Nie Mingjue was fine, thank you very much.
He did not need his men to tell him to stop worrying so much, did not need their concerned looks being thrown his way. He did not need people telling him he was overreacting, or thinking too hard on this. When Jin Guangyao arrived (who called for him?!) he wanted to throw him out for his constant pestering.
“DaGe, he is fine. You are worrying too much. You have good doctors and medicine. He will pull through.”
“He hasn't been this sick in a long time. The last time he got this sick-” His joice cut off and he just shoved the other off of him, storming off in the direction of his little brother's room.
Nie Huaisang had always been rather delicate, taking after his mother. It wasn't that she was weak, no, but she had been a bit more delicate with health that was not the best. It was something that Nie Huaisang seemed to inherit from her. Nie Mingjue remembered with crystal clarity the time that Huaisang got really sick one winter when he was about 6. It got to the point where everyone was convinced he wouldn't make it. Such rumors had reached Mingjue’s ears and he remembered being so angry. “He’s a Nie! He won't die!” And had spent day after day wiping sweat off of the boy who suddenly seemed so much smaller to him. “You will make it through. You have our blood running through you. You aren't allowed to die. I won't let you.” By some miracle Nie Huaisang ended up recovering, color making its way back into his cheeks, and his laughter sounded like the most beautiful thing to Mingjue. The relief had been so much that he ended up passing out from the exhaustion, later waking up to small hands patting his face and a concerned Huaisang asking if DaGe was ok.
It had been so long since he got this bad. Was it because he pushed him so hard to practice? He had yelled at him until he went on that one nighthunt, and they apparently were all stuck in the rain all night. All he could think of was that this was his fault. He had already apologized multiple times, all he could think about was how pale his brother was.
“DaGe is worried too much. I will be fine, I just need to rest.”
And that was what was most worrying. Nie Huaisang never missed a chance to complain, to whine, to be over dramatic. The fact he was saying he was fine, telling Mingjue to go rest despite being the one sick?
Oh gods above help him.
His brother was actually dying.
There was no other explanation for this!
“DaGe, don’t you have important things to be doing right now?”
“You have to take your medicine. I'm making sure you take it.”
“...DaGe, you said the same thing earlier when bringing me soup. It's ok, I will take it. I will just rest after.”
“You can't get up.”
“You already did, twice.”
“I had to pee. DaGe. Ah, I’m tired, you are too stubborn and i dont have the energy to argue.”
”Then don't. Just listen to me.”
No energy to argue? Concerning! If there was a very common thing between the pair it was their shouting matches. No matter how much he knew Huaisang loved to say how scary he was, he would crash their heads together if he thought he would win the argument. Man was as stubborn as they come!
Back to the issue here, he couldn't leave him alone! The last few times he did, Huaisang was found crumpled against a wall or on the ground. Nie Mingjue was never one for poetry, but he was sure that Huaisang had to be bored, so he would pick a book and read from it. He would find any book that he thought Huaisang might like, reading it to him no matter how stupid or boring it seemed to him. He would do his best!
Nie Huaisang felt like he was going to go crazy. Yes, he was sick, sicker than he had been in years. Yes, he felt terrible, head heavy and his stomach barely able to hold down much of anything.
Did his dage really need to be at his bedside for so many hours on end? His dage had an entire sect to run, surely there were other things that needed his attention! He really did not have the energy he needed to scold his elder brother into taking care of himself amongst the other duties he was obviously slacking on. Huaisang would be just fine. This would pass! It wasn’t like he was dying or anything! No, he just needed to rest, take his medicine, and somehow get food to stay down. That was it! He didn't need to be constantly watched! Even with his eyes shut he was able to feel his dages gaze burning into him as if the other was scared he would look away for a second and something terrible would happen. (DaGe please, he couldn't sleep like this!)
