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Apr 16, 2021 6:32 AM
More time travel with Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng
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"There was blood."

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"Oh - ohh. No, Lan Zhan, Jiang Cheng was just a cranky fool and squeezed his own sword too tightly, you know how he can be. I'm getting this water to help him clean up. Do you really think you could've slept through Jiang Cheng trying to murder me in the very same room? He yells when he's angry, the whole inn would've woken up before he was done!"

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"Ahh, let's go, let's go, everything's fine." He takes Lan Zhan by the arm and pulls him along back up the stairs, patting his shoulder.

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Touching is happening again, suddenly, apparently? Wei Ying doesn't mind touching him after all?? Wangji is not sure what this Means but he certainly doesn't object; it feels like breathing gets easier, when Wei Ying acts so comfortable.

They return to the room.

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"Here you go, Jiang Cheng." He stops patting Lan Zhan in order to hand over the water.

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He takes the water.

It was too much to hope for that Lan Wangji would somehow miss Wei Wuxian and wander off into the wilderness somewhere.  He gestures to the spot as far away from himself as possible while still being at the table.  "Have a seat, Hanguang-jun.  You must be tired after such a long trip."  Not to mention all that jumping to conclusions - after he'd left, Jiang Cheng had finally realized that he'd just been accused of stabbing his brother.

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Wangji pointedly sits a foot to the left from where Jiang Wanyin indicated, still at a far distance. Wei Ying flops down at the table between them.

At the very least he does not make any comments about how Jiang Wanyin must be tired after performing such innovative sword technique. But he thinks it. Loudly.

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He finishes bandaging his hand.  Lan Wangji is pointedly ignored, and Jiang Cheng angles himself away to indicate that just because they're at the same table does Not mean they're talking to each other this morning.

More carefully, this time, he starts cleaning the swords.  Suibian had been left unsheathed so his blood wouldn't wind up inside of the scabbard, so it should be cleaned first.  Then Sandu only has a bit of blood on the hilt.

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He hasn't seen Suibian's blade unsheathed in years. 

 

It must be a good sign, surely, that Wei Ying opened it today. It feels like a very bad sign that Jiang Wanyin is the one holding it. 

-- did Wei Ying lie to him, about being unhurt? Seeing blood on both swords...

Wangji gazes intently at Wei Ying, focused, as though a hidden wound might reveal itself on Wei Ying's face at any moment.

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"So, what's our plan for the day? I hope you've both come up with something good, since apparently I'm not allowed to make choices. If you don't have a strategy, I'll have no choice but to sit here in Yiling like a mindless radish until more righteous cultivators arrive to boss me around!"

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He is ignoring Lan Wangji's creepy watching and absolutely not glaring because he is focused on his task.  Look how clean these swords are.

"I want to go to Qinghe first.  A-jie is there."  

He really wants to see his sister.  Jiang Cheng has to ignore the dread in his chest at the thought, but Wei Wuxian needs to see her too.  Wei Wuxian is... probably safe - it took the entire Sunshot Campaign and whatever he'd been doing at the Burial Mounds with the Wen before he became dangerous, and they've rescued him early this time.  They were never supposed to be separated.  If anyone can convince him of that, or give him a reason to stay, it will be their sister.

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Wei Wuxian would really like to see his sister too, as it happens. It does frighten him, the thought of getting close to her again when he has the possibility within him of destroying her entire life. Killing her.

He won't let that happen. He would rather die than let that happen. If even the slightest thing happens to put Shijie at risk because of Wuxian, he'll have to leave immediately.

"I'm glad she made it there safely," he says in a soft voice. "Who else is there? Has anyone important died or gone missing or something like that that I should know about?"

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"In the months we had looked for you?  Not that I recall."

He's really hoping there wasn't.  Jiang Cheng has had an extra decade to forget details, and he doesn't want to give Lan Wangji the opportunity to correct him.  

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Wangji does not recall anything either.

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That may or may not be good, given what important people apparently get up to after they win the war. "I'm going to get more wine before we leave."

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"Yeah, fine."  

He wonders if Wei Wuxian is using drinking as an excuse to not fly.  

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Time for more wine. Wei Wuxian vanishes off downstairs quickly so that he won't hold them up. He's eager to see Shijie again.

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Lan Wangji does not fly into a panic the moment Wei Ying leaves his line of sight, though he looks pretty displeased. He is entirely aware that Wei Ying is capable of buying wine without getting hurt. He is entirely aware that Wei Ying can protect himself quite well under most circumstances. Knowing these things doesn't diminish the sensation of fear.

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Jiang Cheng continues to ignore Lan Wangji.  He gets ready to leave as quickly as possible.

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Wei Wuxian reappears a few minutes later. They can leave! He'll just... ride with Jiang Cheng, then. Casually.

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Yep, that is a perfectly normal brotherly activity.  If it had been anything to remark upon or draw attention to, Jiang Cheng would have been complaining.  Instead he just nods. 

He will be so careful to keep Wei Wuxian from falling.

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He had better be.

 

 

Fine. They can go like this to Qinghe.

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Jiang Cheng doesn't like the thought of his brother falling any more than Lan Wangji does.  He had been there when Wei Wuxian died, too, after all, or at least something which had once been Wei Wuxian.

He picks an altitude high enough that Lan Wangji will have plenty of time to catch him if he falls anyway, but not so high that the air will be uncomfortably cold for someone without a golden core.  It makes logical sense for Jiang Cheng to be in front, so he can see where he's going and block the worst of the wind.  This leaves him anxious for the entire trip, not trusting that Wei Wuxian will hold on tight enough.  That he won't just pull his hands away from Jiang Cheng and fall, without Jiang Cheng being able to grab him back.

If he'd been a better person, he could say something like 'If you need to go anywhere, just tell me.'  Wei Wuxian deserves that.  It's his golden core making the flight possible at all.  Instead, Jiang Cheng is stressed out enough to feel like he never wants to leave the ground again.

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