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au where lwj can read minds if he stares at someone long enough. it's also the reason why he avoids gazes and often never looks at someone for too long. the mind is a powerful thing and to be able to read it, is even more powerful.
the only people's mind that lwj has never been able to read so easily are his brother and uncle's. also because, lwj doesn't want to. he could if he tried hard enough.

gusulan is expecting the arrival of disciples from the other major sects and yunmengjiang is one of them.
he will soon find another person who his mind cannot reach that easily. it surprises him to the core and annoys him, even. he finds himself stealing more and more glances at the noisy jiang disciple that has the most boisterous laugh and exuberant warmth.
what's refreshing is that he has finally met someone who he can stare at long enough without having to worry, without having to bear the consequences of knowing their deepest and darkest secrets and desires

he has met someone who he wants to see not with his eyes, but his heart.

jc: wei wuxian, stop fucking around and bothering lan er-gongzi. have you seen the way that the man stares at you? he looks like he wants to fucking kill you

wwx: maybe he stares at me because he thinks im handsome, jiang cheng



wwx: you're right he hates me
jc: good that you know. so please just avoid him and avoid bringing further shame to our yunmengjiang with your shamelessness!

wwx: yeah yeah i know

he dismisses his shidi’s warning like it doesn’t mean a lot to him. of course it does. the last thing wwx wants to do is
tamper the good, or rather, neutral, relations between the sects.

the classes go on as usual with wwx being the loud one and with lwj always staring at him, as if he’s disgusted or annoyed at the former’s personality. wwx surmises that time be the truth.
why else would lwj always be looking at him? he thinks.


lwj learnt that he could read minds after his a-niang left and never came back. lqr had accidentally mentioned one day that his mother, also had the same gift. lwj always thought, was that why a-niang was separated
from a-die? was her gift the reason for how she ended up?

lqr never brought it up anymore ever since. but lwj knows that his gift is also the reason why his uncle is so strict with him.
when he was but eight years old, he would ask lqr, "shufu... is there something wrong with me?" and his uncle would always say no. but if he had continued to ask about a-niang, shufu would always look away, as if he was afraid that lwj could read his mind. yes, he could have.
years passed and lwj has grown accustomed to his gift. but more often than not, he considered it as a curse. people take him as the icy, cold jade. unlike his brother, who people know and think of as the opposite—friendly, reachable, warm.
lwj doesn't talk much. but that does not mean he doesn't think, doesn't feel. and of course, he does know. sometimes he doesn't even need to read people's minds to know what they're thinking about. their facial expressions, their mannerisms, their tone, these give away just the

he never cared what other people think of him, anyway. those who mind don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind. and there are only two people that fall under the aforementioned category.

until now.
boisterous laughter and unrivaled noise fill the air of the quiet expanse of the cloud eecesses. a small but unnoticeable frown forms across his brows as he observes the incoming group.

/noise is forbidden in the cloud recesses/
lxc smiles knowingly at his brother’s strict mindset and tries, “ah… it looks like the disciples from yunmengjiang sect have arrived." as the laughter draws closer and closer, a group of disciples donned in purple and black robes enter the gate. another sound of that loud
laughter immediately puts lwj into another one of his displeased looks; those laughs are far too loud—it’s something that can easily fall under the prohibitions of lan sect. looking carefully, lwj notices the bells that hang from the belts of the disciples are not as ordinary as
they may seem. for one, all yunmengjiang disciples own one with the sect’s nine-petal lotus signature motif engraved. his golden eyes dart subtly amongst the wash of purple, and immediately notices—a pop of red and black. it's out of the blue, he thinks, for someone to not wear
their sect’s color and to go another to study. he mentally notes that this man is indeed the loudest one of the whole group as well as the most playful one, hopping around from person to person. said person is now wrapping his arms gleefully, and naturally, around another
disciple whom lwj seem to somewhat recognise.

impudent. loud. unbearable. outrageous. obnoxious. undisciplined. shameless. lwj is lost in his trail of thoughts, once more.

