Cloaked by darkness, shadows yawning wide and stretching like wicked mouths ready to devour anything in their path.
They writhe like wraiths, swarming malevolent energy around a man clothed in black robes, a vibrant crimson red ribbon the only splash of color, the color of blood.
The same color seemed to drop endlessly down the man's arms, from his fingertips, staining the dirt beneath him. His chest had been stabbed through by a sword, straight through his heart, body riddled with arrows aimed to kill.
Blood flowed non-stop.
A glass like smile pursed upon his cracked lips, fragile and waning. A fleeting thing. A ghost.
His lover and brother both stared back at him in utter horror, too late to arrive and stop his madness, his utter disregard for his own life. It was indeed, too late.
Wei Wuxian had created a spell from scratch, using resentful energies with additional how from his lover - though his lover has no Idea about his plan. He succeeded in creating a time travel spell.
He hid away alone, rushing to complete the ritual before someone showed up.
However, not just one but two people had showed up, one he certainly wasn't expecting. Jiang Cheng.
Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng were both dragged into the ritual, back in time.
"Lan Zhan." Wei Wuxians tired voice murmured, a broken smile pursed his lips. His eyes said it all. His eyes normally light grey, bright and lively with mischief and laughter had dulled, dimmed to a darkened grey akin to storm clouds, they had been that way for weeks.
Wei Wuxian stood in the middle of an array which he had created, carrying out a ritual. It was already activated.
The sight filled Lan Wangji with dread. Through Lan WangJi's eyes, Wei Ying though still physically standing before his eyes seemed to deflate. His grey eyes had bruises beneath them. His face pale and tired. Wei Ying body had become much slimmer, thinner without eating properly in weeks, from neglect. He was disturbed and distressed.
Lan WangJi's husband was exhausted and looked as though he would collapse, caving in on himself.
Lan Wangji did not believe his eyes. Something was very wrong. He felt desperation and fear bubble up from within, exploding from the surface of his skin, an aching call, a cry ripped from his throat, clawing the way out onto his tongue and falling from his lips, paralyzing. "Wei Ying!"
Wei Wuxian just gave him a twisted, shattered smile, so unlike him that Lan WangJi' could feel his heart cracking at the knowledge. His lovers eyes shadowed.
"What the fuck is going on here? What are you doing, Wei Wuxian?!"
An angry voice snarled. Both turned to the new presence behind Lan Wangji.
What was Jiang Cheng doing here?
Wei Wuxian thought with shock, eyes wide with surprise.
"What are you doing here, Jiang Cheng?" Wei Wuxian looked away, muttering.
Since the Guanyin Temple, the two had started reconciling there relationship, picking up the pieces trying to heal on another. Mending their hearts. Jin Ling had been included many times when the two brothers spent time together.
Jin Ling who had only admitted once, after they had a talk that he didn't hate Wei Wuxian and saw him as his uncle as well, knowing his mother would be happy they were all together. Jin Ling despite the hardships he had faced, and may face in the future, was becoming a fine man, had his mother's heart. And with two uncles, he still had a family. He knew they loved him and would do anything for him.
Wei Wuxian, knowing Him Ling had opened up and saw him as family, was thrilled and it had made his heart filled to bursting, nearly overcome with emotion and yet at the same time his heart was shredding itself apart, eating itself alive immediately after.
How? How could Jin Ling forgive him? When Wei Wuxian couldn't even forgive himself.
There were dark whispering in his troubled heart, but he smiled and laughed it off, masking everything behind a facade - making everything okay.
But it wasn't. It wasn't okay, not at all.
During many sleepless nights from night terrors that assaulted him non-stop, making him gasp and lurched out of the bed he shared with his husband Lan Wangji, making him shake and cry and all the times he slipped meals unable to eat; he resolved to make a spell for creating an array unlike anything ever heard or tried before.
A time-traveling array ritual spell.
He had hunched over a desk, burying himself in all the what if's and possibilities of his idea even working, making and taking notes. It slowly came together. Lan Wangji had even helped and assisted him a few times, not knowing back then what it was all for.
Wei Wuxian knew his poor husband was suffering along with him and Wei Wuxian really despised himself for it, in the end once again, he would be the cause of Lan WangJi's pain.
And here he stood before them, Jiang Cheng scowling and Lan WangJi's eyes full of worry and fear.
Wei Wuxian grimaced, closing his eyes just before he heaved a heavy, drawn out sigh.
He felt so weary. So tired.
He hated what he was about to do, hated hurting Lan Wangji, hated knowing he was going to break his heart, and his brothers possibly as well, if he cared as much as he used to for his idiot self.
Like he had once upon a time before he blamed Wei Wuxian for all the tragedies that happened in his life. Wei Wuxian never blamed him for it, because he understood.
After all, he hated himself just as much, if not more. And it was eating at him inside and out.
Lately, he thought dully, he seemed to hate a lot of things.
