Struggling grad student with a fondness for writing haiku of questionable quality, fics, and ocassionally doodling. Prompts welcome (Haikyuu, BNHA, KnB, HP, FMA, MDZS). If you enjoy my work, please consider leaving a comment on AO3   or buying me a coffee   (if you can), I'd be eternally grateful!

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lithalwrites·3 months agoText

Chapter 13

“What the hell are you doing?” Jiang Cheng asked in an irritated tone, prompting Wei Ying to look up from his current DIY project. He was sitting in a ring composed entirely of pieces of paper, string, paintbrushes, paints, and various types of glue.

Wei Ying sucked on the finger he had burned with the glue gun before answering. “I’m obviously making lanterns, Jiang Cheng,” he said, even though he knew it wasn’t obvious at all. Yet.

“Weren’t you the one who stopped me from making one last year because ‘it’s bad for the environment?’” Jiang Cheng asked, arms crossed. Jiang Cheng was right. For a campus that prided itself on being green and environmentally conscious, they were strangely insistent on organizing this environmentally unfriendly event every year.

“Maybe so, but this is for a good cause,” Wei Ying said. “It’s part of the plan to get Lan Zhan to like me again.”

Jiang Cheng’s eyebrows rose. “Did you apologize like I told you to?”

Wei Ying rolled his eyes. “No, Jiang Cheng, despite sagely sage advice, Lan Zhan can be very stubborn when he wants to be. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’ll take more than just an apology to fix things.”

Now it was Jiang Cheng’s turn to roll his eyes. “Drama queen,” he said. “You better clean up this mess when you’re done.”

“Yes, mom,” Wei Ying said, and then went back to working on the lanterns. He knew what he wanted to do with them, if only he could get it to maintain its structure. “Ouch!” he yelped as the hot glue burned his fingers again. He hated glue guns. “Lan Zhan better appreciate this,” he muttered to himself, shaking his hand.

Several burnt fingers and an all-nighter later, Wei Ying was finally done with his lanterns. He had planned to go to class the next morning, but he slept right through his alarm and into the afternoon. When he woke up, he was sad that he had missed the chance to see Lan Zhan in class, but there was nothing he could do about it now. He was excited for that evening.

When it was time, Wei Ying picked up the carefully packed lanterns and headed out, ignoring Jiang Cheng’s annoyance at the paint stains that he hadn’t wiped off the floor. Wei Ying jogged up to Lan Zhan’s house and pressed the bell, belatedly realizing that maybe it would have been a good idea to text Lan Xichen and ask him if Lan Zhan was even at home.

His worries over Lan Zhan not being at home melted away when he opened the door and greeted Wei Ying with a frown.

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying said cheerfully. “Come with me.”

“No,” Lan Zhan replied, starting to close the door. Wei Ying stuck his foot in it to stop Lan Zhan, eliciting a characteristic glare from the now undoubtedly annoyed Land Zhan.

“Come with me,” he whined.

Lan Xichen appeared in the background, his eyebrows raised, an amused smile on his face. “Is that Mr. Wei?” he asked.

“Yes. Lan Xichen, tell your brother to come with me,” Wei Ying said, sending a pleading look at Lan Xichen.

“Wangji, perhaps you should accompany Mr. Wei,” Lan Xichen said. Before Wei Ying could send a thankful look his way, and before Lan Zhan could protest, he added, “We wouldn’t want him to wake Jingyi up.” Wei Ying glared at him.

Lan Zhan nodded reluctantly, and stepped outside, closing the door gently behind him. He looked at Wei Ying, his eyebrows raised minutely in an expectant look.

“Let’s go,” Wei Ying said. “We’ll have to go back to campus.” He stared at Lan Zhan.

Lan Zhan sighed. “Do you want me to drive?”

“Unless you want to take the bus,” Wei Ying said. Lan Zhan promptly turned in the direction of the parking lot, Wei Ying happily walking alongside him. He had the urge to tease Lan Zhan, but he didn’t want to say something that would annoy him too much before his plan could come to fruition. Staying silent was the hardest thing he had done all week.

He saw Lan Zhan glance at him out of the corner of his eyes, his face expressionless except for the tiniest downward curve of his mouth. It wasn’t encouraging, but he also hadn’t told Wei Ying to get lost, so there was that.

They drove to campus in silence, and then Wei Ying led them to the field. There was already a large number of people on the field. Wei Ying saw Lan Zhan frown and slow down at the sight.

“Don’t worry, we won’t go to a spot with too many people,” Wei Ying reassured him, glad to see him relax a little.

Once they found a suitable spot, Wei Ying pulled out the lanterns, handing one over to Lan Zhan. “This one is yours.”

Wei Ying watched, strangely anxious, as Lan Zhan lit the lantern and watched it fill with hot air. He stared at the rabbits Wei Ying had painstakingly painted on the lantern, and his mouth twitched into a smile. Wei Ying’s heart skipped a beat. He ignored it and pointed at one of the rabbits. “That’s you, looking all serious and proper,” he said.

“And that is you,” Lan Zhan said, indicating the other rabbit.

“How could you tell?” Wei Ying asked, curious to know what Lan Zhan would say.

“Nobody else is this persistently annoying,” Lan Zhan replied.

“Rude,” Wei Ying said. “I’ll have you know that bunny you doesn’t think that bunny me is annoying at all. In fact, he likes being blanketed by bunny me.”

Lan Zhan raised his eyebrows slightly but said nothing. Wei Ying took it as a win.

“Lan Zhan! Wei Ying!” a voice called out, and Wei Ying looked up to see his friend Wen Ning jogging towards them with a lantern in his hand, waving with the other.

“Wen Ning,” Wei Ying said.

“I didn’t know you two knew each other. Small world,” Wen Ning said happily. “Thanks again for covering for me the other day, Lan Zhan. You really saved me.”

At Wei Ying’s confused look, he explained. “We volunteer at the same animal shelter. Lan Zhan was nice enough to cover for me when something came up at home. He’s the best,” Wen Ning said, smiling brightly at Lan Zhan. Wei Ying thought he saw a hint of a blush on Wen Ning’s cheeks, and suddenly he didn’t like Wen Ning anymore and wanted to trip him. “I didn’t think I’d see you here, Lan Zhan, with all the people that show up to this.” He looked at the lantern Lan Zhan was holding and smiled again. “What a cute lantern. The bunnies are so you.”

Wei Ying really wanted to trip Wen Ning now. He couldn’t stand him casually showing off how well he knew Lan Zhan. He quashed the thoughts deep down inside. “Well, we should hurry and release the lanterns,” he said.

“See you later,” Wen Ning said. “I’m going to go release them with my friends.”

He waved cheerfully at them and jogged away. Wei Ying was pleased to once again be alone with Lan Zhan.

“Don’t forget to make a wish,” he told Lan Zhan.

Lan Zhan glanced at him before letting the lantern go, closing his eyes briefly. Wei Ying fought the urge to ask him what he had wished for. He waited until Lan Zhan had opened his eyes again before letting his own lantern go. He closed his eyes and spoke out loud, “I wish to become really close to Lan Zhan.” He mentally added a few more things to the wish, but those were just for him to know.

He opened his eyes to an unimpressed-looking Lan Zhan. “I’m leaving,” he said, and turned to go. Wei Ying quickly caught up with him.

“What did you wish for?” he asked, unable to hold himself back anymore.

“To be free of annoyances,” Lan Zhan said.

“Hey! I hope that didn’t mean me,” Wei Ying protested.

“Your words,” Lan Zhan said with a shrug.

“You’re going to kill me with your sass, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said. The plan was going really well, if it had managed to bring sassy Lan Zhan back.

Wei Ying had missed him.  


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lithalwrites·3 months agoText

Chapter 12

Wei Ying rang the bell and waited. He didn’t know if he wanted Lan Zhan or his brother to answer the door. He still hadn’t made up his mind when Lan Xichen opened the door and greeted him.

“Mr. Wei,” he said. He was perfectly polite, but there was something about his manner that told Wei Ying that he wasn’t very pleased to see him there. “Are you here for your phone?”

“Oh, do you have it?” Wei Ying asked. “I was hoping you might. But I also have questions for you. Is Lan Zhan home?”

“He is not,” Lan Xichen replied.

