Hi! Prompt: 1. The Wens attacked early, Jiang Yanli and Jiang Cheng are taken in as wards/hostages of the Wen sect as children
- Chapter 1 - ao3 -
“Jiejie,” Jiang Cheng said, tugging on his sister’s hand. “I don’t want to be here.”
“None of us want to be here,” another little boy said, and Jiang Cheng turned to look at him: he was even shorter than Jiang Cheng, and rubbing his eyes in the aftermath of a yawn. “I’m Nie Huaisang. Who’re you?”
“He’s Yunmeng Jiang sect’s Jiang Cheng,” Jiang Yanli said, while Jiang Cheng pressed his face into her side to hide how he’d gone bright red at the concept of someone his own age talking to him. “I’m Jiang Yanli. Is your older brother here in the Nightless City, too?”
Nie Huaisang’s lip quivered, and Jiang Cheng abruptly felt better about how awful he felt about this whole thing; at least he wasn’t crying like a great big baby. “He’s supposed to be,” Nie Huaisang said. “But the Wens took him away earlier, and I haven’t seen him since. I took a nap, ‘cause he said he was gonna be back before I knew it, but I woke up and he’s still not back…”
“I’m sure he’s fine,” Jiang Yanli reassured him. She glanced over at the door where there were Wen sect disciples standing as guards. “Why don’t you and Jiang Cheng play together a bit while I go find him?”
Jiang Cheng’s mouth gaped open in horror and he clung to her side, unable to verbalize his words, but luckily Nie Huaisang was leaping forward to grab her sleeve, too, saying, “You can’t go! They’ll take you away, just like they took my da-ge!”
Normally, Jiang Cheng would’ve objected to someone being so intimate with his big sister, but in this instance he nodded furiously, glad that Nie Huaisang had said what he couldn’t.
“It’ll be fine,” Jiang Yanli said, and Jiang Cheng was starting to think they had a different definition of the word ‘fine’. “I’ll be back soon, I promise. Go play.”
In the end, Jiang Cheng’s tears and Nie Huaisang’s arguments had no effect, and off she went. By that point, Jiang Cheng was very attached to his new friend, who was so clever and talkative and obviously the only one to understand him in this awful new place, but that didn’t help when what he wanted was his big sister.
“Do you want to go meet the others?” Nie Huaisang eventually asked after they’d both cried out all their tears.
“Others?” Jiang Cheng asked.
Nie Huaisang nodded. “Lan Zhan’s there, he’s from the Lan sect, I’ve met him and his big brother before,” he said. “And there’s also A-Xuan…I dunno what sect he’s from, you can’t really talk to him. He’s terrified. He doesn’t have a big brother. Or sister, I guess.”
That sounded awful, and Jiang Cheng felt bad for the faceless A-Xuan at once.
“Let’s go talk to them,” he agreed.
He hoped they were nice.
Jiang Cheng immediately got into a shoving fight with Lan Zhan and decided he was his worst enemy – Lan Zhan tried to bite him! that was cheating! – but that only lasted right up until they were both introduced to Wen Chao and then they were best friends teaming up against a new worst enemy.
(Nie Huaisang didn’t count. He was everybody’s best friend, even Wen Chao’s, and anyway he claimed he was littler than everyone and therefore everyone had no choice but to be nice to him. Jiang Cheng was prettycertain that wasn’t how that worked, and also that maybe Nie Huaisang wasn’t really the littlest, but Nie Huaisang was very sure of himself and it was hard to argue with that level of confidence.)
“You’re here so that I can tell you what to do!” Wen Chao insisted, clutching his arm and sniffling. Lan Zhan had bitten him, which was definitely the right move and very impressive. “You can’t be mean to me! I get to be mean to you!”
A-Xuan, who’d been sitting quietly in the corner staring at the wall like it had done something to him personally, pulled his thumb out of his mouth. “If you do that, they’ll replace you,” he said woodenly, and since it was the very first thing he’d actually said this whole time, they all turned to look at him. “You’re an heir, aren’t you? That means you’ve gotta live up to expectations. There’s always someone waiting to take your place if you don’t…”
Jiang Cheng shivered. “What do you mean, take your place?” he asked, both horrified and unwillingly, perhaps even ghoulishly intrigued. “Like…someone who looks just like you, but isn’t you?”
