a loving kind of boy

23 Jul 2020
Part of MDZS Modern AU Collection

5 Times Nie Huaisang Comforts Jiang Cheng Through the Power of Cuddles, Heart-to-Hearts and Cute Animals, and the 1 Time it was the Other Way Around

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 7
Words: 20,189

a loving kind of boy

Chapter 7



( 20 )


Jiang Cheng is supervising the training of some junior disciples when his phone chimes. Normally, he’d elect to ignore text messages – anyone with business urgent enough would know to call him instead – but he recognizes the ringtone. It’s a special ringtone. It’s a ringtone that in his head he has equated to ‘Check This Message Immediately or Get Butchered By Baxia’.

So Jiang Cheng checks the message, lest he gets butchered by Baxia. He hopes he just got butt-texted. Oh, he really hopes that.


jiang wanyin

Why must Nie Mingjue start a text conversation like that? He has to know how terrifying that comes off. He has to.

come to qinghe

That doesn’t sound good.

huaisang got into a fight and now he won’t talk to anyone

Uh… say what?



Nie Mingjue is pacing when Jiang Cheng arrives, but that’s not what makes him hesitate to approach the man.

“What?” Nie Mingjue asks gruffly when he sees Jiang Cheng just standing there at the landing, staring.

“Uh, there’s… there’s a bird on your head.” Jiang Cheng points out, resisting the temptation to take his phone out and snap a photo.

Nie Mingjue’s gaze darkens, and Jiang Cheng can tell he’s barely holding on to his last shred of patience.

“Yeah, because my brother won’t come out of his room – he put a locking spell on it, the little gremlin – but he had the audacity to ask me to feed his birds and now this one- ” He waves in the general direction of the tiny bird just chilling on top of his head. “-just won’t leave me alone.”

Jiang Cheng decides to try and ease some of the man’s pain. Wouldn’t hurt to earn some brownie points. He still looks like he wants to murder Jiang Cheng on his best days. So Jiang Cheng holds out his hand and whistles, then clicks his tongue, a trick he’d learned from Huaisang.

“Eggolas, leave Mingjue-ge alone.”

Like the good bird he is, Eggolas flies to Jiang Cheng’s hand and Jiang Cheng pats his tiny bird head before transferring the bird to his shoulder.

“Thank you.” Mingjue says, with feeling. “I don’t know how you two tell all of them apart, they all look the same.” He shakes his head. “Whatever. Let’s go.”

Jiang Cheng follows Nie Mingjue inside and through the halls of the Nie family residence. He knows his way around from countless visits now, but this should help him catch up with what really is happening. Best to come prepared.

“How long has he been like this? He hasn’t been texting, but I knew you were having a busy week around here so I didn’t think much of it…”

“One day.” Nie Mingjue answers, sounding wary. “I know, I know. It’s not that long. I told Baba to try giving him some space. It’s just one day. But you know how Baba dotes on him, so he’s worried sick anyway. Told me to tell you to come here.”

“I see.” Jiang Cheng nods. “Who did he fight, again?”

“Old Yao’s son.” Nie Mingjue says, scowling. “Sect heir and pompous ass. Have you met him?”

Jiang Cheng shakes his head. “I’ve met Sect Leader Yao.”

“Well, imagine him, but make him younger and someone who looks like he hangs out with a Jin.”

“Which Jin?”

“That one your sister did an epic read of at her wedding.”

“Ah.” Jiang Cheng nods, and dutifully imagines a younger Sect Leader Yao who hangs out with Jin Zixun. “Oh, yeah, I hate him already.”

“Good. That’s the spirit.” Nie Mingjue says, actually slapping him on the back.

It almost dislodges poor Eggolas from his shoulder, and Jiang Cheng thinks he also might have broken his spine, but he powers through. “Was Huaisang hurt?”

At this, Nie Mingjue raises a brow, looking thrown off for a second before he asks, “ Hurt- What do you mean?”

“Did he get injured, or-”

Nie Mingjue stops walking and whirls around to face the younger man, who freezes at the weight of his gaze. “Jiang Wanyin, do you think my brother lost ?”

Jiang Cheng stares. “He… He didn’t?”