“Great. I need your help.”

Lan Xichen sighed a little. “Please come in, then, and I will see what I can do for you.”

Even though Lan Xichen wasn’t happy to see Wei Ying, he was still an exemplary host, offering him tea and fruit. He handed Wei Ying his phone.

“Thanks,” Wei Ying said. “I need your help.”

“So you mentioned earlier. What kind of help do you need, Mr. Wei?” Lan Xichen asked.

“I need you to tell me about your brother,” Wei Ying announced.

Lan Xichen’s eyebrows rose. “I beg your pardon?”

“I may have said something rude to Lan Zhan and now I need to figure out a way to get back in his good graces. But for that I need to learn more about him since he isn’t going to be swayed so easily,” Wei Ying explained.

Lan Xichen was silent for a moment. “Why?” he asked.

Wei Ying hadn’t been expecting that from Lan Xichen. “I miss teasing him.”

“Mr. Wei, why would I help you apologize to my brother so you can tease him?” Lan Xichen asked.

“I didn’t mean tease him in a mean way,” Wei Ying protested. He really should have thought this through. “I miss hanging out with him too. We didn’t get to all the tea places in town.”

Lan Xichen’s eyebrows had been creeping higher and higher as Wei Ying talked, and now they were in danger of disappearing in his hair. “I see,” was his underwhelming answer after another long moment of silence.

“So, will you help me?” Wei Ying asked. “Have I convinced you? Do I need to turn on my charm?”

“That won’t be necessary, thank you,” Lan Xichen firmly said. “I don’t know if I’m convinced quite yet.”

Wei Ying made a face and leaned forward as if sharing a secret. “Don’t tell him I said this, but I also miss his sass,” he whispered, watching Lan Xichen’s face go through a series of emotions. Finally, his expression settled on a calm and slightly amused one.

“Of all the words you could have attributed to my brother, sass is the last one I expected,” he said. “Consider me convinced, Mr. Wei. What would you like to know?”

Armed with his new knowledge, Wei Ying could now formulate an actual plan to convince Lan Zhan to take him back as a friend. Lan Xichen had given him a lot of information to go off on, but even he hadn’t known the answers to some of Wei Ying’s questions. Lan Zhan was a man of mystery. Lucky for him, Wei Ying loved solving mysteries, and he was uncannily good at it. Jiang Cheng had yelled at him many times for figuring things out in movies and shows and spoiling them for him. He now refused to watch anything remotely related to mystery with him.

Wei Ying grinned to himself as he walked back to the suite, several plans floating around in his head. He considered each one, keeping some for later, and discarding others outright as terrible ideas. As he climbed up the stairs to his floor, a poster caught his attention. He stopped and looked at it, his grin growing wider. This was the perfect way to get started on the plan. And the best thing was that he could do it tomorrow, after class. Lan Zhan wouldn’t know what hit him.

Wei Ying felt more excited for class than he ever had in his life. He could just imagine the look on Lan Zhan’s face when he put his plan into action. He was almost vibrating with excitement. The coffee was probably not helping him either.

“Good morning, Lan Zhan!” he said cheerfully.

Lan Zhan ignored him. Wei Ying took it as a good sign that he didn’t tell him to go sit somewhere else. But then again, it was probably because Lan Zhan was too polite to ever actually say something like that. The professor started the lecture and Wei Ying didn’t hear a single word the professor said. He was too busy imagining what would happen soon after the class ended.

As soon as he heard Lan Zhan start to put away his things, Wei Ying stuffed his notebook in his bag and grabbed Lan Zhan’s wrist. Lan Zhan looked at Wei Ying’s hand, and then at his face, a slight crease between his eyes.

“Come with me, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said, pulling him along.

Lan Zhan tried to tug his hand away, but Wei Ying held on tight enough to cut off the blood supply to Lan Zhan’s hand. When Lan Zhan stopped trying to escape, Wei Ying relaxed his grip very slightly. After all, he didn’t want this to turn into a medical emergency. That wouldn’t help his case at all.

Lan Zhan didn’t talk to him at all, even to ask why he was being abducted or where he was being taken. He followed along, probably thinking that he would make his escape once they got to their destination. Wei Ying dragged him all the way to the employee lounge and threw open the doors.

“Ta-da!” he said with a flourish, not releasing Lan Zhan for fear he would run away.

He needn’t have feared, because Lan Zhan was captivated by what he saw in the room. He walked towards the little pen set up in the center that held a number of rabbits. His lips were parted slightly, and curved into the tiniest smile. Wei Ying’s heart skipped a beat.

He watched Lan Zhan walk up to the pen and gently pick up a rabbit and start to pet it. In this moment, Lan Zhan was the most relaxed Wei Ying had ever seen him. The plan was working.

Wei Ying watched for a few more minutes, and then decided that it was time to go up for some lighthearted teasing about his fondness for rabbits. He had only taken a single step when a shiver ran down his spine, his intuition warning him that something terrible was about to happen. His intuition was too late.

A bark sounded from behind him, and Wei Ying jumped in fright. The barking got closer and closer, and Wei Ying wanted to curl up into a ball and die before the dog could come and kill him. He instinctively ran towards Lan Zhan and hid behind him, happy to let him fight the dog first.

“What’s wrong?” Lan Zhan asked, looking at Wei Ying over his shoulder.

The demon dog barked again. Wei Ying flinched and clutched Lan Zhan tighter, his eyes tightly closed. If he didn’t look at the dog, maybe it would disappear. He felt Lan Zhan sigh.

“Let’s go,” Lan Zhan said, putting the rabbit gently back in the pen. He walked awkwardly out of the lounge, Wei Ying still latched onto him, undoubtedly making his normally elegant movement very difficult. “You can let go of me now,” he said, once they were outside the lounge and in a dog-free area.

Wei Ying reluctantly let go. Lan Zhan turned around to look at him, and Wei Ying braced himself. But the teasing never came. If anything, Lan Zhan looked slightly concerned. Wei Ying didn’t know what to make of it, and he certainly didn’t want to think about why the look made him feel warm.  

“I didn’t think you’d be so fond of rabbits, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said, trying to fill the silence that stretched between them. “It’s adorable.”

Lan Zhan’s face took on the familiar affront, and something in Wei Ying’s chest relaxed at the sight. They were on the right track. He laughed.

“I’ll see you in class!” he said, and skipped away. The plan was off to a brilliant start, despite the little dog-shaped hiccup they had experienced.  


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lithalwrites·3 months agoText

Chapter 11

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Jiang Cheng began, drawing Wei Ying’s attention from his phone. “But why the fuck are you moping?”

“Aww Jiang Cheng, you do have a heart!” Wei Ying said, but he couldn’t quite nail the annoying tone he had perfected years ago. His attempt must have been really bad, because Jiang Cheng settled for rolling his eyes instead of throwing something or yelling at him.

“Stop fucking around. What’s gotten into you?” Jiang Cheng said.

“Lan Zhan is ignoring my texts,” Wei Ying whined.

“Talk to him in class, then,” Jiang Cheng said in a tone that told Wei Ying he was being judged hardcore. When Wei Ying didn’t try to be a smartass, he added, “What did you do?”

“What makes you think I did anything?” Wei Ying protested.

Jiang Cheng raised his eyebrows.

“Don’t answer that,” Wei Ying said hastily. “I said something I shouldn’t have.”

“Wow, it must’ve been really bad if you admit you shouldn’t have said it,” Jiang Cheng said. “Have you tried apologizing like a normal person, without trying to be a smartass? You probably haven’t. Try it.”

Wei Ying considered it. “You give pretty good advice, Jiang Cheng. You should follow it yourself sometime.”

“Don’t you start with me, you shithead,” Jiang Cheng said, rolling his eyes again. “I can’t believe I had to intervene in something so stupid.”

“I still can’t believe you have a heart. Yanli is going to be so proud.”

This time, Jiang Cheng threw a book at him, narrowly missing his head.

Wei Ying walked into class with a cup of tea that he had gotten to go along with his apology, but was shocked to find that Lan Zhan was not sitting in his seat. It was almost time for class, and Lan Zhan was never late. Wei Ying wondered if something was wrong. His worry started to mount when the professor started talking and there was still no sign of Lan Zhan. Even Nie Huaisang showed up to class, which was something that didn’t happen very often.

