FANDOM: Mo Dao Zu Shi
PAIRING: Lan WangJi / Wei WuXian
NOTE: Modern AU; High school students Lan WangJi x Wei WuXian; both 15; light-hearted slice-of-life.
A/N: Daily update until the end of the story.
A story of two high school boys learning how to take care of an injured kitten.
Lan WangJi was never fond of the crowd in the canteen. Most of the time, he’d eat anything he can get in the canteen, regardless if it’s a popular food or not. Or more frequently, he’d eat food Wei WuXian brought for him.
His footsteps ceased steeply the moment he stepped into the canteen, already feeling the frustration of having to deal with sweat and heat and being squeezed in the midst of the belligerent crowd. Clenching his fists, he walked steadily towards the crowd, his overly cautious gesture a stark contrast with the rest. He tried to wedge his way into the herd but to no avail. He tried again, and failed again. Frowning, he took in a deep breath and shoved his way into the crowd with colossal force that he’d never used on any other person ever. One of the students who was fighting for the day-exclusive bun slammed into him after being yanked aside by the horde. The student was about to apologize when he gasped out loud upon seeing who he’d rammed into, and, right before he could stop himself, the words erupted from his mouth,
As if time was frozen drastically, the noise in the canteen ー specifically in front of the counter where most crowd was gathered ー stalled in their motions and, in perfect synchronization, turned to look at one same direction.
ー at Lan WangJi.
Lan WangJi’s reaction was as frigid as ever. Simply giving the crowd a brief look, he moved towards the counter without another word, acting totally unbothered by the attention he’d huddled for himself. The students merely watched him walk, all stood rooted on the spot, as if they’d become statues all in the same second.
Lan WangJi came to stand in front of the counter then. He frowned deeper upon seeing the empty trays, realizing that he’d come too late and that all the day-exclusive buns were sold out. He sighed under his breath and was about to leave when one bun was pushed under his eyes.
It was the exact bun he was looking for.
He looked up, finding himself staring at a timid-looking student.
“I-I have one here, if you… don’t mind,” the student stuttered.
Wen Ning, one of Wei WuXian’s friends from a neighbouring class who Lan WangJi always witnessed to be hanging out with each other after school and during breaks. Despite knowing the person, Lan WangJi never spoke to him before, let alone being approached in such a way.
He looked at the bun, then back at Wen Ning again. As if afraid that Lan WangJi was suspecting him, Wen Ning hurriedly spoke again,
“I-I already ate a bowl of noodles, t-this is just a snack and I’m quite full so…”
“Is it okay?” Lan WangJi asked.
Wen Ning broke into a grin and nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, yes! Of course! P-Please, take it!”
“Thank you,” Lan WangJi said. He took the bun out of Wen Ning’s hand and paid.
For a while since he left the canteen, eyes were still stuck on where he’d left, all of them asking the same question:
Since when did Prefect Lan gain interest in the school’s day-exclusive food?
When he returned to the classroom, Wei WuXian had taken the kitten out of the box and had spread the small towel on his table, letting the kitten laid curled up on it. The moment he saw Lan WangJi, he raised a finger and pressed it against his own lips, winking at him. Lan WangJi looked away and walked towards him then, pacing as slowly and as quietly as he could.
“Bandage,” he said, taking the items in a plastic bag out one by one. “Gauze.”
Wei WuXian stared as he lined things up on the table, taking delight in the way he took everything in such a serious manner despite his outrage earlier. As he was about to thank Lan WangJi for the effort, he caught sight of something else that clearly didn’t look like it belonged there with the rest of the items; at least not in the same category. And that something had him gaping at it for long moments, unsure of how to make sense of what he saw.
Lan WangJi caught him staring at it too. Coughing mutely, he pushed the bun towards Wei WuXian.
“Ah?” Wei WuXian blurted, snapped from his own thoughts. He raised a pair of wide eyes at Lan WangJi, mouth opened. However, Lan WangJi wasn’t looking at him; or more like, he’s avoiding his gaze. Without a word, he lifted his own chair and spun it around before he sat down in front of Wei WuXian, still keeping to himself, still unwilling to look Wei WuXian in the eyes.
