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Sep 19, 2021 4:37 AM
Wei Wuxian meets up with the other time travellers
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Wei Wuxian gets to the gates of Cloud Recesses after curfew.  He bids farewell to the corpse, and goes through the proper rituals to cleanse the resentment and manage the spirit both as thanks for getting him to Gusu and also to avoid leaving a mess for some Lan disciple to deal with.

With that, he trudges up the mountain.  Their wards seem tougher than he remembers, but still no match for him.  He opens up a temporary little hole and slips through, confident that he didn't trip any alarms. 

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Lan Wangji can not sleep.  Instead, he has decided to once again stand on a rooftop.  At least the sky still has everything that it ought to have.  The moon is a mere crescent, and nearly brushing the tips of the trees, but it is there. 

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A small child is wandering around the courtyard below.  He is wearing clothing that is fine but dirty.  It isn't in the colors of Cloud Recesses, and he doesn't have a headband.  He is about ten years too young to be a guest disciple. 

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Unusual.  He leaves the roof, gently drifting down to offer assistance.

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Oh!  It's Lan Zhan!  He looks up and grins when he notices him approaching.

Lan Zhan looks so young.  So severe.  He can't help it - he runs up and hugs Lan Zhan's legs.  Lan Zhan always makes the best faces when he does impulsive things like this. 

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!

 

He lets himself be hugged, mostly out of shock.  It reminds him so much of A-Yuan that he's left momentarily breathless.  His mind flashes to the outing in Yiling where A-Yuan first ran up to him.  Back then, he had no idea what to do with a child, and had needed to be rescued by Wei Ying.

Lan Wangji has gotten better at dealing with children since then.  "How did you get here?" he asks as gently as possible.

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Aww!  Lan Zhan has decided to be soft instead of yelling at him for being out past curfew.  He wasn't expecting that but it is nice.

"I walked up the mountain," he says, continuing to cling.  He has missed Lan Zhan.

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"Who are you?  Where is your family?"

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"I'm.  Mo Xuanyu," he says.  Not true, but it's the closest he can get without having to explain a number of things.

"...I don't have a family."

He has no intention of going back to Mo Village and pretending to be Madam Mo's nephew.  Mo Xuanyu might have had similarities to Wei Wuxian, but they weren't the same people and this would become obvious in time.  He also doubts his chances of being taken in by this body's half-brother in Carp Tower.  Jin Zixuan had managed to pull himself out of being a complete asshole by the time he died, but this would be the stuck up brat that he was before the Sunshot Campaign.

As for Lotus Pier - he very desperately wants to see the people there, but right now they have no reason to take him in.  Uncle Jiang had only brought Wei Wuxian into the family due to his deep friendship with Wei Changze. 

It does occur to him that claiming the name of Mo Xuanyu instead of making one up means he might wind up getting sent back to Mo Village.  As long as he manages to sneak away from Lan Zhan long enough to check on his siblings and his past self he won't put up a fuss. 

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"No one?"

There had been plenty of orphans after the Sunshot Campaign.  And before it, of course.  But no family at all -

"What do you need?"  Why did you come here, however you got here?

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"I'm really hungry."

Lan Zhan is being so nice today.  Even still he knows he's pushing it, that he doesn't deserve to be here.

And he is very hungry.  He'd grabbed a little bit of food from Nightless City, but he couldn't exactly buy food on the journey.  It's been over a day since he ate the last of it.  He hasn't been thinking about it - he's used to hunger - but that doesn't mean he doesn't feel it.

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It is against the rules to eat outside of the scheduled mealtimes. But Lan Wangji has spent the last thirteen years with a different philosophy around rules than he had when he was this age last time.  Most immediately relevant, he no longer cares to enforce a rule that will make a small orphan child be hungry for no reason.

He makes a noise of assent, and leads the child to the Jingshi.  In this time he only has rice and tea there, for when even the other Lan are too distracting or unpleasant to be around for meals, but it is something and won't have other people getting in his way.

The rice is cooked, enough for a small meal to last the child until official breakfast time.  Lan Wangji will only be having tea. 

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Awww!  Lan Zhan is surprisingly nice to kids.  What a good father he'll be one day.  Perhaps without all of the war and trouble to keep him busy he'll find a wife this time around.  He lets himself imagine a world where he is allowed to hang around and be an older sibling to them and teach them how to have fun.  That would be nice.  His chest hurts at the thought.  Pessimism.  No, he isn't a fit for the Lan sect.

