home | Back to MDZS/CQL | Chapter Thirty-One



Alternate Universe - Modern Setting, Alternate Universe - BDSM, Biologically Determined Dom/sub Roles, BDSM, Bad BDSM etiquette, Sadism, Masochism, Past Sexual Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Self-Harm, BDSM as a Form of Self-Harm, Minor Character Death(s), Arson, Shades of Black Widow Wei Wuxian, Extremely Dubious Consent, Rape/Non-Con Elements, Normalized Homosexuality and Bisexuality, Normalized Polyamory, Nonsexual BDSM, Slow Burn, Mutual Pining, Pining Wei Wuxian, Jealous Wei Wuxian, Touch-Starved Wei Wuxian, Professional Dominant Wei Wuxian, Sex Worker Wei Wuxian, Gentle Dom Lan Wangji, Mean Dom Lan Wangji, Oblivious Lan Wangji, Past Wen Chao/Wei Wuxian, Minor Jin Guangyao/Wei Wuxian, Mentioned Wei Wuxian/Others, Emotional Infidelity, Angst with a Happy Ending, Endgame Wangxian, Mo Xuanyu Also Gets a Happy Ending, the tags are scary but i promise there's some lightheartedness too, wangxian love one another so much, wei wuxian is healed by the power of nonsexual bdsm and friendship, and then gets bdsm'd quite sexually and happily by the love of his life, Additional Warnings In Author's Note

Author Note

Everyone! HellingLaozu drew the prettiest art of Wei Wuxian. Please go check it out and show some love. It's so gorgeous!

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Chapter Thirty-Two

“What do you think?” Wei Wuxian says. Three laptops, a tablet, and a thick stack of pages fill the kitchen, along with both of their cellphones, each holding more documents to look at. The table is barely visible beneath the lot of it, and even the counter has taken some of the onslaught. Nervous, he chews his lower lip. To distract himself, he wraps his ankle around Lan Zhan’s. “Would coming up with a plan even be feasible, do you think?”

“Anything you want is feasible,” Lan Zhan says, “but without Wen Ruohan around to buy out your potential suppliers it will definitely be easier.”

“She should have known he would be like this,” he murmurs.

Lan Zhan squeezes his hand. “I don’t know if it helps, but she may not have had a choice where Lotus Pier was concerned. I don’t know the specifics of his companies’ financials, but I know he was squeezing everyone out and refused to honor agreements that were all but complete. Whatever he did, he managed to anger a lot of people in his time. Regardless, it seems obvious to me that he made it impossible for your family to secure the necessary deals and government backing to ensure a robust company. We could reach out to Nie Mingjue if you would like. He might have suspicions, or perhaps he would be willing to dig into it if you feel like you need to know.”

“Lan Zhan—”

“That excuses nothing else about what she did or how she handled it. I only say this to ease your mind on this one point.”

Wei Ying leans back, stretches, traps Lan Zhan’s leg between both of his, delighting in this even if the rest of this conversation leaves him with a complicated feeling, a yearning for something he cannot have, a loss engendered by another’s mistakes with no way to rectify them. Though he’s moved on, these few little hooks stick in his heart and pull now. Maybe he should simply yank the hooks out for good.

“What if I do something else?”

“What else?”

“I’ll build something new. Lotus Pier can be what Lotus Pier was.”

Lan Zhan nods quickly, easily. There’s no question in his mind about this. Wei Wuxian can tell. He’s absolutely happy to follow Wei Wuxian’s lead wherever it takes him. “Do you know what you’d like to do?”

That’s the question isn’t it?

He’s never had much of a chance to think about it, what he would do independent of what he knows he must do.

If he had to pick something, he imagined he would follow in his second parents’ footsteps, go back into the tech sector that ate them alive, but he doesn’t have to do that, does he? He could do whatever he wanted, build whatever he wanted out of what he has. Thinking about his own situation, it feels obvious.

“Do you know much about what Wen Qing and Wen Ning do?”

Lan Zhan shakes his head, not quite hesitant, but not fully confident either. “They’ve sparked interest in the biotech sphere with their work. It’s not my specialty, but they’ve chosen a small niche at this time. I’ve read that it will likely become more important in the near future as more people realize they aren’t beholden to these things we always thought were impossible to avoid.”

“Lan Zhan’s understanding is comprehensive.”

“Is that what you want to do?”

“Not exactly,” Wei Wuxian replies. Already, he feels he’s finding his focus. If he can help it, no one will every be left in the position Wei Wuxian was put into. He thinks he knows where to start, too.

“Whatever you choose to work on,” Lan Zhan says, “I’ll be there to help.”


They spend the handful of weeks after their return to Lan Zhan’s home putting together a business plan based around the funds he’ll gain from his time with Madam Yang. It fills the hours that might be spent agonizing over dragging Lan Zhan into his playroom, even though he knows it won’t be enough on its own. He’ll have to sign a business loan, and that will be a pain without a Dominant to cosign.

