Lan WangJi’s finger traced against the photograph. It’s a face he knew, one that he’d been staring at just last night. It’s the same face who had always grinned at him, the curves on his lips always beautiful, even his eyes looked like they were smiling.
This was also the same face who had been around him since a long time ago.
So why didn’t he remember?
“Professor Lan? You left early today.”
Wei WuXian was, as usual, sitting behind his cart when Lan WangJi came to him. The moment all his lectures ended, he’d left the university and strode right towards where Wei WuXian was. Luckily, no one was around when he came so Wei WuXian himself was taking his time playing with his phone when Lan WangJi approached.
“Are you done with your work?” Lan WangJi asked.
Wei WuXian didn’t answer for a while. He seemed so concentrated on his phone. From the small sounds echoing from it, Lan WangJi can make out that he’s playing a game. After a while, Wei WuXian muttered a low ‘yes!’ then looked up at Lan WangJi again.
“Sorry. It was a tough level. And yes, I’m done. Are you going to suggest taking me home again?”
Lan WangJi nodded. Wei WuXian grinned. That mere gesture had Lan WangJi’s heart skipping a beat. It’s the exact same grin he wore on the photograph where he received the outstanding student award just last year.
“Your home? My home?” Wei WuXain raised a kittenish eyebrow.
“Mine,” Lan WangJi said without a second thought.
“Hahahaha! You’re really serious about letting me stay over every day, do you?” Wei WuXian broke out laughing.
“Yes,” Lan WangJi said.
Wei WuXian’s laughter froze.
For the entire ride back home, both of them, surprisingly, didn’t exchange many conversations. Wei WuXian being Wei WuXian, he’d tried to talk to Lan WangJi a few times but the conversation often ended up awkward with Wei WuXian chuckling drily. Even he can feel how cold the vibe was around Lan WangJi. Lan WangJi caught him peering at him from the corners of his eyes a few times and every time he did, Lan WangJi was sure to return the gaze, a contrast to his usual behavior, effectively taking Wei WuXian off guard.
“Today is… colder than usual, don’t you think? Ahaha… hahaha…”
This time, when they arrived home, Wei WuXian didn’t walk in first. Lan WangJi stood by the door, even opening the door for him, but Wei WuXian scratched the back of his head and said,
“Professor Lan, are you sure it’s okay having me here today?”
“Why do you ask?” Lan WangJi responded with a flat tone.
“Well, you… you don’t seem like you’re in a good mood.”
Lan WangJi smiled then. Wei WuXian’s eyes brightened, his mouth dropping. This was perhaps the first time he’d ever seen Lan WangJi smiled.
“No such thing,” Lan WangJi said coolly. Out of nowhere, he stretched his hand and clutched Wei WuXian on the wrist. Just a very light grip, just a very casual gesture. But that alone had faded flush smearing on Wei WuXian’s skin where they made contact, making his tanned skin tone to appear even more like it’s coated with a layer of caramel.
Without another word, Lan WangJi took both of them into the house. Wei WuXian, still in a state of stupor, can only follow.
He was released right from the moment they came to the living room. Yet, both of them remained standing, none of them sitting down, none of them looked like they’re about to sit. Wei WuXian was still eyeing Lan WangJi cagily, his attitude a drastic contrast from the day before. Lan WangJi, however, wasn’t looking at him. He wasn’t looking at anything in particular. But he can tell that Wei WuXian had swallowed down his throat a few times, perhaps attempted to speak but pushing that intention down before he could.
Releasing a long breath, Lan WangJi decided that he should break the silence.
“Do you have anything you want to tell me?”
Wei WuXian fidgeted like a cat that got in shock. He bit on his lower lip, gaze wandering from the ceiling to the floor then to Lan WangJi, before he broke into a very awkward smile.
“Professor Lan, you… know?”
“En,” Lan WangJi admitted without a second thought.
Wei WuXian pulled a long sigh. He licked his lips, ending up biting on his lower lip again then he came to scratch on the back of his head again.
“I apologize for hiding it for so long but you know, I wasn’t sure if you’re okay with it so I wanted to spend some time to observe your reaction first.”
Lan WangJi listened to him the entire time, with no intention to interrupt.
“A-Are you angry? Really, I didn’t mean to– okay, I said that already. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea that I’m forcing it on you, you know? I don’t want you to think that I’m trying to earn your favor or something. But really, everything I did and said were all sincere. I don’t intend to gain anything from you, I just, well, I just want to come closer to you–”
“Wait,” Lan WangJi voiced out, suddenly noticing that what Wei WuXian said had taken a turn he didn’t expect.
