tbh i think the ideal nielan dynamic should do more with the fact that nmj is one of the most emotionally honest and expressive characters in the cast and lxc is incredibly reserved and controlled. i just think that’s a neat contrast that would be cool to explore
Thank you for the ask!!💕
‘shhh your uncle will hear us!’
Things were easier back then.
Yes please! Give me more of these two being soft and goofy together ;-;
It goes pretty much like their friendship did! Lan Xichen and Nie Mingjue basically grew up together, and they both shared the same beds whenever they visited each other (this didn’t change after they came of age, since LXC can’t sleep by himself unless he’s in the hanshi and NMJ finds the Lan guest quarters uncomfortable) and they were both closer to each other than they were to their respective brothers. The only thing about a traditional marriage that LXC isn’t down for is the physical bit, so what nielan DO have is:
a) deep and enduring love–as a very sweet reader commented on TMAAF once regarding the snail’s pace at which WWX realizes his feelings, there’s sometimes a point when the difference between “love” and “in love” becomes almost negligible, and when the two people involved are peers of the same age where one is in love with the other (or when both of them are aromantic, even) getting married might just be the right choice for them. LXC loves NMJ as his platonic soulmate, and he describes himself and NMJ the same way Wangxian describe each other in the live-action; Nie Mingjue’s love for him doesn’t frighten him, or offend him. Rather, he feels honored by it.
(Plus, LXC trying to heal NMJ at the cost of his own life? NMJ stopping him from doing it in his last few seconds alive? hello???)
b) complete understanding of each other. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one ;-;. NMJ died with nothing left unspoken between them, and no regrets, which is why he was able to peacefully move on to his next life and then handle godhood after he ascended, because he regained his memories upon ascension.
c) they wanted to have a family together! this is pretty high on the list because for nmj it was either a family with lxc or nothing.
Overall, they’re comfortable with defining marriage on their own terms rather than letting societal expectations tell them how they should be living. They both want each other for life, even if the ways they want each other differ just a little, and that’s what counts the most. ^^
I have been inspired again hahaha
Lan Jingyi is four years old when he decides to find out why he can only see his A-Die once a month.
“Your A-Die is traveling far away,” his father tells him, bouncing him up and down in his lap while he takes apart a chicken carcass for soup. Father is very good at that, since he can disassemble birds and beasts and even lizards no matter how big or small they are, and then he makes delicious meat soups and stews in the kitchen with xiao-shushu’s help. “He can only come once a month. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Can we go see him?” Jingyi asks instead, chewing on a dirty spoon until his fuqin flicks his nose to make him stop. “Fuqin, I miss him.”
The look in his father’s eyes is very sad and far-away, and sometimes he wonders how much father must miss A-Die, if it hurts Jingyi so much to be without him.
“I miss him too, A-Yi,” Father sighs, kissing the top of his head. “More than you can imagine.”
Father misses A-Die with all his heart, so much that he covers the wall with charcoal sketches and paintings of him. He keeps them hidden with thick black curtains whenever anyone visits, though–to keep guests from losing their senses to A-Die’s divine beauty, Uncle Huaisang says, even though Jingyi insists that the whole world should know how pretty A-Die is.
“They already do!” Father laughs, when he says so for the tenth time. “Go ask anyone you know what the most beautiful thing in the heavens is, and you’ll see.”
Jingyi tries this out at school one day, and his teacher–Maiden Jiang, fuqin always calls her, though he just calls her Aunty–tells him that the loveliest thing in the night sky is the full moon, fully risen and surrounded by twinkling stars.
“The stars come second,” she goes on, very seriously, as if Jingyi had begged her to fill his chubby little palms with treasure instead of just asking her a question. “But the moon rules the realm of night, just as Lord Sun rules the day.”
“You were right,” Lan Jingyi says to his father, when he gets home that afternoon. “Even Aunty Jiang knows that A-Die is the most beautiful person in the world, and she knows everything.”
And A-Die is the most beautiful person in the world, because when he visits, everything he touches glows silver and white like moonlight kissing the ground, and his skin is so smooth and fair that even Jingyi’s favorite bracelet–a first-birthday gift from his little uncle, strung with round beads made of mutton-fat jade–looks dingy and dark when he holds it up to his A-Die’s high forehead.
