"Good luck today, Lan Zhan!"
The greeting comes—well, not unexpectedly. In fact, by now Lan Wangji would be more surprised if Wei Wuxian does not say anything.
"Wei Wuxian!" A student with a Beater's bat flies from somewhere behind Lan Wangji, going on to eye Wei Wuxian and his green uniform up and down. "What do you think you're doing? You better not be jinxing our Seeker or I am reporting you, war hero or no."
"Su She," greets Wei Wuxian, his initially bright face turning sour as he looks at the other boy. "You know, the Ravenclaw team is so annoying, Lan Zhan is even the only reason I haven't jinxed your entire tower yet."
Su She turns up his nose at Wei Wuxian, not even bothering to hide his suspicion nor disdain. Lan Wangji is not fooled, especially not when Su She's gaze remains sharp when they turn to Lan Wangji, throwing the pair of them a last look before flying off elsewhere.
"God, what a character," says Wei Wuxian, who is shaking his head when Lan Wangji turns back to him. His smile is quick to return, however, especially with just the two of them once again. He gives Lan Wangji a thumbs up. "But! It's a good day, right, Lan Zhan? Do your best, okay?"
He is quite a character, too, thinks Lan Wangji, though in a more pleasant way than he regards Su She. Wei Wuxian is perhaps the only person in all the teams who makes it a point to cheer on his opponent—his rival Seeker, no less.
Then again, he always wishes Lan Wangji luck. That doesn't change even when he plays against Wei Wuxian's own team, nor did that change even when they were fighting a war. He always finds ways to bring light to every situation.
They take their positions at the referee's whistle, and the game begins shortly after that. The two Seekers fly high above their main teams, circling the field as their mission begins.
"Aaaand there we go, Slytherin takes the Quaffle—good play there by Captain Jiang, but Ravenclaw is immediately at his tail. This is shaping up to be an exciting game, folks!"
The voice of Nie Huaisang booms across the field as he supplies the usual commentary for the game.
"Speaking of exciting, there goes Slytherin war hero and school heartthrob Wei Wuxian, at his usual spot with opposing Seeker, Lan Wangji of Ravenclaw. Sorry, boys and girls, looks like the chase is still up, and I am not even talking about the Snitch!"
A collective laugh goes around the audience—and quite a few high-pitched squeals here and there. Lan Wangji sighs and just continues on his circuit of the field.
"Nie Huaisang, I swear to God…" he hears Wei Wuxian mutter beside him. Lan Wangji can hear the eye-roll in the other's tone without having to look, but Wei Wuxian's voice still had its customary good humor.
But Wei Wuxian truly does play like this. In every game against Ravenclaw, he flies alongside Lan Wangji most of the time, telling inane stories mid-air as if that is what Seekers are wont to do in a Quidditch game. But then again, Wei Wuxian sticking to Lan Wangji is not an odd thing, and hasn't been for many years.
The first time they met, it was, oddly enough, in detention—Wei Wuxian's detention, that is. Wei Wuxian entered Hogwarts like a whirlwind perhaps no one could have prepared for.
"Eh? What's a first-year doing as a teaching assistant?"
Lan Wangj, then assisting his uncle, Professor Lan Qiren, did not deign Wei Wuxian with an answer and instead continued organizing the scrolls his uncle assigned for him to do.
"You're Lan Wangji of Gusu, aren't you? I saw you Sorted. Quickest Sorting in our batch, that's so funny. I'm Wei Wuxian."
That was the first of many encounters. Granted, being in the same year, it was inevitable to see each other frequently, but even then, his and Wei Wuxian's meetings were very frequent. ("It's like destiny!" Wei Wuxian once said of it.) Wei Wuxian's detention lasted a month. Even before that was completed, they became partners in Potions, partners, too, in Defense Against the Dark Arts, which Wei Wuxian excelled in to nobody's surprise, being the son of the late hero, Cangse Sanren.
"You are amazing!" Wei Wuxian had exclaimed the first time they dueled. At the time, there were black strands of hair sticking to his face, a flush was on his cheeks, and his gray eyes were shining brightly as they looked at Lan Wangji. "Did you know? No one can beat me in Yunmeng. Let's go again, okay?"