A-Xuan nodded solemnly. “There’s lots of them, dozens of them,” he whispered, and they all crowded in close to listen, even Wen Chao. “They’ve got all sorts of skills and talents, admirable things that should make them happy, but they don’t want what they’ve got, they want to live your life. If they can, they’ll peel off your skin and wear it like a coat so that they can sneak in to take your place, and no one – not even your parents – will ever know or care to look for you…”
“That isn’t real,” Wen Chao protested, but his eyes were white all around the edges. “Doubles like that don’t exist!”
A-Xuan just looked at him with pity in his eyes, and somehow that was scarier than any amount of insistence would have been.
“Are they a type of demon?” Lan Zhan asked, gnawing on his sleeve anxiously. “Shufu taught me how to draw talismans to repel demons.”
A-Xuan wrinkled his nose. “Maybe?” he said uncertainly.
“Definitely!” Nie Huaisang said, nodding furiously. “Something like that, it has to be a demon, right? A-Zhan will show us how to make talismans to keep them away and then none of us need to worry about being replaced!”
“Good idea!” Wen Chao exclaimed.
“And Wen Chao needs to be nice to us,” Jiang Cheng put in. “Right, A-Xuan? If he keeps proper etiquette, he won’t be replaced, that’s how it works?”
“That’s what my mom says,” A-Xuan said, nodding. “You don’t get replaced as long as you show that you’re better than they are, and having proper etiquette’s part of that.”
“And if we’re all friends, we can make sure no one gets replaced by doubles!” Nie Huaisang exclaimed, clapping his hands together. “Maybe our parents wouldn’t notice, but we could – maybe we invent some secret signs that only we’d know, and the doubles wouldn’t –”
“Okay, okay, we can do that,” Wen Chao said. “But I still want a talisman!”
“Do you know why we’re here, Wen-xiong?” Nie Huaisang wanted to know – he called everyone ‘xiong’ and refused not to because he said everyone in his sect did that, even if it sounded really weird for kids their age to be using that – and Jiang Cheng looked at Wen Chao, eager to know the answer. The Nightless City was the Wen sect’s home, just the way the Lotus Pier was the Jiang sect’s, the Unclean Realm the Nie sect’s, and the Cloud Recesses the Lan sect’s; it would make sense that Wen Chao, as the second little master here, would know more than they did.
But Wen Chao shook his head. “My father did something, I think,” he said. “My da-ge is helping him, but I’m too young…I dunno. I think you guys might be here for a while.”
“How long?” A-Xuan asked.
“A long time,” Wen Chao said. His face was a little pale, a little guilty in a way he hadn’t been before. “I think maybe…years.”
Years? But that was practically forever!
“Will my da-ge be here too?” Nie Huaisang asked. “Or Jiang-xiong’s jiejie?”
“Yeah. I think it’s – that it’s everyone. I think…” Wen Chao trailed off. “I think there’s going to be a war.”
“What’s a war?” Jiang Cheng asked.
“It’s a bad thing,” Nie Huaisang said, much to everyone’s surprise. He usually didn’t answer questions, and when one was posed to him, he usually responded with ‘I don’t know’ – those were practically his favorite words. “War’s a really bad thing, where all the strong people have to leave to go fight in battles. People get hurt in wars. People die in wars.”
They all shuddered. That was a bad word.
“I don’t want there to be a war,” Jiang Cheng said, biting his lip. “I don’t want my mom to get hurt – she’s a great cultivator, really strong, the strongest! But that means she’d have to go fight, wouldn’t she? And my dad, too?”
“My father wouldn’t fight,” Lan Zhan muttered. “He’s in seclusion…they wouldn’t make my shufu fight, would they? He’s a teacher– he can use a sword, but he prefers music –”
“Neither my mother or father can fight,” A-Xuan said, gnawing on his fingers. “Not at all. They pay other people to fight for them…they’re a bit mean, sometimes, but I don’t know if I want them to die.”
He sounded a bit uncertain, though.
Jiang Cheng felt a bit of pity. Poor A-Xuan’s parents must be reallymean.
“Is there anything we can do to stop it?” he wanted to know. “Maybe if we’re really good and everyone asks really politely, all at once, for them not to…?”
Wen Chao looked tempted, but Nie Huaisang shook his head. “My dad says war is like a mountain avalanche,” he said solemnly. “Once started, it’s hard to stop. He’s not afraid of war, but he doesn’t want it, either – I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I really…”
He bit his lip.
“I really don’t know.”
It was a whole three days – or, well, it felt like it, because they definitely took at least three naps, though maybe they were deliberately taking extra to make the time pass faster – before their brothers and sisters finally came back.
