Chapter 1: Darkness
The scream was a thing of nightmares and the Sect Juniors could only watch in horror as the Senior who had saved them, twice in the Lan case, collapsed to the ground hands clutching at his eyes.
"Senior Mo!" the gentle Lan Sizhui quickly fell to his knees beside the ailing man.
"Jiang Cheng!" Hanguang blocked the angry Sect Leaders view. Jiang Cheng readied Zidian again when Lan Jingyi appeared beside Hanguang.
"Nothing happened when you struck him. Surely you don't intend to do it again. You've already blinded him!" An intake of breath beside him drew Jiang Cheng’s attention to his nephew who was staring at the man he'd hit. It dawned on him that the man was also Jin Ling uncle. Regret started to settle in his stomach, not that he allowed it to show. Behind Hanguang Wei Wuxian was desperately trying to control the pain and his panic. He couldn't see! His eyes burned and the skin on each side was broken and blistered. He'd been hit Zidian before but not like this.
• • •
When a hand landed on his arm Wei Wuxian flinched away, stumbling as he couldn't work out where anything was.
"Senior Mo! It's just me, Lan Sizhui. We met in Mo Village remember.'' Lan Sizhui said soothingly in an attempt calm the injured Senior. Wei Wuxian focused on that voice, breathing through the pain. He needed to get away; to get off this mountain.
"Don’t touch me!" he ground out, finding his feet he staggered away from the voices; no clue of where he was going.
"Senior Mo your hurt!" Sizhui tried again.
"Lil Apple!" he called, ignoring the junior trying to catch his arm. Behind him other feet followed. A misstep had him falling again and he knew he'd taken skin off his hands. Wei Wuxian hated how he'd felt at that moment; weak and vulnerable. His long cursed temper flared and using the blood from his torn hands Wei Wuxian drew up a transporter talisman and activated it.
"Senior Mo that’s dangerous!"
• • •
It was dangerous, extremely so. With no anchor point there was no telling where he would end up but Wei Wuxian was scared and desperate and crazy enough to try it. To a litany of no’s Wei Wuxian disappeared in a swirl of green light. He reappeared with a thud; landing hard on the ground, disorientated. Wei Wuxian had no idea where he landed, literally none because he couldn’t see anything! He felt the panic clawing up his throat again. He tried to keep his breathing even, drawing on memories of countless hours spent kite shooting blindfolded.
"Wen Ning! He can help me." Running his hand around the ground, Wei Wuxian hunted for a leaf. He found hard packed dirt, small clumps of grass and a bunch of sticks. Cursing, he selected the longest one and shakily got to his feet. His eyes were killing him and he could feel the blood running down his cheeks. Now upright with some margin of balance he whistled, pooling what resentful energy he could to summon his friend. Now he could only wait and hope Wen Ning was close.
• • •
Wei Wuxian really hoped he was close by. His eyes were painful and he could only imagine how they looked. Over balancing Wei Wuxian stumbled backwards and his feet collided with something and he toppled back to the ground. The jarring rocked his world as his pain intensified, almost to the point where he missed the movement under his legs and the groan that followed. Scrambling off of it and onto his knees Wei Wuxian blindly reached forward with his hands. There was another groan and Wei Wuxian could hear more movement. His finger found fabric, good quality fabric. One of those idiots had grabbed him before the talisman fully activated. Feeling the person shift more Wei Wuxian shuffled backwards, wondering if he had time to run away and how successful he would be at it.
"Senior Mo? Senior Mo! "Sudden movement rapidly approaching had Wei Wuxian backing up even further.
• • •
The movement stopped.
"Senior Mo, its Lan Sizhui, I didn't mean to startle you. Please let me help." Wei Wu Xian laughed and it sounded hollow.
"They're going to think I kidnapped you! They'll never leave me alone now. Why would you do something as stupid as grab someone who was teleporting?! Have your teachers taught you nothing!" Lan Sizhui was taken aback more by Senior Mo’s hand gestures than his words. Was that concern? He eyed off the angry welts decorating Senior Mo's face.
"Please Senior Mo, please let me help." Wei Wuxian sighed.
"There’s a stream that way. Help me get there." Sizhui eagerly moved closely and carefully helped him to his feet before heading to where he'd pointed. Though he was curious....
"I can hear it." Wei Wuxian answered his unspoken question. Sizhui struggled to keep Wei Wuxian upright when he stumbled as they moved along.
• • •
They only travelled a short way before Sizhui could hear it too.
"Incredible" he breathed. Fumbling slightly Wei Wuxian perched himself close to the stream; Sizhui sinking down with him.
"Can I wash your eyes?" he asked gently. Hesitating briefly Wei Wuxian nodded, knowing it was going hurt. Sizhui did his best to be gentle and thorough but there was only so much water could do.
"You need a healer."
"My eyes are shot young master Lan, no healer can save them. My... friend is coming you should go." Reaching down he found the edge oh his robes and tore a strip off. Sizhui removed it from his hands and soaked it in the stream before gently securing it around Wei Wuxians eyes.
"How could I leave you like this? You saved us twice."
"I used resentful energy."
"Still saved us." If Wei Wuxian could see he'd be giving Sizhui the stink eye.
• • •
Wei Wuxian flinched when he heard a sword being drawn.
"Ghost General!" Startled Wei Wuxian made a grab in the direction of Sizhuis voice.
"Wait! I called him." Now he could hear the chains he'd previously spotted. Trembling, he got up and headed towards them.
"Senior Mo!" a hand rested on his arm. The Ghost General snarled. Wei Wuxian slapped the hand.
"What’s wrong you my old friend?" Reaching forward he finally found Wen Ning and his fingers glided up until he found Wen Ning’s face.
"Why won’t you answer me?" he mused and cursed his lack of vision and the headache building behind his eyes. "Lan Sizhui what colour is his eyes?" Sizhui blinked at being addressed before cautiously moving up next to the Senior. He stared at the Ghost General. The Ghost General stared back. "Well?" Wei Wuxian nagged.
• • •
"Black, there’s no pupil. Senior Mo!" Wei Wuxian was running his hands all over Wen Ning at his words, finding something at the back of Wen Ning's head.
"What are these?"
"They look like nails."
"Pull them out." Lan Sizhui had no idea why he following that instruction but he did. Wen Ning screamed and the black receded in his eyes. Both he and Wei Wuxian dropped to the ground.
“You do realise I’m going to get blamed for kidnapping you." he said pointedly to the young man, unsure why he wasn’t leaving, “And you willingly hanging around two dangerous people.”
"I'm not leaving you alone. You can't walk." Sizhui reiterated, though he was unsure of exactly what to do at this moment or why he was remaining.
"Is... Is he alright?"
"Wen Ning will be fine. He should come back to himself soon."
• • •
Wei Wuxian could feel himself fading and he desperately wanted to fall to pieces. He felt himself list to the side slightly before he was grabbed.
"Senior Mo we really need to get you to a healer." Wei Wuxian was trembling and he knew it. Unfortunately there was no way he could see a healer until Wen Ning was up and running.
"Not leaving Wen Ning."
"And there goes that secret." thought Wei Wuxian though he was much too pleased to hear a familiar friendly voice. The chains rattled and Wuxian felt the ground vibrate as Wen Ning kneeled in front of him.
"Master Wei your eyes."
"I had a little accident is all."
"He needs a healer!" Sizhui cut in somewhat emboldened by how docile the Ghost General appeared to be.
• • •
It appeared as though Wen Ning had not even noticed Sizhui but now he moved as if to shield Wei Wuxian from him.
"Who... Who are you?" Wei Wuxian sighed and gently patted what he hoped was his friends shoulder.
"Lan Sizhui, silly child grabbed me when I was using a teleport Talisman."
Lan Sizhui frowned. He was not used to getting scolded. Wei Wuxian was now shaking the arm he'd grabbed.
"And now they're going to think I've abducted him!" he wailed, the despair in his tone only half real. Sizhui was unsure how he could tell but he thought Wen Ning was expressing some fond exasperation for the other man. Then he remembered something that was said earlier.
"Senior Wei? Sect Leader Jiang was correct?”
• • •
If possible the man in front of him paled further and Sizhui realised it might not have been the best moment to bring it up. Wen Ning stood abruptly, chains rattling, pulling Wuxian up with him. Sizhui held his hands out placating.
"I meant no harm. I just..." Wei Wuxian breathed out.
"Yes I'm Wei Wuxian. No I do not possess this body; it was given to me by a blood ritual of which you would nothing about." Sizhui was conflicted, on one hand he had heard many tales of the Yiling Patriarch on the other Sizhui had been told to never judge someone without all the information. Not to mention he felt somehow drawn to this Senior in front of him.
"Master Wei!" Wei Wuxians resilience gave out leaving Wan Ning to cradle his injured body.
Sparing the young master with them a glance Wen Ning set off to find some civilisation. After a few seconds Sizhui followed. Sizhui actually struggled to keep up with the fierce corpse he was willingly following. When they finally happened upon a village Lan Sizhui recognised it as Yiling. The Ghost General had halted on the outskirts and was looking uncertain.
"Is something wrong?"
"I will be recognised. I stand out like this." Wen Ning wiggled his arms and the chains rattled. Lan Sizhui thought for a moment.
"I could try to remove them with my sword." he suggested carefully. Wen Ning searched his eyes, for what Sizhui didn’t know, but he seemed to like what he found. Gently setting Wei Wuxian down Wen Ning held out his arms to Lan Sizhui. In the last second before his sword swung down Sizhui realised he was breaking the rules of his sect. Moments later chains rattled to the ground.
• • •
"They won't recognise Master Wei with the cloth around his eyes but me...." Wen Ning seemed unsure.
"Would Senior Wei's mask work? I picked it up when Sect Leader Jiang... when it was knocked off.'' Lan Sizhui held it out. There was a black mark across the nose portion and the ribbon was broken. It was easily fixed and though it didn't quite fit it did the job of hiding his identity. Lan Sizhui watched as the Ghost General easily lifted Senior Wei and then fell in step with him as they walked into town. No one payed them any attention which Sizhui might have commented on had he not been wondering why everything here felt familiar. Sizhui paid for their room and handed his coin pouch over to Wen Ning much to his surprise.
"Young Master Lan?"
"Senior Wei will need medicine yes? I won’t know what to pick." Wen Ning hesitated. "Master Wen I give you my word I won't do anything to harm Senior Wei." Sizhui bowed low.
• • •
Flustered Wen Ning fled the room leaving a shocked Sizhui in his wake. A pained chuckle startled Sizhui.
"You embarrassed him."
"Me? He's the Ghost General!" Lan Sizhui decided he didn’t like it when Senior Wei frowned.
"He is Wen Ning. What other people call him is irrelevant."
"My apologies." Wei Wuxian shrugged. He was sweating and pale as a corpse.