He would hate himself for doing this in the first place and hate himself if he didn't, if he didn't try to go back and change things, to save Jin ZiXuan and destroy the Stygian tiger seal, even knowing it would likely kill him in the process since it's how he had died the first time.
He wasn't afraid. Death was certainly no stranger to him.
Jin Ling could have both of his parents. His Shijie could live again, and be happy with her husband and child, even if he would no longer exist.
He had taken precautions adding on an extra spell, to not damage the present so much, or would be future. He would ensure A-Yuan's Safety and even try to spare Mo Xuanyu from his unfortunate life before killing himself to break Wei Wuxian back.
Yes, this way, he could fix everything and make it right.
And maybe in death...
He could finally rest.
"I have to do this. Don't try and stop me. Either of you." Wei Wuxian spoke harshly, expression even harsher. He softened a tad bit looking at his husband.
"I seem to always keep causing and bringing you pain. I have no excuses. Just know that - that I - I love you." He finished on a hoarse whisper.
Lan Wangji stood staring and trembling.
Wei Wuxian had turned to Jiang Cheng.
"I created a special spell, a special array. I intend to use it to go back - to go back and fix things, at least what I can without harming the present too much - even with major events, and made another spell as a precaution to ensure that doesn't happen." Wei Wuxian finished, admitting and swallowing the lump in his throat.
He couldn't stop the tears from stinging his eyes while looking at his brother, ashamed and desperate.
"I need to do this. I can't .. I can't.." He trailed off, trying to find the right words.
He felt exposed and bare, vulnerable without his usual laughter and smiles to his himself behind.
Jiang Chengs eyes widened with understanding.
Wei Wuxian drew in a shaky breath, running tiredly at the tears streaming down his face.
"It's better this way. " He turned his back to his husband and brother, his heart writhing in pain and agony. He muttered under his breath, the array that was already activated fully came to life and everything began to twist and change, distorting before his eyes.
He heard two voices call for him, felt arms try to grab onto him before everything went dark.
Wei Wuxian woke up with a gasp, snapping upright.
He recognized the cave at Burial Mounds immediately.
Wei Wuxian laughed. He really did it.
"What are you laughing about?" Wen Qing marched over to him. Wen Ning by her side.
Wei Wuxian's throat jammed up looking at the two standing together.
"Haha! Nothing! Nothing! You know me Wen Qing!" He laughed again, playing the fool and being silly. She smacked him on the back of his head.
"Ouch!" He cried in horror. "Wen Qing, why must you be so cruel to me?" He splayed a hand over his heart. Wen Wing rolled her eyes, but there was an upward curl to her lips.
She hand something to him.
Ah. That's right. It was today. The array really worked.
He sighed, before looking up seriously at the Wen siblings.
"We need to talk."
He told them everything.
At first Wen Qing had looked skeptical but seeing into Wei Wuxians eyes...no he would never lie about anything like this.
He didn't really lie at all, ever, except to protect those he loves.
"I want you and Wen Ning to take a A-Yuan away. If you could, convince the rest to leave with you. Change your names, clothes and whatever else and start over elsewhere.
I know I will be walking into a trap. But it's my word against theirs and they will never stop. Flee. I don't care where, just go." Wei Wuxian spoke earnestly.
The Wen siblings stood in shock.
"You want us to uproot ourselves and leave?! After fighting so hard to settle down here?!" Web Qing snapped.
Wei Wuxian frowned, about to speak again when she cut him off.
"No. We won't leave." Her tone was final.
Wei Wuxian stood up. "Wen Qing!" Why is she being so stubborn?!
"No. Wei Wuxian, you listen. They won't leave. Neither will I. Good or bad, we made this place our home. Sure it isn't the brightest, most beautiful place but we worked and settled here, thanks to your help. No matter the hardships. And they didn't abandon you before, so why would you think so now?"
"But I failed you all…" he murmured.
Wen Qing smacked him again. "You are a complete idiot."
And then she hugged him close, and he stood, stunned.
"We can send a letter to your HanGuang-Jun and have him come and take A-Yuan. We will figure out the rest later, but we are not leaving Burial Mounds, not are we going to leave you."
She stared him down, willing Wei Wuxian to say something else so she could smack the idiot again.
Wei Wuxian choked on the tears he held back and hysterical laughter, but he nodded and he saw Wen Qing relax when he dropped the subject..
However, he looked down at the invitation in his hand.
He swallowed thickly.
He had told the siblings about everything but why he had managed to come back to the past.
Obviously they knew it was for a reason but neither Wen sibling knew for sure what it was.
He had no time to wonder or think.
Even though the invitation had been sent, Wei Wuxian would wait a week, since they gave him time, before embarking to the Qiongqi path where his assassination attempt would happen.
Wei Wuxian closed his eyes.
All of the sudden, his eyes snapped open when he heard a familiar voice calling his name.
Wei Wuxian jerked he head to look at the white ribbed figure walking into the cave.
He blinked. "Lan Zhan?"
Lan Wangji rushed to him, eyes wild with emotion
Wei Wuxian felt himself pulled into a tight embrace.
