There is one thing that is obvious in the war camp, and that is that Chifeng-zun fucks . He fucks, and everyone knows.
It is also widely known that Nie Mingjue has a long-standing relationship with Lan Xichen, but he is missing and many wonder that his behavior is a result born of worry. Jiang Cheng does not know Nie Mingjui well enough to speculate but he thinks this might be true. It is also rumored that he was fucking Meng Yao before he disappeared from Qinghe, but that is neither here nor there.
Jiang Cheng is not here to judge what Nie Mingjue gets up to. He is here to win the fucking war. He is not here to be fucked by Nie Mingjue. The thing is, there seems to be one certain cure to the stress of the war— and that is spending the night in Nie Mingjue’s tent.
The first time Jiang Cheng notices, it's with a man in Nie robes, leaving the tent in the early dawn hours. Jiang Cheng was out for a stroll when he discovered them, Nie Mingjue clad in a silver silk robe, the coarse dark hair on his broad chest highlighted by the soft morning light.
Jiang Cheng has a rush of something in his stomach and he very much does not want to address what that is.He continues walking, neither one of them noticing his presence. He prefers to keep it this way.
Jiang Cheng starts noticing the signs after that — a raised eyebrow, a brush of a shoulder, an invitation to spar. Nie Mingjue is a master of the blade and a novice at subtlety. He never comes out and says what he wants, or god forbid actually asks —but people continue to line up.
Metaphorically, not physically. They’re in a war after all, with so many things to do other than wait to be chosen by Nie Mingjue. And yet, that is what happens.
It’s never quite so obvious that a fool wouldn’t miss it, but it is quite enough in Jiang Cheng’s face that he contemplates saying something.
What exactly he has no idea. Jiang Cheng isn’t even sure what he wants from all of this. Sure, there is a longing deep in his chest that he can’t quite identify — which, definitely has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he doesn’t want to identify it.But he also has a practiced habit of keeping his head down, which means staying out of trouble.
And this? This is trouble.
Night after night Jiang Cheng watches as Nie Mingjue gives someone the signal, letting them eagerly enter into his tent. Morning after morning Jiang Cheng sees said person leaving the tent looking disheveled, wrecked, but completely blissed out. Jiang Cheng tries to stop watching—he really has no vested interest in whatever this is — he doesn’t even like Nie Mingjue.And yet he continues to watch day after day, week after week.
Then he catches sight of Jin Zixuan leaving the tent one morning and is shocked to see the blossoms of bruises covering his neck and down into the front of his robes.
Jiang Cheng does not show up to the training pavilion that afternoon with thoughts of Nie Mingjue.He is there strictly to work on his sword forms. It is a complete coincidence that this is where Nie Mingjue selects the majority of his partners, that this is where cultivators can drop their outer robes as a signal they want to be chosen. That this is where cultivators can challenge Chifeng-zun to a sparring match in hopes he will notice them for the night.
This is less a secret and more a sport now; Nie Mingjue has fucked enough soldiers in the camp to send reports flying.
About how big his cock is, how satisfied he leaves his partners, how he will take repeats if you've earned it. How gentle he is when you want it, how rough he is when you need it.
Jiang Cheng feels his blood pressure rise each time he overhears these whispered conversations; each time ignoring the pointed looks directed his way.
Finds himself here he is at the training camp — dressed impeccably so as to not arouse suspicion — going through forms with Zidian until his limbs ache and his chest is tight.
“Haven’t seen you here before,” a gruff voice comes from behind him.
Jiang Cheng straightens and turns, glancing up at Nie Mingjue’s impressive form towering above him. Jiang Cheng forgets how tall he is, how broad he is, how much his physical presence commands attention. This does not stop Jiang Cheng’s hackles from rising..
“That’s probably because I’ve never been here before,” Jiang Cheng snaps back before he can stop himself. Really, he doesn’t mean to be rude; it just slips out.
“Is that so?” Nie Mingjue’s voice drops low as he takes a step closer, his large hand on Baxia, his gaze penetrating. “You seem quite formally dressed to be practicing forms in hot weather like this.” He pauses and glances around the pavilion at everyone else who are clearly eavesdropping but trying to pretend they aren’t, his eyes taking in all their various states of undress.
“I am not some kept whore whom you can raise your eyebrow at to lure inside your tent!” Jiang Cheng says this louder than he should have, and regrets it immediately. To his chagrin, Nie Mingjue does not react, but the rest of the pavilion — or at least the ones within earshot — snicker quietly to themselves.
“Alright,” Nie Mingjue concedes, dipping his head in respect. Jiang Cheng is fascinated at the way the small braids swing back and forth as he does this, catching sight of the smallest ornaments braided into his hair. “My apologies, Jiang-zongzhu. I meant no disrespect. I merely came over to see if you might want to spar.”
