Anybody else cry because the streets of Yiling that Wei Wuxian begged for scraps in as a child were the same streets of Yiling that he walked with A-Yuan, trying his best to make sure his baby didn’t have to starve like he did? :) I’m in pain.
They all made up and meet frequently and JC won’t admit it but he secretly cries because he missed having a family.
WWX: Do you have gum?
WWX: But you’re chewing.
JC: It was my last piece.
WWX: I see the pack of gum right there and it’s not empty.
JC: *shoving ten pieces of gum into his mouth because godammit, he is not going to share with his brother*
Writing a fic where WWX still dies but none of the Wens or Jin Ling’s parents (meaning he probably died a while before… and also JZX and JYL are in charge of the Jin sect and also MY just straight up never left Nie sect, he’s their kept boytoy) and Lan Wangji still adopts A-Yuan. So. When WWX comes back to life (in a body that still turns out to be JGS’s kid but isn’t MXY because plz let JL have his crazy uncle and also i want JC to adopt MXY and be a super protective parent to him lol this fic is 100% self serving deal with it) it still goes fairly the same as canon with Dafan mountain and WWX calling WN to save the kids. But. Since none of the Wens died. And Lan Wangji is all about family now days. Lan Sizhui knows his family. And as soon as the adults give the all clear that things are safe again. He goes straight for Wen Ning and hugs him.
WWX is very confused. Maybe random Lan baby got attached to his soft ghost???? Sure. He can accept that. In fact, it’s exactly what Wen Ning deserves, is to have a gaggle of teens ready to give him hugs whenever possible. That’s perfect. Thank you, random Lan child.
But then!!! Wen Ning!!!!!! Calls him A-Yuan!!!!!!!!
AND WWX JUST IMMEDIATELY DROPS THE CRAZY ACT AND STARTS CRYING BECAUSE THATS HIS BABY??? THATS HIS A-YUAN THAT HE JUST FUCKING LOST LIKE OUCH THATS HIS BABY???? LAN ZHAN YOU STOLE HIS BABY???????
He be sobbing all over and cuddling the confused (but accepting) Lan Sizhui while Wen Ning is all ‘oh??? Did we not know that was Wei Wuxian???? Cause I knew as soon as I saw him’ and now Jiang Cheng is SOBBING and trying to cuddle WWX in the same way WWX is holding LSZ and JL is super embarrassed at his uncles and trying to hide with MXY who’s just straight up confused by everything and WWX’s convo (him yelling and LWJ shrugging) with LWJ basically amounts to:
WWX: YOU STOLE MY BABY????
LWJ: I mean. Not like you was usin it anymore 🤷♀️
Having a hostage is great, but only if you can get out alive – after the Tortoise really gets going, there’s still a cave-in that makes the majority of the Wen sect retainers flee, and now they have to rescue Wen Chao along with the rest of them. At least there’s not going to be an ambush outside waiting for them, and he’s much easier to work with now that he’s unconscious.
Wen Zhulio has three swords, recovered from Wen sect cultivators, pointed at him at all times, even after he too is knocked out.
Wen Chao wakes up, spluttering, as he’s dragged out of the pool by Jiang Cheng and the others, but is silenced with a punch to the face. Jiang Cheng feels a momentary burst of intense catharsis, which helps make the horrible hike back to the Jiang sect to get someone to rescue Wei Wuxian a little less terrible.
Madam Yu takes a few moments to speak privately with Wen Zhulio once everyone is back at the Lotus Pier and leaves the room with a black face; she pulls Jiang Fengmian into his office for a hurried conversation that begins with denials and ends with serious faces.
When Wen Xu shows up to take Wen Chao back home, he is smiling.
By the end, he has recovered his brother, but his army he had brought to raze the Pier to the ground has suffered greatly, and worst of all the entire Jiang clan has escaped his grasp – the Lotus Pier had been emptied in advance, with only a skeleton guard there to sacrifice their lives to keep up the illusion, and there is only one prisoner of note: the head disciple of the Jiang sect, who had sacrificed himself to cover his family’s escape.
Wen Chao suggests throwing him into the Burial Mound so that he would die without an intact corpse.
Wei Wuxian does not know if the Jiang clan survived, but sets out to find them again, armed with his new demonic cultivation that can fight armies. When he gets back to their side, Sect Leader Jiang gives him a hug strong enough to pick him up, as if he were a child; Madam Yu yells at him for three hours for using unorthodox cultivation and is so angry she conveniently forgets to assign any punishment; Jiang Yanli feeds him so full of soup that he nearly bursts; and Jiang Cheng doesn’t talk to him for a week, at which point they get into a fistfight that resolves everything.
Demonic cultivation is still used to defeat the Wens, but sparingly, as a matter of tactics, and no one dares comment too much about it for fear that the Violet Spider would thrash them to death.
