I'll Love You Quietly @wangxianforever77
A Chance Partnership

Wei Ying personally did not mind the idea of becoming friends with Lan Zhan after thinking over what Wen Ning told him. That is, if he had a chance to become more acquainted with him. They got along pretty well so far, after all, and Lan Zhan had been grateful for his help in class.

The only problem was that Wei Ying wasn't sure if he would want to be his friend in spite of that. They only saw each other in their English and Education classes. While they also had lunch at the same time, Lan Zhan seemed to prefer eating alone. And, of course, Wei Ying ate with his siblings and friends.

He remembered that Lan Zhan had been not been opposed to his invitation to join them someday, however. He didn't seem to mind him sitting next to him in class that morning either.

In addition to that, they had a good deal of classwork and homework, as well as their own lives. It was possible that with Lan Zhan's schedule, he might be too busy to spend much time with him.

And then there was the possibility that he was not as interested in getting to know Wei Ying as he was in getting to know him. But that wouldn't stop Wei Ying from trying.


Everything went on as they usually did after that morning. However, there were soon a few gradual changes.

One of them involved Wei Ying's classes. He still accompanied Jiang Cheng and his friends in English for the most part, but there were some days when he was able to sit next to Lan Zhan. This was only if the desk beside him was unoccupied by another student, though. It was not often that Wei Ying arrived early enough to get this opportunity. The same could be said for his Education classes as well.

Lan Zhan still didn't appear to be bothered by him as far as Wei Ying could see, even though he seemed to be frowning half of the time. Nevertheless, he was certain that he would have told him if he were.

Truthfully, Lan Zhan wasn't at all. It just took some time for him to get used to his increasing presence. However, it wasn't long before he did.

Part of this was due to the fact that Wei Ying continued to help him on the occasions when their teachers weren't facing the class. Even if he was sitting across the room from him, he would still repeat what they had said in sign language. It eventually came to the point when he would turn to Wei Ying before the latter even had to try to catch his attention.

Lan Zhan appreciated this and never failed to thank him. He even found himself thinking that it was too bad he wasn't in the rest of his classes once. It would have made things a little easier, but he managed well enough on his own.

Aside from those interactions, they were still only able to exchange brief greetings or nod to each other in between classes and lunch. Neither of them had time for more than a short conversation during their lectures. Even if they wanted to talk, they couldn't be sure if the other was busy or not.

For although Wei Ying didn't know it, Lan Zhan wished - at the very least - to know more about him too. This surprised him because he had never been curious enough about anyone to desire being acquainted with them. No one had ever interested him, not even at the schools he had previously attended.

Wei Ying was right when he assumed that he preferred to be alone. He had never felt the need to make acquaintances or friends. The only people he spent any time with was his brother and uncle. Even so, he still kept to himself for the most part.

It was because of this reason that Lan Zhan was unsure of how to bring this up to him. That, and the fact that he usually didn't speak to people unless spoken to first, or if he needed to.

Had they not been too hesitant to pull the other to the side to talk the matter over, they would have realized that they wanted the same thing.

Luckily for them, however, they would soon get the chance that they were hoping for.

xXXXXXXx

A Week Later

"All right, class. Listen up. I have something important to discuss with you before we leave," their Education teacher announced the following Wednesday.

Once everybody was giving him their full and undivided attention, he went on.

"I am certain that you are all aware that I would be assigning a project to you this month. I mentioned it briefly on your first day of class as we were reviewing the syllabus.

"The subject of your projects are to be about a famous teacher who is, or was, the most influential and inspirational to you. Included must be information about when and where they were born, their most noted achievements, the reason why you chose them, and other important details. I would also like you to write a one-page essay about them. The project can be presented on PowerPoint or on a poster board. It is due in three weeks.

"You will be working in pairs. I have made a list of who you will be working with, but if you wish to make a change for whatever reason, you may talk it over with me after class or during the next two weeks. After that, it will be too late. You can both chose a different person to work on, but if you both agree on one, that is just as excellent also.

"I will now call your names and the person who you are teamed up with. Again, if you wish to change your partner, let me know," he concluded.