"lan zhongzhu, lan er-gongzi—greetings from jiang cheng, courtesy name jiang wangyin, from
yunmengjiang sect, reporting for lecture. this is my sister, jiang yanli, and my adoptive elder brother, wei wuxian.”

from that statement, lwj understands the difference of uniform color now.

“hahaha! just wei ying is fine!” says the one in red and black. he's nothing like the
other disciples in his group nor is he like the other group of disciples that came before him. he’s unlike anybody lwj has ever seen. his handsome face framed by strands of loose hair, while the rest of it being tied in a messy ponytail held together by a red ribbon. what else is
there about him that makes lwj want to remember him, so vividly? not only because he's the first person lwj's mind is not able to read.

or is that because lwj's mind itself is muddled?

he takes in all of what’s in front of him—
wei ying's eyes as gray, alluring and deep set as biling Lake; wei ying’s smile as big, warm, and radiant as the sun that pierces through the fog that is ever present in the cloud recesses. pierces through lwj's heart too, it seems. he agrees, reluctantly, in silence.
and wei ying’s lips…

he takes a quiet deep breath and shuts his eyes briefly; he mustn't allow his thoughts run further amok than they already are. reciting mentally his gusulan rules, he knows needs to restrain these thoughts that never should have even existed in the first
place; they go against all of his teachings he’d strive to uphold since young. his brother chuckles under his breath. lwj catches his brother’s mouth curve up to a smile. he must’ve found their current predicament rather amusing. lwj chooses to ignore his brother’s reaction to
his own—one that he had, or still has, ever since he first laid eyes on wwx.

"the cloud recesses welcomes you, jiang-gongzi , wei-gongzi, jiang-guniang," his brother answers courteously and bows. lwj mimics, eyes /not/ fixated on anyone at all, and apparently still in a trance
that only his brother and himself are aware of.

lwj finds himself wanting to carelessly throw away all propriety and get up from his bow, as quickly and as subtly as possible, so he can look into those gray eyes again. he finds it extremely challenging to keep his eyes away from
the soft, cool hues of wwx’s curious and lively eyes. he wants to get lost in them. with mind so chaotic, he attempts to put this… alien feeling behind him.

/these thoughts will vanish soon/

"we hope that our uncle's teachings will be of use to your future," lxc concludes.
the two young lans bow once again and the jiang siblings leave. skipping care-freely ahead, the boisterous laughter from wwx fill the air afresh, as the grumpy retorts of jwy further encourage the other’s playful antics. both of them elbowing each other with no trace of ill-will
but only loving familiarity, while jyl just laughs alongside her two brothers. this family of three—light, joyful, carefree—is nothing like his that he’s grown up with. This family… is what he would imagine his family to be like, it’s what he’s been wishing for since young.
for the first time in a long time, lwj stares, fixated at the backside of the man with a high ponytail and red ribbon. he finds himself unable to look away as said person relentlessly continues to annoy his younger brother at the distance.

/what is this/ he fails to understand
and shrugs it off again. typical lwj.

“wei-gongzi seems like an interesting person," lxc states with a smile as he turns to face his brother, who continues to stare ahead until the shadow of that one person is out of his sight. he was unaware of the looks his brother was giving.
but he knows what his brother thinks.

"what's wrong, wangji?" lxc notices something is amiss.

"i could not read his mind." and lxc already knows who lwj is referring to.

"perhaps you weren't staring long enough?"

lwj immediately looks at his brother as a response and the
latter says, "how silly of me. of course you have."

of course lwj did. how could he not stare at wwx?

"this is... the first time, is it not, wangji?"

"mn, it is."

both jades remain in silence as they don't have the answer to the questions in their heads.
curious, confused, relieved, lwj feels all those emotions all at once. and not necessarily in that order.

he is curious because he wants to know what wwx feels, thinks, about him. of him. he is confused because he can't read his mind, why is that? he is relieved because if wwx
feels negatively about him, he wouldn't need to know.

all in all, the second jade of gusu is now a mess. a mess he isn't sure if he knows how to clean up just yet.
lwj is always more than punctual with him being the first to arrive and takes his seat in the lanshi as the guest disciples slowly enter the room and take their seats. hushed voices fill the air with topics that never did concern him. his tranquility lasts for a while until he
hears that voice once more. he shifts in his seat subconsciously. from the corner of his eye, he sees that wwx is merely two seats away to his right.

