“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.