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#nielan
stiltonbasket · 4 hours ago
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prompts for a nielan father’s day fic? >:3
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Chapters: 2/3 Fandom: 陈情令 | The Untamed (TV), 魔道祖师 - 墨香铜臭 | Módào Zǔshī - Mòxiāng Tóngxiù Rating: Teen And Up Audiences Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply Relationships: Lán Huàn | Lán Xīchén & Lán Zhàn | Lán Wàngjī, Lán Zhàn | Lán Wàngjī/Wèi Yīng | Wèi Wúxiàn, Lán Huàn | Lán Xīchén/Niè Míngjué Characters: Lan Zhan | Lan Wangji, Lan Huan | Lan Xichen, Qingheng-jun, Lan Qiren, Nie Mingjue, Wei Ying | Wei Wuxian Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Modern Setting, Coming of Age, Qingheng-jun raises his kids, Eventual WangXian, eventual nielan, Child Neglect, they need a hug so bad, Implied/Referenced Child Abuse, Teen Romance, Angst with a Happy Ending, First Kiss, for both pairings Summary:
Lan Zhan is six years old. He lost a baby tooth three weeks ago, his favorite toy is a plush rabbit named Didi, and he makes his bed every morning when he wakes up. Mother used to tuck him in at night after putting Lan Huan to bed. She’d come into his room with a storybook in hand and read to him until his eyes drooped, her warm voice and gentle smile lulling him to sleep. He misses her comforting smell, like cookies. He doesn’t know why she went away, and when Lan Huan explains it doesn’t make sense. He says Mother is gone and she still loves them very much, but they can’t see her again. Lan Zhan tries to understand, he waits outside her bedroom door in the east wing of their home, but she never opens the door. He tries to enter the attic where Father sent her, but he can’t reach the top rung of the pull down ladder, and Lan Huan shakes his head when he asks for his brother’s help. She can’t come down, A-Zhan, Father said we’re not allowed.
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A modern au where Qingheng-jun raises his children. He is not the father they need.
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bewareof12metersfrogs · 8 hours ago
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Nie Bros + NieYao or maybe NieLan Reincarnation AU but it's angst with hopeful ending instead of romantic comedy
:D @absolutelynotsanebaby
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So I'm thinking of a 3 or 4 parts story (each part has a different pov) where the whole cast got reincarnated and they're gonna remember BUT they have to change. They have to decide what actions they will take after knowing their past life. Maybe they're gonna hang on their hatred, their guilt, their sadness, or maybe they're gonna learn to forgive and move on.
Because I'm a sucker for Nie Bros and NMJ × happiness in general, the story's gonna focus on them. I'm gonna tell the story in parts aight:
Part 1: NHS's PoV
It starts with a horrible nightmare when he is only five years old. His brother is six years older than him and NienHuaisang climbs into his bed. Nie Huaisang had a dream about his brother dying, about a blinded man in white, and about an evil man in gold.
The dreams continue and visions start occuring.
Nie Huaisang doesn't tell his brother.
Their father is sick and his brother has enough things to think about.
(he does not want to be a burden. not again)
Not long after, they meet Lan Xichen in a party because their families are old friends. Nie Huaisang, being a child that he is, still hasn't known for sure who is who, but he has long since decided that he will never let his brother get close to the people in his dreams. Nie Huaisang decides to put a distance between his brother and Lan Xichen.
(it will backfire, later.)
As he grows older, Nie Huaisang begins to understand. The blinded man in white is indeed Lan Xichen (Lan Huan? Courtesy names aren't that common anymore, are they? Please let me know if I'm wrong), the evil man in gold is someone named Jin Guangyao, the poor young man whom he used is Mo Xuanyu, the friend whom he resurrected is Wei Wuxian, and the dull and scary man in white is Lan Wangji.
(the poor woman who killed herself because of his letter is Qin Su, he later finds out. he did not mean to kill her. later in life, when he meets her again, he will try to make her happy)
Maybe fate wants him to make amends, he thinks, to set things right. The people in his dreams start showing up. He apologises to Mo Xuanyu the first time they meet and both the boy and Nie Mingjue are confused. He becomes fast friends with Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian and he is grateful. Lan Wangji still scares him and he feels relieved.
