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My Lotus. My Cloud

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“Jiang Cheng, what are you going to do for Valentines?” Wei Wuxian asks him.

February has come and Valentines is around the corner, the whole school is abuzz with excitement. Students and teachers alike are waiting for this one day, most likely to have an excuse to act lovey dovey on campus without being reprimanded. The day is not even that close, it’s only the first week of February but most of the students and teachers are already planning their dates with/for their significant others. 

The hallways are filled with endless chatter and gossip. The two-timers and casanovas are talking about their numerous girlfriends and flings, hotel reservations and the anticipated pleasure and sex. The one-woman men, the decent and the romantic ones were outright disgusted by the others and are talking about the dates they planned for their girlfriends, the gifts they will give, the looks of happiness on their beloved’s faces and the love and kisses they get in return. 

The girls are in little groups and are chatting amongst their peers, gossiping and bragging about their boyfriends and the gifts they have received, giggling and squealing, talking with high pitched, shrilly voices that hurts his ears. The incoming Valentine’s Day is the talk of the school and is irritating the hell out of Jiang Cheng.

How could these people be able to talk about a sole topic for hours without getting bored? It’s getting on his nerves, honestly. 

Jiang Cheng is never one for romance. He never liked the topic of love, relationships, commitments and the like, he had always thought that such things wouldn’t last. With the number of people that are like that group of playboys in the hallway, and with the number of simpletons and fools and the desperate in the world, such things as a loyal partner, love, and a strong and love-filled relationship is considered a rarity.

He never believed in such a wonderful feeling and maybe he never will. Jiang Cheng has always felt alienated with the emotion, maybe it’s because he had never felt that same emotion from his parents, mostly from his father. At first, he was confused as to why he was never given the love and attention, but over time he slowly got used to it, and over time he trained his body not to crave for it. It was not a pleasant, he admits he thirsted for love but can’t ask for it, for he’s sure he won’t be given even if he begs.

The three of them, Wei Wuxian, Nie Huaisang, and him, are walking along the hallways to the cafeteria. They had a vacant time of 2 hours because their teacher was absent for unknown reasons (fucking yes, class was suffocating). And since they have 2 hours to themselves, they (Wei Wuxian) decided to fill their bellies, and so their walk to the cafeteria. 

“Go home, eat, do my homework, sleep.” Jiang Cheng curtly answers. Waiting for the annoying whines from his companions.

“Awww Jiang Cheng, that’s so boring. Why don’t you go on dates or have fun for the sake of it being Valentine’s day, don’t you want to celebrate?” Nie Huaisang whined. He has his arm draped over Jiang Cheng’s shoulder, he sometimes forgets that his friend has a bulky build and he’s fucking heavy.

“First of all, get your arm off me, you know you’re fucking heavy. And second, why would I bother? Its just a normal day. And besides, I don’t have anyone to go on dates with, not that I need anyone.” Jiang Cheng removes Nie Huaisang’s arm off his shoulder. 

“Oh Didi, you’ll find someone, just like how Huai found his Mo Xuanyu.” Wei Wuxian says, patting his back while Nie Huaisang gave him a rather aggressive nod.

“As if, I know I’m not likeable. No one likes me and I’m okay with it.” Jiang Cheng says with a shrug. Nie Huaisang and his brother looked at him with an emotion he can’t name and a meaningful gaze, but soon they tore their eyes of him and looked ahead because they know that he would never talk about it.

It’s a lie though. He never liked being unlikeable, he hates it. He also wants to be liked, to have more friends, to be friendly, but he’s not like that. Jiang Cheng is a grumpy, bad-tempered man, a scowl is his default expression. He is not a social person, he is BAD at starting conversations, he doesn’t want waste his time, he doesn’t like to be crowded. His default scowl helps him though at times, but he mostly hates it because people avoid him because of it, thinking that he’ll yell their ears off. Many people think of Jiang Cheng as irritable, unfriendly, grumpy, snappy, snob but really, he’s not like that. 

He is scowling but he just got that expression from his mother, it’s not like he’ll bite them, it’s just the way he is. He can’t start a conversation, but he can keep one going. He’s not social, but he is loyal and keeps friendships. He may act all grumpy but that’s just his defense mechanism. He just does not trust easily and has built and erected walls around his heart and him. Once you manage to break through that wall, you can see that he is quite alright.

He’s an ambivert, he’s just reclusive. He is often impassive, but he can be playful and tease if he wants to. He can jam and he can hang out with people just fine. Only a few people know about his carefree and playful side since he only shows that side of him if he trusts them enough. He’s just Jiang Cheng.

He is aware of his unlikability and he’s aware that people think of him as an unfriendly and grumpy guy, so he was surprised when he sees a letter in his locker, five days before Valentine’s day.

“OH MY GOD, DIDI YOU HAVE AN ADMIRER!” Wei Wuxian exclaimed, practically screaming as heads turn to them. His brother’s scream was loud enough to reach the end of the hallway. Jiang Cheng hastily covered his brother’s mouth with his hand, face red with embarrassment.

“Oh God, shut the fuck up Wei Wuxian.” He is close to choking the life out of his brother when all he heard was muffled giggles from his brother’s covered mouth. Wen Qing and Wen Ning pried his hand of Wei Wuxian’s mouth and Wen Ning held him by the shoulders, slightly blocking his path to his brother who is now hiding behind Wen Qing. Wei Wuxian is lucky, for now. 

“Wow, how sweet. Look Jiang Cheng he made you a poem.” Nie Huaisang showed him the letter that he opened while they were busy stopping Jiang Cheng from strangling his older brother.

“Give me that, why did you open it when it’s not for you.” Jiang Cheng said as he grabbed the letter from Nie Huaisang’s hand.

“Ooooohhh, Jiang Cheng wants to open it for himselfff~.” Nie Huaisang teased him. Jiang Cheng paid him no mind as he read the contents of the letter.

You are my sun
You are my life, my love
You look so golden, so dazzling
You are my light, so bright

Every day I bathe in your warmth
Your presence envelopes me
Your smile rejuvenates me
I am honored to feel your glowing rays

I am only a humble cloud
So small, unworthy of your brilliance
But I still continue to bask
To steal but a glance at you, my heart

You are my sun. You shine so bright
So warm, so radiant, so precious
Your shine lures and warms and envelope those around you
But I wish for that shine to be only mine

-LH

Jiang Cheng reads the letter very carefully, and by the end of the poem, he is blushing. Madly.

“Oh my god, he’s blushing.” Wen Qing comments as she tugs at her brother’s sleeve while looking at his red face.

“Jiang Cheng, you are so red you might burst.” Wen Ning teases.

“The poem is so beautiful, the sender must really love you Chengcheng. Look at how he compares you to the sun, ‘You are my life, my love.’, it’s soooo romantic.” Wei Wuxian said, draping his body onto Jiang Cheng and leaning onto him, sighing loudly.

“Shut it you guys and give me that.” Jiang Cheng said as he stuffs the paper in his bag.

‘Did they just call me their sun? The sun? What the fuck?’

Is this person blind? How could they compare him to a sun? He’s not that fucking magnificent to be compared to something beautiful. This person must be drunk when they wrote this. And they said he’s their light? Their life? It’s unbelievable. No one even thinks of him as something important, let alone their life. This is too fucking unbelievable, refuses to believe them. But he can’t help but be flattered. The poem made his heart beat wildly. The poem made him feel butterflies. He’s too old to feel this way and yet he does. 

