Relationship: Lán Zhàn | Lán Wàngjī/Wèi Yīng | Wèi Wúxiàn
Characters: Lán Zhàn | Lán Wàngjī, Lán Huàn | Lán Xīchén, Lán Qǐrén, Wèi Yīng | Wèi Wúxiàn, Jiāng Chéng | Jiāng Wǎnyín, Jiāng Yànlí
Additional Tags: No War AU, Recovery, Trauma, Dissociation, Courtship, Courting Rituals
Summary: Lan Wangji and Wei Ying go to Caiyi, but have an unexpected encounter.
Notes: See end
Wangji soaked in Wei Ying’s good cheer, how he flitted around the mountain path on the way to Caiyi to examine anything that caught his eye. He had to discourage him from capturing another rabbit for the herd in Cloud Recesses; after all, they would have to go back if he was successful, and they had not yet reached their destination.
“On the way home, then,” Wei Ying said, his grin as wide as those during his days as a student, and Wangji’s heart clenched in joy to see it.
Caiyi was bustling, the fishermen hawking the morning catch, and Wei Ying held back a little at the chaos of it, staying closer to Wangji, reminding him that he was still fragile, still easily overwhelmed. This was the first trip to town since he had truly started to heal, after all.
Wangji had a mental map of the town and the places he wished to take him, purchases he wished to make; a gaun, scented oil for his hair, spicy foods—whatever Wei Ying wanted, he would have—and the personal additions to the betrothal gifts he would present to the Jiang siblings.
As hesitant as he seemed to enter the crowd, Wei Ying was also fascinated by the fish hawking, curious about the tubs of live catch. He stopped to watch a turtle for a bit, fascinated by the markings on the top of its neck that resembled eyes. It was a colorful specimen, with a dark brown shell and distinctive markings.
“Do you want it?” Wangji asked softly.
Wei Ying smiled at him, but it didn’t reach his eyes.
“Where would I put it? The Cold Spring? Your uncle would kick me out.”
Wangji frowned, troubled that Wei Ying still thought, even jokingly, he would be discarded so easily, that his place was so tenuous. He had to remind himself that shufu and xiongzhang would clarify that today, that he would soon realize the Cloud Recesses was his home.
“There is a small pond outside the jingshi,” he offered.
“‘Pets are forbidden,’ Lan Zhan. You don’t need more creatures to take care of.”
He wondered if they were speaking of the turtle anymore.