It starts out as any other day honestly, as Sizhui rolls and stretches in his bed at 5 in the morning, popping his joints as he does so. With a yawn, the young disciple pushes away his blanket and makes his way to the basin in order to begin preparing for the day. Not a moment later, Jingyi joins him with bleary eyes and a bird’s nest-like bed hair. The newly awakened boy throws Sizhui a dirty one-over before grunting and rubbing his eyes.
“How are you fully awake at 5am every day? Not even the Gods wake up this early just for training,” Jingyi moans out and yawns as Sizhui chuckles lightly. He steps away from the basin in order to allow Jingyi to wash his face and grabs his brush.
Being disciples, they, along with the other boys, share a dormitory together. Majority of them are orphans back when the Sunshot Campaign had yet to rise to its peak; during the burning of Cloud Recesses where many men, women, and even children of the Lan clan were brutally murdered. Sizhui had heard of the nightmarish tales from his foster father; about how the grand Library Pavilion was set ablaze, about how the late Lan sect leader was struck down and succumbed to his injuries, about Zewu-Jun running off with what precious scripts remaining to save them, and about how the then young Hanguang-Jun had refused to bow under the Wen sect and suffered for it. Sizhui had heard it all, and Sizhui does not wish for a repeat of the war ever again.
It had come close however, what with the ordeal with the late Jin Guangyao, but he and the Jin sect was dealt with by his two fathers, sect leader Jiang, and even the new Jin lect leader; Jin Ling. Sizhui is proud to call him his friend.
Glancing over to the beds where the rest of the disciples are groaning, yawning, and even stretching, Sizhui makes his way to his little dresser to start brushing his hair.
“You and senior Wei both share the same hair length and style; did you subconsciously copy his style when Hanguang-Jun told you about him all those years ago?” Jingyi quips all of a sudden with a smile too cheerful for Sizhui’s comfort. The boy could feel his neck and cheeks warming up from that statement.
“What are you talking about?” Sizhui refutes lightly while still brushing his waist-length hair until it shines, his cheeks lightly tinted with a blush. “Most of us here have long hair tied in a ponytail, as do you Jingyi.”
The smile on Jingyi’s face, much to Sizhui’s chagrin, is borderline teasing. “Yeah but most of our hair is either short ponytail or tied in a topknot. I hardly see any of us have such long ponytail,” Jingyi drawls out as he grabs his own brush and haphazardly pulling on his tangled locks. “Or hair that gorgeous by the way, how’d you keep it in place?” the young disciple grunts out in disdain as he continues to pull on his tangles.
“By not pulling it so roughly, here let me,” Sizhui sighs as he gently pulls away the brush from Jingyi’s hand. Really, for someone with much shorter hair than he, Jingyi truly knows how to make a mess out of it as Sizhui calmly disentangle the knots. One by one, the disciples in the dormitory prepares for the day; hairs are brushed, robes are neatly worn, and the tied forehead ribbons elegantly fluttering with their movements. With everyone ready, they set out towards the mess hall with the adults to get breakfast.
Before this, Sizhui would be with everyone else in the mess hall. But ever since Wei Wuxian married into the Lan sect and became Hanguang-Jun’s legitimate husband –though some might say wife- Sizhui has been eating with them instead.
You’re our son, Wei Wuxian replied with a sunny grin when Sizhui asked about it once. It’s normal for a child to accompany his parents during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, isn’t that right Lan Zhan?
Hanguang-Jun being Hanguang-Jun, simply nods with a hum. What caught Sizhui off guard however was the small, barely noticeable smile directed his way from the esteemed Second Jade. That was when Sizhui knows that Wei Wuxian was not bluffing in his usual manner, the two cultivators had indeed adopted Sizhui as their own son, and Sizhui had felt nothing but warmth ever since.
Walking towards the large magnolia tree, Sizhui could see his parents already arrived and setting the food on the stone table. Normally, Sizhui would go straight to them with a polite bow and a good morning, today however, Sizhui is feeling a little cheeky and is curious how his parents would interact when no one is around. Hiding his presence, Sizhui ducks behind a row of bushes and peeks over the leaves.
This is childish, Sizhui’s mind supplies, but he’s barely able to remember his childhood years as he had to follow the rules after being adopted into the Lan sect, and he is, after all, the son of the two. What child would not want to see how their parents interact when they’re alone? Sure senior Wei is shameless, but he can’t be that brazen out in the open and in the middle of the sect grounds can he?
“I wonder if A-Yuan’s sick, he’s never this late,” Wei Wuxian hums as he glances over the direction Sizhui usually arrives from. “Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, maybe we should check up on him.”
“A-Yuan left with the others, brother had seen him,” Lan Wangji assures his husband.
“Oh? Did Zewu-Jun come by just now? Why was I not informed?”
“You were getting ready.”
Wei Wuxian smiles slyly at this. “Oh? Was it when I was still half naked and trying to find my robes after you discarded them so roughly last night? Lan Zhan, my waist is still sore, and I can barely cover the marks on my neck.”
