The hallway to Lan Wangji’s class was bustling with people. Loud bangs from the closing of locker doors bounced from the cream-colored walls, adding up to the buzzing noises around him.
“Sorry,” a stranger had fleetingly mumbled when Lan Wangji’s shoulders bumped against another. Lan Wangji paid no mind and continued making his way to his lecture hall.
He went inside, found his seat, and deposited his bag down beside him. There weren’t a lot of students inside the room yet- although that was not something unusual seeing as Lan Wangji liked to arrive at least thirty minutes before the scheduled lecture. It was better to wait than go through the trouble of racing against time. There was never a day when at least one block mate of his came rushing inside, hair disheveled and chest rapidly heaving up and down.
And one of those block mates of his was named Wei Wuxian.
Although today, Wei Wuxian seemed to have managed to wake up early as opposed to his usual waking hours as he had mentioned before- which often resulted to him slipping inside the classroom as quietly as possible with a glowering companion or arriving at the exact time their professor entered the room.
Wei Wuxian walked in the lecture hall with his younger brother closely beside him. He was laughing about something while his brother eyed him with annoyance painted on his face.
“You never really learn, do you?” Jiang Cheng reprimanded. “I honestly don’t know how he hasn’t kicked you out of his class yet.”
Wei Wuxian lifted a hand to touch his brother’s arm and then hooking it around Jiang Cheng’s elbow. “That’s because I do well in class, Jiang Cheng. You should really be more like me, you know? If you want, I can-”
“Fuck off.” Jiang Cheng harshly elbowed his brother.
Wei Wuxian bumped his hip on Lan Wangji’s table, causing it to push against Lan Wangji’s stomach. One hand was planted above Lan Wangji’s notebook; the carefully aligned pens now rolled to the side.
“Jiang Cheng! That hurt you idiot!” Wei Wuxian hissed at his brother.
Jiang Cheng immediately pulled on Wei Wuxian’s arm. “Get the hell away from there. That’s Lan Wangji’s desk.”
An o formed on Wei Wuxian’s lips. He whirled around, eyes searching for Lan Wangji. “Lan Wangji? Lan Zhan? Did I hit your desk?”
Lan Wangji kept his gaze on Wei Wuxian’s wandering irises. “You did.”
Wei Wuxian hurriedly took his hand off the desk as though it was a stove that was about to burn his palm. “Ah, sorry about that. I think I messed up your pens. Let me help you.” Wei Wuxian began to pat his hand on one side of the desk, trying to find the pens.
Lan Wangji stopped him. “It is okay. I can do it.” Lan Wangji glanced at Wei Wuxian’s hip. “Are you all right?”
Wei Wuxian smiled, lifting his hand from the desk once more. “It’s fine! Didn’t hurt at all.” He emphasized by patting his hip. “Sorry again.”
Lan Wangji nodded although it was only Jiang Cheng who had seen the minuscule movement. Jiang Cheng pulled on his brother’s arm, dragging Wei Wuxian to his seat. Wei Wuxian placed his bag down and Jiang Cheng helped him stow away his collapsible cane.
There were quite a few things Lan Wangji knew about Wei Wuxian. Wei Wuxian didn’t mind to be late in class, he was smart, loud, and too energetic for Lan Wangji. But there was something else about this particular block mate of his.
Wei Wuxian was blind.
✧･ﾟ: *✧･ﾟ:* *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧
The lecture proceeded as it usually did- with diagnostic tests, long hours of lecture and an assessment test for the day’s lesson. Before the class ended, the professor announced that the final project would be an in-depth journal review that will be done in pairs and for it to be as fair as possible, the professor decided to draw lots.
Lan Wangji preferred to work alone. Although he had worked in group and pair projects before, he has yet to find someone who was actually willing and comfortable to work with him. They often said that he was hard to approach. That the look in his eyes was quite intimidating; that he himself was intimidating. This caused Lan Wangji to always be voted- without his knowledge -as the one who will lead the project, which also translated to him doing all the work.
A silent breath escaped his lips as he thought of the high possibility of working with someone who had no difference from a ghost. Lan Wangji was already used to it. He had no choice but to get used to it. But he cannot deny that it wouldn’t be so bad to have someone who’s willing to work with him- if only that someone existed.
“Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian.”
Lan Wangji was pulled back to the present as his name rang in his ears. He wasn’t certain if he had heard it correctly. But if he did, then that only meant…
A beaming face had presented himself in front of Lan Wangji’s desk. Although the gray orbs continued to shift, Lan Wangji was still able to see the glint of merriment in Wei Wuxian’s eyes.
