FANDOM: Mo Dao Zu Shi
PAIRING: Lan WangJi / Wei WuXian
NOTE: Modern AU; Professor Lan Zhan (30) x Ice-Cream Man Wei Ying (22).
A/N: Daily update until the end of the story. Around one week of continuous updates.
It makes no sense for a handsome, intelligent man like Wei WuXian to be selling ice-cream in front of the university, under horrible weathers. It piques Lan WangJi’s curiosity.
The man outside the university wasn’t someone unfamiliar to the people in the university, students and teachers alike. Every day, he would be seen standing under the tree by the gate with his ice-cream truck, his grin dazzling as he sold ice-cream to everyone who stopped by his truck, even those who simply passed by. He’s a young man in his twenties; his features exceptionally charming, his personality one of vibrant. He had the look of an intelligent man, and it’s hard to even imagine how such a ravishing man can bring himself to sell ice-cream in a white singlet and a pair of jeans when he could be working in a prominent company, even being able to enjoy a comfortable working environment as opposed to being exposed under the sun like this.
The man was also one who attracted tons of attention to himself. Not only because of his good looks, but because of his body. His skin resembled that of silky caramel, every muscle lines on his torso flowing seamlessly into his singlet. He was like a living work of art, his tanned brown skin – thanks to the long exposure under the sun – so tempting to touch; every move giving away strength.
The ice-cream man outside the university was always the talk of the university.
And naturally, such stunning man with such reputation also made his existence known to the professors in the university, one of them being the Associate Professor of Literature, Professor Lan WangJi.
Professor Lan WangJi was a legend of his own. Ever since he graduated from this very same university he was teaching in, he’d been offered a position as a professor due to his outstanding achievement in academics. But he’d turned down the offer, accepting an Associate Professor position instead with reasoning being he was still new in the industry and that he’d have to gain more experience before he was worthy to hold the professor title. Many complimented him for his humbleness, but Lan WangJi never thought that it was him being modest. It was simply the truth.
Since then, he’d been teaching in the university of six years, and still, he was an Associate Professor, with no intention whatsoever to move his rank up yet.
Lan WangJi enjoyed teaching. He took it as a sense of sacred responsibility.
Lan WangJi too had an appearance that often earned him the top position on the university’s very own ‘Good-looking man leadership board’. His skin complexion was one of fair; he was almost like a porcelain doll, yet he did hold some color. His gaze was often cold, his eyes a light-colored pair of orbs. His entire vibe was of frosty but that didn’t become the reason for him to be alienated from the rest of the crowd in the university, even making him a man many would attempt to approach, just so they could catch a few words with him.
Lan WangJi was used to dealing with young adults. He was used to seeing the twinkling in their eyes, the thrill when they got to talk to him, and how they turned from obedient statues to playful monkeys right when he dismissed the lecture.
What Lan WangJi wasn’t used to – was seeing a young man who was clearly clever, all willing to sell ice-cream under hot weathers, wearing of nothing but a skimpy singlet on his body, when he should either be playing games in arcades or climbing his way up the career ladder in one of the most sophisticated companies around.
The first time he met the man, it was purely out of curiosity.
He’d always pass by the ice-cream stall. The man would always call out to him, but he would always nod at him and walk away without another word, let alone buying anything from him.
The first time he actually came to the truck, just to finally unknot the doubts beneath his chest, the man greeted him with a blazing grin, one that revealed rows of flawlessly carved out dazzling teeth in between the faint ravishing curve of his lips.
“Professor Lan!” the man had called out to him even before the could make his way to his truck.
Lan WangJi nodded. “You know me?” he asked.
The man chuckled; a voice so melodic it sounded like an angel was singing in his ears.
“Of course I know you! You have quite a… well, great reputation in the university, you know? The girls especially, when they come over to buy ice-cream from me, they’ll always talk about you.”
“Is that so?” Lan WangJi replied meekly. It’s not that he didn’t know, but this was the only way he knew how to hold the conversation with the man so he simply let him ramble.