“Is this a present to remind me of my A-Yi?” A-Die laughs, cradling Jingyi close to his breast and covering his face with kisses. His dark hair slips over his shoulders and covers Jingyi’s back like a blanket, if blankets were cool and silky and soft and covered with little sparkling gems that nearly outshone the stars. “Then A-Die will wear it every day, to think of his little moonbeam.”
“No, no!” Jingyi giggles, snuggling deeper into his A-Die’s embrace. “A-Die has to give A-Yi presents. That’s the rules.”
“Hmm.” The soft gleam in A-Die’s eyes dances like light reflected on moving water, and he thrusts his soft hands into his pockets before pulling out–
“A bird!” Jingyi gasps and lets the little creature perch on his hand. It isn’t like the birds he sees every morning, but it sings even more sweetly than they do, and its wings are made of pure white snow with tiny carved-ice feathers. “Is he a real bird, A-Die? Can A-Yi give him a name?”
A-Die nods and pulls Jingyi even closer. “What will Jingyi call him, then?”
“Xiao-Bai,” he decides, missing the tender, loving looks his parents exchange over his head. “He will sleep on my pillow, and I will feed him Wei-shushu’s tianzi xiao. And chicken.”
Father makes a choking sound before throwing his head back and laughing, curving his arms around A-Die’s waist and pulling his magnificent head down onto his shoulder. “Perhaps you should try the roast duck in the kitchen, too,” he says merrily, his fingers entwining themselves with A-Die’s like vines curling into a knot. “Xiao-Bai might like it. What do you think?”
“No, Father! Jingyi wants it, so Xiao-Bai can’t have it.”
A-Die leaves before Jingyi wakes up the next morning as usual, but there is a cool dent on his side of the bed, and Xiao-Bai is singing on the windowsill. He wonders for a moment (as he always does) if A-Die was a dream, and if he was ever really here at all–but then Father comes back in with the laundry, and his lips are stained with sparkling stardust like frost on an early peach.
“There’s a new gift coming for you,” he says, helping Jingyi clean his face and hands before carrying him to the table. “Even nicer than your Xiao-Bai. Can you guess what it’s going to be?”
“A-Yi is too young for a sword,” his father grins. “Guess again.”
“Absolutely not, your Wei-shushu would drop dead on the spot and then Wangji would haunt me to the ends of the earth.”
But on the next full moon, A-Die doesn’t bring him more snow-birds, or rattle-drums with stars for beads, or even a new puppy. He arrives on an icy winter night with a little bundle of blankets in his arms: a bundle with toes and two small hands and a pair of big round eyes, and Father gives the bundle a name of her own to go with his, and with Jingyi’s.
“We can’t call a baby Xiao-Bai, darling,” he says, when Jingyi pouts at his new sister and cuddles up against his A-Die. “We’ll call her Ying’er, for now, and when she’s bigger, we’ll call her Jueying.”
Lan Jueying, Jingyi thinks. It sounds a little sweet, like Lan Jingyi, and a little happy, and a little mischievous, too.
“….Do I have to share her with xiao-shushu? I don’t, right?”
A-Die tries not to laugh, at that. “A-Yi!”
Then in strides NMJ, he scoops Jingyi out of LXC’s arms into his own, and starts talking nonsense with that deep rumbly voice. Baby Jingyi is just O.O at first, startled out of crying, but then he sniffles once, NMJ starts cooing, and Jingyi relaxes and snuggles into the broad chest he’s being held against one baby hand grabbing a braid, while NMJ starts singing a Qinghe lullaby, smiling at the baby. LXC is SHOOKTH & may need to lie down but he’s also a melted puddle of jade w/heart eyes(2 of 2)
Okay anon you gotta know what im going to do upon receiving this marvelous hc right? u gotta. preview below!
It’s only when someone who loves him is by his side that Nie MingJue is finally given a name.
Before that he is the demonic left arm that attacked Mo Village and the ghost hand that the Gusu Lan struggled to suppress. He becomes Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi’s “Dear Friend” during their travels, but it is a tenuous friendship at best.
We know that it is not just Nie MingJue’s body but also his spirit that had been cut into pieces by Jin GuangYao. Nie MingJue was not able to answer the array during Evocation because of this, and it takes Wei WuXian finding his head before he can use Empathy.
But even with his spirit splintered and broken and still without a head, Nie MingJue recognizes Lan XiChen. The feeling behind the music which Nie MingJue cannot hear and the feeling toward the person he cannot see connects to the fragments of Nie MingJue’s spirit which are held together by his vicious resentment.
