🛏️ I’ll Stay Instead 🛌

🏫 a wangxian college au thread🏛️

🧳 wei ying needs a temporary place to stay. he gets an offer he can’t refuse. 👀
it starts with a game of never have i ever.


it ACTUALLY starts with a mould problem in wwx’s dorm room closet that’s probably been there for a couple years, but he’s always had a flair for the dramatic.
so. never have i ever. they’re playing with the usual crew, and even lwj has taken time out of his busy friday night studying schedule to join.

it’s his turn. and he says, “never have I ever slept in a bed with another person.”
obviously, everyone is shocked. some people bemoan his lack of sleepovers as a kid

and of course wwx teases that he’ll help find lwj somebody to sleep with, “but not in that way! unless you wanted to of course, you’re an adult, you can do what you want, hahaha”
everyone else puts a finger down and takes a drink. the game progresses like usual, and the matter is forgotten.
a month later, some guy with a fancy-looking clipboard knocks on wwx’s door at 8:30am and says there’s a mould problem in the closet next door, and he needs to check if it’s affecting wwx’s as well because the closets share a wall.
and of course, yes, there’s mould, because wwx has never known a moment of peace in his life. why should it start now?

anyway, he’ll have to temporarily move out until a restoration crew can get it sorted. it sucks. whatever. he can handle it.
he gets his shit packed and tosses it in jc’s and nhs’ shared room because, let’s face it, what’s one more giant bag of clothes among nhs’ collection, anyway?

unfortunately, he can’t sleep on the little couch they have because it’s just that—little. two-person.
“and I can’t sleep on that!” wwx tells the group later when they meet up for happy hour at the bar down the road. “i’m too long! anyway. it’s fine, because i have come up with the perfect solution: i simply will not sleep”
sure, he COULD sleep on the floor but he would Prefer Not To if he can help it. bad foster home memories.

anyway, only a week, how hard can it be? he’ll take stealth naps. it’ll be fine. everyone shrugs and accepts this and the conversation moves on.
but then lwj says: “what if you slept in my room?”

and wwx says: “but lan zhan, i thought you don’t even have a couch...?”

and lwj goes: “...i don’t...”

and the gears turn in wwx’s head. he’s been in lwj’s dorm like once? twice? there was only the bed and a desk and—
he turns to lwj, eyes all wide like he’s had a big revelation. it’s hard to keep the smile off his face. he says, “but you DO have a double bed.”

and lwj is silent. he looks like he regrets every decision he made in his life.

which is exactly how wwx likes him to look.
loudly, he goes, “lan ZHAN!” and makes an exaggerated 😱 face which obviously grabs everyone’s attention.

lwj looks like he’s moved on from regret and is now entering the stages of grief, judging by the sour little twist of his mouth.

ah. so cute.
wwx says, “ahaha did you guys hear that? lan zhan asked me to sleep with him!”

and lwj GLARES. he hasn’t glared at wwx this hard since they were in high school.

wwx is LIVING right now!!!
and he’s like “honestly, lan zhan! what if i sleep naked, huh?! what then?!” and everyone has a good laugh and lwj’s ears are all red.

it’s great.
except that afterward, wen qing kicks wwx in the shin (OW.) and demands he go apologize to lwj for embarrassing him in front of everyone like that when he just wanted to help.
and...oh. oh, fuck. lwj /had/ kind of slunk off right as everyone was heading out, hadn’t he.

oh shit. oh, no.

dick move, wei ying.

wq sees his crestfallen expression and points severely like, /get moving, asshole/! so he listens to qing-jie says and runs off to find lwj.
thankfully he catches up to him not too far down the road.

he says, “lan zhan! lan zhan, wait. i’m sorry. that was mean.”

because wei ying isn’t an arrogant, bratty teenager anymore, and he like, cares about how is actions affect other people’s feelings and stuff.
and lwj just. looks at him with that carefully-neutral expression he has. the one he has to focus on or he’ll show what he really thinks underneath.

