#WangXian Modern-AU based on this song -

Where WWX and LWJ meet in college, and lab partners turns into library studying, turns into lunches...

2/?
WWX is taking a full course load, working 2 jobs just getting by. He’s fine. Really. Instant ramen is TOO food LWJ, thank you very much.

LWJ must be half asleep when he packs his lunches. He keeps making too much, so WWX has to help him eat it. Can’t just waste it.

3/
Lunches turn into hanging out on the weekends. LWJ reading, WWX playing X-Box. Or that one time WWX saw an ad on the side of a bus for the Monet exhibit at the modern art museum and “We HAVE to go Lan Zhan! It’s his water lilies!”

Like he has to convince LWJ. 4/
WWX does convince LWJ to sneak a selfie in front of “Water Lilies, The Clouds” where the blue of the water and the sky join in a perfect reflection, white clouds floating among the lilies. Where the trees and their shadows look so close you can almost hear the wind in the leaves.
WWX texts it to LWJ and feels a familiar ache in his chest when LWJ gives him that tiny smile, eyes warm.

Sometimes laying in bed after a bad day, WWX looks at that picture and closes his eyes. Imagines just for a moment that it was real.
In some other life, LWJ loves him the same way WWX does. That the tiny smile LWJ sometimes has is just for him. Dreams that maybe sometime they’d travel, go together to Giverny in France. See the water lilies and the sky and the trees.
That picture with the two of them together, and the painting of the water lilies would reflect reality in one perfect moment.

But WWX tries to push that daydream down most of the time. He doesn’t let himself look at that selfie very often. It hurts too much.
LWJ was so... perfect in that picture. Like always. Glowing in his cream sweater, dark hair flowing over one shoulder. So beautiful he could have just stepped out of that painting and into reality.

And WWX? With his hair falling out of his ponytail, his holey band t-shirt...
WWX... disaster WWX wandering into that image of blue and cream like a smear of soot across the canvas.

As graduation approaches WWX can’t get that thought out of his head. Can’t get the picture out of his mind.
He doesn’t belong there. LWJ has been so kind, so patient but... But just look at them.

He knew LWJ would never tell him he didn’t belong. He was too polite for that. Too good a person.
A-Li told him once, if you love someone you want good things for them. You want them to be happy. To have a good life.

WWX has never been a good thing in anyone’s life. He knows this. He’s too loud. Too distracted. Too distracting.

Just too much.
He’ll do it after graduation. He’d walk the stage, cheer and wolf whistle when LWJ walked. He’d smile in the pictures, and selfishly make LWJ take a selfie with him in their caps and gowns. Just one more.
He hadn’t told anyone he accepted that job in San Francisco yet. It’s not like he wasn’t GOING to tell them... he just didn’t know how. He’d call them when he got there.

Maybe not LWJ... he didn’t think he could say goodbye. No. It’d be better if it was just a clean break.
Just be that old friend who faded away after graduation. The one who was always a lot of fun for a college kid but... not for an in real life friend.

That way LWJ wouldn’t have to feel guilty about it. Nothing holding him back from becoming who he was meant to be.
The night before graduation WWX is restless. He finishes packing everything he owns into two duffle bags and a cardboard box. Lays his ticket for the red eye to San Francisco tomorrow night on top. Runs his fingers over the satin of his gown, brushes invisible dust off his cap.
When LWJ texts him at 8:30 to ask if he wants to grab late night hot pot he’s surprised but has to laugh. Only LWJ would consider 9 PM hot pot as late night.

He teases him about his bed time, but he’s already shoving his shoes on and heading out the door.
WWX worried it would hurt but when he gets to the restaurant LWJ is sitting at the table, 2 soups already bubbling in front of him... it’s ok. He can do this.

He gets an ache in his chest when he sees one of the soups is so red it matches his hoodie, and the other is pale broth.
But LWJ is just thoughtful like that. WWX knows it doesn’t mean anything. This is fine.

They place their first orders and WWX gets a beer. To his surprise so does LWJ.

“Special occasion?” He asks and LWJ gives him THAT smile and nods.

It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t.
For a couple hours WWX forgets. He’s able to lose himself in the hot pot steam and the cold beer. LWJ keeps giving him that smile and it makes him feel...

He’s never seen LWJ drink anything, and it’s kind of cute. His ears get pink, and he blushes when WWX teases him.
LWJ is a little unsteady when they leave the restaurant, but honestly so is WWX. Graduation isn’t until tomorrow night and LWJ’s apartment is just a block away. He insists WWX come sleep it off there. WWX agrees but only if he can have the couch. LWJ is sneaky about that.
WWX has lost count of the number of times they’ve been watching a movie, and LWJ would fall asleep on the couch halfway through.