He breathed Lan WangJi's sandalwood scent. It smelled like home.
He realized that what he thought he had imagined was real and if Lan Wangji came back to the past them so did Jiang Cheng.
He pulled away from Lan Wangjj, "Lan Zhan, you shouldn't be here." He sighed at his husband.
"No." Lan Wangji shook his head, "where Wei Ying goes, I go."
Wei Wuxian gave him a smile. "My Lan Zhan, I adore you. What about your brother? And Your uncle? How are they going to feel when-" Wei Wuxian stopped, shaking his head.
"Xian ge-ge!" A small, childish voice called out happily. A child slammed into him and he laughed, raising the boy up and smiling at his cute little giggles as he was tossed in the air and tickled.
The child hugged his neck, nuzzling close to him in content. It made his heart ache.
"A-Yuan, my little radish, would you like to go with Brother Rich for a little while?" He murmured, caressing the child's cheek affectionately.
A-Yuan's little face scrunched up in thought. Then he nodded with a sweet little grin.
"Xian ge-he come to?" He asked, staring up a Wei Wuxian with big eyes.
Wei Wuxian shook his head. "No, little one, your Xian ge-ge has work to do. I can try to come see you sometime later though, after Xian ge-ge has done what he needed to do." He replied softly.
A-Yuan pouted. "Promise?"
That made Wei Wuxian paused. He couldn't make promises he wouldn't be able to keep.
"I promise to try, A-Yuan, but there are no guarantees." Wei Wuxian amended before passing the boy to Lan Wangji who stood staring at him, not wanting to leave.
"Please, Lan Zhan. Take him and go." He turned away from his husband.
"Wei Ying.." His husband's voice was shaking. Wei Wuxian didn't look back and waited for him to leave.
Tch. He was such a bastard scum, knowing he was hurting his husband.
Wei Wuxian shook his head.
He needed to send a letter to Lan Xichen and ask, beg even, if needed, for him to consider allowing the Wen Remnants to take shelter at Cloud Recesses.
He didn't argue with Wen Qing on the matter. He would still do all in his power to protect them.
He wouldn't fail anyone this time, ever again.
Lan Xichen was sitting at his desk, doing sect leader duties when a disciple gave him a letter from someone.
He looked at it, there was no name.
Curious, he opened it and began to read.
Sect Leader Lan, I know I am in no position to write to you or ask for anything at all. The thing is, I admit that I am desperate and grasping at straws. If I could at this very moment, I would even kneel if I had to, to beg you to consider shielding the Wen Remnants. They are innocent.
After the destruction of Lotus Pier, a lot happened and Wen Chao stabbed me with my own sword before he threw me into the Burial Mounds. I was trapped for months, fighting to survive. It was much more difficult without having a golden core to help save myself.
So yes, I turned to demonic cultivation. I had become an ordinary man with no ability, how could I stand and help fight alongside my brother as I wished to without it?
The only reason I tell you this is because in my last life, I reached out no one for help and in the end it led to my death, because everything spiraled out of control after I swore to others and myself that I could control the resentful energy.
But I wasn't strong enough or in the right frame of mind. The destruction of Lotus Pier weighed upon me heavily, and a promise I made to Jiang Cheng, that I could not keep in the end. Did walk a dark path, yes, to protect the ones I love the most, because without it..
I was nothing anymore. Powerless. I gave my core to my brother, Jiang Cheng, and he never knew I'm my last life until later on when I was summoned back to life through a ritual I created.
I am confessing this all to you now, knowing that you might hate me like back then, because of Lan Zhan. I came back to the past, and Lan Zhan ended up following me. I don't know how much you know if he's told you, or if it's nothing at all.
Everyone hated the Wens, myself included, did I not have reason to? After what Wen Chao had done to the family that had taken me in, and Jiang Cheng. So I hunted him, tormented him and yes, Killed him. I wasn't kind about it either.
Once that was done, Jiang Cheng and I focused on Lotus Pier and helping the Sunshot Campaign and had Wen Ruohan taken down.
And after that, Wen Qing, who had come to me pleading to find brother, I gave in and decided to help her. Her and Wen Ning saved Jiang Cheng and I from their sect. Wen Ning was a shy and sweet and his sister did the surgery of transferring my core.
When I saw how they were being treated, I had to act. Few of them had already died because of the Lanling Jin's clan treatment. It was absolutely uncalled for. A child was there, and a elderly. No one you could consider to be a real threat.
The Jin Sect members lied to my face about Wen Ning and I lost it.
And turned a sweet young boy that hat been beaten to death for crimes he did not commit, into a weapon.
And I created the Stygian Tiger Seal and I regret it immensely, and plan to destroy it immediately, however, I had only created it for the Sunshot Campaign and to put it away afterwards, but I found out just how dangerous it is to leave it alone. And I refuse to give it any of the clans. It will and must be destroyed.