(wwx knows this. he’s catalogued it. he’s gutted whenever lwj uses it on him.)
he says, “that was very nice of you to offer. thank you.”

lwj blinks. he nods, slow and careful. he obviously knows wwx has more to say.

wwx continues, “but I don’t want to impose. i’ll figure something out! i’ll stay in a hostel or something.”
a little wrinkle appears between lwj’s eyebrows. the first crack in his Carefully Neutral expression. he asks, “is the housing board refunding you for the time you won’t be staying in your room?”

wwx laughs like he’s just told a joke. “of course not, why would they do that?”
lwj just looks at him.

wwx goes “what??”

lwj sighs. says, “wei ying.”


“you can stay with me. it is not an imposition.”

“ah, lan zhan, really! it’s fine!”

but something in lwj’s expression makes wwx take pause. “...unless you really want me to, ahaha…”
“it will save you funds you don’t have—”

“ouch, lan zhan, way to remind a guy he’s broke!”

“—wei ying. don’t be stubborn.”

“agh, fine, fine, you win. let me go grab some things from jiang cheng’s.”

lwj nods, satisfied.

and so it is decided.
when wwx shows up an hour later, lwj greets him at the door with a cup of tea and takes his trusty li’l suitcase from him in a trade-off.

wwx gets settled, hands wrapped around the mug. “i brought some non-essentials, too. art projects. i hope that’s okay?”

“oh, good. wouldn’t wanna get bored! not that you’re—not that you’re boring, lan zhan. but i mean. you won’t always be here when I’m here, and, yeah.”

he glances over at the bed. it’s immaculate as always. he sleeps on a twin, himself.
...a double suddenly seems a lot smaller than he’d previously thought.

he and lwj are not exactly small people. both tall. lwj is broad-shouldered as all hell.

he sips his tea.
the silences between them are usually comfortable when they occur, but tonight wwx feels the need to fill the lulls with chatter. “ah, lan zhan, you go to bed at like 9, right?”
“yes. you do not have to. i am a sound sleeper.”

“okay, good, haha! cuz I stay up really late. i’ll try to be quiet though.”

lwj’s expression, which had still been a little guarded when wwx showed up, relaxes and the corners of his mouth curve subtly upward. “okay,” he says.
wwx’s heart soars, and he grins.

lwj isn’t mad at him anymore! that’s good because in a couple of short hours they will be sleeping in the same bed.

wwx isn’t sure what it is about the prospect that makes him kinda. giddy???
probably he hasn’t had a proper sleepover in ages. jc snores, and wwx’s own roommate song lan is like. NEVER around. (he’s quiet, too—possibly more than lwj. it’s wild)

so, yeah! sleepover!

for... a whole week!

they spend the next couple of hours doing schoolwork (or in wwx’s case, scrolling through weibo and texting his jiejie)

and then like clockwork, at 8:55, lwj takes his toiletries to the bathroom down the hall to get ready for bed.
wwx takes the opportunity to get into the pajamas he brought along for this occasion. he’s only worn them once before.

they’re really soft! he should probably wear these more, actually—they were a gift from jiejie, but he usually sleeps in only his boxers, so.
lwj returns. he pauses when he sees wwx, and... stays on pause, apparently.

wwx looks at him, looks down at his pajama shirt—it’s very cute, he thinks, with little black rabbits all over it—and back up. and then he remembers the joke he made earlier that evening.
“ah, haha! lan zhan, did you really think i sleep naked?”

“no,” lwj says quickly. then his brain seems to catch up with his mouth and he looks away. “not entirely.”

“guess i’m full of surprises and you don’t know me as well as you think you do!”
lwj’s attention snaps back to him and he narrows his eyes. “unlikely.”

oh. now wwx’s getting BANTER from him. this is the weirdest but possibly best night of his life. he leans forward with a bratty grin. “okay what’s my favorite color, then?”
“red,” lwj answers immediately. and correctly. he puts his bag away and goes to sit on the bed.