Feelings in life that soothed him:
“Nie MingJue had never been one for humor. However, in front of Lan XiChen, his expression eased…“ (Ch. 48, ERS)
Persist in death:
”…but as soon as the soft, serene tone of the xiao appeared, the corpse’s movement paused. For a moment, he seemed to have stood still and listened, then turned around, as though he wanted to see who was the one playing the music… he looked as if he finally lost all energy, succumbing to the three instruments. With a stagger, he fell to the ground.
To be more accurate, it wasn’t that he fell down, but that he fell apart. There were the arms, the legs, and the torso, broken and scattered over the carpet of dry leaves.“ (Ch. 46, ERS)
It is not when Nie MingJue’s fierce corpse is raging and violent that anyone is allowed to identify him. With Nie MingJue holding Bichen and dominating the fight, no one shouts at him by name although his identity is revealed by his fighting style. This is because Nie MingJue is not his anger or his resentment. His fierce corpse is as much a cage for his spirit as the coffin will later become.
It is only when Lan XiChen has given Nie MingJue a moment of much-needed rest in this unpeaceful afterlife that Nie MingJue’s name is spoken. Lan XiChen arrives, Nie MingJue’s negative feelings withdraw, and it becomes yes, this is Nie MingJue, the man who fought and led and struggled and loved and was loved.
"ZeWu-Jun, do you know who this person is?” (Ch. 46, ERS)
And it is only then when Nie MingJue, still broken but now lying restfully in the presence of someone who loved him, is given a name.
da-ge i’d like to fuck”
- legit everyone in mdzs probably idk
i just spent an hour writing bittersweet nielan (as usual… ;-;) and it got real sad real fast pls send some happy hcs to bring me back to life T~T
I can’t get this modern 3zun AU idea out of my head. Lan Xichen is a music therapist (He got into it because music was the only thing that helped Wangji after their mother died) and, to his own abject horror, falls in love with two of his patients Nie Mingjue (there for anger issues) and Meng Yao (there for his … everything). Not to mention he finds out that his two patients know each other because at some point they both tell him about that ex-boyfriend they’ve had this absolutely explosive break-up with and the stories are just too similar.
Because the ethics of his profession are important to Lan Xichen and he would never violate his position, he immediately refers them both to other (seperate) therapists. He thinks that’s the end of it and is secretly releaved that he has time to ride his crushes out in peace.
Fast forward a few years. Lan Xichen has since switched from being a music therapist to being a music teacher. He did some soul searching and then finally got some therapy himself (after his brother suggested it multiple times because he might have felt that for both of them being in their thirties, Lan Xichen was still waaaay to involved in his business) and that might have let him to realise that his entire life, personal and professional, was devoted to helping others and that it might be hightime to focus on his own issues for once.
After he gets his new job he also goes to a new gym. (The unclean realm. Weird name for a gym but it’s directly between his home and his new workplace, so 🤷♀️) and lo and behold, who is the co-owner and head trainer? Nie Mingjue. And who is the other co-owner and head manager? Meng Yao?
Turns out, those two reconciled. They’re not together but they are friends and business-partners.
Lan Xichen swears to himself they can just be friends but goddamn, does nie mingjue have to look so freaking hot(!!) in his training gear? Do his abs have to be directly in his line of sight while he adjusts Lan Xichen’s posture during weight lifting? (Lam Xichen’s posture doesn’t actually need adjusting, fyi) and does Meng Yao have to be so sweet when he keeps Lan Xichen company after his workout to bring him another free protein snack? And damn those dimples anyway!
Not to mention, he still feels that connection with them he did all those years ago (for the ways all of them had to grow up too soon and nie mingjue also all but raised his brother and Meng yao also has to fight about a hundred internal barriers to show anything but a smile to the world) and ffffuuuuuck, there is so much that could go wrong with all three of them in the mix but Xichen wants (cue a few weeks of Lan-style emotional crisis because Lan Wangji does not in fact have a monopoly on those)
Eventually he gets over himself and after talking about it with his therapist a lot, he takes them both out to dinner. He tells them that he would like to date them both, separately or the three of them together, however they prefer it. They end up talking a long time. Both Nie Mingjue and Meng Yao agree that they want to date him, but also that they need to think about wether they should try it again between the two of them. (They both already kind of want to. The question is really whether it would be good for them.)