Realizing that Lan WangJi didn’t intend to explain it himself, Wei WuXian returned his gaze to the bun. He took it up, waved it in front of Lan WangJi and said,
“I didn’t know you’re interested in the canteen’s food. You don’t like to spend time in the canteen so I always thought the foods aren’t to your taste. …So you like this bun too, huh? I heard it’s really hard to get it, can’t believe you managed to squeeze through the crowd and get one for yourself! That’s… honestly, even I have to admit that’s really, really impressive.”
Lan WangJi’s fingers curled up on his lap. His lips trembled, looking like he’s about to say something but before he could gather enough guts to do exactly that, Wei WuXian had taken something out of his bag and put it on the table. Lan WangJi recognized it as the food box Wei WuXian always gave him whenever he brought food for him.
His hands clenched into fists.
Wei WuXian sighed out loud. “It’s too bad then. I brought mom’s homemade food today! She’s going for a vacation with dad for a week and she thought I’d miss her food when she’s not around so she made so much that it’s impossible for me to finish all in one day. I thought I could share with you. But seems like you’ve already boughtー”
“Give me,” Lan WangJi interrupted.
When Wei WuXian looked at Lan WangJi again, he almost laughed out loud upon seeing how Lan WangJi was practically glaring at his food box. Biting his lower lip to sustain his laughter, he leaned towards Lan WangJi and asked in a frisky tone,
“Give you what exactly?”
Lan WangJi looked away again. Wei WuXian burst out laughing. He laughed for so long and the longer he laughed the redder the tips of Lan WangJi’s ears became. Finally, Lan WangJi could no longer stand it. Clapping a hand on the table, he pushed the bun towards Wei WuXian again and growled,
“I bought this for you!”
“Hahahahaha, of course you did, why else would youー wait, what?”
Well, that shut Wei WuXian up. He was gaping at Lan WangJi, his food box still in his hands but Lan WangJi was breathing so heavily that he was afraid that if he was to step on his tail any further Lan WangJi would punch him for real. Carefully, he pushed the food box towards Lan WangJi and scratched the back of his head, awkward.
“O-Oh, you got it for me,” he repeated.
“You… walked all the way down to the canteen after you dropped by the clinic?”
“And you… wrestled your way through the crowd and…”
“Ah… Ahahaha, I see! I see! Thank you so much, Lan Zhan! I’ll take it that you’re concerned I won’t have time to buy food for myself because I need to take care of the kitten, right? That’s very considerate of you, as expected from a Prefect! I-I shall accept your kind offer and eat the bun then. Thank you again, Lan Zhan! Here, here, take the food box, it’s yours.”
Lan WangJi can definitely tell how much Wei WuXian was trying to soothe the awkward air between them and he still had absolutely no idea how he should handle this so all he could do was taking the food box like Wei WuXian had told him to and opened up the lid.
It’s as red as always. Very much like the food Wei WuXian would always share with him.
“My mom’s new recipe!” Wei WuXian said proudly. He’d torn the bun’s plastic open and started munching on it. “I hope you like it. Wow, now I know why everyone fights over this bun. It’s really good! You should’ve bought one more for yourself, Lan Zhan.”
“En,” Lan WangJi said discreetly and took the first bite of Wei WuXian’s food.
He never spoke when he ate. And every time when he’s silent, Wei WuXian always thought that he’s enjoying his food with his own pace so he’d do all the talking as he spoke to him throughout the whole time while being totally unaware of the thin sheen of sweat on his forehead and how red the tips of his ears became, and how he’d end up buying two bottles of milk every time after he ate.
Wei WuXian thought he liked milk, like a cat. Perhaps that’s also why he went out to buy milk again after he’s done with eating ー this time, for himself, and for the kitten.
If he resonated with a cat then, surely, he wouldn’t do anything that’d harm the cat, right?
For the rest of their break time, both Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian tended to the kitten’s injuries. It’s just a cut, nothing too serious, which was relieving on its own. Once they’re sure that it’s safe and sound, they hid it under Wei WuXian’s table again.
As long as the kitten stayed quiet, then it should be fine for the rest of the day.
The last class for their day was P.E.
Like Wei WuXian had told Lan WangJi, he went to their coach and told him that he’s feeling unwell and that he wanted to be given the permission to skip the class for the day. For someone who’s always the enthusiastic spotlight during P.E., someone who’s usually so active in class to be falling sick all of a sudden was too much of a suspicion that not even the kind and considerate P.E. coach could bring himself to believe.
