Chapter 1 "Lan Zhan"

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As the Young Masters waited for the Inn staff to speedily set up the bath at the far corner of the room, the grip on Young Master Wei's wrist was firm. Lan Wangji wouldn't let go, no matter how Wei Wuxian tried to pull away. It was as though the man who held him hostage fears he'll run away. But if they were to keep count, it was more often Lan Zhan who left him each time.

What possessed HanGuang Jun to ignore his wishes was unprecedented. Since the event of Dafan Mountain, never once in Wei Wuxian's recollection had 2nd Young Master Lan refused him anything. Even going as far as breaking countless Gusu Lan Sect rules to accommodate his lifestyle. Wei Wuxian was accustomed to doing as he wishes, while Lan Zhan was both his anchor and shield.

Protecting him is one thing. However, this time their reunion was different. Lan Wangji had returned to their school days' habits. Quiet, stubborn and stern. No different than the time when he had dragged him to the Gusu Sect private Library to receive his punishments. Had this man forgotten they are nowhere near Gusu Lan province?

"Lan Zhan, HanGuang Jun...Lan Wangji...I-I...You..."

His words flowed, rippled...unevenly rushed until they ceased.

Common, title, courtesy...do they matter? The man who was more celestial than mortal was all the same. Anxious...nervous Wei Ying's heartbeat at a rapid pace. Emerged, these unfamiliar emotions rose, but were they really foreign? Or buried far too long to be recognized? Would he dare to ponder?

One step closer, one step back. When Lan Zhan approached, Wei Ying instinctively retreated. The reverse dance which started when they reunited after Yiling Laozu took his revenge continued even now.

The time apart did not stifle the fire, thought to be under control, but if Wei Ying allows it to spread, the forest will be burned down. Once that happened, where would he be?

No barrier, no wall...nothing left but one's own skin.

After the Inn staff left, Lan Zhan finally released his hold. True to his character, Lan Zhan's expression remained unchanged as he spoke, "Bathe."

HanGuang Jun silently made his way to the sitting table and settled himself, with Bichen placed in front of him. Tactically faced away from the steaming warm bath on the far end of the large room. The Lady of the Inn didn't exaggerate when she promised them the more exclusive room for the night. It was impressive enough for a sitting section, a private bath screen, and a very large bed opposite the windows.

How was it possible this room was available when all the other rooms were booked? Wei Ying wondered in the back of his mind.

Without even realizing, Wei Wuxian touched the wrist that was held moments before. The heat that was once there had turned cold. Not daring to ponder further, he slowly undressed and placed his clothes over the screen divider, stealing a glance or two at the quiet figure on the other side.

He couldn't help but chuckle internally at how ridiculously he had reacted. He's no fair maiden. In the past, he had no qualms about bathing in front of others. The shameless man that once was, should be the same as the present time, but something had changed. Since his resurrection, or more precisely, his calamity that was traded by another, Wei Wuxian was more aware of the person who had chosen to stay by his side.

Coldness he could handle, indifference he much preferred. Affection, that familiar feeling had always brought disaster to those he cared for. As foreseen by Zewu Jun, who had warned him in the past not to drag his brother along his chosen path. Despite his efforts to push Lan Wangji away, the prediction came true.

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