Jiang Cheng rushed over to Jiang Yanli at once, of course, bawling his eyes out for having missed her – it’d been awful without her, unimaginably awful, and if he didn’t have all his friends he would’ve been even worse off – but once she’d comforted him a little, that familiar face and smile and scent all deeply reassuring as she hugged him and kissed his hair, he couldn’t quite help himself in his curiosity: he turned around and peeked at all the others.
Wen Chao was tugging that the clothing of an older boy – that would be his big brother, who they’d all very painstakingly determined was probably the oldest, maybe, unless Nie Huaisang’s brother was. Wen Xu was tall and had a handsome face, but it was thin in a way that made him look tired and anxious and wound up; he snapped at Wen Chao for bothering him, but Wen Chao ignored him, which suggested that snapping was his normal response. Wen Xu’s eyes kept flickering around the rest of the room as if he thought they were all watching him, and, perhaps in deference to that, he allowed Wen Chao to keep harassing him.
Nie Huaisang’s big brother, not far away, was even bigger than Wen Xu, taller and with broad shoulders. He had a narrow waist and a slightly too-round face that made him seem a little young, but on the other hand he also had an imposing way of carrying himself that made him seem older – even looking right at him, it was really hard to tell whether he was older or younger than Wen Xu. He was kneeling next to Nie Huaisang, comforting him, and he seemed steady and reliable. Jiang Cheng thought secretly to himself that even if Wen Chao’s brother really was the older one, Nie Huaisang’s brother was probably the better one to have around, as far as big brothers went.
Lan Zhan’s big brother seemed nice, too: he was clearly younger than the other two, about of age with Jiang Yanli if Jiang Cheng had to guess, but he looked kind. He was holding Lan Zhan’s hand very tightly, though judging by the long-suffering look on Lan Zhan’s face it was more for his brother’s sake than his own. He seemed thoughtful and agreeable: he was murmuring quietly, clearly thinking through his answers before responding to whatever questions Lan Zhan had asked.
Only poor A-Xuan, who didn’t have either a big brother or a big sister, was all on his own.
Jiang Cheng tugged on Jiang Yanli’s hand and pointed at him. “You should give him a kiss, too,” he said. His big sister’s kisses were the best, he knew, soft and reassuring, and A-Xuan…well, A-Xuan had enough anxiety already, didn’t he? He could use a kiss. “He’s nice.”
Jiang Yanli made a sound that was almost like it wanted to be a giggle, but she beckoned an unsure-looking A-Xuan over. “It’s all right,” she told him when he hung back. “It’s appropriate, Jin-gongzi. Our mothers are friends.”
Jiang Cheng blinked. “Jin? His name’s Jin Xuan?”
“Jin Zixuan,” Jiang Yanli corrected. “And you should call him Jin-gongzi.”
“A-Xuan is fine,” A-Xuan said meekly. He was staring at Jiang Yanli. “You’re Mistress Jiang? The one who…”
He trailed off, but Jiang Cheng knew what he was going to say, because even though he was young, even he’d heard about the fact that his big sister was going to have to go away one day to marry the Jin sect heir.
He’d cried bitter tears the first time he’d heard it, not wanting her to go at all, not liking the idea of her being anywhere away from him no matter how much his mother told him that it was something that all women did, something that women wanted to do. Angry tears, never far beneath the surface, threatened again now.
But on the other hand…
Poor A-Xuan, who was all alone, with no big brother or sister at all.
Jiang Cheng gathered up his bravery and squeezed his sister’s hand. “It’s okay,” he said encouragingly. “A-Xuan’s really nice, and he needs someone to take care of him. You’ll be all right with him.”
Jiang Yanli actually did start giggling at that. “It’s not something we have to think about right now,” she said, wiping her eyes. “I can take care of both of you.”
Jiang Cheng exhaled in relief. He hadn’t really wanted to give up his jiejie to some stranger – but sharing could be all right.
Nie Huaisang’s da-ge turned out to be just as amazing as Nie Huaisang said he was, which in all honesty Jiang Cheng had not-so-secretly doubted. Nie Mingjue was clever and could answer questions, he was strong and could pick people up, he was indulgent and didn’t mind doing either of those things as many times as asked, and he gave really great hugs.