Jiang Yanli and Jin Zixuan still find their way to each other’s sides, which pleases everyone. Madam Yu is less pleased by the development of the relationship between her mischievous head disciple and the second master of the Lan sect, so she pulls them both into a room after the Phoenix Mountain hunt to lecture them about the etiquette of courting with intention to marry between sects – it’s not until she’s done that she realizes that neither of them had realized that that was what they were doing, but at any rate by that point it’s far too late to stop, so she goes marching off to get the Lan elders’ approval, leaving Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji staring at each other with wide eyes.
Jiang Cheng comes around a little later to find out if Wei Wuxian survived his mother’s latest rant and walks in on them kissing; he initially assumes that they are fighting, gets corrected, and ends up demanding compensation for his poor injured eyeballs. He is placated with wine.
wei wuxian: *walks in*
jiang cheng, internally: there he is. my favorite person has arrived. he is so precious and i’d pick all the stars out of the sky for him. i must greet him in a manner that shows him how much i appreciate him.
jiang cheng, aloud: the fuck you want??
Woke up again. Not thrilled but I’ll see how it plays out.
WWX, after being resurrected
It wasn’t a matter of conscious thought when Jiang Cheng threw himself between that cultivator’s sword and Wei Wuxian’s unguarded back, all his defenses down in the face of Jiang Yanli’s pleading, same as always; it was just instinct. Wei Wuxian was always the troublemaker, the crazy one, and Jiang Cheng always the one being dragged along; he’d long ago learned to spend all his time watching his shixiong’s back, keeping him away from dogs, away from angry shopkeepers, away from any harm. It was instinct, just as it had been the day he’d thrown himself out into the street to distract the Wens, and he’d always justified that instinct because he knew that Wei Wuxian would do the same for him.
Though – he didn’t know that anymore, not after everything that happened recently. Wei Wuxian had made him all the promises in the world, to stand by his side through wind and lightning, and he’d seemed to have no issue abandoning those promises, picking the remnants of the Wen sect over the remnants of the Jiang sect without a moment’s hesitation and not even the courtesy of an explanation.
The Yiling Patriarch was all but a stranger to him, and Jiang Cheng still didn’t understand why.
So it was probably stupid of him to react as if the person being stabbed at was Wei Wuxian, not the Yiling Patriarch – stupid of him to give up his life for someone who didn’t care about him nearly as much as Jiang Cheng cared for him.
But that’s why it wasn’t a thought. It was instinct.
He heard someone scream “Jiang Cheng!” as if their heart were breaking, and he thought for a moment that it was Wei Wuxian again, the one who loved him best. Wei Wuxian, not the Yiling Patriarch, who threw him to the dogs over and over again, put his sect at risk of utter destruction a second time over, just to indulge himself and his bizarre fixation on saving the Wens at the expense of everyone else. Who didn’t care about their duty to their sect, to their parents - who didn’t care about him at all.
Jiang Cheng’s heart hurt. It was probably just the sword that’d just been driven through it, though.
Hands grasped at his clothing, pulling him back; his sister’s face had lost all blood, and Wei Wuxian looked as if his world had ended – he wasn’t sure why. Jiang Yanli had her son to care for, a new life in Lanling that she refused to abandon even if Jin Zixuan was now gone; Wei Wuxian had his Wens, his new cultivation – perhaps it was some little regret, far too late, for the Jiang sect that would now come to grief, leaderless, the end of their family line and the disappointment of their ancestors. Jiang Cheng’s final and most absolute failure.
Jiang Cheng looked at them both, the ones he loved the most and who had left him without a single glance backwards, and found with his last breath that he had nothing to say to them.
He closed his eyes so they wouldn’t have to.
The battlefield was full of corpses, and Jiang Yanli didn’t care about a single one of them.
“Do you think he can be brought back, the way Wen Ning was?” she asked, holding the corpse in her arms as if it were still the baby brother she sang songs to as a child, the little crybaby who was so fierce on the outside and so soft on the inside. She had been able to lie to herself with Jin Zixuan’s body – he almost looked as though he were sleeping, head on the pillow beside her own – but Jiang Cheng had never slept well in his life, his brow always furrowed as if he was worrying about something even in his dreams, and the blank peace on his face was so wrong that she couldn’t bear to look at him.
She wasn’t asking Wei Wuxian.
Wei Wuxian had only stopped the massacre when Lan Wangji, of all unlikely people, had bodily tackled him; everyone had always said that the Second Jade was like oil and water with her A-Xian, but he’d unexpectedly taken their side in this battle and was even now letting a barely-conscious Wei Wuxian sob Jiang Cheng’s name into his collar. He looked silently at her, his gaze a quiet reminder that her question was inappropriate – one Ghost General had already been enough to cause all of this tragedy, and certainly no one would ever accept another as a sect leader.