This person called him their heart, their love. The poem is obviously about this person confessing their love to him, he wants to believe it, but he can’t bring himself to, and he finds it ridiculous. Not that this person’s feelings are ridiculous, what’s ridiculous is that this person chose to love him. There’s nothing lovable about him, there’s nothing extraordinary about him. He’s not handsome, he’s not that intelligent, and he certainly isn’t amiable, so why?

Jiang Cheng can’t help but overthink. Maybe this person is pranking him, maybe this person is just messing with him. But no one spends great effort on writing a poem if it’s a prank. So, it’s legit then?

Jiang Cheng snapped out from his thoughts when he felt his arm being yanked by Nie Huaisang. 

“Oohhh Jiang Cheng, someone likes you. Who could it be?” Nie Huaisang asks as he shook Jiang Cheng’s poor arm.

“Let go of me Huai, come on. Class is starting.” He yanks his arm off of Nie Huaisang’s hold as he heads to their classroom. His friends following him as they continue to tease him and being loud.

Jiang Cheng is unaware of a pair of golden orbs looking at his retreating figure.

 

---------

 

“Aiyaaa Jiang Cheng, someone sent you a letter again. This person must be soooooo in love with you huh.” Nie Huaisang teases.

Again?

“Yep, and it’s another poem this time.” Wen Qing hands him the unopened letter. Jiang Cheng realizes that he may have said his thoughts out loud.

The letter is beautiful. The envelope is in a pale shade of blue with designs that seemed like clouds, at the back, with beautiful calligraphy, there written the words ‘For Jiang Wanyin’. He opens the envelope and pulls out the letter. In white shimmery paper with a faint smell of sandalwood, with precise strokes of cursive handwriting, there written another poem.

If you were a flower, you would be a lotus
Symbolizing strength, beauty, purity
With dainty looking petals, delicate but strong
And with a stem so flexible and sturdy, so secure

Just like you, my dearest lotus
You are so strong, so fierce
Just like a lotus emerging from the murky waters
Your beauty untainted, pristine

A hidden gem among the stones
Not yet in bloom, still hiding
A sturdy presence, my anchor
Perfectly imperfect, just like a lotus in waters

You rise from the battle of life, strong and proud
Just like how a lotus does when it blooms
But you have not bloomed yet, for you are still hiding
I hope to see you bloom one day, in all your glory

And I hope to be with you in every step
Be your guide, your most devoted follower
Then maybe one day we will look up at the sky together

-LH

“A lotus flower? It fits you perfectly Jiang Cheng!” Nie Huaisang exclaims.

“But dainty? Delicate? I never thought those words would be used to describe you, didi.” Wei Wuxian remarks.

“Hey, what does that mean?” Jiang Cheng faced his brother and asked him. Plastered on his face is a small pout, almost undetectable, but perceptible if you look close enough. Wei Wuxian sees this pout.

“Well I have always regarded you as tough, rugged, fierce, strong. And also, grumpy, prickly, snappy. I have a lot of words for you, but you seemed to like being called dainty. Awww, does didi want to be called dainty, delicate, soft.” Wei Wuxian teased, wiggling his eyebrows at Jiang Cheng. He wants to pull his eyebrows off.

“What the fuck are you talking about, shut up you.” Jiang Cheng as he ran to him, chasing his now running, still teasing, gremlin of a brother. 

‘I’m going to kill that fucker.’ 

He chases Wei Wuxian. They ran through the corridors, the hallways, passing some students, bumping a few. Wei Wuxian’s boisterous laughter ringing across the halls. Both of them are very fast, their clothes fluttering behind them as they ran across the halls. Wei Wuxian’s ponytail made it easier for Jiang Cheng to find him. With a red face, from the running and from the embarrassment from earlier, he chased his brother. Both unrelenting to slow down, they continued their game of cat and mouse until they reach the courtyard where Zewu-jun is having a walk with his brother, Lan Wangji.

Zewu-jun, also known as Lan Xichen, is their school’s student council president.

Zewu-jun is popular in their school. He is well known, and he is well liked because he is kind, gentle, diligent, and is always there when needed. He is the role model of every student. Everyone strives to be like him or to even be in the same level as him to have a chance to get closer to the president. He is one half of the Twin Jades, and one of the school’s heartthrobs. It’s no wonder he became the object of affection for many. His smiles are like the sun that makes every girl and every boy swoon, his melodious laugh is so enchanting that warms every heart and makes it beat and thunder like crazy. 

He has managed to capture the hearts of both girls and boys, save for the ones who are head over heels for his younger brother, and he is not even aware of it. Zewu-jun is greatly favored by the teachers and staff because of his politeness and good manners. He also became every teacher’s favorite student because of his diligence and good marks. Zewu-jun is very intelligent and is one of the top students in the school, so the teachers and his uncle, who is one of the main investors of the school, urged him to run for the position of student council president. So when the next election came, there is no doubt that he would win the position as president.

And because he is the student council president, he can very much give them punishments for running around the school campus.

The second Wei Wuxian saw the Twin Jades, he skidded into a halt a few meters away from them and Jiang Cheng followed suit.

His brother, being the shameless gremlin that he is, faced the siblings with feigned innocence and greeted them with a wide grin. “Good afternoon Zewu-jun. Hi Lan Zhan!” Wei Wuxian greeted loudly and waved, eyes not losing its mischievousness.

Jiang Cheng elbowed his brother and greeted the two jades with a slight bow. “Good afternoon Zewu-jun, Lan Wangji. I apologize for our unruly behavior.” He apologizes as he raised his head.

“It is alright Jiang Wanyin, although we would need to punish the both of you for running around and hitting a few students.” Zewu-jun said to him with a smile that seemed different from his usual one, his eyes seeming soft?

“Ehhh Zewu-jun, we didn’t mean to bump those students while running, and Jiang Cheng was the one who chased me. I’m innocent” Wei Wuxian complains.

“You are not that innocent Wei Wuxian. Yes, you are being chased but that does not change the fact that you were also running around the campus. And I believe Jiang Wanyin would not chase you if you did not give him a reason to chase you.” Zewu-jun answered.

Is Zewu-jun being biased right now?

Seems like Wei Wuxian also thought that he is too. “Zewu-jun, aren’t you being a little bit biased right now. It’s not right for the student council president to be biased.” Wei Wuxian crossed his arms and pouted.

Zewu-jun only gave him a smile and nothing more. So Zewu-jun could also be like this, who knew.

“For running around the campus, Wei Wuxian you will be helping out in the library for 3 days. Wangji will be with you and supervise you. You will start tomorrow but I advise you to visit the library today to inquire about the things that you need to do.” Zewu-jun said.

Why Lan Wangji when he could’ve asked for someone else? Does he not know that Lan Wangji doesn’t like Wei Wuxian because he always teases him?

He looked at Zewu-jun but saw him looking at Lan Wangji with a meaningful gaze and with an equally meaningful smile. He glances at the second jade and saw that his eyes seemed to widen just a little bit, then he looked at Wei Wuxian. He sees the softness and tenderness in Lan Wangji’s eyes, he sees the way Lan Wangji’s face softens and looks less cold and stern.

Oh Wei Wuxian, you oblivious bastard.

Wei Wuxian’s mouth opens to complain but he cut him off before his brother can speak. “Wei Wuxian will accept his punishment and will comply to do the task given.” Jiang Cheng said, shooting a glare to Wei Wuxian’s direction.

“I am glad to hear that Jiang Wanyin.” Zewu-jun said, giving him that same strange smile from earlier.