“–I know you must think of me as one of those people who try to approach you by now.” Yet, Wei WuXian continued speaking, like he was spilling out everything he wanted to say to Lan WangJi that he’d kept accumulated in his chest for a long time. “You’re, well, technically, you’re my senior, or even, my teacher. I’m aware of the age gap, and I’m aware how weird it might seem so the last thing I want is to scare you away but I can’t help it.” A small chuckle that sounded both powerless and pathetic. “When I see you, I can’t help it. It’s been like this since… I don’t even know when, perhaps since that time. But yes, Professor Lan. No, Lan WangJi, Lan… Lan Zhan. I like you. I like you so much I want to come close to you and talk to you and–”
Wei WuXian hitched a breath. That, however, effectively made him stop talking.
“You…” he started carefully. “What did you call me?”
“Wei Ying,” Lan WangJi repeated.
“You know…?” Wei WuXian asked.
Lan WangJi shook his head with a smile.
“I only wanted to ask you if you were a student in my university.”
“…Oh,” Wei WuXian staggered. He avoided eye contact with Lan WangJi for a bit before he came to look at him with a grin. “Well, no one has called me that for… I don’t remember.”
A name he left behind when he moved into this town.
“What you said just now,” Lan WangJi spoke. “are all true?”
“Yes, of course!” Wei WuXian quickly said. “Okay, it’s not like I don’t want to tell you, you know? This kind of thing needs proper planning. Wouldn’t it be weird if someone comes to you and just tell you they like you? I’m sure it will freak you out, right? So see, I have this whole plan. First, I’ll give you ice-cream when you drop by my cart, so you’ll at least have some impressions towards me. Then, I’ll wait for you to leave before I do, so you’ll keep remembering that ‘ah, this man is very hardworking’ too, then–”
Lan WangJi had lurched towards him in the midst of his words, grasped him on the wrists and pressed him against the wall. The next thing Wei WuXian felt was a soft, warm pair of lips on his own. His own lips were trembling when he realized what was happening, his eyes wide, his mind blank. The sensation came as quick as it came; he was pushed into a state of daze and pulled back out as quick as it did too. The next time he shifted his gaze to look at Lan WangJi, he was looking into a pair of light-colored orbs, yet the ravening hint of it unconcealed beneath the seemingly tranquil layer.
“No more then,” Lan WangJi whispered against his lips, hot breath sprinkled on his skin, causing cold to run down Wei WuXian’s spine.
“No longer a need for then,” Lan WangJi continued.
At the end of his words, Lan WangJi leaned in for yet another round of kissing, and this time, it was no longer soft and light but hot, passionate, and desperate.
Perhaps it’s because both of them had their frustration towards each other suppressed for way too long that it was now forced towards the corner of the wall, exploding all at once like sparks and leaving them with no space to breathe.
Both of them scrambled their way towards the same room where Wei WuXian had been sleeping the previous night, their lips never once left each other and right from the moment Wei WuXian was being pressed on the bed, his hands obediently slung around Lan WangJi’s neck, letting the man hovering over him and putting him in a completely submissive position.
“Never thought Professor Lan looks so docile outside but can be so fierce in bed,” Wei WuXian teased with a smirk. Those words of his, however, earned him a bite on the neck.
“You don’t like it?” Lan WangJi asked, warm breath hitting Wei WuXian against the tanned color of his skin, making it flusher than it already was.
“No such thing,” Wei WuXian said in the midst of small pants. “You can be fiercer. I love it.”
Despite saying that, Lan WangJi never really gotten overboard and went ‘fiercer’ on Wei WuXian. All he did after was giving him a kiss that almost made him pass out, then hugging him, pressing his body close against his own, feeling their vehement heartbeats pounding against each other’s chest.
When Wei WuXian patted him on the back of the head, he looked up, seeing the question in his eyes.
“You’re still young.”
“What? I’m 22 already!” Wei WuXian said.
Lan WangJi simply smiled and kissed him on the corner of his lips.
“22 is young.”
Wei WuXian knew it’s just an excuse. Lan WangJi had always been like this. He’s always been extremely careful, extremely particular. Even when Wei WuXian was right in his arms, ready and openly welcoming for him to devour him, Lan WangJi would still be the one to stay conscious, knowing perfectly well that rushing into things wouldn’t do them any good.
Wei WuXian had always respected this part of his. So Wei WuXian simply let him be.
He’s right, anyway. There’s no rush. They had plenty of time now that Wei WuXian’s long run of chasing after Lan WangJi had come to an end.
When he thought about how they first met, and how he’d ended up falling for the man, he can’t help but laugh to himself.
When he was three, he once ran out of the house after being scolded by the son of his adopted family for making his father send their dogs away. He ended up squatting in one corner of the street, all alone, in a place he had yet to familiarize himself with. He always thought his adopted family never liked him, that’s why his foster mother and his foster brother always screamed at him. He always thought he’s unwanted; and he thought it’s okay. Just that, he’s still small; no matter how many times he reminded himself that it’s okay, that he should feel lucky to even have a roof to stay under, there were still times like this when he can’t help but feel like he’s a burden to everyone else.