He tries to like Lan Xichen.
(why must you meet my brother, er-ge?)
Everything goes on rather smoothly, though his brother is often confused and worried about him. Sometimes, Nie Huaisang would look at his brother like one would look at a dead person. Sometimes, Nie Huaisang feels like he is looking at a dead person.
(his brother has been a dead person for many years)
And then Nie Mingjue meets Meng Yao.
Nie Huaisang curses the fate that ties them, both in life and in death. He curses Lan Xichen who keeps bringing them together. He curses Meng Yao who keeps appearing in his brother's life. He curses his brother who keeps trusting and falling for his killer.
He curses himself, the one who keeps letting it all happen.
He curses and he curses and he curses.
(why, fate?)
He tries to separate them, but they only get closer. He tries to break them apart, but their relationship only gets stronger. Maybe fate wants him to forgive. Maybe fate wants him to decide whether he will hang on his hatred or let go. Maybe fate wants him to let all of them, including himself, be happy.
But Nie Huaisang just wants to protect his brother.
But Nie Mingjue is happy.
But Meng Yao is genuine.
But Lan Xichen is longing.
Nie Huaisang decides.
Part 2: NMJ's PoV
It starts with a horrible headache that goes all the way to his neck and makes his limbs hurt so much. He closes his eyes because of the pain, but all he sees is blood and all he feels is hatred. After a few minutes, all the pain ceases. Mingjue knows somethings is wrong with him, but he ignores it. His father is sick and his brother keeps having nightmares.
Still, the vision occurs.
Visions of blood, mostly, of war and bloodshed, of his brother crying and himself screaming, of a guqin and a song he can not hear. Visions of two men and two kinds of smile. Visions of love and hatred.
He can not combine the pieces. His neck feels like it's gonna snap and his limbs feel torn apart.
Mingjue goes on with his life. He does not want to think about it.
(he does not have the time to think about it. he is scared to think about it)
He meets Lan Xichen and his brother acts like he just meets someone he should never have met. Still, Lan Xichen is nice and they become friends. They talk and they laugh. Lan Xichen tells him about Lan Wangji and Nie Mingjue tells him about Nie Huaisang. Lan Xichen tells him about Gusu and Nie Mingjue tells him about Qinghe. Lan Xichen tells him that he should go to Gusu.
(in the corner of his eyes, mingjue sees how his little brother looks at them. he sees how he stops chasing the jiang boys to look at them. he sees how he seems to hold his breath when he looks at them. mingjue does not understand why his brother sometimes looks at him like he looks at a dead person)
Nie Mingjue and Lan Xichen are friends. Later, they will attend the same college and spend time together. Later, the way Lan Xichen sees him will change and Nie Mingjue will wonder. Later, Lan Xichen will look at him and Nie Mingjue will look away.
He will look at someone else.
Because Lan Xichen is nice, but he feels wrong.
(he will learn why, later)
Life goes on.
Huaisang meets a boy and he apologises. Nie Mingjue is confused.
(nie mingue is scared
what have you done, huaisang?)
Their father has long since passed away. Mingjue is also Huaisang's father figure, rather than just his brother and mother. He needs to raise him right. He needs to teach him everything that will help him in his life. He doesn't have the time nor the energy to care about abstract things like his visions or the strange way his brother often looks at people. Huaisang is the most beloved and precious person for him, but he can't help but feel scared everytime he looks at Lan Xichen like he wants to push him away, everytime he tries to separate them.
(nie mingjue notices)
And then, Lan Xichen introduces Meng Yao to him, and Nie Mingjue feels like he finally finds what he has been searching for. Meng Yao is nice. Meng Yao is clever. Meng Yao is brave. Meng Yao helps people. People say mean things about Meng Yao but he keeps his head up.
(there are other things about meng yao but nie mingjue has not realised it yet)
Meng Yao is the one he look away to look at when Lan Xichen looks at him.