She looked steadily back at him, indicating in return that she didn’t give a damn about the standing of the Jiang sect if it meant she wouldn’t have to bury her baby brother.
Lan Wangji hesitated, looking down at Wei Wuxian. “You cannot stay at Yiling,” he finally said. “After this…”
They’d killed people from virtually every sect; no matter who had sympathized with Wei Wuxian before this or how much they felt he was wronged, they would have no choice but to raise up arms against him.
Jiang Yanli understood. They would be fugitives, condemned by all. She didn’t care. “Will you help us?”
He nodded and stood, Wei Wuxian cradled as gently in his arms as she held Jiang Cheng in hers.
“Will you come with us?” she asked. Anyone who loved her brother enough to defy his sect, to stain his untainted blade with the blood of his own kin, deserved a chance to court him properly, if she hadn’t misunderstood his intentions; she didn’t think she had, not with the expression so clear on his silent face.
“I will help you,” he said, and that wasn’t an answer, wasn’t the one she wanted, but it would have to do for now. “Let us go.”
It was Jin Zixuan who figured it out, oddly enough. Perhaps it was because he was an outsider, looking at the situation without affection to blur his eyes.
“You gave him your golden core,” he said, less than a week into his resurrection – Lan Wangji had been very efficient in his help, not only finding a new place to hide Jiang Yanli and the remaining Wens but also returning to Lanling to steal Jin Zixuan’s corpse and little Jin Ling before returning to his own sect at the first sign that Wei Wuxian would awaken from his coma. He hadn’t sent word since that time, whether from regret or other reasons; their only consolation was that there was no news of his death. “That’s why you couldn’t do anything other than demonic cultivation – is that right?”
Wei Wuxian looked at him through blood-red eyes. “Get lost,” he said; the phrase made up the majority of his vocabulary, these days, and because he refused to curse his shijie he mostly ended up not talking to her at all.
“Wen Qing was a famous doctor – she could have figured out a way to do it, and that would explain why you felt so indebted to them,” Jin Zixuan continued. “You never told him because you didn’t want to burden him. But instead you left him without any reason, any explanation: he must have felt that you abandoned him because you didn’t want him.”
“You broke his heart,” he said, and looked down at Jiang Cheng’s body – still perfectly preserved, but unmoving. The resurrection spell had already failed three times. “No wonder he doesn’t want to return.”
“I did it for him!” Wei Wuxian screamed, tears of blood dripping down his cheeks. “He didn’t – he wouldn’t – he has to come back!”
Jin Zixuan said nothing.
They ended up back in Yunmeng, rather unexpectedly; the new leadership of the Lotus Pier, a distant branch cousin who’d survived the massacre because he’d been night-hunting elsewhere, had all but begged Jiang Yanli to return. Against all odds her reputation had survived the massacre at the Nightless City; the loving wife, sister, and shijie that nearly sacrificed herself to save what lives she could and to banish the dreadful Yiling Patriarch who was never seen again from that day forth – she was very nearly regarded as an incarnation of the goddess of mercy.
She had no idea where that ridiculous notion came from, but it did mean that she could live in Lotus Pier again, with Jin Ling by her side – she’d told Jin Guangshan to name someone else as his heir, or at minimum as regent; the Jiang sect needed her and her son more. It wouldn’t have worked if Jin Zixuan hadn’t snuck into his mother’s room to convince Madam Jin to throw her support behind it; officially he was still in his tomb, since Lan Wangji had been very subtle, but in fact he lived within shouting distance of the Lotus Pier, spending his days playing with his son.
They all did, actually, the whole lot of them resettled into a tiny adjacent water town populated largely by civilians that relied on the Jiang sect for their prosperity. As long as Wei Wuxian never did anything, which he didn’t, the illusion that he was gone for good in a cloud of self-destruction after his terrible massacre could be maintained; no one expected they could possibly be so daring as to simply go home after all of it.
Lan Wangji was in seclusion, they were eventually told; Wei Wuxian hadn’t believed it for one second, smuggling himself into Gusu to check – he’d come back unconscious, slung over Jin Zixuan’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
“Struck by the discipline whip,” her husband, the fierce corpse that wasn’t fierce at all, said, and didn’t comment when she instinctively reached out to touch Jiang Cheng’s body, to trace the scar he had; she often spent her days next to the bed that preserved his corpse. “Many times; his body is ruined. It will take years for him to heal – the Lan sect saying he was in seclusion was their way of saving face. Wei Wuxian wants to bring him back to the Lotus Pier to hide him.”
Jiang Yanli rubbed her face, thinking not for the first time that the world would be an easier place if only her two brothers weren’t so stubborn. One who wouldn’t wake up, his spiritual consciousness all in pieces; the other who wouldn’t give up – “The Lan sect wouldn’t accept that.”