Though Lan Zhan is bracing Wei Wuxian to ask, to once again mix legal bondage into their personal lives, Wei Wuxian refuses to do that to him. Instead, Lan Zhan helps him build a plan so solid, so logical, that nobody could rightly deny him the chance to pursue it. Wei Wuxian learns it backward and forward, and then makes Lan Zhan grill him on the specifics until his head spins.

By the time Lan Zhan tells Wei Wuxian he refuses to interrogate him anymore, he’s so tired that he willingly spends the rest of the day lazing around. That’s a perfectly fine goal in his opinion, considering how nice and warm it had seemed whenever he looked out the window. He acts spoiled until Lan Zhan looks at him askance, like he’s rethinking every gentlemanly thought he’s ever had about waiting to take Wei Wuxian in hand until the contract ends. “Lan Zhan, let’s go play by the pond,” he says after changing into the smallest pair of swim trunks he could find among his things. “I’m tired of being cooped up inside.”

Lan Zhan’s eyes remain focused heavily on Wei Wuxian’s face as they make their way outside and settle by the water. As Wei Wuxian lounges on the stomach, dipping his fingers into the water to let the fish nibble at them, he smiles. Lan Zhan is too obvious.

After he’s done tormenting Lan Zhan, he rolls onto his side. “Will it bother you if I…?”

“If you what?” Lan Zhan asks, somewhat sharp, not aggressive, just on edge.

“Mo Xuanyu was more like a proper submissive, right? It’ll be weird if I try to run a company.” Of course, he knows Lan Zhan won’t stop him, but any Dominant would feel some kind of way about it.

“Jin Guangyao runs several of his father’s subsidiary companies. He handles them competently enough.”

“That man’s a mess,” Wei Wuxian says, not letting himself think about how easily he could have been Jin Guangyao, and could have become him, if not for Lan Zhan. “And that’s not what I’m asking.”

“I refuse to believe you fear I would prefer trapping you here to behave in ways that I know are counter to your personality. And I’m choosing to ignore the out you’re clumsily offering to me.”

“Hey! I happen to think I’m being sensitive here. I just don’t want to embarrass you.”

“I would not be worthy of you if I could be embarrassed by such a thing as this. I will support you, as I will in everything you wish to do. There is no greater calling in my life than that. Does that answer your question?”

Wei Wuxian cannot stop the soft smile that steals over his mouth at Lan Zhan’s words. Because he can, he clamors over to better make use of Lan Zhan’s thigh as a pillow. Lan Zhan’s hand immediately lifts to brush through his hair, long enough now for him to tug the ends teasingly. It will take years for it to get as long as he wants it to be, but it’s well on its way already.

“You know, there are only a few days left until the contract is up,” Wei Wuxian says. “Do you know what you want to do to me yet?”

“I have a few ideas,” Lan Zhan says. “We’ll need to go shopping.”


Lan Zhan presses his hand to Wei Wuxian’s cheek. “I wouldn’t be that cruel to you now.”

“So kind of you, gege,” he says, lacing his fingers together with Lan Zhan’s, a thing he’ll never get tired of doing. “You know I would so hate for you to be cruel to me.”

The corner of Lan Zhan’s mouth twitches.

Wei Wuxian can only laugh, reaching up to rub the frown from Lan Zhan’s lips. “Perhaps I’m the one who should stop being so cruel, huh? You’re bearing up well under all the pressure.”

Lan Zhan refuses to answer him, stubborn man. It only makes Wei Wuxian laugh more, and makes him think Lan Zhan secretly likes being teased like this, if only so he can be stubborn and kind of silly about it. It’s far better than the alternative anyway, where they both are too miserable to play at all.

Wei Wuxian flips onto his back, still resting against Lan Zhan’s lap and blocks the late afternoon sun from his eyes. “What sort of things do you want to get?” Wei Wuxian asks.

“Whatever you would like to have,” Lan Zhan says.

With a scowl, Wei Wuxian shakes his head. “I don’t really know. I leave it in Lan Zhan’s capable hands.”

Lan Zhan shifts their bodies until his own is blocking the sunlight and he can pull Wei Wuxian’s arm way to look at him properly. “Do you truly not?”

Wei Wuxian shrugs. “I mean… not really? I liked what you did before obviously.”

“Obviously,” Lan Zhan says dryly. Maybe to him, it wasn’t so obvious, but it definitely is to Wei Wuxian in retrospect. It was what he needed, those strikes, and what he would have wanted even if he hadn’t been suffering ill effects from his time at Madam Yang’s.

“See, if even you’re admitting it—”

Lan Zhan grabs a handful of Wei Wuxian’s hair and pulls him upright, capturing Wei Wuxian’s lips in a deep, almost bruising kiss. Wei Wuxian hangs onto his retort until Lan Zhan is done stealing the breath from his lungs.

“—if even you’re admitting it, that means you know I’m right.”


“Ah, Mr. Lan, it’s been a while.” A young woman, clearly an employee, smiles brightly as they both step into an elegant, tasteful store. Despite the ambience, it isn’t discreet in the slightest. As Wei Wuxian crosses the threshold, he supposes there’s no real need for it to be discreet. Most people go to such places, and with some frequency. It’s just Wei Wuxian who has experience that’s been skewed toward the hidden, the embarrassing, conducted with people who can’t freely express themselves for fear of how they would be perceived.

