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A Beautiful, Musical, Jade

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“Wei Ying! You piece of shit! Where the fuck are you?” The screech that resonated throughout the school hallway belonged to a teenage boy whose head was topped with whipped cream, his form exuding waves of rage as he searched for a specific person. Dark eyebrows furrowed angrily on his face; the creases on his skin as he scowled making him look older than he really was, splotches of cream smeared to his forehead. Each footstep was stomped onto the hard floor with great force, echoing throughout the long corridor and catching the attention of nearby students who were in their own worlds. This boy went by the name of Jiang Cheng, and he was Wei Ying’s slightly younger cousin, though the two were more like brothers. They had grown up together, going from sharing bottles to fighting over blankets, and eventually moving on to causing trouble together as they grew older. However, they had never shared the same school until now; the both of them being at the ripe age of sixteen. Wei Ying had always dreamed of being able to share classes with his cousin, and to play tricks on the other boy only satisfied him even more. Wei Ying had simply treated Jiang Cheng’s head as if it were a undecorated ice cream sundae, and it had been a dare from his classmate Nie Huaisang as well! There was no way that Wei Ying wouldn’t do it. Class had been about to end, and the busy math teacher, Jin Guangyao, was too busy grading tests to pay much attention to the students. It had been the perfect opportunity to pull out the hidden can of whipped cream and spray a pile onto Jiang Cheng’s head. Though now, Wei Ying was running for his life; panting heavily as he ran down the halls in order to avoid his enraged cousin.

The mischievous teenager zipped past his fellow students, dodging bodies with quick motions while shouting things like “Watch out!” and “Passing through!” Teachers came out from their classrooms to observe the chaotic scene; all of them shooting glares at the infamous troublemaker who had already made a name for himself despite only arriving that very year. Wei Ying didn’t care though, all he wanted to do was enjoy his youth and follow his own rules. Laughing loudly at the thrill of being chased, Wei Ying eventually slowed down when he realized that Jiang Cheng was nowhere to be seen, a smug grin plastered on his face as he bent over to place his hands on his knees; panting heavily in effort to catch his breath. He hadn’t been thinking of a specific destination while fleeing, and now he was in a part of the school that he had never been to before; the walls of this section painted over with unfamiliar murals that had to do with music notes. From the looks of it, Wei Ying had unknowingly made his way to the school’s music department. Back when he had been a tiny grade schooler, Wei Ying had played the flute for a short amount of time, but soon got distracted by the joys of his social life. Sadly, he barely remembered a thing now, and could only play a few pathetic notes that belonged to an old nursery rhyme. What should I do now? Wei Ying thought to himself with hum, taking a few steps closer to the main music room and the practice rooms nearby. He was curious about this new location, and didn’t think it would hurt to explore a little. Unfortunately, a few leftover students were still inside speaking to the teacher, whose face couldn’t be seen clearly from Wei Ying’s small view from the small window on the door. He was a courageous boy that had no fear, but he didn’t want to intrude on the students either. “I guess I’ll head back then.” He murmured to himself, only to stop abruptly at the sound of music reaching his ears.

It definitely had to the strings of a guqin being plucked, Wei Ying at least knew that much. Each note made a deep noise that seemed to ripple through the air, producing a haunting yet elegant sound that was quite pleasing to the teenager’s ears. The melody was somber yet emotional, as if the song had been written to express one’s inevitable sadness. Wei Ying grinned, his heart thumping as he imagined a cute girl with soft features sitting at the stringed instrument with a straight and graceful posture; her slim fingers running across the strings with utmost skill. Wei Ying had to catch a glimpse of the mystery person playing the alluring tune, there was no way he would leave today without doing so. Following the sounds with his ears, the teenager didn’t stop walking until he reached the practice room that the music came from; his heart fluttering in anticipation as he cautiously peeked into the small window on the door. The instrument player’s face was in perfect view, facing the door while practicing the notes of the song. The moment Wei Ying laid eyes on the stranger’s features, he felt his breath suddenly stop mid-way, before inhaling sharply and freezing in place while he processed what he was seeing. Yes, he had seen many good-looking celebrities and pretty girls walking along the streets. Wei Ying’s own face wasn’t too bad to look at, and his friends were fairly nice to stare at too. However, no one could compare to the beauty sitting in the practice room, exhibiting the very definition of perfection right before Wei Ying’s eyes. No, it was not the cute girl that he had been envisioning, but perhaps even better. The mystery person was in fact another boy, probably another student around the same age as Wei Ying. His gaze was cast low, and long lashes covered most of his eyes, but flecks of honey gold orbs could be seen from where Wei Ying stood. The gawking teen couldn’t even breathe properly, his own gray eyes admiring every inch of the beautiful boy’s face; taking in the flawless shape of his cheekbones and jawline, while marveling at the pale, milky skin that looked as soft as a baby’s. Everything down to his fingers was ethereal; the long, slender, digits working the guqin strings as if he were born to solely play the instrument. Somehow, it reminded Wei Ying of a priceless jade; glimmering with beauty and grace. The troublemaker was paralyzed in pure awe, unaware of how wide his eyes were and the fact that his mouth was hanging open in an “O” shape. He could’ve stood there staring for hours if possible, but that plan was ruined when he suddenly made eye contact with the beautiful boy.