LWJ is HEAVY. Solid, and sleeps like the dead. WWX got good at gently tipping him over to lay down. Lifting his legs up onto the cushions.
Spreading the soft blue blanket off the back of the couch over LWJ so he wouldn’t get cold. If sometimes he brushed LWJ’s hair back from his face with his fingertips...

WWX would then lay down on top of LWJ’s bed. LWJ always scolded him in the morning...
...for not sleeping under the covers but LWJ’s bed was always made so nicely he didn’t want to mess it up too much.

WWX would fall asleep on LWJ’s pillow, the faint smell of his shampoo for company.
So tonight they walk together to LWJ’s apartment. And if WWX leans against LWJ as they walk that’s ok. Tipsy LWJ is wavering a little as he walks and WWX is just keeping him steady.
They make it up the stairs to LWJ’s place, and WWX helps him unlock the door. They toe off their shoes, WWX puts his arm around LWJ’s waist to make sure he doesn’t fall over.

When LWJ wraps his arm around his shoulders WWX looks up at him, startled.
In the dark of the apartment the streetlights shine in through the blinds. LWJ’s face is shadowed, but so close to WWX he can feel his breath on his cheek.

“Lan Zhan?” WWX whispers.

LWJ doesn’t answer. Instead he brushes trembling fingers across WWX’s cheek. Feather light.
Before WWX can react LWJ cups his cheek.

“Wei Ying.”
“Lan Zhan...”
“May I kiss you?”

WWX must have made some kind of yes noise because the next thing he knows LWJ’s lips are against his and oh-
Slow, tiny kisses in the dark, LWJ’s lips warm against his as he cups his face so gently. Like WWX was fragile and precious.

And just for a moment WWX closes his eyes and lets himself dream. Leans in to LWJ’s embrace and just feels.
Let’s himself hold LWJ close, so close. Gentle kisses deepening. For one shining moment in LWJ’s dark apartment, WWX pretends it’s real.

That LWJ isn’t just drunk and confused, that he could really think WWX was special enough to be kissed like that.
But his chest aches with every kiss, more and more until it’s hard to breathe with how much it hurts. Until WWX is gasping and he doesn’t know if it’s from LWJ holding him like this or from his heart coming apart inside him.
He pulls himself away, stumbling over the sneakers in the apartment doorway. Falls against the wall.

“Wei Ying!” LWJ reaches up and flips on the light.

WWX forces himself to laugh around the lump in his throat. Tries to reassure LWJ he’s fine.
“Wei Ying, you’re crying...” LWJ is too close, leaning over him reaching to help him up.

WWX didn’t know he was crying until LWJ said that. He scrubs his cheeks with the sleeve of his hoodie and scrambles to his feet. He laughs again, twisting away from LWJ’s steadying hand.
“Oof too much alcohol,” WWX smiles what he hopes is a reassuring smile. “I’m fine, really. You know how it gets sometimes.”

LWJ doesn’t look reassured. If WWX didn’t know any better he’d say LWJ was starting to look a bit panicked.

“Wei Ying, I-“
“I should go!” WWX snatches up his sneakers and backs toward the door.

He can’t do this. Whatever this is, whatever LWJ is going to say he can’t.

“It’s so late! You must be exhausted. Huge day tomorrow.” WWX fumbles with the door, “You should go to sleep. I’m just-“
“Wei Ying wait-“
“Tch, don’t worry Lan Zhan. I’m fine!” WWX stumbles out the door, “See you soon!”

It’s not until he throws himself into a seat on the bus that he realizes he’s still clutching his sneakers. He’s breathing hard and he doesn’t remember making it to the bus stop.
His phone is buzzing in his pocket but he ignores it as he shoves his shoes on his feet.

WWX tries to take deep breaths. To stop the stupid tears from coming out of his stupid face. But he keeps seeing LWJ standing in his apartment, with that sort of horrified look on his face.
His phone is still buzzing when WWX gets off at his stop and he can’t. He can’t.

He knows LWJ. He knows he’s worried and upset and probably on his way to WWX’s place right now.

WWX darts into his apartment, slings his duffle bags over his shoulder and grabs the box.
He stops a second and looks at his cap and gown... just for a second before he shakes his head.

He never really cared about the ceremony anyways. Not really. But the ceremony is so important to LWJ. His brother and his uncle have flown in and everything.
WWX knows he ruined tonight. He was too close, he wanted too much and LWJ was drunk. The kiss was his fault, and the fact that his phone is STILL buzzing means LWJ is upset.

He can’t ruin tomorrow for him. LWJ worked so hard to come in top of the class.
WWX leaves his cap and gown hanging in the closet, and his apartment key on the counter. The guy he rents from has a copy, he’ll call on Monday to let him know.