I'm not asking for forgiveness or pardons. And even if you cannot shelter the Wen clan remnants, I ask that you please, support them and back them up. They are resolved to stay and live at Burial Mounds, they want no trouble.
And I want to do things differently if I can do better.
Thank you, Sect Leader Lan, for reading this letter.
I hope you can understand why I am asking you to help the Wens, and I understand your position of you refuse. I at least wanted to try.
Lan Xichen sat back, thoughts churning.
Thinking back to that moment, he sighed.
He had seen his brother and Sect Leader Jiang rush over to where Wei Wuxian had been. He had been only moments behind when he had overheard everything, and saw both men grab at Wei Wuxian before the were pulled into the array. Somehow, he had been caught in it too.
Lan Xichen had come back to the past as well. His younger brother had yet to speak to him because he had rushed to be by his husband's side.
Wei Wuxian had reached out to him.
Lan Xichen would admit to himself that he had once hated Wei Wuxian, but when he knew the truth of everything, and realized that perhaps Wei Wuxian had cared about his brother after all, he just hadn't realized it himself.
But he had always reached out to Wangji before he had become the Yiling Patriarch and his brother wasn't the best at admitting or explaining his feelings.
And I letter he had confessed a lot to Lan Xichen, opening up.
Lan Xichen had a feeling why Wei Wuxian had gone back to the past, he had learned of his brother-in-laws night terrors and how he barely ate anything.
And he had dreadful feeling in his gut that Wei Wuxian would be acting very soon, to save Jin ZiXuan of course and destroy the seal he had destroyed in his last life and doing so had killed him.
Lan Xichen knew this time would be no different if he tried to destroy it.
Since they were in the past, he would confront Jin GuangYao and stop his madness, and meet Nie Mingjue as well.
He would see both of his sworn brothers, very soon.
Lan Wangji arrived back the Cloud Recesses and saw his brother preparing to leave.
Lan Xichen saw him and sent him a smile, "Wangji." He also noticed a familiar child in his younger brothers arms. "Sizhui, yes?" He questioned, Lan Wangji was surprised that he knew but nodded.
Lan Xichen kept his smile. "I am going to see NIe Mengjue and A-Yao, and then I will be heading to Burial Mounds to see Master Wei." He saw Wangji blink in surprise, seeing a letter in Lan Xichen's hand.
"I'll be off now, Wangji. I'll be back soon." He reassured his younger brother before mounting his sword and flying off.
Lan Wangji had stared after his brother worriedly before sighing and taking little Sizhui into Cloud Recesses.
Jin Guangyao stared in shock at his sworn brother, Lan Xichen. Nie Mingjue stared at him as well.
Xichen sat poised and calm, despite the emotions twisting in his gut.
He had said his piece. Everything was aired out in the open.
Now he waited patiently for one of them to speak first.
"Ah - elder brother-you…" Jin Guangyao trailed off.
"Do not try and lie to me, A-Yao, even if some of the things you haven't committed yet, but others are in the making, yes? Because you wish to have your father acknowledge you, you are willing to go to extremes. And you know I have trusted you long before, and know I would not lie about such matters." He sighed heavily.
"A-Yao...you can do better, be better. If you really plan to do such things this time in the future then I…" Lan Xichen breathed. He looked Jin Guangyao dead in the eyes.
"I will have to intervene." His voice was tight, and though it pained him, I meant what he said.
He turned to look at Nie Mingjue, smiling softly, then looking down unable to gaze at either of his sworn brothers, tears in his eyes.
"I want things to be different." He murmured.
Jin Guangyao swallowed thickly, tears stinging his own eyes. What had he become?
He took tentative steps toward Lan Xichen, fearful he would be pushed away.
"Okay. I promise, I swear on my life to you know that I will never do anything like what I did in the past. I'll stop. So please...please don't turn away from me." He whispered the plea, ashamed.
Lan Xichen lifted his head and giving him a bright smile that took his breath away. "Really, A-Yao?"
Jin Guangyao nodded earnestly, Lan Xichen had always been good to him. To see him in a state as he was now… to think it was his future self's fault, broke him.
He vowed to himself to be better, to do better. And if he thought about it, he knew his father would never truly acknowledge him, the man himself was a scum.
Nie Mingjue had been silent, staring at them both intensely.
Lan Xichen and Jin Guangyao turned to him, Jin Guangyao slightly fearful, after hearing what he had done in the future to this fierce sworn brother of his. Would he wish to kill him?
The other man heaved a big sigh. "I will believe you, Xichen. You wouldn't lie about such things." He sat down across from the two of them.
They sat together for a while talking, opening up to each other. Jin Guangyao apologized to Nie Mingjue about the acts is former self committed.
The other man stared at him seriously, and Lan Xichen and Jin Guangyao expected an angry outburst.
"As long as you turn things around, and swear to never commit such crimes, then you have nothing to be forgiven for. I will trust in you both." He spoke solemnly.
Lan Xichen smiled at them. And then got serious, placing Wei Wuxians letter before them so they could read. He told them everything, yes, but he wanted them to read it as well.