“ok ok,” wwx says, waving dismissively like he planned that. “an easy one to start. lull you into a sense of security. next question: where was i born?”
“yiling.” again, the answer is immediate.

“what’s my favorite food?

“yanli-jie’s pork rib and lotus root soup.”

“okay, okay. fine. those are still easy.” wwx taps his chin, trying to think of something that will stump lwj and his apparently-perfect memory. (show-off.)
ah! he does a dramatic twirl in lwj’s direction. “when I was little, what did I want to be when I grew up?”

lwj blinks and raises his eyebrows. wwx totally got him with that one. then lwj /smiles/ (??!!!??) and says, “a dinosaur.”


what the fuck.
“ahh, ahaha, lan zhan. lan zhan. are you keeping some sort of Facts About Wei Ying notebook somewhere? can i see it?”

“i am not,” lwj says. he sounds defensive.
ah. of course he’s one of those people who remembers things you tell them.

now wwx feels kinda guilty because he’s not sure he could answer any of those questions about lwj with confidence. hm.

“fine,” he says. “how do i like my eggs in the morning?”
he’s totally got him there. wwx’s answer is nonstandard, there’s no way he could kn—

“as an ingredient for french toast.”

“wow,” wwx breathes. and he means it. “the fuck, lan zhan.”
his cheeks feel........ warm. he licks his lips and laughs, “you must be in love with me or something!”

lwj stiffens right on cue. “ridiculous,” he mutters as wwx keeps giggling.

he climbs into bed with a sigh, moving over to the far wall. “good night, wei ying.”
//and good night sugar! as is tradition, it's nearly 1 am here, so i'm going to get some rest.

i love qrts, comments, like-spamming, and however you all wanna show your support! you're awesome.

pick an emoji to help me decide something, and i'll see u all tomorrow! 🥰
“good night, lan zhan!” wwx replies brightly.

he sets up one of his art projects at the desk, turns the overhead light off and the desk lamp on (angling it away from the bed), and gets to work.

it’s nearly one in the morning when he finally crawls into bed.
wwx knows that as a rule, lwj typically keeps his dorm room cool. he prefers it, he says. reminds him of home in the mountains.

it’s great for sleeping, too, and wwx dozes off relatively quickly.

and awakens barely two hours later /sweltering hot/.
the sweat-soaked pajama shirt clings uncomfortably to his back when he sits up to drink from his water bottle.

alright, time to get rid of THAT, then.

he soon discovers that the buttons are difficult for his sleep-clumsy fingers to manage.
“wei ying? what are you doing?” lwj asks, voice clear and awake in the darkness next to him.

“ah, shh, lan zhan, go back to sleep. i’m just having trouble with the buttons on my shirt.”

but instead of being a good boy and /listening/, lwj sits up too.
his hand brushes wwx’s.

wwx goes stock-still as lwj searches along his chest for the buttons and begins silently and methodically undoing them from the top down.
wwx’s eyes adjust to the dim light filtering in through the window. he swallows roughly.

...had lwj been shirtless when he went to bed?
“I’m not used to wearing a lot of clothes at night,” wwx says, trying to make conversation to distract himself from lwj’s deft fingers working their way down his torso. it’s very...what’s the word. intimate?
whatever it is, lwj is not usually this touchy. maybe he lets his guard down more when he’s soft with sleep. it’s kind of adorable, actually.

wwx chuckles drily and adds, “so i got too hot.”
“mn. likewise,” lwj replies as he finishes the last button, gently separating the fabric.

wwx has only ever seen lwj shirtless once, when they went swimming together in hs—and lwj had been uncomfortable the whole time.

he seems just fine right now.
interrupting his thoughts, lwj tugs at one of the shoulders and asks, “do you need help getting it off?”