"Senior Wei please lie back down."
"Where are we?"
"Oh." Wei Wuxian sounded sad. Sizhui moved closer.
“Rest Senior Wei, Master Wen should be back soon." Sizhui rested a damp cloth on his forehead.
"You’re a good kid." Wei Wuxian suddenly murmured, he was trembling and Lan Sizhui feared he was getting ill. Wei Wuxian reached out a hand, mumbling to himself all the while.
• • •
Lan Sizhui reached for that hand and Wei Wuxian grasped his like a lifeline. Wiping his face Sizhui couldn’t help but reflect on his actions. He knew the Elders would be disappointed and outraged at his behaviour so far but he had the feeling his adopted father would approve. There was a light knock at the door which drew Sizhui from his thoughts. Wen Ning entered and even with his stiff features Sizhui could tell he was surprised to see him comforting Senior Wei. Wen Ning moved forward and asked Sizhui to boil some water. They peeled back the cloth and Wen Ning painstakingly cleaned every section of skin. Wei Ying was biting down hard on a scrap of rolled up cloth to avoid screaming.
"I don’t have to remove your eyes Master Wei but I don’t think you'll be able to use them again. They’re so damaged, if my sister were still alive....” Breathing heavily Wei Wuxian held his old friends arm, offering what comfort he could.
• • •
Lan Sizhui watched the pair, feeling as though he was intruding. Wen Ning patted Wei Wuxians hand before grinding some herbs together and applying them to the damaged areas. He also applied some to a clean strip of black cloth and re wrapped Wei Wuxian’s eyes.
"This should help with the pain and hopefully keep any infections at bay." Wei Wuxian nodded tiredly, unclenching his teeth and allowing the fabric to fall from his mouth.
"We can’t remain here." Wen Ning nodded, then realised his error.
"You just nodded didn’t you." Wei Wuxian said teasingly.
"No Master Wei!" Wen Ning tried to deny, complete with hand gestures. Lan Sizhui couldn't help himself. He laughed. Two heads swindled instantly in his direction.
"I'm sorry!" He blushed bright red.
"What's your birth name?" Lan Sizhui blinked at the change of topic.
• • •
Lan Sizhui had no idea what was wrong with these two seniors. After hearing his name they'd both looked so happy he thought he was going to get hugged. Strangely he realised he actually wouldn't mind it if they had of done so. Instead they'd exchanged a glance and then Wen Ning was insisting Wei Wuxian get some rest, to which he grudgingly obliged; stretching out in the bed.
"Lan Sizhui should also sleep, your curfew is soon." Sizhui paused, bewildered at the now fond tone Senior Wei used and at how he was aware of their sleeping patterns.
"I will keep watch Young Master." Was it Sizhui’s imagination or was Wen Ning’s tone different too?! Utterly baffled he moved over to another bed and crawled into it. He should probably be more afraid to sleep in the same room as two very dangerous people who were technically criminals but all Sizhui could feel were the day’s events catching up with him and he welcomed sleep when it came.
• • •
When Wei Wuxian and Lan Sizhui disappeared the remaining cultivators had been stunned. Lan Jingyi had called out the moment he saw his childhood friend doing something reckless but it was too late and now he was gone.
"Where did they go?" demanded a Lanling Sect Disciple.
"Unknown." was Lan Wangji's reply.
"You seem unconcerned by the fact that ‘stranger’ has kidnapped your Disciple." Jiang Cheng accused.
“What else would you call it?" disbelief coloured Jin Lings tone as he barged into the conversation.
"Sizhui grabbed Senior Mo not the other way around! Senior Mo may be a bit unstable but he saved us at Mo Manor. He was hurt and Sizhui would have wanted to help." Lan Jingyi was brave enough to include Jin Ling and Jiang Cheng in his glare. "Sizhui is a kind, honourable person!" Jiang Cheng looked ready to string Jingyi up.
• • •
A look from Lan Wangji silenced Jingyi and despite him not being as close to Hanguang Jun as Sizhui Jingyi thought the man was somewhat pleased at his words. As they took their leave Jingyi looked to his Senior unsure how to ask his question.
"Speak." The Hanguang Jun was so observant!
"Will Sizhui be alright?"
"Are we going to look for him?"
"What! But why?" Lan Jingyi thought he’s pushed his luck with his outburst but all he got was a straight answer
"Sizhui will return when he's able. He is quite safe with that Master, no harm will befall him. Are you injured?"
"Oh I got grabbed there. Senior Mo saved me. It's fine."
"Mmm" conversation closed thought Jingyi as they headed for home.
• • •
Lan Sizhui woke at first light like he was raised and it took him a moment to recognise his surroundings. Sitting up he moved into the Lotus pose to meditate. He felt a set of eyes on him but ignored it in favour of settling his mind. Some time later a light touch on his shoulder pulled his attention back to the present. Ordering his eyes Sizhui came face to face with a plate of food held by Wen Ning. Hurriedly Sizhui relieved the man of his burden.
"Thank you." Nibbling on a pastry Sizhui watched the Ghost General gently reapply the medicine before coaxing Senior Wei awake; helping the man swallow some tea afterwards.
“Are we leaving today Master Wei?" Wei Wuxian nodded.
“Yes we'll accompany Young Sizhui here as close as we can to his Sect then we'll part ways." Swallowing quickly Sizhui sat his food down and moved over to them.
"I owe you a debt for saving us a Mo Manor, I would prefer to remain with you until it is repaid." he said solemnly.
• • •
"I’m reasonably certain your Sect will want you to return, particularly Lan Zhan. You two seemed close."
"Hanguang Jun raised me." Sizhui answered honestly. Wei Wuxian wanted so badly to ask about his upbringing and what his childhood was like. Judging by the unusually excited body beside him, Wen Ning felt the same.
"Now see he will definitely want you to return." Wei Wuxian declared instead.
"How can you be so cheerful!? How are you going to manage like you are now? "Sizhui demanded, at the end of his patience. He was immediately ashamed by his outburst but surprisingly Senior Wei only laughed.
"Ah I will learn to do without; I’m amazingly adaptable when required after all!" he boasted. "Plus I have Wen Ning for all the strong stuff so long as he wants to hang around me." Sizhui marvelled at the positive outlook Senior Wei maintained.
• • •
With less grace than was expected of a Lan Sect Disciple Sizhui grudgingly accepted defeat and agreed to return home. Wen Ning had managed to find a better fitting mask and returned Wei Wuxians to him. With a grin Wei Wuxian fixed it on over his blindfold.
"How do I look?" He almost overbalanced when he did a twirl. Sizhui giggled at his playfulness. "It is a shame I don’t have my sword anymore. It would make an amazing cane." They left the area with Wei Wuxian walking between them. As they got further from town Wei Wuxian began experimenting with his new body’s spiritual prowess, expanding his other senses to feel his way around with them. Despite Wei Wuxian tiring quickly and then having to stop often they were making good time. On foot Wei Wuxian reckoned it would take a few days to get near to Sizhui's home, maybe a little bit longer if they had any distractions.
• • •
They camped out the first two nights; Wen Ning hunting for Wei Wuxian and Wei Wuxian trying to coax Sizhui into eating meat. Sizhui, though missing this fellow Disciples, particularly Jingyi, and Hanguang Jun, was actually having fun travelling with them. He was also learning a lot. Senior Wei was always happy to explain anything Sizhui wanted to know and spoke in an easy going manner. Nothing at all like Lan Qiren's lectures. Senior Wei had been delighted to hear Lan Wangji had multiple pet rabbits, sharing with Sizhui and Wen Ning how he had gifted a pair of males to Lan Zhan during their school years. That line of thought had him talking about Lan Zhan for hours, regaling Sizhui with the adventures of their shared time together as youths. Sizhui listened with rapt excitement. Very rarely did Hanguang Jun speak of the past and Sizhui loved this opportunity to learn more of his father figure.
Just some fluffy moments between our family trio.
I hope everyone enjoyed!!
Chapter 3: Lost Time
Happy reading guys. Hopefully I corrected all the things everyone pointed out last chapter :)
When they finally stopped at another town Wei Wuxian declared they'd stay the night because he wanted wine. Wen Ning sighed but offered no resistance. They wandered on the main stretch of road through the middle of town when something caught Wei Wuxians attention; a street vendor selling robes, calling out their wares and prices to all that would listen. Wen Ning and Sizhui found themselves dragged towards that vendor.
"Any darker ones?" Wei Wuxian asked both the vendor and his travelling companions.
"Oh yes young master, I'll definitely have something to your taste." replied the vender.
"Not for me, for this young master, white is not appropriate for travelling."
"Ah young Master is wise. White is indeed a very inconvenient colour." Sizhui was astonished at how quickly Wei Wuxian argued the price down and soon found himself paying for a new set of clothes. Unsure of what happened he did not resist as he was tugged down the street.
• • •
Wei Wuxian kept his nose peeled for the scent of alcohol and listened well for the gossip that accompanied a tavern. At the same time he conversed happily with Sizhui; who knew a Lan could be such a good travelling companion? His eyes burned a little, the skin around them healing nicely. A small body collided with his and Wei Wuxian would have fallen if not for Wen Ning’s weight at his back. He shot a hand out and secured the arm of his small assailant.
"Ow.. Mister you’re hurting me!"
"And you young man have been rifling through my pockets. Since I know they're empty 1 know you didn't take anything but in future be more careful with your marks." Wei Wuxian advised.
"Senior Wei!" Sizhui admonished, appalled he would encourage the behaviour. Wei Wuxian briefly switched his attention to Sizhui; even without his eyes he managed to convey his disappointment, whether it was at him or the world in general Sizhui didn’t know. Dragging the boy with them Wei Wuxian purchased two pastries and gave them to him.
• • •
Even the vendor was surprised. Who would waste money on an orphan?
"Sizhui, not everyone can live and learn in a Sect. They don’t get food and protection or somewhere to sleep at night that isn’t a cold alleyway." The boy polished off both pastries while Wei Wuxian was speaking and was hovering around. Smiling Wei Wuxian bought him another two but told him to save them for later. The boy dutifully obeyed.
"Can I come with you Mister? I'll be real good."
Sighing Wei Wuxian knelt in front of him, “Young man I can’t pick up any more stragglers. Perhaps when my journey is complete I'll come back and visit." The boy pouted but nodded. He threw himself at Wei Wuxian and gave him a quick hug before sprinting off.
"Master Wei always was good with children." Wen Ning said, "I was always too shy and they picked on me." Sizhui frowned, unable to picture anyone picking on the sweet gentle Wen Ning. He simply couldn’t see this man as the legendary Ghost General any more, despite having heard many different tales.
• • •
With the child dealt with they followed Wei Wuxian s nose to a tavern and booked a single room for the night. Settling in both Wen Ning and Wei Wuxian insisted Sizhui take the bed.