At the club, he only ever dealt with those who were ashamed. Otherwise, why would they need something like what Wei Wuxian gave them?

“Uh,” Wei Wuxian says, finding himself a little red in the face as Lan Zhan comfortably approaches the front counter. He explains something to the woman, his words inaudible to Wei Wuxian while blood is rushing so thoroughly in his ears. A few patrons catch his eye and linger on the collar and the improbable looking slacks and shirt he’s wearing with it. He smiles, feeling a little awkward as he ranges back toward Lan Zhan, wondering if he should have dressed a little more in line with what would be expected of him.

But Lan Zhan, who hadn’t said anything about his choice of attire, simply grabs his hand and introduces him to the clerk.

He somehow expects her to be disappointed, to find him wanting compared to Mo Xuanyu. He’s prepared for it, would entirely understand it if she felt that way without knowing anything about him, but the clerk simply says, “It’s nice to meet you,” and then asks Lan Zhan what he’s looking for today, crisp and cheerful and professional about it. When he tells her, she smiles a little more brightly, offering a more genuine, if still professional façade. “I’m happy for you.”

Though Wei Ying’s eyebrow climbs his forehead in question, neither of them offer him an answer. She just leads Lan Zhan, tight-lipped, and Wei Wuxian, intrigued, through the shop to a section near the back.

He remembers once upon a time about how judgmental some people could get about certain proclivities, certain tastes and desires and forms of play. No matter that most of the people on the planet had no real control over where their desires would take them, they still felt some things ranged too far from what is natural and acceptable. If a place could be the face of such a feeling, the room the clerk brings them to might suffice. So many devices dot the room, set up almost like a dungeon to better show them off.

It looks nothing like Lan Zhan’s playroom, making Wei Wuxian wonder what exactly Lan Zhan plans to do. He can’t move one of these things, black leather primarily and stark, dark metals, into it, can he? “Lan Zhan?”

He’d thought they were coming here for a few toys, not… anything as extravagant as these would suggest.

But Lan Zhan’s attention is on the devices. He doesn’t hear Wei Wuxian right away, or maybe he does, and he just doesn’t know how to answer. He looks at everything in one quick, precise sweep, and turns his attention to Wei Wuxian. “If any of these appeal to you, I would like to know.”

“What about you?”

“I already know what I want to do with you,” Lan Zhan says. “I want to know what you want me to do to you.”

Wei Wuxian stares at him, mouth slightly parted, and says, “I don’t really need…” He gestures around at the admittedly very enticing items on offer. “these. You know that, right?” A few of them threaten to turn his stomach, reminding him just a little too much of something Wen Chao might have used. But more than a few of them make his stomach flutter at the possibilities they present. He simply ignores the former. He has that luxury now, time and distance conspiring to make it easier for him. “It won’t take much.”

Lan Zhan has gotten good at figuring out what Wei Wuxian means. Wei Wuxian can all but hear the question he doesn’t ask. “Choose,” he says, “or don’t. We’ll leave with something regardless.”

He knows Lan Zhan too well to be fooled that there isn’t a trick buried in his words somewhere. “We’ll leave with the store if I don’t pick, right?” He can only imagine what they’d do with everything. So he takes Lan Zhan at his word, draws a deep breath, and lets himself take a look around. “You really want something like this in your house? It’ll mess up the aesthetic.”

“They can build a custom version.”

Of course they do. Wei Wuxian can’t quite hold back the affection he feels for Lan Zhan. He always thinks of everything even if he doesn’t always make that fact known. “Did you do this with Mo Xuanyu?”

“After a fashion,” Lan Zhan admits. “But I think it’s important that our room be yours as much as it was his and mine. It’s more important to me at the moment that it contain things you will like and want.”

“I could build something, too, you know,” Wei Wuxian says.

“You could,” Lan Zhan agrees, as though he doesn’t doubt it for a second. “And you will.”

“But will I have time before the contract is up?” Wei Wuxian taps his finger against his lower lip, biting back a smile. “I guess you’re right, Lan Zhan. I should have listened to you sooner.”

Lan Zhan might not smile often, and it might always be small, but Wei Wuxian is definitely aware when it’s turned wicked. And he’s aware, too, when he’s beat. He’ll concede to Lan Zhan in this. And why shouldn’t he? Conceding to Lan Zhan is the most fun he can possibly have these days.

There’s no one else he trusts like he trusts Lan Zhan. Of course he can only concede to him.

As they peruse the options, Wei Wuxian watches Lan Zhan’s reaction to each piece, and when the time is right, he chooses the object that makes Lan Zhan’s eyes light up the most. It comes as a surprise to him that Lan Zhan would want something so mundane, but he’s eager to please Lan Zhan, to know what Lan Zhan likes best.

If he wants a mirror, then he should have a mirror.

And if Lan Zhan has him fitted for a posture collar while they’re here, that just allows Wei Wuxian to understand exactly why he wants the mirror at all.

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