“He wasn’t planning on asking. That’s why I knocked him out. Anyway, they’re distracted with the Xue Yang matter now – my father’s still insisting on protecting him, and the Nie sect gets angrier about it by the day; without the Jiang sect, there’s only the Lan to play peacemaker, stop there from being another war.”
Jiang Yanli, who was very nice but also very much not the goddess of mercy, tilted her head to the side; something of her mother was in her eyes. “A war would be a good cover, though, or at least the rumblings of one. If we were going to steal Lan Wangji away from his sect, that is.”
He kissed her forehead. “I’ll sneak into Lanling to talk to my mother, maybe see if I can follow Xue Yang and see what he’s up to. You go talk to the Nie.”
Jiang Yanli’s visit to the Unclean Realm turned out to be more fruitful than anyone had expected. The moment she walked into Nie Mingjue’s receiving room, her Jiang sect bell rang so hard that it shattered, which it definitely hadn’t done during the war – they both stared at it wordlessly for a while.
Eventually, he cleared his throat, averting his eyes. “You know my family history,” he offered as an explanation, embarrassment at the public revelation of his problem already turning to anger but suppressed by his strict adherence to etiquette.
“That’s no family history,” she said, bemused, as she crouched down to poke at the pieces. “The silver bell of the Jiang sect can steady focus and calm the mind, and the ones made for the family are the strongest by far; it would only shatter like this in the effort to resist a spiritual poison…how are you feeling now, Sect Leader Nie?”
He considered for a long moment, and his face grew black with rage. “Better. I feel – like my mind has been filled with fog, and a clear breeze has blown it clear.”
She smiled up at him. “Perhaps you should visit Yunmeng.”
He scowled, and she realized he must know about Wei Wuxian’s presence, though she wasn’t sure how; despite that, in the end, after a roaring argument with Nie Huaisang in another room, he agreed to go, even if the idea of staying willfully blind clearly pained him to the core.
Jiang Yanli quietly approved of his decision to put family over principle.
When they put their mind to it, the Nie sect had an underrated talent for saying ‘I don’t know’ to just about everything. Neither brother blinked an eye at the Wen sect remnants that still teetered every time they went on a boat, very clearly not Yunmeng locals; they politely greeted Jin Zixuan as if he’d only been gone a while and not murdered; much to his older brother’s very evident irritation, Nie Huaisang even leapt over to give Wei Wuxian an enthusiastic hug while Nie Mingjue was still talking with Jin Zixuan about what it meant that Jin Guangshan had hidden away the still intact Wen Ning, who Jin Zixuan had found in a hidden part of Koi Tower during his most recent visit and immediately liberated.
“Definitely a case of spiritual poisoning,” Wei Wuxian said after a short examination, and the most reliable doctor they had left in the Jiang sect concurred. “The silver bell can help a little –”
They’d already shattered seven of them, but Nie Mingjue had actually cracked a smile for the first time in months, to hear a sobbingly relieved Nie Huaisang tell it.
“–but it can only help so much; that technique is really only meant for acute cases. And you really need to figure out what was doing the poisoning; there’s no point in curing you if you’re only going to get poisoned again.”
“A matter for a later time,” Nie Mingjue, who clearly had some suspicions that made him look as though he’d been stabbed in the back, said. “Now that we know it’s a poisoning, and my mind is clearer, I can take some action myself – the Nie have plenty of techniques to stabilize the spirit.”
Wei Wuxian’s smile was full of self-hatred, as it always was these days. “I don’t suppose any of those are designed to work on the dead.”
“Actually,” Nie Huaisang said. “Several are. Why do you ask?”
Jiang Cheng opened his eyes.
Trying krita on Android, the app is still in early access. Also, Wei Ying says ‘blep’
Lan Wangji hasn’t seen Wei Wuxian since they bid their goodbye’s on that cliff in Gusu. It’s been three years since then. He’s not expecting his next meeting with wwx to be at a cultivation conference in Lanling. As a disciple of the Jiang sect; as Jiang Cheng’s right hand man, carrying both Suibian and Chenqing and wearing the jade lotus bell on his belt. Jiang Cheng introduces him as his brother and a senior disciple of the sect.
- Wei Wuxian cultivates his new core the same way he cultivated his old one with the Jiang sect, his brother helping him every step of the way.
- “I only have this core because of you, so I’m going to do everything to make yours stronger so shut the fuck up and get back to training”
- Lwj is still chief cultivator so he goes to lotus pier whenever possible to see wwx.
- Wwx wants his two remaining baby brothers to get along so he forces wen ning and jc into situations where they have to work together.
- Wen Ning becomes the archery teacher at Lotus Pier so now the junior disciples of TWO major sects follow him around like ducklings.
- When lxc comes out of seclusion, lwj hands the mantle of chief cultivator and sect leader over to him.
Bonus: ”Lan Zhan, come back to Yunmeng with me” and he goes.