Actions

Work Header

Crow's Child

Chapter Text

Lan SiZhui could not pinpoint the exact reason he was currently tightly wrapped in feathers and strong wings, but he did know that whatever reason it was transformed the previously politely enthusiastic Wei WuXian into an overly cuddly Wei WuXian.

When the crow first shot out of his cave towards an unsuspecting Lan SiZhui, his only warning was the loud ruffling and frantic cawing of the beast, before the disciple was grabbed from behind by a familiar beak.

Instead of speech, Wei WuXian seemed to be overwhelmed with high pitched calls, pressing the disciple as close as he could to his chest.

After several moments of this, with Lan SiZhui catching glimpses through the feathers of Wen Ning standing off to the side, Wei WuXian finally reigned in some of his emotions, enough to speak clearly.

“My A-Yuan… my sweet, sweet child… I missed you so much, A-Yuan…” He mumbled, shuffling Lan SiZhui’s hair with his beak. Lan SiZhui was confused by the familiar way of speech. The crow had never called him anything but his courtesy name, but was suddenly feeling close enough to jump straight to this.

“Ah… Senior Wei?” The feathers muffled his words, although it seemed to get the crow to loosen his grip a bit. Just enough to look down at the disciple in his wings. Wei WuXian’s eyes, although not as expressive as a humans, still seemed to turn soft as he stared at Lan SiZhui.

Instead of explaining his sudden closeness, Wei WuXian combed through Lan SiZhui’s hair with his beak, pulling it from the neat tie it was in. Not knowing what else to do, Lan SiZhui tried to make his hair as neat as possible, while also still battling with Wei WuXian’s insistent grooming.

The awkwardness was broken by a low whine from Wen Ning. The sound caused Wei WuXian to freeze, before tousling Lan SiZhui’s hair one last time with a deep sigh and stepping back.

... Yes, I suppose so.” Another whine.

Well how exactly should I explain it?!” A groan in response.

Why don’t you explain it since you know so much?!” Wei WuXian folds his wings in front of him, mimicking what would be an arm cross on a human. The silence that followed was awkward enough to make Lan SiZhui shift on his feet.

... Fair enough. Sorry A-Ning.” The crow ruffled his feathers, releasing some tension in the air. He lowered his head to stare at Lan SiZhui again, his eyes squinting slightly. He released a breath after a few moments of silence, prompted by a light huff from Wen Ning.

There’s really no simple way to say this, SiZhui, but we’re pretty sure that, well, you used to be a Wen, and lived here with us for a while as a toddler?” The sentence trailed off into a question the further he continued to talk.

Lan SiZhui held his gaze, letting the rushed information filter through his head.

There was no way that this was true. He couldn’t even begin to piece together how he could ever forget an entire family, or this place he supposedly spent time in. He shook his head in disbelief.

“But… I’ve been raised as a Lan for as long as I can remember. Hanguang-Jun has been my acting father figure, and I’ve never heard of being anywhere else beforehand-” Suddenly, he remembered one important fact from his childhood. His fever…

“I guess… there were the years before my fever,” He mumbled, holding his chin as he tried to pull anything from his fever locked memories. “I just… I can’t remember anything!” He cried, the lack of memory finally catching up to him after all these years.

His distress brought both Wei WuXian and Wen Ning closer, the latter pushing his head into Lan SiZhui’s chest, while the former wrapped a trembling wing around his back. Lan SiZhui pushed his hands through the coarse fur on Wen Ning’s head.

“I guess it would make sense, especially with how cautious everyone was about mentioning the war around me. I just… I wish I could remember you,” He quickly wiped away some forming tears from his eyes. Both beasts let out sympathetic noises, pressing closer to the teen.

After some time standing between them, Lan SiZhui is thrown off balance when Wen Ning butts Wei WuXian with his antlers, groaning as he does so.

