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you know you had it coming, my brother

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I never imagined you dead.

 

But that was a lie. I had imagined you dead many times, but never imagined you could die. Just like that, the rope snapped in my heart.

 

Wei Wuxian was his dearest friend, but his worst enemy. The murderer that left Jin Ling an orphan, but Jiang Cheng’s brother. He was supposed to live- longer than Jiang Cheng and burning bright. Not the weak, battered man tormented by spirits that had plunged into the pit and was forever lost to the darkness.

 

He deserved it. He deserved to die. This was his punishment for all the deaths he caused, for bringing on the demise of the whole of YunmengJiang. If he could, Jiang Cheng would raise him from the dead and kill him a thousand more times, until it no longer hurt him. A hundred thousand swords wouldn’t be enough to quell this rage burning inside him. Wei Wuxian had had it coming. He had finally killed everyone Jiang Cheng had ever cared about, including himself. 

 

Jiang Cheng thought back to after Lotus Pier burned, how he let everyone believe he had gone back recklessly to get his parents bodies. How he was protecting Wei Wuxian. How Wei Wuxian came for him, when he had been ready to die. Brought him back from the brink of death and helped him fix his core. Only to disappear and reappear, a useless sullen man who drank too much and couldn’t regulate his own spiritual powers. Brimming with rage, he recalled him saving the Wens. Picking someone, anyone other than him to help for the rest of his life. Going against nature, creating the strongest fierce corpse. 

 

The fierce corpse that would later kill his brother-in-law and sister. 

 

Wei Wuxian hadn’t deserved his kindness. He should have stayed inside the inn, with A-Jie. Wei Wuxian would be captured and probably break himself out like he did at Burial Mounds. He could survive wounds worse than anyone Jiang Cheng knew. He would still keep fighting even if he was supposed to be mortally wounded. 

 

So how was Jiang Cheng still here, and Wei Wuxian- the Yiling Patriarch, the grandmaster of demonic cultivation,  former YunmengJiang sect member, brother, uncle, trusted friend and sworn enemy, how was he dead. All that they did, he would undo. Wei Wuxian, you fool. 

 

You know you had it coming, my friend, my friend

You know you had it coming, my brother, my brother

 

Had it coming, my friend, my friend

You know you had it coming, my brother, my brother

 

Had it coming, my friend, my friend

You had it coming

He had it coming. He had let himself slip, had too much corruption to stay human. That’s the only way he could have possibly killed A-Jie.Wei Wuxian had loved their sister, but the ghosts were too strong, right? That was the only way. 

 

Were his tears angry, or was there more to the heat behind his eyes. He should throw that accursed flute into the lava as well, the means following the master. He also considered throwing himself in, for just a moment. No, Jin Ling would need him. And for ChenQing, he couldn’t bring himself to toss it. For no reason besides to look at it and remember, to stir his hatred for its owner. 

 

Sure as the setting sun, you can’t trust just anyone. He had trusted Wei Wuxian. And just like that, all his trust was broken, leaving him defenseless. He had wrapped himself in Zidian’s crackle, had grown spikes and knew how to keep everyone at arms length. He didn’t need others to judge him or how he was coping with the loss of nearly every family member he had. 

 

And the last family member to go, had been his traitorous brother. How could he leave him, hadn’t he said he would be by his side when he was Sect Leader? Jiang Cheng was Sect Leader, and alone. He had broken his promise, and then rubbed salt in the old wounds, opening them painfully.

 

As the years passed, Jiang Cheng only stewed in his anger. Everything was his fault, Wei Wuxian was the cause of his dear nephew being bullied for having no parents. He would protect this child with everything, just to see him grow up strong and powerful. But he couldn’t let him forget who had made him an orphan. Jiang Cheng would teach him his origins, no matter how bloody. He never could really show him the affection he should get, but Jiang Cheng still loved him in his own way.

 

Jin Ling grew, and Jiang Cheng hunted demonic cultivators to ease the aching pain he held within him. Would he ever get over this betrayal? All he could do was stride into the future, full of hatred. Lotus Pier was better off without Wei Wuxian. But each time he caught a new demonic cultivator, he held onto the hope that it might be him. And each time, he was angry and hurt. He was really gone, wasn’t he? Good for him, leaving the living to clean up his mess. 

 

Until the day he wasn’t gone. Until all the emotions Jiang Cheng had been holding back for all those years spilled forth. The man standing behind Lan Wangji wore a different face but he knew. Why had he waited so long, only to come back now? Why had he gone to Lan Wangji, instead of Lotus Pier? Jiang Cheng didn’t know what hurt worse. The anger he held, or the betrayal that he hadn’t been the first thought. 

 

He’s been a dead man since long ago. I’ve already died once too. Just what else do you want?

 

My hatred would persist even if you both died thousands of times, Wei Wuxian!

 

And later still, as he finally knew the truth of the core inside him, he cried out in pain because he had meant to save his brother, only to have the ungrateful wretch turn around and give him everything he never asked for. As he scared nearly all the inhabitants of Lotus Pier, asking them to pull out the sword that had belonged to the late Yiling Patriarch. He was the only one, other than the man himself, to be able to pull it and it hurt. 

 

I’m sorry, Jiang Cheng. I want you to forget this, this is why I never could tell you the truth. I never wanted to see you like this. But I know you, you’ll hold this close to your chest, right? I’m sorry. 

 

Sorry? Was that all?? Sorry wouldn’t fix this, not now. He was ten years too late to say sorry. But Jiang Cheng saw the remorse in his tired eyes, and his grip had softened. He still couldn’t forgive, but it was enough for the time being. He hadn’t expected to feel anything besides blind fury when he had imagined meeting Wei again, but now face to face with him, all he wanted to do was cry. He would not cry. For his parents, for his sister. For Jin Ling, he would stay strong and look the other man in the eyes. He still wanted Wei Wuxian to die a thousand painful deaths to make up for the precious ones he took, but there was more. There was some warmth behind the anger. A feeling he usually only reserved for Jin Ling in rare occasions. Love. 

 

Uncle, isn’t there something you wanted to say to him?

 

Take care, my brother.