“Wei Wuxian,” he let himself say.
Wei Wuxian ran his fingers along the edge of Lan Wangji’s desk to guide himself. “Can I sit next to you? Is there a chair available?”
Lan Wangji glanced at the chair next to him and saw that it was currently unoccupied. He stood up, took the chair and placed it beside him. Lan Wangji let the edge of the chair touch Wei Wuxian’s leg, letting his partner know where it was. “You may sit now.”
Wei Wuxian’s lips curved upward, his hand finding the backrest. “Thank you!” He sat down and retracted his cane, placing it on his lap. “Ah, before we get started.” Wei Wuxian lifted a hand towards Lan Wangji. “I’m Wei Wuxian but I think you already know that. You can call me Wei Ying if you want!” He grinned at Lan Wangji, his smile as blinding as the rays of sunlight seeping through the small windows in the lecture hall.
Lan Wangji stared at the welcoming hand. He shifted his eyes to look at Wei Wuxian who seemed to have managed the proper placement of where he should look as he stared directly at Lan Wangji’s eyes only slightly twitching and moving at other parts of the upper half of his face perhaps so that Lan Wangji wouldn’t feel uncomfortable by the intruding gaze.
Lan Wangji took Wei Wuxian’s hand in his and gave it a firm shake. “Lan Wangji.”
A hearty chuckle escaped Wei Wuxian as he returned the shake enthusiastically. “I’ve always wanted to work with you, Lan Zhan. Is it okay if I call you Lan Zhan? You’re crazy smart and I bet you can ace this project even if we’re required to do it individually.” Wei Wuxian complimented, the smile never leaving his eyes.
Lan Wangji felt a bit surprised. He didn’t know if Wei Wuxian meant it but he didn’t think that it was all a fib too. Lan Wangji viewed Wei Wuxian as the type of person who got along with those he has to work with. And so Wei Wuxian telling that to Lan Wangji might simply be for the sake of not making him think that he would be working on the project alone.
Regardless of what the reason may be, Lan Wangji appreciated the thought. “Suit yourself.”
✧･ﾟ: *✧･ﾟ:* *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧
The aroma of coffee beans wafted in the air as the door to the café continuously chimed at every arrival of a new customer. Soft murmurs of idle talk mixed with the churning of coffee machines and the sound of the cash register springing free to acquire some change rippled through the cafè. Lan Wangji took a sip from his cup, the warm, bitter liquid sending him a rush of repose. He placed the cup back on its coaster and glanced at his watch.
Wei Wuxian was five minutes late to their agreed meeting time.
Lan Wangji wasn’t very fond of unpunctuality but he didn’t dislike it to the point of ridiculing the other person- especially in Wei Wuxian’s case. He brought out his phone to check their text messages and see if he had gotten their meeting place right. He chose the café nearest to their school so that Wei Wuxian would be able to get there easily. Lan Wangji remembered seeing Wei Wuxian inside this particular café a couple of times with his set of friends as well and so he decided that Wei Wuxian must still be able to get here on his own in the event that his brother wouldn’t be able to accompany him.
Golden eyes flickered to the glass wall a couple of distance away from him, searching for a gray-eyed ever-smiling youth. He made sure to sit on a table where he had a clear view of the door so he would be able to spot Wei Wuxian the moment he walked in, although his partner did tell him that he would send him a message when he’s near. Lan Wangji checked his phone once more and there were no new messages in sight. He slipped it back inside his pocket and decided to wait for a few more minutes.
The chimes hanging above the door to the café jingled again and what came tumbling inside was the person Lan Wangji was supposed to meet with five minutes ago.
Wei Wuxian’s thick black hair was unkempt but not too much that it made him unpleasant to the eyes. His chest rapidly heaved up and down as his eyes squinted at the space around him. Lan Wangji stood from his seat and quickly made his way towards his partner.
“Wei Wuxian.” Lan Wangji said his name, standing in front of him.
When the chimes behind him rang once more, Wei Wuxian immediately stepped to the side, hand reaching out to find Lan Wangji. “Lan Zhan, is that you?”
Lan Wangji noted how Wei Wuxian seemed to be very sensitive to his surroundings; as if he didn’t want to cause trouble because of his condition. “It is me.”
Wei Wuxian dropped his hand and let out a heavy breath. “I thought you already left.” He worried. “Sorry I’m late, Lan Zhan. I couldn’t find Lil’ Apple earlier and Jiang Cheng already left so I didn’t have anyone to come with me.”