Looking back, Lan Wangji can no longer tell when it began, Wei Wuxian finding him in hallways, finding him in classes where assignment groups were voluntary. By third year, Wei Wuxian even discovered Lan Wangji's spot in the library, and he would sit with him for hours. He kept quiet, too (for the most part anyway), so that Lan Wangji let him be, nevermind that Wei Wuxian took up more than half the table with his clutter.
Once, they even danced together, back at the ball in fourth year, but Wei Wuxian seems to think that that happened only because he got Lan Wangji drunk.
"Hey, Lan Zhan," says Wei Wuxian now. They have circled the field a few times already with no Snitch in sight. The score below them reads 50-70, in favor of Ravenclaw.
"So…" Wei Wuxian begins again, uncharacteristically timid. He looks windswept, and there again is that familiar flush on his cheeks, sharper now that they are older than when Lan Wangji first saw it. "Seventh year, huh? Kind of anti-climactic after everything we've been through. Have you decided yet what you will do after school?"
The question comes out of nowhere, but it is not as though Lan Wangji is not used to this habit of Wei Wuxian's. "Mn," he therefore answers, even as he continues scanning the skies.
"Yeah?" Wei Wuxian's voice seems to jump at this. "W-What will you do? Will it be fun?"
Lan Wangji looks at him then, and he notes how Wei Wuxian's smile suddenly seems to not quite meet his eyes, how he looks uneasy. Wei Wuxian ducks his head, and he seems to pick out his words as he goes on speaking. "The Jin's, you know? They are rich like your family, and they got sent off to mastery schools out of the country after graduation. Seems the rich families just want to keep doing that, especially now when we're just recovering." He hesitates again. "Lan Zhan, you won't-- you won't be doing anything like that, will you? I remember your brother took that trip after graduation. Where did he go?"
Lan Wangji can see he is distracted, but that is also the moment he sees a spot of black coming at them from the corner of his eyes. He does not think twice grabbing Wei Wuxian's arm and pushing them both out of the way of an oncoming Bludger.
"Hey, wake up, Wei Wuxian!"
They turn to the Beater scowling at them from a few meters away.
"Wen Chao!" Wei Wuxian yells out at the other Slytherin Beater. "What the hell was that? You are so close, what if it hit?"
Wen Chao bounces his bat against his shoulder, face unimpressed. "Uh, that's the point ? Why don't you get out of the way so I can do my job? In fact, why don't you do your job instead of chatting up the opponent, eh? This tactic is getting old. Can't you beat Lan Wangji without distracting him?"
"I can beat him just fine, but if that thing so much as grazes his hair, I will send your porn to your mother, do you hear me, Wen Chao?"
The scowl deepens on Wen Chao's face, but the game is still on-going and they cannot just pause for too long. He therefore just throws Wei Wuxian a look before flying off to another side of the field, bat swinging beside him.
"Wei Ying," Lan Wangji says, pulling Wei Wuxian's attention back and away from Wen Chao. When gray eyes turn to him, Lan Wangji tells him: "Focus."
A look crosses Wei Wuxian's face, eyes wide and eyebrows scrunching. It can be unnerving, when Wei Wuxian is not smiling, when he is worried or upset. It is especially difficult when it catches him off-guard enough that he does not filter it like he so often does, hiding rejection and disappointments with a smile. As the years passed, Lan Wangji thinks he has grown adept at reading the other boy.
But the game continues, and things have their appropriate time.
The score is 100-140 for Ravenclaw when Lan Wangji sees it: a flash of gold, there just a little behind Wei Wuxian. Wei Wuxian catches his pause and is instantly alert, and in a split second the two of them are off.
The stadium erupts and comes alive the moment they notice the race beginning, two Seekers neck and neck after the golden Snitch. It is always an exciting time, with Seekers being the fastest fliers of their teams, the stakes so high they can upend a game. And Wei Wuxian is good—arguably the best of them, despite that there are people who will argue that no, in fact, it is Lan Wangji with his higher stats and team wins who is the better player.