I get it, I get it! You know you don’t have to shove me every time you want me to translate, right?!” The crow complained, earning a snort from his companion, and another light tap.

Okay, okay. What this big oaf- Hey!” Lan SiZhui snorted when Wen Ning shoved a particularly sharp tine into Wei WuXian’s side, ruffling his fur against the teens chest as he did so. Wei WuXian fluffed out his feathers as he shouted, pushing a wing against his friend's head.

If you want me to explain, you have to let me talk! No more interruptions!” Wen Ning moved his focus back to Lan SiZhui, giving Wei WuXian clearance to keep talking without being poked.

Great. As I was so graciously trying to translate, A-Ning said ‘it’s not the worst thing that you don’t remember us, so long as we can give you new memories to make up for it’.” Lan SiZhui nodded, wiping the last of his frustrated tears from his eyes. He gently ran his hands through Wen Nings fur, and gave both beasts a soft smile.

“I would like that very much.”

—---

After the trio had managed to pry themselves from their standing pile, Wen Ning invited his cousin to walk the border with him. Neither he nor Wei WuXian had sensed any activity from the barrier that day, so he thought it would be a nice way to bond with his long lost relative, even if he wouldn’t be able to communicate easily.

Wei WuXian kept above them as they walked, scouting the sky above the trees. He occasionally swooped down if Wen Ning needed him to translate.

Overall, the walk was fairly peaceful, giving the trio time to reacquaint themselves after the recent revelation.

That is, until Wen Ning lost sight of his cousin while talking with Wei WuXian during a break.

Their frantic calling was answered right away.

“I’m over here! I think I found something.” A-Yuan’s voice called from the direction of the barrier. Wen Ning and Wei WuXian exchanged a quick glance to each other, before rushing towards him.

As they neared towards the barrier and caught sight of the teen, Wen Ning realized what he found, and bolted forward. He managed to pull his cousin back just before he could touch the papers strewn about the ground and tree.

Wei WuXian caught up shortly after, landing roughly and almost falling into the same papers, if not for Wen Ning dropping A-Yuan and quickly grabbing and swinging his friend by his wing. He grunted at them both, pushing A-Yuan further away. Wei WuXian, after picking himself up from being tossed around, finally seemed to catch onto what A-Yuan had found. His tail flicked and his feathers rose as he quickly checked over the mess.

A-Yuan awkwardly stood by Wen Ning, looking confused and a little scared by their reactions.

“What… what are those?” He questioned, peaking around both of them to stare at the pile haphazardly stuck both inside and outside of the barrier.

Neither of the beasts answered him for a long while, Wei WuXian staring at the cluster, and Wen Ning watching him. Finally, still carrying his tension, Wei WuXian turned his head to look at the ground by A-Yuan’s feet.

These are what’s keeping us trapped here. Keeping us both safe and prisoners.” He kicked at the talismen, making sure to not actually touch them by accident.

We assume someone at the raid ran here to place these, and are acting as the anchor on the outside now. My best guess was its purpose was to keep us in the Burial Mounds during the raid, what with some of the Wens, and myself, being pulled back into the area if we got too far.” A-Yuan seemed to take that in, and Wen Ning could guess at what his next question was.

“How did I get out, then?” Wei WuXian nodded, lifting a wing as if to point and losing some of his tension.

That is the question, isn’t it?” His eyes gained a bit of light as his attention was brought to a mystery instead of their tragedy.

I’m assuming it was because you were actively moved away by someone else, and I managed to find a spot just at the edge of what must have been the range of these talismans, so you wouldn’t be pulled back into the fray, and I would be able to actually put you somewhere without us both being returned. Whoever found you must’ve been enough to trick the talismans into thinking you were free to leave, even though technically you had been outside the barrier for so long.” He paused here, his eyes losing some light as he remembered that night.

I thought I had left you to your death in that stump, with the barrier preventing us from reaching you. I am so, so glad someone good found you and took care of you. I’m assuming it was a Lan, although I can’t think of any person at the siege that would care for a Wen, even if they were a child.” Lan SiZhui shook his head.