Wei Ying’s first instinct was to let out a horrified scream, the strangled sound coming out loud and disturbing until his own hands reached up to cover his mouth, cutting it short. It had been disruptive enough to stop the music from being played as the boy’s perfect fingers came to a halt. Wei Ying panicked inwardly for a second, before clearing his throat and easing into a carefree grin, removing his hands to wave at the other teenager. The boy didn’t have a reaction at all, and simply looked at Wei Ying for a moment before going back to playing. Blinking, Wei Ying tilted his head in confusion, perplexed by the lack of emotion displayed on the exquisite features. He concluded that it meant that the boy had no problem with Wei Ying watching him, and that was enough to make his day. “You’re really good at that!” He erupted suddenly while opening the door finally; entering the small space with a wide smile. “Have you been playing for a long time? You already seem like a master at it.” Wei Ying made himself a seat next to the guqin, sitting cross-legged and leaning back on his hands. He didn’t care if he was being annoying or not; he pestered people every day and thought it was amusing.

The boy eyed him wordlessly, his fingers stopping again as he took a breath; his golden orbs entrancing Wei Ying all over again. “Eleven years.” He said quietly, the deep timbre of his voice sounding just as wonderful as the notes of his guqin.

“Oh! So you were…” Wei Ying paused to do the math in his head. “Five years old when you started? Wow that’s pretty young, no wonder you’re such a pro.” He chuckled, observing the other teenager’s blank expression. Definitely the quiet type, and the kind to keep to himself. Wei Ying didn’t mind though, because the quiet types were always the most entertaining ones to get reactions out of. “I’m Wei Ying, by the way. What about you?”

There was a moment of hesitation, before the other spoke. “Lan Zhan, courtesy name Lan Wangji.”

“Huh? A courtesy name? Eh, that’s too complicated so I’ll go ahead and call you Lan Zhan.” Wei Ying continued to grin, delighted that he now knew the boy’s name. “So, Lan Zhan, I’ve never seen you around before even though you have such a pretty face.  Are you in your second year too?”

There was a small twitch at the corner of his mouth as Lan Wangji clenched his jaw, but his expression remained the same. “Mn.”

“You look really smart, so that’s probably why we don’t share classes. But now that I know you, is it okay if I start hanging out here? It’s nice and private, plus I want to listen to you playing.” Wei Ying used his index finger to tap on the guqin’s surface, before sliding the digit along the smooth surface. Lan Wangji eyed the finger sharply, but Wei Ying was oblivious to the other boy’s personal space.

“No.”

“What? Why not?!” Wei Ying sat straight, jutting out his bottom lip in a pout.

“It will interfere with my practice.”

Wei Ying groaned, whining as if he were already a close friend of Lan Wangji’s. “Aw come on, Lan Zhan! I know you, you know me, so let’s become closer! The song you were playing sounded so sad and lonely, it called out to me, and sent me a message that you wanted a new friend!” He scooted closer to Lan Wangji. “I won’t bother you that much, I’ll just sit here and listen to you play and then talk when you take breaks!”

Lan Wangji sighed, finally showing a small amount of what he felt; which was probably irritation. “I-”

“Yes? Did I hear you say ‘yes?’ Alright, it’s settled then.” Wei Ying’s eyes twinkled with mischief as he got to his feet, patting off dust from his rump. He had the feeling that Lan Wangji wasn’t too fond of him, but Wei Ying really wanted to know more about him. It was true that Lan Wangji’s unearthly beauty played a factor in that, but anyone else would’ve been persistent to hang out with the most perfect person they had ever seen in their life. So in other words, Wei Ying didn’t find any fault in his own actions, he simply wanted to befriend Lan Wangji because there was no one else like him. “Well Lan Zhan, I’ll see you tomorrow! Don’t hide, okay? Because I’ll find you anyways.” He gave the quiet boy a cheeky smile, before slipping out the room with a skip in his steps.

~

“So you’re telling me that after you put whipped fucking cream on my head, you ended up at the music department and met a guy that looks like God himself?” Jiang Cheng was still pissed off, but had no choice but to compose himself since he was in class.

