Even after the events of the Guanyin Temple, and the revelation of the Jin's influence in everything that had happened, it was evident that many of people still loathed Wei Wuxian. They blamed him for the things he had done, and also things he had nothing to do with, but they felt the need to blame somebody for.
Wei Wuxian didn’t seem to let any of this bother him, simply happy to be with his husband and his newfound family, but that didn’t mean that those around him didn’t occasionally see the shadows of hurt in his eyes, or the melancholy looks on his face.
The Juniors hated it. They had all started getting close to Wei Wuxian after everything they'd been through together, but ever since he had married Lan Wangji and moved to the Cloud Recesses, those feelings had only grown. Even Jin Ling, though he would never willingly admit it aloud, had genuinely started viewing Wei Wuxian as another uncle.
None of the Juniors at the Cloud Recesses, both Gusu disciples, or visitors from other sects, liked seeing Wei Wuxian hurt. He had endeared himself to all of them; it was hard not to love his constant enthusiasm, and warm, caring nature. But out of all of them, Lan Jingyi, Lan Sizhui, Jin Ling and Ouyang Zizhen were undoubtedly the most protective.
After realising just how many people still unfairly blamed and attacked Wei Wuxian, they had developed a silent agreement to stick up for him whenever they needed, and to do whatever they had to to make him feel better.
That had soon turned into a verbal and written agreement shortly after Jin Ling and Ouyang Zizhen had both arrived in the Cloud Recesses for a year of study. They had all agreed, with Sizhui drafting up a long document in his best writing, that they would deal with whoever tried to badmouth, threaten, curse, or do anything that could potentially hurt Senior Wei’s feelings, and if said feelings were hurt, they would then do their best to cheer him up. Sizhui, who had the honoured position as Wei Wuxian’s beloved son, was always the first on hand for that, and if things were really urgent, they would then go with their more extreme plan of using all of them.
“We’re doing this subtly,” Jin Ling had quickly interjected, because he had a reputation to maintain, and no one could realise that he actually had a soft spot for Wei Wuxian.
After going to such methods to look out for their senior, it was no surprise that the four of them had grown rather paranoid at times. That being said, when Lan Jingyi rushed over one afternoon while the disciples were sitting around near the rabbits during a break after their classes, and told them about the latest problem, they were at least momentarily confused.
“I overheard Teacher Lan talking,” Jingyi said, looking and sounding slightly out of breath. “He was complaining about Senior Wei and Hanguang-Jun — and do you know what he said? He said that they had broken yet another bathtub yesterday!”
He received three blank stares for his efforts.
“…You came all the way over just to tell us that?” Jin Ling said at last.
“Of course I have!” Jingyi cried, his voice slightly indignant. “Did you forget about the agreement?”
Jin Ling huffed. “Of course I haven’t forgotten about the agreement. I just don’t understand what a bathtub has to do with anything.”
“It’s obvious,” Jingyi said. “Whoever is in charge of supplying us with the tubs — they’re obviously tampering with Senior Wei’s!”
The fact that the other three didn’t immediately jump on board with this idea at least showed that they hadn’t completely lost all sense of self-restraint. Jingyi, however, could be very persuasive.
“Oh come on,” he said, when his friends continued to stare at him sceptically (or in Jin Ling’s case, with more than a little irritation), “just hear me out, alright? We’ve never had an issue with the tubs before…and all of you have used them, and they’re fine, aren’t they?”
Murmurs of agreement came from the group.
“Okay, so — everything is fine, and Hanguang-Jun never has any issues with his tubs before this — “
“And you know this how?”
“Jin Ling, stop interrupting! And it’s obvious, isn’t it? There’s no way Teacher Lan would still be buying from whoever supplies them if they were that bad quality! Now, where was I — ? Oh yes — everything is fine, until suddenly Senior Wei shows up, and then only he and Hanguang-Jun start having issues with their bath? And not just once, but multiple times?”
The group exchanged wary, uncertain glances.
“It is a bit weird,” Ouyang Zizhen said at last. “Those tubs seem pretty sturdy.”
Jingyi nodded enthusiastically. “Right?!”
Jin Ling scowled slightly. “I guess it is a bit suspicious if it’s only been a problem for them — not that I’m saying you’re right about this.”
“It is. Teacher Lan wasn’t complaining about the tubs as a whole, he was saying that Senior Wei and Hanguang-Jun specifically were having problems with theirs.”
Jin Ling’s scowl deepened, and Ouyang Zizhen bit his lip thoughtfully.
“…Maybe we could go and speak to the whoever supplies to the bathtubs here?” Ouyang Zizhen suggested at last. “That might be a good place to start.”
Sizhui, ever the voice of reason in the group, shook his head. “No, wait. You’re being too hasty. If someone wanted revenge, then why tamper with a bathtub?”
“Because it’s obviously the only thing these civilians can do,” Jin Ling snapped, jumping to his feet. “Come on, let’s go.”