“Here,” the man spoke as Lan WangJi was checking out the ice-cream flavors in the truck.
“How do you…” Lan WangJi started but the man waved his hand, interrupting his question.
“Like I said, the girls talked a lot about you. This is just one of the things they talked about. Careful. Eat it before it melts. And, oh, don’t need to pay me. Take it as a hello gift?”
The man was smiling brightly at him again. Lan WangJi took the ice-cream from his hand, his fingers unintentionally brushed against the man’s fingers when he did, the warm on his skin taking him slightly aback.
The thing was – Lan WangJi never ate ice-cream in front of others.
He never even ate in front of others, let alone ice-cream.
There’s no way they’d know vanila was his favorite ice-cream flavor.
Ever since then, the man had always appeared in Lan WangJi’s eyes and in his mind. Occasionally, Lan WangJi will stand by the window in the staff room, peering out of it, just to catch sight of the ice-cream man. The man was, as he would’ve expected, nice to just anyone. No matter who approached him – students, lecturers, old woman, children – he’d always talk to them in such a fluid way like he was an expert. His smile never faded, like he never had anything to worry in the world. Everyone who’d approached him, even when they were being miserable at first, would all leave with a grin on their face, and an ice-cream in their hands.
The man was the brightest existence around; even brighter than the sun above his head.
Lan WangJi sighed.
So he wasn’t the only person he’s nice to. He wasn’t sure why there’s a twinge of pain in his heart upon realizing that so he shook his head, trying to distract himself from the feeling.
“WangJi, you’re interested in that kid too?”
Lan XiChen, one of the professors in the university, also Lan WangJi’s brother, had walked up to him when he was spacing out. Lan WangJi greeted him, then spoke,
Lan XiChen said nothing else, joining him to stare at the man outside, who was now playing with a child with two ice-creams in his hands.
“Who wouldn’t?” Lan XiChen said. “It’s normal to wonder why a young man like this is willing to expose himself under horrid weathers just to sell ice-cream.”
Lan WangJi remained silent. There were too many mysteries surrounding the ice-cream man. He’s burning to know the answers to every single one of his question.
“Brother, do you know him?” he asked.
Lan XiChen shook his head with a smile.
“Not as much as you do. But… I do know that rumors had said that he’d ruined his education because he was playing a fool around too much with women when he was still studying. That’s why he stopped his studies and ended up selling ice-cream instead. But those are just rumors, no one knows if it’s true.”
Lan WangJi’s fingers curled up by his sides. His head lowered.
Seeing that, Lan XiChen patted him on his shoulder.
“Maybe you can try asking him yourself?”
He left. But Lan WangJi remained staring at the ice-cream man, his gaze fixed steadily on the jumpy existence, Lan XiChen’s words ringing unceasingly in his ears.
On the same day, Lan WangJi passed by the truck again. This time, with no intention to stop.
The man, again, called out to him.
His footsteps halted, he shot a sideways glance at the man. He was still grinning so widely, looking like he was the most innocent being in the entire world.
Lan WangJi was reminded of the rumors again. He pressed his lips together. There’s no way to verify the truth of those rumors unless if he asked the man himself. Even so, how sure could he be to tell that the man will tell him the truth? He knew nothing about the man; he didn’t even know where he came from, who he was, his intention… nothing.
Yet, he couldn’t help but feel fidgety when it came to him.
“Professor Lan, are you okay? You don’t look so good,” the man’s eyes brightened at him. “Is it the weather? Take this then. Cool down a bit.”
He was holding a vanilla-flavored ice-cream in his hand, wearing a smile on his face, looking perfectly clean. Sweat fell from his forehead, trickling along his face, all the way down his neck and his collarbones.
Lan WangJi’s throat constricted.
Turning away, he threw his words,
The man’s eyes widened. His mouth fell.
But Lan WangJi was already rushing his way out of his sight by then.
He wasn’t sure if he could handle another second with the man, especially not when he was wearing such a shocked yet disappointed expression on his face the last he saw him.