Nie Huaisang does not like Meng Yao.
The visions worsen.
Meng Yao asks him to go on a date.
Nie Mingjue accepts.
It's A-Yao and A-Jue now. A-Jue makes A-Yao lunch and A-Yao kisses his temple. They're laying on A-Yao's old couch, trying to watch a movie but failing, giggling and stealing kisses instead. They're laying on A-Yao's old bed because Huaisang doesn't like A-Yao, and A-Jue tells him about Qinghe. They are still working together to be together, but they are happy.
Then his headache starts reappearing.
Nie Mingjue is denying the truth (he is happy, they are happy), but the visions make it hard. He keeps denying the truth, but he finds old articles in A-Yao's desk that talk about a sealed coffin found in somewhere near Qinghe. He wants to deny the truth, but he knows.
A-Yao comes home.
He knows. They both know.
Nie Mingjue calls Meng Yao by the name his father bestowed on him.
(not as a son. never as a son)
Nie Mingjue can end everything here.
Nie Mingjue can kill Jin Guangyao the way he killed him.
Nie Mingjue can kill Jin Guangyao the way he killed him after he died.
Nie Mingjue can leave him.
Nie Mingjue can forgive him and move on.
Nie Mingjue can look at Lan Xichen.
Nie Mingjue decides.
Part 3: JGY's PoV
It starts with a horrible pain not long after his mother dies, when his heart is filled with both sorrow and ambition. The pain chokes him and stabs at his chest. It tugs on his arm like it wants to rip it apart. It fills him with hatred and anger, with guilt and longing. Meng Yao is alone and even with his mother's saving and his scholarship, he still needs to work to keep himself alive. He doesn't have the time nor money to go see a doctor.
(the pain is not is nothing a doctor can cure anyway)
The dreams and visions start weeks after the pain, clear like the rivers in Yunping. Meng Yao is clever and smart, and it doesn't take long for him to put two and two together.
(he wishes it took longer)
Meng Yao knows he was (is?) a terrible person. He knows it's all not worth it. He knows his father never did and never will accept him.
Meng Yao still wants to meet his father.
(for what? meng yao is not sure. meng yao thinks working at the jin company will surely bring him a good fortune. meng yao does not know if that's just an excuse)
He meets Mo Xuanyu, another bastard like him, and he pats his head. He meets Jin Zixuan and they both smile. Jin Zixuan ends up being a better person than he remembers.
He meets Qin Su.
Meng Yao smiles and avoids her.
(there will be no jin rusong this time. meng yao will not hurt her this time
the guilt stays)
Meng Yao meets Lan Xichen at college and he feels guilty. He thinks he needs to be a better person.
(will he? he has always had a problem with ambition)
Meng Yao knows he will meet the other man soon.
Meng Yao does not know what to expect.
Lan Xichen introduces Meng Yao to Nie Mingjue and he knows everything will crumble, sooner or later. Meng Yao sees Nie Mingjue and he feels the urges to kill and to hurt, to kiss and to cradle, to hate and to love. Meng Yao wants to apologise to him and he wants to blame him. Meng Yao wants to hold his hands and crush them. Meng Yao wants everything and nothing.
(it's always like this, isn't it?)
Lan Xichen looks at Nie Mingjue. Nie Mingjue looks at Meng Yao. Meng Yao knows their fates have been sealed.
(just like his and nie mingjue's souls)
He knows it's better if he distances himself from the two of them, but he has always been a touch too ambitious. But, is this really an ambition? Meng Yao doesn't know. The three of them start spending time together. They talk and they laugh. They eat lunch and study. Soon, he notices the way Lan Xichen sees Nie Mingjue (with longing, with guilt, with love) and the way Nie Mingjue sees Meng Yao.
Meng Yao asks Nie Mingjue to go on a date.
Nie Mingjue accepts.
They go to the cinema and watch a subpar movie. Meng Yao pays for the tickets and Nie Mingjue pays for the snacks. They have lunch together and laugh at the ridiculousness of the movie. They split the bills. Meng Yao walks Nie Mingjue home. He knows he will meet the last person soon.