Apparently Jin Ling was completely on board now, his previous protests long forgotten.
Sizhui sighed. As much as he had his doubts, there was no arguing with his friends when they really convinced themselves about something. Besides, there was nothing truly wrong with defending his parents, whether it was from a real or imagined threat.
(Sizhui may act as calm and obedient as he wanted, and he was for the most part, but if anyone tried to hurt his family — oh, he would utterly destroy them).
“I’ll try and ask my uncle where we get our supply from,” Sizhui said, standing up.
A few hours later, the boys found themselves standing in front of two shell-shocked people, who, in reality, had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Liu Mei and Liu Feng were brother and sister, and members of the family that owned the small, family-owned business that had been supplying the Cloud Recesses with wooden bathtubs for years. They had always operated swiftly and reliably, and had never received so much as a complaint in all their years of running the business.
Now, suddenly, they were faced with four furious teenagers, accusing them of all sorts of things that they could hardly even process, and they weren’t sure how to respond.
Oh God, what had they said about the Yiling Patriarch?
“Don’t play dumb,” snarled the one in gold. “You’ve been singling out Wei Wuxian. Thought you would get revenge on the Yiling Patriarch in the only way you could, huh?”
“Tampering with his bathtub,” one of the Lan disciples said, shaking his head. “Too much of a coward to say anything to his face?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Liu Feng protested. “I haven’t tampered with anything!”
“Has — has there been any issues with the merchandise?” Liu Mei asked, twisting her hands nervously.
“Most of them are fine,” the other Lan disciple said. “Just — well, there have been issues with a few in particular.”
“Just Senior Wei and Hanguang-Jun’s,” said the final boy. “So it’s pretty obvious what’s been happening here.”
Liu Feng and Liu Mei stared at him blankly.
“You did something to it! You obviously wanted to do something to hurt the Yiling Patriarch, and you thought that giving him a faulty bathtub would be the best way to do it!”
Liu Feng silently wondered if the boy could truly hear what he was saying. He decided not to say this out loud, since these boys were trained cultivators, and he himself could barely throw a punch, and instead said weakly, “How would I even do that? We just supply the tubs, we don’t decide who they go to…”
The first Lan disciple stepped forward, scowling darkly. “Don’t you try and trick us — we know exactly what you’re doing. We just want to give you a warning. If you mess with Senior Wei or Hanguang-Jun again, we’ll be back. And next time we won’t be so nice.”
‘This is nice?’ Liu Feng thought, horrified, as the other boys nodded in grim agreement. Even the second Lan boy, who Liu Feng had initially thought at least looked somewhat regretful, now looked almost disturbingly determined.
When the boys turned to go, Liu Feng could barely hold back his sigh of relief. When the boy in gold suddenly stiffened, and turned around, he nearly burst into tears.
“Also,” the boy said, his expression and voice cold, “you must be the biggest idiots in the world if you think it’s a good idea to attack a man who is directly related to two Sect Leaders, married to the revered Hanguang-Jun and a member of the Lan Sect, and a good friend of another Sect Leader."
He then turned around and stormed off, and was quickly followed by his group of terrifying friends.
“Wow, Mistress Jin,” the first Lan boy said, his voice teasing, as Liu Feng and Liu Mei watched them walk off in a horrified stupor, “I didn’t know you cared so much.”
“Shut up,” the boy snapped, “I was just stating a fact.”
When they were gone, Liu Mei and Liu Feng exchanged horrified glances.
‘Does this make me an enemy of the Yiling Patriarch?’ Liu Feng thought, and then decided he needed to sit down before he either lost his lunch, fainted, or both.
They were all rather proud of themselves for a job well done, and so thought nothing of it when Lan Xichen approached them the next day, a stern expression on his face.
Apparently the suppliers had complained — no, that was putting it lightly. They’d written him a letter spanning a couple of pages, apologising profusely for any perceived insult, promising that they had not been trying to offend the Yiling Patriarch, they hadn’t even known the Yiling Patriarch lived in the Cloud Recesses and was married to the great Hanguang-Jun, they hoped they were very happy, and, oh, they should drop by their place for tea sometime if they so pleased, or if it was an issue, forget the tea and just accept the apology, oh, and please, please, please, believe them when they said they would never do anything so appalling, so please don’t kill them —
Well. It was a very long letter, and very enlightening.
When Lan Xichen recounted this to them, the boys at least had the decency to look suitably embarrassed, although this seemed to vary amongst them. Sizhui seemed suitably chastened, as did Ouyang Zizhen, but neither Jingyi nor Jin Ling seemed particularly bothered.
“They were singling out Senior Wei!” Jingyi cried, and then launched into his bizarre interpretation of what had happened. The others chimed in at appropriate moments, with Jin Ling, caught in the heat of the moment, repeating his spiel about the sheer idiocy of attacking someone with such close connection to all four Sects.