Then they would head to Burial Mound to speak to his future brother-in-law and Lan Xichen hoped that nothing would happen to Wei Wuxian this time after everything. For his own sake, and Lan WangJi's.
They would leave in two days, needing to discuss their plans.
Wei Wuxian didn't deserve a lot of what happened to him. They would try to prevent it from happening again.
However, things don't always go as planned.
Wei Wuxian was talking Wen Qing and the others.
He worried because Zewu-Jun had yet to send a reply to his letter and he was out of time. He had a terrible feeling something was about to happen and the week was about over, and he had finished Jin Ling's gift, hoping it would be given to the boy this time, even if it wasn't by him.
He had to leave now to arrive on time, the same as it happened before.
Wei Wuxian sighed, he knew his time was up.
Wei Wuxian was tense, alert and he had made Wen Ning stay behind this time. Saying he would be fine without him.
He sucked in a deep breath.
He felt the air shift, an arrow zipped past him, nicking a cut across his cheek in the process, he felt blood drip from the cut and sneered.
Jin ZiXun, that bastard.
He allowed his eyes to glow a menacing red, twisting tendrils of resentful energy to shield him as best as he could.
"So this is the welcome I get?" He spoke. "Stop hiding and show yourselves, cowards." Wei Wuxian bared his teeth. They immediately attacked.
He laughed as dodged, fending off the members of the Lanling Jin Sect. If it weren't for Jin ZiXun back then...
No..he needed to focus. He swore to hold on and keep it together, not trying to the shadows of resentful energy seep and dig too deeply into him.
He called out to their leader, "Jin Zixun, why the hostile reception? Wasn't I invited by your sect after all, and yet this is the reception I get." He snapped. He knew why, and he knew that the other had full intention to kill him.
He heard the other laugh. "Ha! As if we would invite the likes of you! Do you really think you would be allowed near Jin Ling? Someone like you?" The other man sneered back.
The other man in gold just smirked. "They don't want or need you there. Your a stain that taints them. It would be better for you to disappear." Jin ZiXuan finished.
His minions all charged, some shooting arrows and others slicing forward with their sword. Wei Wuxian grimaced, dodging as best as he could.
"Stop!" A male voice shouted, a running figure in gold. The others were too caught up in trying to kill Wei Wuxian when Jin ZiXuan threw himself in between them.
"I said stop! What are you doing?!" He shouted at Jin Zixun.
Wei Wuxian watched, having not seeing Jin ZiXuan alive since his death, he froze.
That one distraction was enough. A young cultivator decided to take the matter into his own hands with a partner, and that led to the others chipping in.
"NO! Don't!" Jin ZiXuan yelled, rushing to shield Wei Wuxian on impulse, because his wife would be devastated if something happened to Wei Wuxian but the man shoved him back instead.
Two swords pierced through him. One through the heart, the other his abdomen, the rest of Wei Wuxian body riddled with arrows piercing through his flesh.
Blood spilled from Wei Wuxians pale lips as his gasped.
Wei Wuxian was staggering as he turned to leave, pools of blood trailing in his wake. He clutched at the Stygian Tiger Seal as he kept moving to hurry and destroy the accursed weapon away from the eyes of Jin Zixun and his yellow-clad minions from the Lanling Jin Sect.
He looked back and saw a group of figures that were flying fast on their swords towards them.
He saw his husband and brother appear suddenly, and part of him was even more surprised at the three figures behind them.
The resentful energy swirled around him, keeping everyone away, like a shield.
The resentful energy squirmed and wriggled, writhing.
Shadows cloaked Wei Wuxian as he stated as he his husband landed from his sword and Jiang Cheng rushing right behind him, and he bled non-stop.
Everyone else's presence had faded from his mind, that was becoming slow and sluggish. Wei Wuxian forgot about Jin Zixun as he stared at his husband.
"Lan Zhan?" His voice was hoarse, and cracking on a whisper, lips trembling.
He went to step forward and he collapsed, falling back on the ground with a thump, pain echoing through his body with wet bloody gasps for breath.
Shit. He cursed himself. Oh, Lan Zhan, why did you bother to come here?
He heard the shouting voices of Jiang Cheng and Jin Zixuan, who was alive.
Relief flitted through Wei Wuxian before dread followed behind. No. He still had to destroy the Stygian tiger seal. Dammit. He needed to stand up. His body refused to listen to him.
He blinked at Lan Zhan, giving him a bright smile, he heard a choked sound that came from his husband. Lan Wangji had pulled him into his embrace, as gently as he could. He still heard screaming and telling but also quotes voices, calm and soothing.
A breath shuddered out of Wei Wuxian and he choked on a mouth full of blood, arching his back, eyelids flickering and closing, as he fought to breathe. His saw his husband and another figure kneeling by his side in white.
Ah, brother Zewu-Jun..
He tried to stay conscious, but he knew he had lost too much blood and his body was failing him.
