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Double Trouble

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Lan Huan hummed a cheerful tune as he walked out of the bathroom and towards his bedroom. Nothing like a long, hot shower after a long day of practice for the tournament that was quickly coming up.

“Lan Zhan, you’re really the best!”

He stopped in his tracks as he heard Wei Ying’s voice coming from his brother’s bedroom. Did he arrive while he was showering? Lan Huan liked singing loudly while he showered after all, he never noticed the doorbell ring while he was in there.

“You know what this reminds me of? Coming out of the closet, hahahaha.” Wei Ying’s loud laughter reverberated through the closed door and he couldn’t help but gasp.

Did his A-Zhan… really?... so soon? Lan Huan had been sure he wouldn’t breathe a word about it until at least his third year!

“Didiiii,” he pretended to sniff and dab at a non-existent tear. “Gege is so proud of you!” he whispered before giggling and rushing to his bedroom. He couldn’t wait to let his friends know! Ah, he was so proud, his little brother was turning into a man!

He was going to tease him until he got all huffy and he couldn’t wait for it!

-/-/-/-

Lan Huan snuck into the kitchen and grinned to himself as he could see the entrance from the window and listen to his little brother saying his goodbyes.

“Thanks for everything, Lan Zhan!”

“Mn.”

“I hope you don’t get in trouble.”

“Won’t.”

Lan Huan had to do his best to not snicker loudly at how starstruck his little brother looked as Wei Ying smiled and pushed his hair behind his ear in a coquettish move.

This was better than watching a movie, Lan Huan was living for it. He really needed some popcorn right now.

“You’re really the best. I can’t believe you’d…” he sighed happily and batted his eyelashes at A-Zhan. “You’re so amazing.”

A-Zhan looked away from Wei Ying, ears turning bright red.

“You go, A-Zhan!” Lan Huan whispered as he kept watch with a wide grin.

Sadly, there was no goodbye kiss but he hadn’t really thought there would be. His A-Zhan was too shy to do things like that.

-/-/-/-

“So anything interesting happened today?” their mother asked as their father finished serving the rice.

“A-Zhan had an important guest~” he sing songed and quickly avoided his little brother’s elbow to his ribs. “Hey! It’s true!”

“A-Zhan, behave,” their father admonished and Lan Huan snickered as A-Zhan ducked his head down. “Did you and Wei Ying have fun?” he continued with a slight smile.

“Dear, we don’t know if it was Wei Ying,” their mother commented and Lan Huan snickered. Who else could it be? They all already knew that A-Zhan worshipped the ground that boy walked on, it was adorable and hilarious.

His little brother shrugged.

“He borrowed some books,” he said and quickly put some food in his mouth to avoid talking more.

Suspicious, but he was confident he could get him to confess if he pushed a little.

“He was here an awful amount of time to just borrow books,” he commented softly and quickly turned away from his brother’s icy glare.

“A-Huan, be nice to your brother,” his mother warned and he obediently quieted down for a moment.

Dinner continued in relative silence, a comment here and there from their parents, but otherwise a calm affair.

“No seriously, why was he so long in your room huh?” he asked as he started piling the plates to take to the sink.

He didn’t see it coming.

“Ouch! Mother he kicked me!” he yelped and lifted his leg to rub his calf. Ouch, his brat of a brother kicked him hard!

“Didn’t,” he denied automatically and Lan Huan glared at him.

“You did! Mother look!” he lifted his pant leg and showed the bright red spot on his skin. He grimaced, that was going to turn into a bruise soon.

“A-Zhan! That’s not the way to solve things! Apologize to your brother!” she snapped angrily and his brother pouted mulishly but eventually turned to him and mumbled a very insincere “sorry.”

He continued rubbing his leg but their father’s voice caught his attention. “A-Huan, apologize for invading your brother’s privacy.”

What?!

He gasped, feeling betrayed, but he knew from his father’s expectant look that he wasn’t going to get out of this so he huffed and spit out his own “sorry” in his brother’s direction.

A-Zhan sniffed and nodded, looking very put upon. Lan Huan stuck his tongue at him, he was the one that was put upon now! That kick really hurt!

Once the dishes were done, A-Zhan was quick to leave the kitchen, ears still a little red. The temptation was too strong and Lan Huan followed him upstairs, the pain on his leg was long gone and he was looking forward to poke him a little more.