Wei Ying doodled on a page in his notebook was the teacher went down the list. Even though he secretly hoped to do the project with Lan Zhan, mostly because he was the only person he knew in this class, he could care less about who his partner was otherwise.

But then-

"Lan Wangji," the teacher declared.

From where he sat on the other side of the room, Lan Zhan nodded once.

"Your partner will be Wei Wuxian."

Wei Ying jumped in astonishment. Could it be? Was he really going to get his wish?

He turned to Lan Zhan, who was gaping at him in equal surprise. But in spite of his shock, he did not look as if he were against their teacher's choice, much to his relief.

Wei Ying gave him a smile and a thumbs up, and Lan Zhan bobbed his head a second time.

"...Please meet up with your partners soon to discuss your ideas. Good luck, everyone, and enjoy the rest of your afternoon. I will see you on Friday," their teacher stated.

Wei Ying quickly packed up his things and left the room with most of the other students. He found Lan Zhan standing in the hall near the door, clearly waiting for him.

He beamed as he stood in front of him. Hi! It looks like it is you and me for the next three weeks!

Lan Zhan nodded again. "Mn." It appears so. I hope you do not mind?

No, no, of course not! I would be glad to work with you! Wei Ying signed with a reassuring look. Just let me know when you want to get started. Do you have time to today?

He shook his head. I am afraid not. My next class starts in fifteen minutes. And I have things to do after that.

Wei Ying grinned. I understand. That is fine. You can let me know during or after English tomorrow, if that is all right with you.

I can give you my phone number if that would be better? Or you can give me yours?

Sure.

Are you able to do video calls on your phone?

Yes. I have both Facetime and Google Duo.

"Mn." Good.

Lan Zhan pulled out his phone and unlocked it before handing it to Wei Ying. The latter added his number to his contacts before putting Lan Zhan's in his.

Thank you, Lan Zhan signed after they had put their phones away. I must hurry now, or I will be late for class.

Okay. Call or text me when you are ready to start.

I will, and I will see you tomorrow, Wei Ying.

Okay. Good-bye, Lan Zhan.

And with a wave, Wei Ying headed to his Art Theory class, and Lan Zhan to Business Ethics.

Later that night

Wei Ying spent the rest of the day and part of the evening after school at home working on his assignments. He never did all of them at once, since it wasn't necessary to have everything completed by the next day. That is, unless he had the same class for two in a row.

It was after dinner when he decided to get started on coming up with ideas for the project. That way, he could share them with Lan Zhan when they had time to talk it over.

He did some online research for a while. He was amazed when he learned that a few people who he would never have suspected of being a teacher actually were at a point in their lives. One of them made him laugh at the thought of it.

Wei Ying was in the middle of jotting down a short list of those who interested him when his phone rang with a text message. He picked it up, thinking that it was from Nie Huaisang or Wen Ning. They had planned to hang out with him and Jiang Cheng this weekend, so they might have wanted to talk about what they wanted to do.

However, when he looked at the screen, he nearly dropped his phone in surprise.

The message wasn't from either of his friends. It was from Lan Zhan.

Wei Ying? Are you there?

He quickly unlocked his phone to reply to him.

Yeah I'm here what's up?

A moment passed before Lan Zhan answered.

I am available tomorrow afternoon if you would like to meet with me then. I only have our English class and Economics 101 in the morning. If not, perhaps we can on Friday morning. I do not have any classes until the afternoon, but I am not opposed to arriving earlier.

Wei Ying smiled.

2morrow afternoon is good but I will have 2 wait until I finish my trig class at 2. Is that ok?

Lan Zhan

That is fine. I already have some ideas of the people I would like to include in our project. We can discuss them tomorrow.

Wei Ying

Cool so do I. Where would u like me 2 meet u?

Lan Zhan

There is a student lounge that I often go to in between or after classes, the one across from the main building.

Wei Ying

Oh I know which 1 u mean. I saw u there once. I knocked on the window so that I could say hi but u didn't hear me. But that was b4 I introduced myself

Lan Zhan

Ah. I understand. That would explain why the other students there seemed to be frowning at me one afternoon. Had I been facing the window, I am sure that I would have noticed you.

