Lan Wangji knew exactly what Lan Sizhui was going through. He was just about the same age when he too experienced how cruel and relentless life could be. How unmercifully taunting reality really was. To hand him a house made of glass with dimly lit rooms filled with sweet promises and fleeting hope, then have it shattered into a million jagged edges. Impaling him over and over again as it rain down on him.
The shards left wounds and cuts on him that never healed. Imprinting memories with razor sharped edges on his being. Leaving behind embedded sharp reminders so that every time he breathes it screams at him ‘this was all your fault, you should have protected him’. In the end he found his semblance and with time he soon found his Wei Ying and healed. The pain of the past nothing but a distant and repressed memory.
Lan Wangji fought the hardest he could to protect Lan Sizhui, to make sure he grew up in a world without hurt and hatred. He wanted Lan Sizhui to be allowed the freedom to do and love as he pleases; something his generation never had the luxury of experiencing.
Lan Wangji softly knocked on Lan Sizhui’s door, the room that used to be fill with such happiness and boundless love, radiating the most heart warming laughters and sweet nothing. It was now replaced with deafening silence and an unbearable loneliness, only radiating regret and longing.
Lan Sizhui opened the door and Lan Wangji inwardly flinched, if there was ever a moment that he was thankful for his inability to emote emotion now was one of those time. Lan Sizhui’s beautiful eyes that used to radiate so much love and warmth, those eyes that was once twinkling with dreams and danced with life now stared at him with piercing sadness.
Lan Wangji scans Lan Sizhui’s body to ensure that he was still in one piece; as much as he could be at this point. His eyes lingers on Lan Sizhui’s mutilated fingers covered in fresh cuts and forming scabs. Lan Wangji’s heart shattered and he wonders if all Lans were truly destined to suffer a fate worst than death when it comes to love.
“A-Yuan.” Lan Wangji’s voice was gentle with concern but stern, just like the one he used to use on his little a-Yuan before he grew up and became Lan Sizhui.
“It’s not fair.”
Lan Wangji would have missed it if he wasn’t equipped with a strong sense of hearing.
“A-Yuan, he is not coming back. You can’t keep doing this. You have your duties to the sect and your responsibilities to the people of Gusu. You can’t continue to hurt and punish yourself.”
The words tumbling out of Lan Wangji’s mouth tasted like lies and hypocrisy. The same exact words that were used on him by the elders when he was in mourning. Lan Sizhui was doing much better than he had ever managed too. Yet the Lan Sizhui standing before him is just a shell of a person, someone who has resigned himself into a seclusion. Someone who was trying to forget yet held onto any resemblance of the person that they once loved fearlessly and unapologetically.
“One last time.” Sizhui whispered.
Lan Wangji nods, reaches his hand out to give Sizhui a pat on the head and then leaves him to do what he needs too. The words he wants to use to comfort and soothe Lan Sizhui’s sticks to the tip of his tongue. Lan Wangji’s makes a mental note to have Wei Wuxian do it instead.
Lan Sizhui retreats back into his room, their room and settles down at a table that he has been spending his days at since that fateful night happened. He takes a calming breath and then places his hands on the guqin. The strings that used to be a pristine white were now dyed red, underneath it splattered an array of the aftermath. The notes have long been ingrained into him. His fingers started moving on their own and it plays the all too familiar tune.
The same one Lan Wangji did, the same one that was taught to him. Lan Sizhui used to watch Lan Wangji play and had thought then it sounded so beautiful, so full of hope and promises but now it sounded like anguish and remorse. The strings cut deeper into his flesh just grazing his bones; screaming at him ‘he is never coming back’. Closing his eyes he willed himself to endure it.
He finally hears it, a reply.
Do you believe in fate?
“I thought I did.”
The red thread of fate brought us together.
“I knew you were my fated one from the very beginning.”
Do you still believe in soulmates?
“I found that answer in you. It was always you and will always be you. In this life, the next one and the one after that.”
Do you think we will ever meet again?
“I found you in this life and I’ll find you again in the next life. You’re my fated one now and forever.”
Yuan-dada it’s okay to let go.
“I’m lost without you. Since you’ve been gone there’s been a void that can’t be filled, there’s nothing for me here now. There’s no sun, there’s no tomorrow and no future for me without you here.”
You have so much to live for. People who would miss you. You have to live well for the both of us.
“I want to be with you again. I want to hold you. I want to hear your laughter. I want to feel your touch again. I need to see your smile. I want to hear your voice calling my name. Everything reminds me of you, a reminder that you’re not here anymore. I’ll follow you anywhere. Please, just let me be by your side.”
A-Yuan, your home is here in Cloud Recesses. We grew up together and fell in love with each other here. Sneaking glances at each other when we thought the other person wasn’t looking. Shy kisses and fumbling moments. You belong there, at Cloud Recesses and not with me. It’s not your time to join me yet but I will be waiting for you. Now and forever.
“You’re my home. You’re where I belong.”
I loved you and will continue to love you, in this life and the next life. You need to live well for the both of us.
“You’ll always be my forever and for eternity.”
From my first till my very last breath, you’ll always be mine as well.
“Stay a little longer.”
Silence was something that Sizhui was not used to and will never get used too.
Sizhui’s fingers began to move frantically.
Sizhui’s fingers trembles but moved with feverish desperation across the guqin.
Sizhui finally opens his eyes, empty; the darkness devouring him into a bleak oblivion.
The echoing notes slows into a silence that becomes a deafening scream and a reminder that Lan Jingyi was truly gone. All that was left of him was the memories within these walls, their safe haven that had turned into Lan Sizhui’s living nightmare and eternal prison; his own personal hell.