Huaisang had already heard that Nie Mingjue was practically breathing down the neck of every healer called. (Dage we have healers, why did you call healers from both Lanling and Gusu?!) The news of Huaisang being ‘deathly ill’ brought both Lan Xichen and Jin Guangyao to Qinghe! (Erge, Sange, please do something! Dage is too much!) Erge looked a bit amused at Dages actions (“He’s just worried, A-Sang.”) while Sange looked to be at his wits end (“Dage don’t you think you are overreacting?”), which honestly Huasaing did not blame him for because he was in the same predicament!
“Huaisang. Eat this.”
Huaisang stared at the spoon that Mingjue was holding up to him. Was he really spoon feeding him now? Was this what everything was coming down to now? He couldn't even hold his own spoon? Honestly, any other time he would probably live this up, enjoying being babied by his dage rather than being scolded. However, with the constant forced attention lately he really was ready to scream. Not that he actually could though. He was sure if he tried he might vomit or pass out, or both! Mingjue was stubborn, the spoon still there as he stared at Nie Huaisangs face intently. The younger one sighed, giving in and parting his lips to allow the other man to feed him.
This was ridiculous.
Not to mention he really felt like he was overheating! Huaisang had lost track of the amount of blankets the other man had covered him in to ‘help sweat out the fever!’ and also ‘Make you feel comfortable, weight is good for that right?’ He loved his dage, really, he did! He knows the other man was only trying to help, but if anything he was stressing him out! This time when his hand went to his mouth, Huaisang could easily point out the cause, but his dear dage was now looking stressed as he set the soup aside and held back Huaisangs hair as he got sick into the bowl near the bed.
“You can’t keep down the soup? There wasn’t even anything heavy in it-”
Huaisang ached at the tone of his brother's voice. He understood the worry, but really! It wasn’t as bad as it seemed!
“Dage, it's fine.” He coughed, wiping at his mouth and sighing in relief as water was offered to him. “I just was thinking and stressed myself out. Dage, just let me rest for a bit.”
“You can rest, I will be right here.”
“Dage. Go lay down.”
“I will later,.”
The sarcasm was muted by his own exhaustion and he sighed, taking another sip of water before laying back. He was so tired. Once he was better he was going to really lay into his brother! Give him a real piece of his mind! He would not let him hear the end of it until he understood where he was wrong! With this thought as comfort, he fell asleep.
“For the last time, Huaisang is not dying.”
Jin Guanvgyao was tired. He had only been in the Unclean realm for 3 days, and yet it was enough to have him wanting to kick Nie Mingjue out of his own sect, or at the very least lock him in his rooms! The way the other man had turned from a fierce warlord to some fretting mother hen was almost laughable, if it wasn't so sad!
Skipping his duties?
Nie Mingjue, locking down Qinghe, over his brother getting sick?
As if to make matters worse, all of Qinghe seemed to be in an uproar!
Ok, maybe uproar was the wrong word.
It was more like a silence had overtaken the entire sect, people ready at a single word to rush anything to Nie Mingjue, not questioning any of his actions, though they really should!
There was a sudden wail, Jin Guangyao hurrying to find the source. One of the cooks stood there looking quite distressed while two disciples seemed to be trying to comfort her. “What happened?”
“Ah, young master Nie turned away one of his favorite soups! There is no hope left! All is lost!”
Dear gods, everyone was on the same page as Nie Mingjue and really, Jin Guangyao could only take so much! “Now now, no need to over react. His stomach has been rather weak today, yes? The spices in his favorite are a bit strong, so he would not be able to stomach them for now. Maybe save it for later to reheat? I am sure he will greatly appreciate it.” He gave what he hoped was a comforting smile to the woman, though it felt rather strained. He was relieved to see her expression relax some with a sigh of what was maybe relief.
“That does make sense, thank you, I shall do that.”