“Where’s Lan Zhan?” Nie Huaisang asked.

“Don’t know,” Wei Ying said. He considered shooting Lan Zhan a text asking where he was, but he didn’t want to annoy him more. “What’s the best way to apologize for saying something out of line?”

Nie Huaisang raised his eyebrows and considered. “Depends on what was said. You’d do different things based on whether it was just a little or a lot out of line. Your first fight?”

“Yeah,” Wei Ying said, only momentarily wondering about Nie Huaisang’s strange word choice.

Nie Huaisang nodded. “It’s okay. I’m sure you can figure out what to do,” he said. “I believe in you.”

“Thanks,” Wei Ying said, and for the first time during the entire semester, he paid attention to the lecture, taking notes. The inklings of an idea about how to apologize came to him. He was still working on the details when he ran out of class. His plan would be multi-step, and the first step was to actually find Lan Zhan.

As luck would have it, he caught sight of the next best person as he walked past one of the school cafes. He changed course and headed right for Lan Xichen, helping himself to the empty seat across from him. Lan Xichen looked at him, amused.

“Mr. Wei,” he said politely. “How can I help you?”

“Where’s Lan Zhan?”

Lan Xichen frowned at him. “I don’t keep tabs on my brother, Mr. Wei.”

“He wasn’t in class today. Is he sick?” Wei Ying asked. “It seems out of character for him to miss class. Even if he’s three chapters ahead of everyone else.”

“It is out of character, but I’m sure he has good reason to miss class. Why don’t you ask him?” Lan Xichen said. Wei Ying wondered if he was being unhelpful on purpose.

Wei Ying huffed. “If I could, I wouldn’t be here with you, would I?”

Lan Xichen raised his eyebrows. “Mr. Wei, what have you done?”

“Why does everyone always think it’s me?” Wei Ying complained, turning the full force of his innocent look on Lan Xichen. He even reached out and grabbed his hand. Suddenly, there was a sound of a coffee cup falling and both Wei Ying and Lan Xichen turned towards the noise. It was Jiang Cheng, staring at Wei Ying’s hand on Lan Xichen’s. He had gone pale and his expression was caught between utter horror and the face he wore when he wanted to kill Wei Ying.

Wei Ying caught Jiang Cheng’s eyes and saw his lips form the words, “What the actual fuck, you piece of shit?” before he rushed towards the table, grabbed Wei Ying forcefully by the wrist, and dragged him away. He didn’t slow or speak until they were in a deserted corner of the building.

“What the fuck?” Jiang Cheng yelled at him in horror. “What the hell are you playing at?”

“I don’t know what you mean, Jiang Cheng,” Wei Ying said. He was annoyed that he had been dragged away from Lan Xichen, just before he might have given him some useful information. Wei Ying crossed his arms across his chest.

“Unbelievable. Of all the stupid things,” Jiang Cheng continued, talking more to himself than to Wei Ying. “For once in your life, think before doing something stupid, and don’t do it.”

“I still don’t know what you’re on about,” Wei Ying said.

Jiang Cheng laughed like he was losing his mind. Wei Ying wouldn’t be surprised if he was. Nothing he was saying was making any sense to him.

“Don’t act like you’re stupid,” Jiang Cheng said.

“Okay, okay,” Wei Ying said, holding up his hands. “I’ll think about what I’m doing. Happy?”

Jiang Cheng looked unconvinced, but left it at that. He murmured under his breath the entire way back to the dorm, Wei Ying only catching a few insults here and there. He had no idea what was happening, but sometimes it was best to let Jiang Cheng get his anger out of his system. He would be back to normal soon enough.

Right now, Wei Ying had to focus on the problem at hand: he still didn’t know where Lan Zhan was. Maybe he should just call Lan Zhan and go from there, he thought, reaching in his pocket for his phone, only to find his pocket empty. He patted all his pockets, coming up empty.

“Where is it?” Wei Ying murmured, digging through his bag. He emptied the bag on his bed, but his phone did not materialize. He may have left it on the table in the café. He bit his lip, and then came to a decision. He was going to Lan Zhan’s house unannounced. Whether this would help him make things better, or completely backfire on him, remained to be seen.

He would find out soon enough.

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lithalwrites·3 months agoText

Chapter 10

“Tea shop number ten,” Wei Ying observed as he and Lan Zhan entered the shop. It was a small, cute shop tucked away in a corner in a strip mall. Wei Ying had never heard of it, and if he was reading Lan Zhan’s reactions right, he had never been here before either. Lan Zhan must really have been stumped by Wei Ying’s resistance to becoming cultured, if he had resorted to bringing him to places he hadn’t been to before.

Lan Zhan took care of ordering and paying for the tea, as always, and Wei Ying idly wondered how much Lan Zhan had spent on buying him tea. He should probably get it one of these days, but the guilt hadn’t struck yet, and Lan Zhan was rich, so he was going to enjoy the free tea.

Then he wondered when he had started thinking of tea as enjoyable.

“It’s a wonderful day for tea,” the barista commented with a smile.

“And you made it even more wonderful with your smile,” Wei Ying said, smiling back at him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Lan Zhan shake his head almost imperceptibly. He disapproved.

“Thank you,” the barista said. “I hope you enjoy your stay.”

They sat at a corner table and waited for the tea. Wei Ying was hoping they would be served by the barista from earlier, but he was still taking orders, so that seemed unlikely. They were served, instead, by a guy whose smile made him look like a villain from a mid-budget soap opera.

He served Lan Zhan first, and then all but slammed down Wei Ying’s tea on the table in front of him. It sloshed dangerously against the edges of the glass but didn’t spill. “Don’t flirt with my boyfriend, you little shit.”

Wei Ying raised his eyebrows. “Your boyfriend can take care of himself, Psycho Smile.”

The guy just smiled at him, silently promising that he could and would poison his drink if he returned to the tea shop. Wei Ying looked at Lan Zhan. “Will you save me from the evil server, Lan Zhan?”

The server’s eyebrows shot up. “I can’t defend my boyfriend, but you want yours to save you from me?” he said.

Wei Ying laughed at how offended Lan Zhan looked at the suggestion, ignoring the little twinge in his chest. “Lan Zhan is not my boyfriend. Do you see the face he’s making right now? That’s his ‘I’d rather die’ face.”

The server looked at Lan Zhan, and then back at Wei Ying. “Sure. Think about what you said a little more,” he said. “And stay away from my boyfriend.”

Wei Ying wanted to ask him what he meant, but the server had evidently lost all interest in continuing the conversation. Wei Ying looked at Lan Zhan, and picked up the tea. He sipped it. This tea was floral, and kind of bitter. “Not bad.”

Lan Zhan sipped his once and then put it down. He ran his finger along the rim of the cup, making no move to pick it up again.

“You don’t like it,” Wei Ying said.

Lan Zhan frowned at him. Wei Ying shrugged. “I’ll drink it if you don’t want to.”

“No need,” Lan Zhan said. And so, he had taken at most two more sips of the tea by the time Wei Ying was done. Wei Ying looked at the tea and then at Lan Zhan.

“You don’t have to drink it, you know,” he said.

Lan Zhan picked up his cup and drained the tea in one go. He couldn’t help making a face as he set the empty cup back down. Wei Ying couldn’t help but laugh. “You’re so stubborn, Lan Zhan. One of your most endearing traits. Now let’s go and record the music. I can’t believe you’ve put it off for so long. The project is almost due.”

“It’s because your performance has been subpar,” Lan Zhan said.

“Ouch,” Wei Ying said. “You wound me. Let’s go. I want to see your brother again.”

Lan Zhan let out a resigned sigh but did not try to dissuade Wei Ying, so they headed out. Wei Ying waved at the nice barista and watched in delight as the server shot daggers at him.

Sadly, Lan Xichen wasn’t at home when they arrived at Lan Zhan’s place, so Wei Ying had to file away his flirtatious remarks for later use. Lan Zhan, ever the polite host, offered him some tea, even though they had just had some. Wei Ying refused, and they headed straight to the music room.

They played once just as a warm-up, and then it was finally time to record the piece. The cameras had already been set up, probably by the meticulous Lan Zhan himself, Wei Ying thought warmly. A good thing, he supposed, since he had no idea about how to set up cameras and recording equipment.