“Father- I mean Hanguang-Jun found me. I stayed with him throughout my fever, but I was taken into Zewu-Jun’s care for three years after I recovered. Whenever I asked why I couldn’t stay with Hanguang-Jun, I was only told he was in seclusion to make up for his mistakes, and to heal from his punishment for said mistakes.” Wen Ning felt his jaw drop a bit at the information, however looking over at Wei WuXian revealed just how much more the information affected him.

Lan Zhan? Lan Zhan saved you?” Wei WuXian took a moment, then started nodding.

He always did have a soft spot for you, even if he couldn’t stand me.” Wen Ning couldn’t believe his friend still believed that. He rammed an antler into Wei WuXian, grunted in annoyance as he did so.

Yeouch! Wen Ning! What was that for?! I didn’t say anything wrong!” He complained. He quickly dodged another stab from Wen Ning, but couldn’t escape the sharp wheeze reaching his ears.

Okay! Okay, I get it! You think Lan Zhan doesn’t hate me! Fine! That doesn’t change the truth!

“I don’t think he hates you.” A-Yuan interrupted.

Ah? How so, A-Yuan?” Wen Ning and Wei WuXian turned to A-Yuan curiously.

“He never liked the other juniors gossiping about you, especially when they repeated what our teachers said. He always told me not to believe rumors, although it felt more personal than him just repeating our rules.” A-Yuan nodded.

“I can’t convince myself that he hated you in any way. Hopefully when we get out of here, that can be proved to you,” He concluded, making the hope sound more like a promise.

Hmm… that’s if we get out.” Always so cynical. Wen Ning grunted softly to stop his downward spiral. He gave A-Yuan an appreciative nod. A silence gathered around them, interrupted by A-Yuan clearing his throat.

“If I had managed to escape, how come I was suddenly brought back now?” Wei WuXian hummed in response, pondering the question.

How close did your group get to this place on your trip?” A-Yuan thought about it, estimating in his head where they had landed in the forest.

“I think we were near the base. We couldn’t see the barrier from there,” He responded. Both beasts paused to think. Wen Ning thought of an answer, grunting it to Wei WuXian to translate. His friend clicked his beak in agreement.

That makes sense!” He turned to A-Yuan after ruffling between Wen Ning’s antlers quickly. He dodged a weak swipe from said antlers, jumping closer to A-Yuan in the process.

A-Ning had a good theory! Since these talismans are being fed both by someone outside the barrier, and we assume also the thick energy within it, perhaps over the years it was able to gain enough power to extend its reach to the whole mountain. That would explain how it managed to grab you when you were still so far from the source,” he concluded. A-Yuan nodded along.

“That makes sense.” Wen Ning watched as more questions popped into his head.

“Wait, if you know what these do and how they gain power, can’t you find a way to break them here?” Wen Ning shook his head, Wei WuXian doing the same with more of a disappointed air around him.

We’re too worried about the possible backlash if we try.” He led A-Yuan over to the cluster, Wen Ning following closely behind to keep watch. When they reached the edge of the safe area, Wei WuXian guided A-Yuan to look at a particular set of characters on the papers.

These have safeguards put in place to prevent tampering. Only those who wrote them can safely interact with them.” He sighed mournfully.

I only wish something would go right for us.” A quick glance to his side where A-Yuan stood.
Although, getting to see you healthy and grown is a nice change of luck, even if you are stuck here now too.” A-Yuan chuckled.

“It’s nice to finally meet the ones who raised me first, and get the chance to possibly recover my lost years.” Wen Ning moved over to his cousin, pushing him away from the talismans before carefully rubbing his head against A-Yuans. Wei WuXian joined them quickly, his wings wrapping around them.

The moment continued for a while, interrupted only by a sharp gasp outside the barrier.

“A-Yuan?”