“oh. no, no that’s okay. um. thank you.” wwx doesn't even make the obvious /ah, trying to undress me now, lan zhan/? joke because... well. he just doesn't.

wwx squirms out of the shirt and tosses it into the darkness. “sorry to wake you,” he says, flopping backward onto the pillow.

“you did not. i am the one who woke you. i apologize.”
“mmm, if you say so,” wwx says, and yawns.

the silence stretches. already, he feels cooler, comfortably drifting at the edge of consciousness. “lan zhan?” he murmurs.


“i might toss and turn a lot. don’t mind me if I wind up cuddling you in my sleep, ok?”

“mn. I won’t.”
“but feel free to push me away if you want. i’m a clingy sleeper.”

“hm. good night, wei ying,” lwj says for the second time that night as he settles and clasps his hands on his chest.
wwx remembers something just then: “oh my god. i forgot. you’ve never done this before, right? is this me popping your bed-sharing cherry—wait, that sounds weird—or… did you find somebody to do the honors already?”

“good /night/, wei ying,” says lwj.
so. that’s the first night.

wwx wakes up with his legs all tangled up in the blankets, one arm flung across the whole bed. it takes a moment to remember where he is, but when he rolls over and sees lwj quietly reading at his desk, he smiles.

lwj looks up at him. “good morning.”

there are no dark circles under his eyes—which is good, it means wwx didn’t keep him awake with all of his flailing.
“did you sleep alright?” both of them ask at the same time.

wwx sits up, disentangling from the blanket, and grins. “you first.”

lwj’s eyes flick back up to his face. “yes. and you?”

“yep! no more overheating,” wwx says, gesturing to himself. “the fewer layers the better!”
“...mn,” lwj says, and turns back to his book.

“but you’re really sure it was alright? I didn’t think you’d be okay sleeping next to someone as fidgety as me. or anyone at all, really.”

“i did not know what to expect,” lwj admits without looking up, “but it was fine.”
they go about their respective days after that.

after his last class of the day, wwx returns to the room with an iced coffee. lwj’s not back yet, so he strips out of his daytime clothes and puts on track pants and a tank top before flopping stomach-down onto the bed.
he lands on something lumpy tucked under the blanket on lwj’s side. wondering if perhaps it’s his discarded pajama shirt, wwx pulls back the comforter to discover…a rabbit plushie.

a /very familiar/ rabbit plushie.
second period home economics class, senior year. wwx was the only boy.

he always joked that it was so he could have his pick of ladies, but in reality he simply enjoyed learning how to bake, sew, and cook. jiejie liked it too, so it gave them something to do together at home.
wwx found a pattern online for a cute, easy-to-make stuffed rabbit. he’d recently started talking to lwj more—might have even considered them friends by that point—and instantly knew he had to make it for him.

after all, lwj loved rabbits, and even had two of his own.
back then, wwx found it difficult to imagine stoic, grouchy lwj being soft and sweet with his pets, so he was determined to get a smile out of him at least once in his life.

this would be perfect!
wwx brought the pattern to class and worked on it whenever he had free time. he always completed his other work, even if he goofed around, so the teacher didn’t mind too much.

she even provided assistance whenever he had questions, and helped him choose buttons for the eyes.
lwj used to wear a white headband with a cloud pattern on it to keep his bangs out of his eyes.

the scrap box the home ec teacher kept happened to have some similarly-patterned fabric pieces, so when he was done with the plushie, wwx made it a matching headband.
when it was finally finished, he couldn’t even wait to wrap it up properly. he put it in a little kraft paper bag with twine handles and took off as soon as the teacher dismissed the class for lunch.

he found lwj at his locker and shoved the bag into his hands.
lwj looked down at it, confused, and back up at wwx.

“open it!” wwx said, way too loudly, and was also vibrating out of his skin a little, and bouncing nervously on the balls of his feet.

lwj narrowed his eyes warily, but pulled the bag open. his eyebrows furrowed.
he picked up the rabbit, his lips parting gently and eyes softening as he turned it over in his hands.