Lan Wangji grabbed Wei Wuxian’s arm and almost dragged his brother’s unwilling ass to the library. Wei Wuxian still complaining loudly resulting to heads turning to their direction, some glaring daggers at Wei Wuxian, murdering him in their heads because he is giving trouble to their precious Lan Wangji.

After the two of them are gone, he faced Zewu-jun and saw him already looking at him.

There is something about the way Zewu-jun looks at him, he can’t quite put a finger at it. The stare feels different than how Zewu-jun looked at his brother. But he finds that he doesn’t mind. Weird.

“What will be my punishment, Zewu-jun.” Jiang Cheng asked him.

That snaps Zewu-jun out from his thoughts. He cleared his thought before speaking. “As for your punishment Jiang Wanyin, you will help with the sorting of papers in the student council room. You were the one who started the chase so you will be helping us for 4 days, I will be the one to supervise you. With Valentine’s Day coming, we were busy with the preparations for the Valentine’s Day Celebration, so the papers became unorganized and are mixed. No one was free enough to organize the papers, so I thought to give the task to you as punishment. I hope you do not mind.” Zewu-jun said with a smile. So Zewu-jun can also be playful.

“I don’t have a choice to refuse now do I?” Jiang Cheng playfully asks, smirking.

“No, you do not.” Zewu-jun played along. Jiang Cheng laughed.

“Alright then, should I start today?”

“No, you will start tomorrow as Wei Wuxian. Do not worry I will help you through it.” 

“Of course, you will. You are my supervisor.”

That made Zewu-jun laugh, and he laughed along with him. His laugh is indeed enchanting, beautiful.

He didn’t fail to notice the flush of red on Zewu-jun’s neck and the redness of his ears, he also didn’t fail to notice the faint red on Zewu-jun’s cheeks. Is he blushing? Cute.

 

---------

 

Three days before Valentine’s Day, he received yet another letter. Yes. Received.

It was at lunch break. He was walking to the library to study. He failed a test on Chemistry, so he went to the books to study more about the items that he answered wrong, and the whole lesson in general. 

He was never good at Chemistry, it was too complicated, at least to him. He knew he was weak at that subject, he acknowledged it, and he studied hard to understand and learn it. He thought he studied well and understood it, but it seemed that he was wrong. Because if he did, then he wouldn’t have failed. He felt down.

He will face yet another one of his parent’s lectures, then they will start comparing him to Wei Wuxian. He hates being compared, he already knew that his brother was much better than him. They didn’t have to say it to his face.

He decided to skip lunch, much to his friends’ protests. He had eaten enough to last him till afternoon so it’s fine. He arrived at the library, sat down, took out his books, and studied. He doesn’t have any classes after lunch so that’s great. 

Thirty minutes later, he heard his stomach rumble. Turns out he didn’t eat enough to last him thirty minutes. His stomach rumbled, asking for food, yet he paid it no mind. He is hungry but he still has to study, he can eat later.

While he was in the middle of reading a paragraph about the Nerst equation, someone tapped his table. He raised his head to see a freshman, based from his uniform. He is holding a plastic bag in his hands.

Annoyed because of the sudden distraction, he asked the boy, voice laced with mild irritation. “What do you want?” 

The boy just smiles and places the plastic bag on the table and pushed it to him. “I was asked to give you this, he doesn’t want you to skip lunch. He’s worried.” The boy said.

Wait, he?

“Who?” Jiang Cheng asked. But his question was left unanswered as the boy already left.

Jiang Cheng looked at the plastic bag the boy left behind. He is curious to know what’s in it, so he grabbed the bag and opened it. Inside the bag there is a lunch box with cloud carvings, a can of coffee, eating utensils, and a letter.

He emptied the bag of its contents. He opened the beautifully carved lunch box and was greeted with the delicious smell of lotus pork rib soup, it looked delicious too. His mouth watered.

He closed the lunch box, to preserve the delicious smell, and to read the letter. The letter may give him an explanation as to why he was given food and coffee. He can’t eat the food yet, although it looks absolutely mouthwatering, it may be poisoned, he can’t risk it.

The letter is written in a piece of bond paper, and upon opening, he first sees the person’s handwriting. It was different from the perfect cursive handwriting that he saw on the previous letters, this looks like it was hurriedly written.

He reads the letter.

My dearest love, 
Instead of another poem, I gave you your favorite soup. It may not be as good as your sister’s, but I tried my best to make it as close as hers. I hope you will give it a taste and tell me how it is when we meet, and I hope it was to your liking. This soup was made with love.

I noticed that you skipped lunch today. I did not see you in the cafeteria and instead I saw you headed towards the library. You should not skip meals my heart, it is not good for your poor stomach. I was going to give you the soup later, but I thought that I should give it to you now.

I hope this soup raises your spirits. I noticed how down you were when you received your test paper at Chemistry. I did not know for sure, but I could guess what happened. I admire you for your determination to learn, to acknowledge your wrongs and trying the study more to get it right the next time. But that should not come first, not when you are neglecting your health. 

Please do not do this next time my love, I am worried for you. Please eat the soup that I made and always remember that you are great, and that I am proud of you.

Eat well my lotus, it brings me joy to see you happy and smiling.

-LH

He would be lying if he said he wasn’t touched, because now he’s damn near crying. Because of a single letter, from the person who said that he loves him, he has felt so much love and care. He’s not being exaggerated, he truly felt the love and care of this person in the letters the he sent him. It still amazes him that someone would even like him, let alone love him.

He places the letter aside and brought the lunch box in front of him. He opened the box and took a whiff of the delicious smell of the soup. Then he digs in, every bite warms his whole body, very effective in raising his spirits.

It’s very delicious.

 

-----

 

Afternoon came, his classes are done, and he is now headed to the student council room after wrestling out of Wei Wuxian’s and Nie Huaisang’s bear hug.

They didn’t want to let him go, they were worried about him not eating for lunch and tried to make him skip his punishment so they could eat some food. He found them endearing, but he told them that he has already eaten. He told them about the lunch box, and the coffee, and the soup, and the letter, which lead to him letting them read the letter, then the teasing. Another one of the times that he wants to bash their heads together.

After class ended, before he even took a step outside the classroom, Wei Wuxian and Nie Huaisang enveloped him in a bone crushing bear hug. That was what they thought to stop him from going to the student council room. It almost worked, if it wasn’t for Lan Wangji fetching Wei Wuxian for his punishment. Lan Wangji managed to free him from the bear hug with his Lan arm strength. The moment he was free, he grabbed his bag and bolted out of the door.

And now he’s walking up the stairs to the student council room. He knocked on the door, he heard a bit of shuffling, a loud thud like an object being dropped, and footsteps. The opened and he is greeted by a Zewu-jun, a Zewu-jun that has messy hair and a slightly sweaty face. Way different from the prim and proper Zewu-jun. But he likes this Zewu-jun, it makes him seem like a normal, not perfect person. He also can’t deny that he finds this Zewu-jun handsome, in a rugged and sexy way. 

This look made his heart beat fast for some reason. He felt the faint blush creeping up to his cheeks.

Jiang Cheng threw those thoughts away as he heard Zewu-jun call his name. 

“Yes?” He answered.

Zewu-jun gave him that strange smile again. “Come on.” He moved from the door for Jiang Cheng to come in. The second he entered, he saw that the whole room was a MESS. There are stacks of papers everywhere, papers strewn on the floor, mostly likely caused by the loud thud earlier. How the heck did this happened?

