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Sep 22, 2021 4:44 PM
Wei Wuxian meets up with the other time travellers
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Lan Wangji continues to ignore Jiang Wanyin, staring straight ahead as he walks.

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Wei Wuxian makes an exaggerated quizzical gesture, which also does not produce an explanation out of Lan Zhan. 

He flies off of Lan Zhan's shoulder and through a narrow crack between the doors as soon as they reach the quarters, coming to rest on Mo Xuanyu's body.  There's a flash of light as the talisman deactivates, then he's jumping off of the bed and rejoining the group.

"I can talk again!  It was so strange to be in Master Lan's class and also be quiet.  Being quiet for so long just doesn't suit me.  I'm going to have to rework these talismans to allow for speech."

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"Everyone else manages to be quiet.  Without you causing distraction maybe we'll actually learn something."

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He ignores this, sitting at the table.

"Anyway, Lan Zhan!  You managed to get into a fight with Jiang Cheng?  It wasn't that he was sneaking Emperor's Smile over the walls.  I know he wouldn't have done that.  He's so responsible. 

"Though - the Jiang Cheng in my body.  What did he do?"

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"He didn't sneak in alcohol either.  He did show up late, and with the Jin of all people.  He also didn't tell us that he was someone else until after the whole ceremony, the inconsiderate ass."

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"Huh.  So, how did you two get into a fight, then?"

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"We weren't fighting.  Lan-er-gongzi collapsed, and I tried to help.  Then he threw his sword at me."

If Jiang Cheng were being generous, he would have to admit that Lan Wangji did have a good reason.  Lan Wangji had clearly mistook him for his awful future self, who Jiang Cheng would also like to see stabbed.  However, Jiang Cheng is not generous.  Lan Wangji hurt his sister.

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He looks at Lan Zhan, who has that stubborn set to his jaw.  Lan Zhan has an actual long-standing dislike of Jiang Cheng, doesn't he.  Something in the thirteen years of history that he'd missed from being dead, maybe? 

"Lan Zhan.  Don't stab my shidi.  Either of him."  It comes out darker than intended, the simmering resentment beneath the surface latching onto his own emotions.  Remembering how Lan Zhan had been Wei Wuxian's enemy not long ago, even though he wants to believe that they are on good terms now.  Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan did seem to be getting along earlier.  He can't explain why, though, and that makes it hard to trust that it won't stop as suddenly as it started.

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"This one apologizes to Wei Ying," he says formally.

Wei Ying cares about Jiang Wanyin.  Wangji will not be able to convince him otherwise.  Jiang Yanli also cares about him.  Wangji doesn't want to hurt her.  She is a good person, and hurting her would also hurt Wei Ying.

...he's never going to get permission to kill Jiang Wanyin, is he.

There is a fractional tilt to his head and a millimeter's change to his mouth.  It is outside of his conscious control, and he fails to reign it it.  Oh no.  He is pouting.  This is unreasonable. 

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Wei Ying is looking at him.  He notices the slight change in Wangji's expression - brilliant Wei Ying - and some of the darkness seems to ebb.  Wei Ying smiles.  It isn't his face but it is his smile.  Wangji doesn't know why he is smiling but he is grateful.  The world should contain Wei Ying's smile always, and it is here.  He is alive. 

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Great.  So now Lan Wangji has apologized to yet another person who is not Jiang Cheng for trying to stab him.  He sulks.  The supposedly elegant Second Jade of Lan is so rude.  He won't even look at Jiang Cheng!  He's just staring at Wei Wuxian like some kind of blank-faced statue.

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"Alright, you all.  Everyone here is safe and healthy, and is going to remain so.  Okay?

"Though, Lan-er-gongzi, if you could do me a favor?  I think it would be good for A-Xian to hear some songs for purifying the mind, just in case there are any lingering effects from what happened when Nightless City was destroyed."

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"Shijie!" he whines.  "I'm fine."

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"I will play for Wei Ying."

This is a good idea.

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"And A-Xian will be good and listen," she tells A-Xian.

But not right now.  They have a few more things to attend to first.

"What are the chances that there are more people from the future?  In particular, the spirit of Mo Xuanyu in someone else's body?"

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"There's always a chance.  But I don't think it's a big one, Shijie.  I only have theories for how we got back here, since it wasn't me or anything I recognize all of the pieces of, but my best guess is that Mo Xuanyu's future self did a sacrificial ritual and removed himself from time."

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"If he's not here, that's one less thing to worry about."

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"I suppose I'll have to start figuring out how to body-swap people.  If Jiang Cheng (the other one - Sandu Shengshou) and I swap, I'll be in the right body again."

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"He won't...

"We're not swapping Sandu Shengshou into my body."

He is suddenly afraid that it might happen.  Future him is older.  He was Jiang sect leader for something like eighteen years.  That's longer than Father has been Sect Leader, though Father is still older, slightly.  What if Sandu Shengshou demands it?  Or Mother does?

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"It's okay, Jiang Cheng.  I won't do any body-swapping that both sides aren't okay with.  Not even if it's just temporary, for a really good prank."  He raises three fingers in a salute of honesty.

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"Really?"

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"Yes really!  Ah, Jiang Cheng.  Have I ever listened to what I was told if I thought it was wrong?"

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"Or most of the times that you don't have a reason to not listen," he concedes. 

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He punches Jiang Cheng's arm. 

"Exactly!  Though, can you imagine Lan Zhan swapped with someone smilier?"

He says it because it's the sort of thing that he might say, and Jiang Cheng could use some cheering up, though he doesn't especially feel that it would be the best use of the prank.  Lan Zhan's smiles are special because they are rare and genuine.

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Jiang Cheng rolls his eyes.  "He'd just look like Zewu-jun.  They're called the Twin Jades for a reason."

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