Love is a choice you make – like this, and this, and this. Xiao Xingchen’s shoulders pearl-bare in the light of a rising dawn, the sweep of his robes through the night as he moves like a minnow in dark water, forehead to chest with his laugh a breath against bone. Song Lan chooses, and chooses, and chooses, walks into it with his eyes wide open, walks until he crawls until he reaches until he –
His name is Xiao Xingchen. He was once a good man, a cultivator. He lived in a world of darkness, as he does now. He does not remember his own face, but he remembers the face of another, so dark and beautiful. He loved the man with the face that was dark and beautiful. That man was gone now, dead by Xingchen’s own hand. Xingchen took his own life in sorrow and regret. He deserved to die, but his spirit could not leave.
They met on a moonless night so clear the stars were a spill of diamonds across the black velvet sky. Song Lan remembered everything about that night. The way Fuxue tugged so urgently on his hair to point him at the inn. The smell of roast meat and sweet wine wafting from the inn. The way the man he would come to know as Xiao Xingchen looked as he walked out onto the street, lantern light reflecting off him like he was the bright moon; his beautiful, delicate dragon drifting about his shoulders like a gentle breeze.
The way Xiao Xingchen looked so delighted, upon seeing him. The sound of Xiao Xingchen’s porcelain voice, as he said, “Forgive my forwardness. You’re the first person I’ve met so far with a dragon.”
The candle has burnt itself halfway by the time Song Lan stirs. Wangji has been meditating with his eyes closed and he can feel the weight of the other man’s eyes on him, senses when they slide over to Wei Ying’s sleeping form.
Slowly, gingerly, Song Lan gets to his feet, still favouring the side he had injured, probably in the fight with Wen Ning. Wangji opens his eyes a crack, just in time to see the moonlight glowing through the paper windows catch the edge of Fuxue’s blade.
The night after Xue Yang’s death, Lan Wangji and Song Lan share a moment. I never knew I needed this – it hurts, but it’s also so very beautiful, to see Wangji use his own painful experiences to reach out to a man who’s lost everything.
Xiao Xingchen replied, “I think… I would like to know you as well. As a person.” Then he smiled and the stars above responded in kind, their combined brilliance shattering all of his world views, and all Song Lan knew was—
He doesn’t think of the past, because it hurts too much to remember, and he doesn’t think of the future, because hope alone is not enough to get him through it all. (He hopes anyway, because it’s all he has.)
“I’ve been trying not to think about Xiao-xiong and Song-xiong,” Wei WuXian confesses. “I didn’t know them that well either, but I really liked meeting them. I guess I had known what their deal was before, but to actually meet them was like, Here, idiot, here’s two cultivators doing exactly what you want to do! It’s possible after all!” Lan WangJi stops breathing. Wei WuXian continues, “I thought then that maybe after everything was over I could…” He stops and clears his throat. Then he admits, “Well, I sort of fantasized about whisking you away from Gusu and convincing you to join their sect with me.”
This is simply perfect – not only incorporating my beloved Xiao Xingchen and Song Lan, but creating an absolutely wonderful Lan Zhan POV post-Yi City. He’s so very sad (depressed, which I can relate to), and so very in love, and Wei Ying is so very slow on the uptake (as always), seeing them find each other feels like a gift.