He gave Zewu-jun a look. Zewu-jun just chuckled bashfully. Jiang Cheng thought of it as cute.

“We were really busy, and some of the members were sick. I did not have time.” Zewu-jun scratched his nape.

“Don’t worry I’ll help. This is my punishment anyway.” Jiang Cheng shrugs. He places his hands on his hips and asked. “So, where do I start.”

Zewu-jun smiled at him, a soft, tender, loving one. Before he thought more of it, Zewu-jun went ahead, carefully as to not step on the papers on the floor. He followed suit.

Zewu-jun led him to a few stacks of papers on the right side of the room, near his table. 

“These stacks of papers are mixed. Some are regarding the budget costs of the Valentine’s Day Celebration, some are regarding the plans for the new special section, some are student complaints, and there are others, but I forgot what those were about. Please organized them Jiang Wanyin, just leave them in separate piles. I will go through them later.” Zewu-jun asks.

“Alright, leave them to me Zewu-jun.”

“Xichen.”

“What?” Jiang Cheng turned to Zewu-jun.

“Call me Xichen. Zewu-jun is too formal and since we are both stuck with this predicament, I thought that it is okay to for us to call each other casually.” Zewu-jun says, a glint of determination in his eyes.

It took a few seconds for Jiang Cheng to answer. Zewu-jun’s eyes slowly losing their determined glint. He lowered his head in embarrassment as he speaks. “It is okay if you do not want to though, I understand-.”

“Wanyin.” 

Zewu-jun – No, Xichen – raised his head to look at him, eyes a little bit wide.

“You can call me Wanyin. I also thought that Zewu-jun seemed a bit too long. Only if you want to though.” Jiang said, shyly. Since when did he get shy with Xichen?

Xichen breaks into the most breathtaking, most magnificent, most beautiful smile. And that same smile took Jiang Cheng’s breath away, it stunned him, it made his heart skip a beat, it made his heart race, it gave him butterflies. It made him fall, but he didn’t know it yet.

The smile made him blush so hard, he looks away. Hoping that Xichen didn’t see his red face.

Unfortunately for him, Xichen did see. What luck.

Xichen starts to fuss over him. “Wanyin are you okay? Your face is so red, so you have a fever? Do you want me to carry you to the clinic?” Xichen worriedly asks as he tries to look at Jiang Cheng’s face once more.

Jiang Cheng tries to cover his face so that Xichen can’t see how red he is just because of a smile. “I-I’m alright Xichen. It’s just so hot. Do you feel the heat too? It’s just so hot right hahaha.” Jiang Cheng nervously says while fanning his face and pretending he’s hot as he tries to make Xichen believe his lie, which he knows that he’s failing miserably. Still he tried. He believes it’s a good lie. Yeah, he’s doing great. 

Xichen gave a knowing smile. He starts fanning his face too “Yeah it is so hot, the air conditioner must be not working.”

Jiang Cheng knows VERY WELL that the air conditioner is working just fine, and that the room he’s in right now is as cold as a chiller.

Xichen knew he was lying, and he just went with it. Fucking fuck.

Lan Xichen is looking at the blushing Jiang Cheng who is fanning himself vigorously and is still hiding his face from him.

‘Adorable’. He thought. Blushing madly as well.

Maybe he does have a chance after all.

---------

Jiang Cheng spent the next day avoiding Xichen.

Whenever he remembers the way he blushed after he smiled, his sad excuse of a good lie that he realized the night before was a very, VERY bad lie. The way Xichen went with the lie despite knowing it’s a lie, the shame and embarrassment he went through.

And that mesmerizing, captivating, enthralling, divine, beautiful smile. 

His cheeks burns again. He’s certain that he looks like a walking tomato now.

He remembers that smile, and what that smile did to him. The way that smile left him breathless, the way that smile made his heart race, the way that smile gave him butterflies.

He had an inkling to what was it that happened to him. He had read novels, he had read fanfictions, he had seen movies, he knew what what happened to him meant. What he doesn't know is that what would this lead to, being the secret bookworm that he is, he had a hunch as to what this would lead to, he's just not quite sure. But he knew it was because of that smile, and that man. 

That outrageously stunning, elegant, alluring, handsome, sexy man. Jiang Cheng has now realized how handsome Xichen is, how his perfectly styled hair gives him an aura of elegance and authority, while his messy hair gave him an aura of sexiness and allure. How his face is so perfect like it was sculpted by the hands of gods, how his eyes are so calm yet so expressive. How his nose is so perfectly high and perfectly pointed, how his cheeks and his ears redden when he gets flustered. How his lips are so red and plump. Jiang Cheng wonders how would those lips feel on his, would they slip so perfect onto his? Would it fit perfectly into the mold of his mouth? How would they feel so good on his skin-

FUUUUCCCCCKKKKKK

Jiang Cheng fucking stop it. Stop thinking about his face, stop thinking about his eyes, his nose, his lips. His lips- 

AAARRGHHHH

Jiang Wanyin just stop thinking about it. Shut down your brain. Stop thinking about these thoughts.

God he is becoming like Xichen's fans, isn't he?

Fucking god. His memory of him is not helping. Knowing that they're going to meet later is not helping.

And the slight hardness in his pants is not helping either.

Thank goodness for baggy sweaters.

Fuck his life.

-----

When Jiang Cheng opens his locker, he sees a large, clear, glass jar filled with little origami lotus flowers, varying in color. 

"Wow, that's a lot of lotus flowers. All of that must've taken a long time to make." Wen Ning comments as he looks at the jar in Jiang Cheng's hands.

He agrees with Wen Ning, all of these flowers must've taken a long time to fold and make. Jiang Cheng knew how to make origami lotus flowers, and he knew how complicated the steps are, so he knew how long it takes to even make one, especially if that person was a beginner. As he looks closely, he sees the uneven little creases and wrong folds on the paper lotus flowers.

His heart warms. To be made and given, not one, but a jar of tiny paper lotus flowers. Learning how to make them, learning after every error, after every mistake. Making it with him in mind, making it full of love, making sure it is perfect for him to see and maybe even love. His heart swells.

He smiles.

Jiang Cheng doesn't notice how his friends freeze, how their faces morphing into one of astonishment. He doesn't notice how the whole hall stops, astonished at how ethereal the grumpy Jiang Cheng that they knew looked when smiling. He doesn't notice how the earlier bustle of students has gone silent. He doesn't notice how time seemed to freeze around him.

All he noticed and all he cared about was the jar full of little lotus flowers in his hand, and the person who gave this beautiful gift to him. 

In admiring the jar, he noticed a little tag tied to a string around the jar's neck. He held the tag and opened it, reading the message written.

In every lotus flower, is a message to you. It could be reasons why I fell in love with you, it could be things I wanted to say to you, or it could be my confession to you said in different ways, but same in depth. 

This jar holds only a quarter of my love for you, as the rest is in my heart, that is now yours, to toss away or to keep forever.

My lotus only deserves the best things. My lotus deserves happiness. And I hope I managed to make you smile.

-LH

Fuck he's going to cry, the tears are already pooling in his eyes. He's going to fucking cry.

Yes, he managed to blink the tears away. Now is not the time nor the place to cry, he could always cry in his bedroom.

Heavens he's falling rapidly in love with this man. This man who thinks of him as his sun, his lotus, his heart, his life, his love. He is falling so damn hard. And he doesn't regret falling.

A smile crept onto his face, much more beautiful than the previous one. He is blushing, mad. He is blushing and smiling. He's looking like a fool in love.

Good.

