from Wangji just then, though not sad or particularly deep, it was met with a fond smile gracing the very corners of his lips.
"I do not know. But perhaps, someday, we can find out how they do it. Together." He offered, somewhat distressed how Wuxian had wiped away the frosting before he could even try to do so himself. Oh well, Wangji was happy just to stare at the other man for as long as he was able.
 
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