"You should change robes." Wei Wuxian said prodding him towards the privacy screen. Hesitantly Sizhui agreed.
"Master Wei let me check your eyes please." Wen Ning never stuttered around just them anymore and his mask was only removed when Wei Wuxian asked him too. He felt a measure of comfort from it. Wei Wuxian untied his own mask and blindfold before facing Wen Ning. In just a few short days he'd somewhat mastered his other senses and providing he kept his focus Wei Wuxian was confident in his ability to move around unaided.
"The skin has almost completely healed Master but your eyes have a sheer over them. Do they still hurt?"
"At times. More so when they're not covered.”
"Sensitive, to light, perhaps." Wen Ning mused. He was gently retying Wei Wuxians ribbon and mask when Sizhui emerged.
• • •
Wei Wuxian could feel the atmosphere change; Wen Ning’s hand now still on his ribbon.
"Is something wrong?" he shifted uneasily.
"Young Master Lan looks somewhat like you." Wen Ning choked out. Now Wei Wuxian felt the lead settle in his stomach, he desperately wanted to see what Sizhui looked like in his colours. His eyes stung as they tried to cry. If Lan Sizhui was who he thought he was Wei Wuxian agonised over missing out on being able to see him do things; both in the past and future. Wei Wuxian let out a whimper. It was now truly dawning on him just how much he'd lost with his eyesight. Sizhui was already rushing over to comfort his dark Senior when Wen Ning announced.
"I am dead." Wei Wuxian actually sobbed at that and only Sizhui grabbing his hands prevented him rubbing his eyes. He caught himself just before he could glare at his undead friend. Wen Ning realised he would have to explain.
"Could you not use empathy on me Master? See through my eyes?”
• • •
The silence reigned but Wen Ning could practically hear the gears turning in his Masters head. Sizhui's hands still encasing his, Wei Wu Xian pondered the possibilities.
"It would be possible in theory." he concluded. Sizhui looked alarmed.
"But.. Couldn’t it be dangerous? What if you can’t get back?" Was this panic what Hanguang Jun had to deal with every time Wei Wuxian got an idea in his head?
"It is not without risks." agreed Wei Wu Xian. Wen Ning reached out his hand. He was willing regardless of the risks. Tentatively Wei Wuxian reached out his own, removing it from Sizhui's too tight grip.
"If something goes wrong just stab me."
"What!?" Too late their hands connected and Wei Wuxi in sat up posture the straightest Sizhui had ever seen from the man. Nervously he looked between the two men as they remained unmoving; hands clenching around his new robes. He wished he knew why it was so important for Senior Wei to see him in them!
• • •
What felt like ages to Sizhui but was really only a few moments before both men moved. Wen Ning toppled sideways, catching, himself before he hit the ground. Wei Wuxian hunched over and Sizhui could see the blood run from his nose. Without even thinking he reached forward and wiped it off. A hand grasped his wrist.
"I’m fine. You look amazing. "Wei Wuxian could feel his eyes burning again, "Wen Ning?" "I'm alright Master Wei."
"I wish you wouldn't call me that. Are you sure you feel alright?"
"It was disorientating but there was no discomfort."
"Good. It was a great first attempt."
"First attempt? Senior Wei your nose bled." Sizhui protested.
"I could have died..'' he idly mentioned.
"Sizhui I got to see again. I got to see you. That’s worth the risk as far as I'm concerned.”
• • •
Sizhui had nothing to say to that. Senior Wei continued to be a source of shock and contradictions to him.
"We'll need to practice of course, providing your willing Wen Ning. It is entirely up to you. Currently though I can’t see anything. My senses are all over the place." Wei Wuxian was not fond of feeling so vulnerable again after gaining some measure of security but if he got to see Sizhui and Lan Zhan and the rest of his estranged family it was worth the backlash.
"I don't mind Master Wei? But not if it effects your health." Wei Wuxian pouted. He'd get his way. They spent the rest of the day wandering around the town. Wei Wuxian had to walk with a hand on someone’s arm or he'd bump into or trip over things. It was a horrible feeling, he would definitely need to find his focus again. But all in all it was a relaxing day with people he cared about. When they finished for the day he had a cane to use in emergencies and so he blended in better with the general populace.
• • •
A little further away at Cloud Recess Lan Wangji was leaving to begin tracking down the origins of the hand found in Mo Village. He would also be inquiring around for the missing duo. Away from the Juniors he allowed himself the luxury of feeling a little worried. Sizhui had been raised well and carried all of the allocated money given to the juniors at that time so he shouldn't run out. But that teleport could have dumped them anywhere. As for Master Mo, well he knew with all his heart that that was Wei Ying and for him to be injured in such a way.... Lan Wangji worried for his health, both physically and mentally. Wei Ying had been terrified, desperate and in pain when he'd made that Talisman. Lan Wangji now had no reason not to at least check on him if he could. The hand was pointing him towards Qinghe so that was where he would start looking. Extra money pouch stored, Lan Wangji set off on foot down the path.
• • •
Jiang Cheng was unsettled in ways he hadn't been for years. He was currently gazing out over the water at nothing, his mind in turmoil. He had many memories of his adopted sibling and whole bundle of twisted and jumbled emotions with them. He had so many regrets and so much anger. The whole cultivation world was under the opinion he’d killed his brother but Jiang Cheng knew Wei Wuxian had killed himself with the opportunity Jiang Cheng provided. He also knew his anger was justified; Wei Wuxian had done a lot of things Jiang Cheng didn’t understand and couldn't comprehend. But still.... The day Wei Wuxian fell back into the Burial Mound was etched into his mind; his relaxed accepting expression caused Jiang Cheng a lot of heart ache, knowing he found peace in his actions and moment of death. And now that scream, Jiang Chiang was sure that scream would haunt his dreams for the rest of his life. Zidian had been used as a weapon, a restraint and occasional exorcism tool but despite what everyone thought he’d never used it for torture. Knowing he'd probably blinded his brother just made him angrier. Sighing he decided to join Jin Ling in Qinghe
Much to Sizhui’s angst Senior Wei continued to practice with Wen Ning as they journeyed towards Qinghe. He had to rely on a cane made of bamboo to guide himself after each attempt but no longer lost blood either. Wen Ning on the other hand suffered no effects whatsoever. He gave over complete access to Wei Wuxian when they made the attempts. Siena had never seen empathy used in such a way. Then again he'd never seen anyone like Senior Wei before.
Jingyi would like you." Wei Wuxian blinked at the sudden statement before thinking back.
"The young master who threatened me back at Mo Manor?'' Sizhui blushed on behalf of his friend.
"He means well. He's very similar to you actually.'' Now Sizhui thought about it the two had a very similar personality; perhaps that was why he liked Senior Wei so much.
"Is that so? Well he's your friend so he must be a good person." Sizhui blushed
• • •
"Master Wei what do you intend to do after we return Young Master Sizhui his family?" Sizhui was eager to hear his answer as well. Wei Wuxian pondered for awhile before giving his reply.
"I hadn't really thought about. I like to live in the moment. The world is constantly in motion and change just around the corner. What’s the point in making plans" Wei Wuxian felt bitter thinking of the past and his previous life's plans. Wen Ning seemed to realise where his mind had gone and offered a distraction.
What about that child in that last town we travelled through? Will you visit him?" Wei Wuxian brightened.
"Of course! I said I would. I have many things I could teach him." An idea started to form in his head but Wei Wuxian brutally squashed it. He would ask for nothing more than the second chance he'd been given. It never paid to be greedy. Wen Ning shifted closer until their shoulders brushed together. Wei Wuxian gently smiled and grasped at the arm and support offered. Sizhui found their actions familiar.
• • •
Qinghe was a busting place, far busier than any they'd visited so far. Wei Wuxian chatted happily with several folk; gathering information on the surrounding area. No one mentioned a kidnapped Gusu disciple so Wei Wuxian was thinking he may be in the clear for that at least. With so many people milling about he relied on his cane a fair bit, his senses slightly overwhelmed by the amount of energy he could feel everywhere.
"It's only a day’s travel southeast of here to reach Cloud Recess Senior Mo." Sizhui supplied. With so many people in earshot and being in a main village Sizhui reverted to senior Mo for safeties sake. Wei Wuxian looked sad Wen Ning as well.
"Then I guess this is where we'll part ways.”
"Perhaps I could get an early start tomorrow. Today’s walk was long." Wen Ning nodded in agreement.
"Yes Master Mo, one more afternoon with us couldn’t hurt."
• • •
Throwing his hands up, and consequently his cane, Wei Wuxian walked away from the conniving duo; said duo exchanging grins behind his back.
"I can hear your happiness! Stop it!" He called back to them. A hand grabbed his arm, testing Wei Wuxian's restraint.
"Young Master you look in need of a Talisman, I have here line ones of the Yiling Patriarch. A cure for any disease, they can even exorcise your problems away!" He was stacking papers into Wei Wuxians free hand when Wei Wuxian felt an above average energy coming up on them quickly. The vendor was shoved backwards, Wei Wu Xian hearing the sound of wood breaking.
"Why did you kick me?"
"I kicked you for daring to mention Wei Wuxian, be grateful I didn't kill you!" Immediately Wei Wuxian recognised the haughty voice of his nephew Jin Ling. He felt an impending headache. Oh this brat, he had all that skill but a terrible temperament."
• • •
Jin Ling noticed his presence and Wei Wuxian felt him come closer.
"You found your way here? What of the disciple you took?"
"So many questions from the brat who couldn't even crawl off the ground." Wei Wuxian mocked and then his worse nightmare arrived at the joyous call of Jin Ling.
"Fairy!" At the first bark Wei Wuxian seized up, by the second he was sprinting down the street screaming. He lost his cane and was too panicked to focus. He crashed into people and their carts alike. Hearing his cries Sizhui and Wen Ning were trying to get to him. Jin Ling followed, finding some enjoyment in his ex uncle's screams. He found less when Wei Wuxian tripped and careened into a set of unused stalls at the end of the crowded laneway. Numerous splinters tore his sleeves but Wei Wuxian felt none of them as his panic overruled everything. Jin Ling called Fairy back to his side unsure of what to do.
• • •
Wei Wuxian was aware the dog had backed up but could get his mind to focus. He got a shock to his senses when a powerful energy appeared in front of him close enough to touch. The new arrival said nothing but Wei Wuxian heard the rustling of robes and receding footsteps as Jin Ling stormed away. More movement from in front of him had Wei Wuxian flinching back further into the broken wood.
"Senior Mo!" chorused two voices.
"Hanguang Jun!" Sizhui sketched a quick bow to his father figure before crouching down next to Wei Wuxian beside Wen Ning.
"Senior Mo your hurt." He said dismayed. Together he and Wen Ning lifted him from the debris. They were minor injuries and would heal without treatment but Wei Wuxian still trembled as he stood before Hanguang Jun. Finding his voice Wei Wuxian bowed to Lan Zhan.