"Wow, I never saw Jiang Cheng smile like that. Just wow, I'm speechless." Wei Wuxian speaks when he manages to unfreeze himself from the blinding, hypnotizing smile on his didi's face. Since when did his little brother smile like that before. He can't remember.

"Jiang Cheng, you're pretty." Wen Wing said in a surprised daze, still entranced by his smile.

Jiang Cheng heard what his friends said and saw what he did to the whole hall. Every single one of them saw him smile. Everyone. His eyes widen. Oh shit.

He immediately dropped his smile and looked at the floor as if it's the most amazing thing in the world. Neck and ears and face still red. Embarrassment filled his whole being. He really wished for the ground to swallow him whole.

"Nooooo. Keep smiling, you look beautiful Jiang Cheng. Not as beautiful as my Xuanyu though, but please keep smiling." Nie Huaisang pleads.

"Fuck no, it's weird."

"It's not weird, honest. Didi keep smiling please, we want to see you smile more, please." Wei Wuxian begs, his palms together like he's praying, or begging?

"No, fuck no. Stop bugging me."

Jiang Cheng's friends continue to bug him. Not noticing the pale figure looking at him.

'His smile looks so, so ethereal. Is it wrong for me to want it for myself?' the figure thought as he looked at his lotus once more.

-----

Jiang Cheng knocked on the student's council room door. He has been nervous to face Xichen after what happened yesterday, so nervous that he came here a few minutes earlier, walked back and forth in front of the door, taking his sweet time in contemplating whether to knock or not, before getting his shit together, decided to be brave and knocks. He's wishing so damn hard that Xichen had already forgotten his embarrassing moment yesterday. He wishes for the gods to listen to his prayer.

Xichen opens to the door with that same strange smile from yesterday. Somehow, Jiang Cheng also liked that smile, he doesn't know why, but he likes it. It feels warm, and it feels like it is only for him.

"Good afternoon, Wanyin."

"Good afternoon, Xichen." Jiang Cheng smiles, something genuine, something beautiful, something pure.

Xichen's smile widens and he made way for Jiang Cheng to enter. Xichen has led him to the stack of papers that he's going to handle today. He had already told him what these papers were about, had already told him what he wants him to do. Jiang Cheng is all set and is ready to bury himself into the stacks of papers.

When Xichen steps aside to leave him be, Jiang Cheng sees the bandages on Xichen's hands.

"Xichen what happened to your hands. Did you get hurt, from where?" Jiang Cheng asks, feeling oddly worried for the president's hand. He felt a sudden urge to hold it, to inspect his hands to see the wounds, to see if he treated them properly. He managed to stop his hands from doing so, saving him from embarrassment.

"It is alright Wanyin, it is just paper cuts."

Paper cuts?

"Paper cuts?" Jiang Cheng asks, curious. 

"Yes, I was sorting through papers earlier and got these. Do not worry Wanyin, it is all fine." Xichen reassures him.

"Okay."

‘Xichen has paper cuts. Could it be? But he said he was sorting through papers, there's a chance that he might be wrong. But it's a possibility, right? It can also be because of folding little lotus flowers. There’s a possibility, he doesn’t have any proof but there’s a possibility.’ Jiang Cheng thinks.

Lan Xichen looks at the now preoccupied Wanyin and thinks.

‘Maybe the papercuts are not enough for a clue.’

 

---------

 

On the day before Valentines, Jiang Cheng found a white box in his bag. 

How did this box managed to get in his bag?

Jiang Cheng is currently in the garden, leaning on a tree. His school has the most beautiful garden in his eyes. Different types and kinds of flora scattered throughout the space, with vines of different kinds, with varying lengths hanging from every corner. The grass is vibrant green and is trimmed to perfection. Luscious, big, and healthy trees of different species planted precisely at places where its beauty would really show, swaying elegantly when the wind blows. Fallen leaves scattering at the ground, looking as if it was specifically placed there to form a painting, instead of it being blown by the wind. Pops of color everywhere by different flowers of different sizes, of different species, adding the last bits of touches to finish a whole plant masterpiece. It was magnificent. And it was his favorite place in the whole school.

Compared to other places in this school, the garden is a place of quietness and tranquility. Students and teachers alike go to this garden to relax, to calm down, to study, to pass the time, or to just enjoy the silence. The gentle swishes and the soft blows of the wind serves as their lullaby, lulling them to sleep. This garden is the whole school’s paradise, and his too.

Jiang Cheng eyed the white box. While the envelopes that he had received have beautiful designs, and the lunch box with beautiful carvings, this box is completely plain. The box is small, and smooth, and completely white, he’s scared to ruin it.

He opens the box, and atop the deep blue velvet is a white ribbon, looking so pristine and immaculate. He takes the ribbon into his hands and eyes it from the top to bottom. There is no name, no engravements, no design, save from the cloud embellishment in the middle of the ribbon. Other than that, nothing.

But Jiang Cheng thinks that the ribbon is beautiful. 

He sees a piece of white inserted at the side of the box, hidden by the blue cloth. He pulls it out to see a letter, with that same beautiful, cursive handwriting. 

He reads it.

Hello my heart,

You might be wondering what this ribbon is for, and why did I give this to you. This ribbon has a special meaning.

In our family, we have sacred ribbons. Ribbons that restrains our emotions, our selves. It serves as restraints, a reminder to regulate oneself. No one else can touch it but ourselves, but there is an exemption. The only ones that are allowed to touch this ribbon is myself, my family, and my spouse.

I give my ribbon to you Wanyin, for I want you to have it. You are my love and I am very much certain that I want to marry you and be with you, to take care of you, to be there for you, to wake up every day right beside you, to cuddle and kiss you and shower with lots and lots of love. Of course, if you will have me.

This ribbon will not serve as a chain that links you to me, but this ribbon serves as my love, my undying loyalty, and my promise to love and cherish and treasure you, forever. But even if you will not have me, and even if you reject my feelings, this ribbon will stay with you, because I have given it to you, and I will not love anyone else.

So please keep this ribbon, and please keep me.
I love you, my lotus

-LH

Can this man stop making his heart race and thunder, because he swears he going to have a heart attack right now. 

His face in so hot, he bets he’s already blushing so much right now. His heart is thundering in his chest. He feels so much butterflies fluttering in his stomach, it tickles. He looks like a maiden who was noticed by her crush. He wants to deny it, but he knows that’s how he looks like right now.

And he likes it.

Is it okay to squeal here? Because he would very much like to squeal.

He feels so giddy, so jumpy, so kilig, as what Filipinos call this feeling. He feels so damn happy. He wants to jump, to roll in the grass, to squeal his heart out.

But he composes himself, he doesn’t want to disrupt the peacefulness of this garden. He can act like a high school girl later.

Smiling and blushing, he puts the ribbon back carefully in the box, but not before giving it a soft peck.

He wants to meet this man. He wants to know him. He wants to love.

-----

Jiang Cheng knocks on the student council room door. He feels so light and warm from the gift earlier, he still feels so giddy and bubbly, he practically skipped all the way to the room.

Xichen opened the door, and he is, yet again, greeted by that strange smile that gives him warmth and butterflies. Just like how the secret admirer does with his gift.

Jiang Cheng starts assuming.

“Come on, Wanyin. Let’s continue with the stack that we left off yesterday.” Xichen waves his hand in. Jiang Cheng enters.