More therapy is had. Eventually they do decide to try it, but only after a lot of talking and setting of boundaries. 3zun live happily ever after and both Lan Wangji and Nie Huaisang breath a sigh of relief because they can pursue their own drama now without their brothers interfering for lack of their own love life. The end.
“This would have been a lot easier if Zewu-jun could answer to Inquiry,” Wei Wuxian sighs, stowing his flute away in his belt. “But he can’t, can he? He’s not even refusing, he doesn’t know how.”
Lan Zhan shakes his head. “I have often seen him in my dreams,” he says slowly. “And I hear the answers to Inquiry there. But I have no way of knowing whether it is truly him or my own mind deceiving me.”
“Oh? What does he say, then?”
“Answers to the usual things one asks of spirits,” Lan Zhan replies. “If I ask him whether he is at peace, he says that he is. If I ask him whether he has left his resting place, he tells me that he has not. Sometimes I ask if he knew that healing Chifeng-zun would kill him, and he always says that he did.”
“The Zewu-jun I see in my dreams is just like the yuangui we keep seeing everywhere, though,” Wei Wuxian objects. “He looks like Wen Ning did when he had those skull-piercing nails in his head, Lan Zhan! And he keeps haunting the library pavilion, but sometimes I see him burning down a house in Moling, and sometimes I see him killing Jin Guangshan.”
His friend digests this with a faint shudder and gets onto his horse. “Then we will go to Qinghe,” Lan Zhan directs, watching Wei Wuxian vault up onto his mount with the characteristic grace of most noblemen born to the Jiang clan. “Perhaps we will even reach Tangshan before dark, if we are swift.”
Later that night, at the inn in Tangshan, Wei Wuxian dreams of blood splashing onto the floor of the Jinlintai’s banquet hall, and a ghostly scream blowing out the glass in the walls of the guest wing when a little boy in golden robes breathes his last in his mother’s arms. He dreams of two figures in blue and white, one with vengeful black eyes and clawed hands while the other bleeds to death in the Unclean Realm with tears staining his face, and he watches the yuangui cradle Zewu-jun’s corpse and caress the sweet smile on his lips, so distraught by its own demise that it begins to weep, too.
I killed what I most loved, it sobs, in the strange echoing way of ghosts that could no longer speak. Dead, dead, dead. My Lan Huan is dead.
“Wait,” Wei Wuxian shouts into the darkness, as the memory of Lan Xichen’s last moments finally fades away. “If the one Lan Zhan keeps seeing is him, then what are you?”
His avenger, the ghost with Zewu-jun’s face wails. His protector while he drew breath, and his murderers’ worst nightmare now that he is gone.
The realization strikes him like a rampaging bull, and he opens his eyes a split-second later and kicks Lan Zhan out of bed. “Lan Zhan!” he cries, shaking his friend by the shoulder until he opens his eyes properly. “You’re right, you were always right! We haven’t been chasing Zewu-jun, or his fierce corpse. It’s never been him, all this time we thought–”
“Slow down,” Lan Zhan orders, remarkably alert for someone running on half an hour of sleep. “What do you mean, it is not him? His face has been seen several times, by hundreds of witnesses on no less than thirty occasions.”
“No, you don’t understand! After Zewu-jun died, he must have…”
Dead, dead, dead. My Lan Huan is dead.
Wei Wuxian swallows.
“Lan Zhan, after your brother died…what happened to Shuoyue?”
“So, did I knock you up before I went to war or something?” Nie Mingjue asked. “Because I feel like you should’ve mentioned it if that was the case. Possibly in a letter.”
Lan Xichen was so tired that it took him a solid minute to parse what was wrong with that sentence and how to respond, and it was not by following his first instinct to apologize that he should’ve written better letters.
“Stop making fun of me,” he said instead, groping towards some measure of dignity.
The venerated triad was doomed to fail because they kept conflicting with the powerpuff girls rule.
their public image to the cultivation world was like: Lan Xichen is Blossom, the representation of morality and adherence to social expectations, Nie Mingjue is Buttercup, the instinctual and emotional actor who counters pure reason, Jin Guangyao was Bubbles, who keeps the group together by balancing the two.
but in actuality, LXC was always having to be the Bubbles, NMJ had such a strong moral code either because or in spite of the way he cultivated and should have been Blossom, and JGY was for obvious reasons such a Buttercup.
this is also referred to as the freudian trio but like fuck that guy
another preview, just for you! ;)
“Your brother?” Wei Wuxian whispers. “What do you mean, that’s your brother?”