After a serious conversation among their little group, with many reassurances from A-Xuan that he didn’t mind, really, they reached an agreement and presented their conclusion to their elder siblings: rather than marry A-Xuan, who wasn’t even sure if he liked girls or wanted to marry one, Jiang Yanli ought to marry Nie Mingjue. Not only would they be able to give each other (and all surrounding children) many good hugs and gentle kisses, they would eventually have children since that was what married couples did and those children would undoubtedly be an amalgamation of all of their respective good points, therefore making them the finest of friends to have. Also, if they had them right away – their entire group was a little fuzzy on the details of how that worked, exactly, but surely the big kids had a better idea – the new kids wouldn’t be that much younger than everyone else, so it was important for them to get started immediately.
For some reason, this very serious proposal made the older children laugh nearly to the point of tears.
“And about me?” Lan Xichen asked, ruffling their hair. “If you’re pairing up your elders, does that make me Wen-da-ge’s bride?”
For some reason, that made Wen Chao’s big brother glance over at Lan Xichen and turn bright red, even though it was obvious that Lan Xichen was just joking. Jiang Cheng wondered why.
“It’d be better if A-Xuan had a big sister,” he said, a little regretful. Lan Zhan would be much better off being A-Xuan’s brother-in-law than Wen Chao’s.
“I’m sure he does,” Wen Xu said, looking suddenly rather annoyed. “Hovering at the outskirts, waiting for a chance to get inside. Probably more than one, if that’s to your taste –”
“Have some manners,” Nie Mingjue said sharply to him. “There are children here; they don’t need to hear about that.”
The younger children all exchanged alarmed glances: they must be talking about the doubles! Even the older kids knew about them – that meant they must be real!
“Yes, we do,” Nie Huaisang said insistently. “Tell us about it.”
“No, Nie-da-ge is right,” Jiang Yanli said. “It’s nothing you need to worry about. Why don’t you all go play?”
They were unceremoniously shown the door.
Outside, Nie Huaisang looked uncharacteristically serious. “My da-ge only refuses to tell me things he thinks are inappropriate, or which he thinks will scare me,” he said. “Which means…”
They all nodded grimly.
“A cultivator’s duty is to defeat evil,” Lan Zhan announced, and Jiang Cheng nodded.
“I’m with Lan Zhan,” he said. “Even if we can keep them away with talismans and code words, what about people who don’t have them? They’ll be snatched away! If no one else is going to do something about it, we have to.”
“We do,” Wen Chao said, and that was also uncharacteristic: normally he wasn’t willing to do anything unless they pretended it was his idea first. “We’ve got to.”
“Why is it suddenly so urgent?” A-Xuan asked him. “What’s wrong?”
Wen Chao’s lower lip trembled. “Ever since my brother went away with my dad to help with the war stuff, he’s been acting really different,” he said. “He doesn’t play with me, and he’s always worried – always looking over his shoulder like he thinks someone’s chasing him. He’s angry and upset all the time. It’s not like him at all! I just wonder…”
“They’ve got him,” Jiang Cheng concluded, horrified. “That’s why my big sister and your big brothers are always staying away from him even though they’re usually really nice to most people – that’s why he knows about the others, the ones he says are ‘big sisters’ to A-Xuan! He’s been snatched! He’s a double!”
Wen Chao burst into tears.
A-Xuan patted him on the shoulder.
“We’ll do our best to get your real big brother back for you,” he said solemnly, and Lan Zhan and Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang all nodded and made the hand-signs for swearing a solemn oath.
Wen Chao sniffed. “Thanks,” he said. “You’re my best friends.”
“Of course,” Jiang Cheng said, even though he felt really proud. He’d never been anyone’s best friend before, except maybe Lan Zhan’s, since Nie Huaisang had said he didn’t count. “What are best friends for?”
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Beetober 2021 Day 27 - Inhibition
Nie Mingjue likes that his home somehow became the place that all of Nie Huaisang’s friends turn to when they are in need of some distance from their families.
Mo Xuanyu comes by whenever it gets too much for him at home, when his relatives are gearing up for another one of their outbursts at him.
Wen Ning comes over whenever the pressure of doing well in school and life becomes just too much and the danger of him disappointing his sister is too real.
Nie Mingjue likes it best of all that even Jiang Cheng now comes by more often than not, whenever the atmosphere in his own home gets too stifling for him, when his parents' words turn too scathing or when Wei Wuxian’s antics become too much.
What Nie Mingjue doesn’t like, though, is how tightly controlled Jiang Cheng always is, even when something is obviously wrong.
“Wanyin,” Nie Mingjue greets him as he steps into the apartment.
Jiang Cheng gives him a tight smile, as he puts his keys down, the motion tightly controlled.
Everything is tightly controlled about him, right down to the way he moves and Nie Mingjue hates to see it.