Lan Wangji cocked an inquisitive brow. “Lil’ Apple?”
Wei Wuxian blinked in confusion before realizing that the name was still unfamiliar to him. “Oh, I meant my cane. Hahahaha! I couldn’t find my cane that’s why I ended up arriving late. But it’s okay now! I found it under my bed.” Wei Wuxian flashed a triumphant grin, lifting his cane for Lan Wangji to see.
Lan Wangji decided not to ask why he named his cane and why did he give it such a name. “I already found us a table. Let us sit first before we talk about the project.”
“Okay!” Wei Wuxian chirped.
They settle on the table after Wei Wuxian bought his own drink. Almost all of the café staff already knew him and were very friendly towards him as well. They accommodated Wei Wuxian just like how they would serve a typical customer. They gave him his drink at the side of the cashier instead of making him walk to the serving counter. Lan Wangji waited not too far away from Wei Wuxian, his mind finding itself swarmed with questions.
Their brainstorming and processing ended very well. Lan Wangji was pleased by how Wei Wuxian researched their chosen journal on his own and gave his thoughts about how their in-depth review would pan out. For the first time, Lan Wangji was quite certain that he wouldn’t be working alone this time around.
He watched as Wei Wuxian sipped the last contents of his frappe. Wei Wuxian had his eyes cast downwards as though he could see the straw as it moved around the plastic cup.
“Oh, that’s right, Lan Zhan. If you have any questions just go ahead and ask.” Wei Wuxian finally finished vacuuming the whipped cream with his straw and grinned at Lan Wangji. “Surely you must have questions for me.”
Lan Wangji was tempted to ask but he didn’t know if it would come out as offensive. He has never interacted with a blind person as much as he did with Wei Wuxian now. Although he did do a quick research about what to say and what not to say to a person with blindness, he didn’t want Wei Wuxian to feel uncomfortable in any way.
“Hmm, it seems like you’re taking your sweet, sweet time. All right,” Wei Wuxian stretched his legs underneath the table. “I’ll ask you first then.” He propped his chin on his hand, gazing at Lan Wangji. “Let’s see…how many friends do you have?”
Lan Wangji’s eyes shifted to the side, avoiding Wei Wuxian’s curious gaze. “I do not have friends.”
“What?” Wei Wuxian shrieked. “How can you not have friends? Maybe you have but you’re just not aware of it? I mean, this is the first time I hung out with you and I can already tell that you’re very kind and sweet. You even offered me your arm and walked me to our table earlier.” Wei Wuxian gushed, the corners of his mouth curving upwards.
Heat kissed the tips of Lan Wangji’s ears. He was…sweet?
“And you’re very smart and I really like your voice. It’s very relaxing.” Wei Wuxian went on with his compliments, unaware of the faint blush that was starting to spread on Lan Wangji’s cheeks. “And you’re very handsome too.”
Lan Wangji snapped his eyes back at Wei Wuxian. “How do you know that?”
Wei Wuxian tilted his head. “Know what?”
Lan Wangji felt too ashamed to repeat the word. Wei Wuxian seemed well aware of it too as he failed to suppress his amusement. Lan Wangji scowled at him. “That,” he simply said. “What you just said. How can you tell?”
A satisfied sigh slipped past Wei Wuxian’s lips. “I finally got to make you ask a question.”
Lan Wangji was left speechless. Did Wei Wuxian know that he was pondering over the right questions to ask? That he was worried that he might offend or hurt Wei Wuxian’s feelings in some way?
“I told you, Lan Zhan, you can ask me anything.” Wei Wuxian beamed at him. “Okay, to answer that, hmm, did you know that it’s a misconception that all blind people see nothing but complete darkness?”
It had been nagging at the very back of Lan Wangji’s mind. Wei Wuxian somehow knew where to look. It might not be accurate but he knew the right place where he should direct his eyes. Lan Wangji found himself intently observing ever since Wei Wuxian arrived at the café.
“I did not know that.” Lan Wangji confessed.
“Well, now you know.” Wei Wuxian said with a smile. “In my case, I still have light perception and everything just looks super suuuper blurry. I can’t make out faces or details but I still see something. Like I know that that must be a glass wall or a big window or something because of the bright light coming through it.” He pointed at the glass wall overlooking the people that walked past the café. “And I know that you’re handsome because I think you are.”
Lan Wangji’s brows furrowed, his lips drawn on a thin line. “Do not say things you do not mean. You said you cannot see the details of someone’s face.” He argued.