“I mean that the yuangui you fought in Mo Village is his ghost,” Lan Zhan replies, with some difficulty. “His restless ghost, though no one has been able to capture him or put him to rest.”
This is how Wei Wuxian discovers that Lan Xichen died about two years after he did, stabbed to death by his own sworn brother during one of Nie Mingjue’s qi deviations. Funnily enough, Lan Zhan goes on to say that Gusu Lan brought no charges against Qinghe Nie or its sect leader, since not even Lan Qiren dared to suggest the tragedy was anything more than an accident on Chifeng-zun’s part.
Jin Guangshan tried to imply that Lan Zhan should sever Gusu’s ties with Qinghe, during a particularly oily attempt to “counsel a new young zongzhu during his time of mourning,” but Lan Zhan refused both out of respect for his elder brother and because he blamed Jin-zongzhu for Lan Xichen’s death.
“The Jin sect refused to execute Xue Yang despite Nie-zongzhu’s insistence that he be made to face justice,” Lan Zhan tells him, while Wei Wuxian examines his curse scars and smooths a layer of salve over them. “Righteous anger without resolution has proved fatal to Nie-zongzhu’s ancestors in the past, so I could not place the fault with him.”
“It doesn’t sound as if Zewu-jun died with any resentment at all, though,” Wei Wuxian objects. “Deaths like those usually don’t result in walking corpses, especially not for cultivators who had soul-calming ceremonies done.”
His friend nods and stares down into his teacup. “My brother bore no grievances towards Chifeng-zun, so his resentment must not have any connection with his death. I thought he might have returned to avenge himself, but his ghost has never been seen in Qinghe even once.”
Wei Wuxian sticks his arms out so that Lan Zhan can tie up his bandages, trying not to shiver at the memory of a tall, gaunt figure in white staring at him through a pair of cold eyes that were nothing like the gentle ones he used to know: eyes that looked alive when Wei Wuxian stared into them, though not human in the slightest.
“What about his grave?” he asks. “Did he break through all the resting seals, too?”
“I do not know. We dug up his coffin ten years ago, but there were no signs of disturbance over the tomb and none on his body. The body we buried has never left the Cloud Recesses, but the ghost…”
“Weird,” Wei Wuxian mutters. “But he’s never hurt anyone, has he? I mean, he did set Mo Village on fire, but…”
Lan Zhan closes his eyes.
“He has been mostly harmless. Except on the day he first appeared,” he says quietly. “He walked straight into the Glamour Hall at the Jinlintai, seized the nearest sword he could reach, and cut Jin Guangshan’s throat before over a hundred witnesses.”
Wei Wuxian feels his blood go cold. “What?”
“Mm. And then he vanished, and returned several months later in Yunmeng.”
“Yunmeng? What was he doing there?”
“Burning a temple to the ground. There were eyewitnesses.”
“What–why?” Wei Wuxian demands, throwing his hands into the air. “If he—oh, never mind. But the only person he’s killed is Jin Guangshan, right?”
His friend remains perilously silent, however. “Lan Zhan!”
“Jin Guangyao’s son died ten months after Jin Guangshan,” Lan Zhan says at last. “The leader of the Su sect suggested that my brother murdered the boy to keep him company in death, and his manor was burned to the ground the very next day.”
Later that night, Wei Wuxian dreams.
He dreams of the Cloud Recesses’ library pavilion, of the month he spent copying lines there with Lan Zhan, but Lan Zhan is nowhere to be seen. Instead, the only person with him is the mute ghost he first saw in Mo Village, with coal-black eyes and bone-white lips and garments that sound like dead skeleton leaves when they rustle over the floor.
The thing wears Lan Xichen’s face, even though Lan Xichen’s body is bricked away in a sealed coffin to keep him from breaking out of it, and Wei Wuxian feels his heart stop beating as it turns around to look at him.
“You’re searching for your murderer,” he whispers, as the thing pretending to be Zewu-jun lifts one slender arm and points in the direction of Lanling. “But it’s not Nie Mingjue. Why?”
I was made to destroy the thing I most loved, not-Lan Xichen replies. I will find the one responsible, and I will have his blood.
Wei Wuxian wakes up to find that the fire has gone out.
He huddles into Lan Zhan’s bed to keep himself warm, after that.