Nov 28, 2020 12:34 AM
time-travelling xichen is king of the babies
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There are birds!!!

The birds are pretty and very good at flying, they must have worked very hard. Whenever a bird lands nearby, A-Zhan patters over to it and kneels a safe distance away.

When the bird flies off, A-Zhan clambers to his feet and goes to find a new bird.

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A-Zhan is so cute!!!!!!

Xichen tells him everything he knows about each kind of bird. If that is more than he knew before he spent sixteen years as Nie Huaisang's surrogate older brother, well, there aren't any grownups around to question his knowledge. 

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A-Zhan takes birdfacts very seriously! He pays close attention. Big brother is so so smart and A-Zhan wants to also be so smart.

"Gege," he asks after about an hour of this, "Which birds like to fly to Mommy's house?"

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"I've seen that kind near Mommy's house," he says, pointing. 

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He goes over and respectfully asks the bird to tell Mommy hello.

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Oh no. 

He seriously considers bringing A-Zhan to sneak out to see Mommy tonight. But he isn't sure A-Zhan can keep a secret from Uncle, and even asking if he can would be a secret. 

Instead he hugs his baby brother and promises to resolve the situation as soon as possible 

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HUG.

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"It's not fair that we only get to see Mommy once a month," he whispers. "Other boys get to see their mommies every day." 

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"A-Zhan wants to see Mommy every day." He knows that they Can't, but he still doesn't understand why.

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He presses a kiss to the top of A-Zhan's head. "I do too. I love you very much, A-Zhan." 

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Hug. "Love you."

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It's starting to get late; he leads A-Zhan back inside to get ready for bed. 

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Getting ready for bed is important! A-Zhan washes his face and changes into his nightgown. He can't fold his dayclothes very well yet but he does his best, smacking his little hand down on the wrinkles to pat them out.

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So. Cute. 

Xichen gets ready for bed himself and gets into bed and waits for Cloud Recesses to go to sleep. 

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Cloud Recesses goes to sleep very promptly at nine, as expected.

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He waits a little extra while after that, then sneaks out. 

He wouldn't have been able to do this yesterday, but he has not only an adult's but a sect leader's familiarity with the wards. He manages to avoid any of the patrolling disciples and make it to his mother's cottage, then pick the lock (thank you A-Yao) and slip inside. 

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She isn't asleep. She doesn't look up when she hears the door open, does look up when she hears tiny footsteps.

"-- A-Huan?" 

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He swallows. 

"Mommy," he whispers, and runs forward and hugs her. 

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It feels like being able to breathe again, seeing him, it always does, but something must be wrong for him to be here. Lihua is too concerned to feel overjoyed as normal.

She scoops her son up into her lap and hugs him back, glancing anxiously at the door. No one appears to be following or chasing him in here, yet. "Little one, what's happened? How did you get in here, sweetheart?"

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He swallows. 

"Mommy, if I tell you something really hard to believe, will you believe me?"

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She kisses his forehead. (Keeps glancing at the door). "Yes."

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"Thirty years from now, somebody creates an array that destroys time. I stopped him, but the array was more unstable than I realized and I set it off by accident. I tried to stop it, but..." he looks down. "I think like I'm thirty-five, most of the time, but I feel like I'm five." 

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"Thirty-five?" That's older than she is. She stares at him. "I have never heard of any arrays that would do something even similar to that, I.

 

"I do believe you, A-Huan, but if you have any sort of proof I think that would make this easier to process."

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"Someone invented an entirely new branch of cultivation and this person was misusing it." 

He closes his eyes and bites his lip and concentrates and starts reciting facts that he's sure were still true in the current present, but that would be very hard for a five-year-old to find out.

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That does not, actually, make this any easier to process. But it does make her believe him fully.

"Thank you for telling me." She strokes his hair. "You must be frightened."

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