"My sincere thanks Hanguang Jun your timing is impeccable." Inwardly startled Lan Zhan reached to lift Wei Ying from his bow only to find himself staring into blackness.
• • •
"Hanguang Jun be gentle with senior Mo!" Sizhui beseeched. To Lan Zhan's consternation he realised his control had slipped and he was gripping Master Mo's arms quite tightly. Instantly he let go and moved back a bit.
"Wei Ying never need bow to me." he said strongly, causing surprise and shock in both Lan Sizhui and Wen Ning. Wei Wuxian on the other hand was not caught off guard by his observation.
"Nothing gets past you does it Lan Zhan?" Any reply Lan Zhan may have made was cut off by the street vendor Jin Ling kicked running up with Wei Wuxian's cane.
"Thank you Young Master!" He thrust the Yiling Patriarch papers and Wei Wuxians cane at him. "You can take these and I tell you about the goings on around here. You’re new in town yes?" He continued on to tell them all about the strange happenings at Walker Ridge and exactly why they should avoid travelling there. In the end he left without telling them much of Qinghe.
• • •
Unfortunately his words would go unheeded as Wei Wu Xian found the idea of such a place fascinating. Now that Lan Zhan was here he could leave Sizhui in his care and investigate.
"Lan Zhan l almost forgot I needed to clarify something. I did not kidnap Sizhui."
"Mmm, know this." Lan Zhan agreed readily.
"So I assume you’ll take Sizhui with you now and we'll part ways." Lan Zhan looked at Wen Ning and he had a fair idea who that person was, still he was reluctant to part.
"Senior Mo you said I didn’t have to go till tomorrow." Sizhui protested.
"Sizhui I want to go investigate that bunker. It’s not appropriate for me to drag you into a potentially dangerous situation. And Jin Ling is here, I bet anything he's investigating this as well so delaying isn’t an option."
“Will go with you. It may be relevant to my own investigation." Silence....
• • •
Hanguang Jun stared expectantly at the small group.
"Lan Zhan I can see where Sizhui gets his persistence from." Sizhui looked quite proud of that statement.
"Very well, you and I will investigate; Sizhui you will remain with A-Ning until we return. Go find an inn and book some rooms." Lan Zhan brought out the spare coin pouch he carried and handed it over. Sizhui had no reason to argue especially not with Hanguang Jun around. Wen Ning on the other hand stepped closer to Wei Wuxian.
"Are you sure?" Wei Wuxian patted his arm. "Lan Zhan is quite capable of looking after me and even... even crippled as I am 1 can still protect myself if need be."
"No harm will befall him you have my word" Hanguang Jun offered a small bow to Wen Ning making him retreat behind Sizhui all boldness gone.
I checked everyone's recommendations so thank you for that. Gotta say I'm not real keen on Omega fics; a little to rapey for me.. Anywayz.. Have fun with this chapter, I look forward to your comments :)
Chapter 5: Heartfelt Song
• • •
As they walked together, leaving behind cobbled stone for a dirt path, Wei Wuxian questioned Lan Zhan on his task
"The hand pointed you here!"
"I can’t believe Brother Nie Huaisang earned the nickname Head Shaker. Ahh how he must of struggled after his brother’s death. No one investigated how such a strong man died?"
"I was not there. I only know he suddenly went mad and died. It is said he suffered Qi deviation" Up ahead somewhere a dog barked and Wei Wuxian instinctively ducked behind Lan Zhan burying his face in Lan Zhan's back. "Wei Ying the dog is not close." Embarrassed Wei Ying moved away, clearing his throat. He could feel the eyes on him.
"Don’t look at me like that." he pouted.
"Why are you afraid of dogs?" Lan Zhan was genuinely curious; after all he had seen Wei Wuxian smile at his own death.
• • •
Wei Wuxian sighed and supposed he owed Lan Zhan an honest answer even if he hated talking about it.
“My parents died when I was around four years old. I loitered around Yiling for two years before Uncle Jiang found me. Each day was a constant battle for food. Often I would find myself fighting the local stray dogs for a bun or pastry. I very rarely won." Lan Zhan couldn't imagine that kind of life though his own childhood had its difficulties he had never want for food or warmth. Wei Wuxian laughed.
"Uncle Jiang made Jiang Cheng get rid of his dogs when I panicked seeing them the first time. He was so angry with me. It seems to run in the family, Jin Ling hates me too." Lan Zhan was not used to dealing with a despondent Wei Ying and was at a loss with what to say or do to comfort him. Luckily another bark sounded.
• • •
After that Lan Zhan had to proceed with Wei Wuxian hanging off his arm. They'd determined the dog was Jin Lings so clearly something was going on.
"Perhaps you should wait here?" suggested Lan Zhen as Wei Ying's trembling increased. He got a glare in response. They found the dog hovering near a hole that must lead into the bunkers. Shooing it away Lan Zhan followed Wei Ying inside. They'd barely gone twenty metres when a pressure in Wei Wuxians head built up, causing him to flinch. It sounded like the burial mound only not as severe. As he swayed slightly on the spot, shaking his head, Lan Zhan’s hand found his elbow.
"Loud." Wei Ying clarified. He didn’t remove Lan Zhan’s hand, relying on him to help him forward. They were steps away from a main chamber when the pressure built again. This time Wei Wuxian staggered sideways and would have fallen if not for Lan Zhan’s strong grip.
"Thank you.” he murmured.
• • •
"Alright?" Wei Wuxian sighed.
"I'm just a little bit more sensitive since loosing my eyesight”
"Wei Ying was always sensitive."
"Lan Zhan!" As they spoke they proceeded into the room ahead. It was full of stone coffins. With each one opened the dizziness in Wei Wuxian increased.
"Do you see Jin Ling?" He'd tried calling out with no answer.
"Inquiry." replied Lan Zhan. Wei Wuxian was horrified when they discovered he was in the wall.
"He's alive." A sigh of relief escaped him before he felt the pull of resentful energy. Fumbling a little he found Lan Zhan’s sword and used it to focus his energy before prodding the wall. Wei Wuxian wondered if Lan Zhan was frowning at him. He felt the sword hit something and he staggered back as the resentful energy showered him with images. A presence next to him refocused his attention. Together they carried Jin Ling out only to spot near someone rushing from the scene Fairy on their heels.
• • •
Taking Jin Lings full weight Wei Wuxian sent Lan Zhan after them. Struggling back into town to a huge amount of focus but he finally managed it. Exhausted and feeling sick he stumbled into the first inn he came across. Wei Wuxian determined his friends weren't here before booking a room with money pinched from Jin Ling. He settled the boy down on the only bed in the room before removing his dirty robes and in the process he came across a dark energy on his leg. Someone or something had cursed his nephew! How dare they?! Wei Wuxian knew he couldn’t break the curse and begun transferring it instead. He was still trying to coral all the, residual curse energy in Jin Ling’s body, blinking under his mask to remain conscious, when the door burst open and in stepped his brother; His very angry brother.
"Get away from him." Jiang Cheng snarled. Wei Wuxian could hear the cackles from Zidian and realised sadly the only reason he had not been hit yet was Jin Ling’s proximity.
• • •
"Don’t be an idiot he’s been cursed! I'm transferring it to me."
"Jiang Cheng!" Jiang Cheng pulled up at Wei Wuxians tone. Cautiously he shifted closer to watch.
"Do you know what you’re doing at least?" His tone was no less hostile.
"More than you. Can you see if I have it all?" Jiang Cheng almost flinched at the not so subtle reminder about the man's lack of vision. Reaching forward he uncovered more of his nephews leg and watched as the last of the curse drained in to Wei Wuxian.
"You have it all." he murmured. Body shaking Wei Wuxian let the connection; both physical and spiritual, drop. Jiang Cheng was doing his best to ignore the man next to him in favour of checking over Jin Ling when a weight thudded into his side
• • •
"Sorry." Wei Wuxian slurred. Shuffling away from Jiang Cheng he searched around for his cane with shaking fingers. He could already feel the pain from the curse spreading up his leg and as of that moment he wanted to curl up in the corner and die, the last few hours’s events catching up with him. Jiang Cheng felt conflicted and he didnt like it. The man he was positive was Wei Wuxian, who else would be stupid enough to transfer a curse onto themselves, .was on his knees; taking deep shuddering breaths. He'd found his cane and was clutching it across his chest. All in all he looked pitiful and Jiang Cheng felt his traitorous heart ache with guilt. Jiang Cheng moved towards him, to do what he wasn't sure. Wei Wuxian wiggled backwards pressing into the wall.
"Stop that! I haven’t done anything." A manic giggle erupted from Wei Wuxian. He was about to answer when chaos arrived. A shrill bark sounded before the door burst open and in charged Jin Ling dog. Jin Ling bolted us right calling out Fairy as he did so.
• • •
Hearing the initial bark followed by the bang of the door Wei Wuxian whimpered and tried to put as much distance between him and the sound of his nightmares as possible. Unable to stand yet he ended up squished into a corner, cane forgotten as he gripped his own arms; fingers digging in. Wei Wuxian couldn't hold in the small sounds of distress he made causing Jiang Cheng to yell at him.
"Will you shut up!" Fairy barked menacingly at his tone, causing Wei Wuxian to scream. He was beyond terrified; his senses were fried, the demon reincarnate was somewhere in the room and Jiang Cheng was being weird. Wei Wuxian was barely able to form a coherent thought let alone defend himself; he truly was at his brother’s mercy. Realisation slid over him and Wei Wuxian found a certain calm with the storm of his soul.
"Do what?" Jin Ling questioned, confused by the abrupt change in his estranged uncle.
"Kill me." Jin Ling and Jiang Cheng gaped at him
"No killing Wei Ying." another voice intervened, deep and strong in its conviction.
• • •
Wei Wuxian turned his head in the direction of the new arrival; warmth filling him at the safe energy he felt.
"No killing." Sure enough Lan Wangji strode straight into the room and positioned himself as a shield for Wei Ying. Jiang Cheng glared at Lan Wangji, rising to his full height to do so. Jin Ling looked between the two nervously.
"Uncle?" Jiang Cheng spared a glance at his nephew. The boy looked tired and ill, he needed rest. Another look at Wei Wuxian tugged at his heartstrings again.
"You saved Jin Ling now get out of my sight!" Lan Zhan took that as his cue; turning around he scooped Wei Wuxian up into his arms and then left as abruptly as he’d arrived. Wei Wuxian said nothing as he was carried down the street, discreetly trying to find something to calm his mind. Hearing Lan Zhang heartbeat Wei Ying pressed closer; the constant beating soothing him. As his breathing eased and his mind cleared Wei Ying noticed those beats were speeding up.