Nie Mingjue looks at him, bewildered. “What kind of- He didn’t! He totally wiped the floor with that little shit!”

Jiang Cheng tries to take that in. Nie Huaisang won in a fight against another cultivator. A sect heir – not from a major one, but still a known, notable sect.

“He… did?”

Huaisang keeps up with his training – Jiang Cheng knows this, and he loves watching him go through those fan exercises because he looks breathtaking doing so. Like dancing , he remembers them saying that as children. Huaisang definitely holds up his own on the select few times Jiang Cheng had seen him put said training to use, but Huaisang doesn’t really night hunt, or fight, or even spar. He just… doesn’t , unless absolutely necessary. And that’s fine.

Jiang Cheng has long accepted that Nie Huaisang probably treats his cultivation as like… yoga, or something like that.

But apparently he’s wrong.

“He did .” Nie Mingjue says with what Jiang Cheng can only describe as a manic smile on his face. The man looks delighted , which somehow terrifies Jiang Cheng more than when he was angry. “It was something else, I tell you. And he scared the shit out of those other Yao disciples, and Old Yao, and the other cultivators at that meeting. Cost a lot of them bet money, too. Zonghui says he’s rich now. There’s a video, I’ll show you later- Wait.

Jiang Cheng is still absorbing all of this information on top of Nie Mingjue’s utter terrifying delight when the man suddenly glares at him with venom.

“You thought he lost. You didn’t think Huaisang could win?”

“No? I mean- Yes! I mean- Of course I think he could win!” Jiang Cheng splutters out, at a loss. “But you said he’s sad and he locked himself up and wouldn’t talk to anyone, so naturally I thought-… that’s because he lost?”

Nie Mingjue looks at him, considering, then shrugs. “Alright. That makes sense, actually.”

“If he won, why is he upset?” Jiang Cheng asks, genuinely befuddled.

“We don’t know, that’s what you’re here for.”

“Oh.” Jiang Cheng frowns. So he got called here to figure out why Huaisang is upset for winning a fight, when he himself is trying to make sense of it. “I’ll… I’ll try, I guess.”

“You’ll try, period.” Nie Mingjue says, and they keep walking.



Nie Renshu is standing outside of his son’s room, a strange picture of anxiety in a man of such strong and feared reputation.

“A-Sang, come talk to your baba…” he says, worry seeping through his gruff voice. “I have your favorite ice cream. We have the day free, we can watch a movie, whatever you like. Didn’t you tell me the other day that we should rewatch Kung Fu Panda?”

There is no response. Nie Renshu paces – oh, that’s where Nie Mingjue got that from – and as he does, he eats a spoonful of ice cream from the tub he’s holding.

Oh, God. Jiang Cheng thinks as he realizes what he’s looking at. Sect Leader Nie is stress-eating.

He makes it look very manly, though.

Jiang Cheng could never .

“Baba,” Nie Mingjue sighs, eyeing his father, looking like the older one between the two of them. “A-Sang is a twenty-year old man, not a broken-hearted teenage girl. Also, that’s your second tub. I’m cutting you off. Jiang Wanyin is here, let him have a go.”

“Ah, Jiang Wanyin!” the man says, visibly relieved. It’s all the distraction Nie Mingjue needs to grab the ice cream from him. “I’m glad you’re here. We’re very worried about our A-Sang. Maybe you could try talking to him?”

“Y-Yes, Sect Leader Nie.” Jiang Cheng manages an awkward nod.

(He still counts himself lucky that Huaisang’s father, for some reason, has always been cordial and welcoming with him.)

(Before he and Huaisang started dating, sure, Jiang Cheng thought it was reasonable that the man was amiable with his son’s best friend. Even after they told him, though, Jiang Cheng got nothing but an earnest smile and heavy hand on his shoulder as the man said, “I knew it. You always did look at my A-Sang the same way I looked at Lihua.” )

(Which… was a lot, at the time. Up to this day, he doesn’t quite know what to do with that piece of information.)

(At least it was something, though. It’s more of a reaction than what he got from Mother when he told her.)

(Mother had said, “That’s noted. Anything else?” and that was that.)

( Still better than Father’s, who choked on his tea, spluttered and fumbled like he didn’t know what to say at all. It was awkward.)