Wei Ying had gone straight home after meeting Lan Wangji, and was only seeing his cousin now that a new school day had begun. His desk was right behind Jiang Cheng’s, and next to him was Nie Huaisang, who was listening in on the conversation. “I wouldn’t say God , but definitely something along those lines.” Wei Ying smiled dreamily, his heart giving a leap as he remembered Lan Wangji’s stoic but handsome face. “His name was Lan Wangji, but that’s only a courtesy name, so I call him by his real name Lan Zhan. He was seriously good looking! I’ve never seen anyone like him. If I were a girl, I’d definitely be head over heels.”

“Lan Wangji… Isn’t he one of the Twin Jades?” Nie Huaisang said with a raised eyebrow. “You probably don’t know because you transferred here recently, but he’s really popular. His older brother is the music teacher... Lan Xichen I think his name was? They’re called the ‘Twin Jades’ cause they look exactly the same and both are super handsome.”

“I’ve known that guy since middle school, and I do admit he’s good looking, but he always has a stick up his ass.” Jiang Cheng remarked while crossing his arms. “It’s no surprise that he has no friends, and I bet he doesn't want any either. Let me guess, you’re just bothering him and forcing your way into his life, right Wei Ying?”

Wei Ying snorted, brushing off Jiang Cheng’s assumption with a wave of his hand. “Of course not! He was playing a sad song on his guqin and it called out to me, saying that he needed an awesome friend to barge into the room and talk to him. Naturally, that’s exactly what I did. Now it’s going to become a part of my daily schedule to pay him a visit.” He grinned, leaning back in his seat smugly.

Nie Huaisang frowned, twirling a strand of his hair around his finger as he looked at Wei Ying. “Um… You know that he has the same surname as Principal Lan, right?” The teen shared a look with Jiang Cheng, who looked as if he wanted to slam his face into this desk.

“Yeah? And? It’s not like they’re re-” Wei Ying paused as realization dawned upon him, his cheerful grin curving into a troubled frown. “Shit, they’re related.”

Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes, just about ready to slap Wei Ying to the other side of the room. “Of course they are you dumbass! They even act similar. Either way, you’re fucked if you get reported for bullying or something. I know that Principal Lan is super protective of his nephews, and Lan Wangji is his favorite one.” He thought for a moment, before suddenly smirking. “Actually, go ahead and bother that crush of yours, you deserve a good punishment after what you did yesterday. You’re just lucky Jin Guangyao knows Jiejie and didn’t want to get us in trouble.”

“Hey! It was a dare from him!” Wei Ying pointed at Nie Huaisang. “And Lan Zhan is not my crush, he’s just really nice to look at!”

“That’s what they all say.” Jiang Cheng snorted as he turned to face the front of the room.

“You-” Wei Ying began to protest, but could say nothing more as the teacher made his way into the room. He was positive that he didn’t have a crush on Lan Zhan, not even a tiny one! He just wanted to befriend him, and that was it. Despite that, Wei Ying couldn’t help but to blush; the redness of his skin spreading from his cheeks to the tip of his ears.

Unfortunately, class went by super slow for Wei Ying. He wanted to hurry up and visit Lan Wangji, it was what he had been looking forward to the moment he had left school the day before. The teenager had even restrained himself from talking during class and throwing around notes like he usually did; his mind was too busy thinking about Lan Wangji. However, Wei Ying had to admit; he was scared after finding out Lan Wangji was related to Principal Lan Qiren, who also happened to hate Wei Ying’s guts. It was inevitable really, there was no way the two could get along when they stood on two opposite sides of the spectrum. Wei Ying caused trouble, and Lan Qiren stopped trouble; they were natural enemies. It wasn’t like Wei Ying was trying to ruin the school or anything, he just really liked playing around and having fun, and that fun involved breaking a few rules. He had already received several detentions, but had only met with the grumpy old man once, and he never wanted to experience that again. Lan Qiren had glared at Wei Ying so hard that the teenager swore he would be engulfed in flames right then and there. The elderly man resembled an ancient, evil, martial arts master from one of those old kung-fu movies, and even had a goatee to stroke whenever he was contemplating about something! It had been so terrifying that Wei Ying hadn’t been able to come up with any smart remarks, though he vowed to be different the next time he met with the Principal; which he hoped would never happen again. Sadly, with Lan Wangji being related to the old grmp, Wei Ying could only guess that he would have no choice but to face Lan Qiren in the future. He just really wanted to see Lan Wangji, and he was determined to do so even if he did have a few obstacles in his way.

The moment the bell signaling the end of the day went off, Wei Ying bursted from his seat; sprinting ahead of everyone as he tried to remember which way lead to the music department. After a few minutes of asking for directions and ending up in hallways he couldn’t recognize, Wei Ying finally found himself standing before the same door from the previous day; peeking through the small window with an excited smile. Lan Wangji was sitting in the same spot as last time, though this time he was looking through a few music sheets and studying the notes written on them while his guqin laid untouched. Without an ounce of hesitation, Wei Ying waltzed his way in and sat down next to the other teenager. “Lan Zhan~! How are you today? How come you aren’t playing like yesterday?” He peered at the music sheets in Lan Wangji’s hands, squinting at the strange symbols he had no idea how to read. The title written at the top of the paper was “Inquiry,” a name that certainly fit the depressing tune that Lan Wangji had been playing the day before. “Is this the song from yesterday?”