• • •
He rest a hand over Lan Zhan’s heart, the beats sped up again. Worried Wei Ying tugged on his robe.
“Am I too heavy? I can feel your heart straining. Put me down, I think I can walk now. Lan Zhan?" If anything Lan Zhan’s hold tightened.
"It is fine." Wei Wuxian sighed but relented.
"Did you catch the person you were chasing?"
"Mmm, another Inn."
"We're going there now?"
"What about Sizhui and my companion."
Since there was nothing he could say to change the situation Wei Ying just went with it, using the walk there to try and get a better grin on his mental state. Plus, Wei Wuxian wiggled a bit, Lan Zhan was very strong and he was feeling quite safe in his arms. If he dozed off here listening to the song of Lan Zhan’s heart well, no one but Lan Zhan and him would know.
Chapter 6: Cuddles
• • •
He was jostled awake as Lan Zhan ascended some stairs to what Wei Ying assumed was the second floor of yet another inn.
"Sorry." he mumbled, staggering slightly when Lan Zhan set him down.
"Stressed, people keep giving me issues. It's like nothings changed." Wei Wuxian said wistfully. Lan Zhan snuck an arm around his waist to keep him upright, purposely ignoring his pointed statement. They spent the better part of the next hour interrogating Wei Wuxian’s old friend Nie Huaisang. All of Wei Wuxians instincts screamed at him that the man was lying or withholding something but Wei Wuxian had no proof and shoved the feeling to the side. After the Nie sect Leader had fled the room Wei Wuxian could feel eyes on him.
"What Lan Zhan?"
"Well since you seem so certain." Grimly Wei Wuxian removed his mask and Lan Zhan got to see the face he’d waited thirteen years to see again.
• • •
Wei Wuxian offered a tired grin.
"Yes." Breathed Lan Zhan. Wei Wuxian was startled.
“Are you smiling? I missed that." He winced and Lan Zhan reached out to steady him.
"I felt an evil aura earlier, a curse?" Absently Wei Ying nodded, trying to keep the pain at bay.
"Just a simple trace of evil spell. My companion has the skills to deal with it when it comes collecting."
"Will cleanse it for you." a hand grabbed his foot causing Wei Ying's heart to skip a beat as he skittered backwards from the table.
"Lan Zhan!" he berated.
"My apologies I'd.... I'd forgotten. I'm coming over to you now" Lan Zhan sounded truly sorry as he made more noise than normal to cross the small span of space.
"You can see my face Lan Zhan how can you forget?"
"Wei Ying is Wei Ying to me regardless his looks." Wei Ying felt a hand hover near his cheek. Subconsciously he leaned towards it.
• • •
A thumb dusted over the scared skin.
"Does it still hurt?"
"The skin? No. I'm told my eyes will always hurt as they're unable to scab over. "Wei Ying admitted. Unbeknownst to him Lan Zhan looked heartbroken.
"I'll look at the curse now.” The hand was removed and Wei Ying kicked himself for mourning its loss. His lower robe was moved aside revealing his bare leg. A tiny intake of breath alerted him.
"Mm." Gingerly he felt his way up his own leg, pushing aside more of his robe to do so. Lan Zhan swallowed and tried to look elsewhere.
"It comes halfway up my thigh I think. Lan Zhan, am I right?" Steeling himself Lan Zhan looked and quickly turned away again.
"Mm." Wei Ying giggled. Slowly reaching forward he tried to locate Lan Zhan’s face.
"Lan Zhan how are you going to help me if you won’t look at me?"
• • •
Just as Lan Zhan was gathering his courage again his Quaken pouch flew across the room, shattering the tea dishes.
"What is that?" Wei Ying could feel the energy coming from it, "Wait is that the hand?" “Mm.”
"Why is it upset?"
"Your leg. Probably the power from the curse has awoken it again. We need to play the Requiescat."
"Is that what you used before?"
"I don’t have my flute." Lan Zhan pressed a long object into Wei Ying’s hand. His fingers danced lightly along the bamboo.
"This is mine? From the mountain?"
"Oh Lan Zhan.." Wei Ying breathed. It wasn’t a good flute by any means but the fact Lan Zhan had collected it for him meant the world to Wei Ying. Hesitant at first Wei Ying struggled to get his fingers into place by feel alone. He could also tell it up been altered slightly since the last time he’d held it.
• • •
The sound wasn’t phenomenal by any means of the imagination but compared to before it was heaven. Yet its new tone was ignored until Lan Zhan joined him with Wangji and the harmonious melody soothed the upset limb. Slumping Wei Ying dropped his flute into his lap.
"Have you been carrying that the while time!"
"Mm." Lan Zhan moved to collect the pouch. "It has been subdued by Gusu's playing until now!
“Jin Ling picked this curse up from the bunker. There must be something there in relation to you Hand! Lan Zhan!" Wei Ying flailed as his leg was grabbed again.
"Yes yes cleanse away." Wei Ying pouted but couldn’t help but let out a relieved sigh when he felt Lan Zhan’s power gently surged through his system.
"Warm." he commented with a silly grin. Lan Zhan smirked at his comment "We'll have to return to the bunker."
"Mm.'' Neither one commented on the 'we' part.
• • •
They regrouped with Sizhui and Wen Ning, Wei Ying giving up hiding the man’s identity. He trusted Lan Zhan would not take away his only defence plus Sizhui seemed to like the famed Ghost General, something that caused both Wei Wuxian and Wen Ning significant heart ache. They acquired two rooms one of which Lan Zhan insisted on sharing with Wei Ying in case his curse played up. Sizhui looked suspicious but Wei Ying was none the wiser, happily trailing after the man’s energy signature, twirling his flute. The next morning Wei Ying followed Lan Zhan back to the bunker where poor Nie Huaisang was having the previous damage repaired. Wei Ying found himself fascinated by his old friends energy as it fluctuated with his moods particularly when they began searching coffins and pointed out the blade belonging to his older brother wasn't here. When they parted ways Wei Wuxian made sure he apologised for the trouble they'd caused.
• • •
As they entered Qinghe and set about joining up with their companions Lan Zhan inquired about the curse mark.
Cheekily Wei Ying replied. "You’re welcome to strip me to find out." He heard Lan Zhan’s huff plain as day and giggled at the man.
"It feels smaller and lighter Lan Zhan." absently he rubbed the final mark of his other curse. Lan Zhan was aware of the gesture but said nothing. They met up with Sizhui and Wen Ning and settled on a tavern to plan their next step. Wei Ying grew nostalgic at the inns name and told Sizhui all about the last time they visited the Qiting Tavern until Lan Zhan seemingly lost his emotional control and downed Wei Ying’s cup of alcohol after some other patrons brought up some past events blamed on Wei Ying. With Lan Zhan’s head indented into the table they had no choice but to retire for the day. Wei Wuxian seemingly forgot about them separating as Sizhui and Wen Ning helped Wei Wuxian bring Lan Zhan up to their room. They left when Wei Wuxian said he could handle getting him into bed.
• • •
Wei Ying gently settled Lan Zhan down under the covers on the bed, placing him on his back, hands resting on his sternum. He pulled the blankets up and lightly placed his hand on Lan Zhan’s cheek.
"I really miss the old days. Studying at Cloud Recess; swimming at Lotus Pier with Jiang Cheng. I miss being able to see, I wonder what expressions you’ve had on your face these last two days. Despite all I've lost though I still can't regret saving the innocent." A hand covered his, preventing him from pulling away. Wei Ying found himself gazing into gold eyes.
“I regret not being there with you from start to finish."
"Lan Zhan... I did all those..."
"I should have gone with you the night you rescued them. If I had things would have gone differently." Wei Ying sat a finger on his lips causing Lan Zhan to go cross-eyed looking at it.
"Hush Lan Zhan. You never had any part in what happened. It was all my decision from the beginning until the end."
• • •
Lan Zhan sat up and pulled Wei Ying onto the bed and into a hug, Wei Ying’s head resting under his chin.
"Lan Zhan?" A hand started carding through his hair.
"I should have been there Wei Ying. I regret not being there. We made an oath to do what right and you only ever did that.." Wei Ying relaxed into Lan Zhan's hold, eyes closing as his words washed over him.
“I wish you had too." Wei Ying whispered. He moved to get up after some time had passed but Lan Zhan refused to relinquish his hold.
“Umm Lan Zhan?"
"Stay." A sleepy murmur. Wei Ying giggled.
“With you? In the same bed? Lan Zhan how shameless!"
"Mm." Wei Ying considered his options and relented. He was in no way capable of arguing with Lan Zhan.
"Slide over." Lan Zhan obliged and tugged Wei Ying into the bed with him.
"I had no idea we were close enough to share a bed."
"Again, I have my regrets."
• • •
Wei Ying didn’t know how to appease the man so instead he let Lan Zhan cuddle him and run fingers through his hair. If he was honest with himself Wei Ying was also enjoying the physical contact, having not had any since his Senior sister hid past. Unbidden the image of her blood soaked form came to mind and unconsciously he curled tighter into Lan Zhan’s embrace. Maybe just this once he would take advantage of a drunken Lan Zhan to enjoy a small measure of comfort. They fell asleep that way until Wei Ying woke from a nightmare. With some difficulty he extracted himself from the warmth of Lan Zhan, his hair was knot free and he wondered how long Lan Zhan had finger combed it last night.. Slipping past Sizhui and Wen Ning’s room Wei Wuxian made his way outside, with a dumpling in hand and perched himself on the front steps. Munching away he listened to some local children playing Sunshot Campaign. He couldn't help but laugh when they ran away from the Yiling Patriarch, an older lady with a broom.
Chapter 7: Family Outing
• • •
Still smiling Wei Ying stood and turned and greeted the large ball of spiritual energy known as Lan Zhan.
"Lan Zhan! Sleep well?" The energy pulsed.
"Where did you sleep last night? Your bed was untouched." Wei Ying felt a bit downcast at that, he'd hope Lan Zhan would have remembered their conversation. Lan Zhan must have noticed his change of expression.
“What did I do?"There was a tiny hint of panic in his voice so Wei Ying took pity on the man.
"Relax Lan Zhan. We had a nice chat then slept together." Hmm in hindsight Wei Ying probably should have phrased that better given Lan Zhan’s energy was now pulsating at intervals. A hand brushed his arm before it was retracted.
"Did I hurt you?"
"Lan Zhan? Not that kind of sleeping!?" Wei Ying sputtered, positive his face was bright red by this point. Lan Zhan himself was sporting red ears.
• • •
At this point Wen Ning and Sizhui emerged from the building; Wen Ning immediately moving to Wei Wuxians side. Looking between Hanguang Jun and Senior Wei Sizhui couldn’t help but ask.
"Is everything alright?" Wei Ying mentally slapped the images out of his head before reaching for Sizhui; a coarse fabric meeting his touch.