Parents. Jiang Cheng might never understand them.

(But none of those considerably positive reactions could change the fact that Nie Mingjue will still probably murder Jiang Cheng if given the smallest excuse to do so.)

He knocks on Huaisang’s door – he feels the locking spell now, it’s a strong one – then he calls out, “A-Sang? It’s A-Cheng. Will you let me in?”

No response. As expected.

Jiang Cheng knows he has to be more creative than this. He looks behind him and sees his boyfriend’s father and brother both eyeing him expectantly. Nie Mingjue is eating the ice cream now.

Only Nie Huaisang could keep the two strongest, toughest men in the cultivation world on their toes like this.

The pressure is real.

Jiang Cheng flinches slightly when something pecks his cheek, and that’s when he comes up with an idea. He plucks the bird from his shoulder and holds him carefully in one hand before knocking again.

“A-Sang.” he calls again. “Please? There’s something wrong with Eggolas. You need to take a look at him.”

The door opens after three seconds flat.

It isn’t Nie Huaisang’s best day. His very long hair is loose from its usual bun, his eyes are puffy, his cheeks are red with a smudge of black ink, and he’s wearing his da-ge’s worn old Qinghe High Lacrosse Team practice shirt and boxers.

“What’s wrong? Is Eggolas okay?” he asks, voice hoarse, eyes wide in concern as he reaches for the bird in Jiang Cheng’s hand.

“Yeah.” Jiang Cheng says with a smirk as he lifts his hand up, bouncing the bird slightly. Eggolas chirps happily and pecks at Nie Huaisang’s hovering fingers. “He just misses you. Can you let him in?”

Nie Huaisang looks up at him and frowns, realizing he’s been tricked. Then he looks over his boyfriend’s shoulder and narrows puffy eyes at his father and brother.

“Really?” he asks, sounding very annoyed.

Both men pale.

“A-Jue called him!”

“Baba told me to!”

Truly father and son. And fierce protectors of Qinghe.

Nie Huaisang sighs, but steps back and opens the door wider. Still glaring at his father and brother, he tugs Jiang Cheng inside the bedroom.

He closes the door, but after a second of consideration, he opens it again and marches up to the two men.

“Baba, Da-ge, I’m okay. Go back to work.” he says, voice firm, then takes the ice cream from his brother, walks back to his room and closes the door on their faces.



Jiang Cheng places Eggolas on the empty bird perch by the window, then walks over to the terrarium to greet Turtle. Only after that does he turn to look at Nie Huaisang.

He has never seen anyone look so miserable eating ice cream.

He sits on the bed, maintaining a careful distance between them. “Hi.” he says.

“Hi.” Huaisang replies, not looking at him, eyes on his ice cream. “What are you doing here, A-Cheng?”

“I’m not sure.” Jiang Cheng answers, looking around the room for… clues. Something that will help him understand the situation better. Huaisang’s sketchbook is open on the drawing table, his brushes and a half-finished fan with drying ink beside it. “I think this is supposed to be an intervention.”

“I asked to be left alone for a day. I just don’t feel like talking or seeing anyone. That’s it.” Huaisang says, and then stabs his ice cream with passion. “I’m okay .”

“Sure. Okay.” Jiang Cheng nods, careful. He’s never really been good at these things. It’s Huaisang who usually does the emotional pep talks in this relationship, and for good reason. “I… heard you kicked some ass, though. Your da-ge looked very proud. Kinda scared me. I didn’t know his face could do that.”

He knows his attempt at humor falls flat because Huaisang just frowns, then shrugs. “It was like fighting a baby bird.”

That’s new. But.

“A-Sang, you’d never fight a baby bird.”

Huaisang pauses, then sighs. “You’re right.” he says, poking the ice cream lifelessly. “Even if the baby bird is fucking rude .”


“And not even cute. I’m above that , I think.”


Jiang Cheng is starting to see it. “Is that what this is about?” he asks, reaching out now that he was fairly certain that he won’t be rejected. He brushes Huaisang hair from his face and tucks in behind his ear. “You don’t think you should have done it?”

“A-Cheng,” Huaisang says in a small voice, lip quivering. “I know people think I’m useless and weak, but… but they never said it to my face, you know?”