Wei Ying

Sorry

Lan Zhan

No need to apologize. It was only a misunderstanding, one that easily happens when I am involved. You did not know me well enough at the time.

In any case, I am more than certain that knocking on the windows is not allowed. I would recommend you not to do it again. You do not want to get into trouble.

All of that aside, would you like to meet me at the lounge? Or would you prefer somewhere else?

Wei Ying

No that's good. C u there

Lan Zhan

All right, then. I will talk to you tomorrow. I hope you have a good night, Wei Ying.

Wei Ying

U 2, Lan Zhan.

There were no more messages after that, so Wei Ying put his phone away. Then he continued to write down his ideas, excited for the afternoon to come.

xXXXXXXx

Wei Ying and Lan Zhan were unable to sit next to one another in English the following morning. This disappointed them somewhat, but the former helped him as always, and let him know that he didn't forget where he would meet him.

Nie Huaisang teased him about it after class was over. He usually did whenever he saw them interacting. "Have you two started dating and just haven't told us yet?" he inquired playfully.

"Shut up...and no," Wei Ying retorted, his cheeks tingling oddly. "But our Education teacher did assign us to work on a project together for the next three weeks."

"Did he really, or did you volunteer to work with him?"

"Asshole," Wei Ying remarked good-naturedly.

Jiang Cheng snorted and shook his head while Wen Ning chuckled.

The latter then turned to Wei Ying. "Well, whether your teacher did or not, at least you two will have a chance to get to know each other now. What's your project going to be about?"

"Inspirational famous teachers."

"Mmm. That sounds interesting. Did you pick anyone?"

"Not yet. Lan Zhan and I are going to do that later."

Jiang Cheng frowned. "What do you mean?" he demanded.

"We're going to meet up at one of the lounges here after my Trigonometry class and share our ideas. So, if you want, you can go home without me. I don't know how long we'll be there."

Nie Huaisang smirked. "Well, let us know how your eventual date turns out later."

Wei Ying lightly hit the back of his head with his notebook. "For the last time, we're not going to date. We barely even know each other," he pointed out.

"Yeah, for now. Give it until the end of these three weeks, though. You'll see," Nie Huaisang remarked.

"Bullshit. He probably won't want to be my friend after this project. As far as dating goes, forget it. He doesn't like men, for all I know."

They knew that Wei Ying was bisexual.

Nie Huaisang laughed. "Well, you have plenty of time to find out."

Jiang Cheng scoffed. "I wouldn't blame him if he didn't want to be your friend. How we can even stand you, I have no idea. But I need to get to Economics, so I'll see you guys at lunch."

"Yeah, and I have to get to Biology. See you," Wen Ning added.

Wei Ying and Nie Huaisang waved and left to hang out in the courtyard since they didn't have any other classes for the rest of the morning. The former spent the hour going over his list of people while the latter took pictures of the birds he was watching.

Lunch passed without incident. Wei Ying found himself staring at Lan Zhan for half of that time, pointedly ignoring Nie Huaisang's teasing hisses of "Just ask him out already and date him, damn you." Lan Zhan didn't appear to realize that he was being watched; he was writing something in his book as he ate.

"I'll be in the computer lab. Let me know when you're ready to go home," Jiang Cheng said as Wei Ying prepared to leave for his Trigonometry class.

"You're staying?" the latter inquired.

"Yeah. I'm need to work on something for Business Ethics."

Wei Ying nodded. "Okay. I'll text you."

"And don't forget to let us know how your date went later," Nie Huaisang added.

He just flipped him off as he walked away, making all of them snicker.

Knowing that it would only be a short time before he was working on the project with Lan Zhan made it impossible for him to concentrate during class. He all but bolted out of his seat when it was finally over and headed to the lounge, buying himself a Coca-Cola on the way.

He didn't have to look for Lan Zhan. Through the window, he could see him sitting at the exact same table he had been the last time. Lan Zhan glanced up as he approached him and nodded, the corner of his mouth quirking a little. His heart thumped as he smiled back.

Good afternoon, Wei Ying. How has your day been so far? Lan Zhan signed as he sat on the opposite chair.

Fine. What about yours? How were your classes? Wei Ying returned.