Laughter filled the distance between them, gentle and endearing. “I know. I know. But I really do mean it, Lan Zhan! I keep on hearing that the two jades of Lan are quite something and now that I have you here in front of me, I can say the same thing.” He scooted his chair, elbows planted on the table and face propped on his hands. “I know that you have very dark hair. I like looking at your eyes although I can barely see them Hahaha! Hmm, what else. Right now you’re wearing a light-colored shirt. Is that blue or white or…?”
“It is a blue dress shirt.” Lan Wangji confirmed.
“Okay. You’re wearing a blue dress shirt.” Wei Wuxian continued, his eyes stopping at every part of Lan Wangji’s he mentioned. “You have something on your wrist so I’m guessing that it’s a watch. Basically, I think you’re very pleasing to look at.” Wei Wuxian finished. “I like looking at you. It makes me feel at ease. Did that make any sense? Sorry if I’m confusing you. I don’t know how to explain it properly.” Wei Wuxian scratched at the back of his head sheepishly.
“It is all right.” Lan Wangji told him. “How can you say that I…make you feel at ease?”
Lan Wangji was not the type of person who gets comfortable around someone he was not very familiar with. Even more so if he doesn’t have a pair of functioning eyes to see that person.
“How do I say this,” Wei Wuxian said to himself. “It’s like when I look at you I feel warm and relaxed? I sound so stupid right now but please bear with me.”
“I am listening.”
“Okay,” Wei Wuxian breathed. “What do you feel when you think of someone important you or someone you like spending time with?”
Lan Wangji’s eyes faintly widened, a tad bit surprised by the question. He noted how Wei Wuxian’s eyes bore into his, a slight crease on his forehead as he waited for an answer.
“I feel happy.” Lan Wangji replied.
Wei Wuxian nodded, a pleased look on his face. “How about, what do you feel when you’re with that person? Do you feel safe?”
A slow smile crept on Wei Wuxian’s lips. “Then that’s how I feel when I’m with you.”
Lan Wangji felt something odd in his chest. It felt like a small spark of something he cannot seem to ignore. It was just there with the little flame refusing to die down.
“I’m not just saying that because I’m flirting with you or anything,” Wei Wuxian paused for a moment, a thought coming to his mind. “Or maybe I am flirting with you. Hahahaha! But all jokes aside, I promise that I’m telling the truth.” Wei Wuxian lifted three fingers to emphasize his fidelity. “I have to rely a lot on what I feel so even if you ask me about colors I can only tell you what feelings I associate with them.” Wei Wuxian patiently explained. “Like when I think of blue, I think of ice and cold weather. And when I think of red, I think of anger or sometimes love.”
Lan Wangji processed Wei Wuxian’s words in his mind although two particular words stood out out him, refusing to be clouded by any other thoughts. They stayed floating in his head like fireflies amidst a quiet night.
“You feel happy and safe when you are with me?” Lan Wangji couldn’t help but ask again.
Wei Wuxian nodded. “I do. Why do you seem so surprised?” There was a small frown that tugged on his mouth, the sparkle in his eyes slightly dimmed.
Lan Wangji cast his gaze down to his empty cup, contemplating if he should tell. Apart from his brother and uncle, Wei Wuxian was the only person who didn’t try to avoid him; he was the only other person who made Lan Wangji feel welcomed.
“Others are intimidated by me.” He told him. “They say that I am hard to approach.” Lan Wangji flickered his eyes back to Wei Wuxian whose head tilted to the side, a sad expression embracing his face. “Do you not think the same?”
Wei Wuxian shook his head immediately. “I don’t. Do you know why?”
At that moment, Lan Wangji couldn’t seem to make himself tear his gaze away from Wei Wuxian’s face. There was something about the gentleness of the gray orbs that drew him deeper and deeper into a well that didn’t seem so suffocating. There was something about the softness of the curve on Wei Wuxian’s lips that made Lan Wangji’s skin tingle.
“Why?” He asked.
Wei Wuxian rested his elbow on the table, propping his chin on his hand, warm eyes gazing through Lan Wangji’s soul. “It’s because I look with my heart and not with my eyes.”
It was a small flutter- vague yet unrelenting. It spread through his skin, leaving trails of heat and uncertainty. The night before, Lan Wangji read about a visual impairment called tunnel vision. It is when a person loses their peripheral vision and has trouble seeing things that weren’t at the center of their field of view.
At that moment, Lan Wangji suspected that he might have just that.