He will be prepared.
After that, they spend more time together. They go on more dates. A walk in the park. The newly-opened aquarium. A theme park. Lunch at Meng Yao's, made by Nie Mingjue. Another movie date, a gruesome horror. Nie Mingjue's fingers touch his and Meng Yao holds his hand. In the dim light from the giant screen, Nie Mingjue's smile looks so beautiful.
(his heart aches. nie mingjue is beautiful when he smiles
he's pretty when he cries)
It becomes A-Yao and A-Jue now.
(lan xichen's smile is strained)
He meets Nie Huaisang.
(meng yao thinks he ought to hate him
he can not
not when nie mingjue loves him so)
Nie Huaisang doesn't like him. Meng Yao already knows even before they met. Nie Huaisang will try to separate them and break them apart, but Meng Yao will never let him.
Meng Yao doesn't think to hurt him. He does not know why.
Meng Yao has stopped thinking about the dreams and the visions and what it means to be Jin Guangyao. He holds A-Jue's hand when they're watching a movie together in Meng Yao's small apartment. A-Jue cooks for him. He hugs A-Jue and kisses him. They're together. They're happy.
(they have always been together. they are together in both life and death)
He finds the old articles about a sealed coffin found somewhere near Qinghe two weeks before A-Jue's headache starts reappearing.
Meng Yao understands everything now. He remembers everything now.
(meng yao thinks it will be alright even if he dies, as long as it is nie mingjue's hands that snap his neck and crush his soul)
A few weeks later he comes home late. A-Jue's headache keeps getting worse and Meng Yao wants to buy him his favorite cake from the small, crowded bakery across the train station. He says A-Jue's name when he enters his apartment, but no one answers. He puts the cake down on the table and goes to his bedroom.
A-Jue is kneeling, his hair out of his ponytail and braids, his eyes filled with anger and tears.
(he is not bleeding)
He's clutching the articles.
(he is not clutching baxia)
A-Jue calls him.
Nie Mingjue calls Jin Guangyao.
Meng Yao knows. They both know.
Nie Mingjue has to decide now because Meng Yao has already decided.
MAYBE Part 4: LXC's PoV
It starts with a horrible pang of longing and guilt when he meets the Nie boy at a party. Nie Mingjue is just like him, he thinks, with no parents and a little brother to look after, but Lan Xichen still has his uncle, who he knows cares for them even though he is stiff.
Lan Xichen doesn't know why he wants to cry and hug Nie Mingjue even though they didn't know each other before. He decides to smile and talk to him.
(and how he misses the voice that he has never heard and the smile that he has never seen)
Nie Mingjue calls his brother and the brother freezes when he saw Lan Xichen. Lan Xichen thinks he feels both angry and guilty towards Nie Huaisang.
He smiles and introduces his brother to him.
(the jiang boys are there too. lan xichen is happy when one of them drags wangji with him)
Nie Huaisang is polite but distant.
It's alright.
Lan Xichen and Nie Mingjue talk and laugh. They talk about their brothers and their homes. In both Gusu and Qinghe, there are mountains and forests. In both places, the temperature is cold. Lan Xichen wants to ask Nie Mingjue to come to Gusu.
(after all, he has already been to qinghe so many times)
Lan Xichen catches Nie Huaisang stares.
(i'm sorry, huaisang)
The dreams start later that night and the visions a year later. He dreams of war and bloodshed, of betrayal and sorrow. He dreams of his brother's heart breaking. He dreams of old people and a young man being punished for false crimes, murdered for greed. He dreams of a song that has been tweaked and infused with poison.
He dreams and he dreams.
He dreams of a little bird turning into a predator.
He dreams of death.
(what can he do? what could he do?)
Lan Xichen and Nie Mingjue go to the same college and they spend so much time together. Nie Mingjue is kind and warm. Sometimes, he is so warm that Lan Xichen has to turn away from him, has to pull away, has to put a distance.
He looks at Nie Mingjue.
He meets Meng Yao and he thinks he will get along with Nie Mingjue.