“The cameras are rolling. We will play until we are satisfied,” Lan Zhan said.

Wei Ying nodded, and they began. The first attempt was passable, but Wei Ying messed up a few times, so they had to start over. The second attempt was perfect, or so he thought, but Lan Zhan’s expression told him he was not satisfied.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. “It sounded good to me.”

Lan Zhan shook his head. “Again,” he said.

Wei Ying shrugged, and they started from the top again. Every time they finished, Lan Zhan looked unsatisfied and they had to start over. For the life of him, Wei Ying couldn’t tell what the problem was, and Lan Zhan wasn’t inclined to tell him. Getting tired of playing, Wei Ying just sighed and started again whenever Lan Zhan said so. After the seventh attempt, Wei Ying was ready to give up. This attempt had also sounded good to him, like the previous five, but he looked at Lan Zhan for confirmation anyway. Lan Zhan didn’t look like he was constipated, which was a great sign. “Good?” Wei Ying asked.

“Satisfactory,” Lan Zhan said. Wei Ying took that to mean that it had been perfect.

“Great!” Wei Ying said, stretching and unceremoniously lying down on the floor. He closed his eyes, finally able to relax. They were done with the most difficult part of the project. Their report was already done and edited, since Lan Zhan had taken it upon himself to correct it thoroughly, apparently not trusting Wei Ying to have good command over grammar. The video was the last thing they needed before they would be done with the project for good.

“I will do the editing,” Lan Zhan informed him.

“Great,” Wei Ying said. He wasn’t going to offer to take on more work than he had to. Lan Zhan could have fun toiling away at video editing. Wei Ying had no patience for things like that.

“We don’t have to meet outside of class again,” Lan Zhan said.

The words shocked Wei Ying out of his relaxation. He sat up and stared at Lan Zhan in confusion. “What? Why?”

Lan Zhan looked at him like he was stupid. “We’re done the project,” he said slowly.

“Yes,” Wei Ying, dragging out the syllable. “But we can still hang out. You haven’t made me appreciate tea yet. It would be a shame if you gave up after all your hard work now. We’ve been to so many tea shops already. There can’t be many more left. And if you don’t hang out with me, who else will you hang out with? Do you even have any other friends?”

Wei Ying regretted saying the last part as soon as the words left his mouth. Lan Zhan’s eyes had widened a little at the implication, and Wei Ying saw him press his lips, angrier than Wei Ying had ever managed to make him. But this time, it had not been intentional, and so it wasn’t funny.

“I don’t need your pity,” Lan Zhan said quietly. “Please show yourself out.”

It would have been better if Lan Zhan had yelled. Wei Ying watched, speechless for once in his life, as Lan Zhan walked out of the room, leaving him alone. Wei Ying quickly weighted his options in his head. The best course of action looked like one where he took a step back for now and made amends for what he had said later.

On his way out, he ran into Lan Xichen, who smiled at him, making him feel even more guilty. “Headed out?” Lan Xichen asked. “Did Wangji not offer to drive you home?” he added with a concerned frown when Wei Ying nodded.

“Ah,” Wei Ying said. “He has another assignment due, so I said I’d go home myself.”

“I can drive you, if you like,” Lan Xichen said.

“No, it’s fine,” Wei Ying insisted, but Lan Xichen was not to be deterred.

“I insist,” Lan Xichen said, picking up a set of car keys.

“Thank you,” Wei Ying said reluctantly. Damn the Lan hospitality that apparently ran in the family. He followed Lan Xichen to his car and gave him the address. They drove in silence for a few minutes, before Lan Xichen spoke.

“Wangji has always had a hard time making friends. I’m glad that he finally seems to be getting close to people,” he said.

His words could not have come at a worse moment. Wei Ying laughed and said the right things, all the while wondering which one of his actions karma was biting him in the ass for with this.  

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lithalwrites·3 months agoText

Chapter 9

Wei Ying had been expecting a large house, but his eyes still widened when he finally reached his destination. It was time to practice the piece for their history project, and they were doing it at Lan Zhan’s place. It was the first time Wei Ying had come over, and he was already thinking about a million of ways to tease Lan Zhan that day.

He walked up to the gate and pressed the bell, fully expecting a butler to open the door. Instead, he was greeted by Lan Zhan, smiling kindly at him. He blinked, and realized it wasn’t Lan Zhan after all, and he was saved from having heart attack at the thought of Lan Zhan smiling kindly at anyone. This man looked very similar to Lan Zhan, if Lan Zhan’s eyes had been half a shade darker, and if he knew how to smile. “Hello. You must be Wei Ying. Please come in,” he said. Even his voice was kind.

“Hi,” Wei Ying said. “Nice to meet you, Lan Zhan with a pretty smile. I don’t know who you are, even though you know who I am.”  

“I’m Lan Xichen,” the man introduced himself, looking very amused.

“Damn, the Lan family has great genetics,” Wei Ying said. He probably shouldn’t have said that out loud, but it had slipped out before he could stop himself.

“Why, thank you,” Lan Xichen said. It seemed like he was much more laid back than Lan Zhan was. Wei Ying followed him to what was probably a sitting room. “I will let Wangji know you’ve arrived. I hope your project goes well.”

“Thanks,” Wei Ying said. As soon as Xichen was gone, he jumped up and started to examine the things on display around the room. Everything seemed very expensive, and he was almost afraid to touch things. Almost, but not quite.

“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan’s voice startled Wei Ying, and the delicate glass ornament he had been examining slipped from his grasp. Wei Ying dove for it, smacking his chin on the ground but managing to save the ornament, which he held tight in his hand. He scrambled to his feet and put it carefully back on the shelf before turning around. Lan Zhan stood frozen with a tray in his hands, eyes wide.

“It’s not broken!” Wei Ying assured him. Lan Zhan visibly relaxed.

“Your chin?” Lan Zhan asked.

Wei Ying touched it and winced a little. “Oh, that’s not broken either. I figured you’d be more worried about the ornament.”

Lan Zhan set the tray down and poured out some tea, handing the first cup to Wei Ying. “So proper. I met your brother. He’s much prettier than you.”

“Please tell me you did not flirt with my brother,” Lan Zhan said, looking scandalized.

“Don’t worry, it was hardly flirting,” Wei Ying waved his concerns away. He sipped the tea. It had strong hints of apple, and Wei Ying didn’t hate it. So far, Lan Zhan had taken him to three different places, and Wei Ying was still uncultured in the ways of tea. He was frankly surprised that Lan Zhan hadn’t given up yet.

“This tea isn’t bad,” he said. “Where are we playing?”

“In the music room.”

“Oh my god, you have an actual music room. How rich is your family, Lan Zhan? Man, I was really onto something when I saved you as Young Master Lan in my phone. It suits you so much, Wangji. Is that your nickname? It’s so old and fancy. Young Master Lan, that’s still what you’re saved as, by the way,” Wei Ying said. “What am I saved as?”

“Headache,” Lan Zhan said.

Wei Ying cackled. “You gave me a nickname, Lan Zhan. Be careful, if this keeps up, you’ll fall in love with me.”

Lan Zhan tilted his head. “Or vice versa.”

“Lan Zhan, I can’t believe you quipped. I’m so proud of you,” Wei Ying said, his grin splitting his face. “But don’t worry, you have nothing to worry about.”

“Did you practice?” Lan Zhan asked. Apparently, he had had enough of idle chitchat.

“You have so little faith in me. Of course, I practiced,” Wei Ying said. He pulled out his flute and waved it at Lan Zhan. “You’re going to be blessed with my playing today, so you better appreciate it.”

Lan Zhan ignored him in favour of standing up and leading him to the music room. There was a number of different instruments set up in the room. Wei Ying wondered if Lan Zhan played any of them other than the guqin. There were also a few instruments he had never seen before. This room probably contained several millions worth of instruments. Wei Ying was awed.

“Let’s start,” Lan Zhan said, getting into position. Wei Ying dropped down next to him, sitting cross-legged.

“Ready when you are,” he said.

Lan Zhan nodded, and started to play. Wei Ying watched as his slender fingers expertly moved across the strings, and the first notes of the piece floated through the air. Lan Zhan played a few bars, and then stopped abruptly, frowning at Wei Ying.