“Mn, I am memorizing the notes.” Lan Wangji said simply, his eyes not leaving the paper.

Wei Ying blinked, leaning back in surprise with an exaggerated gasp. “What? But you were already so good! There can’t be anything the amazing Lan Zhan didn’t memorize already.”

“Not good enough, I still need to practice.” Lan Wangji finally looked at Wei Ying. “You said you would not talk while I play, correct?”

Wei Ying nodded eagerly at the statement; somewhat proud of himself for drawing out a full sentence from Lan Wangji’s lips. “Ah, so you remembered! Correct! You’re gonna start playing then? But first, what are you practicing the song for?”

Lan Wangji moved to sit closer to his guqin, scooting away from Wei Ying in the process. “Concert.” It was a one word response; probably implying that he wanted to hurry up and start practicing.

“Oh! One more thing.” Wei Ying leaned forward so he could look Lan Wangji in the eye, inching closer to him and closing the distance that had been made a few seconds ago. Sighing, Lan Wangji didn’t respond; his golden orbs meeting with Wei Ying’s. It made his heart feel all fluttery like it usually did, and Wei Ying found himself wanting to stare into those eyes for the rest of eternity. “You won’t tell your uncle about me, right?” It almost sounded like a plea, and a pitiful one at that.

Lan Wangji simply blinked, before shaking his head slightly. “No reason to.” He murmured.

Wei Ying broke out into a delighted smile, reaching out to pat Lan Wangji on the shoulder with a joyful laugh, ignoring the way Lan Wangji stiffened at the unexpected touch. “You’re too kind, Lan Zhan! I knew you were a nice person even though you don’t smile! Now we’re definitely friends, you can’t deny it.” He finally leaned back to give Lan Wangji some space, relaxing against the wall with crossed arms. “Now I will stop talking and let you play, I’ve been looking forward to this all day!”

Lan Zhan paused at his words, seemingly thinking something before lying his hands on his guqin. The first pluck of the strings was already enough to fill Wei Ying with a peaceful feeling, though there was still that hint of sadness that couldn’t be erased. He closed his eyes, reducing his vision to darkness so he could focus more on the music; every little note evoking melancholy emotions from his heart. Hearing it up close like this was even better than from outside the room, there wasn’t a chance that Wei Ying would go back to that now that he had a taste of the real deal. Knowing that Lan Wangji was the one playing only made the piece even more enjoyable, and Wei Ying couldn’t resist opening his eyes every few seconds just to get a peek of Lan Wangji getting engrossed in his playing. He was truly a master despite being so young; Wei Ying had never heard anyone play the guqin so well. Of course, that was only his own biased thoughts; in reality he had never cared to listen to guqin music that much to even know what a master of the instrument played like. Maybe I’ll start behaving more often if it means I can come here. Wei Ying thought, his gaze wandering and soon focusing on Lan Wangji’s focused expression. Obviously, the other boy hadn’t done much to stop Wei Ying from staying, and that was an open invitation in Wei Ying’s opinion. From now on, he was going to do whatever he wanted in order to befriend Lan Wangji, and no one could stop him.

Chapter Text

As Wei Ying had proclaimed before, he made it a part of his daily schedule to visit Lan Wangji every single day. He would go to class as usual, pester Jiang Cheng or his teachers the whole day, and then sprint from the room the moment the last bell rang. His legs would always carry him back to the usual practice room Lan Wangji occupied, and then he would make his entrance with a beaming smile paired with a loud greeting. The stone-faced boy seldom spoke unless spoken to, but always nodded in acknowledgement whenever Wei Ying stepped into the narrow space. He never complained either; always letting Wei Ying sit down on the floor next to him, and allowing for the other boy to talk as much as he wanted whenever the guqin strings weren’t being played. Although the air had once been a bit tense before thanks to Lan Wangji’s stiff attitude, the atmosphere had gradually settled into something comfortable; as if the two were indeed friends that got along just fine. Lan Wangji still preferred to remain silent, but Wei Ying didn’t mind that. He had a lot of words to say and a lot of stories to tell; it was perfect for filling in the empty silence that Lan Wangji could not. Wei Ying had concluded that even though the quiet boy was not skilled with speaking, he was definitely a good listener, and that was perfect for someone like Wei Ying who just couldn’t stop blabbering. Also, he had realized that Lan Wangji had another way of communicating; it just didn’t have to do with words. The beautiful guqin player expressed his emotions either through his music, or within the deep gold orbs of his eyes. If Lan Wangji was having a good day, his playing would be gentle, and his gaze would be blank but serene. If Lan Wangji was having a bad day, then his playing would be slightly rough, and his gaze would be blank but cold. Wei Ying was proud to say that he had slightly figured out the mystery to Lan Wangji, but still had much to learn.