It has been good, and my classes went well. And yours?

Not bad.

Lan Zhan nodded. Excellent. Are you ready to begin now, or would you like to finish your drink first?

Yes, we can start. Let me get my book. Hold on.

Wei Ying took his notebook and a pen out of his shoulder bag. He opened it to where his list was written. Lan Zhan did the same with his and gestured to him.

You may share your ideas first, or we can take turns. I am fine with whatever you decide.

Beaming, Wei Ying inclined his head. Okay. Let's take turns. He pushed his book towards him. The first person I was thinking of is Georgia O'Keeffe. I am sure that you already know that she is a famous artist, but she was also taught at Columbia College in South Carolina. She was a chairperson of the art department at West Texas State Normal College too.

Lan Zhan hummed. That is interesting. I never did research on her, so I never knew that she was a teacher. But you were correct when you implied that I know she was an artist.

You should sometime. I found out other things about her that are interesting too. But I will let you go now. It is your turn.

"Mn." Anne Sullivan is also one of the first teachers that I thought of.

"Ohhhh." Helen Keller's teacher. My adoptive grandmother admires her a lot, and I do not blame her. She was amazing. My grandmother loves that movie "The Miracle Worker" too. The one with Patty Duke.

I can understand why. I agree that she was a wonderful teacher, and the movie was exceptional.

Yes. It is awesome. I like it too.

Lan Zhan then gazed at him with curiosity while tilting his head. I remember you telling me about your adoptive grandmother when you first spoke to me. If you do not mind my asking, what happened to your parents? How old were you when you were adopted?

Wei Ying's face fell a little. They passed away during a trip to the mountains when I was seven. They liked to hunt and go hiking, and one day, they just never came back. My Uncle Jiang, who was a friend of my mother, found out that I was sent to a group home somehow and adopted me.

"Mmm." I am sorry about that.

It is okay. I do not remember them much. I wish I did sometimes.

I understand. Believe me, I do. Do you get along with your uncle?

Yes, he is like a father to me.

That is good. And you also mentioned that you have a brother.

Yes, and an older sister. They are not my biological brother and sister, if that is what you are wondering. You have seen my brother before. His name is Jiang Cheng, courtesy name Jiang Wanyin. I am usually sitting with him. And he is in your Economics and Business Ethics classes.

Recognition and what seemed like amusement twinkled in Lan Zhan's eyes. Is your brother the one who always looks upset?

Wei Ying had to laugh. Yes, that is him. He takes after his mother. She frowns most of the time too. My sister, Jiang Yanli, is the opposite. She smiles a lot.

Lan Zhan actually chuckled. Wei Ying realized then that he didn't smile much either, other than the two times he sort of grinned. He certainly never heard him laugh before.

I see, the former continued. And what is their mother's name?

Madam Yu. I would call her Aunt, but she does not like me very much. She can be so mean to me.

That is too bad. You seem likable to me so far.

Wei Ying found himself reddening. Thank you. You do too. But what about you? You said something about your uncle and your brother, but you did not mention your parents either.

Pursing his lips, Lan Zhan replied, Mine had also passed away. They died when our house caught on fire one evening when I was six. My brother, Lan Xichen, and I were spending the weekend with our uncle when it happened.

"Ohhhh." I am sorry, too. I know you miss them sometimes.

My mother more than my father, yes. He worked most of the time, so I did not see him often to know what he was like. But I know that he loved her very much. She was a kind woman, and a good mother to me and my brother.

That is good. Is your brother older than you, or younger?

Two years older. He also attends this college, and we live in a duplex together. I am downstairs, and he is on the second floor.

Cool, cool. I still live with my family.

Lan Zhan nodded. "Mn."

They went on after that, continuing to take turns reading their lists.

The other teachers that Lan Zhan mentioned were Confucius, Alexandar Graham Bell, Laurent Clerc, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Mason Cogswell, and Abbé Sicard.

Wei Ying didn't realize it when he moved his chair to sit closer to him as he talked about them. If it bothered Lan Zhan, he did not make it apparent.

I have noticed that you seem to have a great interest in artists, the latter observed after Wei Ying brought up Marc Chagall and Edith Head. You must have a passion for art yourself.