As soon as they reached the top of the stairs A-Zhan turned and crossed his arms over his chest, frowning impatiently. “Why are you following me?”

Lan Huan chuckled and leaned against the wall. “So, Wei Ying,” he started, chuckling as he was given a narrowed glare.

“Don’t start.”

“I’m not starting anything!” he exclaimed, touching his chest in offense. “I am merely concerned over my little brother’s heart!”

A-Zhan stared at him, eyebrows furrowing in confusion.

“I know you’re very private so I won’t pester you for details, but if you need love advice,” he wiggled his eyebrows. “Gege is here to listen.”

Ah, he looked so cute when his ears got all red like this!

“Gege!” he hissed “It’s not like that! Don’t say those things!”

Lan Huan did not believe him, specially when he was looking so flustered.

“No? If you insist.”

“I do insist!”

“Weeell~” he stretched the word, his lips twitching as it made A-Zhan tense up. “You might want to tell your Wei Ying to lower his voice then. Wouldn’t want indiscreet people to find out about the coming out of the closet.”

He laughed as his little brother choked on his spit.

“You’re mistaken!” he gasped and shook his hands nervously. “It’s not that!”

Lan Huan wheezed and looked at his little brother, pausing as he caught his expression.

Huh?

He tilted his head.

“No?” he asked, confused by A-Zhan’s panicked look.

A-Zhan shook his head firmly.

“It’s not! It’s not… that!” he said, ducking his head and hiding his hands behind his back. “Wei Ying is not… I’d never… it wasn’t that.” He whispered softly and Lan Huan couldn’t help but feel a little bad over his teasing now.

“If it wasn’t that, then what was it?” he asked softly, coming closer and rubbing his little brother’s shoulder comfortingly.

-/-/-/-

“Bunnies,” he said incredulously as he looked at the two fluffy creatures currently sleeping inside A-Zhan’s closet.

His little brother nodded, head ducked down ever so slightly, enough for Lan Huan to realize he was feeling sheepish about the situation.

“Well, it was nice knowing you.” He patted A-Zhan’s shoulder. “I’m sure mom and dad will let you out eventually, maybe after you’re thirty or so.” He snickered as he thought of the very, very long grounding A-Zhan was gonna get over this. Bunnies! Who would’ve thought his little brother would be so weak against cute things?

Or perhaps his weakness was not against these cute things but against a cute boy?

“Gege.”

Lan Huan turned and blinked innocently at A-Zhan’s firm look.

“Yes, didi?”

“Help me hide them.”

“And why, dearest brother, would I do that?”

Golden eyes narrowed and Lan Huan’s smile widened. A-Zhan was so amusing when he got angry.

“I will tell them you were drinking with your friends last weekend.”

His smile froze.

“You have no proof,” he shot at his brother.

“Nie Huaisang has pictures,” A-Zhan shot back.

The little shit! Mingjue better do something about that brother of his or Lan Huan was going to do something drastic. Like abusing his student council authority to confiscate the phone, make A-Yao hack into it and deleting the pictures himself!

He pressed his lips on a tight line as A-Zhan lifted his chin, looking awfully smug. But he shouldn’t count his eggs before they hatched.

“Mom and Dad are not stupid, they’ll find out the bunnies are here even if I help you.”

A-Zhan nodded.

“Only need to hide them until I can convince them we need pets.”

“So you want to tell them you want bunnies, and once they agree, pretend you just went out to get these and that they weren’t here the entire time?”

A-Zhan nodded again.

He hated to admit it, but it wasn’t too bad of a plan.

-/-/-/-

“Why is there grass all over the floor?” their mother asked and Lan Huan looked down to see a trail of grass leading to A-Zhan’s room.

“I think A-Zhan mentioned something about going to the park with his friends,” he lied through his teeth, hoping their mother didn’t catch up on the fact that A-Zhan had gone nowhere at all after coming back from school earlier.

“This child.” Their mother shook her head fondly. “I should scold him, but I’m glad he’s actually hanging out with others so I suppose I will let this slide.”

Lan Huan smiled.

“I’m sure he didn’t mean to be so careless. I’ll remind him, next time.”

“Thank you, dear.”

A-Zhan better appreciate this!

-/-/-/-

“Don’t!” A-Zhan scrambled towards a bunny and grabbed it before it could continue on its path, tiny paws stained with paint. “Why?!” he groaned in exasperation.

Lan Huan looked over his brother’s shoulder and snickered. A-Zhan’s work was covered in tiny pawprints.

