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the world is but a stage for the two of us

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“I don’t know. Can I ask Second Young Master Lan to help me?”

Jiang Cheng’s neck almost breaks with how fast he turns around in his seat to glare at Wei Wuxian.

His head is already aching from the idiot’s disappearing act. He has snapped at anyone who came talking with him about that stupid rumor he knows better than to believe. And then today, turning up at the last minute, Wei Wuxian sat behind him as their sect’s head disciple as if he didn’t just spend the night outside his assigned quarters. If it weren’t for the audience around them, Jiang Cheng would’ve strangled him already.

Get this. Jiang Cheng comes to the Cloud Recesses. He is responsible for representing the YunmengJiang sect. He promises his mother to study and behave… 

All bets are off when Wei Wuxian gets into trouble.

Jiang Cheng just wants his task to be done in peace and quiet!

He should have seen it coming when Wei Wuxian dragged his feet and whined all the way to Gusu. He should have known something was up when Wei Wuxian suddenly paled and froze once they entered the Cloud Recesses. He should have suspected something like this when his martial brothers told him Wei Wuxian excused himself to his room at nine—nine!—last night under the pretense of sleep.

And now he’s pulling something like this?

Wei Wuxian seems to finally sense his gaze because he glances at Jiang Cheng (fucking finally you noticed me!), only to freeze in shock, as if he’s seen a ghost.

Jiang Cheng raises a brow, as if to say what, scared? though inside he is taken aback, because nothing fazes Wei Wuxian.

Wei Wuxian blinks and gives an uncharacteristic wobbly smile, looking at Jiang Cheng like he is a long lost son who finally returns home. What the fuck? Jiang Cheng stares in bemusement.

The sound of Lan Qiren’s hand slamming on the table brings their attention back in front.

"Ahahaha. It was just me being impudent." Wei Wuxian says in his usual playful tone, and even though Jiang Cheng can no longer see his face, he can tell it is another fake attempt. "Forgive me, Master Lan."

"..."

The whole room is filled with stunned silence again. Wei Wuxian, the notorious troublemaker, apologized!

Lan Qiren also does not expect the easy apology. He stares suspiciously at Wei Wuxian before saying, "Hmph, if you do not know the answer then stop saying nonsense. Be seated. Wangji, answer the question."

When Lan Qiren’s attention shifts to another student, Jiang Cheng resists the urge to turn around until the gong echoes in the great hall, signalling the end of the lecture.

Which is a fatal mistake, because when he turns around, Wei Wuxian is gone.

Jiang Cheng faces Nie Huaisang with a scowl. “Where’s Wei Wuxian?”

Huaisang looks up from—is that a bird!?! No, he shouldn’t get distracted by Huaisang!and gives a mysterious smile like he has resolved all the cultivation problems he incurred for the last fifteen years. “Jiang-xiong, can’t you figure it out?”

Or maybe Huaisang just lost his mind. Very likely considering the four-hour lecture they had to sit through.

“What?” He can’t keep the confusion out of his voice.

Huaisang just sighs, looking at Jiang Cheng pityingly. Like he's the weird one in this conversation! “He and Lan Wangji went somewhere together.”

“Lan Wangji? Why would he be with Lan Wangji?” Jiang Cheng asks with raised eyebrows.

This time, Nie Huaisang rolls his eyes at him. “I know someone like you is hopeless when it comes to these matters but not to this extent! Jiang-xiong.” Huaisang snaps his fan open and waves it to his scowling face. “Didn’t you see what just transpired in class? Ahh, forget it. It’s better if you see it yourself. Go on and find Wei-xiong!”

Jiang Cheng can’t help but say, “Why did I ever ask you?” before he dashes out of the hall in search of one missing Wei Wuxian.


Jiang Cheng’s been searching for hours. The sun begs to differ since it still shines brightly overhead. Perhaps that’s what it just felt like because Jiang Cheng can’t. See. The. Idiot. Anywhere!!!

He is walking along the forests near the waterfalls when he finally, finally hears them.

Then he freezes.

Wei Wuxian is moaning. Jiang Cheng suddenly feels worried about Wei Wuxian—something he will deny until his last breath. He is about to come out from behind a humongous rock formation when he hears an unfamiliar, cool voice.

Wei Wuxian’s moans get louder. He doesn’t sound like he’s in pain.

And Jiang Cheng has a gut feeling he should not come out if he values his sanity!

Wei Wuxian whines, “Lan Zhan, where did you learn to do this?”

“From a book.”

“A book? Oh, that feels so nice. There, there.

At those words, Jiang Cheng can feel the blood rush to his ears, and he finally gets it.

No way. 

No way .

Jiang Cheng desperately wants Zidian to strike him down at this moment and end him.

“Wei Ying, does it hurt?”

“Mm, no, it feels nice. It feels sooo good.” His words end with another loud moan.

Okay, Jiang Cheng is out of here.

If only he stayed longer, he would have heard Wei Wuxian say, “This is the best massage I ever had in my whole life! And I lived twice before this one.”

Wei Ying.”

“Hahahaha!”


Jiang Cheng stares into the distance as his mind analyzes everything that transpired. Wei Wuxian’s reactions when he sees him. His disappearance. Huaisang’s cryptic words. 

Oh.

“Oh,” Jiang Cheng says out loud. Then he looks to the direction of the waterfalls where Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji are doing unspeakable things. “You idiot.”

When he sees him, Jiang Cheng will tell that stupid idiot. 

Now he just needs to stop that idiot from running away.