Well it would seem he was able to soothe one, but the one that needed the most calming avoided him at every chance! Nie Mingjue was quite the stubborn man! He was not sure what he was going to need to do to at least give the younger Nie some breathing room! He had talked to Huaisang alone (Mingjue glaring at him and demanding he call for him at the first sign of something amiss before rushing off to attend to some urgent business), learning that the younger one was sure with some rest he would be fine. Yes, Nie Huaisang did look quite awful, but he didn't look like he was dying, so he really did not understand why the other man was taking this so seriously! And truly, he was sure that eventually dear little sweet Huaisang was going to end up screaming at his brother and then faint, which would only serve to stress the Nie sect leader out more. He needed to do something. So he would cause small problems on purpose, try and keep him busy! Then the sick one can get his actual rest and try to work on getting better. The plan worked, for the most part. However, the second that Nie Mingjue finished something, he would make a beeline for Huaisangs chambers.
Drastic times called for drastic measures.
Jin Guangyao made sure that both the tea the Nie sect leader drank that afternoon along with his lunch had a secret ingredient. When the other stumbled later, he simply sent a smile to the head disciples. “Ah, Chifeng-zun seems to have overworked himself, do make sure he gets to bed. I can finish up here, no worries!” With the disciples fretting over their sect leader and helping him out of the room, Jin Guangyao let out a long sigh. Finally, Huaisang should be able to get one day of uninterrupted rest. Hopefully later tomorrow Mingjue would figure it out and spend most his time getting angry at him, so then the younger Nie would get even more rest!
It worked for him! Nie Mingjue was always looking for an excuse to be angry at Jin Guangyao anyway, might as well have a valid reason this time.
Nie Huaisang woke up with a start to a roar that ripped through the entire Unclean Realm. He was not sure what SanGe did, but whatever it was seemed to have DaGe in a rage. Huaisang sighed, trying to fall asleep, but more shouting had him sighing instead. He was feeling a bit better, surprised at the lack of DaGe bursting into his room every hour or so. Because of the lack of his brother fretting over him, he had managed to not only get a good bit of rest, but he managed to keep down food, medicine, and one healer even said that his fever went down! He did not feel completely well, but he felt well enough that he was sure he could at least bathe. He called for a bath, and was in the process of sinking in and enjoying the heat when his door was thrown open with so much force he swore he heard a crack.
“Huaisang what are you doing?!”
“DaGe let him be!”
Nie Mingjue stormed into the room with a frustrated Jin Guangyao close behind. DaGe turned on his heel, glaring down at the shorter man. “Do not speak to me, you poisoned me!”
“Poisone- I simply forced you to take a rest!”
“Trying to kill me!”
“Can we not do this in your didis room? He is trying to bathe it would seem.”
Nie Huaisang wanted to sink even more into the water, rolling his eyes and waiting for the outburst he knew was coming.
“You aren't supposed to be out of bed!”
Ah yes, there it was.
“DaGe, my fever is down and I feel disgusting. I thought a bath would help.”
“What if you drowned!”
“I’m sure he wouldn’t drown-”
“Silence! For all I know you were planning to kill Huaisang after me!”
“DaGe what's all this about killing-”
“He poisoned my food.”
“It was not poison, for the last time.”
Nie Huisang blinked, watching the pair of them start arguing once again. Honestly this was nothing new, and he was sure it was not that important either. Mingjue always assumed that SanGe was up to something, even though it was usually harmless. He shrugged and worked on cleaning, able to mostly ignore them long enough to finish and get dried off. Once in his underrobers he stood there with an arched brow.
“I can’t exactly rest with all this yelling. Ah, DaGe, my head hurts so much. Your voice is so loud!”
His head was fine, but based on the expression of relief that just flashed across the elder brother's face at the whine in Huaisangs voice it did the trick.
“You really do feel a little better-”
“Ah, how could i possibly feel better with an empty stomach and a headache. Such a terrible DaGe you are.”
Jin Guangyao shook his head with a tired amused smile and left the room.
“Where are you going!”
“He said he was hungry, right? Such a bad DaGe, not paying attention to your DiDi’s needs.”
And then Huaisang was alone, the bickering fading the further they got from his chambers. He chuckled lightly as he crawled back into bed. He might not be well yet, but that look on his brothers’ face when he whined was all he needed to know that hopefully the other would stop fretting as much now.