"We're fine. You didnt change your clothes?" Sizhui looked down, a bit surprised himself.
"Oh.. I guess I'm already comfortable wearing them." he offered with a small smile.
"Well it does suit you but your back with your Senior now, you should dress appropriately." Wei Ying half-heartedly scolded.
"Fine." Was Lan Zhan’s response. Wei Ying tilted his head in his direction.
"I couldn’t redo the braids though Senior Wei." Wei Wuxian had braided his hair after a comment from Wen Ning about how easily it knotted. Sizhui had grown quite fond of them.
• • •
With a put upon sigh that was completely false Wei Ying moved over to an outside table. He sent Wen Ning back inside to get them some food before gesturing for Sizhui to come sit in front of him. Gently he began combing the knots out.
"Lan Zhan come memorise how to do this so you can do them for Sizhui in the future.” Obediently the silent man came closer. Smiling to himself Wei Ying went through the motions of teaching Lan Zhan how to braid his son’s hair. When one side was complete he moved and pushed Lan Zhan into his spot.
"You do this side and I'll check it after." Throughout it all Sizhui remained patiently still, only moving to grab a dumpling off the plateful Wen Ning returned with. Wei Ying also grabbed one and munching on it he decided he wanted to see what Lan Zhan and Sizhui looked like together.
“A-Ying may I?" he held out a hand. Wen Ning immediately moved closer and grasped his hand.
• • •
Lan Zhan felt the urge to separate their hands but his were currently full of his son’s hair. Studiously he set about finishing so he could interrupt their touching, except they broke apart on their own, Wen Ning steadying Wei Ying before moving aside.
"Wei Ying?" even alarmed Lan Zhan remembered to keep his voice down in public
"He's fine Hanguang Jun" Sizhui reassured him and moments later Wei Ying did as well; turning his head to face Lan Zhan directly he gave the man his best smile, all soft and tender. Lan Zhan was effectively silenced. Wei Ying could feel his eyes burning, a sure sign he was crying.
"You two look amazing together." he told them earnestly. Sizhui blushed at the praise. The moment was ruined by Lan Zhang Quakun Pouch vibrating in his robes. Tying off the braids he pulled it out, the pouch immediately tried moving in one direction.
• • •
"What’s it upset about now?" Wei Ying asked; he could feel its energy going crazy.
"It is directing us East of Shu." Wei Ying raised an eyebrow at the use of ‘us’.
"Are we going to travel together Lan Zhan? I was under the impression we we're parting ways today." Lan Zhan stared directly into the black that had become Wei Ying’s eyes.
"I have no desire to part from you." Sizhui choked on his mouthful of dumpling, he'd never heard Hanguang Jun be so bold before.
"Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, we're in public!" Wei Ying sounded timid and shy and unsure all in one nervous bundle. Sizhui decided a retreat was in order and got up to drag Wen Ning away.
"We'll wait at the gate." he called. Wei Ying waited until he couldn't sense them anymore before reaching out a grabbing Lan Zhan s hand firmly. "Lan Zhan you really can’t say such things! Please explain yourself a properly."
• • •
Lan Zhan would swear Wei Ying was staring directly into his soul even whilst blind.
"You understand Lan Zhan I won’t become a prisoner no matter what the cage looks like."
"Not a prisoner!" Lan Zhan was quick to reassure him, “You don't like travelling with me?"
“Lan Zhan that’s not fair you know I adore you." Wei Ying admitted freely causing Lan Zhan's blush to intensify.
"What exactly do you want Lan Zhan." Wei Wuxian requested his answer seriously.
“To travel and investigate this occurrence with you." Lan Zhan stated dearly.
"Ai-Ning goes where I go unless he wants to do otherwise."
“Of course." Lan Zhan had no intention of losing Wei Ying this time.
"Very well let’s get going then."
"That... is what you want?" Lan Zhan had to make sure.
• • •
"I will admit that I am curious about this arm of yours. Plus it attacked at the same time I was brought back so it's probably all connected." Lan Zhan had also considered this.
"Sizhui and A-Ning are waiting Lan Zhan we should get going."
As a group of four now they travelled East until they reached a path looking overgrown and unused. Wei Ying worked his charm on the locals and learned the path led to Coffin Town and except for deliveries no one ever left the town. They'd barely gone a few metres up the path when a thick fog seemed to surround them. Instinctively they shifted closer together.
"Be careful." Lan Zhan stated. When they reached the gates Wen Ning easily shoved them aside to allow entrance. Wei Ying startled himself by stepping on what felt like a paper head. Sizhui was sticking close to Wei Ying, he could barely see in all the fog so he wasn’t sure how Senior Wei was coping.
• • •
A figure in white rushed past them and they gave chase; Lan Zhan and Wei Ying splitting as the Figure appeared elsewhere. Sizhui stuck to Wei Ying and Wen Ning vanished into the fog under a command from Wei Wuxian. Not long after Wei Wuxian and Sizhui encountered a mixed group of Disciples; Jin Ling among them.
"It's you again." Jin Ling spouted; beside him Jingyi was pulling Sizhui in for a hug.
"Sizhui! You’re alright and what are you wearing!?" Sizhui laughed despite the circumstances.
"I've been following Senior Mo around. He's so clever! And he bought them for me, much more practical than white for travelling."
"So he did kidnap you!" A random junior accused. Sizhui would swear he heard an 'I told you so’ in the background as Wei Wuxian moved away from the juniors; trying to locate Lin Zhan in the fog. He could sense the two fighters going at it.
• • •
Removing his gaze from Senior Wei Sizhui sternly faced his other juniors.
"Senior Mo is a very nice man and he did not force me to go anywhere." He thought for a moment, "Except Gusu, he was rather insistent I return home to Cloud Recess." Seeing his friend slightly upset at the judgemental views of the other juniors Jingyi changed the topic.
"Is that Bichen I see? Did you meet up with Hanguang Jun?" All the Lan juniors looked excited at the prospect of their senior being near..
"Why are you here?" Jin Ling directed at Wei Wuxian shifting the conversation again. Wei Wuxian moved closer and refocused his attention.
"How about you tell me why you’re here first, night hunting together?" Jingyi and Jin Ling exchanged looks before explaining how they'd grouped together to avoid getting lost and about the small figure they’d seen moving around. Then the duo descended into bickering about Jin Ling naming his dog Fairy.
• • •
Wei Wuxian was delighted to hear Lil Apple was safe and that it had lived up to his namesake. Abruptly Jin Ling and Lan Jingji's argument came to a close when neither they nor the other disciples could utter a word, lips sealed tightly shut.
"Our silencing spell." Sizhui murmured gaze wandering to where he could hear Hanguang Jun’s sword clashing with another. The young men in front of them abruptly changed stances, Sizhui almost went to reassure them until he realised they were pointing behind senior Wei. A group of corpses were advancing upon them. Wei Wuxian was already in motion; having sensed them as they drew closer. Using just resentful energy he commanded they stop and was ignored. Perplexed he tried again. Sighing Wei Wuxian wondered if he'd get away with using his flute here with the juniors present, or would he be stabbed in the back. Shaking those thoughts away Wei Wuxian reached for his flute.
Chapter 8: Purpose
Happy Holidays everyone!
• • •
Wei Wuxian paused, sensing Lan Zhan’s arrival. He made quick work of the corpses even as the juniors surged forward to surround Wei Wuxian again; stopping him for rushing in blind. Wei Wuxian simply patted the nearest one on the head, smiling. Judging by Jin Ling embarrassed sputtering, he was on the receiving end and Wei Wuxian would swear his energy seemed almost pleased. Lan Zhan appeared at his side and they spoke briefly before parting ways. All joking aside Wei Wuxian turned back to the juniors and they stiffened under his serious demeanour.
"Some of you seem off and your coughing. Why?"
"The corpses released some dust they inhaled." The junior in red provided helpfully. Wei Wuxian had Sizhui checked their tongues for discolouration and then happily proclaimed them poisoned. Outrage followed but he simply told them to treat it as life experience and move on. They would be able to brag about it later in life.
• • •
Needless to say the juniors were not impressed with Wei Wuxian's cooking.
"I swear you’re all a bunch of children, well younger children." He complained as they gagged on the congee he'd made. "Sizhui it's not that bad is it?"
Sizhui hesitated briefly, "It's.... spicy, very spicy senior Mo." Wei Wuxian scowled thinking to himself he only put the milder spices in. He wondered at his nephew’s quietness, the boy only briefly complaining whilst they were in the kitchen. His energy seemed fine so he wasn’t unwell. A grin settled on his face as they continued to complain as they were forced to keep eating the spicy congee. Everyone was on their feet moments later, swords half drawn. Moving over to the wall Wei Wuxian expanded his senses outwards towards the tapping noise they could all hear. The kids all shuffled closer behind him. Wei Wuxian smirked.
"Wow, amazing!" They moved closer again, curiosity winning out over fear.
• • •
It was Jin Ling who took the final plunge first, unceremoniously shoving Wei Wuxian aside so he could peer through a gap in the wall. Wei Wuxian squished down the proud feeling wetting us, he did not deserve that, although perhaps after growing up with Jiang Cheng the boy needed someone to be proud him. A hand was in his face and Wei Wuxian struggled not to laugh at Jin Ling outrage. One by one the disciples moved toward to take his place or make new holes to look through, coaxed by Wei Wuxian’s easy going manner. They shared their observations and Wei Wuxian was quick to offer them praise. It was tiring to maintain his senses but Wei Wuxian diligence was paid off when he noticed the person before the juniors did. He felt a smug sense of satisfaction that his prior training with A-Ning and Sizhui had paid off. Thinking quickly he re-animated two puppets and charged out the door to the dismay of the kids.
• • •
The second Wei Wuxian laid a hand on the person he wanted to retract it. He was a curiously volatile mix of resentful and normal energy, though on closer inspection Wei Wuxian could tell the good vibes he was getting were coming from the sword he carried. This only served to make him even more suspicious. Still he'd come all the way out here and worried his young friends so he supposed he should probably save the man. Now for Wei Wuxian time had passed slowly as he followed his chain of thought but for the junior he'd only just stepped out before he returned, bursting through the door with the man leaning heavily on him. Wei Wuxian plopped him down against the wall and stepped back.
"Get him some congee" Tone brisk and businesslike cause the juniors straightened and one hurried off to comply. Sizhui, Jingyi and Jin Ling shuffled closer, hovering protectively behind Wei Wuxian as the crouched down. He reached for the bright energy attached to the man’s back only to have his hand slapped away.
• • •
It wasn’t a strong slap but it was still a tell of the persons alertness level.
"Not the ordinary kind of cultivator are you?" he mused out loud. The kids were tense as he spoon fed some congee to the ailed man. Wei Wuxian took a certain amount of pleasure from feeling that persons energy flutter and spike with each mouthful he forced on them. Such a malicious power rolled in this mans body, a stark contrast to the weapon he carried.