“i made it for you!” said wwx.

one side of lwj’s mouth twitched upward. all of a sudden, he looked to wwx almost like a little boy, with no hints of stoicism on his face.
lwj closed his mouth, but the little smile remained at the corner of his lips, and wwx was in awe. he really could smile! but then his eyebrows scrunched again like he was confused.

their eyes met.

lwj asked, very quietly, “why?”
the tone of his voice pierced wwx right through the heart.

“because…. you’re my friend?” he said, tentative, like he wasn’t sure if lwj would agree.

lwj swallowed, his grip tightening on the rabbit. still very quietly, he said, “oh.”
oh. did. did lwj not think they were friends?

the grin fell from wwx’s face. “do you… not like it?”

lwj hugged the plushie to himself protectively, like wwx was going to take it away. “i do,” he said.

“then, lan zhan, what’s… wrong?”
lwj looked away. “...it’s very nice. thank you, wei ying.”

well, wwx knew lwj wasn’t the enthusiastic sort. but a little bit of disappointment settled in his gut, and he wished lwj would tell him what the matter was.

he pasted a smile back onto his face.
“of course, lan zhan! that’s what friends are for.”

tentatively, lwj met his eyes again. “you really think so?”

“obviously,” wwx said, like he was the expert. (and, well, he was. wwx had a lot of friends at school! friends do nice things for each other, he knew that!)
“and since you’re my friend,” he continued, “i’m afraid you’re stuck with me now!”
and the best was, lwj had /let him/. he had never tolerated wwx’s goofing off in previous school years—on one notable occasion, wwx landed himself in detention in the same classroom where lwj was working on a final project, and had teased him relentlessly the whole time.
but after the rabbit, he seemed not only content to listen to wwx’s endless chatter, but occasionally joined him on his escapades.
but then he’d gone away for the summer, traveling with his siblings before he and jc moved far away from yunmeng and their jiejie to go to college, and they lost touch for a few months.
lwj had stayed behind, spending his summer preparing for the move—he’d been accepted into a program at the same campus as wwx—and come august of that year, they were finally reunited.

they saw each other across the parking lot as they were moving their things into the dorms.
wwx had run—leaving jc to shout after him—and parkoured over a couple of bike racks before skidding to a halt in front of lwj, breathing heavily.

“lan zhan, oh my god! i’ve missed you so much!” he said.

“i missed you too, wei ying,” lwj replied, face all soft and cute.
and then he hugged wwx for the first time ever.
his arms were solid around wwx’s shoulders, and he buried his face in wwx’s hair, and wwx had wrapped his arms around lwj’s waist and squeezed tight, pressing his face into his chest.

it felt like home.
lwj was a lot less shy about wwx casually touching him after that, which was great because wwx is a very tactile person.

they spent all of their free time together in that first year. wwx hugged him SO much. it was great.
but the demands of their respective programs meant that, as they progressed into their second and now third years of university, they didn’t have as much time to see each other.

wwx gets to see lwj maybe once a week now if he’s lucky.
and he’s tired, and a lot less touchy-feely than he used to be. it’s been a long time since he’s hugged his friend. which is maybe a weird thing to think about when one is lying on said friend’s bed, cuddling their rabbit plushie as if it were a proxy for the real thing.
nonetheless, wwx cuddles it to his chest even harder, smiling wistfully. he didn’t know lwj had kept it all this time.

he must doze off, because the next thing he knows, lwj is gently shaking him awake.
“hmm?” wwx mumbles as he turns over and blinks up at him.

lwj looks like he’s about to say something, but then he sees the rabbit in wwx’s arms and his mouth clamps shut. and his ears go red.

“ah lan zhan,” wwx says through a yawn. “i can’t believe you kept it!”
“of course I did,” lwj says defensively. then, with that little hint of a smile wwx loves, “a friend made it for me.”

wwx scrunches his face at him. “well that’s adorable,” he says. “i didn’t know you had friends!”