“lan wangji! lan er-gongzi, we meet again!” wwx waves excitedly, filling the entire lanshi with his energetic voice. lwj glares
at the person's impudence as he steers back his focus to the front. he continues to maintain his upright seating position, hoping to the heavens that the redness on his ears don’t give himself away. in replacement of himself, lxc greets the other with his trademark
smile, “wei-gongzi, i trust that you have already settled in well here at gusu?”

wwx nods happily, giving his biggest smile that have an immediate effect as lwj thinks that his heart just melted. and it did. he couldn’t believe that a smile could do this to him.
as soon as all the disciples have taken their seats, lqr enters and officially starts his lecture by, first and foremost, reciting all 3000 gusulan rules. lwj stares ahead and silently recites them too, pacing himself perfectly with his uncle. by the time his uncle has recited
the sixty-ninth rule, he sees someone stretch their arms from the corner of his eye, he hears someone let out a yawn. /how can a yawn be that loud?/ he doesn’t need to turn his head for his eyes to see who that specific someone is.
his heart seems to know.

/pathetic, shameless, undisciplined/ it mutters, reprimanding himself.

the day ends sooner than expected as lwj finds himself inspecting the vicinity around the wall of the cloud recesses. It's not his turn to patrol the inner compounds tonight and he
knows that it’s already after 9 p.m. regardless, he opens the door of the jingshi and closes them behind him quietly. he notes there's a certain emotion that seems to make itself known because of the certain appearance of a certain someone (it's wwx again).
lwj is feeling... hopeful? he can't quite grasp what he's feeling; all these new emotions flooding him without him knowing how to describe them. lwj is not acquainted with this feeling at all as he strolls around aimlessly and suddenly hears a noise coming from the roof.

speak of the devil, and he shall appear. lo and behold—wwx, carrying two jars of tianzi xiaos, is breaking two rules at once: curfew and alcohol. ironically, lwj finds himself breaking a rule as well but he questionably feels overjoyed to see this man clumsily make his way
over the wall. he quickly erase this thought and put on a displeasure look, walking out to reprimand him for breaking the rules.

“ah!” the startled figure of wwx nearly drops his wine but notices the presence of the other.

"lan er-gongzi! why do you look so angry but beautiful
at the same time? want to have a sip of your gusu’s infamous drink? i’ve been looking forward to it!”

lwj knows that wwx is trying to sweet talk his way out of possible punishment; still, he can't help but feel a fluttery feeling in his stomach as the man continues to spout
nonsense. as always the mindless blabbering gets to him, and he knows deep down he wants wwx to continue talking but rules must be upheld.

"liquor is prohibited in the cloud recesses,” lwj voices out as loud as possible without breaking a rule, but he knows his ears are
starting to heat up from the offhand comment wwx. did he really just call lwj beautiful? as a man, he should feel offended for being called a beautiful man, but he can’t bring himself to defend his masculinity or even feel offended. his heart will not have it.
“well, i was just asking out of courtesy anyway, not that i'd expect you to say yes! that’s great as it leaves more to myself, hahaha!” wwx snorts as he taunts lwj with the two bottles hanging by the two strings held in his hand.

lwj doesn’t know what has gotten into him. he's
frustrated at his own inability to read wwx's mind and he's confused at his own feelings. he unsheathes bichen and charges forward to wwx. the other man dodges all his attacks confidently and swiftly, even without needing to unsheathe his own sword.