He’s still thinking about his earlier assumption. Xichen gives him the same giddy feeling with his smiles as his secret admirer with his gifts. He can’t help but assume that they’re the same. But his assumption is most likely wrong, like why would the student council president like him? He’s just someone who Xichen has to supervise. He is nowhere near his level, Xichen is much better than him, he should stop assuming. 

But he still wished for Xichen to be the secret admirer, even if it’s a very far-fetched, impossible dream.

The thought saddened him, but the giddiness and the happiness and the warmth that he felt from earlier washed over the sadness and gloom.

“You look happy.”

That brought his mind back to the room and the task at hand.

“What?” He dumbly asks, he didn’t quite catch what Xichen just said. 

“I said you look happy.” Xichen said, eyes looking at him with soft tenderness and love?

“Oh, yes I am. How did you know?” he asks.

“You were smiling the entire time, and you seemed to glow rather brightly today.” Xichen asks, voice soft and heavy with a feeling he does not know. “Did something happen?” 

He remembers the ribbon. “Yes, something wonderful.” He smiles to himself.

Jiang Cheng was not aware of someone’s mind, crashing down at his smile. He wasn’t aware of how Xichen’s breath hitched, how his heart starts to beat at a racing speed, how his mind feels fluffy and muddled with the thoughts of his smile.

Xichen almost chuckles with the pleasant familiarity of it all.

Being the master of self-control that he is, he regained his bearings and smiled before asking. “Was it because of someone you like?” He took a risk.

Jiang Cheng’s head turned to Xichen. “What? Oh yes.” He shyly answers, his ears a faint blush. 

“You seemed to like that person as well.” Xichen remarks.

Jiang Cheng, suddenly curious, he asks. “How about you Xichen, do you have someone that you like?” He asks. He became curious, he’ll just handle his feelings to whatever answer Xichen gives.

Xichen took a while to answer. He looks at the side, gaze far, as if he’s not here but elsewhere. There is a soft look in his eyes, loving. His neck and ears red with blush, with his cheeks a faint rosy hue. The sun rays hit his face with a soft glow, making his face look tender and beautiful, bathing in the warm gold. Jiang Cheng’s world stops, his breath hitches, heart falling again.

Xichen looks ethereal.

Xichen, in his own little world of a man, smiled softly, one you would give your lover. “Yes, I have someone I like. He is magnificent, beautiful, fierce, strong, glowing. He gives me peace and love and warmth and light.” Xichen faces him and smiled, a genuine one. “He is my love.” 

Jiang Cheng and Lan Xichen stood there in the middle of the room, bathing in the warm golden gleam of the sun. Wind softly blowing their clothes, their hair. With equally blushing faces and a soft and loving smile. Looking at each other’s eyes, as if they hold the secrets to the universe and the window to the depths of their feelings for each other, laying bare their emotions and feelings and love. Both thinking of the one they hold dear, not knowing that they were thinking of each other.

Jiang Cheng’s head tilts and smiled. “He seems like an angel.”

“Yes, he is.”

Maybe his assumption was right. Just maybe, for he is not quite sure. 

All he thought about, was his newfound feelings for Xichen, and that the person Xichen likes, is a he.

 

---------

 

Today is February 14, 2021, Valentine’s Day has come.

Students and teachers come in the school, hand in hand with their beloved. Some walking in with their arms around each other’s bodies, while some sent their partners, or their kids to school, not leaving without a goodbye kiss and a tight hug. White, pink, and red fill the school to commemorate this day. Lots of vendors camping outside the school gates with their baskets full of beautiful roses, calling and urging the students without roses in their hands to buy one of their roses.  

Jiang Cheng ignores all the vendors and enters the school. Near the gates, a student hands him a rainbow-colored rose.

The student council has thought of something fun to do for Valentine’s Day. Each student gets a rainbow-colored rose and they can choose to keep it or to give it to the one they like or love. They can choose to give the rose with their gift, or they can also choose to give only the rose. It also encourages people to confess, ‘To end the pining.’ they said.

Unlike last year, Jiang Cheng won’t keep the rose, this time he will give it to that man, if he ever gets the chance to meet him. He’s not certain if he’ll meet his secret admirer today, he doesn’t know the identity of the man. If his secret admirer wishes to meet him then he’ll give him the rose, if not then he’ll keep it and will give it to him when another chance arrives.

He is also desperately hoping that that man will be his secret admirer. 

He could be wrong, but he’ll just continue to assume. He is stubborn.

 

-----

 

After hours of trying out and playing in booths, eating foods, and celebrating, it’s already late in the afternoon. Jiang Cheng and his group of friends are headed to the lockers. He really wants to go ahead to his locker, but he is currently held by Nie Huaisang and his brother, with Wen Qing and Wen Ning walking beside them. He feels like he’s going to be deaf with their loud voices right by his ear. He wished he had that Lan arm strength, it’s handy in situations like this.

“Jiang Cheng, are going to meet your secret admirer? Can we come? We want to meet him. Can we come pleaseeeee.” Wei Wuxian begs, shaking his poor arm.

“You have to let us meet him. We still need to give him some shovel talking. We have to meet him.” Nie Huaisang tugs his arm so hard that it hurts. If they keep this up, he’s going to lose both of his arms.

“Come on guys let go of him, besides we can’t just go and meet that person when it’s also Jiang Cheng’s first meeting with him/her.” Wen Qing says, prying both Wei Wuxian and Nie Huaisang of his now sore arms. Ah Wen Qing, the voice of reason in the group, an absolute angel. He’ll thank her later. 

“Besides, we don’t want to ruin their first meeting by also showing up. They won’t have a chance to kiss then.” Wen Qing says with a mischievous grin. He takes it back, she’s the devil incarnate. He needs new friends.

When the two pests in his life heard what Wen Qing said, they immediately clung to him, making it hard for him to even stand, and whined like grown up babies. It sounds so fucking awful, he would like to stuff their mouths with paper.

“My god get off of me, I can’t walk. And stop your whining, it sounds like it came from hell.” Wei Wuxian and Nie Huaisang are unrelenting.

With great difficulty on Jiang Cheng’s part, they made it to their lockers. Wei Wuxian and Nie Huaisang had let go of him, thank goodness, but now they are standing near him and his locker. Fucking great. 

He opened his locker and saw a folded piece of paper. His heart starts to race.

He reaches in, opens the letter away from his friend’s prying eyes, and reads.

My dearest love

Happy Valentine’s Day my love! I hope you enjoyed the celebration. I saw you with your friends around campus and I am happy you are having fun, especially at the photo booth. I am also blessed to be graced by your beautiful smile.

I have been sending you letters and gifts so by now, you must be curious as to who I am. I also want to tell you personally just how much I love you. I want to tell you everything, how I fell in love with, why I fell in love with you, and I want you to feel my sincerity. I want you to know who I am, and I also want to know if you will have me.

If you still wish to meet me, then please meet me behind the back building. I will be there. I won’t leave my spot.

I will wait for you, no matter how long it takes.

I love you my heart. Happy Valentine’s Day.

-LH

Jiang Cheng smiles. ‘Got you.’

“Did they tell you where to meet them, where?” Wei Wuxian asks. His friends leaning close to him to know where their meeting spot is.

Jiang Cheng held the paper close to his chest, hiding the written location. “Yes, they told me, and I’m not telling you.” Jiang Cheng says with a knowing smile.

“Awww Jiang Cheng!” His friends whined.

Jiang Cheng left them and broke into a sprint, his friends running after him. He ran in the wrong direction, then hid. The moment he lost them, he ran to the back building to meet his beloved.