“You missed your entry,” he said.

“Ah, sorry,” Wei Ying said. “I was distracted. Start again. I won’t miss this time.”

Lan Zhan took a deep breath, possibly to let go of his irritation at Wei Ying, and started again. This time, Wei Ying payed attention, and didn’t miss the entry. The first playthrough was very bumpy, with several mistakes, all of them Wei Ying’s fault.

“I think I got it. Let’s go again,” he said. Lan Zhan nodded, and they started from the top. The second playthrough was marginally better, but not as good as it could have been. The problem, Wei Ying realized, was that he wanted to watch Lan Zhan play, and that was distracting him. He put his flute down. “You know what? You play the whole thing on your own once, then I’ll do the same, and then let’s put it together.”

“Fine,” Lan Zhan said. He played, and Wei Ying watched. He didn’t know why it was so interesting to watch Lan Zhan play, but it was. The piece itself sounded quite nice, and Wei Ying was really excited about them making their parts work together.

He played after Lan Zhan was finished, and then they tried to play it together. Their third and fourth attempts were much smoother than before, but Wei Ying could tell Lan Zhan was not satisfied yet. “Should we record now?” he asked, just because.

Just as he had thought, Lan Zhan gave him a look that told him what he thought of that idea. “No,” Lan Zhan said, as if his glare hadn’t been enough of an answer.

“Just thought I’d ask. I should get going now. It’s getting late, and it’s a bit of a walk to the bus stop, and a long bus ride,” he said.

He watched Lan Zhan’s expressions go through an interesting set of changes, all only minutely different from each other. He finally settled on pained reluctance, and offered, “I can drive you.”

“Oh,” Wei Ying said, drawing out the syllable and widening his eyes, teasing. “Such a caring project partner. Are you concerned for me?”

Lan Zhan’s expression shifted to the much more familiar glare. “Walk, then.”

“No, no, thank you so much for the offer, my kind Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said. “I will gladly accept.”

Later, when they were in the car, Wei Ying glanced at Lan Zhan as he drove. He drove like he did everything else: with all his focus. Wei Ying found himself smiling at Lan Zhan’s intensity. Before he could think too much about that, he grinned and said, “So… Young Master Lan Wangji, eh? What a fancy name.”

Lan Zhan kept his eyes on the road, but his lips curved downward a little. “My grandfather wanted it for me,” he finally said. Wei Ying was surprised he had bothered to offer an explanation at all, but maybe he was embarrassed of the name. Although he looked more angry than embarrassed.

“Aww, don’t be mad, Lan Zhan. It fits you perfectly. Can I call you by it?”

“No.”

“You break my heart.”

“Someone ought to,” Lan Zhan replied.

“Oh my god, Lan Zhan! You’re secretly sassy. I can’t believe this,” Wei Ying said, laughing. “Wow. This is a whole new side to you. You sassed me multiple times today. Amazing.”

Lan Zhan pulled up in front of Wei Ying’s building, and Wei Ying climbed out. “Thanks for the ride, darling! Drive safe!”

Lan Zhan glared at him through the windscreen, and Wei Ying cheerfully waved at him before running inside.  

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lithalwrites·4 months agoText

Chapter 8 

Life continued for the next two weeks, with fewer chances for Wei Ying to torment Lan Zhan than he would have liked. He was sure that Lan Zhan was avoiding coming to the café when he worked, because whenever he came in when Wei Ying was working, he never showed up during the same shift again. It was only a matter of time before he would have to give up, since his shifts were not fixed. Wei Ying awaited the day with baited breath.

Outside of work and class, they didn’t get the chance to work on the project, because the term had hit a particularly busy mark. At least for Lan Zhan, apparently. Since Wei Ying was undeclared and taking a mishmash of random courses, his courses seldom overlapped when it came to assignments and tests. It was then that he realized that he didn’t actually know what Lan Zhan’s major was.

“You’ve been working together for what, a month now? And you don’t know what his major is?” Jiang Cheng asked, his tone laden with judgement.

“I didn’t ask you to come see me at work so you could attack me, Jiang Cheng,” Wei Ying said.

“You didn’t ask me to come at all. I’m just here because I didn’t believe it when you said you have a job. I was sure you were just spending your time doing something stupid.”

“Wow, so little faith in me,” Wei Ying said. “I’m offended.”

“Why are you offended? Do I need to remind you about what happened the last time you said you had a job?”

“That was one time, Jiang Cheng. You should let it go.”

“It was one time too many!” Jiang Cheng hissed, grabbing his drink and taking a sip. His frown actually seemed to disappear a little. “Damn, this is really good coffee.”

“We get the best, ethically sourced, locally sourced, fair trade coffee beans to make all our coffee,” Wei Ying said, putting on his best customer service voice. “But Lan Zhan never orders any.”

Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes and left.

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying said happily, as his history partner walked into the café at the end of his shift. “You’re late. I just finished working.”

“We are going to get tea,” Lan Zhan said, ignoring Wei Ying completely.

Wei Ying opened his mouth, but Lan Zhan glided past him and ordered two teas, handing one to him. He led them to a table, and looked at Wei Ying, waiting. Wei Ying took a sip. It tasted like tea, with hints of lemon, which was to say that his mind was not blown.

“It tastes like…tea. Leaf juice,” Wei Ying said.

Lan Zhan huffed and sipped his own tea. “It’s clearly different from what you gave me.”

Who would have thought that Lan Zhan would get so passionate over tea? Granted, his expression still hadn’t changed much from his normal countenance, but he was talking in longer sentences than he usually did, and his tone was a little less neutral than normal. Wei Ying was delighted. “Is it? I can’t really tell. Sorry, Lan Zhan, I’m a peasant who doesn’t really appreciate tea. I guess I’ll have to try more types to truly learn the difference.”

To his surprise, Lan Zhan nodded thoughtfully, as if what Wei Ying had suggested was a very good plan. If Lan Zhan wanted to spend more time with him and buy him tea, he wasn’t going to complain. Maybe he would even actually start to appreciate it. Yanli would be so surprised, and her and Jiang Cheng’s mother would be shocked at the thought of Wei Ying knowing anything about tea.

“Maybe we’ll have to try all the cafes in town,” Wei Ying said, seeing how far he could push it.

“Perhaps,” Lan Zhan said.

Wei Ying’s gave Lan Zhan his most devilish grin. “That means we’ll be spending a lot of time together, Lan Zhan!”

Lan Zhan looked pained, but less so than Wei Ying would have expected. Maybe he was already starting to grow on Lan Zhan. There was always room for more growth.

“By the way, Lan Zhan, what’s your major?” Wei Ying asked.

“Physiology and history,” Lan Zhan replied.

“You’re doing a double major? Wow, you’re doing enough for the both of us.”

Lan Zhan frowned at this. “You’re undeclared?”

“Wow, so sharp,” Wei Ying said. “Yeah, I’m undeclared. Couldn’t find something I’m really interested in, so it’s a little bit of everything for now. Maybe I’ll just graduate with a generic degree.”  

Lan Zhan looked a little scandalized at the idea that anyone would want to do that, but didn’t give him the lecture Wei Ying had expected to get. Maybe Lan Zhan was getting used to him, or maybe he just didn’t care anymore. Only one of these was a good thing.

“Have you worked on the performance for the project?”

“Yes.”

“Cool. When do I get to hear it?”

Lan Zhan frowned at him again. “We have to record it together.”

“What?” Wei Ying asked.

“I’m not doing all the work myself,” Lan Zhan said. “You play an instrument, so you will be joining me.”

Wei Ying laughed. “Oh. That’s what you meant. Yeah, sure, I’m down. Just let me know when and where. Have you written the song? You can send it to me so I can practice my part before we get together to record it.”

Lan Zhan pulled out his phone, tapped away, and Wei Ying’s phone buzzed. He had received an email with the music score. He was impressed with the efficiency. He flagged the email to check out later and sent Lan Zhan a cat meme.

Lan Zhan looked at it but didn’t even smile. Wei Ying would have to try harder.

“Let’s do it next weekend,” Lan Zhan said.

“The recording?” Wei Ying asked. “Isn’t that too soon? I have to practice, and then we have to practice together.”

“The project is due in a month.”