“Isn’t that Xiao Xingchen’s sword?" A disciple whispered. Wei Wuxian's heart clenched; he knew the person in front of him was not his uncle; the sword perhaps but not the man. Wordlessly he rose and stepped back, the juniors moving in sync with him. For those that could see, they watched the tense lines around the injured mans mouth grow tenser. Outside many footsteps drew their attention and to the alarm of the juniors, a hundred odd puppets were moving down the path.
• • •
Standing Wei Wuxian reached for Sizhuis’ sword and slid his fingers along it. The well kept blade sliced easily through his skin. His charges cried out in protest and offered their own instead. Wei Wuxian scolded their assumptions and asked for a Talisman; blank or used. One promptly appeared over his shoulder, courtesy of Jin Ling. With practised ease he overwrote the previous talisman and sent it flying at the door. Immediately the sounds died down as the room was sealed. Wei Wuxian was about to turn his attention back to the imposter when he heard the roof creak and ordered the kids to move back. The roof gave in and down dropped a black robed figure. Wei Wuxian couldn’t place the energy signature but the distress it showed was painful to feel. It also felt dangerous and Wei Wuxian cautioned everyone to be careful. Jin Ling intercepted a blow coming for him and Wei Wuxian used the opportunity to move out of the fray and pull out his flute. Moments later the figure was restrained and Sizhui was pulling out the nail in his head.
• • •
Sizhui’s is inquiry burdened Wei Wuxian's heart and confirmed what he already felt. The imposter was a killer, which suited his dangerous energy. A click of his finger had Song Lan moving once again; the living dead easily breaking the bonds that held him. In one swift movement his blade rested mere millimetres from Wei Wuxians throat. Around him the juniors bristled with fury. Knowing now who they faced Wei Wuxian sent them out, afraid for their lives. Song Lan followed them and that fear intensified.
“You would stoop so low as to hold children hostage." A wicked grin came with the reply.
"Of course! You know me. I have no shame." Wei Wuxian cocked his head to the side.
"I know you? I'm afraid that probably isn’t true." A scoff answered him. He heard the man move and then he could sense a soul before him. Instinctively he reached for it; knowing there was nothing he could do but wanting to offer some comfort.
• • •
It was snatched away before he could make contact.
"That poor soul; to be splintered in such a way.. There is no hope for it. Did you do this?" The mixture of outrage and confusion bubbled beneath Wei Wuxians skin. Just what did this person want?
"Who are you?" he demanded. A chuckle sounded and the familiarity struck Wei Wuxian down to his soul.
"You know me Master Wei, I’m your beloved disciple Xue Yang. As for this soul, I want you to fix him for me." Seeing no reason to deny it Wei Wuxian did not refute his name however he did have something to say about the rest.
"I'm quite certain I never took on any disciples and I most definitely would not have considered you a suitable candidate. The soul... his soul, it can not be fixed and should be allowed to rest. Must you torment it further?"
• • •
"Lies!" Xue Yang’s energy spiked; anger and desperation? colouring his mood. Wei Wuxian tensed, readying himself for an attack when the wall beside them exploded inwards. Wen Ning was pummelling Song Lan, the more experienced fierce corpse holding his own against the Master swordsman.
"A-Ling take it outside please." The two humans followed the fight and Xue Yang displayed his true nature. Wei Wuxian defended himself admirably against the delinquent. He was pleased with his reactions in his first real fight. Luckily when he was starting to tire Lan Zhan showed up to engage the juvenile.. Satisfied Lan Zhan was more than capable of handling this fight Wei Wuxian moved off to find something else to do. Wen Ning and Song Lan were still battling away with each other, a situation that currently did not need Wei Wuxian's involvement. Off to the side he could sense the kids. Apparently they were somewhat enjoying themselves.
• • •
Making his way over Wei Wuxian was greeted with excited exclamations and a hug from Sizhui. Wei Wuxian felt warm at the happy glow of energy coming from the kids.
"Enjoying the view?" Some guilty shuffling occurred. "And are you learning anything?" he probed. "That the Ghost General could have killed us had he really wanted to on the Mountain." Wei Wuxian held back a snicker at that random comment. Everyone jumped when the blind girl popped up and nervously followed behind Wei Wuxian when he insisted they follow her. Only Sizhui was allowed close to the coffin she lead them too and the description of the corpse caused Wei Wuxian to grasp the coffin for support. He was once again crowded by Juniors but he brushed them aside, though not unkindly, and moved out of the group.
"If she is blind and mute how are we to find out what happened?" Sizhui queried.
"Empathy." was the response.
• • •
Jin Lings protest was the loudest and despite the brash words Wei Wuxian could hear the concern loud and clear. The pride at Wei Wuxian's confidence in him was also clear, leaving Wei Wuxian with thoughts on words to have with Jiang Cheng about positive reinforcement. Empathy was definitely different when not done with Wen Ning. As Wei Wuxian cycled through all of the young maiden’s memories he struggled to keep his mind calm; a deep ice cold rage was building in his bones and when he finally awoke to the concerned kids' cries there was only one thing on his mind.
"Xue Yang must die." For the juniors who had just watched their Senior shake and tremble as though plagued by a great strain this made no sense. But despite their concern and fear Wei Wuxians demeanour had changed. Gone was the fun loving eccentric Senior Mo and in its place was a hardened fighter with a purpose to fulfil.
• • •
Chapter 9: Drained
Wei Ying went off in search of Lan Zhan, pulling out his flute to aid him when he came upon the battling duo. Barely a few notes in and Song Lan came crashing to the ground behind him; Wen Ning pressing him down. Immediately Wei Wuxian moved towards them.
"Secure him Wen Ning." It came as no surprise to Wei Wuxian when he located a second nail in the Mans head, without it in place Song Lan collapsed to his knees, the remorse clear as day on his face. Lan Zhan had robbed Xue Yang of Frostwork and the delinquent was not happy, anger present in every swing of his own blade. Wei Wuxian arrived just in time to catch the spirit pouch Lan Zhan freed from him. Xue Yang raged and skulked about in the mist, tossing taunts and insults at the pair. Wei Wuxian answered in kind, the ice in his heart leaving him cleared headed and concise. Back and forth they bantered until Wen Ning had to step in to prevent Wei Wuxian from getting nailed in the face literally.
• • •
It only escalated from there. Xue Yang’s position was continuously given away by Little blind until he finally struck her down, though in doing so he was left open to gain his own wound from Lan Zhan. Wei Wuxian hurried to the young girl’s side but he could already feel her life essence fading. Xue Yang screamed in both pain and anger, charging straight at them and into another attack causing the loss of an arm. He kneeled; defeated but defiant. A new enemy appeared face obscured by a mask and for a few moments he matched Lan Zhan blow for blow before retreating to Xue Yang’s side. The Yin Metal in Xue Yang’s possession was reclaimed by the person in the ghost f ice mask. Wei Wuxian felt the energy being gathered and tossed a talisman right before Lan Zhan sent Bichen towards them. Together they forced him to leave Xue Yang behind. Song Lan got his revenge and justice though Wei Wuxian knew it was a hollow victory for the man. Robbed of both his ability to speak and a dear friend there was little in the world that could make up for that.
• • •
With Little Blind buried and Song Lan off to start his own journey again Lan Zhan and Wei Ying turned their attention to the real reason they were there. They followed their pouch to a coffin laden with suppressive Talismans. Wei Ying shoved the lid off and the dull pounding of resentful energy began behind his sightless eyes. The coffin itself was empty but the pouch in Lan Zhan’s hand seemed to glow with enthusiasm. Gathering some energy he sent the coffin gliding backwards, beneath another coffin covered with a suppressing circle drawn on its lid. A cold sweat breaking on his brow Wei Wuxian broke the seal, allowing Lan Zhan to slice the lid open. Wei Wuxian's stance wavered as the resentful energy contained with the seal burst out, thankfully Lan Zhan's hand on his arm kept him standing. Lan Zhan sealed their latest acquisition into another pouch and quickly escorted Wei Wuxian out of the area, the woozy man wobbling on his feet.
• • •
He regained some strength by the time they reached the town of Tanzhou, where they had sent the kids and Wen Ning off to earlier. Walking on his own, but staying close to Lan Zhan’s side Wei Wuxian allowed himself to be guided by keep a hand in the crook of his elbow. He coaxed Lan Zhan into describing the surrounding stalls, curious about what was being sold. Eventually he persuaded the man to purchase a lantern decorated with a pair of rabbits apparently similar to the one they'd made all those years ago. Wei Wuxian had yet to smile again and Lan Zhan felt his face had lost a lot of colour so he was eager to please him in some way. Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but be a little happier. He faltered when he heard a vendor sing out about paper butterflies, his mind taking back to a time when Wen Yuan was running amuck in Yiling wanting one. Lan Zhan calling his name softly brought him back to the present and he quickly plastered on a small smile.
• • •
"I'm alright Lin Zhan, just dwelling in the past. Now I believe the kids are waiting for us." And it was true, ahead was Sizhui and the rest of the teens standing almost in formation. Lan Zhan and Wei Wuxian walked up to them quickly and were greeted formally.
"Zewu Jun is here.” Sizhui replied respectfully, though he was carefully checking Senior Wei over with his eyes. To him the kind senior seemed tired. Before he could inquire he was handed the lantern his Father was carrying and the duo walked inside. With a sigh he directed everyone to enter the inn and get something to eat.
When Lan Zhan released the sword spirit for his brother to see Wei Wuxian could feel the agony Zewu Jun was feeling, see it clearly in his energy and he longed to provide some comfort to the man. Unfortunately tough things often need to be said and discussed and this is definitely one of those things.
• • •
Wei Wuxian said his piece and was saddened when Zewu Jun continued to defend his sworn brother. But he understood loyalty far better than most. Zewu Jun would investigate, his honour and family name demanded it, not to mention the love he held for his blood brother. He simply needed time to process and conclude his own thoughts. Wei Wuxian on the other hand was seriously considering curling up in the corner at the courtyard for a nap. Thus this was of course when the juniors chose to cause a ruckus. Insults from Jin Ling about Wei Wuxian struck the man in question hard though his expression didn't alter in the slightest. Lan Zhan slipped free of Wei Ying’s grip to head inside; his eyes cold and his spirit icy. With his human crutch gone Wei Wuxian tilted until a firm hard grasped his elbow.
"Master Wei?" The gentle soothing voice of Lan Xichen was ringing in his ear. His energy was curious, hopeful and dismayed all at once.
• • •
Wei Wuxian hesitated in answering; depending on which way he answered Zewu Jun would confirm who he was. Still this was Lan Zhan's brother and Wei Wuxian couldn’t bring himself to lie to the man. He startled when spiritually laced fingers rested on his temple. Huh... since when was he sitting on the ground?