What the- Jiang Cheng didn’t know about that. Did Nie Renshu or Nie Mingjue know? He feels a familiar protective anger rise in him. He tries to tamp it down. It’s done. Huaisang dealt with it on his own. Jiang Cheng has to deal with the aftermath now.

“Hey.” he says instead, hand coming to wrap around the other’s shoulder. “Come here.”

Huaisang goes to him, and Jiang Cheng holds him, too-long hair and tub of ice cream and all.

“What really happened, A-Sang?”

Huaisang sighs, biting his lip, but he looks away and answers. “Old Man Yao’s son was harassing one of our junior disciples so I went to intervene. I tried to be civil, but he complained about the accommodations that I organized. I tried to be nice about that too, but he was just demanding special treatment. I told him it won’t be fair. He didn’t like that either, and I was tired , A-Cheng, I’ve been working on this meeting all week and he’s being unreasonable about it so I stood my ground. Then he said if I was gonna be useless, I should at least try to be charming. Someone else from his sect said at least I’m nice to look at-”

Jiang Cheng couldn’t take it anymore. “I want names.”

“A-Cheng. No. ” Huaisang groans, but it gets a little appreciative laugh, so Jiang Cheng calms down. Just a bit. “And then, uh… they said everyone knows I’m weak and hardly a proper cultivator anyway, and my juniors were very offended. Well, I was too, but I didn’t want them to cause a scene, so I tried to just… lead my disciples out from that whole conversation. But I guess he really has no sense of tact because he told me to prove him wrong.”

Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but smirk. “And you did.”

For someone who just had a resounding victory, Huaisang sounds so small. “Yeah. I did.”

“I think everyone knows that he was being an asshole. He had that coming. Huaisang, you’re not-”

“I know. I know I’m not.” Huaisang cuts him off, like he’s tired of hearing that.

Jiang Cheng should have known. His father and brother have probably already told him the same. Not to mention their disciples, who adore their Second Young Master the way he is. Huaisang has nothing to prove here in his own home.

“I’m not useless. I just… don’t get involved in sect matters because that’s not what I’m good at. I’m good at business. Baba and Da-ge are okay with me focusing on Nie Corp instead of the sect. Like Mama did. But I’m not weak, I can fight if I have to. It’s just… This is the first cultivation meeting I organized. They asked me to help because it’s been a busy season. And I messed it up. We had to end the meeting early. And Yao Sect might not be attending the next one anymore.”

“I don’t think you messed it up.” Jiang Cheng says. Carefully, he takes the tub of ice cream from the other before it could spill on the bed, setting it aside on the bedside table. Huaisang clings to the arms around him, burrowing into Jiang Cheng’s chest. “Even if you did, it’s one meeting, there will be more meetings. I don’t think it matters to your baba and da-ge that it didn’t go as planned, you’re more important to them-”

“But it matters to me!” Huaisang cries, his hand on Jiang Cheng’s sleeve clutching tight, shaking. “It was the first time I was there , with Baba and Da-ge counting on me, and I lost my temper over something so stupid. Mama never did that! She would’ve stood her ground and not let it get to her and be better than all of them.”

Ah. Finally. There it is.

“A-Sang…” Jiang Cheng says, running his fingers through the other’s hair. “You’re not your mother.”

Huaisang has let go now, boneless in Jiang Cheng’s arm as he sobs. “I just miss her.”

“I know.” he whispers, leaning down to press a kiss on Huaisang’s forehead. “I miss her too.”

Huaisang sniffs as he nods against the other’s chest. “Mm. She loved you a lot, A-Cheng.”

“She did.” – and oh, he’s getting choked up too. That won’t do. “She loved you most. But you can’t be her, A-Sang.”

“It’s just… she was good . She always knew what she had to do. Even though she’s so different from everyone else, she was still so strong and Baba depended on her- and she helped Da-ge a lot-”

“And she’s gone.” Jiang Cheng says, firm but not harsh.

He takes a long moment to consider his next words. He really isn’t good at this. Huaisang is. Huaisang has done this for him so many times, talked him down from countless spirals, been there for him on his worst days. It’s about time Jiang Cheng returns the favor.

So he tries his best.

“She’s gone.” he repeats, looking out into the window across the room.