Jiang Cheng frowns, tightening his grip on Zidian as he glances around at everyone watching the pair of them. “Just sparring? Nothing else?”
“Just sparring,” Nie Mingjue agrees.
Jiang Cheng deliberates for half a second before he moves, striking out with Zidian. The sound she makes as she connects with the sharpened edge of Baxia sets his teeth on edge, but then he grins.
His first genuine smile since Wei Wuxian disappeared.
Nie Mingjue counters with a devastating blow by Baxia that Jiang Cheng barely fends off; he ducks down to avoid another swing as he unsheathes Sandu. Despite Nie Huaisang’s insistence at not training the sabre, he’s still learned many things about Nie specific cultivation, which he eagerly divulged to Jiang Cheng during long nights in Cloud Recesses. Jiang Cheng uses this to his advantage as he slides into a false defensive stance.
He allows Nie Mingjue to push him back, and back, and back, watching the twitch of his shoulders and the strain in his forearms, using the flexibility and nimbleness instilled through Jiang sword forms to conserve his energy. Nie Mingjue’s fighting style relies strength, force and stamina. He’s a force to be reckoned with but he's simply that, a force. A force that can exist uninterrupted forever, unless countered by an equal, an opposite. But Nie Mingjue is only human and at some point he must lose momentum. Jiang Cheng will be ready when he does.
Jiang Cheng keeps himself light on his feet, dodging blow after blow, conservative with Zidian and mindful with Sandu. He is almost gleeful in this. Before, this type of match might have been impossible, but since his golden core’s been restored, he’s noticed a significant difference in his cultivation.
Once the beads of sweat start to collect at the edges of Nie Mingjue’s brows Jiang Cheng knows it is nearly time. He waits, then waits some more, allowing Nie Mingjue to think he has the upper hand.
It happens in an instant. Nie Mingjue’s lips curl up in satisfaction as he makes one final swing, thinking he has the victory blow — but Jiang Cheng is ready for it. He blocks the blow with Sandu but, with lightning fast precision, he swings Zidian below Nie Mingjue’s guard..
Nie Mingjue is too tired — and distracted — to notice or anticipate the strike of the whip, and Zidian snakes behind the back of his knees. Jiang Cheng shifts his weight backwards onto his left heel, stabilizing Sandu as he yanks Zidian.
Nie Mingjue falls.
Jiang Cheng holds back a grin as Nie Mingjue drops to his knees, Baxia landing in the dirt with a soft thump. Jiang Cheng steps forward, bringing his hand to Nie Mingjue’s throat.
“Do you concede?”
“No,” Nie Mingjue growls, but as much as he struggles he cannot escape Jiang Cheng’s grip.
“Do. You. Concede?” Jiang Cheng repeats, his thumb digging into the corded muscle in Nie Mingjues neck. He can feel each intoxicating pulse of his heartbeat.
“If I concede, you have to tell me why you are so opposed to coming to my tent.” Nie Mingjue’s voice is low, barely above a whisper, but Jiang Cheng’s blood runs cold regardless.
He lets go. He steps back.
“A draw, I think,” Jiang Cheng flushes.
Nie Mingjue clambers to his feet and Jiang Cheng does not get distracted by the way his chest flexes under his robes. Nie Mingjue, unlike Jiang Cheng, is clad in a simple set of robes. Robes that are now drenched with sweat, causing them to cling to his broad frame.
Nie Mingjue steps forward and Jiang Cheng resists the urge to touch him. He’d be warm, Jiang Cheng thinks, like a hot summer evening. Warm like the surface of an ornate lantern. Warm like his robes, when left outside to dry all day.
“I see the way you look at me,” Nie Mingjue says, and it takes Jiang Cheng a second to collect his thoughts. His chest would be warm under his palms, under his fingers, under his lips—
“I see the way you’re looking at me right now .”
Jiang Cheng is hyperaware that there are eyes fixed on them — far enough away that they couldn’t possibly detect Nie Mingjue’s words — but close enough that they would detect any impropriety.
Not that there’s anything wrong with this, with what they’re doing. With what Jiang Cheng wants to do.
“You must be mistaken,” Jiang Cheng huffs, casting his eyes down to Zidian as she retracts back onto his wrist. “I don’t — and I won’t.”
Nie Mingjue simply stares at him for a few long moments before shrugging. “You know where to find me if you change your mind,” he says before he turns on his heel and walks away from Jiang Cheng. He is almost to the edge of the encampment when he gestures at a man in Jin robes.