“I wonder if I’ll end up having a class with you in the upcoming semester!” Wei Ying had exclaimed during one of their after-school hangouts. “That’d be fun, especially if we partnered up for projects. I bet we’d ace all of em with our two brains put together, what do you think, Lan Zhan?”

Having a class with Lan Wangji was truly a wonderful thought, and thinking about it made Wei Ying hope that his wishes would come true. With the current semester coming to an end, it was possibility; though it all depended on what the school arranged, and if Wei Ying had enough luck or not.

Lan Wangji pondered the idea for a moment, before finally answering. “Depends.” It seemed like he would say nothing else, before he suddenly spoke up again. “Is Wei Ying good at studying?”

Ah, there it was. The sound of Wei Ying’s name rolling off Lan Wangji’s tongue was akin to hearing the sweet melody of the stoic boy’s guqin. The first time it had happened, Wei Ying’s eyes had opened wide and he had let out an exaggerated gasp of joy. It was a dramatic reaction to simply having his name said, but it was Lan Wangji who was saying it, and that was a big deal. Not only did it mean that Lan Wangji was becoming more comfortable around Wei Ying, it also sounded absolutely amazing when it left his lips! The deep sound of Lan Wangji’s voice was already quite soothing when he spoke other words, but him saying “Wei Ying” was on another level of perfection. Now, everytime Wei Ying heard his name being called by Lan Wangji, he broke into a huge smile and often got lost in his thoughts; openly admiring the beauty before him.

“Wei Ying?” Lan Wangji repeated the other’s name when he didn’t get a response, eyebrows furrowing slightly. “You are staring at me again.”

“Oh!” Wei Ying sat up straight, forcing himself out of his usual session of gazing at Lan Wangji’s ethereal face. “Sorry Lan Zhan, I got a little distracted.” He laughed, rubbing the nape of his neck in a bashful manner. “Anyways, yeah! I’m actually a straight-A student, shocking right? People underestimate me all because I like to mess around a lot, but they always make the funniest faces when they see how good my grades are.” The boy paused, taking a moment to study Lan Wangji’s expression. “You’re the only one who hasn’t made a funny face though, is it just because you’re good at keeping it straight?”

Hearing that, Lan Wangji shook his head before staring directly into Wei Ying’s eyes; locking their gazes with surprising intensity. “It is not right to make assumptions about someone before getting to know them, so I had no reason to be surprised when I was not assuming anything. If Wei Ying is smart, then he is smart.”

This made Wei Ying’s mouth fall open a bit, his heart filling with a deep warmth that spread throughout his chest like a fire. It was one of those rare moments in which he couldn’t think of anything to say at all; he was too flustered to form any words in his mouth, and his face felt hot enough to cook an egg on it. Often, he was mistaken as a complete idiot for having a spontaneous personality; no one had faith in his abilities or skills. It was annoying, but Wei Ying was always comforted by the fact that he could easily prove everyone wrong. Still, there was a sense of incompletion knowing that no one could believe in him simply because it was him ; the only ones to do that were his parents, Uncle Fengmian, Jiang Yanli, and sometimes Jiang Cheng. All of them were family members that were familiar with him since birth, so it was expected of them. However, here was Lan Wangji, being angelic as ever and accepting that Wei Ying was a genius despite not knowing much about him other than the fact that he talked too much and liked to bother people. It was flattering to say the least, and Wei Ying swore that his heart would give out due to how hard it was beating.

“Wow… You’re so nice, Lan Zhan. I’m glad I decided to become friends with you.” Wei Ying’s lips curved into a bright smile, dark eyes forming half-moons. “If you’re already making my heart race this much, I wonder how a girl would react to something like that? Your future wife is going to have a heart attack from how charming you are!” He laughed as the image came into mind; Lan Wangji standing next to a cute girl and making her blush from his unintentional sweetness. At first it was amusing, but as he thought about it more, there was suddenly a twinge of pain present; almost as if it made him sad . It didn’t help that Lan Wangji wasn’t saying anything either, his golden eyes lowering to the guqin that sat in front of him.

“... I think, it would be adequate.” Lan Wangji finally said, though it was so quiet that Wei Ying had to lean in to hear him better.

“What?! You mean if your future wife had a heart attack?” Wei Ying’s eyes bulged out of his sockets, his breath hitching in disbelief.

Lan Wangji quickly interjected. “No, if we shared the same class.”