-----

To say he’s nervous is an understatement. He is concerned, tense, very anxious. He is sweating bullets, his ears and neck flushing madly, constantly pacing back and forth, his hands jittery while holding his rainbow-colored rose. He can’t calm down.

Lan Xichen is revealing himself to the love of his life, how can he calm down?

He will be meeting his love. He will confess and he will lay bare his heart for his lotus to see.

He just hoped that his lotus will accept his feelings, he saw how Wanyin acted when he received his gift. He hopes that he will be celebrating this Valentine’s Day with his beloved holding his hand, and him holding his love’s hand in return.

When did it start? Lan Xichen is not sure anymore.

Maybe when he first saw him during the school’s opening ceremony. He remembered seeing the handsome, scowling man at the back of the crowd and the first though that came to his mind was ‘How can a man be this handsome while scowling?’ He remembered sneaking glances at that man whenever he thinks no one was looking. He then found out that man’s name when he heard his didi’s crush calling that man. He found that man’s name beautiful. ‘Jiang Wanyin.’

Or maybe it was when he first saw that man’s smile and heard that man’s laugh. He remembered hearing that loud, buoyant, carefree laugh. That laugh caught and held his attention, making him look for the owner of that beautiful laughter. His search led him to the back of a building, there he saw Jiang Wanyin and his friends bickering and teasing and throwing jokes at each other. That melodious laugh ringing across the space. He felt himself freeze on the spot, hypnotized by that laugh. He found himself wanting to hear it again.

Or maybe it was when he saw Jiang Wanyin feed some stray dogs even when it was raining hard. He remembered stopping in his tracks and hiding himself behind a post, looking at the man. He saw him feed those soaked dogs with bread and he saw him using his own umbrella to shade them from the rain, even when he himself is getting wet. That Jiang Wanyin looked so soft, so gentle. That Jiang Wanyin was so different from the Jiang Wanyin that he thought he knew. He found himself wanting to see more of that Jiang Wanyin.

Or maybe it was when he heard Jiang Cheng defend him from those who spoke badly of him. He remembered hiding in the corner when he heard those students talk badly at his back, he felt so betrayed back then because he knew those students. They were smiling in front of him, so he thought they were okay, but it turns out they hated him because they were envious of him. He felt distraught. 

But then he heard the pleasant, familiar, baritone voice that he admitted he dearly missed.

“Will you guys stop acting like immature brats. You guys are here talking shit behind his back, but you can’t even say a thing you said about him to his face because you guys are scared.” Jiang Wanyin said. “It’s not his fault that he’s better than you guys in everything, so don’t go around talking shit behind his back because it’s not him that is too great, it’s you that is lacking. Don’t act too high and mighty when it’s your fault that you are not as accomplished as him.”

That made the group of students go silent. He felt the students’ anger and hate towards Wanyin. Jiang Wanyin paid them no mind and walked to the corner where he was hiding and with a powerful voice, he called him out. “Zewu-jun, don’t just hide and listen to all the insults thrown at you that you don’t even deserve. Face them and give them the punishment that they deserve. You are right and they are wrong, don’t forget that.” He says, before walking off.

Motivated by what he said, he faced those students who were shaking and whose faces turned pale. He gave them the punishment they deserve as what Jiang Wanyin said.

There are many reasons as to why Lan Xichen fell in love with his heart, he would gladly list them all in a piece of paper and give them to him so that he would always remember that he is loved and that he is precious. Love filled his whole being once again as he recalled all the moments they shared while he waited for his heart.

He felt the bravery and the courage coming back. He felt like he could take on anything.

Then he heard the sound of a throat being cleared, and all the bravery and courage that he thought he had disappeared, leaving him nervous once again. He flinched.

Lan Xichen slowly turned around and saw his love, his hair messy and is breathing heavily, he spotted beads of sweat on his forehead and neck. How could a man be this handsome and sexy?!

Lan Xichen’s head short circuited and brought his eyes back down, refusing to make eye contact with Wanyin, shy.

“Y-You are here.” Lan Xichen stutters.

“Yes, I am.” Jiang Cheng answers.

Lan Xichen is having a hard time going through his plan in confessing to Wanyin, it’s not that he is having second thoughts, it’s that he has been filled with anxiety and nervousness.

“Breathe, Xichen.” He tries to follow but is failing miserbly.

“Were you the one sending me the letters, the gifts, and that delicious soup?” Jiang Wanyin says. He thought that soup was delicious!

“Yes, i-it was me.”

“I knew it.” 

Lan Xichen’s head snaps up, eyes wide with surprise. “What?”

Jiang Wanyin chuckled, and looked at Lan Xichen with tenderness. “Your handwriting, it’s the same as the one in the letters. And you mentioned that I was in the photo booth in your letter. Aside from me and my friends, you were the only male there. You gave yourself away Xichen.” Jiang Cheng gave him a teasing smile.

He did?! Oh god.

How could he be so careless, he thought he was being careful, discreet. He thought he was doing great. His face flush with embarrassment, his hands itching to cover his face. Wanyin chuckled again.

Lan Xichen risks a glance at his lotus. He sees Wanyin with a soft gaze and an encouraging smile on his face. This gave him strength. Oh, how he loves this man.

He speaks. “I love you Wanyin. I was captivated by you when I first saw you and your scowl during the opening ceremony months ago. I found myself drawn to your bewitching smile and your cheerful laugh. I felt safe and protected in your shadow as you defended me before from those who insulted me and encouraged me to face them. I found peace in your presence and I found bliss in the days that we worked together.” 

“I, unknowingly, had fallen in love with you from the very moment we first met and until now, with you in front of me, I have fallen again. I want to be with you, to see your smile, to hear your laugh, to feel those mesmerizing, sharp grey eyes on me with a soft and loving expression. I wish to spend my days with you, to be beside you, to be there with you in the days you are down and be there with you in the days you feel like you are on top of the world. I wish to be there with you, to see you, to embrace you, to kiss you, to give you all of my love and myself.”

“My love for you is beyond words and beyond lifetimes. I want to love you and cherish you every day until I die. My sun, my lotus, my heart, my life, my love, will you be my boyfriend?” Lan Xichen held out his rainbow-colored rose to Wanyin. Bowing slightly, head and eyes down, his blush intensifying.

He did it, he has said it, but it feels like he didn’t say enough, enough to really show the extent of his feelings for his love. He is nervous. He is afraid that his feelings will not be reciprocated. If Wanyin really does not feel the same way, what will he do? What will happen? Will he be fine? No that’s absurd, he will be heartbroken. Can he take the rejection? He is sure that he can’t, it will be devastating but he will take it so that Wanyin will not be guilty. He will take it, for Wanyin.

Wanyin has been silent for a while, his eyes are down so he doesn’t know what Wanyin is doing. His hand with his rose is still in the air. He did not take his rose, it is a clear sign of rejection, Wanyin does not like him back. 

Lan Xichen was about to take his rose back when he felt a hand gently taking the rose from his hand. His head shot up. He sees his Wanyin smiling brightly at the rose, then at him. Lan Xichen feels like he would combust.

He catches his Wanyin’s eyes and finds himself unable to look away. Those grey eyes are so mesmerizing, hypnotizing. He’s getting drunk with the intense emotion in his Wanyin’s eyes, emotions too many that he can’t name each one.

Wanyin’s smile morphed into a playful smirk and he stopped breathing. Wanyin took one step closer and another one and another one while he stepped back and again and again until his back bumps into a tree. He motions to escape but he was caged between Wanyin’s arms, trapping him. Is this what they call a kabedon?