(they will, but perhaps he will regret it later
he did regret it once)
He introduces Meng Yao to Nie Mingjue.
Lan Xichen looks at Nie Mingjue. Nie Mingjue looks at Meng yao.
They spend time together, the three of them. Lan Xichen looks at how his friends look at each other and there's a pang in his chest.
Meng Yao and Nie Mingjue start spending time together. Soon, they become A-Yao and A-Jue. Lan Xichen smiles.
(it's strained)
He has lost Nie Mingjue.
(but was he not the one who left him alone?)
The dreams and visions continue and they become clearer and clearer. Soon he understands everything.
He goes to Nie Huaisang.
Both of them have to decide.
Nie Huaisang has already decided.
Lan Xichen decides.
-----------------------------------
You can see that I had no idea what to do for Xichen's part.
Alright, I want all of them to move on, to forgive, to be forgiven, to let go, to build a new life. Just, I want all of them to be happy :')
This is the longest story idea slash prompt that I have ever written and honestly I'm not sure if I will actually write it. You guys are free to use this idea for your story. Tweak it, change it, angstify it, smutify it, crackify it, do as you like as long as you send me the link :D
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cute-rocks · 13 hours ago
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my CQL ship journey (inspired by this post)
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peanutbitterrr · 3 days ago
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"I wish that it was easy, i wish that loving me wouldn't feel so hard"
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Mingxicheng, as requested by one of my friends! ❤️
[ID: Portraits of Jiang Cheng, Lan Xichen and Nie Mingjue, in this order, made with watercolors.]
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bimingjue · 4 days ago
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lxc’s kid and nmj’s kid both go to the same school and have become friends. bc of lxc’s job he’s often late to pick up his kid. one time when they’re both running late and they’re both the last kids at school waiting to be picked up, the teacher has an emergency and nmj offers to take lxc’s kid to the restaurant nearby and lxc can pick them up there so the teacher can go. even though they have never met irl, lxc agrees bc their kids have had a lot of play dates together. that’s how they first meet, they’re both instantly smitten for each other but they’re both fools and shy. eventually lxc asks nmj if he can look after his kid for a day because he has a business trip and nobody else can look after them. nmj of course agrees, says he promised to take his kid to an amusement park that day and his kid can definitely tag along. lxc somehow manages to move his business trip (or he just lied who knows) and goes along with them to the amusement park. it’s their first date but certainly not their last.
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bimingjue · 4 days ago
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doctor!lan xichen x very clumsy!nie mingjue
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jazzthesapphicqueen · 5 days ago
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Fuck I was Just reminded of my mdzs ocs who were lesbians who I wrote a fic for and publisshed but never finished. I will not be finishing it either cuz writing it gave me too much stress but ahh good times
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wangxianficrecs · 6 days ago
Hello! I was wondering if you’d know where to find a beta reader for nielan fics? Or maybe signal boost for anyone willing?
I am always happy to signal boost! And I believe that the MDZS Big Bang Discord group has a list of betas, so you should check that out, too.
Meanwhile, any volunteers?
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stiltonbasket · 6 days ago
modern local aro/ace spectrum LQR and NHS totally run a sleepover for all of their kids, niblings, and almost-niblings during Valentines' Day or the nearest weekend. The parents get to do date night stuff and LQR and NHS get to be owed favors and be covered in cuddly kids for a night. NHS teaches the kids makeup tricks and LQR does storytime.
every major news channel the next morning: SEVEN MUSEUMS WERE ROBBED OVERNIGHT! LOCK DOWN YOUR VALUABLES BECAUSE THE JADE GANG TAKES NO PRISONERS!!
Lan Qiren, whose nephews have been sighing about not having enough time with their husbands for weeks: *eyebrow twitches* That was not what I meant by a date, Wangji!
Meanwhile, Nie Huaisang: you robbed SEVEN MUSEUMS without me??? don’t count on getting any favors again. ψ(▼へ▼メ)~→
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stiltonbasket · 6 days ago
modern nielan family go to the farmers' market and all the vendors are (≧◡≦) ♡. Tiny cuddly adorable baby or toddler with his buff cuddle dad and his elegant lawyer dad. Plus they're all very polite and buy lots of stuff.
