Wei Wuxian has several sets of robes that he can change into every day for at least a week before he will have to be completely naked while doing his laundry and waiting for them to dry. From afar, they look almost the same, designed to look similar perhaps for the sake of simplicity. Only those lucky enough to stand close to him will see the subtle differences. The brocade patterns are different for each one of his robe. Wei Wuxian likes how snug the materials feel against his skin, too.
On a quiet day like this, he is suddenly reminded of the very existence of the robes in the first place. As far as he can remember, even with his poor memory, he never had to buy them. From the first day he arrived at The Cloud Recesses many, many months ago, he had changed into the robe Lan Wangji had carefully placed by the bed for him to change into, the fabric much more exquisite than the outfit Mo Xuanyu was wearing when he had summoned Wei Wuxian’s soul.
Now that he thinks about it, the robes used to feel a little longer and bigger at first, but not enough to appear unfit for his use. He loves the silken feel of his inner robe, smooth to the touch as well as the lightweight feature of his outer robes, accommodating even for swift battle stances. He doesn’t remember buying any clothes but there they are, always ready for him.
Lately, the number of robes seems to have expanded, the new ones fitting better than ever. Even the old ones feel like they fit him better now.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Wei Wuxian leaves the bedroom and approaches the cupboard where Lan Wangji keeps spare rolls of paper and ink. He has a new idea for a new invention that they can use to make night hunts a better experience, especially for the junior disciples. Because of his bad memory, he needs to write the ideas down before he is distracted by other matters. He almost always does get distracted.
Opening the cupboard, his eyes are immediately drawn to an ornamental box on the second topmost shelf. It is not big enough to hold scrolls, so letting his curiosity gets the better of him, Wei Wuxian opens the box. Inside, he finds spools of threads and needles. The only person who can enter the Jingshi, beside Lan Wangji himself, is Wei Wuxian. Why does Lan Wangji need this sewing kit?
It is at that exact moment that the gears inside Wei Wuxian’s mind start turning a little faster, his heart skips a bit when he connects the threads and needles to the knowledge of how his clothes seem to fit him better lately. Perhaps Lan Wangji has been altering his clothes secretly! The mere thought brings warmth and mirth at the mental image of Lan Wangji sitting at his study, mending Wei Wuxian’s robes.
A memory, one from way back, echoes in his head, chasing away the mirth from his face.
“Wei Ying, come back to Gusu with me.”
His heart begins to beat faster and he brings his right hand to his chest above where his heart rests, putting a little pressure as if to calm his sudden frenzied heartbeat.
What if — no, no, it can’t be.
But still, just, what if, from way back then, Lan Wangji had hoped that Wei Wuxian would follow him back to Gusu? What if, since many, many years ago, Lang Wangji had kept the clothes that would fit Wei Wuxian in his old body in hope that the latter would have a change of heart?
Lan Wangji had waited, and waited, and waited for Wei Wuxian to return with him to Gusu. When the old Wei Wuxian thought he was going to be judged and punished, hidden away for his demonic cultivation, Lan Wangji was instead preparing for a warm welcome, ready to cater to his every need, readying new sets of outfits crafted with materials fitting for the king of his heart.
This body gifted to him by Mo Xuanyu is smaller, slenderer and a little shorter. Maybe, just maybe, the clothes were originally tailored to fit Wei Wuxian’s old body, the difference of six centimeters in height now becoming very apparent the longer he stares at the spools of thread and needles in the box.
Oh, oh, his heart... his heart!
There is a sudden sting at the back of his eyes but the tears don’t fall. Yes, Wei Wuxian’s heart aches for Lan Wangji who had mourned and suffered alone. Above all, he is overcome by a strong surge of joy he can barely contain.
The robe he is wearing right now is another embodiment of Lan Wangji’s form of silent love for Wei Wuxian alone, an undying love so pure it makes Wei Wuxian grateful to have been given another chance at life. He shudders at the thought of never having the chance to experience one of the greatest blessings life has ever bestowed upon him - Lan Wangji’s devotion.
Closing the box and then the cupboard, he suddenly doesn’t feel like writing anymore. The ideas can wait. Right now, he has something else to do. Smoothing his robe, he walks out of the Jingshi in search of Lan Wangji, overcome with the urge to run into the man’s arms and breathe in the calming scent of sandalwood clinging to his body.
I’m in Gusu with you.
And I’m home.
Chapter 2: Needles and Threads
Chapter by Keysmash (Keysmashed), Keysmashed
A companion piece for the main story but from Lan Wangji's POV.
Set before the death of our beloved Yiling Patriarch and after WWX returns in MXY’s body.
I was asked on Tumblr for a companion piece so here it is along with my sketch of.... sad Lan Wangji.
Thank you for your support! I appreciate every kudos and comments. It means a lot as my muse has been very rusty until MDZS came into my life.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lan Wangji didn’t know when it started but in the calm that followed after the Sunshot Campaign came to a glorious end, he found comfort in sewing. At first, it was to mend the small tears of his own robes. Although the Gusu Lan Sect was not short on funds and could definitely get him a hundred new robes if he wanted, Lan Wangji was a simple man. If he could fix it, he would.