The man startles, quickly following after Nie Mingjue. Jiang Cheng knows where they are going, what they are doing, and it almost makes him sick. Jiang Cheng has never been with anyone before — neither men nor women — and he wants it to be special. He needs it to be special. He doesn’t want his first experience to be with someone who doesn't care about him.
Jiang Cheng’s face twists as his mood sours, the possibility that he would ever find a person who treats him with such tender adoration beyond him. He spends the rest of the day in a foul mood, which no one notices — or, if they do, they don’t comment on it — consumed with anger and frustration. And fear.. Fear that he doesn’t measure up, will not measure up when — or if — it comes to it.
Shame, at the half-healed scars covering his chest. Shame, at his ravaged Sect. Shame, that he could not fulfill his parents wishes. Shame, that he could not protect Wei Wuxian. Shame, that he could not protect Yanli.
Dawn arrives bright and early, coming in much sooner than Jiang Cheng wishes. He has a meeting with the other sect leaders today, and after the restless night he had he does not want to face Nie Mingjue.
It’s unfair, Jiang Cheng thinks, how much power he holds. Over his thoughts.Over his body. Jiang Cheng wishes he could just let it all go, let his reservations go.
“He talks about you a lot, you know.”
The words come from behind Jiang Cheng and he turns to see Jin Zixuan leaning against the wall. His face is haughty, but when is it not?
Jiang Cheng doesn’t say anything.
“Being chosen — it’s an honor, you know.” Jin Zixuan straightens his back and sets his shoulders back. He looks ready to fight and Jiang Cheng hates it.
“An honor for you.” Jiang Cheng does not regret the slice in his tone, the way Jin Zixuan almost flinches.
“An honor for a lot of people,” Jin Zixuan insists. This seems hollow, almost performative, but Jiang Cheng isn’t going to question it. “Not only is Nie-zongzhu incredible — he takes care of you like you wouldn’t imagine — but after, he is a much better leader. A much better fighter. It takes the edge off of him.”
“I can’t say I’ve ever minded his edge,” Jiang Cheng snaps.
“No. I don’t suppose you have. Two peas, and all that.” Jin Zixuan glances at the edge of the tent where Jiang Cheng’s gaze is fixed, watching the corner lift and flutter in the slight breeze. They are alone here, waiting for the others. “Think about it, will you?”
Jiang Cheng looks back over at Jin Zixuan, surprised. “What does it matter to you whether or not I let Nie Mingjue fuck me?”
Jin Zixuan flinches at the vulgarity but does not back down. “As I said, he talks about you often. Whatever your reservations, I think he would convince you otherwise. I think that you want it — even if you deny it to yourself — as much as he does. That you need it as much as he does..”
Jiang Cheng is about to respond—though he has no idea what he’s going to say—when the tent opens and Nie Mingjue enters, along with numerous other important officials.
Jin Zixuan gives Jiang Cheng a knowing glance before taking his place at the table.
Jiang Cheng keeps his head down throughout the next onslaught of discussions, his head full of thoughts about what Jin Zixuan said.
It takes only a few more days of deliberations — and watching more people enter and leave Nie Mingjue’s tent — for Jiang Cheng to make up his mind. This doesn’t have to mean anything, really. They’re both men, this doesn’t have to end in marriage negotiations. It doesn’t have to be a big deal for either one of them.
Jiang Cheng isn’t into men, but he isn’t not into men either. There was the… longing… with Wei Wuxian. The abject terror of living a life without him. The aching need to have him around— but at a distance. The vulnerability when he outshone Jiang Cheng, but the adoration when he reflected that shine onto Jiang Cheng.
By the time he had an inkling of how he felt, Wei Wuxian had already found Lan Wangji. And now Wei Wuxian is gone. He is gone, and Jiang Cheng is here. Jiang Cheng is here, and he wants.
So he makes a decision. He knows that Nie Mingjue patrols late at night, pacing around the edges of the camp, waiting — anticipating — any danger. He pulls on only two robes, his inner robe and a thin traveling garment, and exits the tent.
It doesn’t take him long to find Nie Mingjue.
He looks regal in the moonlight with his hair hanging loose around his face, the strands crimped from hours held tight in small braids. Jiang Cheng wants to touch, wants to run his fingers through his hair. Just to see if it is as soft as it looks.
“Jiang Wanyin,” Nie Mingjue says by way of greeting.
“Nie-zongzhu.” Jiang Cheng steps forward into the clearing, the moonlight falling on him, exposing his deliberate state of undress. He feels exposed; no one — apart from his family — has ever seen him in such a state.
“The hour is late,” Nie Mingjue points out, like Jiang Cheng doesn’t know this. Like Jiang Cheng doesn’t know that everyone is sleeping.