“impressive,” lwj asserts in
his head. their sword-to-nothing fight continues for a certain amount of time and it’s clear that there is no winner.

an idea strikes lwj's head as he moves reflexively. wwx anticipates the move but does not realise that the target is not him—but rather the jars of wine that
hang freely on a string being held securely in his hand before the impromptu duel started. His eyes widen as both jars slip off his grasp. as if everything has gone slow motion, wwx moves with such agility as he scrambles to catch the two falling jars.
lwj stands aside as he watches the other barely catch one jar with his left hand and the other jar balancing on the flat side of his sword before inevitably falling off with a crash. wwx's face contorts to one of agony as he turns to face lwj with an anguished expression.
“lan wangji! you broke my tianzi xiao! i don’t care, but you gotta buy me next time," wwx frowns and pouts slightly. that will be the death of lwj someday.

"or maybe… you can compensate me by going on a date with me at caiyi town!”
“shameless!” lwj feels his ears heating up once more. the things wwx says...

“hahaha! lan er-gongzi, you should know that shameless is my middle name,” wwx replies nonchalantly.

lwj brings, or for the lack of a better word, drags the unwilling wwx to the hanshi , where lqr and
lxc are present. his brother brims with gladness at the sight of the duo, evidently seen on his facial expression. as a punishment for breaking rules, within just a few days of arriving the cloud recesses, wwx is to copy gusulan sect rules in the library pavilion.
“3000 rules~? xichen-xiong, my wrist is surely going to break! i still want to go back to yunmeng with it!” wwx exaggerates and whines.

"wei-gongzi, your punishment is not up to me to decide," lxc smiles and turns to his expressionless brother.
“xiong-zhang,” lwj nods in understanding.

and wwx whines again.
in the library pavilion, lwj picks up his brush, dips it in black ink, and starts writing with such grace and finesse. He really wants to look at Wei Ying, but stops himself before making that mistake. two shichens pass with just a blink of an eye.

he knows that wwx can’t stay
silent for so long as the silence finally breaks.

“wangji-xiong. lan wangji~ lan er-gege?” wwx calls out to catch his attention. if only he’d known that lwj’s attention had been on him ever since he stepped foot in the cloud recesses, torrents of teasing would be flowing out of
wwx's mouth. that name, effortless flowing out from his mouth, draws his attention back to wwx. finding himself succeeding as lwj finally looks at him, he laughs so naturally. lwj halts the stroke of his brush, stunned by his laugh. he wonders how a laugh can hold so many
emotions, so full of life. lwj's wonders what goes through the other’s mind whenever he breaks into such a mood. no matter how long he looks at him for, he's unable to grasp. he finds himself wanting to be the reason behind every wave of wwx’s emotion, whether low or high.
“lan zhan, you can call me wei ying too, you know. since we are so close already," wwx breathes out, slightly leaning close to him.

“not close,” lwj looks away as if he hasn’t been distracted at all. he’s lying to no one but himself.

“eh? lan zhan~ i just wanted to
apologise. do you hate me this much?” wwx blurts out, actually sounding slightly flustered.

lwj's heart dips a little upon seeing the pout wwx now has present on his always smiling face. his brush movements pause for a second time.
/is that what he thinks? hate wei ying? never/ lwj affirms in his heart. these words will never, ever be said to this man next to him. he can never admit it to this man, this shameless who holds his cold heart.

/please, never break it./

"lan zhan! do you know it's rude to no—
...mmm? mmm!! mhmmmmmm…..” wwx looks at lwj scandalised but is, as always, met with nothing but an indifferent golden-eyed glance.

wwx sees so little, knows so little. if only wwx can take a look at the heart he unknowingly already holds.

would they ever be on the same page?

did i just want to write supportive!lxc and soulmate!wangxian? yes. the reason why lwj can't read wwx's mind is because wwx is his soulmate, but both aren't aware yet. i also headcanon that madam lan is a BAMF and has a strong ass golden core and hence could kill
qingheng-jun's teacher. the reason was never mentioned in canon. so i thought to have her have a certain gift was quite cool. and lqr is so strict with lwj because 1) he inherited his mom's gift 2) he inherited his dad's ability to /love/.
i hope you enjoyed this little twitfic! it was very fun to write and especially so from lwj's standpoint. thank you for reading! 💓
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