Cradled by his Lan Zhan's warmth, he snuggled closer, and reached a weak hand inside his black robes.
A-Lings gift. He had to hand it to Jiang Cheng.
"J-Jiang..C-Cheng.." He rasped, holding his hand out, showing him Jin Lings gift.
"For...Jin ...Ling. Better than...last one...I created...to protect him…" He wheezed. Jiang Cheng, who had knelt next to Lan Xichen, looked at the bell with wide glassy eyes.
"Nonsense! You will give it to him yourself this time around! Don't even try to weasel your way out of it!" Jiang Cheng snapped at him, watching his adoptive brothers expression grow paler and paler by the minute and saw Wei Wuxian eyes drifting close.
Lan Xichen, Jiang Cheng, and Lan Wangji were terrified. Lan Wangji tightening his grip on Wei Wuxian as he watched husband's eyes as they were rolling into the back of his head, eyelids sliding closed before the body in his arms became completely slack.
A block of ice encased Lan WangJi's heart with crippling fear, gold eyes full of unshed tears.
Wei Wuxian was completely white and his breathing was labored, shallow breaths growing further and further apart, as his chest was slowly coming to a stop along with the beating of his heart.
"Move! Out of the way!" A woman snapped, shoving the three men away. The Ghost General Wen Ning behind her.
Wen Qing knelt by Wei Wuxian side, rushing to get to work.
Don't you dare die on me, Wei Wuxian! She thought.
She moved, working with skill as quickly as possible. The situation was dire.
She froze suddenly, and laid an ear over his heart, a hand hovered over his lips to check for a breath.
This couldn't be happening. Wei Wuxian could not die on her watch.
"Don't you dare, Wei Wuxian!"
Tears blurred her vision as she tried to gather herself.
The three men kneeling, all watched her, two gazing desperate eyes.
Jiang Cheng snapped at Wei Wuxians unmoving form, "You idiot! Don't even think about leaving now, A-Jie's waiting for you with A-Ling! So open your fucking eyes right now!" He shouted, tears streaming down his own cheeks, the same as Lan Wangji, baiting and trying to get a rise out of his too pale and too still brother.
"Wei Ying." Lan Wangji kept begging with trembling lips, over and over, his husband still partially laying on his lap.
Wei Wuxian didn't flinch or budge, limp and unmoving.
Lan Wangji bowed his head over his husbands still chest, resting an ear over his husbands quiet heart.
Please don't leave me.
He begged internally.
Out loud, "Wei Ying, please!"
There was no answer.
Nothing but silence.
Wei Wuxian was drifting, floating in darkness.
He was dead. Again.
There was no up or down, no noise, just endless blackness and silence.
It was what he deserved anyway.
Wei Wuxian perked up in shock. Shijie?
What? No. She couldn't be dead. He made sure that wouldn't happen.
A light before him grew bigger, and light suddenly engulfed him.
His Shijie stood before him with a gentle smile.
Wei Wuxian felt pain, and tears in his non-corporeal eyes.
She opened her arms to him, and he collapsed into her embrace with harsh sobs.
"A-Xian. I'm here." She comforted him.
"How? You- I -"
"Yes, you went back in time, and saved Jin Zixuan, my husband. You changed it.
I'm a small fragment part of the original past still lingering, after I died to protect you, I stayed, waiting because I knew you would need me."
"It's all my fault!! Please...I-"
"No, A-Xian. Stop. Enough. You've been blamed, and have blamed yourself enough. After my husband's death, and you fled, running away before I could talk to you. I had to follow you, had to see you, I knew you wouldn't purposely hurt me, A-Xian.
I knew you must have been in pain too. The words I wanted to say to you back then- you were so gaunt and thin-A-Xian. Haunted. I wanted to make sure my brother was okay. I was mourning my husband's loss but I did not hate you. Never. I still remember the sweet, mischievous little boy you used to be, always smiling, and my heart ached to see that light in you blown out."
Jiang Yanli hugged the broken man before her, tighter.
"It will be different this time. You successfully changed things, you were always brilliant A-Xian. You can't stay here anymore. A-Cheng, and your husband still need you." She pulled back to wink at him at that last bit.
If he could, Wei Wuxian would have been blushing beat red. "Shijie!" He cried, she laughed and then he laughed with her, years all but gone.
She smiled at him gently. "Go back A-Xian. And now I can rest knowing you and A-Cheng will be alright this time. The me back where you are will be waiting to, with A-Ling. Go back."
She faded with the light.
"Shijie!" Wei Wuxian called, but she was gone.
Once again, he was alone in the dark.
How could be go back if he was dead?
So he waited, waited for a pull or a sign.
"Your the famous Wen Qing, right? So fucking save him!" Jiang Cheng snarled, looking away from his brothers too still body, shaking.
He couldn't die. He couldn't.
"I'm trying, so shut up!" She snarled back.
Wei Wuxian was unresponsive, and currently dead. It would take a miracle at this point. She was shaken too. After everything the man lying so unresponsive had done for her and her brother, she couldn't let him go.