At that, Sizhui can feel his entire face heating up. Oh how wrong he was in thinking Wei Wuxian would not be so brazen in the middle of the day and smack dabbed at the centre of the Lan sect grounds. He should make his presence known; Wei Wuxian is getting touchier with Hanguang-Jun as the seconds pass by.
Slipping away from his shield of bushes, Sizhui makes his way to the path he usually needs to take in order to meet his parents, his face still feels warm but he can chalk it up to overexertion if his parents question him. They don’t need to know that their son was being a little too cheeky that morning.
“Good morning Hanguang-Jun, senior Wei,” Sizhui greets with a bow, his eyes subconsciously darting to Wei Wuxian’s neck before he tears his gaze away, his cheeks feeling warmer than before.
“A-Yuan there you are,” We Wuxian chirps happily. He skips over to his son and gives him a warm hug to which Sizhui happily returns. Times like these, Sizhui is glad that Wei Wuxian is his parent, the man is so warm and bright in everything that sometimes he’s blinding to look at. His hugs ever so gentle but also so very protective. “Your face is all red, are you feeling alright?”
Sizhui merely clears his throat and smiles. “It’s nothing, senior Wei. I just had to walk a little fast to come here that’s all.”
Lying is prohibited in the Cloud Recesses, but no way in all the layers of Hell is Sizhui going to truthfully say that he was peeping on the two. Besides, that in itself is already a rule broken. What his parents don’t know won’t hurt them.
“That so? Well then, come and join for breakfast. Hanguang-Jun and I made you something nicer than the bland dishes this place has. Don’t worry, no spices were added to your bowl, only Lan Zhan’s.”
Sizhui mentally prayed for his father at that.
Taking their seats, Wei Wuxian wasted no time in digging in and chattering away. This is the reason why his parents eat here at the magnolia tree rather than the mess hall; because Wei Wuxian would not stay silenced during a meal. He prefers telling his husband and son the stories of anything and everything, so much so to the point where even Sizhui sometimes pause in his eating to input his little thoughts and stories as well. At first he had thought that Hanguang-Jun would reprimand him, but he was alright with it as long as Sizhui does not talk with his mouth full.
“Oh, we were talking about children last night, A-Yuan,” Wei Wuxian says, snapping Sizhui out of his reverie. “Wouldn’t it be nice if you have a younger brother or sister?” the man smiles cheekily as he stares Sizhui straight in the eyes. Next to him, Hanguang-Jun continues to eat peacefully, knowing that this is another one of his husband’s whims and dreams.
Sizhui nearly chokes on his vegetables when he heard that, but immediately composes himself. “Senior Wei, are you planning to adopt?” he asks gently. Wei Wuxian notices the dodge in answer but doesn’t say anything, merely widening his grin.
“Perhaps, or maybe I can make a spell of sort to give me a womb. Your Hanguang-Jun is quite energetic, even I can’t keep up with our everyday is everyday.”
At this, Lan Wangji’s ears start to redden. “Wei Ying,” the Second Jade calls out softly. When Wei Wuxian turns to him, Lan Wangji immediately places his chopsticks with bits of potatoes to his husband’s lips to silence him. It seemed to do the trick as Wei Wuxian gobbles the potatoes happily, knowing that his husband is embarrassed to be talking about such topics in front of their son.
Sizhui only chuckles at his parents’ antics. “Well, perhaps you can visit the temple of Zhang Xian near Langya. He is the god of childbirth after all, and he doesn’t cater to baby boys anymore from what I heard.”
Wei Wuxian perks up when he heard that. “A-Yuan, could it be that you actually want a little sibling? I wonder if Zhang Xian would listen to me, or maybe Guanyin might help too since she also deals with fertility. Lan Zhan, maybe we should go to their temples and pray there for our own child.”
Lan Wangji feels a little conflicted at his husband’s wish. It’s no problem if Wei Wuxian wants to pray for a child and they somehow adopt one, but if the man actually managed a spell to create a womb, Lan Wangji might not know how to deal with that. His husband is, no doubt whatsoever, a man. And as such, a man’s body and skeletal structure could never house a child. Worry for Wei Wuxian pools in the pit of his belly and must have somehow shown in his eyes as Wei Wuxian regards him with a gentle expression.
“Lan Zhan, relax. We’ll just go to Guanyin’s and Zhang Xian’s temple to pray for a child, we won’t do anything else. I won’t do anything else.”
With that, Lan Wangji nods and answers with a soft ‘mn’. Wei Wuxian throws his arms into the air and practically throws himself to his husband, Sizhui smiling all the while.
Once they’ve finished their breakfast, Sizhui bids farewell to both his fathers as he needs to return to class with the rest of the disciples. Wei Wuxian pouts at this as he had wanted to keep Sizhui with him and away from Lan Qiren’s brainwashing, but Sizhui assured him that he will be joining the two adults for night hunt later on and their next cultivation trip together. This made Wei Wuxian pull the boy close and promptly ruffling his hair as a result all the while hugging him. As usual, Sizhui enjoys the affection his father is giving him and blushes a little when Hanguang-Jun pats his head and smoothing out the tangles that Wei Wuxian had caused. Finally released from his parents, Sizhui walks to class with a warm smile and an even warmer heart.