“What’s wrong?” he wants to know, tries for soothing and low, but he’s not sure how well he manages.
“Nothing is wrong,” Jiang Cheng very predictably gives back and Nie Mingjue rolls his eyes right where Jiang Cheng can see it.
“That’s bullshit and we both know it,” he says, hoping to get something more out of him.
“It’s not,” Jiang Cheng replies and Nie Mingjue deflates with a sigh.
He really wishes that one of these days Jiang Cheng will confide in him, simply so he can say what’s really on his mind.
Nie Mingjue guesses that there’s a whole lot he keeps back at all times and it would probably do him some good to let go of it for once.
“Alright, if you say so,” Nie Mingjue relents and he takes Jiang Cheng’s wrist in his hand. “Movie and ice cream?” he asks and smiles when Jiang Cheng relaxes the tiniest fraction.
Nie Mingjue really has to remember that he comes here to unwind, to get away from the fights and demands at his own home, and not to be snapped at.
“Do you have peppermint?” Jiang Cheng asks, his voice low and he’s not meeting Nie Mingjue’s eyes.
“Of course I have peppermint. When do I ever not have your favourite ice cream flavor?” Nie Mingjue wants to know and Jiang Cheng’s shoulders slump.
“Thank you,” he whispers and Nie Mingjue fights the urge to press a kiss to his head.
Instead of doing that—and surely getting clocked in the face for it—he shifts his grasp on Jiang Cheng and pulls him into his side.
“Always,” Nie Mingjue promises him. “Now, are you up for a new movie or would you prefer something you already know?”
“Something old, please,” Jiang Cheng gives back and Nie Mingjue hums.
So he doesn’t need to be distracted but he’s in need of some serious comfort. Nie Mingjue can handle that.
“Alright, alright,” he agrees and steers Jiang Cheng towards the couch where he plops him down. “You get cozy and comfy and I’ll get your ice and start the movie.
“It’s so strange when you say ‘cozy and comfy’,” Jiang Cheng complains half-heartedly, but his voice gets muffled when Nie Mingjue dumps the blanket onto his head.
“More getting cozy, less talking back,” Nie Mingjue calls over his shoulder as he walks off towards the kitchen.
By the time he comes back, Jiang Cheng is wrapped up in the blanket and holding his hands out like a petulant child.
“Ice cream, gimme,” he demands, making grabby hands and Nie Mingjue chuckles.
“What’s the magic word?” he wants to know, keeping the ice cream well out of Jiang Cheng’s reach.
“Please,” he grumbles and Nie Mingjue immediately plops the bowl in his hands.
“Good boy,” Nie Mingjue praises him and curses himself when Jiang Cheng goes faintly red in the face.
Nie Mingjue is always acting way too comfortable around Jiang Cheng and he has to remember to tone it down. Jiang Cheng is not his to tease and praise and Nie Mingjue would do well to not overstep.
Instead of apologizing or saying something else dumb, Nie Mingjue turns around and busies himself with the movie he picked.
Once that is all set up, he sits down on the couch as well, a respectable distance away from Jiang Cheng. Nie Mingjue is only trying to do the right thing, but Jiang Cheng makes an unhappy noise before he starts to wriggle himself closer on the couch, without dropping his ice cream or untangling himself from the blanket.
“You’re gonna hurt yourself,” Nie Mingjue mutters, before he puts one arm around Jiang Cheng to pull him into his side.
It’s only when Jiang Cheng is resting there that he goes back to eating his ice cream and Nie Mingjue refuses to read anything more into that.
It just means Jiang Cheng thinks of him as comfy and safe, that’s all. And that’s really all he wants for Jiang Cheng.
The days on which Jiang Cheng shows up at Nie Mingjue’s place unhappy and tightly wound are increasing in frequency and Nie Mingjue hates it.
He loves that Jiang Cheng still comes to him—clearly thinks of him as safe—but he doesn’t want Jiang Cheng to be unhappy at all.
Or at the very least he wants Jiang Cheng to finally say what has him so down all the time.
Nie Mingjue decides that it’s enough when Jiang Cheng shows up four days in a row. That has never happened and Nie Mingjue really doesn’t like to see it and for once he doesn’t think he’s going to acknowledge Jiang Cheng’s need for privacy. Clearly whatever it is that leaves Jiang Cheng this unhappy needs to come out.
So the next time Jiang Cheng shows up, Nie Mingjue refuses to let him sit on the couch.