An idea came to her.
She turned to Lan Wangjj, Lan Xichen, And Jiang Cheng, also motioning the three figures standing silently at the back watching everything unfold.
Nie Mingjue, Jin Guangyao, and Jin ZiXuan who had shooed off the perpetrators and would deal with them later along with his father.
"All of you, come here, pass him your spirit energy." We Qing, "Your all coming to Burial Mounds with me. I refuse to let this idiot die."
They picked up Wei Wuxian and hurried to Burial Mounds.
They laid him flat in his cave and Wen Qing order her shocked brother to get her tools.
They were all relentlessly passing spiritual energy.
"What about a Golden Core? Would that help?" Jiang Cheng asked, looking at his brothers closed eyes and unsmiling lips, and seeing that he was just too pale.
"Probably, but we don't have the time, and he gave his Golden Core to you and you would disregard such a gift? After knowing the price he paid because of it? He would be angry at you for even suggesting such a thing." She retorted, focused on trying to save the man they were all so worried about.
Jiang Cheng scowled but didn't say anything more, he just focused on passing spiritual energy.
Lan Wangji was passing his spiritual energy into his lovers unresponsive body, the energy wrapping around his heart.
Wen Qing quickly sealed all the wounds on the Wei Wuxians body, stopping the blood that was still flowing out, very slowing.
Wei Wuxian, you better come back to us, Wen Qing thought.
Wei Ying. Lan Wangji called in his heart desperate.
Fucking idiot, don't think you get out of this so easily! Jiang Cheng cursed at him.
There was still no answer.
Wei Wuxian would love to go back and be with his husband, and see his brother again; Shijie and A-Ling too.
But he had no idea how, seeing as he had already died. How could they bring him back now? It was impossible at this point.
And he needed to go back and destroy the seal, lest Jin Guangshan somehow gets his hands on it.
Suddenly light surround him once more.
It was Shijie, or part of Shijie who had stayed behind for him.
"Oh, A-Xian. Here. Let me help and give you a push. If anyone can do the impossible, it has always been you, and maybe you just need a little help sometimes." Jiang Yanli smiled, kissing her brothers forehead and pressing her hands over his chest, where his heart would be. Her hands glowed.
He's hands glowed brighter with every passing moment, as though they were truly healing him, healing non-existent heart in this form, and his physical body. As her hands glowed brighter, the rest of her faded on a smile, all the light surrounding her fading image, seeping into him.
He was filled with warmth and love.
Shijie. He smiled.
Wei Wuxian felt it then. That pull and then -
Suddenly he could feel his body again as he felt himself gasp for air, his body coming to life.
He heard shocked and happy voices.
"This idiot finally decided to come back." He heard Jiang Cheng snort, and heard the relief in his voice.
"Wei Ying." He was gripped tightly in a warm embrace. He opened his eyes to gaze into blazing golden ones, full of love and relief, happiness. Wei Wuxian felt his lips curl into a big smile, shadows no longer lingering in his eyes or heart, no longer troubled but bursting with life and joy.
"Lan Zhan! I'm back, husband!! Did you miss me?" He threw his hands around to love and squeezed him as tightly as he could. "Lan Zhan." He murmured.
Strong arms encased around him, returning the tight hug. "Mn. I'm here. Always here, beside Wei Ying."
Wei Wuxian laughed, pulling back to give his love a big and wet sloppy kids of happiness on his lips. "I love you, Lan Zhan!"
Lan WangJi's eyes glimmered, his own lips pulled upward in a small gentle smile. "Love Wei Ying too."
They both heard surprised gasps, but ignored everyone else until Wei Wuxian was kicked in the leg by Jiang Cheng.
"Oi! You shameless idiot! Save it for later!" He griped. Wei Wuxian turned to Jiang Cheng and stuck out his tongue childishly, arms still wrapped around Lan Wangjj. Jiang Cheng tossed something at him which he caught.
"Give it to A-Ling yourself!" Jiang Cheng snapped. Wei Wuxian smiled at him, "Thanks, Jiang Cheng."
Jiang Cheng looked away, embarrassed. "Hmph."
Wei Wuxian noticed the rest of their audience, surprised at Jin Guangyao and Nie Mingjue. Jin ZiXuan next to them, with Wen Qing hanging back farther with her brother.
He gave her a smile. "Wen Qing, thank you."
She turned on her heels, "If your so thankful then stop getting yourself into trouble, idiot."
He laughed. He nodded to Wen Ning with a smile, who followed after her.
Lan Xichen smiled. "Welcome back, Master Wei." He too felt relieved, feeling that everything would be so much better this time around.
They all had long discussion, deciding to deal Jin Guangshan and have him resign from the position of a sect leader.
The Venerated Triad all agreed to stand up and defend the Wen remnants, allowing them to live in peace, but in a much better area with no resentful energy, they would not force them to stay on the mountain. Even Jiang Cheng agreed.