“Yes. A month. So we should practice together before we actually go ahead and record it. Or are you trying to get rid of me, Lan Zhan?”

Lan Zhan opened his mouth, probably to agree with Wei Ying’s statement, but Wei Ying was saved from having to act heartbroken by the arrival of Nie Huaisang. This time, he didn’t have a bird cage with him. Instead, he was holding a painted mug by the handle.

“Hey, Nie Huaisang!” Wei Ying said, waving to catch his attention. Nie Huaisang turned towards them and waved back, joining them at the table.

“Hello, hello,” he said, setting the mug gingerly on the table. Wei Ying reached out to pick it up, but Nie Huaisang slapped his hand away. “Don’t touch! I don’t want the paint to get ruined.”

“Did you do it yourself?” Wei Ying asked. He leaned close to look at the mug, and whistled at how intricate the details were.

Nie Huaisang nodded proudly. “Yes. I just need to make sure it doesn’t get ruined on the way home. It’s for my brother.”

“You always seem to be making gifts for people, don’t you?” Wei Ying asked. “When will it be my turn?” he added with a suggestive grin.

Nie Huaisang blushed and stammered. “Um, what would you like?”

“A token of your deepest affection,” Wei Ying said shamelessly, watching in delight as Nie Huaisang’s blush deepened further.

“I don’t know if I can do that,” he squeaked.

“I’m just kidding,” Wei Ying said, slapping him on the back. “I like the mug. It’s really cool.” He looked up at Lan Zhan, who was looking judgementally at him. He wondered if he had offended his sensibilities by flirting with a man. Well, he’d have to get over it, if that was the case. It was the twenty-first century, after all.

“Okay, good,” Nie Huaisang said, still red. Wei Ying decided to take pity on him.

“How’s your history project going?” he asked.

“It’s okay. My partner doesn’t do much, which sucks,” Nie Huaisang said. “But it’s okay. We’ll get something done. I don’t really care as long as we pass.”

“Man, I wish you were my partner instead of this one right here,” Wei Ying said. “We could both just put the minimum amount of effort then. Lan Zhan works me to the bone,” he told Nie Huaisang with a grin, watching him look at Lan Zhan with something like fear in his eyes. He wondered if Lan Zhan would defend himself. Sadly, Lan Zhan didn’t seem to care about Wei Ying slandering him. He would have to try a different tactic next time.

“Hmm, okay, I should run home now, or Jiang Cheng will kill me for tying to avoid chores again,” Wei Ying said, looking at the time. “Next weekend?” he asked Lan Zhan, who nodded.

“Bye, Nie Huaisang, Lan Zhan. I’ll see you next weekend, it’s a date! Thanks for the tea,” he said, winking at Lan Zhan. He wished he could wait to enjoy the affront on Lan Zhan’s face, but running away was the best course of action, so that’s what he did.

Extra:

After Wei Ying leaves Nie Huaisang and Lan Zhan at the table:

Lan Zhan: …

Nie Huaisang: …

Lan Zhan: …

Nie Huaisang: …

Lan Zhan: …

Nie Huaisang: I’m going to go now. Bye!

Nie Huaisang exits, as fast as he can without actually running.


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lithalwrites·5 months agoText

Chapter 7

Wei Ying dropped into the chair next to Lan Zhan and leaned in close. “Good morning, Lan Zhan!” he said cheerfully. Lan Zhan steadfastly ignored him. Wei Ying wondered if he was still mad about the incident in the library, even though he had more than made up for it by giving him a nice drawing for free. He wrinkled his nose, and started to think about how he could make Lan Zhan stop ignoring him. Pestering him incessantly would probably do the trick.

He looked around lazily and then started to doodle in his notebook instead of taking notes. He would wheedle them out of Lan Zhan later, if he felt like it. He just needed to find out what he could bribe the guy with. Alcohol wouldn’t be a good choice, after what had happened Saturday night.

He drew mindlessly, his thoughts far away from class. He only snapped back to reality when he felt movement to his side and saw Lan Zhan packing up to leave. Wei Ying had zoned out the entire class. But at least he had a nice couple of pages of doodles now. He shoved his notebook in his bag.

“Lan Zhan! Coffee?”

“No.”

“Aww, c’mon,” Wei Ying said.

“I’m leaving.”

“Wait!” he said without thinking. To his surprise, Lan Zhan waited. Since Wei Ying hadn’t actually been expecting him to listen, he blurted out the first thing that came to his mind. “Your sweater looks cozy.”

Lan Zhan left.

“What the fuck was that?” Wei Ying muttered to himself. “Your sweater looks cozy? Really?” He sighed. Lan Zhan was a tougher nut to crack than most people, and Wei Ying was up for the challenge.

“This is definitely a very long shot, but did you take any notes in your history class today?” Jiang Cheng asked later that evening.

“You wound me,” Wei Ying said. “But I didn’t. You can have my drawings instead.” He pulled out his notebook to that day’s doodles and held it up to Jiang Cheng’s face.

Several different expressions flitted across Jiang Cheng’s face in the matter of seconds. He settled for confused irritation, or maybe it was irritated confusion. It was sometimes hard to tell. “Are you a stalker now? What the hell, you little shit?”

Now Wei Ying was confused. “What?” he asked. He looked at his doodles, but nothing about them screamed ‘stalker’ to him. They were just doodles of Lan Zhan, doing Lan Zhan things. Meaning he was sitting impossibly straight, taking notes, focused on the lecture.

“Forget it, dumbass,” Jiang Cheng said.

“Love you too, Jiang Cheng,” Wei Ying smirked.

Jiang Cheng threw a notebook at him.

It was a week before they were able to work on the project next, because they both had tests they needed to study for. Because Wei Ying always left his studying to the night before (it had worked for him so far), he chose to skip history the day before the test. He was a little sad that he wouldn’t be there to annoy Lan Zhan, but it was what it was. He would just have to double his efforts the next class, to make up for the one he had missed. The mere idea of being extra irritating gave him joy.

“Why are you smirking like a dumbass?” Jiang Cheng asked. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m just plotting how to annoy Lan Zhan when I go to class next time.”

Jiang Cheng raised his eyebrows. “One day, he’s going to punch you in the face.”

Wei Ying failed to imagine Lan Zhan punching anyone in the face. “You know, that would be interesting.”

Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes. “You’re crazy, you know that?”

“You remind me of the fact fairly often.”

Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes again. It was probably a new record for Wei Ying: shortest time between Jiang Cheng rolling his eyes at something he had said or done. He considered it a personal achievement.

“I’m going to invite him over to work on the project sometime this week.”

“Didn’t you say he said he didn’t want to come over anymore?” Jiang Cheng asked, eyebrows.

Wei Ying didn’t remember sharing that anecdote with Jiang Cheng, but clearly he had. “When did I tell you about that?”

“When you decided I wanted to hear about it in the middle of studying for my test. Are you telling me you don’t remember annoying the shit out of me? But then again, you do that all the time, so I guess not.”

“Wow, why are you so mean to me? I’m going to complain to Yanli next time I see her.”

Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes again. “Yeah, whatever. Just let me know when he comes over so I’m not surprised.”

“Let’s work on the project at my place,” Wei Ying said.

Lan Zhan didn’t look thrilled at the suggestion.

“I promise there won’t be any alcohol this time,” Wei Ying said. “Come on,” he put on his whiniest voice, and even batted his eyelashes for good measure. He hadn’t quite figured out what the best way to get Lan Zhan to do what he wanted was, but he was determined to figure it out before the project was done.

“Fine,” Lan Zhan said, probably only to shut him up, but Wei Ying considered it a win. He mentally high-fived himself, and dragged Lan Zhan to the coffee shop.

“What can I get you?” the barista asked.

“An iced black coffee, please,” he said.

“No sugar?” the barista asked, raising her eyebrows. “The batch of coffee we got is pretty strong.”

“Nah,” Wei Ying said. “You making it is all the sugar I need.”

The barista looked unimpressed. “That was not your best. You’re slipping.”

“As long as you catch me, Mianmian,” Wei Ying said with a smirk.

“Nah, I’m going to let you fall,” Mianmian replied, handing him his coffee.

“How cruel,” Wei Ying said with a laugh. “Look, Lan Zhan, isn’t she cruel? It’s okay, though. I’m sure you’d catch me if I fell.”