Wei Ying exhaled when the misunderstanding was cleared, before laughing at himself for thinking wrongly. He then realized that Lan Wangji was actually agreeing to what he had said earlier, which meant that Lan Wangji actually didn’t mind the idea of them having the same class. The realization made him sit motionless for a second, his brain slowly processing the information as it made rounds in his head.  It made the strange pain from before vanish instantly, and Wei Ying sat up again; beaming once more as if the greatest thing had just happened to him. “Well, Lan Zhan, that means I’ll have to make it happen for sure now!”

And with that, Wei Ying jumped to his feet and left the room.

~

Sadly, there really wasn’t much that Wei Ying could do in order to ensure that he would get a class with Lan Wangji. He spoke to every teacher he knew, and even considered going right into Lan Qiren’s office. However, that option was the most horrible idea ever, so Wei Ying didn’t even bother trying. In the end, all he could rely on was his own hopeful thoughts, and a flimsy good luck charm that he had bought from a cheap gift shop. Jiang Cheng had reprimanded him for buying something like that all because he wanted to get the same class as someone, but Wei Ying had already spent the money; foolishly thinking that it would work. The outcome of all of his efforts was all to be revealed on a certain day not too long before the semester truly ended, and when that day finally came, Wei Ying found himself acting more jittery than usual. At the sound of the last bell ringing, he had bursted from his seat in the usual fashion, and made it to the practice room in record time; arriving at his destination within a forty seconds. The first thing he did was make Lan Wangji pull out his printed schedule so they could compare papers, and when Wei Ying laid his eyes on the printed letters, he let out a whoop so loud that the students in the other rooms probably heard him. Whether or not it was the work of Wei Ying’s persistent asking, or his cheap good luck charm, he was happy either way because now he got to spend even more time with Lan Wangji!

The rest of the semester flew by like a breeze, and of course, Wei Ying took the seat right next to Lan Wangji when he first entered their shared classroom. Unfortunately, Wei Ying had to move out of that spot since he hadn’t realized that the seats had been arranged beforehand; which meant that he couldn’t sit next to Lan Wangji and pester him as much as he pleased. On the bright side, Wei Ying was still in the same row as the other boy, just two seats behind as well. Jiang Cheng and Huaisang had been assigned to different classes, but other than Lan Wangji, Wei Ying still had Wen Ning to talk to. It was a funny story really, Wei Ying had met the other on his first day of school there, and it had happened because Wen Ning had accidentally thrown a ball of crumpled paper at Wei Ying’s head. The timid boy had been aiming for the trash can but had obviously missed, immediately falling to his knees and bowing ten times when he saw what he had done. Wei Ying was a nice person though, and easily forgave the teary eyed fellow with a cheerful laugh. Ever since then, Wei Ying started to call out to Wen Ning whenever he saw the him in the halls, and the two quickly became friends. However, Wen Ning sat further away than Lan Wangji did, giving Wei Ying no chances of socialization. Of course, Wei Ying had no trouble with finding other people to chat with, and that included the person who sat next to him, a cute girl who went by the name MianMian. She was nice, but not anything that Wei Ying was interested in romantically.

Class was both entertaining and boring at the same time. Wei Ying teased Lan Wangji whenever he got the chance, and even ate lunch with him now. Sometimes Wen Ning joined them, but got scared away by Lan Wangji’s cold gaze most of the time and always ran away when he finished his food. However, Wei Ying couldn’t help but to wish that his other two friends were there too, and that was why he found the class dull at times. On the bright side, Wei Ying had been able to observe Lan Wangji’s behavior in the classroom; which wasn’t much different than how he usually acted. The quiet Lan never raised his hand to answer questions or ask questions, never spoke in class unless spoken to, and was always focused on learning whatever was being taught. His looks were the only thing that made him stand out in the classroom, but other than that, he was very reclusive and kept to himself. It was quite intimidating to everyone but Wei Ying, and all the other students steered clear of Lan Wangji’s path; afraid of his utter perfection. Wei Ying was the only one who interacted with him, though it was quite perplexing considering that he was a famous troublemaker; the fact easily causing for a few rumors to be spread around. It varied between Wei Ying bullying Lan Wangji, and Wei Ying actually being Lan Wangji’s best friend; people just didn’t know what to believe. Of course, Wei Ying wanted to make it clear that he was in no way being cruel to Lan Wangji; the idea was preposterous and he did not want the gossip to reach Lan Qiren’s ears. The perfect opportunity came about when the class was assigned a project that required a partner; the very thing Wei Ying had been looking forward to in the first place.

“Lan Zhan! Lan Zhan! Pick me, pick me!” Wei Ying was quick to call out the other boy’s name, waving him frantically even though Lan Wangji wasn’t facing him.

Lan Wangji was quick to turn, his expression blank as usual when he rested his gaze on Wei Ying. He gave a simple nod of his head, and that was it. Grinning, Wei Ying leaned back into his seat until the teacher stopped giving instructions; barely listening as he waited for the lecture to be over with. When the last few minutes of class came to be, Wei Ying walked over to Lan Wangji’s desk and leaned down next to it, leveling himself with the other boy. “How about we work on this project somewhere else other than the practice room? Oh! And contact information, I need your number Lan Zhan!” He reached into his pocket, pulling out his cellphone and handing it over.