He’ll have to pay the fee for not returning the other spare, but it’s not like he’s going to go ask for it back now.
WWX’s phone buzzes all the way to the airport, calls and texts. It keeps buzzing while he’s in line at the counter, a constant tug on the ache in his chest while he’s awkwardly joking with the airline employee.
He gets lucky and they switch his flight to tonight but he has to run through the terminal to make it. He’s the last one to board the plane, and it’s only once he’s buckled in that he pulls his phone out of his pocket.
For a moment he stares at all the notifications. Calls, texts, even voicemails!

LWJ must be really upset if he’s leaving so many voicemails. WWX’s thumb hovers over the screen for a moment, but he doesn’t unlock it. He just holds down the power button until it goes black.
One year later -
WWX was at his desk at the tech startup when the earthquake hit. His headphones were blasting old school Skrillex, something about it let him shut out the rest of the world. Shut down all the random thoughts in his head and focus.
The next thing he knew books were flying off the shelves. The painting NHS gave him for his birthday fell off the wall. This was the first big earthquake to hit San Francisco since WWX moved there and it took his brain a second to catch up to what was happening.
WWX snatched up his laptop and dove under the desk, and the shaking went on and on. Crashes and rumbles all around him, people in other parts of the office yelling to each other.
He wasn’t scared. He wasn’t.

If he slipped his hand into his jacket pocket and held on to a certain phone, that didn’t mean anything. WWX knew it was silly to keep paying for a phone he hadn’t turned on in over a year... but with the world shaking around him he was glad he did.
After the ground stopped shaking everyone evacuated the office, and WWX walked out to find trees down. Power out. The facades of some of the older buildings tumbled into the street. He got caught up in helping dig out doorways and cars, while sirens went up all over the city.
WWX was helping to move fallen branches out of the street so an ambulance could get through when his phone rang. His actual phone, not THAT phone.

His roommate NHS was fine, their apartment was a mess but standing, but he couldn’t say the same for the rest of the city.
Some of the worst hit areas were historic buildings, and NHS was SURE it was fine but “My brother and his friends were supposed to check in to this old hotel this afternoon, and now I can’t get them on the phone. You’re so much closer than I am to the hotel can you go check?”
Of course WWX will go. He’ll call NHS when he gets there. Who is he looking for again? Just NMJ? They’ve met a few times since NHS became WWX’s roommate and he seemed cool. Little scary but cool.

“He’s got a couple friends with him, here for the conference. I’ll send you pics.”
WWX is already jogging down the hill when his phone dings. He glances at the screen to see LWJ looking back at him from a group photo. WWX freezes in the middle of the street. He vaguely recognizes NMJ in the photo, with LWJ’s brother LXC smiling at the camera between them.
WWX’s avoided anything to do with LWJ for a whole year. He should be OVER this. But his heart skips a beat when he looks at LWJ in the photo. Just for a moment things are brighter.

Then it hits him. LWJ is one of NMJ’s friends. Friends that NHS can’t reach after the earthquake.
WWX is running, flying down the hill. The hotel is only a few blocks away but with the smoke and dust in the air he can’t see that far. He can’t see that far and if something happened... if LWJ...

He doesn’t finish that thought, just pushes himself to run faster.
The street is blocked off around the hotel, fire trucks angled across the road. The police setting up barricades push him back.

WWX can’t breathe around the pain in his chest. He can’t breathe through the taste of smoke in the air. Can’t think... think WWX...think.
He’s jostled by the people around him as he yanks THAT phone out of his pocket so he pushes his way back out of the crowd.

He prays to whatever god or gods might be listening that the cellphone battery is as good as their ads claim it is and holds down the power button.
After a moment the screen comes to life and he immediately unlocks it, if he’s fast enough maybe it’ll have enough juice for one call. That’s all he needs.

Instead the phone starts chiming and buzzing like it’s possessed. Hundreds of notifications coming in all at once.
Dings, whistles and beeps. And over and over again the first few notes of that dumb kids song about rabbits that WWX set as LWJ’s ringtone as a joke their freshman year.

WWX swipes them away only for more to come in and he wants to scream. He doesn’t have time for this!
“Wei Ying?”

WWX’s phone dies just as he realizes that voice wasn’t his imagination. He takes a shaky breath and turns around.
LWJ is standing on the sidewalk holding the handle of his rolling suitcase.

“Wei Ying what are you doing here?” He asks. His face is pale and his eyes wider than WWX has ever seen them.

But he’s here. He’s not somewhere beyond those barricades in the smoke and the dust.
WWX drops the phone and stumbles forward, throwing his arms around LWJ’s neck and burying his face in his shoulder.

“Wei Ying?!”

WWX’s struggling not to sob into LWJ’s sweater so he just shakes his head.
“Wei Ying-“ LWJ wraps his arms around WWX, his voice a whisper against WWX’s temple, “Wei Ying...”

WWX can’t stop crying and he knows he’s getting snot on LWJ’s shoulder, he knows he is but he can’t let go. Not yet.
LWJ pulls him in closer, cradles his head against his chest and whispers his name like a mantra.