Lan Zhan didn’t deign to reply to that. Mianmian looked between them. “I have the feeling he’d be the one pushing you. Now get out of here, you’re holding up the line.”

“Always nice to see you too, Mianmian!” Wei Ying said as they walked away.

“Oh, looks like Jiang Cheng is out,” Wei Ying said, because nobody yelled at him when he stepped into the dorm. It was a good thing, since he had forgotten to tell Jiang Cheng about Lan Zhan coming over. “Do you want something to drink? Coffee?” He dug around in the cabinet and unearthed a box of tea that he didn’t know they had. “We have tea, too, if you want.”

“I’ll have some tea, thank you.”

Wei Ying boiled some water, tossed tea in a cup, and poured the boiling water over it. He hadn’t made tea ever, but he was sure this was how it was done. It couldn’t be an easy thing to get wrong, after all. He brought the cup of tea and put it on the table in front of Lan Zhan.

“So, I’ve been thinking,” Wei Ying said. Lan Zhan looked up at him, looking a little wary. Wei Ying grinned. “Don’t worry, Lan Zhan, I’m not going to drag you to a strip club…yet. That’ll come another day. I was thinking about the project, and you know how we get points for creativity? I have an idea for it, but it all depends on whether my assumption about you is correct.”

He waited. Finally, Lan Zhan asked, “What assumption?”

“That you play a traditional instrument.”

“I do.”

“Great. We should record a video showcasing the instrument,” Wei Ying continued. “What do you play?”

“The guqin,” Lan Zhan replied.

“Fancy,” Wei Ying said, impressed. “I can see it. You seem like the type.” He smiled widely. “We can make it a duet! I play the bamboo flute. Write us a nice, romantic song, Lan Zhan.”

“Absolutely not,” Lan Zhan replied. There was a pause. Wei Ying waited. “The video is a good idea,” he finally said. Wei Ying was very pleased at the effort it seemed to have taken for Lan Zhan to compliment him. Wei Ying wondered if the fact that he played the bamboo flute had made his existence less offensive to Lan Zhan.  

“That’s the first compliment you’ve given me, Lan Zhan. It’s only a matter of time until you’re complimenting me all the time.”

Lan Zhan picked up the cup of tea and took a sip. He slowly returned the cup to the table.

“You don’t like the tea?” Wei Ying asked. “Sorry, I’ve never made tea before, and I figured it’s just leaf juice, so how hard could it be.”

As soon as the words left his mouth, Wei Ying saw his relationship points in Lan Zhan’s book plummet very far down into the negative. Apparently, insulting tea had been a mistake. Lan Zhan’s expression had reached a new level of affront. Wei Ying wanted to draw it and capture the moment.

“Tea is not ‘just leaf juice,’” Lan Zhan said in a horrified voice. Wei Ying wanted to laugh.

“To me it is. If you want me to change my mind, you’re going to have to convince me.”

“I will.”


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lithalwrites·5 months agoText

Chapter 6 

Wei Ying sipped his coffee as he watched Lan Zhan stir and sit up groggily on the couch, the blanket slipping off of him.

“Morning,” he said, and Lan Zhan winced, holding his head. “Aspirin’s on the table in front of you if you need it,” he added. He watched, impressed that Lan Zhan found the time to spare him a glare before he reached out for the aspirin and water that he had left on the table.

“Breakfast?” Wei Ying asked.

“I’m going to head out,” Lan Zhan said, standing up. He looked at himself, seemed to sigh inwardly, and then picked up his bag. “We should work elsewhere.”

Wei Ying understood that that was Lan Zhan speak for ‘I will never come here again,’ and he felt the need to stop Lan Zhan from the self-imposed ban before it was too late. How else was Wei Ying going to tease him? He couldn’t very well do it in public all the time.

“We can figure that out,” he said diplomatically. “Sorry about the mix-up last night. You chugged the wine before I could stop you. Probably shouldn’t have chosen identical cups. My bad.”

Wei Ying smiled apologetically at Lan Zhan and was surprised to see him look affronted. “I do not chug,” Lan Zhan said, indignation clear in his voice.

Wei Ying burst into laughter. “Oh man, Lan Zhan! That’s your takeaway from what I just said? You’re hilarious. I’ll see you in class, yeah? Hope your headache goes away soon.”

Lan Zhan shot him one last unimpressed look and left.

Since Wei Ying also had other assignments he needed to complete, sadly, and he didn’t get much work done at home—he was always too easily distracted by random ideas—he decided to go to the library to work on them later in the evening.

He walked into the library, and his eyes were automatically drawn to a stiffly upright figure working diligently on something. He grinned, and couldn’t help but make his way towards Lan Zhan, who he knew would be less than happy at the intrusion.

“Lan Zhan!” he said happily, not bothering to lower his voice too much. He noticed how Lan Zhan sighed imperceptibly before turning to him.

“Can I help you?”

“Aww, don’t be so cold. I’m just saying hi to a friend I haven’t seen since this morning!”

Lan Zhan closed his eyes for a second, and then opened them. He didn’t deign to reply to Wei Ying’s pronouncement of friendship, and just went back to his work. Thinking about how best to annoy him further, Wei Ying decided that this was the best place to work. He settled comfortably in the chair across Lan Zhan, shamelessly taking up all the space he could.

He worked on his assignment for a while, got bored, and picked up his phone.

“Are you finished your work?” Lan Zhan’s judgemental tone made him look up from scrolling through cute animals on Instagram.

“Not yet,” Wei Ying replied reluctantly.

Lan Zhan held out his hand. Wei Ying looked at it, and then at Lan Zhan. “Your phone,” Lan Zhan said. “You can have it back after you finish.” Wei Ying stared at him, this whole exchange striking him as odd. Suddenly, he laughed.

“Lan Zhan, are you my mother?” he asked. Lan Zhan glared at him and made as if to withdraw his hand. “Here,” Wei Ying said, depositing his phone in Lan Zhan’s hand before he could completely retract it. He watched Lan Zhan put it down next to himself and give him a pointed glare that clearly told him to get back to work. Wei Ying chuckled to himself and did as he was directed.

It wasn’t long before he was bored again. He glanced at Lan Zhan, who sat with unnatural stillness, reading a book. Suddenly, Wei Ying was inspired. He got up and went to the section of the library that would have what he needed. He had been perusing random books when he had stumbled upon certain pages stuffed in certain books. He doubted a lot of people knew they were there, and silently commended whoever had thought of doing this. Possibly someone like him who had been trying to irritate someone like Lan Zhan. He found just what he needed and returned to the table. Lan Zhan only gave him a cursory glance, until Wei Ying reached and grabbed the book out of his hands. That earned him a truly impressive glare.

“Return it,” Lan Zhan said.

“But I want to see what you’re reading that’s so riveting, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said, slipping the pages he had acquired into Lan Zhan’s book. He let Lan Zhan take it from him. As soon as he opened it, his eyes widened fractionally, and he flushed a little.

“What’s wrong, Lan Zhan?” Wei Ying asked innocently.

Lan Zhan looked at him like he was barely holding back from throwing something at his head. “What is this?” he ground out.

“Just some nice pictures I found in a book,” Wei Ying said. “You’ve never seen something like this before?”

Lan Zhan said nothing. He extracted the pages, and deliberately tore them up into tiny pieces. Wei Ying watched, aghast. “Lan Zhan! Why would you tear those up? I could’ve put them to good use, like for pranking Jiang Cheng.”

Lan Zhan apparently did not care about that. He staunchly refused to respond and went back to his actual book. He still looked angry, which made Wei Ying start to feel a little bad. He looked at his own assignment, which was almost finished, and another idea struck him. Inspiration always seemed to strike when he was supposed to be working. It was a blessing and a curse.

He hurried to finish his assignment, then pulled out a clean sheet of paper and his pencil and got to work. Once he was satisfied, he slid the paper across the table towards Lan Zhan. “Don’t be angry, Lan Zhan,” he said. “Look, this is for you.”

He watched Lan Zhan look at the drawing he had made him. Lan Zhan picked it up and examined it. Wei Ying waited for a reaction. He wondered if Lan Zhan would just ball it up and throw it away. “Thank you,” Lan Zhan said at length, and slipped it into his bag. He returned Wei Ying’s phone to him and packed up.