“I think,” he said, fighting back the urge to laugh more; A-Zhan was glaring hard enough already, anymore and his face would get stuck like that. “That you could still present this, just say it’s… abstract.”

“I would rather not,” A-Zhan answered drily and it made him chuckle.

“Why don’t I take them for a bit? I’ll keep them in my room so they won’t be discovered.”

A-Zhan sighed and passed him the naughty bunny before taking it’s more easy-going companion and giving it to him as well.

“Please.”

He nodded and quickly went to his room to babysit his brother’s babies while he fixed his homework.

“Huh, does this mean I’m an uncle already?” he wondered as he looked down at his arms where the bunnies were snuggling together. “Awwww.”

He was looking forward to making them official part of the family.

-/-/-/-

“What are you doing with those vegetables, A-Zhan?” Lan Huan looked up from his drawing at their father’s voice and caught sight of his little brother stand just outside of the kitchen with a bowl full of green vegetables in his arms.

He only barely stopped himself from slapping his forehead, how was he so bad at this?!!!

“I was hungry,” he said after a moment too long. Lan Huan didn’t need to look at their father to know he was raising an eyebrow in clear disbelief.

“So you decided to eat leaves?”

A-Zhan tightened his grip on the bowl and lifted his chin stubbornly.

“They’re good for your health.”

“I… see…” Their father wasn’t buying it, he definitely wasn’t. Lan Huan sighed and quickly intervened.

“Father, could you come look at my drawing please? There’s something wrong with it but I can’t put my finger in it.”

As soon as their father turned to Lan Huan, A-Zhan made a quick but silent dash upstairs, clutching the vegetables tightly to his chest.

He sighed in relief. Helping his little brother was far too stressful!

-/-/-/-

“I wouldn’t help you if you weren’t so cute,” he muttered under his breath as a bunny slept on his lap. Whether he was talking to the bunny or to his little brother that was lying on the floor on his stomach, having a staring contest with the other bunny, no one would ever know.

-/-/-/-

A-Zhan finished fiddling with the projector just as Lan Huan entered the living room, carrying a tray with drinks that he offered to their parents with a soft smile.

“Oh my, we are getting so pampered dear,” their mother pretended to whisper to their father, who chuckled softly.

“Indeed, we are very lucky to have such thoughtful sons.”

Lan Huan shuffled uncomfortably, they were only doing this because they were trying to get their parents to agree to A-Zhan’s bunnies. But perhaps next time…

He shared a look with A-Zhan, who nodded slightly. Yeah, they would be doing something else for their parents in the near future.

For now, they had a different objective and A-Zhan cleared his throat as he put up his powerpoint presentation.

Lan Huan shook his head fondly. Only A-Zhan would think to make a powerpoint presentation to convince their parents of something.

“Pets and their benefits to people:” he started, before delving into an in-depth explanation of the relationship between animals and humans throughout history and the many benefits having an animal companion  had on people’s health and self-esteem.

Lan Huan was rather impressed, he had really gone all out with this. There were statistics there! And comparisons between different kinds of pets, with an obvious bias towards bunnies because really, that’s all he wanted.

He kept glancing to his side and saw his parents share an amused smile more than once.

A-Zhan finished his presentation and Lan Huan got up to turn the lights back on before standing next to his brother. By this point, if they didn’t get them to agree he would feel devastated, and A-Zhan might actually cry.

Their father cleared his throat.

“That was very… educational.You put a lot of effort in this.”

“Too much effort. You could have just asked,” their mother said with a smile and a shake of her head.

A-Zhan’s hands were shaking behind his back, Lan Huan reached out and gently rubbed his back in silent support.

“I will not ask if you understand the responsibility you’re asking for. You had enough slides regarding the care of bunnies so I know you did your research,” she continued and then she and their father shared a look.

“Good thing you didn’t ask for a cat, they make me sneeze,” their father revealed with a chuckle.

The two of them stood a little taller, did that mean what they thought it meant?

“Yes, A-Zhan, A-Huan, you can have your bunnies.”

“YES!” they grabbed at each other, Lan Huan lifting A-Zhan and twirling him around while laughing, too happy to care that they were acting half their age.

“Now please get those poor bunnies out of the closet, it’s not good for them to be locked up so often.”

They froze and turned slowly to their parents.

Their mother grinned wide, they father hiding his chuckles behind his hand.

“Mother always knows.”