It is a beautiful night. Jiang Cheng doesn’t expect to spend his second night at the Cloud Recesses hiding high above the tree branches and waiting impatiently for Wei Wuxian. If only Huaisang could hurry up and get Wei Wuxian here right now!

Soon, footsteps near his hiding place and Wei Wuxian and Nie Huaisang emerge from the direction of the dorms. They are on their way to dinner, Huaisang lying to Wei Wuxian about Jiang Cheng being too busy with homework to grab something to eat. Like hell Jiang Cheng would let his food be spoiled by a disappearing Wei Wuxian, but he needs to have this talk right now.

Finally, Huaisang makes some excuse about forgetting his fan and leaves. Wei Wuxian is all alone.

Jiang Cheng jumps down from the tree.

And barely avoids a sword to his face.

His wide eyes meet Wei Wuxian’s equally shocked ones. “J-Jiang Cheng?” Wei Wuxian asks uncertainly.

“Finally decided to talk to me?” Jiang Cheng says coldly. Wei Wuxian tenses and Jiang Cheng decides to cut to the chase.

"I know why you're like this."

Wei Wuxian’s eyes almost bulge out of their sockets. "Y-you do?"

He scoffs. "Of course. I'm not an idiot like you!"

Wei Wuxian looks troubled, and Jiang Cheng hates it. "Then you..."

“It might seem impossible at first, but it can happen,” Jiang Cheng says seriously.

Wei Wuxian snaps his mouth shut, lips thinning. “You know I tim—”

“Yes, I know you’re in a relationship with Lan Wangji, all right?” Jiang Cheng snaps at the same time. He just can’t bear to see that defeated look in Wei Wuxian’s face.

For a moment, the only sound comes from the cicadas. Jiang Cheng keeps on his grave look while Wei Wuxian blinks, then goes through shock, bewilderment, and finally disbelief.

Jiang Cheng tsks. Is this idiot doubting him? "Look, I don’t care if you dally with a man or a woman. Just... stop doing things in public, idiot!” Jiang Cheng’s face flames as he remembers what he heard that afternoon. “I can’t believe someone like Lan Wangji would ever want to be with you.”

Wei Wuxian’s mouth drops open, and for a moment, Jiang Cheng worries (again, in denial) that he says something wrong, until the idiot starts cackling. 

Jiang Cheng is unimpressed in the face of Wei Wuxian’s laughter. Isn’t he supposed to be grateful for Jiang Cheng’s support?

“Jiang Cheng!” Wei Wuxian calls out merrily, like he always does, and slings an arm around him. Jiang Cheng shrugs him away, grumbling, and finally feels a little embarrassed by what he’s done.

“I had enough. Get lost! See if I care next time!” Jiang Cheng seethes, but his burning face reveals him. He stomps his way to the dining hall, Wei Wuxian chortling behind him.

Jiang Cheng sits down heavily, ignoring the way their martial brothers relax when they catch sight of him and Wei Wuxian together. Wei Wuxian sits beside him and engages in a loud, joyous conversation with the others. Huaisang even goes over and joins them. Looks like everything’s back to normal.

Finally, dinner starts and Jiang Cheng, completely over with today’s dramatics, is starving.

The food arrives, and Jiang Cheng blanches at the blandness of the spread. Brown rice, stir-fried vegetables, and bitter vegetable soup that tastes like medicinal soup. What is he, a rabbit?

Wei Wuxian feels the same, obviously, only picking at his food and looking sullen. Now things are fine between them, Jiang Cheng can freely roll his eyes at him.

Just then, a servant appears and serves a covered plate to Wei Wuxian.

“What’s this?” Wei Wuxian asks, confused.

“Second Young Master Lan asked this one to serve this to Young Master Wei.”

Wei Wuxian becomes ecstatic and excitedly takes the proffered plate. He opens the lid with a grin and finds—

Dumplings.

Jiang Cheng gapes. He feels his mouth water.

“They’re vegetable dumplings,” the server explains.

Wei Wuxian has a sappy smile on his face. Jiang Cheng has an urge to strangle him. “Thanks! Tell Lan Zhan I said thank you.”

Jiang Cheng bristles, offended at the injustice of it all.

The server blinks and stutters an affirmative before leaving.

"Wei Wuxian—!" 

Unfortunately, Wei Wuxian isn't paying him any attention. His neck cranes left and right, trying to look past the heads of his fellow cultivators, clearly searching for something. 

Jiang Cheng wants to hit him in the back of his head and shout what the hell is wrong with him (and can he maybe share his dumplings with him?). 

Wei Wuxian visibly perks up when he finds what he's looking for. Jiang Cheng traces his gaze and is unamused to find Wei Wuxian making sappy eyes at Lan Wangji. Wei Wuxian giggles and gives a little wave. 

Jiang Cheng assumes Wei Wuxian is seeking his early death and raises a hand to really hit him in the head. His eyes worriedly go to Lan Wangji, afraid that the immaculate second master Lan would be angry at Wei Wuxian’s public display.

What Jiang Cheng sees makes him pause.

Far and wide, the cultivation world has described Lan Wangji as an ice cold beauty. A peerless jade that never cracks. No one can find faults in him, and no one dares get close to him out of fear. 

In short, Lan Wangji is talented, good-looking, and anti-social. 

No one has ever seen or made him smile.

So what the heck is Jiang Cheng looking at now? 

Sitting prim behind the table, an almost imperceptible smile graces Lan Wangji's face. 

He hears Wei Wuxian coo. “His smile is like snow melting during spring.”

The two are tables apart but they keep on staring at one another as if they're the only ones in the room. 

Jiang Cheng glumly mutters, "Really? Right in front of my bland vegetables?"