“You’re leaving already?” Wei Ying asked. “I wanted to hang out some more.”

Lan Zhan just looked at him, and then left without another word.

“Sometimes, I can’t tell if you really hate me, or consider me a splinter in your finger. But it’s okay, I tend to grow on people,” Wei Ying said to himself. He always did like a challenge.


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lithalwrites·5 months agoText

Chapter 5

“What’s wrong with you?” Jiang Cheng asked, judgement written across his face. Wei Ying paused what he was doing at looked up at him.

“What do you mean?”

“This is clearly your attempt at tidying up. Why the hell are you tidying up? Are you planning on having a party or something?” Jiang Cheng asked suspiciously.

“Jiang Cheng. I wouldn’t have a party without you,” Wei Ying protested.

“Right,” Jiang Cheng said, clearly not believing him.

“I really wouldn’t. It’s just Lan Zhan coming over to work on the project. And I’m tidying up because the place is getting messy.”

“Only because you throw your stuff around everywhere. My side of the room is perfectly organized.”

“Uh-huh,” Wei Ying said, looking right at the pile of laundry at the foot of Jiang Cheng’s bed.

“Shut up! I just haven’t had the time to put that away,” Jiang Cheng snapped and picked up his bag in a huff. “I’m going now. Try not to set the place on fire.”

“Love you too, Jiang Cheng,” Wei Ying said with a grin, dodging the smack Jiang Cheng aimed at him.

Lan Zhan arrived at the exact time they had agreed on, which was impressive but not surprising. He answered Wei Ying’s enthusiastic greeting with a nod and stepped into the apartment. He had brought his schoolbag and a reusable grocery bag, which he held out to Wei Ying. Inside was a bunch of loquats. Wei Ying blinked at the loquats, and then looked back up at Lan Zhan. His face was still impassive, but he seemed to be clutching his bag just a little bit tighter.

“Thanks,” Wei Ying said. “We can eat them while we work.”

Now that they had a topic, they could start collecting information and putting together their report. After arguing a little about how they wanted to structure their report—which consisted of mainly Wei Ying talking, and Lan Zhan offering very succinct input—they got to work, typing away, snacking on loquats.

“We’ve been doing this for three hours, want to take a break?” Wei Ying said, stretching.

Lan Zhan frowned at him. “Did you finish your section?”

“Not yet,” Wei Ying admitted.

“Finish it,” Lan Zhan said.

“But I’m tired, and my eyes hurt from staring at the computer for so long,” Wei Ying whined, making sure to make his voice extra annoying. “I’m hungry too. Time to order takeout. I’ll get some for you too.” With that, he jumped up and scurried to the kitchen, before Lan Zhan could say anything. He ordered from his favourite takeout place, and then pulled out cups from the cabinet. “The food will be here soon. You want a drink, Lan Zhan?” he called out, and then walked back out with a bottle of wine, waving it at Lan Zhan. “Want some?”

“No,” Lan Zhan said.

Wei Ying sighed, and decided to try once again. “Are you sure? Not even a little?”

“I don’t drink,” Lan Zhan said. Impressed that he had actually gotten something other than just a ‘no’ out of Lan Zhan, Wei Ying shrugged.

“More for me, then,” he said. He drank some wine right out of the bottle, knowing that would piss Jiang Cheng off, and then poured some into a cup for himself. He was pouring out water for Lan Zhan when the food arrived. It smelled as great as ever, and he brought the food and cups to the table, which Lan Zhan had cleared.

“I don’t really want to do any dishes, so we’re going to eat out of the containers,” Wei Ying informed Lan Zhan. He quickly opened the containers and handed a pair of chopsticks to Lan Zhan. “Dig in. Help yourself to whatever you want. The dumplings are my favourite,” he added, going straight for a dumpling.

Lan Zhan elegantly picked up a dumpling and put it in his mouth. As Wei Ying watched, Lan Zhan brought his hand to his mouth as he was hit by the spice—Wei Ying always ordered the extra spicy dumplings—set his chopsticks down, and reached for a cup. Before Wei Ying could stop him, he had downed the wine he had poured out for himself.

Alarmed, Lan Zhan looked at the cup, and set it back down. His face was already starting to get a little flushed, and Wei Ying thanked his good reflexes as he lunged and caught Lan Zhan before he could faceplant into the food and injure himself.

“What’s the matter? Lan Zhan? What’s wrong with you?” Wei Ying asked, shaking him a little. After making sure that his vitals were fine, Wei Ying came to the conclusion that Lan Zhan had passed out, drunk, after a single cup of wine.

“Oh, Shit.”


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lithalwrites·5 months agoPhoto

artistemika:

Wei Wuxian is done. I’m gonna do Lan Zhan next ♥

※ Do not use, edit, or repost these pictures.

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lithalwrites·5 months agoText

Chapter 4

Wei Ying was excited to start work, and he was also happy that he hadn’t had a morning lecture that day. Sleeping in was something he took full advantage of, whenever he could. The first thing he had done on waking up was text Lan Zhan to tell him good morning, at one in the afternoon, figuring that was a great way to annoy the guy. He didn’t know why he always had the urge to annoy him, but he did, and it was so easy to give in. Lan Zhan hadn’t replied to the text, sadly.

Wei Ying arrived early at the café, and was instructed to watch someone who was working there already so he could get the hang of things. It didn’t take very long to learn how to take orders and process payments, and soon enough, he was left at the cash on his own because the café was getting busy.

“I can help the next person,” he said cheerfully, his smile only widening when he found himself face to face with a surprised Lan Zhan. It was interesting to see an expression other than anger on that face, and Wei Ying was delighted.

“You,” Lan Zhan said. Wei Ying saw him glance at the café exit, which probably meant he was considering walking out and going to a different place. Unfortunately for Lan Zhan, Wei Ying wasn’t about to let that happen.  

“I didn’t expect to see you here, Lan Zhan. What can I get you?” Wei Ying asked with his friendliest smile.

“Oh, I got his order,” the barista working with him said. “The usual?”

“Yes, thank you,” Lan Zhan said.

“Charge him for a medium mint-lemon green tea, will you?” the barista instructed Wei Ying.

“Oh, so you’re a tea person, Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying said, turning the scanner towards Lan Zhan. “It makes sense, now that I think about it.” ‘Young Master Lan’ was becoming more and more fitting every day. Lan Zhan tapped his card and moved to the side without commenting.

“Oh, he didn’t stay here today?” Wei Ying’s co-worker said once Lan Zhan had taken his tea and left.

This was interesting. “Does he usually stay?” Wei Ying asked, poking for information.

“Yeah. He reads a book while he drinks his tea. He’s our most regular customer.”

“Ah, I see.” Wei Ying filed away the information for later use. He was sure it would come in handy at some point.

“You get fired yet?” Jiang Cheng asked him when he returned from work.

“So little faith in me,” Wei Ying said. “They love me. Oh, and Lan Zhan also showed up at the café. Apparently, he’s a regular.”

“Who?”

“Lan Zhan, my history project partner.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“You asked me who he is, Jiang Cheng.”

Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes at Wei Ying and proceeded to ignore him.

“I’m going to invite him over so we can work on the project on Saturday.”

“Yeah, well, good thing I’m going home Saturday morning.”

“Say hi to Uncle and Yanli for me.”

Jiang Cheng grunted in response, which meant he would relay the greeting, even though he acted like he wouldn’t.

“Lan Zhan, let’s work on the project tomorrow,” Wei Ying said, leaning into Lan Zhan’s bubble during the lecture and whispering to him. “Come to my dorm.”

Lan Zhan glared at him, which meant he wanted Wei Ying to shut up and let him take notes, but Wei Ying persisted. “Fine. Text me the room number.”

Delighted at his victory, Wei Ying pulled out his phone and texted him right then. He already had a vision for the study session. They would work, and get takeout, and he would try to get Lan Zhan to join him for a drink. Lan Zhan could do with a little loosening up.


Chapter: One, Two, Three

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lithalwrites·6 months agoPhoto

foxyjoy-art:

I’ve been rewatching Haikyuu!! so have my two favorite characters from the Karasuno squad *:・゚✧.

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