All around them is smoke and sirens, dust and people everywhere but in the circle of LWJ’s arms it’s so quiet. Just the soft brush of lips on WWX’s hair and the sound of his name.
The ache inside WWX’s chest eases, just enough for him to breathe for the first time in a year. So he does.

He breathes in LWJ, the solid reality of him in his arms. And all of the pieces of WWX that had shaken apart in that dark apartment a year ago start to fit back together.
“Wei Ying,” LWJ brushes his hair back from his cheek, “where have you been? I’ve searched for you..”

WWX tries to step back to look at him, to stop clutching at LWJ’s sweater like a lifeline. But LWJ makes a choked off sound and pulls him tighter against his shoulder.
“You looked for me?” WWX whispers.

LWJ makes that sound again, and presses his lips into WWX’s hair. “Every day.”

“Why?” WWX pulls back enough to see LWJ’s face, and LWX cups his cheek with his palm.
“I love you.” LWJ closes his eyes. “I kissed you and you disappeared, and no one would tell me where you were.”

“You-“ WWX’s brain has stopped. Just stopped. For once all the scattered randomness has come screeching to a halt. LWJ is still talking, some kind of apology but...
WWX puts his hand over LWJ’s mouth to make him stop talking. He always wants to hear what LWJ has to say but he can’t English right now. He needs to stop the words until it makes sense.

They stare wide eyed at each other until WWX takes a shaky breath.
“You...love me?”

LWJ closes his eyes and nods, WWX’s hand still over his mouth.

“You’ve been looking for me.”

Another nod.

“Because you love me.”

LWJ must hear something in his voice because he opens his eyes and looks at WWX, and nods again.
“Why?”

LWJ frowns and gently takes WWX’s hand off of his mouth. “Wei Ying is Wei Ying.”

“Wei Ying is a disaster. Look at me.” WWX gestures himself, from his messy hair to yet another band t-shirt, to his ripped jeans and scuffed sneakers. Covered in dust.
“I’m looking at you. I’ve never stopped looking at you, from the moment I saw you.”

LWJ takes his hand and slowly lifts it to press a gentle kiss on WWX’s palm. When WWX doesn’t pull away he continues.
“My Wei Ying is clever, and kind, beautiful and funny. And I love him, even if he doesn’t feel the same.“ LWJ takes a deep breath and lets go of WWX’s hand, starts to take a step back.
WWX’s brain finally catches up with the rest of him.

LWJ loves him. LWJ looked for him. LWJ just kissed his palm, but he can’t think about that part right now or he’ll short circuit.

LWJ thinks WWX doesn’t love him back.
This is real. And LWJ thinks WWX doesn’t love him back. As if that was possible.

WWX doesn’t mean to laugh, it just happens. The ache in his chest disappears and the mixture of relief and how ridiculous it is that LWJ could possibly think WWX didn’t love him is too much.
WWX laughs, there in the street and the smoke. He laughs and pulls LWJ to him when he tries to step away.

He tries to speak but he can’t catch his breath so he presses a laughing kiss to LWJ’s mouth instead.
LWJ kisses him back, wrapping his arm around WWX’s waist and cupping the nape of his neck with his hand.

WWX’s laughter fades away under those kisses, and he presses his forehead to LWJ’s. Takes a deep breath to steady himself.

“I love you Lan Zhan.”
And LWJ gives him that smile. The small, secret, warm smile that belongs to WWX.

It’s real. And it means everything.
The end, I think. Lol this went on FAR longer than I meant to but... idk. I loved it.

Don’t worry, LXC and NMJ are fine. They wander up a couple minutes later and are VERY confused, what with the kissing in a disaster area.
WWX and NHS were old high school friends, and NHS knew from like... the 2nd day of being roommates that WWX had a broken heart.

It took him a while to figure out who it was likely to be, he had to ask friends of friends etc. But WWX and LWJ had been inseparable in college.
So NHS’s brother is friends with LXC, who tells him about LWJ and how he’s worried.

NHS orchestrated NMJ and LXC bringing LWJ along to their conference to take his mind off things. He was going to have everyone run into each other “accidentally” but then earthquake.
LWJ messaged him that whole year. He missed him, memes, pictures of bunnies, all kinds of things. So it’s all there. A year’s worth of “you’re special and I love you” right there where WWX can hold it in his hands and know it’s real.
Also in this AU cell phone batteries are magic.

The end.

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More from @DragonTacoLime

13 Sep
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Been thinking a lot today about a dark Baoshan Sanren. Which... the more I think about it the darker canon BSS (what is her abbreviation?!) gets. #MDZS

A thread :
So based solely off the show and the book (I’m working on the rest) what I gather is Baoshan Sanren is super powerful, immortal, and has retreated to a mountain somewhere.
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