Lan Xichen’s face and neck are so red and his heart beating so, so fast, butterflies filled his stomach. He is cornered by his beloved. Wanyin is still wearing that playful smirk, his eyes have a dangerous glint. Wanyin looks so hot.

Wanyin, still smirking, speaks. “Is this the Zewu-jun that is known for his calmness and level headedness? Right now, you don’t look so calm Xichen.”

He feels like having a heart attack from how fast his heart is beating. His Wanyin looks, so sexy, so confident. So dangerous. He feels so little when Wanyin looks at him like that. His name sounds so good from Wanyin’s lips. So perfect. So right.

Wanyin drops his smirk, eyes losing its dangerous glint. The playfulness on Wanyin’s face gone, replaced by a look of uncertainty, of question, of anticipation, of hope.

“What you said, that you love me and that you want to be with me. Did you mean all of it?” Wanyin asks, eyes expecting.

“Everything.” He says in a breathy whisper. 

Then his Wanyin smiled and Xichen felt like he could collapse from the sight. His smile is always so beautiful and yet, this smile is the most exquisite. This smile is his most favorite. He has been graced by the presence of an angel.

Jiang Cheng brings his face closer. “I loved the poems, and the gifts, and your soup, it was delicious.” Lan Xichen’s heart starts to race, waiting, anticipation for something he does not know, yet.

“You said you love me, right?” Wanyin asks him.

Overwhelmed by the intense feelings of hope, slight nervousness, anticipation, and love. All he could do was give Wanyin a weak nod. 

Then Wanyin smiles, a little bit smaller and a lot softer, with eyes looking at him with what seems to be love, he speaks. “I love you too, Xichen.”

His whole world stops. His eyes grow wide like saucers, his mouth slightly ajar, his cheeks burning, his body trembling. Is this for real? Is Wanyin telling the truth? Is this really happening?

Lan Xichen can’t believe it. He thinks that this is just too surreal. Is Wanyin pranking him, is he joking? Because if he is then he would hate him. No no, he can’t hate him, he can’t even bring himself to even dislike him. Wanyin is kind he can’t be joking. But what if he is? What would he do? Again, he needs to hear it again because this is too good to be true. 

“C-Could you repeat that, please.” He asks his beloved, body still shaking, voice trembling.  

Wanyin chuckled before he complies. “I love you, Xichen. I am not lying to you.” He repeats.

He loves him, his Wanyin actually loves him back! Oh my god he loves him! His feelings are reciprocated! This is amazing, beyond amazing. He can call him his Wanyin now, because he is his! Wanyin loves him! WANYIN LOVES HIM! Holy fuck!

He smiles, a genuine one, as wide as the smile on HIS! Wanyin’s face. He’s so happy he might cry. Finally, this amazing, majestic, absolutely gorgeous human is his to love.

They share a moment smiling at each other, bathing in each other’s presence. Love filling the spaces between them. Both immersed in the world of their beloved’s eyes, seeing and feeling the different emotions caused by none other than themselves. Surrounded by the smell of earth and mud and lotuses, and wisteria and sandalwood, two hearts are joined together by love.

“You know, every time we meet, I noticed your ears get red.” Jiang Cheng says. Lan Xichen blushes even more.

“You look so pretty when you blush. You look so shy and delicate, so enticing.” Jiang Cheng’s grey eyes landed on Lan Xichen’s lips.

He sees where his Wanyin’s eyes are, and gulps.

Jiang Cheng caught Lan Xichen’s eyes once more, this time with a heavy stare. Lan Xichen felt the want and need emanating from that stare. Jiang Cheng’s beautiful grey orbs, now a bit hazy, but yet still sharp, looking at him with such intensity that leaves him hot and bothered. Lan Xichen feels those eyes staring through him and his soul. He feels vulnerable, open, bared for this man to see all of him. He felt himself weakening from that gaze, submitting to the man who has captured him. Jiang Cheng looks at him like how a predator looks at its prey. He found himself sharing that want and need. 

Lan Xichen needs him. Now.

Using one hand, the other supporting his body, Jiang Cheng cups Lan Xichen’s cheek and leaned in. Their faces are so, so close, one slight movement and their lips would connect. 

With hand still on his Xichen’s cheek, Jiang Cheng asks, but he knows very well what his answer will be. “Xichen, can I kiss you?”

“Yes.”

And they kiss.

The kiss is soft, gentle, loving, innocent. Slightly nipping each other’s lips with soft pecks. They gave each other feather light kisses. Both were shy and since this is their first ever kiss out of a million, or more, that they will share, they want to savor this so that they will remember this magical first kiss in the future. Lips slipping perfectly into each other’s, like they were destined to be connected, molded to the shape of their fated one. Softly exploring each other’s mouth.

Then it gets heated. 

The once gentle and feather light kiss turned into one with passion, want, and a little bit of lust. Lips on lips, sucking and nipping. Jiang Cheng’s tongue licking Lan Xichen’s bottom lip, asking for entrance. Lan Xichen still in a daze from their lip locking, slightly parted his lips. That’s enough for Jiang Cheng to slide his tongue in Lan Xichen’s mouth. He explored his mouth freely, Lan Xichen too immersed in the heated kiss and mind only full with his beloved’s mouth, didn’t bother to put up a fight, submitting himself to his Wanyin, letting him do whatever he wishes to do with his mouth. 

Jiang Cheng explored and licked every corner of Xichen’s mouth that he could reach, marking his territory. He is possessive. He wants to mark everything that is his. He slid his tongue out of Xichen’s mouth and sets on sucking and nipping on Xichen’s lips, bruising them. Jiang Cheng sucked Xichen’s lips a little bit too hard, and Lan Xichen moans into his mouth, earning a low groan from Jiang Cheng. 

Lan Xichen’s knees became weak. It would’ve given out if Jiang Cheng didn’t snake an arm around his waist, a hand holding onto his nape. Lan Xichen held onto Jiang Wanyin’s shoulders, tightly clutching on his shirt, holding on for dear life as Jiang Wanyin kissed him, torridly.

When they broke of the kiss, both of them are breathing hard. Both beet red, and both panting. Jiang Cheng looks at Lan Xichen’s swollen, bruised lips. So red, so plump, glistening. He wants to kiss him again.

Jiang Cheng leaned to kiss Lan Xichen but he covered his mouth with his arm and lightly pushing Jiang Cheng away, averting his also glistening eyes on the ground. 

“Are you shy, my cloud?” Jiang Cheng teases.

Lan Xichen never thought he could get redder than how he is now. Partly because of his Wanyin’s teasing and because his Wanyin called him his cloud.

His Wanyin gave him an endearment. My cloud.

It’s beautiful. He loves it.

“I didn’t know that you can be a flirt.” Xichen says.

“Well, now that we’re dating, you’ll get to know more about me, and I’ll get to know more about you.” Jiang Cheng replies.

Lan Xichen smiles. “I like that.”

Jiang Cheng took out his rainbow-colored rose and held it out to Lan Xichen. “Let’s go out on our first date?” Jiang Cheng asks.

Lan Xichen just laughs, took the rose, and placed his arms around Jiang Cheng’s neck. Jiang Cheng, in return, snaked his arms around Lan Xichen’s waist. Holding each other close and feeling each other’s presences. Forehead connected as they smile lovingly each other. Gazing fondly at their beloved. 

Jiang Cheng thought that he didn’t believe in love, and that he never will. But now? Maybe he’ll give love a shot and embrace and enjoy this feeling. With his beloved, his cloud.