The food is very boring, but at least it isn't radishes.  Besides, the bland taste is made up for by the fact that it is Lan Zhan cooking.  Lan Zhan cooks!  He hadn't expected that. 

Covertly, he examines Lan Zhan as he eats.  He seems unusually sad.  It fits with his usual white clothes, to be in mourning, but Wei Wuxian doesn't know who he would be sad about.  Lan Zhan didn't have any friends in Nightless City.  Did he?  He hopes he hadn't done something to hurt Lan Zhan.

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He knows the food is boring.  He prefers it that way, when it is just himself. 

The meal is quiet.  Lan Wangji isn't one to talk even when talking isn't prohibited, and the child is not talking either for the moment.

Confident that he won't be sent to bed hungry just because of the hour he was found, it is now time to take this strange child to his brother. 

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Lan Xichen is very tired.  He has had a long day.  A long week.  The first few days when new guest disciples show up for Uncle's lectures are always chaotic, but it has never been this bad.

He is halfway through meticulously prying his elaborate and very heavy silver hairpiece off of his head when a knock comes at the door of the Hanshi. 

While he is still unobserved he takes the opportunity to indulge in just a bit of dramatics and sighs deeply.  Then he forces his expression back into a neutral pleasant smile and opens the door.

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Lan Xichen's little brother has acquired a child! 

He's around six, and Lan Wangji is more than strong enough to hold him without difficulty like a child half his age.  Said child is definitely not a member of the Lan sect, given the dirty and unfamiliar robes. 

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"Who is this?"

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"Mo Xuanyu."

He can't bow properly while being carried.

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"And where did you find this boy, Wangji?"

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"The courtyard."

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Ah.  The courtyard of Cloud Recesses.  On their very warded mountain where random children are neither permitted nor normally capable of entering.  Their mountain which is even more warded than usual, since he ordered the protections increased.

He has a suspicion that Mo Xuanyu might not be an ordinary child.  Three people traveling through time is not that much stranger than two.  Not wanting to risk mentioning anything that would be a problem if an unwary child were to start talking about it, he is careful to consider his phrasing. 

"Do you think that he may have information such as what you obtained a few days ago?"  That he might have memories from a possible future.

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He hadn't considered that, and should have.

Mo Xuanyu's arrival is new.  Or, probably new - Lan Wangji doesn't know literally everything that has happened in Cloud Recesses in his life.  He doesn't recognize the name, not as Mo Xuanyu or even Lan Xuanyu, and if the child had ever become involved in any of the other sects he hadn't been paying attention to their business.

"Where are you from?"

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"Mo Village."

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"In Qishan." 

That was the town he had been near before being sent back.  They had been having a problem and had called on Cloud Recesses for help despite the long distance.  Had the problem been something to do with time travel?  He wonders if Jiang Wanyin had also been in the area; hopefully someone else will ask him.

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He puts this information together.  He has a suspicion he knows exactly who this child is - or rather, which spirit is inhabiting the body of this child.  He can't bring himself to actually say his guess out loud.  He doesn't know what will happen if he's correct.  If he's incorrect, he knows that his brother will be hurt at the false hope.

"Nightless City was destroyed a few days ago.  Were you involved in that?" 

Wangji had not been informed of Nightless City's destruction yet.  Nor of Sandu Shengshou's departure from Cloud Recesses earlier this evening, though there's no reason to distract him at the moment with that information. 

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He splutters just a little.  What a strange thing to ask a small child.  Not 'Were you there' or 'Do you know what happened' but 'Were you involved'.  Involved - playing an active part.   

"Me?  What makes you say that?"

He's struck with a burst of fear.  He tries to keep his muscles relaxed, so that Lan Zhan can't feel him tensing.  He knows its just the lingering effects of demonic cultivation that's making him this jumpy.  This willing to act in ways that are only going to cause trouble.  Keeping himself under control is important. 

Zewu-jun must know more than Wei Wuxian had expected him to.  In order to figure out how much Zewu-jun knows, Wei Wuxian has to consider where he might have learned it from. Someone having spotted him in Nightless City then gone to report to the other sects that a six year old had been leading the fierce corpses seems like the most likely.  He might have also been seen being carried towards Cloud Recesses.

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