Yes. I have loved to draw and paint for as long as I can remember. I make crafts every now and then too.

Lan Zhan slightly rose an eyebrow with a thoughtful nod. Perhaps you could show me one day. I would like to see your own art. As long as you do not mind.

Of course not. I always have my sketchbook with me. You can see it anytime. In fact...hold on...

Wei Ying retrieved it from his bag and offered it to him. Lan Zhan took it, and the former nearly jumped as his fingers brushed against his.

"Your pictures are outstanding, Wei Ying. It is wonderful how lifelike you are able to make them," he remarked in awe as he examined a number of his drawings. He handed it back moments later.

Another blush tinted Wei Ying's cheeks. Thank you.

You are welcome. I hope you that I do not offend you by telling you this, but I think you should also study Art if you are not already.

I am, actually. I am doing a double major in Art and Education because I want to be an art teacher after I graduate. One of my own art teachers was an inspiration to me, and I would like to be one someday too.

Good. You would do an excellent job.

I hope so. What about you? Why do you want to be a teacher?

Because I want to help other people who are hearing impaired, the same way my former teachers had helped me. They taught me many things, including how to be self-sufficient. If it were not for them, or my brother or uncle, I doubt that I would be where I am today.

I understand. I think that you would be a good teacher too. You are likable yourself, even if you look serious most of the time.

Lan Zhan almost smiled again. Thank you.

He peered at Wei Ying's notebook after that. "We both have Robert Frost, I see. I cannot say that I blame you. He was an amazing poet. And...Wei Ying," he abruptly said in a stern voice. "This is no time for jokes."

What are you talking about?

"Gene Simmons from Kiss? Please...take this project seriously."

But he was a teacher! He taught at a primary school in New York City's Spanish Harlem in the 1970s, but only for less than a year. I did not believe it at first either, though. It is funny to think of him being a teacher.

Lan Zhan chuckled a little in spite of himself. I find it hard to imagine myself. He looked so wild in the pictures I had seen of him.

Wei Ying grinned. Well, that is all I have. Do you have anyone else?

No. That is all for me too. We should pick who we want to do our project on now. Would you like us to work on one person together, or would you prefer to do one separately? I will be fine with either.

This was a rather hard choice for Wei Ying to make. He wanted to pick one of the people from his own list, particularly Chagall. However, he noticed that they had a common interest in Annie Sullivan and Robert Frost as well.

Lan Zhan could see his indecision and gave him an understanding look. If you would like to think about it more, I can wait until later. You may send me a text message when you are certain of who you want to choose.

Thank you. That would be better. I will let you know soon.

Very well. We can stop here for now, then. We can discuss the other aspects of the project later too.

Okay. That is fine with me.

They gathered their belongings and stood up. Wei Ying hesitantly held out his hand for Lan Zhan to shake, and the latter's Adam's apple bobbed before he took it. Wei Ying's heart fluttered.

"I hope that you enjoy the rest of your day, Wei Ying. Do not forget to text me," he stated.

"I won't. See you tomorrow, Lan Zhan."

He nodded, and they walked out of the lounge together. Just as they were about to go their separate ways, however, Lan Zhan turned to him.

"Wei Ying," he said.

"Yeah?"

He was quiet for a moment, thinking over what he planned to tell him. Then he spoke.

"I was wondering if you would mind doing the artwork for our project? After seeing your pictures, I believe that you would do excellent job," he remarked.

Wei Ying was taken aback at first, not expecting this question. It didn't take long for him to recover from his shock, though, and he smiled brightly. "I wouldn't mind at all, Lan Zhan. I can come up with some designs and get the poster soon; I already have everything else."

Lan Zhan inclined his head. "Mn. Let me know if you have any trouble finding one. I will help you."

"All right, I will. Bye, Lan Zhan."

"Good-bye, Wei Ying."

And with that, Lan Zhan left for the parking lot, and Wei Ying headed to the computer lab.


Author's note: Hello, everyone. Sorry for the long wait. I hope that you enjoyed the chapter! What do you guys think of the project, and how it should go? Please comment and let me know your opinions. I hope to post the next chapter soon. See you all later!

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