"If this had been an insult to Senior Wei and Hanguang-Jun," Sizhui said, "then we had to do something about it." Sizhui's tone was apologetic, but still firm, and Lan Xichen had no doubts whatsoever that his nephew would do whatever he could to defend his family. He had always been loyal to a fault.
Unfortunately, no one needed defending right now. What they needed was a long explanation, and God, Xichen didn't want to be the one to give it to them.
Lan Xichen bit back a sigh of exasperation, and thought back to those horrifying nights and mornings when he’d heard far too much from his brother and brother-in-law’s lodgings. Oh, he had a fairly good idea of why those tubs kept breaking.
No, he was not going to be telling any of this to a group of teenagers. If his brother and Wei Wuxian had caused this mess, then they could fix it. These days, he was trying to focus a bit more on self-care, and if being a bit more selfish meant that he could avoid thinking about his little brother’s disturbingly passionate sex life, then he was all too happy to do this.
“Go meet Wei Wuxian when he’s finished with his classes for the day,” Lan Xichen told them. “He needs to…explain a few things to you.”
He would go and give his brother-in-law a heads up, so he could at least come up with some sort of story to divert the Juniors attention and convince them that there wasn’t some huge conspiracy going on, but Wei Wuxian was more than capable of dealing with the situation.
(Lan Xichen really didn’t consider that perhaps, he should have been slightly more clear that Wei Wuxian should, under no circumstances, tell the children the truth behind the broken bathtubs. He had foolishly assumed that was a given fact, and forgotten just who he was dealing with).
Wei Wuxian was just thrilled to hear about what the Juniors had done. Oh, he definitely felt sorry for those poor people, but it was just so nice to hear that those kids actually cared that much. Oh, his little A-Yuan was so sweet. And to think, his relationship with Jin Ling had really come this far…
“Xian-gege,” Sizhui said, as they sat inside the now empty classroom. Wei Wuxian nearly cooed; ahh, his son was just so cute. “I understand we were a little hasty, but…”
“What they’re doing is wrong, Senior Wei!” Jingyi cried indignantly. “They can’t just attack you this way!”
Ouyang Zizhen and Jin Ling nodded in agreement.
“Aww,” Wei Wuxian clapped his hands together. “You kids are actually adorable. Look at you, defending your poor, defenceless Senior — ”
“Don’t make me regret doing so,” Jin Ling snapped, blushing.
Wei Wuxian grinned. “You’re adorable, really. But hey, good news, no one is attacking me. At least not this time.”
“You don’t need to be strong, Senior Wei!” Ouyang Zizhen cried.
“Ahh…no, really, there’s been a huge misunderstanding here. They really didn’t do anything to the bathtubs. The tubs were fine.”
Jin Ling scoffed. “Oh sure, and yours just magically keep breaking?”
“Not magical, no, but…” Wei Wuxian cocked his head to the side, humming thoughtfully, wondering how he should phrase this. “Okay, so — basically, when two people love each other very much, they can get very passionate. And it makes them want to just — be passionate, all the time, and all over the place. Even though some of these places might not be the most suitable spots for that, you know? And sometimes, like when you aren’t wearing any clothes, it makes it very hard to hold yourself back. Now, you may not know this about your Hanguang-Jun, but he is an absolute beast — ”
The boys stared at him, too horrified to speak.
“ — he just can’t hold himself back, and you expect a delicate man like me to hold himself back against that? And…well, certain things become collateral damage…and those tubs, they’re strong, but not strong enough to hold the sheer force of two adult bodies, let alone an adult body that contains the strength of a Lan, going at it — ”
“Oh my god, STOP!” Jingyi screeched. Beside him, the other three were all too horrified to even say anything, and Sizhui looked like he would very happily gouge his eardrums out right now.
Wei Wuxian closed his mouth, and smiled bashfully. “Ahh, sorry, I tend to get a bit carried away when I speak about Lan Zhan.
Jingyi’s interruption seemed have spurred Jin Ling on, and the boy jumped to his feet. His face was red, and he looked more furious. “I should have never helped you,” he spat. “Just wait, I’ll be telling my uncle about this!”
He then proceeded to storm out of the room. No one bothered to point out that Jiang Cheng would probably break Jin Ling’s legs if this story really did make its way back to him.
Unable to meet Wei Wuxian’s eyes, Sizhui, Jingyi and Ouyang Zizhen walked out of the room, all shaken and more than a little regretful. Silently, Sizhui mournfully questioned just why his parents had to be so damn shameless.
Wei Wuxian watched them go, shaking his head. Oh well, they’d get over it some day. It was about time someone gave them a nice and informative talk about sex.
A fair distance away from the room, the boys all looked at each other in silent agreement; next time, they would be thinking things through a lot more before taking action. Apparently they tended to jump to conclusions far too often, and apparently — and horrifyingly — these were the consequences.