“And you are here.”
Nie Mingjue stares at him, his gaze hungry, and Jiang Cheng lets him look. Slowly, deliberately, Jiang Cheng lets the front of his robes fall open. He watches as Nie Mingjue’s eyes travel down the front of him, lingering over the spot where his cock is hard in his trousers.
“Is this what you want?” Nie Mingjue asks, watching Jiang Cheng for any hesitation.
“It is,” Jiang Cheng admits. This time, he’s the one to step forward. He’s aware they’re alone out here, that there’s no one to see them, no one to stop them. He moves closer and to Nie Mingjue’s credit he stays perfectly still. He reaches out with one hand and gently places it over Nie Mingjue’s chest.
He is warm.
He feels Nie Mingjue’s heartbeat under his palm, a steady thump-thump-thump that somehow matches the throb in his own cock.
“I — I’ve never done this before,” Jiang Cheng whispers, and the words seem to disappear in the darkness. He knows Nie Mingjue heard.
“Let me take care of you,” Nie Mingjue murmurs and this is the last thing he hears before Nie Mingjue kisses him.
Jiang Cheng melts into it, the rough slide of lips against his own, the scratch of Nie Mingjue’s mustache harsh against his skin. He likes it, and he can’t help but think how it would feel in other places. Jiang Cheng parts his lips and lets Nie Mingjue take control; he doesn’t want to think, or decide, or control anything.
Things escalate quickly after that and Nie Mingjue guides Jiang Cheng back to his tent for some semblance of privacy. Jiang Cheng wouldn't have minded being fucked right out there in the open, but he knows this is better. They can’t be disturbed here.
They enter the tent and Jiang Cheng drops his robes to the ground, eager to be touched. Eager to finally have this ache taken care of. He can’t seem to stop touching Nie Mingjue, his hands roaming over every inch he can reach.
His shoulders, his arms, his elbows, his torso, his lower back. All fair game in this quest of exploration.
Jiang Cheng kisses Nie Mingjue again, the hunger inside of him building and building until he feels like he may burst. He feels Nie Mingjue push his robe off his shoulders and suddenly he feels exposed.. He has a sudden compulsion to cover himself, to prevent Nie Mingjue from looking at his scars, but Nie Mingjue stops him.
“Hold still,” he commands. “Let me look at you.”
There is a tone in his voice that he uses in the field, exerting authority that Jiang Cheng would not dare to defy.
So, he obeys.
“Good boy,” Nie Mingjue growls.
Jiang Cheng shudders at the praise, his entire body shivering with a current of desire. His chest feels tight; his cock feels unbearably hard. He closes his eyes, overwhelmed at the sheer intensity of it.
“Oh, you like that? Being called a good boy?” Nie Mingjue’s breath is hot against his ear, his hands everywhere. Grazing, pinching, stroking. Pulling him closer until their chests touched, and closer still until Jiang Cheng felt he might fall apart right there.
Jiang Cheng nods, because forming words seems beyond him at this time. He wishes he could slow down time and remember every detail of this moment, but everything’s coming fast now and he can hardly keep up.
His trousers on the floor.
The cold sting of oil in Nie Mingjue’s hands as he grips his cock.
Being laid out on the bed, Nie Mingjue above him.
Another good boy with a press and drag of lips against his skin. The scratch of his mustache as it drags along his thigh.
The heat of Nie Mingjue’s mouth as he swallows Jiang Cheng’s cock.
The oil — now warm — slick against a warm finger, pressing in and in and in. One finger, two fingers, three fingers.
Jiang Cheng feels like he is floating, except how could he be, with his fingers digging into warm, firm skin. Holding on as Nie Mingjue sinks inside of him, throwing his head back as the stretch burns and burns until it doesn’t.
Jiang Cheng can only liken this to being out on the lake, a steady pulsing force drawing you in and out, pushing and pulling. A powerful crest building and building, gaining momentum without interference. Nie Mingjue is a force, he cannot be stopped. In this regard, he pushes into Jiang Cheng and Jiang Cheng submits under him. The pleasure inside Jiang Cheng’s core rises until it breaks, washing over him in rippling waves.
When Nie Mingjue finishes he spills hot inside Jiang Cheng, Jiang Cheng consumed with the steady throb of his cock inside of him. Nie Mingjue lowers his head and presses a soft kiss against the jagged pink scar, and Jiang Cheng feels like crying.
“Beautiful,” Nie Mingjue whispers into his skin, and Jiang Cheng whimpers.
Nie Mingjue pulls out slowly, careful not to make a mess, and then gathers Jiang Cheng in his arms and pulls him in close.
“Stay,” he says, and Jiang Cheng does.