“What are you doing?” Jiang Cheng demands to know and steps to the side, trying to get past Nie Mingjue to get access to the couch.
“You’re not allowed to sit until you finally let it all out,” Nie Mingjue tells him and quickly moves to the other side of the couch, almost throwing himself between Jiang Cheng and it.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Jiang Cheng hisses and crosses his arms in front of his chest.
“Well, tough luck, because either you’ll talk or there will be no more ice cream for you,” Nie Mingjue threatens and Jiang Cheng gapes at him.
“You wouldn’t do that,” he whispers but Nie Mingjue shrugs.
“Just try me,” he gives back, and for all the bravado he puts on right now, he’s not entirely sure he could say no to Jiang Cheng should push come to shove.
“Why are you so mean to me?” Jiang Cheng whines, and Nie Mingjue thinks that he’s not that far away from stomping his foot like a child.
“I’m not mean. It has to come out eventually. Just go back to the door, leave all your inhibitions there for at least one evening and then just lay it on me. I bet you would love to rant,” Nie Mingjue says and Jiang Cheng blinks at him.
He does it for long enough that Nie Mingjue gets really worried about him, but then Jiang Cheng turns around and goes back to the front door.
Nie Mingjue doesn’t hear it open or close, so at least Jiang Cheng doesn’t outright leave and two minutes later Jiang Cheng comes back.
“Okay fine,” he snaps out. “I’ll rant.”
And then he does. He gets started on his parents, but he doesn’t really stop there. He rants about Wei Wuxian and Jiang Yanli as well as about Lan Wangji and Wen Qing before he circles back to his parents.
And oh boy, does he have a lot to say about them. Nie Mingjue always thought that Jiang Cheng’s biggest problem is with his father, but going by what Jiang Cheng is almost yelling out right now, his mother is not really that much better.
After a while most of Jiang Cheng’s rant gets repetitive, but Nie Mingjue guesses that he has to let it all out for once. It seems like it’s been a really long time that he carried this around for and Nie Mingjue thinks a few repetitions can be excused.
But that gives him time to watch Jiang Cheng and despite knowing that this is serious and that he should pay attention to the words, he can’t help but to smile slightly.
Jiang Cheng is pacing in front of the couch and he’s so animated, his hands just flying around in gestures as he recalls his parents’ many faults and Nie Mingjue finds it helplessly adorable.
“What the fuck are you smiling at?” Jiang Cheng yells at him eventually and Nie Mingjue tries to school his face into something more serious, but of course it’s already too late.
“Nothing, it’s not a funny situation, I know that,” he tries to reassure Jiang Cheng but it doesn’t seem to work all that well because Jiang Cheng narrows his eyes at him before he points an accusing finger at Nie Mingjue.
“No,” he decides. “You know what? You said just let it all out. Fine. Here’s another thing,” Jiang Cheng says and takes a deep breath. “I’m goddamn in love with you, so when the hell will you finally notice that, huh? You’re almost as dense as Wei Wuxian was with Lan Wangji and really, how is that even possible?”
The words almost ring out in the living-room and Nie Mingjue can only blink in surprise.
This is really not a turn he expected out of this.
“I see,” he says and gets up and Jiang Cheng doesn’t back down at all so they end up chest to chest. “I love you, too,” Nie Mingjue then simply says and watches as Jiang Cheng swallows at his declaration.
“You could have said,” he accusingly says and scoffs. “It would have made a lot of things easier.”
“You could have said, too,” Nie Mingjue gives back and Jiang Cheng glares at him.
“I have been flirting for months now,” he hisses and shoves Nie Mingjue right back down onto the couch. “Months, Mingjue, and you didn’t even notice once.”
He sits astride Nie Mingjue’s lap as he speaks and puts his arms on his shoulders while Nie Mingjue is helpless against putting his hands onto Jiang Cheng’s waist.
And what a waist it is.
“You didn’t try this,” Nie Mingjue gives back with a smile and Jiang Cheng looks like he can’t decide if he wants to get up and leave or if he wants to kiss him.
Nie Mingjue doesn’t let him think about it for too long, because he leans up and claims Jiang Cheng’s lips in a kiss.
“We are going to do this over and over again,” Jiang Cheng decides and Nie Mingjue smiles at him.
“I think that’s what you typically do with a boyfriend, yes,” he agrees and kisses the blush on Jiang Cheng’s cheeks.
Jiang Cheng seems like he’s going to protest, but Nie Mingjue silences him with another kiss.
He wonders how long Jiang Cheng will let him get away with that and he’s very excited to find out.
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