They agreed to all be present and help Wei Wuxian destroy the seal, after their spiritual energy recovered. That would be first. Then taking care of Jin Guangshan.
Jin Guangyao, this time, did not want to be a sect leader, leaving the task to his brother standing beside him. They seemed to be on good terms.
The two would deal with Jin Zxun together.
Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng would go together to see Shijie and A-Ling.
And then Wei Wuxian would follow his husband and the Lan sect leader back to Cloud Recesses, to A-Yuan, to Sizhui.
Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian would then marry each other for the second time, happily.
All was right in the world.
"A-Ling!" Wei Wuxian shouted playfully, lifting the child up and into his arms, swinging him around. The child giggled and squealed at his attention.
Wei Wuxian laughed, cooing, "Whose A-Lings favorite uncle?" He smirked at Jiang Cheng, who just rolled his eyes at Wei Wuxians antics.
The child in gold, stares between him and Jiang Cheng.
"Both." The child pointed. Wei Wuxian was shocked, and acting hurting, "A-Ling, I thought I was your favorite! Not moody Jiang Cheng too!" Wei Wuxian whined and poured at the child, making little Jin Ling laugh. "Both." He still said.
Wei Wuxian sighed loudly, as though it was in defeat. "Fine, I suppose." He grumbled playfully, the child just laughed and patted him on the cheek.
Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian turned to each other before turning to face their sister, both smiling as she laughed.
"Shijie." Wei Wuxian grinned.
"A-Jie."Jiang Cheng smiled.
She pulled the three most precious people in the world into her, embracing them in a hug, besides the love of her life who.came from behind her when she pulled him into the hug.
The future had never been so bright and beautiful.
"I talked to Lan Xichen, about taking in Mo Xuanyu, and maybe Xue Yang. Neither end up as the did in the past. This time with the hope for a better life and a better future. " Wei Wuxian told Lan Wangji while the day in the grass, surrounded by bunnies.
"Jin ZiXuan agreed to look out for Mo Xuanyu since they are half brothers, I'm surprised Jin Guangyao said the same thing. Guess he is turning over a new leaf this time. He and Lan Xichen asked for my help in finding a solution for Nie Minjue because of his sects own dangerous cultivation method. To stop it from killing him if anything were to happen." Wei Wuxian said.
Lan Wangji just hummed, listening, and petting the rabbit in his grasp. Wei Wuxian leaned against his husband, married for the second time.
He snuggled close and Lan Wangji held him close to his heart, taking comfort in each other.
They both look to the child buried and hidden under a pile of rabbits. Wei Wuxian chuckled. "Poor little Sizhui." It was cute and heartwarming sight.
"Senior Wei!" A young child said scoldingly, seeing his little friend from under the mass of bunnies, as Lan Sizhui popped his head out.
"Yes, little Jingyi?" Wei Wuxian tone was amused.
The boy huffed with a scowl. "You left me out." He pouted.
Wei Wuxian stared at the child, roaring with laughter, tears falling from his face as he was hunched over and shaking from his laughter.
He stood up after kissing his husband on the cheek, who let him laugh without scolding him, just this once. He walked over to both children, started playing with them, teasingly and playing with the rabbits. He gave them his attention.
"Soon," Wei Wuxian told both boys, "You will get to meet a new friend, my little nephew.." he blabbered on cheerfully.
Lan Wangji sat with a glimmer in his eyes, and a smile on his lips at the fulfilling sight.
Wei Ying was alive and here with him, and the children were okay.
Everything would be alright. And Lan WangJi's heart had never felt so fun of joy.
He couldn't wait to face a brighter future with his love, Wei Ying.
Wei Ying who was bright and happy, had his family.
Wei Ying, who Lan Wangji loved, and who loved him in return.
Their forever started now.
Life had never been so beautiful.
Lan Xichen hid, watching his younger brother and brother-in-law with Sizhui and Jingyi. His heart felt healed and seedling with joy as well.
Currently, sneakily, he was doing his best to draw them in this moment of time, when his brother-in-law had settled back down beside Wangji, the two children playing nearby, and they were suddenly surrounded by children.
His brother and Wei Wuxian watching all the kids, leaning on each other, and the kids settling down to listen, as the couple played their song, in unison.
Two hearts and souls full of love, gazes soft, the winds blowing gently, grazing through the grass, and making cherry blossoms dance.
Lan Xichen thought about another set of men he cared for, and his watching his precious little brother with his husband.
He would see the other two again soon, but in this moment, nothing mattered more than his little brothers smile and Wei Wuxians answering grin as they continued to play their song to a group of children as their audience, small gazes bright and content.
This was a moment to capture, a moment to remember.
Lan Xichen was happy to capture it
Because the future was happy and bright, and there would be plenty more moments to capture, in time.
But for now, this small and sweet moment in time so pure and in there here and now-
For this time, in the present, was the sweetest and most beautiful image of all.
They would all bury their hearts, in this moment of joy and happiness.