He remembered it was raining at that time; it was cold, he can even hear barkings from a far distance. He shivered out of reflex, covering his head with his small hands, as if that would keep him safe.
Then, a shadow hovered over his head. When he looked up, he made eye contact with a boy right away. The boy wore no expression on his face, his orbs a light color. When he spoke to him, his voice was cold too,
“Why are you here?” he asked.
Wei WuXian didn’t answer back then. He lowered his head, wary of the stranger.
“What is your name?”
The boy left after that, leaving the umbrella for Wei WuXian and leaving Wei WuXian to hug onto his knees, trying hard not to cry. See, even a stranger can’t be bothered about him. Even when he told him his name.
But shortly after, he saw a pair of shoes in front of him. The next time he looked up, the same boy from before was holding an ice-cream in his hand; his eyes were still emotionless, his face even more so, but the words he said to Wei WuXian later saved him from his own demise. He’d never forget what he said,
“Wei Ying. Do you want ice-cream?”
Wei WuXian chuckled to himself at the memory, drawing Lan WangJi’s attention, who was laying by his side. Who would’ve thought it’s a good idea to give a shivering boy ice-cream on a cold, rainy day anyway? Lan WangJi surprisingly had some, erm, very cute parts to him despite looking so serious all the time.
“What are you thinking about?” Lan WangJi asked.
“Lan Zhan, you know, actually…” Wei WuXian turned to his side, winking at Lan WangJi. “I’m not poor.”
“It’s too bad I’m so smart I graduated too fast, if not I’d love to spend more time chasing after you as… your student.”
“But you didn’t. Because you’re a student.”
“That is right,” Wei WuXian admitted. “You see.” He intertwined their fingers together, bringing their hands to his chest. “As your student, there’s a gap between us. And it’s not like we already have this huge age gap. So even when I was always sneaking into your lectures, pretending to stand in corridors just to look at you, I can never bring myself to chase after you openly. My sense of moralism won’t allow it. Although I have to admit the idea of forbidden love is so tempting I almost crossed the line a few times. But, as an ice-cream man, that teacher-student gap is lost. Makes me feel closer to you. Also makes me feel like I can do anything I want to you.”
Lan WangJi’s hand tightened around his at the end of Wei WuXian’s words.
“So I wanted to finish my studies soon. Thanks for finishing it two years earlier, I earned myself a two-year chance to capture your attention. If it fails, then, I guess I’ll go to do what a graduate should do while I think of more ways to chase after you. But, hahahaha, who would’ve thought I’m able to catch you just within a week?”
Lan WangJi let him laugh without interrupting him.
“You’re staying alone? Your family?” he asked when Wei WuXian calmed down.
“They’re all good. I wanted to come here myself. They actually told me they can support my loans if I need a place to stay but I don’t really mind that.”
“You… can stay here if you want.”
“Woah, this progress is too fast, professor!”
Lan WangJi frowned at him.
“But I’ll take it,” Wei WuXian quickly said with a grin before he inched closer towards Lan WangJi and kissed him on his forehead.
The gap between them remained. Wei WuXian knew that he’d always chase after Lan WangJi thanks to the gap. When Lan WangJi advanced into another level, he’d still be stuck at a lower level. When Lan WangJi became more mature, he’d be still learning how to become more mature.
But that’s fine.
Because no matter how huge their gap could be, and no matter how hard Wei WuXian was to chase after Lan WangJi, Lan WangJi will always be there waiting for him.
Until when they came to the same level, where the only gap that would exist between them was their ages.
A/N: Finished (°◡°♡).:｡ This story has about 13k of words in total haha and the last part is, unsurprisingly, the part with the most words -sweats- Actually, I didn’t think too much when I started writing this but in the back of my mind I’m all “what will happen if Wei WuXian is the one who chases after Lan WangJi and oh, let’s add an age gap here because how interesting would that be?” and the rest is history. And indeed, when I wrote this story, despite being in Lan WangJi’s pov most of the time, Wei WuXian never fails to surprise me with a lot of his actions. At parts when you think he’ll become very shameless and upfront, he takes a step back instead, and then at parts when you didn’t expect anything from him, he pushes you against the wall. He’s really amazing, it’s no wonder Lan WangJi falls for him, ahaha! There’s a sort of ‘so close yet so far’ feeling with Wei WuXian that I myself have come to love so writing this story has been a very nice surprise as well.
The story is very simple, I think. But I really like the interactions between them, it’s very refreshing to see wangxian in a different context and how they will behave in such context :’) If you’d followed this from the beginning, thank you so much, you have no idea how much this means to me :’) I really like this setting too so maybe there will be extras… maybe, ahaha!