I imagine them buying lots of bouquets at the flower booths! They make Nie Mingjue sneeze a little, but in-season flowers make the house look gorgeous.
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nonsensicalwriting · 7 days ago
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Beta reader wanted!
I’m looking for a beta reader for my MDZS/The Untamed nielan fic.
It’s probably going to end up being about 50k in length. It’s currently rated at M, but will likely go up to E and content warnings include sexual content, canon-level depictions of violence, and mental health issues (mainly depression). Ideally, it would help if you’ve read the novel since it’s a time travel fix-it and I’m mainly focusing on that timeline of events. I don’t have a strict posting schedule, so it’s pretty lax.
I’d love to find someone to check for grammar, structure/pacing, and soundboard ideas.
If this is something you’d be interested in, feel free to dm me!
I’d be open to gifting a fic in return :)
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stiltonbasket · 7 days ago
can we have some nielan for the art thief au? author's choice :D
(this is more lxc-focused but there's still a dash of sweet nielan! (≧◡≦) ♡ click here for AO3 link)
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Twenty years ago.
The last time we celebrated Muqin’s birthday with her, it was twenty years ago.
Upon later reflection, perhaps the realization ought not to have affected Lan Xichen as it did. But twenty years is long enough to be called a long time by any measure of reckoning; and Lan Xichen is thirty now, an orphan for fully twice the span that he had either of his parents, and sometimes it feels as if he no longer remembers how it was to call for A-Niang, and Fuqin instead of Shufu, or not have to explain to new acquaintances that his parents have been dead for nearly two decades.
What did he and Wangji do on Mother’s last birthday? Lan Xichen remembers their father making a cake—a flourless one, because Mother wanted to try a new recipe she found at the library—and Wangji lay down on his stomach in the living room and labored over a card for her all morning, squeaking in dismay when Mother pretended to peer over his shoulders to see what he was doing, and then he wrapped it up in silky tissue paper and presented it to her with such delight on his solemn little face that Muqin refused to let go of him for the next twenty minutes.
Xichen was in the kitchen helping their father with the cake, he thinks. Fuqin handed him three little bottles of food coloring and told him to color the frosting, which Lan Xichen did with breathless care to ensure that the frosting turned out their mother’s favorite shade of buttery yellow.
None of them knew then that it was the last birthday they would celebrate together as a family. Mother died only two months later, quietly in her bed at Fuqin’s side, and a heart attack carried their father off six months after that.
Mother’s birthday has always been something of a private holiday within the family. When she was alive their father organized quiet celebrations for her, and Lan Xichen always spent time with Wangji that day after she passed on. But today his brother has been caught up with grading at the university where he works, so Lan Xichen is celebrating the bittersweet anniversary alone.
“You would have been fifty-six today, Mother,” he says, as he burns incense at the family memorial altar and puts a pair of red-bean buns on a platter in front of her photograph: one for her and one for Father, who loved mother’s sweet baozi so much that Shufu used to tease him about it at family dinners. “Shufu and Wangji are doing well, and so am I. And Jingyi is big enough to fit into that sweater A-Jue made from the yarn you were saving—do you remember when you took me and A-Zhan to help you pick it out?”
His mother’s smiling face looks down at him from her wedding picture, as silent and tender as she always is. Muqin is resplendent in the old qipao dress she wore that day, the only luxury she really had for her hasty wedding; Lan Xichen can almost feel its smooth embroidered flowers and pankou under his fingertips, since she often took the dress out to look at it and show it to her two sons. It was eventually put away in storage along with the rest of her belongings, but Lan Xichen found the qipao while he was preparing for his own wedding some fifteen years later, and he brought it to the house he moved into with his husband just after their son was born.
Prodded by some strange urgency, Lan Xichen makes his way to the bedroom and rifles through his closet, pulling out the long silk sleeve where the qipao dress has lain undisturbed for the past eighteen months. The dress, when he removes it from the sleeve, is mostly unchanged: only creased at the spots where it was folded, and a little dusty-smelling from being in the closet.