Morning classes passed by quickly in which one of it is with Hanguang-Jun himself. The man clearly shows no favouritism but Sizhui could see the hint of pride in his father’s golden eyes whenever he answered a question correctly. Even Jingyi gave him an amused raised brow during their free study time, but Sizhui just brushed it off with a wave of his hand. After classes, lunch rolled by and Sizhui ate with his fellow disciples as both his fathers had other matters to attend to; Hanguang-Jun marking papers and Wei Wuxian going over his experiments with Wen Ning. Sizhui would ask what those experiments were, but he’d rather save himself from whatever headache Wei Wuxian’s explanations might cause. Finally all that’s left are sword and incantation practices, here Sizhui usually had a time of his life because Wei Wuxian enjoys overseeing the juniors with their spells.
“Those spells are different from your usual immobilization spell, try it, you’d get quite a shock when you see what it can really do,” the necromancer explains with a smile. Half of the junior disciples’ eyes squint at the extremely vague explanation, but they said nothing and fences up with their partner. Sizhui, as usual, partners with Jingyi and the two squared off.
Sparring with Jingyi, as Sizhui recalls, is quite a challenge as the young teen usually uses tricky movements with his sword. The Lan clan may have their own style of swordsmanship, but Jingyi is an exception as he tends to experiment with the style and mixes it with rogue swordplay. Hence the reason why Sizhui is currently a little out of breath as Jingyi easily parries him and with a smart move, knocks his sword clean out of his hand causing Sizhui to leap away and use his talismans. Sizhui flings them out and Jingyi slices the talismans in half, but one managed to attach itself to his sleeve and before Sizhui could react, Jingyi jerks with a small cry and falls to the ground, his body in spasms and his mouth trying valiantly not to curse out loud.
“What is this? Hey, this hurts!” Jingyi cries out, his body continuing to twitch and jerk as Wei Wuxian checks over him and pulling the talisman away.
“Shocking isn’t it?” the necromancer laughs out. “It’s actually a talisman that emits electricity, but I made sure to use the low voltage one for you kids, wouldn’t want to fry you all like honeyed chicken now would we? The actual thing is strong enough to completely burn and pull a fierce corpse’s remaining muscle tissues, but if you use it on a living human being, they’d die on the spot so be extra careful of which talisman you use.”
With that, the juniors seem to be quite eager in defeating their partners just so they could use the talisman and see its effects. Sizhui wonders what other trinkets and spells Wei Wuxian would make next, the Cloud Recesses’ classes were never this fun before, and Sizhui is glad.
As the sun dips lower into the horizon and dinner had been eaten, Sizhui returns to the dormitories with his fellow disciples to wash up and get ready for his night hunt with his parents. “Sizhui, where are you going tonight? I want to come along,” Jingyi drawls out in a bored tone. Sizhui would love to bring his friend along, if it weren’t for one thing.
“We’re night hunting near Langya, senior Wei wanted to go to a temple there and you know I’d love to bring you, but you need to copy the rules after causing that food fight during dinner,” Sizhui smiles apologetically as Jingyi groans into his pillow.
“Lan Feng absolutely deserved it! He kicked me in the shin,” Jingyi cries out while some of the boys in the dorm laugh at his plight. “It’s going to take me the whole night.”
“Then you’d better start Jingyi, I don’t think master Qiren would like tardiness,” one of the disciples speaks out. Jingyi would argue with him but he’s one of the gentlest boys he knows, even if he’s the strongest so no, Jingyi would not want to push it. Groaning a little more, Jingyi grabs his outer robes and sulks his way to the Library Pavilion to start copying. Meanwhile, Sizhui is just about ready to go out and meet his parents. Sword strapped to his hip and ribbon firmly tied, he bids goodbye to his fellow disciples and makes his trek to the Jingshi.
Knocking on the door, Sizhui patiently waits for his fathers to open it before they would set out on their swords. Wei Wuxian doesn’t use Suibian much, he’s more than content to ride with his husband but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t use the sword at all. Sizhui had gone toe to toe with his father before, and fell flat on his bum as a result with the tip of Suibian on his neck. Think of what one would like about Wei Wuxian, but Sizhui knows way better than that.
“A-Yuan you’re here!” Wei Wuxian cries out happily as he opens the Jingshi doors. Lan Wangji appears next to him a moment later looking immaculate, guqin strapped on his back and Bichen on his waist ready to fly off to Langya. “We should stop by the temples first; I read that the Guanyin temple isn’t all that far from Zhang Xian’s so we should definitely go there. Besides, Guanyin might offer some extra protection.”
Lan Wangji merely nods and wraps an arm around his husband’s waist while Sizhui walks on Wei Wuxian’s other side. Together, the family of three walks out of Cloud Recesses’ gates before mounting on their designated swords, their destination set.