The coach, Xiao XingChen, smiled gently and patted him on the head. As part of his sense of obligation, he asked about the details of his discomfort, all of which Wei WuXian was able to cover up, and then finally agreed to let him go under the condition that he went to the clinic to get his condition checked out.
“Maybe I should have someone to look after you too, it’d be horrible if you pass out on your way there…” Xiao XingChen pondered, gaze swimming through the crowd. His eyes were almost landing on one of the students who seemed like he’s utterly uninterested with the class when Lan WangJi raised his hand.
“Yes?” Xiao XingChen asked.
“Teacher Xiao, I can bring Wei Ying to the clinic,” Lan WangJi suggested.
Wei WuXian gasped at him, Xiao XingChen graced an expression of surprise. Never had Lan WangJi ever volunteered to skip class just to look after a student. But then again, having Lan WangJi, the student’s role model, to look after Wei WuXian would also be the best assurance a teacher can ask for.
Oh well, if a Prefect volunteered, then there’s no reason for Xiao XingChen to say no.
So he nodded, “Okay then.”
Shortly after, Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi sat outside the school building ー their bodies completely concealed beneath the thick bushes ー with the kitten, where Wei WuXian was feeding it with a plate of leftover milk from before. The kitten had regained some energy by now but it didn’t seem like it’s able to open its eyes yet.
Wei WuXian had been giving Lan WangJi a teasing look ever since they ended up here, one which Lan WangJi often responded with a strict glare.
“Look after me, huh?”
“Like a good Prefect, the role model of all students, the admirable Senior, Lan WangJi.”
“Can’t believe there’d come a day when you would skip class with me. I need to write this down. Make it into an anniversary or something,” Wei WuXian teased.
“Would you be able to slide your way out if it’s someone else who’s following you?” Lan WangJi asked then.
“Depends on who it is,” Wei WuXian said nonchalantly.
“…Do you prefer someone else then?” Lan WangJi asked.
“Why would you think so?” Wei WuXian returned the question, eyes wide.
Lan WangJi didn’t answer. Instead, he shifted his gaze to the kitten and asked,
“What do you plan to do with it?”
“I’ll have to take it home and take care of it until it recovers. Maybe find the parents too. I’m sure the parents must be very worried about their missing child,” Wei WuXian said.
Lan WangJi nodded.
“I have one concern, though,” Wei WuXian said.
Lan WangJi looked at him, waiting for him to continue, which he did shortly after.
“But since you’re here, I guess there’s nothing to be concerned about after all,” he said with a grin.
“…Why are you looking at me like that? You’re not telling me that you’re letting me handle the kitten all by myself, are you?” Wei WuXian questioned, looking distinctly astonished.
Lan WangJi was still staring at him, asking questions through his eyes.
Wei WuXian couldn’t take the lack of response. He shuffled closer towards Lan WangJi and nudged his arm with his own.
“You’re taking care of it with me, right? You won’t be leaving me alone with this cat, right? Right?”
Lan WangJi’s eyes brightened. He opened his mouth, about to say something, before he closed it again, lips pursed.
“Lan Zhan! Give me some responses!” Wei WuXian panicked.
“…Okay,” Lan WangJi finally said.
“Okay? What’s that okay for? Taking care with me or leaving me alone with the cat?” Wei WuXian urged.
“…Taking care with you,” Lan WangJi said.
Heaving a sigh of relief, Wei WuXian patted his chest and said, “Luckily you said that! Phew! I cannot take care of it myself. I never had a cat before, I don’t know how to take care of one, let alone one that’s injured! Now that you’re here, I feel much more relieved!”
“You have to let me know what to buy too. What kind of food to buy, how to shower it, how many times should I feed it, where should I let it sleep… things like that. To be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no idea how to take care of one, I only know how to play with one, haha!”
“…Lan Zhan, say something,” Wei WuXian pressed on.
“I… don’t know how to take care of cats either,” Lan WangJi admitted.
Wei WuXian broke into an awkward laugh. “…That’s fine too! We can learn together! No problem! As long as we have each other, simple things like taking care of a cat won’t be too much of a hassle for us!”
He slung an arm around Lan WangJi’s shoulder, his weight falling on the other man, “From today onwards, we’ll be temporary fathers to this poor kitten!”
Lan WangJi stared as he laughed, and continued staring at him as he fondled with the cat’s fur, coupled with a warm light reflected in his beautiful orbs.