"Master Wei?" Zewu Jun tried again, concern evident. Wei Wuxian reached up to rest a hand on his wrist.
"My apologies sect Leader Lan, I hadn't realised I was so low on energy." He contemplated how to stand when he was guided to his feet. Formally he greeted Zewu Jun.
"And of course I confirm your assumptions." An intake of breath.
"Then your eyes?"
"Well and truly gone I'm afraid. But as I informed your nephew I will adapt. I didn't kidnap him by the way! He grabbed me!"
• • •
Lan Xichen chuckled at the panic that found its way into Wei Wuxians voice. Finding some measure of comfort in the familiar antics of the boy he once knew.
"I never thought anything to the contrary. I can assure you of that Master Wei." Wei Wuxian was almost sure he was being laughed at.
"But in all honesty Zewu Jun, it can't be a coincidence that all this happening at the same time I was summoned. I ask only that you think on it." Wei Wuxian steeled himself and offered another salute before heading inside after Lan Zhan. He paused on the threshold of the main eating area and enquired from a serving girl about which room Hanguang Jun had booked before heading upstairs. He simply didnt have the energy to deal with anyone right at that moment. Wen Ning found him meditating a few minutes later and positioned himself near the door to ward of any curious juniors. The last few days had been long and his Master needed to rest.
• • •
Lan Sizhui found himself in a predicament; stuck between upholding the rules of his clan, defending a cherished Senior or simply walking away, all the while feel guilty for upsetting Jin Ling. Since having met Senior Wei Sizhui struggled to reconcile the humorous fun loving man with the villain of the Elder’s horror stories. Thankfully the choice was removed by Hanguang Jun entering the area, a cold blank look on his face as he surveyed them all. Every Lan disciple in the room knew they had disappointed the man and felt shame.. Jin Ling felt no such thing, uncaring of the mans opinion, but Lan Sizhui? The boy looked so sad that Jin Ling couldn’t stop the spike of guilt in his heart. They all watched but said nothing as Hanguang Jun purchased and carried alcohol upstairs along with various dishes of some rather red looking foods. Similar to how Hanguang Jun was ignoring the chicken wings on Jingyi’s plate.
Chapter 10: Invitation
• • •
Wen Ning and Hanguang Jun stared at each other. Wen Ning looked away. So far they hadn't really had any reason to interact with each other directly. Each knew the other held importance to Wei Wuxian and each lacked the ability to communicate well.
"Master Wei is meditating." He offered quietly, shuffling to the side to allow him past. Hanguang Jun inclined his head, gracefully stepping into the room whilst balancing the serving tray. Wen Ning paused but gave in again.
"I..I’ll take my leave then."
"Wen Ning." Wen Ning froze, "My condolences on you family and my apologies for not doing more." Wen Ning fled. Movement had Lan Zhan turning around to face the slumped form of Wei Ying.
"Wei Ying!" he rushed to put the food down and kneel beside him.
"I’m fine Lan Zhan."
"Not fine." Lan Zhan argued, heaving Wei Ying to his feet.
• • •
"Can you eat?" Lan Zhan’s voice was awfully close to his ear. Wei Ying flushed.
"I'm not disabled Lan Zhan....” Irony, “Lead me to the food?" He pouted and though tired there was no way he could resist the tantalising smells coming from the table. Once deposited Wei Ying dug into the food carefully. He wasn’t the most graceful eater anymore and currently his hands would not stop shaking. A quarter of the way through his appetite vanished and he felt that eating more would be a poor idea. Forgetting all about his current companion Wei Ying stood and stumbled towards the bed. It would seem his body had other ideas, having had enough of being upright, and he didnt even make it to his feet like he'd thought. Wei Ying’s feet crossed, or rather didn't uncross, and the entire contents of the table would have been lost were in not for Lan Zhan’s reflexes. Wei Ying was completely unaware as he was safely tucked into bed by a concerned Lan Zhan.
• • •
Lightly brushing away the loose strands of hair framing Wei Ying’s face Lan Zhan gazed at the mask shielding mist of his features. It had been days since he'd seen the man without it. Sighing he reached to undo the knot holding it in place. Setting it on the table beside the bed, he went to work on removing the blindfold as well. When he was finally able to gaze upon Wei Ying’s face Lan Zhan found he was frowning at the discomfort he found written there. Fetching a basin of water Lan Zhan soaked a cloth square and settled it over Wei Ying’s eyes. Afterwards he perched on the bed beside him and started transferring over a steady trickle of energy. He paid no attention to time, falling into a light meditative state; the energy flow steady and calm. He felt Wei Ying wake before the man moved and halted the transference. Wei Ying reached up to feel the fabric on his face aware the restrictive bin wings usually around his head were gone. Lan Zhan moved his hand and resoaked the compress.
"Remain still, you collapsed."
• • •
Wei Ying let out an annoyed groan.
"This body is so weak." Wei Ying cursed himself for not regulating his energy better, it would take a day or so before he'd be able to sense his surroundings properly again. Lan Zhan’s hand hovered now with no task to complete. Wei Ying felt his hunger rise again,
"Did any food survive my plunge?" Immediately Lan Zhan moved to fetch some of the lighter dishes. Obediently Wei Ying ate what he was offered without complaint, propped against the bed headboard. This was how Lan Xichen found them moments later. A light knock announced his presence as he entered the room. Wei Ying startled but caught himself almost instantly.
"Brother." Lan Zhan greeted and Wei Ying mentally thanked him for the much needed hint.
"Zewu Jun." he greeted respectfully. Lan Xichen moved closer, concern evident.
"Master Wei did you collapse again?"
"Again." A stern query was etched into that one word. Wei Ying laughed nervously.
• • •
"I’ll have you knew I merely stumbled and your brother was kind enough to aid me." Lan Xichen nodded and Lan Zhan's gratuitous expression. Wei Ying sensed they were exchanging silent words and felt his temper spike somewhat. He didnt have this problem with Wen Ning and Sizhui.
"I am still in the room gentleman and I haven't learnt the Lan Sect secret language of silence yet." Lan Xichen smiled gently but Lan Zhan looked as mortified as a Lan could.
"No. whatever you two may be planning if you think I'll just go along with it you are sadly mistaken. I am more than capable of teleporting away again." Lan Xichen could see his brother becoming upset with what was being discussed or more the way it was being discussed.
"Master Wei I was merely concerned for your lack of energy, it never seemed to be an issue before now."
"It has been a long few days." came Wei Wuxian terse replied.
• • •
Lan Zhan returned a hand to Wei Wuxian and was inwardly relieved when he wasn’t shook off.
"Wei Ying.'' Wei Wuxian sighed.
"I understand you’re concerned but I simply overdid it, that doesn’t mean I’ll allow myself confined. If you feel I’m a liability I can certainly take A-Ling and leave. It was not my intention to interfere." For a few seconds Lan Xichen thought Wangji was going to pass out he went so white and felt a stab of anger at Wei Wuxian. That anger faded somewhat when Wei Wuxian flinched away from him. Wangji shot him a look of disappointment though he was sure he'd shown no outward sign of his emotional outburst. Realisation hit.
"You’re using your energy to see, so to speak. You could sense my energy just then." he marvelled, “Very clever indeed Master Wei." Wei Wuxian inclined his head in a small manner.
"You as well Zewu Jan. "he said respectfully.
"Is that why you’re tired?" Lan Zhan asked.
"I used a lot of energy during the light with Xue Yan."
• • •
Wei Wuxian spoke defensively, almost crossing his arms to pout, and Lan Xichen felt a rush of affection for the young man; he couldn’t help the small huff of laughter than slipped out. Gazing at the scarred face of Wei Wuxian Lan Xichen remembered why he'd come to speak with them in the first dace. However his brother was speaking again.
"Wei Ying, accompany me to Jinlintai next month." Wei Wuxian visibly started, convinced as he was that they would be parting ways very shortly.
"We are still missing the head." It was Lan Xichen's turn to flinch. He sighed quietly.
"Please go with Wangji to Jinlintai. If you too can bring me proof 1 will of course act on the path of justice."
"So if we find the head there it will confirm our suspicions and that will be enough for you to act?"
"Yes Master Wei and in the mean time perhaps you could spend some time resting in Gusu."
• • •
Lan Xichen was guilty of enjoying the surprise on both younger men’s faces..
"Your companion is of course welcome to come as well, the decision is completely yours." Still no reaction, perhaps he'd broken them? "I'm sure Wangji has no problems with this arrangement, do you Wangji?"
"None." Lan Zhan quickly confirmed, awaiting Wei Ying’s answer with baited breath. Wei Ying appeared lost in his thoughts, though in reality he was trying to guess if this was a trick or not.
"You will provide us with a jade token so we may come and go?"
"Of course.'' Lan Xichen agreed, "You would be a guest, though perhaps you should remain as Master Mo for the duration of your stay for safeties sake." Wei Wuxian chuckled and the room seemed brighter.
"You mean your Uncle's, wouldn’t want to give him a heart attack."
• • •
The trip to Gusu was both awkward and hilarious to Wei Wuxian. Awkward when he was standing on Bichen arms wrapped around Lan Zhan's waist. Hilarious because most of Lan juniors travelling with them were absolutely baffled whenever Wen Ning showed up each night at the camp sight regardless of how far they’d flown. Flying had been terrifyingly exhilarating. In the first few minutes Wei Ying had clung to Lan Zhan, blinder than he'd ever been. Everything had energy, the trees, the earth, the water, the people but in the air there was nothing. Eventually though he adjusted, able to sense the others around him, despite his low energy, and that helped keep him grounded in the moment. Wei Wuxian also took some pleasure observing the interactions between Wen Ning and Lan Xichen. Lan Xichen seemed to have made it his personal mission to converse with the socially challenge Wen Ning, especially when he witnessed the quiet conversations between him and Sizhui. Their energy rose and fell with every interaction in a way that fascinated Wei Wuxian.
• • •
If Lan Xichen mentioned anything about Lan Sizhui’s change of robes Wei Wuxian was not aware of it. That being said Wei Wuxian encouraged him to change to his usual attire a day before they were due to arrive. Lan Sizhui found he was strangely insulted on Wei Wuxians behalf.
"Sizhui you're elders won’t be happy if you're not wearing the correct robes. It is somewhat disrespectful." Lan Sizhui wanted to pout, only years of education and training held the expression at bay. Wei Wuxian patted the boys head.
"I'm not saying you have to give them away, keep them for travelling." Sizhui nodded. Both were unaware of the melancholy look being directed at them nor the sad gaze fixated on the younger sibling doing the staring. Lan Xichen could only hope this reunion would end better and last longer than the previous time spent together by the self proclaimed soulmates. He may not agree with their accusations but seeing Wangji happy made Lan Xichen happy as well.