Lan Wangji blinked, before taking the gadget and fumbling with it a little; taking a moment to enter his phone number. When he finished, he gave the phone back to Wei Ying before looking elsewhere, as if contemplating about something. “Huh? Is something wrong?” Wei Ying tilted his head in wonder, eyeing Lan Wangji curiously.

“My house.” Lan Wangji murmured softly, his yellow orbs tentatively meeting with Wei Ying’s.

“Your house?” Wei Ying repeated, before he finally realized what the other meant. “You’re letting me into your house?”

Lan Wangji nodded. “Mn, good for doing school work at.”

Wei Ying swore the muscles in his face would end up cramping from how wide he was smiling, his hands smacking together into a single clap. “I can’t wait to see where you live!” He paused, wondering if he sounded creepy for saying such a thing. “I mean- You don’t talk about yourself much, so I’m excited to learn something new about you. Plus, I’ve always been curious about what kind of house you have. I’m guessing that you’re very rich and live in a big mansion that has a pool and everything.” Lan Qiren was Lan Wangji’s uncle after all, and principals often made good chunks of money. However, Wei Ying was still exaggerating; he didn’t believe that Lan Wangji would be as wealthy as assumed.

“Mn.”

“What?!” Wei Wuxian froze, his eyes widening at how quick Lan Wangji responded. “I was just joking, Lan Zhan. Don’t tell me you really are…” He trailed off, unable to finish since he was so amazed.”

“You will see.” Lan Wangi said calmly, the bell going off right after he spoke.

The two left class together, both of them heading to the usual direction that lead to the music department. Wei Ying began to spew all sorts of things, asking questions about Lan Wangji’s house, and boasting about how their project was going to turn out better than everyone else’s. He wanted to prove to the whole class that their lovely friendship was so good that they were able to get good grades together, and that he was definitely not bullying Lan Wangji whatsoever. Wei Ying had already received a smack from Jiang Cheng, who had yelled at him for bothering Lan Wangji to the point where rumors were being spread. Wei Ying had been quick to protest that he was not bothering Lan Wangji, and was only being his friend! And friends bothered each other all the time, so why did it even matter? He knew by now that Lan Wangji would have voiced his thoughts if he truly disliked being around Wei Ying. The two of them were close now; Wei Ying was confident that he and Lan Wangji were proper friends.

“I thought we were going to your house.” Wei Ying remarked as Lan Wangji began to enter the usual practice room, sitting at his guqin; which he usually left there before school started.

Lan Wangji plucked at a few strings, waiting for Wei Ying to enter the room as well before responding. “Must wait for Brother first.”

Oh yes, that’s right; Lan Wangji had an older brother. Wei Ying had never met the infamous Lan Xichen before, but had heard many things after meeting Lan Wangji. Apparently, the older Lan was just as beautiful as his sibling, and the two looked almost identical; though not twins despite their nickname. The only difference between the two was their eye colors, and the fact that Lan Xichen actually smiled unlike his stoic, younger, brother. Lan Xichen was also known for being extremely skilled at playing music, just as Lan Wangji was. However, Lan Xichen played the xiao instead of the guqin, but he knew how to play that too. Nie Huaisang had been the one to provide most of the information; for his elder brother, Nie Mingjue, was well acquainted with the elder Lan. Nie Mingjue was also the school’s gym teacher, so it was typical for all the teachers to know each other.

“I get to see your house and meet your brother? I must be really special since Lan Zhan is treating me so well~.” Wei Ying teased the other boy with a cheeky grin, before laughing when he saw the tips of Lan Wangji’s ears bloom red. “I’ll have to take you to my house too someday, then you can meet my parents!” He took his usual seat on the floor. “What about your parents, Lan Zhan? Will I get to meet them?”

There was a moment of reluctance, and Lan Zhan was quiet for longer than usual. He looked a bit uncomfortable, and Wei Ying began to fear that he had accidentally touched upon a sensitive topic. With a faltering smile, Wei Ying rubbed the back of his neck. “Never mind, you don’t have to answer that.”

Lan Wangji nodded, his soft breaths being the only sound in the room before he laid his hands onto the guqin. He began to play the usual song he practiced, as if he hadn’t already perfected it already and needed to fix the non-existent mistakes he made. Wei Ying lost himself in the music as he usually did; closing his eyes, and leaning his head back against the wall just in case he happened to doze off. He was half-asleep when he heard the door open, leading for him to open his eyes and glance at who had come in. The sounds of the guqin halted as a tall man made his entrance, poking his head in first before stepping in completely. For a moment, Wei Ying thought he was seeing Lan Wangji’s clone, the striking similarity making Wei Ying glance at Lan Wangji, and then back at the stranger. However, as Wei Ying’s eyes focused better, he could see that the man looked much older than Lan Wangji, and he was actually smiling instead of having a blank expression carved onto his face. This man was undeniably Lan Xichen, and everything Wei Ying had heard about him was proven true in that very second.

