Wei Wuxian stood outside the Ancestral Hall, remembering what had happened the last time he had entered it. Things were different now. He was at Lotus Pier for an official visit with Lan Zhan. He had been travelling and sending letters to Lan Zhan, who wrote to him in return. In one of those letters, Lan Zhan had mentioned having to officially visit Lotus Pier for some sect business, and he had asked Wei Wuxian if he would like to join him on that visit.
Excitement had bubbled up in Wei Wuxian at the thought of going back home and his immediate response to the letter had been a yes. But then he had thought about it. Was this what Jiang Cheng would want? Everyone would be there, even Jin Ling. It would almost be like the last time they had been there.
Thoughts of Guanyin Temple had filled Wei Wuxian’s head as he had considered rejecting Lan Zhan’s offer. He had sensed that their conversation had been left incomplete, that there had been something Jiang Cheng had wanted to tell him. And they had left things on a hopeful note, so maybe this visit to Lotus Pier would be different. Maybe Jiang Cheng would finally let Wei Wuxian enter the Ancestral Hall properly this time. He would do it with Jiang Cheng’s permission this time.
So, here he was, standing in front of the closed doors that led to the tablets of the deceased Jiang Fengmian and Madam Yu. They had been the closest things Wei Wuxian had had to parents. And then there was his Shijie. Wei Wuxian didn’t think he would be able to face her this time. He had been able to bow in front of her the last time with Lan Zhan by his side, but this time, he was all alone.
Lan Zhan was out with A-Yuan, Lan Jingyi, Ouyang Zizhen and Jin Ling. He had gone along with them for adult supervision or that’s what he had told them. Wei Wuxian had suggested it, that Lan Zhan should go along with them to keep an eye on them, but they had both known that it was so that he could be alone with his…brother. Wei Wuxian still thought of him as a brother, even though maybe Jiang Cheng, rightfully, did not anymore.
His hand trembled as he reached out and let it rest on one of the doors. He heavily exhaled and stepped forward, leaning his head towards the door. A few tears fell from his eyes and before he could wipe them away, a familiar voice cut through the silence in the air.
“Wei Wuxian!” Jiang Cheng called out, making Wei Wuxian tense up. “What are you doing?” Wei Wuxian closed his eyes and sighed, leaning further into the door, until his head hit it. “Answer me,” Jiang Cheng demanded.
Wei Wuxian simply shuddered in response.
“What do you think you are doing?” Jiang Cheng repeated his words, finally stepping into Wei Wuxian’s line of vision. “Why are you just standing here like an idiot? Aren’t you going to step inside?”
Wei Wuxian stilled at his words, standing straight, and turning to look Jiang Cheng in the eyes. “What? What did you just say?” He grabbed Jiang Cheng by the shoulders, wrinkling up his favourite purple robes.
“Are you deaf or is your brain just not working as well as it used to? I asked why you weren’t entering the Ancestral Hall. I’m sure A-jie, Dad and even Mom are waiting for you to bow before them.” Jiang Cheng replied with a frown, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Wei Wuxian blinked. “You mean…I’m allowed to go inside?” Wei Wuxian’s hold on his…brother tightened.
Jiang Cheng’s frown deepened, and his brow furrowed. “Why wouldn’t you be allowed to go inside, Wei Wuxian? Are you—”
Wei Wuxian interrupted Jiang Cheng with a tight hug, hugging his brother so hard that he could hardly breathe.
“Wei Wuxian,” Jiang Cheng managed to gasp out. “Stop. What are you doing, you fucking idiot? You’re killing me!”
“Thank you,” Wei Wuxian said softly. Jiang Cheng froze in his grasp.
“You don’t have to…” Jiang Cheng spoke as he tried to pull away. Wei Wuxian loosened his grip on him. “You shouldn’t….This isn’t something you have to thank me for.” Jiang Cheng stopped trying to free himself from Wei Wuxian’s grasp and looked away.
“Why not?” Wei Wuxian questioned curiously. “I mean after everything—”
“I almost killed you!” Jiang Cheng choked out. “You should hate me. I took your golden core away from you. That’s something you should never be able to forgive me for.” Jiang Cheng was looking down at his feet.
“Jiang Cheng.” Wei Wuxian tilted Jiang Cheng’s chin so that he could meet his brother’s eyes. With his other hand, he brought Jiang Cheng closer to himself. “I could never hate you. I gave you my golden core because I wanted to. There’s nothing I need to forgive you for. I should be the one asking for your forgiveness. You’re my didi, Jiang Cheng, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I hadn’t done anything back then, for you. I still love you so much.” Tears erupted from Wei Wuxian’s eyes readily, as always.
“Shut up, Wei Wuxian!” Jiang Cheng looked away again, wiping the stray tears that fell from his own eyes. Wei Wuxian let out a quick laugh and hugged Jiang Cheng again, softly this time, but with a lot more meaning.
“I’ll always love you, Jiang Cheng, and I’ll always forgive you. I could never hate you.” Wei Wuxian muttered in Jiang Cheng’s ear. He felt Jiang Cheng hugging him back tentatively, and gently resting his head on Wei Wuxian’s shoulder.
“I could never hate you either,” Jiang Cheng admitted quietly. More tears fell from Wei Wuxian’s eyes and his shoulder felt suspiciously wet. “I’m sorry. I- I forgive you too, you know.” Wei Wuxian felt a small smile growing on his face.
“I missed you so, so much, my didi,” Wei Wuxian said, and sure enough, he could hear Jiang Cheng sobbing.
Through both their tears, Wei Wuxian heard Jiang Cheng say, “I missed you too, gege.”