He shakes it out, breathing in the familiar scent of his mother’s perfume clinging to the collar, and then he walks over to the full-length mirror by the bed and holds the qipao up in front of him.
For a moment, it almost looks as if—
Lan Xichen stares at his reflection, bewildered.
“Oh,” he gasps, holding one of the bedposts in a vice grip. “Oh.”
_____
When Lan Xichen was in his teens, Shufu hired a family friend to teach him how to do makeup: mainly how to make his face more angular, and deepen the shadows around his nose and eyebrows, and render his eyes just a little narrower than they truly were with highlighting powder. But it was an art like any other, so Liang-popo showed him how to do different kinds of makeup, too: how to make his cheeks look rounder, and his chin smaller, and call more attention to his lips and eyes than natural light did on its own. Lan Xichen never expected to use that half of what Liang-popo taught him, but he still remembers the basics: and his own face, still smooth and unlined by the sun thanks to the skincare regimens Nie Huaisang keeps coaxing him into, accepts the blush-toned powders and creams like paper soaking up ink.
Moisturizer, primer. Foundation, and concealing cream under his eyes. He took off his glasses and replaced them with contacts earlier, and tied back his long hair while he smoothed on a pale red lip tint; and now, with most of his makeup finished, he paints a small, dark mole high on his forehead—one that his mother had, but neither he nor Wangji inherited—and mists his face with setting spray.
He yanks his hair elastic out with shaking fingers, groping in the vanity drawer for bobby pins before putting his hair up into a loose chignon, and then he finally lifts his eyes and looks into the mirror again.
If he were not sitting, Lan Xichen thinks dizzily, he would have fainted dead away.
With shaking fingers, he removes his pants and shirt (one of A-Jue’s thicker pajama tops, since the weather was chilly last night) and divests himself of his binder, tossing it onto the bed with the rest of his clothes before he unbuttons the qipao and pulls it on. The dress fits like a second skin despite being several inches too short, but the side slits are so high that it hardly matters, and the collar encloses Lan Xichen’s pale throat exactly like it did his mother’s in her wedding photograph: just lax enough that he can’t really feel it, but smooth enough not to bother him either way.
Lan Xichen pads back towards the mirror, his bare feet dragging over the carpet as he goes, and then he looks up and meets his mother’s eyes for the first time in twenty years.
The resemblance, so far as it goes, is astounding. Mother was shorter, but she seemed quite tall to the ten-year-old son she left behind; and she had the same eyes and brows and nose and even the same cheekbones, with slightly fuller lips which were never thinned by parenthood as Lan Xichen’s lips have been. But then again, Wen Mingyan was a schoolteacher and not a harried lawyer who doubled as a museum thief by night, and her children were not so accomplished at getting into trouble as Lan Xichen’s own tiny son is.
At the thought of his baby, Lan Xichen hurries into the next room where A-Yi is fast asleep in his crib, with his thumb in his mouth and his pudgy little legs sticking straight up in the air. He rolls into Lan Xichen’s arms without waking, like a ball rolling into a comfortable hollow in the ground, and nestles happily under his chin on the short trip back to the bedroom.
Lan Xichen pulls a chair up in front of the mirror and sits down with Jingyi yawning in his lap, gazing at what could have been a window opening onto the past: his mother, young and strong and still with the bridal blush on her cheeks, cradling a fluffy-haired toddler that could have been the Lan Xichen of twenty-eight years ago.
He presses his lips to A-Yi’s chubby nose; and in the mirror his mother, seemingly overwhelmed by some kind of great feeling, kisses him.
Lan Xichen’s lips quiver. “Muqin—”
Suddenly, a door bangs on the ground floor, and Lan Xichen jolts back to full awareness just in time to hear his husband and brother talking in the kitchen. Mingjue seems to have returned with armfuls of grocery bags, which crinkle so loudly that A-Yi blinks awake and starts to fuss, tugging at a lock of hair that slipped out of Xichen’s loose updo.