“My apologies A-Zhan, I didn’t mean to disturb your practice.” Lan Xichen’s smile was gentle; his appearance dazzling and flawless like a jade. It was easy to imagine him as a Lan Wangji that actually showed emotion, but it was too different at the same time; Lan Wangji wasn’t Lan Wangji if he didn’t have his blank gaze. The elder Lan’s dark eyes scanned the room and landed on Wei Ying, his eyes twinkling with an unknown emotion; perhaps mischief? “Oh, you must be the friend A-Zhan tells me about all the time! Wei Ying, was it?”

Lan Wangji visibly stiffened at his brother’s words, his ears flushing red in embarrassment.Wei Ying grinned, glancing at Lan Wangji before looking back at Lan Xichen. “That’s me!” He raised his hand cheerfully, before letting it fall and sit on Lan Wangji’s shoulder. “I didn’t know you were so happy to have me as a friend, Lan Zhan! Even going as far as telling your brother about me… I must be really important huh?” Wei Ying chuckled, patting Lan Wangji’s shoulder as the latter looked away; his eyes lowered sheepishly.

Chuckling as well, Lan Xichen covered his mouth with his fingers; holding back the small laughs in order to maintain his mannerly composure. “It was not my intention to embarass you, A-Zhan. I’m glad you have finally opened up to someone though.” He laughed when Lan Wangji shot him a look of betrayal, before changing the subject in order to ease his brother’s hidden emotions. “My day’s work is finished with, we can head home now.”

Lan Wangji gave his brother a blank stare, seemingly communicating with his eyes and speaking without having to actually say anything. Amazingly enough, Lan Xichen understood it without any difficulty, nodding with a soft hum. “I see I see, well I’ll be sure to fix up something delicious for dinner if Wei Ying is joining us tonight.”

Raising an eyebrow, Wei Ying found himself baffled by the apparent telepathy that the two brothers shared; Lan Wangji hadn’t said a word and yet Lan Xichen knew that Wei Ying would be going home with them! For sure, that was the level of understanding that Wei Ying wanted to reach with Lan Wangji as well. The two teens eventually got up from their spots to leave; with Lan Wangji wrapping up his guqin and slinging it over his back. Wei Ying hated to think how to felt to carry the fairly large instrument around everywhere, but was also amazed at how strong Lan Wangji must’ve been. The other boy definitely had to have a good build underneath the school uniform he wore, probably even had a six-pack and everything too! Wei Ying thought about it as he followed the Lan brothers outside, approaching a Mercedes-Benz covered in white paint. He had been so distracted by the thought of Lan Wangji’s muscles that he hadn’t realized that they were walking towards the nicest car in the whole parking lot, and a car that probably costed at least fifty-thousand dollars. When Wei Ying saw the other two opening the doors to the expensive vehicle, his jaw practically dropped to the floor; his legs stopping completely as it began to truly dawn upon him that yes, Lan Zhan was rich. “Wow.” Was all Wei Ying could say as he followed suit; almost afraid to touch the car because it was worth more than his whole existence . Wei Ying’s family wasn’t doing too badly in terms of income, but he knew for sure that they would never be able to afford anything like the car he sat in.

Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji both took seats in the front, while Wei Ying settled in the back; all the while admiring the vehicle’s sleek interior. There was even a touch screen right on top of the car’s radio that was probably used for all sorts of things that Wei Ying couldn’t imagine; the only thing he could assume twas that it had to be really high-tech. Leaning back against the leather chair, Wei Ying was actually quiet for once; staring out the window as Lan Xichen drove them out of the school’s parking lot and through the city. He went down streets that Wei Ying didn’t even know about, the buildings outside gradually getting nicer and bigger as the ride continued. Eventually, Wei Ying found himself gazing out at a neighborhood of luxurious mansions; his breath catching in his throat. Just how rich was Lan Wangji? He was even more wealthy than Jiang Cheng’s family at this point, and Jiang Cheng was already quite well-off! Openly gaping at the passing homes, Wei Ying swore that he couldn’t have been more impressed than he already was. He amused himself with the thought of the car stopping at the biggest house on the block, even laughing inwardly to himself. However, the smile was slowly wiped off his face when he saw that the car was indeed approaching a towering mansion made of white stone; a whole garden flowers spreading out in the front yard as if it were a park. The surrounding houses paled in comparison to this one; they were like small cottages compared to the looming castle of pure luxury.

“My house.” Lan Wangji said simply.

Wei Ying wanted to faint.