Lan Wangji, who has to fly against him, knows it is something few people will understand. It is difficult to describe what it's like to fly beside Wei Wuxian, to feel the wind beating at your face when you are too fired up for it to hurt, and you go so fast you think you yourself are flying with no aid.
It is always like this with him, whether it be here in the fields under the sun or on cold stone and sleepless nights, waiting for a raid that might come at any time. It is adrenaline, the feeling of power sizzling beneath the surface, of thinking battles can be won depending on which side this boy who must have been born with a smile chooses to go. The sound of his laughter comes with all of these, too, reaching Lan Wangji's ears like the summer chimes of his childhood back home in Gusu. They never sounded the same to him, not after meeting Wei Wuxian.
It happens fast, but after long minutes of feints and the Snitch escaping, Lan Wangji sees the moment it succumbs.
"Wei Wuxian has caught the golden Snitch!" Nie Huaisang's voice is nearly drowned out by the cheers. "Slytherin wins and is the first team to secure their place at the finals!"
Wei Wuxian is attacked by his teammates the moment they come low enough to land. They surround him and push him to the ground, laughter and cheers mixing with good-natured curses only Slytherin can really pull off. Wei Wuxian laughs with them, accepting their rough congratulations until his hair is a mess—but he looks happy, and that is what matters.
Lan Wangji, as the team captain, steps up in front of them. "Congratulations," he says.
Instead of meeting Lan Wangji, Jiang Wanyin, captain of the opposing team, just fishes his brother out of the messy human mound and pushes him towards Lan Wangji.
"Thanks, Lan Zhan!" says Wei Wuxian, once he is standing in front of the other. "Good game. See you at finals?"
Lan Wangji nods. With Wei Wuxian out of the way, that is done easily enough.
Wei Wuxian smiles up at him, face bright and gray eyes sparkling. His hair is a mess but Lan Wangji thinks he might like it like that, having grown so used to it after all these years, and especially when it comes so often with Wei Wuxian's face flushed charmingly as it is now. It is especially charming when, after some time, Wei Wuxian's gaze drops and he ducks his head, standing awkwardly in front of a quiet Lan Wangji, but never leaving.
It is not like Lan Wangji does not know. Wei Wuxian blushes and grows breathless when he talks to Lan Wangji, and Lan Wangji is not so sheltered nor so dumb that he does not get it.
He also is not so cold nor so heartless that it has not reached him, all these years. It's just that Wei Wuxian is a bit dense, so much so that they are 19 now and on their seventh year, but even after everything—all that time spent together, even dancing in fourth year, and later when Lan Wangji chased after him when he took the Slytherins with him during the war—it looks like the other boy still needs more time.
"Teaching," Lan Wangji finally says.
Wei Wuxian looks up. "Teaching?"
"Mn." Lan Wangji nods. "Here. Uncle is retiring."
It takes a while, the group around them quiet and looking at one boy after the other. It is obvious though when Wei Wuxian gets it—he gasps, nearly stumbling as he steps closer to Lan Wangji. "Oh!" His face immediately lights up. "That's great! That sounds fun, and I bet you'll be great at it. Maybe finally people will even start paying attention in History! I would have listened for sure."
Lan Wangji keeps an even face, though he huffs, exasperated and amused.
"Me, too!" burst out Wei Wuxian. "I mean, I've been offered, and I was thinking about it."
"I know." Everyone knows, and it is not as if the post and to whom it should go is a surprise or a secret to anyone. As if anyone in the school is better at the Dark Arts and defense from it—as if anyone is better qualified.
"I'll--" He is breathless again, and beautiful, when he looks at Lan Wangji. "I guess I'll see you around, huh, Lan Zhan?"
If possible, Wei Wuxian's face brightens further. Sometimes, Lan Wangji wonders how no one goes blind, being around Wei Wuxian. Even when he ducks his head, even when he is overcome with that rare bout of shyness, it does not dim his smile, not in the slightest.
And Lan Wangji is loath to let that smile go.