NOTE: Mid-canon; the night after Lan WangJi left Burial Mound.
There’s no name for their relationship, but there’s something.
The cave was always cold. Since the first time he set foot into it, he’d always thought of it that way — cold.
Small, loose stones littered the floor; mostly toppled from the ceiling. Every once in a while he’d need to clean them away if not risking a trip. The edge of the cave laid a blood pool; ominous, raging, vehement, resentful. And whenever he was to go close, he’d definitely feel some of those resentments, be it wrath, remorse, or sorrow.
This was the place he called home.
On the day when he came here, he’d decided to take over this cave that was nothing but empty and cold, drawing a line between himself and the outside world, just so he won’t become a disturbance in someone else’s life — even though those lives were saved by him. He buried his head in his cultivation, his inventions, and thought of more excuses to persuade Wen Qing into planting the potatoes he always wanted. And before he knew it, days became weeks, weeks turned into months.
He adapted; he learned how to live in a new world, a new life. And he thought he was handling them very well.
If the world refused him, then he might as well refuse the world too.
Until when he saw Lan WangJi that he felt connected, like a reminder, like a newfound hope. As long as he’s alive, Wei WuXian part of this world, like it or not. And, believe it or not, in this world, someone else didn’t despise him.
— This person was Lan WangJi.
The time they spent in Yiling then Burial Mound was short but enough. He made things clear with Lan WangJi, interacted, joked, reprimanded, expressed, and showed everything to him. If Lan WangJi needed conviction, Wei WuXian would give him. He’s a man who wouldn’t believe in rumours after all — not what they said about Wei WuXian — and he’s a man who believed in solid senses and logic, like what he saw with his own eyes, like what Wei WuXian told him in person, like evidence.
And Wei WuXian… well, Wei WuXian believed in him.
Somehow, seeing Lan WangJi being receptive to him, agreeing to his invitation for a meal, helping him take down Wen Ning, even came over to look at a place he now called his home comforted Wei WuXian to no end. If there’s one person to whom he can refer to as the judge of righteousness, it can only be Lan WangJi. And by the way Lan WangJi conformed, agreed, and then acknowledged Wei WuXian’s determination, it did nothing but assuring Wei WuXian that he wasn’t insane like everyone said about him. He was doing the right thing; and if that meant having to stand by himself, then so be it.
That’s why, after meeting Lan WangJi, even after parting with him, Wei WuXian was in a very good mood.
The stone bed no longer felt as cold as he always thought it was. He stared at the vacant ceiling, thinking to himself, pondering, and deciding that at least for tonight, he can reward himself with a good sleep, then wake the next day to do good things.
…until he heard hurried footsteps crashing into the solitude of his place, growing louder, the noise echoed blaringly off the solid stone walls with every passing second.
He didn’t even get to bring himself to sit up when he felt a weight slumping on his body. He quickly found his blanket, covering his exposed skin, on a body where he only wore an inner clothing, his outer robe left to dry after he hastily washed it by the river.
“A-Yuan? Why are you not sleeping yet?” he said with wide eyes. Lifting the child up, he let him sit in between his legs. “Do you know what time is it already? Where’s Qing-jiejie? And grandma?”
“Xian-gege,” Wen Yuan simply grinned cheekily at him, holding up something that Wei WuXian immediately recognised as the butterflies Lan WangJi had bought the child earlier.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
Answering his question, Wen Yuan shoved one of the butterflies into Wei WuXian’s hand and beamed.
“Xian-gege, let’s play.”
“This child…” Wei WuXian shook his head with a bitter smile.
He traced a long finger against the edge of the butterfly wings, reminded of Lan WangJi’s troubled face when Wen Yuan hugged his leg, calling him ‘father’. It’s been a long time; and he never thought that he’d catch Lan WangJi in such an unusual state after not seeing him for so long. It was genuinely amusing.
“You have to keep these butterflies well, alright?” Wei WuXian advised.
“Why?” Wen Yuan tilted his head, eyes round and bright, filled with nothing but curiosity.
“Because I won’t have the money to buy for you if you spoil it,” Wei WuXian said, tipping the butterfly in his hand and tapping it against the butterfly in Wen Yuan’s hand. “Your Qing-jiejie will skin me alive if I waste more of her money on gratuitous items.”
“It’s okay! Brother Rich will buy for me!” Wen Yuan said delightfully.
Wei WuXian chuckled, “Why do you keep thinking about him? Is he really that good? Okay, well, fine, he is that good. But didn’t I tell you he won’t be coming again?”
“Then we can go and find him!” Wen Yuan said, innocent yet very genuine.
Wei WuXian simply smiled this time. Without answering to Wen Yuan, he distracted the child, shifting the conversation.
“A-Yuan, you haven’t told me how to play with these yet. Come, let’s do it fast before Qing-jiejie catches you back to bed.” He rubbed the butterfly on his hand against the one in Wen Yuan’s hand and continued. “Is it like this?”
“No, no! Xian-gege, I teach you,” the child said, tiny hand pushing Wei WuXian’s hand away, pulling a distance between the butterflies.
“Okay!” Wei WuXian said excitedly.
Wen Yuan positioned his butterfly close to Wei WuXian’s butterfly, then, with a voice that’s just slightly deeper than usual, he stroked the wing of his butterfly against Wei WuXian’s butterfly.
“I like you, do you like me?”
Wei WuXian chortled at the scene. His heart melted, warmth surged to his cheeks as he stared fervently at the two butterflies. After a while, under Wen Yuan’s curious yet anticipating gaze, he cleared his throat and imitated Wen Yuan’s butterfly, stroking its wing with the other.
“I like you too,” he said, no imitation of voice, no alteration of tone; his very own voice, genuine and concise.
He’d never met Lan WangJi for a lot of times; but every time he did, Lan WangJi never failed to make him feel sincerity alongside the same sentiment that he’d always feel from himself.
And thanks to that — he can bring himself to like someone like him. Call it friendship, call it his admiration towards another hero, call it a person to rely his hope on; no matter what it was, Wei WuXian knew that Lan WangJi was why he still believed that he could genuinely trust, understand, and like humans, despite all the horrible things they’d done and will do to him.
And that’s why, he’ll keep going.