From there, he could see the yard and the bright yellow bird house that Huaisang had once told him was a gift from his father to his mother. Jiang Cheng had spent a summer in Qinghe once and got to watch Huaisang and Mingjue repainting it, keeping the bird house in good condition for the wild birds that come to nest in it. Huaisang taught Jiang Cheng how to call the birds to him, a trick he learned from his mother.

“But I think… I think she left all the best parts of her in you. The parts that really matter. I see it, you know. And if I can see it, I’m sure your baba and da-ge can see it too.”

Huaisang is quiet for a long minute.

“You really think so?”

“Yes.” he says, making sure his tone left no room for argument. “It’s okay to miss her. But you don’t have to replace her, A-Sang.”

With another sniff, Huaisang rubs his arm, much calmer now. “Thank you, A-Cheng.”

“Anytime.” Jiang Cheng says, and finally he’s able to breathe too.

He checks on Huaisang first, makes sure he’s calm and feeling better, before he continues. “You know, I think it’s good that everyone got to see you do that.”

“W-What do you mean?”

“I haven’t seen what really happened, I’d have to ask Mingjue-ge for that video-”

“Wait. A-Cheng, no…” Huaisang says, sounding embarrassed. “You can’t! I wasn’t cute!”

“Nice try. You’re always cute.” he says, easily dismissing the plea. “Anyway. Think about it. After that, I’m sure no one’s gonna mess with you anymore, so your second meeting’s probably gonna go smoothly. Probably.”

Noooo….” Huaisang whines, but Jiang Cheng could tell he’s trying to hold back a laugh.

“And as far as cultivation meetings go, I’m sure that’s probably the most entertaining one all of those boring old sect leaders have been to in a while.”

Nie Huaisang is giggling now, so Jiang Cheng continues. This , he’s good at.

“And don’t worry about your reputation, you will never beat Wei Wuxian straight up punching Jin Zixuan in the face. Or Wen Chao making a fool of himself that one time he couldn’t recite his own sect’s rules. And remember when Lan Wangji told that guy from Moling Su that he’s not qualified to talk to him?”

“A-Cheng!” Huaisang laughs. Finally . “Oh my God, why do you know so much tea?”

Jiang Cheng scoffs. “What are you talking about, I get all of them from you .”

They get interrupted by a knock on the door, followed by a voice only vaguely familiar to Jiang Cheng, “Young Master Jiang, Second Young Master Nie, Sect Leader wants to ask if you’ll be joining them for dinner, or if you want to have yours brought to you. He says… uh… he has more ice cream.”

Huaisang sighs, but he is smiling, and when he looks up at Jiang Cheng, the other only shrugs, letting him decide.

“Okay.” Huaisang calls back. “We’ll join them in a bit.”

“Alright, Young Master.”

“Oh, and Zonghui?”

There’s a pause, before the man tentatively answers, “Yes?”

“I want a commission on those bet winnings!”

Jiang Cheng wheezes, and Nie Huaisang slaps his arm and shushes him.

From outside the room, there’s an amused chuckle and a dutiful “Of course, Young Master.”

They laugh together quietly, and as Nie Huaisang wipes the tears siding his eyes, Jiang Cheng looks at him and gently cups his chin.

“Hey. There you are.” he says.

“I’m back.” Huaisang says with a smile, and he closes his eyes when Jiang Cheng leans down and presses a kiss to his lips. Then, he sits up and squirms in the other’s arms. “Okay, let me go, I need to make myself pretty now.”

Jiang Cheng chuckles, and lets him go.

Mission accomplished.





Story End Notes:

the title is from ‘He’s A Loving Kind of Boy’ by God Help the Girl because it is the sangcheng mood for this fic.

“everyday he chips away a little rock on his shoulder.
love is a sculptor and it makes him a shoulder again.”

lil notes:
– i picked papa nie and mama nie’s names using the power of google pls don’t think too much about it
– peachy might be fairy’s mom or grandma
– sangcheng got together before they came home from gusu but that wasn’t in my outlines so it didn’t make the fic. i might write a separate one about that. maybe after i’ve slept.
– wangxian still haven’t figured out that they like each other hahaha help them

thank u for reading! if u comment it will make me draw more cute cute sangchengs.

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