“mn. I do. but wei ying was my first friend.”
“lan /zhaaaaan/!” he whines. “what the fuck! come here. come lie down next to me. that’s so fucking sad. damn, i’m glad you have me,” he teases, like he always does. but now he’s /extra/ glad.

“wei ying,” lwj says fondly. “you are in the middle of the bed.”

“so?” wwx pouts.
“it is 9:15.”

“...oh. gotcha, ok,” wwx says, scrambling to move over. “sorry. why didn’t you wake me sooner??”

“you looked comfortable.”

“i was literally taking up the entire bed, lan zhan.”


“you are being ridiculous.”
if lwj were the type to stick out his tongue, he’d do it right now. instead, he climbs gracefully past wwx and slides under the covers and closes his eyes.

“ok, good /night/, lan zhan,” wwx teases.

the smile still pulls at lwj’s lips. “good night, wei ying.”
and because he was having such a good sleep, wwx decides to turn in early that night, with the rabbit plushie resting snugly between their pillows.
//SHORT break! which also means time for another “help sugar decide stuff” flash poll:
wwx is not sprawled across the bed when he awakens. in fact, there’s something pinning him down, a weight on his chest. an...arm.

and a leg slotted between his knees.

holy shit, he thinks to himself. is lwj a /sleep snuggler/?!
it’s still dark, and lwj… (wwx listens…) seems to be asleep, judging by his breathing.

wwx shifts his hand and realizes immediately maybe he should Not do that. it’s effectively pinned between the two of them right at crotch level.
strategically, he lifts his OTHER arm, which is only kind of pinned down but easily-extricated, and slides his phone out from under his pillow.


lwj gets up at 5am like clockwork. only 11 more minutes to go.
now. wwx has shared beds before. sleepovers, staying out too late at parties and falling asleep in some random bed to find some random person next to him in the morning. not often, but, it happens.

those people have never been this… cuddly?
so he’s not really prepared when lwj begins to stir, curling even more around wwx. which means his leg moves… north.

wwx. is so. still. right. now.

he stares into the darkness and tries to breathe.

(//aside, forgot to mention at the start that this thread will be 🔞 lol)
wwx hears the moment lwj wakes up by the way his breathing changes, and continues lying very, very still.

“hmm,” he hears lwj say.

the leg moves half an inch higher.

wwx can’t stop his sharp inhale when it brushes against him.
lwj makes another sleepy noise, this one inquiring, and squeezes wwx’s side with the hand draped over him.

“wei ying?”

wwx decides to...be (mostly) honest about his state of wakefulness. he goes, “mmmmhm?” as slow and sleepy as he can manage.
when there’s no response, he cracks one eye partially open, slides it sideways to watch lwj in his periphery.

it’s still dark, but his eyes have adjusted somewhat. he can see lwj looking back at him, his head still on the pillow.
“what time is it,” wwx mumbles, even though he knows full well.

“early,” lwj replies quietly. “you may go back to sleep if you wish.”

“thought i was s’posed to be the clingy sleeper,” wwx says, and he thinks he hears that quiet, breathy laugh of lwj’s as he dozes off again.
when he wakes up for real, he’s alone in the room.
the day passes like usual. wwx bothers jc for a bit, goes to class, drinks too much coffee.

wonders if he’d dreamt what happened this morning. /that/ thought makes him go red in the cheeks; he’s not sure why. is it so much more embarrassing to dream it than live it?
(wwx decides yes. if he dreamt it, that would mean it’s been on his mind. which. maybe it HAS. wwx is a cuddly and touchy person, as established. but he doesn’t like to be seen by his own subconscious in this manner!)
he texts lwj a picture of the elusive campus rabbits and receives a “:)” in response. (lwj does not use emojis. he has always been, as wwx likes to put it, a little oldschool. it’s endearing.)

later he asks if lwj wants to watch a movie on his laptop with him.
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