Prompt for the Untamed Fall Fest for Day 27 was ‘Fright’ and Day 28 was ‘Decay’.
I decided to do these two days together because I have big things planned for the last three days of this fest. I hope you guys enjoy this. I poured all of my whump!JC feels into this one. He deserves to be cared for and loved.
Summary: Wei Wuxian and Jin Ling find out that Jiang Cheng was severely wounded in a hunt and rush to him.
Wei Wuxian sat in an unnamed inn in an unknown town. He had been travelling for months and he felt homesick. He had been to Gusu just weeks ago to visit Lan Zhan, and then Lanling before that to visit Jin Ling, hoping the boy’s behaviour towards him would soften. Wei Wuxian thought he was succeeding and Jin Ling’s feelings towards him were slowly thawing out, although he was still averse to calling Wei Wuxian his uncle.
Wei Wuxian couldn’t stay in Gusu for more than a few weeks at a time, and he could barely stay in Lanling for days before leaving lest the ghosts of his past come back to haunt him. The place he craved to visit, the person he wished to see, was in Yunmeng Jiang. Lotus Pier.
Wei Wuxian drank the unknown liquid in his cup, deep in thoughts that he was pulled out of by the sound of two male voices talking.
“Yeah, I heard that it was a decaying corpse. It was dead on the ground one second and the next, it was alive and rushing towards him. No one could figure out how it had happened, and it took them all by surprise, even the Sandu Shengshou. The corpse rushed towards him so quickly that no one had the time to defend him or push him out of the way.” Wei Wuxian’s eyes widened at the words, his heart pounding in his chest. These people, they couldn’t be talking about…
“Didn’t they rush him back to Lotus Pier on their swords? I heard the corpse got him really good, and they don’t know what it did to the Sandu Shengshou, but there’s something really wrong him. All of the doctors and physicians of the Yunmeng Jiang Sect are scratching their heads in confusion. They think someone’s cursed him.”
“What?!” Wei Wuxian exclaimed before he could help himself, making the two men turn to look at him. “The Sandu— I mean, Sect Leader Jiang, he— What’s happened to Jiang Cheng? Is he—?” Is he dying…again?
Flashes of Jiang Cheng when he had been captured by the Wens and Wei Wuxian had found him; of when Jiang Cheng had woken up and told Wei Wuxian that he didn’t have a core, that he would rather be dead than live like this; of how Wei Wuxian had scrambled to find a cure, and watched his brother laying in that bed motionless, in a coma-like state, day after day; of how he had searched day after day and night after sleepless night for a cure; and of how he had finally found the cure and it had changed everything, ran through Wei Wuxian’s head.
Wei Wuxian could not go through that again. He refused to do it. He stood up from his table and ran. He didn’t know how he would get there, but he was going back to Lotus Pier.
It was stupid. Ridiculous, really. He was the Sandu Shengshou, the Sect leader Jiang. He had been through way worse. He was fine. He had told the physicians and doctors and numerous disciples and residents of Lotus Pier continuously that he was. And as touching as it was, he was getting a bit irritated and straight up annoyed at repeating himself.
He didn’t understand why his subordinates had thought it okay to go behind his back and send a messenger to Koi Tower as an emergency call.
He hadn’t rested his head on his pillow for more than a few minutes when Jin Ling burst into his room with a dramatic flair that he had, no doubt, inherited from Jiang Cheng. Jin Ling’s eyes were red and puffy, he had clearly been crying, and he was a mess, his robes were on the wrong way around, his shoes were untied, his hair was all over the place. He had clearly hurried over, leaving everything and everyone at Koi Tower the moment he had received the message.
“Jiujiu,” Jin Ling’s voice was soft as he sat next to Jiang Cheng. His hands tightly wrapping around one of Jiang Cheng’s. Jin Ling’s hands were warm against his own. “You’re going to be alright,” Jin Ling’s voice cracked as he spoke, trying not to look at the deep scratches on his arms or the bleeding bandages wrapped around his stomach.
The blood was soaking through his robes and his hands were covered in it, but he decided to ignore all of that to concentrate on the trembling of Jin Ling’s hands. Jiang Cheng reached his free, bloody hand out to caress Jin Ling’s cheek gently and reassuringly. “It’s fine, A-Ling. I’m going to be fine.”
Tears sprung from A-Ling’s eyes and good heavens this was why he hadn’t wanted anyone to unnecessarily cause the boy any trouble. Jin Ling had already been through so much, and he had just lost another member of his family not too long ago. He didn’t deserve to be here to see Jiang Cheng in such a state.
“You have to be,” Jin Ling whispered, determination and resolve etched onto his face. “You hear me, Jiujiu? You have to make it out of this. I can’t— I can’t— Don’t leave me, please. Not you, too. I won’t— You’re the only one—” Jin Ling began to sob so hard that the whole bed shook with him.
“A-Ling. Don’t— Don’t cry. I’m fine. The physicians and doctors will patch me up like they always do. I’ll be okay. You’ll see. I’ll be nagging you to be a great sect leader and threatening to break your legs in no time,” Jiang Cheng said, hating that he had to watch Jin Ling cry so openly without being able to do anything about it. He hated it even more that he was the reason for it.
He should have been more careful, but he had been distracted during the hunt. They had been hunting for a demonic cultivator who delved into black magic. His victims were many, spread across all of the sects, but he had been choosing victims specifically from the Yunmeng Jiang Sect for the past few weeks which had meant that he had become their problem.
Jiang Cheng vividly remembered what had distracted him, but he refused to acknowledge it. It had been voices. Voices of his A-Jie, of Wei Wuxian, of A-Ling, all of them calling out to him, laughing. Visions of them happily smiling and together had flashed in his mind. He hadn’t been able to help it. He should have been more alert.
It wasn’t like he had never been hurt on a hunt before. Jin Ling had always been there for him when it had happened in the past too, choosing to stay by his side, the stubborn kid.
As the pain woke Jiang Cheng up in the middle of the night, he saw that A-Ling had fallen fast asleep next to him, and Jiang Cheng really wasn’t been able to help himself from carding his fingers through Jin Ling’s hair, soothingly. A-Ling was there despite being a Sect Leader now, despite having his duties and obligations to the Lanling Jin sect to complete now.
You would have done the same, a voice in Jiang Cheng’s head responded. You have done the same, in the past, and you still will in the future. Just like he will, the voice promised him. Jiang Cheng wasn’t able to help the smile on his face, he couldn’t help himself from leaning forward slightly, despite the pain, to kiss A-Ling lightly on his forehead.
“Thank you for being here for me, A-Ling.” Jiang Cheng softly muttered into the darkness of the room.