“A-Huan?” Mingjue calls, followed by the swift thuds of his feet and Wangji’s coming up the stairs. “A-Huan, is A-Yi…”
And then both of them screech to a halt on the landing, gawking through the open door at Lan Xichen’s soft hair and make-up and the red bridal qipao. For a moment, Lan Xichen wonders what the picture looks like—he hasn’t worn a dress since before Wangji was born, and he’s certainly never worn make-up like this, so for all he knows it might look like some strange woman broke into the house to kidnap baby A-Yi.
But then Mingjue lets out a quiet breath and comes over to kiss him, brushing aside the tangled curls A-Yi pulled down, and wraps him up in a tight hug that smells of soap and sawdust from Mingjue’s woodworking studio.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” he breathes, pressing his cheek to Lan Xichen’s. “I stopped to pick up dinner and fetch Wangji from the university after I left work.”
“It’s fine,” Lan Xichen murmurs back, as Jingyi stares at the large buttons on Mingjue’s sleeve before testing his tiny white teeth on them. “I got some egg porridge ready, earlier. Do you want to eat a little before we get dinner started?”
Nie Mingjue opens his mouth, probably to declare that hot vegetable congee with pidan would be delicious after being outside in the cold; but he never manages to say so, because Wangji makes a choked noise from the hallway before taking a shaky step forward.
“Xiongzhang,” he says hoarsely. “You look, you look just like—”
Mingjue takes A-Yi into his arms, and Lan Xichen reaches out towards his brother. When Wangji staggers into his embrace, all Lan Xichen can think of is that their mother never had the chance to see A-Zhan grow up so well, or know what a name he would make for himself, or even how his face would grow into a perfect meld of hers and Fuqin’s after his baby fat melted away.
She would have had to wait many years to know that last, Lan Xichen smiles to himself. A-Zhan’s cheeks were as round as A-Yi’s until after he started college.
“Ge.”
Lan Xichen pats Wangji’s shoulder. “Mm, A-Zhan?”
Wangji hugs him impossibly tighter.
“Thank you.”
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stiltonbasket · 7 days ago
baby Jingyi is such a little acrobat. He sleeps in all sorts of wonky positions and likes doing stretches. He also loves swimming because he can be more mobile.
Lan Xichen, after little Jingyi has been fussy all day: Love, where are you going?
Nie Mingjue, gently taking LJY out of his husband's arms: I'm going to soak him in the jacuzzi tub.
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stiltonbasket · 7 days ago
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Twenty years ago.
The last time Lan Xichen celebrated his mother’s birthday with her, it was twenty years ago.
Or, the one where Lan Xichen has many thoughts, and comes face to face with a memory.
____
Introducing the first work on AO3 for the art thief AU!!!!
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stiltonbasket · 8 days ago
nmj figures out how to make eggplant burger patties to serve at the next family BBQ. It's a solid point in the Favorite Nephew tally.
Up next, Wei Wuxian makes vegetarian fried chicken. Tiny Lan Jingyi is very intrigued. 😆
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bimingjue · 8 days ago
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gymnast!nmj x swimmer!lxc
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stiltonbasket · 8 days ago
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Not so very long ago, Nie Mingjue believed that his life was perfect.
His father’s murder was avenged, the empire that the murderer reigned over delivered into his hands, and the woman he loved more than life itself became his wife, his Empress.
But then Nie Mingjue found himself welcoming a second bridal sedan, and marrying Marquis Qin’s only daughter as his first imperial concubine.
(Or, a look into the lives of Emperor Nie and his beloved Empress Lan.)
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stiltonbasket · 9 days ago
lxc is suffering because he doesn't like bugs and lwj loves bugs and keeps bringing over bugs to show him. nmj is suffering because he doesn't like frogs and nhs loves frogs and is an expert frog-catcher. They meet up occasionally to give each other support about the sibling animal hobbies. ρ(- ω -、)ヾ( ̄ω ̄; )
Lan Xichen and Nie Mingjue later end up being dads to Jingyi, who loves both bugs and frogs. Nielan are suffering. DX
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