On a visit to a neighbouring town, he had chanced upon a travelling vendor peddling fabric that exuded exclusivity and quality, one pattern reserved only for one buyer, no two patterns were the same. Lan Wangji’ spotted black and red fabric that reminded him of Wei Wuxian. Before he realised, he was already heading back to The Cloud Recesses with enough fabric for three sets of robes.
He would close his eyes and recall Wei Wuxian’s figure, estimating his height, his girth and the length of his sleeves on memory alone. He had once held Wei Wuxian’s hand above the man’s head to secretly deliver the first and only kiss he would ever share with anyone in his lifetime. Wei Wuxian might have had countless kisses before and he might never know it was Lan Wangji who had stolen his kiss. To Lan Wangji, it was the kiss he would remember until the day his life was no more.
His unskilled hands pricked his own fingers countless times. Sometimes when they bled too much, he could not play his guqin for a few days until the cuts on his fingers healed. The blood and needle-pricked fingers were all worth it in the end when he hung the black and red robes he had sewn for Wei Wuxian next to his white ones. He ran his fingers against the smooth fabric and wondered…
If Wei Wuxian would just change his mind and come to Gusu…
Maybe he should just give him the robes the next time they met, but what was he supposed to say? “I sew them for you”? Wei Wuxian might take it the wrong way and thought Lan Wangji was ridiculing him for being poor.
Lan Wangji kept the hope alive in his heart.
One day, perhaps, Wei Wuxian would come with him to Gusu. Lan Wangji promised himself should it ever happened, he would treat Wei Wuxian like a king. He would cook for him all his favourite foods with all the red spices, feed him, clothe him, chase his nightmares, keep him warm — Lan Wangji would do anything if Wei Wuxian would just come with him.
He looked at the robes he had sewn for Wei Wuxian every day, caressing the delicate fabric like he was scared of damaging the robes, wondering if Wei Wuxian had grown taller, smaller or bigger and if he needed to alter the robes. He imagined Wei Wuxian in the robes; how beautiful he would look, clothed in materials that would hug him and protect him for Lan Wangji had made sure to infuse the layers with protective charms.
He couldn’t wait to see Wei Wuxian wear them.
He would look so..
“The Yiling Patriarch is dead!”
And then the sky came crashing down. Lan Wangji might as well be dead too now that Wei Wuxian was gone.
There was nothing in this world that could ever describe the excruciating pain, like jagged knives stabbing his heart over and over, thrusting and twisting so violently that he forgot breathing was not supposed to hurt.
But it hurt. How it hurt.
Unable to even stand without shaking, he took heavy steps to where he kept the black and red robes that held his hopes for a once possible future. He gathered them into his arms and for a moment, he almost could not breathe.
“Yiling Patriarch Wei Wuxian is dead!”
Lan Wangji didn’t know how long he sat on the floor, clutching the robes that had just lost its owner, just like Lan Wangji’s heart that had also lost its anchor. The love, the pain, the hurt, they all converged in him and tore him apart. For a long time, he cried and cried and screamed until his throat ran dry, his heaving chest heavy with crippling sorrow.
His cry fell on deaf ears as the world outside rejoiced and celebrated the death of his beloved.
Who, oh, who will wear these robes now that you’re gone?
Until Lan Xichen came home to pry him from the robes he was clutching like his entire life depended on them, Lan Wangji remained crumpled on the floor, sobbing, grieving, mourning.
Lan Wangji tucked the small body of Mo Xuanyu under the covers. He knew Wei Wuxian thought nobody knew of his real identity. Lan Wangji would wait for the right time. Before heading to the Mingshi for the ritual involving the severed hand they had previously captured, Lan Wangji made sure to place a set of nicely folded robes for Wei Wuxian to wear once the sleeping man was ready to wake up and face the day.
His gaze lingered a little longer on Wei Wuxian’s sleeping face and shifted to the robes. Ah… He would need to make a little adjustment. After the ritual was over, he would trim the robes six centimeters shorter so that they fit Wei Wuxian better.
He was right to keep the hope alive.
Wei Wuxian would look nothing less than stunning in the black and red robes Lan Wangji had sewn with love.
He couldn’t wait to see it.
The Mingshi door swung open like it was scared of the man who just strode into the room like he owned the place. For a moment, Lan Wangji forgot they were dealing with a life and death situation, a severed hand with overwhelming resentful energy threatening to suffocate them all.
With a makeshift, nameless flute in his hand, Wei Wuxian stood facing the sinister hand, ready to assist in subduing the resentful energy. The black and red robes fit him like a prince.
The screech of a badly played flute that filled the Mingshi had never sounded so beautiful to Lan Wangji’s ears.
Wei Wuxian was alive.
Nothing else mattered.
Thank you for reading!